- Yahoo Sports16 days ago
There are new contracts being sent out and signed that will usher in some big, new changes to the Ontario Hockey League.
Yahoo Canada has learned that the two most significant amendments to its current program for players focuses on the OHL’s education packages and a new monthly reimbursement plan – covering a number of items like gas, clothing and other incidentals like food – for up to $470. OHL commissioner David Branch, said the initiatives were ratified by the league’s board of governors in August and are now being implemented.
“We are constantly, regularly, always challenging how we can improve things for our players on and off the ice,” Branch told Yahoo Canada on Thursday. “We recognize that they are the most important people in the game.”
According to Branch, under the new expanded benefits package, players will now have extra time for using the money they receive for post-secondary education. Previously the league had given players 18 months from their last game played to use their school packages. That funding disappeared, however, if the player signed a contract with a National Hockey League or American Hockey League team.
- Yahoo Sports22 days ago
Sarnia Sting defenceman, Anthony DeAngelo, hasn’t played in two weeks. The last time he saw the ice was during a game against the Guelph Storm on Jan. 31. Up until now, the word had been the talented blueliner had been serving a team suspension issued by head coach Trevor Letowski.
It’s not the first time a player has been disciplined by a coach and it won’t be the last. The situation, though, has been cloudy with Letowski dancing around why exactly he’s decided to sit the highly touted NHL draft prospect.
Those clouds parted on Friday, when the Ontario Hockey League announced they had suspended the native of Sewell, N.J., eight games for violating the league’s harrassment, abuse and diversity policy. It's the second time this season the 18-year-old has been suspended for contravening the rule which attempts to keep homophobic, racist, sexist, and the other derogatory language used by small minds – out of the game.
The minimum suspension for this infraction is five games. Recently, Windsor’s Steven Janes was suspended five games under the same policy. In Janes’ case it was something offensive said to an opponent during a game.
- Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago
There was a time when the small-market franchise was considered the lifeblood of junior hockey. In many cases they were the only game in town. It was a cheap night out and something many families could readily afford.
Teams were run more like mom-and-pop local stores. In the new OHL landscape, however, more and more franchises are being run like Supercentres in big, state-of-the-art arenas. For some it’s a big, profitable business. For the rest it’s a daily grind to stay in the black and still ice a competitive team.
No one knows this balance better than the Owen Sound Attack.
The Attack play in the OHL’s smallest market with roughly 22,000 residents -- though that number almost doubles when you factor in the neighbouring townships. Still, the 3,500-capacity J.D. McArthur Arena is regularly more than 80 per cent full. The team is competitive and won an OHL title in 2011.
“We have to do things smarter because we’re smaller,” says Attack president and part owner, Dr. Bob Severs. “That’s the challenge … there are several challenges, but the primary challenge is that when you make a decision you don’t have the luxury of being able to make a major error and walk away from that.
MALMO, Sweden — For the second consecutive year, Canada is coming home empty-handed from the world junior championships.
It’s the first time since 1978-81 that Canada has been left off the podium in two straight tournaments. And, just like last year, it was the Russians that skated away with bronze – beating Canada 2-1 – in a game that didn’t really find its energy until halfway through the third period when defenceman Josh Morrissey scored Canada’s lone goal to cut the deficit.
Too little, too late.
"There’s not much mood right now," said Canadian captain Scott Laughton. "It’s tough. You can’t put it into words when you put on this crest and try and represent your country and you can’t even bring a medal back to Canada for the people who have been cheering for you and have 4,000 fans come down here, it’s…"
MALMO, Sweden — Six months ago, in Lake Placid, N.Y., Finnish goaltender Juuse Saros was asked about how he viewed Canada’s recent performances at the world junior championships. Canada hasn’t won gold since 2009 and last year in Ufa, Russia, they finished without a medal for the first time since 1998.
"You don't have to be God to beat them," said Saros in an early August interview with Yahoo Sports. "It gives hope that guys will beat them."
On Saturday, Saros will get a chance to test out his theory first hand when he starts for Team Finland against Canada in the semifinals of the world junior championships.
So how does he feel about facing Canada now?
His views on needing divine intervention to beat the Canadians have not changed.
- Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
MALMO, Sweden — Aaron Ekblad stood behind a partition in the media mixed zone and watched intently as teammate Mathew Dumba was being interviewed.
As it turned out Dumba was talking about Ekblad. The pair are roommates together here with Team Canada, so the blueliners have been able to get to know each other quite well.
“He has the body of like a 35 or 40-year-old,” said Dumba of the 17-year-old defenceman. “The guy shaves his chest every week. I can’t believe it, he’s a man-child.”
Standing there, eavesdropping, all Ekblad could do was smile and shake his head. But Dumba wasn’t finished quite yet – there was still more.
“I don’t know, he’s just a huge human being,” said the defenceman, who spent the first half of the season with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
“I call him Shrek.”
The response elicited laughs from reporters.
It wasn’t long before Ekblad got his turn to speak to the same group of reporters as Dumba moved down the interview line.
“I’m not sure I like it too much,” said the Barrie Colts blueliner of the ogre-inspired nickname. “I mean I like Shrek, but I don’t think I look like him or anything like that.”
MALMO, Sweden — No matter where he is in the world, Zach Fucale tries to be in bed at the same time every night. It’s just something he’s always done.
Even as a 16-year-old with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax Mooseheads, it would take his roommates a little getting used to on road trips.
“Every night at 9:30 he’d turn the TV and the lights off and head to bed,” said Mooseheads teammate and former roommate on the road, Darcy Ashley. “I’d be sitting in the dark staring at the walls until midnight.”
It’s all a part of Fucale’s attention to detail and preparation he puts into being game ready. It’s a part of his routine, but it’s definitely not part of any superstition – because he doesn’t believe in such things.
“He says superstitions are just a lack of confidence,” said Ashley, who has played with Fucale in Halifax for two and a half seasons. “That’s what he says.
“He’s the most prepared athlete I’ve ever seen in my life. The most committed athlete.”
MALMO, Sweden — Forward Radek Faksa’s mouth was full of blood after taking a high stick to the face. After the game, with his teeth chipped and lips fat, he said he felt no pain. It was only minor inconvenience after helping the Czech Republic pull off a 5-4 shootout victory over Team Canada.
The last time the Czechs had beaten the Canadians, they were still under the banner of Czechoslovakia.
“So many people in Czech Republic didn’t trust us today with Canada,” said Faksa, who plays for the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. “They thought we would lose by five goals or something. They will be surprised that we won in a shootout.”
The surprise will be shared equally by fans in Canada. Many expected head coach Brent Sutter’s squad to roll through the weaker Group A relatively unscathed before a New Year’s Eve matchup with defending gold medalists Team USA.
“Whenever you put the Canadian jersey on you’re expected to win every game,” said Sutter. “The reality is, you’re not going to. It’s just how you deal with it and how you handle it that’s going to make us a better team.”
MALMO, Sweden — At home in London, Bo Horvat, Chris Tierney and Josh Anderson have a weekly ritual. Every Thursday – if their schedule permits - they go to their local Tim Horton’s, grab some Timbits and bagels and then settle in to watch a nightly selection of Ontario Hockey League games.
It’s part relaxation and part pre-scouting for the London Knights trio.
“That’s our little tradition,” says Horvat. “We like to see who we’re up against and do a little scouting report if the team we’re playing (on Friday) is playing the night before. But we’re fans, too.”
As a group, the Knights like to be prepared and none more so than Anderson. He says he feels the need to do that little extra – work a little harder and pay attention to the details – because he was such a late bloomer. At age 16 he figures he was around 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, so it was no surprise when he was passed over in the OHL draft – not once, but twice.
“I didn’t know when I was going to grow and I was a bit scared,” says Anderson. “My dad’s side of the family is all small. … I didn’t know if I was going to get the chance to be drafted.”
- Yahoo Sports2 mths ago
MALMO, Sweden — All Marvin Cupper could do was shake his head. It was a mix of disappointment and disbelief for the German goaltender after being shelled 7-2 by Canada in the opening game of the world junior hockey championship.
Cupper’s biggest foe was also a familiar one.
It was Anthony Mantha, a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rival from the Val-d’Or Foreurs, who scored a hat trick to sink the Germans.
“He’s a great scorer,” said Cupper, who plays for the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes. “He knows where to be. He’s waiting backdoor always – just like in the Q – I know this, so I tried to get across (the net) but he’s always a step in front.
“He knows what to do, that’s obvious.”
It’s definitely obvious for anyone who has seen Mantha tear through the opposition this season with the Foreurs. He leads the entire Canadian Hockey League in scoring with 35 goals and 38 assists for 73 points in 32 games. The last time Canada had a player score a hat trick at the world junior tournament was two years ago – to the day – when Mark Stone recorded one against Finland in Edmonton.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Mantha. “For me, personally, I had to get a big game going today and that’s what I did.”