- Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
Josh Ho-Sang will finally get a chance to make his case to Hockey Canada next month. In person, and on the ice.
The outspoken Windsor Spitfires forward will play in one of two OHL Super Series games against Russia. The Super Series event is used by Hockey Canada’s brain trust to evaluate potential players for the final winter selection camp before the world junior championship.
“These games are very important as an evaluation tool,” said Hockey Canada's head scout Ryan Jankowski. “Who raises their game and who stands out against international competition?”
In the past Ho-Sang has been overlooked in the selection process and felt his omission was personal, rather than based on his play. This summer in an interview he called the fact he had never been invited to a world junior camp “insulting’’.
On Tuesday afternoon, the first-round pick of the New York Islanders was far more tempered when talking about his Super Series invitation.
“It’s a big opportunity and I’m really excited about it,” said Ho-Sang in a phone interview from Windsor.
- Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports13 days ago
Like so many co-workers, Mike Johnston and Jamie Kompon carpooled to work. They lived in the same neighbourhood – roughly two kilometres apart – and took turns making the 20-minute commute to the Staples Center every game day for two years.
The majority of their drive was spent talking hockey: about the Los Angeles Kings (the team they worked for), other teams, their players, other players, power plays, penalty kills, breakout plays, and anything else two assistant coaches could dissect in the car.
“We’re both hockey fanatics,” said Kompon. “That’s what we eat, sleep, breathe for is hockey.”
“We have the same outlook on the game, the same outlook on how the game should be played and how the game should be taught.”
- Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports21 days ago
There might be some respite in sight for long-suffering fans of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
At the team’s annual general meeting Tuesday night, the board of directors decided to put the sale of the community-run franchise up for a vote. Unfortunately, it’s a decision on the 2015 agenda, but better late than never.
This news should give investors a year to secure funding and get their proposals and presentations in order. Last year Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg, a native of Lethbridge, penned a letter in the city’s local paper about his desire to buy the flagging franchise.
“My heart is with this team, as many people in Lethbridge know,” wrote Versteeg, who played his junior hockey with the Hurricanes. “My partners and I 100 per cent guarantee that we would keep this team in Lethbridge. We want to make it a place for families and hockey fans to enjoy the game and have fun on a nightly basis.”
- Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net27 days ago
Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...
Today's Must Read: Former Moncton Wildcats forward Matt Eagles is in his second year of med school at Memorial University. He writes candidly about what it was like to suffer though concussions - which ultimately ended his his hockey career.
"I did not want to admit to being concussed for fear I would be kept out the lineup. This fear was well founded." (CMAJ Blogs)
Daniel Sprong and Filip Chlapik scored 1:07 apart for the Charlottetown Islanders to double down on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the lone QMJHL game last night. (Recap)
- Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net1 mth ago
The Chicoutimi Sagueneens, like many other teams in the Canadian Hockey League, are trying to find a way to increase their fan base. Last season the Sagueneens saw their attendance decrease by roughly 7,000 fans.
So what does a junior team comprised of teenage boys playing in a league that prides itself on family entertainment do? Well, if you’re Chicoutimi, you kick off the new season by inviting fans to a dance party with Playboy playmates.
What exactly Playboy has to do with junior hockey in Chicoutimi, no one knows, but any publicity is good publicity, right?
"The saying any publicity is good publicity may apply to pseudo-celebrities like the Kardashians, but it certainly does not apply to corporations or sports organizations," said Dr. Lilly Buchwitz , a professor of marketing at Humber College. "Scandals, arrests, and other bad publicity damages brands, sometimes so seriously that they never recover."
She doesn't believe that in this instance however, the Sags will do irreparable damage to their brand. The event is scheduled for Saturday night after Chicoutimi’s regular season game against the Quebec Remparts.
- Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago
When Sonny Milano made his decision to forgo his commitment to Boston College, he phoned head coach Jerry York to break the news. The 18-year-old had decided to give up his scholarship and sign with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers. Going back on his word meant it wasn’t an easy conversation.
Milano said he offered to meet with the long-time NCAA bench boss to explain in person, but the coach said not to worry.
“That was a tough call to make,” said Milano. “He took it pretty well. But it was tough; obviously he was a little upset. It just had to be done.”
It’s not the first time York’s program has been rejected in favour of the Canadian Hockey League and if the current climate holds, it won’t be last, either. And it’s not just a problem for Boston College. Every year myriad NCAA teams are hit with decommitments. If college coaches are lucky, they’ll at least be given the courtesy of early notice so they won’t have to scramble a week (or days) before the start of school to fill a roster spot.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — All he wanted to do was play hockey. By age two, Jack Eichel was walking around the house with a yellow mini-stick in his hand. By three, he had already started skating by pushing a crate around on the ice to maintain his balance.
When he was four, Eichel was told by minor hockey organizers in Chelmsford, Mass., that he was too young to join their program and would have to wait. He pestered his parents, Bob and Anne, to the point where they finally relented and had him enrolled across the state line in Nashua, N.H., where the rink was only three miles from their home.
“He was a pain in the neck,” said Bob, of Jack’s persistence. “We held him off for as long as possible.”
Having grown up in Melrose, Mass., a suburb of Boston, Bob Eichel was a huge fan of the Bruins. His favourite player – of course – was Bobby Orr. Putting Jack and his older sister Jessie in skates and passing on his love of the game was a no-brainer.
Bob would give Jack instructions such as “stretch your stride” and Jack would listen intently. It wasn’t uncommon to find Jack skating around in his little red snowsuit on one of the nearby ponds shooting pucks before school.
BROSSARD, QUE — When Canada takes to the ice in Montreal on Boxing Day - some five months from now - the hopes of Canadian hockey fans will rest on the shoulders of teenage boys.
Tom Renney, the new president and chief executive officers of Hockey Canada, knows that pressure first hand. In 1999, he was a late replacement to coach the world junior team in Winnipeg after George Burnett resigned to take an NHL job.
Renney ended up settling for a silver medal after the team lost of Russia in overtime of the gold medal game. He believes the opportunity to play at home is one of the biggest advantages Canada will have with the crowd behind them in Montreal and Toronto.
“It’s great,” said Renney of being able to play at home. “It might be the best thing that happens to them in their careers in this point in time. The responsibility of winning at home is a lofty one, there’s no question about that, but boy, it can certainly develop some resiliency and resolve in finding a way (to win).
“I enjoyed it and I know our players did. They loved the responsibility of having to show up and perform.”
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — Earlier this week at Team Canada’s camp in Montreal, Benoit Groulx raised some eyebrows when he said his team should take a page from the Finnish playbook for the 2015 world junior hockey championships.
Finland, the Canadian coach said, plays the hard, gritty, relentless hockey that wins gold medals. It’s the style of play Groulx wants Canada to rediscover when the tournament moves to home ice in Montreal and Toronto in December.
“I really feel they were copying us in the past,” Groulx said of the other under-20 nations. “The way Finland won the gold last year was the Canadian way. We have to go back to that. It’s exactly what has to start (at summer camp).”
“I think what Ben was saying is (the Finns) played our game better than we did,” said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations. “And I don’t even know if it’s our game – it’s the way that everyone should play if they want to win – that’s not the Canadian way, that’s the right way.”
Nevertheless, the Finns appreciate the compliment.
“That’s nice to hear,” said goaltender Juuse Saros, who backstopped the Young Lions to gold at the 2014 tournament in Malmo, Sweden.
BROSSARD, QUE. — Over the course of his three-year Ontario Hockey League career, Ben Harpur has faced his share of talented forwards. Young NHL stars like Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov and Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk are a couple of names that come to mind.
The one that stands out the most, however, is Connor McDavid, Harpur’s teammate at Canada’s summer world junior camp.
“He’s one of the greatest skaters I’ve ever played against,” said the Guelph Storm defenceman. “When you’re in the corners, just his shiftiness, it’s hard to defend against him. It seems every time he touches the puck he’s making something happen, so it keeps you on your toes.”
At this point, you’d have to be cut off completely from the hockey world to have missed the comprehensive coverage of the teenager projected to be the game's next great player. McDavid is only 17, but has been profiled exhaustively since he was granted exceptional status by the OHL two years earlier to play with the Erie Otters against older kids. At 15, he became the youngest hockey player to sign a multi-million dollar endorsement deal with Reebok and had been followed around by reporters from the New York Times.