The CHL being what it is, a massive umbrella organization covering three leagues containing fifty-five teams operating from coast to coast, it is not often a small town sports writer from the west gets to see clubs from one of the other leagues. Having the chance to see how one of the other thirds of the CHL operates, naturally I jumped at it.
The North Bay Centennials operate out of the Ontario Hockey League’s, Eastern Conference Central Division and on this night I had the pleasure to take in a game between the hometown Centennials and the storied Peterborough Petes. The first thing you notice when you walk through the doors to Memorial Gardens (Capacity – 3523 plus 500 more for standing room) in North Bay is it’s age. Built in 1954, it’s a far cry from the state of the art facility we enjoy in Cranbrook but it’s not inadequate in the manner that the old Memorial Arena was for housing a major junior club. This old girl had a lot of character and history to it. From its high, sloped bleachers that seemed to go on forever, the sizeable picture of the Queen on one end and a big blue curtain at the other. To its trophy cases and historical hockey and building pictures that adorned the corridors in its wooden innards, it was clearly evident that building had seen some true hockey memories over the years.
The game between the Cents and the Petes was as entertaining they come. The Peterborough squad did seem to have the jump in their skating for most of the night as they clearly dominated the Centennials who were coming off their third game in as Read more »
(GUELPH – January 16)……..A Tuesday night match-up between the
The game also featured the two premier power-forward prospects
Guelph Storm and the visiting London Knights promised plenty of
fireworks as a fight-filled game earlier this season between the
two clubs led to allegations that London coach Lindsay Hofford
was instructing his players to start fights. He would ultimately
receive a 12-game suspension for his actions that night.
from the OHL for the upcoming NHL Draft. Both right-winger Aaron
Lobb of the Knights and left-winger Colt King of the Storm came
out of the gates trying to establish a physical tone. Lobb
wasted no time in lining up Frank Burgio for a hit, but the
sturdy Guelph defender withstood the body check well. King spent
his first shift in the game’s third minute colliding with Lobb,
and after getting the better of that exchange, just missed an
open-ice hit on a London player trying to go east-west through
the neutral zone.
With both teams determined to set a physical tempo, London’s
Daniel Bois let his exuberance get the better of him as he
needlessly roughed up a Guelph blue-liner after the defender had
cleared the puck out of his own zone.
The ensuing power-play saw Knights goaltender Aaron Molnar make
a great save on Brian Passmore after a nice cross-ice feed from
Charlie Stephens, but eight seconds after the penalty expired, a
Steve Chabbert knuckler from the point was re-shot rather than
re-directed by teammate Martin St. Pierre past Molnar to give
the Storm a 1-0 lead.
< Read more »
A wise broadcaster and probably a Vezina trophy winner once said, “a
goaltender sees the game differently.” In the case of Soo Indians head
coach Joe Shawhan, that is definitely true.
It’s no secret that Shawhan is a goalie by trade. The locals up in
Sault Ste. Marie know him well. Shawhan rose to stardom playing high
school hockey for Sault Ste. Marie High School, where he led his team to
the state finals one year, only to fall to Trenton High School. He
played goal under two exceptional coaches at Lake Superior State
University – Frank Anzalone and Jeff Jackson, both of whom would lead
the Lakers to NCAA championships.
And in between, Shawhan also played for an earlier version of what is
now the North American Hockey League’s Soo Indians, in the Northern
Ontario Hockey League, which churned out such stars as Denny Lambert and
But, why goaltending? What compelled Shawhan to want to play a position
that takes a special individual to play?
“When I started playing, the guys were older than me,” says Shawhan, now
in his sixth season as head coach of the Indians. “I like the position
and I never played another one again.”
Shawhan didn’t take the traditional route of playing travel hockey when
he was growing up. Instead, he learned more in high school and at the
college level. He certainly was not a naturally gifted goaltender, as
he says, but had to work harder.
When Shawhan arrived on the scene at Lake Superior, he immediately won a
starting job and helped the Lakers win a Read more »
With 20 games left in the BCHL season 24 players are committed to college or university, in the U.S. I think you can look for this number to increase as I look at some of the players around the league who haven`t committed yet.One player who made his decision the other day was 1999/2000 co-BCHL rookie of the year John Morlang of the Prince George Spruce Kings. Morlang has decided to attend Alaska Fairbanks next season. Not bad for a kid who almost hung up the blades a few years ago. Morlang started the season in the training camp of the Portland Winter Hawks(WHL) but left after deciding to go after a scholarship instead. According to my sources Morlang was a cinch to make the team. Morlang is a speedy forward who seems to be moving faster with the puck than without it. With pretty good size at 6’2″-195 Morlang is receiving some NHL attention.Columbus and the Boston Bruins have contacted him so far. The NHL likes big forwards who can skate, and Morlang fits that mould.The Spruce Kings often use Morlang on the point during the power plays which is another asset of this player. Look for John Morlang`s name in the 2001 NHL draft. Whether he is drafted or not. After college,this player will play pro hockey somewhere.
I attended a game featuring the Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL) recently. The Capitals are coached by former NHLer Greg C. Adams (not to be confused with current player Greg Adams). Looking good for the Capitals was winger Derek Campbell. Campbell is currently at a point a game with over 100 PIMS. This player has a great stride. The word I think Read more »
This article will feature Yannick Lehoux who plays for the Baie Commeau Drakkars of the QMJHL. Yannick was a third round draft pick (86th overall in last year’s draft) of the Los Angeles Kings and is turning into quite a steal. Let me tell you this kid is awesome, last year he had 92 points in 67 games (31 goals and 61 assists), but this year he has really turned it up a notch. In 48 games played he has 43 goals and 43 assists for 86 points and his team is in 1st place in it’s division and 4th overall in the league. I watched him play against the Quebec Remparts and he was everywhere on the ice. His best assets are his playmaking skills and his vision on the ice, although he isn’t a bad scorer either as his goal totals would suggest. I heard Yannick saying in an interview that his work ethic and better defensive play were due to the fact that he had learned so much from the likes of Rob Blake and Zigmund Palffy during his first NHL training camp. He’s now a better leader and a more complete player. The only knock on this kid is his size, he needs to get much stronger and add at least twenty pounds if he hopes on becoming a star in the NHL. He’s listed at 6 feet and 184 lbs. which is big enough for juniors but not quite enough for the pros. At 18 years of age though he is definitely on the right track. Give the kings scouting staff credit for drafting him, hopefully they will handle him properly, unlike Pavel Rosa.
Last Saturday and Sunday along with the 2001 IIHF Continental Cup finals,
the IIHF met with the representatives of the major European ice hockey
leagues to review the offer from the NHL to renew the agreement under which
European ice hockey players transfer to and from the NHL.
However, given the significant increase in the number and quality of
European players moving to the NHL, the meeting was of the opinion that
further negotiations with the NHL are required. IIHF President René Fasel
and IIHF General Secretary Jan-Ake Edvinsson will be meeting with NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman to continue the discussions. The date for a
meeting in New York will be confirmed within the next few days.
There are a number of open questions from the previous discussions with the
NHL which require clarification. The European ice hockey leagues position
was unanimous in the weekend IIHF meetings. However, it would not be
appropriate to discuss these until the IIHF and NHL have met.
On Monday after the practice in Magnitogorsk, Russia, 24-year old goalkeeper
Russian Goalie Murdered
of Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Serguei Zemchenok was shot to death. The killing
took place in the apartment building where he lived. The police have not
yet been able to arrest the killer or killers and no motive for the shooting
has been announced.
Serguei Zemchenok played in Metallurg Magnitogorsk since 1994 and in the
very first season he won the silver medal at the 1994 IIHF European U18
Championship in Finland representing his native Ru Read more »
Marek Posmyk was recalled from Detroit today, to fill the roster spot vacated by Maxim Galonov who cleared waivers and was reassigned to Detroit.
In 30 games with the Vipers this season, Posmyk has posted 15 points and is a plus-5 on a poor Viper team.
He appeared in 18 games with the Lightning last season after his trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs in February. He made a huge impression in his first games. Head Coach Steve Ludzik told the St. Petersburg Times, after watching Posmyk play, how great he was playing and that “He’s pushing a lot of guys for jobs.” Such praises were a rarity from the rookie coach. As the season closed Posmyk’s play slacked and he finished the season with a goal and 2 assists.
After a sub-par training camp, Posmyk was returned to Detroit in favor of prospect Cory Sarich. Given Tampa Bay’s extensive depth at the position, defensive jobs in Tampa Bay are hard to come by. This could be Posmyk’s chance to showcase his skills and move himself up a few notches on the depth chart.
Kyle Freadrich was also returned to the IHL. A frequent healthy scratch, Freadrich had one assist and 36 penalty minutes in 13 games with the Bolts.
The defending Turner Cup Champion Chicago Wolves took the IHL All-Stars by surprise Monday night, shutting out the All-Stars 4-0 before 11,131 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. It was the first ever shutout in an IHL All-Star Game.
The Wolves got on the board late in the first period, when Steve Maltais took a feed from Steve Larouche and Robert Petrovickey at 18:01 and put it past All-Star netminder Mike Fountain. That would eventually be the game-winner as the All-Stars were not able to find the back of the net.
In the second period, Chicago again struck late, this time at 16:31 with a goal from Guy Larose. Also in the second, Wolves netminder Rick DiPietro made his return to the Wolves lineup, posting 10 saves on 10 shots. His efforts helped him earn the Bud Light Rising Star Award, which is annually awarded to the player who is making his first appearance at an IHL All-Star Game and contributes best to his team’s efforts.
The Wolves came away with two goals in the final stanza, as Kevin Brown scored early at 4:52 on a pass from Steve Larouche. That wouldn’t be the end of it for Larouche either, as he added his third point of the night, a goal, at 11:30 of the period. Maltais assisted on that goal, giving him the all-time lead in IHL All-Star scoring. With eight All-Star appearances, Maltais now has six goals and six assists. He passes Stan Drulia who had previously held the top spot with 11 points on 3 goals and 8 asssits. Maltais’ six goals also tie him for the most goals in IHL All-Star history.
With three points o Read more »
Donald Choukalos is backstopping his way to a career year as the starting goaltender for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. With 39 games under his belt, he’s posted a respectable 3.44 GAA and 2 shutouts. Choukalos admits he got off to a bit of a slow start to this season, but part of that has to be attributed to the team he had in front of him. With the recent additions the Regina Pats have made to bolster their lineup in anticipation of hosting the Memorial Cup this year, and with Choukalos’ own continuing development, he is positioned to have a golden opportunity to really shine in this major tournament and get his stock soaring as he battles to move his way up the Bruins depth chart in the nets.
Choukalos was the Bruins sixth choice, picked 179th overall in the 1999 draft. When asked for the highlight of his career so far, he didn’t need to think long before answering “just getting drafted.” In a way it was a bit of a surprise choice on the Bruins part in that they had just drafted OHL goaltender Seamus Kotyk with their previous pick and had drafted Andrew Raycroft the year before. Choukalos said he didn’t know that the Bruins were seriously interested in him, “they only talked to me once the day before the draft.” Perhaps it would have been just a little more of a dream come true if he had followed former Calgary Hitman teammate Brent Krahn to getting drafted by the Flames since he was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. It isn’t in the fates though for an NHL hopeful to always be able to play for the team he grew up chearing though.
Chouk Read more »
Edmonton prospect Jani Rita played surprisingly good.
Eight goals in the tournament gives a big boost to his
confidence. Rita has 2+2 in 3 games for Jokerit after
the WJC. Before the tournament he had 5 points in
2001 eligibles Tuomo Ruutu and Mikko Koivu
were centering two top lines. These two players are considered the future leaders of Finnish hockey. Another 2001 eligible forward Tuomas Pihlman wasn’t able to get any points, but he isn’t supposed to be a scorer.
Ville Hämäläinen was the biggest surprise. Second line
winger had a very good tournament. Hämäläinen had 7 points in seven games. Hämäläinen is still undrafted, but he might get picked in next draft.
Another Edmonton prospect Tony Salmelainen missed
last season with injuries. Salmelainen is a small player, but he really has good speed. He was third in team’s scoring.
Tuukka Mäntylä (5 points +8) took the leading role
in defense. Mäntylä hasn’t been drafted yet, mainly
because of his size (5’9). Mäntylä is good with the
puck and is also good skater. Mäntyla was selected to
play for Team Finland in Swedish Hockey Games.
Arto Tukio’s injury during team’s carting session
really hurt Finnish defense. Markku Paukkanen
was able to step up. He had two points and was a +7
in the tournament.
Ari Ahonen had a good tournament. He outgoaled
Maxim Oullette in the semifinal game. In the finals he
let in two goals, but he can’t be blamed for them.
The Devils wanted Ahonen to play for Albany this
season but he stayed in Finland. He should Read more »