A player comes along every now and then that captures the eye of scouts at a very young age. He is so superior to any of his peers that he is dominant in every aspect of the game. It’s not a matter of just having a size or skill advantage, or being brighter that the other players, but a blend of all of these gifts. This player brings such ability and leadership that teams are built around this individual. Jason Spezza was one of these players.
At a very young age, people could see Jason was something special. He had skill oozing out of his pores. Jason was a kid that had scouts salivating before he was more than a year into his teens. He played in the Ontario Hockey League for the Brampton Battalion one year before he was draft eligible, and lead that team in scoring at the tender age of fifteen. He ended up being drafted first overall in the 1999 OHL Priority player draft by the expansion Mississauga Ice Dogs. The Ice Dogs were ecstatic about getting Spezza, as this was a player that they could build a championship team around. In his first year with the Ice Dogs, Jason did not disappoint. He scored a respectable sixty-one points in a mere fifty-two games, leaving him second on the team to only Chad Wiseman. It should be noted that Wiseman did have an advantage of playing sixteen games more games than Spezza that season. The Ice Dogs only won nine games that year, but they had a player they could build a winner around.
The fall of 2000 took Jason back to Mississauga for the start of the season. The Ice Dogs were not a very good team and headin Read more»
He has the best goals against average in the Western Hockey League, an eyelash above two (2.02). He has the best save percentage in the WHL an eyelash above 93 (.934). His record over his last 11starts is 8-1-2.
Oh yeah, he’s the Cougars “back-up goalie” and his name is Kyle Stanton.
The 19-year-old from “The Little Town that Did” (Chemainus, B.C.) is doing it for the Prince George Cougars.
“I’m just seeing the puck very well right now,” said Stanton, who earned his second career WHL shutout Dec. 29 in Spokane. “I want more playing time and to get that, I need to play like this.”
Stanton’s WHL career began in Kelowna before a trade brought him to the Cougars a season ago. He’s shared the Cougar crease with Billy Thompson, who has seen the bulk of work for the Cats.
Thompson was a fifth round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in the 2001 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
“Billy and I are great friends,” Stanton said. “We don’t feel like there is any goaltending controversy, we both want to play and when he plays well I’m happy for him.”
“Kyle’s a great goalie,” Thompson said. “He’s my teammate and it’s just to bad we can only play one goalie at a time.”
Cougar head coach Ed Dempsey noted that the current situation promotes healthy competition. “Not to many teams have two quality goaltenders like we do,” Dempsey said. “I think they both understand our situation and are working together to keep themselves sharp.”
COUGAR TRACKS: The Cougars continue to battle for first place atop the BC Read more»
Thumbs up to co-coaches Mark Holick, Mike Vandekamp, general manager Garry Davidson and the entire British Columbia Hockey League squad, which brought back a silver medal from the Viking Cup in Camrose, Alta.
The only loss for Team BCHL came in the final, a 5-4 loss to AugustanaUniversity (or should I say Team Geritol). Augustana had players up to the age of 27.
So from seventh to second in two years for the best from the BCHL, not bad. Hold your heads up high boys. Now maybe we finally leave the whole Cowichan Valley/Viking Cup mess behind us, although I have a feeling there may be a few heated words at the league’s semi-annual general meetings in Nanaimo next week during the all-star break.
We all must agree though that hats go off to Cowichan for helping T.J. Caig achieve his goal of attending college.
When he departed for Minnesota and Duluth last week, Caig was the Caps leading scorer. Cowichan coach Greg Adams and his staff should be commended for doing their best to enable one of the most talented players in the league to take it to the next level.
Speaking of scholarships, 21 players have now committed to schooling for the 2002-03 season. The latest addition being Vernon’s Chad Clower, who gives the Vipers their fourth player who will be studying the three R’s next season, – reading, writing and wrist shots.
The Chilliwack Chiefs currently lead the way with five players having committed to head south of the border while South Surrey and Penticton each have three signings.
By the time you ar Read more»
It was a sea of red and white, faces painted with the maple leaf-like Canadian Hockey Association logo.
Fans were waving Canadian flags enthusiastically. GM Place was charged with the electricity of international competition as the two best women’s teams in the world came to meet in the “Final Face-off”.
The 3-2 loss of Team Canada to Team USA on Tuesday, Jan. 8 was disappointing only because it could have gone the other way so easily. Team Canada was on fire, outshooting Team USA 32-18.
At the morning game-day skate, Canadian head coach Danielle Sauvageau had referred to Team USA’s powerplay as, “the best in the world – men’s or women’s team.”
It was that strong powerplay that brought the USA the first goal of the game. With Lori Dupuis in the penalty box, Karyn Bye’s shot from the point found the net behind Canadian goaltender Kim St.-Pierre.
However, Canada dominated much of the play in the first two periods with Team USA’s head coach Ben Smith describing the game as, “the antithesis of the previous games we’ve played.”
He went on to refer to the game as a “battle” and said, “we snuck one out tonight.”
Hayley Wickenheiser, described by most as the best female hockey player in the world, scored the tying goal for Canada at the 12:43 mark of the second period.
Most of the evening’s penalties came in the second period as well, with both teams trying to get the upper hand on their opponent. Vancouver Griffins’ captain and local favourite Nancy Drolet ha Read more»
British Columbians have gold envy.
And the old adage that everything has a silver lining just doesn’t seem to cut it after all the second-place showings lately.
Sure, winning silver is better than finishing out of the medals, but there’s just something about obtaining the gold that Canadian hockey fans crave.
The silver medal haul started with the Canada Selects losing 4-3 to HC Davos in overtime of the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland.
Of all things, it was former Vancouver Canuck Lonny Bohonos who scored the game winning goal for the host squad in the extra frame.
Then came the World Junior Hockey Championships in Hradec Kralove and Pardubice, Czech Republic.
Team Canada finished 3-1 in the round-robin portion of the event, by trouncing France 15-0, downing the Swiss 6-1 and beating the Russians 5-2 before losing 4-1 to the Finns.
After a 5-2 quarterfinal win over the Swedes and a 4-0 blanking of the Swiss in the semifinals, hopes were high that the Canadians would return from overseas with gold medals in their hands.
Edmonton’s Brian Sutherby and Osoyoos sniper Chuck Kobasew of the Kelowna Rockets helped Canada build up a 2-0 first period lead, which they increased to a 3-1 advantage in the second on a marker by Kamloops Blazer forward Scottie Upshall.
Three straight goals by the Russians definitely doused Canada’s hopes until Kobasew tipped in a point shot off the stick of Prince George Cougar defenceman Dan Hamhuis of Smithers. Kobasew’s second of the game in the third tied Read more»