1999-2000 QMJHL Season Preview

by pbadmin
on
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) kicked off its thirty-first season this week with the league’s oldest team, the Shawinigan Cataractes, facing its newest, the Montreal Rocket. With sixteen teams, the league will be divided into the Lebel and Dilio conferences, each comprising two divisions of four teams. Here’s what to look for in the coming season.

LEBEL CONFERENCE

Western Division

Hull Olympiques (Coach: Claude Julien)—The Olympiques figure to be one of the teams to beat in the QMJHL this season and are the favourite to finish first in the Western division. Hull possesses a strong offensive team, which includes returning NHL draftees such as Michael Ryder, Ryan Lauzon, Paul Spadafora, Radim Vrbata and Brock Boucher. The Olympiques are also excited about Czech rookie Michael Pinc who could play in Hull this year if his release from his Czech team can be arranged. The key player on defense for Hull is 1998 Red Wings draft pick Jiri Fischer. However, he could remain at Detroit’s training camp for a while and may even graduate to the NHL this season. Should that occur it would be a big blow to the Olympiques.

Read more»

What Direction Is Canadian Hockey Heading In?

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

Over the past few seasons there have been a lot of people
questioning what direction Canadian hocky was heading in. With an eighth
place finish at the 1998 World Junior Championships, and fourth at the
Nagano Olympics, many people in hockey crazed Canada were left with reasons
for concern.

That’s when Canadian hockey decided that something needed to be done to get back on track, so to speak. Canada is still the number one player producer for the NHL as 60%-70% of NHL players call the “Great White North” their home. The problem lays in that
European players are becoming more dominant, and Canada is not producing talented players at a rate comparable to smaller countries like Sweden and the Czech Republic.

To try and figure out how to get back on
top, Canadian Hockey held the Open Ice Summit, the first of its kind, from
August 25-27. Some of the best hockey minds in the country like Toronto Maple Leafs president Ken Dryden, Canadian Hockey Association president Bob Nicholson and Canadian Hockey League president David Branch were in attendance.

Read more»

Webster And Kelly Give Spits Organization A Positive Facelift

by pbadmin
on
In the Canadian hockey league, the most important asset that a team must first acquire is a positive reputation for developing young talent and maturing their skills both on and off the ice. If this asset is not met, the team will encounter many problems in acquiring their young draft picks and acquiring other players through trades and such. A team that has gone through this horrific ordeal? Why, the Windsor Spitfires practically define it.

The Spitfires have accomplished everything that any other team should not. This includes a vast array of different front office movements over the last 10 years resulting in numerous coaches and general managers. This results in a very unstable approach toward building a future in the league which is so important in the CHL. Also, a team that produces bad results year after year does not help a reputation. All future OHL’ers fear a few words come draft day, “The Windsor Spitfires select .” Take this past draft for example. Tim Gleason, a highly touted defenceman, previously stated that he would take a university approach or only play for the Plymouth Whalers if he was selected. The Spits took the risky road and selected him. Immediately after, he returned his jersey and hat through his agent back to the team and said he would not report. This is when the new era of the Windsor Spitfires organization takes place.
Read more»

An In-depth Look At The 1999-2000 OHL Season

by pbadmin
on

With OHL training camps set to open up this week now would be the perfect time to take a closer look at the upcoming OHL season. Let’s start by taking a look at the Western Conference and, more specifically, the West Division.

Western Conference
West Division
Soo Greyhounds
Go-to-guys: Josef Vasicek had a fairly good rookie season and will likely improve on his totals from last season. Cory Pecker, after missing most of the 1997-98 season with Chron’s Disease, had a breakthrough season last year and will be looked to for more of the same. He will be a key in the Greyhounds success.
Key Departures: Chad Cavanagh scored 40 goals last season despite going into a scoring slump late in the year. Adam Nittel’s 18 goals and 336 penalty minutes will also be missed.

Breaking Through: After scoring just three goals and 10 points in his rookie season Tim Zafiris is starting to realize his offensive potential and could hit the 20 goal mark this season.

Newcomers To Watch: First-round draft pick Trevor Daley will be playing on a very experienced Greyhound blueline, but will get every chance to prove that he can play at the OHL level. Veteran winger Brent Theobald, acquired from the Mississauga IceDogs, will provide the Greyhounds with veteran leadership.

London Knights
Go-to-guys: Rico Fata will be looked to for offense if he doesn’t crack the Calgary Flames lineup. Jay Legault and Tom Kostopoulos will also be looked to if they are brought back as overage players. Read more»

Local draftee Jordan Fox aims for a spot on the Battalion blueline

by pbadmin
on

Local draftee Jordan Fox aims for a spot on the Battalion blueline
Like most endeavours, playing major junior hockey in your hometown has its advantages and disadvantages.
On the plus side, a player can live at home, possibly attend their regular high school and play their home games in front of an appreciative crowd of family and friends. On the other hand, all the distractions that come with playing in front of all those family and friends can undermine a player’s performance and the benefits of playing and living in another city are not always fully realized.

Brampton native Jordan Fox is looking forward to earning the opportunity to play in front of his hometown supporters. The 17-year-old, 6’1″, 205-pound defenseman was a 12th round draft choice (236th overall) of the Brampton Battalion in June’s OHL Draft. Fox, who spent part of last season patrolling the blueline for the Junior A Brampton Capitals, will be heading next week to the Battalion training camp, which is being held from September 1-5 at the Brampton Centre. Fox is the fourth local player selected by the Battalion. Last year the team picked local products Ryan Leard and Chris Garnham and this year, in addition to Fox, also selected Brampton midget winger Justin Myler in the 14th round.
Read more»