The Second Season

by Jeff Bromley
on

After each of the WHL’s 18 member teams have finished their grueling 72-game schedule, a league total of 648 contests to eliminate four teams
from playoff contention, the fourteen remaining teams start a playoff odyssey that will culminate in one of them making the trip to Halifax for the
Memorial Cup some ten weeks from now. That being said it is now time for all pucksters, pundits and fans alike to enjoy what has become an
annual event by the ‘Fan – Playoff Predictions.
Starting in the Western Conference where there’s an opinion that there is not only a noticeable drop off in the quality of teams seeded one
through six but also a sizeable discrepancy in caliber in comparison to the Eastern Conference clubs. In theory that should make predicting the
winners of the first round of series’ that much easy right? Yeah, just as easy as picking the ‘Lotto’ numbers every week.

Spokane vs. Tri-Cities. If you were looking for a first round upset in the West then this series won’t be it. Most of the season I have thought
that Spokane has been somewhat overrated (against the Eastern conference teams) but in the Wild West the WHL’s most improved team over
last season (53 point improvement) has settled in to become the favorite to the win the West. The Americans sold their soul at the trading
deadline last year and are paying for it now. Give the Americans one game. Chiefs in Five.

Read more»

Mike Van Ryn Interview

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

Defenseman Mike Van Ryn of the Sarnia Sting came to the OHL after playing 2
years with the Michigan Wolverines in the CCHA. Van Ryn has made a very
smooth transition from the NCAA to the OHL. I had the opportunity to sit down
with Mike and ask him a few questions.

HF: What were the differences between the OHL and the NCAA?

Van Ryn: “There are a lot of differences. Mostly it’s just how the game is
played. It’s tough to say anything about the talent or anything like that
because the game is played so differently. The college game is a quick game,
it’s more of a speed type or a finesse type game. In the OHL there’s quite a
bit of fighting and in college you don’t have to worry about that. I never
saw a fight in my two years there. Guys tend to play bigger than they are for
the most part. The fact that there is no red line it’s faster and you gotta
be aware of guys sneaking behind you. In the OHL game it’s more of a
pro-style game, with the number of games you play. In college, because I
played in the World Juniors I only played in the high 30′s in terms of games.
I’ve only played about 38 games a season. In two seasons there I played just
over 70 games there. This year alone, with playoffs, I’ll end up playing over
70 games I’m hoping. It’s more of a pro game with the number of games.
There’s always the intimidation factor and just the way the game is played. A Read more»

Norwegian Viking Report…U18 National Team

by Evan Andriopoulos
on

As the NHL season draws near to the end, the Norwegian Ice Hockey
Associations Season begins it`s final phase tonite with Valerenga of Oslo
taking on Storhamar of Hamar for the National Title. Valerenga knocked off
upstart Frisk-Asker, coached by Serge Boisvert (Canada)… In the other
semi-final series, Storhamar knocked off Trondheim IHK to earn their shot at
the title. Valerenga is the favorite to win the title and repeat as
champions and are lead by former Swedish National Team goalkeeper Åke
Lillebjørn.

Furuset won the 1st division and will return to play in the Elite Series,
Lørenskog will remain in the Elite Series as well. Aker-Majorstua closed out
their season with a 6-7-1 in conference record much in thanks to Radek Vbor
who registered 25 points over the final 5 games. Aker rebounded from a
horrendous 1998-99 lead by their American coach E.Andriopoulos. Aker looks
to be a more physical North American side next season and those interested
please email this author.

In other action the Norwegian 18 year old National Team was announced for
the World Junior B tourney in Riga, Latvia. Norway will play Japan, Denmark
and Italy in the tourney and hopes to return to JR A`s for the 2001 tourney.

Standouts marked with *

GOAL
Per Marius Olsen Sparta Sarpsborg
Pål Tyrom NTG/Lillehammer

DEFENSE
Kim Brandvold NTG/Lillehammer Read more»

Brampton Battalion: NHL Entry Draft 2000

by pbadmin
on

It has been a good year for the Brampton Battalion. After a frustrating, but promising inaugural season in 1998/1999, Brampton has improved significantly in their 2nd OHL campaign.

It hasn’t been easy … some would argue that the team’s success was not predictable by any means. In the off season, Brampton lost its leading scorer during the 1998/1999 season (rookie phenomenon Jason Spezza) to the Mississauga Ice Dogs in the OHL priority selection. Spezza was only 15 while playing for Brampton.

Lack of support at home games can have a negative impact on a team. This is also where Brampton has been suffering. Even though Brampton is a city with a population of well over 200,000 people, the Battalion are having trouble filling the stands, owning one of the worst attendance records in the league.

Still, the Battalion overcame the odds and have made the OHL playoffs for the first time in franchise history. The change in the team from its 1st to 2nd year is obvious. The players have matured, improving not only individually, but as a team as well. The rookies on the squad have also played a big part in the Battalions 2nd year success. Brampton’s turn around has not gone unnoticed. The Battalion have 8 players mid season ranked for the NHL entry draft in June, two of which are ranked in the top 10.

Here’s a look at Bramptons top 5 prospects for the 2000 NHL entry draft:

Rostislav Klesla
(mid season ranked 2nd / North America Defensemen and Forwards)
Position: Defense Read more»

USHL-Flyers Write Final Chapter

by pbadmin
on

The Thunder Bay Flyers wrapped up their 16th and what looks to be final
season over the weekend with a sweep of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Scoring
for the Flyers in there 7-4 victory on Saturday night was Aaron Grynol with
the hat trick, Pat Sharp with a pair and Murray MaGill and Jamie Young with
singles. Ken Ritson picked up what could possible be the last win in Flyers
history in the net. Thunder Bay finished with a 18-39-1 record good for 37
points and 13th place in the 14 team league. Thirty-nine losses breaks the
old club record of 33 set in 1985-86 season and the 1996-97 season. The team
leaders for the season where: Aaron Grynol 22 goals, Pat Sharp 25 assists,
Pat Sharp 55 points, Jesse Baraniuk 267 PIM to lead the USHL, Ken Ritson 4.07
gaa 0.888 save percentage, 3 shutouts.
The team is rumored to be folding and moving to Aurora, Ill for the 2001-2002
season. There is however a 60-day window of opportunity for local ownership
to step up and purchase the team. The current owner Ted Carlson is asking
$300,000 US which seems to be a steep price for any local groups. With this
said it looks like Thunder Bay has seen its final days in the United States
Hockey League.
Thunder Bay has played in the USHL for 16 years as the only Canadian team in
the league. The Flyers captured four regular season championships and two
playoff titles in this time. The club from the Lakehead also captured two Read more»