Check You Head

For the hockey community and proponents of physical hockey, the 2009-2010 season has been a tough one. First we start with the Liambias hit on Ben Fanelli, a hit which everyone agrees was dangerous, however, some argue that the year long (OHL career ending) suspension handed down to Liambas was too much, others thought it was just right .

 Then fast forward to Jan 14,2010 Zack Kassian‘s debute for the Windsor Spirfires following being traded from the Peteobrough Petes on Jan 10,2010. Zack Zassian a Buffalo Sabres prospect, selected 1st round, 13th overall, layed a rather ‘dirty’ hit on Matt Kennedy, where he clearly left his feet to lay the hit on the unsuspecting Matt Kennedy skating up-ice. Matt Kennedy is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect selected in the 5th round (131st overall). Currently Zack Kassian sits suspended indefinitely pending an investigation by the Ontario Hockey League’s commissioner David E. Branch.

On January 17,2010, Patrice Cormier who was Team Canada’s Captain in the recent World Juniors Tournament during the Christmas break, layed a dirty hit on Mikael Tam. Currently, Cormier sits suspended indefintly pending a review by the commissioner, as well the Quebec provincial police are investigate to determine whether charges will be layed. This is not the first elbow Cormier has delivered of this sort, at the World Juniors he layed one against Anton Rodin of Sweden in a  6-2 victory by Team Canada. Cormier is a prospect of the New Jersey Devils selected in the 2nd round, 54th overall in 2008.

These three incidents are leaving a lot of people wondering, when the leagues are going to ‘step up’. The WHL, OHL, and QMJHL all have penalties for checking to the head. The question is, are these penalties working? Based on these incidents many say, NO. Others are calling for the NHL to step up and introduce a checking to the head rule to protect the players. Whatever happens, these incidents leave a scar on the sport.


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Making it!

Do you plan on making the NHL? It is good to see that you have aspirations in hockey, don’t let anybody deture you from your dreams. However, making the NHL is no easy task. In fact, it is proably one of the most gruelling and painful endevors an athelet can make. If you were to think about making the NHL as a triathalon, your minor hockey career would probaly account for about the part where you wade into the lake to begin your swimming. Players who were selected high in the OHL Priority Seleciton are off to a bit of a better start however, they are still within reach. If you have any hope of catching you will have to start training immediatly! Check yourself into the nearest gym and contact a professional to start a training regiment. Now, you are going to have to play your heart out. Play hard, shift in shift out. Finally and most imporantly make sure you have a good attitude. Some of those that were selected higher and are off at the beginnging of the pac could drop beacuse of a bad attitude.  For those of you at the front of the pac keep going, people are behind you trying to catch up, and believe me they will. Your attitude will hinder you in your progression to the next level.

If you fail to make the NHL remember you will have the satisfaction of knowing you did your best and couldn’t cut it. You will have no regrets.

Canada loses one of its Hockey’s Sons, Luc Bourdon passed away on May 29,2008

The Hockey community has been struck with tragedy again. Luc Bourdon a defenseman with the Manitoba Moose, and top draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks was sadly killed in a motorcycle accident. A truely unfortunate event. Luc represented Canada in the world juniors, winning 2 goad medals for Canada. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Luc.

A moment of silence will be observed at Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Cost of Doing Business

Many of you probably already know. But other may just be entering into the hockey realm and realizing that to be successful in the sport you need a heck of a lot of money. There are rumours that some minor midget coaches could be making upward of $150,000. This probably represents one of the higher paid coaches, however it marks a fundamental shift in the minor hockey structure. Minor hockey coaching as been mainly volunteer work for the most part. Now coaches are getting paid, some even receiving bonuses based on their (team’s) performance. While this may not seem like a problem for most, look at it from the view of league administrators. Games are now beginning to mean more and more. One game could very well determine if the coach is paid and additional $20,000. Parents now see their child and an investment, hoping that investing the large amount of money will pay off in an NHL (professional) contract. Referees are now dealing with more hostel coaches who blame the referees for their lack of performance, and ultimately possible taking money out of their pockets. This all has to end. Hockey is a game, not a business, the money that is flooding the sport/game is starting to make it less and less enjoyable. Parents now guarentee their child’s junior career by buying a team for them. What a shame a sport that has become a business venture. For those parents that are worried about their child getting an education out of the game, save up the $3,000 or more a year and you’ll have enough for your child’s education.

Hockey Canada Announces U18 Team Coaches

Hockey Canada announced that Pat Quinn will be coaching Team Canada at the U18 World Championships in Kazan Russia on April 13-23 . He will be joined by Jesse Wallin who was recently appointed as head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, and is a former defenseman of the Red Deer Rebels. As well as the Equiptment Manager of the Red Deer Rebel, Radar Horning. These men will be joined by Guy Boucher of the Drummonville Voyagers of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Pat Quinn is member of an ownership group that owns the Vancouver Giant, who were memorial cup winners in 2007.

OHF Approved Regulation Changes

The Ontario Hockey Federation approved changes to their regulations. The areas affected were players transfers, development fees, tampering, and AAA waivers. The two most drastic changes were in the development fees structuring. It seems the OHF is attempting to encourage the growth of its Midget AAA and making the transition more smooth. The OHF also increased fines for tampering in an attempt to curb the practice. Fine increase from $500 to $2000 and it will now be payed by the club, who will then presumably collect from the team.

To read more about the changes visit the OHF website: http://www.ohf.on.ca/web_pages/headlines_news.php?ID=170

March 9/08-Sault Ste. Marie at Sarnia

This probably won’t mean much for anybody but this game will mark the end of the neckguardless OHL. The OHL recently announced that their players were going to be forced to wear neckguards as a result of a meeting where the issue was voted on. The neckguard debate was sparked by the Richard Zednik incident (which can be seen below).

In response to the news OHL players on facebook have been communicating their discontentment with the change in OHL’s equipment policy. This change makes an odd situation arise. Currently the requirement for wearing neckguards is as follows (if you live in Ontario):

NHL-not required
Major Junior-required
Teir II Junior A-not required
Junior B-not required
Junior C-not required
Junior D-not required
Development-not required
Minor Hockey (Houseleague,Rep, A,AA,AAA)-required

This move by the Ontario Hockey League will contribute to increased player safety, however the move sparks infuriation with the players in the league. The players are angered by the fact that they were not consulted with. Many are advocating playing other leagues. The OHL advertises the best of both worlds to all its prospects, however the players feel it is turning into the NCAA, and pretty soon full cages will be mandatory. It is important to note that the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has always had neck guards mandatory.