Another busy week across the Canadian Hockey League featured championship celebrations, honoured greats, and specialty sweaters.
Here’s a look back at those stories and more from around the league.
Celebrating the 1990 Memorial Cup Champions
The Oshawa Generals welcomed back members of the 1990 Memorial Cup champions as part of a 30th anniversary celebration weekend. The franchise’s fourth of five national titles was recognized on the national stage prior to CHL on Sportsnet action where the Generals defeated the visiting Kingston Frontenacs 7-4 in their classic 1990 sweaters. Former greats like Eric Lindros, captain Iain Fraser, and 1990 Memorial Cup overtime hero Bill Armstrong were among those in attendance for the pre-game ceremony as well as a Friday night dinner with the 2019-20 Generals.
Colts Honour Bryan Little
The Barrie Colts honoured all-time leading scorer Bryan Little on Saturday with a jersey retirement ceremony with his #18 becoming the franchise’s first to be raised to the rafters as part of the team’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Little scored 153 goals and 189 assists for 342 points over 247 OHL games between 2003-07 before embarking on his NHL career with the Atlanta Thrashers and now Winnipeg Jets where he’s in the midst of his 13th season.
Quebec Remparts Celebrate Quebec Nordiques
Centre Videotron was transformed to mirror the 1979-80 season when the Quebec Nordiques made their NHL debut. The Remparts donned vintage blue sweaters reminiscent of the club’s 1983-85 uniforms when they were affiliated with the Nordiques and even had classic rinkboards installed to add to the ambiance in celebrating the special 40th anniversary of the former NHL club’s first game. A season high crowd of 12,725 fans watched the Remparts skate to a 7-4 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
WHL Suits Up in Prince Albert and Regina
The Prince Albert Raiders and Regina Pats were the next two clubs to take part in the WHL ‘Suits Up’ campaign in support of the Kidney Foundation wearing special edition Hockey Night in Canada inspired sweaters.
Superhero Sweaters in Mississauga and London
The Mississauga Steelheads and London Knights continued a popular theme across the CHL with superhero inspired sweaters. The Steelheads produced an original design while the Knights paid homage to the ‘Spider Knight’ sweaters the club first introduced back in 1994.
Special Games From Coast-to-Coast
It was Hockey Fights Cancer night in Sherbrooke on Friday where the first place Phoenix showed their support with special sweaters that featured a purple crest and the names of 200 loved ones affected by the terrible disease.
Military appreciation day in Ottawa on Saturday featured a special ceremonial puck drop for 67’s defenceman Noel Hoefenmayer and his great aunt Elsa who is a World War II veteran.
And the Portland Winterhawks showed that hockey is for everyone by celebrating Pride Night at the Moda Center on Friday.
Wedding on Ice
The Prince George Cougars held their Vegas Night on Saturday at CN Centre and part of the evening’s festivities included a wedding ceremony during the first intermission where Chris and Amanda Holmes tied the knot in front of 3,077 fans.
Promoting the Pee-wees
Quebec’s annual peewee hockey tournament is coming up in February and the Rimouski Oceanic and Shawinigan Cataractes showed their support for local teams. The youngsters skated out with the Oceanic for pre-game introductions while Cataractes head coach Daniel Renaud addressed their local squad in the team’s dressing room at practice.
CIBC Helps Fans Hit Their Goals
The Official Bank of the CHL continued celebrating with communities from coast-to-coast in a series of 23 game nights that include the popular ‘Hit Your Goals’ on ice promotion that rewards one lucky fan the opportunity to win $500.
Flying High in Flint and Sherbrooke
Records were set last week in Flint and in Sherbrooke where Riley McCourt became the Firebirds all-time points leader for defencemen with 91, while Phoenix goaltender Samuel Hlavaj won his 22nd game between-the-pipes for a new team record. Also in Sherbrooke, Phoenix captain Samuel Poulin tied the team mark with a four-goal performance.
Three More Join 300 Club
The prestigious 300 career game milestone was met by a trio of players from across the CHL including Brett Neumann of the Oshawa Generals, Cameron Hausinger of the Red Deer Rebels, and Yan Aucoin of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Hunter Hits 800
Another milestone was met behind the bench in London where Knights head coach Dale Hunter became just the third man in CHL history to win 800 games.
Colts Make Change
The Barrie Colts have made a change behind the bench parting ways with interim head coach Warren Rychel. Rychel stepped in at the beginning of the season after longtime head coach and former NHL superstar, Dale Hawerchuk, was diagnosed with stomach cancer and had to take a leave of absence. Assistant Coach, Todd Miller, will step up and become the new interim head coach of the team.
Smiles From Coast-to-Coast
Clubs across the CHL were saying ‘cheese’ throughout the week as part of annual team photo days as rosters have been finalized following trade deadline activity.
Future CHL Stars Win Bronze
Canada’s Youth Olympic hockey team won bronze in Switzerland with a 4-2 victory over Finland. Canada jumped out to an early lead when Antonin Verreault and Nate Danielson scored in the opening three minutes, and Cédrick Guindon added a third goal before the end of the opening frame. The Finns battled back to make it a one-goal game midway through the third period, but Guindon found the empty net with 32 seconds to go. Five of Canada’s players have already been chosen in the WHL Bantam Draft while the rest will be eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection and QMJHL Entry Draft. The 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games brought together young athletes from around the world to participate in a unique cultural experience and international sporting competition.
Mourning The Loss Of Kobe Bryant
The entire sports world was shocked on Sunday by the sudden and tragic passing of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. Athletes from around the world, including many past and present CHL players, shared their sympathies for the man who inspired millions with his supreme skill, championship character, and devotion to his family including daughter Gianna who was among those killed in the California helicopter crash.