From player movement both up and down, to theme nights, honouring the past, and sharing February festivities with family, it’s been a busy week across the Canadian Hockey League.
Here’s a closer look at the latest:
Exciting call for Foudy
An emergency recall will see London Knights co-captain Liam Foudy make his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday.
The rule allows Foudy to play a maximum five games in the NHL this season while he must also be returned to his junior club prior to London’s next game Tuesday versus Guelph.
Foudy was originally selected 18th overall by Columbus in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Wilde Returns to Spirit
The Saginaw Spirit have received a big boost after defenceman Bode Wilde was returned to the club Monday after spending much of the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the top minor-league affiliate of the New York Islanders.
Through 62 appearances with the Spirit last season, Wilde recorded 19 goals and 51 assists for 71 points to rank third among OHL defencemen. Wilde was a second-round draft selection by the Islanders in 2018.
Time to #TalkToday
CHL clubs are doing their part to help raise mental health awareness in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the league’s#TalkToday initiative through a series of game nights throughout February. The program provides an important opportunity to address the mental health needs of athletes across Canada and works to end the stigma around mental illness. Since 2014, more than 2,400 CHL players have taken part in mental health education programs.
Highlight for Hofer
Prior to puck drop Sunday versus the Chicago Blackhawks, the Winnipeg Jets held a ceremonial faceoff for hometown hero Joel Hofer, the Portland Winterhawks netminder who came up big between the pipes for Team Canada at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship en route to an 18th gold medal win. Making the moment extra special was Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, a fellow Winnipegger, took the ceremonial draw for the visiting squad.
Chiefs & Warriors Honour Past
Two WHL squads paid tribute to their past beginning with the Spokane Chiefs who honoured seven members of the 1970 Spokane Jets, the first U.S.-based team to win the Allan Cup, awarded annually to the senior amateur men’s hockey champion.
Elsewhere, the Moose Jaw Warriors inducted three alumni into the club’s Legends Hall of Fame, including former players Chris Armstrong and Harlan Anderson as well as Lorne Humphreys who was added in the builder category.
Greyhounds, ICE, and Pats Fight Cancer
A trio of CHL clubs were the latest to help make cancer beatable in hosting theme nights including Pink in the Rink which saw the Soo Greyhounds as well as the ICE sport pink stylized jerseys while fans in attendance were also invited to wear pink to help support the cause. Meanwhile, the Regina Pats dedicated Saturday’s contest to breast cancer awareness in support of cancer patients throughout southern Saskatchewan.
Spitfires turn to Superheroes
Theme nights continued across the OHL where the Windsor Spitfires held Superhero Night where the home squad dressed in special edition Batman-themed jerseys, a night that sees a portion of ticket proceeds donated to the Fight Like Mason Foundation, a local organization that strives to improve treatment, care, quality of life, and awareness surrounding childhood cancers.
Giants & Wheat Kings ‘Suit Up’
Two WHL squads are the latest to suit up in unique Hockey Night in Canada theme jerseys in support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Extra special for the Wheat Kings was the sweater included the name of Logan Boulet on the inside collar, in recognition of one of the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash whose billet brother currently skates with the Humboldt Broncos peewee AA team.
Petes Make Hockey for Everyone
Hockey is for Everyone was the theme on Thursday in Peterborough where among the Petes’ special guests were members of the Curve Lake First Nation who performed ‘O Canada’ ahead of the matchup against the North Bay Battalion.
Quebec Ready for Annual Peewee Tournament
The puck is about to drop for the yearly Quebec Peewee Tournament, an event which began in 1960 and allows for minor hockey players under 12 years old to gain invaluable international experience. More than 1,200 past participants have gone on to play professionally including CHL alumni like Eric Lindros (Oshawa Generals), Brendan Shanahan (London Knights), and Patrick Roy (Granby Bisons).
Family Day Festivities Across the WHL
With Family Day just around the corner, several clubs took the time to recognize the special day in hosting players’ families, while the schedule also allowed for a unique opportunity as brothers Blake Allan and Nolan Allan of the Calgary Hitmen and Prince Albert Raiders respectively posed for a pregame photo before going head to head.
Saint John Fans Come Out for Classified
A winter snowstorm and postponed game wasn’t enough to keep the crowd away Friday in Saint John where despite the happenings of the night thousands of Sea Dogs fans stayed at the home rink to celebrate and support Atlantic Canadian musician Classified, on hand for the game as part of a planned special evening that was to intertwine music and hockey.
Hockey Day and Hometown Hockey
The 20th edition of Hockey Day in Canada took place Saturday live from Yellowknife, N.W.T., a celebration of the Great White North’s favourite pastime that saw six of the seven Canadian-based franchises in the National Hockey League go head to head.
The celebration continued Sunday with the latest edition of Rogers Hometown Hockey live from the nation’s capital, with Ottawa marking the fourth CHL city to host the special day this season. On hand was Dennis Potvin, a native of nearby Hull, Que., a standout blue-liner who spent five seasons with the Ottawa 67’s in which he was twice honoured as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenceman before later capturing four Stanley Cup championships with the New York Islanders.
The Rogers Hometown Hockey tour continues next Sunday in Quebec City, home of the QMJHL’s Remparts.
Thomas Pays Special Visit Home to Scarborough
February marks Black History Month and the hockey community is getting involved in the celebration including the launch of the Black Hockey History Tour that recently visited Scarborough, Ont., the hometown of Peterborough Petes forward and World Junior hero Akil Thomas, who visited the mobile museum and learned more about how African American hockey players including the legendary Willie O’Ree have positively impacted the sport.
Five More to 300
It was a milestone week across the circuit as five more players became the latest to reach 300 career contests, including a trio of captains in Luke Boka (Windsor Spitfires), Connor Gutenberg (Brandon Wheat Kings), and Derek Gentile (Cape Breton Eagles), plus a pair of alternate captains in Nolan Kneen of the Saskatoon Blades as well as Liam Hawel of the Kitchener Rangers.
Cataractes Change Coaches
A change behind the bench comes in Shawinigan where the Cataractes have introduced new head coach Gordie Dwyer, who most recently served as the bench boss of the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk from 2017-19. Dwyer was also head coach of the Prince Edward Island Rocket/Charlottetown Islanders franchise from 2011-15.
Sportsnet’s NHL Draft Rankings for February
Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino released his latest rankings ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft with Rimouski Oceanic captain Alexis Lafreniere earning the top billing, while three other CHL skaters in Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves), Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters), and Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s) round out the Top 5.
Portland Punches Playoff Ticket
For the 11th year running, the Portland Winterhawks will compete for the Ed Chynoweth Cup after picking up a point Tuesday versus the Spokane Chiefs, helping the club clinch a playoff berth. The Winterhawks are the WHL’s first team this season to punch their ticket to the postseason.