The weekend’s highlight was Mother’s Day and that’s exactly where we begin our latest recap of news and notes from around the Canadian Hockey league.
Here’s a look at that story and more:
Happy Mother’s Day
The CHL and many of its member teams took time Sunday to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day with special recognition for hockey moms and billet moms from coast-to-coast. The CHL’s social post below features group photos from the Moncton Wildcats, Oshawa Generals, and Lethbridge Hurricanes who hosted special events this season for their mothers, while many other teams got creative in the thread below by posting photos of their players and moms, and some video messages of thanks.
Proud CHL partner Real Canadian Superstore asked Canadians to share videos about how they are crushing it at home during the pandemic and post them on social media using the hashtag #MotherLikeAMother. Videos were compiled with select submissions used in a special Mother’s Day video.
National Nurses Day, which took place on May 6, gave Canadians an opportunity to thank many of the real heroes on the front lines working at healthcare centres across the country. Athletes showed support by posting photos of specially labelled team sweaters, like the one below with Lukas Cormier of the Charlottetown Islanders.
Donations in Drummondville and Victoriaville
Members of the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Victoriaville Tigres were out in the community on Sunday collecting empty bottles and cans at local grocery stores to exchange for funds to donate to food banks to help serve families in need.
Cougars Town Hall
The Prince George Cougars took time during the pandemic to hear from the public holding a virtual town hall. Members of the organization’s front office executive including General Manager and Head Coach Mark Lamb answered fan submitted questions which the team compiled and released in a two-part video series.
ICE hold virtual orientation
The Winnipeg ICE also used technology to make the best of the world’s present state hosting a virtual orientation with new team prospects and their families.
Louie in the neighbourhood
Edmonton Oil Kings mascot Louie the Lion did his best to cheer up fans in the Dunluce neighbourhood as part of the team’s recent community outreach program. Select areas are nominated in advance by fans and get a visit for physically distant waves, air high fives, and smiles following a route the club shares on social media.
Meals for Colts country
The Barrie Colts shared that the club has surpassed 20,000 meals donated to various charitable organizations and healthcare facilities prepared from the team’s arena restaurant funded by the Barrie Community Foundation and 50/50 proceeds at games throughout the season.
What if OHL teams were Disney characters?
That’s the question the Oshawa Generals asked then proceeded to answer in a fun social media thread that went viral on Thursday. The thread includes visual comparisons of the league’s logos and mascots to various animated characters complete with clever rationale.
Navrin Mutter of the Hamilton Bulldogs took his quarantine workout to new levels last week with a video that shows the 19-year-old forward doing an impressive series of push up burpees and back flips.
Q/A with Dan MacKenzie
Sportsnet.ca published an in depth question and answer spotlight featuring CHL President Dan MacKenzie that covers a variety of topics about what’s next for the league in the months ahead.
CHL leaders learn about resilience
The CHL facilitated the first webinar in a series of off-season e-learning and professional development opportunities for regional league and team staff. Dr. Sullivan from the University of Missouri was the guest speaker on the subject of resilience.
QMJHL Draft Lottery
The Gatineau Olympiques were the big winner in last Wednesday’s lottery to determine the order of selection for the QMJHL Entry Draft on June 6. The club will select first overall for the first time in franchise history and hold an unprecedented three picks within the top-four based on previous transactions with the Halifax Mooseheads and Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
Welsh wins Dayna Brons Honorary Award
Matthew Welsh, a graduating goaltender who played five seasons for the Charlottetown Islanders and set a new QMJHL all-time record for minutes played, was recognized for his efforts as a Hockey Gives Blood Player Ambassador. Welsh became the second recipient of the Dayna Brons Honorary Award for his work to raise awareness for blood donation.
Top Prospects chat with The Great One
The next generation of NHL stars had the opportunity to spend time with the game’s greatest player, Wayne Gretzky, who served as host of a special #HockeyAtHome feature. CHL talents Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic, Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves, and Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters all took part in the virtual conversation which can be seen in full on the NHL’s YouTube channel.
First new Q commitment
The QMJHL Entry Draft is still a few weeks away but the league welcomed a new talent on Monday with the commitment of Peter Reynolds to the Saint John Sea Dogs. The 21st overall pick in 2019 from Fredericton, NB., scored 47 points in 53 BCHL games this season and will be eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.
McFarland returns to Kingston
The Frontenacs have found their new head coach and it’s a familiar face in Paul McFarland. The Toronto Maple Leafs assistant coach announced he will be leaving the NHL upon official completion of the 2019-20 campaign to return to the CHL where he last held a head coach position for three seasons in Kingston between 2014-17.
Birch named Rangers COO
OHL Vice-President, Development, Joe Birch will be leaving the league office to assume the position of Chief Operating Officer and Governor for the Kitchener Rangers. Birch has spent more than a decade with the OHL in a variety of positions but returns to the club where he played as a rookie back in 1995-96.
Overage trio sign AHL contracts
Three more of the CHL’s graduating class of overage players will turn pro next season after signing American Hockey League contracts. Two of those players will join the San Jose Barracuda including Kyle Topping of the Kelowna Rockets and Joseph Garreffa of the Ottawa 67’s, while Liam Hawel of the Kitchener Rangers will play for the Laval Rocket.
U SPORTS Commitments
Another three overage graduates will continue their hockey and education at various U SPORTS programs taking advantage of their league scholarship packages next season. That group includes Charles-Antoine Giguere of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar to the Concordia Stingers, Connor McDonald of the Kelowna Rockets to the UBC Thunderbirds, and Jacob Paquette of the Peterborough Petes to the Queen’s Gaels.
Regional league awards
Awards season is in full swing across the three regional leagues who are making daily announcements in recognition of the best across the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL in 2019-20.
In the QMJHL, the Drummondville Voltigeurs were named the top Marketing Team, David Boies from the team was named Executive of the Year, and Allie MacDonald of the Halifax Mooseheads was named Academic Advisor of the Year. On the ice, Samuel Hlavaj of the Sherbrooke Phoenix was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, Zachary Bolduc of the Rimouski Oceanic was named Offensive Rookie of the Year, Benoit-Olivier Groulx of the Moncton Wildcats was named Top Defensive Forward, Adam McCormick of the Cape Breton Eagles was named Top Defensive Defenceman, Oceanic captain Alexis Lafreniere was named Personality of the Year and Top Professional Prospect, and Phoenix bench boss Stephane Julien was named Coach of the Year.
In the OHL, first overall pick in the 2020 Priority Selection Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion receives the Jack Ferguson Award, Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s was officially awarded Top Scorer honours, his teammate Austen Keating was named Overage Player of the Year, and bench boss Andre Tourigny was named Coach of the Year in the nation’s capital.
In the WHL, the awards began with recognition for the Kamloops Blazers as the Scholastic Team of the Year, Peter Anholt of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was named Executive of the Year, Brad Lauer of the Edmonton Oil Kings was named Coach of the Year, alumnus Sheldon Kennedy was named the 2020 recipient of the Governors Award, the Hurricanes front office received the Business Award, Jeff Ingram was named Official of the Year, and Adam Beckman of the Spokane Chiefs is the league’s top scorer.
Forward Spencer Moe of the Prince Albert Raiders was the winner in the seventh of eight Quarter-Final matchups in the #CHLShowdown Playoffs that features 24 weekly vote winners from the 2019-20 regular season vying for the crown of the year’s top play as chosen by the fans. New matchups will launch every Tuesday afternoon at chlshowdown.ca.