The calendar changing from February to March means just three more weeks until the Canadian Hockey League playoffs. It’s also the time of year where teams put together some of their final promotions amidst their playoff pushes, and many different milestones are met as some of the league’s top individual performers set new standards.
Here’s a closer look at everything you may have missed:
Welsh Sets QMJHL Record
Matthew Welsh of the Charlottetown Islanders is in a league of his own setting a new QMJHL mark for most minutes played. The overage netminder set the record on Friday night surpassing former PEI Rocket netminder Ryan Mior whose total stood at 12,933:20. Following Sunday’s victory, Welsh has eclipsed the 13,000 minutes mark between-the-pipes in his 222nd game. He also now has 124 wins to his credit, all accumulated with the Islanders since 2015-16.
Robertson Records 50th
Toronto Maple Leafs second round pick Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes became the league’s first 50 goal scorer achieving the milestone in style on Sunday with a hat-trick in his 43rd game of the season. He’s the first Petes player to meet the mark since both Jason Dawe and Mike Harding pulled it off in 1992-93.
Kisio is Forever A Hitmen
A ceremony was held on Sunday in Calgary honouring Kelly Kisio for his contributions to the Hitmen as an executive and a coach. The celebration and banner raising, all part of the club’s 25th anniversary season, recognizes his nearly two decades with the club from 1998 until 2016. Under Kisio’s leadership, the Hitmen earned 763 regular season wins and captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup twice in 1999 and 2010.
Hurricanes add to Wall of Honour
The Lethbridge Hurricanes held a special pre-game ceremony on Saturday inducting alumni Byron Ritchie and Shane Peacock into the club’s Wall of Honour. Ritchie played four WHL seasons with the club from 1993-97 recording 126 points during his final season which helped the Canes hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Peacock played five seasons from 1989-94 appearing in 336 career games with an impressive 366 points which includes his 102-point campaign in 1992-93 that stands as the club’s single season record by a defenceman.
Player’s Night on the Island
Matthew Welsh’s record night was also part of a special promotion in Charlottetown where the Islanders players worked together to design a jersey that honoured the history of hockey on Prince Edward Island. The most unique element of the design were nicknames stitched on the back in place of last names inspired by Major League Baseball’s annual Player’s Weekend.
Breast Cancer Awareness in Spokane and Tri-City
The Chiefs and Americans both hosted Breast Cancer Awareness games over the weekend with the former supporting the cause with special sweaters, and the latter painting their ice pink for the occasion.
There’s still plenty of snow in the air and on the ground, especially in Quebec, as evidenced by these social media shots from the Gatineau Olympiques and Victoriaville Tigres who despite the cold provided heart warming gestures for stranded vehicles in need of a push.
Voyer Launches Equipment Drive
Alex-Olivier Voyer of the Sherbrooke Phoenix recently launched a local initiative to support his community by inviting fans to donate new or gently used sports equipment. The gear was collected at the rink and fans who contributed received a free ticket to see the Phoenix. The program was in support of the David Perron Foundation that helps youth in the region.
67’s Help Grow The Game
The Ottawa 67’s had their first ever Punjabi Night and Punjabi Telecast accompanied by a one of a kind networking event attended by over 700 tech students in the nation’s capital. The game, complete with fan reaction and highlights, was part of a feature segment on Saturday’s Hockey Night Punjabi broadcast.
Not Your Ordinary Games
A couple of unique takes on a classic CHL promotion took place in Edmonton and Ottawa last Tuesday morning. The Oil Kings Hockey Hooky Game showcased some creative designs from young fans as part of the team’s game presentation, while the 67’s offered free tickets for their AM puck drop.
Les Freres Coulombe
A family friendly photo opportunity was captured in Shawinigan on Friday when Coulombe brothers, Antoine of the Cataractes, and Olivier of the visiting Acadie-Bathurst Titan, met for the second time this season. The pair weren’t the only brothers to go head-to-head over the weekend as Sportsnet’s Saturday afternoon game showcased Clarke brothers Graeme and Brandt of the Ottawa 67’s and Barrie Colts.
Million Dollar Milestone for Thunderbirds
The Seattle Thunderbirds Community Sports Foundation proudly announced that over $1 million has been awarded to local youth sports teams, schools, and associations since the Foundation’s inception in 2009. 50/50 raffles at every T-Birds home game is a primary contributor to the non-profit that believes all youth should have access to community sports.
Throughout the month of February, CHL teams have activated their partnerships with Canadian Mental Health Association branches at home games as part of the Talk Today program continuing to raise awareness and funds for mental health services from coast-to-coast.
Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs continued his exceptional rookie season by establishing a new franchise mark for first year players with 39 goals. A similar record was set in Edmonton where fellow first overall pick Dylan Guenther’s 25th goal set a new Oil Kings modern day rookie record. Between-the-pipes, Brett Brochu of the London Knights earned his 29th win for a new franchise rookie record.
More Team Records and Milestones
Felix Robert set a new Sherbrooke Phoenix single season points record with 89, while Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs broke his own franchise single game points record by a defenceman with eight. Behind the bench, Patrick Roy of the Quebec Remparts became just the 10th QMJHL coach to win 400 career games. The Phoenix became the first club from coast-to-coast to 100 points which is also a franchise first, while the Moncton Wildcats set a franchise record with their 15th straight win. At the gates, the Rimouski Oceanic hit the 100,000 fans mark this season and the Saint John Sea Dogs celebrate 2 million all-time attendees.
300 Career Games
Add another trio to the CHL’s 300 career games club including Conner McDonald of the Kelowna Rockets, Macauley Carson of the Sudbury Wolves, and Christian Huntley of the Moncton Wildcats.
67’s Win East Division
The Ottawa 67’s became the CHL’s second club to add a y next to their x by locking up the OHL’s East Division title for the second straight season and 17th time since 1975-76.
CHL Playoff Picture
11 more spots were locked up since last Monday’s weekend review with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, Vancouver Giants, Victoria Royals, and Winnipeg ICE added to the mix along with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, Sudbury Wolves, and Windsor Spitfires, plus the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Charlottetown Islanders, Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Saint John Sea Dogs.