May’s long weekend is now in rear view so let’s catch up on the latest news and notes from around the Canadian Hockey League.
Here’s a look at what you may have missed.
Happy Victoria Day
Canadians from coast-to-coast enjoyed a long weekend with Monday’s Victoria Day holiday, celebrated appropriately on social media by the Victoria Royals! Victoria Day is a national holiday that celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria who lived from 1819 to 1901 and after whom the British Columbia capital city was named.
Sadness for Snowbirds
The long weekend was also unfortunately filled with sadness upon news of a crash involving the Canadian Forces Snowbirds in Kamloops where Captain Jenn Casey, the team’s public affairs officer, did not survive. The Snowbirds, based in Moose Jaw, carry a unique relationship with the WHL’s Warriors partnering for various team building activities and game night programs. Casey, a Nova Scotia native, previously spent time as a member of the Halifax Mooseheads broadcast team.
Silvertips support Bloodworks Northwest
The Everett Silvertips, with star players Dustin Wolf and Wyatte Wylie in attendance, encouraged fans to come out to a Pop-Up Donor Center at Angel Of The Winds Arena to donate blood. Saturday’s event helps ensure a safe and reliable community blood supply amid the COVID-19 pandemic with fans receiving tickets to upcoming games for their support.
Face-Off for Hunger raises $10,000
Blades captain Chase Wouters reached his goal of raising $10,000 through the Nutrien Face-Off for Hunger campaign, with all proceeds going towards the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre. The funds will go a long way towards helping vulnerable families during these most difficult times.
Hockey for Health Heroes
30 years after winning the Memorial Cup, members of the 1990 Oshawa Generals are teaming up to raise funds and awareness for Lakeridge Health in Oshawa and Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville. Founded by Sherwood (Sherry) Bassin, Joe Busillo, and Dr. Craig Donaldson, the group hopes the support of the hockey community through online donations will be able to fund the purchase of new Smart IV pumps for the Orangeville and Oshawa Hospitals.
Otters staff help feed front lines
The Erie Otters recently teamed up with local Tim Hortons to provide free donuts and bagels to UPMC Hamot hospital nurses and employees on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic during National Hospital Week. The group collectively delivered 30 dozen bagels and 30 dozen donuts to the hospital.
International Nurses Day, which took place on May 12, provided another opportunity to thank many of the real heroes on the front lines working at our healthcare centres. Athletes continued to show support by posting photos of specially labelled team sweaters, like the one below with Liam Van Loon of the Hamilton Bulldogs for his sister Andrea.
Owen Sound Attack Equipment Manager Trevor Castonguay is another example of CHL team staff using their skills for good cause. He posted the photo below sewing Personal Protective Equipment for his family.
All eyes on Rossi
There’s no NHL Combine and no date set just yet for the NHL Draft, but that hasn’t stopped top prospect Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s from showcasing his abilities. The league’s top scorer and sixth ranked North American skater put together a pair of videos that went viral on social media last week demonstrating his impressive balance.
More social media surfing
Surfing team and player social media accounts over the week found posts like Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers thanking essential workers and the community for their support, Matthew Robertson of the Edmonton Oil Kings donating blood, and Jared Davidson of the Seattle Thunderbirds keeping active.
Congrats from Coach to Coach
Ottawa 67’s head coach Andre Tourigny was recently named OHL Coach of the Year for the second straight season. Among his many congratulatory messages was one from another coach in the nation’s capital, Paul LaPolice from the CFL’s Ottawa REDBLACKS, captured on video for our enjoyment.
Speaking of videos for our enjoyment, some past league champions recently held virtual reunions by bringing back members of the organization to enjoy some of their season’s most special moments. The 2019 Guelph Storm, 2017 Erie Otters, and 2009 Drummondville Voltigeurs are three of the latest examples of recorded watch parties.
Over $1 million was raised by the #HeartsAndSmiles initiative spearheaded by proud CHL partner Rogers that encouraged Canadians to purchase specially designed t-shirts and masks for a cause. The proceeds are to benefit the Frontline Fund that represents over 160 Canadian hospital foundations with the goal arming healthcare workers with what they need to defeat COVID-19.
CIBC is giving a break to those who have given us so much. The CHL’s Official Bank partner is now accepting nominations online for healthcare heroes and will be giving away 30 million Aventura Points in travel vouchers to some of the most deserving recipients across the country.
CHL partner SkipTheDishes posted a funny video online last week with spokesman Jon Hamm thanking Canadians in CHL cities like Barrie, Hamilton, and Moose Jaw for their support of local restaurants. By using the Skip app, Canadians are able to enjoy food from many of their favourite places through contactless delivery.
Hillis signs with Habs
Guelph Storm captain Cam Hillis has signed his entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. The third round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft scored 83 points in 62 games during a bounce back season after missing most of the 2018-19 campaign due to injury.
U SPORTS Commitments
Another trio from the CHL’s graduating class of overage players will continue their hockey and academic careers in various U SPORTS programs next season while taking advantage of the league’s scholarship package. The recent commits include Cole Resnick of the Oshawa Generals who will join the Ryerson Rams, Darien Kielb of the Quebec Remparts who will play for the Dalhousie Tigers, and Nick Grima of the North Bay Battalion who will join the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Regional league awards
Awards season continues across the three regional leagues with daily announcements in recognition of the best across the QMJHL, OHL, and WHL in 2019-20.
In the QMJHL, some of the league’s most notable alumni helped announce recent awards like Humanitarian of the Year honours for Drummondville Voltigeurs captain Xavier Simoneau, Chicoutimi Sagueneens captain Rafael Harvey-Pinard won Scholastic Player of the Year, Moncton Wildcats captain Jakob Pelletier earned Most Sportsmanlike recognition, and Zachary Bolduc of the Rimouski Oceanic was named Rookie of the Year.
In the OHL, Kitchener Rangers goaltender Jacob Ingham was named Humanitarian of the Year, Erie Otters defenceman Jacob Golden was named Top Post-Secondary Student, Owen Sound Attack rookie Logan LeSage was named Top Secondary School Student, Saginaw Spirit top scorer Cole Perfetti won Scholastic Player of the Year honours, Peterborough Petes forward Nick Robertson earn Most Sportsmanlike recognition, and exceptional talent Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs is the league’s Rookie of the Year.
In the WHL, Riley Fiddler-Schultz is the league’s Humanitarian of the Year, Dylan Garand of the Kamloops Blazers is the Scholastic Player of the Year, Seth Jarvis of the Portland Winterhawks is the Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, and Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings is Rookie of the Year.
Forward Joe Carroll of the Soo Greyhounds was the winner in the last of eight Quarter-Final matchups in the #CHLShowdown Playoffs that featured 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. Semi-Finals are now underway at chlshowdown.ca.