The long weekend brought fun for the whole family in communities across the Canadian Hockey League and was certainly the highlight as we cross the midway mark of February’s schedule.
Here’s a closer look at what else took place:
Lots of fun on Family Day
17 afternoon CHL games plus activities hosted by many non competing clubs gave players and teams a chance to connect with fans and their families on the holiday Monday. From pre and post-game skates, autograph sessions, and outdoor events it was a wonderful holiday in communities from coast-to-coast.
Facing off on Family Day
Schedule makers sure had some fun planning Monday’s games in Kingston and Kelowna where the Frontenacs’ Jordan Frasca faced off against his brother Jacob who plays for the Barrie Colts. Across the country, Rockets assistant coach Vernon Fiddler got the chance to compete against his nephew Riley Fiddler-Schultz who plays for the Calgary Hitmen.
Mom’s Day in Oshawa
As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t special enough, the Oshawa Generals went once step further on Friday by hosting Mom’s Day. The Moms were invited down to the bench for pre-game warmup, watched the game from suite level, and were given flowers from their sons following the shootout win over the Soo Greyhounds.
Hooked on School Days
The QMJHL is joining stakeholders across the province this week for a special campaign that encourages young Quebecers to stay in school. The league is also recognizing its own players who have demonstrated academic perseverance and progress with the Gervais-Munger Award with recipients from each club who have demonstrated rigor, diligence, and perseverance to ensure their academic success.
Trio of Theme Jerseys
This weekend we saw the Flint Firebirds pay homage to the hit movie ‘Semi-Pro’ with the basketball inspired Flint Tropics designs, the Owen Sound Attack wore tie dyed jerseys in support of YMCA’s Camp Presqu’ile, and the Niagara IceDogs added plenty of hearts to their classic reds on Valentine’s Day.
Thunderbirds Hockey Challenge raises $200,000
The Seattle Thunderbirds and Ronald McDonald House Charities raised an incredible $200,000 during the 22nd annual Hockey Challenge. Prior to Saturday’s T-Birds game, a full slate of action took place at ShoWare Center featuring corporate and rec league teams followed by a local celebrity and T-Birds Alumni All-Star Game with all proceeds benefiting RMHC that provides a home-away-from-home to support families while their children receive the critical medical care they need.
CHL players and teams continued the conversation about mental health with Talk Today game nights in various communities in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association and local branches.
Champions return to Rouyn-Noranda
It was a special night on Saturday in Rouyn-Noranda when the Huskies welcomed the visiting Sagueneens that now feature former captain Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Felix Bibeau who helped the club capture the Memorial Cup last May. There were video tributes, a ceremonial face-off, and of course the presentation of the championship rings.
Montreal welcomes QMJHL stars
Last Monday in Montreal the Canadiens welcomed a collection of QMJHL stars including top NHL Draft prospects like Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski), Hendrix Lapierre (Chicoutimi), Dawson Mercer (Chicoutimi), Justin Barron (Halifax) and Jeremie Poirier (Saint John), plus World Junior gold medalists Raphael Lavoie (Chicoutimi), Jared McIsaac (Moncton), and Olivier Rodrigue (Moncton). The event provided media the opportunity to meet some of the province’s top talents who will return for the draft in June, and for fans to salute the league’s World Junior heroes.
Rogers Hometown Hockey visits Quebec City
Quebec City was host of the 19th stop on the 2019-20 Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour. Scheduled to coincide with Carnaval of Quebec and the world’s greatest minor hockey tournament, viewers were treated to a wide range of stories from La Belle Province. Guests included Manon Rheaume who was the first female goaltender to play in the QMJHL (Trois-Rivieres) and the NHL (Tampa Bay Lightning), as well as former Oshawa Generals great Eric Lindros who was the first overall pick by the Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft.
When Cole Perfetti isn’t busy chasing a CHL scoring title or preparing for early selection at the 2020 NHL Draft, chances are he’s spending time with his friends from Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw. The video below offers a glimpse at how the Spirit top scorer is a special role model for young patients and fans.
Special Guests of Honour
Saginaw welcomed back former Spirit captain Paul Bissonnette to The Dow on Friday night. The now retired Arizona Coyotes forward has turned into one of hockey’s most popular media figures and social media follows @BizNasty2Point0. Also seen around the rinks this weekend was Rich Peverley for his annual Pevs Protects game in Guelph with the Heart and Stroke Foundation. And in Vancouver, stickhandling specialist Pavel Barber graced the Giants ice showcasing his stuff during the intermission, plus former Bachelor star Mykenna Dorn accepted a Red Deer Rebels invitation to attend a game.
Knights honour 2020 Hall of Fame class
The 2020 Class of Don Brankley London Knights Hall of Famers includes John McDonald, Garry Unger, Reg Thomas, Brian Bradley, Chris Kelly, and Dylan Hunter, who were honoured last Tuesday night.
Brent Sutter reaches 1,000 games
Red Deer Rebels bench boss Brent Sutter became just the ninth WHL head coach and 19th in CHL history to reach the 1,000 games milestone.
History made on QMJHL lines
Daniel Bechard called it a career after 25 years and becoming the QMJHL’s first linesman to reach the 1,000 game milestone.
Thomas hits 300 points
World Junior gold medalist and Akil Thomas of the Peterborough Petes joined exclusive company on Saturday with his 300th career OHL point. The Los Angeles Kings prospect and former Niagara IceDogs captain met the mark with an assist in his 234th game and also has 100 career goals to his credit.
Talented trio reach 300 games
Jeffrey Durocher of the Saint John Sea Dogs, Brett Davis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and Matthew Wedman of the Kelowna Rockets became the latest three overage talents to reach the prestigious 300 career games milestone.
2020 NHL Draft prospect William Villeneuve of the Saint John Sea Dogs has already set a new franchise record for points in a season by a defenceman with 54, while Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Alex-Olivier Voyer’s 39 goals is also a single season record. A pair of rookies also set new team benchmarks over the weekend including Brennan Othmann of the Flint Firebirds now with 30 points on the season, and Jacob Dion of the Drummondville Voltigeurs whose 13 goals by a are now the most by any first year defenceman in team history.
Foudy goes back for more
Just days after making his NHL debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets, London Knights co-captain Liam Foudy was once again recalled under emergency circumstances and produced a point despite Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
CHL Top Scorer makes NHL debut
Jason Robertson, who led the CHL in scoring last season with 117 points in 62 games split between the Kingston Frontenacs and Niagara IceDogs, made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars on Thursday night in Toronto. The second round pick from the 2017 draft, who has 35 points in 49 AHL games in Texas, even picked up an assist in the club’s 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs.
CHL talents get NHL rights traded
The NHL trade deadline is fast approaching and a pair of CHL talents have already been involved in a pair of blockbuster deals. Tampa Bay Lightning first round Nolan Foote of the Kelowna Rockets was traded to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Blake Coleman, while Pittsburgh Penguins 2018 second round pick Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was traded to the Minnesota Wild for Jason Zucker. Both WHL players helped Canada win gold at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Phoenix first to win Division title
While 12 teams may have an ‘x’ next to their name in the standings, the Sherbrooke Phoenix are the only club with the distinctive ‘y’ which is symbolic of a divisional title. The QMJHL’s Central Division champions, the Phoenix will raise the banner for the first time since joining the league in 2012-13.