Ryan Kennedy is the associate senior writer and draft/prospect expert at The Hockey News. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all called his house. He lives in Toronto with his wife and kids where he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.
Randy Hernandez isn’t the son of a famous NHLer. He didn’t grow up playing on backyard ponds and his first words weren’t the name of his favorite hockey team.
“Actually, I didn’t watch hockey at all when I was little,” he said. “I didn’t watch until I was 12.”
Hernandez just completed his first full season of AAA hockey, in fact. But this year, he’ll be a member of one of the most exclusive teams on the continent, the U.S. National Team Development Program’s under-17 squad. How he got there is remarkable.
You have to hand it to ECHL Greenville: they know how to get your attention. The city that was once home to the Grrrowl (official spelling) has now rebranded the New York Rangers-affiliated Road Warriors franchise as the Swamp Rabbits. How do we feel about this?
USA Hockey will host its fourth annual All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 24, with Buffalo as the destination for a third time (Pittsburgh also hosted once). And while the biggest name in the draft won’t be there, many other talented kids are scheduled to appear.
The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets are coming off a championship season that saw the powerhouse go all the way to the Memorial Cup final, losing to Oshawa in heartbreaking overtime. But 2015-16 offers a clean sheet of ice for the Rockets and they’re kicking things off with a bang, celebrating the franchise’s 25th anniversary with special jerseys.
The NCAA has taken some bad p.r. beatings in recent years due to the fact the “student-athletes” under the organization’s care do not get paid, even with lucrative events such as football’s bowl season and the March Madness basketball tournament on the schedule.
Now, a “cost of attendance” stipend is (slightly) changing the game. And the hockey world is easing in to the issue.
After a week off for vacation, the mailbag returns in full force. The volume of questions is beginning to get fatter and that’s awesome, so keep them coming by hitting me up on Twitter with the hashtag #thnfutures. If your question isn’t answered this week, check back next time. Let’s get to it!
For a kid who grew up in China, Rudi Ying was in a pretty good place for a hockey player this week. The 17-year-old center and fellow Beijing product Wei Zhong both took part in the BioSteel summer camp in Toronto, meaning they were sharing the ice and playing alongside Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and a host of other NHLers and top prospects.
The one thing I’ll always remember about Alexander Burmistrov during his Barrie Colts days is how skinny he looked. He was a perfect example of a prospect who had great tools; you just had to forecast what he would look like once a couple years in the weight room kicked in.
But the Atlanta Thrashers needed talent right away and the eighth overall pick in the 2010 draft went straight to the NHL, where he survived and contributed. Then the team moved to Winnipeg, where all the good vibes of NHL-starved Manitoba fans couldn’t push an underdeveloped squad into the post-season under coach Claude Noel. And Burmistrov certainly didn’t thrive under the conditions, either.
So the lanky young Russian returned to his homeland, playing two years in the KHL for Ak Bars Kazan, his local squad.
Now he’s back.