Not a lot of wins have come out of Alberta in recent years, but at least there is hope in both markets. Edmonton has toiled for years and had the more high-profile rebuild, but Calgary is quickly putting together a nice coterie of players as well.
Sean Monahan has already made a dent in the NHL and two other names are poised to join him up front on the Flames sooner than later: Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett.
The third annual USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game takes place in Buffalo on Sept. 25 and no doubt organizers will tell you it’s looking like the best one yet. People say that about all sorts of events every year, but if everyone shows up, this will be the best yet.
The game is only as good as the talent available and last year’s installment in Pittsburgh was hampered by the fact the U.S. didn’t produce any top-10 talents for the 2014 class. Sonny Milano, Alex Tuch and Dylan Larkin were the best of the bunch and ended up as mid-round picks. The debut of the game in Buffalo a year prior featured Seth Jones, at the time thought of as the No. 1 overall prospect and ultimately a fourth overall pick who went straight to the NHL. But Adam Erne pulled out and hometown kid Justin Bailey sustained a concussion just before the festivities, meaning a better lineup was possible.
But this year? Assuming everyone shows up healthy, this is a stacked bill. Here’s a look at some names to keep in mind.
“It’s like when I go watch a hockey player, it’s yes or no. When I first met Jonathan this was a no-brainer.” - Marty Abrams, head coach/GM of Jr. A’s Wellington Dukes.
Marty Abrams gets a lot of emails and resumes from people trying to break into the hockey business via scouting. The coach/GM of Jr. A’s Wellington Dukes can’t hire or interview everyone, of course, but one inquiry he received from a 16-year-old three years ago stood out from the rest.
“This was different than the other emails I get, the other references, the other resumes,” he said. “I knew right away it was different so I reached out to him.”
Meet Jonathan Kyriacou, an 18-year-old Pickering native who is entering his third season as a scout for the Dukes. He realized, earlier than most would want to, that he didn’t have a future in hockey as a player, but he wanted to somehow stay involved in the game.
At 13 and 14 years old, his bantam years, Kyriacou began plotting a new course into another corner of the hockey world. He wanted to get into scouting, or managing, or as an agent and began planting the seeds that would give him the option to explore all kinds of avenues.
“When I was 14 I ended up getting an intern position with an agent here in Toronto, Pulver Sports. Ian Pulver,” Kyriacou said. “The year after, when I was 15, I ended up getting involved with another agent/family advisor that was just starting up in Toronto so that gave me my first scouting job. When I was 16, I decided I wanted to work more on the team side of things so I ended up exploring different options in terms of getting on with a team and found a job with the Wellington Dukes. And the year after that I got a job in the OHL.” Read more
Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis are old hands at the NHL game. Both are veteran defenseman out of British Columbia and both played their junior hockey with the Prince George Cougars. Now, as part of a new ownership group, Brewer and Hamhuis are hoping to help their old Western League team out of the doldrums and back to glory.
“It’s a city where the team and the organization has room for improvement,” Brewer said. “We want to re-establish the team.”
Albin Blomqvist is just 20 years old, but his hockey days are over due to a history of concussions. Blomqvist, who played for Lethbridge in the Western League alongside his brother Axel (a Winnipeg Jets prospect), is now back in Sweden and has penned an article for Hockeysverige.se. It’s a tough read and brings up a lot of important issues for the hockey world.
There was a lot of buzz on Tuesday afternoon surrounding the shootout goals scored by Jordan Subban and Josh Ho-Sang at the BioSteel Sports camp in Toronto, and deservedly so. But one of the other finalists in the informal skills competition was center Nick Paul and he had some pretty nasty moves as well – the difference was, Paul did it at a hulking 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds. Check out all the highlights below, starting at the 1:30 mark:
Josh Ho-Sang has been a drafted member of the NHL for less than two months, but he’s quickly making a name for himself as an outspoken, opinionated, brash player.
What a wonderful thing.
“If I was a general manager and had first pick in the draft, I’d pick me No. 1,” Ho-Sang said in an interview with the Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons just before the draft. “In three years, I’ll be the best player in this draft. And I have no doubt about that. I know myself. I know the other players. I believe in my ability. There are guys ranked ahead of me who are nowhere near me.”
Those kind of words and that kind of confidence will earn a player a lot of detractors. Read more
It’s an agonizing decision for a lot of prospects: head to college and be the big man on campus, or sign with an NHL team and play a longer schedule in major junior. Last year, it was Montreal first-rounder Michael McCarron in the spotlight. He chose the Ontario League’s London Knights over Western Michigan. This time, it’s Columbus first-rounder Sonny Milano, who will join the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers after he informed Boston College he would not be attending the school this fall.
As detailed by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Milano struggled with the decision and that’s not surprising.