The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.
The head coach of Ohio State University’s women’s hockey team resigned on Monday after the university cited inappropriate and unprofessional conduct that included allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation and retaliation.
After finishing his fourth season behind the Buckeyes’ bench, 37-year-old coach Nate Handrahan tendered his resignation in the wake of the school’s findings. The university’s review of his behavior – presented Monday to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith – concluded Handrahan “engaged in a pattern of verbal conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interfered with the athletic experience of many students” on the women’s team. It also claimed to have sufficient evidence the university’s policies on sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct and retaliation were violated by the Niagara Falls, Ont., native, and that he made sexually explicit comments to many members of the team. Read more
I have learned not to doubt the Los Angeles Kings.
A few years back, I was at an Oshawa Generals game and a fan asked me if Andy Andreoff had any shot at getting drafted. Considering that Andreoff had already been passed over twice, I told him that anything was possible, but privately, Andreoff hadn’t really been on my radar.
Sure enough, the Kings picked up the gritty left winger in the third round that summer (the 2011 draft) and Andreoff has already played 13 games for the squad this season.
This past summer, I was standing with another reporter at the draft in Philadelphia, marvelling at the bizarre order in which the Kings were picking – taking certain kids way earlier than expected, leaving higher-rated kids to the end. But I’m not going to second-guess GM Dean Lombardi and his crew, which is headed by Mike Futa, VP of hockey operations and director of player personnel, and director of amateur scouting Mark Yanetti because they clearly know what they’re doing.
It’s getting down to crunch time in the prospect world, as the most wonderful time of year is upon us. College hockey has already entered the conference playoff stage while major junior is down to jockeying for berths in the post-season. The high schoolers in Minnesota are already finished and the story of the winners is pretty compelling. Meet the captain of that squad, plus nine other NHL prospects making noise in our weekly round-up.
From the Hollydell Arena he runs in New Jersey, Guy Gaudreau can practically see the hockey-mad city of Philadelphia, though in the small town of Carney’s Point, hockey has historically taken a backseat to the other major American sports. The most famous person to come out of the town is actor Bruce Willis, but there’s a new name on the scene, and it happens to be Gaudreau’s son John.
Yes, in Carney’s Point, one of the most dynamic and unlikely hockey talents in generations is simply known to friends and family as ‘John,’ once a tyke whose dad put Skittles on the ice for him and his younger brother to skate toward while Guy was coaching 16-year-olds.
“It entertained them for the hour,” Guy said. “They were really wired up by the time they were done.”
But outside the confines of Riverside South Jersey, that tiny tyke is Calgary Flames right winger Johnny Gaudreau, a.k.a. ‘Johnny Hockey,’ a prospect whose legend grew so fast that the Flames literally had a private jet pick him up after his college career was finished so he and Boston College linemate Bill Arnold could be whisked away to join the NHL as soon as possible.
And while Arnold is still learning the pro game one season later in the minors, Gaudreau is one of the top-scoring rookies in the NHL – not to mention one of the smallest in recent memory. When Calgary drafted Gaudreau in the fourth round in 2011 out of the USHL, the youngster was listed at 5-foot-6 and 137 pounds. He’s not a whole lot bigger now, but that hasn’t stopped him from putting together one of the most impressive pre-NHL careers around and silencing the many doubters he had. Read more
Shane Walsh of the Massachusetts Minutemen earned hero status when he scored in the fifth overtime to give his team a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame in the first round Hockey East Tournament matchup on Friday night.
The first-ever National Independent School Invitational Championship is happening now, just north of Toronto. Hosted by St. Andrew’s College and Upper Canada College, the 10-team challenge brings together a lot of prep programs that are familiar with each other, but organizers hope this shindig will also increase the level of exposure these hockey teams receive.
While New England prep schools have long been known for hockey excellence, programs such as St. Andrew’s and Stanstead College in Quebec are just beginning to rise up. St. Andrew’s boasts Carolina Hurricanes third-rounder Warren Foegele as an alum, while Stanstead produced Calgary Flames first-rounder Mark Jankowski.
The message of the #LikeAGirl campaign struck a chord with Boston Blades forward and U.S. Olympian Hilary Knight the moment she saw the commercial during the Super Bowl.
In the minute-long spot, a voice from behind the camera asks men and women, young and old, to mime tasks, “like a girl.” In the first half, the men and women mimic someone barely capable of accomplishing athletic feats like running, throwing and fighting. In the latter half, young women show exactly how they do those same tasks, running furiously on the spot and fighting with all their might. That’s what struck Knight most.
“The commercial actually changed the way that I saw the phrase previously,” Knight said following her three-goal, five-point game to lead the Blades to the Clarkson Cup final. “Being in the sport that I am, I’ve heard, ‘Oh, you shoot like a girl.’ That implied that you didn’t shoot well enough to be on the ice.” Read more