REMPARTS AWARDED MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP
The Quebec Remparts will host the Canadian Hockey League’s crown jewel, the MasterCard Memorial Cup, in May 2015.
The Remparts were considered the front-runners in a competition with the smaller market Chicoutimi Sagueneens, the only other team to make a formal bid. Quebec City last hosted the event in 2003, and the Remparts won it in 2006.
The MasterCard Memorial Cup is primed to be the final major event held at the Pepsi Colisee, the one-time home of the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques.
In spite of owner and former head coach and GM Patrick Roy leaving for the Colorado Avalanche this season, the Remparts have been planning for this moment for several years. Roy’s replacement, Philippe Boucher, maintained the blue print by executing some transactions at the deadline with deferred compensation for next year.
“It’s a year that demands an enormous amount of preparation,” Boucher told Le Soleil’s Kathleen Lavoie. “One part is already done, some transactions are already completed, but the big work remains to be done over the next three trading periods – the draft in June, at training camp, and the Christmas trading period – to build the final team for May.”
Few are surprised the tournament was awarded to the big market Remparts. The Sagueneens knew it was an uphill battle to begin with, and their governor Phil Desgagne, hinted this was the club’s last opportunity to host the MasterCard Memorial Cup prior to Thursday’s decision.
“A lot of people presumed Quebec had an advantage over the Saguenay,” Desgagne told Lavoie. “We put our confidence in the selection committee… I’ve been saying this may be the last opportunity for us. Because it’s increasingly demanding and it’s becoming increasingly expensive, the infrastructures become more and more important. I think it’s (Thursday) or never for the Saguenay (region).”
The Saint John Sea Dogs won the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s draft lottery on Thursday and will pick first overall. The Sherbrooke Phoenix will pick second.
The Sea Dogs had the first overall pick in three-straight drafts, selecting defencemen Alex Grant (2005), Yann Sauve (2006) and Simon Despres (2007) first.
CHYCHRUN GOES FIRST IN OHL DRAFT
For the third time in eight years, the Sarnia Sting held the first pick in the Ontario Hockey League’s priority selection. Unlike the first two times when they picked forwards – Steven Stamkos in 2006 and Alex Galchenyuk in 2010 – the Sting chose a defenceman in Jakob Chychrun.
The new face of the Sting franchise is a 6-foot-2, 195 pound defenceman with dual Canadian-American citizenship. Chychrun, who was born in Boca Raton, Fl., was the consensus top prospect available. He was described by North American Central Scouting as a “man among boys,” with “more pro upside than Sean Day right now.” Day, also born in 1998, was granted exceptional player status and entered the league at 15 this year.
The Kitchener Rangers took diminutive, skilled forward Adam Mascherin with the second pick. Mascherin should spark a dormant offensive team after scoring 71 times in 66 games with the Vaughan Kings this season.
After the first round concluded without a goaltender drafted, there was a run on puck stoppers in the second round. The Ottawa 67’s plucked the second goaltender 24th overall, whose story is truly unique. Leo Lazarev’s family moved from Moscow, Russia to Waterloo, Ont. last year so that Lazarev could be drafted to play in the OHL.
Because import goaltenders are no longer permitted to be drafted in the Canadian Hockey League import draft, Lazarev’s family made the huge decision to relocate and acquire Canadian citizenship in order for Leo to become eligible to play in the OHL.
Last year’s first overall pick, Travis Konecny, was named the OHL’s rookie of the year.
The remaining OHL award finalists were also named.
MANTHA QMJHL’S MVP
The Detroit Red Wings’ goal-a-game prospect, Anthony Mantha, captured the QMJHL’s Michel Briere Trophy as league’s Most Valuable Player. Mantha was also named the Jean Beliveau Trophy winner as the league’s leading scorer.
Mantha was one of two multi-award winners. Halifax Mooseheads teammates Zachary Fucale (Jacques Plante trophy for best goals against average and Paul Dumont Trophy for personality of the year) and Nikolaj Ehlers (RDS Cup for rookie of the year and Michael Bossy Trophy for best professional prospect) had similarly big hauls.
OHL CRACKS DOWN ON BULLYING
The OHL mandated new rules on fighting to eliminate the so-called “one-dimensional player” a year ago. Now the league is taking it one step further for anyone trying to engage an unwilling combatant with an old rule that’s drawing attention now.
It appears strange at first in the tough world of hockey, but the description affixed to two players recently in suspensions drew attention. Cristiano DiGiancito of Windsor and Peterborough’s Josh Maguire were each suspended for “bullying actions.”
If a player doesn’t want to fight, he shouldn’t be forced to drop the gloves. Though it may appear strange in nature, it’s not a new rule.
– Tim Bozon’s medical bill is expected to be well into six-figure territory.
– QMJHL first overall pick Nicolas Roy made Canada’s under-18 training camp roster after his rookie season. Spitfires sophomore forward Joshua Ho-Sang, surprisingly, did not.
– Peterborough forward Hunter Garlent is playing with a heavy heart. Garlent’s father, Rob, passed away at 48 a little more than a month ago. Hunter uses the memory of his late father as he leads the Petes in the second round. “Every shift that I play, it’s for him,” Garlent told Yahoo’s Neate Sager. The Petes got to the second round of the playoffs with a stunning seven-game series victory over Kingston, who led the series 3-0.
– In an ideal world, the Guelph Storm and London Knights, who finished with the first- and third-most points in the OHL this season, wouldn’t be meeting in the second round. Should the league maybe look into a similar 1 vs. 16 format, such as the QMJHL adopted in recent years?
– Has anyone meant more to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds franchise than current Erie Otters general manager Sherry Bassin?
– WHL leading scorer Mitch Holmberg finally found a home – in Oklahoma City, the Edmonton Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate – on an amateur tryout contract.
– Vancouver Canucks first-round pick Hunter Shinkaruk – whose season is shut down due to hip surgery – is keeping a close eye on his Medicine Hat Tigers teammates, who are in tough against the Kootenay Ice in the second round.