Sunday, 8 December 2019

The Rundown - All-Star Addendum

Officially, the games won't resume until January, but it's time for us to really explore this idea of a Canada West All-Star Game featuring the best of the best from the first half of the season. I know Canada West hands out its honourary "First Team All-Star" choices and so on at the end of the season, but I really would love to see an All-Star Game with a few modifications. Since I have this platform, I'm going to dig into this idea right here and right now in terms of getting this idea off the ground. Let's look at a Canada West All-Star Game on this special edition of The Rundown!

There needs to be a line drawn somewhere since there are no divisions or conference splits for Canada West, so the easiest thing to do would be to lump the four existing Alberta teams onto one team and have the remaining four teams - UBC, Regina, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba - play as the second team. This existing set of boundaries would work next season with the arrival of MacEwan and Trinity Western as well, so we're going to play as Team Rockies and Team Surf-n-Turf.

The next thing to look at is how rosters would be chosen, and I'm going to implement a few rules here. The first rule to note is that all games are played three-on-three in two ten-minute halves like the NHL does. There is no denying that three-on-three overtime periods produce all sorts of scoring chances, so the Canada West All-Star Game will also go three-on-three.

Second, both teams will play three lines - two forwards and a defender - and two goalies for a total of eleven players with no more than three players from each Canada West team being chosen. Each team must have at least one representative on her respective all-star team (this will matter with more teams), and both teams must feature at least one rookie or first-year player in Canada. The top Alberta-based coach and the top non-Alberta-based coach at the conclusion of the first half of the schedule will be selected as the coaches for the Canada West All-Star Game.

Locations for the Canada West All-Star Game will switch between an Alberta city and a non-Alberta city annually, and jersey colours for the home squad will be worn in the home colours of the host school. The visiting school will wear the gray-and-red colours of the Canada West logo since no team in Canada West wears gray as a primary jersey colour. Because I'm proposing this idea and not to be a huge homer, I'll let the first-place team in Canada West host the first Canada West All-Star Game in the Calgary Dinos!

In stating all that above, here are my choices for the 2019 Canada West All-Star Game starting with Team Surf-n-Turf!

F - Bailee Bourassa (Saskatchewan)
F - Jaycee Magwood (Regina)
F - Paige Hubbard (Regina)*
F - Hannah Clayton-Carroll (UBC)
F - Jordyn Zacharias (Manitoba)
F - Shyan Elias (Saskatchewan)
D - Jenai Buchanan (Manitoba)
D - Tamara McVannel (Regina)
D - Mikayla Ogrodniczuk (UBC)
G - Jessica Vance (Saskatchewan)
G - Tory Micklash (UBC)
Head Coach: Steve Kook (Saskatchewan)

Not gonna lie here: I struggled leaving UBC's Mathea Fischer off this team as I really wanted a playmaker up front, but there's no denying Hannah Clayton-Carroll's strong start to this season. Had it not been for an injury to Emilie Massé, she may have gotten the nod up front for Manitoba over Jordy Zacharias. Zacharias, however, has really stepped up her game in recent weeks since having Mekaela Fisher and Camryn Gillis play alongside her. Paige Hubbard was the obvious choice as the rookie as she's been the best rookie outside of the province of Alberta, so getting the first-year player in the mix will be good for her growth as a player.

And we move to the home team in Team Rockies!

F - Alex Poznikoff (Alberta)
F - Autumn MacDougall (Alberta)
F - Madison Porter (Lethbridge)*
F - Elizabeth Lang (Calgary)
F - Anna Purschke (Mount Royal)
F - Kate Hufnagel (Mount Royal)
D - Cayle Dillon (Alberta)
D - Paige Michalenko (Calgary)
D - Eryn Johansen (Lethbridge)
G - Alicia Anderson (Lethbridge)
G - Kelsey Roberts (Calgary)
Head Coach: Danielle Goyette (Calgary)

It's a no-brainer on Poznikoff and MacDougall on this team which makes the inclusion of rookie Madison Willan difficult due to her teammates' strong play. Again, I struggled with leaving Sara Craven off this squad, but Paige Michalenko is having an incredible season on the blue line, and there's no denying the inclusion of both Lang and Roberts from this team. I flip-flopped between Hufnagel and Breanne Trotter in the sixth forward spot, but Hufnagel is literally on pace to have a career year while Trotter's had a slow start to the season. Some may question the inclusion of Eryn Johansen on this team, but I love how she moves the puck and skates like the wind. Anderson and Roberts in net are also no-brainers.

There are my proposed all-star teams that would have played this weekend at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary. Next season, one of Saskatchewan, Regina, Manitoba, or UBC would host the tournament before it flips back to one of the Alberta-based teams in Lethbridge, Mount Royal, or Alberta, and so on and so forth.

If you're asking why this would only be a women's hockey event, it's because the men already play a three-game series against the U20 World Junior Canadian team as the U SPORTS All-Star Team. Since the best Canada West players will already be playing against the best U20 players Canada has to offer, it makes little sense to hold an all-star game when the best Canada West players are already playing elsewhere.

Who would you send to the Canada West All-Star Game? Do you agree with these choices? Would you play the game differently? I'd like to hear ideas as we have some fun exploring this idea. If we can get the groundswell support, maybe we can put the pressure on Canada West to make this a real thing! Until that time, though, all we have is fantasy all-star game rosters.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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