Friday 31 December 2021

The Last One Of 2021

I post the Foo Fighters' version of This Will Be Our Year to end 2021 because I think we all need something to which we can look forward. It has been a tough, tough year for everyone - not just hockey - and there are still darker days to face as the pandemic continues. The key, for me, has been to remember that each day brings forth the same opportunity for positivity despite all the things trying to bring me down and hold me down in the darkness.

I would be remiss if I didn't use this opportunity to encourage everyone to get vaccinated whether it be for the first time, the second time, or the ongoing booster shots. There's no sense in complaining about this as the science over the last two years of battling this panedmic is unquestionably concrete in that those who are vaccinated see milder symptoms, experience less time in hospitals, and avoid serious illness and/or death more often. 2022 should be the year where you can do the simplest of things by getting vaccinated in helping you remain safer than what may happen if you're not vaccinated. Get your shot, folks.

We should also be cognizant of the toll the pandemic has taken on our mental health as much as it has affected people physically. We often forget that good mental health is a vital component to a healthy society, so 2022 should be the year where we start really focusing on and improving our mental health in everyone.

2022 can be one of the best years in history if we follow a simply recipe that includes some hope, a dash of adventure, a heaping spoonful of smiles, a touch of sunlight, a cup of cautious optimism, lots of thanks, a helping of both friends and family, and an abundance of fun. Let's not sweat the small stuff and let's not complain about rules or policies. Instead, let's make lemonade out of the lemons that 2021 kept dumping on us because we all can use a little sweetness in our lives this year.

All the best to you and yours on this New Year's Eve, and here's to a great start in 2022 when the clock strikes midnight! That will be moments from now, so I bid you adieu as I prepare for the calendar to flip to the new year! Give the song above a chance to play out because this will be our year in 2022. And yes, it took a long time to come, but it's here and it's ours to make into something special!

Happy New Year, folks!

Thursday 30 December 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 484

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, had a show all planned out that had inspirational moments, highlights from the last year of hockey, and all sorts of fun, but everything changed in a hurry on Wednesday with the announcement from the IIHF that the World Junior Hockey Championship was being cancelled as COVID outbreaks were being seen on three teams and among officials. Needless to say, it's another look at COVID-19, the world of hockey, and everything else being affected by COVID on the final episode of The Hockey Show in 2021!

With Jenna back in Winnipeg, she returns to the show tonight as we chat about a subject that is eerily the same as how we ended 2020. The IIHF and Hockey Canada shook the hockey world to its core by announcing that the World Junior Hockey Championships were being cancelled after positive COVID tests were returned to the US, Russia, and Czechia, so Teebz and Jenna have a lot of questions surrounding this development. They also discuss a possible cancellation of the Olympics, possible Canada West cancellations, the questionable OHL reinstatement of Logan Mailloux, the Calgary Flames' owners cancelling their new arena, we get Jenna's thoughts on Paul Maurice leaving the Jets, we get more of Jenna's thoughts on the Winter Classic as she's had some experience playing in an outdoor game, and we end the show with some Happy New Year wishes for everyone. After having to shifted the entire show's focus quickly after all the breaking news, settle in as we try to make sense of everything at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Jenna sort through the wreckage of the World Junior Championships, possible future cancellations based on current evidence, the OHL's questionable decision, the Flames' questionable decision, Jenna's thoughts on Maurice and outdoor games, and we leave 2021 wishing you, our listeners, a Happy New Year as we move into 2022, so make sure you tune in tonight exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: December 30, 2021: Episode 484

In saying that, Happy New Year from The Hockey Show!

Wednesday 29 December 2021

TBC: Little Book Of Hockey Sweater Numbers

The news out of Edmonton and Red Deer today about the 2022 World Junior Championship being cancelled really kills the holiday hockey schedule in a big way. With the Spengler Cup already cancelled and a large number of NHL postponements, there isn't really a lot of hockey happening. In saying that, Teebz's Book Club turned to the bookshelf to fill the evening, and TBC is proud to review Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers, written by Andrew Podnieks and Rob Hynes and published by Moydart Press! Being a guy who likes stories of why players wear certain numbers, this is one book that appealed to me immediately! Would it be as informative as I hoped it might be about numbers worn by players?

Directly from his website, "Andrew Podnieks has written more than 80 books on hockey, all of which are featured on this website. In addition, he has attended four Olympics, 13 World Championships, and many World Junior, Women's Worlds, and Women’s U18 Championships for the IIHF, writing extensively for He has worked with Hockey Canada and USA Hockey to produce comprehensive statistics for all levels of competition. For Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, he helped develop web and exhibition content and successfully nominated several inductees." TBC had reviewed a number of Mr. Podnieks' books on this site which can be found on the drop-down menu to the right! He's a talent writer, and he always produces quality books!

Ron Hynes, who seems to have have avoided photographers his whole life, is a freelance writer who lives in Toronto. He spent time working at the Hockey Hall of Fame as a Special Events Coordinator, and has more than twenty years working in television, writing books, and contributing to magazines.

The Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers doesn't miss the mark when it comes to information about numbers worn by players across a number of leagues including the NHL, WHA, junior hockey, and minor hockey as Podnieks and Hynes talk about the numbers worn by stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Ray Bourque, Auston Matthews, and Tony Esposito. While it would be virtually impossible to cover every number worn by every player to have ever played the game, there are numerous stories of players people will recognize on the pages of the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers.

Do you know why Aleksander Barkov wears #16? Do you know what two numbers Nicklas Backstrom wore in the KHL during the 2012-13 lockout? Jusse Saros wears an odd number for a goaltender as #74, but he has a very good reason for wearing that number. The Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers contains all sorts of stories like these where you learn about how the stars in the NHL came to their numbers, and a lot of them have personal ties to the numbers they've chosen to wear.

There are also tidbits of information that one may have forgotten about such as Marian Gaborik wearing #82 for the Minnesota Wild. As a guy who loves jersey cameos and players wearing odd numbers, the stories about these numbers make me smile because these are the forgotten moments in a player's career. For those that don't know, I have a Jarome Iginla jersey with the Calgary Flames that has #24 on the back, and the number of people who tell me I have the wrong number on my jersey is easily in double-digits despite Iginla wearing the number in his debut with the Flames. Again, as a guy who appreciates these star players wearing numbers they don't normally wear, reading about them in the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers made me smile.

One of the cooler facts in the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers that I didn't know is one about the late Tim Horton. Horton is a Hall-of-Famer, but he holds a special distiction in the NHL as well!
"Tim Horton is the only player in NHL history to have two different sweater numbers retired.

Horton spent parts of 20 seasons patrolling the Maple Leafs blue line, and his number 7 was retired by the organization in recognition of his Hall of Fame career.

Horton was tragically killed in an auto accident during the 1973-74 season while playing for Buffalo. Nobody ever wore his Sabres number 2 again after the accident and the Sabres officially retired it in 1998.
If you knew that fact about Horton, you're sharper than I when it comes to unique sweater number facts, but you can find this fact and a lot more in the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers!

The Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers is a very easy read with a lot of facts about very well-known players from the past and present in hockey. The 144-page book has facts on every page about the numbers worn by players in a variety of leagues, so it's a solid book if you have an interest in how players chose their numbers. If there's one complaint I have with the book, it's that there aren't many stories regarding the numbers chosen by the women who play the game. I would have liked to seen more from that side, but the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers is still a good addition to a bookcase for any hockey fan. This makes it very easy to award the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers with the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

There's nothing in the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers that would raise the eyebrows of parents, so this book is suitable for all ages and reading levels. If your hockey fan is into knwoing why players wear the numbers they do, the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers would be a perfect book for him or her! Look for the Little Book of Hockey Sweater Numbers at your local bookstore or library today!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Drafting Politics Into Hockey

There are about a million reasons why Hockey Blog In Canada doesn't delve into politics, but I'm going to break that rule today as I continue to examine the weirder stories from the WHA. I will point out that this article isn't about politics per se, but it will pertain to the man sitting behind the desk directly above. That's Minnesota Governor Wendell Anderson in 1971 duiring his first year in office, and the 37 year-old looks like he was quite comfortable in his clearly-posed photograph provided to MinnPost by the Minnesota Historical Society.

The late Anderson, who passed on in July 2016 at the age of 83, was a bit of hockey star in his own state before diving into the political scene in Minnesota. Anderson was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota where hockey is certainly the sport of choice of many young men and women. Anderson would eventually suit up for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for three seasons from 1951-54 where the defender appeared in 63 NCAA games, amassing seven goals and 18 assists over those contests.

If you're doing a little chronological work, Anderson graduated in 1954 from the University of Minnesota with his Bachelor of Arts Degree while the WHA wouldn't even be mentioned in hockey circles for another 15 years at the very earliest. So how does Anderson relate to the WHA?

Anderson's hockey career would continue at the highest level for amateur players back then as he earned a spot on the 1955 Team USA World Championship team. 14 teams participated in this 22nd edition of the tournament that took place in Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Krefeld, and Cologne, West Germany. Canada would win their 16th World Championship in the 1955 tournament, but the Americans finished in a respectable fourth-place after going 4-2-2 in group play. Anderson, for the record, had two goals over those eight games.

Team USA would remain together as they trained for the 1956 Olympic Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. At the Games, the Americans qualified for the medal round by finishing second in their three-team pool as they defeated Poland, but lost to Czechoslovakia. It was expected that the Canadians and Soviets would be the two teams competing for the gold medal, but the Americans defeated West Germany 7-2, upset Canada 4-1, hammered Sweden 6-1, and fell to the Russians 4-0 in the first four games of the medal round with a game against Czechoslovakia remaining.

With the Soviets holding a 4-0 record, the Americans needed the Canadians to beat the Russians at the very least in order for Team USA to have a shot at the gold medal and they also needed to defeat Czechoslovakia. With the Czechoslovakians already out of medal contention, they put up little resistance in their game against the US as the Americans defeated them by a 9-4 score. The Soviets, though, would beat Canada 2-0 to win the gold medal with the Americans earning silver and the Canadians taking the bronze. Just for the stats people, Anderson recorded one assist in his seven Olympic games.

Again, the question needs to be asked how Anderson and the WHA are related when all we've seen thus far are some college hockey stats, a fourth-place finish at an IIHF World Championship, and a silver-medal effort at the 1956 Winter Olympics?

Anderson was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 1958 at age 25, and his political career would blossom over the next twelve years as he was eventually elected to the gubernatorial post in Minnesota in 1971. His hockey career has long been over by the time he ascended to the Governor's office outside of a handful of senior men's hockey games in and around Minneapolis, but Wendell Anderson was enjoying his life in politics by all accounts.

In 1972, though, there was a new hockey squad on the Minnesota horizon as the WHA was getting set to begin, and they needed players to fill out rosters. They needed lots of players, in fact, and the Fighting Saints were looking to add a few local hockey heroes to their roster. Early in the February 1972 General Player Draft, they selected well-known players like Pete Mahovlich, Dale Tallon, and Bill Goldsworthy, but, later in the draft, they made the rather questionable choice of drafting 38 year-old, former Olympian Wendell Anderson... the same Wendell Anderson who was the sitting Governor in Minnesota in 1972.

It was pretty clear to most that Anderson was unlikely to accept an offer from the WHA's Fighting Saints to play hockey, so Minnesota GM Glen Somnor was asked why he'd draft Anderson. His response, documented by Sports Illustrated's Mark Mulvoy, seems as crazy as the decision to draft a sitting US Governor: "[H]e has the type of job where he might become available at any time."

Personally, it would have been at this point where I would have stopped that WHA draft and started asking what these general managers were thinking in trying to draft sitting 38 year-old politicians. Somnor is correct in that Anderson could have left the Governor's office at any time he wanted by stepping down, but Anderson was in Year Two of his first term in office. The likelihood of Anderson choosing hockey over the Governor's office was not only unlikely, but it was as close to zero as one could get when one considers that Anderson had been working towards that very goal for 12 years prior to him earning Minnesota's vote.

That political draft pick, however, wasn't the most absurd on that day, though. There was one WHA team who took the idiocy to an extreme, and the Winnipeg Jets own that honour after they inexplicably used a 70th-round pick on a man who never played a lick of organized hockey, but did lend his political grandeur in organizing one of the greatest hockey events in history.

As seen in following years in the WHA, the Winnipeg Jets used their European connections to bring over some amazing talent in players like Ulf Nilsson, Anders Hedberg, and Lars-Erik Sjöberg. It seemed, however, that the Jets were looking to find a key to open the Iron Curtain to the Soviets in 1972 when they drafted 68 year-old Russian Premier Alexei Kosygin in the same WHA Draft where the Fighting Saints chose Anderson.

Yes, you read that correctly: the Jets chose a 68 year-old Russian politician in the draft.

Kosygin had a long political career in Russia and hadn't played any organized hockey by the time he ascended to the Premier's office in 1964. It was in this position where Kosygin met with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau following Trudeau's task force in 1968 that led to the founding of Hockey Canada, and Kosygin and Trudeau were instrumental in laying the groundwork that led to the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union. Needless to say, Alexei Kosygin certainly played a role in changing the hockey landscape, but his on-ice contributions at 68 years of age were not going to help the Jets whatsoever.

Again, there is no logical reason for the Jets to make this selection on February 13, 1972 unless they had their sights on some of the Soviet players who would participate in the Summit Series in September 1972. By "drafting" the very man who had the ability to allow those Soviet players to visit and play in Canada, perhaps the Jets were thinking they foster a relationship with the 68 year-old Premier of the Soviet Union to allow those players to suit up with the Jets? Otherwise, making this pick might be one of the all-time goofiest draft selections in any league.

Whatever the reasons the Fighting Saints and the Jets had for drafting two well-known political figures to play hockey for them, neither of Wendell Anderson, Governor of Minnesota, nor Alexei Kosygin, Premier of Russia, saw the ice in the WHA. These men made their careers working in politics, and both men were pretty successful in their chosen professions. But, in a weird way, one has to wonder what kind of deals they were have negotiated if they had decided to play hockey being that politicians do a lot of negotiating in their professional lives.

Would politicians-turned-hockey-players have pushed for four-year deals based on their previous jobs?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 27 December 2021

A Goon Who Became A Hero

I was on the hunt for another image or story about the Cincinnati Stingers when the story of Willie Trognitz, pictured to the left with the IHL's Toledo Goaldiggers, fell into my lap. I had never heard of Willie Trognitz before today, and I'm not sure if anyone reading this story would have heard his name before either. Today, though, we're going to learn about just how crazy hockey was back in the 1970s and how suspensions in one league meant nothing to another. Willie Trognitz is the star of the show today, though, so let me introduce you to the man whose story seems almost too unbelievable to be real when it comes to the IHL, the WHA, and how rules meant nothing back in the brawling days of hockey in the '70s.

Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Raymond William Trognitz grew up loving the rough-and-tough game of hockey. His efforts with the Thunder Bay Vulcans in the Minnesota-Thunder Bay Hockey League, a four-team circuit in 1971-72, earned him some scouting from NHL teams, and he was chosen by the California Golden Seals 82nd-overall in the sixth round of the 1973 NHL Entry Draft. Trognitz would never reach the NHL, but he did spend some time in the other professional league as a member of the WHA's Cincinnati Stingers.

Trognitz's road to the Stingers was a winding path, though, as he made stops in the Southern Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers before jumping to the IHL with the Toledo Goaldiggers, the Columbus Owls, and the Drayton/Grand Rapids Owls. In each of those IHL seasons, Trognitz posted 200+ minutes in penalties as he was a fearless competitor, earning the name "Wild Willie" Trognitz.

It's in his final game with Drayton where Trognitz gained notoriety for his pugilistic ways. In the final moments of a Port Huron-Drayton game that saw the Port Huron Flags leading 4-1, a second fight between Dayton's Rick Dorman and the Port Huron's Gary Rissling developed. As players heaed towards the skirmish, the benches cleared, and Trognitz, just freed from the penalty box, took aim at Port Huron's Archie Henderson who had grabbed Dayton's John Flesch.

Trognitz jumped Henderson from behind and rained blows down upon him, one of which reportedly broke Henderson's nose. The three players fell to the ice as Henderson had not let go of Flesch, and Port Huron's Gary McMonagle skated over to even things up by pulling Trognitz off the pile. Trognitz immediately began pummelling McMonagle until he went down on the ice. With his work done, Trognitz skated to the Drayton bench as the officials and police worked to separate the teams and send them to their respective dressing rooms.

Henderson, who had collected his gloves and stick and was being escorted off the ice by a linesman, dropped his gear, broke away from the linesman, and set his sights on Trognitz who had bloodied him earlier in the brawl. What happened next is up for debate as there are stories from both sides that differ, but Trognitz swung his stick at the oncoming Henderson and caught him on the forehead with the blade, splitting his forehead open.

Upon seeing Trognitz's work with his stick, a Port Huron fan somehow got onto the Drayton bench and slugged Trognitz in the side of the head which caused Trognitz to fall. With Henderson dazed and bleeding and Trognitz dazed on the ice, the officials were able to corral them both into their respective dressing rooms. The stick infraction, however, is the point of contention here as each team had their version of events.

As Sports Illustrated's Peter Gammons writes,
Port Huron people say Henderson stopped a few feet short of Wild Willie, put up his fists and challenged him to a fight, whereupon Trognitz took his stick and creased Henderson across the forehead.

Trognitz and the Dayton people claim that Henderson charged Trognitz, and the startled Trognitz reacted with a fly-caster's wave of his stick that happened to catch Henderson on the forehead.

Port Huron people say Trognitz hit Henderson with a full two-handed swing.

Dayton's Flesch maintains that teammate Trognitz' swing was "a kiss. If he'd swung, he'd have gotten him on the head and fractured his skull."
Whatever the case may be, Henderson needed eight stitches for his forehead, his nose reset, and some rest for a concussion as he spent the night in a Port Huron hospital. After collecting all the evidence from that night, WHA President William Beagan shocked everyone by permanently suspending Trognitz, banning him from the IHL.

In today's hockey world, this ban would mean that a player's career is likely over unless the KHL needs a warm body, but the WHA in 1977 didn't really care about suspensions or bans. Just four days after being banned by the IHL, Trognitz was flying with the Cincinnati Stingers to Edmonton, Alberta for a game against the Oilers as the Stingers were looking for someone to protect players like Rick Dudley, Robbie Ftorek, and Mark Messier.

The Stingers reached out to Trognitz's agent and made an offer: $150 a game for 10 games. Trognitz, not having many options, signed the deal on November 7, 1977 and joined the Stingers. The WHA was a little worried about Trognitz following his incident in the IHL, so they mandated a 30-day probation period for the newly-signed Stinger and made Cincinnati post a $25,000 bond in case Trognitz went crazy in a WHA game.

Trognitz knew his value when it came to why he was brought to Cincinnati, and here's where the story takes a weird turn. Stingers head coach Jacques Demers never asked Trognitz to fight as part of his role with the Stingers, so Trognitz never tangled with anyone in his time with the Stingers during his ten-game stint. He was used more as intimidation and as a policeman - someone who would keep the other team's tough guys in line instead of having them pick on Cincinnati's skilled players. During his ten-game tryout, he was scratched a couple of times as he played in just seven of Cincinnati's ten games over the next three weeks. However, the Stingers liked what they saw, and reportedly offered Trognitz another 10-game, $150-per-game deal to remain with the club despite what the newspapers reported.

According to reports, Trognitz declined the 10-game offer from the Stingers, stating, "What's $150? I got guys making $150,000 hiding behind my back." With that, the Stingers officially released him, as stated above image, as it seems that Trognitz wanted a better pay day than $1500 for ten games.

If you've already gone out to search Willie Trognitz on a site like, you'll find that he played 29 games for the Stingers in 1977-78 which is significantly more than the seven I mentioned.
It turns out that the Stingers came to their senses when it came to having Trognitz patrolling the ice because they reached out to him on January 15, 1978 with a prorated contract for the remainder of the '77-78 season! Trognitz, who had held out for a better-paying contract, signed the deal and finished the season in Cincinnati where, unfortunately, the Stingers missed the playoffs by two points. You wonder if, had they kept Trognitz through those 25 games between November 29 and January 14, they would have made the playoffs considering how the Stingers went 9-14-2 over that period.

It seems we'll never know, but Willie Trognitz, who was banned from the IHL on October 29, 1977, got himself a professional hockey contract in the WHA by January 1978. That's not a bad step up from the $10,000 he was likely making in the IHL considering how the WHA threw money around, and you have to give him a little credit for recognizing that the job he was doing in protecting his teammates was worth more than $150 per game.

Whatever amount of money he earned with the Stingers for the remainder of the season was the last money paid to him at the highest professional levels of hockey. The following season saw Trognitz in the Pacific Hockey League with the Tucson Rattlers followed by a season with the Central Hockey League's Fort Worth Texans. While his 203 PIMs with Fort Worth was a return to "Wild Willie" as a player, it may ultimately have done him in when it came to his career length.

As documented by Gammons in his SI article, "Trognitz has five broken knuckles, three broken noses and a broken jaw to show for his bouts. And his knuckles are so swollen they have to be heavily taped in order for him to put on his gloves." I can't imagine his hands holding up to more fights with all that damage, and fights in the CHL were far more common thanks to the nature of the league.

At this point, you might be asking where the "hero" part of the story begins because Trognitz hasn't really done anything heroic through his hockey career besides facing off with guys like Semenko, Clackson, and Durbano.

With his last games in the books, Trognitz returned home to Thunder Bay where he began working for the Canadian Coast Guard. It was a good posting for Trognitz in terms of being in his hometown, but his fearless approach in the face of danger would come to good use on October 30, 1996!

Working about the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Westfort, Trognitz and the crew were part of a rescue mission in helping two men from a disabled American cruise ship named "Grampa Woo" on Lake Superior, Ontario! The ship had been damaged when it was ripped from its mooring and sent adrift by gale-force winds, forcing the Canadian Coast Guard into action. The Westfort and a tugboat, the Glenada, risked the 120km/hr winds and four-meter waves to rescue the two men aboard the cruise ship.

I can proudly say that the two men were rescued from that harrowing ordeal, and the crews of the Westfort and Glenada were honoured by the Canadian Governor General for their heroism as Willy Trognitz was awarded the Governor General's Medal of Bravery! Honestly, how many people on this planet can say they were banned from playing hockey in a professional league while sporting a Canadian Medal of Bravery? My guess is there's only one person who can: Raymond William Trognitz!

"That was the most intense rescue that I've been on," he told Jeff Labine of in 2011. "I honestly thought that would be my last day. We all did. We were almost rolling over and we were on our side many times. The boat was literally on its side."

Willie Trognitz is now part of a Joan Skelton book, Rescue from Grampa Woo, as she documented the act of bravery in saving the men from the Grampa Woo. In knowing all this, I think I owe a big congratulations to Mr. Trognitz for everything he's done in his hockey career and in this second career which is even more amazing than the hockey story!

I love great stories with a hockey element like this, and I hope you did as well. As stated off the top, Raymond William Trognitz isn't a name with which you're likely familiar, but I hope telling his story here today gives you a little bit of appreciation for a guy who defended his teammates and literally saved lives. While those two things aren't exactly congruent in their happenings, they are related thanks to Canadian Coast Guard crewman and former hockey player Willie Trognitz!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 26 December 2021

The Rundown - Hometown Heroes

Today's article on The Rundown is less about hockey and more about being home with the ones you love - friends, family, random delivery people who bring food - during this holiday season. Forget the stats and let's not worry about the schedule and the pauses being implemented. Instead, let's enjoy this holiday season as best we can because it's a time for joy and celebration and cheer. I respect that a number of the talented women who play Canada West hockey come from communities not near the schools where they play, so today is all about hometowns as players return to them for the holiday season on The Rundown!

In putting together this map, I was pretty astonished that Canada West women's hockey represents some 115 communities across Canada and the world by the players who suit up to play hockey every weekend. Five provinces and one territory are represented by the women while six countries are represented as well. For the five European women who play in western Canada, that trip back home takes slightly longer than some of the other women who play alongside them.

When you think about that number above - 115 communities - it shows you that players are being developed in every corner of this country still whether it be a small town or a large city. When you see players like Kyla McDonald who grew up in Inuvik, Northwest Territory or Kennesha Miswaggon who grew up in Cross Lake, Manitoba or Sara Kendall in Ponteix, Saskatchewan and you think "where is that?", these are the players who may have had to move away at a younger age to help them get better than what their smaller towns offered in terms of hockey. All three of these players are on Canada West rosters, and it goes to show you that not everyone has to be from "the big city" to find their way to a Canada West school.

Feel free to explore the map below. There are a handful of players from Ontario if you go looking, and the five players from Europe should be easy to spot. It would appear that the city of Calgary has produced the most players currently on Canada West rosters, so you can take a peek at that list of players who call the city home, but have a look around through western Canada and see if anyone hails from your town or city!

The holiday season has always been a time for family for me, and I know that some of the women stayed in their cities where they play for a variety of reasons. Here's hoping they found time to Zoom, Facetime, or whatever social app they use to communicate with their loved ones during this time. Being together this year, especially with all the insanity happening in the right now, seems more important more than ever.

With it being Boxing Day in Canada which is technically a holiday, I'm not going to make this long-winded as I'm going to relax today. Here's hoping you got everything for which you had wished, the food at your holiday meal was plentiful and filling, and you're enjoying another great day among friends, family, and relatives if you're still in their midst.

Happy holidays, folks, and be merry!

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, folks! I'm an early riser thanks to my job, but there's always been a palpable excitement over the big day that I just can't shake. Like Kevin McCallister above, I'm the guy waiting for everyone else to gather around the tree for the fun of opening gifts and discovering new treasures on Christmas morning!

If there's one change, it's that I truly enjoy the giving part more than the receiving. I still appreciate the gifts I receive, but seeing someone's face light up upon opening a gift one never thought one would receive or opening a present that one had one's heart set on is truly magical. It's in this giving spirit that I hope you find some magic today as smiles find their ways across the faces of the ones you love.

Be gracious and thank your loved ones profusely for the gifts you receive, but be infinitely more thankful for the people who are doing the giving as well. As we've seen in this pandemic, life is precious and can be snuffed out by what seems like an invisible enemy, so let's be grateful for the people we have around us and be thankful for their safety and health today. For those who have lost someone over the last year, remember those who have passed with the fondest of memories so that their legacies are remembered through laughs and smiles. Family and friends are so important, so let's be thankful for every moment we have with them.

Just as I did yesterday, I wish you nothing but the best in this holiday season, and here's hoping there's a ton of family time as humanly possible even if Uncle Jim gets on your nerves a little. This season is about sharing joy and cheer, so make the most of it today, beyond, and whenever you get a chance. And to all the "Uncle Jims" out there, I apologize for making you the example above. You're good people too!

Merry Christmas to all, and keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 24 December 2021

A Quiet Night

It was a quiet night at HBIC Headquarters as I settled into the last evening before the celebration tomorrow. As a family, we were never into the religious side of the coin when it comes to Christmas, but it was always a time for family, friends, coming together, and sharing in the festive spirit and good food brought by all. It will be like that again tomorrow as we gather once more, but the gift of good health seems more poignant than ever.

Tonight, I spent the evening making some delectable delights for tomorrow's gathering, and I enjoyed the newest offering from the Disney Corporation as Encanto filled my evening with a great story about the magic of family. I wasn't aware that Encanto was Disney's 60th full-length feature film, but Disney did a good job in highlighting some important lessons about the dynamics in families and the importance of family as a whole in this film. It's not their best work ever, but Encanto has just enough charm and fun to keep viewers interested in Maribel's adventure!

I had thoughts about writing about the latest IIHF injustice with the organization cancelling all January tournaments, but I feel the need to be happy and festive today. Perhaps I'll tackle that after the break, but I didn't feel like assigning the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge to the IIHF tonight in the newest off-off-off-Broadway play entitled "A Cancelled Christmas Carol". With that in mind, I'm going to focus on the important stuff - health, friends, family, happiness - and purge the IIHF's cruel behaviours from my head for one night.

Speaking about breaks, don't expect much in the way of hockey articles tomorrow as I think I've been clear that I'll be in the company of people I hold dear and not worrying about sticks, pucks, and saves. There will be a quick blurb, but The Rundown returns Sunday with a special piece in terms of "going home", and we'll pick up the normal efforts again on Monday when life begins to return to pre-holiday mode.

To all my readers, I wish you nothing but the happiest, safest Christmas possible with the ones you love. If you're not celebrating this holiday, I still wish for you to be safe, healthy, and happy, and know that HBIC appreciates you stopping by to read. Thanks for not taking me to task too often for some of the rants I go on, and know that I want nothing but the best for you in the final days of 2021 and beyond. Take this weekend off, gather with the people you love the most, and tell them how much you appreciate and love them in these rather crazy times. I know I'll be doing that.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas, folks! All the best!

Thursday 23 December 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 483

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back on the observed date of Festivus with a show I've been dying to do for nearly two years. As you may recall, there was no Canada West season last year, so the number of rookies playing in the conference right now is staggering. Tonight, we'll cross two names of the "people we need to meet" list as we meet two of the Bisons who are playing their first years of hockey in Canada West!

On the program this evening, we meet two extremely talented women who play for the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team as Teebz sits down with Kylie Lesuk and Julia Bird for their first UMFM interviews! Kylie, formerly of the Eastman Selects in the MFHL, and Julia, formerly of the Winnipeg Ice in the MFHL, are both in their first years of eligibility with the Bisons, so it's an unofficial "Rookie Show"! How long has it been since we did one of these show? "Far too long" is the correct answer if you ask me.

Tonight, We learn about growing up in their respective households, how they got started in hockey, their younger hockey careers, Julia being a bit of a TV star, and more! We also discuss their first seasons in Canada West hockey, things seen and heard around Wayne Fleming Arena regarding the Bisons, whether or not they're worried about a premature end to the season, and a lot more regarding their first three months of Canada West hockey. These two women are among the best in Canada West and are proving to be among the brightest in the classroom, so make sure you tune in at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via as we meet Kylie Lesuk and Julia Bird from the Manitoba Bisons!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz sits down with Kylie Lesuk and Julia Bird of the Manitoba Bisons to discuss their first years in university, growing up, wearing numbers, which team has been their toughest opponent thus far, Julia being a TV star, Kylie wearing stripes, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: December 23, 2021: Episode 483

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Let It Burn

As you may have heard over the last couple of days, the green-lit Calgary arena project has thrown itself off the rails after the group representing the Flames and all its associated ventures decided that the rising costs in building an arena should be split with the city of Calgary after the city made it very clear that they had a finite budget for this project. If that last sentence made your head spin, you might live in Calgary where residents are furious that the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) has all but killed their own deal with the city of Calgary after new Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek informed the CSEC that the costs for building the arena had gone up.

I'm not dancing on the grave of this deal just yet, but the fact that the city of Calgary told the CSEC to pony up more dough to cover the rising costs at which the CSEC balked only reinforces the idea that public money should never be used to fund arenas and stadiums for private professional sports franchises. Let's dig into this calamity because this is a case of billionaires being cheap when it comes to wanting more for less.

On Wednesday, John Bean, President of CSEC, made the announcement that there "wasn't a path forward" when it came to the new slate of $19-million costs that the city of Calgary identified when it came to building roads and sidewalks and in remediation for the proposed arena site. What should be made clear is that the climate-change costs that were bundled into the $19-million price tag are entirely what remediation is. It's actually defined as "the action of remedying something, in particular of reversing or stopping environmental damage".

According to CTV Calgary,
"Gondek adds that the climate resilience expectations of the project — the renewable and low carbon energy study requirement — were laid out in December 2020, months before the arrival of the current council in October. She says the CSEC knew of this requirement, as well as the need for roads and sidewalks, and there were several conversations in the year that followed centred on the energy efficiency and climate resiliency of the project."
As Mayor Gondek makes clear, these provisions were made by the previous council and mayor who did much of the negotiating on this deal with CSEC. When she presented the bill for these items to CSEC, it sounds as though they were less than receptive with regards to the actual figure of $19 million.

Bean told CTV that "the CSEC was 'awfully close' and there was a deal to be had, but they couldn't get it 'across the line'" which is a peculiar way to describe costs that were bound to emerge since they were forecasted one year ago. While the CSEC said that it was willing to pay for cost overruns in the construction of the arena, the increase of $16 million over the $650-million price tag forced the CSEC to reconsider despite the city agreeing "to pay roughly $6.4 million of the $16 million to address roadways and climate mitigation".

If you're doing the math, the CSEC killed the arena deal over $9.7 million - roughly what Matthew Tkachuk's next contract will be worth annually after this season. The problem is that the cost of the remediation won't get any cheaper if the CSEC thinks it can play hardball with the city when it comes to splitting these costs. As we've seen in other arena and stadium deals, the costs to be environmentally-friendly both in the cleanup and the construction can swing wildly depending on each city's situation.

In saying that, I present to you the case of Tempe, Arizona and the Arizona Coyotes. As you may recall, the Coyotes are in all sorts of arena trouble this year and beyond, so they've proposed an idea to build an arena in Tempe that they would call home. Tempe has looked over the plans for the arena and the land where this arena would need to be built, and they tabbed the cost of remediation back in June at $70 million.

A large part of this cost is because the area where the arena is projected to be built is a former landfill. There are all sorts of environmental issues that can arise from digging up landfill items, so the cost of putting an arena in that very location in Tempe is expensive. The clean-up and regulations for clean soil, clean water, and a host of other environmental issues are always expensive because disposing of things in an environmentally-friendly way is more expensive than just burying it in the sand.

The Phoenix Business Journal, linked above, went and found experts on the remediation process when it comes to building new arenas and stadiums, and the financial forecasts weren't optimistic.
"Tim Kellison, a professor at Georgia State University who concentrates on sport in the urban environment, said going over budget is 'inevitable' for this kind of project. He cited examples including Tropicana Field, which nearly tripled in land costs compared to its original estimate, according to a 1990 article in the Tampa Bay Times.

"'What tends to occur is an underestimation of just how badly the land is contaminated,' Kellison said, 'and as a result, how much it will cost to actually do a good job cleaning up the site in a way that conforms with numerous environmental regulations.'"
Again, I struggle with CSEC's claim of being prepared for additional costs when they couldn't come up with $10 million to push this project forward. They knew about the costs associated with moving forward. There's even a quote about the CalgaryNEXT project in the same August 3, 2021 Phoenix Business Journal article that reads, "... the proposed CalgaryNEXT development was forecasted in 2016 to require between $85 million and $103 million in Canadian dollars ($68 million and $83 million in U.S. dollars), putting it right in the neighborhood of the Tempe site."

I keep linking these arena construction articles back to the John Oliver rant I dissected in 2015. On top of that, there were all sorts of new details that came to light in 2019 as to how much this arena could end up costing the city of Calgary once everything was done, and it would appear no one recalls this information as Calgary could lose in this deal in a big way. Don't forget that, in 2019, this arena was originally "projected to cost between $550 million and $600 million, according to estimates provided by CMLC", and we've already seen those costs go up as the new total was sitting at $650 million.

I don't want to be the one to break this news to them, but the CSEC probably should have been prepared for more cost increases too.

I've said it before and I'll say it again right here and now: if billionaires want million-dollar toys, then billionaires had better be prepared for millions of dollars in maintenance. Otherwise, stop buying things you're not willing to maintain, and stop begging for handouts when you want that fancy, shiny new toy. The fact that you got more than a quarter of a billion dollars out of the city of Calgary already means that's $250 million of available money you have to spend on other things. And if costs go up, that's $250 million of contingency money.

You won't see me shed one tear over the CSEC walking away from the very deal they proposed, but aren't willing to finance when higher costs emerge. If they truly walk away from this deal, the next one they seek starts not where this one died, but at zero dollars of support from the city of Calgary. Times have changed, people are struggling, and that $250 million can be used in a number of ways to make the lives of the citizens of Calgary better. While there's a tab for $10 million needing to be paid if this deal is moving forward, one shouldn't take for granted every other dollar that was already covered by public funds in the deal that could have been used for a myriad of other civic purposes.

This may be one burned bridge that won't be rebuilt any time soon.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 21 December 2021

The Other Guys

While Gamble and Hoitz may have solved the biggest crime New York City has ever seen, there will be no happy ending to this story. As you may have heard, the NHL has all but made the the annoucement that they're opting out of participating in the Olympics due to the growing COVID-19 problem within their ranks and across the planet. As a result, we won't see a MacKinnon-McDavid-Crosby line work their magic anytime soon or, perhaps, ever. But, like Gamble and Hoitz, I'm here to tell you that there are two empty desks once filled by Danson and Highsmith, and it's time for the other guys to step in and do this country proud!

Obviously, the announcement that Canada was withdrawing from the Spnegler Cup means we won't get a good look at a pile of players who likely would have suited up for Canada in Beijing. By withdrawing, it reduces the total time that the new, makeshift Canadian squad will have in coming together, so we'll have to see who Canada can convince to make the trip to China to try and bring home a gold medal. There are options out there, so let's start turning over stones to find these other guys.

Former UND forward Corban Knight is likely on the short list after his work in the KHL with Avangard Omsk. Knight currently sits third in KHL scoring with 16 goals and 24 assists in 40 games. Knight has been a bright spot for a team that was struggling around the .500 mark, so he should be tabbed for a potential Canadian spot if he wants to play.

Curtis Valk of Barys Astana, Philippe Maillet of Magnitogorsk, Daniel Audette of Vityaz, and Ryan Spooner of Avtomobilist should also be given consideration when it comes to building this team as all four players have more than 30 points in the KHL with their respective teams. Canada would be wise in including Stephane Da Costa Avtomobilist for his long service with Hockey Canada and his experience playing in the other European leagues, and Eric O'Dell of Dynamo Moscow would be another solid veteran forward pick from the KHL for Canada to consider.

On the back end, Jesse Blacker is having a solid season on the blue line for Avtomobilist as he's amassed five goals and 19 assists for Yekaterinburg thus far while former NHLer Steven Kampfer is playing good hockey for Ak Bars Kazan in terms of his nine goals and 12 assists. Darren Dietz might be someone I'd use as a power-play specialist, but his -17 stat playing for two playoff-bound teams this season in Astana and CSKA Moscow has me wondering what is happening when he's on the ice. His eight power-play goals can't be overlooked, though.

The only Canadian goalie in the KHL I'd be asking is Eddie Pasquale. The journeyman goalie seems to have found a home with Lokomotiv, but don't let his 18-14-3 record scare you when he's sporting a 1.95 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He's been through the war in the AHL and he's been excellent there as he's showing in the KHL for a Lokomotiv team that's just +11 in goa differential after 41 games. Pasquale's done enough for me to short-list him as well.

Over in the Swiss League, Chris DiDomenico should be a lock for Team Canada if he wants to play as his 11 goals and 26 assists have him sitting fourth-overall in league scoring with HC Fribourg-Gottéron. Daniel Winnik might be a good add as a veteran player as his 14 goals and 13 assists have done wonders for Genève-Servette. Long-time KHLer Justin Azevedo and former New Jersey Devil John Quenneville have good chemistry with Zurich in terms of 27 and 26 points, respectively, so they would be good additions to Team Canada's list.

Defender Maxim Noreau is once again near the top of the defensive scoring leaders in the Swiss League, so it makes sense to bring him as he's always answered the call for Canada during the Spengler Cup. Mark Barbeiro has only played in 14 games this season for Lausanne, but his six assists shows he can still make plays. Beyond that, there aren't many Canadian defenders shaking up the Swiss League, and the goaltenders aren't anything about which one should be excited.

Anthony Camara is having a decent season for HC Dynamo Pardubice in the Czech Extraliga as he has 12 goals and 12 assists in 30 games. Max Veronneau is second in scoring in the Swedish Elite League with Leksands IF, and his 19 goals and 14 assists could boost Canada's scoring as he leads the SHL in lighting the lamp. Adam Tambellini of Rogle is right behind him with 28 points and is third in the league with 15 goals, and Ty Rattie of Timra has 15 goals and 25 points.

Matt Tomkins might be a goalie that Canada wants to keep an eye on as the Frölunda netminder is second in save percentage in the SHL at .926 while sporting a 2.09 GAA in 12 wins over 18 appearances. Tomkins never really stood out in his short time with Rockford and Indy in North America, but he seems to be putting it together with Frölunda. He might be an option in net.

Of course, we shouldn't avoid looking at the AHL where Jack Quinn of Rochester might be a guy who gets a look after scoring 11 goals and 13 assists in just 17 games. Jakob Pelletier in Stockton has ten goals and 17 assist in 23 games. On the blue line, Jake Christiansen of the Cleveland Monsters is making a name for himself with five goals and 13 assists in 21 games while Sean Durzi of Ontario has scored five goals and added 11 helpers in just 13 games.

I know it might seem like a long shot for Hockey Canada to consider, but I'd suggest that one of the goalies who goes to the Olympics be Rylan Toth from the UBC Thunderbirds. Toth has been ridiculous for the T-Birds this season in compiling a 9-1-1 record while sporting a Canada West-best 1.62 GAA and a conference-best .941 save percentage. Toth hasn't just been the best goalie this season, but he's likely the Canada West MVP in terms of how he's played. Hockey Canada needs to look in their own backyard and give Toth a shot.

Of course, I could be way off in all my assessments of players I believe should be headed to Beijing to wear the maple leaf on their chests. Hockey Canada may know about 30 other players they'd like to ask before the players listed above, but it is nearly a certainty that Team Canada will have a roster of "the other guys" when it comes to competing for gold who I'll be cheering on in their quest for greatness. As the narrator says in the Adam McKay-directed film,
"Let's be honest, we all wanna be superstars and hotshots. But guess what? The people that do the real work, the ones that make the difference, you don't see them on TV or on the front page. I'm talking about the day-in, day-outers, the grinders. Come on, man, you know who - the other guys."
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 20 December 2021

A Spengler Nope

With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading exponentially across the globe, there is a clear being made by a number of leagues and organizations to slow the spread of this new wave of the virus. One of those organizations is Hockey Canada who made the decision today to withdraw its entry in the annual Spengler Cup, and one of my favorite international tournaments saw Canada as one of two teams step away from the tournament as teams and organizations look to keep their players and staff safe. I can't fault any of the teams and organizations who are taking this step, but it's just another heavy dose of sobering reality in a world battling a pandemic.

"We have a long-standing tradition of participating in the Spengler Cup, and it is disappointing that we are unable to attend the prestigious event this year," Tom Renney, Hockey Canada's chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, wrote in a statement. "However, we strongly believe this is the right decision to maintain the health and safety of our players, coaches and support staff that were set to represent Canada."

With the joint statement above by Renney and Smith, that ends Canada's hopes in defending their 2019 tournament victory. Along with Canada, though, HC Ambri-Piotta from Italy were also forced to withdraw after 14 positive tests were returned yesterday to the club. They formally withdrew from the tournament as well, leaving the six-team competition with just four teams and organizers scrambling.

Teams who had been on the outside stepped up quickly. Slovak club HC Slovan Bratislava jumped into one of the vacated spots to keep the international flavour live, and the second spot will be a bit of a Swiss All-Star team as the sixth team will be comprised of players from SC Bern, EHC Biel, and the SCL Tigers. With these new teams, the field is now comprised of HC Davos (SWI), Frolunda HC (SWE), Kalpa Kuopio (FIN), Sparta Prague (CZE), HC Slovan Bratislava (SVK), and the "Swiss Stars" (SWI).

The new schedule for the tournament will be drawn up over the next day or so, but the tournament will still start on Boxing Day and end on New Year's Eve. I'm usually up early to catch the action from the Spengler Cup because I love seeing former NHL players and up-and-coming players in this tournament, but it appears that won't be a concern of mine this holiday season either as TSN's broadcast schedule has completely purged the Spengler Cup tournament from its planned offerings next week.

I find this difficult to comprehend in that TSN holds the rights to most Hockey Canada events and always covers the Spengler Cup, yet they refuse to broadcast the tournament when Canada opts not to participate. For a network that calls itself "The Sports Network", they sure seem hellbent on their own self-aggrandization when it comes to Canada's sports landscape, yet they refuse to show a tournament whose rights they show because it doesn't have a Canadian flavour among the participants? You can practically reach out and feel the hypocrisy that Bell Media peddles at this point.

Check the broadcast schedule for December 30 that includes nine-straight hours of the same SportsCentre broadcast followed by more than twelve hours of NCAA Bowl games for football on TSN5 while TSN1 features garbage programming for over 16 hours. Exciting stuff from "Canada's sports leader" on a day where there would have been where the two semi-final games played between teams at the Spengler Cup that easily would have made TSN worth watching. Instead, enjoy your 2021 STIHL Timbersports Canadian Pro Championship on TSN4 because lumberjacks are certainly better than live international hockey.

Hockey Canada's decision denied us of a Canadian holiday tradition in watching Canadians attempt to win the Spengler Cup, but TSN's thoughtlessness has denied us of any Spengler Cup action entirely. I guess the "Sports" in The Sports Network only means "when it benefits Hockey Canada" for Bell Media.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 19 December 2021

The Rundown - Scoring First

With everyone on break until January, there's hope that the second half of the Canada West schedule will resume on time unlike what we're seeing in Ontario and the Maritimes. The new COVID-19 variant is causing all sorts of problems with schedules for all sports, so please continue to exercise caution and smarts when it comes to large gatherings. If possible, get your booster shot, and, if you're needing to be vaccinated, please do so. Today, though, we're gonna look at the stats involving scoring the first goal of the game and how it affects each of the Canada West teams. You can read the summary of the overall results of scoring the opening goal here, but we're going to dig into those effects and how they affect each team in today's edition of The Rundown!

Record: 8-1-1-2 (20 pts).
Standing: 1st in Canada West.
Goals-For: 36.

Mount Royal is only one of two teams that have yet to post a regulation loss when scoring first, and they currently hold a 7-0-1-2 in that regard. As you can see, they've scored first in ten of their first twelve games, and that has benefitted them greatly as they've earned 18 of 20 points after taking a lead. Their only losses after scoring first both came in overtime: against Alberta in the opening game of the season, and against Manitoba on November 20. It's pretty clear that once Mount Royal gets an early lead, they're not relinquishing it.

Of their ten first goals, only one came on the power-play which is a testament to their five-on-five play. Mount Royal's five first-period opening goals are tied for the most in the conference, and they do have one of two overtime first-goals as well. This is a team that uses their first period scoring well as half of their ten first-period goals have been the first goal of those games, so Mount Royal deserves some kudos for their ability to get out in front and stay in front once they do.


The Cougars showed their scoring depth in this first half of the season, and their first-goal scorers are a reflection of that depth. No one player has more than two, but there are seven players who notched an opening goal.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Courtney Kollman (2), Tianna Ko (2), Tatum Amy (2), Kate Scidmore (1), Taylor Sawka (1), Aliya Jomha (1), Jori Hansen-Young (1).

Record: 9-3-0-0 (18 pts).
Position: 2nd in Canada West.
Goals-For: 49.

The Thunderbirds registered a first-goal win in all three months of the first half of the season, something only they and Mount Royal can claim. That helped them to their lofty 9-3-0-0 record in the opening half of the campaign, but their 6-1-0-0 record when scoring first speaks volumes about how important it is for UBC to play with the lead. If they were forced to play from behind, they fell to 3-2-0-0 in those games, so look for UBC to continue to push the pace as they aim to score first and score often as the conference's highest-scoring team.

UBC led every period in scoring in the first half of the season, yet none of the opening goals were scored in the third period. Instead, they scored for in the first period and three in the second period. In knowing those two facts, this is a team that will score early and score often to simply crush teams under a mountain of goals. It seems pretty clear that UBC is going to try to score their way out of most problems.


They scored the first goal in seven games, and seven different players scored those goals. Again, there's no denying that UBC has a pile of offensive talent this season, and the players listed below show just how deep their lineup is.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Ashley McFadden (1), Rylind MacKinnon (1), Sophia Gaskell (1), Karine Sandilands (1), Shay-Lee McConnell (1), Grace Elliott (1), Jenna Fletcher (1).

Record: 6-4-2-0 (16 pts).
Position: 3rd in Canada West.
Goals-For: 30.

It seems like Kyleigh Palmer and I have been lamenting Manitoba's "sleepy" first periods all season long, but it becomes apparent when you see that they've only compiled a 3-2-1-0 record when scoring first - only Regina and Trinity Western have been worse. What this means is that Manitoba was playing from behind a lot in games because they simply refused to jump in front and make other teams catch them. This is a dangerous way to live, especially when you consider that Manitoba has already lost two games where they opened the scoring.

Here's where things get even more scary: Manitoba has opened the scoring in the first period three times, but have only scored five first-period goals in total to this point in the season. The second period is fantastic as Manitoba has two more opening goals there, but they've also lit the lamp 18 times in the middle frame. It's the short-change periods that kill Manitoba as they've only scored six third-period goals all season. This team has defied the odds thus far in being as successful as they have been while only playing one period of hockey most nights.


I've liked her hustle all season long, so kudos to Vanessa Klimpke for leading the Bisons in opening goals. I'm a little shocked that we haven't seen Kate Gregoire or Kylie Lesuk on this list to date, but there's still time in the final eight games of the season.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Vanessa Klimpke (2), Sarah Dennehy (1), Ashley Keller (1), Halle Edwards (1), Samantha Sichkaruk (1).

Record: 4-4-3-1 (15 pts).
Position: 4th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 28.

Alberta's October didn't go well as they didn't score the opening goal in any game. Because of that, they only have a 3-2-0-0 record when scoring first. Like the tams that came before them, though, the Pandas do battle hard to win games, but they could make it easier on themselves by scoring first a little more often. Alberta was the only team not to record a special-teams opening goal in the first half of the season as well.

In what might be one of the weirdest stats lines, Payton Laumbach might be the first and only player to have recorded an opening goal on an open net as she completed that feat against Manitoba when the Bisons scored an "own goal" during a delayed penalty call. Alberta scored two first-period opening goals and three second-period opening goals in periods where they scored nine and eleven goals, respectively. There's nothing that really stands out here other than Alberta needs more goals and certainly needs more opening goals in games.

Alberta scored as many overtime goals in October - three - as they did in their second periods which were their most productive periods. Had they opened the scoring in any of those games, they may not have needed those overtime goals. In any case, the Pandas have to find a way to generate more first-goal opportunities if they want to continue to climb the standings.


The Pandas only scored five goals, so don't expect a lot of names. One player who is making her opportunties count, though, is Jadynn Morden who leads the Pandas with a pair of first-goal goals.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Jadynn Morden (2), Payton Laumbach (1), Megan Wilson (1), Natalie Kieser (1).

Record: 6-2-0-2 (14 pts).
Position: 5th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 23.

Saskatchewan's great defensive play helps them hold leads, but, because they don't score a lot, playing catch-up or scoring a big goal to swing momentum seems like a tall task for the Huskies. That being said, Saskatchewan is an impressive 5-0-0-0 when scoring first, but that 1-2-0-2 record when they don't score first should concern head coach Steve Kook. If Saskatchewan doesn't score first, they're a sub-.500 team, and we know the Huskies struggle to score. This might be their Achilles' heel.

Saksatchewan does like to get out in front early, scoring four opening goals of the nine total goals they scored in the first period. Once they get the lead, they have yet to relinquish it so it would seem imperative that the Huskies score first. While they do have fairly balanced scoring across all three periods with totals of nine, seven, and seven goals respectively, it should be noted that they don't have double-digits in goals in any period yet. This is that lack of scoring that should worry the Huskies, specifically in the third period when behind.

It's pretty simple: Saskatchewan needs to score first more often if they want to win more games. While they have won six games in regulation this season, it's pretty clear that their 5-0-0-0 record in games where they've scored first is major part of that success. Saskatchewan has to score more often, but they need to continue to score first to stay in the hunt for a top-two finish.


Bourassa, Lalor, and Brown won't be names you'll find as opening-goal scorers for the Huskies thus far. If the Huskies can get those offensive catalysts going, they'll be far more dangerous in the second half of the season.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Abby Shirley (1), Emily Holmes (1), Kelsey Hall (1), Jasper Desmarais (1), Kate Ball (1).

Record: 5-7-0-0 (10 pts).
Position: 6th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 16.

Let's be very clear: scoring 1.33 goals-per-game is a good way to miss the playoffs. MacEwan is incredibly defying those odds, and a large part of that equation is their 5-1-0-0 record when scoring the game's first goal. Yes, you read that correctly: MacEwan has won five of the six games where they scored first, and those are the only five wins they have this season. If you're Lindsay McAlpine and you're reading this, the message is clear: score more often, especially opening goals. MacEwan's only loss when they scored first was in the last game of the first half of the season when they scored the opening goal in a 6-1 loss to Alberta.

For a team that doesn't score very often, it's pretty remarkable that four of their six first-period goals have been opening goals in games that they've won, and they've opened the scoring five times in the first period with the lone loss to Alberta being the one they couldn't convert. What should concern the Griffins is that they've only scored five second-period goals - the least in the conference - and one of those opened the scoring for a win for them. I'll give credit to the MacEwan defence in that once they get a lead, teams are stifled in the Griffins' zone. It's just that getting a lead seems to be the biggest challenge for the Griffins. It should be noted that MacEwan is one of two teams to two power-play goals as first goals.


No Chantal Ricker. No Kyrelle Skoye. Your two veteran players have yet to splash ink on the scoresheet first, so that means MacEwan is getting some good contributions from other players. Rylee Gluska leads the way for the Griffins!
FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Rylee Gluska (2), Aryn Chambers (1), Jayme Doyle (1), Mila Verbicky (1), Joie Simon (1).

Record: 4-6-0-2 (10 pts).
Position: 7th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 22.

Regina's struggles to score can be reflected in that four players have scored 13 of their 22 total goals this season. As a result, they haven't scored many opening goals in games, but they're a respectable 3-0-0-2 when they do. Of course, that also means they're 1-6-0-0 when they don't score first, so that too shows the immediate lack of scoring this team possesses as overcoming a deficit is a much harder task than defending a lead. We'll have to see how the second half of the season goes for Regina because we know that Sarah Hodges usually has them firing on all cylinders by the time the schedule resumes.

Regina has scored just three first-period goals this season, and all of them opened the scoring in those games. That's not good, but their 2-0-0-1 record in those games is very good. It should also be noted that each of those games finished as a one-goal game, so Regina's inability to bury teams once they get the lead is very noticeable. If Regina wants to climb back into the playoff picture, filling their opponents' nets - doing it first and doing it more often - would be a very good thing for the Cougars' fortunes.


Like she's doing for team points, Lilla Carpenter-Boesch leads the way with opening goals, but there are a few usual suspects on the list as Jordan Kulbida and Paige Hubbard have lit the lamp as well.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Lilla Carpenter-Boesch (2), Paige Hubbard (1), Jordan Kulbida (1), Rhea Gilroy (1).

Record: 4-8-0-0 (8 pts).
Position: 8th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 26.

Calgary's record isn't anything to write home about, but there is a silver lining in that they're 4-2-0-0 when scoring the opening goal of the game. The two losses were the first two games of the season against Manitoba where the Dinos were fairly decent offensively, but struggled on the defensive side of things. Since those two games, the Dinos win when they score first and when they're at home. If they can start doing that on the road, they'll have a shot at making the playoffs this season.

It should be noted that Calgary is the only team to score first both on the power-play and while shorthanded. And while it's good to see their special teams doing some solid work, the Dinos simply need to score more goals as they're one of the four teams who have yet to score double-digits in goals in any period. They do have nine, eight, and nine in the three periods, respectively, so scoring is balanced across three periods, but they're going to need more from their depth when one considers that Lang, Borrow, and Reuther have 16 of their 26 goals this season.

The Dinos started the season strong, scoring first in five of the six games they played in October. Since the calendar flipped to November and December, they've scored a game's opening goal just once. As I've shown both yesterday and today, teams that score first win about 70% of the time, so Calgary's going to need to start scoring first again if they want to give themselves a boost when it comes to wins.


There are some notable names missing from this list as Alli Borrow and Annaliese Meier were counted on last season when it came to scoring first for their respective teams. Holly Reuther leads the way for Calgary, though, as she's having an outstanding campaign.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Holly Reuther (2), Rachel Paul (1), Elizabeth Lang (1), Emily Hill (1), Sage Desjardins (1).

Record: 1-10-1-0 (4 pts).
Position: 9th in Canada West.
Goals-For: 13.

Writing about a team who is averaging 1.08 goals-per-game through the first half of the season would mean there isn't a lot to be positive about when it comes to winning. Trinity Western has two wins to their name in their inaugural Canada West campaign, but it should be noted they're 1-2-1-0 when scoring first - both wins have happened when TWU dented twine first! Of the four first-period goals they've scored this season, two opened the scoring where TWU was 1-1-0-0 in those games. I'm not saying they're going to win a ton of games, but scoring first gives Trinity Western an edge they don't seem to find when they don't score first as they're 0-8-0-0 in all other games.

For a team that has just two third-period goals all season, they legitimately have to be leading when entering the final frame or it's game over. As expected, they have no opening goals in that frame, but they did win the one game they pushed to overtime against Saskatchewan. They have just three players who have scored two-or-more goals this season, so scoring more often is the only key to Trinity Western winning more games. Outside of that, if they score more often while scoring first in those games, it would appear they play defence well enough to possibly shock a few teams in the second half of the season.


Two of the three players who have multiple goals this season appear as first-goal scorers as Germann and Leier have both notched the first goal in games. Again, Trinity Western just needs more goals in general, so here's hoping more names are on this list by the end of the season.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Ashley Wolfe (1), Neisha Germann (1), Olivia Leier (1), Lainie Nichols (1).

At the end of the day, teams that scored first are a whopping 37-10-3-4 on the season which would translate to a points percentage of .778. Only Mount Royal's points percentage is better than that figure this season, so scoring first really does pay off when it comes to collecting points. If we're talking regulation wins, the figure drops to .685, but that's still better than all but Mount Royal and UBC. I cannot stress this enough: score first to give yourself a 77.8% chance of earning at least one point in any game!

Beyond that, you really see how scoring first affects every single team when it comes to their overall records. By quantifying this concept, it really furthers the idea that teams need to be ready to play from the moment the puck is dropped in every game because there's a better-than-good chance of winning games simply by denting twine first. I get that the season is a grind, but all nine teams can do themselves big favours simply by jumping out to a lead.

This is the last edition of The Rundown before Christmas, so I want to say Merry Christmas to all the Canada West hockey fans out there who are celebrating this holiday. The Rundown will be back next weekend on Boxing Day with another fun article, so make sure you stop in during all the sales for more Canada West women's hockey info and news!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!