Sunday 31 January 2021

A Little Housekeeping

Having spent the last two weeks posting team previews for the nine active Canada West teams and the one "in limbo" Canada West team, there's a handful of things that have happened in the hockey world that need a bit of attention so today's housekeeping will tend to those matters. I should note that the lede image is not of my legs or floor, so whoever is doing that sweeping seems to be doing a fine job in keeping that floor clean of debris and dirt. There won't be much debris or dirt in this article today, but, like a floor needing a sweeping, there will be some stuff that caught my attention that should possibly have caught yours Let's dive into that here and now!


All nine Canada West teams got a preview as to who would have suited up this season for each of the squads over the last two weeks, and I devoted one extra day to the Lethbridge Pronghorns who, as we know, wouldn't have played, but I feel those players, staff, and everyone working behind the scenes to bring the program back deserve the respect of having a preview done.

In case you missed any of those previews, they're all linked here for your convenience.

Where's Your Letter? - Part 1

I was doing some hunting for stats and information about former Mount Royal Cougars forward Kennedy Bozek who is currently playing in Austria as part of the EWHL's Lakers Kärnten. In my search for Miss Bozek's statistical records for this season, I came across the photo to the right on the Lakers Kärnten Instagram page that specifically shows the captain's "C" directly above the team logo across the chest, directly below the collar's low point in the middle of the jersey. That's clearly not where we're used to seeing the captaincy designation, but it's also pretty evident that the two logo on either shoulder forced the Lakers Kärnten into moving the captaincy designation to somewhere a little more noticeable.

Do I like it there? No. It looks out of place entirely. While I respect that the Lakers Kärnten need captains and those have to be designated for gameplay, could those logos on the shoulders not be moved onto the shoulder yoke just above where they currently sit, allowing for the captaincy designation to be put back on the left shoulder? This seems very easily resolved, but seeing that "C" over the wordmark just irks me something fierce!

The "W" Stands for "WHY?"

I still can't accept this jersey as being an honest-to-goodness regular NHL jersey for the Washington Capitals in today's day and age. After getting the "Screaming Eagle" jerseys back as part of the Reverse Retro collection, why would they opt to redesign the Stadium Series jerseys as their alternates for the next four seasons?!?

The "Capitol Building" jersey should have been the alternate jersey they brought back instead of the garbage they introduced this past week above. Even if they rendered this in red or white with blue accents, it would look better than the Stadium Series Redux jersey above. I don't understand why NHL teams insist on using garish designs when they have good ideas sitting in their closets. Just seeing that logo makes me think of the Capitals as opposed to the block "W" above that tells me nothing about who this team is or where they call home. Is it Wichita? Washington State? Winnipeg? Warsaw, Poland? Oh, it's the Washington (DC) Capitals, I'm told. Brutal.

Where's Your Letter? - Part 2

The player in the image to the right is Clarkon University Golden Knights forward Zach Tsekos. Zach calls Montreal his hometown, and he transferred to Clarkson from Sacred Heart University in 2018-19 so he was ineligible to play for that season. After playing a solid junior season in 2019-20 where he ended as Clarkson's fourth-leading scorer with 26 points in 34 games, Zach was named captain in his 2020-21 senior season for the squad. As you can see above, that leads to all sorts of problems with regards to the Clarkson white alternate jersey and the number placement on said jersey.

A few people on social media have joked that they know which seat on the airplane Tsekos is sitting in for road trips, and they're not wrong that the "17C" on Tsekos' jersey looks entirely wrong. But here's where things get weird: the photo above was taken during the December 23 game against Colgate where Clarkson lost 5-4 in overtime. We can be certain this photo is from that game as it's the only game this season that Tsekos and the Golden Knights wore their white alternates against Clarkson so far this season.

They'd play Quinnipiac next for a three-game series on January 8 to 10, and they wore their whites for the January 9 game where the image to the left of Tsekos was captured with the captaincy designation on the opposite shoulder as the number! I'm not saying that the equipment manager for the Golden Knights needs to be praised, but whoever looked at Tsekos' uniform after the December 23 game and thought, "Yeah, that 'C' just doesn't work there" should be given an immediate raise of whatever money he or she is making. While still slightly cluttered by the ECAC logo on the jersey, the number and the captaincy designation are clearly separate and defined on their own as they should be. Well done on cleaning up this jersey gaffe, Clarkson!

From The Ice To The Water

I had a note dropped to me yesterday by Stephanie Gross that her future on the ice has paused at the university level for reasons aside from the University of Lethbridge cancelling the program, but she is still proudly representing the university in another capacity. Stephanie, who would have been one of the two goalies for the Pronghorns this season, reached out to let me know that she's moved to a new team on campus as she looked to continue a sporting career, and you can find her in the pool as she's joined the University of Lethbridge swim team! We know a lot of good hockey players are multi-sport athletes growing up, and it's pretty clear that Stephanie has some talent as a swimmer as she is officially on the Lethbridge swimming roster.

How cool is that? I had implored other teams across Canada to reach out to the Pronghorns players in order to find them a new home, but I never even considered that a team from a different sport would reach out and bring in one of the players seeking a new place to play. Best of luck in the pool, Stephanie, and I'll keep an eye on the results in the water to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to your success!

Coming Up Next On HBIC...

This past weekend would have normally been a busy one for me as the annual Female World Sport School Challenge would have seen me at the BellMTS Iceplex all weekend calling games for one of the biggest and best tournaments for women playing at the Bantam level of hockey. With Manitoba currently in a restricted situation on account of the pandemic, that tournament was obviously not happening which makes me a little sad inside because it was always four days or exceptional hockey by a lot of women we'll see at the university level in the coming years.

That being said, I have recordings of some of the games from last year's tournament that will see me post some of the more exciting games that featured players you will see in Canada West starting in 2021-22 all week long. Unfortunately, I don't have recordings for all sixteen teams that were at the tournament last year as we were situated on one rink that contained one pool of teams. However, we did get to see a number of teams play on that rink as the tournament wound down, so there will be different teams featured each day for the most part with the gold-medal game featured next Saturday.

If you're a fan of high-level women's hockey - and, judging by social media furor for the two-week NWHL tournament, you are - you'll probably enjoy the audio of these games to go along with the notes I make about each of the games and the teams featured. Starting on Monday, we'll kick things off with the Edmonton Pandas and Thunder Bay Queens as they tangled last year on Thursday, January 30 at the Canadian Tire rink at the BellMTS Iceplex!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 30 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Lethbridge Pronghorns

A ten-team Canada West Conference would have been pretty awesome when one considers playoff races, travel, and having 25-30 more women involved in the game at the university level, but the University of Lethbridge thought differently when they dropped the guillotine on Pronghorns hockey. I'm not here to attack the University of Lethbridge - that's already been done - but I do wanna play a little "what could have been" today in looking at the roster that head coach Doug Paisley was putting together for this 2020-21 season and beyond. Of course, none of this will happen as the Pronghorns have yet to be ressurected despite some solid efforts by people in that community, but they deserve some respect in making that effort so I'll give that respect to them here today with this season preview.

I really don't need a disclaimer as this roster wouldn't have happened this season, but it's important to remember that the above gives you an idea of who would have played for the Doug Paisley as the Lethbridge Pronghorns this season. I will point out that Doug needs no help from a guy like me in putting together a dynamic lineup, so the lineup you see would likely not see the light of day under Doug's watch. That being said, though, the video-game version of the Pronghorns shows you was on the roster this season had the program not been axed by the University of Lethbridge.

You might be looking at that roster and noticing some weird numbers for players. Because Lethbridge has no team, they had no need to assign numbers to their recruiting class, so I did. Among those players who would have been incoming are Emma Neff (#83), Molly Mitchell (#71), Maddy McCleary (#98), Mallory Dyer (#78), Abby Soyko (#94), Allie Soyko (#97), Madeleine Noonan (#91), Jade Sandberg (#82), and Teah Workman (#92). All of these players ended being scratched on the above roster, but I guarantee they would have pushed for roster spots on the Pronghorns. This is a talented group of women who likely would have seen a few, if not many, earn a lot of ice time.

It's fair to say that Kyra Greig and Alli Borrow would have done a lot of scoring this season based on their 2019-20 efforts. What needs to be emphasized, though, is that the depth that Doug Paisley was building would have provided a lot of secondary scoring. Kianna Dietz, Madison Porter, and Mikaela Reay likely would have seen their roles increase, but players like Mila Verbicky, Sage Sansregret, Kenzie Lausberg, the Soyko twins, and Mallory Dyer would have given the Pronghorns that secondary layer of scoring from their younger players. Add in some great offensive-minded defenders like Eryn Johanson, Brooklyn Palmer, and Emma Neff, and suddenly this Lethbridge team had offence up and down the lineup that won't ever play together.

Defensively, there is a still a bit of a concern when it comes to keeping pucks out of the net had they played. Lethbridge doesn't play a physical game as much as some Canada West teams do, and they really didn't add anyone who can help in wearing down their opponent's forwards (that they won't be playing). They do block shots and can move the puck well, but moving players out from in front of the net they won't have to defend seems problematic once again. Alicia Anderson graduated as, perhaps, the best goaltender to have played in Canada West if the record books hold true, but they weren't going to see a major drop-off in that department with Chloe Marshall and Stephanie Gross stepping into the spotlight. Molly Mitchell is a great third option to tandem with Gross in the future, but that future is, as we know, no more thanks to the University of Lethbridge's economics.

Of the 29 players that Lethbridge would have skated this season, only 18 remain from those who opted not to transfer elsewhere. Those 18 players are featured below in hockey card form. That's not to say that the other 11 players aren't important or wouldn't have factored into the success of the Pronghorns this season, but most have cards for their new teams which have already been featured. For those that transferred out of conference, get in touch with me and I can get you a card if you like.
2020-21 Lethbridge Pronghorns Women's Hockey Team
Would the 2020-21 Lethbridge Pronghorns win a Canada West banner? It would seem unlikely had they played this season, but the likelihood of seeing the Pronghorns in the Canada West playoffs would have been much greater. They have scoring that can keep them in games, they have a defence that was improving, and their goaltending would have been more than sufficient to keep them in games. I was excited for the Pronghorns last season and as they began their recruiting for what the future held, but that was erased in one day by those who pull the financial strings at the University of Lethbridge. I am hopeful that the committee working to restore Pronghorns men's and women's hockey are successful because this conference feels incomplete without them.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 29 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Trinity Western Spartans

We're back with the continuing series in looking at the field that would have played during this 2020-21 Canada West season, and that means we need to focus on the other new team as the Trinity Western Spartans charge into battle. The Spartans might have the toughest time adjusting from their previous league in arriving in the ultra-competitive Canada West Conference, but the Spartans are a young squad who will only get better with time and experience. Head coach Jean LaForest has all sorts of experience at different levels of hockey, and that will come in handy in the early years of Canada West play for this program. What they lack in university experience, they make for with enthusiasm and not knowing better, but will that be enough to get TWU over the hump in their inaugural Canada West season?

As we've done for this entire series, take nothing you see above as being the truth when it comes to the Spartans' lineup. Head coach Jean LaForest has coached in more leagues than I've coached games in my career, so you know who gets the final say when it comes to putting players in line combinations and on the ice. This video-game version of the Trinity Western Spartans does give you an idea of who would have skated for the Spartans in 2020-21 in their first Canada West season!

The Spartans have all sorts of youth on their roster, and there will be growing pains early in the season as they figure out this Canada West Conference. Youth is often something you want to add to a growing roster, but getting it all in one dose usually means that the kids will take a few scrapes, bumps, and bruises before they have the mettle to grind out wins in Canada West. That being said, there are players who should dazzle with skill as Neisha Germann, Desi Wiens, Hayley Johnson, and Chloe Reid have all shown they can score previously in their careers. The defence will be tested by their opponents often as they are young and inexperienced, but the trial by fire will likely mean better defensive play in the future. Goaltending will likely see all three of Chantel Weller, Jordan Mackow, and Jadeyn Kastning used over the season until a legitimate number-one goalie emerges, but these three bring all sorts of skill to the blue paint upon which the Spartans will rely.

Knowing how inexperienced this team is as they approach their first season of play is a reminder why the 2021-22 season might be a struggle. We saw the Manitoba Bisons play a lot of younger players last season, and it took them nearly half the season to really start finding their game against some of the better teams in Canada West. While there's no doubt that the Spartans will battle all season long, there may be some lopsided scores where Trinity Western finds themselves on the wrong side. What shouldn't be forgotten is that the Spartans are gaining experience playing at the Canada West level and growing together as a team. History tells us that teams who grow together often find success together as they mature.

Here are the 25 players who would will suit up for the Trinity Western Spartans' inaugural Canada West season in hockey card form. Like MacEwan, there are a pile of players who have no in-game action shots which has me struggling to believe there aren't in-game photos of these highly-touted players somewhere out there. In any case, here's hoping we get a few photos to fill those gaps when they visit in September.
2020-21 Trinity Western Spartans Women's Hockey Team
The Trinity Western Spartans would be your longest of longshots to win the Canada West Conference banner this season, and it might be asking a lot for them to make the playoffs in their first campaign. They will give every team their best in each and every game, but experience matters at the Canada West level. That lack of experience will make for some rough nights for the Spartans, but this group will get better with every game they play. They do have enough skill to surprise teams that overlook them, but the losses they may see in 2021-22 will be forgotten as this team builds for what looks like an exciting future!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 28 January 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 436

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with a show on a big day when it comes to mental health initiatives and charities across Canada as it's #BellLetsTalk day across this great country where media conglomerate Bell Telecommunications donates money to those initiatives and charities for every tweet, Facebook, post, Instagram moment, and a myriad of other social media activities where they are tagged. If there's one day to take to social media, this would be it so get on your favorite social media platform and contribute! Details are below on how to do that!

Teebz and Jenna kick off the show by talking about #BellLetsTalk and how to participate along with the University of British Columbia's and Mikayla Ogrodniczuk's work in mental health initiatives and charities before digging into the Patrik Laine trade that fetched Pierre-Luc Dubois from Columbus, the asset management of the Jets, and the Jets finding a new first line through this trade and Teebz proposes a fun nickname for that line. Other stories Teebz and Jenna discuss include the Jets record while Paul Maurice squints, San Jose opting to go with new merchandise provider, Washington introducing a rather underwhelming alternate jersey, Teebz goes on a rant about how Canadian media are clamouring to chat to anyone and everyone associated with the current two-week pro women's hockey tournament yet ignored the CWHL and are ignoring U SPORTS in their own backyards, the ECHL adds another team to its membership, and the Return to Play plans for both Alberta and Manitoba. Lots of topics on tonight's show as Teebz and Jenna dive into the stories at 5:30pm CT, so make sure you tune in on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

In terms of #BellLetsTalk Day, Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long distance call on their network; tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk; every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let's Talk Day video; and, every use of the Bell Let's Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. To join the fun, there is no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access. Get texting, talking, and socializing via one of the social media platforms!

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. 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 promote #BellLetsTalk before they offer their throughts on the biggest trade in Jets 2.0 history, the Jets finding success, the Jets' record while Paul Maurice can't see, San Jose getting a new gear provider, Washington getting new gear, Canadian media being generally awful at promoting Canadian hockey, the ECHL expanding, provincial regulations keeping things closed, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: January 28, 2021: Episode 436

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 27 January 2021

We Interrupt These Team Previews...

I was going to post the team preview for the 2020-21 Trinity Western Spartans today, but it occurred to me that today was a special day in NHL history that should and will pre-empt our look at the Spartans. With the NHL preparing to flood your broadcasts with the Reverse Retro jerseys in the coming weeks starting this week, we need to jump back to the last time the NHL introduced some rather crazy alternate uniforms, specifically on today's date back in 1996 when the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim met the Los Angeles Kings at the Great Western Forum!

On this date in 1996, the Mighty Ducks, dressed in their Wild Wing alternates, met the Kings, dressed in their Burger King alternates, in what shook the NHL's "traditional" hockey look with these outrageous new uniforms. The names who wore these uniforms in this game range from "I remember him" to "he wore that?", but the likes of Paul Kariya, Steve Rucchin, Fredrik Olausson, and Oleg Tverdovsky all wore the Wild Wing jersey while Wayne Greztky, Jari Kurri, Kelly Hrudey, and Kevin Stevens all donned the Burger King jerseys.

Today, I present to you the January 27, 1996 Fox broadcast of this game between the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings. I take no ownership or credit for this as "Serg 72" posted this to YouTube, but it's pretty interesting to see how the game was played 25 years ago in comparison to today's game. I'll post some notes below, but here is that game.

Yesterday, for what it's worth, would have been Wayne Gretzky's 35th birthday in 1996. He turned 60 yesterday. Let that sink in for a moment as you ponder where the years have gone. Happy belated birthday, Wayne!

You'll hear Greg Millen talk about Gretzky's days possibly being numbered in Los Angeles, and he was right. Exactly one month after this game - February 27, 1996 - Wayne Gretzky was traded to the St. Louis Blues for Patrice Tardif, Craig Johnson, Roman Vopat, a fifth-round pick in 1996 who turned out to be Peter Hogan, and a first-round pick in 1997 who turned out to be Matt Zultek.

The trade that saw Kevin Stevens go from Boston to Los Angeles in exchange for Rick Tocchet was completed on January 25. There's no real mystery around this trade, but what is interesting is that Stevens and defenceman John Slaney were teammates with the Kings in 1996, but were traded for one another on January 14, 2001 when the Penguins traded Stevens to the Philadelphia Flyers for Slaney!

You'll hear that Darryl Sydor gave up his #25 to Kevin Stevens when Stevens arrived in Los Angeles, opting to wear #2 after giving the number to Stevens. He would wear that number for the Kings for less than a month because the Kings would trade Sydor to the Dallas Stars on February 17, 1996 along with a fifth-round pick in exchange for Shane Churla and Doug Zmolek.

How about another weird Darryl Sydor trade fact? Sydor was traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 16, 2008 to the Dallas Stars for Philippe Boucher, a Los Angeles Kings teammate in this game!

Mike Sillinger arrived in Anaheim late the 1994-95 season after being dealt to the Ducks by Detroit, and it would represent one of the twelve teams he played for in his career. It makes one wonder how many different jerseys he wore in his career as he would have worn three in Anaheim with him wearing the Wild Wing jersey.

More weird Darryl Sydor trade facts? July 22, 2003 saw Darryl Sydor traded from the Dallas Stars to Columbus Blue Jackets for Mike Sillinger and a second-round draft pick in 2004.

Bobby Dollas was selected 13th-overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets as Greg Millen points out, but he played just 56 games for the Jets before being traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Stu Kulak. Guys that the Jets could have selected instead of Dollas include Claude Lemieux, Peter Zezel, Bob Probert, Brian Bradley, Marc Bergevin, Esa Tikkanen, Petr Klima, Garry Galley, or the 108th-overall pick in 1983 by the Los Angeles Kings, Kevin Stevens!

You'll hear Dave Strader reference the 1993 injury that Stevens suffered in the playoffs against the New York Islanders. That injury saw Stevens spend four-and-a-half hours in surgery to repair a multitude of injuries. Dan Robson of Sportsnet wrote,
Stevens's nose was broken and twisted to the side. His orbital bone was busted, too. His forehead was completely shattered. He was carried off the ice on a stretcher and rushed to hospital, where a surgeon used nine metal plates to reconstruct his forehead. His nose was also rebuilt.

Bones could be repaired, but the brain was another problem. It was clear that Stevens had suffered trauma to his frontal lobe, but the effects of that damage were much less predictable. Doctors had serious concerns about the impact the injury would have on Stevens's cognitive ability.
Stevens was never the same following the injury as his addiction to painkillers and drugs began to control his life, leading to a number of teams to simply give up on Stevens by trading him away.

You'll see Jari Kurri score a power-play goal that moved him into seventh-place all-time on the goal-scoring list back in 1996 with 574 goals. Fast-forward to 2021, and Kurri currently sits in 20th-place all-time with 601 goals in his career. He never caught Bobby Hull's 610 goals before retiring. The closest active player to Kurri's 601 markers is Patrick Marleau who sits in 25th-place all-time with 564 goals.

The captaincy letters on the Burger King jersey are clearly on the non-traditional side of the jersey thanks to the logo's placement which bothers me, but you'll hear Greg Millen talk about how hard it is to read the numbers as broadcasters on that gradient that the Burger King jerseys feature. I don't think Millen is a fan of the Burger King jerseys.

I have to admit that the Fox robots were pretty kitschy at the time, and I don't think they aged very well. What kept distracting me on this Fox broadcast, though, was Millen's live mic that seemingly picked him up yapping with people off-air and ringing telephones. You'd think Fox would have had those things nailed down being that this is their second season broadcasting hockey, but apparently that doesn't happen on the regional Fox broadcasts in 1996. Good times!

Just for the record, Wayne Gretzky recorded a goal and three assists in this game. Paul Kariya, described as the "Prince of the NHL" as the broadcast opened, had a goal and an assist. For the Kings, Dmitri Khristich had a goal and an assist, Vitali Yachmenev had a pair of assists, and Marty McSorley had a goal and an assist. For the Mighty Ducks, Shaun Van Allen had a goal and an assist, Steve Rucchin had a goal and an assist, and the Sacco brothers - Joe and David - had an assist each.

Will the Reverse Retro jerseys be as poorly received as these two alternate jerseys were in 1996? I can already tell you that I'm not excited to see them on the ice as they, too, seem a little kitschy for my liking. Perhaps my feelings will change as more and more NHL teams wear their new duds, but I honestly feel that there are a lot of duds in these jerseys.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below about this game or the Reverse Retro jerseys we're going to see as this season progresses! I'd love to hear your thoughts on the original Wild Wing jerseys and the Burger King jerseys!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Grant MacEwan Griffins

Today, we take a look at one of the new kids on the block who were supposed to start in Canada West women's hockey this season, but that debut has, of course, been delayed until September. The Grant MacEwan Griffins come in as one of the best ACAC teams to have ever been assembled and were on their way to what appeared to be a fourth-straight ACAC championship when the pandemic shut down their playoff final series. We saw Mount Royal follow this path into Canada West as a dominant ACAC team before finding out that Canada West is a whole other level of hockey, and it will up to head coach Lindsay McAlpine to have her squad ready. Having been both a Canada West and a CIS national champion herself, Lindsay will likely have her team in the right mindset, but can the Griffins come in and shock western Canada with an inspired run to the playoffs or more?

In having the biggest roster I've ever seen for a Canada West team, I can assure you that the lineup posted above is entirely wrong. Lindsay McAlpine knows her team far better than I do, and I will assume that she would look at this lineup and cringe. That's ok, though, because she's the head coach of the Griffins and I am not. In saying that, the video-game version of the Griffins allows you to see all 30 players MacEwan was planning on skating in 2020-21.

From everything I've been able to gather on the MacEwan Griffins, they're going to come in with zero fear of any team in Canada West and play like they have nothing to lose. They have solid scorers, good depth by default because their roster is a small army, and a variety of goaltending styles from which to choose. Lindsay McAlpine's biggest challenge, it seems, is how to get all of these players some ice time while not seeing a drop-off in scoring or defence. If I am concerned, the blue line that the Griffins would have used this season is a little low on experience at the Canada West level when it comes to the speed at which the games are played, and that may be their Achilles heel until they adjust when games finally take place.

It will remain to be seen which of the seven senior players return for 2021-22 as scoring threats Chantal Ricker, Breanna Golosky, and Jill MacWilliam are among those players. There could be significant holes left if these players choose to move on rather than return for their fifth years of eligibility, but the Griffins are building for the future as well with former Ottawa GeeGees scorer Makenna Schuttler, former Pronghorns Mila Verbicky and Sage Sansregret, and ACAC holdovers Shyla Kirwer and Jayme Doyle providing good options. Natalie Bender and Brianna Sank look like a very talented goaltending tandem, and both Courtney Beierbach and Brooke Fawcett can easily step in if required.

Here are the 30 players who would have played in the Griffins' inaugural Canada West season in hockey card form. As you'll note, there are a pile of players who have no in-game action shots. I find it hard to believe with all the hockey these women have played in their lives, there aren't more images of them than less, but c'est la vie. Here's hoping we get to see them in action in real life come September when more action shots can be captured of these players.
2020-21 Grant MacEwan Griffins Women's Hockey Team
Will the MacEwan Griffins win Canada West in their first year in the conference in 2021-22? That seems very unlikely given the quality of the competition, but this team seems determined not let anyone push them around as they determine their finish. If they can be a thorn in the sides of a few teams, the Griffins will likely find themselves in a playoff spot sooner than later, and that bodes well for the future of the program. They should be able to light the lamp regularly depending on who plays in 2021-22, but it's a whole new world for the Griffins starting in September. Will they be ready for Canada West? Maybe the bigger question is will Canada West be ready for the Griffins?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 25 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Manitoba Bisons

After a run of success that brought the Manitoba Bisons a U SPORTS National Championship banner, a Canada West Championship banner, and two visits to the U SPORTS National Championship, the rebuild began last year after a number of players graduated out of the program. There were certainly some bumps along the road last season that saw the Bisons not register a goal for over 300 minutes of hockey, but there were also some breakthroughs and high points to celebrate. For a team that has a pile of young players, the learning curve to play at the ultra-competitive Canada West level will always be there, but head coach Jon Rempel seems to have the Bisons on the right path when it comes to returning to the heights they recently experienced.

In order to save my behind from many complaints, this roster you see above isn't anything to take as gospel. Jon Rempel's experience and knowledge about who to deploy and with whom would fill a room while my knowledge and information would fill a thimble. Stick with Jon's lineup when he produces it, but this video-game version of the Bisons gives you a good idea of who is skating for them had there been a season.

There is a massive goal-scoring hole on this lineup with Jordyn Zacharias graduating, but the emergence of Kate Gregoire would appear to fill that hole on the roster nicely while Émilie Massé's contributions could fill that need if she can be consistent. In addition, the Bisons recruited some legitimate goal scorers and point producers in Aimee Patrick, Kylie Lesuk, Brenna Nicol, and Jena Barscello, so there will be competition for jobs in camp which should push players to be better. The blue line has a good mix of veteran players, but the Bisons will need to get offensive contributions from this group regularly. The goaltending situation seems to be in Erin Fargey's hands when it comes to carrying the load, and she proved that she can be a quality starter in Canada West when given the chance. If she does falter or need a break, the Kimmy Davidson-Meagan Relf tandem appears to very capable as replacements depending on which goalie Jon chooses to have in the blue paint.

Here are the 27 players who would have worn the Bisons logo on their uniforms this season in hockey card form. The only player who seemingly avoided any good hockey card "in-game" photo was Brenna Nicol, but I'm sure that will be corrected whenever the Bisons hit the ice. You may notice that Katie Chatyrbok has a "RW" on her card regarding her position, and that's due to me making her card some time ago. She likely will play the wing, but she's not limited to one position up front from what we've seen in her career.
2020-21 Manitoba Bisons Women's Hockey Team
Rebuilding a university-level program usually takes a few years, but the Bisons laid the groundwork for that rebuild last season before adding some very nice pieces to the roster this season despite not having games to play. Will the Bisons be in contention for a banner in 2021-22? That seems unlikely, but the Bisons do look poised to return to those heights in the coming years. With a young group gaining experience with every game, Bisons fans should expect a good playoff push in 2021-22 as this team looks to reclaim its spot in the upper echelon of Canada West teams in the years to come!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 24 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Saskatchewan Huskies

If there's a team who I believe should have had more National Championship appearances in the last three years than anyone not named Alberta, it's the Saskatchewan Huskies. There's no doubt that the Huskies have enough talent to remain in the upper echelon of the Canada West standings year-in and year-out, but the focus on playing defensive hockey rather than allowing the offensive skill to flourish is, in my view, the one thing holding back the Huskies. They have arguably the best goaltender in the conference in Jessica Vance, a competent and skilled blue line, and enough talented forwards that they should be able to outscore their opponents on any given night. Maybe 2021-22 will be the year that head coach Steve Kook will utter the phrase "release the hounds" because this squad should be in contention for a Canada West championship banner!

Once again, there is nothing to be believed on the roster above that should give you any indication that I know anything about how the Huskies will look on the ice. Steve Kook's knowledge as a head coach and about his team would literally bury me in a landslide of information, so take his word over mine anytime the Huskies are on the schedule. However, this video-game version of the Huskies shows you who would be dressing for the 2020-21 season!

If you do look closely at that roster, you'll notice Jayda Sachs at the bottom with a number of "RS" next to her name. That "RS" stands for "Red Shirt" as Sachs transferred into the University of Saskatchewan after playing for the OUA's University of Waterloo last season. I'm going to assume that the transfer period would expire in this 2020-21 non-playing season so that she's eligible next season for games in a Huskies uniform, but had we played games this season Sachs would have been forced to watch from the stands.

That being said, this roster of players with Sachs included is deep, talented, and likely to be tough to beat on any given night. Jessica Vance is a senior and it remains to be seen if she'll return for the 2021-22 season, but the Camryn Drever-Colby Wilson tandem behind her is set to carry her brick wall-like ways in the future if she leaves to pursue a career. The defence corps is nine players deep at this time so there will be some shuffling for Steve Kook to do, but this group is as good offensively as they are defensively when looking to push the puck. Up front, Bailee Bourassa and Abby Shirley should pace the offence, but don't sleep on former Lethbridge recruit Mallory Dyer who looks like she's ready for the big stage. Vance, Bourassa, and Emily Upgang would have played their final years this season so it remains to be seen who will return from these three for the 2021-22 season, but there's enough scoring talent here if both Upgang and Bourassa leave to really drive the Huskies if they're allowed to be creative in the offensive zone.

Here are the 27 players who would have suited up for the Saskatchewan Huskies this season in hockey card form. In rare form, everyone has an "hockey action" card for the Huskies. You may notice that Emily Upgang has a "C" on her card regarding her position, and that's due to me making her card some time ago. She likely will play center, but she's not limited to one position up front.
2020-21 Saskatchewan Huskies Women's Hockey Team
There is no reason that the Huskies can't win the Canada West banner in the 2021-22 season outside of a few teams who will look to derail those dreams. They have exceptional goaltending, solid depth up and down the lineup, and a coach whose attention to detail puts him among the best. All of these factors should push the Huskies to a playoff spot again in 2021-22, but it's up to them to find enough scoring outside of that defensive shell they play to bury their opponents. If they do that, there could be big celebrations at Merlis Belsher Place in 2021-22!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 23 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Regina Cougars

From one set of Cougars to the other, we move west to the Queen's city in Regina where we get a look at the 2020-21 Regina Cougars for the first time! Regina made a spirited run in the second half of the season last year to make the Canada West playoffs where they eventually fell to the Mount Royal Cougars in the quarterfinal. Backed by solid goaltending from Jane Kish and some key contributions from Jaycee Magwood, Jordan Kulbida, and Tamara McVannel, the Cougars rose from last-place in Canada West past three other teams to grab a playoff spot. Where this good news ends is in knowing that three of four of those players mentioned fulfilled their eligibilities and a few other players are no longer rostered, so the 2021-22 season might be a bit of a rebuilding year for the Regina Cougars.

As I keep reminding everyone, this version of the Regina Cougars lineup is in no way correct by any means. Head coach Sarah Hodges has never needed any help from a broadcaster in setting her lineup to find success, and there's no reason to believe she'd start listening to one now. This video-game version of the Regina Cougars is who would have lined up this season for the squad, so please use this image for that purpose only!

I should note that there are a few players with odd numbers when you look at the roster above. Lauren Focht (#98), Elle Harapchuk (#96), Shaelyn Myers (#94), Katie Bassett (#95), Megan Long (#93), and Arden Kliewer (#73) are listed on Regina's roster as the Cougars' freshman class, but apparently it's a Herculean task for someone to log into the webpage and assign these players the numbers they've chosen to wear. I'm not sure why the Cougars haven't done this yet considering it's nearly February, but my repeated requests for this to be done have fallen into the social media abyss. Show these ladies some respect, University of Regina, and update the roster page with the numbers they're going wear.

Regina lost their three biggest reasons for success last season in Jane Kish, Jaycee Magwood, and Tamara McVannel as all three played their final year of eligibility. Filling their contributions means that the remaining players have a chance to step into roles, so the competition to grab top-line spots should be fun. The roster also seems to be missing Shaelyn Vallotton on the blue line and Sidney Shyiak up front - two very good depth players for Regina - so there are holes on this roster that need to be filled. In that regard, Mariah McKersie returns on the blue line for her final year of eligibility after playing at Red Deer College in the ACAC, and the rookies coming in have some good scoring talent based on past histories. The Cougars will need players to continue to evolve, so expect Paige Hubbard, Ireland Sorestad, Jordan Kulbida, and Chelsea Hallson to do a lot of heavy lifting for the Cougars in 2021-22, especially if the fifth-year players choose to remain with the team for one more season.

Here are the 26 players who would be donning the Regina Cougars uniforms this season in hockey card form. Carrying four goalies isn't necessarily recommended for any Canada West team, but the Cougars are certainly looking to 2021-22 and beyond when it comes to the youthfulness of this team. Like teams before them, some Cougars players simply don't show up in image form while playing hockey despite me knowing that Elle Harapchuk, Alex Rajsigl, and Raea Gilroy have some impressive hockey histories to tell. If you run media for teams, get images of players actually playing the game, please!
2020-21 Regina Cougars Women's Hockey Team
With a large part of their offensive output gone and a starting netminder graduating out of the program, the Regina Cougars appear to need a lot of help in 2021-22. That assessment seems unfair when one considers the talent still on the roster, and there were some inspired performances last season by a few players who remain. Will they need big contributions or contributions by committee to make up some of these shortfalls? Absolutely, but writing off the Cougars before they've even played a game seems foolish. Are they my pick to win the conference? Not entirely, but I wouldn't be surprised if they make some noise in the conference come September with the talent they have. While it might be another year they finish in the middle of the pack, there's no doubt that Cougars will rattle some cages and earn some deserved wins in 2021-22.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 22 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Mount Royal Cougars

I featured one-half of the Canada West representatives in the not-finished 2019 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship on Wednesday, so it's time to feature the second half of those two teams with the Mount Royal Cougars getting the spotlight today. The Cougars had an interesting season as they began really building towards the playoffs in the second-half of the season before shocking the Calgary Dinos in their crosstown playoff series. From there, a win over the University of Toronto in Charlottetown had everyone excited for a Mount Royal medal celebration, but that was cut short following Hockey Canada's decision to pull its officials over COVID-19 safety. Will 2021-22 be their year of reckoning in Canada West and across Canada?

Some more disclaimer is needed here, so I'll remind everyone that the lineup you see above is in no way accurate or correct. Head coach Scott Rivett has coached in more games that I have at any level, and he's entirely better at the job than I ever would be. When it comes to his team, take his word over mine at all points, but we can use the video-game version of the Cougars to get a sense of who is skating for the team!

You might be looking at that roster and wondering how Mount Royal will get 18 forwards into games this season like I did. It should be noted that Nicolette Seper, Tianna Ko, and Anna Purschke are all senior players, and it remains to be seen if any of them will return in 2021-22 to finish their fifth year of eligibility. Zoe de Beauville is also a senior player despite seeing Cassie Shokar and Kaitlin Ross carry the load of work last season, so goaltending won't be an issue for the Cougars come September. With no players graduating from the blue line, this team remains intact from the crease out, so they should be solid again. If transfer-in Taylor Sawka and recruit Kaia Borbandy come as advertised, the Cougars squad shouldn't see a drop-off in scoring. At the end of the day, the Cougars could be very good in 2021-22 if everything falls into place!

Here are the 28 players who would be pulling on the Mount Royal Cougars jerseys this season in hockey card form. As mentioned, there are a lot of forwards, but keep your eyes peeled for the Trotter sister act below as Sydney, Breanne, and Cassidy will all be eligible to play for the Cougars in 2021-22! I know Alexandria Spence and Athena Hauck played hockey at some point, but it seems there are no images of them to find. Camryn Amundson has a picture, but she seems to be shy in her time as a Cougar. I know cougars are elusive in the wild, but a couple of pictures shouldn't be this hard to find!
2020-21 Mount Royal Cougars Women's Hockey Team
What could have been in 2019-20 should drive the Cougars to new heights in 2021-22 after they didn't get to write the end to their magical season. If senior players return, this team looks dangerous from top to bottom, but, if a few decide to follow their career paths, there are enough good players remaining on the roster that the Cougars shouldn't be too affected. Does this mean their first Canada West banner? There are no guarantees in life or in hockey, but it should mean that the Cougars will battle to the very end in 2021-22!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 21 January 2021

The Hockey Show - Episode 435

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, rings out through the land on the 101.5 FM frequency once again this evening as Jenna and I tackle a pile of happenings in the hockey world. The NHL is back and we're seeing some rather uninspiring play from the local squad as the Jets have stolen wins from teams that likely deserved them more, and COVID-19 reared its ugly head to force the cancellation of two games for the Carolina Hurricanes. In other words, it's another week where Jenna and I ask a lot of "why" questions here on The Hockey Show!

Tonight, Teebz and Jenna try to make sense of the 2-1-0 Winnipeg Jets who have been thoroughlu outplayed in all three games, yet hold a winning record. There's a reference to Paul Maurice's current record with the Jets when he's not wearing glasses in there before they break into a discussion on Jakub Voracek ripping into reporter Mike Sielski on a conference call, the Nashville-Carolina game that was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, Team Canada's women's camp going into a bubble and some of the notable names both at and not at camp, why Team Canada might need to change strategies when it comes to the women's program, the IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship being moved from Belarus due to safety concerns and where it might land, and why the NHL is changing pucks mid-season. It's a busier show as Teebz and Jenna dive into the news at 5:30pm CT, so make sure you tune in on one of 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. 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 try to figure out the Jets, explain why Voracek is so angry with Sielski, decipher how the Nashville-Carolina will be made up, dissect the Team Canada women's bubble, reschedule the Men's World Championship, dive into puck problems in the NHL, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: January 21, 2021: Episode 435
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Alberta Pandas

The reigning Canada West champions get centerstage today as the 2020-21 Alberta Pandas will look significantly different than the 2019-20 Pandas did. There is a large chunk of veteran leadership gone from the Pandas that did a large part of their scoring, so a rebuild starts again in Edmonton as head coach Howie Draper restocks the roster with more scoring talent. The new kids will be good if their previous resumés continue to be solid and there are some transfer-in players who look like they'll make an impact, but will any of them replace the scoring talents of MacDougall, Poznikoff, and Dillon? I was excited to find out, but we'll have to wait until September to see!

I'll remind everyone once more that the lineup you see above is in no way accurate or correct. Head coach Howie Draper has more coaching experience in his pinky finger than I have in my whole body, meaning my qualifications in building a lineup are nil and unneeded. However, this video-game version of the Pandas could be an example of what the Pandas could have looked like this season!

With Alex Poznikoff and Autumn MacDougall fulfilling their eligibilities, the gaps are there for players to step up. We saw Madison Willan set the tone last year with her incredible season, and Kennedy Ganser can take over in the middle and be just as effective in scoring. Cayle Dillon is gone from the blue line, and they'll need someone to step up and quarterback the player-advantage. Kiara Machry could be that player, but Bethan Wilson came over from the Carleton Ravens in the OUA and she could be a player to step in. I'm curious to see if Howie Draper puts the Lloydminster trio together with Jadynn Morden, Hayleigh Craig, and Payton Laumbach as those three had chemistry before arriving on the university scene.

Here are the players who would be suiting up for the Alberta Pandas this season in hockey card form. Again, there seems to be a void when it comes to finding images of Stephanie Fischer playing hockey, and you might be looking at this team and thinking that the roster looks small with just 23 players. I'd agree with that, but I assume that the Pandas have open roster spots for players who will arrive for the 2021-22 season.
2020-21 Alberta Pandas Women's Hockey Team
Will Alberta repeat this season? It's hard to say they won't with Howie Draper guiding the ship and the stellar goaltending tandem of Kirsten Chamberlin and Halle Oswald. Will they score as many goals as they did this past season? That seems to be a bigger question as there are a number of question marks regarding who will step up. If there's one thing I do know, though, it's that Howie Draper will get the most out his players so don't count the Pandas out in 2021-22!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Your 2020-21 Calgary Dinos

Let's jump into a second Canada West women's hockey team that didn't get a chance to play this season due to the Land of Pandemia as we take a look at the 2020-21 Calgary Dinos. The Dinos were a fun team last year who had stellar goaltending from Canada West Player of the Year Kelsey Roberts, but the 2020-21 Dinos will look slightly different with some of the notable names such as Paige Michalenko, Delaney Frey, and Chelsea Court finishing their eligibilities. The Dinos did reload with some new players who look like they may make an impact, so let's take a look at how the 2020-21 Calgary Dinos would have looked had there been a season during this school year!

As I've stated over and over on Twitter, the lineup you see above is in no way accurate or correct. Head coach Danielle Goyette certainly has a better handle on who she wants playing with whom and where, so take this video-game version of the Dinos as nothing more than an example of what the Dinos could have looked like this season!

The Dinos may have gotten stronger up front with former Pronghorns sniper Alli Borrow and transfer-back-to-Canada Grace Machholz joining the likes of Sara Craven, Annaliese Meier, and Elizabeth Lang. If there's one place that the Dinos may have taken a slight step back, it's on the blue line after Michalenko's and Kira Makuk's eligibilities were fulfilled, but there's enough talent there to still keep the Dinos afloat. Make no mistake that this team's strength is in goaltending where Kelsey Roberts will start most games, but former Pandas netminder Dayna Owen stepping in to compete with Gabriella Durante for the backup role for her final year of eligibility strengthens that position considerably.

Here are the players who would be suiting up for the Calgary Dinos this season in hockey card form. With Madeline Stanley not playing last season and Kate Wagner's usage extremely low, finding images of them playing hockey proved difficult! However, that challenge aside, these are the players you would have seen on the ice for the Calgary Dinos in the 2020-21 campaign!
2020-21 Calgary Dinos Women's Hockey Team
Depending on which senior players opt to return for Calgary, there's a lot to be excited for when it comes to how the Dinos may fare in 2021-22. Roberts will have one season of eligibility left, and her addition alone next season would make the Dinos favorites to compete for the Canada West crown. If she decides to move on, the Dinos have a recruit coming in who may own the crease for all five years she plays for the school! Whatever the case, expect big things from the Dinos in 2021-22 when things start rolling in September!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 18 January 2021

Your 2020-21 UBC Thunderbirds

Since I'm on a bit of a Canada West women's hockey kick right now, it might be time to introduce everyone to the respective teams that would have played this season had it not been for COVID-19 ruining the fun. While I'm happy that all of the players are safe when it comes to their health, my weekends have been pretty wide-open without calling Canada West hockey games. In saying that, let's introduce the players who would have suited up for each of the nine teams over the next couple of weeks with a special nod to the Lethbridge Pronghorns who will receive some proper respect. Today, we'll start with the UBC Thunderbirds!

As I've stated over and over on Twitter, the lineup you see above is in no way accurate or correct. Head coach Graham Thomas knows his team better than I ever will, and I would assume that my guesses as to his lineup are nowhere close to the actual lineup he'd ice.

The Thunderbirds appear to have good scoring throughout the lineup, though, and goaltending will always be strong with the Thunderbirds with Tory Micklash carrying the largest load of that work. I do like UBC's emerging blue line as it's loaded with solid offensively-minded players such as Hannah Koroll, Rylind MacKinnon, and Kennesha Miswaggon who should be able to push the play in Thomas' uptempo game. Thomas' strong recruiting class for this season would have complemented the veterans in his lineup nicely.

Here are the players who would be suiting up for the UBC Thunderbirds this season in hockey card form. I should note that I left Chanreet Bassi's position as "LW" on her card despite Graham using his forwards in all combinations. Regardless of that card error, these are the players you would have seen on the ice for the UBC Thunderbirds in the 2020-21 campaign!
2020-21 UBC Thunderbirds Women's Hockey Team
I'm excited to see UBC in 2021-22 as they've added additional solid recruits to their team this year, and that should make for a strong UBC team next year and in the future. Let's hope that we get a season underway in September so you can see the UBC Thunderbirds on the ice where they belong!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 17 January 2021

The First Goal: Part Two

Yesterday's look at the Canada West women's hockey conference stats with regards to scoring the first goal and the correlation that event has with winning was, to me, interesting in knowing that getting that first goal matters quite a bit on the outcome of the game. However, there are discrepancies between the eight teams that participated in the 2019-20 season with respect to standings, points, and outcomes, and these should be examined a little more in detail. Knowing why Alberta finished atop the standings and why Lethbridge ended up at the bottom can be seen in some of this examination, so let's break down some team numbers when it comes to scoring first, the end results, who scored first goals for the team most often, and more in today's statistical examination.

Record: 19-8-1-0 (59 pts).
Finish: 1st in Canada West.
Playoffs: Won Conference.

Alberta's 19-8-1-0 record might be the shining example of getting a lead and never looking back. The Pandas posted a 16-0-0-0 record when scoring the first goal of the game, with eight wins coming at home and eight wins coming on the road. When you consider that the Pandas were 3-8-1-0 when they didn't score first, the Pandas used the score-first idea better than any other Canada West team. When they chased the game, they were remarkably mediocre.

There is a bit of another side to this 16-0 record, though. Alberta's five-on-five play only produced seven first scores. Their nine power-play first goals were a large margin higher than any other team, but this also reinforces the importance of scoring with an advantage. Alberta used their early power-play opportunities to put teams behind, a strategy that worked well for them all season long.

Alberta posted five wins where they scored the first goal in November, and added another six wins in January where they scored the first goal. That's 33 points in the standings right there - more than half their final total. If teams want to slow the Pandas, they can't let Alberta score first.


If there's one surprise when looking at who did the most damage for the Pandas, Alex Poznikoff didn't score an opening goal all season long. When one considers how important she was in the Alberta offence, you'd expect to see her name there. Luckily, she had lots of support in that department as Alberta showed good scoring depth all season long.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Madison Willan (4), Autumn MacDougall (4), Kennedy Ganser (2), Danielle Hardy (2), Alex Gowie (2), Lisa Lloyd (1), Abby Benning (1).

Record: 17-7-1-3 (56 pts).
Finish: 2nd in Canada West.
Playoffs: Lost in semifinal.

Calgary earned a ton of wins by scoring first as well, equaling the sixteen opening scores that Alberta had in posting a 14-1-0-1 record. An October regulation loss to Saskatchewan and a November shootout loss to Lethbridge were the two blemishes on Calgary's record, but earning three points in 87.5% of the games they score first and gaining points in 89.6% of games where they scored first is a big reason Calgary went from missing the playoffs to nearly winning the conference over one season. If there is a concern, it's the 3-6-1-2 record when they don't score first. Calgary doesn't come back often after being down.

It should be noted that Calgary scored four power-play goals in their total of sixteen first goals, and 13 of those goals came in the first period. The Dinos were keen to establish a lead, and showed the mettle to hold the lead often. As stated above, they faltered twice, but for a team that struggled hard one season earlier this change in their play bodes well for the future.

Calgary did the reverse of Alberta in that they posted six wins when scoring first in November and added five more wins in January where they hit the scoresheet first. Again, earning 43 of their points in games where they scored first shows that they can mount a lead and then hold it - a trait they hadn't shown much of in previous seasons. Head coach Danielle Goyette has a lot of good of which to build off if this trend continues.


I was a little shocked that Sara Craven only appeared once on the list of first-goal scorers, but it's pretty clear that Calgary's regular goal scorers were in on the action often when it came to putting Calgary ahead on the scoreboard first. And check out former captain Paige Michalenko's contributions from the blue line!

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Paige Michalenko (3), Delaney Frey (3), Elizabeth Lang (2), Annaliese Meier (2), Sara Craven (1), Rebecca Clarke (1), Jordyn Burgar (1), Dana Wood (1), Chelsea Court (1), Brooke Dennett (1).

Record: 14-7-3-4 (52 pts).
Finish: 3rd in Canada West.
Playoffs: Lost in quarterfinal.

Saskatchewan ability to defend leads is no surprise as they often fall into a defensive shell, but, because they don't score a lot, putting teams away early is more of a challenge than it is for teams like Calgary and Alberta. That being said, Saskatchewan was still 12-3-0-2 in 2019-20 when scoring first, but that 2-4-3-2 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 don't score a ton of goals. If one team needs to ramp up the offence, the Huskies are it.

Saksatchewan scored six power-play first goals of the seventeen they scored all season, so there should be little concern about the Huskies using the advantages awarded to them. The 11 five-on-five goals are also a respectable total considering that they only scored 55 goals all season long. Take the 16 special teams goals off that total of 55, and the 11 times they scored first represents 28.2% of all the even-strength goals they scored this past season. It might be time to take the reins off the offence a little for the Huskies.

January was Saskatchewan's best month when it came to scoring first and winning games, posting a 5-1-0-0 record in those games. That one loss came against Alberta early in the month in a game where the Huskies and Pandas were tied 2-2 going into the third period, but the Huskies couldn't find any additional goals in a 3-2 loss. Again, the Huskies need to keep the offence rolling against good teams in order to finish those teams off to help themselves.


I'm a little shocked not to see names like Upgang or Haubrich even make the list, and Bailee Bourassa only shows up once. What should be pointed out is that Saskatchewan blue line really chipped in to get the offence going based on first scores. If they can keep that up in coming seasons, the Huskies will always be in good standing!

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Abby Shirley (3), Shyan Elias (3), Leah Bohlken (2), Emma Nutter (2), Elizabeth Salyn (2), Sophie Lalor (1), Kennedy Brown (1), Chelsea Debusschere (1), Bailee Bourassa (1).

Record: 12-14-2-0 (40 pts).
Finish: 4th in Canada West.
Playoffs: Lost in final.

Mount Royal is an interesting case in scoring first when one considers that they posted a 10-0-1-0 record when they notched the first goal, but they only scored that opening goal in the first period twice from November through to February (five total). It's hard to believe that a team could wait until the second and third periods to score the opening goal of games as often as Mount Royal did and find the success they did, but it seems to have worked for them. What shouldn't be overlooked is that the Cougars were a dreadful 2-14-1-0 when they didn't score first. Playing from behind was not the Cougars' strength this season, and they didn't do enough to help themselves on the road when it came to scoring first.

Of their eleven first goals, only two came on the power-play which is a testament to their five-on-fie play. However, Mount Royal's four third-period first goals should likely be addressed as they accounted for 40% of all the third-period opening goals scored in the conference - no other team had more than one. While all four of those games resulted in three-point wins and giving your opponents as little time to mount a comeback as possible is an interesting tactic, a 0-0 game heading into the third period also could be perilous if the Cougars don't take advantage. Get out in front early, Cougars. It's your best bet on earning points like you did in October when first period leads turned into a 5-0-0-0 record.


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

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Anna Purschke (2), Kate Hufnagel (2), Tatum Amy (1), Kate Scidmore (1), Nicolette Seper (1), Daria O'Neill (1), Breanne Trotter (1), Andrea Sanderson (1).

Record: 9-13-5-1 (38 pts).
Finish: 5th in Canada West.
Playoffs: Lost in quarterfinal.

Regina's season was kind of two parts in which they struggled early on before turning everything around in the second-half of the campaign. As a result, the 7-3-2-1 record that Regina posted when scoring first is a little deceiving. Prior to December, the Cougars were 2-2-1-0 after scoring first in just five games, but they went bananas in the second-half of the season where they posted a 5-1-1-1 record when scoring first. That push in the second half propelled them up the standings from 8th-place into 5th-place and into a playoff spot! If Regina didn't have such a bad first half of the season, it's likely they could have overtaken Mount Royal.

Four of Regina's 13 first goals came on the power-play, so they showed that they can score at even-strength and when given opportunitues. What should concern head coach Sarah Hodges is defending a lead once they get it. Regina, as shown above, had a 7-3-2-1 record, meaning that of a potential 39 points in those games they only secured 26 points (66.67%) - significantly lower than the conference points percentage average of 77.18% and only better than one other team in conference. If Regina wants to improve their standing, defending a lead might be the first priority.


There's no doubt that Jaycee Magwood was the goal-scoring sensation on this team, but Regina really relied on her to pace the offence as five of her eleven total goals opened the scoring for the Cougars. For players potentially returning in 2021, no one had more than one goal.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Jaycee Magwood (5), Merissa Zerr (2), Tamara McVannel (1), Paige Hubbard (1), Jordan Kulbida (1), Jenna Merk (1), Elise Endicott (1), Chelsea Hallson (1).

Record: 9-13-1-5 (34 pts).
Finish: 6th in Canada West.
Playoffs: Lost in semifinal.

Despite going through a stretch last season where the Thunderbirds couldn't buy a goal, the T-Birds still managed to score first in 12 games, posting a 7-1-1-3 record in those games. That remaining 2-12-0-2 record was part of that 300+ minutes of being shutout, so seeing the Thunderbirds not only make the playoffs but upset the Saskatchewan Huskies in the quarterfinal showed that they still could right the ship after a tough stretch. That being said, the 3-1-1-1 record following October's games shows that something wasn't working in UBC. The games they scored first in were six in October, four in November, two in January, and zero in February. That's trending in the wrong direction.

UBC got half of their first goals on special teams as the power-play scored five times while Ashley McFadden's shorthanded marker in October against Regina in a UBC win was the lone shorthanded marker to open the scoring in Canada West play this year. The weird part is that UBC was 2-1-0-2 in games where they opened the scoring with a power-play goal, so I'm not sure why they took their foot off the gas when they had their opponents down. The one regulation loss came in an 11am game against Saskatchewan where the Thunderbirds jumped out to a 3-0 lead before losing the game 4-3. Head coach Graham Thomas' team needs to rediscover its killer instinct, especially at home, and finish off these teams when he has a chance. Giving up free points when they hold a lead isn't a normal T-Birds trait.


It's not the usual cast of characters for the T-Birds who kicked off the scoring as Mathea Fischer, Hannah Clayton-Carroll, and Shay-Lee McConnell combined for just one of the goals. On the other hand, the T-Birds found some good depth scoring, and Mikayla Ogrodniczuk stepped up on the blue line in a big way. McFadden, it should be noted, scored an even-strength goal, a power-play goal, and a shorthanded goal to pull off the rare first-goal three different ways!

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Ashley McFadden (3), Mikayla Ogrodniczuk (2), Tiffany Chiu (2), Ireland Perrott (1), Hannah Koroll (1), Hannah Clayton-Carroll (1), Emma Hall (1), Chanreet Bassi (1).

Record: 8-17-2-1 (29 pts).
Finish: 7th in Canada West.
Playoffs: Missed playoffs.

Like UBC, Manitoba went through a dry spell that totalled 300+ minutes where they didn't score a goal. Not scoring in six games certainly reduces the chances of scoring first, and Manitoba was lowest-scoring team in the conference which also doesn't help. They still posted a 6-1-2-0 record when scoring first, but the flip side is that they went 2-16-0-1 when they didn't score first. That's something that head coach Jon Rempel needs to address for next season: either score first or there's a lot of heavy lifting to do. Manitoba did go 2-0-0-0 in October when scoring first, but the wheels came off for the rest of the season after that.

Manitoba was the one team that relied on special teams the least to open the scoring. They recorded just one power-play goal in the nine contests they scored first, but they also recorded the fewest first period first-scores with just four goals. Manitoba needs to be ready to play in every game, and, with a young team, instilling these lessons now should pay dividends this season and beyond. Playing from behind is something the Bisons can't do - they're simply not built for it at this point. Scoring more as a general rule should help the efforts in scoring first as well. The Bisons' lone loss after scoring first came against Mount Royal in January - one of two Mount Royal wins after trailing this season.


Not surprisingly, Jordyn Zacharias makes the list as she was a consistent goal scorer throughout her career. The emergence of Kate Gregoire in the second-half of the season also helped Manitoba after Émilie Massé's production slowed in November.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Jordyn Zacharias (2), Émilie Massé (2), Kate Gregoire (2), Mekaela Fisher (1), Megan Neduzak (1), Chloe Snaith (1).

Record: 7-16-2-3 (28 pts).
Finish: 8th in Canada West.
Playoffs: Missed playoffs.

In what has to be the most statistically-weird portion of this article, we come to the team that lit the lamp first out of all Canada West teams as the Lethbridge Pronghorns were on the scoreboard before anyone else 17 times! The problem is that those 17 times led to a record of 6-8-1-2 in those games as the Pronghorns scored first, but seemingly had no idea what to do after that. For a team that has missed the playoffs for the better part of their existence and certainly over the last six seasons, you can see that they may not be used to playing with leads all that often. However, I still expected them to win a few more games once they established the lead, but that wasn't the case in reality.

After jumping out to a first-place standing in October on the strength of a 4-2-0-1 record when scoring six first-period opening goals, the tires once again came off for the Pronghorns. Through November, January, and February, they posted leads in ten more games only amass a record of 2-6-1-1 despite leading for a portion of the game.

In this anomoly of stats, Lethbridge was the only Canada West team to not record an opening goal in the third period, possibly allowing their opposition enough time to mount a comeback. 14 times, they opened the scoring in the first period - more than any other team. They only used two power-play goals to establish leads with fifteen other leads grabbed through five-on-five play. It seems more and more clear that this was about Lethbridge's response to their opponents' pushback as they tried to defend that lead.


It should come as no surprise that Lethbridge's big guns were doing the scoring as Van Vaerenbergh, Greig, and Borrow were all on the list. It is encouraging to see both Sansregret and Verbicky on the list as they'll be expected to provide that kind of goal scoring next season with the MacEwan Griffins.

FIRST-GOAL SCORERS: Tricia Van Vaerenbergh (4), Krya Greig (3), Alli Borrow (2), Kianna Dietz (2), Sage Sansregret (1), Mila Verbicky (1), Mikaela Reay (1), Katelyn Breitkreuz (1), Eryn Johansen (1), Brooklyn Palmer (1).

That's a deep dive into the team side of things based on how often each team scored first and who was doing the scoring. Needless to say, I'm nearly cross-eyed and seeing double from scouring the scoresheets and boxscores of 112 games, but seeing this kind of information that teams can use is why Canada West and the individual teams should be doing deeper dives into the analytics of the game.

Scoring first matters to every team, but it's now quantified just how much it meant to Canada West teams in 2019-20. As we progress through future seasons, I feel like this something I should be able to maintain so watch this space for more detailed analysis such as this!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!