Friday 31 March 2023

Mash That Button!

Today is a big day for Ste. Anne Manitoba as they look to pick up enough votes in the 2023 Kraft Hockeyville contest to win the grand prize of $250,000! Ste. Anne will be competing with three other communities for that money, but I'm throwing my votes behind Ste. Anne, Manitoba simply because their ice plant at Maurice Chaput Arena needs to be replaced. Desperately.

Chantal P., who submitted Ste. Anne's arena to Kraft Hockeyville, made the following plea,
"The plant is well through its prime and is at the point now where repairing it (as has been done multiple times throughout the last few years) is no longer an option due to its age, parts are obsolete and it just cannot keep up! Last season we could not hold ice past February and this season was delayed as we could not make ice until mid October due to the delicate state of the plant. Families travelled for over a month to surrounding communities arenas for pre-skates, try-outs and practices. The added expense was tremendous on families. It is at the point now where there is talk that we don’t know what the future holds for next season as the cost for a new plant is astronomical."
I know that ice plants cost a considerable amount of money because it's not just one component that is being upgraded. There's new piping, new technology, and new equipment that comes with the installation of a new ice plant, so every inch of the artifical ice surface is affected by the replacement of this new setup. Beyond that, the chemistry within the ice plant needs to be set properly to generate the freezing of the water laid down on the rink, so this is a highly-specialized piece of equipment that requires professionals to install and maintain.

I write this today because the communities of Saint-Anselme in Quebec, Maple Ridge in BC, and West Lorne in Ontario are all competing with Ste. Anne for this grand prize money. And while they all have great stories that highlight their needs for this money, Maurice Chaput Arena in Ste. Anne is, literally, the town square where families meet, kids and adults play, and neighbours reconnect in the stands while the action on the ice happens. This isn't just an ice plant to keep the ice in the rink, but it's a plea to help keep the arena open. If there's no ice, there's no reason to be at the arena.

Voting opened this morning at 8am CT/9am ET and will run until tomorrow, April 1 where the contest voting closes at 4pm CT/5pm ET. The community with the largest number of votes will win the $250,000 grand prize, and I'm hoping that announcement will feature the name "Ste. Anne, Manitoba". Register over on the Kraft Hockeyville website, and start voting as often as you can! There's no limit on votes, so tell your office co-workers, your friends, your family, anyone with an internet-connected device, and anyone else who can get onto to the internet to get registered and to mash that vote button until it's worn out!

Just as an aside, I've been voting through my phone as I write this article, so we're underway and amassing votes as you read this! Help out Ste. Anne by joining in!

There's no reason why we can't win this money for Ste. Anne, folks, and I encourage everyone across the prairies and into northwestern Ontario to band together and vote Ste. Anne in the Kraft Hockeyville contest. Let's do something awesome by helping Ste. Anne get their ice plant so they can keep Maurice Chaput Arena running for another 50 years! All you have to do is register and vote often!

I have to get back to voting, so I hope you'll join me in trying to help Ste. Anne win the 2023 Kraft Hockeyville contest. The town is a great hockey community with a rich history of local hockey heroes, and they can keep making those memories with your votes to help them win the $250,000 grand prize!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 30 March 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 549

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves tonight with a busy show that has a distinct Manitoba theme to it! As we know, lots of leagues are handing out hardware, so we'll take a look at one of those winners tonight, but the charitable wing of a few major businesses have led to Manitoba hockey organizations getting some boosts! Oh, and there's be a contest announcement tonight. Stay tuned for that starting at 530pm CT!

With the NHL season ending on April 13, 2023, there would be a serious injustice done if our annual contest didn't return. Survivor: NHL Playoffs will happen in two weeks' time, and you're invited to participate! We'll have those details tonight on how the contest works and we'll remind you next week, but we'll be back on NHL Survivor Island in two weeks! Beyond that, Jason and Teebz will discuss a community hoping to win a lot of money, a community who received a sizable donation, a team that won its league, the IOC failing its members once again, Hockey Canada doing right for once, a couple of major tournament announcements, and more! We'll try to squeeze all of this in tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! 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 Jason talk winners, champions, losers, doing right, surviving this contest, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: March 30, 2023: Episode 549

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Teebz's Movie Club: On Location

I took some time for myself tonight and watched a movie. I normally end up writing these blogs while a movie is on, but I actually watched a movie tonight without the laptop open. That movie was the latest Woody Harrelson project called Champions where Harrelson's character coaches a team of intellectually-disabled basketball players following a series of screw-ups. I have to admit that I enjoyed this movie as it's funny, has some heartfelt moments, and is entertaining. However, rather than this being a basketball movie review on a hockey blog, I want to talk about where Champions was filmed because its locations were quite familiar.

Over the last couple of years, Hollywood has served up some great movies like Champions, Nobody starring Bob Odenkirk, and Violent Night starring David Harbour that feature a number of scenes shot in Winnipeg. While Violent Night takes place mostly at one house in the city, both Champions and Nobody have a vast number of scenes shot in and around Winnipeg with buildings and locations very visible to the trained eye if one knows those landmarks. Goon, starring Seann William Scott, was another film that had a myriad of shots from around Winnipeg that even ventured into areas that one may not to expect see film crews!

From the Canada Life Center (Goon) to the Duckworth Center (Champions) at the University of Winnipeg, from the Palamino Club (Nobody) to the Hotel Fort Garry (Violent Night), from the Manitoba Hydro building (The Italian Job) to the University of Manitoba dance studio (Shall We Dance?), Winnipeg might just offer Hollywood everything it wants when it needs a specific look for a scene. The mixture of older architecture and modern aesthetics found downtown and in the Exchange District gives Winnipeg different looks from block to block in some cases.

I'm not here to shill for the film industry. I know Manitoba's film industry works really hard in trying to attract major motion pictures to this city, and we've been very lucky in having some of those films choose Manitoba for its locations. Seeing some of the locations used in the movies listed above while recognizing what they are in everyday life makes me smile as I know that Winnipeg's somewhat scruffy look occasionally cleans up nicely.

While Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver seemingly offer things that Winnipeg can't, the costs of filming there sometimes forces movie studios and directors to look elsewhere for locations. Coastlines in Vancouver can be replicated along Lake Winnipeg. The architecture of old Montreal can be found in Winnipeg's Exchange District. The modern, sleek lines of Toronto's downtown can be represented by the new buildings going up in Winnipeg. Whether it be a school campus, a dance studio, a snowy street, or a hockey rink, Winnipeg has shown it can replicate, duplicate, and become Anywhere-On-The-Planet with a little decorating of the location.

As it stands, there are a number of Hallmark and Lifetime movies scheduled to be filming in and around the Manitoba capital in the near future. One of the bigger film titles being filmed here is Psycho Killer, based on a screenplay written by Andrew Kevin Walker who wrote the screenplay for the Morgan Freeman thriller Se7en. It sounds like Georgina Campbell and Logan Miller are set to star in the movie, so it seems like it will be another busy summer of filming in our great city.

Just for the record, Champions was worth watching and I do recommend it as it gets ★★★★☆ (four out of five stars). While Woody Harrelson and Kaitlin Olson are very good in the film, one can't help but admire the innocence and comedy from actors like Kevin Iannucci, Madison Tevlin, and Casey Metcalfe. Harrelson and Olson do a good job in keeping the story moving, but it's the players who bring the real heart to the movie as Iannucci's Johnny shows all sorts of range in his acting while Tevlin's comedic timing is fantastic for laughs. Champions will make you smile with its story, but the cast really brings it to life with their warmth.

If you do sit down to watch Champions, keep an eye peeled for all the Winnipeg landmarks. You'll see them throughout the movie as Winnipeg plays a large part in the final act of the movie itself. Who knew that "Muddy Water" looked so good?

Until next time, see you at the movies!

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Zeroes At The NHL All-Star Game

If you're an NHL fan, you've likely known for some time that the numbers zero and double-zero are both outlawed by the league. The reasoning for this was that the NHL's statistic database didn't recognize those numbers as valid numbers being used, so the NHL outlawed them in 1996-97. That ended the hopes of seeing Martin Biron carrying on in his career wearing #00, Kevin Weekes never wearing the number despite wearing it in junior and the AHL, and Neil Sheehy losing his single zero on his jersey. Somehow, players like John Davidson, who briefly wore #00, still have their stats intact, so I'm not certain that this databse theory holds much water, but we'll let the NHL have that history because we're going back to 1993 to look at the All-Star Game in Montreal where #00 made an appearance on a player who never wore it any other time!

Ed Belfour broke into the NHL in a big way in 1991 after spending time with the Canadian National Team. He had originally debuted with the Blackhawks in 1989-90 where he went 4-12-3 with a 3.87 GAA and an .877 save percentage that year, but he seemingly found his game while with Team Canada while the Blackhawks were building a solid team featuring notable players such as Jeremy Roenick, Steve Larmer, Chris Chelios, Michel Goulet, and Steve Thomas.

Belfour's return to the Blackhawks in 1990-91 saw him post a 43-19-7 record as the Blackhawks run rampant up the standings of the Norris Division while winning the Presidents' Trophy before they were shockingly upset by the Minnesota North Stars in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Belfour, though, was recognized for his fantastic season as he was awarded the Calder Trophy, the Vezina Trophy, and the William M. Jennings Trophy as he announced his place among the NHL's elite goaltenders.

The 1991-92 season saw Belfour putting together another solid season despite a lighter workload thanks to a few injuries, but it was in the playoffs where Belfour shone as he helped the Blackhawks eliminate the St. Louis Blues in six games, sweep the Norris-winning Detroit Red Wings, and sweep the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final to meet the Pittsbugh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins were simply too much for the Blackhawks with all their weapons, though, and the Blackhawks were swept by the Penguins.

Questions were raised about what happened to the Blackhawks following that sweep, but Belfour went back to his winning ways in 1992-93 as he'd finish the season with an incredible 41-18-11 record, but it was pretty clear that he was one of the best, if not THE best, goaltender playing in the league during that season. As such, he was voted to attend the 44th NHL All-Star Game as part of the NHL's Campbell Conference team in Montreal on February 6, 1993.

One of the fun quirks at NHL All-Star Games is when players who wear the same numbers on different teams become teammates at the All-Star Game. There's normally a "respect for your elders" idea used by the players where the more veteran player of two players who want the same number gets to wear it. We've seen that happen with players like Boston's Ray Bourque and Pittsburgh's Paul Coffey where Bourque kept #77 for the All-Star Game while Coffey wore #7.

That happened at this game where Ed Belfour wanted to wear #20 to honour Vladislav Tretiak, his hockey hero, in this game. However, Luc Robitaille of the Los Angeles Kings had been voted to participate and he was the more veteran player, so Belfour abandoned that idea and went to his normally-worn #30. Again, that posed a problem as Calgary's Mike Vernon was at the game, and he opted to wear #30 as the more veteran goalie. That left Belfour without his two favorite numbers, so he solved it by choosing a rather unique number: 00!

Belfour was voted in as a starter, so he stood in the Campbell Conference crease wearing his new jersey number as the Wales Conference All-Stars - missing Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, and Brian Leetch - looked to find ways to beat him in the opening period. At the time, Belfour was the Campbell Conference's best stopper.

Normally, I wouldn't crack a joke about a guy's play being related to his jersey number, but I'm almost certain that he made the same number of saves as the number worn on his jersey. Example below.
Belfour surrendered six goals in the opening period as the Wales Conference led 6-0 after 20 minutes en route to a 16-6 victory. Mike Gartner had a hat trick, including the goal above, in 13:22 of play while Adam Oates assisted on four of the six goals scored. In short, it was not a good period by any standard for the Campbell Conference.

"I'm not embarrassed," Belfour said to Mike Kiley of the Chicago Tribune of his performance. "What did I face, 22 shots? I must have made two or three big saves."

We all know that goalies went to the conference-vs-conference All-Star Games just to keep players honest when it came to goals and points scored. Belfour absolutely shouldn't have been embarrassed about getting scored on in the game. The NHL All-Star Game is about players having fun and trying to outscore one another. Goalies are just there to make sure the nets aren't empty.

We can add one more goalie to the #00 list as Ed Belfour gets credit for appearing for the first period of the 1993 NHL All-Star Game where he would have accumulated statistics that would be used for future all-star games. Belfour won't necessarily be associated with that number over the course of his career, but he certainly wore it for one memorable game in 1993!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 27 March 2023

Call The Eight Men Out

Back in 1988, John Sayles took Eliot Asinof's 1963 book about the Chicago Black Sox's 1919 scandal and converted into a screenplay. Eight Men Out, directed by Sayles, starred John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, and DB Sweeney in thre all-star cast, and Sayles did a great job in capturing the essence of Asinof's writing. Being that I find the books on which movies are based to be better, that's a pretty lofty amount of praise from me, but the story of how the underpaid 1919 Black Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series shouldn't be lost. Without giving too much away for those who haven't read Asinof's book or seen Sayles' film, eight members of the Black Sox team were ultimately banned for life from baseball over the allegations made despite being acquitted of the crimes in 1921. "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was one of those players.

I bring this up today because of the tagline on the movie's poster seen above. It reads, "The Inside Story of How the National Pastime Became a National Scandal". While baseball is America's "national pastime", hockey certainly would be regarded in the same way as Canada. Being that as it is, Hockey Canada's announcement today that all members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team will be banned from representing Canada until the 2018 investigation into the sexual assaults that happened in London, Ontario are complete is the right move by the organization.

It's believed that as many as eight of the players on that 2018 team were involved in the alleged sexual misconduct that went on in London. There has yet to be any player who has owned up to the incident, and none of the team have pointed a finger at others who may have been involved. As it stands, 22 players currently will be prevented from wearing Team Canada jerseys until the investigation runs its course.

Honestly, good on Hockey Canada for possibly forcing players to re-evalute their futures. We've seen this kind of pressure placed on groups before where the innocent eventually break their silence to escape the punishment, and that's what needs to happen here. If eight Canadian men on this team were responsible for the sexual assault that took place in London, this will hopefully force players who weren't involved to call those eight men out.

It should be noted that it was suggested when Hockey Canada sat before the Canadian parliamentary committee that the eight men may not all have been part of Team Canada's roster that year. I fully recognize this fact, but the reality of the situation is that the 22 men who made up Team Canada that year have kept silent about who really was involved. That can't be overlooked, and all 22 men should be painted with the same brush until those men who committed the crimes are identified.

As for those players who claim they knew nothing of the crimes, it's on them to start asking questions among their teammates in order to clear their own names. I don't care if this ruins friendships, destroys teams, or creates friction of any kind. There were crimes committed where your silence has and will cost you chances at representing your country, so be the good that people seek in this story by flushing out the bad by forcing those who were involved to step forward.

The names of the 22 banned players are as follows: Maxime Comtois (ANA), Kale Clague (BUF), Dillon Dubé (CGY), Jake Bean (CAR), Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh (CHI), Cale Makar (COL), Sam Steel (MIN), Cal Foote and Dante Fabbro (NAS), Michael McLeod (NJD), Drake Batherson (OTT), Carter Hart (PHI), Jonah Gadjovich (SJS), Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas (STL), Conor Timmins and Victor Mete (TOR), Brett Howden (VGK), Alex Formenton (OTT/Ambrì-Piotta - Switzerland), Tyler Steenbergen (TPS - Finland), and Colton Point (retired). Outside of Point, there are 21 players who could, potentially, wear a Team Canada jersey at some point in their future.

You don't think Team Canada has Cale Makar on their radar for future Olympic Games? We know Canada will consider some or all of Comtois, Dubé, Kyrou, and Thomas for their World Championship team this year. Even the guys playing in Europe - Formenton and Steenbergen - could be asked to play in the Spengler Cup with Canada. All of those opportunities are officially cancelled as long as the eight alleged players remain hidden from the investigation and 22 players continue to hold their silence.

I'm not a religious man by any definition, but I feel that the line in John 8:32 that states "the truth shall make you free" is an apt reminder for a number of the players listed above that they can be free to pursue their hockey passions once more if they tell the truth about what happened in London. In even simpler terms, this is about right-vs-wrong, and the silence - either through not knowing or not asking - is damning when it comes to representing the country on whose watch these crimes were committed.

Some will say Hockey Canada's punishment goes over the line, but I think it will have its intended effect as someone will want more for themselves when it comes to opportunities to play internationally. While that shouldn't be the carrot dangled, it will likely prompt someone to step forward out of the silence to name names, and we might finally put this national scandal to rest. A young woman is still wanting justice, and she may finally get it thanks to the very organization that paid to keep her quiet.

All we need now is for someone to call the eight men out.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 26 March 2023

Team Transfer Portal

There's an annual rite of passage after all the games have been played where NCAA hockey players step back, examine their current situation, and make a decision on whether they should stay where they are or leave for another school. The NCAA Transfer Portal has made this easier for both players leaving schools and teams seeking players to coordinate, at the very least, discussions, but I'm not certain I'm all that enthused in seeing all the players who want to transfer elsewhere. If one is recruited to play somewhere, what is causing this change of heart from either the player, the program, or both? Secondly, what is happening with one's education if one moves to a new school?

Those are questions that need to be answered by students looking for a new school's jersey to wear, and I'm not here to examine that side of the coin. Players are free to move if they choose, and they're certainly welcome to examine the other side of the fence if they believe the grass is greener. Instead, I'm going to pull off a little academic exercise today that should prove interesting.

With there being some 107 players in the NCAA women's hockey transfer portal at the time of this article being written, there undoubtedly is a smattering of Canadians in that group. In knowing this, I sat down and looked at building a team out of these players looking for new places to play. Let's call this team "Hope College" that will feature a roster of fourteen forwards, eight defenders, and three netminders for a total roster of 25 players. Would this team be competitive? Could it compete in, say, Canada West? Let's find out.

I need to set some ground rules on how I selected players. The first thing I did was look for players who had room to grow in terms of having more than one year of eligibility left. If one is "starting a program", the last thing one wants is a mass exodus of rostered players after Year One. The second thing I did was open it up to all provinces across Canada since U SPORTS teams are certainly becoming more national in their constructions. Lastly, if there were rosters spots that needed to be filled, senior players would be taken based on academic achievement. You're at school for an education so hockey may help a player in the future, but the education will have a much longer-lasting effect on that student's life.

In posting all that, let's see who I'd recruit from the transfer portal to make up the inaugural season for "Hope College"!

Name Current Yrs From GAA SV%
Julia Bachetti
St. Cloud State
Ariella Merlino
ON 0.00 1.000
Emma Gorski
ON 3.46 .895

Bachetti was an easy selection after she red-shirted for St. Cloud State. The Tecumseh-born netminder posted an 8-4-2 record with the OWHA U22's Kitchener-Waterloo Jr Rangers along with a 1.28 goals against average and a .956 save percentage while being an Honour Roll student throughout high school. She'll get every chance to start for Hope College.

Merlino's stats are a little deceiving as she saw action in three games with Syracuse, but only in spot duty. That said, her 8-5-2 record with the OWHA U22's Mississauga Hurricanes saw her post a 2.21 GAA and a .943 save percentage prove she's a competitor. She was recruited in Grade 9 by Dartmouth before making the switch to Syracuse, so it's pretty clear that her grades are important to her as well.

Emma Gorski comes in as the veteran after playing 83 games over four seasons with Merrimack. Her 16-54-9 record doesn't reflect how often she was called upon to help Merrimack stay in games, but the 915 saves over 34 contests proves she's a reliable starter. Her 12-2-0 record with the PWHL's Kingston Ice Wolves was powered by a 1.54 GAA and a .927 save percentage, so she'll be key in getting Merlino and Bachetti ready for future seasons with her mentoring.

Name Current Yrs From G A
Jamie Grinder
Ohio State
BC 1 3
Anna-Liese King
SK 4 7
Chloe Puddifant
St. Lawrence
AB 6 36
Tarryn Mozes
ON 1 6
Victoria Proulx
ON 0 1
Olivia Groulx
ON 1 4
Alexie Guay
Boston College
QC 20 46
Stephanie Markowski
AB 16 49

Grinder's 14 games over two seasons seems very low, but her work at the Delta Hockey Academy where she posted 8 goals and 19 assists in 55 games is promising. King was a fantastic player with the Notre Dame Hounds, and she'd be encouraged to push the envelope on the blue line. Puddifant's production at all of the AFHL, CSSHL, and JWHL levels were solid, and she's been good on the Saints' blue line. Mozes made the ACC Honour Roll in her freshman season, and she plays a very controlled game. Proulx is the only Canadian with three years of eligibility remaining, so she's the future.

The senior players who will get a chance to patrol the blue line have a range of skills. Olivia Groulx who is a pure defensive defender which every team needs. Guay is a solid offensive defender who can carry the play while being strong in her own zone. Markowski, like Guay, has a ton of offensive upside, but she plays a very responsible game in her own zone as well.

Name Current Yrs From G A
Emerson Jarvis
Ohio State
AB 1 2
Reese Chuback
MB 0 2
Alexandrea Bednar
MB 0 2
Morgan Giannone
St. Lawrence
ON 1 0
Ryann Perrett
AB 1 0
Ashlyn Garnett
NS 1 2
Alyssa Kawa
ON 3 2
Sydnee Wilson
BC 0 0
Sarah Marchand
ON 18 23
Alexa Pongo
ON 15 7
Rhéa Hicks
ON 6 13
Olivia Cvar
St. Cloud State
MB 25 19
Reece Hunt
Bemidji State
BC 20 39
Catherine Proulx
ON 14 12

Jarvis was exceptional as an Edmonton Panda, and it was curious to see her under-utilized at Ohio State. Chuback was a shifty, skilled forward with St. Mary's Academy, and her two helpers in ten games seems to indicate Union should have played her more. Bednar never found her game at Post, but there's hope she can become a consistent player as she was with Eastman in the MFHL. Perrett was an outstanding playmaker with the Notre Dame Hounds as she had 16 goals and 30 assists in her final season with the Notre Dame Hounds.

Giannone showed skill in her final season with the PWHL's Oakville Hornets as she lit the lamp 17 times. Garrett was on an upward trajectory with Dartmouth, but she didn't play in 2022-23. Kawa was solid in her final season with the PWHL's Stoney Creek Sabres, but she seemingly was under-utilized at Mercyhurst. Wilson is a former captain of the Delta Hockey Academy, but she didn't see much action at Syracuse. Marchand scored 25 points in her freshman season before dropping to 16 points, but she's shown a knack for the net. Pongo showed that she can score with 12 goals last season. Hicks was a CHA All-Rookie Team member following a great freshman season.

Cvar, as a senior, is a solid two-way forward, but she's been a WCHA Scholar Athlete and a two-time WCHA All-Academic player. Hunt is a former captain of Bemidji State, a two-time WCHA Scholar-Athlete, and a two-time WCHA All-Academic player. Catherine Proulx is the sister of Victoria Proulx and a sister combo is always appreciated, but Catherine was a three-time All-Academic player.

As you can see, there is an exceptional amount of Canadian talent available on the transfer portal. This list didn't even include names like Anna Leschyshyn (Syracuse), Amy Landry or Kaitlyn Yearwood (UConn), Chace Parker (Maine), and Caitlyn Whitehead (St. Lawrence) who are all in the transfer portal as well. I would have included Presleigh Giesbrecht, but it seems she already committed to another Canada West school at this time. In short, there's no shortage of Canadian players who could be contacted if Canadian schools were looking to add players.

Will we see any players come home like Courtney Kollman, Jada Burke, and Joelle Fiala did? I can't say that it will happen, but you'd think that a few of these young women would take a long look at some of the programs north of the border when it comes to their education and hockey futures. I get that the bright lights of the NCAA are appealing, but when you see the growth and sustained success of programs like Mount Royal, Concordia, Nipissing, and UNB, you can't help but wonder if these fantastic schools couldn't use a couple more good students and hockey players.

Would Hope College fare well against Canada West or any other U SPORTS program? I can't say for certain, but I do know that there's enough talent there for the program to get a jump-start on its own growth and evolution. Having a number of these women join rosters across Canada will only make all those teams and conferences better, so it might be time for Canadian schools to keep an eye on the NCAA transfer portal when looking for recruits.

Perhaps one of these players listed above is the last piece of a roster on the verge of standing atop the U SPORTS mountain.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 25 March 2023

He Does It All

Ryan Fanti's name isn't one that is heard in NHL circles. It's likely one that isn't mentioned in Edmonton Oilers discussions, either, despite the Oilers signing the former NCAA netminder last year. Fanti has had to work his way from the NAHL to the NCAA where he played 57 games with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, and he's made a few appearances in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors. Fanti has spent most of this season in a Fort Wayne Komets jersey in the ECHL, though, and I don't think anyone will forget his name in that market.

In 29 games with the Komets this season, Fanti has a 13-13-1 record with a 3.43 GAA and an .897 save percentage. It's at this point that a lot of people reading this article right now are wondering why I'm spending time writing about an average 23 year-old ECHL goaltender, but Fanti has shown more than just an ability to stop pucks and be the last line of defence for the Komets. While his two big "highlight reel" moments likely won't help him climb the ladder to the NHL, he's unquestionably written himself into Fort Wayne hockey lore with his "abilities".

We jump back to Friday, March 10, 2023 where Fort Wayne was hosting the Wheeling Nailers in the opening game of a home-and-home set. With time winding down in a game where both teams showed a dislike for the other, Matt Alvaro scored an empty-net goal with 34 seconds to play to make it 6-4 in favour of Fort Wayne, but he was tripped on the play by Ryan Da Silva and slid into the endboards. Alvaro popped up and went at Da Silva, and players on the ice joined them around the Nailers' net as a line brawl erupted.

Apparently, YouTube has this video flagged as "age-restricted" for some idiotic reason when there are hundreds of hockey fights on their platform, so here's the video on Justin A. Cohn's Twitter account. Ryan Fanti and Nailers goaltender Brad Barone end this video with a dance of their own to the delight of the Komets' crowd.
I'm not here to celebrate goalie fights because fighting in hockey - specifically with 34 seconds left in a 6-4 game - does little to change the outcome aside from increasing the risk of an injury to a goalie, but Fanti won that scrap pretty convincingly. The fans responded with their appreciation of Fanti's pugilistic ways, and the legend was born about this 23 year-old from Thunder Bay, Ontario.

That brings us to tonight where Fanti's legend grew once again.

The Komets were hosting the Rapid City Rush. Tied 3-3 going into the third period, the Komets scored twice to jump ahead by a 5-3 score. The Rush, sensing their time was running out for a comeback, pulled netminder Adam Carlson for the extra attacker, and that opened up the opportunity for Fanti to do something special!
Fanti scored at 18:19 of the third period to become the first goaltender in the 71-year history of the Fort Wayne Komets to record a goal! Fanti also becomes the 15th goalie in ECHL history to record a goal, and the first since François Brassard scored for the Maine Mariners on December 19, 2022!

What makes this goal a little more surreal is that it almost didn't happen. At 13:34 of the third period, Ryan Fanti skated over to the bench, had a quick chat with the staff, and was replaced by Corbin Kaczperski before heading down the tunnel. Everything was going well when Fanti re-appeared on the bench, and he was sent back out to his spot in the blue paint at 17:23. You might be wondering what happened for four minutes in Fanti's life where he needed to leave the game, and credit goes to Justin A. Cohn of The Journal Gazette for getting the answer.

"There’s no getting around it. Everyone goes through it. Once the third period happened, (a stomach ache) just hit me. I was kind of battling through it," Fanti told Cohn. "Once we hit the fifth goal, I didn't feel as bad for Kacz. So I was just like, 'When this happens, it happens. I've just got to go to the bathroom and be as quick as I can.'"

Had he not returned from the bathroom break prior to the face-off at 17:23, there was no other stoppage until he scored. In other words, this goal may never have happened had Fanti spent a little extra time in the powder room!

"You don't really get too many opportunities (to score). It's probably something I've dreamed about more than anything, including a fight or whatever it is, making big saves," Fanti informed Cohn. "One time in juniors, I had a chance up two goals. I probably got a better shot off than I did tonight, but a guy made a good play and jumped up to knock it down with his glove. I tried to scramble back to my net and he ended up banking it off me and scoring. Luckily, we still ended up winning the game and I'm happy that didn't end up happening again tonight. I just got lucky with it. The puck landed on edge and luckily it didn't flatten out and stop."

Fanti's name can be added to the list of ECHL goalies with a goal!
  • Ryan Fanti (FWK) vs Rapid City - March 25, 2023
  • Francois Brassard (MAI) at Adirondack - December 18, 2022
  • CJ Motte (QCM) at Fort Wayne - December 9, 2017
  • Alex Nedeljkovic (FLA) at Atlanta - December 30, 2016
  • Brian Foster (CIN) vs Trenton - February 15, 2013
  • Timo Pielmeier (BAK) at Utah - December 19, 2009
  • Jonathan Quick, (REA) at Pensacola - October 24, 2007
  • Trevor Koenig (ACB) at Wheeling - March 2, 2005
  • Brian Eklund (PEN) at Mississippi - December 5, 2003
  • Mike Smith (LEX) vs Dayton - October 26, 2002
  • Mark Bernard (TOL) vs Johnstown - March 27, 2001
  • Nick Vitucci (CHA) vs Louisville - March 6, 1996
  • Sean Gauthier (SCS) at Raleigh - December 19, 1995
  • Olie Sundstrom (ERI) vs Wheeling - December 15, 1995
  • Corwin Saurdiff (HRA) vs Charlotte - March 18, 1995
There aren't many goalies who can claim they had a fight and a goal in the same month, but Ryan Fanti is one of those goalies. As much as Edmonton would like him to advance through their development system, it seems that Ryan Fanti has found a home in Fort Wayne, Indiana where his fighting skills and goal-scoring skills are appreciated as much as his puck-stopping skills!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 24 March 2023

Joe Biden: Honourary Canadian

There are certain stereotypes that Canadians simply can't shake when it comes to the rest of the world's perception of us. Yes, there are likely too many Tim Hortons restaurants per capita, but we'd really like the chain to owned by a Canadian and not a Brazilian restaurant conglomerate. Yes, it's cold up here for long stretches of time, but we embrace winter as part of our identity. Yes, hockey is the national sport, but so is lacrosse and, no, not everyone plays one or both. Yes, French is a nationally-recognized official language, but not everyone can parlez-vous with the best of them.

For years, Canadians have been stereotypically-identified a numbers of ways - we apologize for everything, we're too polite, we say "eh" a lot, and we apparently pronounce words like "out" and "about" as "oot" and aboot" - and we're pretty accepting that this happens. However, if you really want to test someone's "Canadian-ness", all you have to do is crack a joke about the Toronto Maple Leafs!

If you've read this far, you likely know that the Toronto Maple Leafs are a polarizing team in that people either like them or hate them. There's not a lot of gray area in between, it seems, and the historical nature of this polarization extends back to the team's Original Six days for Canadian fans. Leafs fans will go out of their way to defend their beloved team while those who detest the Leafs will make that known in no uncertain terms as well.

Being that I am of the latter group - I live by the ABT mantra of "Anybody But Toronto" - hearing US President Joe Biden's comments today will speaking to the Canadian government brought a smile to my face. Here is Joe Biden's speech where he references the Leafs.
I'll give Biden a pass for referencing his wife's commitment to her hometown Philadelphia Flyers, but he could have just stopped at "except the Leafs". All jokes aside, Biden making the crack in Ottawa in front of sitting Members of Parliament from across Canada was a pretty fun moment during the political theatre to which Canada was treated over the last couple of days.

Because President Joe Biden took a shot at the Leafs on a very public stage today, he's earned himself an Honourary Canadian badge. That doesn't give him any additional rights or privileges, of course, but Joe Biden can now crack jokes about the Leafs at any time without Canadians giving him a puzzled look. Make a very public Leafs joke on Canadian soil? You too can earn yourself an Honourary Canadian badge! I feel like the low entry point for this badge might mean we're going to need a lot more badges made in a short time!

Like him or hate him, Joe Biden is welcome here at HBIC thanks to his membership to the Honourary Canadian club after cracking a great joke about the always-hated Leafs!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 23 March 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 548

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight to recap all the National Championship action from across the continent as we had Canadian universities competing for U SPORTS titles and we had a Manitoba college looking for another national championship! Beyond that, there were all sorts of stories from the hockey world that need to be discussed as things get interesting locally, nationally, and internationally on the hockey scene once more! It's another busy show with lots of news, get ready for hockey chatter at 530pm CT!

There was lots to cheer about if you were following the action at the U SPORTS National Championships. Teebz and Jason will recap both the men's tournament in PEI and the women's tournament in Montreal to get you caught up on which teams stand atop their respective mountains. Beyond that, they'll look at the ACHA Division-II championship tournament where the ACC Cougars of Brandon were vying for a third-straight national title, the moment of insanity at the U SPORTS men's hockey tournament, the QMJHL banning fighting, the NHL switching its on-ice jersey partner, the IIHF upholding its suspension for Russia and Belarus, and the ongoing hypocrisy of the NHL being inclusive! All of this and more will be discussed tonight on The Hockey Show at 5:30pm CT on one of 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

If you live outside Winnipeg and want to listen, we have options! 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 Jason look at big winners, bad scraps, poor quality, ongoing bans, complete stupidity, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: March 23, 2023: Episode 548

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 22 March 2023

Status Quo?

The IIHF released a statement today that saw the organization extend the suspension of the Russian and Belarusian involvement in IIHF competitions. I don't think this should come as a surprise to anyone considering that Russia is still bombing Ukraine and Belarus is still siding with Russia, but it's nice to see the IIHF doing the right thing when it comes being part of a global community. Some will say that this decreases the number of highly-skilled teams at events, and, while true, it also shows that the IIHF isn't devoid of human morals and ethics. I'll take less skill for doing the right thing any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The official statement from the IIHF reads,
"Based on a detailed risk assessment from a renowned company that specializes in assessing risks due to various global challenges, the IIHF Council determined that it is not yet safe to reincorporate the Russian and Belarusian Teams back into IIHF Competitions, and that it will not be safe for the upcoming 2023/2024 IIHF Championship season. Therefore, the IIHF will move forward with the 2023/2024 IIHF Championship season without the Russian and Belarusian Teams."
While I'm sure there could be safety risks for the players from Russia and Belarus if they were to participate in games against Ukraine's allies, let's just lay our cards on the table as say that the IIHF would have looked foolish allowing Russia and Belarus to participate in international hockey tournaments while the Ukrainian teams don't even have a rink in which they can practice. The meeting to determine the extension of Russia's and Belarus' suspensions on the international hockey stage should have lasted all of three mimutes when it comes to doing the right thing.

Personally, I think that Russia and Belarus should be forced to earn their way back to the top division in each level of hockey they wish to participate. If a country is going to go ahead and forfeit its goodwill by invading another country or supporting a country who invaded another country, I say they forfeit any standing within the sports world as well. Let's make Russia and Belarus start in Division 3B or something and have them earn their way back to the top division. Don't like that? Leave Ukraine. And don't go back.

In fact, let's just help the IIHF out with this press release:
That seems appropriate considering current global affairs, doesn't it?

I know there are people reading this right now who are saying, "Teebz, the athletes have nothing to do with what's happening in Ukraine," and there's a case to be made for that, I suppose. However, I'm not here to split hairs and determine how much guilt one should be assigned simply for being born Russian or Belarusian. If your government has decided to partake in an illegal invasion of another country, those are the breaks for being of that nationality.

For now, though, I'm good with not seeing a Russian or Belarusian team on the ice against any other teams. They need to earn their way back into the good graces of the global community, and I commend the IIHF for extending the suspensions to Russian and Belarusian teams from IIHF events.

Honestly, has anyone actually missed them? No? Moving on then.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Not A Fanatic Over This

When it was announced that Adidas wasn't renewing its deal with the NHL to be the on-ice outfitter for all 32 NHL teams, there was some hope that the NHL would come to its senses and return to companies that specialize in hockey as opposed to those who spread themselves into "athletic fashion". Adidas' authentic, on-ice NHL jerseys weren't bad quality if they were viewed in a vacuum, but the price point combined with the products put out by CCM, Bauer, and Nike made Adidas jerseys the worst of the bunch: slightly ahead of Reebok's jerseys, but a long way from being what traditional hockey fans coveted. Sorry, but it's true.

After the NHL allowed sports merchandise giant Fanatics to get involved in producing their merchandise, there was a noticeable lowering of both quality and quality control in Fanatics' offerings, and more and more fans began to receive products with mistakes, incorrect orders, or cancellation of orders altogether. Yes, there was a difference between a CCM on-ice, authentic jersey and a replica jersey, but the latter wasn't marketed with buzzwords and jargon where "authentic" lost all meaning.

Sadly, the news today that the NHL signed a new ten-year deal with Fanatics for Fanatics to be the on-ice uniform partner of the NHL was received virtually by the entire NHL fanbase as a significant mistake made by the NHL. And I couldn't agree more.

CCM was dedicated to making hockey equipment and apparel as one of its main product lines. Adidas doesn't do that, and Fanatics certainly does not. While the NHL will point at the jersey templates currently being used and proclaim "Nothing will change!", there's no denying that the quality of NHL jerseys DID change when Adidas and Fanatics took over making jerseys just as Reebok changed the quality of jerseys after they acquired CCM, KOHO, and Jofa.

As a guy who has a closet of hockey jerseys, I struggle to understand why the NHL would opt to name a second-tier sports merchandise company as their on-ice uniform partner when the examples of Fanatics' shortfalls in the sports merchandise world have been documented over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

The good news is that I likely won't have any new Fanatics jerseys in my closet, so my disposable income should increase. The bad news is that the disposable income I may have used on a new jersey will likely take a bigger hit as I scour eBay and other auction sites for quality jerseys made by CCM. And if I may be blunt, I'm certain I won't buy any of the newer designs that have been introduced for my own collection simply because there's nothing to convince me that these Adidas or Fanatics jerseys, designed as they are, are worth the price at which they've been set.

There's an expectation that an official uniform will feel like it's meant to stand up to the elements of the game. If it feels like a paper bag or stretches like spandex, one has every right to question the quality of the materials, the craftsmanship, and the design. When the prices of these uniforms are hitting $400 per uniform, expect fans to exercise that right to question the quality of what they're buying, specifically if it comes from an inferior sports merchandiser as I've shown above. I try to believe that the NHL is still a league that cares about the sports experience for its fans, but I've very apparent that it will always be a business far before it's anything else.

I'll still watch the NHL for the hockey because I'm a fan, but don't expect me to wear or own the gear. You lost me at "Fanatics", NHL.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 20 March 2023

Actions Have Consequences

There comes a point in every person's life where doing dumb things just gets old quickly. The variety of dumb things being done will go from mundane to wild, but when it comes to a disabled person's wheelchair it seems pretty obvious that one shouldn't mess around with it. Carson Briere somehow skipped that life lesson during his 23 years on the planet, and it seems that his actions on March 11 when he pushed Sydney Benes' unoccupied wheelchair down a flight stairs will come with some serious consequences thanks to Erie, Pennsylvania police. In knowing the police are involved, let this be a lesson to everyone: actions have consequences, and it doesn't matter what your last name is, who your dad is, or who he works for when it comes to making things right.

According to this Associated Press article, "[t]hree misdemeanor charges were filed Monday" against Briere and Mercyhurst lacrosse player Patrick Carrozzi over the March 11 incident at Sullivan's bar. Charges of criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy to commit mischief, and disorderly conduct were filed against the two Mercyhurst students - Briere and Carrozzi - and they will appear in an Erie, Pennsylvania courtroom on May 22.

Some may roll their eyes at these charges, but "[p]olice say their actions posed a potential danger to anyone coming up the stairs, while also creating a hazardous condition by blocking the staircase." It should also be noted that Miss Benes' wheelchair will require some significant repairs: damage to the left brake handle, a broken right arm rest's plastic molding, a bent a rear handle, and damage that caused the wheels to drag when moving forward. For Sydney, we're talking about her mobility being limited thanks to Briere's and Carrozzi's actions, so this is more than just some dumb prank or an inconvenience.

Eric Palattella of Erie Times-News noted that "a conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor carries a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to $5,000 and a conviction for a summary offense carries a maximum prison sentence of 90 days and a $300 fine" in the state of Pennsylvania, and that "[c]onvictions for misdemeanor and summary offenses can also lead to probation, particularly if the defendants have no prior record."

While both Carson and his father, Daniel Briere, released a joint statement on Saturday through the Philadelphia Flyers, there was a glaring omission in the statement. The statement read, "I am deeply sorry for my behavior on Saturday. There is no excuse for my actions, and I will do whatever I can to make up for this serious lack of judgment."

Why is he sorry for his behaviour, yet can't apologize to the woman whose life has been signficantly affected by that behaviour? Why can he do whatever to make up for his lack of judgment, but can't reach out to the young woman whose life has been dramatically changed due to that lack of judgment? If you're going to show remorse and make things right, it starts with the word "sorry" in the direction of the person who was affected by whatever was done.

I'm not saying that an apology would erase the charges that were filed by the police against him, but it's amazing how taking responsibility in the eyes of the person suffering because of one's stupidity goes a long way. Sydney Benes isn't asking for an apology, but she shouldn't have to ask either. This should be a moment where Carson Briere pledges to be better to Miss Benes directly, and follows that up by paying for the repairs to her wheelchair. Those actions would certainly prove that he's remorseful for the "lack of judgment" he showed, and it might buy him some goodwill in the court's eyes when he appears at the end of May.

Perhaps Carson has alread reached out to Sydney privately to do this. Perhaps he's making arrangements to cover the repair costs for her privately as well. One would hope that happened, but let's just say that my faith in privileged hockey people has been tested far too often for me to believe that it has. My hope is that it happened, but my brain is saying that I shouldn't hold my breath on this one.

I'm not asking for Briere to be found guilty through vengeance or anger. Based on what he did, he should be found guilty, and it's very likely that he'll get probation based on what Eric Palattella wrote above regarding Briere having no prior record. Briere, though, should be found guilty to send a message that if you do stupid things, you need to be responsible for those things. Actions, as we all know, have consequences, and the consequences of pushing an unoccupied wheelchair down the stairs at a bar should result in a very sobering slap on the wrist, an apology directly to Miss Benes, and paying for any and all repairs required for her wheelchair to operate as it did before Briere touched it.

Part of being young is making mistakes. The key is whether or not one learns from those mistakes, and this moment is a prime example where a guilty conviction for these misdemeanors would allow Carson Briere to learn a great deal about being mature, being responsible for one's actions, and being a good human being.

We'll see what comes of this case on May 22.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 19 March 2023

The Rundown - U SPORTS Finals

The field at this year's National Women's Hockey Championship had been reduced to six teams with three games closing out the 2022-23 season today. We'd see a consolation final, a bronze medal game, and the gold medal game when it came to action on the ice, and all three games looked to be fantastic in terms of the two teams scheduled to meet. The defending champions would have a shot a defending their title as they were in the gold medal final, and we saw an eighth-seed advance to the gold medal game for the first time in the history of this tournament. If you wanted storylines, drama, intrigue, and incredible hockey action, Montreal was the place to be on Sunday, so let's check out how this season ended on The Rundown!

Just as a reminder, here are today's games via the brackets.
11am will see the fifth-place game played as Toronto and StFX meet in that game. The bronze-medal game goes at 3pm ET as the UBC Thunderbirds and Montreal Carabins tangle in that contest. The gold medal game will be played at 7pm ET betweeen the defending champion Concordia Stingers and the Mount Royal Cougars. Both the RSEQ and Canada West have a shot at capturing two medals today, so let's get into the action!

The StFX X-Women met the Toronto Varsity Blues in the fifth-place game on Sunday morning. StFX defeated Nipissing on Saturday after falling to UBC on Friday. Toronto advanced after downing UNB on Saturday after they had fallen to Mount Royal on Thursday. One of these two teams will leave Montreal with two wins and a fifth-place finish after this final game. Jamie Johnson was in the crease for StFX while Erica Fryer was between the pipes once again for Toronto.

This game got a quick start after StFX was called for a penalty just a couple minutes in, giving Toronto an early advantage. Kaitlyn McKnight fired a puck into the slot area that didn't get to the net, but Lauren Macdonnell cleaned up the front of the net by chipping the puck past Johnson at 2:56, and Toronto was on the board with a 1-0 score! StFX shook that early goal off and looked to even the game on two power-plays, but the Varsity Blues killed those off. StFX would be called for a penalty late in the period, and Toronto capitalized again when Taylor Trussler found Emma Potter cross-ice for a quick shot that Johnson stopped, but Sophie Grawbarger tapped in the rebound with 55 seconds to play to make it 2-0 for Toronto. That two-goal lead held into the break with Toronto up 7-6 in shots.

Thanks to a late penalty in the first period, Toronto started with the power-play in the second period which saw them increase their lead again. Sophie Grawbarger centered to Emma Potter who went shelf on Johnson just 57 seconds into the frame, and the Varsity Blues were up 3-0! Toronto slowly began to exert their influence on this period as they found more ways to get pucks to the net, but Johnson did her part in keeping her team as close as possible. Toronto missed out on a power-play opportunity, but they kept the pressure on as Isabella Greco centered to Kaitlyn McKnight who chipped the puck up and over Johnson to make it 4-0 at 15:29! StFX missed out on a power-play chance before the end of the period, and that 4-0 lead for Toronto carried into the intermission with Toronto leading 17-11 in shots.

The third period saw the Varsity Blues do as much as they could to keep their defensive zone clear of StFX chances as they dialed back their offence. The X-Women pressed to try to break the goose egg on their side of the scoreboard, but the Varsity Blues showed that they could lock down their zone. Two power-plays were killed, and a StFX penalty saw Toronto control possession to help them run out the clock as the Varsity Blues finished in fifth-place thanks to their 4-0 win over the StFX X-Women. Erica Fryer stopped 16 shots for the tournament's first shutout as she won her second game in the tournament while Jamie Johnson stopped 14 shots in her Sunday morning effort.

Toronto finished the tournament in fifth-place, and StFX will return to Antigonish, Nova Scotia as the sixth-best team in the nation!

Highlights from this game are below!

The fifth-seeded Montreal Carabins brought the home crowd with them to the bronze medal game on Sunday afternoon as they met the UBC Thunderbirds. Montreal arrived in the bronze medal game after falling to Mount Royal on Saturday while UBC was playing in the game after Concordia defeated them in the semifinal. One team will wake up Monday with hardware while the other will look forward to next season as the fourth-best team. Aube Racine was in the Montreal net once again while Kate Stuart, in her final university game, got the start for the UBC Thunderbirds.

Quick starts were a key part of UBC's success all season, and they turned that trick today as Montreal was whistled for an early penalty. On the power-play, Annalise Wong's long shot from the point found the back of the net thanks, in part, to the great screen set by Grace Elliott in front of Racine, and the Thunderbirds were up 1-0 just 2:44 into the game! Montreal wasn't going to be deterred by that early setback as they pushed back against the T-Birds, but the Carabins couldn't crack the UBC defence. A late UBC penalty didn't help Montreal, and we'd hit the break with UBC leading 1-0 and holding a 6-5 edge in shots.

The defensive game continued into the second period where shots that reached the goaltenders were few. An early UBC penalty was killed off, and the T-Birds found some momentum with that effort as Kennesha Miswaggon's shot from the half-boards was stopped by a body in front, but Mackenzie Kordic got a whack at the loose puck and she put it by Racine at 7:45 to give UBC the 2-0 lead! The Thunderbirds were forced to kill off another penalty before the end of the period, and that allowed them to take the two-goal cushion into the second intermission despite Montreal leading 11-9 in shots.

For everything that Montreal was doing in the previous 40 minutes, they doubled their efforts once more which paid off nicely. First, Mylène Lefebvre went between her legs with a centering pass to Justine Pelletier, and Pelletier buried her shot from the slot at 4:28 to cut the UBC lead to 2-1. 2:55 after that goal, Montreal was buzzing around the UBC net again when Amelie Poiré-Lehoux held the puck long enough to get Stuart to overplay her position, and Poiré-Lehoux centered to Jessika Boulanger who crashed the crease and tapped home the puck home to make it 2-2 at the 7:23 mark!

UBC would regroup and settle down, though, as Montreal continued to press for the winner. We'd see that winner come at 16:46 when Kennesha Miswaggon's long point shot was redirected by Ireland Perrott in front which Racine stopped, but Perrott chipped her own rebound past the Montreal netminder on her second attempt to put UBC up 3-2! Montreal went into desperation mode with the goalie pulled and had some chances, but, as stated, that Perrott goals was the winner as UBC earned the bronze medal with a 3-2 win over Montreal! Kate Stuart stopped 20 shots in the win while Aube Racine was good on ten shots in just missing out on the medals.

UBC finished as the U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship bronze medalist for the second time in their history while Montreal will finish as the fourth-best team in the nation after today's result.

Highlights of this game are below!

For the first time in their short-but-storied history, the Mount Royal Cougars would play for the U SPORTS gold medal. They had won a number of ACAC gold medals in their history, but this was their first shot at capturing Canadian university hockey's highest honour. The Concordia Stingers had been in their position before as they had three gold medals to their name, and were the first repeat champions back in 1998 and 1999. Of course, they were looking to complete that feat twice as they entered the game as the defending gold medalists after their win in PEI one year earlier.

Would we see one of the newest programs in U SPORTS women's hockey upset the defending champs or would the Stingers be golden for the second year in a row? The Mount Royal Cougars had Kaitlyn Ross in their net to help answer that question while the Concordia Stingers leaned on Alice Philbert for the second-straight year for gold medal-level goaltending.

The first period saw the champs establish their game, but the upstart Cougars would find their skating legs as well. There were a handful of chances seen at both ends of the ice, and Mount Royal survived a penalty call against the tournament's leading power-play. If there was any fear of making a mistake by either team in the opening period, it didn't show whatsoever, but we'd hit the break with neither side lighting a lamp as the 0-0 score was intact despite Concordia holding a 10-6 edge in shots.

It wouldn't take long to find a goal in the second period as the champs struck early. A turnover led to a Chloé Gendreau breakaway, and she went forehand-backhand and through the wickets of Ross to put the Stingers up 1-0 just 1:31 into the frame! The game settled back into its first-period look as both teams looked to capitalize where they could, and two-straight Concordia penalties were killed off as Mount Royal missed on some good opportunities.

However, the Cougars would get one back before the end of the period as Tori Williams' blast from the point got past a screened Philbert at 16:45, and we were squared up at 1-1! Concordia would escape another penalty unfazed, and we'd go into the second intermission tied at 1-1 with Concordia holding a 17-15 shot margin.

If you were expecting a low-event third period, you were sadly mistaken. Breanne Trotter got herself open long enough to whack home an Athena Hauck pass from just outside the crease to the left of Philbert, and Mount Royal went up 2-1 at 2:02. A very questionable penalty shot was awarded to Rosalie Bégin-Cyr minutes later, and she made good on her shot by dragging the puck across the crease from right to left before going high on a moving Ross to tie the game at 2-2 at the 4:27 mark. A penalty to Emma Bergesen at the midpoint of the period allowed the Stingers' power-play to go to work as Chloé Gendreau took a sharp angle shot that Ross stopped, but Megan Burean-Gagnon buried the rebound from in front at 11:55 to put the Stingers up 3-2.

As time ticked down, it almost felt inevitable that the Stingers, with their championship experience, would simply let time run out on this game. Mount Royal pushed for chances, but it seemed the Stingers had their number even with Ross on the bench for the extra attacker. With the fans going bananas in the crowd and the clock hitting single digits in time, it looked like the Concordia Stingers were about to celebrate their second-consecutive gold medal victory. Note all the foreshadowing I'm doing.

With time winding down, Athena Hauck pushed the puck past one Stinger to get off the half-boards to where Breanne Trotter one-timed the puck off Hauck's possesion at the net, and the high shot got past a screened Philbert high on the blocker side and rested inside the net with 1.8 seconds to play in the game! The Mount Royal Cougars had tied the game at 3-3 and we would need overtime to determine a gold medalist at the 2023 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship!

After settling my own nerves, the teams took to the ice for the 5-on-5, sudden-death overtime period. Concordia had a few chances through the opening minutes only to be turned away by Kaitlyn Ross. It can't be stated enough that Ross allowed her team to skate with renewed confidence all tournament, and that shone through when Breanne Trotter came down the right side, took a shot that glanced off the defender in front of her and went to Alice Philbert's right where Emma Bergesen kept her stick on the ice despite being checked, and she swept the puck past Philbert before she could recover! The Mount Royal Cougars had scored in overtime to win the game 4-3 over the Concordia Stingers!

With the celebration on, it needs to be said in one full statement:
Kaitlyn Ross was sensational in making 29 saves to backstop the Cougars to the gold medal while Alice Philbert did everything she could to stop 20 shots in helping Concordia earn a silver medal.

Not much else needs to be said about how this game was played, but the highlights of this gold medal game are below.

Final Standings

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm not beyond excited about Mount Royal's win. I've been privy to watch them grow and evolve over their short history in Canada West, and to see them stand atop the mountain just ten years after they joined Canada West is certainly an incredible feat. However, all eight teams on this list could have gold medalists based on play this weekend, and we were witness to some incredible hockey. Congratulations to all eight teams for outstanding seasons!

Growth Of A Champion

Mount Royal is a team that went 8-17-3 in their inaugural Canada West season, finishing in eighth-place with 50 goals-for and 89 goals-against. Compare that to ten years later when the Cougars went 19-6-3, finished third in Canada West, and scored 76 goals-for and only surrendered 46 goals-against. It's taken ten long years to get to this point, but the Cougars have always been the "David" to every other team's "Goliath" when it came to Canada West play. On a national scale, I'm not sure players like Chrissy Hodgson, Tanika Dawson, or Kendall Kilgour even thought about playing the likes of Toronto, Montreal, or Concordia.

Seeing them make their first playoff series in 2017 against Manitoba was a huge step forward for the program. They lost both games in that quarterfinal series, but they showed incredible growth. In 2018, they lost both games in the quarterfinal to UBC, but UBC needed overtime in both games to send the Cougars home. In 2019, they finished in fifth-place for the first time ever, and won their first-ever playoff game on February 16 by a 3-0 score over Saskatchewan before falling in three games. And in 2020, they finished in fourth-place, won their first playoff series against the Regina Cougars, and upset the Calgary Dinos to earn their first berth in the Canada West Final. Oh, and they went to Nationals for the first team as the seventh-seeded team, and upset the second-ranked Toronto Varsity Blues before the tournament was called for pandemic reasons.

Forget upward trajectory - they literally are the graph above. With every passing year, the Cougars improved by leaps and bounds until they finally reached this outcome today. Watching this growth and evolution fills me with pride because a handful of us recognized Mount Royal's immense potential for greatness in 2017 when they made their first playoff appearance. We knew it was only the first step in the Cougars becoming a tour de force in Canada West, and they took that final step in becoming the best team in Canada today.

It has truly been an honour to watch the Cougars develop their program to what it has become today, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here! There will be a target on Mount Royal's backs next season - another first for a program playing their first U SPORTS game just ten years ago! - as they'll be the defending champions.

Seven Other Teams

Take nothing away from the Concordia Stingers who were a mere 1.8 seconds from a back-to-back championship celebration. The Stingers showed that they too have the hearts of champions by dispatching the Nipissing Lakers before downing the UBC Thunderbirds to advance to the final. They may look back on today's game and wonder how they could have let victory slip through their fingers, but they should be proud of how well they played considering how difficult it is to repeat as champions. The Concordia Stingers have should have nothing to regret.

The UBC Thunderbirds deserve some kudos as well as the 2023 U SPORTS bronze medalists. They battled through arguably the most difficult conference in U SPORTS women's hockey to emerge victorious as the Canada West champions before downing the StFX X-Women in their quarterfinal game. They gave the defending champions a good run in their semifinal game, but the Stingers overcame some adversity to defeat the Thunderbirds. While it sucks to lose that game, the T-Birds rebounded well by bouncing back after losing the lead against Montreal only to claim their hardware with which they'll return to Vancouver. Well done, UBC, in earning those bronze medals!

To Montreal, Toronto, StFX, UNB, and Nipissing, you were all worthy competitors this weekend, and you rightfully belong among the top-eight teams in Canada. This might have been the most wide-open tournament we've seen in some time at a National Championship, and a bounce or two that went differently could have altered the results entirely. Make no mistake that you're all worthy of praise, though. This weekend's games were some of the most entertaining I've seen all year long! Thank you for your dedication, your skills, and your efforts in capping this season off with an exclamation point!

Delayed Postings

Some of you may be asking why it took me so long to produce the last three days of The Rundown articles, and I can tell you that finding clips of goals and turning them into highlight reels with graphics to begin and end each highlight reel is taxing work when it comes to the amount of time needed. That doesn't include doing the recaps either, so let's just say that I've put a lot of work in behind the scenes this weekend.

Don't view this as a complaint - I want highlight reels for all games produced if possible. It seems that U SPORTS and CBC didn't follow through on that request, though, so I took it upon myself to make those highlight reels for all eleven games. If the athletic departments could do it for their schools or the conferences do it for their schools, that would have helped immensely. I know I'm screaming into a void right now, but being a one-man operation limits the speed at which I can produce articles. I guess what I'm saying is help a brother out once in a while!

The Last Word

Every year, I say that I'm not sure how long I'll keep doing this only to find myself knee-deep in Canada West women's hockey once again. What I do know is that the U SPORTS National Championship in 2024 moves to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and I assure you that I will not be missing that tournament after having experienced tournaments in London, Ontario and Charlottetown, PEI. Because of this fact, let's make it official: The Rundown will be back next year for more Canada West women's hockey action!

In order to get everyone ready for Saskatoon's turn at hosting this event, here is the U SPORTS video to promote the 2024 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship hosted by Saskatchewan!
Will the Mount Royal Cougars be there to defend their title? Will we see another new team put their name on the Golden Path Trophy for the first time? Who will be the seven teams to join the Saskatchewan Huskies at the tournament? All those questions will be answered next season, meaning that there's only one last thing to say this season:


Until next season, enjoy your summers! See you in October!