Saturday 30 September 2023

A Good Week In Leksand

Check out that smile on captain Anna Puschke's face! That's the smile of a captain whose team had a very good week as Leksands IF made some waves in the SDHL this week. As we know, both Purschke and Tatum Amy are playing for Leksands while Jordan Colliton is the head coach as the Mount Royal Cougars have a strong presence in the Swedish municipality, but former Alberta Pandas forward Autumn MacDougall adds to the strong Canada West contingent as she found her way onto the scoresheet this week as well! What may have happened in those games? Let's take a look at why Anna's smiling as we look at the two games that Leksands played!

Leksands IF was the guest for the home opener for SDE HC, but they cared not about the home team's party that night. Four different goal scorers paced Leksands to a 4-0 lead through the first 45 minutes of play as Leksands recorded their first win of the 2023-24 season with a 5-1 victory over SDE. Anna Purschke had a pair of goals while Tatum Amy scored and Autumn MacDougall assisted on Purschke's first goal as all three former Canada West players were on the scoresheet in this game!

If there is one downer, former UBC Thunderbirds netminder Kate Stuart was the goaltender who was victimized four times as Purschke's second goal came with Stuart on the bench for the extra attacker. Other former U SPORTS players in Shae Demale and Lauren Dabrowski who skated for SDE didn't factor into the scoring.

Highlights of Tuesday's game are below!

There was little time to celebrate as Leksands IF moved on to play AIK who entered the game at 1-2-0 to start the season, so this game was important as both teams were looking to get back to the .500 mark. A four-goal second period paced Leksands in this game as Tatum Amy opened the scoring with a helper credited to Autumn MacDougall, former Montreal Carabins forward Lore Baudrit picked up an assist on the second goal, and Anna Purschke added an assist on the fourth Leksands goal. Make it two in a row for Leksands after they downed AIK by a 5-1 score as well!

Despite a couple of former NCAA players in Utica's Rebecca Brown and New Hampshire's Emily Rickwood, AIK couldn't overcome a very confident Leksands team as they rode the momentum from their 5-1 win against SDE to put another 5-1 score on the board. Perhaps the biggest showing of confidence was the shot totals as Leksands outshot AIK by a 45-11 count! It's hard to win when you're under siege, so AIK will need to figure out how they can get the puck down the ice a little more!

Here are the highlights from Thursday night!

The upcoming week has Leksands playing against Frölunda HC at home on the Thursday before hosting HV71 on Saturday. It won't be easy against the team that was promoted last season in Frölunda as they have a number of weapons that fans may recognize including Michelle Karvinen, Lindsay Agnew, and Sarah-Ève Coutu-Godbout while goaltender Stephanie Neatby has the SDHL's lowest GAA at 0.97 and the lowest save percentage at .970. This will be an early test for Leksands as they trail Frölunda in the standings by two points, but Frölunda has yet to lose this season at 2-0-1-0. Can Leksands deliver that first loss to the SDHL's newest team?

The second game won't be any pushover either as HV71 always plays a solid game, but they are just 1-2-0-0 on the season. There are no Canadians on the HV71 roster for the first time in a long time as Danielle Stone didn't return, but Elin Svensson has picked up the goal-scoring role as she has three goals in three games and Finnish-born Sanni Hakala has a goal and two assists. If Leksands can get to goaltender Lina Jansson, they could find goals as she's allowed six in two games. We'll see if that happens on Saturday!

Leksands sits in fourth-place with six points, tied with both MoDo and Djurgårdens early in this season. We'll see if Leksands can continue to roll with this momentum they created this past week as they outscored their opponents 10-2, but they need to be ready for a couple of great teams who are seeking wins of their own.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 29 September 2023

Another Day At "The Office"

I wanted to finish off September with something fun, but I'm posting it here today on the last Friday of September because I've had a bit of a trying week. You likely know the guy to the left as "Jim Halpert" from the sitcom The Office, possibly "Jack Ryan" from Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, maybe as Lee Abbott from A Quiet Place and its sequel, potentially as Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four in upcoming Marvel movies, or less commonly as Mr. Emily Blunt. That's John Krasinski who never played a second in the NHL, but did skate with Joe Thornton, Lyndon Byers, and Rick Middleton of the Boston Bruins!

Before anyone goes back and points out that Mr. Krasinski never suited up for the Bruins, you're technically right. He never wore the jersey in an official NHL game, but he is a Bruins superfan as we saw during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final when he and St. Louis Blues superfan and co-star on The Office Jenna Fischer had a little running feud during that series.

Back to the main reason we're here, Krasinski did skate with those three hockey legends, though. Kraskinski is on the record as stating that his very first commercial that he did as an actor was for US coffee chain Dunkin' Donuts for a contest they were running called "Sports Dreams Instant Win Game". Here's that commercial!

Pretty awesome, right? There's actually a story that John tells in a WIRED Autocomplete Interview where he and Michael Kelly are discussing various roles they played, and he elaborates on acting in his first commercial and what happened during the filming. Here's that interview featuring Krasinski and fellow actor Michael Kelly!

If you rewatch the commercial above, you'll see John's skates in the air after Thornton hits him. If that's where John hurt his knee, I can understand why because that's some height he got on that hit if his skates came up that high!

In any case, I saw that interview today and thought that story was pretty cool if one went back and watched that commercial again. It doesn't sound like there were lifelong friendships made between the then-unknown John Krasinski and the three Bruins on the ice, but perhaps that friendship has now blossomed thanks to John's role on The Office and Joe Thornton's legend in the NHL.

For six years, though, John Krasinski had a memory of Joe Thornton every time he bent his knee. That's gotta be worth something, right?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 28 September 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 575

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back with one of our annual shows as we get set for another Canada West hockey season that kicks off tonight in Winnipeg with the Saskatchewan Huskies visiting the Manitoba Bisons in men's hockey action. Obviously, our hosts love a good Canada West hockey battle in both the men's and women's games, so it's time to preview all the teams and figure who finishes where based on what we know at this point in the season. Both Teebz and Jason have their thoughts on the men's and women's teams that make up Canada West, so we'll see how right they are when compared to the coaches' polls!

Teebz and Jason will look at all the factors that may go into where each of the teams end up in their respective standings this season when the dust settles on the 2023-24 Canada West men's and women's hockey seasons. They'll go over returning players who will make each team successful, players who left that may contribute to some setbacks, look at goalies and who the potential starters are for each team, talk special teams, and factor in last year's performances when it comes to predicting this year's standings. They put their thinking caps on, examined rosters, looked at coaching staffs, and have come up with their thoughts on who will win Canada West for the 2023-24 season! Of course, all predictions our hosts give on this show come with a money-back guarantee, so buyer beware! Jokes aside, it's a night of predictions and prognostications 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. We also recommend Radio Garden if you need an easy-to-use online stream. 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 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 break down men's and women's hockey in Canada West as they make predictions on which teams finish where, who may emerge as scoring leaders, if certain teams can defend their banners, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: September 28, 2023: Episode 575

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Adjusted Power-Play Numbers

I've seen a few season Canada West women's hockey season previews this week where the writer and/or publication has written stats down from last season, and one of those statistics that everyone seems to rely upon is power-play conversion rates. While it's true that special teams play a large part in every Canada West women's hockey game due to how tightly contested the games are, there needs to be a better way to determine which teams' power-plays actually provide an advantage. If you give up goals while holding a player advantage, that's not much of an advantage, right? Let's take a quick look at the adjusted power-play numbers from last season!

Here are the power-play numbers from last season in Canada West.

School PP% Goals Opp. SHGA Adj. PP%
33 138 2
30 127 0
21 123 6
Mount Royal
19 120 2
17 125 2
Trinity Western
12 90 1
15 133 2
11 105 2
8 123 1

As you can see, the adjusted power-play rates tell a different story when it comes to who used their power-play time effectively last season. The simple calculation is to subtract the shorthanded goals allowed by each team from the total power-play goals scored, and divide by the same number of opportunities. After all, teams can't score power-play goals unless they're on the power-play, and teams can't score shorthanded goals unless they're killing a penalty. If a team surrenders a shorthanded goal, the maximum number of power-play goals that can be scored to erase that goal against is one, and then the penalty is over (unless it's a major, but those are few and far between). Giving up that shorthanded goal? Well, that power-play essentially is neutralized.

As stated above, special teams in Canada West can literally win games for teams, so getting a boost from special teams always helps. That means effectively killing penalties, but it also means taking advantage of power-plays when they're awarded. Let's break this down in easier terms than numbers and math.

If you look at the adjusted power-play rates of UBC and Alberta, you can see that they're above 20% so they're scoring better than once for every five advantages that they receive. The Pandas had 4.92 power-play opportunities per game last season on average while the Thunderbirds had 4.53 opportunities per game on average, so they were scoring nearly one power-play goal per game all season long in games where they received four power-play opportunities. That's a huge advantage, and that might explain why they finished atop the standings last season when looking at the other conversion rates.

Mount Royal, who had the third-highest adjusted power-play conversion rate, scored once for every seven power-play opportunities after negating the power-play goals wiped out by the shorthanded goals they surrendered. If teams are going to be successful in Canada West, they have to take advantage of the advantages they're awarded. If they don't, it makes life much harder when it comes to making the playoffs.

Don't believe me? Take a look at the difference between the adjusted power-play rate for the Fluffy Cows compared to their actual rate. They dropped 4.9% in terms of their success because they couldn't stop teams from scoring while they had the extra player, and they ended up tied with the same adjusted power-play rate as sixth-place Trinity Western. Guess which two teams battled down the stretch for the final playoff spot?

In 2021-22, UBC and Mount Royal had the top-two power-play conversion rates in terms of both goals scored and adjusted power-plays as both finished above 20%, and they were first- and second-place in the conference. In 2019-20, Alberta and Calgary finished with the best power-play numbers and the best adjusted numbers as both finished above 20%, and they were the top-two teams in the standings that season.

I'm not saying this is any sort of trend, but finishing above 20% on the adjusted power-play success rate seems to be a good way to finish at or near the top of the standings in Canada West. At the very worst, it nearly guarantees that teams will make the playoffs because they essentially score a goal per game thanks to their power-play, meaning the opposition has to score two goals at the very minimum to have a chance at winning.

There are some years that don't follow the trend, but the 20% mark might be the key number. 2018-19 saw Manitoba finish with an 18.8% adjusted power-play rate, and they were second-place that season. Alberta, who finished atop the standings, had the fifth-best adjusted success rate at 14.2%, and Regina, who finished in sixth-place, finished second in adjusted power-play rate at 15.4%.

It seems likely that it's not a trend, but maybe more of a general observation that teams who have successful power-plays normally have successful seasons which should come as no surprise to anyone. One truth found in the numbers, though, is that any team who has finished above 20% in adjusted power-play rate has never missed the playoffs in Canada West. Maybe bookmark that fact?

Which teams will have worked on their special teams in the preseason? We may find out this weekend as games get underway on Friday night for the 2023-24 Canada West season! It's honestly on every coach to ensure that their special teams find success because those powrr-play opportunities that are awarded are literally chances to bury teams. Shrugging them off could be the difference of watching the playoffs in February on TV and actually playing in them.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Zero Imagination

The 2023 Heritage Classic between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers could have been one of those games everyone looked back on as an opportunity to really bring the hockey history forward. Both cities have rich hockey histories as they've been home to WHL, WHA, NHL, NWHL, U SPORTS, and a pile of other teams from various leagues over the ages. There's no shortage of opportunities to have an old-fashioned rivalry between the two major cities in Alberta, but, as seen above, we're seeing two different teams from two different eras being thrown together in one game.

I have zero issue with the teams selected by the Flames and Oilers in terms of the city's hockey histories as the Flames will wear a jersey based on the Calgary Stampeders who played in the city from 1938 to 1972 in various leagues while the Oilers will wear jerseys based on the 1952 Edmonton Mercurys who won the gold medal at the 1952 Oslo Olympics. Both are great selections in those cities' histories, and they probably should be honoured. But for a game that's about hockey history, I'd rather see the these two teams play in jerseys representing teams that actually faced one another historically!

Because the Oilers chose the 1952 Mercurys team, they've determined that's the year and era on which this heritage should be based. Being the home team in this Heritgae Classic, we'll give them that courtesy since they're playing host to the game, both teams, fans, and the NHL's corporate army. As you can see to the right, the Edmonton Mercurys sweaters have some rather unique features. The squared shoulder yoke, the number on the left sleeve only, the details on the logo - this could be a fun jersey to replicate with an Oilers twist to it if one got creative. After all, the Oilers have history too!

Instead, we're given this which, at first glance, seems like a fair recreation in the mould of the Oilers, but there are so many little details missing that it starts to look like a cheap knock-off jersey. The little folds that the Mercurys had in their ribbon below the logo? Gone. Not there on the Oilers' jersey. The chain-stitching that made the logo come alive? Missing. The Mercurys' logo with the '52 Olympics in it? Replaced with a dumb oil drop that will have the players' numbers in them. Why bother trying to represent a glorious sweater if you're going to simply mail in the effort, especially when the blank jerseys have a white drop on the front? Is this a "Got Milk" ad?

Kudos to the Oilers for putting the squared corners of th shoulder yoke on their jerseys and for only putting the TV numbers on the left arm which replicates those exact details from the Mercurys' sweaters. If the Oilers are skating left-to-right twice in the Heritage Classic, the announcers may quietly curse them for not having the right arm with a TV number, but accuracy counts in these jerseys. I like that they got this part correct, but there are still problems.

Compare the backs of the jerseys. It shouldn't be hard to determine which one looks better simply due to accoutrements.
If you're trying to tell me that Adidas and the NHL couldn't come up with a way to make the namebars similar to what the Mercurys wore, I'm not sure what to say. It's 2023 and we can't figure this stuff out? Yes, the maple leafs on each side of the name might be a little much, but literally any symbol of Edmonton could be added there - the city's coat of arms, the Oilers' everyday logo, or something else that would draw upon Edmonton's history. Again, the lack of imagination and creativity is baffling for a game of this magnitude.

The Flames, meanwhile, decided to honour the Calgary Stampeders who called the city home from 1938-72 and played in various leagues, but they decided to focus on the Stampeders from the 1950s and 1960s... which is confusing because they played in the amateur Western Canada Senior Hockey League in 1950-51, the minor-professional Pacific Coast Hockey League in 1951-52 (the season the Mercurys played in the amateur Western Intermediate League), the minor-professional Western Hockey League from 1952-63, and the amateur Alberta Senior Hockey League from 1963-71. In other words, at no time did the Stampeders and Mercurys ever play in the same league, so there's absolutely zero history between the two teams. There's never been a rule that NHL teams had to wear jerseys from the same era and/or league, but wouldn't the Battle of Alberta be better if they did?

Based on the uniform worn by the Stampeders while they played in the minor-pro Western Hockey League from 1952-63 as shown by Bill Burega to the left, the Flames changed these sweaters by altering the logo and hem striping, removing the forearm colouring, and adding the shoulder yoke. Basically, the Flames decided to honour the Stampeders by wearing uniforms that hardly resemble what Burega wore as a member of the Stampeders, so why are we talking about honouring a city's hockey heritage when no one seems interested in preserving that heritage? For a team that existed for 34 years in the southern Alberta city, the lack of respect shown to the sweater worn by the Stampeders during their minor-professional hockey days by the current professional hockey team is rather unbelievable to me.

What might be even more surprising is that the Stampeders had a link to Edmonton at this time. In 1952, the Stampeders and the Edmonton Flyers joined the Pacific Coast Hockey League which had been renamed as the Western Hockey League, and became the top professional league in Western Canada and the United States. At that point, the Stampeders agreed to become a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Black Hawks in the NHL. The irony of this is that other teams in the WHL at that point included the Vancouver Canucks, the San Francisco/California Seals, the Phoenix Roadrunners, and the Denver Spurs - teams that would eventually land in the NHL or WHA.

If you wanted to double-down on the Stampeders-Flyers rivalry at this point, you could easily do that as well. The Edmonton Flyers won the WHL's championship in 1953, the Stampeders beat the Flyers in 1954 for the title, and the Flyers returned the favour by downing the Stampeders in the championship game in 1955. Edmonton would also add a championship in 1961-62 while the Stampeders would lose the championship final in both 1958 and 1959, but it seems pretty clear that both the Stampeders and Flyers were excellent teams throughout the first decade of play in the WHL. And yet the Flames and Oilers decided to leave this rivalry in the past.

I made this point above, but there's never been a rule that NHL teams had to wear jerseys from the same era and/or league. If we're honouring hockey history through the Heritage Classic games, though, there should be a much better effort given to the teams chosen and how the jerseys created to honour those teams look. It's hard for someone like me who loves the history of the game to look at this year's Heritage Classic and think "that's a good-looking hockey game" when neither team did a lot to convince me that they're honouring anyone but themselves.

Maybe that's today's NHL, though. The refusal by the NHL to recognize the WHA ever existed means that we were denied a Calgary Cowboys-Alberta Oilers game. The fact that the NHL still has yet to show any belief that women's hockey could be profitable means that we were denied a Calgary Oval X-treme-Edmonton Chimos game. And the fact that we're seeing no other teams being allowed to play on the Heritage Classic ice means we're denied a number of historical games from the two WHL teams and the four Canada West teams that call Calgary and Edmonton home.

For a billion-dollar league that loves the sound of people buying merchandise, it's going to be hard to convince someone like me who has a closet of jerseys to buy one of these Heritage Classic jerseys because every time I'll look at it, it will be a reminder that the NHL has zero imagination to enhance an already-exciting rivalry. Perhaps if they do sell a few jerseys, the NHL may want to start buying a clue on how to make outdoor games a little better through history and smart design.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 25 September 2023

End Of The Line?

I'm not here to pass judgment on people who are working on making themselves better after being jerks in the past. Yes, there's a some prejudice that one may revert back to one's jerk-like behaviours, but the hope is that the person in question is showing positive growth so that those behaviours don't come back. Unforunately, it seems that Kevin Constantine learned nothing after having coached in Europe and Asia for the last few years as he's now being investigated by the WHL for an "incident" that occurred this past weekend. The head coach of the Wenatchee Wild made it two games into the new WHL season before being excused from the team while the investigation continues.

As per the WHL's statement issued this evening, "The Western Hockey League announced today, Kevin Constantine, Head Coach of the Wenatchee Wild, has been suspended pending an independent investigation into alleged violations of WHL Regulations and Policies." There were no references as to which regulations and/or policies that Constantine violated, but rest assured that it's never good when the league is investigating a head coach.

Wenatchee had two home games this season to begin their era in the WHL. They hosted Portland on Friday, defeating the Winterhawks by a 6-5 score in a game where they trailed 5-3 midway through the second period. They followed that effort up with a game on Saturday night that saw the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds defeat the Wild 3-2 with a goal scored with 33 seconds remaining in the third period. One could understand there may be some frustration over surrendering that late goal, but it seems Constantine went far beyond the realm of acceptable behaviour at some point this weekend. As a result of those actions, he's been sent home by the league.
"Constantine was suspended on Sunday after the WHL's independent reporting channel received a complaint regarding his conduct. Constantine is not permitted to have any contact with any member of the organization, including players, while the matter is being investigated.

"The WHL's independent Player Advisory Council is conducting an investigation into the allegations. The independent investigation began Sunday when the complaint was received. Upon completion of the investigation, the Player Advisory Council will provide a report to the WHL Commissioner who will then make a determination on any further disciplinary action."
Again, I'm not here to pass judgment on past behaviours, but if Constantine was verbally abusive towards anyone he shouldn't be allowed to continue in his role. He's a head coach of a WHL team, so he needs to be able to find ways to communicate with players effectively. If screaming at players until he's blue in the face is his only method, that's never going to work in today's day and age.

The problem is that this isn't an isolated incident where a guy simply lost his cool. In 2006, Constantine was suspended four games and fined $5000 for "inappropriate" actions following the a 5-0 preseason loss by the Everett Silvertips to the Tri-City Americans. Reportedly, "Constantine had his team take off their helmets, skates and gloves and eat their postgame meal at the Toyota Center with the rest of their equipment still on. They rode home on the team bus from Kennewick to Everett in their gear, and even players who had been scratched and did not play in that game put on their gear for the ride home." Frankly, that's a ridiculous punishment for playing poorly in a preseason game, and I'm glad Constantine was punished.

Times have obviously changed over the 17 years between that incident with the Silvertips and the one that occurred this past weekend, but society has also matured to understand the impact that negative experiences have on teenagers when it comes to mental health. Screaming at 17 year-olds for not playing hard is one thing, but understanding that every one of those players has had different experiences up to that point factors in when it comes to mental health and potential trauma each has experienced. That screaming session, however, might just be what triggers a negative outcome for one of those players, and no one is wanting to see anything like that.

As we saw with Mike Babcock, it's tough for leopards to change their spots when it comes to behaviours that have seen success in the past and have gotten these coaches rewarded in the past. I'm not here to defend either of Mike Babcock nor Kevin Constantine because this is one of those "fool me once" things where past misbehaviour is very likely to occur again because, as the saying goes, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". In both of Babcock's and Constantine's cases, we're talking about men in their mid-60s who seemingly haven't learned a thing about changing with the times.

Again, I'm basing this off a screaming session where Constantine dressed down the entire team after losing a game. I could be very wrong about the situation that got him suspended, but this excerpt from Dan Rusanowsky's If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the San Jose Sharks Ice, Locker Room, and Press Box holds any water, this might be a recurrance of that poor behaviour.
As stated above, I could be completely off in what may have happened, and I suspect that it may be worse than how I'm portraying it to be with how quick the WHL moved to suspend Constantine. If it does turn out to be worse, the Wild will have no choice but to fire him. If that happens, that's likely the end of the line for Constantine when it comes to coaching.

I want to say that I'm surprised that this happened, but I think the surprise comes from knowing it could happen, trying to give Constantine a second chance, and then hearing it did happen. I want to believe that hockey is capable of transforming people who act like Neanderthals into functioning members of present society, but it seems that the learned behaviours of being a Neanderthal are to what people like Kevin Constantine regress in moments of stress.

Sometimes, you hope for the best, but you get the worst. Kevin Constantine may be the latter once the WHL investigation is concluded.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 24 September 2023

Her First Professional Goal

The reigning Canada West Player of the Year suited up for her first professional game today in the SDHL as former Mount Royal Cougars forward Tatum Amy donned the #20 jersey of Leksands IF. As we know from an article this week, Leksands was looking to continue to change the philosophy of the club moving forward this season with the addition of some key players - one of whom is Amy - who can play the game how head coach Jordan Colliton wants to see it played. More goals is certainly something that Colliton needs from her team, but they were in tough against a very good Djurgårdens club which had reloaded their roster for this season as well. Would we see some of the new players brought in make an impact in Leksands' opening game of the 2023-24 SDHL season?

One of those new players got Leksands on the board in the first period after they had fallen behind 1-0. Taylor Leech's long wrist shot from the right point was deflected in front, and the puck found its way high past Ida Boman to tie the game up before the intermission at 19:34. One of the new leaders scored the opening goal for Leksands, and it was a 1-1 game heading into the second period.

Good teams find a way to play the full sixty minutes of every game, and it seems that Leksands is still learning that fact as the second period didn't go well for them. Djurgårdens scored in the frame, but controlled the play for most of the 20-minute period as they looked every bit as confident in their game as they did last season. I'm sure Colliton will have some video segments they'll want to break down this week, but Leksands trailed 2-1 heading into the third period.

a coe Former Wisconsin Badgers forward Brette Pettet put Djurgårdens up 3-1 with a power-play goal before the five-minute mark of the third period, and this may have been a problem for Leksands last season when scoring was at a premium. Would we see a comeback from Leksands on this day or would they still be plagued with their offensive challenges?

You can officially mark 12:25 of the third period as a major milestone in Tatum Amy's career as she hit the scoreboard for Leksands!
The official scoring record will see Tatum Amy score on a pass from Agata Sarnovska which was started by Fanny Brolin, but that highlight marks the first professional goal scored by Amy in her career! If you watch the play once more, you'll see Amy get to the inside of the defender who was checking Brolin, and the forward who was backchecking made the mistake of letting Amy skate right into the crease with no check. A great feed from Sarnovska allowed Amy to chip the puck into the back of the net, and Amy's first professional goal is a memorable one!

Amy's goal also cut the deficit to 3-2 as Leksands pulled within a goal with just over seven-and-a-half minutes to play, but that's as close as Leksands would get as they simply couldn't find the equalizer. Leksands deserves some credit, though, as they outshot Djurgårdens 32-16 in this game, but it seems obvious that goaltender Emma Polusny has to be better if Leksands is going to have a chance at beating their opposition this season.

It's clear that two of the players that Colliton is relying on for more leadership and offence this season had an impact in today's game. Leech scored her first Swedish goal today, and Amy notched her first professional goal on a fantastic play from her line. They'll need both players to continue to contribute this week as Leksands hits the road for a game against Linköping on Tuesday before meeting SDE on Thursday. One loss isn't anything to freak out over, but there are some positives from this game on which Leksands can build.

Congratulations to Tatum Amy on her first professional goal that reminded me of her fantastic play while wearing a Cougars uniform! If her play in this game was a sign of her season, there will be a number of other goals off Amy's stick that will appear here on HBIC!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 23 September 2023

Technically Not A Military Tribute

When the new version of the Winnipeg Jets moved from Atlanta to the Manitoba capital, it was expected that the team would adopt the name "Jets". There have been countless people hoping that the team return to the heritage logo and jerseys, but the Jets have forged themselves a logo and look that calls upon the logo of the Royal Canadian Air Force - a group that owner Mark Chipman paid so that a variation of the RCAF logo could be used by the Jets. Since that logo debuted for the Jets, they honoured the military every year by wearing different versions of military looks prior to select games, but the Jets will wear the pictured military-themed jersey for three games this season to commemorate the RCAF's 100th anniversary being celebrated this season!

In honour of the Royal Canadian Air Force Centennial, the Jets presented "the Forty-Eight" jersey to their fans at their FanFest today. The jerseys honour the 1948 jerseys worn by the gold-medal winning RCAF Flyers who captured the Allan Cup in 1942 and won the 1948 Olympic gold medal at St. Moritz, Switzerland at the first Olympiad held since 1936 thanks to World War II.

"It is a great honour and privilege for True North and the Jets to be able to take part in celebrating the RCAF's centennial," said Mark Chipman said today. "We have been grateful to wear our pride and appreciation for our country's military, literally over our hearts and on our sleeves, over the past 12 years through the emblem of our Winnipeg Jets. We are humbled to further share our appreciation for the selfless service of the men and women working and fighting for our country through our RCAF Flyers inspired specialty jersey for the upcoming season."

The Jets have plans to wear the jerseys three times this season with the first date being Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night on Monday, December 4 when they host Carolina. That game serves as a kickoff for the RCAF's centennial celebrations for the military organization. The jerseys will be worn for two additional home games as well: Saturday, January 27 when the Jets host Toronto, and Monday, April 1 when the Jets host Los Angeles which marks the actual 100th anniversary of the RCAF.

Before people start losing their minds, this jersey technically isn't a military-tribute jersey as per the NHL. Practically, it certainly is as the Jets honour and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RCAF, but, because they aren't being worn solely for warm-ups prior to games, they don't fall under the "tribute" jersey rule as the NHL outlawed the wearing of tribute jerseys during warm-ups this season moving forward. Does that make any sense? No, but that's the NHL for you.

The other thing that bothers me about these jerseys? True North Sports and Entertainment has used them before.
Some will say "those aren't exactly the same", and that would be a correct assessment. The new Forty-Eight jerseys are being made by Adidas while the Moose military tribute jerseys were made by CCM. That could account for the minor differences seen between the two jerseys, but there's no mistaking that the TNSE is using the same template for the new Forty-Eight jerseys. I get that recycling is admirable, but this is literally taking that idea to a whole new level.

The Jets have stated they will still wear their heritage jerseys on select nights as alternate jerseys this season, and the three games with the Forty-Eight jerseys will be incorproated into that schedule. If you're a fan of the original 1980s Jets logo, those aren't going away thankfully. Adding this new Forty-Eight jersey seems like a way to skirt the military tribute jerseys they likely would have worn to celebrate the RCAF Centennial, but the NHL is going to allow it because it technically doesn't break the rules.

Had this been a new original jersey, I'm not certain I'd dislike it as much as I would tolerate it. Being that TSNE has used this jersey before for their AHL team, though, it seems like they could have found a less-recent design to use. Of course, the military doesn't change their uniforms all that often, so I get there are limited designs that the Jets could have selected, specifically for one branch of the military, but the Jets already honour the RCAF every time they wear their regular jerseys as Chipman said in his statement. Do they need something special for the RCAF Centennial? That's debatable.

If the Jets are wearing these jerseys for just three games, I can tolerate them. I wouldn't want to see these used as an alternate jersey by any means, and I honestly think they could have done something better. In stating that, they won't look terrible on the ice as proven by how the Moose looked in 2022, so the Jets will be fine for three games as long as no one complains about the military getting a tribute when every other group isn't allowed to have the Jets wear jerseys celebrating those groups.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 22 September 2023

More Black Hurricanes

I was never a fan of the Carolina Hurricanes ditching their red jerseys for their alternate black uniforms which, unfortunately, is now their home uniform. Black is a colour that virtually any and all teams could opt to wear, but hockey should be a game of colour when it comes to what's worn on the ice. We have red lines, blue lines, white ice, and red posts, so why add more black to the game when the officials and the puck are well-represented by those colours already? Well, the WHL's Lethbridge Hurricanes apparently never got that message as they introduced a new black alternate uniform to their jersey options, and they wore those new jerseys to open the season against the Swift Current Broncos tonight to start their WHL season!

It should be noted that the Hurricanes posted a 5-2-0-0 record in seven meetings with Swift Current last season, and that included a 3-0-0-0 record at home during the season series. Obviously, Lethbridge was looking to continue those winning ways with the Broncos visiting for opening night in the WHL, but this would be the first time in a very long time that a Hurricanes team dressed in black for an opening night. The colour of one's jersey shouldn't affect how one plays, so would we need to track the Hurricanes' record this season in black?

Well, the good news is that the Hurricanes, despite falling behind 1-0 in the opening period off a Maddix McCagherty power-play goal, rallied in the third period to send the fans home happy with the a 3-1 victory. The win marked the first for newly-appointed head coach Bill Peters while goaltender Harrison Meneghin made 40 saves to earn the first-star honours in the game. I'm not certain that the Hurricanes will want to surrender that many shots every night this season, but Meneghin earned that victory for his team on this night.

Here are the highlights from tonight's game with black jerseys.

Nope. Just nope. I don't like the look of the Hurricanes in black, and that goes for both the WHL and the NHL teams. You have colours that you've used in virtually all your branding - stick with the colours. Black is lazy and uninspiring as a jersey colour unless there's a signficant history with the franchise, and Lethbridge simply does not have that history. Use red, use blue, or figure something else out.

While I do understand that merchandising for WHL teams is important when it comes to generating income, a black jersey won't be one of those jerseys that everyone loves a decade from now. Yes, there likely will be an uptick in sales for the Hurricanes' new black jersey when compared to sales of their normal jersey set, one has to wonder when the bump will start to plateau for the Hurricanes. Historical jerseys would likely have a longer bump due to those past jerseys appealing to fans from various eras in the area, but I'm not making these decisions for the Hurricanes. We'll have to see what kind of revenue is generated from these new alternates.

Before I wrap this up, what team wears an alternate jersey in their first home game of the season, let alone the season-opening game for two teams? Has this ever happened at any other level of hockey? I could see the Hurricanes wearing the new alternate jerseys on their next homestand, but to open a season and play one home game in those alternates before heading out for a three-game road trip is something I've never seen before at any level of hockey.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are 1-0-0-0 in their new alternate jerseys, and they'll be worn again this season at some point. It won't be for the next week, though, as the Hurricanes visit Swift Current and Edmonton twice before returning home for a game against the Moose Jaw Warriors on October 6. They'll be wearing white on the road, so we'll see if that second home game has the Hurricanes in their normal jerseys against the Broncos or if they're back in black during the first weekend of October.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 21 September 2023

The Hockey Show - Episode 574

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to the airwaves of 101.5 CJUM-FM tonight to chat a little puck! Training camps have opened for a number of teams in a number of leagues across North America, and several European leagues are already playing regular season games as we know. There's a pile of news being reported from camps as teams get themselves organized, and we'll check in on some of these stories. Whether it's the NHL, the PWHL, Corporate America, or any other league, we'll do our best to deliver our views on the major hockey stories on The Hockey Show every week at 5:30pm CT!

It's been a busy week, so Teebz and Jason won't waste a lot of time tonight. The two hosts will discuss the Mike Babcock situation in Columbus, why it ended like it did, and whether or not this is the last chance for Mike Babcock on an NHL bench. Beyond that, they'll chat about the PWHL Draft that happened on Monday, some major injury news for a few NHL teams as they open training camps, there's an update on the BioSteel bankruptcy, head coach Jordan Colliton had a rough season last year with the SDHL's Leksands club, the Hurricanes are still pushing for an AHL club, Jagr's back for more, and we have another case of adults acting badly to discuss. We're all over the map tonight when it comes to story locations, but we'll bring this information to your radio and internet streams 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. We also recommend Radio Garden if you need an easy-to-use online stream. 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 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 chat about people behaving badly, coaches hitting a rough patch, players moving and returning, injuries keeping people off the ice, expansion problems, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: September 21, 2023: Episode 574

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Hardly Rainbows And Butterflies

As much as I sit here and celebrate the hiring of Canada West players and coaches in the SDHL, there was a report filed by Måns Karlsson on today that paints a different picture of how things went with Leksands IF last season. Karlsson's report and interview with head coach Jordan Colliton shows that last season was anything but rainbows and butterflies when it came to Leksands' play. Honestly, maybe I needed to read this account from Colliton to bring things back into perspective about how hard it is to run a professional hockey team. I need to give credit to Jordan Colliton for answering some tough questions.

I don't speak Swedish, so I ran the interview published by Karlsson on through Deepl Translate to ensure that I didn't miss anything filed in his report. What follows is a word-for-word translation of Måns Karlsson's report.

Jordan Colliton on the turbulence in Leksand: "Every decision I make is for the good of the team"

Last season was characterized by turbulence, with dissatisfaction in the player group and several players who both left the club and then criticized the management. Now Leksand coach Jordan Colliton responds to the criticism and gives her view on the tumultuous season.

"Change is difficult. In the past, you may have been able to do things and get away with them," says Colliton to

Before last season, Jordan Colliton came to Sweden. She was given the task of taking over Leksand IF. But the debut season in Sweden was anything but easy for the Canadian. The team finished sixth and reached the quarterfinals against Djurgården, but the season was marked by internal conflicts and an alleged rift between Colliton and several players.

During the season, Agnez Svensson, Amanda Johansson and Lisa Östrup left Leksand, criticizing the coach.

"I don't think Leksand IF treats people very well," Svensson said.

"It broke down between me and the coaches. In order to be good in your hockey, you have to be able to feel good outside. Even though you shouldn't bring personal things from outside into the ice rink, it still affects you without you thinking about it. That's what I feel the coaches have a little difficulty with, to feel the sympathy, that you may not feel good and feel 100 percent every day. That's where it has been a bit of a problem," said Amanda Johansson.

"I feel that there has not been any good communication at all, unfortunately. It could have been improved a lot," said Lista Östrup in the direction of Colliton.

This week, Leksand's sports director Alexander Bröms gave his view on the situation.

"To be brutally honest, I can question some players from last year: in what workplace is it okay to yell at your boss and throw doors in your boss's face? In which workplace is it okay to go around your boss and try to change clear directives to find an answer that suits you? In what workplace is it okay to whine among your colleagues, day in and day out, trying to turn them against your boss? I think there is so much that some people choose to tell the newspapers and that the newspapers also buy it hook, line and sinker."

"I have no regrets"

The coach who has been at the center of the turbulence, Jordan Colliton, has kept a rather low profile in the media about everything that happened last season. For, the 33-year-old coach gives her view on the messy first year in Leksand.

"Changes are difficult. Learning to be uncomfortable and to fail sometimes is difficult. It is what you do after that that will determine if you grow as a team and person," says Colliton in connection with the SDHL's preseason meeting. "We want to be able to keep a more consistent level and not have too high peaks or deep valleys, regardless of what we as a group go through and encounter for challenges. That's an important part of growing, given what we went through last season."

"Changes" is a word Jordan Colliton returns to. She came to Leksand to change the women's business, and that has meant some adjustments that have not been to the liking of all players.

"Alex (Bröms) brought me in with a vision and a goal for the club. I tried to come in and implement things so that we would succeed with it. When you come in and put expectations on players, high expectations on players who maybe haven't had it before... Then it's hard for them to fulfill those expectations even if I thought they could succeed. We want to be a better team. We want to be a top team in the SDHL. Last season was part of the transition to become that - and it will continue this season as well. It's not something that happens overnight."

MK: Are you surprised that not all players wanted to "jump on the bandwagon"?

"You have to give athletes the chance to face their challenges, and maybe I was a bit surprised that not everyone chose to do so. But that's okay. The group of players who remain in Leksand, along with our new acquisitions, want those challenges. They want to become better people and better players. In the end, it will help the club."

MK: You say it's not okay to agree with you...


MK: ... but are you disappointed that there are players who have spoken in the media and criticized you?

"Not disappointed. Obviously that's how they feel and they have the right to feel the way they do - just like we as a club have the right to move on with other players to achieve our goals."

MK: Can you give examples of what the players have said and done? Alexander Bröms said that doors were slammed shut, and things like that.

"Well... As I said: Changes are difficult. When you try to establish a new behavior and new habits, there can be reactions to it. Reactions that are not okay. In the past, you might have been able to do things and get away with it," says Jordan Colliton. "But it doesn't matter to me. Every decision I make is for the good of the team and how the team is going to move forward. I do it to make the players better players and better people. But in the end, it's up to the athlete themselves. It's their choice, how they respond to it."

MK: Have you learned anything? Do you have any regrets?

"You always learn things, whether it's from a positive or negative experience. If you are not open to learning, as a coach, you will not survive very long. But considering the steps we were able to take last season, I have no regrets. We are on the right path. We are a united team that wants to reach the same goal."

"Then you will never achieve what you want"

Jordan Colliton believes that there is a different profile, a different character, on this year's Leksand edition. She says there are big differences in the squad.

"Yes, especially considering those who have chosen to stay for another season. We did a lot of work last season to change our attitude and become more professional. If you have no expectations of yourself, you always have more to give. If you don't push yourself to do more, or become something more, you will never achieve what you want. You have to think about what you want to achieve, as a player and a team, but also what you are willing to do to get there. The players who chose to stay, who came back for this season, understand that. And the new players who have chosen to come here have done so because they want to be part of an environment where the players think the same way. Because this is how it is: If we're going to be a top team in the SDHL, everyone has to pull in the same direction."

MK: How far have you come? When are you a top team?

"The future will tell," says the Leksand coach with a smile and continues: "I talk a lot with my players about it being a process. It's about having a good daily activity, doing the job every day. There's a quote: 'If you're a dreamer, you've got to be a doer'. You simply have to put in the work every day. Nothing happens from one day to the next. If you only focus on the end result instead of the journey, you will never achieve what you want. However, if you focus on the process and how you want to reach the end result, you are usually in a good place."

MK: So, what are your expectations for the season?

"We are in the middle of that process and it can take as long as it needs to. But I'm really looking forward to the season and I'm excited about the steps we've taken, already in pre-season. I want to keep building something, and achieve more than last year. In my first year here, I managed to set a foundation for what kind of club we want to be on the women's side. Now we will continue with the positive habits and behaviors as a group."
Clearly, Colliton's philosophies didn't line up with every player's philosophy who wore the Leksands jersey last season. As shown above, three players specifically didn't see eye-to-eye with Colliton, but they've moved on from the club for this season. Whether or not Leksands is better will remain to be seen, but it seems like Alex Bröms and Jordan Colliton are in this for better or worse.

Based on Colliton's philosophies, there's also a new leadership group for Leksands that was named today. Anna Purschke will be captain of Leksands IF this season while Ella Albinsson, Taylor Leech, Lore Baudrit, and Emma Polusny will serve as alternates. If Colliton's philosophy and vision are going to find success, this is the group that will help push Leksands to new heights.

"This year's captaincy group brings several different components and perspectives with three of the players remaining from last season and Lore and Taylor being new to the team," Colliton told the media in Sweden. "I believe that these five players possess different types of leadership which is something our group will have the chance to lean on during the season. Everyone in the captain's group represents values that we want our entire team to live by every day."

Colliton knows Purschke extremely well from their time together at Mount Royal University. In regards to her new captain, Colliton said, "In Anna, we have a person who always plays for the team, who is one hundred percent committed to our process and who every day lifts people in her surroundings both on and off the ice. Anna's presence in a group contributes to everyone around her daring to believe in themselves and that they are important to the team. She also takes great responsibility and places high demands on both herself and her teammates. We feel very lucky to have a person like Anna as team captain this season."

She also spoke highly of her alternate captains, two of whom are new to the team. Colliton said of Baudrit and Leech, "With Lore and Taylor we get two different types of leadership. Lore has a lot of experience from SDHL since before and several years of experience from national team play with France. Lore personifies professionalism, something that helps her teammates grow. Taylor is new to the SDHL but is very social and energetic, a person we quickly noticed felt safe in her new environment here in Leksand. Taylor is a great role model for our team with her positive and solution-oriented attitude, something that will help our team grow."

She was also very positive about her returning alternate captains in Albinsson and Polusny, stating, "Ella and Emma are both important voices in the captaincy group and the team. They are two people who care very much about their teammates and what is best for the individual and the team. Both of them compete hard every day and have a strong desire to constantly improve. We should be proud that we have players and people like Emma and Ella representing Leksands IF."

Leksands IF begins its second season under Jordan Colliton at noon on Sunday at home against Djurgården. Leksands finished 20 points back of third-place Djurgården last season, so this will be a good test for the club if they want to convince fans that they are a top-tier team. As Colliton said, becoming one of the better teams in the SDHL won't happen overnight, but having all her players on the same page and competing hard against Djurgården this weekend is a good start.

We'll see how things go at noon on Sunday.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 19 September 2023

A Good Coach Is Rewarded

I'm not one to take any sort of credit for the work that someone else has done, but it's rather amazing the number of remarkable women that we've featured as guests on The Hockey Show over the near-600 episodes we've done. One of those remarkable women is Christine Bumstead, pictured to the left, who was a hockey coach and teacher in Manitoba before a number of amazing opportunities came her way. Obviously, getting the chance to step behind the bench alongside Steve Kook as an assistant coach for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women's hockey program is one that few people get, but opportunities at the WHL level may even be rarer for young coaches, specifically women. Today, Christine Bumstead can add a WHL position to her coaching resumé!

Announced today, the Saskatoon Blades welcomed Christine Bumstead as a performance coach for the 2023-24 season, making Bumstead the first woman to be a part of any Blades coaching staff as she joins head coach Brennan Sonne's staff for the upcoming season!

You might wonder how a woman from Winnipeg landed in Saskatoon working with one of U SPORTS' best programs before landing in the WHL, and it came about through hard work at her craft and a little bit of luck. That luck saw her cross paths with then-Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice who suggested that she join the NHL Coaches Association Female Coaches Development Program as one of fifty women across North America who would work in tandem with NHL coaches and personnel.

From there, Bumstead, who was coaching the Pembina Valley Hawks, a U-15 AAA team in Morden, Manitoba where she was teaching, identified a number of potential coaching opportunities with the Huskies being one of them. Steve Kook jumped at the chance to have Bumstead working with his program, stating, "I didn't worry about any of the technical stuff about what her background was or whether she was qualified — it was clearly evident from the beginning that I just had to put her in a spot and let her take some responsibilities."

Bumstead was vital to the program's success in 2022 as she helped the Huskies capture a bronze medal at the U SPORTS National Championship after falling short in the Canada West Final against UBC. The 2022-23 season was another solid campaign for the Huskies as they just missed out on an opportunity to head to Montreal, but it's pretty clear that Christine Bumstead had a positive impact on the Saskatchewan Huskies as an assistant coach.

She'll now take her talents to the WHL's Saskatoon Blades who actually pursued her as a coach thanks to what Brennan Sonne had heard about her.

"She came highly recommended from an NHL coach," Sonne explained in the press conference introducing Bumstead. "We reached out to her, chatted with her and (she) really impressed."

When asked what her role will be with the team as a "performance coach", Sonne had a number of ideas on how Bumstead will contribute, stating, "We're going to use her in a number of different things, whether that's skill drills, practices, eye in the sky, structural things, helping us in-game. There's going to be a number of different things we'll ask of her when we get her."

It should be noted that Bumstead's assistant coach role with the Huskies will remain intact while she works with the Blades, so she'll be behind the bench for the Huskies as they host the U SPORTS National Championship this season. Based on her body of work with the Huskies thus far, I'm quite certain that having Bumstead sticking around as a coach will be a welcomed sight by the players and her colleagues at the University of Saskatchewan.

It needs to be said, though: everything Christine Bumstead has accomplished came from her work ethic and her abilities as a coach. Yes, one can say that Bumstead's break came from her opportunity that she seized with the NHL Coaches Association, but she may not have gotten that opportunity if it wasn't for an NHL coach recognizing her abilities as a young coach.

Make no mistake, though, that it's the work that she has been putting into her craft that continues to open doors for her today, and that's a lesson that she certainly passes on to her players whenever she's on the ice. Hard work is the foundation of Christine Bumstead's success, and her appointment to the Blades is the result of that hard work that has been recognized and recommended by an NHL coach.

Congratulations are in order for Christine Bumstead today, and I'm excited to see where her talents will take her in hockey. From where I'm sitting, it seems like she may soon have her choice of any job at any level of hockey. That trait is the hallmark of a great coach!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 18 September 2023

Team Building

I always talk about how sports is a microcosm of society, and we know that team building is an exercise done in virtually every business across every industry. Whether it be for a special project or for day-to-day tasks to be completed, building an effective, efficient team to get the work done is vitally important for every business. Sports is a little different, though, in that some skill sets cannot be replicated no matter what the circumstances are. Finding a Gretzky or a Wickenheiser is difficult for hockey general managers because these types of players are so unique, but six GMs were trying to find the best combinations of skills to make their teams successful as the inaugural PWHL Draft took place in Toronto!

Today, we were witness to the first six teams stocking their rosters with the best players they could find via the player draft, and we got a sense of what these teams will look like come January when they hit the ice for the first-ever PWHL games. Some GMs clearly did their homework based on how they want their teams to play while others seemingly took the best players available at their respective draft positions. In both cases, a pile of great hockey players have been selected to play in the inaugural season of the PWHL, so let's take a peek at the composition of the teams thus far.

GM: Natalie Darwitz
Head coach: Charlie Burggraf
Home arena: not yet named

FORWARDS: Kelly Coyne Schofield, Kelly Pannek, Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, Clair De George, Denisa Krizova, Sophie Kunin, Michela Cava, Liz Schepers, Sydney Brodt.

DEFENDERS: Lee Stecklein, Maggie Flaherty, Susanna Tapani, Natalie Buchbinder, Sidney Morin, Minttu Tuominen.

GOALTENDERS: Nicole Hensley and Amanda Leveille.

It would appear that Natalie Darwitz's team will skate like the wind, move the puck quickly, and get activation from defenders while heading up the ice based on their draft and signings. There's a nice balance of scoring and defence here, and the goaltending is top-notch in the pairing of Hensley and Leveille. Minnesota will be a tough matchup challenge for any team on any given night based on their roster's construction.

GM: Gina Kingsbury
Head coach: Troy Ryan
Home arena: not yet named

FORWARDS: Sarah Nurse, Blayre Turnbull, Emma Maltais, Natalie Spooner, Jesse Compher, Victoria Bach, Brittany Howard, Maggie Connors, Rebecca Leslie, Hannah Miller, Alexa Vasko.

DEFENDERS: Renata Fast, Jocelyn Laroque, Kali Flanagan, Allie Munroe, Melissa Channell, Olivia Knowles.

GOALTENDERS: Kristen Campbell.

Toronto will score goals this season as they have an impressive group of forwards who can dent twine. Defensively, this Toronto team can skate and move the puck, and there's a little sandpaper in the mix as well. While they still need to find a second goaltender, getting Campbell puts them in a good position with a young netminder who has already shown she can play in and win big games at any level. Fans of the Toronto PWHL team should have a lot to cheer about in this inaugural season.

GM: Danielle Marmer
Head coach: Courtney Kessel
Home arena: not yet named

FORWARDS: Hilary Knight, Alina Muller, Jamie Lee Rattray, Loren Gabel, Hannah Brandt, Theresa Schafzahl, Taylor Girard, Sophie Shirley, Shiann Darkangelo, Tatum Skaggs.

DEFENDERS: Megan Keller, Sophie Jaques, Jessica Di Girolamo, Emily Brown, Emma Buckles, Jessica Healey.

GOALTENDERS: Aerin Frankel and Emma Soderburg.

Boston might end up being the team that everyone hates to play as they are loaded with scoring and sandpaper up front. Their blue line might be a little underwhelming in name recognition, but this group will skate, play with an edge, and find ways to disrupt plays. The goaltending duo of Frankel and Soderburg might be the best fundamental stoppers in the game, but they're athletic enough to make third and fourth saves on every play. If this team gets rolling, there might be a few cases of "Boston flu" in opposing players who don't want more bumps and bruises.

GM: Pascal Daoust
Head coach: Howie Draper
Home arena: not yet named

FORWARDS: Alex Carpenter, Abby Roque, Jessie Eldridge, Chloe Aurard, Elizabeth Giguere, Jill Saulnier, Jade Downie-Landry, Paetyn Levis, Kayla Vespa, Emma Woods, Alexandra Labelle.

DEFENDERS: Micah Zandee-Hart, Ella Shelton, Jamie Bourbonnais, Brooke Hobson, Olivia Zafuto.

GOALTENDERS: Corinne Schroeder and Abigail Levy.

I'm not sure what New York's overall strategy was in this draft as they selected very good players, but there's very little chemistry among the players they chose. That's not to say it won't be forged by this group, but there is a solid scoring and skating component to this group's game that Draper will employ this season. Defensively, there isn't a true "stopper" among the young defenders, but they all have speed and shutdown abilities. The goaltending is young, but up to the task of stopping its opposition. New York may surprise a few veteran teams this season with their youthful exuberance!

GM: Michael Hirshfeld
Head coach: Carla MacLeod
Home arena: TD Place Arena

FORWARDS: Brianne Jenner, Emily Clark, Gabby Hughes, Hayley Scamurra, Daryl Watts, Katerina Mrazova, Kristin Della Rovere, Lexi Adzija, Caitrin Lonergan, Audrey-Anne Veillette.

DEFENDERS: Savannah Harmon, Ashton Bell, Jincy Dunne, Aneta Tejralova, Zoe Boyd, Amanda Boulier.

GOALTENDERS: Emerence Maschmeyer and Sandra Abstreiter.

It seemed that Ottawa was content to build from the blue line as their first three picks in the draft were defenders, but they got themselves smart, puck-moving defenders who can jump into a play and make life difficult on the opposition. Combine that "rover"-like skill set with the scoring and hard-nosed play we'll see from the forward group, and this Carla MacLeod-coached team will outwork, outhustle, and out-most-everything compared to their opposition on game nights. There may be nights where their goaltending has to be world-class, but Maschmeyer and Abstreiter will take that challenge!

GM: Daniele Sauvageau
Head coach: Kori Cheverie
Home arena: not yet named

FORWARDS: Marie-Philip Poulin, Laura Stacey, Kristin O'Neill, Maureen Murphy, Kennedy Marchment, Teresa Vanisova, Gabrielle David, Jillian Dempsey, Claire Dalton, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Lina Ljungblom.

DEFENDERS:Erin Ambrose, Dominika Laskova, Kati Tabin, Madison Bizal, Maude Poulin-Labelle.

GOALTENDERS: Ann-Renee Desbiens and Elaine Chuli.

Montreal added speed, scoring, and a little bit of an edge with their draft selections. You won't see them get pushed around a lot, but they will need to have an active blue line to disrupt plays entering their zone and transition up the ice. Having two championship-calibre goalies stopping pucks is a luxury that all teams want, but Montreal could go with either as the starter. This team can say it may have one of the more balanced rosters in the league at this time, and they could win a lot of games thanks to the strengths they possess in all three zones.

Each team still has work today as they have to have 28 players at training camps that open in November. That means they'll sit down and contact players who were not drafted to see if they'll attend training camp as free agent signings. As we know, all teams must have 23 players signed when the season opens in January, so five of the ten free agents would potentially make the team in training camp as well.

I'd be interested to see if Toronto could convince Noora Raty to join Kristen Campbell in the crease as a bit of a mentoring situation. Those two as a tandem would rival any of the other goaltending duos in skill and ability, and Toronto would be better off for it. Otherwise, Erica Howe, Lauren Bench, or Maddie Rooney would be excellent goalies to pursue as free agents in this writer's opinion.

Might we see any of the Pandas end up in New York with former Alberta coach Howie Draper? As we know, Kennedy Ganser had re-signed with the Metropolitan Riveters before the PHF was sold, so there might be a chance that Ganser could attend camp under Draper in The Big Apple. Perhaps there will be a reunion with Alex Poznikoff in New York as Poznikoff showed she can score at the PWHPA level last season. However, if some of the rumours are true about a potential injury situation for Poznikoff, it could put a damper on those reunion hopes.

There's still a ton of work to be done, but each team now has 18 players around whom they can build a team, market the team and games, and more. The PWHL Draft looked like a ton of fun and it went off without a hitch today, so kudos to the PWHL staff and volunteers along with CBC for their excellent work in getting this to reality. We're closer to one professional league with all the best players competing against one another than ever before, and it's an exciting time to be a hockey fan as we near the first games!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!