December is one of our favourite times of the year here at HockeyNow.
Not only are the holidays just around the corner, but as every hockey fan knows, right behind Old Saint Nick follows the World Junior Championships, hosted this year in Helsinki, Finland.
Each year, the HockeyNow team do our best elf impressions, working hard to bring you the very best in coverage of junior hockey’s premiere international event, and this year will be no exception.
The fun has already begun with Hockey Canada’s announcement of the selection camp roster earlier this week. With only three returnees from last year’s gold medal-winning squad, there is no shortage of new faces to talk about.
Already controversy is swirling with some notable names absent from this year’s camp including Niagara IceDogs forward and New York Islanders prospect Josh Ho-Sang who many believe talked his way out of a roster spot instead of letting his work on the ice speak for itself.
While much of the roster might be considered a foregone conclusion with the Mitch Marners and Dylan Stromes of the world virtual locks barring injury, there are sure to be some surprises with so many new faces in camp this year in Toronto. We’ll be there every step of the way leading up to our mid-December issue to bring you all the news and happenings while the final roster gets ironed out.
I would also like to take a moment to welcome back Mike Toth and his always-entertaining The Cornered Coach Blog. Mike took the summer off but is back in full swing and we’re thrilled to have him back on board. Also, look for him as part of our World Juniors coverage team.
We are also thrilled to announce the launch of the It’s HockeyNow weekly podcast hosted by our very own minor beat reporter Ben Smith and myself. We’ll be bringing our readers and listeners news and exciting interviews week in and week out from the movers and shakers across the amateur hockey landscape.
Be sure to head over to HockeyNow.ca to catch the latest show and our interview with former HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year Morgan Rielly of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner.
Speaking of our Minor Player of the Year Award, the search has officially begun for our 2016 finalists. Be sure to check our monthly lists on the pages of HockeyNow and at HockeyNow.ca as the best Bantam and Minor Midget players in B.C., Alberta and Ontario, respectively, battle it out for their spot among our ten finalists in each region.
There has been a lot going on in the minor ranks so far this season, including changes to the Hockey Alberta Initiation program that aims to shrink the game down to size for youngsters who are new to the game. Alberta is the first province to take this step, which has been a point of longstanding debate in hockey associations across the country. You’ll find that story and more in this pages of this issue and on our website.
Don’t forget to check out our contests page online for an amazing slate of contests and giveaways for your chance to win some great prizes.
We are adding new ways to win great stuff every month, so don’t miss out on your chance win and head over to HockeyNow.ca right now. And if you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas for the hockey fan on your list, be sure to swing by our 2015 HockeyNow: Crave Christmas Gift
Guide while you're there. It’s action packed with great gift ideas for hockey lovers of all ages.
As always, thanks for reading and talk to you again next issue!
1) Team South Wins 2017 Alberta Cup
2) Road to the RBC Cup: Cougars Captain Josh Maguire Ready to Return for Nationals
3) Western Canada Cup Finals Set with Brooks Against Chilliwack
4) St. Albert Slash Make History at 2017 Esso Cup
5) Supporting Casts Will be Key in OHL Final