Where did the time go this hockey season? It seems like just a few weeks ago we launched our rebrand. New logo, new layout, new website, new newsletter (by the way if you don’t get it weekly you should sign up for it at hockeynow.ca), new Facebook page (like us—we post only a couple times per day, but it’s usually about contests or good stories), new focus on Twitter (same deal as the others. Follow us and you won’t miss any of our regular content including our digital-only bloggers).
We also launched a new focus on our cover. The idea was and is to sink deeper into a relevant topic and announce it on the cover and give it three pages inside. We try to tell both sides of the story and hopefully on some level inform, educate and inspire. Our team is currently working on next year’s cover stories, so, if you like, let me know your ideas or requests and we might incorporate them into next season’s focus.
This past year we covered a lot of topics that don’t get much press, but definitely get talked about at the rink and on drives to and from, and debated at executive meetings and between parents at home.
First of our series was Future Gains, a piece talking about where hockey can take you. A million dollar contract, maybe, but there are also great opportunities if you aren’t one of the very few that make the pros. In September, we dove deep into Gear Gospel and talked to experts, former pro players and current minor hockey people about the cost of gear and where to spend your money wisely. October was all about the body checking debate. I believe this topic will never have an absolute consensus. November was Private vs. Public. How do you decide what is best for your kids— local minor hockey association or private club/academy? Game Shape took a good look at practice time versus playing games and where the best balance is for young players. December saw Splitting Ice Time, a controversial topic on if we should just roll lines or double shift and load up power plays in minor hockey. Then came our World Jr. cover, Steely Determination—not the result we wanted as fans, but our cover looked great! Ringing in 2014 was Spring Sensation and a conversation about whether some players are better off not playing spring hockey. Head Games was next in January and took a look at the safety issues in hockey, another topic that likely won’t ever see consensus. Rounding out the year so far was Toughest Job in Sports, which focused on the tough job young referees have and the struggle to get more people involved. I hope you have enjoyed our series so far. Our objective isn’t to take a side or stand up and try to convince anyone that one way is better than the other, our goal is to help inform, and grow the game.
As for this season, for a lot of you out there the season is over or if you were lucky enough to make provincials, then the season is ending in a week or so.
Many of us now head into a very exciting time of playoff races in all Junior levels, preparing for spring hockey, choosing tournaments to attend, getting ready for the WHL bantam draft and deciding what hockey school to go to or what to do this offseason to prepare for next year.
Finally, we are working with our scouts and selection committee in preparation of the announcement of our 15th Minor Hockey Player of the Year in a couple of months. It’s turned out to be an incredible list of players who have won it since we first announced two-time Stanley Cup winner Colin Fraser as the inaugural winner in 2000.
The list now includes Memorial Cup champions, World Junior Gold medalists, Stanley Cup winners, NCAA scholarship recipients and minor hockey provincial champions. Check out the stories on each past winner on our website. We will also be updating our top list of candidates for this year in our next few print issues and online—stay tuned.
1) John Dean Returns to OJHL to Coach Toronto Patriots
2) Off-Season Brings About Massive Turnover for OHL Coaches
3) Justin Sourdif Named 2017 HockeyNow Player of the Year for B.C.
4) Where Are They Now: 2016 Player of the Year Owen Lalonde
5) Former NHLer Jason York Now Part of Kemptville 73’s Ownership Group