Judging from the Windsor Spitfires performance on opening night of the 2017 MasterCard Memorial Cup, their 44 day layoff from the CHL postseason suited them just fine. On April 4, Windsor was eliminated from the OHL playoffs after losing in seven games to the London Knights.
After 68 games (72 in the WHL), four playoff rounds, countless hours spent at practices and on the bus, it all comes down to this. The Erie Otters, Saint John Sea Dogs and Seattle Thunderbirds all captured championships in their respective leagues and will push a little further through four to six games in an effort to claim junior hockey supremacy at the Memorial Cup.
Robert Thomas has inched his way up the rankings all year and finds himself in the top 25 with just over a month to draft day. Moving 43 spots since December where he debuted at #64, the London Knights high-scoring forward has made the steady rise to now sit at #21.
The Seattle Thunderbirds defied all odds in the Western Hockey League playoffs. From missing out on a divisional banner to the Everett Silvertips, to losing starting goaltender Rylan Toth due to injury and being an overwhelming underdog against the CHL’s top-ranked Regina Pats — the T-Birds have heard it all before, but none of that stopped them from avenging last season’s heartbreaking loss in the final and punching their ticket to the Memorial Cup.
Major junior coaches demand a lot of their players and three teams delivered in a big way with championship seasons. They’ll now join the host Windsor Spitfires at this year’s Memorial Cup, where it’s up to the coaches to guide the way as everyone gives an extra push towards national glory.
Many expected that the 2017 Memorial Cup would feature 1, 2 and 3 from CHL’s Top Ten. But Seattle defeated the No. 1 Regina Pats to leave us with 2 and 3 in the Otters and Sea Dogs – and to remind us that anything can happen.
The Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy brought meaning to its moniker on Thursday at Calgary’s Deerfoot Inn. The Kelowna-based bantam AAA program sent six players to six different Western Hockey League teams in the opening round of the 2017, with five hearing their name called in the Top 10.
All three CHL leagues are down to two teams, and the final round is set to begin this week. All three league powerhouses have advanced to the finals, but they’ll have to overcome some hot underdogs to advance to the Memorial Cup.
When the CHL playoffs began (and throughout most of the year), there were three clear favourites in every league: the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), the Erie Otters (OHL) and the Regina Pats (WHL).
Conor Timmins has been climbing ISS Hockey’s rankings all season and is making his debut on the Top 31, jumping from #47 to #28. The 2014 OHL fourth round pick has been showing steady improvement all season and came into his own in the postseason prior to the Soo’s second round exit
The CHL playoffs have made it through two rounds. In each league, several noteworthy players have turned in clutch efforts to help their teams advance. Here are the top performers to watch from each league in Round Three—at every position
When Medicine Hat Tigers head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston selected John Dahlstrom at 76th overall in the Canadian Hockey League import draft over the summer, he expected the big Swedish forward to play a key role in the team’s future.
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2) Veteran Hockey Bench Boss Takes Over Milton Icehawks Coaching Reins
3) Victoria Grizzlies Rookie Alex Newhook Carving Up BCHL Far from Home
4) Sudbury Wolves Get one-of-a-kind Quinton Byfield in OHL Draft
5) On Top of the World: CSSHL Keeps Gaining Traction in Canada’s Hockey Landscape