Welcome to the new set fixture for the Daily Dish; the Monday Mash. The opening edition was such a success that it’s likely to run year-round. Why is that? Everybody loves a good mash.
The Mash brings the most interesting takes from the week of junior hockey. In general, the idea is to remain positive. Please understand that at times, the Mash will open a few eyeballs to the underside of the level of play.
North American Hockey League
The 16th running of the Greatest Show on Ice, otherwise known as the NAHL Showcase, was another spectacular success.
The mighty South Division’s Topeka Pilots and Amarillo Bulls both ran the table in route to perfect 4-0 finishes. The Bulls did their damage with a hard-charging offense that put up 21 goals in the four outings. The Pilots took a completely different route and let their outstanding goaltending duel of Sam Metcalf (’99 Waterloo IA, 3-0-0-0, .907 SV%) and Mads Emil Gransoe (’98 Gentofte DNK, 3-1-0-1 .943 SV%) allow just five goals against in the four games at Blaine.
Topeka travels to Amarillo this weekend for a pair of games so we will get a chance to see the contrasting styles come together for an early season showdown.
British Columbia Hockey League
The Powell River Kings continues to lead the Island Division and charging forward despite splitting the games at the BCHL Showcase. The Kings five-game total of eight points doubles the four points the division’s other teams all have.
The Mainland Division is topped by both Prince George and Chilliwack Chiefs. The Spruce Kings picked up a huge win over the Vees after getting snake-bit by West Kelowna in Chilliwack. Speaking of the Chiefs; the host team slipped by Cowichan Valley in OT before shutting out the high-octane Wenatchee Wild in the finale.
The Interior Division is led by Wenatchee and Merritt Centennials. In a completely unusual turn of events, the Penticton Vees are sitting at the bottom of the division through the first five games of the season.
USA Central Hockey League
With roughly a month remaining before the league’s first games are scheduled to be played, the boys are starting to assemble in south Texas. The league has purchased the rink in McAllen and all four teams have started pre-season conditioning skates at the facility.
Look for the league to take care of some much-needed housekeeping in the next few weeks leading up to the start of the season. I’m hearing about a completely updated set of websites, live-streaming of games, and a few personnel additions that should be making their way to the forefront as well.
BUYER BEWARE and U$PHL Wallet Development
In my opinion, the entire platform of leagues has been created to get unsuspecting families to pay for the “kind of” free-to-play teams mostly owned by the power core of the old Eastern Junior Hockey League. Is your kid playing in the USPHL in Florida, Minnesota, or Wisconsin? Yep, you are helping Richard Gallant and his lieutenants cover the costs of New England’s NCDC. How does it feel to be such a sucker?