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Published: Monday, 7 Jan 2019  
By: Stephen Heisler,

It’s the first Mash of 2019 and we know the expectations are going to be high. Cool your jets hockey fans; I’m still trying to get a grip on the whole new year thingee. Call it old-age or whatever you want, but I find my fingers typing in the previous year for at least three months into every new year. 

Somebody asked about the favorite National Hockey League team this week.  For as long as I can remember, my two favorite hockey teams have always been the Leafs and whoever is beating the Habs. Does that make me anti-francophone? Asking for a friend.

Aberdeen in on a dozen-game win streak but still only seven-points ahead of the Austin. The Bruins drew the short straw against Brookings on Saturday night, that’s going to happen from time to time. Meanwhile, the Wilderness keep finding ways to pick up points and have seven wins in the last ten games. Bismarck and Minot are a few points behind the Wilderness. Speaking of Minot, what is going on there? With just two wins in the last ten games, look for the veteran coach to do a little house cleaning this week.

The Tomahawks have five straight wins to go with their 15-point lead in the East Division. Yep, I’m thinking this race is over and the battle now will be for second to fourth place. Jamestown is seven-points ahead of Jersey while Maryland, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the Generals are dog-fighting for the last playoff spot.

Remember that big lead the Magicians HAD in the Midwest Division? Janesville and Fairbanks are just four-points behind the leaders now. Springfield has a three-point lead over Kenai River in the fight for fourth-place.

Can anybody in the South Division put an end to the madness in Amarillo? The red hot IceRays packed a nice winning streak for the trip to the Panhandle; only to skate out of town with a three-game slide.  The Bulls’ lead in the South equals the gap that Johnstown has in the east at 15 points.  The battle in this division is now for second to fourth place. Corpus Christi and Shreveport have a two-point lead over Topeka and Lone Star. Which one of these teams will find themselves on the outside looking in come play-off time?
Do you all remember all that hoopla about how tough the Texans are on crime? I’m thinking that’s reserved for crimes other than Canadians having their way with community-owned arenas, season ticket purchasers, and sponsors who all got roped into the biggest scam in hockey since Barry Soskin got nailed for selling North American Hockey League tender agreement to Chicago area players.

Jeers to the dark side and all those social media warriors for piling on the Brookings Blizzard last week. Accidents happen, get over it and be thankful nobody was hurt.

Cheers to the Blizzard team for putting together a pair of solid games (and three-points) in the home series split with the Austin Bruins.

Jeers (again) to Coulee Region Chill coach Jon Vaillancourt for running up the scores in the Chill three-game series with Evansville.  Yes, Evansville has serious issues, but there’s nothing gained by embarrassing the team even more than they already are.

Cheers to Mike Hastings’ USA World Junior Championships team for collecting their fourth straight medal (silver) in the event hosted in Vancouver. "At the end of the day, we'll look back on this and it's going to be an unbelievable memory for myself and our team," Hastings said.

Jeers to Canadian fans that resorted to attacking a young player on social media for missing a penalty shot in their quarter-final loss to Finland. Making matters even worse, Parti Québécois Interim Leader Pascal Bérubé called the criticism of Canadian world junior hockey team captain Maxime Comtois "anti-francophone racism." That opens up an entirely new world of victims now. I’m thinking folks in the south can now be offended by descriptive words like “rednecks.” Folks from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee might have a case against words like “hillbillies.”  What about Nebraska? Is the term “Cornhusker” now politically incorrect? “Hoosier” in Indiana? Maybe every descriptive word will now be declared racist or insensitive. Let’s just thank those Canadian “frostbacks” for mucking up the start to 2019. 

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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