After a few nice days in a row, we are right back in the thick of winter. Let’s get into some random thoughts and talk some hockey.
Take 1: I really hope that these capacity limits are going to be lifted in February. There will be some really intense regular season matchups with teams fighting for playoff positions or even just to get into the dance. Those games need fans in the stands. Safely, of course, but in the stands. Here’s hoping that happens.
Take 2: We should take a moment and acknowledge the people that have kept going to games and the volunteers that continue to work so that games can happen. Across the league, teams are blessed with die-hard fans and people who care about the organizations enough to give up their evenings to help. Any time we can walk into a rink, see some familiar people who are in a good mood, it’s hard not to feel good yourself. So, thank you to the volunteers and to the fans who keep coming, despite everything.
Take 3: Really cool to see a pair of former MJHLer’s as Hobey Baker Award nominees. Austin Heidemann and Riese Gaber have been excellent representatives for the league since moving on in their careers. They are both fantastic people and to be nominated for such a prestigious award is something special.
It should be three. Drew Worrad should have been on that list as well.
Take 4: Huge congrats to the three players that have been listed on NHL Central Scouting. It makes me smile to see/hear MJHL and NHL close together like that. I remember a few years ago when Matthew Thiessen was set to be drafted, how much fun it was to watch and track. I remember how excited his teammates were for him and of course, how happy he was. To have that for three more players this year in the league right now, plus a few more outside the league but with connections, says a lot about how great teams in the MJHL are. Here’s hoping we see familiar names on the draft board this year.
Take 5: It may be a bit of recency bias but after watching Swan Valley’s Deepkaran Hans in his first MJHL games and score his first MJHL goal, I think he’s going to be a player to be reckoned with this year and next. A lot of fans in the East won’t get to see him in person but for teams in the West, good luck. The guy plays as though his speed burst button is jammed.
Take 6: It came across on social media that a couple of the Waywayseecappo games that were postponed have been rescheduled. I love hearing that. I was a little on edge, as a few people were, that we would see a slew of games postponed and have to be made up weeks down the road. So great to see the league and teams come together, find a day that works and schedule it quickly. Doesn’t mean more games won’t be postponed but let’s focus on the positives of games being set to be played.
Take 7: As a person who has to ask players and coaches questions, I do appreciate how understanding they can be sometimes. It’s not always easy to come up with interesting questions. Many are cookie-cutter and are usually asked with an answer in mind. Even when times are bad, the coaches and players don’t get… I’ll say edgy… and in the media, we’re thankful for that.
Take 8: During the baseball season, they call the months of July and August the “dog days” of the season. I guess because they feel the longest. I’m going to say the back half of January and the first two weeks of February are the dog days of the hockey season. The return of divisional play may shake that out a bit, but for now, that’s what I’m going with.
Take 9: Three teams this year have scored 10 goals in game. Selkirk has scored 10 goals in a game and also given up 10 goals in a game. The Steelers beat the Blizzard 10-3, the Wolverines beat the Freeze 10-6 and Steinbach beat Selkirk 10-4. Mathieu Catellier is the only Steelers player to score in both the win and the loss.
Take 10: Winkler has been doing a lot of fun things with their players on social media. This time, they had the players say their favorite movies while heading out to a skate. Some surprising answers but I have to say, whoever said Fast Five… I’m with Kevin Pauls who said if you asked a billion other people, no one would say Fast Five. Not even the Rock.
Take 11: I got to look at some of the plans for how the new building in Steinbach may look when it comes to the press box area. If it goes as planned, it’s going to be fantastic for broadcasters and video coaches a like. The highlight has to be the chance of a bathroom close to the booth. Play-by-play people across the MJHL know all too well what that particular mad-dash is like between periods. Having it be within stress-free walking distance is a really nice treat.
Take 12: If you don’t already, be sure to go check out with Niverville is doing with their social media. They’re releasing the history of the upcoming franchise and it’s fascinating. The series is titled “How We Got Here”. Find it on Twitter @MJHLNighthawks and enjoy!