Days are slowly getting longer. It’s still unreasonably cold for the most part, but we’re into the final full and very busy month of the season. The playoffs and spring are just around the corner. Let’s kick February off.
Take 1: I give a lot of credit to Virden for bouncing back after that soul crushing loss to the Kings over the weekend. I thought it may have been the end of them, that there was no way they could respond after losing a game in that fashion. I was wrong. They did what needed to be done the next night and good for them.
Take 2: In a recent game, there was one of the wildest endings this year. A goal was scored with a second or so left in regulation to tie it up. Fans need to give more credit league wide to the clock operators around the league. If you’ve ever done it, you’d know there is a bit of pressure that comes with that job. There’s a lot going on for them throughout the game and they need to be on the ball constantly. From keeping an eye on play, entering penalties and more. The clock operators are all volunteers who just love being around the rink and being a part of the game.
Take 3: Waywayseecappo scored 15 goals in their last two games. To put that into perspective, here’s the number of goals teams scored in the entire month of January. Keeping in mind, there were some postponements but give me a break, I’m trying to make a point about how impressive 15 goals in two games is.
Dauphin – 19, Neepawa – 28, OCN –20, Portage – 19, Selkirk -39, Steinbach-25, Swan Valley-41, Virden-23, Winkler-29, Blues -32, Freeze –18
*Note: While of course 15 goals in two games is impressive, when I started looking that all up, I thought there would be a much closer gap. When you look at how many goals some teams score, it’s really not as impressive as I thought it might be to look at.
Take 4: Wondering who has the longest point streak of those currently in the top 40 of the scoring race? Jordan Hughesman is currently on a 13-game point streak. He’s got 5 goals and 12 assists during that span. The streak started on December 4th 2021.
Take 5: I was in Portage this past weekend and got into a discussion with Cody Buhler who defended the chuck-a-puck. He said that because it’s so hard, the pot grows to a point where you have to at least try. Sure enough, someone won it that night at Stride Place.
Take 6: More on the Terriers. They currently trail Selkirk by 5 points with one less game played. They have a massive series coming up soon that could very well decide who gets into the playoffs. Portage has not missed the playoffs since the 1985-86 season.
Take 7: Besides the Terriers, the Winkler Flyers, Dauphin Kings, Selkirk Steelers and Winnipeg Blues are still in the league. Steinbach Hawks, St. James Canadians, St. Boniface Saints, Thunder Bay Hornets and Kildonan North Stars were the other teams in the league at that time.
Take 8: Rinks and teams should work together on making it possible for kids to ride on the Zamboni. A lot of kids love watching it go around and how cool it would be to see a little local boy or girl waving a flag during intermission. Put them in a helmet, do one lap with them, let them wave, and have some fun. It is a great picture for the family, gets kids more involved at the games and I think kids would love it. I know it’s a safety thing but there’s got to be a way to make it happen. Let’s get on with that. Plus, they need to play the “I Wanna Ride the Zamboni” song.
Take 9: I love HockeyTV and so do the parents and fans from all over. I would like to see a Home or Away broadcast choice in the future. I think fans across the league can get on board with that idea.
Take 10: The NHL All-Star game is coming up and I’ve talked about having an MJHL All-Star skills competition… but what about a Coaches All-Star competition? Which coach has the most accurate shot? Which coach is the best puck handler? Can any coach stop a shot from Kaden Bryant or Nathan Driver? We could also have a category for which coach ties their skates the fastest or hurts the least after practice. Lots of options.
Take 11: If I don’t see him again, I want to mention the Golden Boy who is one of, if not THE most dedicated fans in the MJHL. I wish I loved things the way he loves the Terriers. While he is quite annoying during games (usually because the louder he is, the better the Terriers are doing which is good for him but bad for the opponents), he’s a good sport about it all. He’ll take pictures with people and was kind enough to say some nice things after this last game in Portage. While he’s perhaps the most unique fan in all of hockey across Manitoba, he’s dedicated to his team and for that, you have to give him a tip of the hard hat.
Take 12: In less than 40 days from now, the sun will set at 7:00 pm. It’s not hockey related at all but just thought you might need a little bit of a boost of happiness. Positivity!