Day one recap – 2016 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

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Wednesday January 27, 2016

By Dane Frizzell

Team Orr and Team Cherry showed off their skills today as players were put to the test in a combine like setting at the Pacific Coliseum.

Players were tested in multiple off ice and on ice drills focusing on stick handling, speed, agility, and mobility.

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Photo credit to Kevin Underhill.

There were loads of NHL personnel on hand evaluating and taking in the action. We had the chance to catch up with General Manager Jim Benning of the Vancouver Canucks.

 

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One player who is getting a lot of attention is Vancouver Giants forward Ty Ronning. Ronning did especially well with the on ice testing today completing all the events fast and efficiently. Ronning was a late addition to the Top Prospect roster. Earlier this week it was announced Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants would be unable to play due to injury. When asked about playing in his teammates place, Ronning had this to say. “I feel like I deserve this moment and this opportunity. It sucks that I couldn’t be here with Tyler. Tyler’s one hell of a player but things happen.” Ronning will be just one of the forty highly ranked prospects playing in tomorrow nights game. But for Giants fans he might be the only one they truly care about.

The teams will practice tomorrow morning for one last time before the teams face off at 6pm PT at the Coliseum. Fans and scouts will be excited to see what these players have in store.

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The prospects are coming!

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January 23rd, 2016

By Dane Frizzell

 

We are less than a week away from the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver, BC at the Pacific Coliseum.

On Thursday night it will be Team Cherry VS Team Orr. This will be the 24th CHL Top Prospect game and the 15th time Team Cherry and Team Orr have faced off against each other.

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The game will feature players from the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Players will be eager to put on a good show as this game will be a great chance to showcase their skills to NHL scouts and teams.

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Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants will captain Team Cherry. Other notable names playing for Grapes include, Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters and Sam Steel of the Regina Pats. Team Cherry will be up against an extremely strong Team Orr.

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Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights will captain Team Orr. His team will also feature Alexander Nylander of the Mississauga Steelheads and Carter Hart, goaltender for Everett Silvertips.
The game itself will be played at the legendary Pacific Coliseum is Vancouver, BC, home of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. The game was last played there in 2005. Team Cherry beat Team Davidson 8-4. The complete rosters for both teams are below.

 

2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters:

 Team Cherry:

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Goaltenders:

Evan Fitzpatrick (Sherbrooke Phoenix)

Zach Sawchenko (Moose Jaw Warriors)
Defencemen:

Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia Sting)

Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings)

Sean Day (Mississauga Steelheads)

Samuel Girard (Shawinigan Cataractes)

Lucas Johansen (Kelowna Rockets)

Markus Niemelainen (Saginaw Spirit)

 

Forwards:

Vitalii Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques)

Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants)

Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires)

Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters)

Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets)

Julien Gauthier (Val-d’Or Foreurs)

Tim Gettinger (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Noah Gregor (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Max Jones (London Knights)

Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

Michael McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads)

Sam Steel (Regina Pats)


Team Orr:

The great Bobby Orr loving it

Goaltenders:

Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)

Dylan Wells (Peterborough Petes)
Defencemen:

Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen)

Luke Green (Saint John Sea Dogs)

Libor Hajek (Saskatoon Blades)

Olli Juolevi (London Knights)

Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires)

Logan Stanley (Windsor Spitfires)

 

Forwards:

Nathan Bastian (Mississauga Steelheads)

Will Bitten (Flint Firebirds)

Pierre-Luc Dubois (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles)

Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Jack Kopacka (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Pascal Laberge (Victoriaville Tigres)

Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads)

Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)

Otto Somppi (Halifax Mooseheads)

Simon Stransky (Prince Albert Raiders)

Matthew Tkachuk (London Knights)

Tickets are still available and can be bought at http://ticketleader.ca.
Don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to see Don Cherry and Bobby Orr coach tomorrow’s NHL stars. It’s going to be something special.
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Size Doesn’t Matter, the Story of Ty Ronning

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Thursday January 21st

By Hyun Oh

If you have ever attended a Vancouver Giants home game at the Pacific Coliseum, there is usually one player that sticks out more than the others. Noticeable from the start of the pre game warm-ups, he is usually one of the fastest, craftiest, hardest working and smallest players on the ice.

Listed at 5’9 and 165 pounds, Burnaby BC native Ty Ronning is a fan favourite amongst Giants fans. Leading the team in goals this season, Ronning is having a breakout season in his 3rd year with the Giants. Ty is the son of former Vancouver Canucks superstar Cliff Ronning, and played his minor hockey at the Burnaby Winter Club. Ty was selected 15th overall in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

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Ty and Cliff Ronning during Ty’s Burnaby Winter Club years

Ty knew that comparisons to his father were inevitable at a young age, but his road to his current success has not been an easy one. After being selected in the first round, the Giants management and fanbase had high hopes for Ronning. The season after Ty’s midget year with the Delta Hockey Academy, Ty played 56 games with the Giants in his rookie season in 2013-14.

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Ronning would put up 9 goals and 11 assists in his rookie year, which isn’t too bad for a 16 year old in the WHL. His 2nd year with the Giants was unfortunately a different story. Ty would miss the first three months of the 2014-15 season with a broken collarbone. Upon return, Ty struggled for the rest of the season as he played just 21 games and recorded 3 points. Ty was a healthy scratch 3 times under head coach Claude Noel and was a total of -20 by the end of the season.

Things were looking grim going into Ty’s 3rd WHL season this year, which would be Ty’s first year of NHL Draft eligibility.

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Ronning surrounded by his teammates after scoring the first goal of the 2015 teddy bear toss game

But Ty would turn things around at the start of this season. When Giants Captain and projected first 2016 first round pick Tyler Benson sustained an injury and didn’t return until November, Ty took this opportunity to lead the team offensively leading the team in goals scored including multiple hat tricks and impressive goals this season. At the beginning of the year, Ronning was listed as a C prospect by NHL Central Scouting, meaning he was a longshot to be drafted or a 6/7th round pick, but the Mid Season Rankings have Ronning at 82nd amongst North American skaters.

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Ty currently has 26 goals and 15 assists and wears number 7, reminiscent to his father Cliff .

The current Giants head coach Lorne Molleken had this to say about Ronning; “A kid who competes that hard, a kid who can score goals like that, a kid who can read the game that way…there’s room for him in the NHL. He’s not too small, because of his heart and his pride and his desire.”

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Published January 21st 2015 by Hyun Oh

Hyun is just your average teenager from Surrey BC who loves the game.

Follow Hyun on twitter: @ohitshyun

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Ask the Giant: 10 Questions with James Malm

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Tuesday December 23rd

By Hyun Oh

For this week’s interview segment, I will be talking with Vancouver Giants prospect and Valley West Hawks forward James Malm. Malm played 19 games this year with the Vancouver Giants and is currently in his 2nd season with the Valley West Hawks. The 16 year old Langley native finished second in the BC Major Midget League in scoring in 2014/15, putting up 20 goals and 46 assists in 31 games for the Valley West Hawks. James was a 2nd round draft pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft and played with the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A1 team in his last Bantam year.

 

Hyun: “You had the opportunity to play in the WHL this season with the Vancouver Giants before getting sent down to the Valley West hawks. Could you describe what it was like and maybe go through some of your favourite moments?”

James: “Putting on the jersey for the first time and walking out of the tunnel and seeing how many people were there, and I also grew up watching the team when I was young so it’s pretty cool knowing you’re a part of an organization where I grew up idolizing the players. Also getting my first point was pretty cool.”

Hyun: “Growing up, was it yourself who wanted to play hockey or did your parents have an influence?”

James: ” I grew up watching and loving the game. so I would have to say it was myself .”

Hyun: “You represented Team BC last season in the 2015 Canada Winter Games amongst other elite WHL prospects such as Vancouver teammates Brendan Semchuk and Owen Hardy. Explain what that experience was like.”

James: “Wearing the BC logo and representing your province in a national event is such a honour. It was also really cool because it was the first time being on tv and by far the most people at games up to that point in my hockey career.”

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Hyun: “Is there a specific routine you always follow before and after games?”

James: ” I put on everything from left to right. that’s about it”

Hyun: “Do you remember the nicest goal you’ve ever scored?”

James: ” I can’t remember the nicest but I can remember important goals in big games throughout the time I’ve played hockey.”

Hyun: “You’re a very flashy type of offensive guy on the ice. Is there someone you try and model your game after?”

James: “Guys like Patrick Kane and Tyler Johnson because they’re small skilled forwards and also hard working.”

Hyun: “Do you have a go-to chirp?”

James: “Haha I don’t think I can answer that here.”

Hyun: “Haha alright that’s fine. What about a go-to goal celebration?”

James: “Just a fist pump nothing too crazy.”

Hyun: “Do you have any major specific goals for yourself in the future?”

James: “To make hockey my career. to play in the NHL one day.

Hyun: “Lastly, family, friends and teammates are an important part of a hockey player’s success. Is there anyone you’d like to give a special shoutout to?

James: “My parents the most because hockey isn’t a cheap sport to play and it is also very time consuming but I never heard them complain at all so I definitely owe them all the credit, my brother who used to practice with me so much when I was younger.”

Hyun: “Alright, I’ll let you go now. Thanks for your time and best of luck throughout the rest of the season! Hopefully we can do this again sometime in the future.”

James: “Thanks for the interview.”

James can be found on twitter (@James_Malm) and instagram (@jamesmalm14)

Published December 23rd 2015 by Hyun Oh

Hyun is just your average teenager from Surrey BC who loves the game.

Follow Hyun on twitter: @ohitshyun

 

Behind the mask. 10 questions with Price George Cougars Goalie Nick Mcbride

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Mcbride during his tenure in Prince Albert

Friday December 18th

By Dane Frizzell

 

This week we had the opportunity to speak with Nick Mcbride, goaltender for the Prince George Cougars, of the Western Hockey League. Mcbride is currently in his 3rd season in the WHL. The 18 year old has a 6-2-0-1 record this year with the Cougars. He played his minor hockey at the Burnaby Winterclub before making the jump to the WHL. We had an opportunity to talk about growing up playing the game and the importance of teammates.

Dane – “Growing up did you always want to be a goaltender?”

Nick –  “Yeah, I spent a few years trying to convince my parents to let me play goalie full time. I was always the goalie in road hockey, mini sticks and such growing up.”

Dane – “You have been in the Western Hockey League now for 3 seasons. What is it like playing in one of the finest development leagues in the world?”

Nick – “It’s a very cool experience getting to play with and against some of the top NHL prospects. I’m used to it now but originally joining the league was a huge step as your life during the season revolves completely around hockey.”

Dane – “You play in one of the most scrutinized positions in all of hockey. You are the most important person on the ice for your team each and every night. How do you remain calm, cool and collective in your net?”

Nick – “The keys to that are having confidence in your own ability, having a short memory, and having thick skin on the ice.”

Dane – “Hockey players are creatures of habit. They all have their own game day and pre game superstitions and traditions. What does your game day routine look like?”

Nick – “I don’t have much of a routine (anymore) before I get to the rink other than your usual pre game skate and just chill out at home. At the rink its a pretty strict routine of eye hand work, stretches, visualizing, music and getting worked on by the team athletic therapist”

Dane – “Is there a goaltender you look up to or model your game after?”

Nick – “Not so much, I’m just taking my own path.”

Dane – “You began your WHL career in Prince Albert with the Raiders. At the start of this season, you were traded to the Cougars. There was a bit of shock following the trade, did you request to be moved out of Prince Albert?”

Nick – “I did. There’s some reasoning behind it, but mostly because we had 3 WHL caliber goalies in PA, and I thought out of everyone I needed a fresh start the most. There was no hate from either party. I loved my time as a Raider. It was more so me saying, “if you are gonna trade someone I think you should trade me” other than me demanding to be dealt.”

Dane – “Last season you played in the CHL/NHL Top Prospect game. You got a chance to play alongside some pretty impressive players. McDavid, Barzal and Ryan Strome just to name a few. What was that like to play in a game if this caliber?”

Nick – “It was a very cool experience, and super fun to be a part of.”

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Mcbride playing on Team Orr at last year’s CHL/NHL Top Prospects game.

 

Dane – “You played the majority of your minor hockey at the Burnaby Winter Club. That program has turned out so many amazing athletes and hockey players. What does it mean to be apart of the history of that organization?”

Nick – “Im very proud to be an alumni there. The teams I was lucky enough to be apart of accomplished so much and I will always look back fondly at my time there.”

Dane – “Last season was the first season you were eligible for the NHL draft. You remain undrafted moving into this draft. If you had your pick of which team to be drafted by, who would it be?”

Nick – “It doesn’t really matter to me where I go, but if I had to choose, I would say LA. I had a great time at the LA Kings camp and they have an outstanding organization there.”

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Mcbride at the LA Kings training camp this past September

Dane – “Teammates are a big part of the game of hockey. Are there any teammates you would like to give a shout out to or mention?”

Nick – I’ve played with so many great guys it’s hard to pick out a few. Teammates are like family in the WHL, and its special to be a part of.”

Dane – “Thanks for doing this Nick! Best of luck for the rest of the year in Prince George.”

Nick- “No worries man.”

Getting to know Spruce Kings star Parker Colley

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Friday December 11

By Dane Frizzell

 

Parker Colley is currently playing his first season in the British Columbia Hockey League with the Prince George Spruce Kings. Colley played for the North West Chiefs of the BC Major Midget League. Colley scored 24 goals, and had 65 assists over two seasons with the team. All though shorter than many of his opponents on the ice, Colley is a jet fast skater and can often beat you with his speed and sweet hands. This week we caught up with Colley as I asked him a few questions about life as a hockey player and what it means to be a Colley.

 

 

Dane – “Hey Parker, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us!”

Parker -“Yeah no problem.”

Dane – “Growing up, were you put into hockey by your parents or did you insist on playing?”

Parker – “I think kind of both, I loved hockey when I was a kid and I think also my Dad really wanted me to play.”

Dane – “What is your earliest on ice memory that you can recall?”

Parker – “I would have to say probably skating on my Grandma’s pond that she had on her farm when I was little in the winter.”

Dane  – “You have been playing the game for years now. Starting out in the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey association before playing for the same team your brother played for with the North West Chiefs. You are now a member of the Spruce Kings playing in one of the best junior development leagues in the world. What has it been like playing this game over the past few years as you have been able to move up the ranks of junior hockey.”

Parker – “These last couple of years have been really good for my development especially those two years with the Chiefs and now with the Spruce Kings. Now I am just trying to improve my game even more to become a better hockey player.”

Dane – “This is an over used question, but I have to ask. Who is one player you look up to and want to be like?

Parker – “I would have to say Sidney Crosby just because I love the way he plays and how he can control the puck and make amazing plays.”

Dane – “Over the past few years there has been a lot of questions raised over your size.  Mainly your height, yet you have continued to prove everyone wrong with your skill and your speed. There are tons of kids out there who are in the same situation you were in. What do you have to say to those kids who have dreams of playing the game and dreams of doing what you have done so far?

Parker – “I would just have to say the game is starting to become a lot less physical and for smaller guys you just need to be smart, always have your head up and use your speed because you won’t get hit if they can’t catch you.”

Dane  – “This is your first season with the Kings. The BCHL has a fantastic relationship with university and college hockey programs. Are you wanting to possibly earn a scholarship and go and play in the United States, or are you wanting to stay in Canada and continue your development in the Western Hockey League?”

Parker -“Earning a scholarship and going to play in the states is what I hope and want to do for my future.”

Dane – “Teammates are vital in succeeding in this sport. Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to? Someone or a group of teammates that gave you support or you share amazing memories with?”

Parker – “Probably my whole team last year with the Chiefs just cause we had such a good group of guys and had such a successful year.”

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Colley and his teammates celebrating  their Cromie Memorial Cup victory

 

Dane – “Coaches are the backbone of this sport. It’s amazing what they do for their players and their organizations. Is there a coach you would like to mention that has helped you become the player you are today?”

Parker – “I would like to think my Dad. He coached me when I was younger, and he has always been giving me tips throughout the last couple years. He just keeps helping and giving me advice as I move on in my hockey career.”

Dane – “If you could play one NHL game, what team would it be with and who would be your linemates?

Parker – “Pittsburg Penguins and probably Sidney Crosby and Patrick Kane.”

Dane –  “Could you just touch base on what your family has done for you over the past few years. I know your brother is currently playing the game also, what does it mean to be a Colley?”

Parker – “My family has given me so much support over the years and they have helped me get to the level I am at today.”

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Parker with brother Boston

 

 

Dane – “Thanks Parker for your time, hopefully can do this again someday.”

Parker – “Yeah for sure, thanks!”

 

Parker Colley currently has  1 goal and 6 assists with the Spruce Kings this season.

Blood is most certainly thicker than water

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Tuesday December 8th

By Dane Frizzell

Pascal Dupuis began his NHL career as a member of the Minnesota Wild on August 18, 2000. After a year in the International Hockey League he would suit up for his first full season with the team. Scoring 20 goals and having 28 assists. His career looked to be off to a very strong start.

After the 2004-2005 NHL Lockout, Dupuis put up 26 points in 67 games. Dupuis would bounce around teams playing games with the Rangers and the Thrashers before landing on his feet in Pittsburgh where he would win his first and only Stanley Cup. Dupuis would continue to be a fan favorite in Pittsburgh for years to come. In the 2011-2012 season he would put up career high numbers for the club scoring 25 goals and adding 34 assists.

On November 19th, 2014 Dupuis would be diagnosed with a blood clot in his lung and would miss the remainder of the season. As a player suffering from blood clots he was placed on blood thinners and made his comeback to the game the following season only to be struck again by this terrible disease. Today Pascal Dupuis announced his retirement from the game of hockey. “It was very difficult for me to make this decision to have to step away from the game.” Dupuis said, “My wife and four kids have always been my first priority and playing with my condition has become a constant worry for all of us. I want to thank my teamates and the Penguins organization for their unwavering support during this difficult time”

Dupuis retires from the NHL after scoring 190 goals and tallying 409 points over 15 seasons in the league. Dupuis will continue to work with the Penguins organization. He hopes to be apart of another championship team someday it just won’t be on the ice.

 

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