Junior Hockey’s Relaunch Going Far From Smoothly

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The world of hockey continues to unfold and there is some good news and some devastating news.

We’ll start with the good news. Three Portland Winterhawks players were drafted in the virtual draft of the NHL the other day. Seth Jarvis, figured to be a shoo-in for the first round, was scooped up by the Carolina Hurricanes in the thirteenth spot. Jarvis had been pegged at number fifteen by journalists, so his bump two spots up was a solid thing for the just turned eighteen year old. It was planned that Carolina will send him back for another year as they have a glut in their organization and don’t need a media magnet for their team. Jarvis joins former Hawk Nino Niederreiter  on the squad and will no doubt make a big splash at training camp.

On Day 2 of the draft, two other Hawks were called. Cross Hanas in the number 55 spot, will head to Detroit and the Red Wings where the Wings already have former Hawk Dominic Turgeon on their roster. Later in the day, Jaydon Dureau was called upon in spot 147 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dureau maybe a bit of a dark horse in that spot. Dureau did well in his 2019-20 campaign and was expected to be a strong contender this year. Dureau had been passed over last year, leading to a late selection this year, but should make a solid presence as he looks to build on his 70 points this last season, an improvement of 41 points from his debut year. 

On the bad news from the Winterhawks front. Adam Purner was let go from the organization. He immediately signed on with CKM Sports Management with offices in Vancouver, BC. With thee Hawks has was both a Group Events Manager and a Video Coordinator. His skills caught the eye of CKM which with the pandemic, allows him to be virtual anywhere in Canada and Europe. As of now, he is still listed on the Hawks website, most likely due to limited remote staffing.

Now it gets even murkier. Rogers Sportsnet reports a major stumbling block as the Ontario Hockey League tries to get going again. 

According to Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the League will have to try to remove physical contact, including body-checking, if it’s to have a 2020-21 season. That bodes badly for the League as its  primary source of puck removal and part of the game played. The OHL, which has not sought Government assistance at this point as it tries to run games with fans allowed, has another issue with the US/Canada border being shut until at least October 21. That would affect the two US franchises that are part of the OHL.The way things have been going, that may be extended as areas have been experiencing increases in infections. The main infection increases in Ontario have been near the more populous OHL franchises. 

While the OHL hasn’t reached out to the Government for help, the same can’t be said for the QMJHL. With a reported $20 million dollar request at various levels of Government, the money was given with strings attached. Fighting is to be strictly curtailed.

RULE 47 – All players involved in a fight will now be assessed a misconduct penalty (duration of ten minutes) which will be added to the major penalty (five minutes), except if a player involved is considered an instigator or an aggressor. An automatic 1-game suspension will be assessed after the third fight, and for any additional fight.

In addition changes from the previous season to this year as noted in the table provided by the QMJHL.

Game situation2019-20202020-2021
Fighting Code 2-2Major penaltyMajor penalty + Misconduct penalty
Code 4-1 AgressorAutomatic 1-game suspensionAutomatic 1-game suspension
Code 4-1 Agressor – Goaltender judged aggressor against a playerAutomatic 5-game suspensionAutomatic 5-game suspension
Code 4-1 Agressor – Goaltender judged aggressor on another goaltenderAutomatic 10-game suspensionAutomatic 10-game suspension
Code 1-4, 2-2 and 3-4 InstigatorMinor penalty, major penalty and misconduct penaltyMinor penalty, major penalty, and misconduct penalty
Code 1-4, 2-2 InstigatorMinor penalty and major penaltyThis situation will not be available anymore
Code 4-2 in the last 5 minutes of play with a two-goal differentialGame misconduct penaltyGame misconduct penalty
Code 1-4, 2-2 and 4-4 Instigator in the last 5 minutes of play or in overtimeMinor penalty, major penalty, and game misconduct penaltyMinor penalty, major penalty, game misconduct penalty
Code 4-3 Fight between a player and a goaltenderAutomatic 5-game suspensionAutomatic 5-game suspension
Code 4-6 Second fight by the same player during the same stoppage of playGame misconduct penaltyGame misconduct penalty
Code 4-7 Second fight during the same stoppage of playAutomatic 1-game suspensionAutomatic 1-game suspension
Code 4-10 Staged fightAutomatic 1-game suspensionAutomatic 2-game suspension
Accumulation of code 2.2Automatic 1-game suspension starting with the 11th fighta- Automatic 1-game suspension starting with the 3rd fight b- Automatic 1-game suspension for any additional fight 
Accumulation of codes 3.4, 4 and 5Starting with a 4th infraction, an automatic 1-game suspensionStarting with a 4th infraction, an automatic 1-game suspension
Players involved in the first battle during the warm-up periodAutomatic 10-game suspensionAutomatic 10-game suspension

This week was the start of regulation play when things went terribly wrong and League Commissioner Gilles Corteau issued a video statement.

Following a two game set with Sherbrooke Phoenix and The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the Armada revealed 18 positive Covid-19 tests among players and staff. The Phoenix has not yet revealed their information. Both clubs have suspended activities until all has been cleared. Currently players and staff are isolating for 14 days on the Armada. 

The QMJHL is also dealing with the Quebec Government on Red Zones in Quebec where no sports may be played. One of the areas seems to be where the Armada are at. With this latest outbreak in the team, one wonders what will happen going forward. 

The QMJHL has also broken ranks with the other two leagues which help comprise the CHL, on video streaming. After the WHL announced it would not continue the relationship with Neulion, the QMJHL has in fact done just that. The renewal of the deal keeps the price point per game at $7.99 Cdn and offers a $39.99 monthly All Access pass which allows all games to be seen. Prorated to a season cost, it would work out to about $240 if run into a six month season. There is no pricing listed for playoffs. 

With the start of December being the highlighted timeframe for resumption of the OHL and WHL games, one wonders with the latest battle with both the Quebec and Ontario Governments will lead. With just seven weeks until the “start” of the season, things would have to flip heavily to make the seasons happen. 

Kia. which sponsors the top ten rankings posted this for the preseason: 

1. Sherbrooke Phoenix 

2. Edmonton Oil Kings 

3. Oshawa Generals 

4. Val-d’Or Foreurs 

5. London Knights 

6. Kamloops Blazers 

7. Saginaw Spirit 

8. Saint John Sea Dogs 

9. Portland Winterhawks 

10. Chicoutimi Sagueneens 

They also listed Honorable Mentions to: 

Brandon Wheat Kings 

Prince Albert Raiders 

Shawinigan Cataractes 

Soo Greyhounds 

Windsor Spitfires 

Oshawa or Sault Saint Marie are listed as the host squads in the Ontario Hockey League.

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About Author

Stuart Kemp

Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club since 2008 and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

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