Firstly, in case you missed the news the last few days it is official. Starting next year there will be no Anavet and Doyle Cups and in their place there will be a Western Canadian Championships that will consist of each branch’s champion and a host team. The top 2 from the Western Championships will then head to the RBC Cup. 2013 will be the first year for the Championships and it is important to note that Hockey Canada is completely on board with this event. As Bill Chow told me a couple months ago there was never any serious consideration that the Western Junior A leagues would pull out of the RBC Cup. Nanaimo Clippers owner Ken Wagner and the BCHL confirmed the news in the past few days on 106.9 The Wolf in Nanaimo. BC has been chosen to host the inaugural event and Ken Wagner also confirmed that the Clippers will be bidding to be the host in 2013.
I will have more during tonight’s broadcast and on next week’s Co-op Leisure Time Sports Fix.
To tonight’s game. The Nipwain Hawks are tonight’s opponent and are a team that has had it’s recent struggles. They have only won 3 times in their past 10 games after an incredibly hot start that had them riding high atop the SJHL. The Hawks recently made a trade sending Tyler Paslawski and Tyler Poskus to Estevan in exchange for Jesse Bernard and a couple of prospects. Paslawski apparently wanted out, or at least that’s what I have heard. The Hawks picked up a very good young player in Bernard who has struggled to adjust to the Junior A level. But he was the top scorer in Manitoba midget hockey last season. He is joining a very young talented Hawks team that is good this year and will most likely be scary good next year.
The Hawks are led offensively by Tad Kozun who is a rookie putting up point a game numbers so far. But he has slowed down a little of late as have several of his team mates. The Hawks are quick and transition very well. If the Stars turn the puck over it will end up as a scoring chance for the Hawks. Which in a lot of ways means it’s a great opponent for the Stars. Coach Hasselberg and Atcheynum want the Stars to play a puck possession game. They hate turning the puck over and especially hate it when it happens in the neutral zone. If the Stars play their game Nipawin will be in tough.
The Stars have faces the Hawks 4 times so far this year and have won just once. Those matchups were earlier in the season though and the Hawks haven’t seen the Stars since Woody Klassen returned and Roger Tagoona was added through trade. In the games between these two teams so far Mitch Doell and Just Waskewitch have been the players to watch for the Hawks as each guy has 3 goals. Tatchell and Johnson have 6 points each in the 4 games so far.
Oh and I would be surprised if the Stars have forgotten the celebrations of Tad Kozun from earlier in the season when he taunted the Stars bench after an empty net goal. No one has spoken about it that I have heard. But that doesn’t mean they don’t remember. That could mean that the game could get physical at times.
7:30 the puck will drop from the cage. The SaskTel pregame show starts at 7:15. CJNB/CJNS or online http://www.cjnb.com