2017 Curling Provincial Preview Blowout Spectacular (Part 2)


By Brett Punkari (With Cameos by Lucas Punkari)

Now that we are officially underway with provincial playdowns across Canada, we start to preview multiple provincials. This part covers the Northern Ontario Scotties, the BC Scotties and the PEI Scotties & Tankard playdowns that are taking place this weekend.

Here’s a quick recap of how we did last week first. Over in Quebec, we got the men’s playdowns right as Jean-Michel Menard worked his way through a number of must-win games to get back to the Brier, while Eve Belisle defeated our pick Marie-France Larouche in the women’s finals.

We didn’t predict this, but Jon Solberg capture the Yukon’s playdowns on the men’s side on Sunday and will be in the pre-qualifying event in March.

Screenshot (113).png

Oh yeah, the Northwest Territories men’s playdowns are this weekend as well, but I think you already know we’re both rooting for Jamie Koe.

Northern Ontario Scotties (January 18th-22nd)


         Last Year’s Scotties Finish – 2nd (7-4 – 4th in round-robin)

The Field (Skip to Lead)

Krista McCarville, Kendra Lilly, Ashley Sippala, Sarah Potts

Larissa Mikkelsen, Shana Marchessault, Ali McCulloch, Kady Stachiw

Hailey Beaudry, Kendra Lemieux, Emily Cooney, Erin Tomalty

Tracy Fleury, Jennifer Wylie, Jenna Walsh, Amanda Gates, Crystal Webster

(Note that Team Fleury has a five person rotation)

In the land of the moose, we know that the overall depth is not great but the last two previous champions are definitely near the top of the country. Tracy Fleury got Northern Ontario out of the relegation round in 2014 and almost got in playoffs, while Krista McCarville almost gave the province their first ever Scotties title last year.

So basically it’s going to come down to McCarville and Fleury with McCarville going unbeaten in provincials and beating Fleury three times in a row a year ago. This season Fleury does have a win on the World Curling Tour but hasn’t had the best of times at the major events, though she made the quarter-finals at the Canadian Open this month.

Although she hasn’t won an event this year, McCarville made it to the final at the Tier 2 Tour Challenge and was one shot away from a trip to the finals at the National. She also has a win in her only meeting with Fleury this year, which took place at the Boost National.

I still think the final will be extremely close but McCarville should make it to the Scotties for the 2nd year in a row. However I will leave you with this. If you want to see comedy fun from Northern Ontario, you’ll want Team Fleury to win to watch the chaos that Amanda Gates can cause. If you want a better shot at the Scotties crown as a Northern Ontario fan, you’ll want Team McCarville to win.


Darn right I’m going to pick the more fun team to reach the Scotties. Although they’ve had some consistency issues, which happened a bit at the Canadian Open in North Battleford, I still think they can play well enough to beat McCarville when push comes to shove. With that said, it’s going to be a heck of a provincial final, though I would like to see more than four women’s teams playing my home province’s playdowns in the future.

British Columbia Scotties (January 17th-22nd)


Last Year’s Scotties Finish – Tied for 11th (2-9)

The Field

Diane Gushulak, Grace Maciness, Jessie Sanderson,  Sandra Comadina

Lindsay Hudyma, Holly Donaldson, Stephanie Jackson-Baier, Carley Sandwith

Dailene Pewarchuck, Patti Knezevic, Adina Tasaka, Rachelle Kallechy

Kesa Van Osch, Kalia Van Osch, Shawna Jensen, Amy Gibson

Julie Herndier, Nadine Wadwell, Brianna Hanni, Chantel Kosmynka

Mara Mallett, Shannon Aleksic, Brette Richard, Blaine De Jager

Karla Thompson, Kristen Recksiedler, Erin Pincott, Tyrsta Vandale

Sarah Wark, Kristin Pilote, Stephanie Prinse, Michelle Dunn

Well it looks like the Kelly Scott era is officially over as she did not even compete in the qualifiers to get into provincials. It’s still pretty competitive within the province though with three teams (Gushulak, Mallett and Thompson) playing in the Grand Slam of Curling’s Tier 2 Tour Challenge.

During that event in Cranbrook, Mallett went 1-3, Gushulak reached the quarter-finals and Thompson made it to the semis. Also, Thompson has added Erin Pincott to her lineup, who has won a Canadian Junior title with Corryn Brown.

All three teams also have wins this season and are the favourites here. However I’m going to with the rink with a bolstered lineup and go with the defending champ Karla Thompson to repeat as BC champ.


I still feel like we’re just waiting for Corryn Brown to graduate from the junior ranks and make the province a playoff threat again, but Thompson got BC back in the main field last year and should have a strong return visit if she wins this week. With that said, don’t count out 2014 Scotties champion Kesa Van Osch from being in the mix.

PEI Scotties and Tankard


Last Year’s Scotties Finish – 9th (4-7)

Last Year’s Brier Finish – 12th (2-9 – Relegated)

Scotties Field

Tammy Dewar, Darlene MacLeod London, Robyn MacDonald, Gail Greene

Lisa Jackson, Jaclyn Reid, Melissa Morrow, Jodi Murphy

Robyn MacPhee, Sarah Fullerton, Meghan Hughes, Michelle McQuaid

Veronica Smith, Jane DiCarlo, Whitney Young, Aleya Quilty

Boy, things have gone from bad to worse in PEI, especially with Suzanne Birt not being in this year’s field. Hey, remember when they almost won the Scotties in 2010?

Anyways, this is basically Robyn MacPhee’s playdowns to lose, especially after she had a decent year on the tour that included winning the OVCA Women’s Fall Classic. The other team that could maybe spoil the party is 2015 provincial junior champion Veronica Smith, but I don’t see that happening.


The MacPhee rink is half of the old Birt rink from last year with MacPhee and Hughes, along with Sarah Fullerton joining the ranks. For me, I don’t think they will have much trouble getting out of the province, especially given their current level of depth. A mid-table finish at the Scotties doesn’t sound too crazy either, depending on the field of course.

Tankard Field

Robert Campbell, John Likely, Mark O’Rourke, Rod Macdonald

Phil Gorveatt, Kevin Champion, Mike Dilon, Mark Butler

Tyler Harris, Tyler MacKenzie, Sam Ramsay, Mike Trudeau

Blair Jay, Barry Cameron, Darrell Thibeau, Alan Montgomery

Eddie MacKenzie, Anson Carmody, Robbie Doherty, Sean Ledgerwood

Jamie Newson, Matt MacLean, Dan Richard, Connor MacPhee

Calvin Smith, Corey Miller, Pat Ramsay, Nick Blanchard

Dennis Watts, Erik Brodersen, Andrew Macdougall, Doug MacGregor

Last year around this time we figured the future seemed promising for PEI with Adam Casey, especially after a strong showing at the 2015 Brier in Calgary. That turned out not to be the case in Ottawa, as their rink struggled and ended up falling to the relegation round. Then, to make matters worse, Casey moved to Saskatchewan and is curling on Shaun Meachem’s rink.

Anyways it’s a decent sized field compared to previous years and in terms of a favorite, it would probably have to be Eddie MacKenzie once again as Anson Carmody (who played with MacKenzie two years ago) and Robbie Doherty have joined his rink this year.

In terms of getting out of the relegation round though, it will all depend on who comes out of Nova Scotia.


With the Brier being in St. John’s this year, the battle for two Maritime rinks to try and get the last spot in the field will be interesting to watch. When it comes to this playdown though, I’m in agreement with Brett, as this seems like MacKenzie’s to lose.

2017 Curling Provincial Preview Blowout Spectacular (Part 1)


Written by Brett Punkari (With Cameos by Lucas Punkari)

Yes it is that wonderful time once again where provincial champions are crowned for the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier. With this season being the last before the Olympic Trials, some provincials could take on extra importance.

Of course with directional sweeping pretty much a thing of the past, things for the most part should be on standard ground again, however there is always a chance of crazy upsets like we saw last season.

In this first part we are taking a look at the Quebec Scotties and Tankard playdowns where it’s mostly a two horse race on both sides.

Before Brett gets rolling, we do have a few titles already clinched. Both Sarah Koltun and Kerry Galusha will be representing the Yukon and Northwest Territories respectively at the Scotties, while the Nunavut provincial champions were Geneva Chislett and Jim Nix. Of course, we already know who Team Canada will be as Chelsea Carey and Kevin Koe will defend their titles.


Quebec Scotties & Tankard (January 8-15)

Last Year’s Scotties Finish – 8th (5-6)

Last Year’s Brier Finish – Tied for 7th (4-7)

Scotties Field

(Skip to Lead)

Sophie Morissette, Dominique Ricard, Emille Desjardins, Veronique Bouchard

Helene Pelchat, Gaetane Tremblay, Laurie Lavoie, Sylvie Goulet

Camille Lapierre, Alanna Routledge, Vicky Tremblay, Jill Routledge

Isabelle Neron, Noemie Verreault, Marie-Pier Cote, Laurie Verreault

Roxanne Perron, Lisa Davies, Miriam Perron, Anik Brascoup

Eve Belisle, Lauren Mann, Trish Hill, Brittany O’Rourke

Marie-France Larouche, Brenda Nicholls, Annie Lemay, Julie Rainville

For this year’s Scotties it’s basically a two horse fight between Marie France-Larouche and Eve Belisle, who has former provincial champion Lauren Mann at vice.

In terms of play on tour this season Marie-France has made the Shorty Jenkins Classic semifinals and had a 3-3 Record at the OVCA Women’s Fall Classic, which included a 5-4 loss to Belisle. Along with that win, Eve’s made at the quarter-finals at two of the three events she’s played at.

It’s going to be real close, but as long as she can avoid a slow start like what happened to her last year, I see Marie-France Larouche returning to the Scotties once again.

2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Unlike the men’s field, which Brett will touch on shortly, Larouche stands out from the pack when it comes to the best teams in Quebec. I don’t think she’ll have much trouble at the provincials, but it remains to be seen where she fits in on the national scene as we wait for the field to sort itself out.

Tankard Field

(Skip to Lead)

 Dale Ness, Shane McCrae, Shawn Blair, Scott McClintock

 Fred Lawton, Derek Lockwood, Matt Greene, Charles Gagnon

Yannick Martel, Francois Gionest, Jean-Francois Charest, Alexandre Ferland

Simon Benoit, Jean-Francois Trepanier, Martin Trepanier, Pier-Luc Trepanier

Jean-Sebastian Roy, Jasim Gibeau, Dan deWaard, Vincent Bourget

Pierre-Luc Morissette, Robert Desjardins, Thierry Fournier, Rene Dubois

Jean Michel-Menard, Marin Crete, Eric Sylvain, Philippe Menard

Marc-Andre Chartrand, Pierre Blanchard, Maxime Mailloux, Jonathan Martel

Mathieu Drapeau, Yanick Lefebvre, Hugo Chapdelaine, David Bergeron

Matt Kennerchat, Ben Vezeau, Cameron Maclean, Jon Spring

Jean-Michel Arsenault, Mathieu Beaufort, Erik Lachance, Maxime Benoit

Steven Munroe, Francois Gagne, Phillipe Brassard, Christian Bouchard

Martin Ferland, Francois Roberge, Maxime Elmaleh, Jean Gagnon

Mike Fournier, Felix Asselin, William Dion, Miguel Bernard

Over on the men’s side we of course have to mention Jean-Michel Menard and Robert Desjardins, who are both previous champions and might face each other three times this week.

Both teams have had pretty meh seasons, even though Menard did get an event win and he competed in the Tier 2 Tour Challenge Grand Slam of Curling event, where he had with a 1-3 record.

If either team falters there is one team that could surprise, which is Mike Hournier’s rink includes former Quebec Junior champion Felix Asselin and former Canadian Junior champion William Dion.

With all that said aside I think Jean-Michel Menard will once again represent Quebec at the Brier, however the question is how much longer he can keep up his winning ways in Quebec?

Kamloops B.C.Mar7_2014.Tim Hortons Brier.Quebec skip Jean-Michel Menard,lead Phillipe Menard.CCA/michael burns photo

Menard’s dominance isn’t on the same level as say Brad Gushue’s or Brad Jacobs’s at the moment, but it’s pretty similar to what Steve Laycock is doing at the moment in Saskatchewan. The depth in Quebec is a lot better than people give it credit for on the men’s side, but all the years of brier experience gives Menard an extra edge.

Lucas’s 2016-17 SJHL Pre-Season Power Rankings


For the last decade, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has had a run of repeat winners.

Other than a Humboldt Broncos championship in 2012, those that capture the league crown tend to hold on to it for awhile.

The Melfort Mustangs have won the last two years, with the Yorkton Terriers winning back-to-back crowns before that. Prior to the Broncos triumph four years ago, the La Ronge Ice Wolves had won consecutive titles.

The Ice Wolves had ended a three-year run by the Broncos, with the Terriers winning back-to-back crowns before that in 2005 and 2006.

Even with all of that, the league itself seems to be pretty competive from the outside looking in, with a number of different sides having a legit shot at the crown.

So, with the season starting today, I’ve decided to share my pre-season rankings heading into opening. They might be way off base given that I just arrived in SJHL country in July, but this will be good for a laugh come the end of the year.

Oh and I’ve also left you a forward, a defenceman and a goalie you should keep your eyes on as the year goes along, especially if any of these teams are coming to your town.


1. Flin Flon Bombers

After making it to the finals last year for the first time since they won it all in 1993, the Bombers have quite a lot coming back from their surpirsing playoff run. Despite losing SJHL player of the year Alex Smith to Michigan Tech, they return a number of forwards, almost their entire defence and both netminder in Brendan Newton and Zac Robidoux. That’s enough for me to put them at the top of my list.

Players to Watch – Brandon Lesko, Joseph Leonidas and Brendan Newton


2. Battlefords North Stars

Both Taryn Kotchorek and Ryan Rewarts return in goal and almost the entire defence is back, which is builds an awesome base to build around. However, the North Stars did lose a ton of fire power up front, especially with Igor Leonenko graduating and Coby Downs heading to the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Rookie of the Year Layne Young is back and the Stars have made some nice moves to add veteran forwards, so that might answer the forward depth concerns as the year goes on.

Players to Watch – Layne Young, Connor Sych and Taryn Kotchorek


3. Melfort Mustangs

The winner’s of the last two SJHL titles have lost a number of key components from their squad, with the most notable graduate being two-time league scoring champion Travis Mayan. However, there are still a number of good returning players around that will keep the Mustangs in the mix. Doubt the current provincial kingpins at your own peril.

Players to Watch – Dakota Boutin, Eric Sinclair and Evan Plotnik


4. Weyburn Red Wings

After being upset in the quarter-finals last year by Flin Flon, the Red Wings are eager for a long playoff run this season. They have a solid group of forwards and blueliners that are coming back, but they do lose defending SJHL goalie of the year Jack Burgart to Bemidji State. Nathan Hargrave has brought in from Kindersley to lead the way between the pipes.

Players to Watch – Braden Mellon, Mike Eskra and Nathan Hargrave


5. Yorkton Terriers

Despite being a young team that’s still in a rebuild from their run to the 2014 RBC Cup title, the Terriers return quite a lot from last year’s squad. I may be a year early on this group, but I’m a sucker for teams with lots of good young talent.

Players to Watch – Carson and McKenzie Welke, Regan Seiferling and Jakob Severson


6. Humboldt Broncos

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 1980, the Broncos should bounce back this season. Although the defence has a number of fresh faces, they have a really solid veteran group of forwards to lead the way. The Broncos also made a great pickup in the off-season by acquiring netminder Garrett Mason from the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines.

Players to Watch – Logan Schatz, Connor Swystun and Garrett Mason


7. Notre Dame Hounds

As I post this, the Hounds roster has yet to be put up on the SJHL website but it sounds like they have a nice mix of veteran players and new faces. They have a number of players coming up from last year’s Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League champions, including talented forward Adam Dawe who is committed to Maine.

Players to Watch – Adam Dawe, Tyler Podgorenko and Payton Porter


8. La Ronge Ice Wolves

The Ice Wolves made it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012 last year and their fans were rewarded for their patience with a wild card round win over Yorkton. There’s a solid group that is back on both offence and defence, though the key to their success might be if they can overcome the loss of graduating netminder Kris Joyce.

Players to Watch – Jared Blaquiere, Bryce Fiske and Joshua Dechaine


9. Estevan Bruins

Last year’s Western Canada Cup hosts had a bit of a disappointing season as they were knocked out in the quarter-finals and then went winless against the best teams from the West. It’ll be a transition year for the Bruins, but some interesting newcomers might help to overcome the holes left by the veterans who have moved on.

Players to Watch – Lynnden Pastachak, Johnny Witzke and Nathan Alalouf


10. Kindersley Klippers

There has been quite a lot of turnover from last year’s Klippers squad with players either graduating or moving to other junior leagues. With a ton of new faces coming in, there might be a few rough nights early on before things turn the corner later in the winter.

Players to Watch – Carson Pickett, Holden Daley and Justen Close


11. Nipawin Hawks

Speaking of roster turnover, there is a massive amount of change in store for the Hawks after their run to the semifinal a year ago. Kristian Stead is back in goal, which is a huge help, but he might have to stand on his head to help his team have another long playoff run.

Players to Watch – Keegan Kjargaard, Carter Doerksen and Kristian Stead


12. Melville Millionaires

Like the last few teams I’ve mentioned, Melville also has quite a lot of new faces so it may be though for them to get back to the playoffs after missing a year ago. However, given that many of the new faces have done well in other places, this pick might look foolish once the season ends in March.

Players to Watch – Teal Sobkowicz, Austin Johnston and Brandon Wells


2016 Battlefords North Stars Training Camp Roster


So with the Battlefords North Stars 2016 training camp now in full swing, and since I’m sure some SJHL diehards are interested in knowing who’s in town, I present to you the 38 players that were at the Civic Centre for the opening scrimmage last night, along with those who have graduated or aren’t in town yet.


Not Returning

  • Tyler Fuhr (95 – 21-12-3 record with a 3.26 goals against average)

Not At Camp

  • Joel Gryzbowski (99 – 17-12-1 record with a 2.63 goals against average for the Saskatoon Midget AAA Blazers –  As reported by Nathan Kanter of Battlefords Now on Monday, Gryzbowski is one of five goalies looking to make it on the Saskatoon Blades roster.)


  • Taryn Kotchorek (97 – 15-4-3 record with a 2.02 goals against average)
  • Ryan Rewerts (96 – 20-7-0 record with a 2.69 goals against average)

New Faces

  • Ruslan Katsnelson (98 – Played for California Wave Midget Team Last Year – Stats Unavailable)
  • Dawson Rodin (98 – 9-6-0 record with a 3.18 goals against average for the Aldergrove Kodiaks)


Not Returning

  • Jordan Wiest (95 – 5-10-15)


  • Kendall Fransoo (96 – 2-21-23 – Captain – Brother Jordan played for Brandon and Victoria in WHL, drafted in the 7th round by Ottawa in the 2011 NHL Draft and is heading into his junior season with the Saskatchewan Huskies)
  • Conor Jensen (97 – 0-13-13)
  • Levi Kleiboer (98 – 1-20-21)
  • Ryan Rosenberg (97 – 2-11-13)
  • Cody Spagrud (98 – 2-23-25)
  • Connor Sych (97 – 8-27-35 – Assistant Captain – Committed to St. Lawrence in 2017)

New Faces

  • Dawson Boehm (98 – 2-11-13 for Beardy’s Midget AAA Blackhawks – Brother Brett won the RBC Cup with Yorkton in 2014)
  • Tyson Chretien (00 – 0-5-5 for the Saskatoon Midget AA River Kings)
  • Connor Manegre (97 – 0-9-9 for Grand Forks Border Bruins)
  • Karstin McDonald (98 – 3-6-9 for the Battlefords Midget AAA Stars)
  • Turner Rea (00 – 3-9-12 for the Saskatoon Midget AA River Kings)
  • Austin Shumanski (99 – 1-9-10 for the Yorkton Midget AAA Maulers)
  • Austin Wieler (99 – 1-1-2 for Saskatoon Midget AAA Contacts)


Not Returning

  • Rory Davidson (95 – 7-11-18 – Playing for Concordia College)
  • Dustin Gorgi (95 – 28-31-59 – Playing for Red Deer College)
  • Baxter Kanter (95 – 5-12-17 – Playing for Wisconsin-Stevens Point)
  • Igor Leonenko (95 – 47-41-88 – Will be playing for the St. Louis Blues at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament)
  • Jake McMillen (95 – 34-31-65)
  • Jordan Townsend (95 – 5-11-16)

Not At Camp

  • Braydon Buziak (98 – 6-13-19 – Currently at Regina Pats Training Camp)
  • Coby Downs (96 – 27-46-73 – As reported by Nathan Kanter of Battlefords Now on Monday, Downs is currently at the Omaha Lancers training camp.)


  • Reed Delainey  (96 – 14-24-38 – Assistant Captain – Committed to RIT in 2017 – He did not dress on Monday)
  • Troy Gerein (97 – 4-9-13)
  • Bryce Hall (97 – 3-5-8)
  • Logan Nachtegaele (96 – 4-6-10 – Assistant Captain)
  • Layne Young (97 – 24-51-75 – SJHL Rookie of the Year)

New Faces

  • Colton Adair (99 – 30-18-48 for the Martensville Midget AA Marauders)
  • Chance Adrian (99 – 10-22-32 for the Saskatoon Midget AAA Contacts)
  • Tyson Chizma (97 – 5-11-16 for the Wainwright Bisons)
  • Blake Fennig (98 – 24-16-40 for Battlefords Midget AA Barons)
  • Keaton Holinaty (96 – 3-11-14 for the Drumheller Dragons)
  • Zane Jaber (98 – 13-16-29 for the Wainwright Midget AA Polar Kings)
  • Owen Lamb (98 – 12-26-38 for Battlefords Midget AAA Stars)
  • Connor Logan (96 – 9-10-19 for Prince George Spruce Kings)
  • Connor McIntosh (98 – 15-10-25 for Spokane Braves)
  • Ty Muench (00 – 21-16-37 for Saskatoon Midget AA River Kings)
  • Jayden Nachtegaele (98 – 10-20-30 for Battlefords Midget AAA Stars – Brother Logan has played with the North Stars for the last two years)
  • Tyler Planetta (98 – 2-6-8 for Timmins Rock and 7-3-10 for St. John’s Midget AAA Maple Leafs)
  • MacGregor Sinclair (98 – 5-5-10 for the Lloydminster Midget AAA Bobcats)
  • Tysen Smith (97 – 38-29-67 for the Delisle Chiefs)
  • Logan Spence (00 – 6-7-13 for the Battlefords Midget AA Barons)
  • Tayden Woods (97 – 29-45-74 for Castelgar Rebels)
  • Jeremy Velazquez (98 – 26-13-39 for Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy Prep Team)

The 2016 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Award Winners


With the Ivan Hlinka Tournament set to get underway and World Junior summer camps taking place, it’s time to officially close the book on the 2015-16 junior and college hockey season.

As I posted last week, I allowed you to vote on who you thought were most deserving of winning the hardware (okay there’s no real trophy, but play along with me at home) for the 2016 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards. Now it’s time to reveal the winners.

Before we get to that though, here’s who else voted for the accolades, besides the readers of this blog and yours truly.

  • Brad Elliot Schlossman – College hockey writer for the Grand Forks Herald and beat reporter for the NCAA’s North Dakota Fighting Hawks
  • Brett Punkari – My younger brother and a supporter of every other country besides Canada at the World Juniors
  • Brett Smith – Former sports reporter for the Prince Albert Daily Herald and current Director of Communications and Community Relations for the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders
  • Jack Hittinger – Sports editor for the Bemidji Pioneer and beat reporter for the NCAA’s Bemidji State Beavers
  • Joey Payeur – Sports reporter for the Fort Frances Times and beat reporter for the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers
  • Marc Smith – Sports reporter for Golden West Radio in Moose Jaw and between the benches reporter/colour commentator for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors
  • Matthew Gourlie – Sports editor for the Moose Jaw Times-Herald and beat reporter for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.
  • Perry Bergson – Sports reporter for the Brandon Sun and beat reporter for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Scott Parsons – Goaltender for the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues for the last three seasons.
  • Zachary Cormier – Sports reporter and photographer for the Red Deer Express and the Lacombe Express with part of his beat including coverage of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels

Again, a huge thanks to those gentleman for sending their ballots along. Now to the winners.

Mitchell Marner of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Forward of the Year – Mitchell Marner (London Knights)

It was going to be hard to top what Connor McDavid did in 2015 with the Erie Otters, but Marner’s dominance with the Knights during the playoffs was just as insane. With 44 points in the OHL playoffs and 14 points at the Memorial Cup, there was no doubt as to who the most dominant player was in all of junior hockey this year. If he doesn’t make the Toronto Maple Leafs out of training camp, he could be even scarier to watch next season.

  1. Mitchell Marner (London Knights) – 78 votes
  2. Patrik Laine (Tappara) – 60 votes
  3. Auston Matthews (Zurich) – 33 votes
  4. Dryden Hunt (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 25 votes
  5. Jesse Puljujarvi (Karpat) – 24 votes
  6. Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings) – 24 votes
  7. Tyson Jost (Penticton Vees) – 23 votes
  8. Brayden Point (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 21 votes
  9. Christian Dvorak (London Knights) – 13 votes
  10. Drake Caggiula (North Dakota Fighting Hawks) – 12 votes
  11. Matthew Tkachuk (London Knights) – 11 votes
  12. Jimmy Vesey (Harvard Crimson) – 10 votes
  13. Conor Garland (Moncton Wildcats) – 9 votes
  14. Kyle Connor (Michigan Wolverines) – 6 votes
  15. Jake DeBrusk (Red Deer Rebels) – 6 votes
  16. Dylan Strome (Erie Otters) – 5 votes
  17. Francis Perron (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – 4 votes
  18. Kevin Labanc (Barrie Colts) – 2 votes


Defenceman of the Year – Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings)

Granted, the Memorial Cup wasn’t his best outing, but the Russian blueliner was just as dominant as Marner was at times during the 2015-16 season. I got a chance to watch him run the point down at ice level during the playoffs against Moose Jaw and it was almost like having a religious awakening. He’s far surpassed this level and should crack the Philadelphia Flyers opening night lineup.

  1. Ivan Provorov (Brandon Wheat Kings) – 82 votes
  2. Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires) – 57 votes
  3. Dante Fabbro (Penticton Vees) – 50 votes
  4. Olli Juolevi (London Knights) – 47 votes
  5. Zach Werenski (Michigan Wolverines) – 30 votes
  6. Samuel Girard (Shawinigan Cataractes) – 25 votes
  7. Ethan Prow (St. Cloud State Huskies) – 10 votes
  8. Patrick Kulda (Oakville Blades) – 9 votes
  9. Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion) – 8 votes
  10. Rasmus Andersson (Barrie Colts) – 8 votes
  11. Philippe Myers (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – 7 votes
  12. Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits) – 5 votes
  13. Nick Minerva (Fort Frances Lakers) – 4 votes
  14. Troy Stetcher (North Dakota Fighting Hawks) – 3 votes
  15. Jack Ahcan (Cedar Rapids Roughriders) – 2 votes
  16. Jeremy Lauzon (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – 2 votes
  17. Andrew Nielsen (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – 1 vote
  18. Brett Orr (Portage Terriers) – 1 vote
  19. Brinson Pasichnuk (Bonnyville Pontiacs) – 1 vote

Everett Silvertips v Kelowna Rockets

Goalie of the Year – Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)

While there were a ton of talented netminders on the ballot this year, perhaps it’s not a surprise that Hart was the winner. After all, he won the CHL’s goaltender of the year in his first full season as a starter and he was the first netminder selected at the NHL Entry Draft in June. If this upward trend continues, he’ll end up being the starter for Canada at home for this year’s World Juniors.

  1. Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) – 67 votes
  2. Tyler Parsons (London Knights) – 39 votes
  3. Cam Johnson (North Dakota Fighting Hawks) – 36 votes
  4. Thatcher Demko (Boston College Eagles) – 35 votes
  5. Chase Marchand (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) – 32 votes
  6. Landon Bow (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 32 votes
  7. Stuart Skinner (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – 28 votes
  8. Alex Nedeljkovic (Niagara IceDogs) – 17 votes
  9. Jordon Cooke (Saskatchewan Huskies) – 16 votes
  10. Charlie Lindgren (St. Cloud State Huskies) – 10 votes
  11. Colton Point (Carleton Place Canadians) – 9 votes
  12. Connor Ingram (Kamloops Blazers) – 8 votes
  13. Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie Colts) – 8 votes
  14. Nathan Park (Portage Terriers) – 4 votes
  15. Matthew Murray (Spruce Grove Saints) – 2 votes
  16. Kevin Boyle (UMass-Lowell River Hawks) – 1 vote


Rookie of the Year – Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads)

With his brother William being one of the many hyped prospects in the Maple Leafs rebuild, the younger Nylander did a pretty good job of etching out his own name this year. Having won the CHL’s rookie of the year award and being picked eighth overall by Buffalo, he might have an even bigger season ahead as one of the key cogs on what should be a very good Steelheads squad and as a top forward for Sweden at the World Juniors.

  1. Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads) – 72 votes
  2. Brock Boeser (North Dakota Fighting Hawks) – 48 votes
  3. Olli Juolevi (London Knights) – 45 votes
  4. Matthew Phillips (Victoria Royals) – 37 votes
  5. Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires) – 36 votes
  6. Kyle Connor (Michigan Wolverines) – 34 votes
  7. Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits) – 14 votes
  8. Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion) – 13 votes
  9. Nikita Popugaev (Moose Jaw Warriors) – 10 votes
  10. Layne Young (Battlefords North Stars) – 9 votes
  11. Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires) – 8 votes
  12. Colin White (Boston College Eagles) – 7 votes
  13. Vitali Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques) – 4 votes
  14. Nick Henry (Portage Terriers) – 2 votes
  15. Cameron Morrison (Youngstown Phantoms) – 2 votes
  16. Brett Welychka (Carleton Ravens) – 2 votes
  17. Cole Tymkin (Fort Frances Lakers) – 1 vote

Knights 2016

Team of the Year – London Knights (OHL and Memorial Cup Champions)

Let’s be honest, they aren’t the 2005 team when it comes to pure domination from start-to-finish. However, London’s 17 straight wins in the post-season after a Game 5 loss to the Owen Sound Attack in the first round was easily the most impressive run to a Memorial Cup since the 2010 Windsor Spitfires or even the 1991 Spokane Chiefs. Even if they lose a number of key guys to the pros, they are still probably going to be the favourites to win it all again in Windsor next May.

  1. London Knights (OHL and Memorial Cup Champions) – 66 votes
  2. Finland Under-20 Team (World Junior Champions) – 57 votes
  3. North Dakota Fighting Hawks (NCAA Champions) – 51 votes
  4. West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL, Western Canada Cup and RBC Cup Champions) – 45 votes
  5. Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL Champions) – 34 votes
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL Champions) – 28 votes
  7. Finland Under-18 Team (World Under 18 Champions) – 15 votes
  8. Canada Under-18 Team (Ivan Hlinka Champions) – 14 votes
  9. Brooks Bandits (AJHL Champions and Western Canada Cup Runner-Up) – 11 votes
  10. Tri-City Storm (USHL Champions) – 11 votes
  11. Victoria Royals (WHL Quarter-Finalist) – 8 votes
  12. Canada White (World Under 17 Challenge Champions) – 6 votes
  13. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL and Dudley Hewitt Cup Champions) – 4 votes
  14. UNB Varsity Reds (University Cup Champions) – 2 votes
  15. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL and Fred Page Cup Champions) – 1 vote
  16. Portage Terriers (MJHL Champions) – 1 vote


Coach of the Year – Jukka Jalonen (Finland World Junior Team)

This one went down to the very end between Jalonen and North Dakota’s Brad Berry. Naturally, as a Suomi supporter, I’m quite pleased with the final result. Let’s face facts here, if you had Finland winning the gold medal prior to last year’s tournament I want to shake your hand. Sure having two of the top draft prospects played a key role in that, but Jalonen’s contributions should not be overlooked.

  1. Jukka Jalonen (Finland World Junior Team) – 55 votes
  2. Brad Berry (North Dakota Fighting Hawks) – 49 votes
  3. Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes) – 39 votes
  4. Gilles Bouchard (Rouyn-Noranda Huksies) – 30 votes
  5. Dale Hunter (London Knights) – 28 votes
  6. Dave Lowry (Victoria Royals) – 24 votes
  7. Blake Spiller (Portage Terriers) – 21 votes
  8. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon Wheat Kings) – 19 votes
  9. Rylan Ferster (West Kelowna Warriors) – 15 votes
  10. Steve Konowalchuk (Seattle Thunderbirds) – 13 votes
  11. Paul McFarland (Kingston Frontenacs) – 11 votes
  12. Bob Daniels (Ferris State Bulldogs) – 10 votes
  13. Kris Knoblauch (Erie Otters) – 10 votes
  14. Kevin Hasselberg (Battlefords North Stars) – 6 votes
  15. Brent Sutter (Red Deer Rebels) – 6 votes
  16. Rocky Thompson (Windsor Spitfires) – 6 votes
  17. Jordan Smith (Soo Thunderbirds) – 3 votes
  18. Wayne Strachan (Fort Frances Lakers) – 3 votes
  19. Bill Muckalt (Tri-City Storm) – 2 votes
  20. Ryan Papaioannou (Brooks Bandits) – 2 votes

2016 Memorial Cup - Championship

Game of the Year – London 3 Rouyn-Noranda 2 (Memorial Cup Final)

My feelings on this one are a bit biased since I was actually in Red Deer for the game, but this will probably go down as one of the best Memorial Cup finals in a long time. You had the Huskies almost ending the Knights win streak and pulling off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, Chase Marchand and Tyler Parsons doing battle in a great goaltending duel and an overtime that was played at a frantic pace before Matthew Tkachuk scored the winning goal. This is a game I won’t soon forget.

  1. London 3 Rouyn-Noranda 2 (Memorial Cup Final – Overtime) – 59 votes
  2. Finland 6 Canada 5 (World Juniors Quarter-Final) – 45 votes
  3. Finland 4 Russia 3 (World Juniors Final – Overtime) – 44 votes
  4. Saskatchewan 3 Carleton 2 (University Cup Quarter-Final – Quadruple Overtime) – 36 votes
  5. Kelowna 3 Victoria 2 (Game 7 – WHL Quarter-Final – Overtime) – 30 votes
  6. Red Deer 2 Brandon 1 (Memorial Cup Round-Robin – Overtime) – 25 votes
  7. West Kelowna 4 Penticton 3 (Game 6 – BCHL Quarter-Final) – 20 votes
  8. Kelowna 2 Kamloops 1 (Game 7 – WHL First Round – Overtime) – 15 votes
  9. Ferris State 5 St. Cloud State 4 (NCAA Frozen Four First Round – Overtime) – 13 votes
  10. Blainville-Boisbriand 3 Val-d’Or 2 (Game 6 – QMJHL First Round – Triple Overtime) – 13 votes
  11. Seattle 5 Kelowna 4 (Game 4 – WHL Semifinal – Double Overtime) – 13 votes
  12. Edmonton 6 Medicine Hat 4 (WHL Tiebreaker Game) – 12 votes
  13. Red Deer 3 Regina 2 (Game 7 – WHL Quarter-Final) – 6 votes
  14. Russia 3 Canada Red 2 (World Under 17 Challenge Semifinal – Shootout) – 3 votes
  15. Kamloops 5 Kelowna 4 (Game 2 – WHL First Round) – 2 votes
  16. London 6 Niagara 5 (Game 3 – OHL Final – Overtime) – 2 votes
  17. Sault Ste. Marie 4 Sarnia 3 (Game 7 – OHL First Round) – 2 votes

The 2016 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards


As some of you may know, I’ve been doing a podcast focused on Junior and College Hockey for the last year or so now called The Bagskate Hockey Podcast, which is shockingly nearing the 50 episode mark.

Since we’re in that time of the year where it’s the holding pattern between the CHL Import Draft and the start of the Hockey Canada Summer Camp, I figured what better way to pass the time then by merging the podcast with what’s happened in the last 12 months in a somewhat interactive way.

So as such, and in a format that is influenced quite a bit by The Pipeline Show’s Pipeies Awards that they handed out two years ago, I present to you the first ever Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards.

After narrowing everything down to 20 finalist for each category (well 22 for one category but you’ll see why), I contacted everyone I had on the show this year to fill out a ballot if they have time. A few have come in already and the results so far are pretty interesting.

So here’s where you the reader/listener come in. Below is a link to each of the categories where you can vote for up to five choices for each award. You can also include someone that didn’t make the list for whatever reason (see Joe Hicketts for defenceman of the year) and add them to your ballot.

At any rate, the awards are as follows:

My plan is to allow online voting through the Civic Holiday long weekend here on Monday and then post the final results next week.

Like the points on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the awards mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. But who doesn’t love a good debate and a chance to reflect on what has happened before we make the great leap forward into the 2016-17 season.

2016 Bagskate Hockey Podcast Awards – Game Of The Year

Blainville-Boisbriand 3 Val-d'Or 2

Blainville-Boisbriand 3 Val-d’Or 2 (Game 6 – QMJHL First Round – Triple Overtime)

  • Philippe Sanche scored midway through the third overtime period as the 13th ranked Armada completed a stunning upset over a fourth seeded Foreurs squad that they finished 42 points behind in the regular season.

Edmonton 6 Medicine HAt 4

Edmonton 6 Medicine Hat 4 (WHL Tiebreaker Game)

  • In the sixth tiebreaker game in league history, Luke Bertolucci scored twice as the Oil Kings clinched the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Prior the game, the Tigers had won all six meetings in the regular season.

Ferris State 5 St. Cloud State 4

Ferris State 5 St. Cloud State 4 (NCAA Frozen Four First Round – Overtime)

  • Jared VanWormer scored just 18 seconds into overtime as Ferris State knocked out a St. Cloud State side that entered the Frozen Four as the second overall seed.

Finland 6 Canada 5

Finland 6 Canada 5 (World Juniors Quarter-Final)

  • Patrik Laine scored on the power-play with 5:50 to go in a wild affair as Canada failed to make the medal round at the tournament for the first time since 1998.

Finland 4 Russia 3

Finland 4 Russia 3 (World Juniors Final – Overtime)

  • After Andrei Svetlakov scored with six seconds left in regulation, Kasperi Kapanen scored a wrap-around goal in overtime as Finland won the World Juniors at home and picked up their second title in three years.

Kamloops Blazers v Kelowna Rockets

Kamloops 5 Kelowna 4 (Game 2 – WHL First Round)

  • After falling behind 4-3, Collin Shirley scored on a rebound with 30.5 seconds left to tie the game at four. Ryan Rehil then blasted a shot through traffic with 4.8 seconds remaining to stun the crowd in Kelowna.

Kelowna 2 Kamloops 1

 Kelowna 2 Kamloops 1 (Game 7 – WHL First Round – Overtime)

  • Following a great battle between netminders Michael Herringer and Connor Ingram, Tomas Soustal scored seven minutes into overtime as the Rockets knocked their division rivals out of the playoffs.

Kelowna 3 Victoria 2

Kelowna 3 Victoria 2 (Game 7 – WHL Quarter-Final – Overtime)

  • After falling behind 2-0 in the opening 10 minutes and being outshot 21-6 midway through the game, Justin Kirkland tied the game with 0.2 seconds left in the third period and Calvin Thurkauf scored in overtime as the Rockets eliminated the top team in the WHL regular season in stunning fashion.

Kitchener 6 Windsor 5

Kitchener 6 Windsor 5 (Game 1 – OHL First Round – Overtime)

  • Windsor jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period before the Rangers scored four goals to regain the lead in the second frame. Both teams traded goals before Brandon Robinson scored the winner in overtime.

London 6 Niagara 5

London 6 Niagara 5 (Game 3 – OHL Final – Overtime)

  • Niagara scored four goals in the first period to take a 4-1 lead but the Knights roared back with Owen MacDonald scoring in overtime to put London one win away from an OHL title.

London 3 Rouyn-Noranda 2

London 3 Rouyn-Noranda 2 (Memorial Cup Final – Overtime)

  • Matthew Tkachuk scored in overtime as the Knights withstood a valiant effort by the Huskies to complete a 17-game win streak on their way to their second Memorial Cup title.

Owen Sound 4 London 3

Owen Sound 4 London 3 (Game 5 – OHL First Round – Overtime)

  • Petrus Palmu scored the winner to keep the Attack’s playoff hopes alive in what proved to be the last game that the Knights lost all season.

Red Deer 2 Brandon 1

Red Deer 2 Brandon 1 (Memorial Cup Round-Robin – Overtime)

  • After losing to the Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference final, the Rebels knocked the WHL champions out of the Memorial Cup with a 0-3 record as Evan Polei scored the winning goal in overtime.

Rouyn-Noranda 5 Moncton 4

Rouyn-Noranda 5 Moncton 4 (Game 6 – QMJHL Semifinal)

  • The Huskies fell behind 4-1 but they bounced back four unanswered goals as Francis Perron scored late in the third period to help Rouyn-Noranda move to the QMJHL finals.

Russia 3 Canada Red 2

Russia 3 Canada Red 2 (World Under-17 Challenge Semifinal – Shootout)

  • Maxim Zhukov turned aside 50 shots in the game and made six more stops in the shootout as Russia advanced to the final. Michael DiPietro was impressive as well in the loss as he made 31 saves and stopped five shooters in the shootout before Kirill Slepets scored the game-winner.

Saskatchewan 3 Carleton 2

Saskatchewan 3 Carleton 2 (University Cup Quarter-Final – Quadruple Overtime)

  • Parker Thomas scored the game-winner for the Huskies as they prevailed in the longest game in University Cup history. Saskatchewan then went to triple overtime in the semfinal where they lost to St. Francis Xavier.

Sault Ste. Marie 4 Sarnia 3

Sault Ste. Marie 4 Sarnia 3 (Game 7 – OHL First Round)

  • The seventh-ranked Greyhounds completed the upset over the second-seeded Sting in a battle of West Division rivals. Greyhounds netminder Brandon Halverson played a huge role in the triumph as he made 36 saves on the road in the series finale.

Seattle 5 Kelowna 4

Seattle 5 Kelowna 4 (Game 4 – WHL Semifinal – Double Overtime)

  • After scoring twice in the final two minutes to tie the game up, rookie Matthew Wedman completed the comeback as Seattle knocked out the defending WHL champions and advanced to their first league final since 1997.

Val-d’Or 6 Blainville-Boisbriand 5

Val-d’Or 6 Blainville-Boisbriand 5 (Game 5 – QMJHL First Round)

  • With their season on the line and already down 3-0 in the first period, the Foreurs roared back in what turned out to be a back-and-forth high scoring affair. Nicolas Aube-Kubel found the back of the net late in the third to keep his team’s playoff hopes alive.

West Kelowna 4 Penticton 3

West Kelowna 4 Penticton 3 (Game 6 – BCHL Quarter-Final)

  • Thanks to great netminding late by Matthew Greenfield, The Warriors withstood a frantic comeback by the Vees to complete a stunning upset of a Vees team that many expected to be in the RBC Cup.