Timmins-born Andrew Boucher added a World U18 Men's bronze medal to the silver he picked up earlier with our Women's team. Canada downed Slovakia for the bronze medal this past weekend. With this being his third gig in one year with Hockey Canada as a video coach, Boucher is making a name for himself and adding to an impressive resume.
At the Esso Cup (National Women’s U18 Championships) Carley Blomberg helped guide her Stoney Creek club to a gold medal in her role as an assistant coach. The club was undefeated in the tournament and defeated Fraser Valley in the round-robin and again in an exciting back-and-forth battle in the final.
Big news from Austria where Mark Katic has signed a two-year deal with Villacher VSV Eagles. The Eagles play in the top pro league in Austria. Katic left Mannheim of the German DEL where he has played since 2016. Katic had been looking for a change of scenery and found it with VSV.
Katic won one DEL championship with Mannheim and another with Berlin in his first year playing in the DEL. Team officials stated that they were "bringing in an absolute dream player to the team" when speaking of Katic's signing.
The former second-overall pick in the OHL draft and third-round NHL pick by the Islanders has found great success in European pro hockey.
When Mark's entry-level deal with the Islanders was up, he felt his talents were much better suited to the European pro game and he was right. The DEL is regarded as pretty much the best league outside the NHL. And with his ultra-high-end skating and puck skills, it's no wonder he has been so highly coveted by teams across the pond.
Mark and his beautiful family are preparing for the move this summer. With stops in Sweden, Germany, the KHL and now Austria, Mark, his wife Nikii and now their two little ones have pretty much covered Europe
I'll have more from Mark coming soon.
I noticed on the Timmins Sports Heritage Hall of Fame site a post about Sydney Loret, son of Timmins native (and Majors alumni) Chuck Loreto being selected in the third round of the recent 2023 OHL Under 18 Priority Selection by the Soo Greyhounds.
A little more background. Sydney is a high scoring forward from the Kemptville 73's U/18 of Hockey Eastern Ontario.(Ottawa Region). In 33 games this past regular season Sydney put up 67 points. He would continue that pace in playoffs. He was part of the Kemptville team that advanced to the Central region (All Ontario) U18 championships. I talked to his dad Chuck Monday, and the whole family is certainly excited about this opportunity. Sydney is excited about the upcoming mini camp in the Soo and looking to make an impression. Good work Syd.
A couple of Northern boys from the Great North U18 League also went in the same draft.
The North Bay Battalion took Nate Gravelle in the first round from the North Bay Trappers U/18 and in the second round also from the Trappers, Caleb Dawson.
The Ottawa 67’s picked up Jacob Smith from the Soo Jr. Greyhounds in the first round while Erie Otters grabbed fellow Jr. Greyhound Maverick Fletcher in the second round.
Timmins Kevin Walker and the Red Lake Miners parted ways after one season. But the bright young coach has already attracted interest from new teams and I'm pretty sure next week will bring an announcement that Kev will have a new coaching home. Stay tuned!
Darryl Sutter was not fired from Calgary because he is a poor coach. He is an excellent coach with an impeccable resume. He was let go in large part because the game has changed so much in the last few years. Players have more of a say than in years past and are far more ready to share that say. And if a large enough segment of Flames players thought a change was needed it's easier to can the coach than get new players. You can tell from Monday's press conference that some players had a major part in Sutter's dismissal. And after missing the playoffs and a large number of players having down years, management thought they could not risk it happening again. So a good coach paid the price. Let's see what a new season brings.
So my fearless predictions took a hit this weekend. I had Colorado versus Edmonton facing off in the west final and Boston vs Jersey in the east. So Stanley Cup will have to be Oilers/Devils. Sounds good.
Boston looked more like the team that a lot of experts had missing or just making the playoffs in summer predictions than the first overall and record-setting club of the regular season. A veteran team that seemed to look nervous. A lot of people smarter than me are still trying to figure out what happened. Oh, wait! It's the playoffs where anything can happen. No matter how hard to digest.
Watched a terrific Telus Cup National U18 gold medal final this weekend. The All Quebec affair featured a 3-2 win for Saint-Francois over the host Saint-Hyacinthe. A super exciting game played at the historic Stade L.P. Gaucher built in 1937. A great game in a great building in a great city.
And finally.....Congrats to Brandon and his staff as well as his players on an NOJHL championship for the Timmins Rock. Good job boys!!
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