Kamloops Blazers star Logan Stankoven, shown in a handout photo. The Kamloops, B.C., native leads his squad into the four-team tournament having been granted new life as the hosts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kamloops Blazers-Allen Douglas
By Abdulhamid Ibrahim
Lifting the Memorial Cup in front of his hometown fans would be a dream come true for Kamloops Blazers star Logan Stankoven.
The 20-year-old centre leads his Blazers into the four-team Canadian major junior championship on Friday. Kamloops fell in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference final to the eventual champion Seattle Thunderbirds in six games on May 8, but as Memorial Cup hosts the Blazers get a second chance to win it all.
“Would be pretty surreal,” Stankoven told The Canadian Press. “It would be a nice way to kind of cap things off.
“Probably my last year here, so to do it in front of friends and family and the fans are the best in the league. We’ve been getting really good crowds all playoffs and all season long, so it’d be nice to win that for them and for the city, it’d be quite the buzz around here.”
Kamloops opens the Memorial Cup against Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Quebec Remparts on Friday. Along with Seattle, the Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes round out the group eyeing the June 4 final for a shot at glory.
Stankoven, a second-round pick of the NHL’s Dallas Stars in 2021, was first in WHL post-season points with 30 (10 goals, 20 assists) in 14 games. His numbers were good for third across the Canadian Hockey League, behind Alexandre Doucet and Josh Lawrence of the Halifax Mooseheads, who each had 31.
Stankoven is used to performing on big stages.
The five-foot-eight, 170-pound forward had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in seven games in Canada’s gold-medal run at the 2022 world junior championship. He followed that with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) at the 2023 tournament, another gold for Canada.
The Blazers, who had the third-best regular-season record behind Seattle and the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL, haven’t won a Memorial Cup since 1995. It was the last from a dominant run that saw Kamloops win it three times in four years (1992, 1994, 1995).
While last season’s WHL and CHL player of the year doesn’t feel he has anything to prove on an individual basis, he wants to show that he can lead a team to victory.
“It’s great to have individual success and win individual awards, but people want players that can win and that’s what NHL owners and GM’s want,” Stankoven said. “They want winners.
“I think we can compete against the best here and come out on top. That would be a dream come true.”
Ending the Blazers’ Memorial Cup drought won’t put extra stress on the team, said goaltender Dylan Ernst.
“I don’t think any of us are feeling pressure with it,” said Ernst, the 26th-ranked North American goaltender on the NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking. “I think we just got to believe in our abilities and the rest will handle itself.”
The six-foot-two, 190-pound Ernst led all WHL goaltenders in post-season play with three shutouts and was third with 10 wins and a 2.57 goals-against average across 14 games (10-3-1). He sees the Memorial Cup as a golden chance to prove himself after getting passed up in last year’s NHL draft.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. “And our coaches talked about how, you know, we win and we’re that team.
“And I always want to be connected to these guys. This is one of the tightest groups I had, so that’d be a dream.”
Head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston sees it as a “second life,” with eyes set on his squad making the necessary adjustments to redeem itself.
“It was a new start for us,” he said of getting back to the drawing board after the loss to Seattle. “We weren’t good enough and we have (time) to make those improvements.
“We have an opportunity right now to make those adjustments, to find it within ourselves with the energy component and we get another shot at it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2023.
U Sports drops first-year grade requirements for participation, scholarships
Laval Rouge et Or quarterback Arnaud Desjardins is tackled by Conner Delahey of the Saskatchewan Huskies during the first half of the Vanier Cup in London, Ont., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Canada’s governing body of varsity sports is changing its policies to allow students entering universities to be eligible to participate in sports and receive athletic scholarships regardless of their grades.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Robins
Canada’s governing body of varsity sports is changing its policies to allow students entering universities to be eligible to participate in sports and receive athletic scholarships regardless of their grades.
U Sports said in a statement Thursday that enrolling student-athletes will be able to play and receive scholarships as long as they have been accepted to a member university and enrolled in degree-granting courses.
The changes will come into force for the 2024-25 season.
Currently, student-athletes to have an 80 per cent average in their final year of high school or CEGEP to be eligible for an entering athletic scholarship and a 60 per cent average to be allowed to play varsity sports in their first year.
Also, beginning in the 2024-25 U SPORTS institutions will be required to give a minimum of 45 per cent of their total athletic scholarship units to athletes on men’s teams and a minimum of 45 per cent to athletes on women’s teams.
An athletic scholarship unit equals 100 per cent of tuition and mandatory fees for any student-athlete during an academic year.
“These changes intend to remove systemic barriers impacting a student-athlete’s ability to participate in U Sports and receive funding assistance for pursuing their education,” Pierre Arsenault, U Sports chief executive officer, said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2023.
“I Promised Mess I Wouldn’t Do This”
There’s an abiding idiom in hockey trades. It says whoever got the best player in a deal wins the trade. If you get Wayne Gretzky you win every trade. After that, received wisdom of trades is more honoured in the breach than in the observance. Everyone has a theory. But all agree there’s no denying the impact of trades toward NHL success.
From their evolution as simple player-for-player swaps to the current version of trading players for draft picks, cash, future considerations, salary-cap space or actual humans, the art of swapping in the NHL has become a science, an art and an accounting exercise. Where once it was a pair of hockey-lifer GMs making deals, today’s moves require capologists, accountants, lawyers, agents and, often, the player’s family being onside before a deal can be approved by the NHL.
A whole new culture has grown up within the sport so that deals can be swung. As trades have become more complicated, they have concurrently become less of a burden on the moving parts involved. We’ve come off an offseason with a surprisingly modest number of intriguing deals.
With preseason games starting, to whet the ref’s whistle, here’s a list Rating The Top 25 Trades in NHL history from our next book Deal With It: The Most Impactful Trades In NHL history and How They Changed The Game (due later in 2023). (from ***** to ***)
1) August 9, 1988: Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley, and Mike Krushelnyski from Edmonton to Los Angeles for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gélinas, the Kings’ first rounders in 1989 (traded to New Jersey) , 1991 (Martin Rucinsky), 1993 (Nick Stadujar), and $15 million. *****
2) May 15, 1967: Phil Esposito, Fred Stanfield and Ken Hodge from Chicago to Boston for Gilles Marotte, Pit Martin and Jack Norris. ****1/2
3) October 4, 1991: Mark Messier and future considerations (Jeff Beukeboom) from Edmonton to the New York Rangers for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice, Louie DeBrusk and future considerations (David Shaw) ****1/
4) December 6, 1995: Patrick Roy and Mike Keane from Montreal to Colorado for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko ****1/2
5) June 30, 1992 Eric Lindros from Quebec City to Philadelphia for Steve Duchesne, Peter Forsberg, Ron Hextall, Kerry Huffman, Mike Ricci, Chris Simon, a 1993 1st round pick (#10-Jocelyn Thibault), a 1994 1st-Round pick, (#10-Nolan Baumgartner)) and $15 million in cash *****
6) March 3, 1968: Norm Ullman, Floyd Smith, Paul Henderson and Doug Barrie to Toronto for Garry Unger, Peter Stemkowski, Frank Mahovlich and Carl Brewer ****1/2
6A). January 13, 1971: Frank Mahovlich from Detroit to the Montreal for Guy Charron, Bill Collins and Mickey Redmond ****
7) March 10, 1980 Butch Goring from L.A. to New York Islanders for Dave Lewis and Bill Harris ****
8. November 1947 : Max Bentley from Chicago to Toronto for Gus Bodnar, Gaye Stewart, Bud Poile, Bob Goldham and Ernie Dickens ****
9) January 2, 1992: Gary Leeman, Alex Godynyuk, Jeff Reese, Craig Berube and Michel Petit from Toronto to Calgary for Jamie Macoun, Ric Nattress, Rick Wamsley, Kent Manderville and Doug Gilmour ****1/2
10) August 17, 1992 Dominik Hasek from Chicago to Buffalo for Stephane Beauregard and a fourth-round draft pick (Eric Daze) ****
11) July 23, 1957 Ted Lindsay and Glenn Hall From Detroit To Chicago for Johnny Wilson, Forbes Kennedy, Hank Bassen, Eric Preston ***1/2
12) June 28, 1994: Garth Butcher, Mats Sundin, Todd Warriner and 1994 first-round pick (#10-Nolan Baumgartner) from Quebec City to Toronto for Wendel Clark, Sylvain Lefebvre, Landon Wilson and 1994 1st round pick (#22-Jeff Kealty) ***1/2
14) Nov. 7, 1975: Phil Esposito, Carol Vadnais from Boston to New York Rangers For Brad Park, Jean Ratelle ****
15) October 1989: Tom Kurvers from New Jersey to Toronto for first-round pick (#3 Scott Niedermayer) ****
17) December 20, 1995: Joe Nieuwendyk from Calgary to Dallas for Jarome Iginla ***1/2
18) Feb. 22, 1964: Andy Bathgate and Don McKenney from New York Rangers to Toronto for Dick Duff, Bob Nevin, Rod Seiling, Arnie Brown and Bill Collins. ***
19) March 7, 1988: Brett Hull from Calgary to to St. Louis for Rick Wamsley and Rob Ramage ***
20) June 29, 1990: Denis Savard from Chicago to Montreal for Chris Chelios ***
21) June 24, 1963: Dave Balon, Leon Rochefort, Len Ronson and Lorne “Gump” Worsley from New York Rangers to Montreal for Donny Marshall, Phil Goyette and Jacques Plante. ***
23) February 10, 1960: Red Kelly from Detroit to Toronto for Marc Rheaume ***1/2
24) October 10, 1930: King Clancy from Ottawa to Toronto for Eric Petting, Art Smith, cash ***
25) June 28, 1964: Ken Dryden and Alex Campbell from Boston to Montreal for Paul Reid and Guy Allen ****
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Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx
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