The CHL Hockey Season is back! Two games to kick off the OHL schedule last night, the QMJHL starts tonight and WHL starts Friday.
The OHL Regular Season has begun, Sarnia met up with the defending Memorial Cup Champs, the London Knights and the Flint Firebirds hosted the Saginaw Spirit. With NHL training camps getting underway, the junior leagues are left without their top calibre players. It does give a chance for younger players to gain some experience and try to prove to the coaches they deserve to play every night. Firebirds fifth overall selection this past year, Ty Dellandrea, did just that, scoring on his first shift and shot of his OHL career.
Dellandrea is proving his worth immediately for the Firebirds. Flint went on to beat the Spirit 4-0, with Matthew Menna recording the 23-save shutout, his first of his OHL career. Ryan Moore takes the early OHL points lead with four points on the night, two goals and two assists.
The Sting defeated the Knights 4-1 in Sarnia. A lot of new faces in the Knights lineup from the previous year, but that has more to do with a lot of their guys going through the NHL training camp process. Most of those guys will return to London to help the Knights defend the Memorial Cup title. The Knights are the pre-season favourites to take home the Memorial Cup in Windsor this year.
Below is an early look at the Top-10 CHL Rankings.
The Knights are atop that list once again. The OHL has three teams, London, Windsor (Memorial Cup hosts) and Mississauga on the list. The QMJHL has three teams, as well, Saint John, Shawinigan and defending QMJHL champs Rouyn-Noranda. The WHL is represented with four teams, WHL Champion Brandon, Seattle, Victoria and Regina.
The top-10 is pretty even keeled with a 3-3-4 ratio for the three leagues. It will be interesting how this list changes over the months or if the rankings will stay close to the same the entire year.
The QMJHL Opening Week begins tonight, Blainsville-Boisbrand takes on Rouyn-Noranda, these two teams met last year in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs, the Huskies outscored the Armada 14-2 in five games, winning the series four games to one.
WHL regular season kicks off Friday night with a full slate of nine games. A few key matchups, Moose Jaw hosts Brandon, they met up in the second round of the playoffs last year. Kelowna and Kamloops went the distance, seven games last year in the first round, Kelowna came out on top. Kamloops hosts the Blazers to kick off their seasons.
It’s exciting to have junior hockey back, our DobberProspects.com will be ramping up the profile updates (was there even an off-season?) with all the NHL training camps getting underway. Should be an interesting camp season with the World Cup cutting into almost half of the time the teams have scheduled. A lot of coaches and key players will miss out on the opening of training camps this year.
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