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  • Scott Abbott (second from left) after the Battalion move received league approval (OHL Images)Scott Abbott cleared the major hurdle to move his Battalion to North Bay, but not without a look back and who his team is leaving in Brampton.

    Abbott and Battalion president Mike Griffin, who received unanimous approval Monday from the OHL to move north next season, could not have asked for a tighter turnaround. The time lapse between North Bay city council approving a $12-million upgrade to the city's Memorial Gardens and the league signing off was only two weeks. It makes it easier to move ahead making sure the OHL's reboot in North Bay goes smoothly. A local campaign that resulted in nearly 2,150 three-year season-ticket commitments was a big part of welcoming back a city that lost its Centennials in 2002.

    "I was confident that we could get to the 2,000 by December 31st, which was the challenge," Abbott said Monday night. "But to have it done in six days from the launch of the campaign was unbelievable.

    "This is a milestone, certainly, but there's a lot of work to be done," he added. "Bringing the Memorial Gardens up to contemporary OHL standards. The building is in good shape. It was probably overbuilt for the mid-'50s when it went up, which is keeping us in good stead right now ... there is plenty of work to be done to be ready for the fall of 2013.

    "But I'm quite pleased that we've managed it and been able to be aboveboard about it and do it early by November 19. I understand that today is a bad day for our loyal fans in Brampton. I've always said that we have a hard core of very loyal, very enthusiastic and very knowledgeable fans in Brampton, there just haven't been enough of them. But I do feel for them today, yes."

    Read More »from Battalion owner Scott Abbott glad relocation hasn’t been messy; now the hard work begins in North Bay
  • Ottawa Senators prospect Stefan Noesen (Getty Images)

    On the bright side, Stefan Noesen is not expected to miss more than a handful of games with the reported high ankle sprain that cost him a chance to play in his NHL organization's home rink Sunday.

    As an Ottawa Senators first-rounder who stars for the Plymouth Whalers, the 19-year-old centre only makes one visit per season to Canada's capital. Senators brass, including club president Cyril Leeder, turned out Sunday to see two of their prized prospects, Noesen and the 67's Cody Ceci, go head-to-head. That was scuppered after Noesen tweaked an ankle Saturday in Belleville in a scrum with Brendan Gaunce.

    "It's a tough thing but it's the nature of the beast," Noesen, who got tangled up in the said of ending up watching the game with Senators executives from a suite at Scotiabank Place. "I just kept pushing and it [his leg] came up as I got pushed down. It was just one of those awkward moments. Tough break. It was one of those things — taking precautionary steps, maybe a couple games, hopefully be back by Friday."

    Read More »from Plymouth’s Stefan Noesen misses chance to impress Senators brass, but injury isn’t serious
  • Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Nikita Kucherov (The Canadian Press)It's a far cry to believe anyone is taking out their small violin to play a sympathetic tune for Quebec Remparts coach-GM Patrick Roy, whose NHL lockout-induced import imbroglio is dragging along interminably.

    Thanks to new Canadian Hockey League rule that probably should be overturned on review, the Remparts have been running with an extra European on their roster for nearly a month, which of late has meant that either 18-year-old NHL draft prospect Nick Sorensen or Tampa Bay Lightning second-rounder Nikita Kucherov has sat out. Buffalo Sabres first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko (38 points in 21 games, tied for fifth in QMJHL scoring) is too valuable. Kucherov, 19, who played for Russia in the world junior championship last season and could do so again, has spent the last three games parked in the press box. It's only natural to wonder if he is in Roy's doghouse. Or on the trading block.

    Read More »from Nikita Kucherov now the Quebec Remparts’ odd import out; is he being shopped?
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Projected NHL first-rounder Curtis Lazar is goal-less in nine games. Edmonton Oil Kings coach Derek Laxdal: "I think Curtis Lazar has got to find his game a bit. He's not contributing a lot offensively, but he's working hard." (Edmonton Journal)

    Why is Brent Sutter back behind the Red Deer Rebels' bench? (The Pipeline Show)

    Unfortunate news out of Kamloops: overage Blazers forward Jordan DePape's junior days are finished due to a recurring shoulder injury. (Kamloops Daily News, Taking Note)

    Kootenay Ice centre Sam Reinhart is coming to life while carrying a rebuilding team. (Sportsnet)

    Our own Cam Charron shares his thoughts on the final leg of the Subway Super Series. (The Pipeline Show)

    Let's have more draft hype for the Regina Pats' Morgan Klimchuk and more money for public schools. (WHL From Above)

    Brandon Wheat Kings rookie John Quenneville cashed in his chance to play premium minutes on Sunday. (Luber's Lounge)

    Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild waxes profound on some possible Team Canada-worthy goalies (if not this year, than next). (The Pipeline Show)

    OHL

    Boston Bruins pick Seth Griffith, the London Knights' marksman, has had the Kitchener Rangers' number during the past calendar year. (Waterloo Record)

    Read More »from Curtis Lazar looks to end goal slump: Monday’s coast-to-coast
  • Calgary Hitmen's Greg Chase (The Canadian Press)Hockey runs in the family for the Calgary Hitmen's Greg Chase.

    His father, Kyle Chase, is the president of the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and is a former radio host on Edmonton's Team 1260. His uncle, Kelly Chase, played 10 seasons in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and Hartford Whalers.

    Having close family in high places in the hockey world has greatly benefited Chase. His dad's media job and contacts allowed him to meet highly respected hockey people and get inside perspectives from players and coaches at a very young age.

    "It was really cool being able to watch my dad in the studio and listen to him interview big NHL stars," says Greg Chase, 17. "I got to meet people and watch NHL games because of my dad's cool job. Some of my friends were definitely jealous of stuff I got to do."

    Meanwhile, working his way up the hockey ranks, his uncle Kelly gives him priceless advice to help him grow on and off the ice.

    "My uncle has been a great supporter for me," says Chase. "Before I was even on the radar, he always helped me by showing me ways to improve my game. He also has helped me by giving me tips on how to deal with the media and how to act professionally."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Greg Chase, Calgary Hitmen
  • Rimouski's Peter Trainor has 15 goals this season (photo: Rimouski Oceanic)No. 1 star: Peter Trainor, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)

    Trainor scored twice in regulation, then wrapped up his first QMJHL hat trick with a goal 3:15 into overtime as the Oceanic earned a 5-4 road win over surging Baie-Comeau.

    The undrafted 19-year-old extended his point streak to nine games, and he now ranks in the top 15 in the league in scoring with 35 points in 25 games. Trainor had five previous two-goal games in his 94-game career coming into Sunday.

    Francis Beauvillier (1G-2A) and Ryan MacKinnon (3A) had three-point nights for Rimouski, which led 4-2 midway through the third period but couldn't hang on.

    The Drakkar rallied to force overtime, extending their unbeaten streak in regulation to 15 games (12-0-1-2).

    No. 2 star: Daniel Cotton, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

    The Everett Herald's Nick Patterson said it best after the Silvertips downed the Medicine Hat Tigers 2-1 on Sunday despite being outshot 41-18: "Not sure how the Tips won this one. Cotton excellent in goal."

    An 18-year-old from West Vancouver, Cotton started the season in street clothes, watching from the stands as the third goaltender with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

    But with Austin Lotz injured and Cole Holowenko struggling earlier this season, the Tips took a flyer on Cotton and the gamble has paid off. Everett traded a draft pick to its bitter rival and gave Cotton a chance to play right away.

    After Sunday's 40-save performance, Cotton is 6-4 with a 2.84 goals-against average and .911 save pct. This after going 0-8, 4.91, .876 with the Thunderbirds last season.

    Carson Stadnyk, who came in with one goal in 24 games, scored both Everett goals Sunday, including the game-winner with 7:17 left in regulation.

    No. 3 star: Ryan Tesink, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)

    The Sea Dogs are scuffling this season as they try to rebuild the franchise that won back-to-back Q title, and Tesink is doing his part to keep the team afloat.

    The St. Louis Blues prospect scored three times as the Sea Dogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Acadie-Bathurst 4-2. Tesink scored twice in the second period to tie the game 2-2, then buried an empty-netter after Jakub Izacky scored the game-winner earlier in the third.

    Registering his first career hat trick, Tesink raised his career-high goal total to 14.

    Read More »from Trainor heads trio of Q forwards getting their first career hat tricks: Sunday’s 3 Stars
  • Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Trey Lewis (Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images)

    It's almost automatic to describe a racial incident as ugly without knowing what actually happened, but the one in a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game on Sunday is somewhat faith-restoring.

    On Sunday, Val-d'Or Foreurs rookie centre Vincent Dunn received a game misconduct under QMJHL rule 4.96, which calls for an ejection and minimum two-game suspension for making either " "racial taunts, gestures and slurs." During a skirmish, the 17-year-old Dunn — as can be best pieced together from the tweets of Halifax Chronicle-Herald reporter Willy Palov — evidently made an "inappropriate racial remark" toward Halifax Mooseheads captain Trey Lewis. It's not known what Dunn said to Lewis, a Mi'kmaq from Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. What is known is that after Mooseheads coach Dominque Ducharme brought the incident to the officials' attention, Dunn was given a game misconduct and will likely face further discipline from the QMJHL.

    UPDATE: The QMJHL has suspended Dunn for two games for violating the league's anti-discrimination policy with his remarks. The Forerurs have also been fined $500.

    This is where it would be very easy to make some loose connections between other racial incidents in elite hockey, especially after what happened in the Czech Extraliga to NHLer Wayne Simmonds in recent weeks. It is nothing but regrettable that Lewis, a 19-year-old stay-at-home defenceman, was slurred for doing nothing more than playing physically and with an edge to help his team. But it sounds like it was handled amicably — Lewis did not repeat what was said, while the Foreurs were contrite about Dunn's insensitivity.

    Read More »from Val-d’Or Foreurs’ Vincent Dunn faces suspension for racial remark toward Halifax Mooseheads’ Trey Lewis, who accepts his apology
  • No. 2 overall pick Ryan Murray is awaiting a MRI on his injured shoulder (Getty Images)

    As if Canada's national junior team lineup, with its ghost rosters and whatnot, is not already a moving target. The full extent of the injury that Columbus Blue Jackets second overall pick Ryan Murray, who's obvious captain material for Team Canada, suffered on Friday is not yet known, but it sounds like it could threaten his tournament if the MRI the 19-year-old is scheduled to have imminently reveals significant damage.

    The blueline is arguably Canada's deepest position group ahead of the WJC in Ufa, Russia. Having Murray and Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Scott Harrington, captain of the London Knights, available created the potential rare luxury of having a defence pair return intact. Moreover, this year's tournament represented a chance for Murray to get a shot at reversing the outcome of last year's world junior. As everyone remembers, with Harrington out of the lineup, Murray ended up being on the ice for the first Russia goals in Canada's 6-5 semifinal loss — the kind of rough

    Read More »from Ryan Murray has apparently dislocated shoulder; Canada not only WJC contender dealing with injuries
  • St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Binnington (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Jordan Binnington, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

    With Team Canada coach Steve Spott on the opposing bench and first place in the conference up for grabs, Binnington made 35 saves to help Owen Sound blank the Kitchener Rangers 4-0. The 19-year-old, who's in the mix for a spot on the national junior team, was the picture of certitude as he stymied the Rangers early and bought time for the mythical three-headed beast CamelCat — Cameron Brace, Gemel Smith and Daniel Catenacci, who have scored 55 per cent of Owen Sound's goals — to wear down likely Team USA starter John Gibson.

    Binnington made 16 saves in the first period, while Catenacci (1G-1A, +3) and Brace, with a short-hander, delivered second-period strikes to open a lead. The shutout was all the more impressive because the Attack had to face eight power plays. The victory was Binnington's franchise-record 66th.

    Read More »from Jordan Binnington tops John Gibson in top-goalie duel: Saturday’s 3 Stars
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    A combined 14 points for Kamloops' Colin Smith-Tim Bozon-JC Lipon line against Portland's stingy defence? Sounds like quite a night. Meantime, the Blazers picked up 19-year-old forward Travis Kornelsen from Calgary, since it's an unwritten league rule those two teams have to trade every couple years. (Kamloops Daily News)

    Don't worry, you were not the only one who noticed 17-year-old goalie Eric Comrie came back with a 41-save, first-star effort for Tri-City after not getting to start for Team WHL. (Tri-City Herald)

    HockeyProspect puts eight WHLers in its top 30 rankings for the 2013 NHL draft, including Kelowna defenceman Madison Bowey. (HockeyProspect.com)

    A should-read today: how B.C. Lions tailback Andrew Harris, perhaps the CFL's most exciting Canadian player, was a minor hockey star until: "The fees, the equipment, the travel expenses, I don't know how a lot of families today can afford it. "I played at a time when composite sticks were just coming out." How many other great athletes has hockey lost due to high costs? (Vancouver Sun)

    Edmonton Oilers selection Martin Gernat has rejoined the road-weary Edmonton Oil Kings following shoulder surgery; the defenceman is two weeks away from skating with the team. (Edmonton Journal)

    A Gordon Lightfoot reference in a Prince Albert Raiders game story is an excuse to drop this SCTV reference. (Prince Albert Daily Herald)

    The Vancouver Giants are above .500 (5-4-0-0) since adding rugged Kale Kessy. (Vancouver Sun)

    OHL

    The London Knights have taken a 'Liberati leap' into first place in the Western Conference. And the Owen Sound Attack are going to have to learn how to win at Budweiser Gardens again, like they did in 2011. (London Free Press, Metro London)

    Read More »from London Knights leap into first; Tourigny endorses Drouin, MacKinnon: Weekend coast-to-coast

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