Hometown team mounts third-period comeback in championship game against Czechs

Teams from six countries came to Quebec for the prestigious tournament, but it was the hometown team that emerged victorious.

With a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory over the Czech Knights, the Montreal Canadiens won the AAA division at the 2022 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament Sunday afternoon.

It was the first of its kind — a springtime showcase for the famed international youth hockey tournament. Due to COVID-19 restrictions interrupting the previously scheduled February tournament, organizers made sure the Pee Wee Quebec still took place, this time running it from May 1 – 15. The AAA division started on May 9, with the championship wrapping things up Sunday.

The Canadiens battled back in the final — more on that later — but they also battled back for the duration of their Pee-Wee Quebec experience. The little Habs, coached by former NHL pro Jason Pominville, started tournament play with a 3-2 loss to Latvia’s Riga HS on Wednesday, which put them on the brink of elimination from the start.

It turns out that the loss was the wake-up call the Canadiens needed, as they exorcised some demons over the next three games. On Friday, they posted an 8-1 win over the Middlesex Islanders to let everybody know they weren’t bowing out of their hometown tournament easy.

From there, they posted a 7-1 win over the Adirondack Jr. Wings on Saturday morning. Later in the same day, they hit double digits in the scoring column, as the Habs beat Providence Hockey Club 11-1 to earn a date with the Czechs in the final.

Montreal outscored the competition 26-3 in their bounce-back run to the title game.

There, they needed to once again prove their mental toughness, as the Czechs raced out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, and a 3-1 lead after the second. The Canadiens scored four goals in the third period, however, and despite the Knights finding the back of the net one more time, the game went to overtime.

There, Alexis Joseph — who scored the last goal in regulation for the Habs — broke a 4-4 tie at the 0:45 mark of the extra period to give his team a championship victory at the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 

Joseph, who accomplished something the majority of players could only dream of with his third period and OT goal in one of the biggest youth hockey tournaments in the world, also led the tournament in scoring with nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in five games.

His teammate, Jayden Pominville, had four goals and seven assists for 11 points to tie for second in the tournament scoring race.

Jeremy Freeman of the Oakville Rangers and Braiden Scuderi of the Philadelphia Flyers also had 11 points in tournament play; Freeman hit that points total in four games and Scuderi in only three. 

Zack Arsenault of the Quebec Ramparts and Jaakko Wycisk of the Sun County Panthers were the two other players to crack double digits at the tournament, as both finished with 10 points in four games.

Vincent Dussiaume-Latour led the way for the Canadiens between the pipes, playing 112:18 worth of hockey over four games. He finished with a 4-1-0-0 record (that’s one overtime win) and a 1.98 goals-against average. Crease partner Zack Desmarais played in 72:42 over three contests, and finished with a 2.04 goals-against.

Marek Besta of the Czech Knights played in 111 mins of action over three games, and finished with a 1.67 goals-against average. 

Want more coverage of premier youth hockey events like Pee-Wee Quebec? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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Episode 77: Ice Hockey Abroad

Lee recently had the opportunity to coach overseas with the Peterborough Phantoms in the UK’s NIHL. For a majority of the season he did so remotely.

What is it like to coach in a different country? Lee gives us the scoop!

We’re growing every week! Be sure to like, share, and subscribe wherever you consume Our Kids Play Hockey!

Don’t forget to join our Facebook Group, where we regularly share polls and enjoy interacting with our community of parents – just search Our Kids Play Hockey on Facebook and request to join!

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Top 2009 AAA Teams Go Front And Center At Iconic Tournament

It’s not usually in May, but nobody’s complaining.

The AAA division of the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament kicked off on Monday, as a select group of young hockey players from across the world are fortunate enough to experience one of the coolest events in all of youth sports.

Twenty-two teams are participating in this year’s tournament, after tournament organizers jumped through as many hoops as possible to make sure the prestigious tournament would take place, albeit in the spring instead of its usual middle-of-winter locale.

The tournament is taking place across two weeks (15 days to be exact), with the AA-Elite, AA and A divisions playing from May 1-8, and the AAA, BB and School divisions playing May 9-15. In all, 130 teams from 13 different countries are taking part in the unique springtime Pee Wee Quebec. For the AAA teams, six countries are represented – Canada, the United States, Latvia, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia. 

“It wasn’t a simple task to move the tournament,” said Patrick Dom, the general manager of the Pee-Wee Tournament in January when the organizers announced the move to May. “Our biggest challenge was the availability of the Videotron Center. It is between shows and games of the Remparts de Québec that the schedule will be built. We have no choice but to hold the event over two weeks to get it all together.”

It won’t look like it normally does, but that doesn’t mean that the 22 AAA teams won’t be bringing the heat.

Canada’s squads seem ready to defend home ice, as five of the top 10 teams on our last World Hockey Hockey Canadian rankings for the age group appear on the Pee Wee Quebec schedule. 

The No. 1 ranked Huron Perth Lakers are coming off a historic season in which they captured the first All-Ontario Championship in their association’s history, and they also won an Alliance title too. Needless to say, they’re a heavy favorite heading into this one, especially when you consider that they’ve gotten a little rest after winning those winter season titles. 

The other four ranked squads will have something to say about that, of course. The No. 5 North York Rangers, the No. 8 Semiahmoo Ravens (from all the way on the west coast of Canada), the No. 9 Sun County Panthers and the No. 10 North Shore Winter Club (from Vancouver) will all be ready to go in the biggest tournament these kids have ever played in.

Meanwhile, the U.S. clubs participating will be looking to make their spring hockey opportunities count, too. The New Jersey Devils squad is a collection of top players in the area, but when you consider that the New Jersey Hockey Academy finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country, that means they’ve got some strong skaters getting ready to don that Devils black and red for the tournament. The Boston Jr. Terriers finished ranked No. 6 in the country, as well, so expect some bite from them.

The teams that are traveling in from across the pond certainly will want to make their stays count, as well. They look to be a collection of tournament teams hailing from the aforementioned Latvia, Hungary, Czechia and Slovakia. The Czech Knights ’09 group just watched their 2010 counterparts win a World Selects Invitational title in dominating fashion – if they skate anything like their younger peers, they will certainly be a team to watch in Quebec.

The other foreign clubs competing are the Hungary Talent, Riga HS, and Slovakia K&B Stars. We can’t wait to see what they do against their North American competition after the last few seasons have limited – or prevented entirely – cross-continent competition in youth hockey. 

Get more from the world of youth hockey by following WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube! Breaking news, global coverage, rankings, prospects and more.

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Episode 76: Managing Money In Youth Hockey with Larry Sprung

What exactly are you getting your family into financially when you sign your child up for hockey? Most people don’t know until they’re fully in it. This week we’re joined by Larry Sprung of Mitlin Financial to talk about financial literacy when it comes to your kids playing hockey.

Check out Larry’s podcast, Mitlin Money Mindset, and follow him on social media for more financial advice and to play “What Rink Is Larry At?”

Want more from the Our Kids Play Hockey podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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Episode 68: Mailbag: Old Gear, Preparing for Hitting, & Playoff Predictions

We have a fresh mailbag episode this week, and BY & Motts are ready to answer all of your awesome questions. Before the guys open it up, they comment on BY’s mowing skills and swag, share their Stanley Cup Playoff predictions, and wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous hockey moms out there! This week’s mailbag features topics including:

A defenseman serving a too many men penalty
Making the jump from an “average” player to a “great” player
The My Hockey Rankings Question of the week
Getting ready for hitting
+ More

Want more from the Rink Shrinks podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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Matthew Frost headlines the group of top 2006-born players chosen in Phase-I selection process

The Waterloo Black Hawks liked what they saw in Matthew Frost.

So much so that they made a trade to move up to get him.

The Black Hawks struck a deal with the Des Moines Buccaneers to claim the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 USHL Phase-I Draft, which they used on the 5-foot-10, 150-pound forward out of Selects Academy.

Frost, who hails from Arlington, Va., was the first player off the board in the first of a two-day selection process for the USHL. The Phase-I Draft was exclusively of the 2006 birth-year class, while the Phase-II Draft that followed was for all players eligible for junior hockey next season not yet claimed by a USHL franchise.

The USHL allows for teams to sign players to league tenders leading up to the draft, which makes the Phase-I Draft a unique process. If a USHL franchise signs a player to a tender, that functions as their first-round draft pick in the Phase-I Draft. It allows teams to bypass the draft order (which is why a few of the most sought-after players in the ’06 class appear farther down the draft board than one would expect). It comes with a catch — if a team tenders a player, he must participate in 55 percent of the team’s games in his rookie season. First-round draft picks, however, do not have to play for the team that season; they can stay with their youth/high school team, or only play in as many games as their USHL franchise would like or need.

Frost recorded 62 points in 58 games with the Selects 16U team this past season; he was one of nine first-round picks/tenders who played against competition older than his own birth year. Only six players played in the 15-Only classification for the majority of their 2021-22 season, which is notable as USA Hockey encourages more participation in the single birth-year division for the players’ crucial junior-draft season.

At No. 2, the Sioux Falls Stampede crossed the border for forward Reid Varkonyi, a native of Sherwood Park, Alberta and product of the Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep team. Varkonyi, fresh off a 56 points in 34 games season against older competition, recently announced a verbal commitment to national champion Denver University, which surely motivated the Stampede to claim him despite him also being a WHL Draft selection of the Portland Winterhawks.

The Green Bay Gamblers used the No. 3 overall pick on Aidan Park, another elite forward, who comes from Playa Vista, Calif. He is currently a member of Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Park, who posted 118 points in 54 games with SSM 16U this past season, had posted on his social media accounts that he was going to stay at the prestigious academy for another season. The Gamblers now have his rights — both Park and the Gamblers’ leadership can now decide when the right time is for him to make the jump to juniors.

The same case can be said for Park’s teammate Drake Murray, who was selected at No. 13 overall by the Sioux City Musketeers after posting he would be back for more at SSM.

Another SSM product worth mentioning is Macklin Celebrini, who is the poster boy for the tender dynamic skewing the draft order. Celebrini, a native of Vancouver, accomplished the rare feat of making the Shattuck 18U team during his 15-Only season, and he dominated there, racking up 117 points in 52 games.

Celebrini signed a tender with the Chicago Steel prior to the draft, following in the footsteps of ’04 birth-year uber prospect Adam Fantilli, who signed a tender with the Steel a few years ago, as well. Had there not be a tender process and those players had both announced their intentions of playing USHL and college hockey, they would have had the best odds of going No. 1 overall in their respective drafts.

Another unique USHL Draft angle to consider is that while they compete in the USHL, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (USNTDP) does not participate in the draft. The NTDP has its evaluation camp after scouting the birth year all season, and then finalizes its Under-17 Team roster before the USHL Draft takes place.

Of the 10 American-born first-round picks/tenders, eight of them were invited to the NTDP Evaluation Camp – Frost and Will Felicio were the two who did not receive invitations. Frost, of course, holds the distinction of being the No. 1 overall pick in the USHL Draft, while Felicio was the lone American to be signed to a first-round tender.

Here is a full breakdown of the first round from the 2022 USHL Phase 1 Draft:

No. 1 – Waterloo – Matthew Frost (Forward, South Kent Selects Academy 16U)

No. 2 – Sioux Falls – Reid Varkonyi (Forward, Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep)

No. 3 – Green Bay – Aidan Park (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U)

No. 4 – Waterloo – Tender – Keith McInnis (Defense, Yale Hockey Academy U18 Prep)

No. 5 – Fargo – Mac Swanson (Forward, Team Alaska 15O)

No. 6 – Cedar Rapids – Lukas Fischer (Defense, Compuware 15O)

No. 7 – Madison – Tender – Will Felicio (Defense, Mount St. Charles 15O)

No. 8 – Des Moines – Geno Carcone (Forward, Bishop Kearney Selects 15O)

No. 9 – Youngstown – Tory Pitner (Defense, South Kent Selects Academy 15O)

No. 10 – Muskegon – Tender – Sacha Boisvert (Forward, Mount St. Charles 15O)

No. 11 – Lincoln – Adam Kleber (Defense, Chaska High School)

No. 12 – Dubuque – Gavin Cornforth (Forward, Thayer Academy Tigers)

No. 13 – Sioux City – Drake Murray (Defense, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U)

No. 14 – Chicago – Tender – Macklin Celebrini (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 18U)

No. 15 – Tri-City – Tender – Matthew Virgilio (Defense, St. Andrew’s College)

Want more from the world of youth hockey? Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for previews, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more!

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Misa goes No. 1, Toronto Jr. Canadiens dominate first round selections

As expected — and formally announced a day early — Michael Misa was the No. 1 pick in the 2022 OHL Priority Selection.

The latest of a select few to be granted exceptional status and be allowed to enter the OHL draft a year early, Misa was announced as the Saginaw Spirit first overall selection at a press conference Thursday. The elite prospect from the Mississauga Senators U16 team posted 43 points in 27 games, helping them to an OHL Cup championship this spring.

On Friday, the rest of the first round (and the second and third) was completed by the OHL member clubs, kicking off Day 1 of the two-day selection process.

Malcolm Spence, a teammate of Misa’s on the Senators, was selected No. 2 overall by the Erie Otters to start Friday’s festivities. Spence posted 56 points in 28 games with the Senators this season.

At No. 3, the Sudbury Wolves claimed center Nathan Villeneuve of the Navan Grads U18 team. Villeneuve, competing in the HEO U18 division, posted 67 points in only 30 games. Next up was the first defenseman selected in this year’s draft, as the Niagara Ice Dogs took Sam Dickinson out of the Toronto Marlboros organization. Dickinson knows how to orchestrate an offense from the back-end, having recorded 35 assists and 39 total points in 46 games.

Porter Martone of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens was selected at No. 5 by the Sarnia Sting – he posted a whopping 104 points in 53 games.

Here is a look at all of the first-round selections, with more analysis below the list:

No. 1 – Saginaw – Michael Misa (Center, Mississauga Senators U16)
No. 2 – Erie – Malcolm Spence (Left Wing, Mississauga Senators U16)
No. 3 – Sudbury – Nathan Villeneuve (Center, Navan Grads U18)
No. 4 – Niagara – Sam Dickinson (Defense, Toronto Marlboros U16)
No. 5 – Sarnia – Porter Martone (Right Wing, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16)
No. 6 – Peterborough – Jack Van Volsen (Center, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16)
No. 7 – Ottawa – Henry Mews (Defense, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16)
No. 8 – Oshawa – Beckett Sennecke (Left Wing, Toronto Marlboros U16)
No. 9 – Kitchener – Michael Hage (Center, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16)
No. 10 – Barrie – Cole Beaudoin (Center, Nepean Raiders U18)
No. 11 – Owen Sound – Ben Cormier (Center, Navan Grads U18)
No. 12 – Guelph – Jett Luchanko (Right Wing, London Jr. Knights U16)
No. 13 – Mississauga – Lucas Karmiris (Center, Brantford 2 U16)
No. 14 – Oshawa – Ben Danford (Defense, Quinte Red Devils U16)
No. 15 – London – Luca Testa (Center, Niagara North Stars U16)
No. 16 – Soo – Christoper Brown (Center, North York Rangers U16)
No. 17 – Kingston – Gabriel Frasca (Center, Mississauga Senators U16)
No. 18 – Flint – Kaden Pitre (Center, Vaughan Kings U16)
No. 19 – Saginaw – Zayne Parekh (Defense, Markham Majors U16)
No. 20 – North Bay – Ethan Procyszyn (Right Wing, North Central Predators U16)
No. 21 – Ottawa – Frank Marrelli (Defense, Markham Waxers U16)
No. 22 – Windsor – Anthony Cristoforo (Defense, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16)
No. 23 – Hamilton – Marek Vanacker (Left Wing, Brantford 99ers U16)

The Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) led the way in number of players selected in the first round with the 13 players from the storied youth organization hearing their names called. Three players came from Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) and three came from the Minor Hockey Alliance of Ontario. Meanwhile, four skaters came from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) — three from the Eastern AAA Hockey League (ETAHL) and one from South-Central AAA Hockey League. 

The GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16 team produced the most first-round picks from any one single team, as five players from the club were selected. The Mississauga Sens — with Misa, Spence and forward Gabriel Frasca at No. 17 — had three players picked. Two came from the Toronto Marlboros U16, two from the Navan Grads U18 and two from the Brantford 99ers.

Six of the 23 players chosen in the first round were defensemen, while the rest were forwards. The first goaltender picked was Ryerson Leenders of the Toronto Nationals U16 team at No. 32 overall in the second round by Mississauga.

All of the players selected in the first round are Canadian homegrown products. The first American player chosen was defenseman Cole Longacre; the Kitchener Rangers picked him at No. 31 overall. 

The lone bit of ‘drama’ in the battle between the junior leagues was that the No. 9 overall pick, defenseman Michael Hage of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16 team, signed a USHL tender with the Chicago Steel three days before the OHL draft.

For a full look at the entire 2022 OHL Priority Selection, click HERE. Want more from the world of youth hockey? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for events, updates, top prospects, highlights, interviews and more.

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Episode 206: Jason Deskins Co-General Manager of USHL Youngstown Phantoms

On this episode of the Hockey Think Tank podcast, we bring on the Co-General Manager of the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL and Detroit Little Caesars‘ 15O coach Jason Deskins! This was a great conversation as Jason has so much great perspective with all of the hats he wears in the hockey world. The boys tackle:

-Using the downs to motivate you
-What he looks for in players as a GM in junior hockey
-How to get into the business as a young coach
-Goal scoring
-So much more

Want more from the Hockey Think Tank podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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How the first round of the Phase-I Draft will unfold in America’s top junior league

Last week, the World Hockey Hub produced its first OHL Mock Draft. The actual results of the priority selection will be determined later this week.

Now, it’s time for the USHL Mock Draft, specifically for the American junior league’s Phase-I Draft set to take place next week.

The USHL draft process is split into two phases; Phase-I is exclusively for 2006-born players, while Phase-II is for all players eligible to play junior hockey who are not currently protected by a USHL club.

The other big caveat that comes with the USHL process is the inclusion of tenders — teams can make commitments to players leading up to the draft. If a player signs a USHL tender, the team forfeits their first-round pick in the Phase-I Draft. Teams can complete two tender signings leading up to the draft, meaning they can forego their first two draft selections in order to secure top players before the draft officially gets underway.

So why doesn’t every team use their tenders to basically skip the draft order and get the best players they can? USHL league rules stipulate that tendered players must play in 55 percent of the team’s regular-season games in the upcoming season, notwithstanding injury, illness or suspension. Meanwhile, if a USHL team selects a player in the Phase-I draft, they can decide the player needs another season of youth/high school hockey and only call them up to the USHL team if necessary.

The tender process makes for an unorthodox first and second round of the draft. Some teams are not selecting in either of the rounds, and it also jumbles up the perceived ‘top players’ in the draft class. The best case in 2022 is that of Macklin Celebrini, a native of British Columbia who would have certainly been in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick if he declared his intentions to play in the USHL and there was no tender process. Instead, the Chicago Steel signed Celebrini to a tender — just like they did with top NHL Draft prospect Adam Fantilli two years ago — to secure him for the upcoming season despite holding the No. 14 overall pick.

Five teams opted to go the tender route for the first round; they are starred in our mock draft. Four of the five tender signees are Canadian players; the Massachusetts product and Mount St. Charles standout defenseman is the lone American.

Below is our first-round mock draft for the Phase-I Draft, which is slated to take place on May 2. Kicking things off, we have a pair of Shattuck-St. Mary’s standouts in Aidan Park and Drake Murray. Both have publicly expressed interest in remaining at the storied prep school in Minnesota, but things change by the day in youth and junior hockey, and both of these two exceptional players are worth claiming in round one. At No. 3, we have Reid Varkonyi, who has been skating for the Northern Alberta Xtreme of the CSSHL but was participating in the NTDP Evaluation Camp. He recently announced a verbal commitment to the University of Denver, becoming just the second player in the 2006 birth-year class to make a college commitment.

No. 1 – Sioux Falls – Aidan Park (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s)

No. 2 – Des Moines – Drake Murray (Defense, Shattuck-St. Mary’s)

No. 3 – Green Bay – Reid Varkonyi (Forward, Northern Alberta Xtreme)

*No. 4 – Waterloo – Keith McInnis (Defense, Yale Hockey Academy)

No. 5 – Cedar Rapids – Callum Hughes (Forward, Mount St. Charles)

No. 6 – Fargo – Adam Kleber (Defense, Minnesota Blades/Chaska High School)

*No. 7 – Madison – Will Felicio (Defense, Mount St. Charles)

No. 8 – Youngstown – Cole Longacre (Defense, Windy City Storm)

No. 9 – Omaha – Grant Young (Forward, Windy City Storm)

*No. 10 – Muskegon – Sacha Boisvert (Forward, Mount St. Charles)

No. 11 – Dubuque – Mac Swanson (Forward, Team Alaska)

No. 12 – Lincoln – Ben Miller (Forward, Minnesota Blades/Hill Murray High School)

No. 13 – Sioux City – Gavin Cornforth (Forward, Boston Little Bruins/Thayer Academy)

*No. 14 – Chicago – Macklin Celebrini (Forward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s)

*No. 15 – Tri-City – Matthew Virgilio (Defense, St. Andrew’s College)

Note: Selections with a * before the number are forfeited draft picks replaced with the team’s tendered player. There are three players signed to tenders that take up the team’s second-round pick, as well. They are below.

*No. 25 – Muskegon – Owen Keefe (Defense, Boston Jr. Eagles/Malden Catholic)

*No. 29 – Chicago – Michael Hage (Forward, Toronto Jr. Canadiens)

*No. 30 – Tri-City – Trevor Connelly (Forward, Long Island Gulls)

Want more from the world of youth hockey? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for the latest news, rankings, prospect talk and more.

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Episode 66: Early Practices, Jersey Numbers, Men vs. Boys

BY & Motts open a fresh new mailbag and answer all of your questions! Beforehand, the fellas chat about the Battle of the Badges game over the weekend, Easter, and how they spent their Marathon Monday. The questions submitted included:

Missing a shift for being “injured” (again)
A certain number on the back of a jersey
My Hockey Ranking question of the week
To check or not to check–girls playing boys hockey
+ More

Want more from the Rink Shrinks podcast and other publications from the world of youth hockey? Explore our Podcast Central for the latest episodes on hot topics from the game and follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube for more!

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