Self isolating, hockey writing


Randy Russon
By
April 19, 2020

Many around the globe have left their office work stations to set up shop at home as a health precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic. But I was already ahead of the game as someone who has been working and writing from home for a number of years now.

And while sports is in a shutdown, there has been little slowdown for someone who — as an example — writes about hockey.

To be sure — as I have stated multiple times over the years — even when there are no hockey games, it is always hockey season.

Yes, the hockey folks always give us something to write and talk about.

TWO TO NIPISSING

A veteran forward from the Ontario Hockey League and a high scorer from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League have committed to play for the North Bay-based Nipissing Lakers of Ontario University Athletics for the 2020-2021 season.

They are Iroquois Falls product Chad Denault, who is fresh from three full OHL seasons with the Peterborough Petes, then the North Bay Battalion, and Parker Bowman, who pocketed 38 goals, 50 assists, 88 points for the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL in 2019-2020.

Denault also played a full season in the NOJHL for the Rayside Balfour Canadians.

TWO TO MARYVILLE

Forward Lucas Adams and goalie Dominic Boily, who were teammates with the Blind River Beavers of the NOJHL in 2019-2020, will be off to the same school in the fall.

Both have now committed to the Maryville University Saints of the Division 1, American Collegiate Hockey Association.

Maryland is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

OHL OPTIMISM

Even-tempered, even-keeled commissioner David Branch is optimistic that the 2020-2021 OHL season will begin on schedule.

“Right now, our league is planning to open up on time,” Branch said in a recent interview with London radio station CFPL.

“That said, we also recognize that we will create some wiggle room at the start of the season if we must, and at the end of the day, if we have to make adjustments based on health conditions or government guidelines, we of course will,” Branch added.

Meanwhile, Branch was firm in stating that any idea of playing without fans in attendance simply will not work for the OHL.

“We are a gate driven league,” Branch pointed out. “Eighty to 85 per cent of our revenue comes from live gates. We have to hope that we can get back and have spectators and continue to receive the great support that we have received over the last number of years.”

BEST OF THE OHL

The OHL recently revealed the list of the 20 players — one from each team — who have been nominated as the league’s most outstanding player for the 2019-2020 campaign.

Each team was responsible for nominating one of their own for the Red Tilson Trophy.

The Red Tilson Trophy is voted on by sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the OHL on a regular basis.

After much consideration — I changed my mind more than once — I sent in my vote.

I initially narrowed my choice to a list of five players that included goalie Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers and forwards Ty Dellandrea of the Flint Firebirds, Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit, Liam Foudy of the London Knights and Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves.

I then decided it was between Perfetti and Foudy as the league’s most outstanding player.

But I ultimately opted for Foudy — who is two years older than Perfetti — mainly because of the London center’s overall game that was complemented by his stellar performance for Team Canada at this year’s World Jr. Hockey League championships.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Foudy had three goals and an assist in seven games as Canada won the gold medal. And in just 45 regular season games for London in 2019-2020, Foudy had 28 goals, 40 assists, 68 points.

Liam Foudy of the London Knights. (Photo by London Free Press.)

A first round OHL draft pick (18th overall) by London in 2016, Foudy also became a first round (18th overall) National Hockey League draft selection of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2018. He has already made his NHL debut with Columbus, picking up an assist in two games as an emergency call-up by the Blue Jackets this past season.

At any rate, it was no easy choice when it came for me to finally choose between Foudy and Perfetti. In fact, I actually had Perfetti’s name typed in on my ballot before changing to Foudy.


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