There is no “Ordinary Day” (borrowing Great Big Sea’s song) in the world of hockey, whether you are a rink attendant, player, coach, parent, columnist, or broadcaster. As for those last two, you should know by now that I’ve been a columnist for the last three years, covering Golden Gopher hockey with a vigor seen hardly anywhere else in addition to the national scene. But, there have been times where I’ve broadcasted hockey as well.
Last weekend, I was invited to take part in FASTHockey.com’s coverage of the North American Hockey League Showcase, which included some decent junior talent who hope to make it into the ranks of college hockey, not to mention, the Golden Gophers someday. Scouts from all over the country, including Minnesota, were at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine to see over 200 games in four classes-NAHL, NAPHL (North American Prospects Hockey League), North American 3 Hockey League, and the Minnesota High School Elites.
There were also games in the NAPHL (North American Prospects Hockey League) which were the majority of the games that I drew assignments for. I did seventeen games in all over the course of the four day weekend, and it started with Fairbanks-Minot in the NAHL. That game was Minot’s first as an NAHL franchise, and the Minotauros included fourteen Minnesotans on their roster. Wilson Housley was the only Minnesotan that scored for Minot in their 4-3 loss, but the Minotauros showed me a lot of grit in that game. They’d go on to finish 1-3 in the tournament with their lone win in a 5-4 contest with St. Louis.
My tournament switched to NAPHL for the majority of the final sixteen games, and I saw teams from Canada, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, and Nebraska multiple times with teams from California (twice) and New Jersey once. All in all, I saw some talent that could be making it into your very living room in a few years’ time and enjoyed every second of the action, even though my voice got worked to the brink and back. I couldn’t name specific players that stood out to me, but one team that definitely stood out on the winning end of things was the Pursuit of Excellence 14U team from British Columbia who had a stellar performance from Tyson Jost (eleven goals and six assists in four games). A team that stood out in terms of their play with the puck was the Phoenix Firebirds 18U squad. Their leading goal scorer had four goals and no assists in the tournament (averaging to a goal a game).
All in all, I saw some pretty good hockey over the course of my time in Blaine, and chances are I’ll be doing it again next year. Come along for the ride?
Geoff Discher is knotmove.com’s Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.comwith comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by searching “Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner” or “National College Hockey Examiner” and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He’s always chock full of fact and opinion.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!