Monday, February 4, 2008

Some Changes for Us

Bobby Sanguinetti

We start our report with the word that Bobby Sanguinetti was named one of the assistant captains for the Eastern Conference for the OHL All-Star Classic. The Classic is just like the NHL All-Star weekend as it is a 2 day event.

It starts Tuesday in Saute Ste Marie with the skills competition and a 3 on 3 game followed with the actual All-Star Game on Wednesday evening. This will be Sanguinetti's third appearance at the OHL All-Star Classic.

We are waiting to hear from our friends at the OHL to see if the game will be televised over the Internet and if it is I very much recommend that you watch it as not one but two future NHL number one picks will be playing in this game. Both Steve Stamkos (#1 this year) and John Taveres (#1 next season) are players you have to see for yourselves just how talented they are.

As soon as we find out we will post it here.

The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

To be honest we expected Carl Hagelin's Michigan Wolverines to fall out of the second spot in the weekly poll after managing 2 ties to a rather weak Northern Michigan team this past weekend. We were wrong as the voters kept the Wolverines in the number 2 spot despite being winless in their last 4 games.

Sadly no other college team with a Ranger prospect received any votes this week.

Some Changes to Prospect Park

Recently the Slap Shots blog over at the New York Times did a report on what they called NHL Teams not having many US born local players on NHL rosters. To us at Prospect Park the report was misleading because in many places hockey is still in it's infancy.

The best marketing tool an NHL team could have is having a local kid grow up to play for them. It helps grow interest in the sport and in the team with a local kid who makes it to the team. If you were a young kid in the 1970's and 80's then seeing Staten Island's own Nick Fotiu play for the Ranger gave you hope that one day you could play for the Rangers.

Chris Drury saw Brian Leetch as did future Ranger Bobby Sanguinetti who also had Leetch as a role model. But you have to first build a hockey program so local kids can play and that too takes time.

The Rangers are about to hold their annual "Ice Hockey In Harlem" auction on Wednesday. Who knows one day a kid that gets help from that auction could one day be playing for the Rangers . But we do know that reports like the one in the New York Times will not help.

It takes a lot of time to build hockey programs and while we are very happy to see that the New York Times is renewing interest in the sport at the same time our own view is that misleading reports like that hurt the sport. We posted a comment to that effect and the NYT response was that their job is to report hockey news not promote the sport.

It is a response that we do not like because reporting the sport means being accurate about what you are reporting. Misleading reports like the one we are mentioning is not reporting the news.

Anyone who has played the game was taught by someone who came before they did and that person were taught by someone who came before they did. It is a tradition in hockey to give back to the game and we intend to do that here as of this day forward.

Now our main focus will always remain about Ranger prospects but if there are events or news that shows the good side of the game then we will report them as well. Too often the media reports the bad side of the game and sometimes forgets about the good side.

Getting a Haircut to Help Others

We want to start with the Third Annual Hitmen Head Shave held this past Friday by the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. For that we turn over Prospect Park to our friend Brad Curle the voice of the Calgary Hitmen who sent us this press release:

Calgary, AB - The Calgary Hitmen Hockey Club is pleased to announce over $33,000 was raised Friday night at the Third Annual Hitmen Head Shave.

The Hitmen teamed up with TriCops to help raise money for WELLSPRING Calgary, a network of centres that provide emotional and psychological support, free of charge, to individuals and families living with cancer.

Ten Calgary Hitmen had their heads shaved following Friday's 4-0 win over Edmonton; Kyle Bortis, Ryan Fox, Martin Jones, Matt Mackenzie, Brett Sonne, Chase Schaber, Ian Schultz, Dan Spence, Alex Plante and Brendan Rowinski.

The Hitmen would like to thank the many fans who not only donated to this great cause, but also those who took to center ice following the game to have their head shaved as well.

"The TriCops team would really like to thank the six head shavees, Crystal, Courtney, Graeme, Zachary, Lochlin and Santa for their phenomenal fundraising efforts," said TriCopes Vice President Brad McMorris.

"Thanks to their commitment we raised over $33,000 which will proudly be donated to WELLSPRING Calgary. We would also like to acknowledge the Calgary Hitmen and Great Clips for their continued support."

The Hitmen Head Shave program has now raised over $63,000 with plans for year four already in the works.

Our thanks to Brad Curle again for that report. For those of you who are not aware the General Manager and Coach of the Calgary Hitmen is former Ranger player Kelly Kisio. Those who remember Kisio as a Ranger should not be surprised to see his team involved in an event like this.

And speaking of Head Shaves, current Ranger Nigel Dawes while a member of the Kootenay Ice once got his haircut at center ice to help raise funds for the Cancer Society. This is part of why we think the world of Nigel as the person not just the player.

Ahead Tomorrow

We want to share about a couple rather different events that are upcoming from USA Hockey. The first is going to be the Hockey Weekend Across America and the other is going to be the 24 hour game which is going to be a part of the 100th anniversary of the International Ice Hockey Federation celebration.

Also Antoine Lafleur and his Prince Edward Island Rocket will be in action and we hope to have a report from day 1 of the OHL All-Star Classic.

(Picture of Bobby Sanguinetti courtesy of the Blueshirt Bulletin)

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