Friday, February 4, 2011

“They’re very lucky . . . very lucky.”

There is a part of hockey life at the junior level that rarely ever gets talked which is the travel. Unlike the NHL where charter airplanes with all the creature comforts are the norm; life as a junior is many a trip via bus.

It is not just riding long distances by bus but it is also traveling late at night and in the dead of winter. It means as we are having one of the worst winters in years some scary situations.

 And to be honest when I read about the near miss the Everett Silvertips experienced on Thursday morning it really was some sheer good luck and the quick actions of a bus driver that this is not an article talking about those lost or injured.

The bus travel goes with the game and there is really nothing one can do about it if they want to play hockey in any of the CHL leagues.

Driver Tom Jessen had the bus in the right-hand lane just moments before having to take evasive action. Realizing the situation, Soetaert said, Jessen cut across the left-hand lane and the bus ended up with its nose in a snowbank.

As Nick Patterson of the HeraldNet reported

"Everett's team bus narrowly avoided a major accident on the highway while traveling home from the game early this morning. Icy road conditions caused a multi-vehicle accident on the Coquihalla Highway near the former tollbooth location between Merritt and Hope, an accident that included several semis. The accident happened ahead of Everett's bus in a location where the ability to see the road ahead was limited, and the icy roads made reacting nearly impossible. However, quick thinking by Everett's bus driver prevented the bus from becoming part of the accident as he brought it to rest in the snowbank by the side of the highway.

Now to many of you this may not seem like a big deal but just in the WHL alone are 22 teams who have to travel to and from games and that we do not hear more stories like this or worse is a miracle.


In prospect action Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th) continued to put up points for his Niagara IceDogs as he set up the IceDog's first goal of the game as they went on to defeat Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6-2. It was Wilson's 17th assist on the season as well as his 30th point. 

Wilson since December 4th has been just as productive as the leading Ranger prospect scorers. Wilson has 21 points in his last 20 games (7-14-21) as the IceDogs continue to chase the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors for the top spot in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

The IceDogs with their win remain 8 points behind the Majors and in 3rd place in the conference. They are unbeaten in their last 4 regulation games and 7-1-0-2

Speaking of the Majors, they escaped from the Windsor Spitfires thanks to a 4-3 shoot out win that extended their winning streak to 5 games. It was a rare quiet night for Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) as he was held scoreless and a -1. 

Cizikas is coming off a 10-7-17 January as the leading scorer among Islander prospects has been so consistent this season that it is a story when he does not score. 

(Silvertip logo/Everett Silvertips, Wilson/Terry Wilson OHL Images) 

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