Congratulations to Hawkesbury Hawks Junior A alumni Bruce Cassidy on being hired as the new head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. The Ottawa, ON native has picked up 245 wins over 399 games between the Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals, winning the Jack Adams in 2019-20.

But long before he was one of the National Hockey League’s premier coaches, Cassidy was a member of the Hawkesbury Hawks. As a defenseman, Cassidy played 37 games for the Hawks during the 1981-82 season, scoring 13 goals, with 30 assists, for an amazing 43 points in limited action.

Cassidy also received the nickname ‘Hopalong’ from his classmates at Hawkesbury District High School, for navigating the hallways on crutches after suffering a leg injury during the season. He was a well-liked and respected player while in Hawkesbury and still has many friends from his time here.

 2022 Memorial Cup underway in Saint John

The 2022 Memorial Cup got underway on Monday, June 20, with the host Saint John Sea Dogs knocking off the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) champion Hamilton Bulldogs 5-3. By this time next week there will be a new king of Junior hockey in Canada.

Saint John is hosting league champions from Edmonton, Hamilton and Shawinigan, Québec in the tournament, after the last two Memorial Cup tournaments were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies last won the championship in May 2019 when the tournament was held in Halifax.

The Sea Dogs win over the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs showed they will not be intimidated by the respective league champions. The Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings and the Shawinigan Cataractes are the other teams.

Edmonton is a favourite in for the Memorial Cup, with four first-round NHL draft picks who skated with Canada’s world junior team, including the WHL playoffs most valuable player Kaiden Guhle, who was Montreal’s top pick in the 2020 draft. The Oil Kings posted a 50-14-4 mark during the regular season.

Shawinigan went 40-24-4 and rolled through the playoffs to win the franchise’s first Ouébec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) title.  QMJHL playoff MVP Mavrik Bourque, had 68 points in 31 regular-season games, while teammate Xavier Bourgault, added 75 points in 43 contests.

The Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Windsor Spitfires in seven games in the OHL final. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

The host Sea Dogs posted a 47-17-4 regular season for third place before losing in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs. The team replaced its head coach just a month ago. William Dufour was the QMJHL’s most valuable player and led the CHL with 56 goals.

Former CCHL players shine in college

A total of eight Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) alumni were active through out the NCAA Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Big Ten Conference, National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and Division 1 independent schools during the 2021-22 season.

The CCHL has an article posted on its website that recaps the past seasons for Brett Thorne, Luke Grainger, Ryland Mosley, Simon Mack, and Tim Theocharidis. You can check it out in full here to see what former CCHLers are up to.

Vasilevskiy wins first against Avalanche since 2018

With the Tampa Lighting’s 6-2 win on Monday night (June 20), netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy not only redeemed himself after a 7-0 bombardment the previous game, he won his first game against the Colorado Avalanche since 2018.

Prior to this series, Vasilevskiy was 1-3-1 in five games against Colorado, with a goals against average of 3.41 and a save percentage of .877 over his career. The first two games of the final series did little to help that record, dropping Vasilevskiy to 1-5-1 against the Avalanche. But, hopefully Monday’s performance is a sign of better things to come.