To start off this blog, I will mention that this one will be short and sweet. It has a been a long, but fun day for myself, but it is late and I have an early start at the day tomorrow
Junior hockey is the route of every single NHL player in the entire league, and the Canadian Hockey League's are no exception. The Vancouver Giants are the local Junior hockey team who play in the Western Hockey League, and are currently playing in the first round series against the heavily favoured Portland Winterhawks. The Giants are filled with some talented players and were barely able to squeeze into the play off picture this season, and were given the task of facing one of the WHL's finest of teams.
The Winterhawks are one of the most special junior hockey team that has hit the ice in recent years. Portland finished as second best team in the league with 113 points. They are two-time Memorial Cup Champions, the highest honour in junior hockey, winning in 1983 and 1998. The team did play in the Memorial tournament last year but failed to convert into a championship, ultimately losing in the championship game against the Halifax Mooseheads 6-4.
The team is lead by 2012 number 7 pick for the Minnesota Wild, Mathew Dumba. Dumba picked up 24 points with Portland in just twenty six games with the team. Then you have Derrick Pouliot, who is a small six feet tall on the ice, but has a relentless presence. He was picked right after Dumba in the 2012 draft at number 8 for the Pittsburgh Penguins and he had 73 points this season. Nicolas Petan who was picked 43rd overall by the WInninpeg Jets, he lead the league in assists during the regular season and has an ice presence like no other.
I was in attendance at game three tonight for the Giants/Winterhawks opening round play off series and the Winterhawks are a team that are rightfully in good hands to try and get back to the Memorial Cup and possibly bring it home this 2014 season.
Any sport that is played competitively at a junior level gives fans an incredible from as to what we will be witnessing in the near future at the highest level of play in whatever league it may be. To watch the Portland Winterhawks is a special view, especially after watching them trample the Giants in a definitive 6-3 win. They are now up 3 games to none, and look for the series sweep coming tomorrow night again the the precious Pacific Coliseum!