The Pipeline Show: Newhook, Hitmen and an inside look at the CHL
This week on the program I speak with the top ranked 2019 NHL draft eligible player from the CJHL, the head coach of one of the hottest teams in the WHL, the leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 hockey and the long time beat reporter covering the Memorial Cup host Halifax Mooseheads.
2019 Draft Spotlight: Alex Newhook
The show this week begins with a feature on the top ranked player from the Canadian Junior Hockey League, Alex Newhook of the Victoria Grizzlies. Currently leading the BCHL in scoring at a ridiculous 1.76 points per game pace, Newhook is living up to the preseason prognostications that he could be a 1st round pick in June.
I spoke with Newhook while he was in a Boston airport, the day after Boston College’s victory over Harvard in the opening game of the Beanpot tournament. Newhook was on hand to soak in that atmosphere and then had the chance to take in the New England Patriots Super Bowl parade so he’s had the full Boston experience.
We began by talking about his beginnings in Newfoundland, moving to Ontario as a 14-year-old and then on to the west coast and the Victoria Grizzlies. We also discussed his decisions to pass on the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, especially when considering the Memorial Cup being hosted by the latter. Newhook talked about his disappointment in not making the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup squad in August and the feeling of redemption getting to play at the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge a few months later.
Lastly, the speedster shared his thoughts on the draft, his own scouting report and why Boston College is the right college program for him.
In the Dub: Calgary Hitmen
The parity in the WHL’s Central Division right now is truly unbelievable. Five teams are currently separated by just nine points and the order of seeding changes depending on what time of day you check the standings.
Thanks to strong and consistent play over the last two months, the Calgary Hitmen have soldiered up the standings from being well outside the playoff picture to not just holding down the final playoff spot but in the mix for home ice in the first round.
This week I had the pleasure of catching up with a familiar face; Steve Hamilton, the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen. “Hammy” is in his first year behind the Calgary bench after years leading the Edmonton Oil Kings.
I asked Hamilton about the performance he’s been getting from several key players including leading scorer Mark Kastelic, Riley Stotts, James Malm, Jake Kryski, defenceman Egor Zamula and rookie netminder Jack McNaughton. As always, Hamilton gave a frank account of the evolution of his team over the course of this current season.
NCAA Campus Report: Taro Hirose
Continuing the tour of Canadians on campus, Michigan State’s Taro Hirose was a must-get interview this season as the Calgary-born forward is lighting up Division 1. Hirose sits atop NCAA scoring, with a cushion, and is another player on the long list of Hobey Baker nominees.
When I spoke with Hirose, he attributed a lot of his success this year to his linemates and his coach. We also talked about the season for the Spartans and set up this weekend’s series against arch rival Michigan and what it means in Big Ten standings.
I also wanted to know more about his path to Michigan State which began in Calgary but took him outside Alberta to play in the BCHL. From Salmon Arm, Hirose chose MSU and got into why it was the right fit for him.
CHL Insider: Willy Palov
The final segment of this week’s episode is dedicated to the QMJHL with the assist going to longtime beat writer Willy Palov of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. With the 2019 Memorial Cup in his backyard, Palov is the right man to talk to about the performance lately of the Halifax Mooseheads and we begin by getting an injury update on Edmonton Oilers draft pick Ostap Safin.
The title as the #1 ranked team in the CHL now belongs to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies but with only 4 players with NHL ties on their roster, the Huskies are getting it done in their own way.
We wrap up the segment with me asking about Patrick Roy in his second stint with the Quebec Remparts during which the former NHL All-Star has been relatively out of the news.
Guy Flaming is the host of The Pipeline Show, a year round, 100% prospect orientated podcast now in its 14th season. Since 2006, the mandate of the program has been to introduce the audience to the future of the NHL and that is accomplished every week by speaking with the top players, coaches, general managers, scouts and media that junior and college hockey have to offer. It is free to subscribe to The Pipeline Show and is available via iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spreaker, the Podcast App and www.thepipelineshow.com