THE PIPELINE SHOW: Talking with the CJHL Commissioner, Looking at a Shifting NCAA Landscape & More!
Now that we are officially into the off-season, better known as July. The plans for The Pipeline Show shift focus from the heavy NHL draft content toward information about the various leagues we discuss.
To that end, you’ll hear from commissioners from both sides of the border about their respective league to learn what issues they face and what plans they have before the 2019-20 seasons.
Chairman of the CJHL
First up is the Commissioner of the CCHL and Chairman of the CJHL, Kevin Abrams.
We started off looking at just the CCHL, the 12-team league based in and around the Ottawa region of eastern Ontario. We spoke about the advantage of having such a small geographic footprint, what the typical roster make up consists of in terms of where the players come from and also about what has changed in the league since he moved into the role in 2006.
From there the topic switched to Abrams’ role as Chairman of the CJHL, the umbrella league that oversees all ten Jr. A leagues in Canada from the BCHL, AJHL right through Ontario and to the east coast’s MHL.
I asked Abrams a range of questions, including some submitted by listeners. Topics included the possibility of granting exceptional status to 15-year-olds, expansion within the CCHL to Kingston as well as his openness to my suggestion of adopting a new NCAA-style ranking and national tournament format.
Lastly, I wanted to get his perspective on the ongoing lawsuit against the CHL which could potentially have a massive impact on amateur sport in Canada including the CJHL.
The big NCAA hockey news of this past week comes from the WCHA conference where seven of the ten member programs have announced that they are pulling out to form their own, new conference in a couple of years. The result could mean the end for two of the remaining three schools while the future of the third is certainly up in the air.
Jimmy Connelly from USCHO.com is my guest to share some insight into the story. Clearly, the two northernmost programs will be the most affected as the University of Alaska-Anchorage and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks hockey programs were already on thin ice. The expense of running Division I teams has come up in recent years and this latest news could be the final nails in their respective coffins.
Also on the outside looking in will be the University of Alabama-Huntsville. The Chargers, however, are in the midst of building a new facility and are more likely to connect with a new conference based solely on geography. Or the program could exist for a period as an independent program much like the Arizona State Sun Devils have.
Speaking of the Sun Devils, I asked Connelly if he foresees ASU joining a conference any time soon and if so, which would be the most likely.
Because of a SNAFU between myself and Guy Flaming, we missed the June 20th show entirely. I’ll take responsibility for that one. For some reason, it wasn’t getting through to my email.
Still, Guy worked hard to put the show together, it’s great content, and I want it made available to our audience on EP Rinkside. With that, continue from this point of the article onward for a chance to check out the June 20th edition of The Pipeline Show.
The Pipeline Show: June 20, 2019
This week on The Pipeline Show, we present the final three 2019 Draft Spotlight segments of the program’s 14th season. With the NHL Draft on the horizon, this presents a last minute look at a trio of goaltenders who could perhaps hear their names called out this weekend.
2019 NHL Draft Spotlight: Dominic Basse
At 6-foot-6, Dominic Basse should be hard to miss but because of where he played this year, that seems to be the case for a lot of people. Despite winning a national championship and maintaining a 1.91 goals-against average and .924 save percentage through 42 games, the skyscraper of a netminder’s name doesn’t appear in many rankings and he hasn’t done any radio or podcast interviews.
Basse was born in Alexandria, Virginia just outside of Washington, DC where his love of the game grew watching Olaf Kolzig and the Capitals. From there he played in Maryland and then he spent the 2019-20 season at the Selects Hockey Academy at South Kent School.
We discussed his path and what comes next – a season in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms followed by his NCAA career with the Tigers of Colorado College.
Lastly, we talked about the draft and how much the event has been on his mind over the season. HockeyProspect.com slots Basse among the only 6 goaltenders that it gave a numerical rank to on their final list while NHL Central Scouting only included him by name on their final ranking of North Americans.
2019 Draft Spotlight: Trent Miner
It’s a good draft year for goalies, especially from the Western Hockey League and one guy out of Vancouver is a major reason why. Trent Miner is a former first-round pick in the WHL bantam draft and he just wrapped up his first full season with the Giants with rave reviews and the stats to back them up.
The 6-foot-1 keeper appeared in 32 regular season games and finished the year with a sparkling 24-5-1-1 record while maintaining a 1.98 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. As a rookie.
Yes, it’s fair to remind that the team in front of Miner was strong enough to reach the WHL final and fall a goal short, in overtime of Game 7, of their ultimate goal. But the goaltending tandem of Miner and David Tendeck was a big reason why — it wasn’t a case of the goalies not facing tough action.
I spoke with Miner about his time with the Giants, his path to the WHL and about coming to the position fairly recently — he’s only been a full-time goalie for the last four years!
2019 Draft Spotlight: Henry Wilder
Some draft-eligible players have been on the radar for scouts for several years while some gain greater attention in the season leading up to the NHL draft. By this point of the calendar, the vast majority of draft-eligible players have done enough interviews to last them a lifetime.
In the case of Henry Wilder, his appearance on The Pipeline Show this week is, according to him, the first media interview of his entire life. It’s hard to believe considering he’s ranked 14th among goalies in North America by NHL Central Scouting. He’s also slated to join Boston College in about 14 months.
Wilder played high school hockey in Connecticut this season, at Hotchkiss where he will return for a final year beginning in the fall. Don’t be shocked if you see him playing a few USHL games though too as the Des Moines Buccaneers selected him in 2018 and he could dress for them before and after his high school season.
I talked at length with Wilder about his background, his decision not to go to the QMJHL, what it could be like playing behind Spencer Knight at Boston College and of course about the draft.
This was the final 2019 Draft Spotlight segment of The Pipeline Show’s 14th season and it was a great one to finish off with.