THE PIPELINE SHOW: February 7th & 14th Episodes
The Pipeline Show: February 14th
This week on The Pipeline Show we continue the February theme by speaking with women around junior and college hockey to find out what their experiences have been like covering the sport. There is also a 2020 Draft Spotlight segment featuring one of the top-ranked forwards from the WHL. Plus, a well-known coach just surpassed the 1000 game plateau in the CHL, hear from him as well.
NCAA Campus Report: Jashvina Shah
Jashvina Shah covers the Big Ten conference for College Hockey News, but we started our conversation off with the results of the Beanpot tournament in Boston. As a Boston University alum, Shah was glued to the results and shared her thoughts on the outcome (a double-overtime loss for the Terriers to the Northeastern Huskies) as well as the prestige of the local tournament in general.
From there we dove into the Big Ten conference where parity is the word of the season, outside of Wisconsin who has struggled. We talked about Michigan State’s resurgence, Michigan’s second-half surge, Minnesota still finding its identity with a new coach and more.
I also asked Jashvina to share some of her own stories as a female reporter covering a male-dominated sport while also being a person of colour. I wanted to know if “Hockey Is For Everyone” was a statement that she believed or, if not, what still needed to change for the slogan to ring true.
In the Dub: Olivia Howe
Olivia Howe had a decorated playing career with the Golden Knights of Clarkson, including winning the National Championship in 2013-14. A handful of seasons later, she finds herself on the coaching staff of the Moose Jaw Warriors as the first female coach in the history of the WHL.
I started my conversation with Howe asking her about the mindset of the team, currently well out of the playoffs and clearly playing out the remaining month of the schedule. Is it a challenge to keep a young team upbeat in that scenario?
Then we shifted to her role on the coaching staff, how she landed the role in the first place, when she first started thinking about becoming a coach and more. Lastly, has the year gone the way she had hoped and does she want to continue on and perhaps take on even more responsibility with the team?
2020 Draft Spotlight: Jake Neighbours
I’m lucky. Being based in Edmonton and, for the most part of the last six seasons, being part of the TSN 1260 radio crew that broadcasts Oil Kings has meant that I’ve seen a lot of Jake Neighbours these past two-to-three years. I’ve made it no secret that the versatile power forward is a personal favourite of mine and I was pleased to be able to put Jake in the spotlight on this week’s episode.
Neighbours is from Airdrie, a bedroom community on the northern outskirts of Calgary, AB. Taken No. 4 overall in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, he’s developed quickly from his depth role in his rookie season last year to the top line this year and his offensive production has jumped sharply. Currently second in team scoring behind overage leader Riley Sawchuk, Neighbours is clicking at more than a point per game pace.
We spoke about the draft, his time in Edmonton, the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and growing up an Oilers fan behind enemy lines down in southern Alberta.
In the Dub: Brent Sutter & Cam Moon
As the long time owner of the Red Deer Rebels, Brent Sutter has been in a position to coach the team for as long as he’s wanted to. It may have taken longer than you’d expect though but after a pair of stints in the NHL behind the benches of both New Jersey and Calgary, Sutter has finally reached the 1000 game mark in the WHL.
The final segment of this week’s show features audio supplied to me by Cam Moon, the broadcast voice of the Rebels, who had a conversation with Sutter looking back over the last two decades of his coaching career. The highs of a Memorial Cup title, the lows of rebuilding teams and the evolution of the sport and its players are all talked about in the interview.
The Pipeline Show: February 7th
This week on The Pipeline Show, I’m starting a February theme by speaking with women around junior or college hockey and finding out how they got involved with the sport and what their experiences have been like. There is also a 2020 Draft Spotlight segment featuring one of the top-ranked defencemen available this coming June.
NCAA Campus Report: Julie Robenhymer
The annual Beanpot Tournament is underway in Boston featuring four local Division 1 programs and on hand is a longtime TPS guest, Julie Robenhymer. I spoke with her the day after the semi-final games so we could recap the outcomes and look ahead to the final as well as talk about some of the work she has planned around the event.
Julie educated me on how it’s decided which team plays who in the semi-finals and whether Northeastern beating Harvard or Boston University edging past Boston College can be considered a surprise or not. You can find Julie’s feature stories around the Beanpot at EPRinkside.com including a profile on Trevor Zegras as well as a 2020 draft story on defenceman Jake Sanderson.
I also wanted to talk to Julie about being a woman in a largely male-dominated sports community — what, if any challenges she has faced, how she got into her role in the first place and why she’s largely escaped some of the horror stories a lot of female reporters have experienced in their careers.
Julie has been a great and frequent guest on The Pipeline Show for over a decade and this half an hour will show everyone why that is.
OHL Insider: Caitlin Berry
A better title might be ‘OHL Outsider’ considering my guest for the segment lives in the city of Exeter, located in South West England. Why am I talking to a ‘Brit’ about the Ontario Hockey League? One glance at her Twitter feed (@caitlinsports) is all it will take for you to understand the passion that Caitlin Berry has for the league.
Caitlin spends her weekends staying up all night watching OHL games online and cutting up video clips and highlight packages for the benefit of all fans. It’s purely a passion project for her as she lives hours away from the nearest hockey rink in the U.K. and it’s not as if hockey is a widely popular sport in her homeland.
So obviously we had to talk about the ‘why’. She became addicted to the game, specifically the OHL, while spending a year in Waterloo and attending a ton of Kitchener Rangers games. She’s kept the fire burning now that she’s back home and hopes that her skills could open doors for her to come back and work in hockey.
Recently she was able to attend the CHL Top Prospects game as credentialed media so we talked about that experience and of course, I had to pick her brain about the OHL and her expectations for the stretch drive into the playoffs.
2020 Draft Spotlight: Justin Barron
No one ever wants to see a player sidelined due to injury or ailment, especially when it comes to a high calibre prospect in his NHL draft season, but that’s the case for Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Justin Barron who hasn’t played a game since November 30th. It was then that a blood clot was discovered in the shoulder of the highly touted blueliner and since then, Barron has been doing what he needs to do for his health and to get back in the lineup.
I spoke at length with the Halifax product about the blood clot, the treatment and the mental anguish sitting out has caused while his team continues to slide down the standings. The Mooseheads dealt many of the pieces that helped them contend at the 2019 Memorial Cup, which they hosted, and now find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture.
We discussed his background, his bond with older brother Morgan Barron (NYR) and why one went the CHL route while the other went to the NCAA. I also asked if he was concerned that the lack of playing time so might impact his stock at the draft.