The Dog Days of August – News and Notes from the NL Hockey World

Posted on August 20, 2022

We are sliding into the latter part of August. Summer is nearing completion. That said, training camps and provincial selection camps have been heating up arenas lately. Lets dive in.

The Q Adds Another NL Coach

At the stroke of training camp midnight, the Saint John Sea Dogs added local U18AAA Coach Mark Lee to their bench. The decision may come as a surprise to some because of the timing – the Sea Dogs started their training camp this week – but there are numerous positives here. First off, this is a great opportunity for Mark Lee. Mark had been the head coach of the EC Blizzard of the U18AAA League for a number of years, and had been looking to explore opportunities off the island to further his coaching career. There is no bigger opportunity than coaching the reigning Canadian Hockey League champions, who will look to rebuild under not one… but two… NL-born coaches. This is also a win for the province of NL – the Sea Dogs currently have 0 NL-born players in their training camp, which will likely change in the coming years if Lee and Head Coach Travis Crickard stick around a while. Best of luck to Mark – who is a long-time friend and former line-mate – with his new club.

Reegan Hiscock Signs with Victoria (BCHL)

The Victoria Grizzlies added highly-skilled forward Reegan Hiscock to their fold this month. The Grizzlies are no strangers to having NL-born players on their roster; the Grizz struck oil with Alex Newhook, but have also had Mathew Kennedy (’95 birthyear) and Kyle Mcgrath (’99) in recent memory. Hiscock lit the world on fire in his third and final U18 Major season with the Pinnacle Growlers; the big man has wheels, length, and skill. Click here for confirmation.

3 Players That Have Been Buzzing Recently

I only had the chance to witness two U18 Female games while in Corner Brook for HPP. One player who stood out in both games was ’05 Cassie Drover. Drover’s speed was – quite simply – electric in the two games I watched. Drover is multi-position eligible (can play F and D competently) and is a player that all USPORT teams in the Maritimes should follow closely this season. Drover will – in all likelihood – crack the Female U18 Canada Games team (the expanded Atlantic Challenge Cup roster can be found here) and should be a key contributor for Linda Massie and co at the Challenge in October. The 17-year-old Drover is currently taking a gap year at a local community college (Drover started school early in Alberta before returning to NL).

Photo – Mike Drover (FB)

Cameron ‘Bird Man’ Haye was apparently buzzing at HPP main camp, which comes as no surprise because buzzing is the man’s middle name. Haye will most definitely earn some frequent flyer points with the U14 coaches (Parsons, Power, Brake et al); he competes hard all the time, skates well, thinks the game at a high level and is consistent in all 3 zones. Sign me up for some KoKo B Ware! (30 black in this game tape, keep in mind most players in this game are a year older than him)

I’m not sure if goalies belong in the Buzzing category, but after watching Holyrood’s Will Morgan play up a level in U18 action tonight, he earned buzzin’ status. Morgan is an ’08 goalie who played for the TriCom U15AAA Thunder in 2021-22; he looks every bit of 5’11, has that tall, slender build that goalie coaches love, and moves like an elite athlete in the cage. Thanksgiving weekend at the ACC – Morgan needs to be watched closely.

Nolan Cleary Continues to Get Faster

The Yarmouth Mariners will be pleased with Nolan Cleary’s progress this off-season. According to sources, Cleary has shed 15+ pounds and it is apparent in his footwork. The former EC Blizzard standout cracked the Mariners lineup as an 18-year-old last year, and has the potential to take a step forward on their depth chart this year with his improved skating metrics. Mariners Training Camp opens on August 25th at the beautiful Mariners Centre; Cleary’s positive attitude will be a guiding light for the gold and blue next week.

U18 Major Camps/Exhibition Games Firing Up Across the Island

All 5 U18 Major teams are in training camp mode – the Tri-Pen Osprey held tryouts earlier this month, while the Blizzard and Growlers opened their respective camps this week. The Western Kings and Central Impact lock horns this weekend in a home-and-home series. Game 1 will go down in GF-Dub on Saturday, with the Sunday matinee taking place in Corner Brook. Click here for more information . I will hold off on my U18 Major team previews until after teams are selected – I have completed 1 team preview already (Tri-Pen – click here to view). I actually had the Blizzard’s team preview done about 10 days ago, but their entire coaching staff has changed since I made the video. Hit the delete button, Andrew.

HNL High Performance Program Rosters Announced

Congratulations to all players who made their respective HNL Provincial teams! Rosters were announced this evening on HNL’s web site (point and click). I counted 71 familiar faces from our program this Spring/Summer (skaters, not including goalies) on the 5 rosters; special congrats to those players. The work is just beginning.

For those of you who didn’t make it – it’s OK. Read this article. Getting cut builds character, inspires you to be better, and gives you a dose of what the real world is like. Because you don’t always get the dream job out of university, you don’t always get accepted to your graduate program, and you don’t always get the girl/guy . Experience adversity, don’t hide from it.

Until Next Time,