So I've put out two blog posts now on all my connections to the Belfast Giants, both with those currently in the organization and those who used to be with the club. That got me thinking; if I have THAT many connections to Belfast, do I have any with the other teams in the EIHL?
I went back to my favourite website, Elite Prospects, and this is what I found....
I only found one connection to the Cardiff Devils, but it's a fairly strong one. Mike McNamee is from Perth, Ontario, which is about an hour outside my hometown of Ottawa. Now not only is it just outside my home, but it's also where my wife's family cottage is and I've spent many nights during the summers. On top of that, McNamee played in the CCHL (again, which I used to broadcast) for the Smiths Falls Bears. And then if that wasn't enough, he followed that up by playing university hockey for Carleton University in Ottawa where I attended for a year.
I have three connections with the Blaze; Justin Hamonic, John Curran and Andrew Johnston.
Hamonic is not only from a few hours down the road in Winnipeg, but he spent a season with the Winnipeg Wild of the Manitoba U-18 'AAA' Hockey League. (That's the league that Kevin Raine once played in with the Kenora Thistles). I've been involved with that league for the past few years as a broadcaster, reporter and volunteer. Can't get much better connection that that.
Now Curran, like McNamee is another former CCHL player, and exactly like McNamee he played for the Smiths Falls Bears.
The final connection I have with the Blaze is with Johnston, who spent most of his junior hockey career playing for the Flin Flon Bombers of the SJHL. The Bombers, as I mentioned in yesterdays' post, are broadcast by the sister station of the radio station that I worked for in Thompson)
The first connection I have with the Stars is with Dundee itself rather than the hockey club. My family on my mom's side come from Carnoustie (in addition to ROI and NI), and Dundee is the closest major city.
As far as the team itself goes, there's four players I can find a connection with starting with Matt Carter. It's the easiest one, as he's from Mississauga, Ontario, which is where I grew up.
Kevin Dufour spent time with the Carleton Place Canadians, who are part of the CCHL (again, which I used to broadcast).
LIke Dufour, Matt Marquardt is also a former CCHLer, having spent time with the Brockville Braes. That connection is actually a bit stronger than most CCHL players in the EIHL since my first-ever TV broadcast of a game was in Brockville between the Braves and Kemptville 73's.
The final connection I have with the Stars is Brett Stovin, who spent time with the U-18 'AAA' Interlake Lightning. I not only have seen countless Lightning games over the past few seasons, but it's actually one of the five rinks in the league I've been to.
Only two connections I could find with Fife. First was with Miek Cazzola, who spent time with my home-town Ottawa 67's in the OHL.
The other connection was with Kyle Just. Just is from Arnprior, Ontario which is just outside Ottawa, and he's another former CCHLer who played for Adam Keefe's brother and now Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe with the Pembroke Lumber Kings. I always loved going to Pembroke to call games at their barn...so many great memories.
Yes, I'm going to talk about my connections to all teams, EVEN THE CLAN. There's four of them, by the way.
Let's start off with Patrick Killeen. He's from Almonte, Ontario (right outside my home town) and is ANOTHER former CCHLer. He played for the Ottawa Junior Senators, one of the four teams in the league that I was actually a regular member of their broadcast crew. After some time in the AHL/ECHL, Killeen played at Carleton University, where again I spent a year attending school (or mostly watching/playing hockey...I can never remember.)
Next up is Matt Stanisz, who like Killeen played at Carleton. Now unlike Patrick, Matt was actually on the hockey team at the school while I was there, and I remember vividly that he was my favourite player on the team.
My connection to Matt Beca is probably the weakest connection of the four in that he's from Mississagua, which again is where I grew up.
The (thankfully) final connection I have to the Clan is Scott Pitt. Pitt's not only from Ottawa, but is a former CCHLer who spent time with the Glocuester Rangers. (They're who I started my broadcast career with, who Steve Thornton played for, and who Tyler Beskorowany spent a season coaching)
Nadda. Nothing. If I really tried I could probably squeeze out a connection somewhere but I really couldn't be bothered right now.
I have two connections to the storm that are surprisingly very strong and kinda make me have a soft spot for Manchester. That's extremely uncomfortable for me say as a MASSIVE Liverpool F.C. fan by the way....
Adam Hughesman started off his hockey career with the Winnipeg Thrashers, who like the Winnipeg Wild and Interlake Lightning play in the Manitoba U-18 'AAA' Hockey League, which again I've been actively involved with in many capacities for going on almost four full seasons now.
The second connection I have with the club is probably the most personal of all my connections, and it's with their head coach Ryan Finnerty. Finnerty played part of the 1997/1998 season with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers. Now while that might not seem like anything, December 20th, 1997 was the date of my first-ever live hockey game (that I wasn't playing in) in Medicine Hat between the Tigers and the Calgary Hitmen. I can't find any game sheets to see if Finnerty was actually playing or not, but he quite possibly was on the ice the night I fell in love with the game of hockey.
This one is me maybe stretching a tiny bit, but Julian Talbot spent four seasons with, including one as the captain, my home-town major junior club the Ottawa 67's.
Not the strongest connection that I have to a team, but Tanner Eberle played a few games for the Flin Flon Bombers (again, who are broadcast by the sister station of the radio station that I worked for in Thompson).
I know this seems like a long list, but it actually could be longer. I tried to keep the connections as close as possible, but there's a handful of players from almost every team that I have some sort of more indirect connection with.
SO. I guess the hockey world really is a small place after all.