CCHL Holiday Showcase Returns To Kanata

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CCHL Holiday Showcase returns to Kanata

Beginning tomorrow afternoon (Friday) junior hockey fans in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario will have an opportunity to see all 12 teams in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) Tier 1 Junior A play two games in the same venue on the same weekend Dec. 16-18.

The fifth annual ‘CCHL Holiday Showcase’ returns to Bell Sensplex (BSP) in Kanata where the fourth event was staged so successfully last December.

Originally dubbed the "Winter Showcase" the first three ventures were held at North Grenville Municipal Centre in Kemptville, home of the CCHL’s Kemptville 73’s. The event began in 2007.

The composition of the weekend remains unchanged. All 12 league teams will play two regular season games at BSP this weekend, utilizing two of the ice pads in the state-of-the-art four-pad complex.

The event is a carbon copy of the league’s long-running, season opening showcase which launches the long regular campaign in early September. This year’s event was also held in Ottawa, but at the nearby Kanata Recreation Complex, home of the CCHL’s Kanata Stallions.

The CCHL Showcase and the renamed Holiday Festival (the name was changed last year) are part of an ongoing effort by the league to add some innovation and excitement to the lengthy Junior A season.

Both ventures have proven to be hits with scouts and recruiters in particular. It is expected dozens of representatives (mainly scouts) from the National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Hockey League (Major Junior A) as well as from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools in the United States will be in Kanata to watch the games and assess the CCHL talent pool beginning Friday, Dec. 16. The special event continues Saturday and Sunday in the Mattamy Homes (MH) and Scotiabank (SB) arenas. The latter is not to be confused with nearby Scotiabank Place, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.

This is the 50th anniversary year for the Junior A loop which was previously known as the Central Junior Hockey League. The name was changed last year to avoid confusion with the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) which had the same acronym. The CJHL governs 10 Junior A leagues across the country including the CCHL.

The area league, which has five teams based in Ottawa and seven others in communities across Eastern Ontario, has been a hotbed of talent for Major Junior and NCAA recruiters since its inception in 1961. Many CCHL graduates have gone on to professional careers, most notably in the NHL the world’s premier professional league.

In fact the two CCHL divisions are named for prominent graduates Steve Yzerman, a Nepean native and Larry Robinson of Marvelville, Ontario near Metcalfe. Both players enjoyed stellar NHL careers, Yzerman with Detroit Red Wings where he spent his entire career and Robinson mainly with Montreal Canadiens. Both men are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Last month five players from league teams suited up for Team Canada East in yet another showcase tournament held in Langley, British Columbia. Canada East lost 4-2 to Team Canada West in the gold medal game of the six-team, five-country tournament. It was Canada West’s third triumph in the six-year-old competition. The United States won the event three consecutive years from 2008-2010.

Daily and weekend passes are now on sale for this weekend’s CCHL Holiday Showcase. They can be purchased at Bell Sensplex. Due to limited seating advance ticket purchases are highly recommended. Read the information at the end of this article for further details!

All this weekend in Kanata, junior hockey fans and scouts alike will have a chance to see the best athletes in the league compete in one location.

The playoff races are beginning to heat up in the two-division loop with 12 teams vying for eight available places. The regular season (each team play a 62-game schedule) has just passed the halfway point.

SCHEDULE SET

The games themselves involve teams from the opposing divisions. The participants will not face clubs from their own six-team division.

The opener at 5 p.m. Friday will feature Ottawa Junior Senators against Hawkesbury Hawks in MH arena. At 7 o’clock the first place Nepean Raiders take on challengers Cornwall Colts in what should be a dandy in SB arena. At 8 p.m. perennial league favourites Pembroke Lumber Kings and Brockville Braves hook up (MH).

Saturday’s six-game schedule will begin at 1 p.m. when Carleton Place Canadians, currently battling for second place overall in the league, take on Gloucester Rangers (MH). At 2 p.m. Smiths Falls Bears hook up with Cumberland Grads (SB) and at 4 o’clock host Kanata faces Brockville (MH). At 5 p.m. Pembroke will tangle with Kemptville (SB) and at 7 o’clock it will be Cornwall taking on the Junior Sens (MH). Saturday’s schedule concludes at 8 p.m. when Hawkesbury and Nepean square off (SB).

The showcase weekend concludes with three games Sunday. At 1 p.m. Carleton Place takes on Cumberland (MH) and at 2 p.m. Kanata goes head-to-head with Kemptville (SB). The 12th and final game will pit Smiths Falls against Gloucester beginning at 4 o’clock (MH).

To find additional information about the venture, including ticket prices, visit the website: www.bellsensplex.ca

There is a scrolling ‘Featured News’ box on the right hand side of the main page which will lead you to the CCHL Holiday Showcase details.

For complete information on the league including current standings and individual players’ statistics visit the CCHL website at: www.centraljuniorhockeyleague.ca

Jeff Maguire

 

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