Ontario Premier Doug Ford says Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has contacted the province about the potential of Toronto serving as the "hockey pod" location should the National Hockey League season resume
Ford states MLSE has reached out, but hasn't provided details about the concept.
The NHL was forced to pause its schedule in mid March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, & has been looking at plans to centralize groups of teams in low-risk centres in hopes of resuming the current season.
Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said he's interested to see what the NHL officially proposes for a resumption of play.
Frank Bergeron Passes
Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame inductee Frank Bergeron has passed away.
Bergeron played professional hockey in the late 1940's and 50's from one side of North America to the other.
Among his stops, Bergeron, who was a defenceman, played for the San Francisco Shamrocks in the Pacific Coast League and later for Halifax squads in the Major Maritimes League.
In between, he played in the American Hockey League for the Springfield Indians, Syracuse & the Buffalo Bisons.
After his pro career concluded in the mid-1950's, Bergeron was a prominent player for a variety of local Senior and Intermediate teams including the Owen Sound Mercury's, the Meaford Chevy's, the Collingwood Shipbuilders and the Durham Huskies
Inducted into the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, Frank Bergeron was 93
Defenceman Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion was given the Jack Ferguson Award by the Ontario Hockey League.
The award which is named for Jack Ferguson who had a 25 year association with the OHL primarily as the head of the OHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, goes to the 1st player chosen each year in the OHL priority Selection.
North Bay took Ty Nelson of the Toronto Jr Canadiens first in the 2020 Priority Selection.
The 2020 OHL Awards announcements continue today when the League reveals its Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy recipient as Overage Player of the Year.
With 2020 OHL Awards announcements getting underway today, the OHL is pleased to recognize North Bay Battalion first overall OHL Priority Selection choice Ty Nelson as this year's Jack Ferguson Award recipient.
The ‘Fergie’ recognizes the dedication and contributions made by Jack Ferguson during his 25 year association with the OHL, first as a scout with the Ottawa 67’s and followed by his appointment as head of the OHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in 1981 as its Director of Central Scouting.
"It is an absolute honour to win such a prestigious award," Nelson said of his name being engraved on the hardware. "I want to start by thanking my parents Rick and Tracy along with my sister Peyton. Without their sacrifice and dedication this truly wouldn't be possible. Thank you to Mr. Abbott and his family and the whole North Bay organization. I would also like to thank my past teachers and coaches who have helped me out along the way.
"To have my named mentioned with elite players such as Jason Spezza, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Jakob Chychrun is very special," he added. "I'm super excited to be a part of the North Bay community and franchise."
Selected first overall by the North Bay Battalion in last month's 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Nelson led the GTHL champion Toronto Jr. Canadiens from the blue line, pacing all defenders with 32 points (11-21--32) per 33 games before leading the way in playoff scoring amongst GTHL rearguards with 12 points (1-11--12) over 11 outings. The 16-year-old Toronto native was a member of Canada’s bronze medal-winning team that competed at the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne, Switzerland this past January. A swift-skating, puck-moving defenceman that stands 5-foot-8 and 174Ibs., Nelson was born March 30, 2004, making him eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft.
"The North Bay Battalion are looking forward to having Ty Nelson join our young, talented group of players," said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis. "We feel that he is ready to make an impact immediately with his fast paced style and high-end character. Ty is very deserving of the Jack Ferguson Award and joins an impressive list of past winners. We would like to congratulate Ty and his family on receiving this prestigious award."
Nelson becomes the second member of the Battalion franchise to receive the award following defenceman Jay Harrison, who was the Brampton Battalion's first-ever draft pick back in 1998. He’s the first defenceman selected first overall since another Jr. Canadiens rearguard in Ryan Merkley was selected first by the Guelph Storm in 2016. Prior to that, Jr. Canadiens blue line standout Jakob Chychrun was selected first overall by the Sarnia Sting in 2014.
Former winners of the Jack Ferguson Award include:
2019 Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs
2018 Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves
2017 Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts
2016 Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm
2015 David Levin, Sudbury Wolves
2014 Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting
2013 Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s
2012 Connor McDavid, Erie Otters
2011 Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts
2010 Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting
2009 Daniel Catenacci, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
2008 John McFarland, Sudbury Wolves
2007 Ryan O’Reilly, Erie Otters
2006 Steven Stamkos, Sarnia Sting
2005 John Tavares, Oshawa Generals
2004 John Hughes, Belleville Bulls
2003 Patrick McNeill, Saginaw Spirit
2002 Robbie Schremp, Mississauga IceDogs
2001 Patrick O’Sullivan,Mississauga IceDogs
2000 Patrick Jarrett, Mississauga IceDogs
1999 Jason Spezza, Mississauga IceDogs
1998 Jay Harrison, Brampton Battalion
1997 Charlie Stephens, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors
1996 Rico Fata, London Knights
1995 Daniel Tkaczuk, Barrie Colts
1994 Jeff Brown, Sarnia Sting
1993 Alyn McCauley, Ottawa 67’s
1992 Jeff O’Neill, Guelph Storm
1991 Todd Harvey, Detroit Ambassadors
1990 Pat Peake, Detroit Ambassadors
1989 Eric Lindros, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1988 Drake Berehowsky, Kingston Raiders
1987 John Uniac, Sudbury Wolves
1986 Troy Mallette, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1985 Bryan Fogarty, Kingston Canadians
1984 Dave Moylan, Sudbury Wolves
1983 Trevor Stienburg, Guelph Platers
1982 Kirk Muller, Guelph Platers
1981 Dan Quinn, Belleville Bulls
2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Wednesday when the League reveals its Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy recipient as Overage Player of the Year.
For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Birch Planted In Kitchener
Former Kitchener Rangers defenceman Joe Birch has been named as the Chief Operating Officer and Governor for the Ontario Hockey League club.
Birch who has spent 12 years working at the OHL; most recently as the Vice President of Hockey Development, will officially assume the role in Kitchener on June 1st replacing Steve Bienkowski who's held the post for the past 18 seasons.
Bienkowski, who is a seasonal resident at Southampton, announced his plan to retire this past January.
The Kitchener Rangers are proud to announce that Joe Birch has been named the organization’s incoming Chief Operating Officer and Governor.
Birch will officially assume the role of COO and Governor on June 1, 2020, filling the role held by Steve Bienkowski the past 18 seasons. Bienkowski announced his plan to retire this past January.
The native of Corunna, Ontario, Rangers alumnus, and graduate of Western University has spent 12 years working at the OHL – most recently as the Vice President of Hockey Development; overseeing the growth and expansion of the league’s operations while working closely with each club to help optimize performance, fan growth and engagement.
He previously spent six years as the Senior Director of Hockey Development & Special Events with the OHL; planning and executing unique special events that helped reaffirm the league’s position as the number one development league for the NHL, Canada’s national teams and U Sports.
As the previous Director of Player Recruitment & Education Services for the OHL, Birch led the establishment of its Centrally Administered Scholarship Program.
Kitchener Rangers Board of Directors President Shawn McKelvie conveyed how Birch’s vast experience touched all the key points to lead the team’s front office.
“His expertise and experience, most recently at a league level with the OHL, will be a tremendous benefit to our organization for many years to come,” McKelvie said.
“As a Rangers alumnus, his familiarity with our team’s culture and strong connection to the community is an added bonus as well.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory confirms preliminary talks have been staged with both the NBA Raptors and the Blue Jays of Major League Baseball about a return to action as restrictions from COVID-19 begin to ease.
Tory states the city is working with the Ontario provincial government regarding the Raptors, and he notes things are moving forward quite nicely.
The NBA is currently planning to allow teams to open practice facilities starting Friday,
Mayor Tory has discussed the possibility of the Blue Jays eventually being able to play games at some point, but added the talks were at a preliminary level.
Among the caveats to these scenarios us that the majority of players on the Blue Jays and Raptors are currently outside Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said non-residents entering the country would "at a strict minimum" need to follow quarantine protocols.
Running back Frank Gore has reportedly agreed to terms on a 1-year contract with the New York Jets of the National Football League.
Gore, who turns 37 years old this week, is third on the NFL’s career rushing list
The Jets have not yet announced the signing
Masters Show Jump Cancelled
Spruce Meadows has cancelled its signature Masters show jumping tournament scheduled for September because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Masters was scheduled for September 9th-13th.
Spruce Meadows planned to offer $6 million in prize money in 2020. The tournament season draws almost half a million spectators annually to watch the top horses and riders in the world.