Over the last two seasons we have had the good fortune to get to know a few players well enough that they've agreed to do some guest blogging with us - always players in their draft year and we've always started in about March and went on towards the big event in June.
We're definitely planning on continuing the tradition for the 2009-10 season but we've decided not to wait to get things started. Because July 1st marks the end of the old schedule and the start of the new hockey year, we are pleased to begin the next season of guest blogs here at Coming Down the Pipe!
We've already got a handful of players in mind that we think fans will definitely enjoy getting to know more and more about. We'll continue to unveil new Guest Player blogs as the 2009-10 season gets closer, officially kicks off and wraps up next June at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
The first player on our list is one of the top players in the WHL and he's still only 17-years-old. He led his team in scoring last season with a whopping 30 goals and 60 points in 65 games, as a 16-year-old rookie. His offensive prowess helped him to capture the Jim Piggot Memorial Trophy as the WHL's Rookie of the Year. He also took home the national version of the same award as the Top Rookie in the Canadian Hockey League.
Of course I'm talking about Brett Connolly of the Prince George Cougars. Connolly has agreed to stop by once in a while and update us on how things are going with him this year. The Prince George product is considered a lock for Canada's entry into the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August and is already ranked as a 1st round prospect for the 2010 NHL Draft.
Here now is the first entry to "Pros and Conz" as written by Brett Connolly...
I used to live in Campbell River BC, and started my hockey career on Vancouver Island in a little town called Port Hardy. My dad worked at the arena in Port Hardy which was located walking distance from the local rink. At lunch times I would head on over to the rink and get in a quick skate and then go back to school. Living in a small town, I had a lot of access to ice time.
My best memories in Hockey are playing for my country in national events like U-17 and U-18, and winning the CHL and WHL Rookie of the Year awards.
This summer I am enjoying some quiet time away from the rink and the gym. I have been getting a lot stronger this summer and have put on some pounds. I have also tried to get on the golf courses as much as I can and enjoy playing some golf. I'm making a trip to Los Angeles California for a nice little vacation with my family on the 7th of July. From there we are taking a cruise to Mexico which should be very relaxing for myself. Getting away for me will be a big help with all the travel we did last year and will be doing this year. It will also just let me relax because next year I'm banking on playing a lot of Hockey.
I watched the draft at home and saw a close buddy of mine in Ryan Howse get drafted by the Calgary Flames. For me going in the first round is a dream and also a personal goal that I want to achieve.
The Prince George Cougars this year are going to have a completely different look. This year all the guys are going to be held accountable and are going to work for Dean. Dean Clarke is a guy who wants to be in Prince George and knows exactly what he wants from his team. Hes a winner and that's entirely what we need. The organization is definitely going to take a big step next year as I think we have a contender-level team. I think that the division is going to be a lot more equal and its going to be a fight to see who can be at the top. There are no real standout teams for me at this point. I think it is up in the air and anyone can finish first.
August 1st is coming fast and I'm really excited to wear that Maple Leaf again. Obviously finish fourth was a big disappointment for everyone and John McFarland, Joey Hishon, Erik Gudbranson and I know that we need a better result and will settle for nothing but the gold this time.