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Everyone has to get their start somewhere…

So what’s going on in the world of minor league hockey? Anyone? No one knows? I’ll never quite understand that. I get that the AHL lacks the big names that the NHL has, but the game is the same. In some ways I think it’s better, though in the end I do care about the Stanley Cup a whole heck of a lot more than I do the Calder Cup.

Every year around this time I glance at the rosters of junior hockey and minor league hockey teams. I do this because I know that someday, one of them might be on my favorite team. Some of them could end up with their names on the Stanley Cup or in a race for the league scoring title. They’re unknown to me now, but maybe not in a few years.

Howard, Crosby, Doughty… All three are well known around the league now, but look back 5 or 6 years and they were pretty much unknown. They’re rich and famous today, but they got their careers started by riding buses and washing off in a shower with no hot water.

So this year, in the middle of all the stress, anxiety and joy of this years NHL season, don’t forget your local minor league team. You might catch a glimpse of future (or even past) greatness. And when you see one of those guys screw up and you think, “Wow, he sucks.”, don’t forget that we all gotta start somewhere.

And you can’t beat the price of admission.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Minor League, | KK Members Blog | Permalink


Primis's avatar

Minor league hockey sometimes has great stories.

Two years ago a guy named Trent Daavettila got a tryout late in the season from the then-IHL(the 2.0 “AA”-wannabe version) Kalamazoo Wings.  He was a guy that had played Div 3 NCAA Hockey at Finlandia and had last played with the Flint Generals on a tryout and despite Flint being a terrible team, they didn’t think much of him and let him go after only 2 games.

So he joined the K-Wings as a tryout with 20 games to go, and proceeded to rack up 18 points in 20 games, and then was an important contributor in 6 games in the playoffs in tryign to upset the #1 seed.  Last year then when the K-Wings jumped ship to the affiliated “AA” ECHL, he re-signed and put up 49 points in 51 ECHL games.  Not only that, he played 15 games of AHL hockey in stints with Adirondack and Grand Rapids.

Daavettila has now re-signed again with ECHL Kalamazoo for the coming season and will likely once again see AHL time mid-season once injuries and call-ups hit the AHL clubs.  He went from a guy nobody wanted at any pro level and had never heard of, to playing in the AHL in the span of one mere calendar year.

You never know who you’ll see in the minors.  In Kalamazoo last year we watched Jeremy Duchesne for some of the year, who got a call to Philly when injuries ravaged their goalies late in the season, and he even got an NHL start out of it.  Because Anaheim had to AHL “AAA” affiliate last year, they had Kyle Calder playing in “AA” Bakersfield for some time.

Not only do you get to see some of the future, but you sometimes get to see name players, vets, and such trying to make comebacks (Darren McCarty with the Flint Generals and Grand Rapids Griffins) or guys on rehab assignment form an injury trying to get back up to game speed.  Or sometimes you get to see name players that just aren’t ready to hang therm up yet (Mike Keane in Manitoba, Chris Chelios last year in Chicago with the Wolves).

Posted by Primis on 08/31/10 at 10:31 AM ET

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