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Blues vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Jr. Canes Take Big Step

Wednesday, 02.23.2011 / 10:35 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Jr. Canes Take Big Step
In a month that’s brought plenty of good omens about the state of hockey in North Carolina, perhaps none is bigger than the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes’ recent championship in the International-B Bracket of the famous Quebec pee-wee tournament.

Paul Branecky
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It may not seem that way when compared to the success of All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, which served as an eye-opener for some in the hockey world, and the recent reflections of Rod Brind’Amour, who experienced 11 years of growth firsthand. However, the Jr. Canes’ capture of the championship shows that, when it comes to hockey, North Carolinians have become more than just fans.

“The first year we went up (in 2001) we couldn’t score a goal, and now 10 years later we’re winning it,” said Paul Strand, the Hurricanes’ youth and amateur hockey coordinator and head coach of the Quebec team.

“It shows that we can make great hockey players in North Carolina,” said Mitchell Glabicki, a defenseman from Cary.

On their way to the title, the Jr. Hurricanes, a AAA team consisting of 11- and 12-year-olds mostly from the Triangle area but also from Charlotte, Wilmington and Hampton, Virginia, posted a 6-0 record in tournament play, outscoring the opposition 32-6. They beat teams from Utah, England, Moncton, Colorado, Anaheim and Switzerland in front of crowds as big as 10,000 in Quebec City’s Colisee Pepsi – the former home of the NHL’s Quebec Noridques.

The list of NHL alumni from the tournament is a who’s who of current NHL stars. Many current members of the Hurricanes organization have played, ranging from Ron Francis (’75, ’76) to Jeff Skinner (’05). Drayson Bowman, Tim Gleason, Chad LaRose and Sergei Samsonov are also among those who have competed in the past.

“It’s probably the most difficult tournament these kids can be involved in,” said Strand. “The immensity of it and the fact that they’re playing in the Colisee throws in a whole new dynamic for these kids.”

For years, the tournament has been as much about the experience as the competition. Players stay with local billet families and have the opportunity to learn a new culture surrounding the city’s winter carnival.

“Staying with the billets, learning some French and having to be on your own without your parents there … it’s a lot of fun,” said Nicholas Hale, a left wing from Cary.

Having won the International-B bracket in convincing fashion this year – a late, come-from-behind victory against Colorado marked the only time they trailed throughout the tournament - it seems likely that the Jr. Hurricanes will advance to the tougher AA division beginning next season.

“We always said, ‘Let’s stay in the B bracket until we win the thing,’” said Strand.

That will present yet another challenge for the program, but at this rate, it’s one they seem prepared for.

“You definitely see the growth,” said Strand. “It’s been 12 years here in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the Hurricanes, and here we are winning the biggest tournament out there. The development of the players is coming on fast, and it’s a big result of having the Carolina Hurricanes here.”


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NYI 47 32 14 1 155 130 65
2 DET 48 28 11 9 144 123 65
3 TBL 49 30 15 4 158 131 64
4 MTL 46 30 13 3 126 108 63
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 NYR 45 27 14 4 135 110 58
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 45 20 15 10 111 127 50
10 TOR 49 22 23 4 143 152 48
11 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
12 PHI 49 20 22 7 134 149 47
13 CBJ 46 21 22 3 117 145 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 48 14 31 3 90 171 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 42 16 14 -6 30
J. Faulk 47 9 19 -13 28
E. Lindholm 47 9 11 -11 20
J. Tlusty 40 12 7 -11 19
J. Skinner 42 10 9 -7 19
R. Nash 47 7 12 -4 19
N. Gerbe 43 5 13 -3 18
V. Rask 47 6 9 -10 15
A. Sekera 45 1 14 -6 15
C. Terry 34 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 6 8 2 .918 2.30
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45