Tracking the Storm

Jr. Canes Take Big Step

Wednesday, 02.23.2011 / 10:35 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
X
Share with your Friends


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
Follow on Twitter

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.”


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72