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Jr. Canes Take Big Step

Wednesday, 02.23.2011 / 10:35 AM ET / 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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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