I can honestly say that I now have something in common with former T-Bird Thomas Hickey. We both have been featured on the front page of NHL.com. The site honored 3 of my blogs with front page status. Of course, he's much more high-profile than I am, and if he continues to tear up training camp and pre-season like he did at the LA Kings' prospects camp, his stock is gonna rise even more.
Anyone who's been to a T-Birds game over the last four years has seen this talented guy bloom right before our eyes. We weren't surprised when he was selected to Team Canada for the 2007-2008 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. We weren't surprised when he helped Team Canada bring home their 4th consecutive gold medal. And we really weren't surprised to learn that not only had Thomas been selected to Team Canada for the 2008-2009 WJC in Ottawa, but that Coach Pat Quinn had named him Captain of this talented young team.
And even though Team Canada gave us a couple of heart attacks (who can forget that 6-5 shootout win against Russia in the semi-finals), we knew by the end of the first period in the gold medal game against Sweden that the boys in red were going to pull off their 5th straight championship. The only thing that surprised me was what happened when Captain Thomas Hickey was handed the championship cup. This usually reticent, soft-spoken guy let out a scream that I can still hear to this day. The sound was pure, unadulterated joy.
When the T-Birds fell to the Spokane Chiefs in the first round of the WHL playoffs, Seattle fans felt a deep sense of loss because they knew their captain was gone. Just a couple of days after that heartbreaking Game 5 loss, Thomas was jetting across the country to Manchester, New Hampshire, to join the Kings' AHL team, the Monarchs. And we all remember just what an impact he made right away!
So, just as fans were not surprised at how brightly their star shone all season, they're not fazed that NHL.com is sitting up and taking notice of the #4 selection in the 2007 NHL Draft. Here's a link to correspondent Eric Stephens' great story about Thomas' NHL quest. Our only question is, what took you so long?
Photo: Fred Trask
Our favorite pugilist... and hockey blogger Mitch Love could find himself dropping the gloves against his former team, the Houston Aeros this season. Last week, Mitch told me he's signed on with the Peoria Rivermen, the St. Louis Blues' AHL affiliate. I know that Houston fans are very disappointed. They grew to love Mitch's gigantic heart and work ethic. Oh, and we can't forget those tilts, set to Mitch's theme song, Thorogood's "Who Do You Love?" Well, time to start boning up on my knowledge of Peoria. I'm sure the team is good. I'm just not too keen on the logo guy. He kinda looks like the Gorton's fisherman.
A couple of weeks ago, Mitch and I chatted about his road along the hockey path, from the time he was a wee lad, to today. I learned some interesting things about this guy. One: he LOVES Motley Crue. Two: his dad REFUSED to let him play goalie. You can find out why by clicking on the link below:
Photo: Scott Berg
Former Silvertip Riley Armstrong is also on the move. After San Jose/Worcester didn't exercise their option to re-sign him or trade him, Riley became a free agent and signed on with Calgary. He's understandably disappointed that the organization to which he gave five years of his hockey life let him go, but he's really excited to test out the ice in Calgary, which is garnering new energy under the tutelage of the Sutter family.
Riley chatted with me last week about the latest changes in his life and career. He's setting his sights on making the Flames lineup and playing closer to his family. But... should he end up spending part of the season with Calgary's AHL team, Silvertips fans wouldn't be disappointed at all, since the team moved from Iowa to Abbotsford, BC. Riley says it wouldn't be too bad to play a few games there, either, since he'd get to see some old friends.
You can read more of my interview with Riley by clicking on the link below.