The WHL first round playoff schedule is set, with the last team now in place.
The Seattle Thunderbirds lost a heartbreaker in Portland (6-2), knocking them out and paving the way for the Everett Silvertips to face the Tri City Americans.
Here's how the first round match-ups look:
Edmonton Oil Kings v. Kootenay Ice
Moose Jaw Warriors v. Regina Pats
Calgary Hitmen v. Brandon Wheat Kings
Medicine Hat Tigers v. Saskatoon Blades
Tri City Americans v. Everett Silvertips
Portland Winterhawks v. Kelowna Rockets
Vancouver Giants v. Spokane Chiefs
To follow the WHL playoffs and to print out a bracket, click here.
Middle East Peace... on ICE
I read a fascinating story about a hockey team in northern Israel made up of boys and girls, Jews and Arabs.
Yes, you read that correctly.
These pre-teens and teens practice together and play together as a team, at an Olympic-size ice arena at the Canada Centre in the town of Metulla. The sports complex was donated by a group of Canadian Jews, but once the kids take the ice, religious and cultural differences melt away. They're joined by one love: hockey.
I don't want to re-write an already awesome story. Click here to read it for yourself.
But it makes me wonder: if we can teach Arab and Jewish leaders to skate, then put them on the ice...
Biz Nasty's Call for Help
If you follow Paul Bissonnette on Twitter, you get a sense of a guy who's comfortable in his skin, who calls things as he sees them and does not apologize for his sometimes sharp opinions. So it came as a surprise to read about his recent (and apparent ongoing) struggle with depression and anxiety stemming from his decreased playing time. After reading a very thoughtful article in the Arizona Republic, my respect for Paul increased exponentially. I also wondered how many other players share his feelings but are suffering in silence. I applaud the strength it took for Paul to admit he needed some kind of help, as well as the strength it took to go public with his story. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do. I've even made it easy for you to find it. Just click here.
CCPT Hockey Show
Cassie & I hosted our third CCPT Hockey Show since coming back from hiatus. We didn't have any guests today, but managed to fill the hour ourselves, talking about a variety of topics, including: Norfolk Admirals' amazing winning streak; the Flyers snapping the Pens' 11 game winning streak; the Blues being the first team to 100 points; the North Dakota Fighting Sioux's incredible come-from-behind win over Minnesota and subsequent WCHA title victory + the NCAA leaders; Biz Nasty's call for help (see above); and much, much more.
If you didn't tune in, the show is available on podcast. Click here to take a listen. If you like us, we'd love it if you'd bookmark us.
Blog Roll Call of the Week
Some awesome bloggers/writers are doing some awesome blogging/writing.
Here's just a few of the sites that have great stories out this week.
If you're not already reading them, you need to. Now.
Spector's Hockey - Lyle Richardson has his finger on the pulse of all the latest rumors. And unlike others who claim to know what's going on, Lyle is the REAL DEAL.
The Hockey Guys - Dustin Leed & the guys bring unique perspective to the game, its players and issues.
Hockey Independent - Dozens of awesome writers covering all angles of every team. I'm proud to be among them, should I ever get off my lazy butt and actually start contributing stories.
7th Woman - Dee Karl is the First Lady of hockey writing and an awesome human being.
Preds On the Glass - Buddy Oakes covers the Preds with flair and a nod to other teams.
The View from 111 - I have to include Mr. Mark Willoughby here as well. He not only covers the Preds, but offers his view and insight on life in general. Well worth adding to your reading list.
LA Kings Court - Meg has a heart of gold and a great love of the LA Kings. But, she's another fan who sees other teams fairly and is worth a read.
Raw Charge - One of my favorite Lightning blogs, and not just because my CCPT Hockey Show co-host is on the staff. Love their insight.
There are other awesome hockey blogs/sites out there. These are the ones I read this week. Please feel free to add your blog/site suggestions in the comments section!