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From the Press Box: In Full Swing

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It’s been a busy month at HockeyNow.

We launched our Fans’ Choice awards last year in the hopes of getting a little extra buzz around some awesome schools, manufacturers and tournaments that do so much to help grow the game. Well, it turns out we weren’t the only ones who wanted to show these great schools and companies some love, because we ended up with thousands of votes leading up to the award presentations in each category.

So, of course, we had to bring it back again. Make sure to check out this year’s finalists, cast your vote, and let us know if there’s a worthy candidate we overlooked. Voting closes on November 13th and we’ll be announcing our winners in the December 5th issue.

Last year also brought us one of our best HockeyNow: CRAVE Gift Guides yet and we’ve already started putting together a list of this year’s best gifts for the hockey players and hockey lovers in your life. We have a few extra special surprises up our sleeve this year so we can’t wait to unveil it all in the November 19th print edition. We’re still scouring the shelves for great ideas, so make sure to let us know if there’s a must-have gift that we should include.

This month also brings us International Scouting Services’ (ISS) first Top 30 ranked prospects for the NHL Draft. We’ll be releasing the list every month in print and online and also featuring profiles throughout the year. We were especially excited to see the ISS October Top 30 to find out where our Ontario Minor Hockey Player of the Year, Gabe Vilardi, landed on the list. We knew he’d be up there and we were thrilled to see that he’s currently occupying the third spot. Of course, that could change as the season progresses, but there’s no question he’ll be taken early in the 2017 Draft.

Gabe will follow a long line of our Players of the Year who were drafted early and went on to have successful NHL careers. Most recently, our 2013 B.C. Player of the Year Dante Fabbro was selected 17th overall by the Nashville Predators at the 2016 Draft. We can’t wait to watch him in action.

In the meantime, we’re starting to look at this year’s crop of elite players in their CHL draft year. Our Player of the Year selection committee is chaired Dave Babych, former Vancouver Canuck and B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, and Dennis MacInnis, Founder and Head Scout of International Scouting Services. The committee has been scoping out players and are starting to put together preliminary lists for each province, which we’ll be releasing every month, starting with this issue. 

Players make the final cut based on their ability and performance, but we also look at what they’ve done for their schools and their communities, on and off the ice. That’s part of the reason we’re so excited to see our Players of the Year on ISS lists and NHL rosters.

They’re not just good players – they’ve already made it a habit to give back and they know what in means to be dedicated and focused. If history is any indication, we’ll be presenting the award to three more stellar players by the end of the year so make sure to follow along every month as we get closer to choosing our winners.

And beyond Fans’ Choice, ISS Top 30 lists, our Gift Guide and our Player of the Year, there’s a lot more to look forward to, so make sure to pick up our print issues at your local rink, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on twitter, Facebook and online.

Tags: minor hockey

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