Despite the National Hockey League lockout, hockey goes on and continues to capture the interest of young and older players year after year. Recently, I had the pleasure of taking in an Ontario Hockey League contest. It was the Plymouth Whalers against the Saginaw Spirit, both are members of the OHL, a Junior A league made up of boys ages 15 to 20.
A number of American-born boys dot the rosters of the 20 teams in the four division teams that make up the entire hockey circuit. Only three teams are from the United States, and two are located in our state of Michigan. (The third is in Erie, Pa.)
One such youngster is Anthony Ross of Dearborn Heights. The local native plays left wing for Saginaw and is a big part of the offense for his squad.
Ross has been making noise for his team this year. The lad from the Heights, has scored a total of 17 markers thus far. I watched him put one of those goals past the Whalers goalie during a power play shot at a game in December. Ross should continue his scoring ways as the season moves on.
Is OHL Junior hockey equivalent to collegiate hockey? It appears to be at about the same level. Hockey fans would do well to catch a few Whalers games this winter. The regular seson is half over and their remaining schedule information can be found at www.plymouthwhalers.com or www.ontariohockeyleague.com.
How good is the OHL? Former Whaler Tom Wilson is a first round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 2012 NHL draft. So, you just never know where top talent will come from.
I conclude this way: Hockey is a big deal in many countries and among local players who enjoy the sport on ice. We can thank the Canadians for inventing the game that is enjoyed by so many. All you need is skates, protective equipment, a stick, a puck and indoor or outdoor ice to skate on.
Thank you, Canada.