April 6th. 2019. That is the last time the King Street Cup was awarded. Since that date the Welland hockey landscape has been caped in darkness. The parking lot are all un-converged in, the beers are un-cracked, and the twine is anything but dented. Now, after two years of misery, the light of a new day has broke. In a few short days, we will once again be privileged enough to hear the sounds of the pucks missing nets, the chirps from our own benches, and the gasping for breath of a group of middle aged men trying to hold on to their youth. There are no sounds on earth more beautiful.
Last Wednesday the WNHL once again gathered at our historic league headquarters The Rex Hotel and dispersed the talent amongst the six WNHL franchises. We are going to review the picks and judge them with our harshest eyes.
This year Craig “Sky Caught Fire” Laro was blessed or cursed with the first overall pick for the second time is his tenure as GM for the Townline Tunnelers. Laro made it to the dance the last time he had the first overall pick, but ultimately came up short. This time with a new determined focus, he used his first three picks on Cockell, Lance Romance, and Chris Woods, clearly sending a message to the WNHL. That message seems to be “we have the most combustible bench in the WNHL”. Cockell who has never not had nothing to say about anything, Romance who is remembered for the attempted murder of Paco, and Woods who can verbally dissect refs with near surgical precision, can all bury the puck with ease, it’s a like a whole line of Brad Marchand’s.
So how did Laro follow up the devils threeway? He brought it two rookies. Kevin Wright and Brain Barker. These poor bastards. Can you imagine being one of these guys on the bench if the Tunnelers go down by a couple of goals in the first period of the first game? They’re going to leave the arena with PTSD.
In an effort to balance out the room a bit Laro was able to pick up Colin Cook in the 6th round which may turn out to be the steal of the draft, not only for his smoothness on the ice but for the cookies that his wife bakes. I’m telling you they are life changing. Ben Brown, John Harvey and Mike Law fill out the later rounds and help to balance out that hellscape that is the first three rounds. Adding the “The Croatian Bull” Matt Sajn and Kenny “Lemieux” Oost fills out a veteran presence in the locker room, with Ryan “Mr. Irrelevant” Rumsby completing the 21-22 Townline Tunnelers. So how will the Tunnelers fare in 21-22?
The Merritt Islanders were awarded the second pick in this years draft, although they should have had it forfeited due to GM Ryan “A Beautiful Mind” Daniel shameful display at the WNHL spring golf tournament / bbq. There is no need to speak of it any further. He knows what he did.
In the first three rounds the Islanders selected Dalton Wilson, Willard and Accursi. A guy who never talks, a guy who never shuts the fuck up, and a tiny little rat. Daniel drafting from all over the likeability board in those first three rounds. Say what you will about these three, they are some of the smoothest skaters in the league, and the Willard to Daniel combo has proved dangerous in the past. I’ll let you guess what side of the likeability board they are on though.
Daniel was also able to grab Pat Riley who’s got wheels like Degrassi and Tyler Stack, who himself might be the steal of the draft in the sixth round. Forget what I said about Cook being the steal, Stack 1.0 in the sixth is larceny. He can play any forward position, unlike former WNHLer Stack 2.Bro who only plays extreme right wing. Combining these two with a trio straight out of their basement kitchens, Fabiani, Mollo, and Carm “Still have no idea how to spell his name” Gugliemi, Daniel ensures that the Islanders will be flush with cured meats and mobile defencemen.
Rounding out the Islanders are Shawn “Greyhound” Mckinnon, who has earned that nickname for his dedication to the WNHL which included taking a bus from Hamilton to play in the WNHL. Think about that the next time you think of bailing for some bullshit reason. Staying with greyhounds, Daniel picked up Strohak who shares the same stamina and scoring ability of an actual greyhound. Daniel picked up our commish Kelly Jones because he thinks that will bring him favour with the refs, forgetting that the referees hate Jones due to his quota of at least two snapouts a game.
They also drafted Steve Pelerin but I don’t know who that is so I have no sauce to talk. Yet. Islanders contend through the first half but finish fourth in the regular season.
Crown Room Kings
Rob “Flea Market Jesus” Foster took official control of the Crown Room Kings on Wednesday and assembled the first ever group of Foster’s Kids. Not the kind that have probably been molested but the kind that will smash OV’s in a parking lot with you in the middle of January. Foster started by picking last years potential rookie of the year Shawn Boychuck, the master of the feodra and the fauxhawk Corey Hutchinson, and Peter Nunn who looks and plays like he hates fun.
Hutchinson has impressed since transferring over from the Champlain league, and seems to be enjoying the league, based on the fact that he averaged 52 minutes of ice time per game last year. Foster dipped in again to the Champlain league talent pool and picked up DIno Maddelina who is known for two things. His pizza making ability, https://www.nonispizzeria.com/ and for being only one of two players to get Dalton mad. That’s something that only Cockell had ever achieved before in the WNHL so he is in some special company there.
Teddy “Ballgame” Beadle carries on the Beadle legacy, and Billy “The Swiss Army Knife” Crumm comes to the team to bring some balance to the Champlain try hards. They are joined by Al “Bobby” Clarke and Neil Bahn who is now the only Bahn in the league, a Bahn Solo if you will. Foster filled in his roster with two rookies, SIlvian Roy who most likely lives on a “Rue”, or could be a “sometime y” Italian, and a player that can only be described as the first Puerto Rican supermodel in WNHL history Kyle Boggio.
Foster has been in the league for a few years. He knows the league roots and where the leagues heart is located, deep in the Rose City. A team can not win in this league without a good dose of Welland, and Foster got a great dose in the final two rounds by picking up Greg “Mr. Welland” Bosak and Chris “RoseCity” Paco. That’s more Welland than and Pint and Pie at the Rex. That’s more Welland than 10 speeds and 24’s of Carling. That’s more Welland than smoking darts by the Canal. As long as you don’t tell Bosaks wife that he had more than one beer, he’ll leave it all on the ice for you, and then get home as quickly as possible and Paco’s career has been one of consistent growth, and if he can stay out of Lance Romance’s way he may double his output to two goals this year.
Foster can’t control the Champlain ego’s, team finishes fifth.
Stay Tuned for Part 2 of our season preview where we look at the Lincoln Street Legends, Dain City Dusters, and Atlas Steelers.