Wednesday, October 28, 2020

News and Notes: Simpson, Anderson, Power Rankings

A few notes of interest:

- Centre Mark Simpson has agreed to terms with the Stockton Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the summer Simpson had indicated that he was planning on moving on after four years at UNB, during which time he cemented himself as one of the best two-way forwards in the country and helped the Reds to a pair of national championships. Simpson departs UNB having scored 77 points in 109 regular season games and 15 points in 25 AUS playoff games. 

- Fellow forward Stephen Anderson has also joined the professional ranks. After five seasons at UNB the Morell, PEI product has inked a deal for the 2020-2021 season with the ECHL's Florida Everblades, an affiliate of the Nashville Predators. The smooth skating Anderson was a key member to the Reds top line over the previous two seasons and leaves UNB having scored 130 points in 132 career regular season games and another 23 points in 26 AUS postseason games. He was part of three University Cup-winning teams while at UNB.

- With Simpson and Anderson turning pro, it means every graduating member of last season's team have now signed professional contracts for the upcoming season. Patrick Watling (Allen, ECHL), Marcus McIvor (Fort Wayne, ECHL), and Matt Murphy (Fort Wayne, ECHL) all signed contracts earlier in the summer. 

- The excellent U Sports website 49 Sports recently published their men's hockey power rankings for the last decade. Needless to say, UNB fans will be very happy with the results. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Phelan To Join Reds

The University of New Brunswick Reds have added another important piece to their 2021-2022 recruiting class, announcing the addition of former AHL forward James Phelan to the program. The Reds had previously confirmed the commitment of goaltender Griffen Outhouse to next season's roster. 

The 6', 185 pound Phelan split his QMJHL career between the Shawinigan Cataractes, Victoriaville Tigres - where he was a teammate of current Reds Alexandre Goulet and Tristan Pomerleau - and Moncton Wildcats. Over 321 career games he recorded 86 goals and 105 assists for 191 points, including a career-high of 33 goals and 41 assists in his final season. He contributed another nine goals and five assists in 31 playoff contests.  

After his five year major junior career came to an end in 2018, the native of Laval, Quebec originally committed to UNB before signing a professional contract with the AHL's Texas Stars. He would spend the next two seasons playing in the AHL and ECHL, combining for six goals and nine assists in 83 games. 

Phelan has been practicing with the Reds this fall while he red-shirts. He will be eligible to play beginning in the fall of 2021.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hammer Comes Down, AUS Safe (for now)

It was a bad week for U Sports fans as both the Canada West (CW) and Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conferences announced that they would be cancelling all conference regular season, postseason, and championship events scheduled for the winter semester. It was noted, however, that members can still pursue exhibition and/or regional non-conference play should public health guidelines allow. 

Additionally, U Sports has cancelled all national championships scheduled for 2020-2021. This includes the University Cup, which was to be held in Charlottetown. 

The news was slightly better for the eastern part of the country, particularly in Atlantic Canada. The Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) conference has suspended all sports-related activity until January 15th while Atlantic University Sport (AUS) is forming a five person Return-To-Play committee to explore possible options for the winter semester. A decision on that front is expected by mid-November.  

Unfortunately, this news was to be expected, especially given the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country in recent weeks. At this point we just have to cross our fingers that there is some form of competition this season, even if it looks very different than what we are accustomed to.