The Streetsville Derbys are now back on the ice. Our off ice conditioning continues daily but the team is very happy to be back skating. The team is practicing only at the Powerade Centre now as we try to get as much use of that facility as possible to be able to establish our “home ice” advantage. The Derbys have played all year at the Vic Johnson Arena in Streetsville but the RBC will be played in Brampton. The administration people and facility staff there are great to deal with and it is starting to feel like home.
A major consideration now for the team is planning for scouting. As playoffs across Canada are going on, we end up watching the results come in via the internet. Our own website is tracking the CJAHL leagues and the “Road to the RBC” section is a well visited area. There have certainly been many upsets in the playoffs already. In our own league there is only one regular-season first place team to advance from their division. In the OPJHL finals, the St. Mike’s Buzzers (first place from the South Division) take on the Stouffville Spirit (3rd place from the North).
Out West, the BCJHL has seen a number of shockers. The Victoria Salsa single handedly knocked off 2 top ten ranked teams by defeating first Nanaimo and then Alberni Valley! Unfortunately for Victoria their dream season ended with a semi-final loss to Burnaby. In the Central League, the Nepean Raiders upended the # 1 ranked Pembroke Lumber Kings in 7 games however Pembroke will get another chance at the RBC as hosts of the Fred Page Cup.
So, the Derbys are forced to wait for the various tournaments scheduled for later in April to scout the other RBC participants. We can’t just focus on the so-called favourites. It has so far been “the year of the upset” and this complicates our preparation somewhat. There are tremendous teams still in the hunt for the Canadian championship. The excitement is building as we look forward to game 1 on May 6 against the Pacific winner. Wow, less than a month away!