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HOT CORNER: MHL features well-balanced league

['Joe MacIntyre']
['Joe MacIntyre']

It should be a great World Series

The MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) is approaching the quarter pole of the 2017-18 regular season, and the standings to date would suggest a very well-balanced league.
All 12 teams have played at least 10 games, and the Edmundston Blizzard and Yarmouth Mariners look like the teams to beat in each division. They each went into weekend play leading their respective divisions by six and four points. Only three points separate the next four teams in each division.
The best way to attract fans is competitive balance amongst teams, and the MHL has that.  
The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals have a record of 5-6-1 (won-lost-overtime losses) for 11 points and third place in the Eastlink North Division. The Blizzard leads the division with 18 points – six better than the surprising St. Stephen Aces.
The Blizzard’s move to Edmundston looks to be paying dividends as they are averaging 724 fans per game after three home games.
It is great to see this organization get the support they deserve as they always put out a competitive team, but received poor support playing in Dieppe, N.B.  
The league average attendance is 672 fans per game, and Yarmouth leads with an average of 1,018 per game. The Caps have the second-best attendance numbers at 950 fans per game while the Valley Wildcats are averaging only 240 fans per game – worst in the league.

Vegas Golden Knights
Many are surprised but should not be with the start the Vegas Golden Knights are having in their first-ever season in the National Hockey League.
The expansion Golden Knights have 10 of a possible 12 points after six games, and those totals put them at or near the top of the NHL’s Western Conference. The expansion draft was designed to make the Knights competitive immediately by receiving a player from each of the other 30 teams.
The Knights drafted some real good talent, and combine that with real strong coaching from Prince Edward Islanders Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly, and we have a team that is off and running. How long their success continues is anyone’s guess, and they will face some stiff competition the rest of this month.
The Knights are about to finish a seven-game homestand with games against Western Conference powers in St. Louis and Chicago. The Golden Knights then embark on a six-game Eastern Conference road swing. They play the New York Islanders, Rangers, Boston, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. That trip will give a good indication of how good the Golden Knights are.  

MLB
The World Series gets underway in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, when the Dodgers host Game 1 against either the New York Yankees or the Houston Astros.
The Yankees were leading the Astros 3-2 entering Friday night’s Game 6 in Houston.
Give the Dodgers full credit for getting to the Fall Classic as, I for one, thought the defending World Series-champion Chicago Cubs would beat them. The Dodgers handled the Cubs with relative ease, and if they continue playing great baseball they will be more than a handful for either the Yankees or Astros.
It was 29 years ago when the Dodgers beat Oakland to win the 1988 World Series, and they have not been back since.
The Yankees beat Philadelphia to win the 2009 World Series, and the Astros have never won it. The Astros’ only appearance was in 2005, when they lost to the Chicago White Sox and that was when Houston was a member of the National League.
Houston came into the National League as an expansion team along with the New York Mets in 1962, and switched to the American League to start the 2013 season.
Whether it be the Yankees or Astros playing the Dodgers, it will be a great World Series.
Have a great week!

Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to j-mac@eastlink.ca.

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