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HOT CORNER: Is it time to bring back wooden hockey sticks?

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

Cameron, MacDougall enjoying another successful season behind the bench

We all felt for Noah Dobson of Summerside the other night as a broken stick led to a broken dream for him and the rest of Team Canada at the world junior hockey championship.
Dobson had the probable game-winning goal on his stick in overtime, when his most important piece of equipment failed him in the biggest game of his life. That is the chance that teams and players take with the use of these expensive composite sticks. The failure of these sticks at critical times of many games has one wondering when we may see the return of a much better option – the wooden stick?
I have, as a prized possession, a game-used Steve Yzerman Louisville TPS wooden stick that I only wish Dobson had in his hands on that play. He may have missed the net with either wood or composite, but it is very rare to see a wooden stick break on the shaft where these composite sticks break so often.
I am told the Bauer stick Dobson uses sells for $300. A new Sherwood PMP 5030 wood stick sells for $25, and that is the stick = Gerard (Turk) Gallant used his entire career. I guess these prices help explain why a leading Canadian retailer has a choice of 61 different composite hockey sticks, and only four wooden sticks. That is just for adults, not to mention kids.
The hockey stick business is big business, and money sometimes overrules practicality – even at the expense of what's best for the game.

MacDougall’s Reds rolling
Gardiner MacDougall has his UNB Reds in familiar territory in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s hockey standings. The first-place Reds have yet to suffer a regulation-time loss this season, and took a 15-0-3 record (won-lost-overtime losses) into Friday night's home game against second-place Saint Mary's.
UNB will quite likely finish first again this year, and that will mark 12 straight years atop the AUS standings.
The last time MacDougall's team did not finish first was the 2006-07 season. They finished second to Moncton, but went on to win the national championship. Over this 11-year span, the Reds have a regular-season record of 258-35-19, and that is impressive. UNB has won six of the last 12 national titles, and has a very good chance to win another this year.
What can one say about the job that the Bedeque native has done with the UNB hockey program?
MacDougall will go down as one of the greatest coaches in Canadian university hockey history. His name can be mentioned with greats such as Clare Drake of the University of Alberta Golden Bears and Tom Watt of the Toronto Varsity Blues. The Bears and Blues are the only two Canadian university teams to make more Canadian final appearances than UNB.
MacDougall has, and continues, to do an incredible job at UNB.

Dave Cameron
Dave Cameron of Kildare Capes is another P.E.I. coach having a great season as he has his Vienna Capitals in first place in the 12-team Austrian Hockey League. After 33 games in Austria’s top professional league, Cameron’s Caps sport a record of 18-8, along with four overtime wins and three overtime losses. There are three points for regulation time wins, two points for an OT win and one for an OT loss. It all adds up to 65 points, and hopefully the Caps will continue on into the playoffs that start in early March.

Anniversary
This year will mark 30 years since Dave Cameron coached another Capitals’ team, the Summerside Western Capitals, all the way to the 1989 Centennial Cup final here in Summerside. Even though the Caps lost 4-1 to the Thunder Bay Flyers, it gave the Caps an identity and standard that they would carry with them over the next 30 years as one of the best junior A hockey programs in our region.
Being able to compete with the best in the country at the time gave the Caps’ organization a ton of confidence going forward, and Dave Cameron was a big reason for that. Hopefully, both the Vienna Capitals and Western Capitals have championship seasons. 
Have a great week!

Joe MacIntyre is a local life insurance broker. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to joemacintyre18@gmail.com.

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