Thursday, February 2, 2012

Reflecting on CHL/NHL Top Prospects game

You can bet Brendan Troock left Kelowna this morning on a quick flight back to Seattle with a huge smile on his face. Troock, who didn't play a game last season because of a nerve problem in his neck, was named Team Orr's player of the game in Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. I met up twice with Troock over the three days of the event and really came away impressed by how he handled himself. He said one of his greatest obstacles at the Top Prospects festivities was dealing with the media. Interesting. In saying that, if you are a player with the T-Birds, media coverage of any sort is hard to come by. I mean really, how many interviews would he do in one season? My guess is not many. Over the last three days, with the media sources that were represented at the Prospects Game, Troock made up for lost time.

Rich Sutter, the father of Saskatoon Blades forward Lukas Sutter, took in Wednesday's game. He popped into the Rockets dressing room where I was able to shake his hand and ask him about the experience of watching his son. "It is a whole lost easier being a player than sitting up in the stands watching your kid".

The biggest disappointment at the Prospects Game was Mikhail Grigorenko. The suggested second overall pick in this summers draft lacked motivation in a game against his peers. I was looking for some lightning speed or puck handling ability and saw neither, but again it was only one game.

Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton was hoping the game would be intense and he got just that. Two fights in the game showed this wasn't some ordinary all-star game. What he didn't get was a sold out crowd. Just over five thousand fans took in the game, but it would be interesting to know how many received a complimentary ticket.

I can't say I know Don Hay well, but I sure admire the man. The Vancouver Giants head coach had a few laughs with Ryan Huska after the game and I had the privilege of being in the middle of the verbal exchange. An intense man when it comes to the competitive side of the game, Hay doesn't have to hide on the persona that he is a tough nosed coach who won't allow the "real person' to shine through. I am impressed every time I meet him.

If you were at the game last night you noticed Sportsnet using a cameraman on skates taking close shots of the players during stoppages in play. These too close for comfort shots were mainly taken when coming back from a commercial break. I am sure it was a treat for the TV audience, but when is it too much? The players are mic'd up, we see them in the dressing room gearing up and now this. I couldn't believe it when a fight broke out and the cameraman on skates wheels out there and attempts to get a closer look for the TV viewing audience. I thought he was going to get a penalty for being the third man in.

A suggestion. Scrap the skills competition. The fan interest isn't there and I think the overall event would benefit from keeping it to just two full days, for the sake of the players, rather than three. Let the players fly in a day in advance for a pre-game skate and then play the game the next evening.

The Top Prospects festivities went off without a hitch. If their was a hiccup, I didn't notice it. The media are treated first rate at this event and player accessibility is nothing short of outstanding. I find the CHL brass go out of their way in helping the media find the player they are looking for.
They need to be commended for what they do.

I always make a point of shaking hands with out of town media and introduce myself as a way of welcoming them to Kelowna. I know if I was in a similar situation, I too would want the same courtesy. Plus, you get to meet some great people. You find the odd ego floating around, but my general sense is it isn't as prevalent in today's media circles. The old adage is treat people like you would like to be treated. It works for me.


Ryan said...

Not sure who sets the price for an event like that but whoever it was should be fired. We pay enough as it is to be expected to shell out another $45. If they sold them at even $25 or $30 they wouldnt have had to give so many away for free and be left still with that many empty seats.

MG said...

I sur thought the game was unusual. I believe the comment on TV was the game was the lowest score one in 17 years ? Is that true ? It felt different watching it.

As for the complementary tickets. My son's school gave away at least 10 pairs of tickets on Literacy Day as a kind of door prize. A lady at my work offered anyone who wanted one a ticket as she said she had a ton of them ? I think there were lots of complementary tickets.

Jared Comeau said...

Agreed Ryan. Sadly, that game was not worth $45.00 Lowest scoring game in Prospects game history. I like a good defensive style game as good as the next, but last night had an extreme lack of offensive skill showcased, it was insane. I was expecting more...........................................

bigkev said...

that game was more boring than the rockets.

the first fight look like it was set up, the camera guy was 2 feet from it

looked like slapshot 2