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Hey Canada welcome to premiere show of the ninth year of RBC Junior Hockey Magazine – the “voice” of Canadian Junior Hockey

And as always, the news of week, the SLAM! Sports Player of the week… it all here Canada on the “voice” of Canadian junior hockey – RBC Junior Hockey Magazine!! Click on the “Listen Here” button to listen to, or download our MP3 of this week’s show. Or better yet, contact your local radio station and ask what time they carry the broadcast of RBC Junior Hockey Magazine in your community.

This week’s show is a show of turnarounds and unbeated streaks. The Mississauga Ice Dogs have been the worst team in the CHL for the last four years, but this year they find themselves in a tie for the last playoff spot. We’ll talk to head Coach and GM Steve Ludzik. We’ll also speak with record setter Chris Denman of thee Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior A hockey League.

Plus we get the inside scoop on the CHL with our group of insiders…Jim Cressman of the London Free Press will update us on the OHL, Rick Wyle from our affiliate CHNL in Kamloops, British Columbia will fill us in on all the news from the WHL; and as always we’ll chat with Marc LaChapelle of the Journal de Montreal. He will update us on all the happenings QMJHL.

We are always looking to add to our family of over 40 stations across Canada who broadcast RBC Junior Hockey Magazine in their community. Looking for more  information on how your station can carry RBC Junior Hockey Magazine this coming hockey season.

Knights’ team-building process almost complete 

Expect more of the London Knights next season, much more.

No one can expect a team to win an Ontario Hockey League championship almost five months before a season begins. There is too much unpredictability to flat out expect a win. But there’s nothing wrong with expecting the Knights to be among the upper echelon teams in the league.

It’s time they moved from thinking about simply competing, to competing and winning far more regularly than in the last few seasons.

This is not an unfair expectation.

The time is right to move up.

In the cyclical history of junior hockey teams, there are periods of time that define the ongoing success or failure of franchises.

Next season will be one of those defining periods of time for the Knights.

It’s less than 48 hours after the Knights were eliminated by the Plymouth Whalers in a seven-game Western Conference semifinal series. They stayed with the Whalers until a little more than six minutes remained in the series.

Under Mark and Dale Hunter, the Knights have made a habit of finishing in the lower half of the standings and then playing tough in the playoffs, often making people forget they didn’t have particularly strong regular seasons.

Constructing a junior hockey team is a process that takes three to five years. The Hunters will be in their fourth year of operating this team.

In previous years, they could look down their roster and see they had two — perhaps three — potential cornerstone players.

For the first time since the Hunters took over, when they look down their roster, they see a lot more than that.

Before anyone gets carried away, let’s remember junior hockey is all about development and potential. There is not a team in the league that wouldn’t salivate at the idea of beginning next season with the type of defence the Knights have returning.

Danny Syvret, Marc Methot, Kyle Quincey will be 18. Adam Nemeth will be 17. Throw in Jimmy Ball as a potential over-ager and that’s a tremendous start to a blue-line.

But even with their talent, those players are far from finished products. We can dissect, discuss and speculate all we want, but if, for whatever reason, they stagnate, their potential means nothing.

It will be the same story with some of their forwards. No matter where he’s drafted, Corey Perry will return. We tend to forget he doesn’t turn 18 until next month. If he continues to play as he did in these playoffs, he will lead the team. But he’ll need help.

Which is why the development of David Bolland and Brandon Prust is so encouraging. Bolland has the potential to score a lot, while Prust is a power player who scored 12. He was a plus-14, tops on the team during the season.

And then there’s Dylan Hunter. If he’s going to continue to get the ice time he gets not only on a regular shift but also the power-play as well, he simply has to produce more than he did this year. His two highlight-reel goals in Plymouth are the type of thing people believe he can produce on a regular basis. He won’t turn 18 until next month.

Goal-scoring will be a priority for this team in the off-season. They’ll look for some in the draft and may see what’s available in trade. It’s always been puzzling why London product and second-round pick Robbie Drummond was not given more chances to play regularly this season, especially given the lack of goal-scoring. If Drummond gets power-play time next year, he’ll score 20 goals.

Bottom line? They will lose Chris Houle, Mike Stathopoulos and Ryan Hare for certain. They have the potential of losing Dennis Wideman, Danny Bois, Matt Weir, Jimmy Ball and Kyle Piwowarczyk. A couple may come back as over-age players.

The Hunters have proven they know how to draft. Their list of selections is impressive.

Yes, next season is where the building process is almost complete. Optimism, potential and development will meet, expect no less.

It’s about time too. The fans here have waited long enough.