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Not the way a season, and junior careers, should end

We may have seen the last of junior hockey this season, and along with it some of your favourite Guelph Storm players
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Cedric Ralph. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

I was supposed to be getting ready for tonight’s game against Sarnia.

Probably thinking about interviewing overagers Cedric Ralph, Josh Wainman and Fedor Gordeev, who almost certainly would have been honoured at a pre-game ceremony on the last regular season home game.

Fans cheering … maybe a video tribute … stick taps from both teams.

Then looking forward to a road trip to Owen Sound tomorrow for the last game of the season and likely not knowing who Guelph was playing in the first round until the game was over.

But those things won’t happen and it is looking more and more like there won’t be any playoffs either, at least not one that involves all teams and not one to be particularly fond of, even if it did happen.

Hockey will not be back in a couple of weeks. Maybe a few months. If we’re lucky.

Missing a few junior hockey games is not important.

But in that world of junior hockey world there are many elements that, quite frankly, suck.

Teams competed six months for a championship that will never happen.

Kelowna was gearing up to host a Memorial Cup that is likely not to happen.

Teams made trades specifically for taking a run at a championship. Hell, teams built three years specifically for taking a run at this year’s crown.

Small market teams will suffer a big blow by not capitalizing on playoff revenue.

Players were trying to earn contracts. Players were trying to improve their draft status.

All gone down the drain.

I say let Kelowna host the Memorial Cup tournament in three years, when it is the west’s turn to host again. That allows them to build again to try and have a competitive team.

About the only normal thing that is happening in the junior hockey world is the midget draft.

The OHL Priority Selection online draft will go ahead as planned on April 4. Most of the work that goes into that has been done by this stage, with the exception of the cancelled OHL Cup tournament featuring most of the top draft eligible players.

Probably the hardest part for Storm fans is that they may never get to see some of their favourite players ever again.

Fans always like a chance to say goodbye, but Ralph, Wainman, Gordeev and potentially Nico Daws, Pavel Gogolev, Cam Hillis and others might have all played their last game of junior hockey.

That’s not a way anyone, player or fans, wants to see it end.

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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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