After playing only nine games for the Colorado Avalanche this past season, the status of Colin Wilson became a bit of a mystery. He was in and out of Denver but with no update from the organization. He was “injured” but skating with the team. He was healthy but not brought to Edmonton to be a part of the postseason bubble.
What happened to Colin Wilson?
Take some time with the article today - it’s raw and open in a way we rarely see from professional athletes. Wilson talks about the (likely) end of his NHL career, the struggles that led him to rock bottom and the steps he’s taken to get sober, find help to repair his mental health and prepare for the next phase of his life.
I don’t know if I’ll be back out on the ice anytime soon. But I know that, no matter what the future holds for me, I did it. I played in the NHL. I lived my dream. And I fought through hell to make a career for myself. My name might not be on the Stanley Cup, and that’s fine. Because I know there is an opportunity ahead of me to not just leave my mark on the game of hockey, but also on lives all across the world.
I don’t want to pretend like I have it all figured out, because I don’t. I’m still learning as I go. But what I do know comes from what I went through. So if you’re going through it, remember this:
Be kind to yourself, to your mind.
Have patience with your soul, your body.
And know that you don’t have to do it alone.
The AHL was hoping for a December 1st start for the 2020-21 season — but as North America continues to grapple with the ebbs and flows of covid-19 cases on both sides of the US-Canadian border, it looks like seasons are being pushed further and further back.
It was revealed this week that The American Hockey League, the primary farm system for the NHL, has pushed back the start for the upcoming season to February 5th. That’s a full two months after they initially intended to get things under way, putting the typical span of the season more than halfway over before teams will even consider taking the ice for the first time. [The AHL]
The AHL isn’t the only league that’s still grappling with start times, of course.
The WHL is expected to start in December or January, the NHL is hoping for a January 1st season start (but without a Winter Classic or All-Star Weekend), and the ECHL has been pushing for a graduated start that would see the first wave of teams kick off the year around mid-December with others joining early in the 2021 calendar. The NCAA officially delayed the start of their season in September, and their most recent update for the entire USCHO starts off showing just how much uncertainty there still is even from conference to conference:
“One conference plans to begin its season in a bubble.
Two others will be adding teams as part of a scheduling alliance.
And another is at the mercy of half of its members and their all-sports conference on when play can begin.” [USCHO.com]
The OHL is still trying to figure things out, though, and their own start time has been pushed back to match when the AHL will tentatively start — all the way in February.
OHL GM's meeting has concluded. Some details...— Jeff Marek (@JeffMarek) October 28, 2020
- Season starts Feb 4th
- Training camps start Jan 23rd
- European + American players arrive Jan 8 + quarantine
- 40 game season
- 4 teams from each conference make playoffs, so 8 teams total.
The two big factors there are the 40-game season and the eight-team playoff structure, which will be a marked change from most seasons. It cuts the regular season down by nearly half — giving goaltenders and younger players less exposure and playing time — and axes the playoff structure, likely in an attempt to help the OHL line up with the WHL and QMJHL in terms of a hopeful Memorial Cup in the spring.
Speaking of the QMJHL, that’s the only major junior league in Canada that has started — and they’ve met their own roadblocks, with growing case numbers in Eastern Canada forcing teams to postpone games and bar fans from their arenas.
One team, though, has found a way to make things a little bit easier on the players. The Shawinigan Cataractes, who play in the East Division, have purchased a residential structure to create a ‘bubble-like’ environment for the players:
En quelques mois, notre organisation s’est mobilisée pour créer un environnement sécuritaire à nos joueurs et à notre personnel par l’achat et la rénovation d’une résidence. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/mWNJUkoGm6— Cataractes de Shawinigan (@Cataractes_Shaw) October 28, 2020
Shawinigan is one of nine QMJHL teams that have played in just four games so far this season, which started its season on October 2nd. Three Maritimes teams — Halifax, Cape Breton, and Acadie-Bathurst — have been able to play in a whopping eight games so far this month, while Charlottetown has played in seven matchups, Saint John in six, and Moncton in five. There are three teams, though (Sherbrooke, Blainville-Boisbriand, and the Quebec Remparts) who have only been able to play in two games; clearly, although the QMJHL managed to get their season under way, it’s been far from normal circumstances.
In NHL-related news, the Dallas Stars broke the internet with their new jerseys:
Jason Dickinson via text to me: “First thing I thought when I saw them was NHL20. They look like making a jersey for your EASHL team. I like them, I think they're different.”— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) October 28, 2020
Dallas Stars ‘Blackout’ jersey: Inside how the alternate uniform came together https://t.co/tGkEpV0XKC
(Breaking the fourth wall here, but I personally hate them. My opinions do not reflect those of the full staff at Mile High Hockey or SB Nation, but I just had to get it out there!)
They’re a lot. But at least they aren’t this:
Happy Thursday, folks!