Source: Niagara Falls Canucks Website
By: Matt Sanderson
Yes, you read the header correct, if you are looking for more junior hockey then look no further than experiencing Junior A hockey in Niagara Falls. Despite the slow start this year, it’s exciting to have Junior A hockey back in the Niagara Region. For the remainder of the season I will be going through some highlight players and giving you weekly updates on this team.
If you did not already know, the Niagara Falls Jr. Canucks were in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). Canuck brass bid for the expansion into the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) and won it. So this year has been a very up and down year for the Niagara Falls Jr. Canucks.
There has been a lot to tread through, from player decisions, to fan attendance, to how the overall team would perform on the ice, but the club has done a really nice job in the 2023/24 inaugural season. You might ask, “well how is their record looking?” The overall record currently is 11-25-0-1 and they are 10th place in the Western Conference, 15 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. To most that may not sound appealing, but I will tell you, great things take time. Most are not lucky to hit the jackpot with a great season in your first year, there are usually growing pains. But I will say this, you can see something special brewing with the team due to their last 6 games.
The Niagara Falls Canucks really struggled at first to find the chemistry, whether that was players meshing together, injuries, new recruits coming in, tough losses where they can smell victory and the cough up the game. But the turning point for this team came back on December 1st. In the midst of a losing streak they got crushed at home 11-3 by the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. After that game a switch flipped, the team started to figure it out. The were more defensive and really frustrated teams despite looking their next three games after that big loss. Finally, December 15th they won 3-2 over the Caledon Admirals in Double Overtime and snapped their 11 game losing streak. Since then they have been 3-3 in their last 6 games including knocking off the Collingwood Blues in December who is a nationally ranked team and 2nd overall in the Country.
Now to start off 2024 they are 1-1 winning on January 5th at home in Overtime against the Toronto Patriots and losing the next night to the Raiders in Georgetown 6-1. Despite the previous loss the chemistry is starting to flow and the team is looking good. The next task is to aim for the playoffs, which will be a tough feat to achieve but can be done. The Canucks have the remaining schedule in their favour, 11 of their last 19 games the Canucks will be playing at home which they hold an 8-9 record which has been much improved as of late. Regardless of all the ups and downs and growing pains the Niagara Falls Canucks are fun to watch and I encourage you all to get to see a Canucks game at the Gale Centre.