Hockey? In December? Yes, it’s happening! Not NHL hockey, of course. They are still going through the grind of renegotiating the Return to Play. I’m sure there is some bored hockey reporter out there whom you can find on Twitter giving out another daily update; “another day, more talks, nothing finalised.”

Oh, thanks, Renaud.

But there will be hockey in December, IIHF hockey for the World Junior Championship, and it seems increasingly likely that Team USA will be represented by Nick Robertson.

USA Hockey released their preliminary roster already and Robertson was on it, provisionally, as his participation required the consent of the Maple Leafs. With the start of the NHL season appearing to be pushed back sufficiently to allow him to travel back to Toronto to attend training camp it seems almost certain to happen. The Maple Leafs have already green-lighted it and it’s not like Team USA has a surplus of bodies to put on the ice right now.

Today is the official “COVID test day,” for players from countries around the world who plan to participate in the tournament. They will have to pass a COVID test to be able to meet their teammates and the  almost immediately get on a charter flight to Alberta where they will be tested again on arrival. You can expect we will here of a few more players forced out of the tournament from Sweden, Russia, Finland, and elsewhere by the end of the day.

All of this assumes that the Alberta government allows the competition to go forward, which, if they wanted to stop it they probably would have had to say something by today because the players are now on their way, and the Alberta government appears to be very invested in making this tournament work.

Team Canada is already there, by the way. They have been in a COVID lockdown for two weeks isolating in their hotel rooms and finally get out of that this morning. Keep in mind this is Red Deer Alberta, so it’s not like they are locked inside a room at the Four Seasons, more like a Holiday Inn Express.

Now, as to whether there will be NHL hockey in January, that’s still up in the air because some of the team owners are apparently not on board, and you will never guess which team owner is the one who is most opposed.

PPP’s Top 25 Under 25

It begins! Our condensed but still informative Winter 2020 Top 25 Under 25 begins today with a look at the un-ranked, and is there ever a lot of them thanks to the NHL Draft happening in October this year. Yes, that’s right. It was only two months ago!

PPP’s Winter Top 25 Under: The Unranked [sad trombone]

The Honourable mentions will be tomorrow and then we’ll have a special look at some Finnish prospects on Wednesday. Our experts actual rankings start on Thursday and will continue every weekday with several each day consolidated in to one post. You may remember from our Spring edition that Nylander and Marner tied for second place behind Auston Matthews, but not this time! One of them squeaked out a win above the other, but you’ll have to wait for that big reveal on December 24th of our top rankings.

Other News

The Leafs shiny new smol Finnish son scored his first goal of the season, and added two assists as well for St. Cloud State University, which is in Minnesota near Minneapolis, in case you didn’t know.

Gretzky’s rookie card could be the first in hockey to break the $1-million milestone - The Star
The mint 1979 O-Pee-Chee card, one of just two to earn a 10 grade, is for sale by Heritage Auctions.

Boston-area commuter appeared on the local news last night - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Just a regular guy! But you might have heard of him.