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North American prospect report: Who’s where and how to watch them

If you’re a CHL hockey fan in Canada hoping to see some prospects this season....sorry.

COLLEGE HOCKEY: FEB 03 Beanpot Tournament - Northeastern v Harvard Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back to our Maple Leafs prospects, some of whom have had to wait over a year for a new season to being, while others will get to play in front of fans once again.

With the return of junior and college hockey to their regular schedules, I’ll be back with a weekly check in on how the kids are doing. Right now the OHL, QMJHL, and USHL are playing pre-season games, and the NCAA season will begin on varying weeks in October.

Before the games begin we’ll take a quick look at the prospects and how you can watch them.

Ontario Hockey League

Ty Voit (C/LW)
Sarnia Sting
Season Opener: Thursday, October 7th at Windsor Spitfires
Home Opener: Friday October 8th vs Windsor Spitfires

The OHL is welcoming fans back into the rinks as they begin their first season since the 2019/20 ended abruptly in March 20202 like everything else. This season isn’t completely back to normal as there will be no cross-conference play, meaning the Sting won’t go farther east than Guelph this season. They’re opening the campaign with a home and home against the Windsor Spitfires.

How to watch:
Locally in Sarnia on YourTV Cogeco Cable 6
Nationally on TSN - Select CHL games will appear on TSN, schedule not yet released
Online via CHL TV
CHL TV is a new streaming service from the Canadian Hockey League covering the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL. You can subscribe to all 3 leagues for $159.99, or a single league for $109.99, or pick single games for $6.99 each. Single team subscriptions are not yet available.


Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

William Villeneuve (D)
Saint John Sea Dogs
Season/Home Opener: Friday, October 1st vs Charlottetown Islanders
First Away Game: Saturday, October 2nd at Charlottetown Islanders

The QMJHL did play last season, breaking up the league into three regional divisions. The Sea Dogs played only the Maritime teams, placing third in the division. Since they could not play in the playoff bracket in Quebec, the Maritimes teams had a round robin tournament between seeds 2-4, with the winner - Acadie-Bathurst Titan - facing the Charlottetown Islanders for the Maritimes “championship”. The Seadogs placed second in the round robin with a 3-3 record.

This year the Sea Dogs will travel into Quebec to play some games against non-maritime teams, if you’re in the Ottawa area they will be in Gatineau on November 17th.

The Sea Dogs are looking to be contenders this season, and have bid to host the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament so they’ll be looking to keep the team on top of the standings.

How to watch:
Nationally on TSN - Select CHL games will appear on TSN, schedule not yet released
Nationally on CBC - The Sea Dogs will be shown on CBC, and CBC Gem on Saturday November 6th when they visit the Drummondville Voltiguers.
Online via CHL TV


USHL

Joe Miller (F)
Chicago Steel
Season Opener: Saturday September 25th, at Fargo Force
Home Opener: Sunday September 26th vs Sioux Falls Stampede

Last year the Chicago Steel played a full 54 game season that saw the Chicago Steel finish first with a 38-11-3-2 record, and defeat the Fargo Force 3-1 in the Clark Cup final and winning the championship with a 7-1 playoff record.

The Steel will be looking to come back just as strong and be the first back to back champions since the Omaha Lancers in 1993 and 1994.

How to watch: You can stream Chicago Steel games on HockeyTV on a pay-per-view basis.


NCAA

Ryan O’Connell (D)
Ohio State Buckeyes
Season Opener: Friday October 8th at Bentley
Home Opener: Friday October 15th vs U. Connecticut

O’Connell is entering his senior year at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes had a terrible 2020-21 season finishing with only 6 wins and 17 losses.

O’Connell will most likely end up a free agent after this season, as he hasn’t shown a lot of promise to make the NHL. While he is a defender, he hasn’t had more than seven points in a season while playing in the NCAA.

How to watch: Some games may be shown on the BIG10 Network, or local sports networks when they play away games, and TSN occasionally picks up NCAA games. ESPN+ will also show come college games for our American readers.

Nicholas Abruzzese (C) / John Fusco (D)
Harvard Crimson
Season Opener: Friday October 29th at Dartmouth
Home Opener: Saturday October 30th vs Bentley

Nick Abruzzese comes into his junior year at Harvard with the captains C on his chest. After having his sophomore season cancelled, Abruzzese is looking to build off his award winning freshman year where he was named ECAC and Ivy-League rookie of the year, and was the ECAC points leader. John Fusco is a rookie on the Crimson this year, coming from the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL where he scord 12 points in 20 games as a defender.

How to watch: ESPN+ in the US, maybe TSN here? The Harvard website doesn’t mention anything aside from ESPN+.

Matthew Knies (LW) / Mike Koster (D)
University of Minnesota Golden Gophers
Season Opener: Saturday October 2nd vs Alaska
First Away Game: Saturday October 16th at St. Cloud State

The Gophers will be looking for revenge against their Minnesota rivals, Minnesota State, whom they lost the BIG10 conference championships to last year. Matthew Knies is joining the team after a season in the USHL, scored 42 points in 44 games for the Tri-City Storm, and Mike Koster is entering his sophomore season after putting up 12 points in 31 games as a freshman.

How to watch: Some games may be shown on the BIG10 Network, or local sports networks when they play away games, and TSN occasionally picks up NCAA games. ESPN+ will also show come college games for our American readers.

Veeti Miettinen (RW)
St. Cloud State Huskies
Season Opener: Saturday October 2nd vs St. Thomas
First Away Game: Sunday October 3rd at St. Thomas

The Huskies look to make it back to the Frozen Four this year after losing in the semi-finals to Massachusetts. Miettinen had a very good freshman season, 24 points in 31 games.

How to watch: So far their schedule shows games being played on the local Fox affiliate, but nothing for every game yet.

Wyatt Schingoethe (C)
Western Michigan University Broncos
Season Opener: Friday October 8th vs Ferris State
First Away Game: Saturday October 9th at Ferris State

Wyatt makes his college debut this year after three seasons with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. The Broncos have some ground to make up after a 10-12-3 record last season. They only got one playoff game in, losing in the conference quarter-finals to Minnesota-Duluth.

How to watch: Some games will be shown on NCHC.tv, others are listed as ESPN+.

Ryan Tverberg (C)
University of Connecticut Huskies
Season Opener: Saturday October 2nd vs Sacred Heart
First Away Game: Saturday October 9th at Boston University

In his freshman season Tverberg had a decent .5PPG - 7pts in 14 games - and played as well as one could on a team who had an even record. The Huskies were 10-11-2 in the shortened season, and lost in the conference quarter-finals to Providence.

How to watch: Their schedule doesn’t show any broadcast information, though Hockey East games can be seen on College Sports Live,


We are weeks away from prospect watching to start in earnest, sadly with only one OHL prospect this year, I don’t get to see them live as much as I want to, and bother them with stupid questions, but we’ll see how the seasons go. I’m up for a road trip after not doing one for so long.