Today marks the end of the first week of the T25, and the summary will be out later today reliving the first six placings and catching up with the bottom of the Community Vote list.

We have the Cowan numbers:

Very team friendly deal with no performance bonuses.

Nick Robertson did an interview and makes the comment that the last time he felt fully healthy was third year in junior.

Leafs’ Robertson healthy and motivated ahead of ‘very important’ season
Nick Robertson is ready to turn the page on an injury-plagued start to his NHL career.

David Branch is retiring from the OHL, just not yet:

OHL Commissioner David Branch to retire following 2023-24 season - Ontario Hockey League
OHL Commissioner David Branch today announced that 2023-24 will be his 45th and final season as Commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League.

Branch oversaw the changes in fighting rules in the OHL that have had an impact on the AHL – who went on to enact a similar rule. He has so far refused to take the step the QMJHL is being pushed to by government to end fighting altogether.

Branch's tenure also encompasses repeated revelations of hazing and abuse in the OHL which is always presented, each new time, as a thing of the past. At a hearing in front of the Canadian Government Committee that oversees amateur sport, he categorically stated that there is no hazing in the OHL. When past revelations have proven true, he has acted to deal with them, but he was firm that it was a thing of the past.

In the most recent case – something that occurred after his assurance there was no hazing, two Niagara IceDogs players were banned from the game for:

participat[ing] in serious violations of the Player Maltreatment Policy and have violated the OHL Code of Conduct including but not limited to Physical Maltreatment and Aiding and Abetting respectively.
OHL Announces Sanctions Against the Niagara IceDogs Hockey Club - Ontario Hockey League
Sanctions against the Niagara IceDogs Hockey Club result from breaches of the League’s Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment Protection and Prevention Policy as well as the OHL Code of Conduct.

Also under his leadership, the OHL has partnered with the provincial government and fought in the courts to safeguard the current economic model of junior hockey where players are unpaid. The OHL has been subject to multiple class action suits in recent years on this issue as well as concussion, abuse etc.

Meanwhile the value of OHL teams is robust, with the troubled Erie Otters selling for over $7 million in 2015. More recent sales of the IceDogs and the Guelph Storm are for undisclosed amounts.

OHL attendance (per Hockey DB) was just under 80,000 last season. In 2003, it was just over 74,000. Growth is limited by building size, so to raise the profitability of franchises, ticket sales need to rise or costs have to be kept low. But all indications are that the selling price of a junior hockey team is a very large number.

Branch has brought a conservative, baby-steps approach to moving the OHL into a modern era of accountability and transparency – something that is still a work in progress, as the OHL seeks to keep as much confidential about policy violations as possible. As a league they serve the owners' interests, with the scholarship program their main accomplishment in providing for their "student athlete" players.

OHL Scholarship Program Investment Tops $3.6 Million in 2022-23 - Owen Sound Attack
333 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions during the 2022-23 academic year, with OHL member teams making a total contribution of over $3.6 million.

Also in re junior hockey players:

More job news:

Sources: Brian Burke To Serve Leadership Role For Professional Women's Hockey Union

Now that the PWHPA is a union that has negotiated the CBA with the new PWHL, they need new management, since the prior head of the organization will have a role with the league itself.

It's not clear if Burke is going to act as a consultant or as the actual managerial head of the union. But the big job – the ratification of the CBA – has already taken place.

That's it for news, as the dog days of summer drag on, there remain six unsigned RFAs who played 81 or 82 NHL games last year.

They are:

  • Morgan Frost of the Flyers
  • Joe Veleno of the Red Wings
  • Trevor Zegras of the Ducks
  • Alexis Lafrenière of the Rangers
  • Evan Bouchard of the Oilers
  • Shane Pinto of the Senators

There are also four 24-year-old unqualified RFAs, now UFA, who remain unsigned and who played at least 50 games last year:

  • Maxime Comtois
  • Mason Shaw
  • Simon Benoit
  • Noah Gregor

Benoit played 19 minutes a game for the Ducks in 78 games, and is the reason why no one should ever blame a goalie on a team like that for his save %.

Benoit experienced +34% while he was out there – well, I can't really call it defending, can I? (John Klingberg, who poor Benoit played with a decent amount of time, was a +47.)

Also on the Ducks blueline last year were Colin White, still unsigned, and Jamie Drysdale an unsigned RFA who looked better than all other Ducks in limited minutes.

Anyway, sorry I ended up in Ducks-land and depressed us all with a mention of Klingberg. Have a good Dog Days weekend everyone.