When it comes to professional and high-level junior and collegiate hockey teams, it would be easy to identify as the Newfoundland Growlers as the one having the most representation from this province.
After all, if you include goaltender A.J. Whiffen, who has dressed as a backup for the ECHL club on a few occasions, the Growlers have had seven different Newfoundlanders on the roster this season.
But Whiffen isn’t with the team now. And neither is defenceman and fellow emergency fill-in Rodi Short or Bonavista native Scott Trask, who was with the Growlers briefly at the start of the season.
That means that as of today, you could argue that the most Newfoundland team in the pro, major junior, junior A or university ranks, is the New Brunswick-based St. Stephen Aces of the Maritime Hockey League; the Aces’ current roster shows no fewer than five players from N.L.
That’s one of the things you can learn from Newfoundlanders Away, the long-running statistical feature that makes its 2018-19 debut in today's print edition of The Telegram..
The first version tracks 95 different players. But if you believe it should be expanded to include someone who is not listed this week, please contact us here at The Telegram Sports department (709-748-0820, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Just remember, the list is restricted to those in North American and European professional, major junior, junior A, and collegiate (USports and NCAA) circuits.
Some notes on a few of the players are on our list:
• St. John’s native Clark Bishop is back with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes after his fifth call-up from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers in 11 weeks.
Apparently, one of the reasons for the yo-yo act with Bishop is to allow the Hurricanes, a small-budget team, to save some money by him Bishop in the minors when he is not needed in the big leagues. He doesn’t need to clear waivers to be sent down to the AHL, where he gets a much lower rate of pay, as per his two-way entry-level contract.
• With Bishop back with Carolina, there are two Newfoundlanders in the NHL for the first time in quite a while. The other current big-leaguer from this province is St. John’s native Evan Fitzpatrick, who was promoted to the St. Louis Blues from San Antonio of the AHL on Sunday.
• Fitzpatrick wasn’t the only member of his family changing teams in the last few weeks. His brother Lucas, also a goalie, was dealt from the Shawinigan Cataractes to the Baie Comeau Drakkar during the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s December trading period.
For the younger Fitzpatrick, it’s a move that takes Lucas Fitzpatrick from the team with the third-worst record in the QMJHL to one that sits fourth overall.
• Another notable recent deal in the Q saw overage centre Jordan Maher of Gander traded from the Halifax Mooseheads to the Charlottetown Islanders.
It’s a transaction that means Maher, who played for the Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan last season, won’t be guaranteed a return trip to the CHL major junior championship tournament — Halifax is the 2019 Memorial Cup host.
However, Maher could still be back in the tourney; the Islanders enter 2019 with the sixth-best record in the Q, making them a definite contender to become a Memorial Cup entry as the league champion.