way, Kitchener Rangers’ 17-year-old defensive sensation Scott Stevens still
regrets having missed touring Czechoslovakia with the power-laden 1980-81
Kitchener midget Greenshirts.
as exciting as that trip would have been, Stevens felt capable of playing
in the faster tougher Midwestern Junior B League last season, and he wasn’t
about to give up that opportunity for a few exhibition games and a couple
of weeks of sightseeing in Europe.
with the Memorial Cup playoffs looming and pro career on the near horizon,
the blond six-foot, 200-pounder looks back on those days of decision with
no question in coach Joe Crozier’s mind about where Stevens will go in
the year’s NHL amateur draft. The incomparable Brian Bellows is almost
certain to be No. 1 overall. But Crozier also expects the amazingly
consistent Stevens to also go high in the first round along with his season-long
defence partner Dave Shaw.
Crozier about Stevens, and the superlatives flow swiftly. “He’s come
a long way this year,” Crozier said. “He’s strong, tough, handles
the puck well and he has tremendous hockey sense.”
never was nay question in the Rangers’ minds about Stevens’ ability.
He was the kid they wanted in the 1981 draft. Head scout Trevor Shilston
liked him. So did coach Orval Tessier who departed for a pro job
with the Moncton Hawks of the American League late in the summer.
main concern was whether the Kitchenre minor hockey graduate would still
be available when the Rangers picked ninth overall in the opening round.
sorry I missed that trip to Czechoslovakia,” Stevens said Tuesday night
after a work-out at the auditorium. “But the Greenshirts didn’t want
to allow players to move up (to junior B). I think that’s unfair.
Some of these teams try to hold players back. I felt confident I
could play B hockey.”
you, Greenshirts’ coach George Knisley knew he had a power-packed club
capable of winning a national title. Had the rules not been enforced,
the Shirts might have lacked the discipline that took them to the Canadian
finals in Halifax.
thinks the exposure he gained in B hockey helped him go higher in the midget
draft, and Shilston agrees.
most certainly did help,” Shilston said. “You see, what we did was
select a forward and a defenceman. Stevens was the defenceman, Andy
McBain (Aurora tier-two) the forward.
since we had lost Kerry Williston and Joe McDonnell off last year’s team,
we had to strengthen the back end. We’d have taken Stevens even if
we had been picking first.”
Stevens been unavailable, the Rangers would have grabbed McBain.
If both had been selected, they’d have gone to either Dave Shaw, Jim Kyte
or Noble Carleton.
came to Kitchener in the second round. Kyte was a first-round pick
of the Cornwall Royals and Carleton went to the Belleville Bulls in the
fourth round. Niagara chose the robust McBain sixth overall and weren’t
an Eastwood Grade 12 student who says a pro hockey career is all he’s ever
wanted, admits it took a while to adjust to the faster pace of major junior
of intensive weightlifting had increased his upper body strength tremendously.
But Stevens also added 20 pounds of muscle, which he’s used with stunning
felt a bit slow and slightly overweight at camp,” he said. “But I
did a lot of skating drills, lost five pounds and started to move much
always working on my skating. I think I can improve in that area.
Grant Martin, Joel Levesque and I took lessons from a figure skating instructor
at the Rink in the Park in Waterloo last year and that helped.”
he talks about improving his mobility, Stevens is anything but a plodder.
The ‘67s discovered that in game one of the finals when he zipped in form
his point position and ripped a Bellows pass past goaltender Jim Ralph
to give the Rangers a 4-4 tie and the home advantage in the series.
who had six goals, 36 assists and 156 regular season penalty minutes, likes
to rush with the puck. But his job is preventing goals and Crozier
is constantly reminding the Ranger blueliners about that major responsibility.
says to go with it when we can not dump it at the red line and let the
forwards do the rest,” Stevens said. “That’s a big plus on our team.
The defence doesn’t have to worry about pinching unless we’re behind.”
slowed the Rangers in mid season but Stevens thought playing shorthanded
helped bring the team together. Certainly when Al MacInnis moved
up briefly to the Calgary Flames, Stevens flet he had to put out more.
still putting out, trying to forget about all that talk of who’s going
where in the NHL draft next month.
hard to say whether I’m ready (for the NHL),” he said. “I wouldn’t
mind coming back. I’m sure I’d benefit from another year of junior.”
Rangers certainly would.
buses available for Cup opener
By: Larry Anstett, KW Record - May 5th, 1982
are available for Twin City hockey fans to attend the Kitchener Rangers’
opening game Saturday in the Memorial Cup tournament in Hull, Que.
business manager, John Thompson, said tickets went on sale today at Kitchener
Auditorium and can be picked up until noon Friday, after which time they’ll
be returned to Hull.
are being arranged to take fans to Saturday’s game against Sherbrooke Beavers,
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions.
said the Rangers received plenty of tickets for all of the tournament games,
including the Saturday, May 15, championship contest which will be televised
live on the national CTV English and TVA French networks starting at 1:30
pm. Ticket prices are $6 for end seats and $7 for side seats.
bus is full, already, and organizers are working on a second. The
cost is $45 which includes admission to the game, a Rangers hat and pop
on the bus. The buses will leave at 9 am., Saturday and return after
the game. People interested in going may call 579-1085 after 4 pm.
bus arrangements have been made for Sunday’s game against Portland Winter
Hawks of the Western Hockey League.
are scheduled to play Sherbrooke next Tuesday and Portland next Wednesday
in the double round-robin event. But depending on how the tournament
develops, Rangers could play as few as three games or as many as five before
the championship contest.
after four games, one team is clearly in the final – which would happen
if Kitchener or Sherbrooke won its first three games – then the other two
clubs would play a two-game, total-goal series to determine the other finalist.
a finalist is determined after five games, the two other teams will play
a sudden-death game Thursday.
the tournament goes as planned and all three teams tie with 2-2 records,
the tie will be broken by goals for and against.
of the games will be played at Robert Guertin Arena, a 25-year-old facility
whose exterior was renovated two years ago.
manager Yvon Sabourin said the rink seats 3,598 and has a standing-room
capacity of 5,200.
tickets are about half-sold for the first six games and about 90 per cent
sold for the championship game,” Sabourin said.