Nov 23, 2020
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Second season of "Making The Cut"

They’ve been overlooked, underestimated and doubted. For 36 hockey players, the second season of "Making The Cut" offers another shot at realizing a big-league dream. The program picks up where the first one left off starting Saturday (Global, 8 p.m.) and aims to take its participants even further this time around.

"I’ll go out on a limb and say that there are going to be some players on this particular show that end up playing in the NHL," says longtime NHL executive Mike Keenan, who again runs the show’s selection camp.

"Making The Cut" debuted in 2004 and held coast-to-coast tryouts before awarding six players a training camp invitation from an NHL team. A few of the players from the first season reached the American Hockey League but none have yet broken through to the NHL.

Keenan is confident someone from the second group will do that because of tweaks to the selection process. They consulted with NHL Central Scouting this time around and pared a list of more than 300 players down to the 36 invited to training camp, which was held over the summer in Vernon, B.C. Those players were split into two teams (Eastern and Western Canada) and the result was high-energy hockey as each fought to be crowned "Last Man Standing" _ the title given to the winner along with a $250,000 endorsement contract and the representation of Edmonton-based agent Steve Kotlowitz.

"The selection process was intense," said Keenan. "It was intense because the talent base was really high.

"I think it was a huge success in terms of trying to find players that needed to be given a second opportunity."

The show may only name one winner, but it gave all 36 players the opportunity to work with a top-level hockey staff and impress scouts in attendance at the camp. Keenan was most recently the general manager of the Florida Panthers before he and the team abruptly parted ways earlier this month. He has a soft spot for guys in need of a second chance. He remembers players like Dave Poulin (Philadelphia), Ed Belfour (Chicago) and Curtis Joseph (St. Louis) that were undrafted before becoming key parts of NHL teams he coached.

"There are a lot of hockey players that slip through the cracks because of the way the draft is formatted," said Keenan. "Not everybody is going to be at their best at 18 years of age."

That includes players like Kyle Raftis, Craig Cescon and Jordan Morrison, who all played with the Peterborough Petes team that won the OHL championship last season but are not the property of an NHL team. They get another shot thanks to "Making The Cut" _ as does goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who backstopped the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup last year.

Chris Ovington, Ben Kilgour and Dylan Stanley helped the University of Alberta Golden Bears win a record 12th national title last season and were all invited to participate on the show. Mitch Bartley shone on the WHL champion Vancouver Giants’ first line in 2005-06 and appears alongside the likes of Adam Taylor, who led the Victoria Salmon Kings in scoring during their inaugural ECHL season two years back. The hockey world is full of players who could use another shot. All 36 on "Making The Cut" believe they are capable of reaching the top.

"I do feel that I have what it takes to be in the NHL," says mobile defenceman Erik Felde, an Alaskan who is the lone American on the program. "It’s been my dream since Day 1.

"Hopefully it’ll come true down the road."

Keenan called the experience of running the camp "refreshing" and thinks the show might one day be expanded to other countries to help professional teams get another look at players they’d previously passed over. He believes it fills a void and is sure to unearth talent because the players are in their early- to mid-20s _ a far cry from the teenagers NHL teams draft.

"They’re a little bit more mature physically, mentally and emotionally," said Keenan. "We get a better view of their maturity level."

Perhaps the best recent example of a player blossoming later in his career is that of Martin St. Louis, who was undrafted after four seasons of college hockey.

He signed as a free agent with Calgary and bounced between their AHL affiliate in Saint John, N.B., and the NHL before eventually being released. St. Louis then signed with what was a weak Tampa Bay Lightning team in 2000 and helped transform the team into a Stanley Cup champion by 2004, when he led the league in scoring and was named MVP. He overcame long odds and a long list of doubters. "Making The Cut" is predicated on the fact that there must be others capable of doing the same thing.

"I don’t know if there are any Martin St. Louis in this group," said Keenan. "But there is a possibility there might be."

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Headline, Industry News

Second season of "Making The Cut"

They’ve been overlooked, underestimated and doubted. For 36 hockey players, the second season of "Making The Cut" offers another shot at realizing a big-league dream. The program picks up where the first one left off starting Saturday (Global, 8 p.m.) and aims to take its participants even further this time around.

"I’ll go out on a limb and say that there are going to be some players on this particular show that end up playing in the NHL," says longtime NHL executive Mike Keenan, who again runs the show’s selection camp.

"Making The Cut" debuted in 2004 and held coast-to-coast tryouts before awarding six players a training camp invitation from an NHL team. A few of the players from the first season reached the American Hockey League but none have yet broken through to the NHL.

Keenan is confident someone from the second group will do that because of tweaks to the selection process. They consulted with NHL Central Scouting this time around and pared a list of more than 300 players down to the 36 invited to training camp, which was held over the summer in Vernon, B.C. Those players were split into two teams (Eastern and Western Canada) and the result was high-energy hockey as each fought to be crowned "Last Man Standing" _ the title given to the winner along with a $250,000 endorsement contract and the representation of Edmonton-based agent Steve Kotlowitz.

"The selection process was intense," said Keenan. "It was intense because the talent base was really high.

"I think it was a huge success in terms of trying to find players that needed to be given a second opportunity."

The show may only name one winner, but it gave all 36 players the opportunity to work with a top-level hockey staff and impress scouts in attendance at the camp. Keenan was most recently the general manager of the Florida Panthers before he and the team abruptly parted ways earlier this month. He has a soft spot for guys in need of a second chance. He remembers players like Dave Poulin (Philadelphia), Ed Belfour (Chicago) and Curtis Joseph (St. Louis) that were undrafted before becoming key parts of NHL teams he coached.

"There are a lot of hockey players that slip through the cracks because of the way the draft is formatted," said Keenan. "Not everybody is going to be at their best at 18 years of age."

That includes players like Kyle Raftis, Craig Cescon and Jordan Morrison, who all played with the Peterborough Petes team that won the OHL championship last season but are not the property of an NHL team. They get another shot thanks to "Making The Cut" _ as does goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who backstopped the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup last year.

Chris Ovington, Ben Kilgour and Dylan Stanley helped the University of Alberta Golden Bears win a record 12th national title last season and were all invited to participate on the show. Mitch Bartley shone on the WHL champion Vancouver Giants’ first line in 2005-06 and appears alongside the likes of Adam Taylor, who led the Victoria Salmon Kings in scoring during their inaugural ECHL season two years back. The hockey world is full of players who could use another shot. All 36 on "Making The Cut" believe they are capable of reaching the top.

"I do feel that I have what it takes to be in the NHL," says mobile defenceman Erik Felde, an Alaskan who is the lone American on the program. "It’s been my dream since Day 1.

"Hopefully it’ll come true down the road."

Keenan called the experience of running the camp "refreshing" and thinks the show might one day be expanded to other countries to help professional teams get another look at players they’d previously passed over. He believes it fills a void and is sure to unearth talent because the players are in their early- to mid-20s _ a far cry from the teenagers NHL teams draft.

"They’re a little bit more mature physically, mentally and emotionally," said Keenan. "We get a better view of their maturity level."

Perhaps the best recent example of a player blossoming later in his career is that of Martin St. Louis, who was undrafted after four seasons of college hockey.

He signed as a free agent with Calgary and bounced between their AHL affiliate in Saint John, N.B., and the NHL before eventually being released. St. Louis then signed with what was a weak Tampa Bay Lightning team in 2000 and helped transform the team into a Stanley Cup champion by 2004, when he led the league in scoring and was named MVP. He overcame long odds and a long list of doubters. "Making The Cut" is predicated on the fact that there must be others capable of doing the same thing.

"I don’t know if there are any Martin St. Louis in this group," said Keenan. "But there is a possibility there might be."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Headline, Industry News

Second season of "Making The Cut"

They’ve been overlooked, underestimated and doubted. For 36 hockey players, the second season of "Making The Cut" offers another shot at realizing a big-league dream. The program picks up where the first one left off starting Saturday (Global, 8 p.m.) and aims to take its participants even further this time around.

"I’ll go out on a limb and say that there are going to be some players on this particular show that end up playing in the NHL," says longtime NHL executive Mike Keenan, who again runs the show’s selection camp.

"Making The Cut" debuted in 2004 and held coast-to-coast tryouts before awarding six players a training camp invitation from an NHL team. A few of the players from the first season reached the American Hockey League but none have yet broken through to the NHL.

Keenan is confident someone from the second group will do that because of tweaks to the selection process. They consulted with NHL Central Scouting this time around and pared a list of more than 300 players down to the 36 invited to training camp, which was held over the summer in Vernon, B.C. Those players were split into two teams (Eastern and Western Canada) and the result was high-energy hockey as each fought to be crowned "Last Man Standing" _ the title given to the winner along with a $250,000 endorsement contract and the representation of Edmonton-based agent Steve Kotlowitz.

"The selection process was intense," said Keenan. "It was intense because the talent base was really high.

"I think it was a huge success in terms of trying to find players that needed to be given a second opportunity."

The show may only name one winner, but it gave all 36 players the opportunity to work with a top-level hockey staff and impress scouts in attendance at the camp. Keenan was most recently the general manager of the Florida Panthers before he and the team abruptly parted ways earlier this month. He has a soft spot for guys in need of a second chance. He remembers players like Dave Poulin (Philadelphia), Ed Belfour (Chicago) and Curtis Joseph (St. Louis) that were undrafted before becoming key parts of NHL teams he coached.

"There are a lot of hockey players that slip through the cracks because of the way the draft is formatted," said Keenan. "Not everybody is going to be at their best at 18 years of age."

That includes players like Kyle Raftis, Craig Cescon and Jordan Morrison, who all played with the Peterborough Petes team that won the OHL championship last season but are not the property of an NHL team. They get another shot thanks to "Making The Cut" _ as does goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who backstopped the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup last year.

Chris Ovington, Ben Kilgour and Dylan Stanley helped the University of Alberta Golden Bears win a record 12th national title last season and were all invited to participate on the show. Mitch Bartley shone on the WHL champion Vancouver Giants’ first line in 2005-06 and appears alongside the likes of Adam Taylor, who led the Victoria Salmon Kings in scoring during their inaugural ECHL season two years back. The hockey world is full of players who could use another shot. All 36 on "Making The Cut" believe they are capable of reaching the top.

"I do feel that I have what it takes to be in the NHL," says mobile defenceman Erik Felde, an Alaskan who is the lone American on the program. "It’s been my dream since Day 1.

"Hopefully it’ll come true down the road."

Keenan called the experience of running the camp "refreshing" and thinks the show might one day be expanded to other countries to help professional teams get another look at players they’d previously passed over. He believes it fills a void and is sure to unearth talent because the players are in their early- to mid-20s _ a far cry from the teenagers NHL teams draft.

"They’re a little bit more mature physically, mentally and emotionally," said Keenan. "We get a better view of their maturity level."

Perhaps the best recent example of a player blossoming later in his career is that of Martin St. Louis, who was undrafted after four seasons of college hockey.

He signed as a free agent with Calgary and bounced between their AHL affiliate in Saint John, N.B., and the NHL before eventually being released. St. Louis then signed with what was a weak Tampa Bay Lightning team in 2000 and helped transform the team into a Stanley Cup champion by 2004, when he led the league in scoring and was named MVP. He overcame long odds and a long list of doubters. "Making The Cut" is predicated on the fact that there must be others capable of doing the same thing.

"I don’t know if there are any Martin St. Louis in this group," said Keenan. "But there is a possibility there might be."

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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