The coming weeks which connected December and January were supposed to be an exciting time for Anaheim Ducks fans. Not only is their team doing well, but a quartet of prospects were going to have a chance to make their names at the IIHF World Junior tournament. However, the tournament was cut short due to COVID.
World Juniors Cancelled Due to COVID-19
Ducks fans had plenty to look forward to with four Ducks prospects taking part in World Juniors this year. Mason McTavish and Olen Zellweger were slated to play huge roles for Canada while Ian Moore and Sasha Pastujov were expected to play a part, albeit not as big as the former pair, for the United States.
Unfortunately, we were only able to see a glimpse of what these four could do on the national stage as the tournament was canceled on Dec. 29 as a result of COVID protocols. Team USA even had to forfeit their game against Switzerland on Dec. 28 due to two of their players testing positive.
It’s a sad turn of events for everyone involved as World Juniors is a tournament that highlights young players and gives them the opportunity to perform at a high level for their countries. McTavish wasted no time getting his name on the scoresheet and Zellweger scored in Canada’s opening qualifying round game against Czechia.
Moore and Pastujov didn’t get much of an opportunity to display their skills since Team USA only played one game but Moore did show that he’s not afraid to walk the line in the offensive zone.
With collegiate hockey and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) still on winter break, it will be a while before these players will get to skate again in a game environment.
Gulls Games Postponed Due to COVID
The Omicron variant continues to wreak havoc on hockey leagues around the North American continent, and the American Hockey League (AHL) has faced a slew of postponements due to COVID-19. The San Diego Gulls last played on Dec. 18 and haven’t played since, due to a number of postponements. Their games are postponed through Jan. 2 with their next opportunity to play being on Wednesday, Jan. 5.
With the addition of the NHL taxi squad, the Gulls have had a number of their players join the Ducks as last-minute replacements. They’ve even had their play-by-play commentator, Andy Zilch, join the Ducks’ ranks with usual Ducks’ play-by-play commentator, John Ahlers, in COVID protocol.
- The Gulls signed Brent Gates, Jr. to a standard player contract (SPC). Gates was drafted by the Ducks in 2015 and was in the organization until 2019-20. He spent last season with both the Indy Fuel in the ECHL and the Rochester Americans in the AHL. He was invited to the Seattle Kraken’s training camp earlier this year and was playing with the Fuel prior to rejoining the Gulls.
- The Gulls also signed Sean Josling to a second professional tryout (PTO). Josling previously signed a PTO with the Gulls on Nov. 4 but was released from it on Dec. 21.
- Goaltender Gage Alexander stopped 32 of 37 shots in the Winnipeg ICE’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday. Despite the loss, he did make a brilliant save. Alexander also stopped 22 of 24 shots in the ICE’s 4-2 win over the Regina Pats on Wednesday.
- Sean Tschigerl had an assist in the Calgary Hitmen’s 3-1 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday.
- Artyom Galimov scored twice for Ak Bars Kazan in their 5-1 win over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg on Wednesday.
- Thimo Nickl scored in AIK’s 4-3 win over Södertälje on Wednesday.
- Ethan Bowen scored twice in the Chilliwack Chiefs’ 8-3 win over the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday.
It’s an unfortunate time for some of the Ducks’ prospects as they’re either currently not playing or have had their games postponed or canceled. The hope is that these delays won’t disrupt their development and that games will be able to resume relatively soon.
Derek has been a hockey fan for 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
He graduated from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication and spent the last several years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.