Build­ing a bet­ter Mooseheads

For three years, the Hal­i­fax Mooseheads ju­nior hockey club has been craft­ing a team to host—and win—the 2019 Me­mo­rial Cup. But what if it’s built too well too soon?

The Coast - - COVER STORY - BY STEPHEN KIM­BER

If you ask Bobby Smith to choose his “more re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence”—win­ning the 2013 Me­mo­rial Cup cham­pi­onship as the up-in-the-stands owner of the Hal­i­fax Mooseheads ma­jor ju­nior hockey team, or hoist­ing the 1986 Stan­ley Cup as an on-the-ice star with the leg­endary Na­tional Hockey League Mon­treal Cana­di­ens—he an­swers sur­pris­ingly but with­out hes­i­ta­tion. “The Me­mo­rial Cup.

“It might have some­thing to do with be­ing 28 when we won the Stan­ley Cup and 55 when we won the Me­mo­rial Cup,” Smith al­lows. By then, Smith was in his 10th year as owner of the Mooseheads, had hired the “‘right’ gen­eral man­ager” and helped choose the best coach. Over the course of three years, he had watched—proudly—as the Mooseheads went from a team that “may have lost more games... than any team in the CHL to a team that may be the best ju­nior team ever.”

As some­one who was born in North Syd­ney, grew up in Ot­tawa, played pro­fes­sion­ally in Min­nesota, Mon­treal and Min­nesota again, and now lives most of his year in Phoenix, Ari­zona, Smith says it was “sur­pris­ing and grat­i­fy­ing” to see the ef­fect his team had on Hal­i­fax, in­clud­ing the num­ber of fans who “put their lives on hold” to fol­low the team to Saskatchewan to cheer them on to the 2013 Me­mo­rial Cup. Win­ning, he says, be­came a com­mu­nity mo­ment. “We sat down at the end of the sea­son and de­cided who re­ally de­served a Me­mo­rial Cup ring for their part in our achieve­ment,” Smith says. In­clud­ing the 20-odd play­ers, the num­ber was 122. “Every re­cip­i­ent was de­serv­ing.”

No sur­prise then that Bobby Smith be­lieves the best way to cel­e­brate the Mooseheads’ 25th an­niver­sary is by host­ing the 2019 Me­mo­rial Cup tour­na­ment in Hal­i­fax next May.

What may sur­prise you is that when Smith first broached the ques­tion about when to ap­ply to host the tour­na­ment with Cam Rus­sell—the man Smith had hand­picked as his team’s gen­eral man­ager and the per­son cred­ited with puz­zle-piec­ing to­gether that 2013 Me­mo­rial Cup-win­ning team—Rus­sell’s an­swer was suc­cinct.

“Never,” he said.

By the time you read this, the 2017-18 Hal­i­fax Mooseheads will be gear­ing up for the sec­ond round of what they hope will be a deep dive into this year’s Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League play­offs, maybe an op­por­tu­nity to play for the Q-league cham­pi­onship, per­haps even—cross your fin­gers—a shot at a year-ear­lier-than-planned trip to this year’s Me­mo­rial Cup in Regina.

You’re prob­a­bly read­ing this af­ter 1pm on Thurs­day, April 5, 2018. That’s when Q-league of­fi­cials will an­nounce the name of the Mar­itime city cho­sen to host the 2019 tour­na­ment. So you may al­ready know whether the Hal­i­fax Mooseheads—one of the most suc­cess­ful fran­chises in Cana­dian ju­nior hockey—will host the big­gest week-long tour­na­ment/party on Canada’s ma­jor ju­nior hockey cal­en­dar. Or whether that hon­our/re­spon­si­bil­ity/bur­den will go to its cross-bor­der Mar­itime ri­val, the Monc­ton Wild­cats.

If the Mooseheads win, Matthew Har­ris— the re­gional man­ag­ing part­ner for Deloitte LLP, a Mooseheads’ sea­son ticket holder from Day 1, a key or­ga­nizer of the last “best ever” oc­ca­sion when Hal­i­fax hosted the Me­mo­rial Cup in 2000, and now the des­ig­nated chair of the 2019 hope­ful host com­mit­tee—will be­gin as­sem­bling the 700-vol­un­teer team to de­liver what Har­ris pre­dicts will be a new “best ever” bar for hockey and hockey cel­e­brat­ing.

There’s a dif­fer­ence, of course, be­tween win­ning the com­pe­ti­tion to host the Cup and win­ning the Cup it­self (though hav­ing as­sem­bled a win­ning team is one of the key cri­te­ria the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee con­sid­ers). If the Mooseheads’ host­ing bid isn’t suc­cess­ful—and even if it is—Cam Rus­sell will be back at his gen­eral man­ager’s desk, tin­ker­ing with the pieces, look­ing for best fits and plot­ting next steps so his team will be ready to com­pete for the Me­mo­rial Cup in 2019...no mat­ter where it is played.

If you ask Cam Rus­sell when he be­gan build­ing a team to com­pete for the 2019 Me­mo­rial Cup, he will prob­a­bly men­tion De­cem­ber 19, 2014. On that day—less than 18 months af­ter the Mooseheads’ first cham­pi­onship—Rus­sell traded two key mem­bers from that team, goal­tender Zachary Fu­cale and de­fence­man Matt Mur­phy, to the Que­bec Rem­parts, mostly for a-year-and-more-in­tothe-fu­ture draft picks. One year later, Rus­sell traded away the fi­nal four 2013 vet­er­ans in ex­change for an­other “slew” of as yet un­known and untested young­sters.

Rus­sell is quick—and proud—to note that three of the vet­er­ans he traded “got to play for the Me­mo­rial Cup again. We knew we had to im­prove our team for the fu­ture, but we also wanted to make sure we put the play­ers who’d been with us a long time in a good sit­u­a­tion too. These kids are not com­modi­ties.”

Rus­sell learned the im­por­tance of treat­ing play­ers well dur­ing his own nine-year ca­reer with the NHL’s Chicago Black­hawks. “I was never a star,” he says mat­ter-of-factly, “just a hard-work­ing, hon­est de­fence­man.” Af­ter years of yo-yoing be­tween the Hawks and their mi­nor league farm team in In­di­anapo­lis, Rus­sell had fi­nally earned a per­ma­nent spot on the big team’s ros­ter in the spring of 1992 when his then-wife of just a year, Karen, died by sui­cide af­ter a long his­tory of “chem­i­cal im­bal­ance and mood swings.” The team ral­lied. “Every­body here on the team has been a good friend to me,” Rus­sell told the Chicago

Tri­bune at the time. Nine years later, when Rus­sell’s own ca­reer was wind­ing down and he wasn’t get­ting much ice time with the Hawks, the team traded him to the Colorado Avalanche where he could get a reg­u­lar turn on an in­jury de­pleted team and end his play­ing ca­reer with dig­nity. “They were good to me,” Rus­sell says now. “I would have gone through the wall for them. I feel loy­alty still.”

So when Rus­sell be­came the Mooseheads’ gen­eral man­ager early in the 2010-11 sea­son, he and Smith re­solved to bury the team’s tra­di­tional, mostly un­suc­cess­ful boom and bust, trade-for-this-mo­ment and damn-the-con­se­quences devel­op­ment strat­egy, and build their team or­gan­i­cally by draft­ing and de­vel­op­ing its own stars.

Rus­sell says now his im­me­di­ate “Never” re­sponse to Smith’s ques­tion about host­ing the Cup “was half-jok­ing, half-se­ri­ous.” He’d seen teams sacrifice their long-term fu­tures to “build a Me­mo­rial Cup team in one sea­son.” It turned badly for the teams, and for the young play­ers, who un­der­stood they’d be­come com­modi­ties.

Adds Smith: “One of the most re­ward­ing thoughts for me about our 2013 cham­pi­onship team was the fact that only four of our 23 play­ers had ever played a QMJHL game for some­one other than the Mooseheads... Cam as­sem­bled the team the right way.” Oth­ers no­ticed. Dur­ing the league draft fol­low­ing the Me­mo­rial Cup, the host con­grat­u­lated the Mooseheads or­ga­ni­za­tion on its suc­cess. “We re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the fans in at­ten­dance, as well as the 17 draft ta­bles of our com­peti­tors,” Smith says. “It was both shock­ing and re­ward­ing.”

Rus­sell had re­solved to fol­low the same process again, this time with a tar­get of the 2018-19 sea­son—not be­cause any­one had yet sug­gested the pos­si­bil­ity of host­ing the Me­mo­rial Cup but be­cause, in the cycli­cal world of ju­nior hockey where play­ers ar­rive as raw 16-year-old teenagers and grad­u­ate four years later as skilled 20-year-old men, the Mooseheads needed to touch bot­tom be­fore they could re­build.

They did that in 2015-16, fin­ish­ing the sea­son 17th out of 18 teams in the QMJHL. They were bad enough, in fact, to get lucky—win­ning a lot­tery to choose who would pick first in the 2016 draft.

There were two 15-year-old best play­ers avail­able that year: Benoit-Olivier Groulx, a star for­ward with the Gatineau In­trepide midget team, and Jared McIsaac, a

One of the most re­ward­ing thoughts for me about our 2013 cham­pi­onship team was the fact that only four of our 23 play­ers had ever played a QMJHL game for some­one other than the Mooseheads. —Bobby Smith

high-scor­ing of­fen­sive de­fence­man from Truro, who had played in Cole Har­bour. Which one should the Mooseheads pick? Both! As Rus­sell had done five years ear­lier when he’d daz­zlingly wheeled-and-dealed his care­fully ac­quired stock­pile of draft picks to land that year’s two best young play­ers—fu­ture NHL stars Nathan MacKin­non and Jonathan Drouin—Rus­sell be­gan this time by se­lect­ing Groulx with his num­ber one pick. Then he pack­aged seven other picks he’d traded for over the pre­vi­ous two years—two 2016 firstrounders and a sec­ond-round pick, as well as two sec­ond-round and two third-round picks in 2017—wrapped them in a neat bow and of­fered them to Baie Comeau in ex­change for its sec­ond pick. Baie Comeau said yes, and Rus­sell used that to claim McIsaac.

Both Groulx and McIsaac, who are ex­pected to be se­lected in the first round of this year’s NHL draft, would be­come key build­ing blocks for 2019. With an­other of his picks at that 2016 draft, Rus­sell chose his goal­tender-ofthe-fu­ture, Alex Gravel.

And so the Moose­head Me­mo­rial Cup uni­verse be­gan to un­fold. Again.

Smith says there was no “go/no go mo­ment” when it came to ap­ply­ing to ac­tu­ally host the tour­na­ment, but, as it be­came clear Rus­sell was putting to­gether a Cup-wor­thy con­tender for 2019, “no­body was sur­prised when we an­nounced our in­ten­tion.”

Be­side trad­ing and draft­ing, there is only one other sig­nif­i­cant way to de­velop ma­jor ju­nior teams: Through the an­nual draft of Euro­pean play­ers. Each of the 60 teams in the Cana­dian Hockey League the um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion for three re­gional leagues: The West­ern Hockey League, the On­tario Hockey League and the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League—is al­lowed just two Euro­pean play­ers on its ros­ter.

Un­like ri­val West­ern and On­tario leagues, which each have a far big­ger pool of home­grown tal­ent to choose from, as well as eas­ier ac­cess to Amer­i­can play­ers who don’t count as im­ports, the Que­bec league teams must de­pend heav­ily on Euro­pean play­ers to be their dif­fer­ence-mak­ing stars.

The Mooseheads boasted an ex­cel­lent track record at dis­cov­er­ing and de­vel­op­ing Euro­pean tal­ent. Jakob Vo­racek, now a vet­eran all-star with the Philadel­phia Fly­ers, and Marty Frk, a rookie with the Detroit Red Wings, both hail from the Czech Repub­lic, and both came of age with the Mooseheads. So did Den­mark’s Niko­laj Eh­lers, a 2014 firstrounder with the Win­nipeg Jets who re­cently signed a seven-year, $42-mil­lion con­tract ex­ten­sion, and Switzer­land’s Timo Meier, a 2015 first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks.

In the 2015 im­port draft that year, the Mooseheads re­plen­ished their Euro­pean pool by land­ing one of their cur­rent stars, cen­tre Otto Somppi from Fin­land, who led the Mooseheads in scor­ing this past sea­son. The Tampa Bay Light­ning se­lected Somppi in the sev­enth round of the NHL draft in 2016.

In 2016, Rus­sell chose sixth in the im­port draft, se­lect­ing 17-year-old Nico His­chier, an­other Swiss prospect who might—with luck— have been around for the 2019 Me­mo­rial Cup.

But His­chier turned out to be too good. In his only sea­son with the Mooseheads, he won 2016-17 Cana­dian Hockey League rookie-ofthe-year hon­ours while gob­bling head­lines and high­light reel footage dur­ing the mid­sea­son world ju­nior cham­pi­onships as the star of his na­tional team.

Scouts took no­tice. In June 2017, the New Jer­sey Dev­ils se­lected him first over­all in the NHL en­try draft. In Septem­ber, he made the team’s reg­u­lar line-up, achiev­ing the rare feat of jump­ing di­rectly from ju­nior hockey to the NHL with­out pass­ing through the train­ing wheels of mi­nor pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment leagues.

Rus­sell was de­lighted. “Nico’s a spe­cial player, but also a spe­cial per­son.” That said, His­chier’s faster-than-fast devel­op­ment meant Rus­sell would need to go back to the im­port draft­ing draw­ing board.

Cam Rus­sell knew which player he wanted in the Cana­dian Hockey League im­port draft. But would Filip Zad­ina be avail­able when he fi­nally got to se­lect a player? It was the morn­ing of June 28, 2017, and Rus­sell was sit­ting in his of­fice in the Sco­tia­bank Cen­tre star­ing at names on a com­puter screen. What hap­pened in the next hour would mat­ter, not only to the Mooseheads’ on-ice prospects in 2017-18 and be­yond but also, quite pos­si­bly, to the team’s hopes of host­ing and, more im­por­tantly, win­ning the Me­mo­rial Cup Cana­dian ju­nior hockey cham­pi­onship in May 2019.

Ev­ery­one knew 17-year-old Czech Repub­lic scor­ing sen­sa­tion Zad­ina was among the best ju­nior-aged Euro­pean hockey play­ers avail­able. Scout­ing re­ports re­ferred to him as “clever,” “dy­namic,” “ex­plo­sive,” a “po­ten­tial first-round NHL pick” and even pos­si­bly the best Czech hockey prospect since the leg­endary Jaromir Jagr ar­rived in the NHL nearly 30 years be­fore.

Rus­sell had first heard about Zad­ina through a free­lance scout who ac­com­pa­nies him on his own in­tense twice-yearly Euro­pean tal­ent-spot­ting trips. The Mooseheads don’t have their own Euro­pean scout. “He works for a cou­ple of teams,” Rus­sell of­fers with­out of­fer­ing much. “We don’t talk about who he is.” The scout had spot­ted Zad­ina at a tour­na­ment a few years be­fore, alerted Rus­sell, and then kept in touch with Zad­ina’s Prague-based agent, Michal Le­im­berger, while he charted the teenager’s hockey progress.

Rus­sell him­self had seen Zad­ina play twice: As a 15-year-old at the 2015 World Un­der-17 Chal­lenge in Bri­tish Columbia, where he scored a goal and three as­sists in five games, and then again at the World Un­der-18 Cham­pi­onship in Slo­vakia in the spring of 2017 where Zad­ina daz­zled, scor­ing three goals and three as­sists in just five games against the best young play­ers in the world.

Dur­ing that tour­na­ment, Rus­sell had a get­ting-to-know-you chat with Zad­ina’s agent and his par­ents, though not with Filip. “I never con­tact the kids them­selves,” Rus­sell ex­plains. “It’s not fair for an [al­most 50-yearold] guy to be ap­proach­ing a kid di­rectly.” Rus­sell sensed both Le­im­berger and Zad­ina’s

You’re al­ways rolling the dice. Even if the player says yes, you know he can still change his mind. Noth­ing is ever con­crete, for sure, 100 per­cent. I’m not com­fort­able un­til the player ar­rives at the Hal­i­fax air­port. — Cam Rus­sell

par­ents were keen for the young man to con­tinue his road to the NHL in North Amer­ica— and prob­a­bly with the Mooseheads. But how in­ter­ested were they? And was Zad­ina him­self ready to leave his home and fam­ily?

The year be­fore, the Van­cou­ver Giants of the West­ern Hockey League had se­lected Zad­ina with the fourth pick in the 2016 im­port draft— “We’re ex­cited to add Filip to our group,” de­clared gen­eral man­ager Glen Han­lon at the time, call­ing him “a world-class player”—but Zad­ina never showed up. He opted in­stead to re­main in his home­town of Par­du­bice and play for Dy­namo, a men’s pro­fes­sional team. Which meant Van­cou­ver had squan­dered a valu­able draft pick. Cam Rus­sell didn’t want to do the same.

Zad­ina’s sea­son with Dy­namo hadn’t gone well. Still a boy among men, Filip ended up on the fourth line on a last-place team, rarely get­ting ice time. He scored just one goal and one as­sist in 25 games. Although it had ini­tially seemed like “a good op­por­tu­nity to play in my home­town,” Zad­ina tells The Coast to­day, “it was a tough sea­son, very tough.”

His sea­son made some Cana­dian ju­nior hockey teams skit­tish. Was Zad­ina as good as he’d seemed in those tour­na­ments, or would he wilt with age and tougher com­pe­ti­tion? Per­haps more im­por­tantly, did he re­ally want to play in North Amer­ica, or might he choose to re­main in Europe for an­other sea­son where he’d also been drafted by Loko­mo­tiv Yaroslav, a Rus­sian pro­fes­sional team in the Kon­ti­nen­tal Hockey League?

Try­ing to cal­cu­late what a teenaged boy might ul­ti­mately do with his tal­ents, while fig­ur­ing out how will­ing he’d be to work to de­velop those tal­ents, is “scary,” Rus­sell ad­mits, adding the an­nual CHL im­port draft is “by far the most stress­ful” of all his player-pick­ing ex­er­cises. It’s also among the most im­por­tant.

Rus­sell’s job at the 2017 draft was to not only find His­chier’s im­me­di­ate on-ice re­place­ment but also to use his choice to show a CHL Me­mo­rial Cup se­lec­tion com­mit­tee Hal­i­fax could be counted on to ice a team that would le­git­i­mately com­pete for ju­nior hockey’s top prize in 2019.

Land­ing Zad­ina would cer­tainly help. But, thanks to the luck of the draft draw, the Mooseheads would not get to pick un­til the 11th se­lec­tion.

As usual, Rus­sell had de­vel­oped a list of five or so play­ers he was in­ter­ested in. He and his scouts had done their due dili­gence. That morn­ing Rus­sell had en­tered each of his cho­sen names in or­der of pref­er­ence on a com­puter “white­board” con­trolled in the CHL’s head of­fice. If an­other team picked one of the play­ers on his list, the name would dis­ap­pear from the screen.

Although each team was al­lowed 10 min­utes to make its se­lec­tion, Rus­sell re­mem­bers the first five or six picks zipped by quickly. And then it was a mat­ter of wait­ing. And watch­ing the white­board. Eight, nine, 10...

Filip Zad­ina was still avail­able! It did not take Rus­sell more than a few sec­onds to con­firm his choice.

But Rus­sell’s re­lief quickly gave way to re­al­ity. “You’re al­ways rolling the dice,” he al­lows. “As soon as we draft him, we know all the lo­cal teams back home will start pres­sur­ing him to stay. There’ll be lots more dis­cus­sions with his agent about our or­ga­ni­za­tion, our devel­op­ment of play­ers, the coach­ing staff. Even if the agent is sat­is­fied and the fam­ily is happy, even if the player says yes, you know he can still change his mind.” Rus­sell smiles, shakes his head. “Noth­ing is ever con­crete, for sure, 100 per­cent. I’m not com­fort­able un­til the player ar­rives at the Hal­i­fax air­port.”

Aweek be­fore the big re­veal, Mathew Har­ris is hap­pily re­cap­ping some of what the 2019 Me­mo­rial Cup se­lec­tion com­mit­tee heard when it spent its due dili­gence day in Hal­i­fax in late Fe­bru­ary. About the sym­bol­ism of cel­e­brat­ing the 25th an­niver­sary of the Mooseheads’ en­try into league. About ac­knowl­edg­ing that Hal­i­fax’s suc­cess spawned the Q-league’s six-team Mar­itime Divi­sion. About the tight ties be­tween the team and the lo­cal mil­i­tary. Vet­er­ans, of course, are what the “me­mo­rial” in Me­mo­rial Cup hon­ours. And about the city’s grow­ing ca­pac­ity to host a gi­ant party: New con­ven­tion cen­tre, new ho­tels...

“We’ve never been in bet­ter shape,” Har­ris tells The Coast, re­call­ing the “lit­tle tent” that was the main venue for pre- and post-game par­ty­ing dur­ing the 2000 Me­mo­rial Cup. For next year’s event, May 17-27, 2019, his com­mit­tee is al­ready plan­ning a Hockey Hall of Fame show­case, an all-ages fan fest with en­ter­tain­ment and in­ter­ac­tive ex­hibits, an out­door big screen so fans can watch games “even if they can’t get tick­ets.” Tick­ets, by the way, will be af­ford­able. “Bob has been adamant about that,” Har­ris says.

Lo­cal bars, restau­rants and down­town busi­nesses, not sur­pris­ingly, are on board too. Har­ris sug­gests the week could be worth “north of $15 mil­lion” in rev­enues to the city. If... Cam Rus­sell has done what he can.

As­for Filip Zad­ina, he came, he scored, he con­quered. On the ice and off, says Rus­sell, “he’s a star. The nice thing about him is he doesn’t act like a star.”

De­spite hav­ing to ad­just to smaller North Amer­i­can ice sur­faces and play­ing in just 57 of the Mooseheads’ 68 games—he spent much of De­cem­ber and early Jan­uary at the world cham­pi­onship du­pli­cat­ing His­chier’s head­turn­ing per­for­mance—Zad­ina fin­ished sec­ond in team scor­ing, sev­enth in the league.

Over the course of this sea­son, Zad­ina scaled the lad­der from a maybe-to-likely first round NHL pick to an al­most cer­tain top-five se­lec­tion in June, pos­si­bly even in the top two.

Zad­ina, who is bil­leted with the same fam­ily that hosted His­chier, “may not ex­actly be Nico His­chier,” noted Sport­snet’s Sam Cosentino, “but he’s not too far be­hind.”

As for the Mooseheads’ other im­port player, Otto Somppi, he will be 20 years old next sea­son. He could turn pro and be­gin his more step-by-step climb through the mi­nor pro­fes­sional leagues to­ward the NHL or—if the Mooseheads host the Cup—Tampa Bay may feel a fi­nal over­age sea­son in Hal­i­fax would be best for his devel­op­ment.

Cam Rus­sell is well aware of what all that could mean. “You’d love to have all these kids un­til they’re 20 years old,” he told Sport­snet. “MacKin­non played in the NHL at 18 and Drouin 19. Eh­lers left at 19, Nico last year at 18. That’s all part of the game. As much as we would like to have them here, we still feel great for the kids to see that they’ve de­vel­oped and that they’re mov­ing to the NHL.”

If which­ever NHL team chooses Zad­ina de­cides he could use an­other year of pre­pro­fes­sional sea­son­ing—es­pe­cially if his ju­nior team is guar­an­teed a spot in the com­pet­i­tive show­case of the Me­mo­rial Cup—then Rus­sell, and Hal­i­fax Mooseheads fans, may have Zad­ina for an­other year.

If not... well, Rus­sell is al­ready com­pil­ing his wish list for this year’s June 28 im­port draft. There’s still a Me­mo­rial Cup to host—or at least win.

Stephen Kim­ber is the award-win­ning au­thor of nine books—none about hockey—

and teaches in the Uni­ver­sity of King’s Col­lege Mas­ter of Fine Arts in cre­ative non­fic­tion pro­gram. And, oh yes, he’s been a Mooseheads sea­son ticket

holder for­ever.

SUB­MIT­TED

Dur­ing a na­tion­ally tele­vised game, Mooseheads fans sent a mes­sage about Hal­i­fax’s Me­mo­rial Cup-host­ing readi­ness.

RI­LEY SMITH

As hockey stars, Fin­nish cen­tre Otto Somppi, left, and Filip Zad­ina, a right winger from the Czech Repub­lic, have to do things like pose for pho­tos be­fore a Mooseheads prac­tise.

RI­LEY SMITH

Filip Zad­ina is one of the best Czech prospects for the NHL in decades.

RI­LEY SMITH

Otto Somppi, on the bike be­side Chris Pierce, Mooseheads con­di­tion­ing coach, leads the team in scor­ing. Filip Zad­ina, on the ice, was right be­hind him.

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