JUNIOR WATCH: Flint gets tropical

February 15, 2016


photo from flintfirebirds.com

Jackie Moon would be proud.

The greatest promoter and owner/player/coach the American Basketball Association never saw was honored (sort of) on Saturday night when the Flint Firebirds became the Flint Tropics for a game.

The Flint Tropics, of course, were a fictional ABA team led by Will Ferrell in the 2008 classic Semi-Pro. When the Ontario Hockey League made the Plymouth Whalers move to Flint official last spring, there was much speculation as to whether or not the team would adopt the Tropics’ moniker.

Ultimately, the decision was made to name the team the Firebirds, but management didn’t dismiss the Semi-Pro idea altogether, throwing a Tropics-theme night complete with new jerseys featuring the iconic colors once worn by legends such as Sugar Dunkerton, Downtown “Funky Stuff” Malone, and Coffee Black.

Check out the Firebirds’ threads in this video and get more background on the idea that made Tropics Night a reality.

Saturday night’s game also included “tropical” music, and movie-inspired clips playing for fans throughout the night.

It wasn’t all for gags, too. The jerseys were auctioned off after the game with proceeds going to the Firebirds’ charitable foundation and are expected to lend an assist in the efforts to support those affected by Flint’s ongoing water crisis.

The Firebirds say they plan on making Tropics Night an annual event. No word yet on whether or not Vili Saarijärvi will wrestle a bear at intermission next season.

By the way, Flint lost their game on Saturday to Owen Sound, 5-4.


Amadio fires in franchise-record five goals

Mike Amadio of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Anyone skimming OHL boxscores on Saturday night undoubtedly required a double take when they reached the North Bay Battalion’s 6-5 loss to the Kingston Frontenacs.

In the loss, Mike Amadio scored all five of his team’s goals.

Amadio, a third round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2014, set a franchise record with his five markers. The Battalion’s previous record for goals in one game was four, a feat reached seven different times in the team’s 18-year history.

Now in his fourth season with North Bay, Amadio leads the team in every offensive category with 35 goals, 40 assists, and 75 points. In fact, the Battalion’s second-highest scorer is 25 points behind their captain, Amadio.

However, since North Bay was unable to come away with the win amid Amadio’s breathtaking performance, the Battalion now trail the first-place Frontenacs by 10 points in the Eastern Conference and find themselves in the thick of a tightly contested battle for home ice come playoff time. Only four points separate the third place team in the East (North Bay, 60) and the seventh place squad (Peterborough, 56).

If the Battalion end up on the road to start a first round playoff series, they might look back to Amadio’s franchise-record game and shake their heads in disbelief that they were unable to come out of that game with two precious points.


Hat trick for Kolesar halts Royals’ win streak

The Victoria Royals’ 11-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday mostly due to the performance of one young man: Keegan Kolesar.

Seattle’s third-year forward scored his second hat trick of the season as the Thunderbirds downed the Royals, 4-2.

Considered a sleeper going into last year’s draft with 38 points (19G-19A) in 64 games, Kolesar was nabbed in the third round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The gritty winger has since exploded for a team-leading 30 goals this season and has 59 points in 55 games.

While his point production is certainly helped by playing with New York Islanders first rounder Mathew Barzal, Kolesar’s truculence and offensive instincts lend themselves well to the pro-style game. If Kolesar continues scoring at this pace, it would be hard to imagine him returning to the Western Hockey League next year and instead add a big piece to the young core in Lake Erie.


Marner dazzles with ridiculous goal

The heading tells you all you need to know. Mitch Marner, Toronto prospect taken with the fourth overall pick last year, dummied the poor Niagara IceDogs with this filthy goal on Friday night:


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