Were the Soo Greyhounds really named the Hockey News Magazine’s No. 1 Dream Team of the 108 teams that feed players to the NHL?
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Brian Costello, in the 2015 Collector’s Edition of Hockey News Magazine, examined the two top amateur feeder systems in hockey—the CHL and the NCAA. He wanted to know which amateur teams have produced the best-quality NHL all-stars. He pointed out that 108 major junior and U.S. college-level organizations were trying to build championship teams. These organizations all have players looking for a career in hockey and a dream to play in the NHL. Thirty NHL franchises are continuously looking for talent. Costello wanted to examine each organization’s most successful players to form a dream team and see how such a teams would look when compared to others.
The Hockey News Magazine editorial team went through the all-time rosters of all sixty teams in the CHL and forty-eight active Division 1 teams in the NCAA. They named an all-star team for each organization made up of three forwards, two defencemen, and one goaltender based strictly on what they achieved—or are achieving—at the NHL level. They also gave the nod to some honourable mentions. They ranked the six-player all-star teams. They were to judge which line-up, in its prime, would fair against the other if the two were to play a sixty-minute game and not grow fatigued. Their decision was unanimous.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds came out on top of the 108 teams. Our all-star line-up had Wayne Gretzky (1977-78), Ron Francis (1980-82), and Joe Thornton (1995-97) at forward, Paul Coffey (1978-80) and Adam Foote (1988-91) on defence, and John Vanbiesbrouck (1980-83) in goal. Craig Hartsburg, Jeff Beukeboom, and Dan Clouthier received honourable mentions. It was close with the Peterborough Petes, who came in second, and the Oshawa Generals at third. Both Peterborough and Oshawa entered the Ontario Hockey League in 1963. The Greyhounds entered the league nine years later in 1972. All have been and remain strong today, winning the most championships in the league.
The Greyhounds had produced some of the top hockey players in hockey history. We were described as “an institution in their town of Sault Ste. Marie.”(Costello, 015. The Hockey News: Collectors Edition, p.6)
Next week, the answer to the following question: Are the Soo Greyhounds the only team in the CHL to have a perfect 33-0 home ice record?