I spent a full 10 minutes trying to come up with a good metaphor to announce that Queen's had replaced departing OUA East MVP Ryan Gibb with Kingston Voyageurs goalie Mackenzie Ball - "the Ball's in his court" was the leader, until I realized this wasn't basketball.
Either way, it was Queen's head coach Brett Gibson that made the announcement on CFRC-FM's weekly sports show, Offsides, so consider OOLF to have gotten the exclusive print scoop on the big news. A new goalie, of course, became necessary when Gibb left the team to go join the Laredo Bucks of the Central Hockey League.
But on last Friday's show, Gibson gave a bit more insight into the decision. Gibb apparently had no intentions to graduate, or play anything past a third year at Queen's. As well, Laredo had previously offered him a contract, and it was Queen's that he chose over the Bucks two years ago.
Like me, Gibson admitted surprise at Gibb's settling for a contract in such a low-level league as the CHL. But, while I was postulating that Gibb was most likely of ECHL quality (the league Gibson himself played in), the coach took it a step further and said he expected Gibb was skilled enough to compete in the American Hockey League.
Ball is a godsend for the team, considering how difficult Gibson said goalie recruitment is at this stage of the game. According to the coach, the Shannonville native already had a spot open for him at St. FX but was talked out of it to join the Gaels and compete for playing time with Brady Morrison.
Despite playing the backup to Matt Hache last year, Ball led the Vees in wins with a 17-3-1 record, a good 2.99 GAA and .896 save percentage. For his OPJHL career Ball is 23-6-1 with a 3.10 GAA and .899 sv%.
We did get to a few more things, such as the big recruiting class that Gibson's brought in this year, which could top 11 first year players. Though I couldn't get names as to the few remaining recruits that have yet to commit officially, we did discover that at least some of them are highly sought after CHL (Canadian, not Central) alumni.
Personally, I'm most excited about Weeks Crushers alum Danny Morgan, who joins the team after a campaign in which he scored 25 goals and 19 assists in 39 MJHL games. Prior to that he'd recorded a 22-41-63 season in 56 games. With the loss of Brady Olsen, and the team's neverending scoring drought through all of last season, natural scorers are exactly what the team needs.
The full interview with Gibson is below, and is chock-full of information I'm too lazy to continue typing: