Excitement Builds for VRH-BUSH Rematch
With just two-and-a-half weeks until the Thanksgiving weekend rematch for the Fuller Cup, the defending champions from Burton United Socialist Hockey have released a preliminary line-up.
CONFIRMED: Noel Ballard, Ben de Wit, Justin Gordon (A), Seamus O'Connor (A), Colby Olsen, Graeme Orr, Lee Orr (C)
VERY LIKELY: Kyle Grenier, K.J. O'Connor, Nathan Robson
PENDING: Shem Hanna, Logan Marchischuk
Once again, it appears to be another double-digit roster for BUSH; one would assume it would be the same or slightly larger for VRH. There are a few differences between this supersession and the previous one in April:
-Both leagues have access this time around to their top skaters (Pat Elischer, VRH; Ben de Wit, BUSH). In Ben's case, it would be his first session back since beginning university the previous September. Noel Ballard will be promoted to the main BUSH line-up in place of the absent Andrew Watson. VRH may lose some players to Thanksgiving activity, especially those with roots in the Arrow Lakes, but will also have access to player it didn't have in April such as the Elischers, Jordan Barlow, Eric Coutinho, Marcus Keighron and Ryan Disterheft, plus the imminently-back-from-Africa Andrew Smart.
-VRH will almost certainly rotate their two all-world goalies again, only this time Dominik Voser will be partnered by rookie-of-the-year lock Alex Elischer. BUSH will likely feature goaltending star Shem Hanna in goal during the main Cup tournament rather than saving him for the Open session. Logan Marchischuk will also be on goaltending duty should he show, and Seamus O'Connor is always an ace-in-the-hole.
-The biggest change, of course, is that VRH will be the host league this year. Whether the session takes place at Queen Elizabeth, Ambleside, or elsewhere, home court advantage may certainly come into play. Throw in the VRH revenge factor, the champions' confidence of BUSH, and the continually high calibre of play in both leagues, and it should be a doozy. There is no way to predict what the final result will be (although we're certain players on either side will try).
-It is still up for discussion as to whether championship action will take place over Saturday the 9th (Fuller Cup) and Sunday the 10th (Burton Open mix-and-match) or just Saturday (shorter versions of both). This will likely be a game-day decision. There WILL be hockey on Sunday regardless as it can be assured that all of the BUSH players and at least some VRHers will be up for it, no matter whether it's Burton Open action or just a regular session.
One thing definitely won't change: no matter what happens, it's going to be fun as hell! As important as the hockey is come Burton Championship Weekend, the camaraderie and friendship between the players in both leagues is just as important. There is no doubt that we will all be just as stoked for the after-party as we will be for the hockey. See you then!