By Fred Wallace
On the Hamilton Bulldogs, the strength of the Western Conference
When the Hamilton Bulldogs eliminated the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds to win the 2018 Ontario Hockey league Championship, I was left holding a bag with about 4 great OHL topics.
Let's do 2 topics today....and 2 tomorrow.
We'll go with the Champions first.
Again, there's NO disputing that Hamilton deserved and earned the Robertson Cup. No question whatsoever based on the best of 7 final with the Soo.
However, I flinch whenever it's suggested that Hamilton's victory amounts to a testament that the OHL's Eastern Conference is now, with this victory, certified to be as good in calibre as the Western Conference.
Yes, I have a bias seeing more Western games than East, but I see enough live and on the tube to recognize what's what.
Let me say two things.
One, in the Championship Final, the Greyhounds had NOBODY with roots in the Eastern Conference in their lineup, and while I'm stretching a bit, the Bulldogs had NINE players with Western Conference roots.
And two, the Bulldogs Western roots included Robert Thomas who arrived from London at the trade deadline and in the Championship Final was the best player on the ice by a mile & a half. Maybe by more.
Finally, the Bulldogs victory and the crowds they drew for the final signified to some a return of the Junior Hockey heyday to Hamilton.
I'm skeptical about that since in 2 of the 3 years I've been to FirstOntario Centre to see the Attack & Bulldogs, the crowds have been sparse. The exception was a 10:30 am school day game with thousands of screaming elementary school kids.
I hope the Hamilton Bulldogs get massive crowds going forward....but I highly doubt it.
Tomorrow, the Soo.