Welcome to the first ever Report from the Rock, The Leafs Nation’s comprehensive coverage, news and notes about the Newfoundland Growlers, the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’ll be taking on the role of TLN’s chief Growlers correspondent for the upcoming season, and hope you’ll all follow along on this journey and enjoy the ride.
Two big pieces of news to touch on this time, so let’s dive right in.
On May 11th, just a few days before the Leafs embarked on the journey towards the most embarrassing playoff collapse in franchise history, the Newfoundland Growlers’ social media accounts announced a long-awaited update. The Newfoundland Growlers will end the longest offseason in history on October 21st against the Trois-Rivieres Lions, a new expansion team that has signed an agreement to become the Montreal Canadiens ECHL affiliate.
The full Growlers schedule for the 2021-22 season can be found here, but here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights:
The Growlers will play a 72 game season that will feature 6 homestands of 6 games each. Many of these homestands will feature feature three games in three nights, so for any of you out in the mainland’s contingent of the Leafs fanbase who are looking to book a trip to St. John’s, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to see some up-and-coming prospects take the ice.
Within the 72 games, a majority will take place against the Growler’s rivals in the ECHL’s North division, with 16 of those match-ups being against Trois-Rivieres, the only other Canadian ECHL team. In addition to that, 15 games will be played against the Growlers longstanding rival, the Adirondack Thunder (always fireworks when these teams meet up).
The first home game at the Mile One Centre will be held on November 5th, against Adirondack. All home games will begin at 7:00 pm Newfoundland time with the exception of 4:00 pm matinees on Sundays.
Oh Captain, my captain
While we don’t have any news yet about player signings or any predictions as to which prospects will be assigned to Newfoundland by Toronto, we do know one player who will not be returning. James Melindy, the first captain in Growlers history, has hung up his skates and called it a career.
Congratulations to James Melindy for joining the St. John’s Regional Fire Department🚨
Thank you for leading this team, mentoring the prospects placed here by the @TorontoMarlies, and capturing this province's first professional hockey championship.#StandPROUD | #GouldsRulez pic.twitter.com/swfu6qyetm
— Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) June 22, 2021
The Goulds, Newfoundland native was a former 3rd round selection of the Pheonix Coyotes (88th overall) in 2012. As a Growler he appeared in 90 regular season games. The defenceman scored 24 points in those 90 games (5 goals) and notched 263 penalty minutes (plenty of them fighting majors). He had 1 assist in the team’s successful playoff quest for the Kelly Cup in their inaugural season and added an additional 94 penalty minutes in 23 games played. Best of luck in your future endeavours captain, the boys at Mile One will certainly miss you.
That about wraps up our first ever Report from the Rock, until next time, keep your stick on the ice.