Cankar, Boisselle Headline Incoming FHL Rookie Class

by Tom Tucker

Quebec City, QC, Canada - As the Federal Hockey League's GM's start to gather here at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac overlooking the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, the vast majority of the conversation has focused on the first round of the upcoming draft as teams look to solidify their base for the upcoming season. A loaded draft that includes Rookies Andy Cankar and Kris Boisselle along with league veterans Brian Snikeris and Eric Jokisch has been the toast of the town so far and Cankar and Boisselle are expected to be among the top picks as the FHL Summer 23 Season nears. 

Other rookies, Bob Porter, Brandyn Collins and goaltender Dan Foreman are also garnering first round interest. Matt Austin and Tony Madsen, both versatile F/D's and Defenseman Anthony Vance, who impressed at the combine, will be making their debuts as they have declared for their first FHL draft. Goaltender Jordan Bruyn will be joining the league in a backup role.

Others in attendance for a shot at an early selection include Jason McReadylast years third leading scorer, journey centerman Cory  Brenczewski, cherry picker Jay Allendorf along with defensemen Alan Wyss and Ryan Goss. Once a sure fire first rounder, interest in Jerry Fronek has slipped as concerns continue to rise over his lack of 'conditioning'.

The defending champion Industry Tap Red Fox, led by GM Robbie Barton and AGM Ryan Shaw, have a long road ahead after losing last years leading scorers as Fronek and Mike Hannon have left via free agency and Tom Moretti is currently holding out and is not expected to play this season. Goaltender Charles Methvin is also out for the season with an upper body injury. They also will pick last (6th) with an unlucky draw at the FHL Draft Lottery event held last week. As the defending champs, they were afforded a less than 10% chance of a favorable draw.

Picking 5th will be the Saratoga 6 Eagles led by GM John Lesnik and AGM Sean Deering. They, like the Boston Bruins, easily won the President's trophy as the best team in the regular season last year and, also like the Bruins, exited the playoffs quickly after receiving a first round bye, with a 9-5 upset loss in the Semi Finals to the Sterr Shamrocks.

The 4th selection in the draft goes to the Sterr Shamrocks.  The Shamrocks made it to the Legend Cup Finals last season after finishing middle of the pack, losing in 3 games to the Industry Tap Red Fox. GM Jeff Sterr has had remarkable draft success over the years but picking in the lower half of the draft is not his forte and all eyes will be on the crafty GM. 

Coming in with the 3rd pick will be the Elite Rehab Saints and GM Mike Groebli with AGM Ryan Helis. Groebli and Helis have 2 recent Legend Cup titles to their name and picking 3rd should make them contenders after a disastrous Fall22 season. They had a bit of bad luck on lottery night as they had a league best chance  of 25.3% at the first pick but ended up third.

The 2nd pick belongs to the Insomniak Vigilantes. While management has been in disarray the last few seasons, the organization hopes that reuniting GM Ken Russell and AGM Phil Moratti, (the pair that has won 8 titles together for Insomniak) will revive the on ice product.  Last years 5th place finish and first round playoff loss was one of the worst in team history.

Finally, picking 1st, are the Rachke Wrenches. GM Chuck Rachke and AGM Chris Thomson have had mixed results over the years, often feast or famine. The Wrenches have 3 Legend Cup Titles but have not won since 2019.  Having the first pick with a loaded draft like this year gives the Wild Wrenches Fan Club great hope for the season.