It’s July, and I’m struggling. I miss hockey…a lot. Sure, the New Jersey Devils and their contract hilarity have helped, as has the recent emergence of Douchegate, but it’s still not real hockey. There aren’t any meaningful games (that you don’t already know the outcome of) on television. There aren’t any recaps online. It’s just not the same.
You see, the best part about being a Bears’ fan is that I’m used to short summers. In four of the past five seasons, Hershey has played into June. Last year I was really spoiled. The Bears hoisted the Calder Cup in June and then season kicked off unusually early because of the anticipated Olympic hiatus.
One of the hardest things for Bears fans right now is watching the team strip down as guys head for other organizations to get their shot at their life long dreams, while other guys sign with the team in hopes of continuing Hershey’s tradition of success. Last year, this was a non-issue. As HB Head Coach Mark French reiterated a few weeks ago at Development Camp, the team remained mostly intact for two seasons. That makes watching the TSN signing tracker even harder. We had a whole year without worrying so much about it. Now what we do?
So, instead of beating myself up over learning and speculating as to who will or will not be donning the Chocolate and White this fall, I’ve remembered a ray of sunshine. There is one guy who will not be putting on the skates this year in the AHL, let alone Hershey. This in itself is reason to celebrate. Nygel Pelletier retired at the end of last season, and we won’t have to see him anymore. Fans across the AHL should remember this key retirement and rejoice…unless you’re Canadian. Pelletier passed the test to become a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. So good luck with that, friends up North.
For those of you who may not be very familiar with AHL refs, know this. Nygel was about as bad as it could get. Hershey and Wilkes-Barre fans, who normally cannot agree on anything (much like their parent clubs’ fans – Washington and Pittsburgh), agreed that Nygel was awful. I don’t believe that there’s an arena out there that he hasn’t been booed in. In fact, he holds the record for the ref that has been most frequently honored with the “B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T, BULLSHIT!” chant in Hershey* (Official stat is not in the record books.)
To aid in my celebration, I’ve Aol Search enhanced by Googled Nygel Pelletier to come up with ten of the best worst scenarios he’s caused in the AHL as retold by beat writers & bloggers alike. Note that this is not just a collection of his horrible officiating in Hershey, but across the AHL, so if you’re joining us from another organization (or even from the ECHL) and want to share a Nygel story, please leave it in the comments section. They never get old, and they never surprise me anymore!
10: No call on the Goalie’s concussion in Hartford.
9: Jonathan Bombulie from the Citizens Voice (Baby Pens beat writer) sums it up best in the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph.
8: Oskar Osala says “Maybe he didn’t have the best night.”
7: No, River Rats. It’s not a goal – despite the goal judge’s light coming on and everyone seeing it on the jumbotron replay.
6: Bombulie again – this time explaining the seemingly unexplainable based on the ref.
5: A San Antonio & Peoria match-up where Pelletier whistled 153 penalty minutes… in one game.
4: The Peerless Prognosticator shares his take on a series winning OT goal in Hershey and the talent that is Nygel Pelletier.
3: 15 power plays in the first 40 minutes… enough said.
2: Apparently you can take two shots in a shootout when Nygel is running the show.
1: This gem: