It’s not the first time a team that played against Whitehorse Huskies goaltender Cory McEachran has wanted to recruit him.
With the Huskies eliminated from Allan Cup contention last weekend in a five-game series loss to the Powell River Regals, the Fort St. John Flyers have recruited McEachran, a two-time Allan Cup winner, as a back-up goalie.
“When you go into inter-branch play you have the option to pick up a goalie from another team, so we exercised that with Cory,” said Flyers general manager Rob Larson. “We know of him – we have a couple guys who played with Cory in junior and he’s got a reputation. He’s won a couple Allan Cups, so it was a no-brainer to pick him up.
“We have two goalies, but it was just to add some security to that position (in case) one of them gets hurt or is struggling – it just gives us a little more depth.”
McEachran won his first Allan Cup with the Thunder Bay Bombers in 2005, getting named to the tournament All-Star team and starting his reputation as a brick wall in net. Two years later the Lloydminster Border Kings, who hosted the Cup in 2005, picked up McEachran and went on to capture the Cup. McEachran was named tournament MVP that year.
“In 2005 (the Allan Cup) was held in Lloydminster, that’s how I got a name in the Prairies from that tournament, beating Horse Lake with the likes of Theo Fleury and Gino Odjick (on the team) – they’ve got a high-paid roster there,” said McEachran, who moved to Whitehorse in 2007. “When I played in my second one with Lloydminster, I actually had been playing in Wayburn, Saskatchewan, that whole year and it was the same sort of deal: Lloydminster beat us out and picked me up for the rest of their provincial run.”
The Flyers, who are hosting the Allan Cup this month, played the Huskies mid-March in a two game series, beating Whitehorse 6-3 and 13-2. The Huskies were eliminated from Allan Cup contention last weekend, getting swept by the Regals in a best-of-five series, losing 10-5 Thursday, 6-2 Friday and 3-1 Saturday.
“Cory (McEachran) had a really good game on Saturday,” said Huskies head coach Randy Merkel. “He struggled a little bit in the first two games, but it was really difficult because we didn’t give him much help.”
McEachran will head down to Fort St. John in the middle of next week to get some practices in with the Flyers before the Allan Cup begins on April 19.
Back in game condition, McEachran left the Huskies for a few months because of family obligations, returned to the team at the start of last month for the series against the Flyers. Since returning to the ice, McEachran also got some game-play in last-month’s Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, playing in net for A division finalists, the EGT Nanooks from Tuktoyaktuk, and was named the division’s Best Goalie.
“I’ve been on the ice for pretty much a month straight, not just in practices, but in real competitive games,” said McEachran. “The Native tournament was definitely good preparation and also the two (Huskies) series.
“I feel I’m ready to go. In that third (Huskies) game Saturday, I felt back and comfortable in my form.”
The Allan Cup, Canada’s AAA senior men’s hockey championship, dates back to 1908 and, before the incorporation of professional athletes in the Games, used to determine the team to represent Canada at the Winter Olympics. In recent years, the winning team has been sent to play national teams in a short European tour.
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