The Allan Cup is the most sought after prize in Canadian amateur hockey, and Whitehorse’s Cory McEachran just won his third – sort of.
“I didn’t see the ice in a game, so I kind of feel I stole a championship,” said McEachran. “I wouldn’t count three Allan Cup rings on my finger, or anything like that. Especially having won two in the fashion that I did, I just didn’t feel right celebrating the championship.”
McEachran, 31, who played in net for the Whitehorse Huskies AAA senior men’s team this past season, was on the Fort St. John Flyers AAA team roster when they won the Allan Cup, Canada’s AAA men’s national championship, defeating the Bentley Generals 4-1 on Saturday at home.
However, his third Allan Cup ring comes without making a single save.
“I was always told I was there just in case,” said McEachran. “You expect you might
get in when they had such a strong team and were juggling six and seven guys in and out of the line-up each night because they had such a deep team full of talent. I guess they didn’t need to lean on the goalie all that much.
“It didn’t come down to goaltending.”
McEachran won his first Allan Cup with the Thunder Bay Bombers in 2005, getting named to the tournament All-Star team. 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.
He was picked up by the Flyers a couple weeks before the Cup once the Huskies were no longer in contention. During the regular season, the Flyers made a trip to Whitehorse and swept the Huskies in a two-game series.
“I went down there, practised hard and I showed, after taking two years off, I can still play at that level,” said McEachran.
Although flattered by the invited from the Flyers, McEachran feels there may a couple underlying reasons for being picked up, other than possibly needing an extra net minder.
For example, it likely would not sit well for an opposing team knowing the Flyers have a two-time Allan Cup winner and one-time tournament MVP on the roster, but is not even dressed to play. The only possible insinuation is that the Flyers team is packed to the gills with talent – the technical term is ‘psyche out.’
“Having a two-time Allan Cup winner in the crowd that they don’t even have to use, other teams are like, ‘Whoa, how good are they?’” said McEachran.
Another possible use for McEachran off the ice, though dubitable, was to keep the Flyers’ two regular goalies motivated to play well, knowing a suitable replacement was not far away.
“If it was to push the other goalies to practice or perform or to intimidate other teams’ rosters, I’m not really sure,” said McEachran. “It was nice to be asked (to join the Flyers) but you have to win with your own team to win a national championship.”
If nothing else, McEachran – and Huskies head coach Randy Merkel, who went down to Fort St. John to watch some of the Allan Cup – may have picked up some ideas of how to establish a new team like the Huskies, who played their first season in 16 years this past winter.
“The Flyers are nothing but a first class senior AAA operation; they are the new model for teams to follow, as to starting up a AAA team,” said McEachran. “I think they only started AAA three or four years ago and brought themselves to hosting a national championship.
“From their executive down to their players, it’s a first-class organization.”
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