OHL taking a look at video replay

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Coming soon to a major junior arena near you: Video replay.

At least that's what 67's owner Jeff Hunt believes will happen in the coming months.

"If we could get everybody up and running by February, all the better," said Hunt, who has been one of the more vocal proponents of this project.

In this era of warp-speed technological advancement, the OHL remains slightly behind the times when it comes to helping its on-ice officials with disputed calls -- especially controversial goals.

Was it in? Did the puck hit the post and stay out of the net?

Right now, there's no video replay in the OHL, despite the fact most of the league's games are broadcast in some form or another on local cable channels, or on the Internet.

Hunt himself watched a 67's game in his hotel room during a recent vacation trip to Costa Rica.

And with more teams adding video boards to show replays and advertising to fans, it's becoming common that some of these missed calls are being shown -- well after the fact -- for all to see.

That can't be comfortable for the officials.

An example comes from a recent game at the Civic Centre between the 67's and the Mississauga IceDogs.

Jordan Owens of the IceDogs took a shot that beat goalie Danny Battochio under the crossbar. The puck hit the bar at the back of the net and quickly bounced out.

Referee Ryan Carroll appeared to be in good position on the play, but signalled no goal, and play continued up the ice.

During the next stoppage, a replay on Rogers Television showed clearly that the puck had crossed the line.

"What's really frustrating is you're sitting there and a goal light doesn't go on, and five seconds later the (referee) can't get the benefit from the replay of what I'm seeing," said Hunt.

"The fans in section 27 are looking at the TV in my box to see the replay. Everybody knows it's a goal except the guy on the ice."

In that case, the IceDogs ended up winning a close game, so the non-goal that should have counted didn't play a huge factor in the outcome.

It didn't then, but there's likely to be a few times this year where close plays will determine the difference between winning and losing.

That's why Hunt and most of the OHL governors are pushing for the installation of replay cameras above each net.

Hunt said the cost for each team would be $5,000, and the league would need to provide an extra off-ice video official that would rule on disputed goals at each game.

"The fans want it. I think everybody wants it," said Hunt. "It would bring our game experience to a higher level."

TOP-RATED FOR DRAFT: The central scouting bureau of the NHL has released its league-by-league preliminary ratings for the 2006 draft.

Orleans native Ben Shutron, a defenceman with Kingston, is rated seventh in the OHL.

Other local reps include 67's winger Jamie McGinn at 16, Barrie forward and Ottawa native Matthieu Methot at 19.

The OHL's top five: Peterborough C Jordan Staal, Barrie C Bryan Little, Owen Sound D Bobby Sanguinetti, Kingston RW Chris Stewart, and Kingston C Cory Emmerton.

Two Olympiques players are on the QMJHL list: RW Claude Giroux (12) and D Pierre-Luc Lessard (20).

Drummondville C Derick Brassard is the Quebec league's top-rated player.

KREJCI BACK: The Gatineau Olympiques got some good news when import centre David Krejci, a Boston Bruins draftee, returned to the lineup after missing seven games to a knee injury.

Krejci had two assists during an 8-2 win over Rimouski on Friday. The 'Piques return to action this afternoon against Cape Breton at the Guertin.

PENALTY PINCHED: The Ottawa District Hockey Association reduced a suspension to Colin MacCormack of the CJHL's Brockville Braves from 15 to 10 games on Thursday. MacCormack had been issued the original penalty for his part in a post-game incident in Brockville Oct. 28 in which he hit an official in the head with a thrown piece of hockey tape ... The ODHA has also heard an appeal from Brockville coach Mike McCourt of a 45-game suspension following a verbal confrontation with referee Dave Ross following the same game.

IN THE CREASE: The St. Mary's University Huskies raised $20,000 in fund-raising for the Sebastien Savage Fund during a game in Halifax against the University of Moncton ... Just in case you don't already know: John Tavares and the Oshawa Generals are the next visitors to the Civic Centre. The 67's are hosting them this Friday ... Ryan Lasch of the CJHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings has signed a letter of intent to play hockey at St. Cloud State in Minnesota.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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