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Lots of local hockey in June connections

Kelly, Midgely and Goodrow versus Nick Paul in the Eastern Conference final
20210824 Kelly and Midgley
Mike Kelly and Jim Midgely are off to the Eastern Conference Finals with the Rangers. Photo courtesy Facebook.

It may be June 1, but that does not mean the hockey season has ended for a number of players and coaches with local connections. 

Tonight, the Eastern Conference NHL finals take place between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers.  

Behind the bench, a pair of former North Bay Centennials are helping the Rangers make it to the final four.  

Jim Midgely, played for the Centennials from 1995 to 1997, is working with the last North Bay Centennials head coach, Mike Kelly. The two are working with Gerard Gallant as they hope to knock off the defending Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning this round. 

On the ice in the Rangers vs Bolts series, a pair of former North Bay Battalion teammates will be going head to head. 

Barclay Goodrow, who won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Lightning, is now with the Rangers and he will face-off against Nick Paul, who was a hero for the Bolts when they eliminated the Maple Leafs in the opening round.  

Paul and Goodrow played together with the Battalion in the last year the franchise was in Brampton, and the memorable first year the Troops came to North Bay in 2013. 

Like Goodrow before him in 2020, Paul was a trade deadline acquisition by the Bolts who has become a key contributor in this playoff run for the defending champs. 

Marquardt's TBirds win game 7 

North Bay's Matt Marquardt is having tremendous success in his first year as an assistant coach with the Seattle Thunderbirds. 

His new Western Hockey League team pulled out a clutch 3-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers in game 7 of the Western Conference final on Tuesday night in Kamloops, B.C.  

Marquardt, who retired as a player in the off-season to join the Thunderbirds behind the bench, will now face the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL final.  

Taylor NHL bound? 

While Karl Taylor may not be coaching a team in June, his name is circulating amongst NHL hockey pundits for some of the vacant NHL head coaching positions that need to be filled this summer. 

The Milwaukee Admirals head coach (AHL) was able to net his first win as an NHL coach last fall with the Nashville Predators as he filled in for their coaching staff which was in quarantine due to COVID-19. The Admirals are the affiliate team for the Nashville Predators.  

This spring, Taylor's Admirals squad was knocked out in the Central Division finals 3 games to 1 against the Chicago Wolves. 

The 2020 AHL coach of the year is hoping his next time behind an NHL bench will not be as an emergency fill-in. 

See related: North Bayite gets his first win as an NHL coach

One interesting possibility for Taylor is Dallas, where he worked with the Texas Stars, their AHL affiliate, for four seasons before moving on to Milwaukee. 

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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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