The Sarnia Sting will play game four of the OHL playoffs tonight, in this the team’s 20th post-season.
After finishing 7th in the Western Conference, the Sting were 0-3 against second-seed Saginaw Spirit at the time of this writing, and yes, hope springs eternal.
Thursday’s game is at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m.
In the spirit of the playoffs, we present here some tidbits of team lore to share over a beverage.
Over the years, Sarnia’s roster has featured 357 Canadians, 42 Americans, nine Czechs, eight Russians, five Slovaks, three Swedes, two Germans and two Croatians.
The countries of Denmark, Finland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Switzerland, Ukraine and the Netherlands have each had a single player suit up.
ON TO THE SHOW:
How many players has Sarnia sent to the NHL? The answer is 46. Of those, Steven Stamkos is the runaway leader in points scored (749) and games played (736, as of last week).
Joey Tenute, Sean McMorrow and Jamie Arniel each went on to play a single game in the NHL, as did Sarnia native Jamie Fraser.
Speaking of Tenute, he became part of sports history when he participated in the longest game of professional hockey ever played in 2017. The Norwegian league playoff tilt took a staggering eight overtime periods to resolve.
Twenty-one Sarnia boys have donned the yellow and black. Most played just a single season, but current hometown hero Franco Sproviero, and goalie Justin Fazio, who led Queen’s University to the OUA championship earlier this month, were roster regulars five consecutive seasons and played their entire Junior A career in their own backyard.
John Hecimovic holds the record for most games dressed in franchise history, with 267 appearances.
Since arriving in Sarnia, the Sting have now made the playoffs an impressive 19 times in 24 seasons. Yet, as loyal fans know all too well, the team has never made it past the second round.
A ROYAL BEGINNING:
The previous incarnation of the franchise, the Newmarket Royals, didn’t fair any better. But before moving to the Toronto suburb, the Royals were a powerhouse in Cornwall. Playing the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Royals won three Memorial Cups and are one of only seven OHL teams to win back-to-back championships (1980 and 1981). After two seasons in Newmarket, the Ciccarelli brothers brought the team to Sarnia for the 1994-95 season.
THE BIG GUNS:
Centre Reid Boucher holds the Sting season record for goals, scoring 62 goals in 68 games in 2012-13. Stamkos is second, with 58 goals in 61 games in 2007-08.
But the all-time scoring leader is left winger Jonathan Sim, who netted 165 goals in 211 games over four seasons with the Sting (1994-98). He also holds the team record for most points, with 311.