Blacker Makes History

Jesse Blacker helps his Owen Sound Attack to first ever OHL title.

by Clayton Hansler
May 17, 2011

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With the J. Ross Robertson Cup above his head for the second time, the first coming in 2009 with Windsor, Maple Leafs prospect Jesse Blacker knew that with this victory came something far more special than he had ever earned in the past.

"Making history with this team is awesome," said an out-of-breath Blacker still on the ice with his Owen Sound teammates after winning the Ontario Hockey League title in overtime against Mississauga. "[We're] breaking all the odds - no one actually thought we'd be able to do this."

It was indeed a historic run for the Owen Sound franchise who now will have their names inscribed on the OHL championship trophy for the first time in the team's 22 year history. After completing the regular season with more points (97) and wins (46) than any other Owen Sound team previously, the Attack ventured into the OHL finals as pioneers for the franchise - the team having only once previously made it past the playoffs' second round.

While maintaining his always steady defensive game through the playoffs, Blacker, selected in the second round by Toronto in 2009, upped his own play considerably in the offensive zone. Contributing an impressive 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists), Blacker finished the OHL playoffs second in defensemen scoring behind former Windsor teammate Ryan Ellis.

"We knew we could do it, we always knew we could," Blacker exclaimed when asked about the vibe in the dressing room prior to the game seven overtime. "That's part of the reason we won, we never doubted ourselves."

The championship winning goal came 3:27 into the game's extra frame when an unlikely deflection beat Mississauga netminder JP Anderson.

Blacker will now move onto the Memorial Cup to face the championship teams from the OHL's two sister league's; the Western Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Waiting for redemption will also be the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, who receive a buy into the Memorial Cup as the host team.

Now nearing the conclusion of Blacker's fourth year of major junior, the Toronto born defenseman will be eligible to join the Marlies at the conclusion of training camp next season if he does not stay with the Maple Leafs. Another chance for Blacker to make history.

The Maple Leafs are yet to have an AHL affiliate win the Calder Cup Championship. The Saint John's Maple Leafs came the closest in 1992, losing in the seventh game to the Adirondack Red Wings (an exciting goaltending match-up between future Leaf Felix Potvin and former Leaf Allan Bester).

Blacker hopes that his success in Owen Sound is only a foretaste of championships with Toronto. "That's the plan. Hopefully next year I can make a big impact where ever I play and hopefully it's somewhere pro."

But as the future Leaf skates off to join his teammates he confesses, "but right now I'm going to celebrate this."


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