The final professional hockey game of the season (in North America) was contested in St. John's on Tuesday evening, when defenceman Patrik Nemeth scored in overtime to crown the Texas Stars as the 2013-14 Calder Cup champions.
Texas, the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, won three road games in a row in OT against the IceCaps, the farm team of the Winnipeg Jets, at Mile One Centre. Texas went an impressive 6-for-6 in OT games in its title run.
Here are five individuals from the Calder Cup final worth following to see where they wind up next season.
Willie Desjardins, coach
Before the 57-year-old from Climax, Sask., turned to the pro game to become an associate coach with Dallas in 2010, he steered the Medicine Hat Tigers to WHL championships in 2003-04 and 2006-07 and Canada to a silver medal after an overtime loss to the United States in the 2010 world junior final.
Desjardins was named the AHL coach of the year in his first year behind the Texas bench last season. He has been mentioned in the mix for the vacant head coach position of the Vancouver Canucks.
A high-scoring forward in his playing days, he was teammate of Darcy Regier, Brian Sutter and Steve Tambellini with the Lethbridge Broncos in the mid-1970s.
Maxime Fortunus, D
This was the third trip to the Calder Cup final for the 30-year-old Fortunus. The first time was with the Manitoba Moose, the team the IceCaps used to be before a change of address three years ago. The second time was with Texas in 2010.
The undrafted defenceman from La Prairie, Que., who picked up his first NHL point in his only appearance with Dallas this season on Dec. 23, has been a picture of perseverance. His championship finally arrived on the night of his 875th minor pro game (regular season and playoffs) since his junior days with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
Michael Hutchinson, G
The Boston Bruins made 24-year-old Hutchinson, from Barrie, Ont., a third-round pick in 2008. He finally made his NHL debut in the final week of the season, going 2-1-0 in three starts with an impressive .943 save percentage for Winnipeg.
In the IceCaps trip to the final, no goalie faced more shots (676) or played more minutes (1,290) than Hutchinson yet he checked in with a .938 save percentage and led all AHL goalies with three shutouts.
Travis Morin, C
Since his days at Minnesota State-Mankato, the 30-year-old Morin from Minneapolis has played in only seven NHL games. He picked up his first point -- an assist -- in his latest NHL game on March 14 (Dallas).
Originally a ninth-round selection of the Washington Capitals in 2004, Morin is a winner. He won an ECHL Kelly Cup championship with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2009, went to the AHL final with Fortunus and Texas in 2010 and won the Calder Cup this spring.
With 22 points in 21 games, Morin was named the winner of the Jack Butterfield Memorial Trophy as AHL playoff MVP.
Zach Redmond, D
The 25-year-old Redmond has 18 games of NHL experience with the Jets. He was on his way to a promising NHL career when, 16 months ago, a teammate's skate cut an artery in his right thigh in practice.
At the time, the injury not only was described as career threatening, but life threatening. He played big minutes in the IceCaps post-season as St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge relied heavily on Redmond, a rock on the blue-line who was raised in Traverse City, Mich., and played at Ferris State University.
Redmond is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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