In the eyes of many fans, Jarome Iginla needed only a few weeks to morph from Jarome Who? -- that was a headline in the Calgary Sun two days after he was acquired in December 1995 -- to the future-of-the-Flames. A dozen points, an MVP award and a gold medal at the world junior tournament in Boston was enough to solidify that. Kenny Who? and Ben Who? -- specifically, Kenny Agostino and Ben Hanowski, the university-level forwards acquired in the Iginla swap two weeks ago -- have an opportunity to boost their own stock in the Stampede City with stellar showings this week at the NCAA's Frozen Four tournament. "Whether you're thinking about it or not, it's definitely a stage where you have a ton of eyes on you from the hockey world," Hanowski said. "I don't think a lot of people in Calgary have seen me play much. It's definitely going to be a big opportunity to show the whole hockey world and Calgary Flames fans what kind of player I am and what I can do on the ice." In a strange twist, the latest instalment of the Frozen Four will be contested at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, the same arena where Iginla is now chasing his Stanley Cup dreams as a member of the Penguins. Let's make a couple of things crystal clear, though. 1) The on-ice equivalent to the Final Four basketball tournament, the Frozen Four doesn't have the same profile as the world juniors, although the NCAA's list of men's hockey alumni is nothing to sneeze at. 2) Impressing the Flames fanbase, or even Calgary's management, for that matter, isn't the top priority for Agostino or Hanowski this week. Both prospects have already made history with their respective programs -- the 20-year-old Agostino is a junior forward for the Yale Bulldogs and Hankowski, 22, is in his senior season with the St. Cloud State Huskies -- and now they're only two victories away from raising a national championship banner. "I think every player is aware this is the big stage, the big dance of college hockey," Agostino said. "Obviously, this is the goal that we had from the beginning of the season, like most teams. But to see it through, it's a great feeling of accomplishment. We worked really hard to get this point and we've got two games to go."
Frozen Four features Flames future
Calgary Sun | Apr 11