Category Archives: AHL


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CT The New York Rangers have dispatched the first group of youngers all hopeful of playing for the  2016-17 Hartford Wolf Pack. The players arrived in the Connecticut capitol for the opening of training camp on Saturday at the XL Center.

Among the players sent to Hartford are Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, Ahti Oksanen Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, Reid Duke and Garrett Noonan.

Donnay is a second-year pro. He spent the 2015-16 season in the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Donnay only played in the season finale in Hartford last season.

Carey (Quad City-ECHL/Iowa-AHL), Joly (Rimouski/Cape Breton-QMJHL) and Oksanen (Boston University-HE) were each off-season free agent signings to AHL contracts.

Goulakos (Elmira-ECHL/Rochester-AHL), Noonan (Cincinnati-ECHL/Milwaukee-AHL) and Duke (Brandon-WHL) are training camp invites and have been released as a procedural move from Professional Try-Outs (PTO) deals.

Chapie (UMASS-Lowell HE) was in Hartford at the end of last season but didn’t have the opportunity to play due to a foot injury.

Duke is still eligible as an overage player to return to junior hockey for a fifth year with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Nick Betz was released from his Amateur Try-Out (ATO) contract and can look to find another AHL camp or ECHL camp.

Goalie Joseph Raaymakers (Sault Ste. Marie-OHL), Tim Gettinger (Sault Ste. Marie-OHL), Ty Ronning (Vancouver-WHL), and Sergey Zborovskiy (Regina-WHL) were returned to their junior teams whose regular season are already underway.

Gettinger, Ronning, and Zborovskiy are Ranger draft picks. Raaymakers was a Traverse City camp invitee.

The Ranger roster stands at 50 and in their preseason opener beat the New York Islanders 5-3 Wednesday night at MSG. Goaltender Mackenzie Skapski acquitted himself well playing in the second half of the game in relief of Magnus Hellberg.


Early training camp cuts with CT ties. Chicago Wolves get Gus Young (Yale), Scooter Vaughan (Sound Tigers) and Wade Megan (Salisbury Prep).

Jeremy Langlois (Quinnipiac) goes to the Rockford IceHogs and fellow Bobcat alumni Zach Tolkinen signed with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL).

Goalies Alex Lyon (Yale) was assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) and Stephen Michalek (Glastonbury/Loomis Chaffe) goes to the Iowa Wild (AHL).

Former CT Whale defenseman Mike Vernace signs another one-year deal with the Brampton Beast (ECHL).

Former Quinnipiac standout and ex-Pack Brandon Wong split last season with the Indianapolis Fuel and the Tulsa Oilers in the ECHL and did a two-week summer Australian tour playing with the eventual Australian Goodall Cup champion, Newcastle North Stars. Wong now has a new winter hockey address in EV Ravensburg (Germany DEL-2).

Joining Wong on EV Ravensburg is Zach O’Brien, formerly of the Chicago Wolves.  O’Brien is the 84th AHL’er from last season to sign overseas.

Former UCONN Husky (AHC) Marcello Ranallo retires after playing three years with SG Cortina (Italy).


Back in July, Cantlon’s Corner stated that the Ottawa Senators would purchase the Binghamton Senators and would be moving them to Belleville, Ontario for next season. Monday what we told you was happening was officially announced.

There is just one catch.

This “sale” has yet to be given the full approval as of yet by the AHL Board of Governors. The next BOG meeting is slated for the AHL All-Star game in Lehigh Valley, PA.  A conference call could, however, be scheduled to handle anything related to this matter. That information comes from AHL VP of Communications, Jason Chaimovitch.

Should this sale be approved, and there’s no reason to think it won’t, it would make 18 of the current 30 AHL teams, owned and operated by their parent NHL team. Given the hurdles that have to be crossed, a conditional approval, similar to the situation in Tucson, could be granted with the provision of certain benchmarks being met before full approval is granted.

Given the present exchange rate (as of Wednesday 9/28) at $1.32, the costs of doing business in the US is becoming prohibitive for Canadian-based NHL teams with regards to their minor league operations. Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver maintain US-based AHL teams, while Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and now Ottawa do not.

Click HERE for a series of articles from the Belleville Intelligencer on the announcement by the Ottawa Senators and City of Belleville of the purchase.

The team will be called the Belleville Senators

The renovations to the Yardmen Arena is expected to be a $20.5 million (Canadian) project. Read about that HERE.

The arena is scheduled to open December 2017 with construction slated to begin in a little over two months. HERE

Great piece featuring a conversation with former New Haven Senators player Jake Grimes about the AHL going to Belleville. Grimes played for all of the Senators’ minor league affiliates in their early years during his brief three-year pro career before he retired to become a coach. Grimes played in New Haven followed by time in Charlottetown, PEI where New Haven was moved to after just one season in the Elm City and became the PEI Senators.

The following year, for half a season, in PEI Grimes was demoted and played for the Thunder Bay Senators in the then Colonial Hockey League (CoHL), the forerunner to the now defunct United Hockey League.

Grimes is currently an assistant coach with Peterborough Petes (OHL) but was an assistant with the departed Belleville Bulls (OHL) for six seasons.

More on Grimes HERE.

From the Binghamton perspective, one-time Wolf Pack GM, Tom Mitchell, states there will be AHL hockey in Binghamton after Ottawa leaves in 2017-18. Read that story HERE.

There appear to be two factual errors in the story.

One, the Rangers still have one more year to go on their lease at the XL Center and have the option to do so, but contractually must inform the CRDA of their intentions by December 31, 2016.

The lease in Bridgeport is in effect until 2020-21 and can only can change hands if any new entity abides by the terms of the lease WITHOUT ANY CHANGES. The Islanders new majority owners, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have publicly stated they WILL NOT relocate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Nassau Coliseum when the renovations are completed there.

Our sources indicate affiliation and city switches are coming with several teams in play, but Binghampton could get the St. Louis Blues who may leave Chicago and the expansion NHL team in Las Vegas (to be named shortly) may be going to the Windy City.



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Camp Practices Start Saturday at XL Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 29, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld today announced the schedule for the Wolf Pack’s 2016 training camp and the opening camp roster.

The Wolf Pack’s training camp activity will begin this Friday, September 30 with on-ice testing at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, starting at 1:00 PM.  Practice sessions will commence this Saturday, October 1 at the XL Center, with ice times at 10:00 and 11:00 AM and off-ice workouts from 12:15 to 12:45 PM.  The team will follow that same schedule daily through Tuesday, October 4, prior to the Wolf Pack’s preseason opener Wednesday, October 5 at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Wolf Pack’s full training camp schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:

Date           Event                 Location                                       Time
Fri, 9/30       On-ice testing         Champions Skating Ctr, Cromwell 1:00 – 1:30 PM
Sat, 10/1        Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                  12:15-12:45 PM
Sun, 10/2      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Mon, 10/3    Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Tue, 10/4      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout      XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Wed, 10/5    Game group practice               XL Center                              10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice     XL Center                              11:00 AM
Non-game group workout    XL Center                              Post-practice

Game vs. Bridgeport               Trinity College                     7:00 PM

Thu, 10/6      Practice                    XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Fri, 10/7        Practice                     XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Sat, 10/8       Game group practice  Champions Skating Center          10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice   XL Center                                11:45 AM
Non-game group workout  XL Center                                 Post-practice

Game at Springfield               MassMutual Center             7:00 PM

Sun, 10/9      Game vs. Albany           Champions Skating Center         1:00 PM

A roster of 23 players will begin camp with the Wolf Pack, 14 forwards, 8 defensemen and one goaltender:

Goal (1):           P.J. Musico

Defense (8):      Desmond Bergin, Justin DaSilva, Troy Donnay, Spiro Goulakos, Joe Houk, Garrett Noonan, Matt Prapavessis, Sean Sullivan

Forwards (14):   Brandon Alderson, Adam Chapie, Andrew Dommett, Reid Duke, Trevor Gerling, Michael Joly, Allan McPherson, Angelo Miceli, Ahti Oksanen, Mike Pereira, Matt Plesa, Nick Plesa, Peter Plesa, Tommy Thompson

The Wolf Pack’s twentieth-anniversary 2016-17 season begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  Tickets for that game and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.



BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Hockey League today announced the four people selected for induction into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017.

Honored by the AHL Hall of Fame Selection Committee as the 12th group of enshrinees are Billy DeaBryan HelmerRob Murray and Doug Yingst.

“The history of the American Hockey League is defined by the standards of excellence set by those who have played, coached and worked here over the past eight decades,” said David Andrews, AHL President, and Chief Executive Officer. “The AHL Board of Governors is proud to unanimously endorse the Selection Committee’s recommendation for the induction of these four individuals into the American Hockey League Hall of Fame as the Class of 2017.”

The Class of 2017 will be honored as part of the festivities at the 2017 Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic, hosted by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for January 30, 2017, in Allentown, Pa.

Formed in 2006 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the American Hockey League, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed online at and is accessible to fans worldwide with the click of a mouse as part of the AHL Internet Network.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for the players, coaches, managers, executives and broadcasters of all 30 National Hockey League teams, as well as the NHL’s on-ice officials. By season’s end in 2015-16, more than 88 percent of all NHL players were American Hockey League graduates, including more than 200 former first- and second-round draft picks and more than 300 players who appeared in both leagues last season alone.

Click for complete release including career statistics


deaBilly Dea
Edmonton native Billy Dea spent more than half of his 19-year professional career in the American Hockey League, where his consistency, durability, and reliability made him one of the league’s all-time greats.

After seeing time in the National Hockey League with New York, Detroit, and Chicago, Dea made his AHL debut with the Buffalo Bisons on Oct. 8, 1958. Over the next eight seasons, Dea played in every single one of the Bisons’ contests, breaking Bill Needham’s league ironman record on Christmas night in 1965. Dea finally missed a game on Feb. 12, 1966, ending the streak at an amazing 548 straight (plus 48 more in the playoffs) – a mark that may never be broken.

A hard-working and popular winger, Dea had his most productive offensive season in 1960-61, when he set career bests with 35 goals and 74 points. He helped the Bisons return to the league finals in 1962, and was an important part of their Calder Cup championship team in 1963.

Dea spent nine seasons in Buffalo, eclipsing the 20-goal mark each year and reaching the 50-point plateau six times. He returned to the NHL with Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit before finishing his playing career with the AHL’s Tidewater Wings in 1971-72.

helmerBryan Helmer
Unheralded and undrafted after four seasons of Junior “A” and Junior “B” hockey, Bryan Helmer went on to play more games and record more assists and points than any defenseman in the history of the American Hockey League.

A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Helmer made his pro debut with the Albany River Rats in 1993 and played five seasons in Albany, helping the club to a Calder Cup championship in 1995 and earning First Team AHL All-Star honors in 1997-98. Helmer later skated for the Worcester IceCats (1998-2000), the Manitoba Moose (2001-03) and the Springfield Falcons (2003-04) before joining the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he did not miss a single game during two seasons and was named a Second Team AHL All-Star in 2005-06.

Helmer then spent two years as captain of the San Antonio Rampage (2006-08) and then two seasons with the Hershey Bears (2008-10), where he captained the club to back-to-back Calder Cup championships. In 2009, Helmer was selected to wear the “C” for the Canadian team at the AHL All-Star Classic.

Helmer joined the Oklahoma City Barons in 2010, and on Feb. 18, 2011, became the seventh player in league history to reach 1,000 regular-season games. He was the recipient of the league’s Fred T. Hunt Memorial Award in 2010-11, as the player exemplifying sportsmanship, determination, and dedication to hockey.

After two seasons with the Barons, Helmer completed his 20-year professional playing career back in Springfield, retiring in 2013 in third place all-time with 1,117 regular-season games played, and first among AHL defensemen with 435 assists and 564 points. Helmer also played more postseason games (159) than anyone in AHL history – including seven trips to the conference finals and his three Calder Cups – and he finished with a cumulative plus/minus rating of +188, finishing at +15 or better eight times.

murrayRob Murray 
Respected by both teammates and opponents for his leadership and hard-nosed play, Rob Murray spent 15 seasons as a forward in the American Hockey League.

A third-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in 1985, Murray made his AHL debut with the Baltimore Skipjacks in 1988-89, racking up 34 points and finishing second on the team with 235 penalty minutes. He joined the Winnipeg Jets organization in 1991 and spent most of the next nine seasons with their AHL affiliates, first in Moncton – where he helped the Hawks reach the Calder Cup Finals in 1994 after scoring 25 goals in the regular season – and then in Springfield, where he quickly became a fan favorite and the face of the city’s new Falcons franchise.

After finishing the 1999-2000 season in Hamilton, Murray signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and began 2000-01 as captain of the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms before returning the Falcons later that year. He then spent one season with the Saint John Flames before finishing his career with a third stint in Springfield in 2002-03, becoming the sixth player ever to reach 1,000 regular-season games in the AHL and eventually helping the club to the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Murray reached double digits in goals eight times and triple digits in penalty minutes 12 times during his playing career, and currently ranks second in AHL history with 2,940 PIM and seventh with 1,018 games played. The Toronto native wore the “C” for four different AHL franchises, as well as for the Canadian team at the 1997 AHL All-Star Classic.

Murray transitioned immediately into coaching and spent eight seasons behind the bench with the AHL’s Providence Bruins, winning a Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy (regular-season champions) as an assistant in 2007-08 and reaching the conference finals in his first year as head coach in 2008-09.

yingstDoug Yingst 
The successor to a Hockey Hall of Famer, Doug Yingst made a name for himself during a storied 34-year career as an executive with the Hershey Bears.

Hired as the Bears’ sales and promotions director in 1982, Yingst won the AHL’s Ken McKenzie Award for outstanding promotion of his club in 1987-88 as the Bears captured the Calder Cup. He was promoted to assistant general manager under the legendary Frank Mathers in 1988, and in 1990 added the role of director of hockey operations.

Yingst was named GM in 1996, and in his first season in that position the Bears won a Calder Cup championship. He later established an affiliation with the Washington Capitals in 2005 that began the greatest five-year run by any team in league history, with three more Calder Cup titles, four Finals appearances and a record 60-win season in 2009-10.

Yingst oversaw the groundbreaking for Giant Center, which opened in 2002 as one of the premier facilities in the AHL, and guided the Bears to 10 consecutive seasons of league-leading attendance from 2006-16. He was instrumental in bringing two AHL All-Star Classics to Hershey (1996, 2011), and also orchestrated the first-ever outdoor game in the region at Hersheypark Stadium in 2013.

A long-time member of the AHL’s Board of Governors and chairman of several league committees, Yingst was honored with the James C. Hendy Award as the league’s outstanding executive in both 2000 and 2006 and was the recipient of the Thomas Ebright Award for his career contributions in 2008.

Yingst retired in 2016 after one more trip to the Calder Cup Finals, the eighth of his career. His four championships as general manager are tied for the most of anyone in league history.



50 Players Remain in Training Camp

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 27, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has reduced its Training Camp roster by 13 players.

Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, and Ahti Oksanen have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, and Garrett Noonan were released from their Professional Tryouts, while Nick Betz, Reid Duke, and Joseph Raaymakers were released from their Amateur Tryouts. In addition, Tim Gettinger, Ty Ronning, and Sergey Zborovskiy were returned to their respective junior clubs.

Carey, Chapie, Donnay, Duke, Goulakos, Joly, Noonan, and Oksanen will all report to the Wolf Pack’s Training Camp.

The Rangers have 50 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

Forwards (28): Chris Brown, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Nathan Gerbe, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Ryan Gropp, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen, Josh Jooris, Robin Kovacs, Chris Kreider, Maxim Lapierre, Oscar Lindberg, Philip McRae, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Cristoval Nieves, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (16): Calle Andersson, Mat Bodie, Adam Clendening, Sean Day, John Gilmour, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Nick Holden, Tommy Hughes, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Michael Paliotta, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Chris Summers

Goaltenders (6): Brandon Halverson, Magnus Hellberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Jeff Malcolm, Antti Raanta, Mackenzie Skapski


gerry-150x130BY: Gerard Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTTraining camps have opened across North America and that means there are still some last minute signings and movement as the 2016-2017 season prepares to get underway.


Right-wing on last season’s Hartford Wolf Pack roster, Shawn O’Donnell, has signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). O’Donnell, who made the Wolf Pack as a walk-on three years ago, was a healthy scratch for more than half last season. He will be in the Milwaukee Admiral’s training camp.

Luke Adam, now a six-year pro, is at the Calgary Flames’ training camp on a PTO try-out deal. Matt Lindblad has retired. Lindblad had a back injury and the surgery to repair it caused him to miss most of this past season. He cut short his comeback after just eight games. Lindblad is now a pro scout for the Boston Bruins after just three seasons of pro hockey.

17 players from last season’s Wolf Pack roster who played at least ten or more games (two others didn’t) have signed elsewhere for this season.

One-time Bridgeport Sound Tiger Ryan Strome has signed a two-year contract extension with the New York Islanders with a payout of $2 million this year and $3 million next year.

On September 16th, former New Haven Senator John Ferguson Jr. was named the GM for the Providence Bruins. Ferguson has handled those duties for two other AHL franchises in his career, the St. John’s Maple Leafs and Worcester Sharks. He also is the Director of Player Development for the parent Boston Bruins where he handles their pro and amateur scouting.


Former Wolf Pack Joey Crabb has hung up his skates. The native Alaskan becomes the 67th former player to make the move to the coaching ranks. He will be a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA) this coming season.

Crabb’s tenure could be a short one. The Alaska state legislature is facing a serious economic downturn in the nation’s 49th state. It’s Board of Regents will decide in November, as a part of their overall budget review, whether one or both of it’s state college varsity programs at Anchorage and its conference rival, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, will get the axe.

He could become the school’s second full-time assistant coach as Josh Ciocco, the team’s assistant the last four years, left last week for a job at Brown University.

Crabb is the fifth ex-Hartford player this off-season to retire and move into coaching. The others are Chris McKelvie, who joins his twin brother Zach at Army (AHC), Jason LaBarbera, Calgary (WHL), Manny Malhotra, Vancouver (NHL) and Jeff Woywitka, Sherwood Park (AJHL).


Another four college players have signed pro deals starting with University of Vermont grad Alexx Privitera who signed with the Manchester Monarchs,(ECHL). Dennis Kravchenko moves from UMASS-Amherst (HE) and signed with Calgary/Stockton (AHL). The Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) picked up Ryan Keller (Michigan State, Big 10) and Jarrett Fennell (Northeastern HE).

The signings of Privitera, Kravchenko, Keller and Fennell raises the number of players who have inked North American pro hockey deals after the collegiate regular season ended in March to 206.

Phil Esposito Jr. of East Haven and a former New Haven Knight (UHL) who stepped down as head coach of Danbury Titans (FHL), has signed to become the head coach of the expansion Watertown (NY) Wolves (FHL).

Former Wolf Pack/CT Whale Jared Nightingale signs for another year to be the captain of Toledo Walleye (ECHL). When he hangs up the blades, he likely to become an assistant coach somewhere.

Dean Yakura, who played in Danbury last season, has signed a one-year deal with Manchester (ECHL). Joining him in the Queen City is former Gunnery Prep player Craig Wyszomirski.

Drew MacKenzie (New Canaan/Taft Prep) has switched from Dornbirner EC (Austria-AEHL) to EC Kassel (Germany DEL-2) this year.

Pat Mullane (Wallingford/Avon Old Farms) moves from Assat Pori (Finland-FEL) to HC Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic-CEL) this year.

Tomas Kaberle, who played two games for the Wolf Pack in 2014-15, announced his retirement after playing last year in his native Czech Republic for HC Brno Comets. He will be living in Toronto where he will get involved in coaching somewhere down the line.


Our prayers and thoughts are extended to the family of one-time Hartford Whaler, Richie Dunn, who passed away suddenly at age 59 in the Buffalo area late this week.

Dunn played 76 games with the Whalers from 1983-1985 covering a season-and-a-half. He played a total of 483 NHL games mostly with the Buffalo Sabres and one season in Calgary with the Flames.

Dunn had a stellar AHL career with the Rochester Americans and is an inductee in the American’s Hall of Fame. He was named an AHL first-team All-Star twice and was on the second team once. He won a Calder Cup title with the Americans in 1986-’87 playing a majority of his 428 AHL games there. He won the best defenseman award (Eddie Shore Trophy) with the Binghamton Whalers in 1984-85 and played two seasons with the Hershey Bears.

A Boston-born player played Canadian junior hockey in the OHL in the mid-1970’s for Kingston and Windsor a rarity in that era as few Americans dared to head North and play there.


The sport of US hockey lost a legend, Walter Bush. He was a pioneer and it’s not an understatement to call him a true hockey lion. Bush was 86 and just three days shy of his 87th birthday.

His name is all over the US blueprint for the development of the game in the US from the gold medal winning Squaw Valley team in 1960 to the 1980 Miracle on Ice team. Bush worked hard to promote women’s hockey to become an Olympic sport in the mid-1990’s. Bush helped craft a US model for hockey development similar to what had been done in Canada. His efforts were instrumental in the growth of youth hockey and helped lead the junior national team in becoming a force and able to compete internationally. He helped start the Minnesota North Stars (nee Dallas Stars) and owned a portion of the AHL Kentucky Thoroughblades.

He served with US hockey and its antecedent the AHA  (American Hockey Association) since 1959 and served on the Olympic and IIHF boards as well.


It was the Jimmy Vesey show in Michigan.

Vesey registered five goals and two assists for seven points in the tournament. Vesey led the tournament in goals (five) and shots on goal (20), and he tied for first among all skaters in the tournament in points (seven).

Vesey’s five goals were tied for the most any player has registered in one year during the Traverse City Tournament since 2007. Vesey’s seven points were tied for the most any Ranger has posted in one year in the Traverse City Tournament. He notched a point in each of the tournament’s four games. Also, he posted a multi-point game in each of the final three contests, including a multi-goal game in each of the final two contests.

Vesey recorded the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on September 17, and he tallied the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Rangers 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on September 19.

It’s a safe bet that Vesey won’t be in the Pack’s opening night lineup against St. John’s.

Malte Stromwall tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two), points (three), and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. Stromwall, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on April 17, 2016, registered two goals in the Rangers’ 5-4 win against the Stars on September 17.

Robin Kovacs, who was Stromwall’s linemate in Sweden last season, was tied for second on the Rangers in goals (two) and shots on goal (eight) in the tournament. The 19-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, tallied a goal in each of the Rangers first two games of the tournament.

Cristoval Nieves tied for second on the Rangers in assists (two) and points (three) in the Traverse City Tournament. Nieves, who served as the Rangers’ captain in the tournament, notched the game-tying goal with less than one minute remaining in regulation to help the Rangers defeat the Stars on September 17, and he tallied an assist on both of New York’s goals in the team’s 2-1 win against Minnesota on September 19.

John Gilmour led the Rangers – and tied for fifth among all skaters in the tournament – in assists (three), and he tied for second on the team in points (three). Gilmour, who was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on August 18, 2016, tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in assists and points.

Sean Day tied for first among all defensemen in the tournament in goals (two) and tied for second among all defensemen in the tournament in points (three). The 18-year-old, who was selected by the Rangers in the third round (81st overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, recorded two goals on September 20 against Columbus.

The Rangers kick off training camp this weekend here is the training camp roster.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment 



rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

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Includes Return of Friday-night $1 Hot Dog, $2 Beer Deal

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 21, 2016:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and the Hartford Wolf Pack, today revealed the schedule of game-night promotions highlighting the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 20th-anniversary AHL season.

Once again this year, Wolf Pack fans can take advantage of two special promotions throughout the season.  The Pack’s ever-popular Friday-night food and beverage discount is back, as at every Friday-night Pack home game, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.  Also returning are the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket” Family Value Packs.  Those are available for all of the Pack’s Sunday and Wednesday home games, as well as the one Tuesday date, December 27, and include two tickets, two hot dogs and two soft drinks, all for only $40.  In a new wrinkle this season, at every Sunday Wolf Pack home game, the first 2,000 fans will receive a “hockey bingo” card.  The spaces on these cards contain possibilities that might happen in the game, and if they do, fans can fill in the spaces to win Wolf Pack bingo prizes.

In addition to those consistent features, the Wolf Pack will again be offering fans a bevy of single-night promotions and giveaways in 2016-17.  The first of those is at the Pack’s season opener Friday, October 14, a 7:15 PM contest at the XL Center vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  The first 5,000 fans into that game will take home a Wolf Pack magnetic schedule, courtesy of CT-DOT.

Following is the full 2016-17 Wolf Pack promotional schedule:

Date/Opponent                                Faceoff    Promotion

Friday, October 14 vs. St. John’s               7:15         Opening Night (Magnetic                                                                                                                  schedule giveaway to the first                                                                                                          5,000 fans, presented by CT-                                                                                                           DOT)
Friday, October 28 vs. Lehigh Valley        7:15        The Wolf Pack put on their                                                                                                               “Howl-a-ween” celebration
Saturday, October 29 vs. Utica                   7:00       First 2,000 fans receive Wolf                                                                                                           Pack 20th-anniversary trading                                                                                                         card sets (set 1 of 4)                                                                                                                               presented by KOTA Solutions
Wednesday, Nov. 2 vs. Lehigh Valley     11:00      “Sonar’s Ed-u-skate” school-                                                                                                             day game
Friday, November 4 vs. Bridgeport          7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a                                                                                                                  Wolf Pack license plate cover,                                                                                                           sponsored by Aetna
Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. W-B/Scranton         5:00        Thanksgiving food drive
Wednesday, Nov. 16 vs. Springfield        7:00       Thanksgiving food drive                                                                                                                     continues
Sunday, November 20 vs. Providence   5:00        First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack ice scraper, courtesy of                                                                                                              Aer Lingus; plus Sonar’s B’day
Friday, November 25 vs. Albany              7:15          First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading cards (set 2                                                                                                       of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                   solutions, plus the Wolf Pack’s                                                                                                         annual “Teddy Bear Toss”
Saturday, December 10 vs. Toronto          7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a 2017                                                                                                      Wolf Pack team calendar, plus                                                                                                         “Star Wars Night”
Tuesday, December 27 vs. Providence      7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack ski cap
Saturday, December 31 vs. Albany              5:00     First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading card set                                                                                                             (set 3 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                        Solutions
Saturday, January 7 vs. Bridgeport            7:30      Wolf Pack “red-out”, as first                                                                                                              5,000 fans receive a red Wolf                                                                                                          Pack t-shirt presented by CT-                                                                                                            DOT
Friday, January 20 vs. Toronto                   7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 20th-anniversary poster,                                                                                                          presented by Bud Light, and                                                                                                            “Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                Weekend” begins
Saturday, January 21 vs. Rochester          7:00       Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                  Weekend” continues
Saturday, January 28 vs. Providence       7:00      First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 2016-17 trading card set,                                                                                                          and Wolf Pack wear special                                                                                                                “Stick it to Cancer” jerseys
Saturday, February 4 vs. Rochester          7:30       First 1,000 kids 14 or younger                                                                                                         receive a Wolf Pack youth                                                                                                                  jersey
Sunday, February 19 vs. Springfield         5:00      “Sonar Saves” pet adoption                                                                                                               night
Friday, February 24 vs. Hershey                7:15        First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                          anniversary trading card set (set                                                                                                    4 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                 Solutions
Saturday, March 4 vs. Lehigh Valley        3:00       First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack bobblehead, plus “Military                                                                                                     Day”, as the Wolf Pack wearing                                                                                                       special military-themed jerseys Friday, March 24 vs. Providence               7:15         “Social Media Night”
Saturday, March 25 vs. Bridgeport          7:00        First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack drawstring backpack
Saturday, April 8 vs. W-B/Scranton        7:00        “Fan Appreciation Night”

Tickets for the Wolf Pack’s October 14th opening night and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451

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xl-center-ice-completedBY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – What goes well with red and blue? Hockey ice of course.

14 die hard Hartford Wolf Pack fans took advantage of the opportunity to take part in the Annual Hartford Wolf Pack, “Paint The Lines” day at the XL Center. The fans got to paint the lines on the first fresh sheet of ice kicking off the 2016-17 season, the team’s 20th in the Connecticut capital.

Irene Leitao, of Enfield. is a season ticket holder and who occasionally sings the National Anthem at Wolf Pack games, was among those given the honor to paint a blue line. “It’s fun to be a part of starting another season and it feels nice that you’re helping out,” She said. “It was also fun to see people you see at the games and goof around with them and interact with the Wolf Pack staff and of course, our lovable Sonar! I’m a real hockey fan and have been rooting for the team since Day One.”

The process of making the ice and the painting the lines that these fans took part in, is a short slice of what goes on in creating the final product that the players will use on opening night.

dr-ice-2“We usually go from 8am-6pm to get this done correctly,” Wayne Knight who has spent 36 years making ice at the XL Center (nee Hartford Civic Center Coliseum) said.  “Today, we had a few hiccups, so we’ll be here into the evening, but it will  get done to perfection.”

Knight, whose nom de guerre is, “The Ice Doctor,” tends to the ice like it was his patient. His tools of the trade and preparation are not simply getting a bucket of paint at Lowe’s and  to start brushing.

“We have to use ten people,”Knight said. “It is very coordinated. We put a layer of ice over the concrete first, then we paint that white. Then we put a second layer of ice on top of the white. Then do the blue lines, then the secondary lines like the faceoff circle and hash marks, which must be done to the specifications. You can’t be off by an inch. Then the goal lines and then the center red line. We have sponsorship and team logos to do for the Wolf Pack and UConn last. It’s intricate work.”

To get the ice set up and the silky, creamy white color requires eight, 44-pound boxes (362 pounds) that must be placed on and over the first and second layer of ice which is placed over the concrete foundation. That’s all before the first brushes are even started to color in the blue lines.

The blue line paint (or the red line paint as well) isn’t some shelf store paint it is specially designed by a Canadian company called, “Jet Ice Limited” and it costs the team between $120 to $140 apiece.

The faceoff circle and the hash marks require three gallons of red paint. A pane of plexiglass is used to accurately set the marks to AHL league specifications.

Then the top layer of ice is made over the finished work of ice Picassos and sometimes it takes several cracks at it to get the perfection they

painters-2 painters-3 painters sonar-interview-2 sonar-interviews-self sonar-with-fans


Wolf Pack training camp is scheduled to start on Saturday, October 1st.

The Traverse City tournament began Friday and head coach Ken Gernander and his staff of new assistant coach Keith McCambridge and assistant coach and assistant GM Pat Boller will get their first look at the new young crop of Ranger prospects and free agents in the right team round robin tournament. It is the Rangers 10th season participating in the tournament in the Michigan Upper Penisula region –UP to the natives.

It will be available on streaming on Fox Sports Go and

Tyler Brown who played all last year with the Wolf Pack with four goals and nine assists signed an ECHL deal with Greenville.

Five Wolf Pack players still unsigned from last year’s squad include Luke Adam, Shawn O’Donnell, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons. You can scratch off two of those from that list.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced their training camp roster and McCarthy, a Pennsylvania native, was on it. He will wear jersey number 74 and will likely get an AHL/ECHL deal to play either for Lehigh Valley or Reading (ECHL).

The other is the lethargic Brian Gibbons who signed a PTO tryout contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Former Wolf Pack goalie Cedrick Desjardins is scheduled to go to training camp this weekend with Jonquiere Marquis (LNAH),but is waiting on a European deal for the 2016-17 season.

He started last year in Hartford rehabbing from off-season ACL knee surgery, but only played seven ECHL games with Manchester and Indianapolis not playing a minute of AHL action with a $275K deal.

Ryan Verbeek, the nephew of Hartford Whalers great, Pat Verbeek, who is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Assistant GM and Director of Player Development, will play as overage junior with Chicoutimi (QMJHL) this season is a training camp invitee for Tampa Bay because of the shortened roster because of the World Cup hockey tournament.

Ex-Pack rearguard Ryan Glenn will have a new address this season. After splitting last season between HC Sparta Prague (Czech Republic-CEL) and JYP Jyvaskylan (Finland-FEL) he heads to HC Bolzano (Austria-AEHL).

Former Hotchkiss Prep goalie Jay Williams has graduated from Miami (OH) (NCHC) and signed with Orlando (ECHL). That makes 202 NCAA players who have signed a North American professional contract since the end of the collegiate regular season.

There are plans for a season-long honoring of Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe who passed away this summer. A pair of green number nine’s at center ice on either side of the Wolf Pack logo.

This being the Pack’s 20th season there are still unfinished special promotions and player appearances in the works.

Get a laugh out of this. The oldest student assistant coach in the nation is former Ranger and NHL’er Corey Millen, age 52.

Millen who attended the University of Minnesota didn’t complete his degree and was named student assistant coach for the Gophers staff last week. Millen played just 19 games for the Rangers from 1989-1991 before being traded to Los Angeles.

He also played for New Jersey, Calgary, and Dallas.

(All photos by Gerry Cantlon)


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTThe recent new AHL Rule 46 announced in July at the conclusion of the AHL Board Governors meeting regarding fighting reads as follows:

Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”) 

  • Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
  • In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

I rise in defense of the heavyweight.

This another assault on the character of the heavyweights and the continued micromanaging and over regulation of hockey in general. The rules addition is both unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the sport adding another layer of bureaucracy that allows officials who are often game-fully challenged as it is- to yet again get to play a further role in the game than is needed.

Did anyone hear an outcry to change and add this amendment to the fighting rules last year? Coaches? Players? The fans? No, just another bureaucratic fiat issued and the AHL is told just to put it in.

Primarily, it is the fear of a concussion lawsuit such as the judgement the NFL had of over $3.5 Billion that scares the bejesus out of the NHL. So the NHL now practices its version of defensive medicine because of a still yet unproven theory that connects CTE disease to fighting or concussions in general. Far more understanding and real science needs to find out what causes CTE. I believe there are far more complex medical and biological issues at play in that development.

Just my humble opinion.

Fighters are an important part of the game. They have served a very useful role in protecting smaller players and keeping fellow players in check from cheap shot artists who are indeed causing the reckless endangerment of players. Over the past several years, the PC police keep making it harder.

Again, this will allow those types of player’s free reign to do as they will because of the heavyweights, the player’s protectors if you will, will be circumspect about when, if and how to drop the mitts. You can’t depend on disciplinary sanctions, which were all negotiated in CBA contracts at the NHL and AHL level, to truly have a deterrent effect. It’s has been lawyered down and diluted to the point of having little to no effect.

The Raffi Torres suspension, for example, is the only significant exception to attempt to seek to have a corrective action taken on a players conduct.

Elbows directed at the head, to hits from behind, and stick activity, especially behind the play like spearing, high sticking, and butt-ending, are real issues in the game to correct – not fighting.

The majority of suspensions and injuries came from one of the aforementioned categories. At the same time, concussion-related injuries are down, and that’s good. We still have too many infractions of the above categories going on in the game. The real injury issue are those head shots that are unwarranted and reckless. Having a real deterrent on the ice offering immediate justice doled out by your peers should be in the game not excised from the game.

There was no call for this rule. This rule is a dictate from somewhere in the NHL offices which now more or less control the AHL. Almost any semblance of what the game once was has left the building. From the fighting to the overtime gimmicks to many other aspects of how the play of the game is now unrecognizable from its past to its present.

Can you imagine the recently passed, “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, playing under some of these rules? Not a chance.

Hockey fighters, by and large, are great people. They’re strong community assets, particularly to charities. They are beloved by their teammates who respect their contribution to the team game. They are an enormous presence in the locker room for every team.

Fighting is a PART of hockey, not the whole game.

Remember the old, tired argument that people won’t watch hockey because of fighting? With fighting down significantly in the last five to ten years, where are the national ratings for the NHL on NBCSN?

Television ratings in the States are uneven at best. Why? Because the NHL is a market driven, ad revenue based league and a gate receipts generated league. They have no US national TV deal. However, there is a national TV deal in Canada. However, with the value of the falling Canadian dollar now an issue, it has made the deal less lucrative than the original figure. The demographics are shifting where hockey is played and is popular in the United States as the sport is no longer weather specific.

We have seen as recently as last year, players like Brian McGrattan (San Diego), Paul Bissonnette (Ontario), our old pal Stu Bickel (also in San Diego and who led the AHL last year with 210 PM), and recently retired players Matt Carkner, as well as, one-time Pack and NY Ranger, Colton Orr, and Nick Tarnasky of the Wolf Pack last year, all exiled to the AHL. They were sent packing as if they didn’t matter anymore. Shame on the NHL and shame on NHLPLA and PHPA for participating in this job-killing maneuver by the Lords of the Boards. The union is there to represent the players and maintain their job security not participate in their elimination or evisceration.

McGrattan, as other heavyweights have the last few years, signed in Europe with the Nottingham Panthers (England-EIHL). Tarnasky signed in San Diego, taking his slot. Bissonnette and Bickel re-signed for AHL deals with their respective teams they played with last year.

The fact is players want to fight in the game. In a survey done several years ago, 98% responded yes – Case closed, right?

No, as we found out this summer in college hockey when the coaches voted overwhelmingly to keep the OT rules as they are in the NCAA. I think that decision came with some guidance from the NHL which has sought to institute the same carnival concepts from pro hockey OT into the collegiate game. The majority vote was ignored and shown no respect. Thankfully, in that case, the coaches have prevailed—for now.

Fans stand up and cheer at a fight. Nobody is booing it. That’s a fact that many namby-pamby writers in particular and now some hockey executives many who have little understanding of the game, though some do, and benefitted in the fighting era and its history are suddenly recoiled by it. They seek to institute their social engineering theories to curb violence.

Truthful fact, violence is part of the human condition. How we maintain it, is a key to the maintenance of balance. A hockey fight is an expression of violence, but do you want to see real violence? Visit Chicago on a weekend or Hartford, Orlando, Syria, Dallas, Paris, Nice or Brussels. That, my friends, is real violence. A hockey fight or line brawl is not even in the neighborhood.

What happens when countries disarm in the name of peace? They will usually find their way into an inevitable war.

Hockey fighters have been important part of the fabric of our great game. From the good guys, and even the bad guys, they have been a part of our great sport. They have produced some great stories and incredible moments along with the exciting goal scoring and terrific defensive plays the game provides.

Paul Stewart, current head of officiating in the ECACHL college conference over the years regaled to many us writers of some of the characters he fought and played with in his days in the NAHL, WHA, AHL and eventually the NHL, all before becoming an NHL referee where he did 1,000 games.

From the inspiration for the Slap Shot character, Oggie Oglethorpe, he told of how he and teammate Bill Goldthorpe suckered him at the team Christmas party in Binghamton (NAHL) to see who would be the team heavyweight. His first pro fight was in Hartford with Jack “Killer” Carlson then of the New England Whalers (WHA) and Stewart with the Cincinnati Stingers. The referee, Bill Friday, told them, “Boys, that’s the best fight I’ve seen in 20 years.” Stewart also scored his first pro goal in Hartford against Louis Levassaeur.

Stewart’s NHL debut with the Quebec Nordiques was in his hometown at the Boston Garden. He battled Terry O’ Reilly that night. Stewart told him during the warm-ups, “You’re not the only Irishmen in the building O’Reilly. He fought Stan Jonathan and Al Secord in one night. Stewart’s verbal battle with all-time Bruins great goalie Gerry Cheevers is simply laugh-out-loud funny. “Cheesey! I know where your horses are. I’ll burn the barn down!”

One of my all-time favorites, Frank “Seldom” Beaton, played with the New Haven Nighthawks for two-and-a-half seasons in the late 1970’s. When he was in the WHA playing for Birmingham in a game in Cincinnati (where he had played the year before) had cops seeking him out on an assault arrest charge. He’d apparently punched out a gas attendant who spilled gas on his Corvette. He was carried out under their noses in the player’s stick bags to the team bus to avoid them.

You’re laughingI know you are. And you should because these are funny stories. It’s a part of life and the game that has many of these vignettes.

The attempt to sanitize our sport by the PC police must stop now. Fans and I know there are a lot of you who agree with me. Let’s hear your voices before the faceless bureaucrats destroy a part of the hockey spirit. They have done enough damage already in other areas.

I gladly stand to defend the heavyweights and scrappers of our game they deserve to be respected and appreciated not legislated, marginalized and ostracized from our great game.

(Publisher’s note: This editorial represents the sole opinion of our esteemed colleague, but does not express the opinion for all of the Howlings staff).


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTFor Hartford Wolf Pack fans, the excitement is beginning to rise as the season is getting closer by the day.


The Pack made another signing mid-week inking forward Matt Carey to a contract for the ’16 – ‘17 season.

Carey led the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) with 25 goals and 47 points in 49 games. He also spent 21 games with the Iowa Wild (AHL) garnering two goals and four points for what turned out to be the AHL’s worst team last season.

He played with the Rockford IceHogs the previous season and left St. Lawrence (ECACHL) after just one college season where he compiled 37 points in 38 games. Carey scored his first NHL goal in his second game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Carey is a 6’0, 190lb. winger who played Junior A hockey in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (OJHL). He is also the younger brother of Greg Carey, who played with the Springfield Falcons last season. The elder Carey has signed to play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for this coming season.

The New York Rangers formally announced the signing of BU forward and defenseman, Ahti Oksanen, to an AHL deal. Cantlon’s Corner reported this signing back in June.


Former Pack forward Nick Tarnasky has signed with the San Diego Gulls. Tarnasky moves into the slot vacated by Brian McGrattan, who signed with Nottingham (England-EIHL). Former Wolf Pack and Ranger, Stu Bickel, and former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, re-signed with San Diego for another year.

Tarnasky represents the 12th player from last season’s Hartford roster to sign elsewhere. Just five players from that team have yet to be signed. They are Shawn O’Donnell, Tyler Brown, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons.

Joining McGrattan in heading to Europe is forward Matt Fraser who split last season between Rockford and the Manitoba Moose. Fraser is going to Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) while goalie Joni Ortio, who played with the Stockton Thunder and had some time with the Calgary Flames, heads to Skelelftea AIK (Sweden-SHL).

The list of AHL to Euro players is up to 78. Now 28 of the 30 AHL teams have seen at least one player head overseas. To this point, only the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Ontario Reign have not seen any roster players head across the pond.

The new Laval team, scheduled to launch in the AHL next fall when the Montreal Canadiens move their farm team there from St. John’s in the soon to be completed, Place Bell Centre, now has a name. 51 percent of those responding to the, “Name The Team” contest selected, “Rocket” over Patriotes and Rapides (French spelling). The name of course, honors Montreal Canadians great, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games in NHL history.

The team name “Rocket” has been used once before when it was the name of a QMJHL franchise that played out of the Maurice Richard Arena (which is now used for speed and figure skating) and the Bell Centre from 1999-2003. The team was sold and moved to Charlottetown, PEI and retained the name, Rocket, until last year when the team was renamed, “The Charlottetown Islanders.”

Former Wolf Pack Vinny Saponari, who played most of the last year with the Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and who had three AHL recalls for a total of 18 games, was released in training camp by KHL Dynamo Riga, but has signed with Frisk Asker (Norway-NEL).

Samuel Noreau, an ex-Pack who played for three ECHL teams last season including Greenville, was cut loose by the Rangers and signed with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).

Former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Lukas Sutter, the son of Rich Sutter from the NHL’s legendary Sutter clan, after a sitting out a year playing senior hockey with the Prairie Outlaw of the Fort Carlton Senior Hockey League (FCHL), suits up in Canadian collegiate hockey with the University of Sasketchewan Huskies (CWUAA) this season.


Ex-Pack and Ranger, Manny Malhotra, is now officially retired. Incredibly, Malhotra played in 991 NHL games tallying 295 points. Malhotra was a number one pick for the Rangers, 7th overall in 1998. It seems like just yesterday that he was at Wolf Pack practice when it was held at Avon Old Farms Jennings-Fairchild Arena.

Malhotra never became the type of player the Rangers hoped he would be. He was an example of drafting a talented player and heaping unrealistic expectations and projections on his skill set and assets. It was also an example of too much over-handling in a player’s development. He was really a solid second round pick, but his leadership skills remained intact throughout his playing career and was a mentor to the younger players the past few years.

He never became the big scorer the Rangers envisioned he would be. Under the Ranger GM at the time, Neil Smith, the organization could never make up its mind about him and that caused many problems.

At the end of training camp in 2000, Malhotra was told he was being switched from a center, where had played all camp, to left wing – With no notice! Malhotra was genuinely peeved.

Malhotra would evolve into one of the best checking and best faceoff centers in the NHL, let alone in New York. He led the NHL in face-off percentage in 2009-10 with a 61.4% ratio while with the Vancouver Canucks and despite suffering a near career-ending injury, he played in the Stanley Cup final for a Canucks team that went on to lose to the Boston Bruins in seven.

His eventual departure from Vancouver didn’t go well either. He still played in the NHL with both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended his career playing for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) last season before being released on March 1st. He didn’t get to play for the eventual Calder Cup champions. Malhotra played in 71 AHL games in his career and scored 10 goals and 23 points overall.

He won his only championship in 2000 as a member of the Calder Cup Champion Wolf Pack. Malhotra played in all 23 playoff games that year but in his career only played 40 regular season games with the Pack. He registered 17 points on six goals and 11 assists. Malhotra also won a bronze medal with Team Canada that same year at the World Junior Championships.

Malhotra junior career was in Guelph (OHL) where he went to the Memorial Cup final in 1998, but he and his teammates failed to win a title. Despite that disappointment, Malhotra was named to the All-Tournament team with the likes of Marian Hossa and former Pack tough guy, Frankie Lessard.

After 206 games with the Rangers where he registered just 19 goals and 41 points, Malhotra was traded to Dallas along with ex-Pack Barrett Heitsten for Martin Rucinsky, and the late Roman Lyashenko.

While in juniors, Malhotra was selected number one and 17th overall by Guelph where he was coached by the Wolf Pack’s first head coach, the late E.J. McGuire during his first year. Malhotra was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year (Bobby Smith Award) in his second season.

Malhotra, who is of Pakistani descent, grew up in Toronto was one of the first Eurasian players to ever play in the NHL. A player following in Malhtora’s footsteps as a second generation player of sorts will skate for the Rangers this upcoming season. Mika Zibanejad is an Iranian-Swede who was born and raised in Sweden.

Malhotra was a consummate pro who was among the most thoughtful and truly articulate interviewees in the Wolf Pack’s twenty-year history.

He will make Vancouver his post-career home, but won’t be totally out of hockey. According to the Vancouver Province newspaper, Malhotra is expected to be taking a coaching position with the Canucks for the upcoming season.

If this happens, it’s possible that Malhotra would be used as a skill development coach this coming season and could be on the bench as an Assistant Coach in the 2017-18 season for the Canucks AHL affiliate in Vancouver.


Norway, Slovenia, and Germany will fill out the last three Olympic spots for the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Games as all three countries won the qualifying pools last weekend.

Group F saw Norway, paced by ex-Pack and current Ranger, Mats Zuccarello, beat France 2-1 in order to advance. Zuccarello, who was the top scorer for all players with five points, scored the equalizer just 5:10 after the French took the lead. They were the only host nation to win their pool.

The Germans knocked off the host Latvians 3-2 as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Thomas Kuhnhackl scored a powerplay goal with 5:09 left in regulation to advance. The Germans, along with Norway, will be in Pool C at the Olympics.

Slovenia beat Belarus 3-2 winning Group D in penalty shot style.

Denmark, one of the tournament favorites to win Group D after a strong World Championship showing in April, didn’t win a game until their final one last Sunday placing third in the Group D pool.

Current Wolf Pack Nicklas Jensen paced a 5-2 win over Poland with three primary assists and four shots on goal. Ex-Sound Tiger Franz Nielsen had three assists for the Dames in the tournament.

Mike Cichy, the New Hartford, CT native, had one assist (primary) a backhand pass on a goal by Kamil Kalinowski for the Polish team.


Trumbull, CT native Chris Drury has always been successful and has taken another step up the ladder in the Rangers organization. He’s done so with the same speed he had as a player coming out of Boston University.

Drury was named the team’s new assistant GM where he will gain one of the portfolios Jim Schoenfeld has held along with being the GM in Hartford. This could be a signaling of the changing of the guard in the Rangers’ organization that has been whispered about since Glen Sather stepped down as Rangers GM a year and a half ago.

Drury’s work with the young forwards of the Wolf Pack paid dividends last spring with the revitalized team having a strong second half. The team would fall short though of their goal of making the playoffs. Drury spent time with Nicklas Jensen, Marek Hrivik and the now departed Jayson Megna in developing their down low games.

Drury’s career highlights professionally are highly impressive. After being drafted in Hartford in 1993 by the Quebec Nordiques (nee Colorado Avalanche), he would shine in a 12-year NHL career. Drury skated in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers. He registered 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points and added 468 penalty minutes. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01 when he ranked second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during that team’s playoff run.

In 1998-99, Drury received the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with Colorado. Drury recorded at least 20 goals in nine different seasons in his career and recorded at least 50 points in eight different seasons.

In addition, Drury’s team reached the playoffs in nine of his 12 seasons in the NHL and advanced to the Conference Finals on six occasions. In 135 career NHL playoff games, Drury tallied 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 46 penalty minutes. Over his 12 NHL seasons (1998 – 2011), Drury led the league in playoff game-winning goals (17), ranked second in playoff overtime goals (four), ranked fourth in playoff goals, and ranked ninth in playoff games played.

Drury played four seasons with the Rangers (2007-2011) after signing with the team as a free agent on July 1, 2007. In addition, Drury served as the Rangers captain for three seasons (2008-09 – 2010-11) as the 25th captain in franchise history – as well as the second American-born captain in franchise history – on October 3, 2008. In 264 regular season games with the Blueshirts, Drury recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes. Over his first three seasons with the Rangers, Drury led the team in goals (61) and points (146), ranked second in assists (85), and tied for second in game-winning goals (10). In addition, the Rangers made the playoffs three times during Drury’s four seasons with the team.

Prior to joining the NHL, Drury completed one of the most impressive collegiate hockey careers in NCAA history.

Over four seasons at Boston University Terriers (1994-1998), Drury tallied 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points in 155 games. During his collegiate career, the Terriers captured the National Championship in 1994-95, appeared in the National Championship Game twice (1994-95, 1996-97), and appeared in the Frozen Four three times (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97).

Drury was selected as a First Team All-American on two occasions (1996-97, 1997-98), a Hobey Baker Finalist as the Top Player in College Hockey on three occasions (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98), and he became the first Terrier to receive the Hobey Baker Award in 1997-98. Drury is Boston University’s all-time leader in goals and ranks third on the school’s all-time points list.

Internationally, Drury represented the United States in numerous tournaments and earned several medals. He participated in three consecutive Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), capturing a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Drury was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Drury started his illustrious career at Fairfield Prep High school in Fairfield winning a state title his sophomore year beating an unbeaten and untied Hamden team 3-1 at the Hartford Civic Center (nee XL Center) and appeared in one other final against Greenwich which they lost. His number 18 which he and his older brother Ted, an ex-Hartford Whaler wore, is retired and a banner hangs to honor him in the corner of the Jesuits home rink, Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.

A second generation Drury is following in their footsteps in his nephew Jack Drury’s (Ted’s oldest son) who’s playing this season for Waterloo (USHL) and is an early college commit to Ted’s alma mater, Harvard University.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment