Category Archives: AHL

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – BOSTON PRIDE WILL MOVE TO WARRIOR ICE ARENA FOR SEASON TWO

NWHLNWHL NEWS: BOSTON PRIDE WILL MOVE TO WARRIOR ICE ARENA FOR SEASON TWO

New Arena Will Also Serve as Practice Facility for the Boston Bruins

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Boston, MA — The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) today announced that the Boston Pride will call Warrior Ice Arena (WIA) at Boston Landing Development their home for the 2016-17 season.

“The NWHL and the Boston Pride are very happy to join the new hockey community at Warrior Ice Arena,” said Pride General Manager Hayley Moore. “We’d like to thank NB Development Group for their help in bringing us into the fold for next season.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the Boston Pride, our second professional team to Warrior Ice Arena and our third to the overall Boston Landing Development,” says Jay Rourke, General Manager for Warrior Ice Arena.  “After their historic first season that culminated with a title win, it will be exciting for local and national fans to watch them in action at our Arena.”

Warrior Ice Arena is the first publicly accessible ice arena constructed in the city of Boston in the last 40 years. The building features six locker rooms, a 2,000 square foot event room, ground floor retail and restaurant space, and two full-service concession areas. The arena seats 660.

“The Warrior Ice Arena is pleased to welcome the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League, says Marissa Marwell at Rink Management, Inc., who manages rink operations.  “The Boston Pride are pioneers of professional women’s hockey, and we are excited to host this championship franchise.”

Boston Pride season tickets are now available for purchase at nwhl.zone/tickets.

RANGERS: ROBIN KOVACS SIGNED BY BLUESHIRTS

CIhK0TgWcAA0IiWRANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD ROBIN KOVACS

Rangers’ third round pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft signs entry-level contract

NEW YORK, July 18, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Robin Kovacs on an entry-level contract.

The 6-0, 186-pounder led Allsvenskan in shootout goals (eight) and game-deciding goals (four), tied for second in game-winning goals, ranked third in goals per game (0.48), and ranked fifth in goals and shooting percentage (17.1) in 2015-16. This past season, Kovacs helped AIK win the league championship in Allsvenskan. In addition, he played with Rögle BK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), registering one assist in four contests.Kovacs, 19, skated in 44 games with AIK IF of Allsvenskan in Sweden this past season, registering 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points, along with a plus-two rating and 54 penalty minutes. He was named the winner of Guldgallret, which is an award given annually to the top junior player (20 years old or younger) in Allsvenskan in 2015-16. Kovacs also led all players younger than 20 years old in Allsvenskan in goals and points this past season.

Kovacs has skated in 92 career games in Allsvenskan over the last two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), registering 38 goals and 24 assists for 62 points, along with 117 penalty minutes. He won the Guldgallret in each of the last two seasons, and he also led all players younger than 20 years old in Allsvenskan in goals and points in each season. In 17 playoff/round-robin games in Allsvenskan, Kovacs has recorded 11 points (three goals, eight assists).

The Stockholm, Sweden, native was selected by the Rangers in the third round, 62nd overall, of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON WEEK 12

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – While it was a relatively quiet week last week for the Hartford Wolf Pack and New York Rangers, this week there was more movement and a lot of Pack and Rangers related players signed deals and moved about.

PLAYER SIGNINGS

The Rangers announced the signings of three players, two for the NHL club and one for the AHL.

Defenseman, Dylan McIlrath obtained a $200K raise on a one-year $800K deal. The team signed free agent forward, Josh Jooris, from the Calgary Flames. It is expected that he will center the fourth line while Oscar Lindberg recovers from surgery. Jooris is a strong penalty killer for the Flames. He made $975K last year. Details of the new deal have yet to be published. Jooris’ father Mark is a scout for the Vancouver Canucks and the head coach/GM for Burlington (OJHL).

As we reported first last week and it became official this week, defenseman Tommy Hughes was re-signed for a one-year, two-way deal at $632,500K-NHL and $65K-AHL.

The leaves two RFA’s (restricted free agents) for the Rangers to sign, Chris Kreider and Jimmy Hayes, and one at the AHL level, Marek Hrivik. Cantlon’s Corner has heard that Hrivik has in fact signed, but the announcement of the signing will likely come in the next two weeks.

Late Thursday 2015 draft pick, Robin Kovacs from Sweden, put his name on a three-year, entry-level contract. His NHL salary will be $803,333 and his AHL pay is $70K. Kovacs was selected in the third round, 62nd overall. He spent most of the last season with AIK in Sweden Division 1. Kovacs tallied 21 goals and played four games with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League.

The Rangers are expected to go on the Jimmy Vesey Sweepstakes. The Hobey Baker forward from Harvard declined to sign with the Nashville Predators who originally drafted him. During last month’s draft the Pred’s traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres.

On the NESN (New England Sports Network) blog, there were unconfirmed postings that Vesey was on the verge of signing with the Boston Bruins. NESN is the Bruins broadcast network.

The Maple Leafs, Bruins, Rangers, and Buffalo are considered to be the finalists even though he cannot sign until August 15th.

ON THE MOVE

The summer address changes keep rolling on…

George McPhee, who had a seven-year pro career that included a brief stint in New Haven and played 109 games with the Rangers and after 17 years as the GM of the Washington Capitals, was named the first GM for the NHL expansion Las Vegas franchise.

McPhee played the game hard and had a good wrist shot, but in his heyday, despite being just 5’9, was one of the most feared fighters in the NHL. Injuries cut short his career short with it ending after just six games with the Devils in 1986.

McPhee won the NCAA Hobey Baker Award at Bowling Green as the nation’s top college hockey player in 1981 registered 80-plus points in his freshmen and senior season.

McPhee’s son Graham was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL Draft last month. The younger McPhee is heading to Boston College in the fall for his freshmen Hockey East season under the guidance of Eagles head coach, Jerry York, who coached the elder McPhee at Bowling Green.

The Vegas team’s special advisor to owner Bill Foley is former Hartford Whaler, Murray Craven, who played 1,071 NHL games mostly with Philadelphia. Craven tallied 266 goals and 759 points. Craven was a native of and played junior hockey with Medicine Hat (WHL). He started out with the Detroit Red Wings and after Hartford played with Vancouver and Chicago before ending his career with the San Jose Sharks.

Next up for Las Vegas will be the announcement of their scouting staff, their head coach, and his staff and then likely their AHL farm team destination for the 2017-18 season. The name and logo, according to Foley, is expected to be unveiled in October with the delay coming over trademark considerations regarding the name and logo.

Jack Combs, who played 18 games with the Pack and the rest of the season in the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, heads off to Germany to play for the Fischtown Penguins, the newest entry in the German DEL league. Combs also played for the Sound Tigers back in 2012-13 season.

Fischtown was elevated from the German DEL-2 league when the Hamburg Freezers were folded by their parent company AEG.

Joining Combs in Fischtown is Rob Bordson, who spent most of the year with Iowa and ten games in Providence with the Bruins after starting the season with Adirondack (ECHL)

Kevin Goumas, a former Canterbury Prep player, is another AHL’er off to Europe. After spending most of the year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and a dozen games with Reading (ECHL), Goumas heads to Mora IK (Sweden-SHL). Brendan Shinnimin who played in Springfield heads to SC Langnau (Switzerland-LNA).Brett Olson Portland is another heading to Austria and EC Salzburg.

Brendan Shinnimin, who played in Springfield, heads to SC Langnau (Switzerland-LNA).Brett Olson Portland is another heading to Austria and EC Salzburg.

Portland’s Brett Olsen is another heading to Austria and EC Salzburg.

That brings the total number of AHL’ers to date leaving for the European continent at 43.

A slew of ex-Wolf Pack players are signed and are off to new destinations.

Kelsey Tessier, after splitting last season playing for two teams in two different leagues in Sweden, signs with Vienna (Austria-AEHL).

David Liffiton leaves HC Innsbruck Austria for Frederikshavn IK (Denmark-DHL).

Corey Locke goes from EHC Visp (Switzerland-LNB) to Villacher SV (Austria-AEHL).

Jeff Taffe stays in the KHL going from Neftekhimik (Russia) to HC Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia).

Matt Ford stays in North America going from Bakersfield to Grand Rapids.

Landon Ferraro, son of ex-Whaler Ray Ferraro, lands a nice one-year, two-way deal with St. Louis/Chicago (AHL) at ($750K-NHL/$275K-AHL).

Joining Ferraro in Grand Rapids, Michigan is Carter Sandlak, son of ex-Whaler Jim ,who split last year between Charlotte and Florida (ECHL).

Jake Marchment, the nephew of former Whaler Bryan, was originally drafted by Los Angeles has signed an AHL deal with San Jose to play with Barracuda.

Dave Barr, a former Whaler and who had a cup of coffee with the Rangers, becomes the new assistant coach with the Florida Panthers leaving Buffalo.

Mike Halmo leaves the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and signs a one-year two-way deal with Tamps Bay/Syracuse at ($575K-NHL/$150K-AHL).

Sound Tiger Alan Quine was re-signed by the Islanders to a two-year, one-way deal paying him $575K-$650K-NHL.

At the NHL level, Luke Glendenning, who played at Salisbury Prep, didn’t so bad either as he signed a four-year extension with Detroit starting next year at $2 million per year a jump from the last year of his current deal which pays him $675K.

Scooter Vaughan, another ex-Sound Tiger, signs again with the Chicago Wolves on an AHL deal.

Former Wolf Pack, Kyle Jean re-signs with Idaho (ECHL) on a one-year ECHL deal.

Ex-Pack Rory Rawlyk who split last year with Canadian senior league team Stony Plain (Chinook Senior Hockey League) and Orlando (ECHL) signs with ASC Corona Brasov (Romania-MOL).

Matt Hussey, born in New Haven and played at Avon Old Farms, continues his pro career In Europe after playing a handful of games last year with Evansville (ECHL) and HC Detva (Slovakia Division-2). Hussey signs with HE Rouen (French Magnus Elite League) as the league embarks on a 50-game schedule for the first time next year.

Ex-Sound Tiger Ty Wishart goes from ETC Crimmitschau (Germany DEL-2) to HC Banska Bystrica (Slovakia-SLEL).

Another ex-Sound Tiger Sean Bentivoglio departs AS Asiago (Italy-LIHG) for Cardiff (Wales-EIHL).

One time Sound Tiger Sergei Ogrodnikov leaves HK Ryzan (Russia-VHL) for HK Gomel (Belarus-BHL).

FRANCHISE SHIFTS

No surprise here, last Monday, the Montreal Canadiens received approval from the AHL BOG (Board of Governors) to relocate their AHL team from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Laval, Quebec, a North Shore suburb. The team will play in the brand new Place Bell Centre currently being built and expected to be completed by the summer of 2017 to be ready for the 2017-18 season.

In last week’s edition of Cantlon’s Corner, we showed the progress from just last summer to this summer after a recent vacation to Montreal.

It will be a very, very friendly venue to get to for Habs fans. The arena is located perfectly on the city’s subway Metro orange line.

It will be a great weekend spot for fans to enjoy the city. It has plenty of good restaurants, shops and nightlife in the friendly, bilingual (French/English) city.

A favorable exchange rate will make it even better to visit for Americans. Just a reminder, you do need a US passport to enter Canada and it’s a nice easy drive. It’s only a five-hour drive from Connecticut to the Canadian border in either New York or Vermont via I-87 or I-89 respectively.

Sadly, this means this likely the end of the road for the AHL in St. John’s for the second time, that is of course unless Quebec City gets a relocated NHL franchise sometime next year. The teams (Maple Leafs & IceCaps) there have been well supported, but the distance they are from the rest of the league as the late AHL President Jack Butterfield once said, “they’re closer to Ireland than Canada.”

If the Pack play St. John’s this season on a weekend for a pair of games book the trip because it will be your last chance to get there and would certainly be worth it. – Note – fly out of Montreal and save some money.

Wouldn’t a St. John’s – San Diego Calder Cup Final be something?

Read HERE to look at the St. John’s Telegram on the future of hockey on, “The Rock.”

The situation continues to boil in Binghamton about Ottawa moving the team to Belleville, which is closer to the Canadian capital city. It seems to be a fait accompli, but there are several hurdles needed to be crossed and finalized before they’ll receive the AHL’s BOG approval for the move.  Read about it HERE.

STREET HOCKEY CLINIC

A very important hockey outreach program will be kicking off in the Bay State next month. There will be three dates in Springfield and Worcester among the six towns and cities bringing an introduction to hockey to the inner city. The program will be done in conjunction with DAJ Hockey and with assistance from the Boston Bruins Alumni Association.

Springfield is home to the newly christened AHL franchise, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Worcester, a former AHL city, will have a new ECHL franchise, the Railriders that will begin play following next season in 2017-18.

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In an effort to broaden youth participation at state-managed facilities this summer, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will join with DAJ Hockey, LLC and the Boston Bruins Alumni to conduct a series of street hockey events as part of its Urban Summer Street Hockey program.

“It is incredibly important that kids receive great access to recreational opportunities across the state, especially during the summer months, and I am very proud to be able to offer my support of the Urban Summer Street Hockey Program,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “When state government works in cooperation with private partners, such as DAJ Hockey, we are able to leave a long lasting impact that will directly benefit today’s youth.”

“We’re very excited to be launching this venture. It’s been a long process, but we’re happy we’re here and ready to go,” VP of Business Operation for DAJ Hockey, Mark Willand said. Willand is known to many for his work with the CT Whale management and the Hartford Whalers.

“It’s important that we got the message out through the public school systems, to be honest. The biggest challenge hockey has had in reaching high-risk communities is the cost. This provides a great vehicle and low cost to get kids to begin to understand the basics of hockey and learn about it and conversely the kids will have a positive place and environment to be in. It also helps parents with their scheduling priorities that this can fit in and we were aware of that need,” Willand said.

Each clinic will occur between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM and will be held adjacent to DCR hockey rinks. Clinics will include basic skills instruction, structured games / play time, and discussions on subjects such as teamwork, nutrition, bullying, and more. The clinics will also feature food, beverages, and free hockey-related promotional items.

“I am thrilled that our Administration will be able to provide kids from Springfield to the South Coast, and many communities in between with yet another outdoor initiative that will offer an incredible summertime activity and learning experience,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “By creating a safe, exciting environment where children of all ages will grow and thrive through outdoor recreational opportunities, we are able to promote a healthy lifestyle for the next generation.”

“Throughout the summer, kids will learn the value and appreciation of outdoor recreation thanks to the creative thinking of this Administration and DAJ Hockey,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The Baker-Polito Administration’s work to protect and preserve public spaces is showcased through the Urban Summer Street Hockey program, and we look forward to helping this innovative program move forward.”

The DCR’s Urban Summer Street Hockey program will begin on July 19, 2016, and conclude on August 25, 2016. The street hockey events are designed to provide youth with a high-quality athletic and educational experience delivered by some of the sport’s greatest legends, including Rick Middleton, Glen Featherstone (also a former Whaler) and Tom Songin, with more participants to be announced in the coming days.

“Guys like Rick, Tom Glen, and Terry O’Reilly are so good with the kids and their natural teachers for a sport we all love. We have high hopes for the program,” said Willand.

The events are free and open to youth from six to fifteen years of age.

“Broadening youth participation in urban communities requires the kind of forward-thinking mindset that the DCR has brought to this partnership, and I am glad to see its success beget a second year of summertime fun,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “We at the DCR must remain mindful of new ways to engage children inside our 450,000 acres of protected land across the Commonwealth, and I am proud to see our hockey rinks supporting a good sport and a great cause.”

“We created our ‘Hockey in the Streets’ program last year because we are committed to bringing the great game of hockey to all children regardless of their socio-economic background. It is very gratifying to be able to connect Boston Bruins legends with urban kids, who often don’t have access to the great sport of hockey,” said David A. Jensen, owner of DAJ Hockey, LLC, past US Olympian, and former NHL veteran.

Urban Summer Street Hockey clinics will occur at the following locations:

  • Brockton (Asiaf Arena) on July 19 and 26 and August 2
  • New Bedford (Hetland Arena) on July 20 and 27 and August 3
  • Springfield (Smead Arena) on July 21 and 28 and August 4
  • Lowell (Janas Arena) on August 9, 16 and 23
  • Worcester (Buffone Arena) on August 10, 17 and 24
  • Lawrence (Valley Forum) on August 11, 18 and 25.

Full program details, updates, and news are available at DAJ Hockey Twitter and Facebook pages and at dajhockey.com. Or Call Mark Willand at 617-701-7289

**Portions of a DAJ Hockey press release were used in this story.

RANGERS SIGN TRIO WHOSE NAMES COMBINED SOUND LIKE A LAW FIRM – MCILRATH, JORTIS, & HUGHES

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifRANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH DYLAN McILRATH

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, July 15, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Dylan McIlrath on a new contract.

McIlrath, 24, skated in 34 games with the Rangers this past season, registering two goals and two assists for four points, along with a plus-seven rating and 64 penalty minutes. He tied for 13th among NHL rookies – and tied for fifth among NHL rookie defensemen – in plus/minus rating in 2015-16, as he posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in 29 of 34 games in which he played. Among NHL rookies who played at least 15 games this past season, McIlrath tied for fourth – and led all defensemen – in hits per game (2.7; 93 hits in 34 contests). He also ranked second on the Rangers – and led team defensemen – in hits per game in 2015-16.

The 6-5, 236-pounder registered his first career NHL assist/point on December 11, 2015, at Edmonton, and he recorded his first career NHL goal on December 15, 2015, vs. Edmonton. McIlrath became the first Ranger rookie defenseman to tally a goal since Ryan McDonagh on April 9, 2011. McIlrath posted a plus-one rating while making his NHL playoff debut in Game 2 of the First Round at Pittsburgh on April 16, 2016.

McIlrath has skated in 37 career NHL games with the Rangers over parts of three seasons (2013-14 – 2015-16), registering two goals and two assists for four points, along with a plus-six rating and 80 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut with the Blueshirts on December 12, 2013, vs. Columbus.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 10th overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH JOSH JOORIS

NEW YORK, July 15, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free-agent forward Josh Jooris.

Jooris, 26, skated in 59 games with the Calgary Flames this past season, registering four goals and nine assists for 13 points, along with 39 penalty minutes. He tied for the team lead in shorthanded assists (two) and tied for fifth on Calgary in shorthanded points (two) in 2015-16. The Flames posted a 9-2-1 record in contests which Jooris tallied at least one point this past season, and he posted a plus/minus rating of even or better in 45 of the 59 games in which he played during the season. He skated in his 100th career NHL game on February 23, 2016, at Los Angeles.

The 6-1, 187-pounder has skated in 119 career NHL games over two seasons (2014-15 and 2015-16), both with Calgary, registering 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points, along with 55 penalty minutes. Over his first two NHL seasons, Jooris has been on the ice for only 14 power play goals against in 158:44 of ice time while shorthanded. He tallied 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) in 60 games during his rookie season in the NHL in 2014-15, and he tied for third on Calgary in game-winning goals (four) during the season. Jooris registered his first career NHL goal/point while making his NHL debut on October 17, 2014, at Columbus. Also, Jooris skated in nine contests with the Flames during the 2015 Playoffs, registering four penalty minutes.

Jooris has also skated in 75 career American Hockey League (AHL) games over parts of two seasons (2013-14 and 2014-15), registering 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points, along with 67 penalty minutes. He recorded his first professional goal, assist, and point as part of a two-point effort while making his professional debut with the Abbotsford Heat on October 4, 2013, at Lake Erie.

The Burlington, Ontario, native was signed by Calgary as an undrafted free agent on July 30, 2013.

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH TOMMY HUGHES

NEW YORK, July 15, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with restricted free agent defenseman Tommy Hughes on a new contract.

Hughes, 24, skated in 59 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season, registering two goals and seven assists for nine points, along with 48 penalty minutes. He tied AHL career-highs in goals, assists, and points in 2015-16. Hughes tallied a shorthanded goal and recorded two shots on goal on October 18, 2015, vs. Syracuse. Also, he registered a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” on February 5, 2016, at Portland, recording a goal, an assist, and a fight in the contest.

The 6-2, 225-pounder has skated in 173 career AHL games over three seasons (2013-14 – 2015-16), all with the Wolf Pack, registering five goals and 20 assists for 25 points, along with 109 penalty minutes. Hughes made his AHL debut on October 5, 2013, vs. Norfolk, and he recorded his first career AHL goal, assist, and point on October 12, 2013, at Adirondack. Also, he recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in 15 contests during the 2015 Playoffs while helping Hartford advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Hughes tallied the series-winning goal in overtime in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Providence on May 1, 2015.

The London, Ontario, native was signed by the Rangers as an undrafted free agent on April 1, 2013.

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL CENTER RINK UPGRADES ON BOND COMMISSION DOCKET

XL CenterBY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – On Tuesday morning (7/12) comes a critical component to maintaining the life of the current XL Center as well as any future new arena that might be built when a vote is taken by the State Bond Commission.

The total request by the CRDA is for $4.75 million. That money is being allocated to replace the arena flooring and piping ($2.5 million), replace the building’s service elevator ($450,000), several security upgrades ($500,000) and for the Morgan Street garage replacement and upgrade of garage elevators ($1.3 million).

In normal economic times, this would be an easy approval, but these are not easy economic times. However, CRDA Executive Director Mike Freimuth remains cautiously optimistic for a positive result heading into Tuesday’s bond hearing that starts at 10:30am.

“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch,” Freimuth said with a smile. “We have reasonable confidence that the request will pass, and be granted. When and if it does, I will have a big smile, quietly leave and run down the hallway before anybody changes their mind,” Freimuth said with a laugh.

Freimuth’s clearly looking for a tension distraction knowing that the state’s very dire economic situation has the legislature seeking to claw back every bonded dollar out. They’re doing that there because the state’s credit rating has slipped making it more expensive to bond not to mention the difficulty they had to get this request on the agenda.

The money would come from the original $30 million dollar bond approval of which $16 million has already been allocated to purchase the Church Street garage. If approved, that would leave $10 million. In addition to the aforementioned repairs, there would also be brand new sideboards and plexiglass installed as part of this project that is tentatively slated for the spring/summer 2017.

The legislature is trying to limit expenses wherever it can. The systems are well past their expiration date.

“We have to make the effort to keep (the building) going. We have maybe two or five or seven years left. We bought ourselves some time, but not a lot of it and sooner rather than later, there are decisions we are going to have to make.”

The AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack are entering their 20th season in the state capitol, and for UConn hockey, it’s not just some minor cosmetic features, but a critical piece. Simply put, the ice surface and its operating systems have reached their shelf life.

“It is very important to our hockey tenants that we get this done. Clearly, the systems are antiquated and have been in need of an overhaul for some time. If this system is not operational, we’re on the hook for this. There are considerable consequences if (system failure) were ever to happen. We have contractual obligations to both (teams). That’s why we need to address it now, and why we put the request in. I hope our presentation of our need will be approved by the (bond) commission,” Freimuth said.

The other factor in the mosaic that the CRDA are seeking is to create a working system as a component of this being a city building. However, it’s financed solely through the state which, in the ultimate equation, can help the city with the XL Center at the end of the day.

“I understand people wondering what could the city contribute is a fair question. As we know right now, (the city) has their own problems and quite frankly how many tigers can (Mayor Luke Bronin) fight in one day? I get the connection, but its pretty damn obvious why. (The mayor) understands the situation on the XL and we have steady communication between us.”

The saga that the Dunkin Donuts baseball park continues to make a laughing stock out of the City of Hartford. For the nomadic Hartford Yard Goats, this decision can have a “spill-over” effect and Freimuth thinks the incomplete park would be a disastrous outcome.

“That just can’t happen. While it is a city project and the XL is a state project that wouldn’t benefit anybody. You have to have an environment conducive for business in general. While we wanted the site originally, that’s all water under the bridge at this point. The park being completed is essential to all the efforts going on in the city of Hartford including the XL Center.”

Regarding the negotiations to purchase the atrium are concerned, there is a significant gap in the numbers of the two sides, but talks are still are proceeding.

“The good thing is that we have the operational control of the atrium, so some basic things can go on as opposed to arguing who handles this doorknob or closet or which elevator is ours. The hard part is that everything does flow together and for the future we would like to own it (outright). I don’t have much to tell other than we’re far apart on the numbers still, but we’re working on it,” Freimuth said while exhibiting a bit of exasperation by the subject matter.

A split vote or a modified proposal presents a whole other array of challenges for the CRDA.

“It would be tough to say that we have no elevators and finding parts for them is not possible, they’re essential. We have a 40-plus-year-old building we’re holding together to keep it operational, but we can’t do this way forever.”

Tuesday’s vote has a lot riding on it.

CANTLON’S CORNER TOLD YOU THIS WAS COMING!

ahl-logo_thumbBOARD OF GOVERNORS APPROVES RELOCATION OF MONTREAL CANADIENS’ AHL FRANCHISE TO LAVAL, QUE.

Canadiens’ top affiliate will play in Laval beginning in 2017-18

BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved the relocation of the franchise owned by the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens from St. John’s, N.L., to Laval, Que., beginning with the 2017-18 season.

The Canadiens’ AHL franchise will begin to play in the fall of 2017 at Place Bell, a multi-purpose facility under construction in the Montreal suburb of Laval.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON – VOLUME 11

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings 

Hartford, CT – It was a very busy week for NHL executives and lots of it involved players with connections to Connecticut and the New York Rangers’ organization.

FREE AGENT WRAP

It was a wild and wooly week of player movement in both the NHL and AHL as some teams made some terrific moves to improve themselves and some real head-scratching moves in a hard salary cap era.

THE RANGERS

As we reported last week, it became official on Tuesday as both defenseman Mat Bodie and forward Nicklas Jensen were re-signed by the Rangers. According to generalfanager.com each player received a one- year/one-way NHL deal for $600K.

Expect an announcement in a few days to come on new deals for forward Marek Hrivik, and defenseman Tommy Hughes.

But getting back to the two signees, Bodie, who ended the year as the Hartford Wolf Pack’s team captain after Ryan Bourque was traded to the Hershey Bears, enters his third year in the Connecticut state capital.

Jensen came to Hartford from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade for Emerson Etem in January. It was the best deal by the Rangers all year as Jensen spearheaded a resurgent Wolf Pack. Unfortunately, that run came up short as the team missed out on the playoffs by four points. Jensen, a Denmark native, turned a lot of heads with a superb performance in the World Championship tournament following the conclusion of the Wolf Pack season.

THE WOLF PACK

Not having much in the way of salary cap room left The Rangers mostly sitting out of the ruckus of a crazed free agent marketplace. The team did make two deals and both were for new defensemen.

At the AHL level, the most active teams were the San Antonio Rampage, the Tucson Roadrunners, the Chicago Wolves, the Hershey Bears, the Albany Devils, the Syracuse Crunch, and the Iowa Wild. All of them handed out some hefty contracts.

TJ Brennan, two-time Eddie Shore winner left the Toronto Marlies and went to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Brennan received a two-year deal for $625K per season. That’s NHL money.

The Wolf Pack will see Westport, CT native, Mike Paliotta when the puck drops for the 2016-2017 season. Paliotta played high school prep hockey at Choate and is coming off a splendid season with the Calder Cup Champion, Lake Erie Monsters. Paliotta received a one-year, two-way deal paying $650K in the NHL and $70K in the AHL.

Adam Clendening, who split last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers, and who had a brief stay in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with the Penguins, signed a great deal. He has a one-year, two-way deal that pays $600K in the NHL and $300K at the AHL.

The Rangers now have fifteen defensemen in their organization.

The team is currently searching for a new Assistant Coach after Jeff Beukeboom was promoted to New York to replace the departed Ulf Samuelsson, who left to become the new Head Coach of the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, the top farm team of the Carolina Hurricanes, which is run by his good friend and former teammate, Ron Francis.

SCHOENFELD WINS AHL EBRIGHT AWARD

Hartford GM Jim Schoenfeld earned the highest honor an AHL Executive can receive when it was announced that he’d won the Thomas Ebright Award.

Schoenfeld recently completed his 13th season as the Wolf Pack’s GM, and continues to play a key role in developing the organization’s prospects, and also served as the chairman of the AHL’s Competition Committee in 2015-16. Schoenfeld, who has also had stints in the AHL as a player (Cincinnati, 1973-74) and head coach (Rochester, 1984-85; Hartford, 2005-07), has provided invaluable leadership within the American Hockey League during his career, serving on the Competition Committee and Executive Committee and helping the league develop player safety initiatives.

“The American Hockey League is comprised of 30 teams, all with their own specific agendas. However, it has been refreshing over the years to see all involved put those agendas aside to come together in a decision-making process, that places the good of the League as the number one priority. Although in many ways I feel there are members of the League much more deserving of this award than I am, I must say it is a very good feeling to be well thought of by the group. Special thanks to (AHL President/CEO) Dave Andrews, (Syracuse Crunch President/CEO) Howard Dolgon, (St. John’s IceCaps COO) Glen Stanford and (recently retired long-time Hershey Bears GM) Doug Yingst.” Schoenfeld said via e-mail. The Pack GM is attending the birth of another grandchild and therefore was only available via an email.

During Schoenfeld’s tenure as Wolf Pack GM and during his time as head coach, he mentored the team’s all-time winningest coach, the former captain, Ken Gernander. He’s also taught now Charlotte Checkers head coach, Ulf Samuelsson and Montreal Canadiens assistant coach, J.J. Daigneault. Schoenfeld succeeded Don Maloney as Wolf Pack GM, who was relieved of his duties as GM of the Arizona Coyotes at the end of this past season.

The Thomas Ebright Award honors Tom Ebright, the former owner, and governor of the Baltimore Skipjacks and Portland Pirates who passed away in 1997.

AHL DIVISIONAL ALIGNMENT

The AHL has realigned the league once again.

The Wolf Pack will continue to play in the Atlantic Division though minus Portland, which was sold and relocated to Springfield to replace the departed Falcons who have moved to Tucson, Arizona. The new team moniker will be The Thunderbirds.

Charlotte will continue as part of the Western conference and play in the Central Division. The Texas Stars and San Antonio Rampage stay in the Pacific Division but will play 76 games while the rest of the division continues to play just 68 with the dreadful percentage points system remaining in place.

Expect the divisions to be tweaked again next season with the addition of the newest NHL team operating in Las Vegas. Their AHL franchise will likely be out West while Vancouver’s AHL team shifts out West and Binghamton is being relocated. The landing spot of that team seems to look like it is going to be in Belleville.

Division Alignment (NHL affiliate in parentheses)

Eastern Conference  
Atlantic Division
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NYI)
Hartford Wolf Pack (NYR)
Hershey Bears (WSH)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (PHI)
Providence Bruins (BOS)
Springfield Thunderbirds (FLA)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (PIT)

North Division
Albany Devils (NJ)
Binghamton Senators (OTT)
Rochester Americans (BUF)
St. John’s IceCaps (MTL)
Syracuse Crunch (TB)
Toronto Marlies (TOR)
Utica Comets (VAN)

Western Conference  
Central Division
Charlotte Checkers (CAR)
Chicago Wolves (STL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (DET)
Iowa Wild (MIN)
Lake Erie Monsters (CBJ)
Manitoba Moose (WPG)
Milwaukee Admirals (NSH)
Rockford IceHogs (CHI)

Pacific Division
Bakersfield Condors (EDM)
Ontario Reign (LA)
San Antonio Rampage (COL)
San Diego Gulls (ANA)
San Jose Barracuda (SJ)
Stockton Heat (CGY)
Texas Stars (DAL)
Tucson Roadrunners (ARI)

RULE CHANGES COMING

There are several rule changes coming to the American Hockey League including a new rule on fighting. It will be under rule 46

Rule 82 (“Icing”)

The current rule on an icing call is that the offending team cannot make player substitutions. The revision to the rule is that the offending team on an icing violation cannot use a time-out to rest their players.

Rule 1.10 (“Ice Cleaning”)

The ice cleaning procedures that are used during promotional timeouts will now also be used prior to overtime during the regular season, replacing the “dry scrape.”

ON THE MOVE

Lots of players on the move who have various Connecticut connections.

Former Pack center Chad Nehring worked hard to grow from a fourth line penalty killer and faceoff specialist and borderline ECHL call-up to a successful AHL scorer who led the Pack in scoring last year, is on the move. At age 27, Nehring is viewed as old by hockey standards and no longer seen as a “prospect” earned himself a nice deal from the Ottawa Senators getting a deal paying $600K should he play in the NHL and $125K for play in the AHL at Binghamton next year.

Another ex-Pack, Jayson Megna, heads to the Vancouver Canucks and the Utica Comets with the same deal he had last season in Hartford, an NHL one-way for one year at a very cap friendly, $600K.

Now former Pack Defenseman, Kodie Curran, who split last year between Hartford and the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits heads to Denmark and Esbjerg, the defending champions of the Danish Hockey League.

Chris Mueller, a Pack alum, leaves the San Diego Gulls to sign with Arizona. Mueller’s deal is a two-way, one-year deal. He will likely play in Tucson on a contract that pays $600K in the NHL and $250K at the AHL level.

Christian Thomas, who played with two NHL and two AHL teams last season, including in Springfield, has signed with the Washington Capitals, and will likely play in Hershey with the Bears. He signed a one-year, two-way deal paying $575K in the NHL and $125K at the AHL.

Ex-Pack defenseman Mike Kostka got a $50K raise to stay in Binghamton signing a one-year, two-way deal ($800K-NHL/$325K-AHL).

Former Pack Dale Weise was a big winner in the NHL free-agency chase. The not-shy forward received a four-year $9.4 million deal from the Flyers starting at $2.75M next year.

Goalie Chad Johnson, who made lots of friends with the media while playing for the Pack, heads to his hometown of Calgary where he earned a one-year deal paying $1.7 million.

On his way back to the New York Islanders where he found his NHL game, is one-time Pack forward, PA Parenteau. While in Hartford, he and Weise were almost inseparable. Parenteau gets a one-year deal at $1.25 million.

Ex-CT Whale, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault landed himself a very nice two-year cap friendly, one-way NHL deal from the Florida Panthers at $750K per year.

Ex-CT Whale Brandon Mashinter was rewarded by the Chicago Blackhawks with a one-year, one-way deal paying $575K.

One-time Pack goalie, Al Montoya, will trade Florida shorts for Montreal winter jackets leaving the Panthers for Les Habs. Montoya picks up a one-year deal paying $950K.

Former Sound Tiger Matt Martin hit the jackpot. The Ontario boy heads back to the Toronto Maple Leafs on a four-year $10 million deal.

The biggest winners thus far in free agency were a pair of ex-Sound Tigers. Kyle Okposo gets a seven-year $42 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres while Franz Nielsen heads to Detroit for the next six years earning $5.25M per season.

One-time Sound Tiger goalie, Anders Nilsson, leaves the St. Louis Blues for Buffalo on a one-year NHL deal at $1 million.

Mac Bennett, the nephew of former Hartford Whaler Bill Bennett, got a one-year, two-way with Washington/Hershey (AHL) at $575K-NHL/$250K-AHL.

Brad Malone, nephew of former Whaler Greg Malone and cousin to former Wolf Pack Ryan Malone, signed a one-year, two-way deal with Washington/Hershey (AHL) as well. His deal pays $575K for play in the NHL and $250K in the AHL.

Philip Samuelsson, eldest son of former Ranger, Wolf Pack and Avon Old Farms assistant coach and Whalers great Ulf Samuelsson, who spent part of last year in Springfield and ending the year in Arizona, signed a one-year two-way deal with Montreal/St. John’s (AHL) at ($600K-NHL/$125K-AHL).

Cole Schneider, the former UConn player in their AHC years, signs with Buffalo who acquired him at the trade deadline. Schneider signed a one-year, two-way deal at ($600K-NHL/$300K-AHL)

After ex-Pack and ex-New York Ranger, Fedor Tyutin had the last two years of his contract bought out in Columbus, signed a one-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche at $2 million.

Ryan Bourque resigned an AHL deal with Hershey. The contract gives the younger Bourque another year playing with older brother Chris. The terms were not released.

Former Sound Tiger goalie and Avon Old Farms product, Parker Milner, signs with Hershey on an AHL deal.

Ken Agostino (Yale) get a one-year, two-way deal for Chicago/Rockford (AHL) at $625K-NHL/$125K-AHL.

Former Sound Tiger Joe Whitney won’t be torturing the Wolf Pack anymore. Last season his year was cut short by a broken leg, but Whitney signed a one-year, two-way with Colorado/San Antonio (AHL) at ($600K-NHL/$325K-AHL).

Ex-Pack and ex-Sound Tiger, Micheal Haley, will continue to play with San Jose after signing a one-year, two-way deal at ($625K-NHL/$275K-AHL).

Former Wolf Pack TJ Hensick signed a one-year, two-way deal with Los Angeles/Ontario (AHL) after splitting last year between Charlotte and Utica. Contract details not yet released.

Another former Bulldog, Andrew Miller, leaves Edmonton for Carolina/Charlotte (AHL) signing a one-year, two-way deal ($650K-NHL/$200K-AHL).

A third ex-Yalie, Sean Backman from Greenwich, CT, stays out West with LA/Ontario (AHL) after signing a one-year, two-way deal. Backman’s father is former Nighthawk, Mike Backman. He is brother-in-law to Hamden native and fellow Avon Old Farms graduate, Jonathan Quick. Contract details not yet available.

Former Sound Tiger center, Harry Zolniercyzk, leaves San Diego and signs a one-year, two-way with Nashville/Milwaukee (AHL) for $575K-NHL/$125K-AHL. His stock has gone down every year. He was making $300K in Bridgeport two years ago and last year in San Diego $250K.

Joining Zolniercyzk is another ex-Sound Tiger, Trevor Smith, who comes back from SC Bern (Switzerland-LNA) for a rare two-year, two-way deal at ($575k-$650K-NHL/ $175K-$150K-AHL) with Nashville.

Taylor Beck who played in Bridgeport last season before being traded to San Antonio is on the move again as he receives a one-year, two-way deal from Edmonton/Bakersfield (AHL) where he will earn $650K-NHL/$250K-AHL.

Simsbury native and Westminster Prep grad, Tommy Cross, re-signs with the Boston Bruins with a one-year, two-way deal paying $600K-NHL /$175K-AHL.

One time Quinnipiac Bobcat, Jeremy Langlois, signs an AHL deal with Rockford leaving San Jose (AHL).

Marc-Andre Cliché, who played just six games with the Sound Tigers after a trade with San Antonio, leaves Bridgeport to play for Toronto (AHL) on a one-year deal and contact details yet unavailable.

Former Sound Tiger defenseman, Victor Bartley, who also played games with two NHL and two AHL clubs last year signed with the Minnesota/Iowa (AHL) with a great deal $650K-NHL/$350K-AHL.

Wade Megan, who played at South Kent Prep, signed a one-year, two-way deal with St. Louis/Rockford (AHL) at ($575K-NHL-$85K-AHL) after a strong season in Portland.

The Sound Tigers signed former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Kellen Jones, who played mostly with Missouri (ECHL) last year and got a recall to Bakersfield. His brother, Connor, is expected to re-sign with the Sound Tigers bringing the twins back playing together. Both are the grandsons of former New Haven Blade, Terry Jones.

The Sound Tigers also signed out of Penn State (Big 10) defenseman, Luke Juha, and three others to one-year AHL deals. Besides Juha, another collegiate undergraduate signed in the AHL. Junior, Jamie Phillips of Michigan Tech (WCHA), signs with Manitoba (AHL). That makes 170 Division I players who signed pro deals since the collegiate season ended. That number includes 35 underclassmen.

Former UConn Husky Cody Sharib signed another one-year ECHL deal with the Indy Fuel. West Haven native Mike Peirara resigned an ECHL deal with Reading. Periara played his public school hockey at Notre Dame-West Haven and prep hockey at Avon Old Farms. Peirara’s brother Joe is an assistant coach with UConn.

One-time Sound Tiger, Chad Costello, whose team won a second consecutive ECHL Kelly Cup title, and was both the regular season and playoff MVP, has signed a new ECHL deal with Allen for next season. Joining him is ex-Sound Tiger goalie Riley Gill, who was part of both championship teams as well.

Ex-Pack, Carl Klingberg, leaves the Torpedo Novgorod (Russia-KHL) for EV Zug (Switzerland-LNA) joining ex-Pack and Ranger, Raphael Diaz.

Brendon Nash, an ex-Wolf Pack, goes from HC Kladno (Czech Republic-Division 2) to EC Graz (Austria-AEHL) next season.

Another ex-Pack, Jakub Petruzalek who split last year with Orebro HK (Sweden-SHL) and Dynamo Moscow (Russia-KHL), signs with HC Trinec (Czech Republic-CEL).

Four other AHL’ers join Kodie Curran in heading to Europe. A big catch is Alexander Khohklachev, who leaves Providence for SKA St, Petersburg (Russia-KHL).  Ex-Pack Bobby Sanguinetti leaves Rochester for EHC Kloten (Switzerland-LNA). Danny Hobbs, who spent most of the year with Binghamton and some with Evansville (ECHL), is off SonderjyskE (Denmark-DHL). John Albert goes from Manitoba to Karpat (Finland-FEL).

That makes 39 AHL’ers who are going to Europe thus far.

Ex-Pack, Colby Genoway, returns next season to Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL). Defenseman, Jerry Pollastrone, who played prep hockey at Salisbury Prep, goes from HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL) to Vienna (Austria-AEHL) next season.

Binghamton announces its new ECHL affiliate will be the Wichita Thunder.

Former Nighthawk, Eric Dubois, whose son, Pierre-Luc, was just selected third overall in the NHL Draft and signed an ELC with Columbus, is the new assistant coach with Manitoba (AHL). The Moose new head coach is Pascal Vincent, who, along with Dubois, have Mark Morrison, the ex-Nighthawk whose assistant coaching deal with the Moose was extended another year. Dubois was an assistant with Rimouski (QMJHL) last year.

Matt Carkner retires from playing to become the Sound Tigers assistant coach next season.

Quinnipiac University saw Daniel Fritz, who played at Canterbury Prep in New Milford, transfer to Canisius College (AHC).

Three AHL coaching adds/changes: Eric Veilleux is the new head coach for San Antonio after coaching in Norfolk (ECHL) last year. Ex-Whaler, Randy Ladouceur, remains an assistant with the Rampage.

One-time Whaler, mostly an Islander, Derek King, was named an assistant coach with Rockford (AHL) and Utica loses assistant coach Paul Jerrard to Vancouver to be an assistant with the Canucks.

Correction in Off Season Volume 10 we incorrectly stated the new Milwaukee Admirals arena as the Carver Arena. It will be at UWM (University Wisconsin-Milwaukee) Panther Arena. We regret the error.

*Contract info is courtesy of generalfanager.com

KHL IN BEIJING

Former Sound Tiger Tomas Marcinko was one of the first 10 players named to the roster of the new KHL team in Beijing. The team will be called the HC Kunlun Red Star. Marcinko, a Slovak played with HC Pardubice (Czech Republic-CEL) last year.

Joining him is goalie Andrei Markov, who left Rochester last week after signing with Spartak Moscow, but his contract was sold to the team this week.

The new team will play in the 18,000 LeSports Arena formerly called the Wukesong Arena used in the 2008 Summer games in Beijing for basketball and will be the largest arena in the KHL.

The 2022 Winter Games will be held in Beijing.

Kunlun has three meanings one is martial arts style term, the other refers to the mythical Mt. Kunlun home to mythical gods and creatures and the other refers to the area adjacent to the Gobi Desert near the Tibetan Plateau and is the longest chain of mountains encompassing 1,900 miles, the largest mountain chain in Asia.

Here is the team logo:Kunlun Redstar

AHL ARENA IN LAVAL

The AHL will see more city changes after next season.

One expected move will be Montreal moving their team from St. John’s to a brand new building on the Montreal North Shore in a suburb of Laval. The building will be called, “The Place Bell Centre,’ and it will be run by Evenko Management, the same company running the Bell Centre.

Cantlon’s Corner j returned from a weekend in the city had a chance to check out the progress from last summer. (See pictures).

Much progress has been made with almost all the exterior work done by the fall so they can commence the interior work away from the harsh winters.

summer 2015Summer 2015

Summer 2016Summer 2016

(Photos by Gerry Cantlon)

The construction is being done by Pomerlau Construction and the building sits on the corner of Claude Gagnon and Lucien Paiement Streets with de la Concorde West Boulevard and Cornbusier Boulevard that leads to the nearby major Highway 15.

Toss in the very friendly Metro stop at the Montmorency (Orange line) terminal 25 minutes from downtown Montreal and this building has the potential to be a major gold mine in addition to saving the Canadiens millions in recall finances.

Right across from the building are two empty lots for a surface parking area or small parking garage and space for team offices. The city government of Laval is kicking in $46.3 million (Canadian) for the project and the total cost will be $120 million for a 10,000 seat arena with two smaller public ice skating rinks to be attached.

Ottawa seems to be inching ever closer to announcing it will be moving its team from Binghamton to Belleville, Ontario after this upcoming season. That will place their affiliate 155 miles (249 kilometers) from the Canadian capital city rather than the present 265 miles (426 kilometers).  Factor in the Canadian dollar exchange issue for Ottawa, Vancouver is likely joining them soon. Currently five of the seven Canadian NHL franchises having their farm teams in Canada. Read more about that HERE

Early talk on the location of the Las Vegas team’s AHL affiliate could be in California or Nevada too. Early rumors say it could be in Fresno or Sacramento or nearby Reno.

OLYMPIC QUALIFYING

The last three teams for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeon Chang, South Korea will be decided September 1-4 in Minsk, Belarus, Riga, Latvia and Oslo, Norway. The host country in each group is the running for the spots.

Nine of the twelve teams are already set while there are an additional twelve countries who will battle for the last three spots.

The groups involved are:

Group D

Belarus, Slovenia, Denmark, and Poland.

Group E

Latvia, Germany, Austria, and Japan

Group F

Norway, Kazakhstan, France and Italy.

Several current and ex-Wolf Pack players are likely to be involved such as Nicklas Jensen (Denmark), Mats Zuccarello (Norway) and Nigel Dawes (Kazakhstan).