BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT – The Stanley Cup Championship has been won, and now the leaders of the thirty NHL teams are beginning the hardest part of their jobs…drafting prospects, trading players and signing free agents. But there is a LOT more than that going on.
The Tucson Roadrunners it is.
On Saturday, the Arizona Coyotes christened their new AHL team ready to begin to play in the fall at the Tucson Convention Center. They named the team The Tucson Roadrunners, a very familiar name to several generations of hockey fans in the state of Arizona. You can read about it in two well-written stories, HERE and HERE
While the former Springfield Falcons will now be in Arizona, there’s a new sheriff in town. The new team in Springfield will be known as, The Springfield Thunderbirds.
Having a team in Springfield makes Bruce Landon, the long-time face of hockey in Springfield, happy, though his role has significantly changed.
“I obviously couldn’t be more pleased that hockey is going to be in Springfield this fall and for a long time to come, but I’m no longer involved in the day-to-day business. I really defer to Mr. (Paul) Picknelly and attorney Frank Fitzgerald, who really put this together. I’m a consultant now, and I helped them with some pieces of this, but for any comment on the franchise, it’s theirs, and I will be strictly consulting on hockey matters like I was last year,” Landon said.
The team has acquired Paul Thompson, re-signed Connor Brickley, and are coming off a ninety point season in Portland where they posted a 41-27-6-2 record.
“They had a very good season in Portland, were in the playoffs and Florida had a good year last year, so things are trending in the upward direction. This week is a busy week in our business, with the draft and free agency, so the roster will be a little more formed, but we should have a strong team this season.”
ON THE MOVE
The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) has four teams, and they held their draft last Saturday. A few names of Connecticut interest were selected.
In that draft, there were a few names selected that could be of interest to Connecticut residents.
Sydney Daniels of Harvard, a former Westminster Prep (Simsbury) player, and the daughter of ex-Hartford Whaler, Scott “Chief” Daniels, was selected in the second round by the New York Riveters and its General Manager/Head Coach and former Hartford Wolf Pack forward, Chad Wiseman.
In the fifth round, the Connecticut Whale selected Quinnipiac University standout goaltender, Sydney Rossman, the ECACHL Goalie of the Year.
Former New York Rangers’ forward, Matthew Barnaby, has been named as an assistant coach with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Barnaby’s son, Matt Jr., has left Avon Old Farms to play for the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) where he will be coached by a former teammate of his father’s, Philippe Boucher. Joining him on the team will be Igor Larionev Jr.
The USNDTP that plays in the USHL could be renamed, “The Sons of Former NHL’ers.” Next year’s roster features eight players who are son’s of former NHL’ers and several with Connecticut connections.
Jack DeBoer, the son of the NHL San Jose Sharks’ head coach Peter Deboer, leaves Avon Old Farms to for USNDTP. Adam Samuelsson, the fourth and youngest child of Ulf Samuelsson, who was a one time Whaler favorite as well as an assistant coach with the Rangers, Wolf Pack, and Avon Old Farms goes as well. The youngest of the Samuelsson boys is Boston College-bound in two years. Mattias Samuelsson, no relation to Ulf, is the son of ex-New Haven Nighthawk, Kjell Samuelsson and he’s committed to attend the University of Michigan. While DJ King is the son of former Whaler and Springfield Indian, Derek King is another headed to the USNDTP.
Jack Barre (Greenwich/Salisbury Prep), who finished his four years at Dartmouth and was the team’s MVP, has signed an AHL deal with the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The date for the annual Prospects Tournament has been released. The games will be played September 16-20. Playing in the tournament are the same eight teams as last season. The Detroit Red Wings are the host team while the Rangers, the St. Louis Blues, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Minnesota Wild, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Dallas Stars, and the Chicago Blackhawks make up the participants.
A complete schedule will be released at a later date.
UCONN HOME SCHEDULE
The Huskies announced their third season schedule as part of Hockey East. However, the times for the games are still being worked on as is the same for its entire 2016-17 schedule.
Oct 7 & 8 vs. Alabama-Huntsville
Oct. 21 vs. AIC
Nov. 18 vs. BU
Nov. 22 vs. BC
Nov. 26 vs. Sacred Heart
Dec. 3 vs. UMass-Lowell
Dec. 9 vs. UMass
Jan. 7 vs. Yale
Jan. 27 vs. Vermont
Feb. 4 vs. Merrimack
Feb. 8 vs. Providence
Feb. 17 vs. Northeastern
Feb. 25 vs. New Hampshire
UConn will also play some non-conference games on the road. The one’s they’re already committed to include:
Quinnipiac, Colgate, RIT, Ohio State (a two-game series), and another trip to the Desert Hockey Classic in Phoenix against Arizona State, St Cloud, and Brown.
Speaking of UConn, expect Cantlon’s Corner to have a feature story on an interview with Tage Thompson shortly.