Category Archives: CTWhale

CANTLON’S CORNER: HOCKEY SEASON IS ALMOST UPON US

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.

ON THE MOVE

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.

CRABB RETIRES

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).

MORE COLLEGE PLAYERS SIGN PRO DEALS

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.

FORMER WHALER PASSES AWAY

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.

ANOTHER LEGEND PASSES AWAY

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.

TRAVERSE CITY TOURNEY WRAPUP

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 

 

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – JESSICA KOIZUMI ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

NWHLNWHL NEWS: Jessica Koizumi Announces Retirement

Whale Adds Practice Player and Calls Up Orlando

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Brooklyn, N.Y.—  Today Jessica Koizumi of the Connecticut Whale announced her retirement from professional hockey and has accepted a full-time coaching position at The Ohio State University.

“This was the hardest career decision I have had to make — to retire from playing professionally in the NWHL in what I thought would be my last season,” Koizumi wrote in a letter announcing her retirement. “Being a part of the first paid professional league in North America (NWHL) last season is something I didn’t believe would happen in my lifetime. I hope the league sustains for generations to come because it was a dream come true… I am looking forward to the next chapter of giving back to the game from a different vantage point.”

Koizumi was captain of the Whale and scored the first goal in NWHL history.

Elena Orlando (F/D) will fill in on the full-time roster with a one-year, $12,000 contract. Orlando was signed by the Whale as a practice player this past offseason after playing for the New York Riveters last season. She registered one assist and 17 penalty minutes for the Riveters in the 2015-16 season.

Juana Baribeau (F) has also been signed by the Whale as a practice player. Baribeau is from Amos, Quebec and scored 52 goals and had 56 assists during her 150 game college career at Clarkson.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)

The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015 with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – BOSTON PRIDE ANNOUNCE PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

NWHLNWHL NEWS: BOSTON PRIDE ANNOUNCE PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

Marissa Gedman and Lindsay Berman Return to NWHL For Season Two

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Boston, MAThe Boston Pride have signed their practice players for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Hayley Moore announced Tuesday. Kathryn Tomaselli (F), Lindsay Berman (F/D), Maggie Taverna (D), Marissa Gedman (D), Michaela Levine (F), and Natalie Robinson (G) have agreed to practice player contracts.

Lindsay Berman (NWHL)

<> at Prudential Center Practice Facility on March 12, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.

<> at Prudential Center Practice Facility on March 12, 2016, in Newark, New Jersey.

“We are very lucky to be adding an incredibly talented and well-rounded group of practice players to our Boston core,” said Moore. “These players add different areas of experience and skills to our team, and will be truly instrumental to our success this season.”

Gedman and Berman return to the NWHL after playing in the inaugural season. Gedman collected 6 assists in 18 regular season games with the Pride, as well as two assists in the Isobel Cup Playoffs. Berman notched one assist in three regular season games with the Connecticut Whale.

Levine finished her senior season at Williams this year as her team’s leading scorer with 55 points (30g, 25a) in 96 games. Tomaselli, another 2016 graduate, led her team with 50 points (31g, 19a) in 135 games with Union College.

Taverna was a defenseman for Boston College from 2005-2009, where she scored 67 points (15g, 52a) in 141 games. Goaltender Robinson, an Ontario native, played at the University of Maine from 2012-2016.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – CONNECTICUT WHALE ANNOUNCES PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

NWHLNWHL NEWS: CONNECTICUT WHALE ANNOUNCES PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

Signings Include Inaugural Season Riveters Players Celeste Brown and Elena Orlando

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Celeste Brown (NWHL)Northford, CTThe Connecticut Whale has signed their practice players for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Wednesday. Anya Battaglino (F/D), Laura Brennan (G), Celeste Brown (F), Shannon Doyle (D), Elena Orlando (D), and Jackie Raines (F) have agreed to practice player contracts.

“The Whale is very confident in the abilities of this group of players and firmly believe they will have no problems stepping into the lineup when called upon,” said Giovanelli. “As witnessed last season, the practice players play a huge role in the success of an NWHL team, and we expect this group to make huge contributions in our quest for the Isobel Cup.”

Shannon Doyle (NWHL)Returning to the Whale is inaugural season defenseman Shannon Doyle, who scored 5 points (2g, 3a) in 18 games. Anya Battaglino is also returning to Connecticut as a practice player after playing in 8 games with the team last season.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue to chase my dream,” said Battaglino. “Being a player that works hard day in and day out to see my team and the league improve is so important to me. I look forward to getting back on the ice and fighting to make my teammates better and to get called into a game.”

Elena Orlando (NWHL)Joining the Whale are Celeste Brown and Elena Orlando, who both played for the New York Riveters in 2015-16. Brown scored 4 assists in 18 games with New York. Orlando collected 1 assist in 17 games in the inaugural season.

New to Connecticut is forward Jackie Raines, who finished her collegiate career at Yale in 2015. In 101 games with the Bulldogs, Raines scored 66 points (37g, 29a), averaging over a point per game.

Goaltender Laura Brennan played in 32 games with Minnesota State between 2003-06 before moving to Quinnipiac for the 2006-07 season. Over her career, she collected a .886 SV%, 3.48 GAA, and a 10-39-7 record. Brennan attended Buffalo Free Agent Camp this summer.

The restricted free agency period began on April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and ended July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft was on June 18.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

CANTLON’S CORNER: OFF-SEASON WEEK 17 SEES NEW YORK RANGERS PUT ON THEIR “VESEY” BEST

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – We’re getting closer and closer to the return of hockey to Hartford, but the New York Rangers made their most important free agent signing this week.

VESEY SIGNS WITH THE RANGERS

The Rangers landed the top collegiate free agent in the nation.

The list of suitors for 23-year old, Jimmy Vesey’s services included the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Stanley Cup champion, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago. Surprisingly, the Detroit Red Wings were not in the mix.

Reports stated that the Islanders captain, John Tavares, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, all reportedly personally contacted Vesey and made their pitch.

Capture

Vesey had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games as a senior at Harvard University last season where he won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA player.

Vesey had been a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Predators hoped to sign him after his season at Harvard ended in March, offering Vesey a spot among their top six forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nashville traded Vesey’s rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft on June 20. The Sabres had exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey until Tuesday when he became an unrestricted free agent.

Vesey, considered to be an NHL-ready player, had had 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games in four seasons at Harvard. He also had three assists in nine games to help the United States win the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.

RANGERS SIGNING

The Rangers added their 18th defenseman to the organization’s depth chart when they signed, the 6-0, 190-pound, John Gilmour to a free agent deal out of Providence College. The deal is a two-year, two-way ($742,500K-NHL/$70K-AHL) deal. The Rangers now have 47 of the 50 contracted players they are allowed under the CBA. The team’s total salary stands at $70.5 million, and they have just about $2.5M cap space remaining.

Gilmour was a Calgary Flames seventh round draft pick in 2014, but the Flames, with an abundance of defenseman, chose not to offer him a contract, despite having a good shot, hits well and played on the Friars NCAA championship squad two years ago and completed all four seasons.

Gilmour, 23, skated in 34 games with Providence College this past season, where he registered nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, along with a plus-three rating, his best numbers as a Friar along with 18 penalty minutes for the Hockey East school. Gilmour uses his stick well and ranks fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play points (16), and is tied for fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play assists (12), and tied for eighth among NCAA defensemen in goals and power play goals (four) during his senior season.
Also, Gilmour recorded 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) against Hockey East opponents in 2015-16, helping Providence post a 16-3-3 record in intra-conference games.

He skated in 141 career collegiate games over four seasons where he compiled 22 goals and 43 assists for 65 points, along with a plus-eight rating and 85 penalty minutes. In his four years, Providence posted a record of 81-42-18 in the games in which Gilmour played. He maintained a plus/minus rating of even or better in each of his four seasons with Providence.

*Contract numbers and cap numbers come from www.generalfanager.com

WOLF PACK AND AHL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

Finally, the summer soap opera of the AHL schedule release has ended as the league posted its 2016-17 season Monday afternoon.

The Wolf Pack open their 20th anniversary season at home on Saturday, October 14th against the St. John’s IceCaps for the second season in a row. This is the last season in the AHL for St. John’s as the Montreal Canadiens will move their farm team to Laval, Quebec next season where they will play at the brand new Place Bell Centre.

The Wolf Pack schedule features five dates in October with the team’s second game also against St. John’s. The IceCaps start their season with six road games while the Pack play just two.

The Pack’s traditional early season school day game is against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on November 2nd at 11:00am.

The Pack will play just 14 of the 30 AHL teams with 52 games in the Atlantic Division. Springfield and Providence will play the Pack the most with ten games apiece. The pack will face the other four teams, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport eight times each.

The other 24 games of their 76 games will be against the North Division who’ll likely make a difference because of the crossover playoff system. The team found out last season just how important those games were when they missed out on the playoffs by six points. They will play all of the teams four times each except Syracuse who they play just twice.

Twelve home games are on Fridays with a new starting time of 7:15 pm to accommodate for the traffic issues on I-91 and I-84.

The Pack home portion of the season concludes on Saturday, April 8th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the last four games of the season will be on the road in Bridgeport, Albany, Utica and will close out the season in Springfield on Saturday, April 15.

Find the Wolf Pack schedule HERE.

Find the complete AHL team-by-team schedule HERE

Note to the AHL-we all realize we have a bifurcated league now.

The AHL should release the Eastern conference schedule in July since there are no NBA building conflicts that they’re playing in and then release the Western conference schedule in August after Cleveland and San Antonio get their NBA schedules for their buildings.

Waiting like this is not good for the fans, horrendous for each team’s sales staff and doesn’t help with the league’s image.

PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE

The Wolf Pack will have a slate of three preseason games, of which two of them are home contests as they prepare for the 2016-17 season.

On Wednesday, October 5, the Wolf Pack host their in-state and divisional rivals, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The game takes place at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center and starts at 7 pm. Donations will be accepted at the door instead of an admission charge. That money will benefit the Ryan Gordon / Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholar’s Fund.

The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation. Suggested donation is $5 per person.

The Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.

The Wolf Pack’s lone road preseason outing will be a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield for their first meeting with the newly minted Springfield Thunderbirds who this year are the affiliates of the Florida Panthers. That game takes place on Saturday, October 8, at 7:00 pm.

The Pack concludes their preseason action with a home game on Sunday, October 9 at Champion’s Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, which is also their practice facility during the season. The game is a 1:00 pm battle with the Albany Devils, with a $5 admission charge benefitting Whalers Youth Hockey. Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell Exit 21 off I-91.

HARTFORD WOLF PACK PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Date                 Opponent             Venue Faceoff
Wed. Oct. 5   BRIDGEPORT   KOEPPEL COMMUNITY SPORTS CENTER,                                                                           TRINITY COLLEGE 7:00 pm

Sat. Oct. 8       at Springfield     MassMutual Center 7:00 pm

Sun. Oct. 9     ALBANY               CHAMPION’S SKATING CENTER, CROMWELL,                                                                  CT 1:00 pm

*Portions of the Wolf Pack press releases were used in the previous three segments.

ON THE MOVE

Joining Gilmour and Jimmy Vesey on the list of NCAA players who’ve signed their first pro contracts is Thomas DiPauli from Notre Dame, who inked a deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

That makes 192 players to have signed a North American pro contract including 41 underclassmen since the college regular season and post-season ended.

Several ex-players are getting into the coaching, scouting and management side of hockey.

Congrats to J.F. Labbe, the Wolf Pack Calder Cup winning goalie and AHL Hall of Famer. Labbe is going to be coaching goaltending for two teams in two different leagues this season that is probably a first in hockey.

He is set to begin his third year with the QMJHL Sherbrooke Phoenix, but he was named late last week as the Anaheim Ducks developmental goalie coach and will be in San Diego two weeks a month during the season working with their prospects with the AHL Gulls.

Ex-Pack Mike Mottau is the new scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. Jim Sandlak, the ex-Whaler, switches as a scout from Vancouver to Anaheim while Jim Mill, a Hartford native and former AHL VP, switches scouting from Minnesota to New Jersey.

Nolan Pratt, the former Beast of New Haven and Hartford Whaler, is the new assistant coach in Colorado. With Patrick Roy’s sudden exit, the Avalanche need a head coach. Pratt was a part of Lake Erie’s (nee Cleveland) Calder Cup winning squad.

Another Beast of New Haven alumni, Ryan Johnson, was promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development with Vancouver.

Former Whalers who were assistant coaches in Boston have new gigs. Doug Houda with Detroit and Doug Jarvis in Vancouver.

Former Pack goalie David LeNeveu is using his Ivy League education well as President and part of an ownership group that includes former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey of the Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL).  The British Columbia Hockey League is one of the 10 Junior A leagues in Canada that US Division I colleges recruit heavily from.

LeNeveu and Dov-Grumet Morris helped rescue the Wolf Pack three seasons ago from finishing dead last and were probably the smartest goaltending duo in AHL history with a combined IQ of something like 5,000!

Jeff Woywitka, the former CT Whale defenseman, and a Ranger was named assistant coach for the Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)-Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Ex-Sound Tigers are starting out in the Junior B league level in Canada. Jean

Jean Bourbeau was named assistant coach with the Columbia Valley Rockets (KIJHL)-Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The head coach and GM of the team are the one-time former Sound Tiger goalie star, Wade Dubliewicz.

Ruffian extraordinaire with Bridgeport Pascal Morency was named assistant coach with the Fernie Ghostriders (KIJHL).

Former Ranger and Nighthawk from the 1980’s, Raimo Heminen, has landed as an assistant coach with Jokert Helsinki (Finland-KHL). Last season Heminen was fired a month into the season along with the entire staff at Barys Astana (Kazakhstan-KHL) and then lasted just two months with Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL).

Alex Westlund, the former Wolf Pack, and Yale University goalie becomes the goalie coach with Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL). Last season he had the same position with Augusburger (Germany-DEL).

Jim Setters, a one-time Nighthawk, becomes the new head coach for the Lithuania National U-20 Team that competes in the IIHF Division II level in Group A with fellow Baltic state country Estonia, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Romania. He has been the head coach of Germany’s U-20 and U-20 teams over the past 20 years.

Next year’s AHL team in Laval, Quebec that will be the Canadiens top farm team has narrowed the team nicknames from twenty to three finalists. The names that fans will a have a choice to select are Patriotes, Rapids, and Rocket.

Ex-Pack Conor Allen, who played with three teams last season starting in Milwaukee as an assistant captain, before being traded to Binghamton, had a very rough year.  At the trade deadline, Allen found himself with the Iowa Wild – the worst team in the AHL last season. He has signed a one-year deal with Grand Rapids who along with San Antonio have made some of the most moves in the off-season and should have a stronger team this coming season.

AHL switches Jamie Devane goes from Milwaukee to Stockton. Tom McCollum goes from Grand Rapids to Ontario, and San Antonio looks to be an early Calder Cup threat after getting Avon native and Westminster Prep grad, Ben Smith. He leaves Toronto to go to the Rampage. Last season Smith played for both San Jose teams (NHL/AHL), the Sharks and the Barracuda. Both Toronto teams (NHL/AHL) Maple Leafs and Marlies.

Former UCONN player Jason Sims, son of ex-Whaler and Nighthawk Al Sims, signed with Cincinnati (ECHL) for next season. Last year, he played with Evansville (ECHL) and got a last weekend of the season recall to San Jose (AHL). Father Al has coached the first San Jose Sharks team.

Wolf Pack defenseman Calle Andersson’s younger brother, Rasmus, has signed to a three-year, two-way deal with Calgary. They originally drafted him in the second-round, 53rd overall in 2015. He will be in Stockton next season after playing at Barrie (OHL) the last two years. The younger Andersson like Calle is a right-handed shooting defenseman.

Their father Peter, a former Rangers’ player in the 1980’s, has a new coaching gig with Malmo IF in the Swedish Hockey League (AHL) after getting fired last year with HC Lugano (Switzerland-LNA).

Ex-CT Whale Lee Baldwin goes from ESV Kaufburen (Germany DEL-2) to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL).

Quinnipiac sophomore Brayden Scherbinin heads back to Canada to play university hockey with the University of Calgary Dinosaurs (CWUAA) the defenseman had just five assists in two years and played sparingly.

The next batch of NCAA college hockey Frozen Four and regional bids have been accepted last week for the tournament years running from 2019-2022. The first cuts and finalists will be announced on October 28th, and then the finalists to host the hockey regionals and the Frozen Four tournament will be announced by the NCAA on December 7th.

Hartford would be a great location central highway arteries, with plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area. They’d be terrific for a regional, but without a new XL Center, a bid can’t be made.

CANTLON’S CORNER: GUESS WHO’S BACK FOR THE PACK…OR IS HE… PACK OFF-SEASON REPORT

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT –  There’s always speculation on a team that didn’t make the playoffs in who’s coming back and who isn’t. The Hartford Wolf Pack have, as most AHL teams do, had some turnover. One player who’s future was an unknown had that question answered this past week.

MALCOLM IS BACK

Last season’s best insurance policy in the Pack net, Jeff Malcolm, has been resigned by the Rangers to an AHL deal for the 2016-17 season.

The question for Malcolm though is, “Will he be in Hartford or Greenville?

Looking at the goalie depth chart with Magnus Hellberg (making $100K-AHL last season), Mackenzie Skapski in the final year of his entry-level deal ($65K-AHL) and rookie Brandon Halverson (starting the first year of a three entry level contract) Greenville seems more likely for Malcolm.

We thought that last season too, but he spent significant time in Hartford early in the year because both Mackenzie Skapski (right hip labrum)i and Cedrick Desjardins (torn right ACL) were coming major surgeries in the off season.

Malcolm spent a better part of the second half as Magnus Hellberg’s backup when Skapski had troubles in net and was dispatched to Greenville was highly respected by his teammates and coaching staff on how he handled the backup role. Malcolm won some significant games including a critical 3-0 shutout in Springfield on March 20th in the Pack’s valiant, but unsuccessful bid to make the Calder Cup playoffs.

Malcolm’s season was ended prematurely in the waning weeks of the regular season suffering a fractured larynx in practice taking a shot similar to Providence Malcolm Subban injury and was rushed to a local surgeon for successful emergency surgery,

Malcolm, is entering amazingly his fourth pro season in 2016-17, and his first three seasons have all been in the Wolf Pack/New York Ranger organization. Last season, he played a career-high 14 AHL games with the Wolf Pack and tied his AHL career best in wins with seven, going 7-5-0 in AHL action. The 6-2, 185-pound Malcolm also established personal AHL bests of a 2.41 goals-against average and a 91.2% save percentage, and registered his first two career AHL shutouts.

Malcolm also appeared in nine ECHL games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits recording a record of 5-2-2 with a 3.40 GAA and an 89.4% save percentage. Malcolm also played in the ECHL All-Star game.

Originally signed by the Wolf Pack on July 17, 2013, Malcolm has seen action in 31 career AHL games, posting a 15-12-0 record, a 2.78 GAA and a 90.3% save percentage. In 64 total ECHL outings with Greenville, Malcolm is 35-21-6, with a 2.79 GAA, a 91.3% save percentage and one shutout.

Malcolm capped off his four-year Yale career in 2012-13 by backstopping the Bulldogs to their first-ever NCAA “Frozen Four” title in school history. Malcolm was 20-6-2 in 30 appearances for Yale in 2012-13, with a 2.24 goals-against average, a 91.9% save percentage and three shutouts. Those numbers represented the second-highest single-season win total, the third-best save percentage and fourth-lowest GAA in Yale Men’s Hockey history. Malcolm also finished second among ECACHL goaltenders in wins and tied for third in shutouts.

In his four years at Yale, Malcolm appeared in 67 games, amassing a record of 36-21-4 with a 2.60 GAA, a 90.7% save percentage and six shutouts. Those stats rank him fourth all-time in school history in wins, GAA and save percentage.

ON THE MOVE

Former Wolf Pack Alex Krushelnyski, son of former New York Ranger, Mike Krushelnyski, signs an AHL deal with Binghamton.

Former Wolf Pack forward Andrew Rowe, who played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he added seven goals and eight points in eleven games before an injury prematurely ended his season, has signed a one-year AHL deal with them for the upcoming season. The Sound Tigers also signed Finnish goalie Christopher Gibson for a one-year, two-way deal.

Eric O’Dell, who split the year with Rochester and Binghamton, signs with HK Sochi (Russia-KHL). Joining him in AHL’ers heading to Europe include Greg Rallo of Texas who goes to Iserlohn (Germany-DEL) and Drew Shore Stockton to EHC Kloten (Switzerland-LNA). Clark Seymour of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

The AHL to Euro list now stands at 70.

Ex-Pack defenseman Vladimir Denisov re-signs with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia-KHL).

Former Sound Tigers goalie in 2005-06, Frederic Cloutier, goes from Kookoo (Finland Division-1) to Asiago AS (Italy-AlpsHL).

Ex-Pack and Sound Tiger, Mark Lee, split last year between Italy (SHC Fassa) and Denmark (SonderjyskE) signs with ETC Crimmitschau (Germany DEL-2).

Ex-CT Whale, Shayne Wiebe, leaves EHC Olten (Switzerland-LNB) for HC Val Pusteria (Italy-AlpsHL).

Former Quinnipiac Bobcat and Sound Tiger, Mike Dalhuisen, goes from Esbjerg(Denmark) to Torpedo Kamenogorsk (Russia-VHL).

Former Salisbury Prep player Kevin Quick goes from Nottingham (England-EIHL) to Beijing to play for the China Dragon in the ALIH (Asia League Ice Hockey) team.

Several new assistant coaches were named in the AHL this week. Ex-Sound Tiger Jay Leach and Trent Whitfield join Kevin Dean’s staff in Providence. Leach comes over from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Whitfield from Calgary (WHL). Leach was a captain with Providence and when he played at Providence College. Whitfield was also a P-Bruins captain and AHL All-Star selection finished his playing career in Portland wearing the “C” as well.

Chris Taylor from Rochester and JD Forrest (EC Salzburg-2 in Austria) become a part of Clark Donatelli’s staff in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Jason King was named an assistant with Utica moving over from St. John’s where he spent the last three years, two of them as an assistant coach and the final year as the Director of Hockey Operations.

The defending Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters will enter their tenth year this upcoming season and drop the Lake Erie name and become the Cleveland Monsters. After the poor run both on and off the ice as the Cleveland Barons they adopted the Lake Erie prefix and have become one of the best franchises in the AHL. They join a city of champions along with fellow tenant at Q, the NBA champion, Cleveland Cavaliers.

AHL switches have seen Albany lose two defensemen, Brandon Burlon, who signs with Tucson and Dan Kelly signs with San Jose.

Mike Angelidis, Syracuse’s captain the last four years and who had some memorable battles against the Wolf Pack, heads West and signs an AHL deal with Stockton.

Former Yale defenseman Gus Young goes from San Jose (AHL) to Chicago (AHL).

Going from Stockton, after spending half the year in Adirondack (ECHL) and Charlotte, is forward Mitch Heard.

American International College (AIC) who play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC) in Springfield is leaving the West Springfield Olympia Arena and will make the MassMutual Center their new home starting this fall along with the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds.

AHL teams will be wearing their white uniforms at home until Christmas break and then switch to the darker uniforms after the holidays. The Wolf Pack will also be unveiling new jerseys to mark their 20th anniversary season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has unveiled a new look as their parent team of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and they will adopt the Penguins look from their Stanley Cup winning era in 1991 and 1992.

AEG, the former operator of the XL Center, continues their restructuring of their worldwide hockey portfolio. Here in the states, they were replaced as the building operator of the Ontario Citizen Business Bank Arena. They had a ten-year run that’s started in October 2008 when the building opened at a cost of $150 million. SMG also runs the Ontario (CA) Convention Center and signed a five-year deal with a five-year option to start managing the facility. The deal became effective on July 1st.

AEG will still own and operate the AHL Ontario Reign. They did divest themselves of the ECHL Manchester Monarchs to the Boston-based PPI Sports LLC after 16 years. The Monarchs were in the AHL for 15 years winning their lone Calder Cup in 2015, their last year in the AHL. The organization flipped their franchises as part of the creation of the AHL Pacific Division. The ECHL Monarchs were the ECHL East Division champs last season.

The Kings will still be their ECHL affiliate next season, but are no longer under their umbrella. They could see a change in affiliation in a few years as part of the overall minor league restructuring that has been underway the last two years. The NHL/AHL/ECHL, 31/31/31 (eventually 32/32/32) model will marry the franchises and keep them closer to each other to reduce overall costs in travel and salary as part of the current NHL-CBA agreement.

AEG shut the doors of one of their two German DEL teams, the Hamburg Freezers in June, who drew over 9,000 per game.

One-time AHL Eddie Shore winner, Andy Delmore, goes from the University of Windsor (OUAA) to Toledo (ECHL) to be their assistant coach.

In a big collegiate move, Quinnipiac University (ECACHL) scored a transfer coup as Boston University’s (HE) Brandon Fortunato will become a Bobcat after sitting out the mandatory NCAA one-year transfer waiting period in 2017-18. He is still eligible to play junior hockey in the USHL since he doesn’t turn 21 until next June. The Fargo Force (USHL hold his rights 2014) still have his rights. He was originally drafted by Green Bay (USHL) in 2012 and the following year by Vityaz Podolsk in the KHL Draft.

SUMMER HOCKEY

The US squad at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia captured silver despite losing 4-3 to the host Czech Republic. The US squad received a strong performance from Cayden Primeau in net with 33 saves. The trophy returned to the host country for the first time in nine years that Canada didn’t win.

The US team advanced to the semifinals beating the Czechs 4-2 on the strength of a Ryan Poehling hat trick. Primeau, the son of ex-Whaler Keith Primeau, made 24 saves.

Poehling played this year at Lakeville H.S. in Minnesota where the assistant coach is former Wolf Pack defenseman, Jake Taylor.

The American team knocked off the Russians 4-3 in overtime in the semi-finals overcoming three one-goal deficits. Primeau was named the game MVP with 38 saves.

The Wolf Pack’s current assistant coach and assistant GM, Pat Boller, is one of the team’s assistant coaches.

At the Five Nations Tournament, that’s being held in Frisco, Texas – where the temperature outside was 105-107 degrees with a heat index of 112 or better – made being in the ice arena the place to be.

The American squad won the tournament for the second season in a row . The team went undefeated (4-0-0) and beat Germany 9-2 while outshooting their opponents, 54-13. They outscored the opposition 31-6 over the four games.

The team features some familiar names of sons of ex-Whalers.

Christian Krygier, the son of Whalers/UCONN/Nighthawk fame, Todd Krygier, earned two assists in the final game and had five points over the four games all assists.

Jack Drury, the son of Ted Drury and nephew to the Rangers Director of Player Development, Chris Drury of Trumbull, scored his first goal of the tournament along with four assists.

The US U-17 squad beat Switzerland 6-2 in the first game.

Krygier earned two assists in the first game while Drury picked up an assist.

In their second game, the US crushed Slovakia 10-1 at the Dr. Pepper Arena with Drury providing three assists and Krygier adding a helper.

The American squad then beat the Czech Republic 6-1 in the third game. Drury picked up another assist.

Both Drury and Krygier will play US junior hockey in the fall. Krygier will play with Lincoln (USHL) while Drury with Waterloo (USHL).

The team GM is Ken Rausch (Danbury) who played high school hockey at Immaculate High.

The Czech team features defenseman Zack Malik, son of former Whalers, Rangers and Beast of New Haven defenseman, Marek Malik.

The Canadian team had ex-New Haven Senator Darren Rumble as one of their assistant coaches.

ISLANDERS SAGA

The soap opera that is the New York Islanders and the Nassau Coliseum got a bit more interesting last week.

The New York Post reported that secret talks are underway for the possible return to the Coliseum. A Chief Nassau county official neither confirmed or denied that on the possibilities. Read the latest saga HERE!

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – NWHL RELEASES FULL 2016-17 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

NWHLNWHL NEWS: NWHL RELEASES FULL 2016-17 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

Season Two Begins With Opening Weekend in Buffalo, NY

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

New York, NYThe National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) today announced the full 2016-17 regular season schedule.

The second season of the NWHL begins on October 7th, 2016 with Opening Weekend in Buffalo, NY. Regular season play will pause for all All-Star Weekend, which will be held on February 11-12th, 2017. The regular season concludes on April 16th, 2017, prior to the second annual Isobel Cup Playoffs.

Details and tickets for team home openers were released last Friday.

The dates, times, and locations for all 2016-17 season games can be found in the attached document. Tickets for all games are available now on nwhl.zone/tickets.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015 with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

ARRAL: NWHL – RIVETERS MOVE TO THE ROCK AS FREE AGENCY PERIOD CLOSES WITH FLURRY OF SIGNINGS

Prudential Center

NWHL NEWS: RIVETERS MOVE TO BARNABAS HEALTH HOCKEY HOUSE AT PRUDENTIAL CENTER

Official Practice Rink of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils Hosted Isobel Cup Final in March 2016

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL (All stories)

New York, NY — The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) today announced that the New York Riveters will call the Barnabas Health Hockey House at Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center home for the 2016-17 season.

“We’re very excited to make the move to Newark for our second season,” said Riveters General Manager Chad Wiseman. “The Barnabas Health Hockey House staff have been very welcoming and we’re excited to continue to grow our fan base into New Jersey.”

“The National Women’s Hockey League has done an amazing job showcasing its talented athletes and providing inspirational stories to hockey fans everywhere,” said Hugh Weber, president of Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils. “We are thrilled to welcome the Riveters to Newark and share a vision with the team and the league to grow the sport in our communities throughout New Jersey. Women’s hockey plays a critical role in the development of young athletes and we are excited to be an integral part of the movement.” Continue reading

ARRAL: LOTS OF NWHL PLAYERS SIGNED

NWHLNWHL NEWS: IVANA BILIC SIGNS WITH CONNECTICUT WHALE

Canadian Was Named 2015-16 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Northford, CT — Ivana Bilic has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Sunday. Bilic and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $14,000 contract.

“Ivana is a solid defenseman who can block a lot of shots,” said Giovanelli. “She’s a great addition to our defensive core and will make our blue line even stronger.”

Bilic joins the NWHL on the last day of Free Agency from Bemidji State, where she played since 2012. The defenseman scored 61 points (13g, 48a) in 128 games. The Coquitlam, BC native attended the 2015-16 Hockey Canada Selection Camp. Continue reading

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – MEAGAN MANGENE SIGNS WITH CT WHALE

Mangene Credit Troy Parla

NWHL NEWS: MEAGAN MANGENE SIGNS WITH CT WHALE

Mangene Was a Practice Player With Boston Pride in 2015-16

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Northford, CTMeagan Mangene has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Thursday. Mangene and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $12,000 contract.

“Last season was an amazing experience, and I am very thankful to have been a part of the Boston Pride,” said Mangene. “I am excited to transition into a bigger role with the Whale and am looking forward to the second season of the NWHL.”

Mangene played in 7 games with the Boston Pride as a practice player last season, where she scored one assist. She previously played for Boston College, where she served as co-captain her senior year in 2013-14. Mangene is the second practice player from the inaugural season to transition to a rostered role.

“The Whale coaching staff is excited to add Meagan Mangene to our lineup,” said Coach Heather Linstad. “She is a versatile player who can play defense or forward. She sees the ice very well and makes smart decisions with the puck.”

The restricted free agency began on April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft was on June 18.