Category Archives: CTWhale



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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



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

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.


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



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


Mangene Credit Troy Parla


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.


Micaela Long Signs With Connecticut Whale

Forward Tied for Second on Team in 2015-16 Playoff Scoring

LongBY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Northford, CT — Micaela Long has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Monday. Long and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $13,500 contract.
“The coaching staff is very excited to have Micaela returning to the Whale,” said Head Coach Heather Linstad. “Micaela has a very good hockey IQ and plays well at both ends of the ice.

She is a strong penalty killer with good speed, size, and the willingness to block a shot. In addition, she brings a great attitude to the rink and locker room.”

Long scored 10 points (3g, 7a) in 17 games with the Whale last season. Her two assists in the Isobel Cup playoffs tied her for second on the team.

“I am thrilled to be playing for the Whale again this season,” said Long. “Last year was a huge success and I’m excited to see what is in store for year two. I’m so happy to continue playing the game I love and to do it in front of our incredible fans! I know we are all looking forward to October.”

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.



Defenseman Excited to See Growth in Season Two

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Northford, CTShannon Doyle has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Thursday. Doyle and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $14,000 contract.

The Whale is happy to have Shannon return for another season,” said Giovanelli. “Her shot blocking ability is a huge asset in our defensive zone, and we will look for her to build on her experiences from last season and continue to be a steady presence on our blue line.”

Doyle scored 5 points (2g, 3a) as a defenseman with the Whale in the 2015-16 regular season. She added an assist in the Isobel Cup Playoffs. She became known at Boston University for blocking shots, ranking third in the nation with 106 blocks her senior year in 2014-15.

“I’m excited to be back with the Whale for this upcoming season because, although the first season was extremely historic and exhilarating, I am looking forward to seeing how much the league will grow in this second season,” said Doyle. “The Connecticut area was incredibly supportive in year one and being able to return to such an amazing community of both players and fans is thrilling.”

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.

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.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTWhile 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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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 Or Call Mark Willand at 617-701-7289

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