Category Archives: ECHL

CANLTON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON VOLUME 5

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

THE AHL BACK IN SPRINGFIELD

HARTFORD, CT – A little over a month has gone by since the Springfield Falcons were sold to the Arizona Coyotes and moved to Tucson, AZ. Incredibly, AHL hockey will continue in the city with the Florida Panthers as the parent team for at least three years starting in the fall.

The league’s Board of Governors formally approved the sale of Springfield late last week. They removed the conditional status upon getting a lease approved and renovations approved to the Tucson Convention Center was key to their deal and the deal in Springfield.

Monday, the sale of the troubled Portland Pirates was officially approved to Springfield Hockey, LLC by the AHL BOG.

Here is the Florida Panthers news release HERE.

HERE is the Springfield take on the announcement made Monday after the BOG approved the sale to Springfield Hockey LLC after being awarded their franchise. The investors have yet still to be publicly identified, but Cantlon’s Corner learned a month ago that former Falcons’ owner, Charles Pompea and the face of Springfield hockey the last 35 years, Bruce Landon, are among those that are involved. Among the others to be involved, don’t be surprised if MGM-Springfield, who begin running the Mass Mutual Center on July 1st from Spectra, will participate in some manner. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: IT’S OFFICIAL, HOCKEY LEAVES SPRINGFIELD, MA

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, HOWLINGS

HARTFORD, CT – On Thursday, the Arizona Coyotes unveiled its new partnership as well as the announcement that the AHL Board of Governors gave its seal of approval for the purchase and relocation of the Springfield Falcons to Tucson. The new team will play in the fall at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC). It

For the moment, it’s the end of an 80-year history of the AHL in Springfield, which also happens to be the location of the league headquarters.

The final pieces of the puzzle to make the conditional approval permanent were that the Rio Nuevo council must approve $3.2 million in renovations to the TCC to have it comply with NHLPLA and AHLPLA standards outlined in their respective CBA’s. On Tuesday came the unanimous vote from the Tucson City Council, which gave their approval to a ten-year lease with the Arizona Coyotes. The approval allowed the AHL BOG to affirm the sale and relocation of the Falcons.

Many safeguards were put in place to protect the city in the event of any failures from low attendance or poor concessions sales. A “Name-The-Team” contest has begun, and they will now be the sixth team to play in the AHL’s Pacific Division. The relocated Falcons join the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks), Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings), Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton Oilers), the Stockton Heat (Calgary Flames) and the San Jose Barracuda (San Jose Sharks).

The Coyotes move of the Falcons leaves just the Vancouver Canucks as the only Western-based NHL team that has a team playing in the East, the Utica Comets. That will likely change in the next year with the expected addition of an NHL expansion team in Las Vegas and their requirement to have an AHL franchise located out West.

The AHL has one serious piece of business left to tend to, and that is the sale of the Portland Pirates by its local owner Ron Cain to a yet publicly unidentified Springfield, ownership group. The parent team, the Florida Panthers, have been not given any public blessing to the sale, and with issues still being discussed around the deal.

The league BOG has deferred a vote on the sale.

Cantlon’s Corner has learned from trusted sources who’ve identified a part of the ownership group. They include the now former owner of the Falcons, Charles Pompea, and the face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, who claims to be retired and out of the business, as well as several other investors yet to be identified. One of those would likely be the MGM-Springfield, who will assume management of the now empty Mass Mutual Central from Spectra on July 1st.

HOCKEY NEWS

Daniel Paille becomes the second Wolf Pack player from last season to sign elsewhere and the seventh AHL’er to sign in Europe with Brynas IF (Sweden-SHL).Raphael Diaz was the first in the league and team going to EV Zug (Switzerland-LNA).

Raphael Diaz was the first in the league and team going to EV Zug (Switzerland-LNA).

Former Yale Bulldog and AHL regular season MVP in 2015-16 for the Calder Cup champion Manchester Monarchs, Brian O’Neill, becomes the eighth AHL’er leaving the Albany Devils and signing with Jokerit Helsinki (Finland-KHL). Wait until he gets a load of the thirteen-hour flights and all those time zone changes to and in Russia.

Former Wolf Pack Hannu Pikkarainen goes from Schwenniger in the German DEL to Islerlohn.

Former CT Whale defenseman Pavel Valentenko has signed to stay in Russia in the KHL with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk from Spartak Moscow.

Former Sound Tiger, Oliver Labelle, returns from HE Rouen (France-French Elite Magnus League) to be a player-assistant coach with the Reading Royals (ECHL) next season

Former Sound Tiger, Mike Iggulden retires from hockey after playing last year for Augsburger (Germany-DEL).

Ex-New Haven Nighthawk and New York Rangers goalie, Glen Hanlon, signs to be the GM of the Vancouver Giants (WHL) who are moving to play in nearby Surrey, BC next season, and they will retain the Vancouver name. Hanlon coached the Swiss National Team briefly last year resigning in October.

Former Yale Bulldog Denney Kearney goes from Tingryds AIF (Sweden-Allsvenskan) to HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

CANTLON’S CORNER: FINAL CSB RANKINGS BEFORE THE DRAFT

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – With all the end of the season goings-on, there hasn’t been much time to digest the final Central Scouting Bureau’s (CSB) draft rankings before the upcoming NHL Draft in Buffalo, NY on June 25th.

There are a few names in the top tier rankings who hail from the state of Connecticut.  The top name from the Nutmeg State also played for the University of Connecticut, and he is Orange native, Tage Thompson.

Just completing his pure academic and athletic freshmen year at UConn he is a player on the upside. Thompson showed a powerplay prowess and led the nation in power play goals with fourteen. Thompson also had fifteen goals in his first year in college.

The 6’5 winger is a prime-time talent possessing size, a hard shot, and a pro hockey pedigree. Thompson’s father, Brent is a former Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman and for the second time is the current head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: AHL & HOCKEY OFF-SEASON NOTES, VOL. I

AHLgerry-150x130 / Hockey Off-Season NOTES Number 1

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Could the Binghamton Senators Be the Next to Move?

While speaking with long-time AHL writer, Pat Williams, who covers the AHL Manitoba Moose and the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, the question was asked, “What if the AHL would return to Cornwall or maybe Belleville in Canada? The decision was that it won’t happen.

The hockey gods might be disagreeing.

The Belleville Intelligencer newspaper reports HERE that the Ottawa Senators and a local group are in serious discussions with the city of Belleville to move their AHL team from Binghamton, NY to Belleville in two years to play at the Yardmen Arena.

Belleville is two hours east of Toronto with an area population of 100,000 when combining with several surrounding towns with 40,000 of those in Belleville proper.

The OHL Belleville Bulls were purchased and moved to Hamilton last year and became the OHL Hamilton Bulldogs replacing the AHL team of the same name.

The arena there was built in 1978 and seats only 3,257, but has a 200 x 100 international ice surface. Those dimensions do not meet AHL standards either for seating or the ice surface size.

Architectural drawings have been commissioned to expand the seating, construct CBA regulation locker rooms and weight training facilities, office space, and a concession area. The building, in its OHL days, was one of two junior arenas in all of Ontario with second-tier of seating. Continue reading

BECK: TITANS DROP PENALTY-FEST GAME TWO TO PROWLERS

Danbury Titans      VERSUS      Port Huron Prowlers

BY: Mitch Beck, Howlings (With Zak McGinniss, Danbury Titans)

DANBURY, CT Defenseman Matt Fuller’s third-period goal earned him the Game’s First star honors and gave The Port Huron Prowlers a 4-3 win over the Danbury Titans in Game Two of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals before 786 at the Danbury Ice Arena Saturday night.

With the Titans scrambling in their end, Fuller from Ahmed Mahfouz and blasted a shot that went bar down behind Titan goaltender Alex Vazzano (17 saves).

For Game Two of a championship series, it was exceptionally sloppily played. There were 17 power plays. Port Huron received 34 minutes of penalty minutes on 13 infractions. Meanwhile, Danbury was issued 75 minutes of PIMs on 16 infractions

Danbury’s Ryan Patsch, was out with an undisclosed injury, after receiving a five-minute slashing penalty from Game 1, Port Huron’s Joe Pace Jr, also did not play.

Danbury Head Coach Phil Esposito started the game by sending out his tough guys, including defensemen Martin Tuma, Anthony Pisano, and forward Al Graves. Just as the referee dropped the puck for the initial faceoff, all three Danbury forwards dropped their gloves and jumped their Prowler counterparts. All three Prowlers “turtled” in response.

BOXSCORE Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: LATEST PACK NEWS AND LOTS OF HOCKEY UPDATES

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – As the Hartford Wolf Pack prepare for their final two games of the regular season in St. John’s Newfoundland (6pm faceoff time), the past 48 hours are an example of vagaries and complexities of being a professional athlete.

The Pack played a game at 11am against the Marlies in Toronto. Following the game, they took a three-hour, late-afternoon flight to St. John’s, which is in the easternmost part of North America, let alone Canada. They’re on Atlantic Standard Time (AST), ninety minutes ahead of us.

The Wolf Pack arrived, unpacked, and grabbed a bite to eat and had some social time watching the Stanley Cup playoffs.  They then saw Henrik Lundqvist injured in the final minute of the first period. Somehow the errant stick of Marc Staal found it’s way inside the eyehole of his mask, hitting the franchise goaltender in the right eye.

With Lundqvist injured and his status for game two unknown to the New York Rangers, this led to Magnus Hellberg’s recall.

Assistant GM Pat Boller then had to jump into action. Continue reading

FUEHRING: HART AND DODERO RETURN TO AHL’S SYRACUSE CRUNCH

rp_Greenville-Swamp-Rabbits-300x225.pngHART AND DODERO RETURN TO AHL‘S SYRACUSE CRUNCH

Duo spent 66 combined games with Greenville this season

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced forward Brian Hart has been reassigned to the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Also, defenseman Charlie Dodero has been recalled to Syracuse.

A native of Cumberland, Maine, Hart recorded 15 points (11g, 4a) and four penalty minutes in 36 games with the Swamp Rabbits this season. He made his professional debut with Greenville on Oct. 23 and went on to score six goals in his first 11 pro contests. Hart also made 24 appearances with Syracuse this season, scoring two goals and adding 14 penalty minutes. Under contract with Tampa Bay, the 22-year-old rookie has been reassigned to Syracuse five times this season. Continue reading