Category Archives: Hartford Wolf Pack

RANGERS ASSIGN BRANDON HALVERSON AND JEFF MALCOLM TO HARTFORD

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifNYR ASSIGN BRANDON HALVERSON & JEFF MALCOLM TO HFD

48 Players Remain in Training Camp

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 30, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has assigned Brandon Halverson and Jeff Malcolm to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).

The Rangers have 48 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

Forwards (28): Chris Brown, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Nathan Gerbe, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Ryan Gropp, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen, Josh Jooris, Robin Kovacs, Chris Kreider, Maxim Lapierre, Oscar Lindberg, Philip McRae, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Cristoval Nieves, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (16): Calle Andersson, Mat Bodie, Adam Clendening, Sean Day, John Gilmour, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Nick Holden, Tommy Hughes, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Michael Paliotta, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Chris Summers

Goaltenders (4): Magnus Hellberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Antti Raanta, Mackenzie Skapski

CANTLON CORNER: PACK TRAINING CAMP OPENS

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CT The New York Rangers have dispatched the first group of youngers all hopeful of playing for the  2016-17 Hartford Wolf Pack. The players arrived in the Connecticut capitol for the opening of training camp on Saturday at the XL Center.

Among the players sent to Hartford are Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, Ahti Oksanen Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, Reid Duke and Garrett Noonan.

Donnay is a second-year pro. He spent the 2015-16 season in the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Donnay only played in the season finale in Hartford last season.

Carey (Quad City-ECHL/Iowa-AHL), Joly (Rimouski/Cape Breton-QMJHL) and Oksanen (Boston University-HE) were each off-season free agent signings to AHL contracts.

Goulakos (Elmira-ECHL/Rochester-AHL), Noonan (Cincinnati-ECHL/Milwaukee-AHL) and Duke (Brandon-WHL) are training camp invites and have been released as a procedural move from Professional Try-Outs (PTO) deals.

Chapie (UMASS-Lowell HE) was in Hartford at the end of last season but didn’t have the opportunity to play due to a foot injury.

Duke is still eligible as an overage player to return to junior hockey for a fifth year with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Nick Betz was released from his Amateur Try-Out (ATO) contract and can look to find another AHL camp or ECHL camp.

Goalie Joseph Raaymakers (Sault Ste. Marie-OHL), Tim Gettinger (Sault Ste. Marie-OHL), Ty Ronning (Vancouver-WHL), and Sergey Zborovskiy (Regina-WHL) were returned to their junior teams whose regular season are already underway.

Gettinger, Ronning, and Zborovskiy are Ranger draft picks. Raaymakers was a Traverse City camp invitee.

The Ranger roster stands at 50 and in their preseason opener beat the New York Islanders 5-3 Wednesday night at MSG. Goaltender Mackenzie Skapski acquitted himself well playing in the second half of the game in relief of Magnus Hellberg.

AHL NEWS

Early training camp cuts with CT ties. Chicago Wolves get Gus Young (Yale), Scooter Vaughan (Sound Tigers) and Wade Megan (Salisbury Prep).

Jeremy Langlois (Quinnipiac) goes to the Rockford IceHogs and fellow Bobcat alumni Zach Tolkinen signed with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL).

Goalies Alex Lyon (Yale) was assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) and Stephen Michalek (Glastonbury/Loomis Chaffe) goes to the Iowa Wild (AHL).

Former CT Whale defenseman Mike Vernace signs another one-year deal with the Brampton Beast (ECHL).

Former Quinnipiac standout and ex-Pack Brandon Wong split last season with the Indianapolis Fuel and the Tulsa Oilers in the ECHL and did a two-week summer Australian tour playing with the eventual Australian Goodall Cup champion, Newcastle North Stars. Wong now has a new winter hockey address in EV Ravensburg (Germany DEL-2).

Joining Wong on EV Ravensburg is Zach O’Brien, formerly of the Chicago Wolves.  O’Brien is the 84th AHL’er from last season to sign overseas.

Former UCONN Husky (AHC) Marcello Ranallo retires after playing three years with SG Cortina (Italy).

A MOMENT OF BACK PATTING FOR BEING RIGHT AGAIN!

Back in July, Cantlon’s Corner stated that the Ottawa Senators would purchase the Binghamton Senators and would be moving them to Belleville, Ontario for next season. Monday what we told you was happening was officially announced.

There is just one catch.

This “sale” has yet to be given the full approval as of yet by the AHL Board of Governors. The next BOG meeting is slated for the AHL All-Star game in Lehigh Valley, PA.  A conference call could, however, be scheduled to handle anything related to this matter. That information comes from AHL VP of Communications, Jason Chaimovitch.

Should this sale be approved, and there’s no reason to think it won’t, it would make 18 of the current 30 AHL teams, owned and operated by their parent NHL team. Given the hurdles that have to be crossed, a conditional approval, similar to the situation in Tucson, could be granted with the provision of certain benchmarks being met before full approval is granted.

Given the present exchange rate (as of Wednesday 9/28) at $1.32, the costs of doing business in the US is becoming prohibitive for Canadian-based NHL teams with regards to their minor league operations. Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver maintain US-based AHL teams, while Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and now Ottawa do not.

Click HERE for a series of articles from the Belleville Intelligencer on the announcement by the Ottawa Senators and City of Belleville of the purchase.

The team will be called the Belleville Senators

The renovations to the Yardmen Arena is expected to be a $20.5 million (Canadian) project. Read about that HERE.

The arena is scheduled to open December 2017 with construction slated to begin in a little over two months. HERE

Great piece featuring a conversation with former New Haven Senators player Jake Grimes about the AHL going to Belleville. Grimes played for all of the Senators’ minor league affiliates in their early years during his brief three-year pro career before he retired to become a coach. Grimes played in New Haven followed by time in Charlottetown, PEI where New Haven was moved to after just one season in the Elm City and became the PEI Senators.

The following year, for half a season, in PEI Grimes was demoted and played for the Thunder Bay Senators in the then Colonial Hockey League (CoHL), the forerunner to the now defunct United Hockey League.

Grimes is currently an assistant coach with Peterborough Petes (OHL) but was an assistant with the departed Belleville Bulls (OHL) for six seasons.

More on Grimes HERE.

From the Binghamton perspective, one-time Wolf Pack GM, Tom Mitchell, states there will be AHL hockey in Binghamton after Ottawa leaves in 2017-18. Read that story HERE.

There appear to be two factual errors in the story.

One, the Rangers still have one more year to go on their lease at the XL Center and have the option to do so, but contractually must inform the CRDA of their intentions by December 31, 2016.

The lease in Bridgeport is in effect until 2020-21 and can only can change hands if any new entity abides by the terms of the lease WITHOUT ANY CHANGES. The Islanders new majority owners, Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin have publicly stated they WILL NOT relocate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Nassau Coliseum when the renovations are completed there.

Our sources indicate affiliation and city switches are coming with several teams in play, but Binghampton could get the St. Louis Blues who may leave Chicago and the expansion NHL team in Las Vegas (to be named shortly) may be going to the Windy City.

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE, ROSTER

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE, ROSTER

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Camp Practices Start Saturday at XL Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 29, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld today announced the schedule for the Wolf Pack’s 2016 training camp and the opening camp roster.

The Wolf Pack’s training camp activity will begin this Friday, September 30 with on-ice testing at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, starting at 1:00 PM.  Practice sessions will commence this Saturday, October 1 at the XL Center, with ice times at 10:00 and 11:00 AM and off-ice workouts from 12:15 to 12:45 PM.  The team will follow that same schedule daily through Tuesday, October 4, prior to the Wolf Pack’s preseason opener Wednesday, October 5 at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

The Wolf Pack’s full training camp schedule, which is subject to change, is as follows:

Date           Event                 Location                                       Time
Fri, 9/30       On-ice testing         Champions Skating Ctr, Cromwell 1:00 – 1:30 PM
Sat, 10/1        Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                  12:15-12:45 PM
Sun, 10/2      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Mon, 10/3    Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Tue, 10/4      Practice                     XL Center                                                 10 – 10:45 AM
Practice                     XL Center                                                 11 – 11:45 AM
Off-ice workout      XL Center                                                 12:15-12:45 PM
Wed, 10/5    Game group practice               XL Center                              10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice     XL Center                              11:00 AM
Non-game group workout    XL Center                              Post-practice

Game vs. Bridgeport               Trinity College                     7:00 PM

Thu, 10/6      Practice                    XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Fri, 10/7        Practice                     XL Center                                                   10:00 AM
Off-ice workout     XL Center                                                   Post-practice
Sat, 10/8       Game group practice  Champions Skating Center          10 – 10:45 AM
Non-game group practice   XL Center                                11:45 AM
Non-game group workout  XL Center                                 Post-practice

Game at Springfield               MassMutual Center             7:00 PM

Sun, 10/9      Game vs. Albany           Champions Skating Center         1:00 PM

A roster of 23 players will begin camp with the Wolf Pack, 14 forwards, 8 defensemen and one goaltender:

Goal (1):           P.J. Musico

Defense (8):      Desmond Bergin, Justin DaSilva, Troy Donnay, Spiro Goulakos, Joe Houk, Garrett Noonan, Matt Prapavessis, Sean Sullivan

Forwards (14):   Brandon Alderson, Adam Chapie, Andrew Dommett, Reid Duke, Trevor Gerling, Michael Joly, Allan McPherson, Angelo Miceli, Ahti Oksanen, Mike Pereira, Matt Plesa, Nick Plesa, Peter Plesa, Tommy Thompson

The Wolf Pack’s twentieth-anniversary 2016-17 season begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  Tickets for that game and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451.

RANGERS REDUCE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

rp_new-york-r_thumb.gifRANGERS REDUCE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

50 Players Remain in Training Camp

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 27, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has reduced its Training Camp roster by 13 players.

Adam Chapie, Troy Donnay, Michael Joly, and Ahti Oksanen have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Matt Carey, Spiro Goulakos, and Garrett Noonan were released from their Professional Tryouts, while Nick Betz, Reid Duke, and Joseph Raaymakers were released from their Amateur Tryouts. In addition, Tim Gettinger, Ty Ronning, and Sergey Zborovskiy were returned to their respective junior clubs.

Carey, Chapie, Donnay, Duke, Goulakos, Joly, Noonan, and Oksanen will all report to the Wolf Pack’s Training Camp.

The Rangers have 50 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

Forwards (28): Chris Brown, Pavel Buchnevich, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Nathan Gerbe, Tanner Glass, Michael Grabner, Ryan Gropp, Kevin Hayes, Marek Hrivik, Nicklas Jensen, Josh Jooris, Robin Kovacs, Chris Kreider, Maxim Lapierre, Oscar Lindberg, Philip McRae, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Cristoval Nieves, Brandon Pirri, Derek Stepan, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (16): Calle Andersson, Mat Bodie, Adam Clendening, Sean Day, John Gilmour, Dan Girardi, Ryan Graves, Nick Holden, Tommy Hughes, Kevin Klein, Ryan McDonagh, Dylan McIlrath, Michael Paliotta, Brady Skjei, Marc Staal, Chris Summers

Goaltenders (6): Brandon Halverson, Magnus Hellberg, Henrik Lundqvist, Jeff Malcolm, Antti Raanta, Mackenzie Skapski

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 

 

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PROMOTIONAL SCHEDULE

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Includes Return of Friday-night $1 Hot Dog, $2 Beer Deal

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 21, 2016:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and the Hartford Wolf Pack, today revealed the schedule of game-night promotions highlighting the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 20th-anniversary AHL season.

Once again this year, Wolf Pack fans can take advantage of two special promotions throughout the season.  The Pack’s ever-popular Friday-night food and beverage discount is back, as at every Friday-night Pack home game, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.  Also returning are the Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket” Family Value Packs.  Those are available for all of the Pack’s Sunday and Wednesday home games, as well as the one Tuesday date, December 27, and include two tickets, two hot dogs and two soft drinks, all for only $40.  In a new wrinkle this season, at every Sunday Wolf Pack home game, the first 2,000 fans will receive a “hockey bingo” card.  The spaces on these cards contain possibilities that might happen in the game, and if they do, fans can fill in the spaces to win Wolf Pack bingo prizes.

In addition to those consistent features, the Wolf Pack will again be offering fans a bevy of single-night promotions and giveaways in 2016-17.  The first of those is at the Pack’s season opener Friday, October 14, a 7:15 PM contest at the XL Center vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  The first 5,000 fans into that game will take home a Wolf Pack magnetic schedule, courtesy of CT-DOT.

Following is the full 2016-17 Wolf Pack promotional schedule:

Date/Opponent                                Faceoff    Promotion

Friday, October 14 vs. St. John’s               7:15         Opening Night (Magnetic                                                                                                                  schedule giveaway to the first                                                                                                          5,000 fans, presented by CT-                                                                                                           DOT)
Friday, October 28 vs. Lehigh Valley        7:15        The Wolf Pack put on their                                                                                                               “Howl-a-ween” celebration
Saturday, October 29 vs. Utica                   7:00       First 2,000 fans receive Wolf                                                                                                           Pack 20th-anniversary trading                                                                                                         card sets (set 1 of 4)                                                                                                                               presented by KOTA Solutions
Wednesday, Nov. 2 vs. Lehigh Valley     11:00      “Sonar’s Ed-u-skate” school-                                                                                                             day game
Friday, November 4 vs. Bridgeport          7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a                                                                                                                  Wolf Pack license plate cover,                                                                                                           sponsored by Aetna
Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. W-B/Scranton         5:00        Thanksgiving food drive
Wednesday, Nov. 16 vs. Springfield        7:00       Thanksgiving food drive                                                                                                                     continues
Sunday, November 20 vs. Providence   5:00        First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack ice scraper, courtesy of                                                                                                              Aer Lingus; plus Sonar’s B’day
Friday, November 25 vs. Albany              7:15          First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading cards (set 2                                                                                                       of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                   solutions, plus the Wolf Pack’s                                                                                                         annual “Teddy Bear Toss”
Saturday, December 10 vs. Toronto          7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a 2017                                                                                                      Wolf Pack team calendar, plus                                                                                                         “Star Wars Night”
Tuesday, December 27 vs. Providence      7:00     First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack ski cap
Saturday, December 31 vs. Albany              5:00     First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                           anniversary trading card set                                                                                                             (set 3 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                        Solutions
Saturday, January 7 vs. Bridgeport            7:30      Wolf Pack “red-out”, as first                                                                                                              5,000 fans receive a red Wolf                                                                                                          Pack t-shirt presented by CT-                                                                                                            DOT
Friday, January 20 vs. Toronto                   7:15       First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 20th-anniversary poster,                                                                                                          presented by Bud Light, and                                                                                                            “Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                Weekend” begins
Saturday, January 21 vs. Rochester          7:00       Hartford Hockey Heritage                                                                                                                  Weekend” continues
Saturday, January 28 vs. Providence       7:00      First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                       Pack 2016-17 trading card set,                                                                                                          and Wolf Pack wear special                                                                                                                “Stick it to Cancer” jerseys
Saturday, February 4 vs. Rochester          7:30       First 1,000 kids 14 or younger                                                                                                         receive a Wolf Pack youth                                                                                                                  jersey
Sunday, February 19 vs. Springfield         5:00      “Sonar Saves” pet adoption                                                                                                               night
Friday, February 24 vs. Hershey                7:15        First 2,000 fans receive 20th–                                                                                                          anniversary trading card set (set                                                                                                    4 of 4) presented by KOTA                                                                                                                 Solutions
Saturday, March 4 vs. Lehigh Valley        3:00       First 3,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack bobblehead, plus “Military                                                                                                     Day”, as the Wolf Pack wearing                                                                                                       special military-themed jerseys Friday, March 24 vs. Providence               7:15         “Social Media Night”
Saturday, March 25 vs. Bridgeport          7:00        First 2,000 fans receive a Wolf                                                                                                        Pack drawstring backpack
Saturday, April 8 vs. W-B/Scranton        7:00        “Fan Appreciation Night”

Tickets for the Wolf Pack’s October 14th opening night and all Wolf Pack 2016-17 home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 AHL season can be found on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451

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RANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER

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NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT – 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT RECAP

cutNEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT –
2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT RECAP

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The New York Rangers posted a 2-1-1 record in the 2016 Traverse City Tournament. Through three round-robin games, the Blueshirts were one of two teams in the eight-team tournament that did not register a regulation loss (2-0-1 record in the first three contests). In addition, New York posted the second-best record in the Ted Lindsay Division during the round-robin portion of the tournament.

  • Jimmy Vesey registered five goals and two assists for seven points in the tournament.
    • Vesey led all skaters in 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.
    • Vesey notched a point in each of the four games of the tournament. In addition, 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 tallied the game-deciding goal in the Rangers’ 5-4 shootout win against the Dallas Stars on September 17, and he tallied the game-winning goal in the final minute of the Blueshirts’ 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on September 19.
  • 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 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 Blueshirts’ 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 Blueshirts 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.

Photo courtesy NHL.com

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL CENTER ICE IS SET DOWN

xl-center-ice-completedBY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – What goes well with red and blue? Hockey ice of course.

14 die hard Hartford Wolf Pack fans took advantage of the opportunity to take part in the Annual Hartford Wolf Pack, “Paint The Lines” day at the XL Center. The fans got to paint the lines on the first fresh sheet of ice kicking off the 2016-17 season, the team’s 20th in the Connecticut capital.

Irene Leitao, of Enfield. is a season ticket holder and who occasionally sings the National Anthem at Wolf Pack games, was among those given the honor to paint a blue line. “It’s fun to be a part of starting another season and it feels nice that you’re helping out,” She said. “It was also fun to see people you see at the games and goof around with them and interact with the Wolf Pack staff and of course, our lovable Sonar! I’m a real hockey fan and have been rooting for the team since Day One.”

The process of making the ice and the painting the lines that these fans took part in, is a short slice of what goes on in creating the final product that the players will use on opening night.

dr-ice-2“We usually go from 8am-6pm to get this done correctly,” Wayne Knight who has spent 36 years making ice at the XL Center (nee Hartford Civic Center Coliseum) said.  “Today, we had a few hiccups, so we’ll be here into the evening, but it will  get done to perfection.”

Knight, whose nom de guerre is, “The Ice Doctor,” tends to the ice like it was his patient. His tools of the trade and preparation are not simply getting a bucket of paint at Lowe’s and  to start brushing.

“We have to use ten people,”Knight said. “It is very coordinated. We put a layer of ice over the concrete first, then we paint that white. Then we put a second layer of ice on top of the white. Then do the blue lines, then the secondary lines like the faceoff circle and hash marks, which must be done to the specifications. You can’t be off by an inch. Then the goal lines and then the center red line. We have sponsorship and team logos to do for the Wolf Pack and UConn last. It’s intricate work.”

To get the ice set up and the silky, creamy white color requires eight, 44-pound boxes (362 pounds) that must be placed on and over the first and second layer of ice which is placed over the concrete foundation. That’s all before the first brushes are even started to color in the blue lines.

The blue line paint (or the red line paint as well) isn’t some shelf store paint it is specially designed by a Canadian company called, “Jet Ice Limited” and it costs the team between $120 to $140 apiece.

The faceoff circle and the hash marks require three gallons of red paint. A pane of plexiglass is used to accurately set the marks to AHL league specifications.

Then the top layer of ice is made over the finished work of ice Picassos and sometimes it takes several cracks at it to get the perfection they seek.ice-painting-begins

painters-2 painters-3 painters sonar-interview-2 sonar-interviews-self sonar-with-fans

ON THE MOVE

Wolf Pack training camp is scheduled to start on Saturday, October 1st.

The Traverse City tournament began Friday and head coach Ken Gernander and his staff of new assistant coach Keith McCambridge and assistant coach and assistant GM Pat Boller will get their first look at the new young crop of Ranger prospects and free agents in the right team round robin tournament. It is the Rangers 10th season participating in the tournament in the Michigan Upper Penisula region –UP to the natives.

It will be available on streaming on Fox Sports Go and www.detroitredwings.com

Tyler Brown who played all last year with the Wolf Pack with four goals and nine assists signed an ECHL deal with Greenville.

Five Wolf Pack players still unsigned from last year’s squad include Luke Adam, Shawn O’Donnell, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons. You can scratch off two of those from that list.

The Philadelphia Flyers announced their training camp roster and McCarthy, a Pennsylvania native, was on it. He will wear jersey number 74 and will likely get an AHL/ECHL deal to play either for Lehigh Valley or Reading (ECHL).

The other is the lethargic Brian Gibbons who signed a PTO tryout contract with the New Jersey Devils.

Former Wolf Pack goalie Cedrick Desjardins is scheduled to go to training camp this weekend with Jonquiere Marquis (LNAH),but is waiting on a European deal for the 2016-17 season.

He started last year in Hartford rehabbing from off-season ACL knee surgery, but only played seven ECHL games with Manchester and Indianapolis not playing a minute of AHL action with a $275K deal.

Ryan Verbeek, the nephew of Hartford Whalers great, Pat Verbeek, who is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Assistant GM and Director of Player Development, will play as overage junior with Chicoutimi (QMJHL) this season is a training camp invitee for Tampa Bay because of the shortened roster because of the World Cup hockey tournament.

Ex-Pack rearguard Ryan Glenn will have a new address this season. After splitting last season between HC Sparta Prague (Czech Republic-CEL) and JYP Jyvaskylan (Finland-FEL) he heads to HC Bolzano (Austria-AEHL).

Former Hotchkiss Prep goalie Jay Williams has graduated from Miami (OH) (NCHC) and signed with Orlando (ECHL). That makes 202 NCAA players who have signed a North American professional contract since the end of the collegiate regular season.

There are plans for a season-long honoring of Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe who passed away this summer. A pair of green number nine’s at center ice on either side of the Wolf Pack logo.

This being the Pack’s 20th season there are still unfinished special promotions and player appearances in the works.

Get a laugh out of this. The oldest student assistant coach in the nation is former Ranger and NHL’er Corey Millen, age 52.

Millen who attended the University of Minnesota didn’t complete his degree and was named student assistant coach for the Gophers staff last week. Millen played just 19 games for the Rangers from 1989-1991 before being traded to Los Angeles.

He also played for New Jersey, Calgary, and Dallas.

(All photos by Gerry Cantlon)

CANTLON’S CORNER: IN DEFENSE OF THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTThe recent new AHL Rule 46 announced in July at the conclusion of the AHL Board Governors meeting regarding fighting reads as follows:

Rule 46 (“Fighting”)/Rule 23 (“Game Misconducts”) 

  • Players who enter into a fight prior to, at, or immediately following the drop of the puck for a faceoff will be assessed an automatic game misconduct in addition to other penalties assessed.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 10th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for one (1) game. For each subsequent fighting major up to 13, the player shall also be suspended automatically for one (1) game.
  • During the regular season, any player who incurs his 14th fighting major shall be suspended automatically for two (2) games. For each subsequent fighting major, the player shall also be suspended automatically for two (2) games.
  • In any instance where the opposing player was assessed an instigator penalty, the fighting major shall not count towards the player’s total for this rule.

I rise in defense of the heavyweight.

This another assault on the character of the heavyweights and the continued micromanaging and over regulation of hockey in general. The rules addition is both unnecessary and unwarranted intrusion into the sport adding another layer of bureaucracy that allows officials who are often game-fully challenged as it is- to yet again get to play a further role in the game than is needed.

Did anyone hear an outcry to change and add this amendment to the fighting rules last year? Coaches? Players? The fans? No, just another bureaucratic fiat issued and the AHL is told just to put it in.

Primarily, it is the fear of a concussion lawsuit such as the judgement the NFL had of over $3.5 Billion that scares the bejesus out of the NHL. So the NHL now practices its version of defensive medicine because of a still yet unproven theory that connects CTE disease to fighting or concussions in general. Far more understanding and real science needs to find out what causes CTE. I believe there are far more complex medical and biological issues at play in that development.

Just my humble opinion.

Fighters are an important part of the game. They have served a very useful role in protecting smaller players and keeping fellow players in check from cheap shot artists who are indeed causing the reckless endangerment of players. Over the past several years, the PC police keep making it harder.

Again, this will allow those types of player’s free reign to do as they will because of the heavyweights, the player’s protectors if you will, will be circumspect about when, if and how to drop the mitts. You can’t depend on disciplinary sanctions, which were all negotiated in CBA contracts at the NHL and AHL level, to truly have a deterrent effect. It’s has been lawyered down and diluted to the point of having little to no effect.

The Raffi Torres suspension, for example, is the only significant exception to attempt to seek to have a corrective action taken on a players conduct.

Elbows directed at the head, to hits from behind, and stick activity, especially behind the play like spearing, high sticking, and butt-ending, are real issues in the game to correct – not fighting.

The majority of suspensions and injuries came from one of the aforementioned categories. At the same time, concussion-related injuries are down, and that’s good. We still have too many infractions of the above categories going on in the game. The real injury issue are those head shots that are unwarranted and reckless. Having a real deterrent on the ice offering immediate justice doled out by your peers should be in the game not excised from the game.

There was no call for this rule. This rule is a dictate from somewhere in the NHL offices which now more or less control the AHL. Almost any semblance of what the game once was has left the building. From the fighting to the overtime gimmicks to many other aspects of how the play of the game is now unrecognizable from its past to its present.

Can you imagine the recently passed, “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe, playing under some of these rules? Not a chance.

Hockey fighters, by and large, are great people. They’re strong community assets, particularly to charities. They are beloved by their teammates who respect their contribution to the team game. They are an enormous presence in the locker room for every team.

Fighting is a PART of hockey, not the whole game.

Remember the old, tired argument that people won’t watch hockey because of fighting? With fighting down significantly in the last five to ten years, where are the national ratings for the NHL on NBCSN?

Television ratings in the States are uneven at best. Why? Because the NHL is a market driven, ad revenue based league and a gate receipts generated league. They have no US national TV deal. However, there is a national TV deal in Canada. However, with the value of the falling Canadian dollar now an issue, it has made the deal less lucrative than the original figure. The demographics are shifting where hockey is played and is popular in the United States as the sport is no longer weather specific.

We have seen as recently as last year, players like Brian McGrattan (San Diego), Paul Bissonnette (Ontario), our old pal Stu Bickel (also in San Diego and who led the AHL last year with 210 PM), and recently retired players Matt Carkner, as well as, one-time Pack and NY Ranger, Colton Orr, and Nick Tarnasky of the Wolf Pack last year, all exiled to the AHL. They were sent packing as if they didn’t matter anymore. Shame on the NHL and shame on NHLPLA and PHPA for participating in this job-killing maneuver by the Lords of the Boards. The union is there to represent the players and maintain their job security not participate in their elimination or evisceration.

McGrattan, as other heavyweights have the last few years, signed in Europe with the Nottingham Panthers (England-EIHL). Tarnasky signed in San Diego, taking his slot. Bissonnette and Bickel re-signed for AHL deals with their respective teams they played with last year.

The fact is players want to fight in the game. In a survey done several years ago, 98% responded yes – Case closed, right?

No, as we found out this summer in college hockey when the coaches voted overwhelmingly to keep the OT rules as they are in the NCAA. I think that decision came with some guidance from the NHL which has sought to institute the same carnival concepts from pro hockey OT into the collegiate game. The majority vote was ignored and shown no respect. Thankfully, in that case, the coaches have prevailed—for now.

Fans stand up and cheer at a fight. Nobody is booing it. That’s a fact that many namby-pamby writers in particular and now some hockey executives many who have little understanding of the game, though some do, and benefitted in the fighting era and its history are suddenly recoiled by it. They seek to institute their social engineering theories to curb violence.

Truthful fact, violence is part of the human condition. How we maintain it, is a key to the maintenance of balance. A hockey fight is an expression of violence, but do you want to see real violence? Visit Chicago on a weekend or Hartford, Orlando, Syria, Dallas, Paris, Nice or Brussels. That, my friends, is real violence. A hockey fight or line brawl is not even in the neighborhood.

What happens when countries disarm in the name of peace? They will usually find their way into an inevitable war.

Hockey fighters have been important part of the fabric of our great game. From the good guys, and even the bad guys, they have been a part of our great sport. They have produced some great stories and incredible moments along with the exciting goal scoring and terrific defensive plays the game provides.

Paul Stewart, current head of officiating in the ECACHL college conference over the years regaled to many us writers of some of the characters he fought and played with in his days in the NAHL, WHA, AHL and eventually the NHL, all before becoming an NHL referee where he did 1,000 games.

From the inspiration for the Slap Shot character, Oggie Oglethorpe, he told of how he and teammate Bill Goldthorpe suckered him at the team Christmas party in Binghamton (NAHL) to see who would be the team heavyweight. His first pro fight was in Hartford with Jack “Killer” Carlson then of the New England Whalers (WHA) and Stewart with the Cincinnati Stingers. The referee, Bill Friday, told them, “Boys, that’s the best fight I’ve seen in 20 years.” Stewart also scored his first pro goal in Hartford against Louis Levassaeur.

Stewart’s NHL debut with the Quebec Nordiques was in his hometown at the Boston Garden. He battled Terry O’ Reilly that night. Stewart told him during the warm-ups, “You’re not the only Irishmen in the building O’Reilly. He fought Stan Jonathan and Al Secord in one night. Stewart’s verbal battle with all-time Bruins great goalie Gerry Cheevers is simply laugh-out-loud funny. “Cheesey! I know where your horses are. I’ll burn the barn down!”

One of my all-time favorites, Frank “Seldom” Beaton, played with the New Haven Nighthawks for two-and-a-half seasons in the late 1970’s. When he was in the WHA playing for Birmingham in a game in Cincinnati (where he had played the year before) had cops seeking him out on an assault arrest charge. He’d apparently punched out a gas attendant who spilled gas on his Corvette. He was carried out under their noses in the player’s stick bags to the team bus to avoid them.

You’re laughingI know you are. And you should because these are funny stories. It’s a part of life and the game that has many of these vignettes.

The attempt to sanitize our sport by the PC police must stop now. Fans and I know there are a lot of you who agree with me. Let’s hear your voices before the faceless bureaucrats destroy a part of the hockey spirit. They have done enough damage already in other areas.

I gladly stand to defend the heavyweights and scrappers of our game they deserve to be respected and appreciated not legislated, marginalized and ostracized from our great game.

(Publisher’s note: This editorial represents the sole opinion of our esteemed colleague, but does not express the opinion for all of the Howlings staff).