Category Archives: Junior Hockey

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 15

CANTLON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 15

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – You would think there might be a slow down for the dog days of summer, but hockey, like any other business, is at work around the world 365 days a year. Here’s what’s happening.

LORD STANLEY VISITS CONNECTICUT TWICE

On Sunday at Avon Old Farms at Jennings Fairchild Arena from 10:30 am to 12:30 am hockey’s chalice will be on display a donation of $10 as a charitable donation for the Connecticut Children’s medical Center this will be for Nick Bonino’s turn.

Then the prized silverware on Monday goes to the Bolton Ice Center for Ron Hainsey who played there and is more os a semi-private as they want all the youth groups who play out of the arena for a chance to get their picture taken.

Getting there early for parking is important at both venues. Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: October 2-8, 2017

BY: Bob Crawford Hartford Wolf Pack

The Wolf Pack begin their third decade of play in the AHL this Friday, October 6, when they host their new Atlantic Division rivals the Charlotte Checkers in a 7:15 PM game at the XL Center.  The Wolf Pack begin the 2017-18 campaign with a new general manager, Chris Drury, new head coach, Keith McCambridge, and a new assistant coach, Joe Mormina. 

This week:

The Wolf Pack’s first action of the new season is this Friday night, October 6, an XL Center battle vs. the Charlotte Checkers.  Faceoff is 7:15 PM and the first 5,000 fans will take home a free Wolf Pack magnetic schedule, courtesy of CT-DOT.  Then, the Wolf Pack are right back at the XL Center on Sunday, as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms visit for a 5:00 game.

Friday, October 6 vs. the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina) at the XL Center, 7:15 PM

  • Free Wolf Pack magnetic schedules will be given away to the first 5,000 fans at this game, presented by CT-DOT.
  • The Wolf Pack’s popular Friday-night food and beverage discount is back, for this and all Wolf Pack Friday-night home games, presented by Dave & Buster’s.  Once again this season, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers at every Friday Wolf Pack home game, through the start of the second period.
  • This is the first meeting between the Wolf Pack and the Checkers, who played the last six seasons in the Western Conference since Charlotte’s inaugural AHL campaign of 2010-11.  The Wolf Pack and Checkers split a four-game season series that year, with each team winning both of its home games.
  • This is the first year at the Checker helm for Head Coach Mike Vellucci, a former Hartford Whaler defenseman who spent the last 13 seasons as head man of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.  Last year under another ex-Whaler, and former Wolf Pack and New York Ranger assistant coach, Ulf Samuelsson, Charlotte finished 39-29-7-1 for 86 points, good for fourth place in the Central Division.
  • Forward Andrew Poturalski led the Checkers in scoring last season as a rookie, with 19-33-52 in 74 games.
  • Tickets for this and all 2017-18 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, online at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.  Tickets purchased in advance for kids 12 or younger are just $10 each, and all tickets will have a $2 day-of-game increase.Broadcast – live with Bob Crawford and Mark Bailey on News Radio 1410 WPOP, online at iheart.com and on iHeartRadio.  Video streaming at ahllive.com. 

Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK MAKE ROSTER CHANGES

WOLF PACK MAKE ROSTER CHANGES

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Four Players Reassigned

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack 

HARTFORD, October 2, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury today announced the following changes to the Wolf Pack’s training camp roster:

Reassigned by the New York Rangers from the Wolf Pack to Greenville (ECHL):

Goaltenders (1):     Brandon Halverson

Forwards (2):         Adam Chapie, Dawson Leedahl

Reassigned by the New York Rangers from the Wolf Pack to Windsor (OHL):

Defensemen (1):    Sean Day

The Pack roster now includes 22 players, 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders:

Goal (2):           Alexandar Georgiev, Chris Nell

Defense (7):      Alexei Bereglazov, Brandon Crawley, John Gilmour, Ryan Graves, Garrett Noonan, Vince Pedrie, Neal Pionk

Forwards (13)Dan Catenacci, Dan DeSalvo, Gabriel Fontaine, Ryan Gropp, Scott Kosmachuk, Vinni Lettieri, Boo Nieves, Matt Puempel, Cole Schneider, Eric Selleck, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Joe Whitney

The Wolf Pack open their 2017-18 regular season this Friday, October 6, with their home-ice opener vs. the Charlotte Checkers.  Faceoff is 7:15 PM.  Tickets for that and all 2017-18 Wolf Pack home games are on sale now at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, online at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL campaign can be found online at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.

CANTLON’S CORNER: TRAINING CAMP AROUND THE CORNER

CANTLON’S CORNER:

Training Camp Around the Corner

By: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT  We are a just a few days away from the 21st Hartford Wolf Pack training camp which will begin at the XL Center on a brand new ice surface.

Pack general manager, Chris Drury, announced the schedule for the team’s 2017 training camp.

The training camp begins with on-ice testing on Sunday, September 24 at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT,  Practice sessions begin the next day (September 25) at the XL Center. The team will follow that same schedule daily through Wednesday when they will have their first preseason action.

That lone home game is closed to the general public. It will take place at noon next Thursday against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a game that was originally set to be played at Trinity College.

The Rangers reassigned five players, three to the Wolf Pack in Robin Kovacs, Adam Chapie, Brendan Kotyk. Ty Ronning and Tim Gettinger were sent back to their junior teams.

Kovacs spent all last season with the Wolf Pack. In 72 games, Kovacs tallied just two goals and 21 points and a minus-27. Chapie spent 24 games with Hartford and put only four assists in his ledger before heading back to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits for 24 games. While in the ECHL, Chapie registered four goals and 12 points. Ronning played 12 strong games with two goals and five points at the end of last season.

Gettinger (62-21-23-54) and Ronning (68-25-28-53) each have a year of junior eligibility left, Gettinger with Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) and Ronning with Vancouver Giants (WHL). Ronning had a hat-trick in a pre-season game already with the Giants to his credit and will be one of the assistant captains. Kotyk at 6’6 was signed to a deal in the offseason out of the University Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA) where he had in 97 college games seven goals and 16 assists for one of the Frozen Four semi-finalists.

To his credit, Ronning already has a hat-trick in a pre-season game with the Giants and will be one of the team’s assistant captains.

Kotyk at 6’6 was signed to a deal in the offseason out of the University Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA) where he had in 97 college games seven goals and 16 assists for one of the Frozen Four semi-finalists.

PLAYER MOVEMENT

Training camp rosters are starting to get announced and of course, a few ex-Wolf Pack and CT based players are sprinkled throughout the AHL.

In Hershey, Matt Carey, 21 goals and a minus-25 with the Wolf Pack last season, and former Quinnipiac University (ECACHL) player, Jeremy Langlois, have signed training camp PTO’s with the Bears. While at QU in Hamden, Langlois had current Bears assistant coach Reid Cashman behind him on the bench.

Carey was a target of fan abuse in Hershey last season as a video of a missed Carey hit last year eating a lot of glass was played on the Giant Center scoreboard. It angered Wolf Pack players and fueled some late-in-the-game fisticuffs.

In Providence, former Gunnery Prep player Nick Lukko is in camp with the Bruins. His brother, Max, skates with the Sacred Heart University Pioneers (AHA). Their father is Peter Lukko, the CEO of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

In Lehigh Valley camp, skating with the Phantoms are Ryan Segalla (Salisbury Prep/UCONN) and Mark Naclerio (Milford/AOF).

Former Sound Tiger goalie Stephon Williams was assigned by the San Jose Sharks across the hallway to the San Jose Barracuda.

Ex-Pack Brodie Dupont signs an ECHL deal with Norfolk coached by an ex-Nighthawk player and coach, Robbie Ftorek. Their GM also a former Nighthawk in Assistant GM, Miker Santos. He started the season there last year and was signed to a PTO deal with Bakersfield. He had his ECHL rights traded at the trade deadline to Greenville, the Wolf Pack’s Double AA affiliate.

Three more collegians have signed pro deals. Steven Iacobellis from UMASS-Amherst (HE), signs with Wichita (ECHL). Eric Frsschi from Cornell (ECACHL) hooks up with Kansas City (ECHL) while Alexander Dahl of St. Lawrence (ECACHL) goes with Idaho (ECHL).

Two more AHL players singing in Europe just before camp opens. Chris Rumble of the former Binghamton Senators heads to Fischtown (Germany-DEL). Rumble is the son of former New Haven Senator, Darren Rumble. Peter Mueller of Providence signs with EC Salzburg (Austria-AEHL).

Martin Vitolins, the son of former New Haven Senator, Harijs Vtolins, after setting a national US Tier II junior scoring record with 110 assists and 163 points signs with the Long Beach Sharks (WSHL). The Latvian 21-year-old heads back to Europe and signed with Hokki (Finland Division-2).

RANGERS TRIM TRAINING CAMP ROSTER BY FIVE

RANGERS TRIM TRAINING CAMP ROSTER BY FIVE

49 Players Remain in Training Camp

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, September 19, 2017 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has trimmed its Training Camp roster by five players.

Robin Kovacs and Adam Chapie were assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL). Brenden Kotyk was released from his NHL Professional Tryout (PTO) and assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack. Kovacs, Chapie, and Kotyk will all report to the Wolf Pack’s Training Camp.

In addition, Tim Gettinger and Ty Ronning were assigned to their respective junior teams (Gettinger – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League; Ronning – Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League).

The Rangers have 49 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

Forwards (28): Lias Andersson, Pavel Buchnevich, Paul Carey, Daniel Catenacci, Filip Chytil, David Desharnais, Andrew Desjardins, Bobby Farnham, Jesper Fast, Steven Fogarty, Gabriel Fontaine, Michael Grabner, Ryan Gropp, Kevin Hayes, Scott Kosmachuk, Chris Kreider, Dawson Leedahl, Vinni Lettieri, J.T. Miller, Rick Nash, Boo Nieves, Matt Puempel, Cole Schneider, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Jimmy Vesey, Mika Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello

Defensemen (16): Alexei Bereglazov, Brandon Crawley, Sean Day, Tony DeAngelo, John Gilmour, Ryan Graves, Nick Holden, Steven Kampfer, Ryan McDonagh, Vince Pedrie, Neal Pionk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Skjei, Brendan Smith, Marc Staal, Sergey Zborovskiy

Goaltenders (5): Alexandar Georgiev, Brandon Halverson, Henrik Lundqvist, Chris Nell, Ondrej Pavelec

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD SCOTT KOSMACHUK

WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD SCOTT KOSMACHUK

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Three-year Vet Played eight NHL Games with Winnipeg in 2015-16

 BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack 

HARTFORD, September 13, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Scott Kosmachuk to an AHL contract.

Kosmachuk, a 6-0, 192-pound native of Toronto, is entering his fourth season of pro hockey, after spending his first three years with the Winnipeg Jets organization.  The 23-year-old Kosmachuk played 58 games with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose in 2016-17, registering 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points, along with 41 penalty minutes.

In 2015-16 with the Moose, playing under current Wolf Pack head coach Keith McCambridge, Kosmachuk tied for the team lead in goals, with 19, and also added 17 assists for 36 points, good for third-best on the Manitoba squad.  Kosmachuk also earned eight NHL games of action with the Jets that season and contributed three assists to the Winnipeg attack.

Kosmachuk has totaled 195 career AHL games with the Moose and St. John’s IceCaps and has amassed 44 goals and 48 assists for 92 points, along with 150 penalty minutes.

Kosmachuk was a third-round (70th overall) selection by Winnipeg in the 2012 NHL Draft, from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).  He played four seasons for the Storm, posting career totals of 120 goals and 126 assists for 246 points, plus 323 PIM, in 271 games.  That included a 2013-14 season in which Kosmachuk tied for second in the OHL in goals, with 49, finished third in the league in points (101) and tied for third among OHL skaters in plus/minus (+52).

The Wolf Pack open their 2017-18 regular season Friday, October 6, with their home-ice opener vs. the Charlotte Checkers.  Faceoff is 7:15 PM.  Tickets for that and all 2017-18 Wolf Pack 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 2017-18 AHL campaign can be found online at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 17

CANTLON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 17

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – This is the last of our off season trackings of all things Hartford Wolf Pack and CT hockey connected info. Cantlon’s Corner will return when Wolf Pack training camp opens in late September following the New York Rangers – New York Islanders exhibition game on September 22nd at the Webster Bank Arena. The exhibition game will be the sixth NHL pre-season game held at the Arena, but the first with the Rangers as the opponent for the Islanders.

PLAYER & COACHING MOVEMENT

Ex-Wolf Pack / Ranger, Tanner Glass, has signed a training camp PTO with the Calgary Flames.

Ex-Wolf Pack defenseman, Conor Allen, signed a one-year AHL deal with the Rochester Americans.

Ex-Pack forward, Scott Tanski, leaves the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) to sign with the Reading Royals (ECHL).

Ex-Sound Tiger defenseman, Peter Lee, who had some good seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia-KHL), signed a PTO training camp deal with the Los Angeles Kings. He’ll likely end up playing with the Ontario Reign (AHL).

The AHL-to-Europe list grew this past week. Ex-Pack, Mike Kostka, who split last season with the Stockton Heat after being traded by the Binghamton Senators signs with Skelleftea AIK (Sweden-SHL). Former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, following four years of AHL play departs the San Diego Gulls for Assat Pori (Finland-FEL).  John Kurtz of the Syracuse Crunch, who also had time playing time with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) signs with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland-EIHL).

These signings make 80 players who have signed in Europe with 28 of the 30 AHL teams having lost at least one to Europe or Asia hockey leagues.

Ex-Wolf Pack, Ryan Potulny, who started last year with HK Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic-CEL) and ended the season with EHC Linz (Austria-AEHL) heads to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) for this season.

Ex-Pack, Maxim Kondratiev, re-signs with Amur Khabarovsk (Russia-KHL). Continue reading

NYR 2017 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT PARTICIPANT BIOS

NEW YORK RANGERS 2017 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT PARTICIPANT BIOS

BY: Mitch Beck, Howlings with The New York Rangers

New York, New York Here are the profiles and stats for all of the members of the New York Rangers roster for the upcoming prospect tournament in Traverse City, Michigan

Continue reading

CANTLON: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 16

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 16

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Each week we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2017-18 Hartford Wolf Pack hockey season. Still, teams are making moves in pursuit of being the only team to win their last game of the entire season. 

PLAYER & COACHING MOVEMENT

Winger Michael Joly, who signed a free agent out of the QMJHL last summer with Hartford, has departed and headed out West. Joly signed a one-year AHL deal with San Antonio. Joly struggled early last season, then caught fire in the ECHL with the Pack’s ECHL affiliates, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Upon his return to the American League, Joly was playing well for the Wolf Pack. A teammate’s errant shot from center ice late in the season caught Joly under his visor. The shot cracked his orbital bone, ending his season.

After four years in Hartford, defenseman Tommy Hughes, as expected, has moved on, signing a contract to play for the Hershey Bears this coming season.

Former Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig signed another one-year AHL deal with Vancouver and will start the season in Utica.

Another former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Justin Agosta, signs with Manchester (ECHL).

Ex-Sound Tiger Chris Langkow returns from Europe where he split last year with HDD Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-AEHL) and VIK Vasteras HK (Sweden-Allsvenskan) and signs with expansion Worcester (ECHL).

Ex-Pack Vladimir Vorobiev was elevated from an assistant coach, which he’s been the last four years, to head coach for Dynamo Moscow (Russia-KHL).

The AHL Euro list has added Nikita Jevpalovs who left the San Jose Barracuda and heads back home to Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL). Fellow Latvian, Richard Burkharts, who split the season with Springfield and Manchester (ECHL) signs with HC Zlin (Czech Republic-CEL).

Chris Carlisle of Binghamton signs with HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

28 of the 30 teams in the AHL have now lost at least one player signing in Europe. The list has 77 players signing overseas.

Harvard’s Alex Kerfoot pursued by the New York Rangers and nine other NHL teams, settled on signing an ELC (entry level contract) with Colorado.

Eric Sweetman of St. Lawrence (ECACHL) signs with Texas (AHL).

UCONN’s Evan Richardson signed his first pro contract with Tulsa (ECHL). Doyle Somerby of Boston University (HE) signs with Cleveland (AHL). James De Haas of Clarkson University (ECACHL), signs with Lehigh Valley and his collegian teammate, A.J. Fossen, signs with RoKi (Finland Division-I).

Blaine Byron of the University of Maine (HE) signs with Springfield.  Danny Smith of R.I.T. (AHA) signs with Rapid City (ECHL) and Anthony Flaherty of Division III National champion, Norwich University, (Southfield, Vermont) signs with Rapid City.

That makes 182 Division I collegians signing North American pro contracts and 22 players from Division III. The total now stands at 204. Toss in another 45 signing in Europe and that’s 249 players moving from the American college hockey ranks to pro hockey.

NWHL & CWHL DRAFTS

The two professional women’s hockey leagues, the NWHL-National Women’s Hockey League and CWHL-Canadian Women’s Hockey League, recently held their respective drafts.

Two Yale players were taken in the NWHL Draft. Mallory Souliotis was taken by the Boston Pride which is coached by former Wolf Pack, Thomas Poeck while Eden Murray went to the CT Whale under new head coach, Ryan Equale (Wilton/UCONN)

Taylor Cianfarano of Quinnipiac University was selected by the New York Riveters coached by another ex-Pack, Chad Wiseman.

In the CWHL Draft, Nicole Kosta of Quinnipiac was selected the Markham (Ontario) Thunder and fellow Lady Bobcat Taryn Baumgardt was taken by the Calgary Inferno.

IN MEMORIAM

On Friday, some very sad and tragic news as former CT Whale Ticket Sales Director, Bob McCaffrey, passed away suddenly in South Carolina.

McCaffrey, a Hartford native, working for the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays was battling cancer the past two months and had his last chemotherapy treatment that morning.  He was a passionate man and a former member of the US Air Force. After the CT Whale dissolved, McCaffrey worked for the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs for two seasons before moving to South Carolina in 2012.

His father, Jim McCaffrey, has been a goal judge for 19 of the 20 seasons in Hartford. He recently beat prostate cancer in the spring. Deepest condolences are sent to his mother, Barbara, and his sister, Karen, and the entire McCaffrey family.

IN MEMORIAM PART  TWO

Another link to New Haven’s minor pro hockey history has passed away.

84-year-old, Parker MacDonald, passed away in a Branford nursing home last Thursday. His wife Janice MacDonald, who passed away in 2011, was the PR Director for the Nighthawks in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She was the first woman to win the PR Person of the Year Award.

MacDonald’s career started out in his hometown of Sydney, Nova Scotia where he played with the junior Sydney Millionaires. He then moved on to play major junior with the famed, Toronto Marlboros in the mid-1950’s. He played in the AHL with the old Pittsburgh Hornets for four seasons (1952-56). MacDonald got his first NHL action with one game with the Maple Leafs in 1956. The following fall he played for the Providence Reds, then the Rangers farm team, and played with the Rangers from 1956-60.

MacDonald was back in the AHL. His first was with the Buffalo Swords and then with the Springfield Indians in the early 1960’s.

MacDonald actually got some playing time with Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, in Detroit when he broke into a six team league in 1960. He then spent a split season in Hershey before going back to Detroit where he stayed from 1961-65. He played the rest of his career from 1965-1969 with Boston, Detroit and then the expansion Minnesota North Stars.

MacDonald had some more AHL time back with Pittsburgh and then closed his playing career with Memphis South Stars of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL).

His coaching career started with the Iowa Stars in the original Central Hockey League in 1969-70. There, MacDonald coached a young Rick Dudley who would eventually become a New Haven coach. he also coached a future Ranger in Walt McKechnie, a future WHA scorer in Danny Lawson, a long time North Star in Dennis O’ Brien and a goalie, Gilles Gilbert, who had a good run in Boston. Then he moved onto to Cleveland (AHL) the following year but was replaced midseason by John Muckler in 1970-’71.

MacDonald then took on the job with the AHL expansion, New Haven Nighthawks. He was the most successful and longest serving Nighthawks head coach and compiled a record of 221-151-43. He went to back-to-back Calder Cup finals as a Rangers affiliate from 1978-1979. his teams got swept both times by the Maine Mariners, the top farm team of the Flyers.

He won the Louis Pieri Award in 1978-79 as the league’s coach of the year. His only interruption in New Haven came when he started his second season in Minnesota but was replaced midseason. His last coaching stop was in Los Angeles as an assistant coach in 1980-81, and then later as a head coach in 1981-82. He was again replaced at midseason with a 13-24-5 record in 42 games by another New Haven hockey legend, Don Perry.

A Nighthawks player who remembers him fondly, was then just a young kid out St. Mary’s, Ontario, Dan McCarthy.

“I had great respect for Parker. I had a tough first year with knee injuries, but he never gave up on me and always gave me a chance,” remarked McCarthy.

“He came and ran a practice working on game situations, but he expected you do the rest, get in shape, work on what he talked about, and work on your weak points. He expected you to be a man and he thought of you as a pro. He didn’t say, ‘Ah he’s a rookie, a first-year guy.’ He thought of you as a pro and among equals in the locker room. Looking back on it years later, I really appreciate that man-to-man approach. There were no analytic guys back then. You had expectations to meet. Parker was a fair and tough coach.”

He also had a sense of humor.

“One night in Syracuse, I got a breakaway from the red line with about ten seconds to go in regulation.  I missed it, so we have to go to overtime. I get back to the bench and Parker goes, ‘Thanks, McCarthy, now you’re cutting into my drinking time.'”

Parker MacDonald, a great part of New Haven and Connecticut hockey history rest in peace.

IN MEMORIAM PART III

The late first head coach of the Wolf Pack the effervescent and erudite, E.J. McGuire, was posthumously elected to Greater Buffalo Region Hall of Fame.

McGuire was obsessed with being healthy. He passed away in 2011 because of a rare blood cancer.

He started out as a head coach at Brockport University. He then went to the NCAA at the Division II level in the ECAC West. That was where he encountered a young, Mike Keenan, who was then the head coach of Rochester. After his five years there, he would become Keenan’s assistant. They went to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, losing to Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987.

He came from what was known as the First Ward of the city. Ironically, the ceremony was held around the corner from McGuire’s childhood home. His intellect was always off the charts. McGuire earned a Ph.D.d in Kinesiology/Psychology from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) in 1990 certainly testifies to that.

He was a head coach twice in the pros and once in Canadian major junior. He coached Guelph (OHL) for two seasons where he earned a record of 80-41-10 in 132 games. His team lost in OHL Finals to Peterborough and then semi-finals to the Ottawa 67’s. Some of the players he coached those two seasons included ex-Wolf Pack players Dan Cloutier and Ryan Risidore and a trio of ex-Beast of New Haven players in the recently retired, Herbert Vasilijves, Dwayne Hay and Andrew Long,

Another Chris Hajt was recently named an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres.

McGuire coached the Maine Marines in 1991-92 with a 23-47-10 record and missed the Calder Cup playoffs.

He coached the first two Wolf Pack teams. In 160 games, McGuire had a a record of 81-55-17 mark and lost in the semifinals in six games his first year to the St. John Flames. He lost in his second year to the eventual Calder Cup champion Providence Bruins in a four game sweep.

He returned for one year as an assistant in Philly before becoming the Director of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau where he revamped and modernized the department.

After his passing, the NHL created the EJ McGuire Award of Excellence which is awarded to the draftee who best exemplified strength of character, competiveness, and athleticism.

He richly deserves to be in the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders wing should be next.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 13

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 13

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT Just when there seemed like there might be a lull for a bit in the heat of the summer, there comes LOTS of hockey news this week starting with the Hartford Wolf Pack rounding out the coaching staff. 

PACK NAME NEW ASSISTANT COACH

The Wolf Pack announced the hiring of Joe Mormina as the sixth assistant coach in team history.

Mormina comes to Hartford after coaching as an Assistant with Mercyhurst University Lakers (AHA) located in Erie, PA. Mormina was there for one season following his retirement as a player.

Standing 6’6, Mormina played 670 AHL games with six teams including Manchester, Albany, Adirondack, Syracuse, Rochester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he was named Captain. He logged 31 career goals, 120 assists, 151 points, and 837 PM. Over an eleven-year professional career, he played one game in the NHL and that came with the Carolina Hurricanes. Continue reading