Category Archives: World Junior Championships


Prospect Report


BY: The New York Rangers

Three Stars of the week

1) Brad Morrison, C, Prince George Cougars (WHL) – Morrison notched a point in both of Prince George’s games last week, registering three points (two goals, one assist). He tallied an assist on Oct. 18 vs. Swift Current and recorded two goals, including the game-winning goal, on Oct. 22 vs. Saskatoon.

The Rangers’ fourth round pick (113th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft extended his point streak to three games (two goals, three assists over the span), and he has registered a point in 10 of 13 games this season. Morrison has recorded 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 13 games this season. He is tied for fourth in the WHL in points, is tied for fifth in the league in game-winning goals (three), and is tied for seventh in the league in assists in 2016-17.

2) Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered a point in each of Vancouver’s three games last week, tallying three points (one goal, two assists). The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft extended his point streak to five games (two goals, four assists over the span), and he has tallied a point in 10 of 12 WHL games this season. Ronning is tied for the team lead in assists (seven), is tied for second on the Giants in points (12) and plus/minus rating (plus-six), and ranks fourth in goals (five) this season.

3) Sergey Zborovskiy, D, Regina Pats (WHL) – Zborovskiy tallied an assist in each of the two games he played last week and posted a plus-five rating over the two contests. The Rangers’ third round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has registered a point in eight of the nine games he has played this season (one goal, seven assists) and has posted a plus-17 rating. Zborovskiy ranks second in the WHL in plus/minus rating in 2016-17.

Emerging From The Pack

  • Marek Hrivik registered a point in both of Hartford’s games last weekend, recording one goal and one assist. Hrivik has tallied a point in each of Hartford’s first four games in 2016-17, recording four points (two goals, two assists). He leads the Wolf Pack in points, and he is tied for the team lead in goals, assists, and plus/minus rating (plus-three) thus far this season. 
  • Nicklas Jensen tallied the game-winning goal in overtime on Oct. 22 at Lehigh Valley. Jensen has recorded a point in three of Hartford’s first four games this season, registering three points (two goals, one assist). 
  • John Gilmour registered a goal in the Wolf Pack’s win against Lehigh Valley on Oct. 22. Gilmour leads Hartford defensemen in goals (two) and points (three) in 2016-17, and he is also tied for first on the team in goals thus far this season.

Quick Hits

  • Daniel Bernhardt, RW, VIK Västerås HK (Allsvenskan) – Bernhardt registered his first goal/point with VIK Västerås HK while skating in his second game with the team on Oct. 21 against Södertälje SK.
  • Sean Day, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – After being traded to Windsor by Mississauga last week, Day registered a goal and was selected as the game’s First Star in his debut with the Spitfires on Oct. 20 vs. Kingston. The Rangers’ third round pick (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tallied a point in five consecutive games in which he played, registering six points (four goals, two assists) in those contests.
  • Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in three games last week. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft tallied a point in each of his first four QMJHL games this season (four goals, two assists). Fontaine notched two assists, including one on the game-winning goal, and posted a plus-two rating on Oct. 21 at Halifax.
  • Tim Gettinger, LW, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) – Gettinger tallied two points (one goal, one assist), tied for the game-high with five shots on goal, and was selected as the game’s Second Star in the Greyhounds’ 4-3 win against Ottawa on Oct. 22. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick (141st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has registered six points (three goals, three assists) in 11 games with the Greyhounds this season, including three points (two goals, one assist) in the last four contests.
  • Brandon Halverson, G, Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) – Halverson earned his first career ECHL/professional win/shutout on Oct. 19 at Norfolk, stopping all 27 shots he faced. In three appearances with the Swamp Rabbits this season, the Rangers’ second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 2-1-0 record, along with a 1.97 GAA, a .929 SV%, and 1 SO.
  • Tyler Wall, G, UMass-Lowell (NCAA) – Wall earned his third consecutive win on Oct. 21 vs. St. Lawrence. In five games this season, the Rangers’ sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 3-1-1 record, along with a 1.91 GAA, a .927 SV%, and 1 SO.


“He is a big, powerful, smooth-skating defenseman who can cover the ice at an elite pace and play in all situations. He is just scratching the surface of his offensive and defensive skill set.” – Gordie Clark, Rangers Director of Player Personnel, on Sean Day 

“The object is to not spend time in your end and this guy’s a puck mover, a big, strong skater and he’s going to fit nicely into our top four (defensemen). … He’s a talent too good to pass on even if he’s not yet reached his true potential and one that could be a difference maker for a team challenging for a Memorial Cup title.” – Warren Rychel, Windsor Spitfires General Manager, on Sean Day (Credit: Windsor Star)


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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 



gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

Hartford, CTFor Hartford Wolf Pack fans, the excitement is beginning to rise as the season is getting closer by the day.


The Pack made another signing mid-week inking forward Matt Carey to a contract for the ’16 – ‘17 season.

Carey led the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) with 25 goals and 47 points in 49 games. He also spent 21 games with the Iowa Wild (AHL) garnering two goals and four points for what turned out to be the AHL’s worst team last season.

He played with the Rockford IceHogs the previous season and left St. Lawrence (ECACHL) after just one college season where he compiled 37 points in 38 games. Carey scored his first NHL goal in his second game with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Carey is a 6’0, 190lb. winger who played Junior A hockey in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario (OJHL). He is also the younger brother of Greg Carey, who played with the Springfield Falcons last season. The elder Carey has signed to play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for this coming season.

The New York Rangers formally announced the signing of BU forward and defenseman, Ahti Oksanen, to an AHL deal. Cantlon’s Corner reported this signing back in June.


Former Pack forward Nick Tarnasky has signed with the San Diego Gulls. Tarnasky moves into the slot vacated by Brian McGrattan, who signed with Nottingham (England-EIHL). Former Wolf Pack and Ranger, Stu Bickel, and former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, re-signed with San Diego for another year.

Tarnasky represents the 12th player from last season’s Hartford roster to sign elsewhere. Just five players from that team have yet to be signed. They are Shawn O’Donnell, Tyler Brown, Chris McCarthy, Matt Lindblad and Brian Gibbons.

Joining McGrattan in heading to Europe is forward Matt Fraser who split last season between Rockford and the Manitoba Moose. Fraser is going to Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) while goalie Joni Ortio, who played with the Stockton Thunder and had some time with the Calgary Flames, heads to Skelelftea AIK (Sweden-SHL).

The list of AHL to Euro players is up to 78. Now 28 of the 30 AHL teams have seen at least one player head overseas. To this point, only the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Ontario Reign have not seen any roster players head across the pond.

The new Laval team, scheduled to launch in the AHL next fall when the Montreal Canadiens move their farm team there from St. John’s in the soon to be completed, Place Bell Centre, now has a name. 51 percent of those responding to the, “Name The Team” contest selected, “Rocket” over Patriotes and Rapides (French spelling). The name of course, honors Montreal Canadians great, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals in 50 games in NHL history.

The team name “Rocket” has been used once before when it was the name of a QMJHL franchise that played out of the Maurice Richard Arena (which is now used for speed and figure skating) and the Bell Centre from 1999-2003. The team was sold and moved to Charlottetown, PEI and retained the name, Rocket, until last year when the team was renamed, “The Charlottetown Islanders.”

Former Wolf Pack Vinny Saponari, who played most of the last year with the Pack’s ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and who had three AHL recalls for a total of 18 games, was released in training camp by KHL Dynamo Riga, but has signed with Frisk Asker (Norway-NEL).

Samuel Noreau, an ex-Pack who played for three ECHL teams last season including Greenville, was cut loose by the Rangers and signed with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL).

Former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Lukas Sutter, the son of Rich Sutter from the NHL’s legendary Sutter clan, after a sitting out a year playing senior hockey with the Prairie Outlaw of the Fort Carlton Senior Hockey League (FCHL), suits up in Canadian collegiate hockey with the University of Sasketchewan Huskies (CWUAA) this season.


Ex-Pack and Ranger, Manny Malhotra, is now officially retired. Incredibly, Malhotra played in 991 NHL games tallying 295 points. Malhotra was a number one pick for the Rangers, 7th overall in 1998. It seems like just yesterday that he was at Wolf Pack practice when it was held at Avon Old Farms Jennings-Fairchild Arena.

Malhotra never became the type of player the Rangers hoped he would be. He was an example of drafting a talented player and heaping unrealistic expectations and projections on his skill set and assets. It was also an example of too much over-handling in a player’s development. He was really a solid second round pick, but his leadership skills remained intact throughout his playing career and was a mentor to the younger players the past few years.

He never became the big scorer the Rangers envisioned he would be. Under the Ranger GM at the time, Neil Smith, the organization could never make up its mind about him and that caused many problems.

At the end of training camp in 2000, Malhotra was told he was being switched from a center, where had played all camp, to left wing – With no notice! Malhotra was genuinely peeved.

Malhotra would evolve into one of the best checking and best faceoff centers in the NHL, let alone in New York. He led the NHL in face-off percentage in 2009-10 with a 61.4% ratio while with the Vancouver Canucks and despite suffering a near career-ending injury, he played in the Stanley Cup final for a Canucks team that went on to lose to the Boston Bruins in seven.

His eventual departure from Vancouver didn’t go well either. He still played in the NHL with both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Columbus Blue Jackets and ended his career playing for the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) last season before being released on March 1st. He didn’t get to play for the eventual Calder Cup champions. Malhotra played in 71 AHL games in his career and scored 10 goals and 23 points overall.

He won his only championship in 2000 as a member of the Calder Cup Champion Wolf Pack. Malhotra played in all 23 playoff games that year but in his career only played 40 regular season games with the Pack. He registered 17 points on six goals and 11 assists. Malhotra also won a bronze medal with Team Canada that same year at the World Junior Championships.

Malhotra junior career was in Guelph (OHL) where he went to the Memorial Cup final in 1998, but he and his teammates failed to win a title. Despite that disappointment, Malhotra was named to the All-Tournament team with the likes of Marian Hossa and former Pack tough guy, Frankie Lessard.

After 206 games with the Rangers where he registered just 19 goals and 41 points, Malhotra was traded to Dallas along with ex-Pack Barrett Heitsten for Martin Rucinsky, and the late Roman Lyashenko.

While in juniors, Malhotra was selected number one and 17th overall by Guelph where he was coached by the Wolf Pack’s first head coach, the late E.J. McGuire during his first year. Malhotra was named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year (Bobby Smith Award) in his second season.

Malhotra, who is of Pakistani descent, grew up in Toronto was one of the first Eurasian players to ever play in the NHL. A player following in Malhtora’s footsteps as a second generation player of sorts will skate for the Rangers this upcoming season. Mika Zibanejad is an Iranian-Swede who was born and raised in Sweden.

Malhotra was a consummate pro who was among the most thoughtful and truly articulate interviewees in the Wolf Pack’s twenty-year history.

He will make Vancouver his post-career home, but won’t be totally out of hockey. According to the Vancouver Province newspaper, Malhotra is expected to be taking a coaching position with the Canucks for the upcoming season.

If this happens, it’s possible that Malhotra would be used as a skill development coach this coming season and could be on the bench as an Assistant Coach in the 2017-18 season for the Canucks AHL affiliate in Vancouver.


Norway, Slovenia, and Germany will fill out the last three Olympic spots for the 2018 Pyeongchang, South Korea Games as all three countries won the qualifying pools last weekend.

Group F saw Norway, paced by ex-Pack and current Ranger, Mats Zuccarello, beat France 2-1 in order to advance. Zuccarello, who was the top scorer for all players with five points, scored the equalizer just 5:10 after the French took the lead. They were the only host nation to win their pool.

The Germans knocked off the host Latvians 3-2 as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ Thomas Kuhnhackl scored a powerplay goal with 5:09 left in regulation to advance. The Germans, along with Norway, will be in Pool C at the Olympics.

Slovenia beat Belarus 3-2 winning Group D in penalty shot style.

Denmark, one of the tournament favorites to win Group D after a strong World Championship showing in April, didn’t win a game until their final one last Sunday placing third in the Group D pool.

Current Wolf Pack Nicklas Jensen paced a 5-2 win over Poland with three primary assists and four shots on goal. Ex-Sound Tiger Franz Nielsen had three assists for the Dames in the tournament.

Mike Cichy, the New Hartford, CT native, had one assist (primary) a backhand pass on a goal by Kamil Kalinowski for the Polish team.


Trumbull, CT native Chris Drury has always been successful and has taken another step up the ladder in the Rangers organization. He’s done so with the same speed he had as a player coming out of Boston University.

Drury was named the team’s new assistant GM where he will gain one of the portfolios Jim Schoenfeld has held along with being the GM in Hartford. This could be a signaling of the changing of the guard in the Rangers’ organization that has been whispered about since Glen Sather stepped down as Rangers GM a year and a half ago.

Drury’s work with the young forwards of the Wolf Pack paid dividends last spring with the revitalized team having a strong second half. The team would fall short though of their goal of making the playoffs. Drury spent time with Nicklas Jensen, Marek Hrivik and the now departed Jayson Megna in developing their down low games.

Drury’s career highlights professionally are highly impressive. After being drafted in Hartford in 1993 by the Quebec Nordiques (nee Colorado Avalanche), he would shine in a 12-year NHL career. Drury skated in 892 games with the Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and the Rangers. He registered 255 goals and 360 assists for 615 points and added 468 penalty minutes. Drury captured the Stanley Cup as a member of the Avalanche in 2000-01 when he ranked second in the NHL with 11 goals in 23 games during that team’s playoff run.

In 1998-99, Drury received the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year after registering 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points with Colorado. Drury recorded at least 20 goals in nine different seasons in his career and recorded at least 50 points in eight different seasons.

In addition, Drury’s team reached the playoffs in nine of his 12 seasons in the NHL and advanced to the Conference Finals on six occasions. In 135 career NHL playoff games, Drury tallied 47 goals and 42 assists for 89 points, along with a plus-24 rating and 46 penalty minutes. Over his 12 NHL seasons (1998 – 2011), Drury led the league in playoff game-winning goals (17), ranked second in playoff overtime goals (four), ranked fourth in playoff goals, and ranked ninth in playoff games played.

Drury played four seasons with the Rangers (2007-2011) after signing with the team as a free agent on July 1, 2007. In addition, Drury served as the Rangers captain for three seasons (2008-09 – 2010-11) as the 25th captain in franchise history – as well as the second American-born captain in franchise history – on October 3, 2008. In 264 regular season games with the Blueshirts, Drury recorded 62 goals and 89 assists for 151 points, along with 116 penalty minutes. Over his first three seasons with the Rangers, Drury led the team in goals (61) and points (146), ranked second in assists (85), and tied for second in game-winning goals (10). In addition, the Rangers made the playoffs three times during Drury’s four seasons with the team.

Prior to joining the NHL, Drury completed one of the most impressive collegiate hockey careers in NCAA history.

Over four seasons at Boston University Terriers (1994-1998), Drury tallied 113 goals and 101 assists for 214 points in 155 games. During his collegiate career, the Terriers captured the National Championship in 1994-95, appeared in the National Championship Game twice (1994-95, 1996-97), and appeared in the Frozen Four three times (1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97).

Drury was selected as a First Team All-American on two occasions (1996-97, 1997-98), a Hobey Baker Finalist as the Top Player in College Hockey on three occasions (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98), and he became the first Terrier to receive the Hobey Baker Award in 1997-98. Drury is Boston University’s all-time leader in goals and ranks third on the school’s all-time points list.

Internationally, Drury represented the United States in numerous tournaments and earned several medals. He participated in three consecutive Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010), capturing a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Drury was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

Drury started his illustrious career at Fairfield Prep High school in Fairfield winning a state title his sophomore year beating an unbeaten and untied Hamden team 3-1 at the Hartford Civic Center (nee XL Center) and appeared in one other final against Greenwich which they lost. His number 18 which he and his older brother Ted, an ex-Hartford Whaler wore, is retired and a banner hangs to honor him in the corner of the Jesuits home rink, Wonderland of Ice in Bridgeport.

A second generation Drury is following in their footsteps in his nephew Jack Drury’s (Ted’s oldest son) who’s playing this season for Waterloo (USHL) and is an early college commit to Ted’s alma mater, Harvard University.

*Portions of a Rangers press release was used in this segment



gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – This past week and the week ahead are perhaps the business and maybe even the most important couple of weeks for teams in the National Hockey League. It’s not an exaggeration to say that many times Championships are won and lost as the General Managers build their respective teams and their farm system during this time frame. Continue reading


BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlingsgerry-150x130

STORRS, CT The long hours and years of hard work are about to pay off for UConn‘s Tage Thompson.

The poised winger, listed at 6’5 has the potential to be drafted in the first round of the NHL’s Entry Draft on Friday night in Buffalo, New York at the First Niagara Center. The draft will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 7 pm.

The Thompson clan will be all be on hand, including his parents (Brent and Kim), as well as his grandparents. They’ll all be there except for his younger brother, Tyce, who is attending the US-17 Development camp in nearby Amherst. The coach of that team is Hartford Wolf Pack assistant coach, and assistant GM, Pat Boller.

Thompson Action # 3 Agaisnt QUMaybe he’ll be excused to head over to see the big moment?

“It’s very exciting to be projected in the first round,” said Thompson. “I’ve dreamt of it, my entire life, and now it’s starting to become a reality. It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind lately, but we’re hoping for the first round, and we’ll see where Friday takes us. I’ll just be happy whoever selects me,”

At age 18, Thompson has been hard at work in the off-season, weight training, and following a nutritional plan to add some weight to his already impressive size.

“I’d say I’m in pretty good shape right now.  I’ve been training all summer; I was up at UConn during May, and I can feel myself getting stronger, putting on some weight. I think I am ready for this. I’d like to be between 200 and 205 [pounds] before the (Hockey East) season starts. Right now, I’m at 195.” Thompson said.

Last year playing as true freshmen, he formed one of college hockey’s most potent power play combos with center Maxim Letunov. Thompson led the nation in power play goals with 13, en route to posting a total of 14 along with 18 assists in 36 games. Thompson has the ability, as big as he is, to consistently find a way to be in the right position to release his rocket of a shot.

“It was a natural connection,” Thompson said of playing with Letunov. “We knew Thompson Action #2 Against SHUwhere each other was and playing with him helped me as a player.”

Thompson is currently a resident of Orange, Connecticut. He grew up in a hockey environment. His father, Brent, was a former, Wolf Pack defenseman who had a 14-year pro career. Currently, the elder Thompson is the head coach of the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the New York Islanders’ top farm team. Having a father with Brent’s experience and teaching ability has been a great lifelong resource at his disposal that few others rarely have.

“It’s obviously helped so much to have a father who has played the game and is now into coaching. He’s been around the sport his entire life and growing up with him helped show me what it takes to get there. He’s given me advice that’s had a huge impact on my game and development. And his competitiveness is definitely a part of who I am as a player.” remarked Thompson.

Brent is on his second tour of duty as the head coach of the Sound Tigers. He played 121 NHL games in his career and took part in 635 AHL games, of which 153 were with the Wolf Pack in their first two seasons. Brent was a second round pick, 39th overall, in 1987 by the L.A. Kings while playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL).

Thompson has his father’s frame but a bit more angular than bulk, but his hockey idols give a key to his mindset.

He admires Evgeni Malkin of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, as well as Jeff Carter (LA) and Jamie Benn (Dallas Stars). Certainly not a bad trio to emulate.

Thompson will be among several second generation players likely to be drafted in the first round. One of those will be Alexander Nylander, (Missuagua Steelheads OHL), the son of ex-Hartford Whaler and New York Ranger, Michael Nylander. Another is Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires, OHL) the son of former NHL’er Jeff Brown, and Matt Tkachuk, the son of 19-year veteran Keith Tkachuk. The younger Tkachuk scored the Memorial Cup winning goal in OT for the London Knights (OHL) and of course Kieffer Bellows, the son of Brian Bellows, from the USNDTP (US National Development Team Program). Bellows will attend Boston University in the fall.

Thompson Action # 1 Agaisnt BrownThompson also has had access to the hockey community over the years including his father’s trusted assistant coach and West Haven native, Eric Boguniecki, who played his prep school hockey at Gunnery and Westminster and had been invaluable to him.

“He has played the game in the NHL (178 games, and 341 points in 351 AHL games) and I’ve been able to talk with him to get advice on certain aspects of the game that you could only get from somebody with experience,” Thompson stated.

Thompson came to UConn via the USNDTP program which now operates out of Plymouth, Michigan. He plays in the Junior A USHL (United States Hockey League) and a fellow former teammate and Connecticut native from Ridgefield, Chad Krys; a defenseman who’s also a projected first round pick. Krys is heading to Boston University, and the two have been training together.

“We have been working out down here (Fairfield County), and he is top flight player himself,”

As tempting as it might be, even in jest, there haven’t been any side bets on who gets drafted first between the two pals.

“No, no,” Thompson said with a laugh. “I wish him the best.“

The two were at the NHL Combines, for a strictly off the ice, dry land situation, and no skating in the evaluation process.

“For the first few days, we met with all the teams, interviewed with their staff and so on so they could have an opportunity to get to know you,” Thompson said. “Then they put us through all sorts of tests, like the long jump, vertical leap, stuff like that. There was no skating at all, just all off-ice things.”

The decision to go to UConn as a true freshman last year was not an easy decision for the then 17-year-old when he arrived at Storrs.

“There was a certain wow factor playing against 24-year-old men. There was an adjustment to that, and I got more comfortable as the year went on.”

UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh’s trust in his prized freshmen on one of the youngest Division I teams in the country, was not unnoticed by Thompson.

“I’m in a really good spot here at UConn They’ve given me many opportunities to be successful. I feel comfortable with the coaching staff, my teammates, and I feel like we’re going to have a solid team next year. Coach showed his faith in me by trusting me, even though I was young coming in. There were growing pains he had to work with (with me) along the way.”

In addition to the joy coming tomorrow night, Thompson was selected on Monday to take part in next month’s trip to Michigan as a part of the 42 player World Junior Championship Evaluation Camp. The highly regarded Christmas time (December 26-January 5) tournament will be held in Toronto and Montreal this year. The Pool A Group the US is in will play in Toronto and games at the Air Canada Centre.

Thompson, who has dual citizenship, said college, not Canadian major junior, was the preferred route for him and that he will be back for his sophomore season at UConn, only he’ll return with an NHL jersey to sport with his name on it.


Thompson’s teammate, defenseman Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, NJ), is also draft eligible. Masonius was also named to the WJC Evaluation Camp next month.

The last time the NHL Draft took place in Buffalo was in 1991 and was held in the old Aud. That year, there were two Connecticut natives drafted. The first was Mike Pomichter of North Haven. He played at Boston University and was chosen by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round. The other selection was former Wolf Pack, Todd Hall. He was taken by the Hartford Whalers in the third round out of The University of New Hampshire.

Thompson’s linemate, Letunov had his NHL rights dealt for the second time on Monday as the Arizona Coyotes sent his rights to the San Jose Sharks along with a 2017 6th round pick for the Sharks 2016 4th round pick this year and 3rd round pick next year.

Letunov was originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 2014 in the second round, 52nd overall. St. Louis sent Letunov to Arizona for D Zybnek Michalek and last year’s third-round pick.

The 6’2 swift skating and puckhandling Russian came to UConn after changing his mind and rescinding his commitment to Boston University. He was named to the All-Hockey-East Rookie Team and selected to the All-Conference second team. Letunov set the Huskies record for regular season points.

Letunov played US junior hockey with the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) and then the Swift Current Broncos (WHL) selected him in the first round, 36th overall, in the 2014 CHL Import Draft. The Moscow native saw the Russian team, Salavat Yulaev, select him in the KHL Draft in 2013.

Enfield native Robbie Baillargeon might have achieved a college hockey first. As a graduate transfer from Boston University to Arizona State, under current NCCA guidelines, Baillargeon can play this season only as an undergraduate or would have to wait a year. Grad transfers have happened in football and college baseball.

In Hockey East news, goalie Patrick “Packy” Munson has left the University of Vermont and headed back home to Minnesota. Rumors were that he was going to transfer to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but he decided on the University of Denver.

Two more underclassmen from college hockey have signed with NHL clubs this week.

Boston College lost big defenseman Ian McCoshen to the Florida Panthers, and would likely see him start the season with the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL).

RW Nick Schmaltz of the national champion, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (nee Fighting Sioux), has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks and will start next year with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).

Jimmy Vesey of Harvard could be a third to sign an NHL deal. The much-heralded left-winger has his four-year degree in hand. He had his rights traded from the Nashville Predators to the Buffalo Sabres, who gave up a third round pick. Vesey has elected under the CBA rules to become a free agent, so Buffalo enters the same sweepstakes as the rest of the NHL to win his rights. Toronto is one of the biggest players in that pursuit and just made his father Jim Vesey, a team scout after drafting his brother Nolan (University of Maine) last year, The Rangers and Boston Bruins are both considered to be players in the Vesey Sweepstakes.

35 Division 1 underclassmen have signed professional deals thus far, 143 players in total have departed for the pro ranks since the end of last year’s collegiate season among the five college hockey conferences.

North Dakota, Michigan, and Boston College have lost the most with five underclassmen each.

Former Yale Bulldog, and Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Jesse Root, heads overseas to HC Bolzano in Italy. HC Bolzano plays in the Austrian Elite League. Root spent most of the last year with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) and just seven games in Bridgeport.

At the US U-17 Select Camp, Pat Boller is not the only HWP connection. As mentioned, Boller is the head coach, but one of the goalie coaches is none other than ex-Wolf Pack, Phil Osaer. The Team’s GM is Danbury native, Kenny Rausch, who played at Immaculate High School. Besides Tyce Thompson, one other Connecticut prep school player invited was Ben Mirageas of Avon Old Farms.

Our condolences on the passing of Michigan State’s great head coach Ron Mason, who dies earlier this month at age 76. Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, MI was the site of the memorial service and honored the second all-time winningest coach in college hockey history (Jerry York BC is tops). Mason had a career record of 924-380-83. Mason also coached at Lake Superior State and Bowling Green University and played at St. Lawrence University in the early 1960’s.

His son-in-law was Shawn Walsh of the University of Maine and his grandson, Travis Walsh, just graduated from Michigan State. Travis went undrafted and played three games apiece with the Missouri Mavericks (ECHL) and the Chicago Wolves (AHL). Tyler Walsh is an assistant coach with the USNDTP U-18 Team.

Photos Courtesy Of UConn Athletic Department


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Here’s this week’s news from around professional hockey.


The Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks started the final series of the hockey season on Memorial Day, and a Connecticut kid played a big part.

Farmington native, and Avon Old Farms grad, Nick Bonino, scored with 2:25 left in regulation off a superb pass from Kris Letang, and flipped his shot high to the short side, to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory in Game One.

The Penguins, in the Sidney Crosby era, are seeking their third title. Behind the bench is Mike Sullivan, the ex-New York Rangers assistant coach under John Tortorella. Sullivan is at the helm after being promoted from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earlier in the year. Sullivan replaces the fired Mike Johnston. Former Ranger and one-time Hartford Wolf Pack/CT Whale, Carl Hagelin gets his second shot at the Cup.

Ex-CT Whale, Tim Erixon, is one of the Penguins’ Black Aces.

The San Jose Sharks are making their first appearance in the final in their 25- year history. The Sharks feature Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, who have a combined 2,778 NHL games without a Stanley Cup. One of the Sharks Black Aces is former Wolf Pack and Sound Tiger Micheal Haley.

The Sharks radio play-by-play voice is Dan Rusanowsky, a Milford native, and former voice of the New Haven Nighthawks. Rusanowsky becomes the second Nighthawks alumni announcer to call a Stanley Cup final. Hockey Hall of Famer from the Los Angeles Kings Nick Nickson called two Stanley Cup championships in LA.


It’s the Lake Erie Monsters and the Hershey Bears who will battle for the 80th Calder Cup title.

Hershey knocked off regular offensive powerhouse, the Toronto Marlies, in five games. The Bears won Game Five by a 3-2 score clinching their appearance in the championship final. In the history of the AHL, these two cities have produced the most titles the Bears 11 and Cleveland 10 mostly in the late 1950’s and 1960’s period.

In the history of the AHL, the two cities where Lake Erie and Hershey are located have produced the most titles. The Bears have won eleven in Chocolate-town and Cleveland has won ten, though theirs came mostly in the late 1950’s and 1960’s.

In the 21st century, the Bears have won the title three times. The last victory came in the 2009-2010 season when they beat the Texas Stars in six games, (4-2). They won the previous season against the Manitoba Moose and they were also victorious in 2005-06 beating the Milwaukee Admirals all four games to two.

Cleveland last appeared in the Calder Cup Final as the original Barons lost to the Rochester Americans four games to two. Their last title came in 1964 when they swept the Quebec Aces, who featured Fred Glover who would eventually make his way into the AHL Hall-of-Fame. Glover was the team’s leading scorer, PIM leader, and their head coach!

One thing the league won’t have to worry about is attendance in this series. Hershey and Cleveland have always been on top of the AHL’s attendance figures.

The Bears feature ex-Wolf Pack players Chris and Ryan Bourque, who was last year’s captain before being traded for Chris Brown at the NHL trade deadline. Chris won the regular season scoring title and was named the AHL MVP. In this playoff season, he has become the all-time leading playoff point-earner in Hershey. The elder Bourque surpassed Mike Nykoluk (74 points, 1958-1972) who went on to be a Rangers assistant coach in the late 1970’s and the head coach ifor the Toronto Maple Leafs for three seasons.

The Bears also have Chandler Stephenson, the nephew of ex-Whaler Bob Stephenson, former Sound Tiger captain, Aaron Ness, and assistant coach Randy Murphy, an ex-Wolf Pack.

Lake Erie features ten ex-Springfield Falcons from a year ago when Columbus switched its affiliation. Among them is their defenseman, Steve Eminger. The ex-CT Whale ended last year tearing his right knee up at the XL Center as a member of the Providence Bruins. Eminger rehabbed and signed mid-season with the Monsters. Ex-Sound Tiger tough guy Brett Gallant is a Monster too. On defense is Stratford native, and former Fairfield Prep and Taft Prep, player Jamie Sifers. Also on the roster is Westport native, and Choate Prep grad, Mike Paliotta and former Rangers defenseman, Justin Falk.

One of the assistant coaches is former Beast of New Haven, Nolan Pratt.


The London Knights are kings of Canadian junior hockey.

It took overtime to overcome a great effort by QMJHL champs, the Rouyn Noranda Huskies, seeking to achieve one of the biggest upsets in Memorial Cup history.

The Huskies attempt would certainly rank with another major underdog story dating back to 1979. In that year, the high-powered Brandon Wheat Kings lost 2-1 in overtime to the Peterborough Petes.

It was not a shock considering London’s top line consisted of Mitch Marner (Toronto), Christian Dvorak (Arizona) and Matt Tkachuk (2016 draft eligible) factored in the game winner and game-tying goals.

At 7:13 Thachuk came off the left-wing and snapped a wrister that Dvorak got the shaft of his stick on redirecting it just past the Huskies’ goalie, Chase Marchand. Tkachuk, was given credit for the game-winning tally and second goal of the game.

It looked like the Huskies would engineer their upset as Julien Nantel’s bang-bang rebound at 9:13 would hold up. The goal came off great pass from Alexandre Fortin.

The Knights had won 17 in a row showed and demonstrated why they are such an offensive juggernaut under head coach Dale Hunter.

Trailing 2-1, Dvorak took a pass from Aaron Berisha and zipped a backhander in at 15:49 to tie the game at two. The eventual tournament MVP, Marner nearly won it in regulation in the last minute hitting the crossbar from fifteen feet out. Marner had 14 points in the four games he played.

London has Max Jones (son of ex-Nighthawk, Brad Jones, 2016 draft eligible), goalie Brendan Burke (son of Hartford Whalers’ Sean Burke) and ex-Wolf Pack Mike Martin (team scout).

The host Red Deer Rebels were eliminated by the Rouyn Noranda Huskies 3-1 last Friday night to get to play London. That ended the season for Jake Debrusk son of ex-Wolf Pack Louie DeBrusk, Ivan Nikolishin son of ex-Whaler Andrei Nikolishin and Adam Musil son ex-NHL’er Frantisek Musil and nephew of ex-Whaler and Ranger Bobby Holik.

Brandon head coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon is the younger brother of late Whaler Brad McCrimmon.

The goal of the tournament was scored by Brandon’s John Quenneville (second cousin of former Whaler and Blackhawks coach, Joel Quenneville) on the second night of the tournament against Rouyn-Noranda. See it HERE


In a move that could affect the makeup of the Wolf Pack coaching staff next season, Rangers assistant coach, Ulf Samuelsson, has been hired Ron Francis, the Carolina GM and his long-time friend and former Hartford Whaler teammate. Samuelsson becomes the third head coach in the Charlotte Checkers AHL history. Samuelsson replaces Mark Morris, the ex-New Haven Nighthawk, who took the job at his alma mater, St. Lawrence University (ECACHL).

Samuelsson played 1,080 NHL games, 463 of them in Hartford and for his career had 31-145-176 and 1,110 PIM. In Hartford, Samuelsson’s number 5 and Francis’ number 10 hang in the rafters of the XL Center. He was the assistant coach in 2005-06 with the Wolf Pack and in 2004-05 with Avon Old Farms prep school when they had a goalie from Hamden named, Jonathan Quick.

Samuelsson has all four of his children involved in hockey. The eldest Philip split last year with the Arizona Coyotes and the Springfield Falcons. Henrik played all season in Springfield (nee Tucson). His daughter Victoria is a sophomore with the Penn State University varsity women’s team and the youngest child, Adam, has committed to Boston College this past spring and played with the CT Jr. Rangers (USPHL-Premier) last year.

This leaves an opening in New York where it’s likely that Wolf Pack assistant coach, Jeff Beukeboom, is likely to get the promotion call to work with the defenseman there as he has the last four years in Hartford.


The rosters are set for the September inaugural tournament patterned to capture the great Canada Cup series in the 1980’s. Some of the usual suspects with CT ties will be a part of various lineups.

Team Europe – Nino Neiderreiter, and Franz Nielsen (Sound Tigers) and Mats Zuccarello (CT Whale)

Team Finland – Mikko Koskinen (Sound Tigers) and Lauri Korpikoski (Wolf Pack)

Team North America – J.T. Miller (Wolf Pack) and Sean Couturier (son of Nighthawks Sylvain)

Team Russia – Artem Anisimov (Wolf Pack) and Vladimir Namestnikov (son of Wolf Pack Evgeni)

Team Sweden – Cal Hagelin (CT Whale)

Team USA – Jonathan Quick (Hamden), Max Pacioretty (New Canaan) and a trio of ex-Wolf Pack Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Callahan, and Brandon Dubinsky.


The Wolf Pack regular season home opener is one of seven dates the team released as guaranteed home dates for the 2016-17 AHL season.

The 20th season of the franchise, now longer than the Hartford Whalers were in the Connecticut capital will commence at home on Friday, October 14th. The six other released special dates are; Wednesday, November 2nd 11:00am, Friday, November 25, Saturday, December 10, Friday, January 6, Friday, January 20, and Friday, January 28.

The full AHL schedule will be released in mid-August. The league needs to wait until after the NBA schedules are released. Why? Lake Erie and San Antonio are owned by NBA teams and play in the same building. The two teams are last NBA/AHL connections. Milwaukee will play at University-Wisconsin Carver Arena because the BMO Harris Center is being torn down and Charlotte already has moved to the Bojanglee Coliseum.


Milford native, Mark Arcobello, who played collegiately at Yale and his public school hockey at Fairfield Prep, and prep school at Salisbury Prep (winning a championship at both), has signed with SC Bern (Switzerland-LNA).

Max Talbot who split last season between Providence and Boston is heading to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia-KHL).

Ex-Pack Corey Potter who split last year with Springfield and Milwaukee and got a brief late season recall to Nashville will be joining former Wolf Pack teammate Dane Byers in Cologne (Germany-DEL) next season.

Domink Uher from Wilkes Barre/Scranton heads back home to HC Sparta Prague of the Czech Elite League (CEL). Zach Phillips, who spent most of the year with Providence, but was reassigned to three different teams in the second half Chicago (AHL) and Atlanta and Kalamazoo (ECHL), heads to Sweden to Tingsryds AIF (Sweden-Allsvenskan).

Zach Phillips, who spent most of the year with Providence but was reassigned to three different teams in the second half of the season, Chicago (AHL) and Atlanta and Kalamazoo (ECHL), heads to Sweden to Tingsryds AIF (Sweden-Allsvenskan).

Former pair of CT Whale players taking up new European residences, Casey Wellman goes from Spartak Moscow (Russia-KHL) to Frolunda HC (Sweden-SHL) the defending champions. Francois Bouchard goes from HC Val Pusteria (Italy LIHG A-League) to GHC Bordeaux (France-FREL).

Manitoba Moose announced its new head coach will be Jets assistant coach Pascal Vincent who has extensive QMJHL coaching experience before becoming an NHL assistant coach.


The New York Islanders will host their third NHL pre-season game at the Webster Bank Arena on Saturday, October 1st against the Washington Capitals at 7pm.


The highly regarded tournament returns to North America on Boxing Day in Toronto and Montreal with a twist on the format between the two cities for the tournament.

Toronto ACC (Air Canada Centre) will host one group featuring the US, Canada, Russia, Slovakia, and Latvia. Then in Montreal at the Bell Centre the other group (Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Switzerland) for the preliminary round. Each city will host the quarterfinal round and the semifinal round and medal games will be held in Montreal.

The US squad could feature UConn’s Tage Thompson and Ridgefield native, Chad Krys. Slovakia will likely have incoming UConn freshmen and Ranger draft pick, Adam Huska, in net and another slick skating center, Husky Max Letunov , who will be playing for Russia.


Steve Moria, a one-time New Haven Nighthawk who played all 105 games of his AHL career in the Elm City, was inducted in the British Hockey Hall of Fame. Moria was the last Nighthawk to play actively in pro hockey.

Moria played until he was fifty before retiring five years ago. He played in over 1,339 games in Britain including their National team and World Championship teams with 3,043 total points in his career.

He played his last three season with Basingstoke (EIPHL) as a player-coach in fact 10 of his British season he held that title.

Among the teams he played for included Fife (Scotland), London, Milton Keynesn, Nottingham, Swindon, Blackburn and the Cardiff Devils in Wales where he was held in very high regard for 12 years and the Slough Jets. He played in all the leagues that have been around the UK such as the EIHL, BNL, EIPHL, BD 1 & 2 and BISL.

He is from Vancouver and played Junior A hockey in Richmond, BC for three years in the BCHL. He played collegiately at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks when it was a Division 2 program and is their Hall of Fame as well.


The hockey world took a double whammy this week with the loss of one-time Whaler Rick MacLeish 66, (meningitis and other complications) and Tom Lysiak 63, (Leukemia) who both had battled these illnesses for several years.

MacLeish gained his stardom with the Philadelphia Flyers as one of its top scorers during their Broad Street Bullies days in the early to mid-1970’s.

He was drafted in the first round fourth overall by the Boston Bruins in 1970 from Peterborough (OHL). He never played for the Boston. The Bobby Orr-led Bruins halfway through his first year of pro playing in the minors playing with Oklahoma City (CHL) he was a part of three team trade between Philadelphia, Toronto and Boston.

He struggled to find his game until he broke out in 1972-’73 season with 50 goals and 50 assists. He was one of six Flyers to hit the 50 goal mark in franchise history (Reggie Leach, Bill Barber, John LeClair, Tim Kerr and March Recchi) were the others.

He scored the Stanley Cup game winner for the Flyers first Stanley Cup in 1973-’74 beating the heavily favored Bruins 1-0 in Game 6 led the play playoffs in scoring with 13 goals and nine assists, but he lost out on the Conn Smythe trophy to teammate Hall of Fame goalie Bernie Parent both times.

On the Flyers second and last Cup winning team in 1974-75 he had 20 points in 13 games the team was also the last Stanley Cup team to win with a lineup that was comprised of all Canadians. He was an NHL All-Star three times in his 12-year career.

MacLeish had great speed for the time, one of his patented moves to come across the blue line and shift to his off-wing shooting side, going against the grain before firing his hard and very accurate wrist shot. He led the Flyers team in scoring in 1976-77.

He escaped what could have been a life threatening incident in a late season game in LA in 1978. MacLeish slid into and was accidently cut on the neck by the skate blade of Marcel Dionne. The injury resulted in MacLeish receiving 80 stitches to close the wound.

MacLeish came to the Whalers in the summer of 1981. he arrived in the Connecticut capital with Blake Wesley (former Whaler Glen’s older brother) and big tough winger Don Gillen. The trade sent Fred Arthur and Ray Allison the otheer way. All five players never made an impact for their teams. The only notable exception was defenseman Fred Arthur who would retire two years later to become a doctor.

The Whalers traded MacLeish to Pittsburgh for defenseman Russ Anderson, who still lives and works in Connecticut. Two years later MacLeish retired as a member of the Red Wings.

Lysiak was a second overall selection in the 1973 draft for the first incarnation of NHL hockey in Atlanta, the Flames. He was also drafted by the WHA’s Houston Aeros. Denis Potvin of the Islanders went first overall.

Lysiak played junior hockey for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) winning the scoring title his last two years when he had Lanny MacDonald as his winger before being taken fourth overall by Toronto. He played in the 1974 Memorial Cup tournament.

He played for the Flames for six years leading them in scoring five of the six years, and made three straight NHL All-Star game appearances. He was the face of the franchise and retired to the Atlanta area.

Lysiak was part of what was then the largest trade in NHL history in 1978. The move was an eight player trade between Atlanta and the Chicago Blackhawks. Lysiak was the Flames’ team captain at the time.

He played seven years with Chicago before retiring in 1985 after 919 NHL games with 292 goals and 843 points.

Lysiak might most be remembered for his twenty game suspension for tripping linesman Ron Foyt on October 30, 1983 against the Hartford Whalers. The suspension remains one of the longest in NHL history and has been the standard for player contact with an official. It set a standard that even holds to this day as it was used as a measuring stick this past season for the crosscheck hit by Calgary’s Dennis Wideman on linesman Don Henderson.

Lysiak’s daughter, Jessica Lee Lysiak, is married to San Jose Sharks’ defenseman, Justin Braun, who’s competing for the Stanley Cup. He will miss tonight’s game to be with his wife and family. Braun’s agent is former New England and Hartford Whaler Tim Sheehy.

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gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings


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


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The AHL’s Final Four teams are set.

It took seven games, but the team with the league’s best record, the Toronto Marlies prevailed with a late goal in Game 7 to win 4-3 and eliminate the Albany Devils.

The Marlies were the deepest and most talented team entering the playoffs and were tested in every way in Game 7 and throughout the series with Albany.

Tied at one entering the third period, Albany scored early as Nick Lappin,  just signed out of Brown University after the collegiate season ended in March, scored his fifth of the postseason on a rebound after Jim O’Brien on a face off.

Before a packed crowd at the Ricoh Coliseum, Kasperi Kapanen, son of Whaler great Sami Kapanen, showed off his incredible speed by zipping down the left wing and whistling a wicked wrist shot to the short-side on Devils’ goalie, Scott Wedgewood.

William Nylander, son of former Whaler and New York Ranger Michael Nylander, employed his considerable skill and raced into the Devils zone. Nylander curled in the lower left-wing circle and found Kapanen again as he was open on the left wing. Kapanen waited and found Connor Carrick coming off the right point and hit him with a perfect cross-ice pass and he zipped his shot to the top shelf to take a 3-2 lead.

The Devils didn’t go away as Paul Thompson, a right-handed shot on the left wing side, took Marc-Andre Gragnani’s right point pass and drilled it to the short-side past a partially screened Antoine Bibeau.

Marlies veteran Richard Clune got a fortuitous bounce off the backboards of Andrei Soshnikov’s shot and chipped the puck into the top part of the net with 2:30 left in regulation for the game-winning goal.

The Devils had three whacks at the puck in the waning seconds, but Bibeau was down of the ice and kept his pads stacked to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Marlies will play the Hershey Bears featuring the Bourque brothers, Chris, and Ryan in the Eastern Conference final starting with Games 1 & 2 in Hershey Friday and Saturday night. The series will see a rare schedule of 2-3-1-1 format because of building scheduling issues in Hershey with the circus.

What a difference a year makes by the way.

Despite a strong regular season for Albany, Yann Danis has been the backup this playoff after his spectacular run last spring with the Wolf Pack and played just one period in relief of Wedgewood.

It took seven games and overtime for the Hershey Bears to advance.

Dustin Boyd’s goal at 10:58 gave Hershey a 3-2 over their Keystone State rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Boyd swung around from behind the left-wing side and fired his shot high to the short side earning the Bears the victory.

Hershey took a 2-1 lead on what certainly has to be among those considered for the Goal-Of-The-Year.

Carter Camper made a great move to free himself then made a beautiful forehand-to-backhand move on Casey DeSmith to score the goal.

The Pacific Division series ended in Ontario Saturday night with the Reign winning 2-1 and advancing in five games to the Western Conference title.

Justin Auger had the game winner in the 2-1 Game 5 clincher.

The San Diego Gulls had just one win, a 3-0 shutout in Game Three.

Matt Hackett is the nephew of a former winner of the Calder Cup’s Jack Butterfield Award as the MVP of the playoffs. His uncle is also a goaltender. He’s Jeff Hackett, who played for Springfield in 1990. They younger Hackett pitched a shutout with 29 saves.

The Reign won Game 4 in overtime. The final score was 4-3 despite a strong three-point performance by ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Mueller.

Mueller set up rookie Shea Theodore on the powerplay with a perfect cross-ice pass from the right wing circle to Theodore at the left point for the first goal of the game.

Mueller potted a goal to tie the game at two from the left side of the net. The shot came off a rebound off the stick of AHL All-Rookie team member, rearguard Brandon Montour, who outworked Ontario captain Vincent LoVerde and jammed the puck home.

The Reign went ahead with two quick goals at 3-2 in a 1:52 span both by Adrian Kempe. Mueller scored ten seconds later going down the left wing side and turned Nic Dowd inside out and beat the league’s best in netminder Peter Budaj, but like last spring in Manchester when they were the Monarchs, the Reign found a way to get the game winner in overtime.

The Lake Erie Monsters looked to complete the sweep of the Grand Rapids Griffins after amassing a 3-0 series lead.  The Griffins, however, fought back to make it to a game six, but the Monsters overtime victory prevented a Game 7 by the count of 4-3. The Monsters will now play the defending AHL Calder Cup champions, the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference final starting Saturday with Game 2 Sunday in California.

Lake Erie was down early 2-0 in the first 2:16 of the game and that became 3-1 early in the second. When that happened, the Monsters replaced starting goalie Joonas Korpisala, with veteran and former Springfield Falcon goalie, Anton Forsberg and he shut the door stopping all 23 shots he faced.

Zach Werenski, the young defenseman just signed out of Michigan after their season ended a month ago, helped in engineering the Monster’s comeback.

Werenski set up Lukas Sedlak’s goal early in the second period with a right point shot. Sedlak chipped in a backhand rebound. Werenski, had the game-winner at 12:32 of overtime getting his rebound of a backhand shot and with four Grand Rapids players all nearby, Werenski got to the loose puck, and he put his second backhander in for the victory.

Had there been a seventh game, it would have been played in Columbus because the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers had a playoff game scheduled for Tuesday the same night that would have forced a date and venue change.

The Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit in Game Four with a three-goal third period to win 5-4 and avoid the playoff sweep. Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist.
Five different Grand Rapids players scored with Andreas Antanasiou tallying the game-winner with 1:55 to go in regulation.
Game 5 was all Grand Rapids a 6-1 win paced by a Tyler Bertuzzi hat trick.


French Connection II watching ex-CT Whale Jonathan Marchessault setting up former Ranger Anton Stralman to tie the game at two in Game 2 Monday night. Then Jonathan Drouin, banished to Syracuse in the AHL at midseason, sniping a goal off the right side to tie the game at two.


The Pack’s Nicklas Jensen continued the same strong play he showed down the stretch in Hartford’s failed playoff push helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

Jensen helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

He assisted on the game-tying goal, and he scored a shootout goal to keep Denmark alive in the extra round before Nikolas Ehlers scored the game winner.

Monday, Denmark beat Kazakhstan 4-1 with Jensen scoring again and had seven shots on goals, and the Danes secured a quarterfinal appearance because the Swiss lost 5-4 to Czechs on Tuesday. Last Friday, he scored his second goal, a shootout goal, to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

Last Friday, Jensen scored his second goal, in the shoot-out to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

The quarterfinals start Thursday Denmark plays Finland in St. Petersburg.

Ex-Pack Nigel Dawes continues to do well for Kazakhstan he scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday and again in a loss to Denmark. He has eight points with four goals, good for tenth place in the tournament.

The best scoring defenseman still in the tourney is the Wolf Pack’s Raphael Diaz with six assists for Switzerland. Diaz played the most minutes (19:14) and had four shots on goal in a crucial 5-4 loss to the Czechs eliminating the Swiss from the medal round.

Ex-Sound Tiger Nino Niederreiter is right behind for the Swiss with three goals and five points.

The second best goalie so far is Canada’s and former Wolf Pack, Cam Talbot. In four games, Talbot has a microscopic 0.75 GAA, given up just three goals, pitched two shutouts and has a spectacular 96.0 % save percentage.

The Czech Republic’s Dominic Furch has a 0.65 GAA and a 97.2% save percentage. His numbers are better than Talbot’s, but he has played in only three games while Talbot’s played four.

Reminds you of Talbot’s AHL playoff debut when he shutout the Sound Tigers in three straight in an opening round series.

The US, despite a two-game slump, made the quarterfinals in Group B.

The US lost to Slovakia 3-2 on Tuesday despite getting the games first goal from ex-Sound Tiger, Brock Nelson.The game-winner came off the stick of ex-Springfield Falcon, Marko Dano.

The US plays the Czech Republic on Thursday in Moscow (9:00 am NBC Sports Network).


Much heralded right-wing, and third round pick, 75th overall in 2013, Pavel Buchnevich, inked an NHL entry-level deal with the Rangers last week.

The 21-year-old split the year with his hometown KHL team Severstal Cherepovets before being traded to St. Petersburg. For the season, he had 16 goals and 31 points in 58 games. St. Petersburg made it to the KHL Western Conference final of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

His three-year standard entry-level contract has an NHL salary of $925K and an AHL salary of $70K, but the contract according to General Fanager-dot-com has a European assignment clause which could mean if he doesn’t make the Rangers he would likely return to Russia.


Former Hartford Whaler, Randy Cunneyworth, was replaced and reassigned from Rochester as the Buffalo Sabres named Dan Lambert (Kelowna-WHL) as their new AHL head coach.

Congrats to another former Whaler and longtime AHL coach, Tom Rowe, who became GM of Florida (NHL) as part of a major Panthers organizational shuffle.

Curiously, Eric Joyce was named as an assistant GM; he was also the GM of the Portland Pirates last year. When Rowe was given his promotion on January 1st to Assistant GM in Florida after coaching the Pirates in the first half of the season.

Joyce retained the title GM of their of their AHL affiliate, but the team remains unnamed in the press release. The move of their member team from Portland to Springfield is still under review by the AHL, which is set to reconvene in ten days on the matter. The sale was made by the local owner Ron Cain to a yet publicly unidentified ownership group, but Cantlon’s Corner has learned former Falcons owner Charles Pompea and long-time face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, are two of the primary investors.

Sam Ftorek, son of former Nighthawk coach and player Robbie Ftorek, was named the first head coach for Roanoke (SPHL). He was the assistant coach for Kalamazoo (ECHL) last year.

Bridgeport Sound Tiger Sebastian Collberg heads back home to play with Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) next year making him the sixth AHL’er to sign to play in Europe next season.

Ex-Pack Tomas Zaborsky goes from HIFK Helsinki (Finland-FEL) to Brynas IF (Sweden-SHL), nd defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen goes from Vaxjo (Sweden-SHL) to TPS Turku (Finland-FEL).

Old New Haven Knights forward, Alexei Lazarenko, 40, signed for another year with Vityaz Kharkov to play in the Ukrainian Hockey League. He is just one of seven players left actively playing who wore a New Haven uniform between the AHL and UHL.

AEG Europe announced its team the Hamburg Freezers (Germany-DEL) will not operate next season despite an average attendance of 9.002 (tenth best in Europe) last year when they missed the playoffs.

The team GM is former Nighthawk, Stephane J.G. Richer and ex-Pack, Sam Klassen, played on the team. AEG also owns another team in the DEL Eisbaren Berlin who have the second best attendance of all hockey played in Europe with 13,022 per game.

Rich McKenna was hired as the new head coach for the Division III powerhouse University Wisconsin-Superior. McKenna was an assistant coach at both UConn (AHC years) and Wesleyan University. There are thirteen former UConn players and coaches in the coaching ranks nationally collegiately (Division I and III), juniors, and prep and public schools


Former UConn player, Trevor Stewart, guided his Fairbanks (AK) Ice Dogs to their third NAHL Robertson Cup title after a 2-0 win over Wichita Falls (TX) Wildcats on Sunday in Edina, MN in the national championship game.

Each team won both semifinal games Fairbanks over Aston (PA) Rebels and Wichita Falls over Bismarck (ND) Bobcats.

In the USHL’s best of five Clark Cup Finals, the Tri-City (NE) Storm are up 2-0 over the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints. In Game One, Yale-bound Evan Smith scored the first goal of the game for Dubuque,b ut Tri-City scored the next five goals in a 5-1 victory.

Then in Game 2, Tri-City won 4-2. Smith and his twin brother, Mitchell (also heading to Yale) had five and four shots respectively and former prep school teammate at Salisbury Michael O’ Leary, who is committed to Notre Dame had three shots at Tri-City.

Games 3 and maybe 4 are in Tri-City Friday and Saturday.

The 98th edition of Canadian junior hockey’s Memorial Cup tournament is all set to start in Red Deer, Alberta on Friday night as the host team and city Red Deer Rebels (WHL) play the London Knights in the opening game.

The Rebels join WHL playoff champion Brandon Wheat Kings, QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the OHL juggernaut winners of 13 straight games London Knights coached by Dale Hunter.

The tourney starts Friday and the NHL Network will air the games live with Red Deer in the Mountain time zone. Saturday Brandon plays Rouyn-Noranda and Sunday Red Deer plays Rouyn-Noranda at 7pm.

If you haven’t watched it you should it’s a fantastic view of some future NHL stars already drafted, those to be drafted and of course new names emerge.


Congrats to the Bentley Generals coached by former Wolf Pack, Ryan Tobler, winning their second consecutive Canadian senior hockey title in beating the tournament host Southeast Praire Thunder in Steinbach, Manitoba.

The Generals also featured former Wolf Pack, Matt St fashion, who scored six goals in four games in the tournament. He played most of his season with Big Valley in the North Central (Senior) Hockey League and was added to the Bentley roster for the post season when Big Valley’s season ended.

Former Sound Tiger Adam Huxley was also on the team and he played for his hometown senior team Wainwright (SASHL) in the regular season and was also added for the playoffs.


gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT –  As we enter the second week of the off-season in Hartford, there is still a great deal going on.


There’s a new name to add to the Hartford roster, Michael Joly of Gatineau, Quebec.

The 5’11, 185 lb. Right-Wing is a left-handed shot has just completed a four-year QMJHL career with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The Screaming Eagles were knocked out of the President’s Cup playoffs in the quarterfinals by the Saint John Sea Dogs in seven games. Joly had twelve goals in sixteen playoff games.

Joly played all of his major junior hockey career with Rimouski before being traded for three draft picks on November 28. He wound up with an excellent linemate in Pierre-Luc Dubois, a consensus top 5 pick at the NHL Draft in Buffalo next month. Continue reading


rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpg      VERSUS      albany-devils1
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils improved their record to 40-17-8-2 (90 points), good for second place in the Eastern Conference, and punched their ticket to the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs with an impressive 3-0 shutout win over the Hartford Wolf Pack, in Albany, at the Times Union Center, in front of 2,754 on Tuesday night.

Ex-Pack goaltender, Yann Danis, picked up his third shutout this season against his former team. With six shutouts on the season, Danis now is second only to trailing Peter Budaj of the Ontario Reign, who has eight. Danis also has the sixth best GAA in the AHL at 2.27.

The Pack record drops to 36-29-3-0 (75 points). The AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers had a great chance to make headway in their playoff chase since the Portland Pirates, who are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference, lost earlier in the day to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 5-2 in their AHL morning game.

GAME SUMMARY Continue reading