Tag Archives: Alaska

TOSTI: TWO-GOAL NIGHT FROM CALEB HERBERT NOT ENOUGH AGAINST STINGRAYS

TOSTI: Two-Goal Night from Caleb Herbert Not Enough Against Stingrays

South Carolina takes the first game of two against Greenville in 5-2 finish at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena

BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SCThe Greenville Swamp Rabbits (23-39-7-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, net a pair of goals against the South Carolina Stingrays (46-16-7-1), but it was not enough to top the second-ranked team in the Eastern Conference. Caleb Herbert net both of the Swamp Rabbits goals in the evening in his return from the AHL. The teams will face off for the final time this season tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

BOX SCORE

South Carolina tested Chris Nell in goal early on in the game, flinging pucks toward the crease from all over the ice. Their work paid off with a goal less than three minutes into the game. Dylan Margonari fired a long shot from the high slot off on the right pad of Nell and the rebound found the stick of Mason Mitchell in the right circle. The winger launched a shot into the open cage, netting his third goal in four games with the Stingrays to open the scoring.

Greenville turned up the chances after the intermission but the Stingrays were able to extend the lead on a strange rolling puck that came into the high slot in the second period. The Stingrays dumped the puck into the zone and it bounced from the right wing right into the top of the circle. As it rolled through the Swamp Rabbits defense, captain Joe Devin broke in and jammed the loose puck toward the net, beating Nell through the five-hole.

The power play tally put space between the clubs and was extended one minute later. Andrew DeBrincat was the beneficiary of a clean faceoff win by the Stingrays at the blue-line. The rookie defenseman net his first goal on a long shot that navigated through traffic to put the Stingrays up 3-0 over Greenville.

Swamp Rabbits leading scorer answered the bell for Greenville in the following two minutes. Wade Murphy began the play, coming right off the bench into the offensive zone and swiping the puck off the boards. The forward pushed the puck to the slot for Herbert who hammered at the loose change and fired it past Parker Milner in goal to halt the Stingrays streak.

In the third period, the Stingrays made it 4-1 with a power-play goal. Mitchell nets his second of the game by battling for a loose puck atop the crease. The winger again collected a rebound after Margonari fired a shot from the blue line, earning his fourth goal in four games with South Carolina at 8:41. South Carolina ended the night 2-for-4 on the power play.

Again, Herbert responded for the Swamp Rabbits to score his team-leading 22nd goal of the season. Less than two minutes after the Stingrays extended the lead, the Bloomington, Minnesota native collected a drop pass from Johno May and outlasted Milner in net, firing a shot past the netminder’s blocker.

Despite the push from Herbert and a late Greenville power play, the Stingrays held on for the win, netting an empty net goal in the final 70 seconds of the game. Tommy Hughes tallied the shorthanded goal to end the game.

Nell ended the contest with 30 saves on 34 shots on net while Milner collected his 27th victory of the season with 18 stops.

TOSTI: SWAMP RABBITS END STREAK WITH VICTORY IN NORTH CHARLESTON

TOSTI: Swamp Rabbits End Streak with Victory in North Charleston

Jasper posts three points in Greenville victory while Halverson helps end club’s losing streak.

BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

North Charleston, SCThe Greenville Swamp Rabbits (21-32-6-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, tallied a late third-period goal to top the South Carolina Stingrays (37-13-6-1) 3-2 at the North Charleston Coliseum. Greenville’s victory halted a 13-game losing streak and pushed the season series with South Carolina to a 3-4-2-1 record. Evan Jasper provided the scoring charge with two goals and an assist while Brandon Halverson was a stalwart in his first action with the team since January.

BOX SCORE Continue reading

TOSTI: LEEDAHL HELPS SWAMP RABBITS PUSH TO OVERTIME AGAINST STINGRAYS 

TOSTI: Leedahl Helps Swamp Rabbits Push to Overtime Against Stingrays 

Greenville rallies together for a third period comeback but comes up short of victory over South Carolina

BY: Brian Tosti, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SCThe Greenville Swamp Rabbits (20-32-6-1), proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, posted a pair of third period goals to come back from 3-1 deficit, forcing overtime for the third time in five games. The Swamp Rabbits came short of victory by inches in the third and eventually fell in overtime to the South Carolina Stingrays (37-12-6-1). Greenville has needed overtime four times this year to decide a game against South Carolina.

BOX SCORE
Continue reading

RANGERS ROLLING WITH RICK

BY: The New York Rangers

OFFICIAL GAME REPORTS   GOALIES
Game Summary                                BUF: R. Lehner (L)      NYR: H. Lundqvist (W)
Event Summary

–       HOME COOKING – The Rangers have earned at least one point in 16 of their last 20 home games, dating back to Oct. 26 (15-4-1 record). The Blueshirts have earned at least one point in 20 of 28 home games this season (17-8-3 record).

–       WINNING WAYS – The Blueshirts have won 15 of their last 26 games (15-8-3 record), 21 of their last 34 games (21-10-3 record), and 23 of their last 38 contests (23-12-3 record). Continue reading

A RANGERS DEFENSIVE MISTAKE ARE SNAKE EYES IN VEGAS

OFFICIAL GAME REPORTS    GOALIES
Game Summary                             NYR: O. Pavelec (L) VGK: M-A. Fleury (W)
Event Summary

  • SAVING THE DAY – Over the last 13 games (since Dec. 11 vs. Dallas), Henrik Lundqvist and Ondrej Pavelec have posted a .947 SV% (449 saves on 474 shots). One of the two goaltenders has made 30 or more saves in 12 of the last 13 contests. In addition, Lundqvist or Pavelec has posted a .938 SV% or better in 10 of 13 games over the span.
  • TWO GOOD – The Rangers have allowed two goals or fewer in seven of the last 11 games, in nine of the last 14 games, in 14 of the last 23 games, and in 16 of the last 26 games.

Continue reading

CANTLON: QUINNIPIAC BLANKS UCONN

CANTLON: Quinnipiac BLANKS UCONN

      VERSUS      Quinnipiac

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT The Quinnipiac Bobcats (7-10-2 overall, 3-5-1 ECACHL) came into the game with offensive problems but were able to find three goals in dealing UCONN its second straight shutout loss, 3-0, on Tuesday night before 3,852 at the XL Center.

The post-holiday scoring drought for the Huskies (8-13-2 overall, 5-8-1 Hockey East) has been extended to six periods. Over that stretch, they’ve been outscored 5-0 after having played so well just before the break.

“I am really happy with the way we played and I am really happy with the defense we’re playing, but we’re struggling to score goals. It happens as you go through the season. We were going well there for awhile, but we have to to do a better job of getting to the blue area and to the net. The story of the game was (we had) 58 attempts, 17 blocked, and 20 off target,” remarked UCONN head coach Mike Cavanaugh. “37 of the 58 attempts never get to the net. That’s why we’re not scoring. The powerplay wasn’t sharp. Our first one was good, but we were out of sync. We had a five-on-three and didn’t get the puck to the net.”  Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK RETURN SPIRO GOULAKOS TO GREENVILLE

WOLF PACK RETURN SPIRO GOULAKOS TO GREENVILLE

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Defenseman has Seen Action in eight Games for Hartford

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, March 16, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has returned defenseman Spiro Goulakos to its ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Goulakos, who had been recalled from Greenville February 28, has skated in eight contests for the Wolf Pack this year, contributing two assists and serving four minutes in penalties.  The second-year pro out of Colgate University has struck for 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points, and has 91 PIM, in 38 ECHL games with the Swamp Rabbits.

The Wolf Pack signed Goulakos to an AHL contract August 22, 2016.

The Wolf Pack’s next action is tomorrow night, Friday, March 17, when they travel to Hershey, PA for the first of back-to-back road games against the Bears.  Faceoff is 7:00 PM and all of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio.  Video streaming is available at ahllive.com.

The next Wolf Pack home game is next Friday, March 24 vs. the Providence Bruins.  That is a 7:15 PM game, and, as at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 and $2 beers through the start of the second period.

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

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

CRAWFORD: ROSTER CHANGES IN NEW YORK, HARTFORD & GREENVILLE

WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE ROSTER CHANGES

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Nicklas Jensen Recalled by Rangers, Brandon Alderson Signed to PTO

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, January 3, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have recalled forward Nicklas Jensen from the Wolf Pack and that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Brandon Alderson to a Professional Tryout (PTO) agreement.

Jensen played four games with the Rangers on an earlier recall stint this year, registering two shots on goal.  He currently leads the Wolf Pack club in points and goals, with 14-10-24 in 29 games on the season.

Alderson, 6-4 and 202 pounds, is in his fourth season of pro hockey out of the Ontario Hockey League and has skated in 17 games this year with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL.  The 24-year-old Oakville, Ontario native is tied for second on the Greenville club in goals, with ten, and has the fifth-most points on the team (19).

Alderson split last season between the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Reading Royals of the ECHL.  In 18 games with the Phantoms, he had one assist and eight penalty minutes, and he struck for 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points, and had 26 PIM, in 41 games with the Royals.

Alderson has appeared in 133 career AHL games with the Phantoms, totaling 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points, along with 109 PIM.  In 93 career ECHL contests with Reading and Greenville, Alderson has amassed 28 goals and 33 assists for 61 points, plus 86 PIM.  Prior to turning pro, Alderson logged 267 OHL games played with the Sarnia Sting and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, chalking up 69 goals and 88 assists for 157 points, along with 238 PM.

BRANDON ALDERSON’S AMATEUR AND PROFESSIONAL RECORD

The Wolf Pack are back in action tonight, in a 7:05 PM road game at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  All of the action can be heard live on News Radio 1410 WPOP, and on-line at www.newsradio1410.com and iHeartRadio.  Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.

The next home game for the Wolf Pack is this Friday night, January 6, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms coming to the XL Center for a 7:15 game.  As at all Friday-night Wolf Pack home games, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 that night, through the start of the second period.

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

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

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – BUFFALO BEAUTS ANNOUNCE PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

Hayley Williams (NWHL)NWHL NEWS: BUFFALO BEAUTS ANNOUNCE PRACTICE PLAYERS FOR 2016-17 SEASON

Signings Include Inaugural Season Forward Williams & Free Agent Camp Attendees 

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Buffalo, NYThe Buffalo Beauts have signed their practice players for the 2016-2017 season, General Manager Ric Seiling announced Thursday. Morgan Beikirch (F), Jacquie Greco (D), Kelsey Neumann (G), Kayla Parsons (D), Ashley Vesci (F), and Hayley Williams (F) have agreed to practice player contracts.

All six Beauts practice players attended the Buffalo Free Agent Camp in June. Returning to the Beauts is Hayley Williams, a member of the inaugural season team who posted 2 points (1g, 1a) in 17 games in 2015-16.

Vesci and Beikirch are both graduates of Robert Morris University. During her career at RMU, Vesci scored 12 goals and 14 assists in 96 games played. Beikirch netted 24 goals and 33 assists in 110 games played from 2005-2008.

Parsons, a Fairbanks, Alaska native, is a graduate of Norwich University, where she played 111 games and scored 68 points (16g, 52a). Greco skated in 124 games for Syracuse, where she collected 21 points (12g, 9a). Neumann played in net for SUNY Plattsburgh and Clarkson University during her college career.

The restricted free agency period began on April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and ended July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft was on June 18.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

CANTLON’S CORNER: MUST READ “COOLEST” STORY EVER WITHIN

gerry-150x130Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 15

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings 

HARTFORD, CT – The dog days of summer are upon us, and while things may be sweltering outside, things will be beginning to cool off a bit in hockey news, but not this week.

WOLF PACK NAME NEW ASSISTANT COACH

The off-season Wolf Pack moves seem like they are pretty much complete now with the naming of a new assistant coach to handle the Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman. That coach has plenty of experience.

Keith McCambridge was named last Wednesday as the team’s fourth assistant coach for the defenseman during Ken Gernander’s ten-year coaching reign.

McCambridge coached for a second time in his home Canadian province with the AHL Manitoba Moose. Last year’s Moose were not very impressive finishing with the third worst record in the AHL (26-41-4-5) with just 61 points. They led only the Springfield Falcons and the Iowa Wild. He was relieved of his duties in April by the parent Winnipeg Jets and replaced by Pascal Vincent.

McCambridge’s hockey resume includes coaching and playing with 532 AHL games as an assistant and head coach.

He was with the second edition of the Winnipeg Jets and managed their prospects in St. John’s for four years. He was an assistant coach for the first edition of the AHL Manitoba Moose from 2009 through 2011.

McCambridge’s first coaching stint came in ECHL with the Anchorage, Alaska-based Aces (216 games). He spent one season as the assistant coach then two years as a head coach before ex-Wolf Pack and current Bridgeport head coach, Brent Thompson, took over the reins.

McCambridge played in 378 games in the AHL with nine goals, 21 assists for 30 points and added 1,057 PIM. He was known as a hard-nosed, physical defensive defenseman and a solid team leader and locker room guy. His playing days included stops in St. John, Providence, Houston, and Cleveland. McCambridge also played in 83 games in the original IHL with Las Vegas and had three games with the first edition with the Manitoba Moose.

The last three years of McCambridge’s playing career were in Alaska where he served as a player/assistant coach. He was also the captain all three of those seasons. Over 166 games, McCambridge had five goals and 21 points and 375 PIM. The team won the Kelly Cup title in his last season as a player.

McCambridge had a 282-game junior career played primarily with the WHL Swift Current Broncos where he tallied six goals and 39 points and 570 PIM. The Broncos made it to the Memorial Cup final in 1993 but were knocked out by Laval.

He would revenge that loss to Laval in his last season of junior hockey. Traded at the deadline to the Kamloops Blazers, they went on to win the WHL playoffs and went to the Memorial Cup where the Blazers went undefeated and beat the host team Laval by the score of 4-3, coincidentally the same score they eliminated his Swift Current team by two years earlier.

McCambridge was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 8th round 201st overall in the 1994 Draft.

US HOCKEY HALL OF FAME

Congratulations to Enfield, CT native Craig Janney on his being named to the US Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Janney was a product of Connecticut high school hockey in the early 1980’s. During that time, the Connecticut developed a reputation as a viable player in hockey scene. Janney, and Cheshire’s Brian Leetch, Trumbull’s Drury’s, Ted and Chris, and Hamden’s Todd Hall – who would go on to play for the Wolf Pack – were the pride of the Nutmeg State.

Janney’s NHL career spanned 760 games with 188 goals 563 assists for 751 points and highest per a game assist average for a US born player.

He was drafted in the first round of the 1986 entry draft by the Boston Bruins. Janney was selected 13th overall and exited Boston College after his sophomore season to be paired with Cam Neely and formed one of the most effective one-two offensive combos in NHL history.

The apex of his Bruins career was in 1990-91 when he led the team with 92 points as the Bruins went on to the Stanley Cup final, but lost to the Edmonton Oilers.

Janney was traded the following season in a blockbuster deadline deal with the St. Louis Blues for Adam Oates where he was hooked up with another prolific sniper, Brett Hull.

He tallied 106 points and led the Blues the following season where he set up Hull for many of his 54 goals.

Janney also played for Phoenix (nee Arizona), San Jose, Winnipeg and ended his NHL career with the New York Islanders.

His collegiate career at Boston College was tremendous. In Janney’s sophomore season he established regular season conference marks for assists in a season, 51 with (55 total assists) and total points 74 had (83 points in total). Both records still stand today. BC was eliminated by Minnesota in the NCAA Final Four semifinals which at the time was a total goals determination based upon a two-game series.

His high school career saw him help lead Enfield to back-to-back state titles. As an Enfield freshman, Janney’s squad knocked off the East Haven Yellow Jackets 5-4 in the Division II title. Elevated to Division I, the following year, the Raiders (nee Eagles) defeated the ND-WH Green Knights 5-4 before Janney departed the next year for prep school at nearby Deerfield Academy just over the CT/MA line in Longmeadow.

Enfield has a combined program with the other high school Enrico Fermi.

The other two inductees include Normand “Bill” Belisle (Manville, Rhode Island) whose coaching career at national powerhouse prep school, Mt. St. Charles Mounties (Woonsocket, RI). The program was one of the most successful high school programs in the region and the country.

Belisle had a career coaching record of 990-183-37, a winning percentage of .818 and won 26 consecutive Rhode Island Met A-League state titles from 1978-2003. He coached the program for 42 years, and his son is the present head coach. During the elder Belisle’s tenure behind the bench, that period saw New England hockey grow in national prominence. That fame also brought along Belisle, John Gardner of Avon Old Farms, the late Lou Astorino of Hamden, and the rise of Catholic Memorial in Massachusetts high school hockey.

Belisle had 20 eventual NHL’ers emerge from the program including ex-Hartford Whaler, Brian Lawton, who was a number one overall pick in 1983 by the Minnesota North Stars. Bryan Berard was also a number one pick overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1995, though he never played for them. Berard’s rights were traded to the Islanders for ex-CT Whale, Wade Redden. Berard played with the Rangers and Islanders. Goalie Brian Boucher and defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who also played with the Rangers for two years. Schneider was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame along with Chris Drury in 2015.

The last inductees were the US Gold medal winning 1996 World Cup team that went 6-0-1-0 in the tournament, including one of the fiercest opening games in any tournament, a 5-3 win over Canada. They then went on to beat Team Canada in the title game in Montreal at the Bell Centre (nee Molson Centre) by the same score and outscored their opponents by a total of 37-18.

Brett Hull had seven goals and 11 points. 16 players from that squad are in the US Hockey Hall of Fame.  

US WJC EVALUATION CAMP AND TOURNEY

UConn’s Tage Thompson has certainly made a case for himself.

Thompson was a standout at the US National Evaluation Camp held in Plymouth, MI this past weekend as the team prepares the World Junior Hockey Championship squad to play in the Christmas-time tournament that will be played this year in Toronto and Montreal.

Thompson scored a hat trick (all even-strength goals) and had four points on the US Blue squad in their opening 8-1 drubbing of Finland.

If that weren’t impressive enough, Thompson went on to pop in two more goals in the following game in a 6-4 win over Sweden.

Then in tourney portion, the US squad knocked off Sweden again by the score of 4-3. Thompson was scoreless but has 11 shots on goal. His 21 shots on goals in the tourney were the most for the US squad.

The US team won the tournament with a strong 5-1 win over Canada.  Thompson played on a line with two players who he will play against this season in Hockey East play. Both players are with Boston College, Clayton Keller, and Kieffer Bellows.

MEANWHILE

In the big summer European hockey tournament held in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, one that Canada has won nine years in a row, the US U-18 team won their first game in overtime 4-3 over Finland and then defeated Switzerland by the same score in regulation.

The U-18 team features former Avon Old Farms product Ben Mirageas, goalie Cayden Primeau (was in net against the Swiss) the son of former Whalers Keith Primeau and another former Whaler’s offspring, Mark Kastelic, the son of Ed Kastelic. Both Primeau and Mirageas will play US junior hockey this season with the Bloomington (Ill) Thunder and Lincoln (NE) Stars (USHL) respectively.

ON THE MOVE

The AHL to Euro flow continues to grow as Marc-Andre Gragnani goes from the Albany Devils to Dynamo Minsk (Belarus-KHL) and ex-Sound Tiger, Blair Riley goes from the Stockton Thunder to the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland-EIHL).

Justin Shuggs, who played with the Charlotte Checkers last season, is on a tryout contract with Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL). Vinny Saponari, an ex-Wolf Pack who played with three AHL teams and ECHL team last year, was cut before Dynamo Riga left for a five-game pre-season exhibition tour.

The AHL to Euro list stands at 64.

Former Wolf Pack, Danny Kristo, re-signs with St. Louis on a one-year, two-way deal at $575K-NHL/$175K-AHL.That’s a $100K reduction on the AHL salary side from last year after leading Chicago (AHL) with 25 goals and second for the Wolves in points with 48 points.

Former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Danny Federico, signs an ECHL deal with South Carolina after playing with Kelly Cup champion Allen last year. Fellow Bobcat alum goalie, Eric Hartzell, returns from Heilbronner (Germany DEL-2) and signs with the Ft. Wayne Komets.

Ex-Sound Tigers, Darryl Bootland (Colorado), and Guy Lebouef (Elmira), each sign one-year deals with their ECHL teams from a season ago.

Former Whaler/Nighthawk/UCONN player, Todd Krygier, has been hired as an assistant coach with the Western Michigan University Broncos (NCHC) last Thursday.

Krygier has been the head coach of Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) since June 5, 2013, where he is replacing another ex-Whaler, Jim McKenzie. He played 543 NHL games after being a 1998 Supplemental Draft pick (1st round, 16th overall) by the Whalers. He played 13 games in New Haven after four years at UConn, then a NCAA Division III program in the ECAC North Conference. He played 130 games for the Whalers with 31 goals, 24 assists, and 55 points.

Krygier also played with Washington and Anaheim in his NHL career and ended his playing career in 2000 after two years with Orlando (IHL) as the league folded after the season and six teams merged with the AHL.

He has five children with two playing NCAA Division I sports. Krygier’s son, Brock, plays hockey with the Arizona State Sun Devils after transferring from Michigan State. Daughter Natalie plays Division I soccer with the University of Iowa after transferring from UConn after one year. Daughter Grace is a committed to Iowa but is still in high school.

The two younger sons, twins Cole and Christian, are playing Bantam hockey in Michigan in the Little Caesars U-16 team (HPHL). They made news this week by making an early commitment to the University of Wisconsin Badgers (Big 10) for the 2019-20 season and will be junior hockey eligible next year in the US or Canada.

Christian and Cole were drafted in this past spring’s OHL Priority Draft by the London Knights, but only Cole was selected by the Lincoln Stars in the USHL Draft.

A former Whaler draft pick, Jim Culhane, was accepted into the Broncos Ring of Honor for retired players last weekend.

Culhane was drafted in the 11th round, 214th overall by the Whalers in 1984. He played six games in Hartford notching an assist in his third year of pro hockey. He retired from playing after a five-year minor pro career and went to WMU (1993-2010) as an assistant coach for six years and another 11 as head coach.

Recently graduated Yale University player Stu Wilson has already hung up his skates and has accepted a position as USHL Manager of Operations in their Chicago-based office. The Pittsford, NY native did play three AHL games with Rochester after his collegiate season was over and scored his first and only pro goal in his second game.

Wilson’s father Wayne is the head coach for R.I.T. (Rochester Institute of Technology) (AHC).

David Musil, the nephew of ex-Whaler and Ranger Bobby Holik, has signed a one-year, two-way deal with Edmonton at $600K-NHL/$75K-AHL.

Sam Gagner, son of former New Haven Nighthawk and Ranger Dave Gagner, signs a one-year $650K cap friendly deal with Columbus.

Drew Omicioli, who played at Loomis Chaffe (Windsor) and is an ex-Danbury Trasher, takes a head coaching job with SG Cortina (Italy). The team will play in a newly formed Alps Hockey League featuring Italian and Austrian based in the Alps region teams next year. He was the head coach last year for the Louisiana IceGators (SPHL) who suspended operations for a year while renovation work is done on their arena the CajunDome.

Joining him will be New Hartford native Jordan Cicarello who played with Louisiana and also skated with Florida (ECHL) and South Carolina (ECHL) last season. He also has played at Sacred Heart University, FHL Danbury Whalers and South Kent Prep in his career.

Goalie Andy Illes, a former Salisbury Prep player, signs a deal with Elmira (ECHL) joining his seventh ECHL team in two years since graduating from Cornell.

Former Sound Tiger, Mike Radja, returns from Belfast to play for Elmira (ECHL).

Sacred Heart University Pioneers (AHC) assistant coach, Joel Beal, in his fourth year with the program, has been elevated to associate head coach under head coach C.J. Marrotolo (North Haven, CT).

Three more collegians sign pro contracts. Ryan Chyzyk of North Dakota (Rockford) and two others signed with Idaho (ECHL), Kevin Glen (Penn State) and Will Merchant (Maine). To date, 188 collegians have signed North American pro deals for next season and on August 15th the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes for the Hobey Baker winner will commence.

ELLERY AWARD WINNER

Congratulations to long time AHL writer, Patrick Williams, on being awarded the AHL James Ellery Award for coverage of the AHL.

Williams, based in Winnipeg reported on the AHL Moose in their second incarnation in Manitoba and Williams also covers the NHL Winnipeg Jets for NHL.com.

Williams coverage of the AHL and Hockey, in general, has taken him all over the North American map.

He was the longtime writer covering the Philadelphia Phantoms before the building the Spectrum was closed and demolished and the team relocated to Glen Falls for five years before going to Allentown, PA last season.

Williams has covered Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a period and covered the OHL for several years for the Canadian Press.

Finding his way to Winnipeg was a stroke of luck after the Phantoms left Philadelphia. His wife, Carrie Dymont, took a fellowship in studying aboriginal cultures, and the largest concentration is North America is near Winnipeg! So after losing his team and building in Philadelphia, he got the opportunity to continue his passion, and it blossomed when the Atlanta Thrashers were relocated to Winnipeg and gave birth to the Winnipeg Jets 2.0.

Covering the AHL comes with little money or glory, so it is great to see one of the true lovers of the AHL and our ever shrinking band of writing brothers and sisters get so richly rewarded after covering games in silence in Lowell to raucous Hershey.

Well done Pat.

“COOLEST” HOCKEY STORY EVER?

Odd as it may sound, hockey in the South Pole needs some ice?

Ryan Bahl, a hockey player from San Diego, CA, is bidding to get in the Guinness Book of World Records after he was told his playing on all six continents didn’t qualify as a record because he hadn’t played on all seven continents – meaning he needed to add the South Pole! So, Bahl has started an ice roots movement to change that and bring an ice arena to the bottom of the globe.

Bahl has played in such novel and unique hockey spots, starting in junior hockey with his hometown San Diego team in the WSHL and Las Vegas in the defunct MWHL. Bahl has been in Sweden for the HC Lions a Division 3 team, Iceland for UMFK Esja, Turkey for SK Beledivasi, the Czech Republic HC Zdar Sazavou in Division 3. Spain S.A.D. Majadahonda, Canterbury Red Devils in New Zealand and the short season NZIHL and in Cape Town (Storm), South Africa in the Western Province Ice Hockey League (WPIHL).

He presently is in Chile playing and coaching.

Read about this exciting developing chapter in hockey history from a story by Andy Potts at the IIHF.com HERE

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HOCKEY

Speaking of the NZIHL, the defending champion Sky Sports Southern Stampede (Queenstown) coached by Berlin native and former Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack, Adam Blanchette, have qualified for the finals with a three-way race for the second spot between the Botany Swarm, West Auckland Admirals, and Canterbury.

Former Danbury Whaler Matt Puntureri plays for Canterbury. The semifinals are played the weekend of August 19-21 and the Finals the following weekend August 27th and 28th.

The Australian Goodall Cup Semifinals and Final will be played in Melbourne on August 27-28. The games are single elimination to be played at the O’Brien Group Arena.

The defending champs, the Newcastle North Stars, are led by their captain and Cheshire native Rob “Bert” Malloy. They look to repeat and currently sit in second place (14-7-0-1-3) for 48 points, ten behind the league leader Melbourne Ice. They are tied in points with the Perth Thunder and Canberra (CBR) Brave as they head into the final three weeks of the regular season.

All four teams have qualified for the tournament.