Tag Archives: Albany Devils

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD PHILIP McRAE

McRae-Action-Shot-STL-0892a56c6bWOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD PHILIP McRAE

*           *           *           *

Six-year Vet has Played 264 Career AHL Games

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 24, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Philip McRae to an AHL contract.

A veteran of six pro seasons, the 6-2, 201-pound McRae spent this past year with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, skating in 35 games and registering nine goals and six assists for 15 points, along with 33 penalty minutes.

A second-round (33rd overall) NHL draft pick by the St. Louis Blues in 2008, McRae suited up for 15 NHL games with the Blues in his rookie season of 2010-11, and contributed one goal and two assists.  The 26-year-old Apple Valley, MN native has logged 264 career AHL contests with the Peoria Rivermen, Chicago Wolves and the Condors, amassing totals of 66 goals and 65 assists for 131 points, plus 122 PIM.  He also spent one season, the 2013-14 campaign, playing in Finland’s top league, the SM-liiga.  McRae split that year between Tappara Tampere and the Espoo Blues, with a total output of eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points, along with 14 PIM.

Prior to turning pro, McRae skated for five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), chalking up 65 goals and 102 assists for 167 points, and serving 206 minutes in penalties, in 240 career games with the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers.

McRae’s father, Basil McRae, enjoyed a 576-game NHL career from 1981-97, and his uncle, Chris McRae, played 237 career AHL games from 1984-91.CaptureThe Wolf Pack’s twentieth-anniversary 2016-17 season begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.  A special discount package is available for the home opener, including one Red-level ticket to the October 14 game, as well as one complimentary Red-level ticket to an October, November or December Wolf Pack home game of the purchaser’s choice.  Plus, every package purchased will feature a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.  The Opening Night package is priced at $30, and will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, August 24, through September 7.  The special package is available only through the Wolf Pack’s official website, hartfordwolfpack.com.

Wolf Pack 2016-17 single-game tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 13 at 12:00 noon, 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.

CANTLON’S CORNER: GUESS WHO’S BACK FOR THE PACK…OR IS HE… PACK OFF-SEASON REPORT

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT –  There’s always speculation on a team that didn’t make the playoffs in who’s coming back and who isn’t. The Hartford Wolf Pack have, as most AHL teams do, had some turnover. One player who’s future was an unknown had that question answered this past week.

MALCOLM IS BACK

Last season’s best insurance policy in the Pack net, Jeff Malcolm, has been resigned by the Rangers to an AHL deal for the 2016-17 season.

The question for Malcolm though is, “Will he be in Hartford or Greenville?

Looking at the goalie depth chart with Magnus Hellberg (making $100K-AHL last season), Mackenzie Skapski in the final year of his entry-level deal ($65K-AHL) and rookie Brandon Halverson (starting the first year of a three entry level contract) Greenville seems more likely for Malcolm.

We thought that last season too, but he spent significant time in Hartford early in the year because both Mackenzie Skapski (right hip labrum)i and Cedrick Desjardins (torn right ACL) were coming major surgeries in the off season.

Malcolm spent a better part of the second half as Magnus Hellberg’s backup when Skapski had troubles in net and was dispatched to Greenville was highly respected by his teammates and coaching staff on how he handled the backup role. Malcolm won some significant games including a critical 3-0 shutout in Springfield on March 20th in the Pack’s valiant, but unsuccessful bid to make the Calder Cup playoffs.

Malcolm’s season was ended prematurely in the waning weeks of the regular season suffering a fractured larynx in practice taking a shot similar to Providence Malcolm Subban injury and was rushed to a local surgeon for successful emergency surgery,

Malcolm, is entering amazingly his fourth pro season in 2016-17, and his first three seasons have all been in the Wolf Pack/New York Ranger organization. Last season, he played a career-high 14 AHL games with the Wolf Pack and tied his AHL career best in wins with seven, going 7-5-0 in AHL action. The 6-2, 185-pound Malcolm also established personal AHL bests of a 2.41 goals-against average and a 91.2% save percentage, and registered his first two career AHL shutouts.

Malcolm also appeared in nine ECHL games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits recording a record of 5-2-2 with a 3.40 GAA and an 89.4% save percentage. Malcolm also played in the ECHL All-Star game.

Originally signed by the Wolf Pack on July 17, 2013, Malcolm has seen action in 31 career AHL games, posting a 15-12-0 record, a 2.78 GAA and a 90.3% save percentage. In 64 total ECHL outings with Greenville, Malcolm is 35-21-6, with a 2.79 GAA, a 91.3% save percentage and one shutout.

Malcolm capped off his four-year Yale career in 2012-13 by backstopping the Bulldogs to their first-ever NCAA “Frozen Four” title in school history. Malcolm was 20-6-2 in 30 appearances for Yale in 2012-13, with a 2.24 goals-against average, a 91.9% save percentage and three shutouts. Those numbers represented the second-highest single-season win total, the third-best save percentage and fourth-lowest GAA in Yale Men’s Hockey history. Malcolm also finished second among ECACHL goaltenders in wins and tied for third in shutouts.

In his four years at Yale, Malcolm appeared in 67 games, amassing a record of 36-21-4 with a 2.60 GAA, a 90.7% save percentage and six shutouts. Those stats rank him fourth all-time in school history in wins, GAA and save percentage.

ON THE MOVE

Former Wolf Pack Alex Krushelnyski, son of former New York Ranger, Mike Krushelnyski, signs an AHL deal with Binghamton.

Former Wolf Pack forward Andrew Rowe, who played for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he added seven goals and eight points in eleven games before an injury prematurely ended his season, has signed a one-year AHL deal with them for the upcoming season. The Sound Tigers also signed Finnish goalie Christopher Gibson for a one-year, two-way deal.

Eric O’Dell, who split the year with Rochester and Binghamton, signs with HK Sochi (Russia-KHL). Joining him in AHL’ers heading to Europe include Greg Rallo of Texas who goes to Iserlohn (Germany-DEL) and Drew Shore Stockton to EHC Kloten (Switzerland-LNA). Clark Seymour of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

The AHL to Euro list now stands at 70.

Ex-Pack defenseman Vladimir Denisov re-signs with Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia-KHL).

Former Sound Tigers goalie in 2005-06, Frederic Cloutier, goes from Kookoo (Finland Division-1) to Asiago AS (Italy-AlpsHL).

Ex-Pack and Sound Tiger, Mark Lee, split last year between Italy (SHC Fassa) and Denmark (SonderjyskE) signs with ETC Crimmitschau (Germany DEL-2).

Ex-CT Whale, Shayne Wiebe, leaves EHC Olten (Switzerland-LNB) for HC Val Pusteria (Italy-AlpsHL).

Former Quinnipiac Bobcat and Sound Tiger, Mike Dalhuisen, goes from Esbjerg(Denmark) to Torpedo Kamenogorsk (Russia-VHL).

Former Salisbury Prep player Kevin Quick goes from Nottingham (England-EIHL) to Beijing to play for the China Dragon in the ALIH (Asia League Ice Hockey) team.

Several new assistant coaches were named in the AHL this week. Ex-Sound Tiger Jay Leach and Trent Whitfield join Kevin Dean’s staff in Providence. Leach comes over from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Whitfield from Calgary (WHL). Leach was a captain with Providence and when he played at Providence College. Whitfield was also a P-Bruins captain and AHL All-Star selection finished his playing career in Portland wearing the “C” as well.

Chris Taylor from Rochester and JD Forrest (EC Salzburg-2 in Austria) become a part of Clark Donatelli’s staff in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Jason King was named an assistant with Utica moving over from St. John’s where he spent the last three years, two of them as an assistant coach and the final year as the Director of Hockey Operations.

The defending Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters will enter their tenth year this upcoming season and drop the Lake Erie name and become the Cleveland Monsters. After the poor run both on and off the ice as the Cleveland Barons they adopted the Lake Erie prefix and have become one of the best franchises in the AHL. They join a city of champions along with fellow tenant at Q, the NBA champion, Cleveland Cavaliers.

AHL switches have seen Albany lose two defensemen, Brandon Burlon, who signs with Tucson and Dan Kelly signs with San Jose.

Mike Angelidis, Syracuse’s captain the last four years and who had some memorable battles against the Wolf Pack, heads West and signs an AHL deal with Stockton.

Former Yale defenseman Gus Young goes from San Jose (AHL) to Chicago (AHL).

Going from Stockton, after spending half the year in Adirondack (ECHL) and Charlotte, is forward Mitch Heard.

American International College (AIC) who play in the Atlantic Hockey Conference (AHC) in Springfield is leaving the West Springfield Olympia Arena and will make the MassMutual Center their new home starting this fall along with the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds.

AHL teams will be wearing their white uniforms at home until Christmas break and then switch to the darker uniforms after the holidays. The Wolf Pack will also be unveiling new jerseys to mark their 20th anniversary season.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has unveiled a new look as their parent team of the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and they will adopt the Penguins look from their Stanley Cup winning era in 1991 and 1992.

AEG, the former operator of the XL Center, continues their restructuring of their worldwide hockey portfolio. Here in the states, they were replaced as the building operator of the Ontario Citizen Business Bank Arena. They had a ten-year run that’s started in October 2008 when the building opened at a cost of $150 million. SMG also runs the Ontario (CA) Convention Center and signed a five-year deal with a five-year option to start managing the facility. The deal became effective on July 1st.

AEG will still own and operate the AHL Ontario Reign. They did divest themselves of the ECHL Manchester Monarchs to the Boston-based PPI Sports LLC after 16 years. The Monarchs were in the AHL for 15 years winning their lone Calder Cup in 2015, their last year in the AHL. The organization flipped their franchises as part of the creation of the AHL Pacific Division. The ECHL Monarchs were the ECHL East Division champs last season.

The Kings will still be their ECHL affiliate next season, but are no longer under their umbrella. They could see a change in affiliation in a few years as part of the overall minor league restructuring that has been underway the last two years. The NHL/AHL/ECHL, 31/31/31 (eventually 32/32/32) model will marry the franchises and keep them closer to each other to reduce overall costs in travel and salary as part of the current NHL-CBA agreement.

AEG shut the doors of one of their two German DEL teams, the Hamburg Freezers in June, who drew over 9,000 per game.

One-time AHL Eddie Shore winner, Andy Delmore, goes from the University of Windsor (OUAA) to Toledo (ECHL) to be their assistant coach.

In a big collegiate move, Quinnipiac University (ECACHL) scored a transfer coup as Boston University’s (HE) Brandon Fortunato will become a Bobcat after sitting out the mandatory NCAA one-year transfer waiting period in 2017-18. He is still eligible to play junior hockey in the USHL since he doesn’t turn 21 until next June. The Fargo Force (USHL hold his rights 2014) still have his rights. He was originally drafted by Green Bay (USHL) in 2012 and the following year by Vityaz Podolsk in the KHL Draft.

SUMMER HOCKEY

The US squad at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia captured silver despite losing 4-3 to the host Czech Republic. The US squad received a strong performance from Cayden Primeau in net with 33 saves. The trophy returned to the host country for the first time in nine years that Canada didn’t win.

The US team advanced to the semifinals beating the Czechs 4-2 on the strength of a Ryan Poehling hat trick. Primeau, the son of ex-Whaler Keith Primeau, made 24 saves.

Poehling played this year at Lakeville H.S. in Minnesota where the assistant coach is former Wolf Pack defenseman, Jake Taylor.

The American team knocked off the Russians 4-3 in overtime in the semi-finals overcoming three one-goal deficits. Primeau was named the game MVP with 38 saves.

The Wolf Pack’s current assistant coach and assistant GM, Pat Boller, is one of the team’s assistant coaches.

At the Five Nations Tournament, that’s being held in Frisco, Texas – where the temperature outside was 105-107 degrees with a heat index of 112 or better – made being in the ice arena the place to be.

The American squad won the tournament for the second season in a row . The team went undefeated (4-0-0) and beat Germany 9-2 while outshooting their opponents, 54-13. They outscored the opposition 31-6 over the four games.

The team features some familiar names of sons of ex-Whalers.

Christian Krygier, the son of Whalers/UCONN/Nighthawk fame, Todd Krygier, earned two assists in the final game and had five points over the four games all assists.

Jack Drury, the son of Ted Drury and nephew to the Rangers Director of Player Development, Chris Drury of Trumbull, scored his first goal of the tournament along with four assists.

The US U-17 squad beat Switzerland 6-2 in the first game.

Krygier earned two assists in the first game while Drury picked up an assist.

In their second game, the US crushed Slovakia 10-1 at the Dr. Pepper Arena with Drury providing three assists and Krygier adding a helper.

The American squad then beat the Czech Republic 6-1 in the third game. Drury picked up another assist.

Both Drury and Krygier will play US junior hockey in the fall. Krygier will play with Lincoln (USHL) while Drury with Waterloo (USHL).

The team GM is Ken Rausch (Danbury) who played high school hockey at Immaculate High.

The Czech team features defenseman Zack Malik, son of former Whalers, Rangers and Beast of New Haven defenseman, Marek Malik.

The Canadian team had ex-New Haven Senator Darren Rumble as one of their assistant coaches.

ISLANDERS SAGA

The soap opera that is the New York Islanders and the Nassau Coliseum got a bit more interesting last week.

The New York Post reported that secret talks are underway for the possible return to the Coliseum. A Chief Nassau county official neither confirmed or denied that on the possibilities. Read the latest saga HERE!

CRAWFORD: PACK ANNOUNCE ’16-’17 SEASON SCHEDULE

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE 2016-17 GAME SCHEDULE

*           *           *           *

Begin twentieth anniversary Season October 14 at XL Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 22, 2016:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the Wolf Pack schedule for 2016-17, the team’s twentieth anniversary season.

The 76-game regular-season slate begins Friday, October 14 at the XL Center with the Wolf Pack’s home opener, a 7:15 PM contest vs. the St. John’s IceCaps.

A special discount package is available for the home opener, including one Red-level ticket to the October 14 game, as well as one complimentary Red-level ticket to an October, November or December Wolf Pack home game of the purchaser’s choice.  Plus, every package purchased will feature a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.  The Opening Night package is priced at $30, and will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, August 24, through September 7.  The special package is available only through the Wolf Pack’s official website, hartfordwolfpack.com.

The home opener will be the first of 12 Friday nights on the Wolf Pack’s home docket, and the club will also have ten Saturday-night home games.  Seven Sunday home dates will also be featured, along with one Tuesday night and eight Wednesdays.

Wednesday, November 2 is the date of the Wolf Pack’s third annual “Sonar’s Edu-skate” school-day home game, which will face off at 11:00 AM.  All Friday-night home games will be 7:15 PM face-offs and the rest of the non-Sunday home outings will start at 7:00 PM, except for Saturday, January 7 and Saturday, February 4, which will face off at 7:30, Saturday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve), which is a 5:00 faceoff, and Saturday, March 4, which is a 3:00 start.  All Sunday home games will be 5:00 PM faceoffs, except for March 5, which will be a 3:00 start.

The Wolf Pack’s most familiar adversaries will be Atlantic Division foes the Springfield Thunderbirds and Providence Bruins, both of which the Pack will battle ten times each (five home, five away).  The Pack will see the rest of their divisional rivals, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Hershey Bears, Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, eight times each (four home, four away).

In addition to those 52 divisional games, the Wolf Pack will play 24 contests against North Division competition.  Head Coach Ken Gernander’s Wolf Pack will line up four times (two home, two away) each vs. the Albany Devils, Rochester Americans, Toronto Marlies, Utica Comets and the IceCaps, and will see the Binghamton Senators and Syracuse Crunch twice (one home, one away) each.

Wolf Pack 2016-17 single-game tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 13 at 12:00 noon, at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.  Also on September 13, similar to the past three years, fans will be invited to participate in the ice-painting process during the installation of the XL Center ice surface.  Fans are encouraged to come to the XL Center between 12 noon and 1:00 PM on September 13, to take paintbrush in hand and apply some of the special red and blue “Jet Ice” paint to the newly-frozen rink.  Those interested are asked to come to the XL Center atrium, where Wolf Pack staff will be on hand to escort them to ice level.

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.

HARTFORD WOLF PACK 2016-17 SCHEDULE

(All Home Games in Caps, All Times Eastern)

Fri.      Oct.    14      ST. JOHN’S                 7:15
Sat.     Oct.    15      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.     7:05
Sat.     Oct.    22      @ Lehigh Valley           7:05
Sun.    Oct.    23      ST. JOHN’S                 5:00
Wed.   Oct.    26      HERSHEY                   7:00
Fri.      Oct.    28      LEHIGH VALLEY         7:15
Sat.     Oct.    29      UTICA                         7:00
Wed.   Nov.     2      LEHIGH VALLEY         11:00 AM
Fri.      Nov.     4      BRIDGEPORT             7:15
Sat.     Nov.     5      @ Providence              7:05
Fri.      Nov.   11      @ Rochester               7:05
Sat.     Nov.   12      @ Utica                       7:30
Sun.    Nov.   13      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 5:00
Wed.   Nov.   16      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sat.     Nov.   19      @ Binghamton             7:05
Sun.    Nov.   20      PROVIDENCE             5:00
Wed.   Nov.   23      BRIDGEPORT             7:00
Fri.      Nov.   25      ALBANY                      7:15
Sat.     Nov.   26      @ Lehigh Valley           7:05
Sat.     Dec.     3      @ Toronto                   5:00
Sun.    Dec.     4      @ Toronto                   3:00
Wed.   Dec.     7      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sat.     Dec.   10      TORONTO                   7:00
Sun.    Dec.   11      @ Providence              3:05
Wed.   Dec.   14      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 7:00
Fri.      Dec.   16      SYRACUSE                 7:15
Sat.     Dec.   17      @ Hershey                  7:00
Wed.   Dec.   21      @ Syracuse                 7:00
Mon.   Dec.   26      @ Bridgeport               7:00
Tue.    Dec.   27      PROVIDENCE             7:00
Fri.      Dec.   30      @ Springfield              7:05
Sat.     Dec.   31      ALBANY                      5:00
Tue.    Jan.      3      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.     7:05
Fri.      Jan.      6      LEHIGH VALLEY         7:15
Sat.     Jan.      7      BRIDGEPORT             7:30
Sun.    Jan.      8      @ Providence              3:05
Wed.   Jan.    11      @ Rochester               7:05
Fri.      Jan.    13      @ St. John’s               6:00
Sat.     Jan.    14      @ St. John’s               6:00
Fri.      Jan.    20      TORONTO                   7:15
Sat.     Jan.    21      ROCHESTER               7:00
Sun.    Jan.    22      @ Providence              5:05
Wed.   Jan.    25      HERSHEY                   7:00
Fri.      Jan.    27      @ Bridgeport               7:00
Sat.     Jan.    28      PROVIDENCE             7:00
Fri.      Feb.     3      UTICA                         7:15
Sat.     Feb.     4      ROCHESTER               7:30
Fri.      Feb.   10      @ Springfield              7:05
Sat.     Feb.   11      @ Hershey                  7:00
Fri.      Feb.   17      @ Lehigh Valley           7:05
Sat.     Feb.   18      @ Lehigh Valley           7:05
Sun.    Feb.   19      SPRINGFIELD             5:00
Fri.      Feb.   24      HERSHEY                   7:15
Sat.     Feb.   25      @ Springfield              7:05
Sun.    Feb.   26      BINGHAMTON             5:00
Wed.   Mar.     1      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sat.     Mar.     4      LEHIGH VALLEY         3:00
Sun.    Mar.     5      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 3:00
Fri.      Mar.    10      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.     7:05
Sat.     Mar.    11      @ Springfield              7:05
Sun.    Mar.    12      @ Bridgeport               3:00
Fri.      Mar.    17      @ Hershey                  7:00
Sat.     Mar.    18      @ Hershey                  7:00
Tue..   Mar.    21      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.     7:05
Fri.      Mar.    24      PROVIDENCE             7:15
Sat.     Mar.    25      BRIDGEPORT             7:00
Sun.    Mar.    26      PROVIDENCE             5:00
Fri.      Mar.    31      HERSHEY                   7:15
Sat.     Apr.      1      @ Albany                    5:00
Sun.    Apr.      2      @ Providence              3:05
Fri.      Apr.      7      SPRINGFIELD             7:15
Sat.     Apr.      8      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 7:00
Sun.    Apr.      9      @ Bridgeport               3:00
Wed.   Apr.    12      @ Albany                    7:00
Fri.      Apr.    14      @ Utica                       7:00
Sat.     Apr.    15      @ Springfield              7:05

HOME

Fri.      Oct.    14      ST. JOHN’S                 7:15
Sun.    Oct.    23      ST. JOHN’S                 5:00
Wed.   Oct.    26      HERSHEY                   7:00
Fri.      Oct.    28      LEHIGH VALLEY         7:15
Sat.     Oct.    29      UTICA                         7:00
Wed.   Nov.     2      LEHIGH VALLEY         11:00 AM
Fri.      Nov.     4      BRIDGEPORT             7:15
Sun.    Nov.   13      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 5:00
Wed.   Nov.   16      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sun.    Nov.   20      PROVIDENCE             5:00
Wed.   Nov.   23      BRIDGEPORT             7:00
Fri.      Nov.   25      ALBANY                      7:15
Wed.   Dec.     7      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sat.     Dec.   10      TORONTO                   7:00
Wed.   Dec.   14      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 7:00
Fri.      Dec.   16      SYRACUSE                 7:15
Tue.    Dec.   27      PROVIDENCE             7:00
Sat.     Dec.   31      ALBANY                      5:00
Fri.      Jan.      6      LEHIGH VALLEY         7:15
Sat.     Jan.      7      BRIDGEPORT             7:30
Fri.      Jan.    20      TORONTO                   7:15
Sat.     Jan.    21      ROCHESTER               7:00
Wed.   Jan.    25      HERSHEY                   7:00
Sat.     Jan.    28      PROVIDENCE             7:00
Fri.      Feb.     3      UTICA                         7:15
Sat.     Feb.     4      ROCHESTER               7:30
Sun.    Feb.   19      SPRINGFIELD             5:00
Fri.      Feb.   24      HERSHEY                   7:15
Sun.    Feb.   26      BINGHAMTON             5:00
Wed.   Mar.     1      SPRINGFIELD             7:00
Sat.     Mar.     4      LEHIGH VALLEY         3:00
Sun.    Mar.     5      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 3:00
Fri.      Mar.    24      PROVIDENCE             7:15
Sat.     Mar.    25      BRIDGEPORT             7:00
Sun.    Mar.    26      PROVIDENCE             5:00
Fri.      Mar.    31      HERSHEY                   7:15
Fri.      Apr.      7      SPRINGFIELD             7:15
Sat.     Apr.      8      WILKES-BARRE/SCR. 7:00

ROAD

Sat.     Oct.    15      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.   7:05
Sat.     Oct.    22      @ Lehigh Valley         7:05
Sat.     Nov.     5      @ Providence            7:05
Fri.      Nov.   11      @ Rochester              7:05
Sat.     Nov.   12      @ Utica                     7:30
Sat.     Nov.   19      @ Binghamton           7:05
Sat.     Nov.   26      @ Lehigh Valley         7:05
Sat.     Dec.     3      @ Toronto                 5:00
Sun.    Dec.     4      @ Toronto                 3:00
Sun.    Dec.   11      @ Providence            3:05
Sat.     Dec.   17      @ Hershey                 7:00
Wed.   Dec.   21      @ Syracuse               7:00
Mon.   Dec.   26      @ Bridgeport             7:00
Fri.      Dec.   30      @ Springfield             7:05
Tue.    Jan.      3      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.   7:05
Sun.    Jan.      8      @ Providence            3:05
Wed.   Jan.    11      @ Rochester              7:05
Fri.      Jan.    13      @ St. John’s              6:00
Sat.     Jan.    14      @ St. John’s              6:00
Sun.    Jan.    22      @ Providence            5:05
Fri.      Jan.    27      @ Bridgeport             7:00
Fri.      Feb.   10      @ Springfield             7:05
Sat.     Feb.   11      @ Hershey                 7:00
Fri.      Feb.   17      @ Lehigh Valley         7:05
Sat.     Feb.   18      @ Lehigh Valley         7:05
Sat.     Feb.   25      @ Springfield             7:05
Fri.      Mar.    10      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.   7:05
Sat.     Mar.    11      @ Springfield             7:05
Sun.    Mar.    12      @ Bridgeport             3:00
Fri.      Mar.    17      @ Hershey                 7:00
Sat.     Mar.    18      @ Hershey                 7:00
Tue..   Mar.    21      @ Wilkes-Barre/Scr.   7:05
Sat.     Apr.      1      @ Albany                   5:00
Sun.    Apr.      2      @ Providence            3:05
Sun.    Apr.      9      @ Bridgeport             3:00
Wed.   Apr.    12      @ Albany                   7:00
Fri.      Apr.    14      @ Utica                     7:00
Sat.     Apr.    15      @ Springfield             7:05

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS ANNOUNCE FIRST-EVER EDUCATION DAY GAME

alan-fuehringSWAMP RABBITS ANNOUNCE FIRST-EVER EDUCATION DAY GAME

Local elementary students will mix math & science with hockey

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, are excited to announce the organization’s first-ever Education Day game.

Schools are invited to spend the morning at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena as the Swamp Rabbits host the Orlando Solar Bears on Thursday, Nov. 3rd at 10:30 a.m. In addition to an action-packed hockey game, students will be able to participate in on-ice activities as well as watch demonstrations and experiments from the Roper Mountain Science Center, The Greenville Zoo, The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, and Bricks 4 Kidz. Students and teachers will also receive hockey related curriculum covering math, science, geography and much more.

“Hosting an Education Day game fits very nicely with our mission to be an integrated, contributing member of the community,” Swamp Rabbits President, Chris Lewis said. Lewis continued, “We have developed tremendous relationships with many of the schools in the Upstate and this game provides a platform that enables increased activation with the schools as well as a means for introducing new fans to the game.”

While this game is geared toward school groups, the general public and ticket holders are welcome to attend and enjoy the events of the day as well. Season ticket holders who are unable to attend the morning game will receive an additional FLEX ticket in their ticket book to be used at any other regular season home game.

For more information or to reserve your school’s tickets for the Swamp Rabbits Education Day game please contact James Kalinowski or Dan LaLonde (Schools@SwampRabbits.com or 864-250-4803 / 864-250-4948).

Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all off-season long and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Ticket plans are available now and start as low as $126! Call an Account Executive today at 864-674-PUCK to secure your seats! The Swamp Rabbits open the home portion of the 2016-17 season on Friday, October 28 with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop against the Wichita Thunder.

CRAWFORD – KEITH McCAMBRIDGE NAMED ASSISTANT COACH OF THE AHL’S HARTFORD WOLF PACK

imgresKEITH McCAMBRIDGE NAMED ASSISTANT COACH OF THE AHL’S HARTFORD WOLF PACK

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

NEW YORK, August 3, 2016 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has named Keith McCambridge Assistant Coach of the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.

McCambridge, 42, joins the Rangers organization after serving the previous five seasons (2011-12 – 2015-16) as Head Coach of the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate (St. John’s IceCaps from 2011-12 – 2014-15 and Manitoba Moose in 2015-16). He posted a 179-158-23-20 record (wins-losses-overtime losses-shootout losses) during his five seasons as Head Coach of the IceCaps/Moose and guided the team to a playoff berth twice over the span.

In his first season with the team in 2011-12, McCambridge helped St. John’s finish in first place in the Atlantic Division with a 43-25-5-3 record and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. The IceCaps earned 99 points during the regular season in 2013-14 (46-23-2-5 record), and McCambridge helped the team advance to the Calder Cup Finals. In addition, McCambridge served as the Head Coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars at the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic.

Prior to becoming Head Coach of Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate, the Thompson, Manitoba, native served as an Assistant Coach with the Manitoba Moose for two seasons (2009-10 and 2010-11). In 2009-10, McCambridge worked alongside Rangers Associate Coach Scott Arniel, who was the Head Coach of the Moose. McCambridge also spent six seasons with the Alaska Aces of the ECHL (2003-04 – 2008-09), serving three seasons as a player/Assistant Coach (2003-04 – 2005-06), one season as an Assistant Coach after finishing his playing career (2006-07), and two seasons as the Aces’ Head Coach (2007-08 and 2008-09).

Prior to beginning his coaching career, McCambridge played 11 seasons of professional hockey (1995-96 – 2005-06) in the AHL, ECHL, and International Hockey League (IHL). In seven AHL seasons, he registered nine goals and 21 assists for 30 points, along with 1,057 penalty minutes in 378 games. In his final season as a player in 2005-06, McCambridge won the Kelly Cup as ECHL Champions while serving as the captain of the Alaska Aces. In addition, McCambridge helped the Kamloops Blazers win the Memorial Cup while playing his final season of junior hockey in 1994-95. He was selected by the Calgary Flames in the eighth round, 201st overall, of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.

McCambridge joins Head Coach Ken Gernander and Assistant Coach Pat Boller on the Wolf Pack coaching staff.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 14

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – While the temperature here in the northeast is plenty hot,  and people are moving a tad slower, in the hockey world, things are still moving along at a brisk pace as teams all over the world prepare for the upcoming hockey season.

ON THE MOVE

Travis Oleksuk, a critical center ice faceoff playing center, heads to Europe to play for HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL). The team is near the Austrian border and so they compete in the Austrian Elite Hockey League. Joining Oleksuk is former Hartford Wolf Pack forward, Andrew Yogan, who’s packing up his skateboard and heading to HC Bolzano as well. This past season, Yogan spent most of it with the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL) where he was the property of the Florida Panthers. Yogan had three AHL tours last season, first in Iowa, then briefly in Syracuse and lastly with St. John’s. He was sent back to Cincinnati for the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs.

From Year Two of the Wolf Pack, Garett Bembridge, who played seven games with the Pack after stints with three ECHL teams last year, starting with Indianapolis, followed by Rapid City, South Dakota and then ending up with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at the ECHL Trade deadline, heads back to Canada to play Canadian senior league hockey with the Rosetown Redwings of the Chinook Senior Hockey League (CSHL) that operates in Alberta.

Former Wolf Pack forward Layne Ulmer has left playoff champion Asiago AS (Italy-LIHG). With the league changing direction, Ulmer signs with Cardiff (Wales-EIHL). Defenseman Bretton Stamler who played with the Pack and CT Whale changes his European address going from Augsburger (Germany-DEL) to Frederikshavn IK (Denmark-DHL) were among his new teammates is ex-Pack David Liffiton.

Defenseman Bretton Stamler, who played with the Pack and CT Whale, changes his European address going from Augsburger (Germany-DEL) to Frederikshavn IK (Denmark-DHL) where among his new teammates is ex-Pack, David Liffiton.

Brandon DeFazio, a former Bridgeport Sound Tiger, and the son of one-time Nighthawk Dean DeFazio leaves Providence to play for Texas next season.

Chris Langkow, another ex-Sound Tiger, goes from Elmira (ECHL) to HDD Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-AEHL).

Joining Oleksuk and Yogan in the ever growing AHL’ers heading to Europe list is Cory Kane of Texas. Kane goes to HC Trinec (Czech Republic-CEL). AHL heavyweight Jay Rosehill from Lehigh Valley to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) and John McFarland of Portland heads to the North Atlantic and SaiPa (Finland-FEL).

AHL heavyweight Jay Rosehill leaves Lehigh Valley to head to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) while John McFarland of Portland heads to the North Atlantic and SaiPa (Finland-FEL).

Three more players have exited across the Atlantic. Scott Timmins goes from the San Jose Barracuda to EHC Straubing (Germany-DEL) and joining him in the league will be Dave Dziurzynski of Binghamton, who played some time in Ottawa. Dziurzynski will be with the Iserlohn Roosters. The third player making the move would be Kirill Gotovets, who goes from Rockford to Dynamo Minsk (Belarus-KHL).

The AHL to players to Euro list now stands at 62.

Daniel Tetrault, an Ex-Sound Tiger from their second season, has retired and was named the assistant coach for Rapid City (ECHL).

Little change in state college hockey circles.

Quinnipiac University (ECACHL) head coach Rand Pecknold, after signing a five-year contract extension, lost assistant coach Reid Cashman to the Hershey Bears replacing Bryan Helmer, who was elevated to VP of Hockey Operations. The other Bears assistant coach is ex-Wolf Pack, Randy Murphy.

Replacing Cashman is a Quinnipiac alum, Joe Dumais who was the associate head coach at Union College.

The Bobcats lost forward Canon Piper, who played in just 14 games over two seasons in Hamden, to transfer. Piper heads to the University of Maine Black Bears (HE). He will sit out next season and be able to play again in 2017-18. His twin brother Bo will stay at QU.

Alex Barron, who graduated this spring Quinnipiac has signed with Strasbourg (France-FREL) for this season.

UConn hockey gained a graduate transfer from Maine. Forward Brian Morgan who graduated early and is still eligible to play under NCAA rules this season joins the Huskies. In 103 career games with the Black Bears, Morgan had 17 goals and 32 points.

UConn has a commitment from Jordan Timmons who played with the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins U-16 (TIEHL). Timmons went to South Fayatt High School and had two junior games for Sioux City (USHL) last year. He has committed to coming to Storrs in 2017-18.

At the college level, another underclassman (now a total of 41) has left school early to play in the pros. The latest junior, Travis Moore, has left the University of Denver (NCHC) and signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs worth a $925K at the NHL level and $70K in AHL dollars.

183 collegians have signed North American pro deals since the end of the college season.

The New York Rangers have added a 16th defenseman to the organization’s depth chart when they inked 2014 draft pick (third round, 79th overall) 6’4 Russian, Sergei Zoborovskiy to a three-year entry level deal that, in the first year, pays him $667,500 for play in the NHL and $70K at the AHL level. Zoborovskiy has one year of junior eligibility left with Regina (WHL) where he is coached by former Calder Cup winning Wolf Pack coach, John Paddock.

The Rangers organization has officially 45 of the 50 permitted contracted players under the CBA. Marek Hrivik’s deal was announced late last week, was a one-year two-way deal paying $600K for play in New York and $175K for his games in Hartford. Cantlon’s Corner reported the deal had been signed a month ago. The team has current salary committed of $69,575.00 million with cap space of $3.425 million. Each team can be over the limit up until the end of training camp and then must get down to the two magic numbers of 50 total contracts and 23 roster players as required under the CBA.

Of the 45 players with contracts, the Rangers have 23 slotted for the New York roster and 22 non-roster players. Now the roster composition can change based on training camp performance trades, waivers and of course that can affect the overall cap number.

Vladimir Namestnikov, son of ex-Wolf Pack Evgeni “John” Namestnikov, has signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning at $1.9 with a second year at $1.95 million.

*All cap and contract numbers courtesy of www.generalfanager.com

 

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON – WEEK 13

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Another week without hockey games to write about, but the business of hockey goes on. Lots of news this week.

ON THE MOVE

There were two moves made on the AHL coaching front.

The Providence Bruins named long-time assistant coach, Kevin Dean, as their new head coach. For the last four years, Dean had been an assistant under Bruce Cassidy. The opening came when Cassidy was promoted to the parent Boston Bruins as an assistant to head coach, Claude Julien.

The defending Calder Cup champions, the Lake Erie Monsters, signed their head coach, Jared Bednar to a two-year extension. They also named a new assistant coach. Steve McCarthy, who retired after playing for sixteen years, split this past season between the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL) and Lake Erie. McCarthy was a first-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks back in 1999.

Goalie coach Manny Legace was signed to another one-year deal. Legace was a Hartford Whaler draft pick way in 1993. He went in the eighth round, 188th overall. Blake Geoffrion, the grandson of NHL legend Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion, was named the assistant General Manager  for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Tucson Roadrunners have a new GM, Doug Soetaert, who played for the New York Rangers after he was drafted in the second round, 30th overall in 1975 NHL Draft. Soetaert played in 284 NHL games with the Rangers, Winnipeg (original Jets) and Montreal. He got his Stanley Cup ring backing up Patrick Roy in 1986.

Soetaert has been the Arizona Coyote’s western pro scout after a two-year stint as the Director of Scouting in Europe for EHC Munich (Germany-DEL) and EHC Salzburg (Austria-AEHL) both teams are called Red Bulls.

He played for the AHL New Haven Nighthawks from 1977-1981.

The Colorado Avalanche signed a new ECHL affiliation deal with nearby (Fort Collins) Colorado Eagles. The agreement ends their affiliation with the Ft. Wayne Komets.

Former Hartford Wolf Pack forward, Paul Crowder, signs a deal with Orlando (ECHL).

Nick Lukko, who played at Salisbury Prep and is the son of Florida Panthers’ President, Peter Lukko, re-signs with Reading (ECHL).

Ten more AHL’ers are off to Europe with the latest two heading to Beijing to play for the KHL expansion team, Kunlun Red Star, the first Chinese KHL team. Sean Collins (Hershey) and Brett Bellemore (Providence). Last season Bellemore was in the Wolf Pack training camp. Mike Moore (Hershey) is the third player to go to Fischtown (Germany-DEL) in the last ten days. Derek Smith of Springfield goes to KHL Medvesak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL) and ex-Sound Tiger, Matt Donovan, goes from Rochester to Frolunda HC (Sweden-SHL)

Mike Moore (Hershey) is the third player to go to Fischtown (Germany-DEL) in the last ten days. Derek Smith of Springfield goes to KHL Medvesak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL) and ex-Sound Tiger, Matt Donovan, goes from Rochester to Frolunda HC (Sweden-SHL)

Ex-Wolf Pack and Sound Tiger rearguard Dylan Reese goes from Springfield to HV 71 (Sweden-SHL), ex-Sound Tiger Kael Mouillierat goes from Wilkes- Barre/Scranton to Lulea HF (Sweden-SHL) and Evan Trupp of Chicago goes to Augsburger (Germany-DEL).

Andre Benoit goes from Chicago to Malmo IF (Sweden-SHL). Kyle Cumiskey Rockford to Skelleftea AIK (Sweden-SHL) and Ryan Martindale, who split the season with Syracuse and Florida (ECHL), goes to Esbjerg (Denmark-DHL).

That brings the total number of AHL’ers going to Europe to 55.

Another college underclassmen turns professional as Jack Roslovic signs a deal with Winnipeg and leaves the University of Miami at Ohio after his freshmen year. He will either be assigned to Manitoba (AHL) or go to junior hockey with London (OHL), who obtained his junior rights in a trade with Flint last month at the OHL Priority Draft. Presently, 37 underclassmen have signed pro deals since the end of last season.

Charlie Sampair goes from University Minnesota-Duluth to Alaska (ECHL) making it 177 NCAA players who have signed pro contracts since the end of the college season in the spring.

Taft Prep’s Shea Courtemanche of Madison, has made an oral commitment to Dartmouth College for 2019-20. His father Jason was born in Hartford and had a five-year minor pro career in the late 1990’S.

William Ennis from South Kent Prep and its US Selects Academy program (USPHL U-16) heads to Oshawa (OHL) next season.

Hamden-born Joe Aloi Jr. follows in his father’s footsteps and is a training camp invitee to Acadie-Bathhurst (QMJHL) whose GM is former Nighthawk, Sylvain Couturier. The elder Aloi Sr. played for Hull (nee Gatineau) OIympics (QMJHL) in the late 1980’s and is one of six Hamden natives drafted by the NHL teams.

Ex-Pack Vinny Saponari leaves the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL) to join Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL). He played in short stints with three AHL teams last season Portland, Lake Erie, and Milwaukee.

Former Wolf Pack, Alexandre Giroux, gives the KHL another twirl signing with Medvescak Zagreb as well. Another ex-Pack still around kicking in the KHL is defenseman Maxim Kondratiev who leaves Torpedo Novgorod to head to Amur Khaborovsk. It’s his ninth KHL team in ten years.

Former Wolf Pack goalie, Jason Missiaen, goes from STS Sanok (Poland-PZHL) to the newly created French Alps based combo franchise HC Chamonix-Morinze Pioneers to play in the French Elite Magnus League which will play a fifty game schedule this year for the first time.

Ex-Pack Jeff Ulmer leaves HC Innsbruck (Austria-AEHL) to play this year Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) who play in Glasgow.

Former Sound Tigers defenseman Nathan McIver retires after playing for Braehead last season to become an assistant coach with Oshawa (OHL).

Former CT Whale, Tim Kennedy, leaves Finland and KHL Jokerit Helsinki for Sweden and Lulea HF (Sweden-SHL).

New Canaan native and one-time Taft Prep player, Drew Mackenzie, signs for another year with Dornbirner EC (Austria-AEHL).

The Sound Tigers have signed three players to AHL deals for next season. Connor Jones joins his twin brother Kellen, and fellow Quinnipiac University alum and a pair of defenseman Kane Lafranchise and Patrick Cullity. All three who also spent time last year with Missouri (ECHL).

Ex-Sound Tiger, Tyler Gron goes from Esbjerg (Denmark-DHL) to Heilbronner (Germany DEL-2). Ex-Sound Tiger Ryan Caldwell goes from Lorenskog IK (Norway-NEL) to Oji (Japan-ALIH).

Ex-Sound Tiger goalie Kent Simpson stays in North America going from Stockton (AHL)/Adirondack (ECHL) to San Antonio (AHL).

Mark Kastelic, son of former Whaler, Ed Kastelic, was named to the Team USA squad for the U-20 Ivan Hlinka tournament taking place in August from the 8th to the 13th in Bratislava, Slovakia and the Braclav, Czech Republic. He plays for the Calgary Hitmen (WHL) and is entering his second junior hockey season.

Matt Puntereri, a former Danbury Whaler, is now playing with Canterbury Red Devils (New Zealand-NZIHL) in the summer and for the winter hockey season signed with EV Aich (Germany Division-6). Who knew there was a German sixth division? Puntereri’s head coach for FHL Danbury under several permutations (Whalers and Titans) and leagues after five years in the Hatter city, East Haven native, Phil Esposito Jr. has stepped down as head coach. Esposito also played for the New England (Danbury) Stars in the NEPHL.

ARE THE ISLANDERS LOOKING TO MOVE ?

Weren’t they moving to Hartford?

Once again, you may not want to read this, but Hartford is not even on the radar screen for the NHL despite what some people fantasize about. Read about the Isles home situation HERE.

The long often repeated rumor of the Rangers moving Hartford to Bridgeport is now officially off the table.

The new Islanders majority owners Jon Ledecky and Jeff Malkin stated publicly there are not moving the Islanders AHL farm team to the soon to be newly renovated Nassau Coliseum scheduled to reopen in the late spring of 2017. Bruce Ratner, whose company won the bid to renovate the building beating out MSG stating publicly that was their intention.

Ledecky and Malkin citing the team’s lease – one of the longest in AHL history which is also ironclad – it can only be transferred to another entity to assume the lease as is until its conclusion at the end of the 2020-21 season – as one of the primary reasons they will keep their AHL team there. Breaking the lease beforehand carries a $250K exit fee per year for each year remaining on the lease.

The lease was negotiated by the late Roy M. Boe, who founded the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after buying the dormant, Beast of New Haven franchise, from Carolina for $2 million, thirty days after the team was folded in 1999 after not being able to secure another affiliation or purchase the franchise.

The lease he entered into with Center Plate, a food concessions company who won the original management contract back in 2000 despite having never managed a building before, agreed to pay $20 million dollars for twenty years. Boe’s bid exceeded the bid of Paragon Sports’, the parent company of Beast of New Haven, which was $11 million for ten years, obviously made before they mothballed the team.

At the time, it was unknown except for a small group, that the New Haven Coliseum would be closed and eventually demolished.

The Sound Tigers nearly folded in the summer of 2003 after just two seasons by the AHL because of mounting financial problems including The Sound Tigers failure to pay its affiliation fee to Islanders, debts to numerous local vendors, and employees. The team was “sold” to then Islanders owner, Charles Wang.

The Islanders created a new company then under the direction of former GM Howard Saffan. They eventually “won” the building management contract in 2012 when Center Plate declined to renew its contract to run the Webster Bank Arena (nee Arena at Harbor Yard) after ten years. Spectra (then Global Spectrum) declined to make a bid to manage the building after reviewing the building’s financial books.

AHL MOVES

Highly trusted sources tell Cantlon’s Corner that Belleville, Ontario is pretty well set to become the newest AHL addition and will become the new home of the Ottawa Senators top farm team after relocating them from Binghamton.

A $7 million dollar renovation of the junior hockey league size Yardmen Arena has been agreed upon. The present international ice surface would be shrunk down to the NHL size 200’x85′ sheet allowing more seating to be put in place increasing it beyond it’s present capacity of 3,200.

The final seating numbers are being worked on with the architects, but would meet one of the AHL BOG requirements to place the franchise there and only conditional approval will be granted at first until benchmarks are met. The situation is similar to Tucson before full status would be granted.

Proper Locker rooms, weight-training, and office space are other key considerations, particularly meeting negotiated facility requirements in training as per the NHL and AHL CBA’s.

The issue of ownership of the franchise is also being worked out and as a local group of several investors is expected, but outright ownership by Ottawa is also on the table. Presently, 16 of 30 AHL teams are owned by their parent NHL team including the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The building will be ready for the 2017-18 AHL season.

HOELER: DANBURY TITANS AND COACH PHIL ESPOSITO PART WAYS

PhilTitans and Head Coach Mutually Part Ways

BY: Chris Hoeler, Danbury Titans

Danbury, CT – The Danbury Titans and Head Coach Phil Esposito announced today that they have mutually agreed to part ways.

Esposito has been coaching in Danbury since 2010-11 when he was an assistant with the Danbury Whalers. The following season he took over as head coach and had an immediate impact bringing the Whalers to the finals. The following season he led the Whalers back to the finals and won Danbury’s first professional hockey championship.

With the Danbury Titans, his success carried over as the team finished first in the league for the regular season and made it to the finals before losing to the Port Huron Prowlers. In his time in Danbury, Coach Esposito finished with 161 regular season wins. The other factor of Coach Esposito was the effect he had on player development. Countless players were called up to the ECHL during his time as head coach, including to the AHL.

“I want to thank Bruce Bennett for giving me the opportunity to coach this team and to all of the staff who helped make this organization as professional as possible. I have been wrestling with what to do for awhile but feel that pursuing some other opportunities is what I need to do now. This was one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my hockey career but I have no doubt that Bruce and the Titans organization will be successful this coming season.”, said Esposito.

“Today was a tough day”, continued Esposito. “I have put a lot of time and effort into professional hockey in Danbury and can’t thank the fans and community enough for their support over the years. Danbury really is a great place to be for any hockey player. “

The Titans will work on finding a replacement head coach for the team.

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS RE-UP WITH DOMMETT FOR 2016-17

rp_Greenville-Swamp-Rabbits-300x225.pngSWAMP RABBITS RE-UP WITH DOMMETT FOR 2016-17

Second-year forward recorded eight  points and seven fighting majors last season

 

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC – The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the team has re-signed forward Andrew Dommett for the 2016-17 season.

Dommett, 25, began his professional career with the Swamp Rabbits last season and notched eight points (4g, 4a) and 51 penalty minutes in 38 games. He scored his first pro goal on Jan. 3 at Manchester and racked up seven fighting majors over the course of the season – tied for second-most on the club.

“As we saw last season, Andrew is a hard-nosed, hard-working forward who gives it his all during every shift,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “He has offensive upside and is a guy whom we are looking to have a breakout year this season. His teammates love him because of his team-first approach and willingness to do anything for them.”

Prior to turning pro, Dommett played four seasons of college hockey at Lake Superior State University from 2011-15. In 128 appearances, the Major, Saskatchewan native produced 17 points (9g, 8a) and 61 penalty minutes for the Lakers. He spent two seasons alongside Swamp Rabbits forward Matt Johnson who was re-signed on June 24.

“I’m beyond excited to continue my career with such a great team, city and fan base,” Dommett said. “The organization knows how to treat players the right way, from the coaches to the front office, and I’m looking forward to getting back there. It was a simple decision to return.”

The 5’11, 192-pound forward also played four seasons with the Kindersley Klippers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League from 2007-11.

Get Social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all off-season long and get behind-the-scenes coverage like never before on the team’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Ticket packages for the 2016-17 season are available and on sale now! Contact a Swamp Rabbits Account Executive at 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more information and to secure your seats today! Get the latest Swamp Rabbits gear by visiting the “Hop Shop” online at SwampRabbits.com/shop to browse the full collection of fan wear and novelties!

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL CENTER RINK UPGRADES ON BOND COMMISSION DOCKET

XL CenterBY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT On Tuesday morning (7/12) comes a critical component to maintaining the life of the current XL Center as well as any future new arena that might be built when a vote is taken by the State Bond Commission.

The total request by the CRDA is for $4.75 million. That money is being allocated to replace the arena flooring and piping ($2.5 million), replace the building’s service elevator ($450,000), several security upgrades ($500,000) and for the Morgan Street garage replacement and upgrade of garage elevators ($1.3 million).

In normal economic times, this would be an easy approval, but these are not easy economic times. However, CRDA Executive Director Mike Freimuth remains cautiously optimistic for a positive result heading into Tuesday’s bond hearing that starts at 10:30am.

“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch,” Freimuth said with a smile. “We have reasonable confidence that the request will pass, and be granted. When and if it does, I will have a big smile, quietly leave and run down the hallway before anybody changes their mind,” Freimuth said with a laugh.

Freimuth’s clearly looking for a tension distraction knowing that the state’s very dire economic situation has the legislature seeking to claw back every bonded dollar out. They’re doing that there because the state’s credit rating has slipped making it more expensive to bond not to mention the difficulty they had to get this request on the agenda.

The money would come from the original $30 million dollar bond approval of which $16 million has already been allocated to purchase the Church Street garage. If approved, that would leave $10 million. In addition to the aforementioned repairs, there would also be brand new sideboards and plexiglass installed as part of this project that is tentatively slated for the spring/summer 2017.

The legislature is trying to limit expenses wherever it can. The systems are well past their expiration date.

“We have to make the effort to keep (the building) going. We have maybe two or five or seven years left. We bought ourselves some time, but not a lot of it and sooner rather than later, there are decisions we are going to have to make.”

The AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack are entering their 20th season in the state capitol, and for UConn hockey, it’s not just some minor cosmetic features, but a critical piece. Simply put, the ice surface and its operating systems have reached their shelf life.

“It is very important to our hockey tenants that we get this done. Clearly, the systems are antiquated and have been in need of an overhaul for some time. If this system is not operational, we’re on the hook for this. There are considerable consequences if (system failure) were ever to happen. We have contractual obligations to both (teams). That’s why we need to address it now, and why we put the request in. I hope our presentation of our need will be approved by the (bond) commission,” Freimuth said.

The other factor in the mosaic that the CRDA are seeking is to create a working system as a component of this being a city building. However, it’s financed solely through the state which, in the ultimate equation, can help the city with the XL Center at the end of the day.

“I understand people wondering what could the city contribute is a fair question. As we know right now, (the city) has their own problems and quite frankly how many tigers can (Mayor Luke Bronin) fight in one day? I get the connection, but its pretty damn obvious why. (The mayor) understands the situation on the XL and we have steady communication between us.”

The saga that the Dunkin Donuts baseball park continues to make a laughing stock out of the City of Hartford. For the nomadic Hartford Yard Goats, this decision can have a “spill-over” effect and Freimuth thinks the incomplete park would be a disastrous outcome.

“That just can’t happen. While it is a city project and the XL is a state project that wouldn’t benefit anybody. You have to have an environment conducive for business in general. While we wanted the site originally, that’s all water under the bridge at this point. The park being completed is essential to all the efforts going on in the city of Hartford including the XL Center.”

Regarding the negotiations to purchase the atrium are concerned, there is a significant gap in the numbers of the two sides, but talks are still are proceeding.

“The good thing is that we have the operational control of the atrium, so some basic things can go on as opposed to arguing who handles this doorknob or closet or which elevator is ours. The hard part is that everything does flow together and for the future we would like to own it (outright). I don’t have much to tell other than we’re far apart on the numbers still, but we’re working on it,” Freimuth said while exhibiting a bit of exasperation by the subject matter.

A split vote or a modified proposal presents a whole other array of challenges for the CRDA.

“It would be tough to say that we have no elevators and finding parts for them is not possible, they’re essential. We have a 40-plus-year-old building we’re holding together to keep it operational, but we can’t do this way forever.”

Tuesday’s vote has a lot riding on it.