Tag Archives: Bridgeport Sound Tigers

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL CTR LOOKS TO BE SOLD

CANTLON’S CORNER: XL Ctr Looks to Be Sold

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT Expect a final decision in the next two weeks that will likely determine the future direction of the state’s two major multi-purpose hockey arenas, The XL Center in Hartford, and Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

One shoe dropped Wednesday night in Bridgeport.

A bidding process declared that the nationally renowned concert promotion agency, Live Nation in partnership with the local developer Howard Saffan, who was the former president of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, won a bid to convert the baseball stadium to a three-season outdoor concert amphitheater. The building will rival the Meadows/XFINITY facility in Hartford, as a 5.500 seat facility to open in May 2019.

The awarding of the deal to Saffan/Live Nation was ratified by the Bridgeport City Contracts committee board Wednesday night to be sent to the full council to vote to either approve or reject the deal on November 6th, just one day before Election Day.

Thursday morning, an even bigger shoe dropped in the process.

In Hartford, The legislature passed a bipartisan $40 billion budget, but there is only an allocation of $40 million to be bonded (pending bond commission approval) for the XL Center over the next two years to do needed repairs and purchase the atrium.

CRDA Executive Director, Michael Friemuth, was certainly not doing a jig or ringing the church bells either.

“We’re caught in the middle,” Friemuth said. “There is no consensus to shut it down or renovate it either. We’re happy the operating budget was maintained for the building (at $600K) because in the budget previously passed and vetoed by the Governor, (the legislature) had it cut completely and if it had passed, it would be a completely different situation to deal with.

“Now we have two questions before us. We have the $40 million the next two years to do some needed repairs and deal with the Atrium. The larger one is, can we find outside investors by 2019 in helping with the renovation part since there is no appetite in the legislature (to fund) it now.”

The legislative finance committee took the original request of the $125 million half of the publicly stated cost of the project and recommended only $75 million. In one of the failed budgets over the past few months, John Fonfara (D-Hartford), who has the XL Center in his district, had a plan to bond $115 million. That budget went down to defeat when three Democrats defected and sided with a Republican proposal that was vetoed by the governor and was sustained.

Freimuth was under no illusions about the $115 million budget allocation.

“That had no chance of ever passing. Certainly, would have been nice, but I’m a pragmatist about this. You have to be realistic about what you can get given the fiscal dynamics in the state right now. We have fully depreciated equipment in the building, contracts with Spectra, and major tenants, so this is not an easy situation for obvious reasons. The marketplace the XL Center operates in will be changing in the next two years as well. There will be the opening of a new casino and now the amphitheater in Bridgeport.”

Also looming over the head of Freimuth and the XL Center is a provision that if a private investor isn’t found for the current home of UConn Hockey and the Hartford Wolf Pack, the building will be put up For Sale in 2019. It seems it was the polite way to say, “We’re closing the building because nobody will buy a 44-year-old building.” Last year they put out RFP’s for a private investor and received just one response.

Northland Corporation, the owner of Atrium’s title and who has been in a protracted negotiation for almost two years, will now seek more money for the title and deed they hold. Northland could now wait until the building closes to build another building or take a long-term strategic objective Cantlon’s Corner uncovered in the early days, and that was their desire to be the building’s operator.

Now, the current occupants all have expiring contracts. The one ending soonest would be that of the Wolf Pack.

As per the agreement, MSG has to inform the CRDA by December 31st of their intentions regarding the contract.

The two sides have already been in discussions.

“We have been talking the better part of two months and they have expressed their interest to remain in Hartford,”Friemuth said. “Any deal will be short term because that’s what we’re working with right now.”

Friemuth confirmed what Cantlon’s Corner reported two months ago that there is a two-year offer on the table, but he would not confirm the numbers a source stated that would follow the path of the current deal. $1,55 million for 2018 and $1.6 million for 2019 with the check written by Spectra.

Then there is the issue with UConn hockey that has to be sorted out first before any dealing with the basketball teams.

“They clearly need a place to play with no on-campus arena in Storrs. I would say that might be a 2-3 year agreement or year-to-year with options. There are several ways to proceed with it. I think now with the operating budget in place, we can move forward with that piece and the Wolf Pack.”

The ultimate solution for the building though is still nowhere in sight.

“I wish I could say we have something, but we don’t at this point. We’re kind of like the Romans and the Greeks with our Coliseum. Not much has changed. We know the problems and we know what needs to be done and until the fiscal landscape changes, it’s still unresolved. We put a lot of effort in the process. I have learned not to answer my phone after 11 pm anymore that’s for sure,” Freimuth jokingly replied referencing the many late night budget issues that been worked on the past two months.

It seems that we might be leaving a Roman Coliseum in Hartford that future generations will come with backpacks and say, ‘This is where the XL Center once stood,” and where “Hart-City” flatlined.

Cantlon’s Corner will report on a more detailed historical outline of the history of the state’s sports arenas coming soon.

CANTLON: (SUN) PACK DROP ANOTHER 6-3 IN BRIDGEPORT TO CLOSE OUT WEEKEND

Pack Drop Another 6-3 in Bridgeport To Close Out Weekend

      VERSUS       

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings 

BRIDGEPORT, CT – The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-4-0-0) jumped on the Hartford Wolf Pack (3-3-0-1) with three goals in the first period and never looked back posting a 6-3 win in their first regular season meeting of the 2017-18 season.

The Wolf Pack dropped all three of their weekend games by a combined score of 14-4. Clearly, ahead of the team is a long week of hockey correction ahead.

“It was an uphill battle and we were in the box early again and in three-on-threes can’t start that way,” Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said from the hallway outside a clearly dejected locker room.

The first period was all Sound Tigers. The Pack seemed to be still on the team bus parked behind the Webster Bank Arena as each team was completing their first three-in-three on the season. Bridgeport was clearly the fresher squad.

The Sound Tigers used the power play to grab the games first lead. Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: October 16-22, 2017

WOLF PACK WEEKLY: October 16-22, 2017

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

The Wolf Pack swept a pair of games this past week, to extend a winning streak to three games.  On Friday night at home, the Wolf Pack defeated the Toronto Marlies by a score of 5-2, led by a goal and an assist each from Boo Nieves and Joe Whitney, and three assists from Scott Kosmachuk.  Then, in its first road game Saturday night, Head Coach Keith McCambridge’s club downed the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-3, with Filip Chytil scoring the game-winning goal and adding two assists, for his first North American pro points. 

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE STANDINGS

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CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: October 9-15, 2017

WOLF PACK WEEKLY: Oct. 9-15, 2017

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

The Wolf Pack opened their 2017-18 season by splitting a pair of home games this past weekend.  In Friday night’s season opener vs. the Charlotte Checkers, the Wolf Pack built leads of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-2, but the Checkers came back with three goals in the final 10:18 of the third period for a 5-4 win.  On Sunday against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Hartford grabbed its first win of the season, defeating the Phantoms 2-1 in a shootout.  Adam Tambellini scored the only Wolf Pack regulation goal in that game, and also had the only score of the shootout, and Chris Nell made 28 saves and went 3-for-3 in the shootout. 

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE STANDINGS

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CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE CAPTAIN, ALTERNATES

WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE CAPTAIN, ALTERNATES

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Joe Whitney to Wear the “C”

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack 

HARTFORD, October 5, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury announced today that forward Joe Whitney has been named team captain of the 2017-18 Wolf Pack, and that forward Eric Selleck and defenseman Ryan Graves have been tabbed as alternate captains.

Whitney, a seventh-year pro out of Boston College, signed an AHL contract with the Wolf Pack July 20, bringing nearly 400 games of AHL experience to the Hartford roster.  The 29-year-old Reading, MA native has seen AHL action with the Portland Pirates, Albany Devils, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, San Antonio Rampage and Tucson Roadrunners, and served as captain of the Rampage during his 55-game stint with the club last season.

Selleck is a veteran of seven AHL seasons and has logged 438 AHL games in his career, suiting up with the Rochester Americans, the Rampage, the Chicago Wolves, the Pirates, Springfield Falcons and the Roadrunners, with whom he and Whitney were teammates in 2016-17, after Whitney was acquired in a trade March 1.  The 29-year-old Selleck, whom the Wolf Pack signed to an AHL contract July 28, was a Roadrunner alternate captain last season.

Graves, a fourth-round draft pick (110th overall) by the parent New York Rangers in the 2013 NHL Draft, is entering his third year of pro hockey.  In two previous seasons with the Wolf Pack, Graves, 22, has logged 150 total games, notching 17 goals and 34 assists for 51 points, along with 122 penalty minutes.

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

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

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE ROSTER MOVES

WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE ROSTER MOVES

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Nine Players Reassigned or Released

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack 

HARTFORD, September 30, 2017:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Chris Drury today announced the following changes to the Wolf Pack’s training camp roster:

Loaned by the Wolf Pack to Greenville (ECHL):

Defensemen (1):    Brenden Kotyk

Released from training camp tryouts and joining Greenville (ECHL):

Forwards (5):         Joe Basaraba, Cale Herbert, Jack Nevins, Carter Sandlak, Brenden Troock

Defensemen (1):    Sean Flanagan

Goaltenders (1):     Eric Levine

Released from training camp tryout and joining Idaho (ECHL):

Forwards (1):         Henrik Samuelsson

The Pack roster now includes 26 players, 15 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders:

 Goal (3):           Alexandar Georgiev, Brandon Halverson, Chris Nell

Defense (8):      Alexei Bereglazov, Brandon Crawley, Sean Day, John Gilmour, Ryan Graves, Garrett Noonan, Vince Pedrie, Neal Pionk

Forwards (15):  Dan Catenacci, Adam Chapie, Dan DeSalvo, Gabriel Fontaine, Ryan Gropp, Scott Kosmachuk, Dawson Leedahl, Vinni Lettieri, Boo Nieves, Matt Puempel, Cole Schneider, Eric Selleck, Malte Stromwall, Adam Tambellini, Joe Whitney

 The Wolf Pack plays its second and final preseason game tonight, taking on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center in Worcester, MA.  Faceoff is 7:00 PM.

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

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

CANTLON’S CORNER: TRAINING CAMP AROUND THE CORNER

CANTLON’S CORNER:

Training Camp Around the Corner

By: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYER MOVEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEPTEMBER 28 WOLF PACK PRESEASON GAME MOVED TO XL CENTER

SEPTEMBER 28 WOLF PACK PRESEASON GAME MOVED TO XL CENTER

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12 Noon Contest vs. Bridgeport will be Closed to the Public

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, September 12, 2017:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced that the Wolf Pack preseason game Thursday, September 28 vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers has been moved to the XL Center.

The game had been scheduled to be played at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center.

The September 28 game at the XL Center will face off at 12 noon and will be closed to the public.

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

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

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE SCHEDULE OF PROMOTIONS

WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE SCHEDULE OF PROMOTIONS

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Wolf Pack 2017-18 Single Game Tickets to go on Sale September 6

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 25, 2017:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the promotional schedule for the Wolf Pack’s upcoming 2017-18 season.

No fewer than 27 of the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 home games will feature giveaways and/or special theme promotions, starting with the season opener Friday, October 6 vs. the Charlotte Checkers.  That game, which faces off at 7:15 PM, will include a Wolf Pack magnetic schedule giveaway, presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

Wolf Pack single-game tickets for the 2017-18 campaign are set to go on sale Wednesday, September 6 at 12 noon at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.

Another highlight of the promotional calendar is the Wolf Pack’s Thanksgiving weekend home game Saturday, November 25 vs. the Hershey Bears.  That night will feature the Wolf Pack’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss”, benefitting Toys for Tots and Operation ELF, and the Wolf Pack will also “Red out” the rink that night with a red t-shirt giveaway, presented by the Connecticut Department of Transportation.  Faceoff is 7:00.

The Wolf Pack’s celebration of the holiday season includes a trading card set giveaway Saturday, December 23, for the Pack’s last home game before Christmas, a 3:00 contest vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and a winter hat giveaway at the first post-Christmas home contest, Saturday, December 30 vs. the Springfield Thunderbirds (7:00).

Friday, February 23 vs. Hershey (7:15) and Saturday, February 24 vs. Providence (7:00) comprise “Hartford Hockey Heritage Weekend”, highlighted by a bobblehead giveaway, presented by XFINITY, on February 24.  And Saturday, March 3, a 3:00 game vs. Providence is “Military Day”, featuring a distinctive “dog tag” giveaway.

In addition to the many single-night promotions, Wolf Pack fans this year can once again enjoy three popular ongoing deals throughout the season.  The Wolf Pack’s Friday-night food and beverage specials are back, presented by Dave & Busters, as at every Friday-night Pack home game, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period.  The Wolf Pack’s “Click It or Ticket” Family Value Packs are also available again this season, for all of the Pack’s Sunday and Wednesday home games.  The Family Value Packs include two tickets, two hot dogs and two soft drinks, all for only $40.  Also, every Wednesday-night Wolf Pack home game is still “Winning Wednesday”.  If the Wolf Pack win, fans can show their Winning Wednesday ticket at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center and receive a free ticket to the next Wolf Pack home game.

Following is the full 2017-18 Wolf Pack promotional schedule:

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

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 14

CANTLON’S CORNER:

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 14

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The 2017-2018 Hartford Wolf Pack season is just about a month away and much is going on in the hockey world to get them and all the other teams ready to drop the puck and play.

MORMINA READY FOR BIG NEW CHALLENGE

The Wolf Pack have a new assistant coach for the defense in Joe Mormina.

After an AHL career that spanned 670 games, Mormina has spent the last couple of seasons thinking about his post playing career and getting into coaching.

“I really started thinking about this the last few seasons. I wanted to get into coaching and I have made a lot of contacts over the years and when I did retire two years ago, I applied for several AHL and ECHL opportunities, but nothing materialized. Then the Mercyhurst University (AHA) job opened up and it was a great learning experience,” Mormina said in a phone interview this week. “I am very grateful I got the chance to get started there.”

His eleven-year AHL career was a major selling point. Continue reading