Tag Archives: National Hockey League

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD AHTI OKSANEN

imgresWOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD AHTI OKSANEN

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Finnish Import Played four Seasons at Boston University 

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 30, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Ahti Oksanen to an AHL contract.

Oksanen, a 6-3, 215-pound native of Kirkkonummi, Finland, finished a four-year career at Boston University (Hockey East) in 2015-16.  The 23-year-old Oksanen led the Terrier squad in plus/minus this past season, with a +19, and finished second on the team in points and goals, totaling 15-21-36 in 39 games.

As a Junior in 2014-15, Oksanen helped lead B.U. to the NCAA “Frozen Four” championship game (a 4-3 loss to Providence College), scoring 25 goals and adding 13 assists for 38 points in 40 games.  Those totals were good for second among Terrier skaters, and second in Hockey East, in goals and a tie for fourth on the B.U. team in points.

In 150 career games in a Boston University uniform, Oksanen amassed totals of 51 goals and 64 assists for 115 points, along with 66 penalty minutes.

AHTI OKSANEN’S AMATEUR RECORD

Regular Season               Playoffs

Year     Team           Lge.     GP    G     A   PTS  PIM    GP      G     A     Pts.   PIM

2012-13  Boston Univ.   H-East   36    4     13  17   12     —     —   —    —    —

2013-14  Boston Univ.   H-East   35    7     17  24   22     —     —   —    —    —

2014-15  Boston Univ.   H-East   40    25    13  38   18     —     —   —    —    —

2015-16  Boston Univ.   H-East   39    15    21  36   14     —     —   —    —    —

The 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 is available for purchase 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.

RANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT ROSTER

rp_new-york-rangers_thumb1.pngRANGERS ANNOUNCE 2016 TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT ROSTER

Annual prospect tournament begins September 16

BY: The New York Rangers 

NEW YORK, August 29, 2016 – The New York Rangers have announced their roster for the 2016 Traverse City Tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. The Blueshirts are making their 10th consecutive appearance in the eight-team tournament, which is set to begin on Friday, September 16.

New York’s roster features 25 prospects (15 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders), including three of the team’s selections in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft: Sean Day, Tim Gettinger, and Ty Ronning. The roster also includes 2016 Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent on August 19, 2016, as well as forward Pavel Buchnevich, who will be participating in the Traverse City Tournament for the first time.

Several of the prospects on this year’s roster also represented the Rangers at the 2015 Traverse City Tournament, including 2015 draft picks Ryan Gropp, Brad Morrison, and Sergey Zborovskiy. In addition, 2015 draft pick Robin Kovacs will participate in the Traverse City Tournament for the first time this year. Traverse City, Michigan, native Brandon Halverson, who did not appear in a game during last year’s tournament due to injury, is one of two goaltenders on the Rangers’ roster this year. Twelve of the 25 players on this year’s roster were selected by the Rangers in the NHL Entry Draft.

The Rangers are one of four teams that comprise the Ted Lindsay Division, along with the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Minnesota Wild. The Blueshirts begin the tournament with a contest against Carolina on Friday, September 16 at 4:00 p.m. New York will face Dallas on Saturday, September 17 at 3:30 p.m. and the Wild on Monday, September 19 at 3:00 p.m. Following their three round-robin games, the Rangers will have a placement game against a team from the Gordie Howe Division on Tuesday, September 20.

In the nine years, the Rangers have previously participated in the Traverse City Tournament, they have reached the Championship Game twice and won the Tournament in 2007. Current Blueshirts such as Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Marc Staal, J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes, and Brady Skjei all represented the team at the tournament in recent years.

In every year since the Rangers began participating in the Traverse City Tournament in 2006, at least one Rangers prospect who represented the team in the tournament also appeared in a game with the Blueshirts during the same season.

PLAYERS WHO APPEARED IN THE TRAVERSE CITY TOURNAMENT

AND ALSO PLAYED WITH THE RANGERS IN THE SAME SEASON

 
TOURNAMENT YEAR/NHL SEASON PLAYER(S)
2006 Tournament/2006-07 season Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky
2007 Tournament/2007-08 season Brandon Dubinsky, Lauri Korpikoski, Marc Staal
2008 Tournament/2008-09 season Artem Anisimov
2009 Tournament/2009-10 season Michael Del Zotto, Chad Johnson
2010 Tournament/2010-11 season Evgeny Grachev, Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan
2011 Tournament/2011-12 season Tim Erixon, Carl Hagelin
2013 Tournament/2013-14 season Conor Allen, Jesper Fast
2014 Tournament/2014-15 season Anthony Duclair, Kevin Hayes, Mackenzie Skapski
2015 Tournament/2015-16 season Brady Skjei

*The Traverse City Tournament did not take place in 2012

2016 Traverse City Tournament – Rangers Schedule

Day Date Opponent Time (ET)
Friday September 16 Carolina 4:00 p.m.
Saturday September 17 Dallas 3:30 p.m.
Monday September 19 Minnesota 3:00 p.m.
Tuesday September 20 Placement Game TBD

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD MICHAEL JOLY

joueur-de-la-semaine-joly-michael-oceanic-001-620x348WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD MICHAEL JOLY

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Tied for second in QMJHL in Goals in 2015-16 

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 26, 2016:  Hartford Wolf Pack general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the Wolf Pack has signed forward Michael Joly to an AHL contract.

Joly, 21, comes to the Wolf Pack after a four-season career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).  He split the 2015-16 season between the Rimouski Oceanic and the Cape Breton Eagles, totaling 47 goals and 41 assists  for 88 points, along with a +29 and 38 penalty minutes.  His 47 goals were good for a tie for second in the QMJHL.  Joly also added 11 goals and 5 assists for 16 points in 13 playoff games with Cape Breton, leading the team in points and goals.

A 5-11, 172-pound native of Gatineau, Quebec, Joly helped lead the Oceanic to a QMJHL playoff title and an appearance in the Memorial Cup in 2014-15.  That season he struck for 26-19-45 in 45 regular season games and tallied 21 points (12-9-21) in 20 QMJHL postseason outings, plus a team-leading six points and four assists in four Memorial Cup contests.

In 219 career QMJHL games with the Oceanic and Screaming Eagles, Joly amassed totals of 128 goals and 108 assists for 236 points, along with 138 PIM.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 is available for purchase 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.

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS AGREE TO TERMS WITH ALDERSON

AldersonSWAMP RABBITS AGREE TO TERMS WITH ALDERSON

Fourth-year forward notched 27 points in 41 games with Reading 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 agreed to terms with forward Brandon Alderson for the 2016-17 season.

“Brandon is a big body and he can skate very well,” Head Coach Brian Gratz said. “With his speed and offensive ability, he will provide us with another offensive threat who can be effective at both ends of the ice.”

Alderson, 24, spent each of the last three seasons in the Philadelphia Flyers organization, splitting time between their ECHL and American Hockey League affiliates. Last season, Alderson notched a career-high 27 points (11g, 26a) in 41 regular-season games with the Reading Royals and added 12 points (8g, 4a) in 14 playoff contests. He also recorded one assist and six penalty minutes in 18 games with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

“I’m very excited to join Greenville, I’ve heard nothing but good things from friends that have been former players there,” said Alderson. “From the city to the facilities, to the fans, it was all really positive and I’m excited to be a part of  that kind of environment. I look forward to contributing to the Swamp Rabbits on the ice as well as in the community and can’t wait to get started.”

A native of Oakville, Ontario, Alderson has registered 31 points (17g, 14a) in 133 career AHL games between Lehigh Valley and the Adirondack Phantoms, and another 42 points (18g, 24a) in 76 ECHL contests.

Prior to turning pro, the 6’4, 203-pound forward played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Sarnia Sting and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He logged 157 points (69g, 88a) in 267 games including a career-best 28 goals, 36 assists, and 64 points during his final season in 2012-13.

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 pages.

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!

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK SIGN FORWARD PHILIP McRAE

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

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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: OFF-SEASON WEEK 17 SEES NEW YORK RANGERS PUT ON THEIR “VESEY” BEST

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – We’re getting closer and closer to the return of hockey to Hartford, but the New York Rangers made their most important free agent signing this week.

VESEY SIGNS WITH THE RANGERS

The Rangers landed the top collegiate free agent in the nation.

The list of suitors for 23-year old, Jimmy Vesey’s services included the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Stanley Cup champion, Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago. Surprisingly, the Detroit Red Wings were not in the mix.

Reports stated that the Islanders captain, John Tavares, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, all reportedly personally contacted Vesey and made their pitch.

Capture

Vesey had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 33 games as a senior at Harvard University last season where he won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA player.

Vesey had been a third-round pick (No. 66) of the Nashville Predators at the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Predators hoped to sign him after his season at Harvard ended in March, offering Vesey a spot among their top six forwards heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Nashville traded Vesey’s rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft on June 20. The Sabres had exclusive negotiating rights with Vesey until Tuesday when he became an unrestricted free agent.

Vesey, considered to be an NHL-ready player, had had 144 points (80 goals, 64 assists) in 128 games in four seasons at Harvard. He also had three assists in nine games to help the United States win the bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.

RANGERS SIGNING

The Rangers added their 18th defenseman to the organization’s depth chart when they signed, the 6-0, 190-pound, John Gilmour to a free agent deal out of Providence College. The deal is a two-year, two-way ($742,500K-NHL/$70K-AHL) deal. The Rangers now have 47 of the 50 contracted players they are allowed under the CBA. The team’s total salary stands at $70.5 million, and they have just about $2.5M cap space remaining.

Gilmour was a Calgary Flames seventh round draft pick in 2014, but the Flames, with an abundance of defenseman, chose not to offer him a contract, despite having a good shot, hits well and played on the Friars NCAA championship squad two years ago and completed all four seasons.

Gilmour, 23, skated in 34 games with Providence College this past season, where he registered nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, along with a plus-three rating, his best numbers as a Friar along with 18 penalty minutes for the Hockey East school. Gilmour uses his stick well and ranks fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play points (16), and is tied for fifth among NCAA defensemen in power play assists (12), and tied for eighth among NCAA defensemen in goals and power play goals (four) during his senior season.
Also, Gilmour recorded 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) against Hockey East opponents in 2015-16, helping Providence post a 16-3-3 record in intra-conference games.

He skated in 141 career collegiate games over four seasons where he compiled 22 goals and 43 assists for 65 points, along with a plus-eight rating and 85 penalty minutes. In his four years, Providence posted a record of 81-42-18 in the games in which Gilmour played. He maintained a plus/minus rating of even or better in each of his four seasons with Providence.

*Contract numbers and cap numbers come from www.generalfanager.com

WOLF PACK AND AHL SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED

Finally, the summer soap opera of the AHL schedule release has ended as the league posted its 2016-17 season Monday afternoon.

The Wolf Pack open their 20th anniversary season at home on Saturday, October 14th against the St. John’s IceCaps for the second season in a row. This is the last season in the AHL for St. John’s as the Montreal Canadiens will move their farm team to Laval, Quebec next season where they will play at the brand new Place Bell Centre.

The Wolf Pack schedule features five dates in October with the team’s second game also against St. John’s. The IceCaps start their season with six road games while the Pack play just two.

The Pack’s traditional early season school day game is against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on November 2nd at 11:00am.

The Pack will play just 14 of the 30 AHL teams with 52 games in the Atlantic Division. Springfield and Providence will play the Pack the most with ten games apiece. The pack will face the other four teams, Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Bridgeport eight times each.

The other 24 games of their 76 games will be against the North Division who’ll likely make a difference because of the crossover playoff system. The team found out last season just how important those games were when they missed out on the playoffs by six points. They will play all of the teams four times each except Syracuse who they play just twice.

Twelve home games are on Fridays with a new starting time of 7:15 pm to accommodate for the traffic issues on I-91 and I-84.

The Pack home portion of the season concludes on Saturday, April 8th against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and the last four games of the season will be on the road in Bridgeport, Albany, Utica and will close out the season in Springfield on Saturday, April 15.

Find the Wolf Pack schedule HERE.

Find the complete AHL team-by-team schedule HERE

Note to the AHL-we all realize we have a bifurcated league now.

The AHL should release the Eastern conference schedule in July since there are no NBA building conflicts that they’re playing in and then release the Western conference schedule in August after Cleveland and San Antonio get their NBA schedules for their buildings.

Waiting like this is not good for the fans, horrendous for each team’s sales staff and doesn’t help with the league’s image.

PRE-SEASON SCHEDULE

The Wolf Pack will have a slate of three preseason games, of which two of them are home contests as they prepare for the 2016-17 season.

On Wednesday, October 5, the Wolf Pack host their in-state and divisional rivals, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The game takes place at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center and starts at 7 pm. Donations will be accepted at the door instead of an admission charge. That money will benefit the Ryan Gordon / Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholar’s Fund.

The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation. Suggested donation is $5 per person.

The Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.

The Wolf Pack’s lone road preseason outing will be a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield for their first meeting with the newly minted Springfield Thunderbirds who this year are the affiliates of the Florida Panthers. That game takes place on Saturday, October 8, at 7:00 pm.

The Pack concludes their preseason action with a home game on Sunday, October 9 at Champion’s Skating Center in Cromwell, CT, which is also their practice facility during the season. The game is a 1:00 pm battle with the Albany Devils, with a $5 admission charge benefitting Whalers Youth Hockey. Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell Exit 21 off I-91.

HARTFORD WOLF PACK PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Date                 Opponent             Venue Faceoff
Wed. Oct. 5   BRIDGEPORT   KOEPPEL COMMUNITY SPORTS CENTER,                                                                           TRINITY COLLEGE 7:00 pm

Sat. Oct. 8       at Springfield     MassMutual Center 7:00 pm

Sun. Oct. 9     ALBANY               CHAMPION’S SKATING CENTER, CROMWELL,                                                                  CT 1:00 pm

*Portions of the Wolf Pack press releases were used in the previous three segments.

ON THE MOVE

Joining Gilmour and Jimmy Vesey on the list of NCAA players who’ve signed their first pro contracts is Thomas DiPauli from Notre Dame, who inked a deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

That makes 192 players to have signed a North American pro contract including 41 underclassmen since the college regular season and post-season ended.

Several ex-players are getting into the coaching, scouting and management side of hockey.

Congrats to J.F. Labbe, the Wolf Pack Calder Cup winning goalie and AHL Hall of Famer. Labbe is going to be coaching goaltending for two teams in two different leagues this season that is probably a first in hockey.

He is set to begin his third year with the QMJHL Sherbrooke Phoenix, but he was named late last week as the Anaheim Ducks developmental goalie coach and will be in San Diego two weeks a month during the season working with their prospects with the AHL Gulls.

Ex-Pack Mike Mottau is the new scout with the Chicago Blackhawks. Jim Sandlak, the ex-Whaler, switches as a scout from Vancouver to Anaheim while Jim Mill, a Hartford native and former AHL VP, switches scouting from Minnesota to New Jersey.

Nolan Pratt, the former Beast of New Haven and Hartford Whaler, is the new assistant coach in Colorado. With Patrick Roy’s sudden exit, the Avalanche need a head coach. Pratt was a part of Lake Erie’s (nee Cleveland) Calder Cup winning squad.

Another Beast of New Haven alumni, Ryan Johnson, was promoted to Assistant Director of Player Development with Vancouver.

Former Whalers who were assistant coaches in Boston have new gigs. Doug Houda with Detroit and Doug Jarvis in Vancouver.

Former Pack goalie David LeNeveu is using his Ivy League education well as President and part of an ownership group that includes former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey of the Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL).  The British Columbia Hockey League is one of the 10 Junior A leagues in Canada that US Division I colleges recruit heavily from.

LeNeveu and Dov-Grumet Morris helped rescue the Wolf Pack three seasons ago from finishing dead last and were probably the smartest goaltending duo in AHL history with a combined IQ of something like 5,000!

Jeff Woywitka, the former CT Whale defenseman, and a Ranger was named assistant coach for the Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL)-Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Ex-Sound Tigers are starting out in the Junior B league level in Canada. Jean

Jean Bourbeau was named assistant coach with the Columbia Valley Rockets (KIJHL)-Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. The head coach and GM of the team are the one-time former Sound Tiger goalie star, Wade Dubliewicz.

Ruffian extraordinaire with Bridgeport Pascal Morency was named assistant coach with the Fernie Ghostriders (KIJHL).

Former Ranger and Nighthawk from the 1980’s, Raimo Heminen, has landed as an assistant coach with Jokert Helsinki (Finland-KHL). Last season Heminen was fired a month into the season along with the entire staff at Barys Astana (Kazakhstan-KHL) and then lasted just two months with Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL).

Alex Westlund, the former Wolf Pack, and Yale University goalie becomes the goalie coach with Medvescak Zagreb (Croatia-KHL). Last season he had the same position with Augusburger (Germany-DEL).

Jim Setters, a one-time Nighthawk, becomes the new head coach for the Lithuania National U-20 Team that competes in the IIHF Division II level in Group A with fellow Baltic state country Estonia, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Romania. He has been the head coach of Germany’s U-20 and U-20 teams over the past 20 years.

Next year’s AHL team in Laval, Quebec that will be the Canadiens top farm team has narrowed the team nicknames from twenty to three finalists. The names that fans will a have a choice to select are Patriotes, Rapids, and Rocket.

Ex-Pack Conor Allen, who played with three teams last season starting in Milwaukee as an assistant captain, before being traded to Binghamton, had a very rough year.  At the trade deadline, Allen found himself with the Iowa Wild – the worst team in the AHL last season. He has signed a one-year deal with Grand Rapids who along with San Antonio have made some of the most moves in the off-season and should have a stronger team this coming season.

AHL switches Jamie Devane goes from Milwaukee to Stockton. Tom McCollum goes from Grand Rapids to Ontario, and San Antonio looks to be an early Calder Cup threat after getting Avon native and Westminster Prep grad, Ben Smith. He leaves Toronto to go to the Rampage. Last season Smith played for both San Jose teams (NHL/AHL), the Sharks and the Barracuda. Both Toronto teams (NHL/AHL) Maple Leafs and Marlies.

Former UCONN player Jason Sims, son of ex-Whaler and Nighthawk Al Sims, signed with Cincinnati (ECHL) for next season. Last year, he played with Evansville (ECHL) and got a last weekend of the season recall to San Jose (AHL). Father Al has coached the first San Jose Sharks team.

Wolf Pack defenseman Calle Andersson’s younger brother, Rasmus, has signed to a three-year, two-way deal with Calgary. They originally drafted him in the second-round, 53rd overall in 2015. He will be in Stockton next season after playing at Barrie (OHL) the last two years. The younger Andersson like Calle is a right-handed shooting defenseman.

Their father Peter, a former Rangers’ player in the 1980’s, has a new coaching gig with Malmo IF in the Swedish Hockey League (AHL) after getting fired last year with HC Lugano (Switzerland-LNA).

Ex-CT Whale Lee Baldwin goes from ESV Kaufburen (Germany DEL-2) to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL).

Quinnipiac sophomore Brayden Scherbinin heads back to Canada to play university hockey with the University of Calgary Dinosaurs (CWUAA) the defenseman had just five assists in two years and played sparingly.

The next batch of NCAA college hockey Frozen Four and regional bids have been accepted last week for the tournament years running from 2019-2022. The first cuts and finalists will be announced on October 28th, and then the finalists to host the hockey regionals and the Frozen Four tournament will be announced by the NCAA on December 7th.

Hartford would be a great location central highway arteries, with plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area. They’d be terrific for a regional, but without a new XL Center, a bid can’t be made.

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!

CHAIMOVITCH: 2016-17 AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE SCHEDULE RELEASED

ahl-logo_thumb2016-17 AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE SCHEDULE RELEASED

81st season gets underway Friday, Oct. 14 

BY: Jason Chaimovitch, AHL

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League today released the complete schedule of regular-season games for the 2016-17 season, the league’s 81st year of operation. The season, comprising 1,116 games, begins on Fri., Oct. 14 and concludes on Sat., Apr. 15.

Teams will play 76 games each (38 at home, 38 on the road) with the exception of Pacific Division members Bakersfield, Ontario, San Diego, San Jose, Stockton and Tucson; those six teams will play 68 games each (34 home, 34 road).

2016-17 team-by-team schedules (PDF)
2016-17 day-by-day schedules (PDF)
2016-17 LeagueStat schedules

Some highlights of the 2016-17 schedule:

•    The 2016-17 regular season opens with eight games on Oct. 14, including the debut of the Tucson Roadrunners as they open their inaugural season in San Diego. The top affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes, the Roadrunners begin their home schedule on Oct. 28 when Stockton visits the Tucson Convention Center Arena.

•    The newly renamed Cleveland Monsters celebrate their 2016 Calder Cup championship on Oct. 14 when they drop the puck at Quicken Loans Arena against Rockford.

•    Also on Oct. 14, the Hershey Bears begin their 79th AHL season with a visit to the Rochester Americans – who are kicking off their 61st season – in a meeting between the AHL’s two longest-standing franchises. It will be the 451st regular-season matchup between the clubs all-time.

•    The Springfield Thunderbirds hit the ice for the first time on Oct. 15 at Lehigh Valley. The team’s home debut at the MassMutual Center is set for Oct. 22 vs. St. John’s.

•    The Milwaukee Admirals play their first game in their new home, the historic UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, on Oct. 29 against Iowa.

•    The 2017 Capital BlueCross AHL All-Star Classic will take place Sun., Jan. 29 and Mon., Jan. 30, at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa., home of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

•    There are nine days this season on which all 30 AHL teams are in action: Sat., Nov. 12; Sat., Nov. 26; Sat., Dec. 3; Sat., Jan. 7; Fri., Jan. 13; Sat., Jan. 28; Fri., Mar. 17; Sat., Mar. 18; and Fri., Apr. 14.

The 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs will feature the top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions as ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available).

The American Hockey League was officially born in 1936 when the Canadian-American Hockey League and the International Hockey League merged to form the International-American Hockey League (the “International” would be dropped from the league’s name in 1940). The AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams; more than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers. In 2015-16, over 7.1 million fans attended AHL regular-season and playoff games across North America, the highest total attendance in league history.

The entire 2016-17 AHL regular season schedule is available for viewing at theahl.com

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS ANNOUNCE NEW MASCOT AND HAYWOOD MALL PLAY AREA SPONSORSHIP

Greenville Swamp RabbitsSWAMP RABBITS ANNOUNCE NEW MASCOT AND HAYWOOD MALL PLAY AREA SPONSORSHIP

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 welcome Stomper to the Swamp Rabbits family.

On Saturday, August 20, the Swamp Rabbits announced the name and identity of the new mascot in the Children’s Play Area at the Haywood Mall in Greenville, SC.

After receiving over 300 initial name ideas from fans, the front office staff narrowed down the votes to the top five submissions. Fans were given until August 19 to submit their vote for Stomper, Hopper, Buster, Rascal or Bogs.

Stomper, the submission that received the majority of the votes, officially became the name of the Swamp Rabbits mascot. Stomper will reside at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena but can be expected to make many appearances around the Greater Greenville community.

If you would like for Stomper to visit your event, business or school, please contact Charlie Hall, Fan Development Coordinator, at CHall@swamprabbits.com.

The Swamp Rabbits are also excited to announce their new affiliation with Haywood Mall. The Swamp Rabbits will be the title sponsor for the Children’s Play Area. “This provides a great venue for families to do something different in the mall and also offers an opportunity for kids to be active,” said Swamp Rabbits Chief Marketing Officer, Megan Dotson. “We are passionate about children living healthy lifestyles and learning about staying active – all while having fun with their families!”

Haywood Mall, the preeminent shopping center in South Carolina, serves the six-county, upstate region. “The Swamp Rabbits are an important part of our local community, and we are honored to have their name associated with our family play area,” said Haywood Mall Director of Marketing, Sarah Brocker. “The Swamp Rabbits are committed to enhancing our community and educating children about healthy lifestyle choices, so what better way to showcase it than with this play area? We look forward to their continued support.”

Get social: Follow the Swamp Rabbits all season long and interact with other fans on the Official Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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: WOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PRESEASON SCHEDULE

rp_hartfordwolfpacklogo_thumb1.jpgWOLF PACK ANNOUNCE PRESEASON SCHEDULE

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Includes Local Games at Trinity College and Champions Skating Center

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, August 19, 2015:  Spectra, operators of the XL Center and Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the Wolf Pack’s preseason schedule for its 2016-17 twentieth-anniversary season.

The Wolf Pack will have a slate of three preseason games, two of them home contests.  The schedule begins Wednesday, October 5 when the Wolf Pack host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Trinity College’s Koeppel Community Sports Center.  Donations will be accepted at the door in lieu of an admission charge, benefitting the Ryan Gordon/Hartford Wolf Pack Community Scholars Fund.  The fund memorializes young fan Ryan Gordon, who passed away in 2006 and asked that a portion of the monies set aside for his college education be donated to the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation.  Suggested donation is $5 per person. Faceoff between the Wolf Pack and Sound Tigers is 7:00, and the Koeppel Community Sports Center is located at 175 New Britain Ave. in Hartford.

The Wolf Pack’s lone road preseason outing will be a trip to the MassMutual Center in Springfield Saturday, October 8, for a 7:00 game vs. the new Springfield Thunderbirds.  Then, the Pack wraps up its preseason action with a home game Sunday, October 9 at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, CT.  That will be a 1:00 battle with the Albany Devils, with a $5 admission charge benefitting Whalers Youth Hockey.  Champions Skating Center is located at 6 Progress Drive in Cromwell.

HARTFORD WOLF PACK PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Date             Opponent     Venue                                                Faceoff

Wed.   Oct. 5    BPT                    Koeppel Community Sports Center             7PM                                                                         Trinty College

Sat.     Oct. 8    at SPR                 MassMutual Center                                              7PM

Sun.    Oct. 9    ALBANY             Champions Skating Ctr, Cromwell, CT        1PM

The Wolf Pack’s 2016-17 regular-season home opener is set for Friday, October 14 at the XL Center, with faceoff at 7:15. 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.