Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hawks Hire New Trainer

Press Release

The Nipawin Hawks are pleased to announce the hiring of Emma Galloway as their Athletic Therapist for the upcoming season.

Emma comes highly recommended with a lot of experience, having spent the past 4 years with the Cambridge Winter Hawks Jr. B.

“With talking to Emma she said all the right things and has the same beliefs that we promote to our players and I felt very comfortable during our conversations and look forward to working with Emma in the future” says Doug Johnson.

“Emma will be incredibly valuable with her diagnosis and treatment of injuries and we know that our players will be in great hands with Emma on board”.

Emma received her bachelor degree of Applied Health Science (Athletic Therapy) from the Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning out of Brampton, Ontario.

She will be arriving in Nipawin around the middle of August and will be on hand to help out with the Hawks hockey school and to prepare for the upcoming season.

Welcome to the Hawks family Emma and to the SJHL.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Royals Sign Issac Schacher

Press Release

Victoria, BC The Victoria Royals are proud to announce that they have signed 1995-born defenceman Isaac Schacher (SHOCK-er) to a Western Hockey League Standard Players’ Agreement.
The 6’5”, 200lb rearguard plays for the Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). Last season, the 18-year-old had appeared in 45 games and has collected 36 points (14g-22a) to go along with 44 penalty minutes. Schacher’s 36 points also had him ranked sixth for scoring amongst defencemen in the 20-team league.
“We’re very pleased that Isaac has agreed to join the Royals organization,” said General Manager Cameron Hope. “He had a very good season playing in Kimberley, where his development continued. We look forward having him contribute to our team’s success in the year’s to come.”
The Kimberley, BC native completed his second full season with the Dynamiters. During the 2011-12 KIJHL season, Schacher scored 24 points (3g-21a) and 50 minutes in penalties over 49 games played. The defender also skated in 13 games during the 2011-12 KIJHL playoffs and amassed one assist and 12 penalty minutes.

(Nathan can be reached at

Heat's Forman Sign With Nipawin Hawks

Press Release

The Chase Heat are pleased to announce that 18 year old defenceman Reece Forman from 108 Mile Ranch has been signed by the Junior A Nipawin Hawks of the SJHL.

Forman led the backend of the Heat in its second year of operation in 2012-13.
The 6’2” 210 lb is a steady defenceman with huge upside.  In last seasons regular season he potted 1 goal and added 18 assists, along with 72 penalty minutes.

The entire Heat Organization congratulate Reece, his family and fans, on his success. 

 (Nathan can be reached at

Crossthwaite Joins Riverman

Press Release

The Langley Rivermen Junior “A” Hockey club has announced a trade with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The Rivermen have acquired goaltender Brock Crossthwaite (1994 born) in exchange for future considerations.

Crossthwaite hails from Kanata, Ontario and played in 16 games for Blind River last season and amassed a record of 6-9 with a 3.86 goal against average to go along with a .905 save percentage. Crossthwaite brings a lot of Junior “A” experience to the Rivermen as he has played the last two seasons split between the CCHL and the NOJHL.

“I am very excited for this new opportunity in Langley. I really liked what I have heard about the organization and I am looking forward to advancing my career in the BCHL. From what I see the Rivermen is a team on the rise and I am glad to be a part of it,” said Crossthwaite.

At 6 foot 3, 190 pounds, Crossthwaite takes up a good portion of the net and describes himself as a goaltender that does not give up,

“I like to battle and compete hard every time I am in the net. I know I am a bigger goaltender and try to use my size as an advantage as much as I can, but at the same time I feel I am athletic,” Crossthwaite continued.
Rivermen Assistant Coach Kurt Astle agrees how Crossthwaite describes himself and is looking forward to having him next year,

“Brock has proven to be a competitor that constantly works on his game. Over the past few seasons he has had impressive numbers and has shown the ability to steal games and we feel the experience he brings is huge for us,” Astle said.

Crossthwaite has been to the city of Langley before and even played on Langley Events Centre ice. He was one of two goaltenders for Team East at the CJHL Prospects game that took place at the LEC in November 2011. Crossthwaite noted how impressed he was with the city and the facility here in Langley.

As for team expectations, the ‘Men’s newest acquisition made it clear he wants to win the Fred Page Cup and wants to be a part of a team that wins on a consistent basis. As for personal goals, he not only wants to advance his career to the N.C.A.A. Ranks, but push for ice time as well,

“I am a friendly person and I have no problem with a little friendly competition and I am sure James (Barr) and I will get along just fine. At the end of the day I just want to win and I will try and help the team in any way I can,” Crossthwaite finished.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Ice Dogs continue score in Dryden with community efforts

Press Release

DRYDEN -- The Dryden Ice Dogs are proud to announce two major partnerships to commence their 13th season in the Superior International Junior Hockey League.

This year the organization is happy to have Standard Insurance Brokers Inc. sponsoring the jerseys for the Cancer Awareness game and back again is Canadian Tire for the Military game.

Standard Insurance Brokers and the Ice Dogs are pleased to announce that proceeds from the Cancer jerseys will go to the Oncology unit at the Dryden Hospital.

The Ice Dogs would like to thank both businesses for their support in helping promote two very important causes.

The club will announce the dates of those two contests once the 2013-14 SIJHL schedule is finalized.

Those jerseys will go on sale immediately and the Ice Dogs would like to invite their fans and local businesses come on board with two these two causes, which are near and dear to the heart of the organization.

Any business or member of the public interested in having their name on the back of one of the jerseys, the Ice Dogs will be happy to accommodate you.

All jerseys will be yours at the end of the respective games.

The cost of the jersey is $200 with proceeds split with the charity and the Dryden Ice Dogs.

For more information or to order a jersey please call Brad Boyko at (807) 216-7531 or email

The Dryden Ice Dogs are once again proud to expand on a long-standing tradition of hosting specialty games and supporting community groups.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Seattle Thunderbirds FAN-tastic Summer Photo Challenge Returns for 2013

Press Release

KENT, June 27, 2013 — The Seattle Thunderbirds are pleased to announce the return of our FAN-tastic Summer Photo Challenge beginning Friday, June 28. Going somewhere exotic, warm, cold, scenic, mountainous, tropical, or historic this summer? Take the T-Birds with you as you travel the world or even while you’re relaxing in your own backyard. Photograph your favorite destinations and/or summer activities while wearing T-Birds gear to earn the chance to win tickets to a home preseason Thunderbirds game. 
For the fourth consecutive year the T-Birds are encouraging fans to send the team photos of them wearing T-Birds jerseys, hats and t-shirts during their summer travels and adventures. Fans can also submit photos of T-Birds promotional items, such as bobbleheads or Cool Bird plush toys, in unique locales or situations.
The T-Birds have made submitting entries easier than ever this year. Fans can tweet or email photos to the T-Birds, which will then be judged in the 13 different challenge categories. The T-Birds will award two tickets to the home preseason game against the Everett Silvertips on Saturday, September 14, at ShoWare Center to each fan that submits the best photo in the 13 categories. Don’t forget to use your imagination!

The 13 categories for 2013 are:
-       Best of Washington: WA has more than apples to offer, show us your favorite spots
-       Furthest From ShoWare Center: (or most jet lag) - measured in miles
-       Fan on an Island: surrounded by water and T-Birds gear
-       Most Famous Person In Photo: celebrities welcome
-       T-Birds at your Job: for those of you without summer vacation plans or time
-       Most T-Bird Merchandise/Apparel In A Photo: suit up & show off your T-Bird spirit
-       Fan at the Highest Elevation: climbing a mountain or skydiving…take us with!
-       T-Birds Animal Kingdom: a pet or animal in T-Birds gear
-       Find Cool Bird & Street Team: track down Cool Bird & Street Team at local events
-       Ultimate Sports Fan:T-Birds fan in T-Bird gear taking in another sporting event
-       Musical T-Birds: At a concert or playing the instrument yourself
-       T-Birds Family Photo: gather the entire family for this T-Birds Family photo
-       World Landmarks: photograph a famous landmark while in your T-Bird gear

To submit a photo via Twitter, fans should tweet their photo to @SeattleTbirds using the hash tag #FANtasticPhoto13. To submit a photo via email, simply send the photo to the T-Birds at  

When submitting photos fans should try to include the names of all persons in the picture, when the photo was taken, where the photo was taken, what category the photo is being submitted in and any other information pertinent to the photo. 

The T-Birds will post photos at the end of each week on their website and Facebook Fan page for fans and participants to keep an eye on the challenge as it is happening.
Winners of each category will be determined by the T-Birds office staff. The T-Birds office staff will take into consideration input made by fans on each photo after it is posted to a 2013 FAN-tastic Summer Photo Challenge Facebook photo gallery. 

The T-Birds will also put together a video slide show of all photo submissions from the summer that will run during one of the intermissions of the T-Birds home opener at ShoWare Center.
View the video of the photos submitted in summer of 2012

View Facebook Photo Gallery of 2012 Summer Photo submissions

 (Nathan can be reached at

Udy to perform at The Well

Press Release

Chiefs Alum Bryton Udy will be peforming at The Well at Chances Casino on Saturday June 29th.

Admission is free. The show starts at 8pm.

About Bryton Udy:

A Calgary Native, I grew up with two passions in my life; hockey and music. I spent two years as a goaltender playing junior hockey in the BCHL. As much as I loved hockey I came to realize my true passion lied in my music.

Having a mother and father that studied music, I have been exposed to many genres from pop, musical theater, jazz and the list goes on, but I've found my home  in Country. My music had been inspired by artists such as Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum , Rascal Flatts, David Nail, Jake Owen, Paul Brandt, Bryan Adams, and none other than Garth Brooks.

My music is a mix between country and pop with a hint of soulful flare. The stories I tell through my music are inspired by personal experiences that I hope everyone can relate to.

 (Nathan can be reached at

WHL Prospects To Attend IIHF Development Camp

Press Release

CALGARY, Alta. – Four Canadians, three players and a coach, have been chosen to take part in the 2013 IIHF Hockey Development Camp, taking place July 6-14 in Vierumäki, Finland.

Sam Steel of the Regina Pats and Kaden Elder of the Seattle Thunderbirds are two of the three Canadian players who will attend the camp.  Steel was selected by Regina with the second overall pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft while Elder was taken by Seattle with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Close to 400 participants, including 160 players, representing 50 IIHF member nations from five continents will be taking advantage of the unique development and educational event for players, coaches, instructors, managers, administrators and directors.

The camp is used as a platform to launch the IIHF’s development and education programs, specifically aimed at assisting each national association to achieve individually identified objectives, and to promote global growth and development of the game. This includes bringing together players with a wide variety of skill levels to promote the development of emerging hockey nations, with the help of the top hockey nations within the IIHF membership.

The following Canadian players will attend the IIHF Hockey Development Camp:

Sam Steel (forward) – Sherwood Park, Alta.
2012-13 team: Sherwood Park Flyers (Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League/Hockey Alberta)

Kaden Elder (forward) – Saskatoon, Sask.
2012-13 team: Notre Dame Hounds (South Saskatchewan Minor Hockey League/Saskatchewan Hockey Association)

Marcus Tesink (defenceman) – Saint John, N.B.
2012-13 team: Saint John Sea Dogs (New Brunswick Bantam AAA Hockey League/Hockey New Brunswick)

The Canadian attending the IIHF Hockey Development Camp as a coach mentor is Bob Caldwell (Deloraine, Man.), who serves as Hockey Manitoba’s head mentor and national chair for the National Coach Mentorship Program. Caldwell has spent close to 40 years in coaching, working at various levels of the game locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.

The camp will mark the eighth time the IIHF has brought together young players from around the world since the first camp was held in Nymburg, Czech Republic, in August 1999. In total, Canada has sent 44 players, 10 coaches and three officials from 11 branches.

Five past Canadian attendees have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft: Kyle Chipchura (2001), Morgan Ellis (2007), Steven Hodges (2009), Dan LaCosta (2001) and Jeff Tambellini (1999). In addition, Mike Mondin, head coach of Canada’s National Sledge Team, attended the camp in 2001.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Friday, June 28, 2013

Killer Bees add to hockey staff

Press Release

The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce the addition of Brad Lutsch as their Director of Scouting and Player Development. He joins head coach Joe Coombs as the Killer Bees continue to add to their staff since relocating to Hidalgo, Texas back in May.

Lutsch is no stranger to the NAHL as he played in the league for two years from 1993-95 for the Indianapolis Jr. Ice. During the 1994-95 season was named as an All-NAHL 1st Team defenseman.  During his time in the NAHL, Lutsch set records as  one of the all-time top scoring defenseman in the league before moving on to play his college hockey at Indiana University.  During his time at IU, he became the top scoring defenseman in ACHA history and was named an All-American four times. 

Following his graduation from IU, Lutsch began his professional hockey career in Europe, where he spent the better part of three seasons playing in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga (or Austrian Hockey League). The league was the top professional league in Austria and Lutsch played for three different teams.  He retired in 2006.

Lutsch then made the move to coaching in 2008 with the USHL’s Indiana Ice as an assistant. During his time with the Ice, the team amassed a record of 145 wins against 77 loses making the playoffs in every season, winning the Clark Cup during the 2008-09 season. Lutsch was instrumental in helping almost 90 players advance to NCAA Division I colleges with 14 of those who have become NHL draft picks.

“Brad’s background as a player, elite player development expert and coach will be invaluable assets to the Killer Bees organization as we move forward in our goal of developing hockey players on their road to college and beyond,” said Killer Bees Owner and Governor Ken Dennis.

Lutsch is originally from Windsor, Ontario and has been married to his wife Kristen for nine years. They have two children, son Avery (6) and daughter McKayla (2).

 (Nathan can be reached at

Vees Add Two 'Tenders

Press Release

PENTICTON, BC– The Penticton Vees Jr. ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce the commitments of goaltenders Olivier Mantha (93) and  Hunter Miska (95) for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

Mantha, 20, spent the past three seasons playing college hockey in Quebec at Laflèche College in Trois-Rivières.Mantha appeared in 75 games for the Dragons and was named a league All-Star in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The La Tuque, Quebec product was second in the Quebec college hockey circuit in save-percentage this past season, and also received a student-excellence award in 2012 while earning a science diploma. Mantha was a standout at the Vees Spring Camp in late May, where he made a lasting impression on the Vees coaches and scouts.

Miska, 18, comes to Penticton via the US National Development Team (USNTDP) based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The North Branch, Minnesota native played for both the Under-17 and Under-18 teams in his two years with the USNTDP. Miska has had the unique opportunity of already facing junior and college hockey competition. The U-18 program plays in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and also frequently plays exhibition games against NCAA Division l programs.

Miska has been on the international stage, as he won silver in Sochi, Russia in April with Team USA at the Under-18 World Hockey Championships. Miska also picked up a silver medal at the 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario.

The entire Vees organization welcomes Olivier and Hunter to the team and the South Okanagan. Don’t forget to check-out the recently released 2013-2014 regular season schedule on the Vees website at The Vees home opener is Friday, September 27th, when they host the Merritt Centennials. 

 (Nathan can be reached at

Espanola returns to the NOJHL

Press Release

ESPANOLA – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced today the official return of junior A hockey to Espanola with a franchise that will see the club take to the ice in time for the 2013-14 season.

The NOJHL’s eighth team had been unanimously approved at league meetings held in Elliot Lake over the weekend.

Heading up the group that brings Espanola back to the NOJHL following a 10-year absence is Tim Clayden, who will serve as the club’s director of hockey operations.

Guiding the team’s fortunes behind the bench will be head coach Tom McCarthy while Randy Blake will work in the role of general manager.

The trio are no strangers to the NOJHL having most recently led the North Bay Trappers to the league’s regular season and playoff titles in 2012-13.

Espanola too has NOJHL roots dating back five decades as the Espanola Eagles were inaugural members of the league back during the league’s first season in 1962-63 where they would go on to capture the first-ever playoff championship.

Extremely pleased to have Jr. A hockey and the NOJHL back in the community is Espanola mayor Mike Lehoux.

“The addition of an NOJHL franchise hockey team in Espanola is a significant win for both the community and hockey fans alike,” offered Lehoux.

“Jr. A hockey is good business; a boost to both our economic and community development.”

For Clayden, he looks forward to the return of Espanola to the NOJHL.

"It is an honour that our fellow NOJHL Governors have put faith in our organization to resurrect junior hockey in the Town of Espanola,” stated Clayden.

“The community, Mayor Lehoux and his fellow Council Members and Staff have been second to none in making our organization feel welcome,” he added.

Echoing the sentiments of Mayor Lehoux and Clayden is NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca.

“We at the NOJHL are extremely pleased to welcome Espanola back into the fold,” said Mazzuca.

“Strengthening our league with an eighth franchise, especially one with such historic roots, only further enhances the NOJHL moving forward,” added Mazzuca.

“We look forward to working with the franchise in what is sure to be a memorable 2013-14 campaign.”

As part of the build-up to the season, the franchise is letting the fans voice be heard by holding a name the team contest along an opportunity to design the club’s logo.

More information on the name the team and logo design contest along with other organizational news, visit the club’s website at

 (Nathan can be reached at

John Becanic named head coach in Corpus Christi

Press Release

The Corpus Christi IceRays have named former Wenatchee Wild bench boss John Becanic the new head coach as the IceRays embark on the fourth season in the North American Hockey League.

"We have finally found our guy, after a lengthy process where more than 50 candidates applied,” said IceRays general manager Pat Dunn.   “We shortened our list to five very good coaches and at the end John was the guy.”

Becanic has a full list of junior hockey experience in the Canadian Hockey League, American Western Hockey League, and even the North American Hockey League.  The native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario won a Robertson Cup in the North American Hockey League in 2003 with the Pittsburgh Forge while also being named the Coach of the Year.

The coaching career began in 1992 as an assistant coach with the Soo Greyhounds in the OHL.  In 1993, Becanic was behind the bench as the Greyhounds won the Memorial Cup.

Becanic was impressed with not only the professionalism of the IceRays, but the crowd support as well.  “After going through a very thorough process with Pat, I truly appreciate why so many people recommended both the program and Pat to me,” said Becanic.  “His professionalism is recognized throughout NAHL and beyond, along with the fans of the IceRays.  It is a tribute to the people of Corpus Christi and the surrounding area for their loyal support and enthusiasm that they inject into the players every night.”

After capturing the Robertson Cup in 2003, Becanic was named to the coaching staff of the Everett Silvertips in the WHL.  After assisting for four years, the Silvertips promoted him to the head coaching post in 2007 when the squad won the WHL regular season championship.  In two years he posted a total record of 66-66-12 in 144 games coached.  In those two seasons, the Silvertips qualified for the playoffs but lost in round one.

It wasn’t just his experience that attracted the IceRays to Becanic, but his structure and who he coached with in the past as well.  “I was truly impressed by his structure,” Dunn added.  He also coached with some of the best coaches in the world.  I truly believe that he will do a tremendous job for us. I could have picked any of the five guys remaining, and some quality guys did not make the short list. At the end of the day it all comes down to your gut feel.”

From 2009 – 2011, Becanic was the assistant coach for both the Seattle Thunderbirds and Vancouver Giants before landing back in the NAHL with the Wenatchee Wild for two seasons.

As the Wenatchee head coach, the veteran marched them into the playoffs with a 36-17-7 record before losing in round two.  He thrives off of hard work and quick thinking. “The most important attribute for me as a coach is a willingness to work,” Becanic added.  “There is no substitute for work and it’s something that every player will learn to embrace.  The other attribute is the ability to think the game at a quick pace.  The game is full of talented players and the game changes quickly. Players need to think quickly and adjust to the game.  Play hard, Play smart, Play like a pro.”

Becanic becomes the third coach for the IceRays while members of the North American Hockey League.  Former IceRays head coach Justin Quenneville, who stepped down earlier in the off-season had replaced Brent Hughes to start the 2011-2012 season.

“John and I hit it off and I believe that we will work well together,” Dunn finished by saying.  “On behalf of the IceRays organization, we want to welcome John to the IceRays family.  I also want to thank every coach that applied for the position.  I tried to get back to everyone, but at one point you need to move forward and I may have not returned everyone's calls or emails, for that I apologize.”

The IceRays will kick off their 16th season in Corpus Christi in mid-September and Becanic knows improvement in a team starts from within.  “. I'm not one for predictions. The South division is loaded with talented teams supported by good coaches.  We want to improve and set goals together as a group. Our goals will be shared throughout the organization.  The best way to improve our team is to improve ourselves.”

(Nathan can be reached at

Thirty-five players invited to Canada's National Junior Team summer development camp

Press Release

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Friday a roster of 35 players that have been invited to Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp, set for Aug. 4-10 in Brossard, Que., and Lake Placid, N.Y.

Canada’s roster, comprised of three goaltenders, 12 defencemen and 20 forwards, was selected by Ryan Jankowski, head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence for Hockey Canada, along with Hockey Canada senior director of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond and the newly-formed Program of Excellence management group including Sean Burke and Bruce Hamilton.

Jankowski will continue to monitor these players and other potential candidates during the first few months of the 2013-14 season and at the CHL Super Series to determine who will be invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp in December. In total, 22 players will be selected to represent Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmö, Sweden.

Canada’s National Junior Team will gather in Brossard at the Montreal Canadiens’ practice facility for two practices on Aug. 4 and 5 before travelling to Lake Placid, N.Y., for exhibition games against Finland (Aug. 7), Sweden (Aug. 8) and the United States (Aug. 10).

A number of the players on the summer development camp roster will be front and centre at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30 in New Jersey, where many are expected to be selected in the first and second rounds.

For more information on Canada’s National Junior Team and Hockey Canada, please visit, or follow along through social media at, and

 (Nathan can be reached at

67 OHL Prospects invited to Final Team Ontario Under-17 Camp

Press Release

Toronto, ON - Team Ontario Director of Operations Barclay Branch along with Head Coach Roger Hunt, Assistant Coaches Drew Bannister and Seamus Kotyk are pleased to announce that they have identified the 68 players who will attend the 2013 Under-17 Provincial Camp to be held in Oshawa, Ontario.

On ice sessions will take place at the General Motors Centre from August 14-18, 2013.

Director of Operations Barclay Branch and his coaching staff will be evaluating all players at this year’s Provincial Camp and select a team from this group that will represent Ontario at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge to be held in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, from December 27, 2013, until January 5, 2014.

Players were identified for the Provincial Camp through competition at the inaugural U16 OHL Gold Cup held May 9-12 in Kitchener where eight teams and 160 players represented the ALLIANCE, GTHL, HNO, NOHA, OMHA, and the tournament champion ODHA.  For more information on the U16 OHL Gold Cup please visit

The Hockey Development Centre for Ontario (HDCO) facilitates the Men’s Under-17 hockey program on behalf of the three Ontario Branches of Hockey Canada.

OHL Prospects Attending Team Ontario Under-17 Camp:

*denotes first round selection in 2013 OHL Priority Selection

Barrie Colts:
Kevin Labelle (Nickel City Sons)
Matthew Kreis (Halton Hurricanes)*

Belleville Bulls:
Connor Hicks (Ottawa Senators)
Jake Bricknell (Central Ontario Wolves)
Maurizio Colella (York Simcoe Express)
Christian DeDonato (York Simcoe Express)
Adam Laishram (Whitby Wildcats)
Justin Lemcke (Whitby Wildcats)*

Erie Otters:
Patrick Fellows (Mississauga Rebels)
Sean Kohler (Oakville Rangers)
Cole Mayo (Elgin- Middlesex Chiefs)
Jesse Saban (Toronto Red Wings)
Dylan Strome (Toronto Marlboros)*

Guelph Storm:
Tyler Boston (York Simcoe Express)
Adam Craievich (Oakville Rangers)
Garrett McFadden (Grey-Bruce Highlanders)*

Kingston Frontenacs:
Lawson Crouse (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)*
Joshua Gagne (Toronto Marlboros)
Jeremy Helvig (Toronto Red Wings)
Kris Myllari (Ottawa Senators)

Kitchener Rangers:
Jacob Cascagnette (Kitchener Rangers)
Mike Davies (Southern Tier Admirals)*

London Knights:
Josh Defarius (Toronto Marlboros)
Zach Grzelewski (Thunder Bay Kings)
Mitch Marner (Don Mills Flyers)*

Mississauga Steelheads:
Jesse Barwell (Oakville Rangers)
Neil Doef (Upper Canada Cyclones)
Austin Gerhart (Barrie Colts)

Niagara IceDogs:
Johnny Corneil (Central Ontario Wolves)
Graham Knott (York Simcoe Express)
Hayden McCool (Whitby Wildcats)*

North Bay Battalion:
Mike Baird (Southern Tier Admirals)
Riley Bruce (Ottawa Valley Titans)
Evan Cormier (Clarington Toros)
Austin Eastman (Central Ontario Wolves)
Brett McKenzie (Oakville Rangers)*

Oshawa Generals:
Sam Harding (York Simcoe Express)
Ian Johnston (Ottawa Senators)
Mitchell Vande Sompel (London Knights)*

Ottawa 67’s:
Benjamin Blacker (Brampton 45’s)
Travis Konecny (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)*

Owen Sound Attack:
Ryan Heeps (Oshawa Generals)
Tyler MacArthur (Barrie Colts)
Michael McNiven (Halton Hurricanes)
Ethan Szypula (London Knights)*
Connor Walters (Southern Tier Admirals)

Peterborough Petes:
Cameron Lizotte (Nickel City Sons)
Matthew Spencer (Oakville Rangers)*
Mitchell Webb (Toronto Marlboros)

Plymouth Whalers:
Bryce Yetman (Whitby Wildcats)

Saginaw Spirit:
Marcus Crawford (South Central Coyotes)
Michael Holmes (Barrie Colts)
Ryan Orban (Ottawa Valley Titans)
Mitchell Stephens (Toronto Marlboros)*

Sarnia Sting:
Noah Bushnell (Sun County Panthers)
Martin Frechette (Eastern Ontario Wild)
Connor Schlichting (York Simcoe Express)

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds:
Jake Behse (Thunder Bay Kings)
Zachary Senyshyn (Ottawa Senators)
Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie Thunder)*
Colton White (London Knights)

Sudbury Wolves:
Kyle Capobianco (Oakville Rangers)*
Troy Timpano (Toronto Titans)
David Zeppieri (Mississauga Rebels)

Windsor Spitfires:
Andrew Burns (Oakville Rangers)
Aaron Luchuk (Greater Kingston Frontenacs)
Liam Murray (Eastern Ontario Wild)

Additional invite:
Bo Taylor (Upper Canada Cyclones)


 (Nathan can be reached at

Esau and French are the first FortisBC Energy Players of the Year

Press Release

Prince George Spruce Kings defenceman Trevor Esau and West Kelowna Warriors forward Max French have been named the first-ever recipients of the FortisBC Energy Player of the Year honour.

Esau, the Spruce Kings captain and veteran of 159 BCHL games with the Spruce Kings, earned 11 FortisBC Energy Player of the game nods through 51 games played in the regular season to take the crown for that portion of the schedule.

French, the Warriors captain and veteran of 193 BCHL games with the Warriors, earned four FortisBC Energy Player of the Game nods in 10 playoff games as his team advanced to the Interior Conference finals.

The BCHL and FortisBC salute these players for their efforts on the ice this season and congratulate them on their respective honours.

FortisBC has been a longtime partner of the BCHL and continues to provide energy solutions for customers across the province.

Together, the BCHL and FortisBC look forward to recognizing the league's hardest working players night in and night out through the regular season and playoffs.

For more information on FortisBC's programs and energy savings solutions, visit them online at

 (Nathan can be reached at

SilverBacks Hire Kraus As New Assistant Coach

Press Release

The Salmon Arm SilverBacks are pleased to announce the hiring of Kevin Kraus as the team’s new assistant coach.

Kraus joins the SilverBacks after spending the past two seasons as head coach and general manager of the KIJHL’s Revelstoke Grizzlies, with whom he compiled an overall record of 64-32-3-7 and won a Doug Birks division championship in 2012.

As a player, the Huntington Beach, California product skated in the Western Hockey League with Kamloops and Tri-City before winning back-to-back BCHL championships, Doyle and RBC Cups as a defenseman with the Vernon Vipers, captaining the club during his final BCHL season. Kraus enjoyed a brief stint in professional hockey in the CHL and SPHL before transitioning into the coaching ranks.

“I’m very excited to be joining the SilverBacks,” Kraus stated. “I look forward to working with a very motivated and passionate staff in Salmon Arm this coming season.”

“We’re thrilled to add a proven winner like Kevin to our coaching staff,” said SilverBacks head coach/general manager Troy Mick. “Our players will benefit greatly from his experience as a player because he knows what it takes to win and the sacrifices involved in becoming a champion.”

“Kevin has done a great job in developing players for our league during his time in Revelstoke. I’ve known him for quite a few years now and he is without question ready for the next step in his coaching career and we welcome him to Salmon Arm,” Mick added.

Kraus will also take on the role of strength & conditioning coach with the SilverBacks this season.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Kings' coaching staff returning

Press Release

Following on the heels of the contract extension of Head Coach and General Manager, Marlin Murray, the Dauphin Kings Junior A Hockey Club has finalized the contracts of two more members of its staff:  Marc Berry and Tyrol Deeg.

Marc Berry has served as Assistant Coach and Marketing Director for the past three seasons, and has been promoted to Assistant General Manager in addition to his marketing duties.  Berry will now help guide the Kings through the next 3 seasons, which will include the 2014 Western Canada Cup next May.

“With the year we have coming up, hosting the WCC, this was a natural title to take on” stated Marc Berry on his new position. “Marlin has been very good about including me in a lot of the decision making since I started with the Kings. I’m looking forward to my expanded role. It’s been a great experience so far here in Dauphin.”

Also re-signing with the coaching staff is 6-year veteran Trainer and Equipment Manager, Tyrol Deeg.  He has agreed to stay on with the team for the 2013-14 season.

 (Nathan can be reached at

RED DEER REBELS: Name Taylor Dakers Goaltending Coach

Press Release

RED DEER, AB – Brent Sutter, President/General Manager/Head Coach of the Red Deer Rebels Hockey Club, announced today Taylor Dakers (pronounced: DAY-kurs) has been hired as the team’s new Goaltending Coach.  

Taylor Dakers played four seasons with the Kootenay Ice from 2003-2007 and was a 5th round selection of the San Jose Sharks in the 2005 National Hockey League Entry Draft.  He had been the Goaltender Coach with the Everett Silvertips the last two seasons and works fulltime with World Pro Goaltending in Calgary.

Dakers will work with the Red Deer Rebels roster goaltenders as well as goaltenders on the team’s protected list.  He will assist the Rebels scouting staff in the evaluation of goaltenders for the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. 

Brent Sutter - “We’re very pleased to add Taylor to our coaching staff.  Taylor has coached goaltenders and he brings that coaching experience. Also, we were looking for someone that had played at a high level, he’s played in our league and professionally, so he brings that knowledge of the position too.  We look forward to adding him to our coaching staff.”

Taylor Dakers - "I'm very excited to be part of the Red Deer Rebels organization. There is a very strong tradition of producing great teams and great players. Being able to work alongside professionals like Brent Sutter, Jeff Truitt, and Steve O'Rourke is an honour and I look forward to helping develop the best players we possibly can."

(Nathan can be reached at

KOOTENAY ICE: Name Jay Henderson Assistant Coach

Press Release

Cranbrook, BC – Jeff Chynoweth, General Manager of the Kootenay ICE Hockey Club, today announced the Club has hired Jay Henderson as their new Assistant Coach. Henderson, who has signed a two year contract, replaces Chad Kletzel who resigned in May to resume his teaching career in Lethbridge, Alberta.

“We are excited to add Jay Henderson to our coaching staff. Jay is passionate about the game and has been learning the coaching side of the business by giving back at the both the minor hockey and college levels for the past number of years. He was a leader throughout his professional career (team captain in 2004-2005 and three time AHL Man of the Year for Community Service) and played the game at the highest level and will be a good complement to Ryan McGill.” continued Chynoweth.

“Having coached Jay as player in both the Western Hockey League and American Hockey League I know firsthand that his hard work, character and commitment to getting better each and every day will allow him to succeed as a coach. He played professional hockey for 13 years and our players will benefit from his playing experiences and his knowledge of the game,” commented Head Coach Ryan McGill.

Jay Henderson played four seasons in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels (1994-1996) and Edmonton ICE (1996–1998). He was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1997 NHL Entry Draft (9th round – 246th overall) and played 33 games with the Bruins over three years. Jay also played parts of nine seasons with four AHL teams winning three Calder Cups in his career (Providence Bruins – 1998-1999, Houston Aeros – 2002-2003 and Milwaukee Admirals – 2003-2004). He finished his professional career in 2010 after playing in Germany (2005-2008), Austria (2008-2009) and England (2009-2010). For the past two years Jay was an Assistant Coach with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. During his time at NAIT he also worked with Hockey Alberta as a Head Coach for the Alberta Cup and as an Instructor with Team Pacific.

Jay Henderson is a 34-year-old native of Sherwood Park, Alberta. He and his wife Megan are the parents two children; daughter Mila (5) and son Seamus (3).

 (Nathan can be reached at

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spruce Kings Complete Trade with OCN Blizzard

Press Release

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) have traded Spencer Schoech to the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) in exchange for future considerations.

Schoech was brought to Prince George part way into last season to help on the blue line and also played forward at times through the year.

"Spencer played well in his time with us last season," said Spruce Kings General Manager, Mike Hawes. "Unfortunately he has been caught in a bit of a numbers game as he would have been an overage player and an import player for us this upcoming season. He is going to a good program in Manitoba and will do well there."

The Spruce Kings organization would like to thank Spencer for all of his contributions to the team and wish the twenty year old all the best in his future hockey career.

  (Nathan can be reached at

NAPHL has ties with new USA Hockey model programs

Press Release

USA Hockey announced today that the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Optimist Hockey Association, the Kettler Capitals, the Montgomery (Md.) Youth Hockey Association and San Jose Jr. Sharks have been named USA Hockey Model Association programs.

Two of the four associations (Kalamazoo and San Jose) have 18U and 18U teams that are a part of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL).

With the designation, the four organizations have committed to follow the American Development Model in full at the 8-and-under, 10-and-under and 12-and-under age groups. The ADM is based on age-appropriate training to fully benefit children in their hockey and overall athletic development.

"We are excited to welcome this next group of model associations," said Kevin McLaughlin, senior director of hockey development for USA Hockey. "They're committed to ensuring the best possible competition and training environment for kids involved in their programs."

As a benefit of their model program designation, Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association and the San Jose Jr. Sharks will receive added support from USA Hockey to assist in implementing the ADM throughout their programs, including equipment, signage, and educational materials. Further, all four will receive on-going staff support from USA Hockey's national office, including in-depth coaches training and parent education that will commence in early September.

Our mission is to continue to grow the game of hockey in the Bay Area and provide all the tools necessary for our customers to enjoy the game for years to come," said Jon Gustafson, general manager of Sharks Ice, which houses not only two NAPHL teams, but a regular NAPHL event in October. "We are honored to be a driver and a partner with USA Hockey and the ADM program, which emphasizes long-term skill development and creating a love for the game. California is now considered a thriving hockey market and we are very excited about the future growth on the West Coast."

“The Hounds are very excited about KOHA becoming a Model Association. Our relationship with The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Assoc. has grown in the past few years and being a part of the largest youth hockey association in our district is definitely a benefit to what we are trying to do with the Hounds,” said Tom Berry, Executive Director of the NAPHL’s West Michigan Hounds. “The Hounds players and coaches have been working with KOHA in their ADM clinics in the past. We look forward to continuing the growth and development of youth players in our area."

NOTES: The ADM, with full support from the NHL, was launched in January of 2009 to provide associations nationwide – for the first time ever - a blueprint for optimal athlete development. The ADM is based on age-appropriate training and uses long-term athlete development principles as its foundation. It is for players of all ages and ability levels, including the most competitive ... The associations announced today join the Arvada (Colo.) Hockey Association, Colorado Springs Hockey Association, New Jersey Bandits and Orchard Lake (Mich.) United in being recognized as USA Hockey Model Association programs.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

Kamloops, BC – Kamloops Blazers General Manager Craig Bonner announced today the hockey club has signed Quinn Benjafield, their 1st round pick, 19th overall in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.

Benjafield is from North Vancouver, BC and played Bantam AAA with the North Shore Winter Club. The dynamic forward suited up for 70 games this season and scored 63 goals, and added 69 assists for 132 points. Benjafield is listed at 6’1” and 165lbs and is likely to play for the Northwest Giants of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League next season.

“Quinn is a big, skilled forward that we are excited to have as a part of our future”, commented General Manager Craig Bonner. “He had an outstanding season and played a leadership role on one of the best Bantam teams in Western Canada. We look forward to monitoring his development and watching him at our fall training camp.” 

Benjafield team won the Bantam AAA St. Albert and Chilliwack tournaments. His team also won the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association Bantam division and the B.C. Bantam AAA title. Benjafield was tied for the lead in scoring with 12 points in four games at the Canadian Western Bantam Championships. His team eventually made it to the final of the Western Canadian Bantam Championships before falling to the South Side Athletic Club based out of Edmonton.

(Nathan can be reached at

OHL 2013-14 Regular Season Schedule

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the regular season schedule of games for 2013-14, see it here.

The 680-game OHL regular season opens on Thursday September 19, 2013, with four games including the Bobby Orr Trophy winners the Barrie Colts hosting the Saginaw Spirit at 7:30 pm, the Windsor Spitfires host the Oshawa Generals at 7:05 pm, along with a pair of Eastern Conference divisional matchups featuring the Niagara IceDogs hosting the Mississauga Steelheads at 7:00 pm, and the Peterborough Petes hosting the Kingston Frontenacs at 7:05 pm.

The season continues on Friday September 20, 2013, with eight games featuring season openers for 12 teams including the Robertson Cup Champion London Knights when they host the Plymouth Whalers at 7:30 pm in a rematch of the Rogers Western Conference Championship Series.

Other highlights of the season include Friday October 11, 2013, when the North Bay Battalion make their home debut at Memorial Gardens against the Peterborough Petes at 7:00 pm.  On Friday November 8, 2013, at 7:30 pm the Knights host the Colts in a rematch of the 2013 Rogers OHL Championship Series, with their second and final head-to-head contest of the season set for Saturday February 1, 2014, at 7:30 pm in Barrie.  On Tuesday November 19, 2013, there are three morning games on the schedule including the Ottawa 67’s hosting the Belleville Bulls at 10:30 am, along with the Erie Otters hosting the Kitchener Rangers at 11:00 am, and the Steelheads hosting the Guelph Storm at 11:00 am.  The Saginaw Spirit also host a morning game against the Sarnia Sting on Tuesday March 4 at 10:45 am.  On Sunday December 29, 2013, the Spirit face the Spitfires at 1:30 pm followed by the Whalers against the Knights at 5:00 pm in an outdoor doubleheader as part of the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park in Detroit.

The 2013-14 regular season wraps up on Sunday March 16, 2014, with five games scheduled before the league’s top 16 teams will compete for the Robertson Cup in the 2014 OHL Playoffs.

CHL Special Events this season include the 2013 SUBWAY Super Series in OHL markets on Thursday November 21, 2013, hosted by the Generals, followed by Monday November 25, 2013, hosted by the Sudbury Wolves.  The 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is scheduled for Wednesday January 15, 2014, in Calgary, Alberta.  The 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Knights May 16-25, 2014, and will feature the champions from all three leagues competing in the 96th edition of our prestigious national championship.

The Ontario Hockey League continues the tradition of being primarily a weekend league in order to accommodate the student athlete with over 86% (587) games scheduled between Thursday and Sunday. Friday continues to be the busiest night during the season with 195 games scheduled, followed by 167 on Saturdays, and 119 on Sundays.

Day - No. of Games (Percentage)
Click here to see the 2013-14 OHL Regular Season Schedule online
Click here to download a printable copy of the 2013-14 OHL Regular Season Schedule

 (Nathan can be reached at

Dallas Hand to Leave Oilers

Press Release

 It is with deep regret that the Okotoks Oilers announce that Dallas Hand, our Marketing and Business Manager, has accepted a new marketing position with the Bower Mall, in Red Deer, Alberta, effective July 8, 2013.

Dallas who is from Spruceview, Alberta, was a walk-on competitor at the Okotoks Oilers inaugural main camp in August 2005, and made the final roster through dedicated hard work. His devoted work ethic throughout the 2005/06 season, earned him the prestigious Oilers Award, an award presented to the player exhibiting outstanding team and community leadership. At the conclusion of the 2005/06 season, Dallas received a hockey scholarship to the New England College Pilgrims, of the ECAC East, in Henniker, New Hampshire, and for the next two years played for the Pilgrims and studied Sports and Recreation Management. In the spring of the 2007/08, Dallas graduated with his degree in Sports and Recreation Management: Athletic Administration, and was named to the ECAC 2007/08 All Academic Team. In the fall of 2008 Dallas returned to New England College  to continue his studies and graduated in June 2009 with his Masters Degree in Management and Marketing. Shortly thereafter he joined the Oilers staff as our Marketing and Business Manager.

Dallas has been innovative and instrumental in creating the Oilers marketing program over the past few years. He was known and well respected throughout the community. We will all miss him dearly.

The Okotoks Oilers wish Dallas, his wife Sarah and son Hudson, every success for the future.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Banner McKay joins Blizzard

Press Release

The OCN Blizzard Junior “A” Hockey Club is pleased to announce the hiring of Danny McKay as its new Assistant Coach.

McKay comes to OCN with a wealth of experience as an Assistant Coach at the Junior “A” level. McKay spent several years in that role with the Yorkton Terriers of the SJHL winning numerous league championships.

Most recently McKay was the Head Coach and General Manager of the Ochapowace Thunder, a Junior “B” team in Saskatchewan’s Prairie Junior Hockey League. McKay guided the Thunder to a 122-62 record in the 2012/2013 season.

OCN Blizzard General Manager Derek Fontaine says McKay boasts an impressive resume, “his experience in Junior “A” speaks for itself, with his multiple championships as an Assistant Coach with the Yorkton Terriers.”

Blizzard Head Coach Clay DeBray says he’s excited to get to work with McKay once more “I’ve had the privilege of working with him previously in the hockey world. His passion for the game will be instilled into the game of our players.”

McKay will begin working for the Blizzard June 26.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Brent Sutter named head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team; Benoît Groulx and Ryan McGill to serve as assistant coaches

Press Release

TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Friday that Brent Sutter (Viking, Alta.), head coach, general manager and owner of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, will be head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship, scheduled for Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014 in Malmö, Sweden. Benoît Groulx, head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques, and Ryan McGill, head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, will serve as assistant coaches.

Brent Sutter, 51, has coached Canada in international competition on four previous occasions, most recently at the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. Sutter led Canada to gold medals at the 2005 and 2006 IIHF World Junior Championships, going undefeated in 12 games over the two tournaments, and to a 7-0-1 record in the 2007 Canada-Russia Super Series, which featured both countries’ national junior teams. Sutter won the CHL Coach of the Year award in 2000-01 after guiding Red Deer to a Memorial Cup title. He returned to the Rebels bench last season after three seasons at the helm of the NHL’s Calgary Flames and two as head coach of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Sutter also represented Canada as a player on four occasions, at the 1986 IIHF World Championship and 1984, 1987 and 1991 Canada Cups.

Benoît Groulx, 45, is in his 10th season with the Olympiques organization after serving as head coach from 2002-08 before two years as head coach of the AHL’s Rochester Americans. Groulx returned to the Olympiques prior to the 2010-11 season as head coach and general manager. He has led Gatineau to three Memorial Cup appearances, in 2003, 2004 and 2008, finishing as runner-up in both 2003 and 2004. Groulx was named head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship, but accepted a position with Rochester prior to the 2008-09 season. He was named QMJHL coach of the year in 2003-04.

Ryan McGill, 44, the reigning WHL coach of the year, is in his second stint as head coach of the Kootenay Ice, returning to the club for the 2012-13 season. McGill worked with the NHL’s Calgary Flames for six seasons, serving as an assistant coach with the Flames from 2009-11 after four years as head coach of their AHL affiliates in Omaha and Quad Cities. McGill was the head coach of the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack for three seasons from 2002-05 after guiding the Ice from 1998-2002. McGill led Kootenay to two Memorial Cup appearances, in 2000 and 2002, winning the championship in 2002.

This year, Canada’s National Junior Team will gather in Brossard, Que., for practices on Aug. 4 and 5, before playing exhibition games in Lake Placid, N.Y., against Finland (Aug. 7), Sweden (Aug. 8) and the United States (Aug. 10).

For more information on Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, please visit, or follow along through social media at, and

 (Nathan can be reached at

Dale Hunter named head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team; Dominique Ducharme and D.J. Smith to serve as assistant coaches

Press Release

TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday that Dale Hunter (Petrolia, Ont.), head coach, owner and president of the OHL’s London Knights, will be head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team for the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament, scheduled for Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Dominique Ducharme (Joliette, Que.), head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, and D.J. Smith (Windsor, Ont.), head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, will serve as assistant coaches.

Dale Hunter, 52, has spent 11 seasons as the owner, president and head coach of the London Knights, leading the team to three Memorial Cup appearances, winning the title in 2005. Hunter has been named OHL coach of the year three times, in 2004, 2005 and 2010, adding CHL coach of the year honours in 2004. Hunter spent part of the 2011-12 season as head coach of the NHL’s Washington Capitals but returned to the Knights’ bench for the 2012-13 season. Hunter is a veteran of 19 NHL seasons with Quebec and Washington, and had his number retired by the Capitals.

Dominique Ducharme, 40, completed his second season as head coach of the Halifax Mooseheads, leading the team to its first-ever Memorial Cup championship after leading the QMJHL with a 58-6-1-3 record in 2012-13. Ducharme joined the Mooseheads after three seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Juniors. While with Montreal, Ducharme was an assistant coach with Quebec at the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Winnipeg, Man., finishing fourth. Ducharme played professionally for seven seasons including stops in the ECHL, AHL and Europe.

D.J. Smith, 36, just finished his first season as head coach with the Oshawa Generals, leading the team to a 42-22-1-3 record in 2012-13, a 19-point improvement over the previous season. Prior to joining the Generals, Smith spent eight seasons with his hometown Windsor Spitfires as an assistant and associate coach winning a pair of Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010. Smith played junior hockey with the Spitfires before a nine-year professional career that including 45 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.

Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team will gather in Toronto, Ont., for a selection camp July 25-29 at the MasterCard Centre prior to selecting the team which will travel to Europe to compete in the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament. Canada has won the annual summer tournament five years in a row and 15 of the last 17 years.

Information on the players invited to the selection camp will be announced in the near future.

For more information on Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, please visit, or follow along through social media at, and

 (Nathan can be reached at

Hockey Canada Program of Excellence undergoes significant changes; POE management group named; Ryan Jankowski named head scout

Press Release

TORONTO, Ont. – Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League, announced Wednesday a number of changes to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence, including the naming of a management group, a head scout and significant changes to the under-17 program.

Over the course of the past few months, Hockey Canada, under the leadership of president and CEO Bob Nicholson and COO Scott Smith, did a full overview of the Program of Excellence, which led to the changes and structure being announced Wednesday.

The management group will oversee hockey operations for Hockey Canada’s men’s Program of Excellence and will be comprised of Joël Bouchard (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL), Sean Burke (Phoenix, NHL), Bruce Hamilton (Kelowna, WHL) and Mark Hunter (London, OHL). This group will be working directly with Hockey Canada vice-president of hockey operations and national teams Brad Pascall (Coquitlam, B.C.) and senior director of hockey operations and national teams Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.) to oversee operations of the under-17, under-18 and under-20 programs.

The Program of Excellence policy committee, comprised of Nicholson, Smith, OHL commissioner and CHL president David Branch, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau, WHL commissioner Ron Robison, Hockey Canada officers Joe Drago (Sudbury, Ont.) and Michaël Brind’amour (St-Charles-Borromée, Que.) remains in place to oversee direction of the program.

Joël Bouchard, 39, has been the president and general manager of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada for the past two seasons after serving as an assistant coach with the team for the previous three years. The Montreal, Que., native played 15 professional seasons, including parts of 11 seasons in the National Hockey League with eight teams. Bouchard represented Canada three times internationally as a player, at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 1993 and 1994 and the 1997 IIHF World Championship, winning a gold medal each time.

Sean Burke, 46, is a veteran of 17 NHL seasons with nine teams and is currently the assistant to the general manager and goaltender coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. Burke has represented Canada internationally on numerous occasions, beginning with a silver medal with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 1986 IIHF World Junior Championship. Burke also played for Canada at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, winning a silver medal. He won the Canada Cup in 1991 and gold medals at the IIHF World Championship in 1997 and 2003, when he was also named the tournament’s top goaltender and to the world championship all-star team.

Bruce Hamilton, 55, is the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, a franchise he started in Tacoma, Wash., in 1991. Hamilton has led the Rockets to four Memorial Cups, winning in 2004 as the host team. Hamilton, originally from Saskatoon, Sask., is the WHL’s chairman of the board, a post he has held since 2008 after previously holding the position from 1998 to 2004.

Mark Hunter, 50, just completed his 13th season as owner, vice-president and general manager of the London Knights. Hunter has helped guide the Knights to three Memorial Cups, winning in 2005, a season in which the Knights set 13 CHL team records. Prior to his time in London, Hunter was head coach of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting for five seasons. The native of Petrolia, Ont., played 12 NHL seasons with five teams, winning the Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Calgary Flames.

Brad Pascall, 42, has been Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams since 2010, and with Hockey Canada since 1998, serving as senior director of men’s national teams from 2006 to 2010, and senior director of communications from 1998 to 2008. The native of Coquitlam, B.C., oversees the operation of Canada’s national men’s teams, including the men’s Olympic and world championship teams, the under-20, under-18 and under-17 programs as well as Canada’s National Sledge Team.

Scott Salmond, 42, has served as Hockey Canada’s senior director of hockey operations and national teams since 2010, serving as director of men’s national teams from 2005 to 2010. The native of Creston, B.C., oversees hockey operations for Canada’s National Men’s Team, National Junior Team, national under-18 program and under-17 programs. Prior to working with Hockey Canada, Salmond spent five years with the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association. 

In addition to the management group, Hockey Canada also announced that Ryan Jankowski (Calgary, Alta.) has been named head scout of the men’s Program of Excellence, replacing Kevin Prendergast.

Ryan Jankowski, 38, has spent the last three seasons as an amateur scout with the Montreal Canadiens after working five seasons as the assistant general manager with the New York Islanders. The native of Calgary, Alta., also served as chief European scout for the Islanders from 2003 to 2006. Jankowski previously worked for Hockey Canada from 1996 to 2003 in a variety of roles, including helping Canada’s National Women’s Team win gold at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games as the team’s video manager. In 1993, he was Canada’s assistant equipment manager at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Gavle, Sweden, winning a gold medal. As head scout of Hockey Canada’s men’s Program of Excellence, Jankowski will be responsible for all player evaluation and recruitment for Canada’s National Junior Team and National Men’s Under-18 Team development and selection camps, as well as evaluations with the under-17 program.

Hockey Canada also announced significant changes over the next two seasons to the under-17 program.  In 2014-15, the under-17 program will include a first ever national under-17 camp, and will go from five regional teams to three national teams at the 2015 World Under-17 Challenge.  In preparation of these changes, Hockey Canada will be hiring a scouting staff for the under-17 program over the coming months.

For more information on Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, please visit, or follow along through social media at, and

 (Nathan can be reached at

Five Players named to Hounds Leadership Group; Captain, Alternates Announced

Press Release

Sault Ste. Marie - The Soo Greyhounds Hockey Program made a significant announcement this afternoon with the creation of the team’s Leadership Group including naming Captains and Alternates for the upcoming 2013-14 Ontario Hockey League Season.

DARNELL NURSE has been named TEAM CAPTAIN for the 2013-2014 Campaign by General Manager Kyle Dubas and Head Coach Sheldon Keefe.

"Darnell possesses all the qualities you want in a captain. His work ethic, discipline and character on the ice, in the gym and in the classroom make him a natural leader who represents precisely what we want the Soo Greyhounds to be about” began Keefe.

"He is an obvious choice by not just our staff but more importantly, his teammates."

Nurse, who is set to enter his 3rd season with the Program, is coming off a banner year where he had 12 goals and 29 assists (41 points) in the regular season.  The Hamilton, ON native had his season highlighted  by being named Alternate Captain at the Home Hardware Top Prospects game for Team Cherry and was voted the Hounds Scholastic Player of the Year and Player’s Player before taking home the Bobby Smith Award as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.  Nurse became just the 2nd player in Hounds history to win the OHL's Scholastic Player of the Year, which is awarded annually to the student-athlete best exemplifying success in the classroom and on the ice.

“It is an honour to be named Captain on a team with so much tradition.  Having the opportunity to be around a captain like Colin (Miller) last year has given me the opportunity to see exactly what the leader of a team should be.  With that said, a team is made up of over 20 players and each person will lead in their own way.  I am looking forward to being a part of something special this year” stated Nurse.

Joining Nurse as member's of the Leadership Group will be ANDREW FRITSCH, ALEX GUDBRANSON and TYLER GANLY, who have been named Alternate Captains.  Goaltender MATT MURRAY,who cannot formally wear the alternate captain's "A" will join his teammates as part of the leadership group.
The five veteran players will be relied upon heavily by team management and coaches to guide the Program through this crucial stage in its development.

Fritsch, who joined the Hounds in August 2011, will enter his overage season with the Hounds.  The Brantford, ON native will be entering his 5th season in the OHL and brings over 200 games experience to this year’s edition of the Program.

"As our most experienced player Andrew will be relied upon a lot this season and he brings a great deal of leadership to our team.  He's a positive person who is motivated to make his final season his best” commented Keefe.

For Fritsch, nothing will change from his approach to the season despite being an Alternate Captain.
“It’s an honour to be named an Alternate Captain for the upcoming season and to be recognized by Kyle and the entire coaching staff and also to be wearing the A in my last season in the league is pretty special.  I believe I can provide experience to the team, especially the younger players like I would with, or without the A.  To know the coaches have this type of confidence in me to be a leader this year feels good”

In Gudbranson, the acquisition from he summer of 2012, will be entering his 4th season in the OHL and second with the Hounds.  A native of Orleans, ON, Gudbranson is well respected by the team’s staff, players and fans.  He is known for his hard work, reliable and physical play that saw him named the team’s Unsung Hero at the conclusion of 2012-13.

"Alex carries himself like a leader and our players are drawn to him.  He consistently puts the team ahead of himself and is trustworthy and reliable both on and off the ice” commented Keefe.

Stated Gudbranson, “We have a young team this year, so for Darnell, Andrew, Matt, Tyler and myself it is very important to be pillars for this team in terms of leadership.”

With Ganly, the Hounds look towards the 18-year old who enters his second season on the blueline.  The Milton, ON product capped off his inaugural campaign with the Hounds with 17 assists and a Corsi rating of +72 once Head Coach Sheldon Keefe took over as bench boss on December 3.  With injuries and suspension early in the year on the team’s blueline, Ganly was relied upon heavily in many different situations with the club as he grew and matured at the Major Junior level.

"As a rookie last season Tyler's great development came through a positive attitude and commitment to putting in the necessary work to get better every day which earned him the confidence of the coaching staff and respect of all his teammates.  Those qualities bode well for continued improvement and will be a great example for our younger players” explained Keefe.

For Ganly, he is ready and excited for the opportunity.
“After playing one season behind our past leaders of Colin, Ryan, Darnell and Brandon I feel honoured to be put into the team’s leadership.  Having a young team this year, I believe leadership will be key to the team’s success and I am willing and ready to step up into this role.”

While with Murray, the Hounds completed their leadership group with the soon-to-be 4th year goaltender of the club.  The Thunder Bay, ON product is coming off a season where he played in 53 regular season games and posted a career best wins (26), GAA (3.67) and SV% (.894).  In the post-season Murray was superb backstopping the Hounds to a hard-fought six game series with Owen Sound where he bettered those stats.

"The longest tenured Greyhound on our roster, Matt's calm and positive demeanor allow him to remain focused both on the ice and in the classroom. As the goaltender he is the backbone of our team and serves as a great compliment to our group of captains” said Keefe.

“I’m humbled to be named to the leadership group.  The four guys that will be wearing letters for us this year embody what it means to be a leader, and although I won’t be wearing a letter hope to do the same” stated Murray.

With just over two months until Training Camp 2013, which begins on Wednesday, August 28th,  Hounds management and coaches will be in New Jersey for the NHL Entry Draft this weekend before readying for the CHL Import Draft on July 3rd.

"As a staff we are confident that with this leadership group along with other players that will be added as the season progresses we have great liaisons between the coaches and players and they will serve as excellent representatives of The Program" concluded the Hounds Head Coach.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Pedersen Commits to Rangers

Press Release

Kitchener Rangers Head Coach and General Manager Steve Spott announced today that defenceman Scott Pedersen has committed to the team and has signed a Ontario Hockey League agreement. Pedersen was the Rangers’ 8th round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection.

Pedersen played 27 games with the Waterloo Wolves Minor Midget team in 2012-13, recording 13 points and 76 penalty minutes. The younger brother of Rangers winger Brent Pedersen, Scott also recorded a goal and an assist for the Wolves at the 2013 OHL Cup in Mississauga.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Spruce Kings Trade for a Gifted Scorer

Press Release sent to The World of Junior Hockey

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) have completed a trade with the Coquitlam Express of the BCHL. Coming to Prince George is Brent Lashuk in exchange for Jace Hennig.
Brent Lashuk is a ‘94 born 6’ 2” 205 pound forward from Kelowna, BC who played last season for the West Kelowna Warriors before being traded to the Coquitlam Express. Lashuk, who shoots left, is considered to be a skilled forward with the ability to put the puck in the net.
“Brent is a gifted scorer,” said Spruce Kings General Manager, Mike Hawes. “He also has good size to go along with a strong work ethic. I look for big things from Brent this season. We will give him every opportunity to be successful.”
“It is always difficult to trade away a player like Jace,” added Hawes. “Jace is from Coquitlam and this trade was a matter of family before hockey. We certainly appreciate everything Jace did for the Spruce Kings and wish him well with his hometown team.”
Brent Lashuk will arrive in Prince George for the start of the Spruce Kings main training camp beginning August 23rd in the Coliseum.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Bobcats' Olson Chosen For USHL's Lancers

Press Release

SYOSSET, N.Y. -- Former New York Bobcats defenseman Trey Olson has officially been named to the Omaha Lancers 2013-14 roster in the United States Hockey League (USHL).  The USHL is USA Hockey's only Tier I Junior hockey league in operation.
Olson participated in Omaha’s 2013 Tryout Camp in early June out in Ralston, Neb., and was told at the conclusion of the camp that he made the team.  "It's an honor to be able to play for my hometown team," said the Nebraska native.  "I grew up going to Lancer games and its been a dream of mine to play for them so to finally have this opportunity is an amazing feeling. I have a lot of hard work and training to do this summer so that I can be even better prepared for the fall."

Olson appeared in 
33 games for the Bobcats in 2012-13 and collected 11 assists. 

“We could not be more proud of Trey.  He had big aspirations and worked hard at camp to even earn this opportunity with the Lancers,” said Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach of the Bobcats, Craig Doremus.  “The USHL is the premier junior hockey league in the country and we are glad that we continue to send our players there.”

The 5’10, 175-lbs defenseman is no stranger to the Lancers’ organization either.  Omaha selected Olson with the 56th overall pick back in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft. 

"I owe all the thanks to the Bobcats orginization since they gave me the chance to
(Nathan can be reached at

NOJHL Notebook: League meetings news includes addition of Espanola for 2013-14

Press Release

SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League held meetings at Laurentian Lodge in Elliot Lake over the weekend with a plethora of news items coming about from the two-day event.

The following is a summary on some of the items that were agreed upon:

WELCOME ABOARD: The NOJHL executive board unanimously approved the addition of a franchise that will be based in Espanola in time for the 2013-14 season.

With Espanola coming on board and joining the league it increases the number of clubs who will play in the NOJHL this season to eight.|

A further announcement on the team name and other pertinent facts on the NOJHL’s newest organization will made in the coming days.

PRESEASON: Highlighting preseason play in the NOJHL this year will be a five-team Exhibition Showcase in Elliot Lake Aug. 30-31 through Sept. 1-2.

Joining the hometown Bobcats at Centennial Arena on Labour Day weekend will be the defending NOJHL champion North Bay Trappers along with the Soo Thunderbirds, Blind River Beavers and the newly minted Espanola franchise.

Further information, including a complete game schedule, will be announced once finalized.

REGULAR SEASON: With an eight-team league in 2013-14, it was determined that the NOJHL will play a balanced 56-game schedule with each side taking on their respective opponents a total of eight times apiece, four at home and four away.

Regular season action in the NOJHL will commence Sept. 4 with the Abitibi Eskimos visiting McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff to take on the Sudbury Nickel Barons.

The regular season is set to conclude on March 9.

Overtime in regular season action will remain the same as 2012-13.

If knotted after 60 minutes both clubs will receive one point and the two sides will then play a five-minute, sudden victory, OT session with each team skating four players aside. If still tied after the first OT, the two team teams will play a second five-minute, sudden victory, OT round with the clubs going three skaters aside.

The winner, who scores in either the first or second OT will pick-up an additional point for the victory.

Should the game remain tied after that, the contest will conclude with each team gaining a point in the league standings.

A complete season schedule will be announced in the coming weeks.                                                                                                                                                                                      

NOJHL SHOWCASE: The NOJHL is slated to host a league Showcase Weekend Jan. 10-12 in Espanola.

Complete details on this event will be announced once they are finalized.

CENTRAL CANADA CUP: For the second time in three years the NOJHL will be sending an all-star team that will compete in the Central Canada Cup Challenge Dec. 27-29 in Terrebonne, Que.

There the NOJHLers will go up against similar all-star squads from the Maritime, Quebec, Central Canada and Ontario Jr. Hockey Leagues.

PROSPECTS: The NOJHL will host a series of Prospects Camps in various locales throughout 2013-14.

Dates and times along with further information on these events will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

POSTSEASON: Playoff action in the NOJHL is slated to get underway on March 14 of 2014.

All eight clubs will qualify for the postseason with the No. 1 seed meeting No. 8 overall, No. 2 taking on No. 7, No. 3 squaring off against No. 6 and No. 4 tangling with No. 5.

The highest remaining seed will then meet the lowest surviving seed in one semifinal match-up with the other two remaining squads meeting in the other.

From there the two clubs still in contention will square off in the NOJHL championship series with the victor moving on the represent the league at the 2014 Dudley-Hewitt Cup, which will be hosted by the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Overtime in each NOJHL postseason contest will feature 20-minute sudden victory period be played until a winner is determined with the ice being resurfaced after each period as required.

Each playoff series will be best-of-seven affairs.

TECHNICAL/EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR: The NOJHL will be making an announcement in the coming days on the appointment of a new technical and educational director for the league who will assist in overseeing league and player development in such areas as educational services, prospect camps and showcase events.

SWEET 16: The NOJHL has received approval from both the Northern Ontario Hockey Association and the Ontario Hockey Federation for teams to add an additional number of 16-year-old players should other clubs do not sign the two that are available to them.

In all, the NOJHL will be allowed to have a total of 16, 16-year-old players in the league, with member clubs allowed a maximum of four, only if the spots are unused by other member teams.

OFFICIATING: The NOJHL is pleased to announce retired NHL linesman Dan McCourt, currently Officiating Manager with the NHL, has officially joined the league’s officiating program as a Special Assistant to the Commissioner.

He will continue to assist director of officiating Glen Campbell in the continued development of the program.

McCourt, who spent 25 years in the NHL as a linesman, working over 1,700 games, was able to supervise, monitor and provide mentorship to NOJHL officials last season during the NHL lockout and will continue to be instrumental to the NOJHL in developing the officiating program.

 (Nathan can be reached at