Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oilers sign Kytnar

Press Release

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today that the Oilers have signed center Milan Kytnar to a three-year entry level contract.

Kytnar, 20, was Edmonton’s fifth pick (127th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry draft and joins the Oilers after two seasons in the Western Hockey League.

This past season, the 6’0”, 180 pound native of Topolcany, Slovakia registered 27 goals, 37 assists, and 89 penalty minutes in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades. In seven post-season games, he added three goals, one assist, and 14 penalty minutes.

While playing with the Kelowna Rockets in 2007-08, the WHL rookie posted nine goals, 13 assists, and 66 penalty minutes in 62 regular season games, adding four penalty minutes in seven playoff contests.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Two Ice Dogs make college choices

Press Release

Two second-year Fairbanks Ice Dogs forwards have committed to CCHA schools for the upcoming fall, as Paul Kirtland will attend Ohio State University and Eric Kraft will make his way to Lake Superior State University.

They are the 21st and 22nd players who competed in January's NAHL Top Prospects Tournament to commit to a Division I program following the event.

“These are both well deserved opportunities for a couple of outstanding hockey players,” said Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge. “Both of these guys have worked hard for the chance to play Division I hockey, and we couldn’t be happier for them and their families.”

Kirtland, from Overland Park, Kan., totaled six goals for 23 points in 50 regular-season games with the Ice Dogs this past season. The 21-year-old also struck for a goal and three assists in seven playoff games.

A Wayzata, Minn., native, Kraft tallied 17 goals for 41 points in 56 regular-season games. The 21-year-old notched three goals in seven postseason contests.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at
Press Release

The Waterloo Black Hawks announced that goaltender Parker Milner has committed to play Division I hockey at Boston College beginning in the fall of 2009.

Playing in his first USHL season, Milner posted a 20-7-1 record, a 2.90 GAA, and tied for second in the league with three shutouts – the most by a Waterloo goaltender since Matt DiGirolamo accomplished that feat during the 2006-07 season. Milner also ranked second in shootout save percentage (.900) stopping nine of the 10 attempts he faced in the extra session.

The native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania began the season as a backup and didn't make his first appearance until he started the club's sixth game of the season, a 3-2 overtime win vs. Lincoln. Milner won seven consecutive starts from March 6th to March 21st recording a 1.41 GAA, a .954 SV%, and three shutouts during that span. He made a season high 38 saves in a 6-0 shutout against Sioux City on March 20th. Milner finished the regular season winning nine of his last 10 starts.

"Parker dealt with adversity in net last year and the way he played showed his character," said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O Handley. "He won the starting job late in the season, and when we gave him the ball, he ran with it."

Milner was voted most improved by his teammates this season and will now join Waterloo teammate Patrick Wey as freshman at Boston College in the fall. The 2009-2010 season will mark the ninth consecutive year Boston College has had a former Black Hawk on the roster.

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With nearly 180 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Moose Jaw release GM

Press Release

Moose Jaw, SK--- Moose Jaw Warriors President Darin Chow announced today that General Manager Chad Lang has been released from his duties as General Manager of the Warriors.

Lang has been with the organization since 2003. Lang became General Manager midway through the 2004-05 season. “Chad has made an incredible contribution during his time in the league. He has guided the team to their first Conference title and league final in Warriors history,” commented Warriors President Darin Chow. “Lang has left the club in good financial position and his dedication to the club is undeniable,” he added.

“Monday the board will announce the direction we will be taking in hiring a Director of Hockey Operations,” stated Chow, “For the time being, I will oversee all business operations until an ideal candidate is hired.” The Warriors look to hire two individuals shortly.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Terry signs with Carolina

Press Release

RALEIGH, NC— Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Chris Terry on a three-year, entry-level contract. The deal will pay Terry $60,000 at the minor-league level and $500,000 at the NHL level during the first year, and $65,000 per year in the minors and $550,000 per year at the NHL level during the second and third years of the contract. Terry will also receive a $225,000 signing bonus as a part of the contract.

“Chris had an excellent junior career with Plymouth where he posted impressive offensive numbers,” said Karmanos. “He has shown that he can be a leader on and off the ice, and we look forward to him beginning his professional career.”

Terry, 20, finished 2008-09 as the Ontario Hockey League’s second-leading scorer with 94 points (39 goals, 55 assists) while playing in 53 of 68 games as the captain of the Plymouth Whalers. He was awarded the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy as the OHL’s Humanitarian of the Year for his devotion to the Whalers’ Community Relations efforts, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy, given by the OHL to the captain that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice. The Brampton, Ont., native totaled 114 goals and 175 assists (289 points) in 253 regular-season contests in his four seasons with the Whalers. Terry (5’10”, 190 lbs.) competed in two OHL All-Star Classics, was named the Kal Tire OHL Player of the Month two times and helped lead the Whalers to the OHL championship in 2007. The Hurricanes drafted Terry in the fifth round, 132nd overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Canada Summer Camp Roster

Press Release


T.J. Brodie Saginaw (OHL) CGY '08 (4, 114)
Matt Clark Brampton (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Jared Cowen Spokane (WHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Tyler Cuma Ottawa (OHL) MIN '08 (1, 23)
Calvin de Haan Oshawa (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
* Ryan Ellis Windsor (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Cameron Gaunce Mississauga St. Michael's (OHL) COL '08 (2, 50)
Travis Hamonic Moose Jaw (WHL) NYI '08 (2, 53)
Shawn Lalonde Belleville (OHL) CHI '08 (3, 68)
* Tyler Myers Kelowna (WHL) BUF '08 (1, 12)
Dylan Olsen Camrose (AJHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
* Alex Pietrangelo Niagara (OHL) STL '08 (1, 4)
Colby Robak Brandon (WHL) FLA '08 (2, 46)
Charles-Olivier Roussel Shawinigan (QMJHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Marco Scandella Val d'Or (QMJHL) MIN '08 (2, 55)
* Colten Teubert Regina (WHL) LA '08 (1, 13)
Patrick Wiercioch Denver (WCHA) OTT '08 (2, 42)

Luke Adam Montreal Montreal(QMJHL) BUF '08 (2, 44)
Gabriel Bourque Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Josh Brittain Barrie (OHL) ANA '08 (3, 71)
Jordan Caron Rimouski (QMJHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Joe Colborne Denver (WCHA) BOS '08 (1, 16)
* Patrice Cormier Rimouski (QMJHL) NJ '08 (2, 54)
Philippe Cornet Rimouski (QMJHL) EDM '08 (5, 133)
* Stefan Della Rovere Barrie (OHL) WAS '08 (7, 204)
Matt Duchene Brampton (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
* Jordan Eberle Regina (WHL) EDM '08 (1, 22)
Scott Glennie Brandon (WHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Taylor Hall Windsor (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Adam Henrique Windsor (OHL) NJ '08 (3, 82)
* Cody Hodgson Brampton (OHL) VAN '08 (1, 10)
Nazem Kadri London (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
* Evander Kane Vancouver (WHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Zack Kassian Peterborough (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Brandon Kozun Calgary (WHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Louis Leblanc Omaha (USHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Brandon McMillan Kelowna (WHL) ANA '08 (3, 95)
Greg Nemisz Windsor (OHL) CGY '08 (1, 25)
Ryan O'Reilly Erie (OHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Brayden Schenn Brandon (WHL) 2009 Dft/Rep.
Kelsey Tessier Quebec (QMJHL) COL '08 (4, 110)

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Friday, May 29, 2009

Noesen signs with Plymouth

Press Release

PLYMOUTH – Plymouth Whalers President, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci announced the signing of 16-year-old center Stefan Noesen, who was selected by the Whalers in the fourth round (64th overall) of the 2009 Ontario Hockey League Draft, held May 2.

“I feel ready to play,” Noesen said. “I feel like I can contribute to the team. I’m excited to sign and become a member of the Whalers.”

Noesen – originally from Texas, but who now lives in Northville – scored 24 goals with 24 assists for 48 points and 57 PIMs in 53 games last season for the Compuware U-16’s. Noesen's team won the USA Hockey National Under-16 Championship earlier this spring.

“We’ve always put a premium on finding character players with skill,” said Vellucci. “Stefan fits that mold. He played on a championship team last year. I skated with his team in practices last year and love his potential. If Stefan continues to work hard and improve his conditioning, he has a chance to become an excellent player. It’s exciting to work with a player with his combination of skill, size and grit.”

Noesen and his family moved to Northville after being attracted to the Compuware Youth Program.

“About four or five years ago, I played for the Dallas Ice Jets and we faced Compuware in the semi-finals of the Nationals,” Noesen said. “We beat them, 8-3. I knew couple of guys on that (Compuware) team and they talked to (head coach) Derek Szajner about me playing for them. A couple of years later, I came up, tried out for the team and made it.”

The Whalers have a long history of drafting or signing local players from the Compuware Youth Program, going all the way to the team’s first-ever selection in 1990, Pat Peake, the Whalers all-time leading scorer with 319 points in 162 games between 1990-93. Other players include James Wisniewski (now with the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks), David Legwand (Nashville), Chad LaRose (Carolina), John Vigilante, Nate Kiser, Jared Newman, Damian Surma, Kevin Holdridge, current Whaler Austin Levi, and others. Now Noesen joins the fold.

Noesen (pronounced NAY-sen) is expected to report Plymouth’s Training Camp in late August. He will be attending school at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

Earlier this month, Vellucci signed center and 2009 first round pick Garrett Meurs and defenseman Colin MacDonald, Plymouth’s 14th round pick in 2008. He remains in conversation with other draft choices.

Last season, the Whalers finished fourth overall in the OHL’s Western Conference with a record of 37-26-5-0. Plymouth returns a strong group of players in 2009-10, including goaltender Matt Hackett, defensemen Michal Jordan (a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick), Beau Schmitz (Howell), Josh Bemis (Clarkston) and Austin Levi (Farmington Hills) and forwards Tyler Seguin, AJ Jenks (a Florida Panthers draft pick), RJ Mahalak (Monroe), Tyler J. Brown (Westland), Tyler G. Brown and Jamie Devane. Potential overage candidates include defenseman Leo Jenner and forwards Ryan Hayes, Joe Gaynor and Kaine Geldart.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

My Team Canada for the Ivan Hlinka


Calvin Pickard (Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL)
JP Anderson (Mississauga, OHL)


Brandon Gormley (Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL)
Mark Pysyk (Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL)
Erik Gudbranson (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL)
Ryan O'Connor (Barrie Colts, OHL)
Alex Petrovic (Red Deer Rebels, WHL)
Stephen Silas (Belleville Bulls, OHL)
Jerome Gauthier-Leduc (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL)


John McFarland (Sudbury Wolves, OHL)
Ryan Spooner (Peterborough Petes, OHL)
Sean Couturier (Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL)
Brett Connolly (Prince George Cougars, WHL)
Tyler Seguin (Plymouth Whalers, OHL)
Jeff Skinner (Kitchener Rangers, OHL)
Tyler Toffoli (Ottawa 67's, OHL)
Jordan Weal (Regina Pats, WHL)
Guillaume Asselin (Montreal Junior, QMJHL)
Jaden Schwartz (Notre Dame Hounds, SJHL)
Brad Ross (Portland Winterhawks, WHL)
Ryan Harrison (Prince Albert Raiders, WHL)
Brandon Hynes (Victoriaville Tigres, QMJHL)

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Canada's U-18 Summer Evaluation list

Press Release


JP Anderson Mississauga (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Louis Boileau-Dominque Moncton (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Calvin Pickard Seattle (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Kent Simpson Everett (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.


Brock Beukeboom Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Samuel Carrier Quebec (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Nathan Chiarlitti Sarnia (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Morgan Ellis Cape Breton (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Jérôme Gauthier-Leduc Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brandon Gormley Moncton (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Erik Gudbranson Kingston (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Ryan O’Connor Barrie (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Alexander Petrovic Red Deer (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Mark Pysyk Edmonton (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Troy Rutkowski Portland (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Stephen Silas Belleville (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.


Guillaume Asselin Montreal (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Michaël Bournival Shawinigan (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brett Connolly Prince George (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Sean Couturier Drummondville (QMJHL) 2011 Dft/Rep.
Gabriel Desjardins Halifax (QMJHL) 2011 Dft/Rep.
Freddie Hamilton Niagara (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Ryan Harrison Prince Albert (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Cédrick Henley Val d’Or (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Quinton Howden Moose Jaw (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brandon Hynes Victoriaville (QMJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brooks Macek Tri-City (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
John McFarland Sudbury (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brendan Ranford Kamloops (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Brad Ross Portland (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Jaden Schwartz Notre Dame (SJHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Tyler Seguin Plymouth (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Steven Shipley Owen Sound (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Jeffrey Skinner Kitchener (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Ryan Spooner Peterborough (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Mark Stone Brandon (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Gregg Sutch Sarnia (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Christian Thomas Oshawa (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Tyler Toffoli Ottawa (OHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.
Jordan Weal Regina (WHL) 2010 Dft/Rep.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Thursday, May 28, 2009

LeBlanc sticking to his word

I have gotten word, Louis LeBlanc, will indeed head to Harvard in the fall. I reported on Tuesday there were rumblings that he would jump ship to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL.

LeBlanc played last season with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. As a rookie he put up 28 goals and 31 assists in 60 games. He was tied for tenth in league scoring. In the playoffs, he added two more goals and added an assist in three games.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Whalers sign 08 late rounder

Press Release

PLYMOUTH – Plymouth Whalers President, General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci announced the signing of 17-year-old defenseman Colin MacDonald, who was selected in the 14th round (270th overall) of the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Draft.

MacDonald – from London, ON – played last season for the London Jr. Knights midgets and scored 8 goals with 16 assists for 24 points in 76 games. MacDonald led the Knights with a +39 rating. MacDonald added two goals with four assists for six points and was +5 in nine playoff games for London.

“We’re always looking for quality players in the later rounds of the draft,” said Vellucci. “Rick Boyle (Plymouth’s scout from London) really liked Colin two years ago and suggested we take him.

“You’re always looking for diamonds in the rough and we’ve had success in selecting players late like Brett Bellemore (12th round, 2004), Andrew Fournier (11th round, 2003), Josh Bemis (14th round, 2006) and John Vigilante (11th round, 2001). Based on what we’ve seen so far, Colin has a chance to become a solid player in Plymouth.”

MacDonald is expected to compliment a solid Plymouth defense next season which includes returning veterans Michal Jordan (a Carolina Hurricanes draft pick), Beau Schmitz (Howell), Austin Levi (Farmington Hills) and Bemis (Clarkston). In addition, Leo Jenner could return as an overage player and Jordon O’Neill and Jan Látal could return as well.

“I’m really excited about it,” MacDonald said about signing. “I think we’re going to have a great team and I’m looking forward to helping as much as I can. I play a stay-at-home, defensive game, while trying to make a good first pass. I want to make sure our end is good before I move up the ice.”

MacDonald credits his grandfather – Ralph Patterson, who works at the John Labatt Centre in London – for helping to get his OHL career started.

“He was the one who first introduced me a few years ago,” said MacDonald. “He loves his job and it’s always nice to see him at the rink. He does a great job. It really helped me understand what the OHL is all about – to see how the players get prepared before a game.”

While playing in Plymouth, MacDonald will be attending school at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

Earlier this month, Vellucci signed center Garrett Meurs, Plymouth’s first round selection (13th overall) taken in the 2009 OHL Draft. Vellucci remains in conversation with other Plymouth draft choices.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Plante signs with the Oilers

Press Release

General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have signed Alex Plante to a three-year NHL entry level contract.

Plante, the Oilers second choice, 15th overall, in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, recently completed his fourth full season of junior hockey with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. The 6’3”, 225 pound defenceman from Brandon, Manitoba had 8-37-45 in 68 games with 157 penalty minutes.

The 20-year-old defenceman led Hitmen blueliners in scoring during the playoffs with 6-9-15 in 18 games with 41 penalty minutes. He was tied for 21st overall in playoff scoring in the Western Hockey League and fourth among defencemen.

Plante scored 18-71-89 with 344 penalty minutes in 224 career regular season games with Calgary from 2004-05 to 2008-09. His total of 45 points in 2008-09 was a career high.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Bortuzzo sgns with the Eastern Conference Champions

Press Release

The Pittsburgh Penguins have signed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo to a three-year entry-level contract through 2012, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Ray Shero.

Bortuzzo, 20, appeared in 23 games during his third season with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He collected 17 points (one goal, 16 assists) along with 24 penalty minutes this season after missing the start of the season with a shoulder injury.

The 6-4, 207 pound, blue-liner finished third among defenseman in scoring with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) for the Rangers during the 2007-08 season. Bortuzzo played in 52 contests with Kitchener, helping the Rangers win the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for the best overall record in the OHL last season. He contributed eight assists in 18 playoff games for Kitchener before falling to the Spokane Chiefs in the final game of the Memorial Cup.

The native of Thunder Bay, Ontario has recorded 49 points (six goals, 43 assists) over three seasons with Kitchener in the OHL. He appeared in 138 regular-season contests for the Rangers, collecting 152 penalty minutes. Bortuzzo played in 27 post-season games for Kitchener, registering 11 points (one goal, 10 assists) along with 22 penalty minutes.

Bortuzzo was selected by Pittsburgh in the third round (78th overall) of the 2007 Entry Draft.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Dean Blais named World Junior Coach

The Minnesota Hockey Journal is reporting via their Twitter page that Fargo Force Head Coach, Dean Blais, will be named USA's World Junior Coach in 2010.

As predicted former Gopher Dean Blais will be named head coach of the the 2010 US National Jr team today.

USA Hockey will be making the official announcement in 35 minutes on

I will have more when the announcement is made.

12:25pm update

Press Release

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Dean Blais, head coach and general manager for the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League and widely regarded as one of the top coaches in the United States at any level, will be head coach of the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team, it was announced today by USA Hockey.

"I'm honored to be selected to coach this team," said Blais. "The World Junior Championship has evolved into one of the great events on the hockey calendar every year and I look forward to the challenge ahead."

USA Hockey also announced that Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey, will serve as the general manager of the 2010 U.S. National Junior Team and Tim Taylor, an assistant coach at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and head coach of the 1994 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team, will serve as the team's director of player personnel.

The U.S. National Junior Team will compete at the 2010 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan. 5, 2010, in Saskatoon and Regina, Saskatchewan.

"Dean Blais has been successful at every level and we couldn't be more pleased to have him coach our team in the upcoming World Junior Championship," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey.

"Dean is without question one of the game's elite coaches," said Johannson. "His teams are always well prepared and he brings an enthusiasm to the rink that rubs off on everyone around him."

Blais, the 2009 USHL Coach of the Year, recently finished leading the Force to the USHL's Clark Cup finals in their first year of play.

He has a long history with USA Hockey that began in 1973 when he played for the U.S. Men's National Team. His coaching contributions began in 1988 when he served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Junior Team, a position he also held in 1989. Blais was the head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team in 1994 and was slated for the same role in 2005, but resigned his position after accepting the job as associate head coach of the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets in the summer of 2004.

He also served as an assistant coach for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2000 IIHF Men's World Championship.

A native of International Falls, Minn., Blais played four years of college hockey at the University of Minnesota before joining the U.S. National Team in 1973. After skating three years with the Chicago Blackhawks' affiliate in Dallas, he began his coaching career in 1976-77 as an assistant at the University of Minnesota. He then served as the head hockey coach at Minot (N.D.) High School from 1977-80, before a nine-year stint as an assistant men's ice hockey coach at the University of North Dakota.

Blais left UND to be the head hockey coach at Roseau (Minn.) High School in 1989-90 and guided his team to the Minnesota State High School title. He coached Roseau to a conference and regional championship in 1991 before being named an assistant coach for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team that took fourth place at the Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France. Following the Olympics, Blais signed on as athletic director and hockey coach at International Falls High School.

He returned to the University of North Dakota as head coach in 1994. During his 10-year tenure, he led the Fighting Sioux to seven NCAA tournament appearances, NCAA Division I championships in 1997 and 2000, and an overall record of 262-115-33 (.679).

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Oil Kings sign Reinhart

Press Release

Edmonton, AB -- The Edmonton Oil Kings are pleased to announce that 2009 first round pick Griffin Reinhart has signed a standard Western Hockey League player contract with the team. The 6’4, 198 lb 15 year old defenseman went third overall in the 2009 Bantam Draft in Edmonton in last month.

“We are very excited to sign Griffin and make him an Oil King” says General Manager Bob Green. “It’s an important step in his growth as a player and our growth as a franchise.”

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to be a part of an organization like the Oil Kings,” says Reinhart. “I’m looking forward to playing many years with this club.” Reinhart comes from a family rich in hockey experience; his brother Max plays with the Kootenay Ice, and father Paul played 11 seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. “Having Griffin sign with an organization like the Oil Kings, in the best junior hockey league in the world, is a great opportunity for him,” added Paul. “We are happy that Griffin is already a part of their organization.”

The West Vancouver native played the 2008-2009 season as an under-ager for the Hollyburn Midget A1 Huskies. He had 20 points in 16 regular season games and added 18 points in 6 playoffs game that lead to a provincial title.

Reinhart is expected to play in the British Columbia Major Midget league for the 2009- 2010 season. As a 15 year old he will be eligible to appear in up to five regular season games with the Oil Kings this season.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Lee is USA Goalie of the Year

Press Release

USA Hockey announced today that Mike Lee of the Fargo Force has been named the recipient of the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award – the second consecutive season and seventh time overall that a goaltender from the USHL has captured USA Hockey's most cherished award for the position.

Lee posted a 26-15-4 record during the 2008-09 regular season with a 2.40 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .918 save percentage (SV%). His win total and save percentage ranked second among USHL goaltenders (behind only the 35 wins by Brett Bennett of Indiana and the .920 SV% by Kevin Murdock of Lincoln). Lee also ranked second in the USHL in minutes played at the goalie position (2,745) and third in total saves (1,235). His three shutouts this season tied for second in the league, with all three coming during a spectacular 15-game span in goal from January 31st to March 28th, when Lee registered a 12-1-2 record, 1.68 GAA, and .943 SV%.

Lee earned recognition as the USHL Goaltender of the Year presented by Stauber's Goalcrease. The first-year netminder for the expansion Fargo Force was also selected to the USHL All-Rookie Team, helping to lead the Force to the Clark Cup Finals with consecutive three-game sweeps of the team's first round opponent, the Omaha Lancers, and semi-finals foe, the Lincoln Stars. In fact, Lee won his first seven postseason appearances posting a 1.69 GAA and a .951 SV%.

In November, the native of Roseau, Minnesota helped the U.S. Junior Select Team capture a tournament title at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge while also being named to the All-Tournament Team after recording a perfect 4-0-0 record and a 2.00 GAA.

"Congratulations to a strong goaltending talent and a great young man," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "Mike took his game to a new level this season, and no one in U.S. hockey did it better."

NHL Central Scouting ranks Lee fourth among North American goaltenders leading into the NHL Entry Draft in June. Lee is committed to play collegiate hockey at St. Cloud State University.

The Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year presented by Bauer Hockey is chosen from the pool of goaltenders who attend the USA Hockey Select 16 and Select 17 Festivals. Lee will be presented the award in June at the USA Hockey Annual Congress in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Previous USHL recipients of the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year:

2008 – Drew Palmisano, Omaha Lancers

2006 – Alex Stalock, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

2005 – Jeff Lerg, Omaha Lancers

2003 – Dominic Vicari, River City Lancers

2000 – Adam Berkhoel, Twin Cities Vulcans

1995 – John Hultberg, Dubuque Fighting Saints

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 175 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Miller USA Junior Player of the Year

Press Release

USA Hockey announced today that Chicago Steel forward Andrew Miller has been named the recipient of the Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Award – the seventh consecutive season and 13th time overall that a player from the USHL has captured the honor.

Miller, now bound for Yale University, led the USHL in scoring during the 2008-09 season recording 82 points (32g, 50a) in 58 games on his way to being named the B2 Networks USHL Player of the Year. He was also named the CCM USHL Forward of the Year and earned a spot on the All-USHL First Team. Miller is just the third USHL player in the past six seasons to reach the 80-point plateau. Playing his second USHL season, he doubled the point production of 41 points (14g, 37a) from his rookie campaign.

Miller began the season on an eight-game point streak, registered a point in 15 of the first 16 games, and put together a season high nine-game point streak (9g, 9a) from December 5th to January 3rd. He registered his first hat trick in the USHL this past New Year's Eve, scoring three goals at Waterloo. He twice tallied four points in a game (December 6th in a 4-1 win against Des Moines, and in the final game of the Steel's regular season on April 4th, a 6-4 win vs. Indiana.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan native recorded 27 multi-point games during the 2008-09 season. Miller also tied for the USHL lead in shootout goals, scoring on four of his five attempts.

"It's an honor not only for Andrew Miller, but for the Chicago Steel and the entire USHL, to see the award for USA Hockey's best junior player go to Andrew," said USHL Commissioner Skip Prince. "That 82-point performance was the result of a gifted player working hard every shift of every game – and nobody did it better."

The Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the outstanding American-born player in junior hockey who played for a team based in the United States. The award is determined by a panel of junior hockey coaches and administrators.

Previous USHL recipients:

2008 – Jack Connolly, Sioux Falls Stampede

2007 – Jeff Petry, Des Moines Buccaneers

2006 – Trevor Lewis, Des Moines Buccaneers

2005 – Jeff Lerg, Omaha Lancers

2004 – Joe Pavelski, Waterloo Black Hawks

2003 – Ryan Potulny, Lincoln Stars

2001 – Chris Fournier, Lincoln Stars

2000 – Aaron Smith, Green Bay Gamblers

1999 – Peter Fregoe, Des Moines Buccaneers

1998 – Nate DiCasmirro, North Iowa Huskies

1997 – Karl Goehring, Fargo-Moorhead Ice Sharks

1994 – Jason Blake, Waterloo Black Hawks

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 175 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More on Adam Brown

I forgot Adam Brown has a dual citizenship and Hockey Canada is looking at him as one of the nations best for the upcoming Program of Excellence goaltending camp.

Jake Allen New Maryland, N.B. Montreal (QMJHL)

Olivier Bellevance-Roy Causapscal, Que. Cape Breton (QMJHL)

Jean-François Bérubé Boisbriand, Que. Montreal (QMJHL)

Adam Brown Kelowna, B.C. Kelowna (WHL)

Gabriel Girard Varennes, Que. Shawinigan (QMJHL)

Matt Hackett London, Ont. Plymouth (OHL)

Martin Jones North Vancouver, B.C. Calgary (WHL)

Edward Pasquale Toronto, Ont. Saginaw (OHL)

Scott Stajcer Cambridge, Ont. Owen Sound (OHL)

Jamie Tucker Victoria, B.C. Vancouver (WHL)

Where does he stand according to my eyes? Lets look at my 2010 Canadian World Junior roster I posted back in January.


Jake Allan (Montreal QMJHL)

Edward Pasquale (Saginaw Spirit OHL)

Other Possibilities

Oliver Roy (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL)

Michael Hutchinson (Barrie Colts OHL)

Jacob DeSerres (Seattle Thunderbirds WHL)

Nathan Lieuwen (Saskatoon Blades WHL)

Kevin Poulin (Victoriaville Tigres QMJHL)

As I stated in the comment section you can cross DeSerres name off the list. I think Poulin's name is also off the list. I think Hutchinson is outside and looking to get a get invite to the camp in December.

I still feel confident with Allen and Pasquale. You have to think Hackett made a big impression the last half the year. I think Roy has a slim chance.

Brown would easily take DeSerres spot but I don't think he has a real shot of being one of the two netminders with Canada. Just speculation, I think he will end up with a Team USA sweater on his back at IIHF competitions.

USA Hockey is running their own goaltending camp, the Warren Strelow Goaltending Mentor Program, which starts tomorrow and runs until the 31st. It will feature the best goalies in the nation from ages 15 to 18. I will have feature about Matt McNeely and Brian Billett of their experiences at the camp on the Maine Hockey Journal later this week or early next week.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Roy to to coach the Remparts

The Patrick Roy saga appears to be over and will remain the Quebec Remparts head coach. He has called a noon press conference in Quebec.

I am not surprised at this because he wants to behind the bench to try to be the QMJHL representive at the Memorial Cup. When he made this proposed deal with the Lewiston Maineiacs, I knew he was staying.

I find this rumor very intriguing in the whole Patrick Roy taking a position with the Colorado Avalanche saga. My thought is he might not be getting the job, yet. With Delmas’ struggles last season wouldn’t the Avalanche want Roy to work with him one on one all year long? I also think Roy can keep Paquette in line. Maybe Ray Bourque takes an assistant coaches position to learn the ropes this season. The Denver Post reported Bourque will take Roy’s coaching duties in Quebec.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Here's a rarity...

You don't see this everyday.

Jake Hauswirth, 20, of the Omaha Lancers has signed a three year deal with the Washington Capitals yesterday. It's a low risk for the team but a high rick for Hauswirth.

Hauswirth had previously committed to play at Michigan Technological
University during the 2009-2010 season but admits plans can change.

"That wasn't an easy phone call to make," Hauswirth said. "But
Michigan Tech was extremely supportive and understanding of my decision and
wished me only the best as my hockey career progresses."

Hauswirth will attend Washington's development camp from July 12-18 and
will then be at the Capital's main camp in late July. Hauswirth expects to
play for Washington's AHL affiliate next season, the Hershey Bears.

I am sure it wasn't easy but probably the right decision to make. I am not taking anything away from the Michigan Tech program but when a NHL team is going after you, take opportunity. We have seen since the post lockout, teams covert college free agents more then ever before. If you don't take the opportunity, you might become yesterday's news for NHL teams.

Remember a few years ago when Ryan Duncan was receiving contract offers from multiple teams? He decided to stay in school and now will be playing in Austria next season. Nothing wrong with staying in school but teams are most likely to go to the next guy.

At the same token, Hauswirth could be a complete bust and could of used a year or two in college. He doesn't have the option to play Major Juniors next season because he's an '88 born player. So he's going to be thrown into the fire right away.

Will this become more common for NHL teams to sign USHL overagers?

In other USHL news, I got an E-Mail yesterday saying Hauswirth's teammate, Louis LeBlanc, could forego his commitment to Harvard and sign with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the QMJHL.

I followed up with rumor, with a NHL scout at the NHL Combine, and he has confirmed there have been rumblings LeBlanc will head to the QMJHL. It's not official but I will follw the situation.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Del Zotto signs with the Rangers

Press Release

New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto.

Del Zotto, 18, skated in 62 games with the Oshawa Generals and London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season, registering 13 goals and 50 assists for 63 points, along with 78 penalty minutes. The two-time OHL All-Star finished the season ranked sixth among all OHL defensemen in scoring and assists, while his 50 assists tied for 11th in the league overall. He also ranked fifth in the league with 32 power play assists.

"It's definitely unbelievable being part of this organization," Del Zotto told earlier today. "This is just a baby step, though. It's a first step in trying to make the team and take it further."

Del Zotto recorded the sixth-longest assist streak in the OHL this season, registering an assist in seven straight contests from February 1 at Ottawa to February 16 at Guelph (nine assists). In addition, he posted 14 multi-point games, including five, three-point efforts.

In the postseason with London, Del Zotto led the team with 16 assists and tied for fourth on the Knights with 19 points in 14 games. His 16 assists ranked second among all OHL defensemen in the playoffs, while his 19 points finished third among league blueliners.

Del Zotto, who was with Oshawa when the Rangers drafted him but was traded to London in the middle of last season, said joining the Knights was a turning point in an already big year.

"I think that (the trade) was the best thing for me. It was a great opportunity going to London with the team they have there and all that talent. It gave me a great opportunity to go deep in the playoffs and play with amazing players. It definitely helped out my game."

The 6-0, 195-pound defenseman has skated in 190 career OHL games with Oshawa and London, collecting 39 goals and 144 assists for 183 points, along with 238 penalty minutes. Last season, Del Zotto tied for third among all OHL defensemen in scoring with 63 points and ranked fourth with a career-high, 16 goals.

He also tied for fifth in the league overall with five shorthanded goals. The second overall pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, Del Zotto was twice named OHL Defensemen of the Month –- November 2006 and December 2007.

This past season was particularly satisfying for Del Zotto, who was ended up slipping into the Rangers' laps at the 2008 draft despite a high ranking. From the start of the 2008-09 campaign, Del Zotto wanted to show that he could build on the success he enjoyed in his draft year.

"I kind of wanted to prove everyone wrong who had criticized my game and to show them I could be a two-way player," said Del Zotto, who was plus-9 in 28 games with London. "That's definitely what I wanted to do all year long."

The native of Stouffville, Ontario, was the Rangers’ first round choice, 20th overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The selection marked the third time in four years the Rangers have chosen a defenseman in the first round, having drafted Marc Staal with the 12th overall pick in 2005 and Bobby Sanguinetti with the 21st overall pick in 2006.

Del Zotto will participate in his second Rangers Prospect Development Camp this summer and will attend main training camp in the fall.

"The mindset I want to have is that I want to go into camp trying to make the team," he said. "That's the only way you can go into it. I'll go in there and try my hardest and hopefully give the coaching staff a tough decision to make."

Another highlight of the summer will be watching the 2009 NHL Entry Draft next month, when Del Zotto's longtime teammate in both Oshawa and London, John Tavares, could be selected No. 1 overall.

"I'll definitely be watching (the draft)," said Del Zotto. "There are two guys that I played with who are projected to go in the first round (Tavares and Nazem Kadri), so I will be interested to see where they're going."

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BC Hockey announces the 69 players for their camp

Press Release

BC Hockey announced today the 69 players selected to attend the inaugural Male Under 16 Provincial Development Camp in Penticton, BC from July 1-5, 2009. The four (4) day camp will include on and off ice activities cumulating in 20 players being selected to Team BC.

Team BC will compete in the 2009 Western Canada U16 Challenge, presented by the Western Hockey League (WHL). The Western Canada U16 will be held in Red Deer, Alberta in November 2009.

2009 Male U16 BC Hockey Provincial Development Camp Invites

The players were identified and evaluated at the 2009 Male Under 16 BC Cup by BC Hockey High Performance Evaluators. The Western Canada U16 Challenge is a new component to the Male U16 High Performance Program. Players now have the opportunity to move on in the program from the BC Cup.

The Male Under 16 Program was designed by BC Hockey to instruct and prepare High Performance players for future opportunities in the BC Hockey High Performance Program. Open Zone Camps are held during the first weekend of January for players 15 years or younger. From each zone, 20 players are selected to compete in the jamboree style U16 BC Cup. A jamboree style tournament is when the 20 players selected from each zone are mixed together to form the eight (8) teams.

For more information about the BC Hockey high performance program, please visit the BC Hockey website at or email .

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

A little Sour Rimouski?

Take a look in the mirror Rimouski fans.

Was it really Kelowna's fault that Windsor ended up in the title game? Sure they let up on the gas last Tuesday.

Here's the question for you Rimouski fans: Did Kelowna play in the Wednesday or Thursday night game. The correct answer is No.

Then why were you booing the Kelowna Rockets Sunday? That was one of the strangest thing I have seen. I understand you are upset the Rockets "lef them off the hook." At the sametime they had influence on the game against the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Oceanic had two chances to get into the Semi Finals. They couldn't do it.

If you had a chance to take it easy knowing you were already assured a spot in the Finals, wouldn't you want to give your guys a rest? I mean these teams have played 85+ games this season.

Don't lie you were cheering for Tyler Myers during the World Junior Championships. I know most of you are Montreal Canadiens fans but that wasn't Zdeno Chara on the ice. You gave him the worst Zdeno Chara treatment . Why boo him?

They say the Memorial Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. Wouldn't have been more gratifying to see your team warn their way to the Semi-Finals and Finals then be handed the spot?

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Hunt returns to Regina

Press Release

Regina, SK – The Regina Pats are proud to have Curtis Hunt return as the head coach of the blue and white. Hunt left the team on July 11th of 2008 to become the assistant coach of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. He took over the reins of AHL’s Binghamton Senators half-way through the season and led them to a 16-14-2-1 record, just barely missing the playoffs.

Curtis Hunt originally joined the Pats in 2004 and ranks second in both games coached (270) and wins (125). In four seasons as bench boss of the Pats, his teams have compiled a winning percentage of .510 (125-120-25). In 2007-08, Hunt led the Pats to their first Division title in 10 years, with a record of 44-22-4-2.

The North Battleford, Saskatchewan native has experienced success on the International stage as well as the WHL. In August of 2005, Curtis captured Gold as Canada’s assistant coach for the Under-18 Junior World Cup played in Slovakia & the Czech Republic, that team also included former Pats captain Logan Pyett. Hunt was also the assistant coach with Canada’s World Junior Team at the 2007 and 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships, winning gold in Leksand, Sweden in 2007 and Pardubice, Czech Republic in 2008.

“We are thrilled to have Curtis return to Regina to once again be the Head Coach of the Pats. Curtis meets every one of the criteria that we were looking for in our new bench boss and I am looking forward to building on the tremendous relationship he and I shared in his first term with the Pats.” commented Regina Pats General Manager Brent Parker. “There is a different set of circumstances that have led us to this point, but the fact of the matter is had Curtis not left to become and Assistant in Ottawa we would not have been looking for a coach at this time last year. He has a proven track record of having teams that work hard and play with the structure that is needed for success. He was the right man for the job before he left and he is the right man for the job now to get us back on the track to success as an organization”

“This is a very exciting day for me and family and I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my journey with the Pats.” says Head Coach Curtis Hunt, “I return re-energized, re-focused and committed to putting us where we belong…as the premier junior hockey team in Canada.”

Curtis Hunt’s Regina Pats Coaching Record:
Season Team Type GP W L T OTL Pct
2004-05 Regina Pats Head Coach 72 12 50 4 6 0.236
2005-06 Regina Pats Head Coach 72 40 27 1 4 0.590
2006-07 Regina Pats Head Coach 63* 33 23 2 5 0.580
2007-08 Regina Pats Head Coach 63* 40 20 1 2 0.660

Career Regina Pats Totals: 270 125 120 8 17 0.510
Career WHL Totals (MJ/Reg): 414 202 164 23 25 0.549

*Record adjusted for Hunt’s two stints with World Juniors

As a player, Hunt was drafted in the ninth round, 172nd overall, by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1985 NHL entry draft. In nine professional seasons, the defenceman recorded 31 goals and 142 assists for 173 points in 527 career games between the IHL and the AHL.

The next order of business for Brent Parker and Curtis Hunt is the search for an assistant coach. The two will be in discussions over the next couple of weeks to find an assistant bench boss. More information will be released as the search goes forward.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Program

The MVP should have went to Henrique

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

London's mini camp schedule

I hope everyone is enjoying Memorial Day. I want to thank all the men and women who are serving in their country.

Press Release

The London Knights will host their 2009 Mini Camp Weekend on Saturday, May 30 th and Sunday, May 31 st at the Western Fair Sports Centre. The Knights will welcome their 2009 OHL Draft Selections for a weekend orientation as well as the 2008-2009 London Knights Awards Ceremony.

As part of this weekend the Knights Prospects from the 2009 and 2008 OHL Drafts will take part in 2 on ice sessions while in London on Saturday, May 30th from 1:30 PM-3:30 PM and Sunday, May 31st from 9:30 AM-11:30 AM . Both of these sessions will take place at the Western Fair Sports Centre and are open to the public.

The London Knights will also host there 2008-2009 Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 30 th , 2009 at the John Labatt Centre. Fans are encouraged to attend the Awards Ceremony and doors open at 2:30 PM .

The OMAC Mortgages London Knights Box Office will be open at Gate Four from 1:00pm to 4:30pm accepting Season Ticket Holder Payments for the 2009-2010 season.


Saturday, May 30th, 2009
1:30-3:30 PM 2009 and 2008 London Knights Draft Pick Scrimmage
Western Fair Sports Centre
3:00-4:00 PM 2008-2009 London Knights Players Autograph Session
John Labatt Centre
4:15-5:00 PM 2009 OHL Draft Player Introductions
2008-2009 Player Introductions
2008-2009 London Knights Awards Ceremony
John Labatt Centre
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
9:30-11:30 AM 2009 and 2008 London Knights Draft Pick Scrimmage
Western Fair Sports Centre

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Blades sign 2009 1st rounder

Press Release

Saskatoon, SK -- Lorne Molleken, General Manager and Head Coach of the Saskatoon Blades, announced Sunday the signing of Ryan Olsen, the team’s 1st round selection in the 2009 Bantam Draft to a WHL Standard Player Agreement. The announcement came as the Blades wrapped up their Spring Camp held this weekend in Saskatoon.

Olsen, a center, was selected 20th overall from the South Delta (BC) Storm Bantam AAA team. In 60 games played with the Storm last season, the native of Delta, BC had 67 goals and 65 assists for 132 points.

“We are very happy to get Ryan under contract and look forward to things he will be able to do in a Blades’ uniform,” said Molleken. “He will fit in nicely with our other young players and have an easy transition to the WHL.”

Olsen will be eligible to play in up to five games with the Blades as a 15-year-old during the 2009-10 season until his midget season is done. He is expected to spend the season with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the BC Major Midget League.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Brown making a case for the World Junior team?

I try to post positive news and comments as much as I can. I don't want rip the Kelowna Rockets because they are the WHL Champions and the Memorial Cup runner-up.

One thing that kept the game somewhat close was the play of Adam Brown in relieve of Mark Guggenberger. If you follow me on Twitter, I posted after first period:

I can't believe the first period at the Memorial Cup...if it wasn't for Adam
Brown this game would be 5-0 Windsor

He singlely handed stopped Dale Mitchell from recording a hat trick and maybe the MVP honors (Okay, so the second Mitchell opportunity wasn't a save by Brown's part.).

Then I remember something I posted in January. My 2010 USA World Junior team and I placed Brown as a player that was outside the bubble. Since January, a lot of things have changed.

I believe Brandon Maxwell has hurt his chances since the New Year. I think it's down to three goalies battling it out for the back up role (I think Mike Lee will be the number one heading into the tournament.).

1. Adam Brown

2. Jeff Campbell

3. Connor Knapp

You can interchange Brown and Campbell. Maybe most people will choose Campbell over Brown because of what he did at the Under-18 Championships. Another reason is Brown only played less then sixty minutes. At the sametime, Brown just shown the ability to come off the bench cold. I would think that's a strength of a back up goaltender. I think age will be a factor in deciding also.

What do all four of these players have in common (including Lee), they were apart of the finals in their respective league or tournament.

I don't want to get too ahead of myself because all these players still have to perform at the Summer Camp if they get invited and during the regular season. At the sametime it's something to think about.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Windsor makes history

Press Release

RIMOUSKI, Que. - The Windsor Spitfires scored on their first three shots of the game and went to defeat the Kelowna Rockets 4-1 and claim their first MasterCard Memorial Cup championship on Sunday.

Adam Henrique, Dale Mitchell and Rob Kwiet scored in the first period, while Ryan Ellis got one in the second for the Spitfires, who opened the tournament with a pair of losses and then ran off four straight wins to take the title.

Colin Long scored for Kelowna, which won the Memorial Cup in 2004.

The win ended the reign of the Western Hockey League as Canadian junior hockey champions after wins in 2007 by the Vancouver Giants and 2008 by the Spokane Chiefs. Windsor is the first Ontario Hockey League club to win since the London Knights in 2005.

The uneventful, one-sided final was anti-climax to a tournament that had featured closely contested games, including three that went into overtime, after Kelowna's easy tournament-opening 4-1 win over the host Rimouski Oceanic.

The Spitfires jumped on the rusty Rockets, who hadn't played since Tuesday, for three goals in the opening 7:11 of play, chasing starting goaltender Mark Guggenberger in favour of Adam Brown. Little-used Brown last played three periods on March 14.

It started at 3:22, when Greg Nemisz stripped Mikael Backlund of the puck from behind and fed Henrique in the slot for his fourth goal of the tournament.

Mitchell raced down the right side, bumped Tysen Dowzak aside and scored at 4:58.

Guggenberger was caught napping as Kwiet scored on a soft shot from the point that slipped between the goaltender's pads on a power play at 7:11

Lane MacDermid was sent off for kneeing Long with six seconds left in the first period and the Kelowna centre struck back eight seconds into the second on the rebound of Jamie Benn's backhander.

The puck rarely left the Windsor end in the middle period until Windsor produced a killer goal at 12:46. Good work in a corner by Henrique and Taylor Hall got the puck to Ellis at the right point for a precision blast in off the goalpost at 12:46 to restore a three-goal lead.

Many among the 4,811 Colisee fans sporadically booed the Rockets, apparently on the premise that they didn't try hard enough to eliminate Windsor when they had a chance in their final round robin game, a 2-1 Spitfires win over a Kelowna side that let down after having already clinched a berth in the final.

After that win, the Spitfires beat Rimouski in a tie-breaker game, then dumped Drummondville in the semifinal. The final was their fourth game in six days. They are the first team to win the Cup after having to play in a tie-breaker game.

Kelowna star Jamie Benn was hurt six minutes into the game when he crashed into the boards while trying to hit Hall. He limped to the bench, but was able to return right away, although he appeared to be off his usual game.

Next year's Memorial Cup will be held in Brandon, Man.

Notes: Rogers Sportsnet has signed a five-year extension with the Canadian Hockey League to continue broadcasting the Memorial Cup and other junior hockey events. It includes 10 national regular season games, one OHL playoff game, 12 regional games the six ADT Canada-Russia Challenge games, the top prospects game and the OHL all-star game.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Beaulieu rejoins the Knights

Press Release

London Knights General Manager Mark Hunter today announced that the team has hired Jacques Beaulieu as Assistant Coach of the London Knights.

Beaulieu, 41 re-joins the London Knights for a second time with the Hockey Club. Beaulieu was previously Assistant Coach of the London Knights from 2002-2005 and was a key component of the 2005 Memorial Cup Champions. Following the 2005 Memorial Cup Championship, he was named Head Coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Beaulieu served as Head Coach of the Sea Dogs for the past 3 seasons and amassed a record of 95-111. Beaulieu was appointed General Manager of the Sea Dogs in March of 2007. On June 6, 2008 the QMJHL announced that Beaulieu had won the Marcel Filion Award as the leagues GM of the year.

Beaulieu will join the London Knights in time for their 2009 OHL Mini Camp which opens on Saturday, May 30th at the Western Fair Sports Centre.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Brandon host their prospect camp this weekend

Press Release

Brandon, Manitoba -- Wheat Kings' first round bantam draft picks Klarc Wilson (2008) and Eric Roy (2009) will be among thirty skaters attending Brandon's Spring Prospects Camp this coming weekend.

The Camp, which will begin with registration on Friday afternoon, will conclude Sunday morning with the Annual Prospects Camp Intra-Squad Game. Puck drop is at 10 a.m. May 24th.

The prospects will be skating alongside assistant coaches Darren Ritchie and Dwayne Gylywoychuk and under the watchful eyes of general manager and head coach Kelly McCrimmon as well as Al Macpherson, the club's director of player personnel.

The Tentative schedule for the 2009 Spring Camp is listed below:

Friday, May 22nd:

2 p.m. Registration in Wheat Kings' office

4 p.m. Goalie Session

5 p.m. Practices with all Players

Saturday, May 23rd:

8 a.m. Goalie Session

9 a.m. Practice with all Players

10:30 - 5 p.m. Physical Testing

Sunday, May 24th:

10 a.m. Annual Prospects Camp Intra-Squad Game

The 2009 Prospects Camp Intra-Squad Game on Sunday morning will be open to the general public.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

CHL hands out Awards

Press Release

Saturday-May 23, 2009Rimouski, QC – The Canadian Hockey League today announced ten national award winners including Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion as The Hockey Company CHL Player of the Year at the annual CHL Awards Ceremony. The event was held at the Salle Desjardins-Telus Auditorium in Rimouski, QC as part of the festivities at the 2009 MasterCard Memorial Cup. All CHL award winners were selected by NHL Central Scouting.

The Hockey Company Player of the Year – Cody Hodgson, Brampton Battalion
Hodgson scored a career-high 43 goals and 49 assists for 92 points in 53 games with a plus-minus rating of plus-41 and 33 penalty minutes. The Battalion captain led the OHL with 11 game-winning goals and had a league-high point scoring streak of 23 games from November 21 to February 11. Hodgson recorded 26 multi-point games with four hat-tricks and one five-point game November 6 in an 8-4 win over the Plymouth Whalers. He won gold with Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa and led the tournament with 16 points in six games. Hodgson, a 19-year-old from Markham, ON, is a Vancouver Canucks prospect drafted 10th overall at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Also nominated was forward Brett Sonne of the Calgary Hitmen, and goaltender Nicola Riopel of the Moncton Wildcats.

NeilMed Top Prospect Award – John Tavares, London Knights
Tavares finished the season as the top-rated North American prospect for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to be held next month in Montreal. The four-year player led the OHL in scoring this season with 58 goals and 46 assists for 104 points in 56 games. The 18-year-old from Oakville, ON, set a new OHL all-time record for goals scored this season when he recorded his 215th career goal as part of a four-point performance with a hat-trick March 8 in a 4-3 win over the Windsor Spitfires. Tavares was named tournament MVP when he won gold representing Team Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships in Ottawa. Also nominated was defenceman Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Evander Kane of the Vancouver Giants.

Right Guard Sportsman of the Year – Cédric Lalonde-McNicoll, Shawinigan Cataractes
Lalonde-McNicoll scored 38 goals and 66 assists for 104 points in 65 games with just 22 penalty minutes to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the QMJHL Most Sportsmanlike Player. His 104 points ranked third in QMJHL scoring. He also led the league with a plus-minus rating of plus-61. The 20-year-old from Longueuil, QC, earns this national award for the second consecutive year. Also nominated were Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion, and Tyler Ennis of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Boston Pizza Top Scorer – Yannick Riendeau, Drummondville Voltigeurs
Riendeau scored a CHL-high 126 points including 58 goals and 68 assists in 64 games this season with a plus-minus rating of plus-38. 24 of his goals were scored on the power play. He also led the QMJHL with 15 game-winning goals. The 20-year-old and fifth year forward from Boucherville, QC, had an incredible 40 multi-point games this season with two hat-tricks and a seven-point game February 7 with one goal and six assists in a 10-1 win over the Lewsiton MAINEiacs. Also nominated were Casey Pierro-Zabotel of the Vancouver Giants, and John Tavares of the London Knights.

Home Hardware Humanitarian of the Year – Matthew Pistilli, Shawinigan Cataractes
Pistilli was a major contributor to the Shawinigan community this season and distinguished himself by visiting underprivileged children and donating his personal tickets to every home game and ensuring that the children received VIP recognition as his guest. Throughout the year he participated in local school activities, fundraising initiatives, and minor hockey initiatives. On the ice, the 20-year-old from Montreal was a top forward scoring 45 goals and 41 assists for 86 points in 63 games. Also nominated were Chris Terry of the Plymouth Whalers, and Taylor Procyshen of the Tri-City Americans.

Subway Scholastic Player of the Year – Stefan Elliott, Saskatoon Blades
Elliott has been a star on the ice and in the classroom during the 2008-09 WHL season. The 18-year-old from North Vancouver, B.C., earned a 93.3% average during his first semester of studies in 2008-09 while taking a heavy course load of Grade 12 classes at Marion Graham Collegiate in Saskatoon, SK. He earned a 90% average in Chemistry 30, a 96% average in Francais immersion, and a 94% average in English B 30 in the first semester of the school year. On the Ice, Elliott notched 16 goals and 55 points in 70 games to help the Blades win the East Division title. Eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Elliott has the potential to be a first-round selection. Also nominated were Payton Liske of the Saint John Sea Dogs, and Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion.

Old Dutch Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year – Bob Boughner, Windsor Spitfires
Boughner is awarded the trophy for the second straight season leading the Spitfires to their best regular season in franchise history with a record of 57-10-0-1 for 115 points where they ranked first overall in the OHL to capture the Hamilton Spectator Trophy for first place in the regular season. His team won 16 more games and earned 21 more points than the 2007-08 season when he was the recipient of this award. Boughner, a 38-year-old Windsor native, is in his third year behind the bench after purchasing the Spitfires along with Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich in 2006. He guided them to an 18-43-2-5 record in his first season followed by a 41-15-7-5 record last season. Also nominated were Don Hay of the Vancouver Giants, and Danny Flynn of the Moncton Wildcats.

BMO Rookie of the Year – Brett Connolly, Prince George Cougars
Connolly enjoyed a terrific campaign in his first season in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars in 2008-09. The 16-year-old Prince George, B.C., product led his hometown Cougars with 30 goals and 60 points in 65 games this season, helping the Cougars earn a playoff berth. Connolly was one of just two rookies to lead his team in scoring this season while also becoming the first 16-year-old rookie to score 30 goals in a season since current NHL star Patrick Marleau did it with the Seattle Thunderbirds in 1995-96. A sniper with tremendous accuracy and a quick release, Connolly was drafted by the Cougars in the first round, 10th overall, at the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft. Also nominated was forward Evgeny Grachev of the Brampton Battalion, and defenceman Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

ADT Goaltender of the Year – Mike Murphy, Belleville Bulls
Murphy, a 20-year-old from Inverary, ON, posted a record of 40-9-2-2 with a league-best goals-against-average of 2.08 with a save percentage of .941 which was also the best mark in the league. He recorded five shutouts in 54 games. He limited the opposition to two or fewer goals in 36 games this season, including the final five games of the regular season where he recorded five wins, including one shutout to help the Bulls clinch first place in the Eastern Conference. He made 40 or more saves in eight games including a season-high 50 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ottawa 67’s as first star of the game November 14. Murphy is a Carolina Hurricanes prospect selected in the sixth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Also nominated were Nicola Riopel of the Moncton Wildcats, and Chet Pickard of the Tri-City Americans.

Jack Link’s Defenceman of the Year – Jonathan Blum, Vancouver Giants
Blum put up another excellent regular-season campaign for the Giants, helping the team to their fourth consecutive B.C. Division crown and to the second-best defensive record in the WHL. The 20-year-old from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, notched 16 goals and a career-high 50 assists for 66 points to go with a +53 rating in only 51 games for the Giants this season. Blum was named the Husky WHL Player of the Month for September/October after starting the season with 14 points and a remarkable +20 rating in his first 10 games of the season. Blum is a Nashville Predators prospect. Also nominated were Ryan Ellis of the Windsor Spitfires and Dmitry Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Raiders sign their 1st pick

Press Release

Prince Albert, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders are pleased to announce that centre Mike Winther has signed a standard Western Hockey League education contract with the team. Winther was the Raiders first round selection, sixth overall in the 2009 Bantam Draft last month in Edmonton.

“We are extremely happy that Mike is now under contract with the Prince Albert Raiders.”, says Head Coach and General Manager Bruno Campese. “He is an elite player that fits in extremely well with the young players we have in our organization.”

This past season Winther led the Airdrie Xtreme to the Alberta Major Bantam League and Western Canadian titles. The centre, from Trochu, Alberta, tied for the overall AMBL regular season scoring title, led the league in playoff scoring and led all scorers at the Western Canadian Championship tournament. He was named the Top Forward and an All Star at Westerns.

Winther is expected to play Major Midget in Alberta this coming season. As a 15 year-old he will be eligible to appear in up to five regular season games with the Raiders in the 2009-10 season.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Witt heads to Northeastern

Press Release

The Sioux Falls Stampede announced today that goaltender Clay Witt has committed to play collegiate hockey at Northeastern University.

The Tampa, FL native went 8-6-1 with a 2.99 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 18 games in his first season with the Herd. He went 1-1 with a 2.49 GAA and a .935 save percentage in three appearances in the playoffs.

Witt spent the 2007-08 season with the Boston Jr. Bruins where he posted a 44-5-3 record with a 1.92 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

Northeastern University is located in Boston, MA and are members of the Hockey East Conference. The Huskies are coming off one of the best seasons in school history, going 25-12-4 and advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994.

Former Stampede forward Joe Vitale was captain of last year's squad. Robbie Vrolyk, who played with Witt this past season in Sioux Falls, will attend Northeastern this fall.

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 170 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Friday, May 22, 2009

One game from making history

Press Release

RIMOUSKI, Que. - Adam Henrique banged in a rebound 4:31 into overtime to lift the Windsor Spitfires to a 3-2 victory over the Drummondville Volitgeurs in the semifinal of the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Friday night.

With the win, Ontario Hockey League champions advanced to Sunday's final against the Kelowna Rockets.

Drummondville beat Windsor in overtime in the round-robin portion of the tournament, but the Spitfires thoroughly dominated play in the semifinal.

Windsor outshot Drummondville 45-21, finally getting the game-winner on a mad scramble in front of the Voltigeurs' goal with Henrique firing his third of the tournament into an open side.

Taylor Hall and Ben Shutron scored in a first period that was all Windsor, while the opportunistic Voltigeurs tied it in the second with goals from Samson Mahbod and Yannick Riendeau.

Tied at 2-2 in the third period, the Spitfires outshot the Voltigeurs 16-2, but failed to beat Drummondville netminder Marco Cousineau.

The Windsor game plan was to get a lot of shots early on a Drummondville squad weakened by illness and injury. They accomplished that by firing 16 shots at the Voltigeurs in the opening 20 minutes.

The flashy Hall, slated to go high in the 2010 NHL draft, finished an impressive five-man rush by banging home his own rebound at 15:47 and Shutron was left unmarked to take a pass, step into the slot and fire a wrist shoot past a screened Cousineau at 18:02.

The Voltigeurs kept the puck in the Windsor end to start the second period and Riendeau slipped a pass from behind the net to Mahbod for a one-timer that beat Windsor goalie Andrew Engleage at 1:13.

Just 29 seconds later, Mahbod was called for boarding after a nasty hit from behind on defenceman Jesse Blacker, who left the game favouring his left leg. Mahbod also left with an apparent knee problem.

The Spitfires failed to convert and at 14:51, Mark Cundari slapped the puck down the ice while killing a penalty and it went over the Rimouski Colisee's low glass at the far end of the rink for a delay of game call.

Playing with a 5-on-3 man advantage, Riendeau knocked home Mike Hoffman's point shot as Drummondville tied the game 2-2.

Windsor's Dale Mitchell, who scored three straight goals early in the third period of a 6-4 comeback win over Rimouski on Thursday, was sent in on a breakaway by Hall at 4:33 of the third but was thwarted by Cousineau's pad save.

The 2009 tournament marks the first time since 1988 that neither of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams are in the final when the tournament is held in Quebec. That year, Medicine Hat beat Windsor in the Spitfires' only previous Memorial Cup appearance.

Notes: It turned out that Volts' forward Maxime Frenette's ankle was not broken after all, as coach Guy Boucher feared after the game on Wednesday. Boucher said it was a hairline fracture and he was able to play against Windsor. . . Kelowna defenceman Tyson Barrie's father Len, a co-owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has arrived to cheer on his son. He came two days after former Rimouski Oceanic and current Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier visited.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Handley heads to Northern Michigan

Press Release

The Des Moines Buccaneers announced that defenseman Austin Handley had committed to play next season at Northern Michigan University.

Handley recorded 13 points (5g, 8a) and 88 penalty minutes in 58 games with Des Moines during the 2008-09 season. The Clarkston, Michigan native played three seasons in the USHL and appeared in a total of 162 games for the Buccaneers.

Northern Michigan University is a member of the CCHA and finished the 2008-09 season with a 19-17-5 overall record.

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 170 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

King signs with the Kings

Press Release

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have agreed to terms on a three-year entry-level contract with forward Dwight King, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Thursday. King was the club’s fourth-round selection (109th overall) in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Per club policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.

"Dwight King is a big power forward with lots of raw talent," said Ron Hextall, the Kings Vice President / Assistant General Manager.

King, 19, recently finished the 2008-09 season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League (WHL) where he recorded 60 points (25-35=60), 51 penalty minutes and plus-9 rating in 64 regular season games. Of his 25 goals, four were scored short-handed (ranked first on the team) and eight were scored on the power-play (ranked second on the team). His 60 points ranked third on the club. The Hurricanes advanced to the 2009 WHL playoffs and in 11 postseason games, King, a 6-3, 218-pound native of Meadowlake, Saskatchewan, totaled eight points (1-7=8; ranked second on the team), two penalty minutes and plus-1 rating, with his seven playoff assists pacing the team.

King, the brother of St. Louis Blues prospect D.J. King, recorded 69 points (34-35=69), 56 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 72 regular season games with Lethbridge in 2007-08 while finishing third on the team in scoring. In addition, he tied for the team lead with 34 goals and 12 power-play goals while earning the title as Hurricanes Best Defensive Forward. During the 2008 WHL playoffs, King totaled 14 points (8-6=14), 12 penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating in 19 postseason games.

King, who won a gold medal as a member of Canada’s 2006 U-18 Junior World Cup team, recorded 44 points (12-32=44), 39 penalty minutes and a plus-8 rating in 68 regular season games with Lethbridge in 2006-07. The Hurricanes first-round selection in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft was also a member of Team Western at the 2006 and 2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenges.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mitchell sends Rimouski home

Press Release

RIMOUSKI, Que. - Dale Mitchell scored three goals in the opening eight minutes of the third period to lead the Windsor Spitfires to a comeback 6-4 victory over the host Rimouski Oceanic in Thursday's tiebreaker game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The Spitfires, who opened the tournament with two straight losses, including a 5-4 loss to Rimouski, advanced to the semifinal against the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Friday, with the winner facing the Kelowna Rockets in Sunday's final.

Eric Wellwood, Scott Timmins and Greg Nemisz, with a goal on a two-man advantage with one second left to play, also scored for the Ontario Hockey League champions who have run hot and cold from period to period thus far at the tournament.

Defenceman Sebastien Piche scored once and set up goals by Emmanuel Boudreau and Patrice Cormier, while Jordan Caron also scored for Rimouski, which looked out of energy in the third period in their second game in as many nights.

Mitchell, a 2007 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, saw goalie Maxime Gougeon push a puck onto his stick at the edge of the crease for a goal 4:11 into the third period.

Only 19 seconds later, Cormier was called for hooking and Mitchell was left alone on the right side to beat Gougeon with a high wrist shot.

Logan MacMillan was sent off for hooking 35 seconds after that and Mitchell struck again, this time jamming in a Ryan Ellis rebound.

Windsor outshot the Oceanic 37-21.

It was noticeably quieter in the Colisee de Rimouski than for the previous night's rousing 3-2 overtime win by Drummondville over the home side in the final round robin game, and the intensity on the ice dropped with the decibels.

The result was loosely played hockey and five first-period goals for a 3-2 Rimouski lead.

Wellwood opened the scoring at 7:13 on a feed from Adam Henrique, who had blocked Ryan Kavanagh's shot at the point with the teams each a man short.

Piche picked the top corner from the point only 49 seconds later, but another turnover at the Windsor blue-line saw Timmins beat Gougeon with a wrist shot only 28 seconds after that.

Caron one-timed a goal on the power play at 12:47 and Boudreau had a Piche shot go in off his skate at 16:15 on only the seventh shot on Windsor netminder Andrew Engelage.

The Oceanic caught Windsor on a line change during a second-period power play as Piche hit Cormier at the far blue-line for a breakaway goal at 16:25 for a two-goal lead.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Stampede announce two commitments

Press Release

The Sioux Falls Stampede announced today that former Stampede forward Dane Walters and current forward Matt Lindblad have made their college commitments.

Walters has accepted a scholarship to Western Michigan University for the upcoming 2009-2010 season. The St. Paul, MN native spent the past two seasons with the Stampede and was considered one of the hardest working players on the team. After posting 12 points in 57 games during his first season with the Stampede in 2007/08, Walters tallied 26 points (9g, 17a) in 54 games last year and was one of the Stampede's top penalty killers. In the playoffs, Walters recorded four points (3g, 1a) in four games.

Western Michigan University is located in Kalamazoo, MI and has an enrollment of over 28,000. The Broncos are members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and advanced to the second round of the CCHA tournament this past season.

Lindblad has committed to Dartmouth College for the future. The Winnetka, IL native was acquired in a trade with Youngstown last Wednesday during the USHL Draft. Lindblad spent last season playing in the USHL with the Chicago Steel where he recorded 25 points (5g, 20a) in 51 games.

Dartmouth College is located in Hanover, NH and has an enrollment of 4,200 students. The Big Green are members of the ECAC Conference and had two former Stampede players (Brandon Harrington & Evan Stephens) on their roster last season.

Lindblad will compete in the Stampede's tryout camp which will take place next weekend (May 29-June 1) at Ridder Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.

The USHL celebrated its 30th season of junior hockey in 2008-09. With over 170 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools and 16 NHL Draft picks that played in the league this season, the USHL is the nation's foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Morbeck to the Greyhounds

Press Release

The Soo Greyhounds Hockey Club is pleased to announce that right-winger Trevor Morbeck has signed a Standard Player Agreement with the Ontario Hockey League club.

The native of Jackson, Wisconsin was selected by the Hounds in the 3rd Round (60th overall) of the OHL’s Priority Selection held earlier this month. The 6’1”, 185-lb winger played last season with Team Illinois U-16’s where in 74 games played he grabbed 48 goals and 61 assists, good for 109 points, and 51 penalty minutes.

“It’ll be a process,” stated Hounds GM Dave Torrie following the signing. “He has a late birth date and he’s a big kid. As he matures, we think he’ll be a powerful winger who has good hands, can skate and score some goals. But next season is going to be an adjustment from what he’s used to.”

“It’s amazing. It’s been a great experience here.” said Morbeck at the conclusion of the team’s mini-camp held this past weekend. “I’d always heard this was a great hockey town. I’ve just really enjoyed my time here and I’m excited and very happy I signed.”

Morbeck joins 1st overall pick Daniel Catenacci in signing with the Hounds since the Priority Selection.

SCOUTING REPORT - Morbeck is a big winger that possesses some physical tools. He plays a pretty simple and effective game, skating up and down his wing supporting the puck and the play while doing all the little things that helps a team to be successful. He skates well for a bigger man, utilizing a long strong stride that generates power. He is hard to move from in front of the net. He also displays a better than average touch with the puck.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Pistilli signs with Carolina

Press Release

RALEIGH, NC—Jason Karmanos, Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with right wing Matthew Pistilli (Pih-STILL-ee) on a three-year, entry-level contract. Pistilli, who completed his fourth season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this year, will be paid an average of $50,000 per season on the American Hockey League (AHL) level and an average of $508,000 per season on the NHL level over the next three seasons. He will also receive a signing bonus of $40,000.

“Matthew is a big, strong winger who has a proven ability to finish,” said Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald. “He has a knack for being able to get to the front of the net and score, and will add more depth to our organization at his position.”

Pistilli (6’2’’, 220 lbs.) ranked fourth in the QMJHL in goals during the 2008-09 season, finding the net a team-best 45 times. He ranked third among Shawinigan skaters and eighth in the QMJHL in scoring with 86 points, and had 20 points (13g, 7a) in 21 playoff games for the Cataractes as Shawinigan advanced to the seventh game of the QMJHL Finals before falling to Drummondville. Pistilli, 20, ranked seventh in the QMJHL in scoring in 2007-08, totaling 93 points (37g, 56a) during the regular season. He helped lead Gatineau to the 2008 QMJHL title with 28 points (11g, 17a) in 19 playoff games.

The Montreal, Que., native completed his five-year junior hockey career with 120 goals and 145 assists (265 points) in 259 career games. Two players on the current Hurricanes roster – Chad LaRose and Bryan Rodney – were also signed by Carolina as undrafted free agents.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Lowry to coach the U-18's in the summer

Press Release

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League, announced on Wednesday that Dave Lowry will be head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Team for the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka in August 2009. Canada enters the tournament as defending champion, with this year’s event being held in Czech Republic and Slovakia from August 11-15.

Dave Lowry will be making his international coaching debut this summer, after leading the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen to a 59-9-3-1 regular-season record and a spot in the WHL final. The native of Sudbury, Ont. has just completed his fourth season with Calgary, first as the team’s head coach. Lowry, 44, played over 1,000 games in the NHL with five franchises, serving as the Calgary Flames’ captain from 2000 to 2002.

Assistant coaches Chris DePiero (head coach and general manager of OHL’s Oshawa Generals) and Mark Holick (head coach of WHL’s Kootenay Ice) round out the coaching staff of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team.

DePiero has just completed his first season as head coach and general manager with Oshawa after serving as head coach for the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League for seven years, winning two league championships and twice being named the league’s coach of the year.

Holick has been the head coach in Kootenay for two seasons after successful head coaching stints with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers in 2006-07 and with the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints from 2003-06. The native of Penticton, B.C. led Team Pacific to a silver medal at the 2004 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Hockey Canada also announced that former NHLer Ron Tugnutt will be joining the under-18 coaching staff as a goaltending consultant. A veteran of over 500 NHL games, Tugnutt served in this capacity with Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team at the 2009 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

“The under-18 program is an integral part of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s senior director of national men’s teams. “We are extremely excited with the quality of coaches that we have named today for our summer under-18 program. Led by head coach Dave Lowry, we know that this year’s under-18 team will be well prepared and that our coaches will play important roles in developing Canada’s top young players.”

Hockey Canada will announce plans for the National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team selection camp at a later date.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dumont sends the Volts into the Semi's

Press Release

RIMOUSKI, Que. -- Gabriel Dumont scored 13:23 into overtime as the Drummondville Voltigeurs pulled out a victory in a game in which they were badly outplayed by the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday night at the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

The win puts Drummondville through to the semifinals of the four-team tournament while Rimouski must play the Windsor Spitfires in a tiebreaker game Thursday night to determine the second semifinalist.

The winner of the semifinal game will face the Kelowna Rockets in the final.

The Oceanic had a 41-20 shot advantage and controlled most of the game but were thwarted time and again by the superb play of goalie Marco Cousineau.

After a faceoff in the Rimouski zone, the Voltigeurs got the puck to the net where Dumont batted at it and saw it slide past the sprawled Maxime Gougeon.

Patrice Cormier, leader of Rimouski's C-line with Philippe Cornet and Jordan Caron, tied the game early in the third period as the Oceanic rode the energy of its chanting home fans. Luca Cunti also scored for the Oceanic.

Jonathan Brunelle and Dmitry Kulikov had the other goals for Drummondville, which swept a best-of-seven series from Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinals a month ago.

The largest crowd of the tournament so far of 5,062 fans was two deep in the standing room, and the home side stormed out of the gate, outshooting the Voltigeurs 11-4 in the opening period.

Cousineau made spectacular glove saves on Cornet and Caron during three Rimouski power plays.

It continued in the second and produced the first goal as Felix Lefrancois threw the puck to the net and Cunti poked in his second of the tournament at 1:39.

But after the initial onslaught, Drummondville got some chances and found that while Gougeon, who was brilliant when facing a lot of shots in earlier games, struggled when facing just a few.

At 6:07, Brunelle got a second chance on a break to the net and slid it by Gougeon on his team's sixth shot of the game.

On Drummondville's first full power play, Kulikov's low point shot went between Gougeon's pads at 11:56 on the Voltigeurs' eighth shot.

The Oceanic poured it on again in the third, controlling the neutral zone, dumping pucks in and pounding the Drummondville defence. They tied it on a power play at 5:23 when two Volts at the blue-line went to Cornet, who slipped the puck to Cormier to score on a wrist shot from the slot.

Notes -- The ceremonial face-off featured Oceanic alumni Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Michel Ouellet along with Quebec sports minister Michelle Courchesne and team owner Maurice Tanguay.

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at

Saad and Arnold to the NTDP?

USHR is reporting the National Team Development Program have received committments from 92' forwards Brandon Saad and Bill Arnold. Speaking with Chris Peters today, the director of media relations of the NTDP, he couldn't comment on the report.

Saad is one of the best uncommitted 1992 born players in the country. With the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the NAHL, he had 29 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. In the playoffs, he had a goal and six assists in seven games. Last week, the Youngstown Phantoms (formerly known as the Mahoning Valley Phantoms) took him in the USHL draft. The Saginaw Spirit took him the first round of the 2008 draft.

Arnold who's committed Boston College for 2011 played with Nobles Prep last season.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at