Monday, March 24, 2014

All good things must come to an end

As you may have noticed, I haven't updated this blog in a week. Two things for that

1. Last week I was busy covering the NCAA Division III men's hockey Championships which were held in Lewiston this past weekend for USCHO and the Sun Journal. I didn't want to over work myself. 

2. I have decided to shutdown this blog after this post for a couple a reasons. This winter with my freelancing duties with USCHO covering the MASCAC and ECAC Northeast DIII conferences and covering Maine High School Hockey for Hockey Night in Boston it was a lot of time commitment, but I enjoyed writing for them.

Updating this blog felt like it was becoming a job and that's what this blog wasn't intended to be a job.

This spring I hope I can find other freelance work maybe covering college baseball or lacrosse.

I also want to spend more of free time this spring and summer enjoying other things I enjoy like golfing.

 I still enjoy junior hockey but at the same time I have decided I just want to keep my focus on writing original content whether its for The Sun Journal, Maine Hockey Journal, USCHO, Hockey Night in Boston or any other freelance gig I may get.

I want to to thank all of you for reading this blog, you guys kept me going. I want to thank everyone who gave me tips in the nearly six years of doing this. I met a lot of great people doing this and hope to keep interacting with everyone on Twitter (my handle is jrhockeywriter).

If you have any questions you can tweet me or shoot me an email at

Again Thank you.

Nathan Fournier

 (Nathan can be reached at

Friday, March 14, 2014

Round two starts at George Preston

Press Release

Langley, BC - The Langley Rivermen have won their first ever playoff series defeating the Surrey Eagles in six games to advance to the Mainland division final where they will face the Coquitlam Express with game one of the best-of-seven series set to begin Friday night.

With the Langley Events Centre unavailable, it’s a return to Langley’s BCHL roots at the George Preston Recreation Centre, the former home of the Langley Lords, Thunder, and Hornets.

“Returning to the George Preston Recreation Centre is nostalgic, it’s a building with plenty of history including BCHL playoffs,” said Rivermen Director of Operations, Taylor Henderson.

“The Preston family has a long history of community building in Langley and we are honoured to play in the arena that bears George Preston’s name.  We would obviously prefer to play in our home building at the Langley Events Centre, but due to circumstances out of our control this is not possible.  We will be bridging the past with the present with a brief return to George Preston and hope the people of Langley will join us for what will be an exciting start to the division final series.”

Built in 1973, the previously named Civic Centre has seen thousands of children grow up in the rink playing their minor hockey there and watching BCHL action.  The facility was renamed to honour George Preston in 2005.

Tickets are available on site only at the George Preston Recreation Centre, located at 20699 42 Ave in Langley.  Puck drop for game 1 is 7:15pm Friday with game 2 Saturday night at 7:15pm, also at George Preston. 

 (Nathan can be reached at

Wings to hold benefit this weekend for Zach Kraft

Press Release

Hockey players are known for being tough, strong, and dedicated on the ice. But for three junior hockey players, their strength and heart also shows off the ice.

Recently, former Aberdeen Wings player Zach Kraft was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. The team had plans to hold a benefit weekend for Kraft, to help defray some medical expenses and traveling costs. But what the Aberdeen Wings organization did not know was how big the hearts of current players were.

Wings defenseman Dillon Eichstadt of Bemidji, Minnesota, approached the organization about donating his jersey from the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament to help raise funds for Kraft. Immediately, Wings captain Jake Horton of Plymouth, Minnesota and forward Jonathan Grebosky of Oakdale, Pennsylvania did the same donating their Top Prospects jerseys to the fundraiser. The three Aberdeen Wings players were selected to represent Team Central at the 2014 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament held in Troy, Michigan last month.

The jerseys will be auctioned off during first intermission this Friday, March 14th as the Aberdeen Wings host the Brookings Blizzard. All proceeds from the auction will go to Zach Kraft to help offset medical expenses and travel costs for treatment. Also, raffle tickets are being sold to win the Zach Kraft’s original #19 game-worn Wings jersey with all proceeds going to the fund. Last season, the jersey was purchased by Larry and Robin Hanson of Aberdeen, a Wings billet family. Through the generosity of the Hansons and friends, they have donated the jersey back to the fundraiser.

This season while playing for the Wisconsin Wilderness, Kraft was seeing a doctor following an injury when they discovered that he had a brain tumor. Following the surgery, medical experts discovered and later diagnosed Kraft with Glioblastoma, a cancer in the brain. Zach left the hospital with a desire to stay strong through it, because he has had to his whole life. There have been many obstacles in his life, including losing his mother Scarlet to breast cancer when he was only 11 years old.

After his mother passed away, he lived with his aunt and uncle in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2010, he moved to Fargo to live with his sister Cassie where he played hockey for the Fargo North Spartans. In overtime, at the state tournament, Kraft scored the game-winning goal. After graduating high school, Zach had the opportunity to join the Fargo Force of the USHL, before joining the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League. In 52 games with the Wings, Kraft scored 6 goals and added 8 assists.

Through the generous jersey donations by Eichstadt, Horton, and Grebosky along with the amazing support of the Aberdeen Wings family, one can truly say that junior hockey is more than just another hockey team in another hockey town. This is about supporting each other through the bright times in our lives as well as picking each other up when a teammate, a fan, or community deal with hard times.

This Friday, as the Wings host Brookings, Zach Kraft will be in attendance to say thank you to the Aberdeen Wings community for their support and prayers. If you would like to help support Zach Kraft and his battle with brain cancer, please send donations to 719 9th St. North, Fargo, ND 58102. Foundation checks can be made out to the Zach Kraft Benefit.

On behalf of the Aberdeen Wings organization, we would like to extend a thank you to all those who have shown support for Zach Kraft.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Desrosiers named the Social Media Star for the month of February

Press Release

BOUCHERVILLE, Thursday March 13, 2014 – Philippe Desrosiers, the Rimouski Océanic goaltender was named the social media star of the month today for February 2014. This was a big month for Desrosiers, he was named VAUGHN goaltender of the month as well as the TELUS first star of the month.

Desrosiers received many mentions on the League’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The 2nd round pick of the Dallas Stars got a total of 1300 mentions on Twitter in the form of ‘favourites', and Facebook in the form of ‘likes’. Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads also received honourable mentions for the month with 1 175 mentions.

You can follow both players by subscribing to their Twitter handles: Philippe Desrosiers @pdesro30 and Nikolaj Ehlers @NikolajEhlers24 as well as on the ice.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Blizzard defenseman Parker makes NCAA DI commitment

Press Release

The Brookings Blizzard of the North American Hockey League are proud to announce that defenseman Brandon Parker has commitment to play at the University of Alabama-Huntsville next season.

“We're so happy for Brandon. He has taken charge if our defensive corps and has developed into one of the best defensemen in the league,” said Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin.

Parker is a 5’9” 180 lb. defenseman from Fairbault, MN. This is his third season with the Blizzard and has seen his role with the team increase each season. He has played in 53 games with the Blizzard this season and has recorded 28 points with 8 goals and 20 assists.

Parker has scored 8 goals and recorded 20 assists in 53 games with the Blizzard this season. His 28 points is good for fourth on the team in points and leads all defenseman. He also ranks 11th in the NAHL in scoring among defenseman.

This is the third season Brandon has been part of the Blizzard organization. He has improved and contributed more each year within the program. In 2011-12 he had 4 points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 15 games in Alexandria. Last season he played in 26 games and had 11 points with 2 goals and 9 assists.

Defensively, He's a shut down defenseman who makes a great first pass and is not afraid to play physical.  Offensively, he possesses superior puck handling skills as well as a great shot, which is deceptive and gets very few shots blocked,” added Laylin.

In February Parker represented the Blizzard on team Central at the NAHL Top Prospects tournament in Troy, MI.  He was also named the Easton Hockey NAHL Defenseman of the Month for the month of December when he had 11 points in 9 games for the Blizzard.

He's great in the community and volunteers frequently.  The Blizzard organization is extremely exited for Brandon and his d opportunity at UAH,” said Coach Laylin.

The University of Alabama-Huntsville is a NCAA Division I program and competes as a member of the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association).

(Nathan can be reached at

Wilderness defenseman Buri makes NCAA DI commitment

Press Release

The Minnesota Wilderness, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are very pleased to announce that defenseman Richard Buri has made his NCAA Division I commitment to the University of Alabama Huntsville. Alabama Huntsville currently competes in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).

Buri (6’5/210), the 20-year-old from Nitra, Slovakia is the fourth player from the NAHL Wilderness organization to make a NCAA Division I commitment. Buri has played 39 games with the Wilderness this season. As a defenseman he has 3 goals, 4 assists and is +8.

Buri is also one of the 100 players that was selected to play in the NAHL Top Prospect Tournament. Buri was on the Midwest Team. With the commitment, Buri is one of dozens of NAHL players who played in the event and then have made an NCAA commitment in the weeks following the event.

“Alabama Huntsville was the best option for me, their facility and plan for me was best,” said Buri.  “Alabama Huntsville was the best place for me financially and I just really want to play hockey in Alabama. It feels great having a college commitment and feels better knowing I can start next year, it relieves a lot of the pressure.” stated Buri.

“We are happy for Richard on his commitment to Alabama Huntsville. He has been a big part of our success this season. We wish him good luck and we expect him to do well.” said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen.

Buri joins teammates Brett Heikkila (Northern Michigan), Zach Jordan (Michigan Tech) and Kasimir Kaskisuo (Minnesota-Duluth) as Wilderness players who have made NCAA Division I commitments this season.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Richmond named OJHL coach-of-the-year

Press Release

The Ontario Junior Hockey League announced today that James Richmond (photo credit - Brian Watts/OJHL Images) of the Aurora Tigers has been named the recipient of the 2013-14 OJHL Coach-of-the-Year Award.

After joining the Tigers during the summer of 2010 as General Manager and Head Coach, James Richmond has improved the club's record each season of his four-year tenure, capturing a second consecutive North Division crown in 2013-14, while also finishing as runner-up for the overall OJHL regular season title.  The club's 38-12-3 record for 79 points and a .745 winning percentage is the best in franchise history since 2006-07 when they went on to capture the RBC Cup, National Junior ‘A’ Championship.  They completed the impressive season with a league-best 22-4-0 record on the road; five more wins than any other team in the OJHL had when playing away from home, including a league-high 10 game winning streak and 9 game winning streak on the road (also finished the year with an 8 game road winning streak).

The defensively sound Tigers also topped the league by allowing just 122 goals against, led by OJHL Top Goaltender and 1st Team All-Star Kevin Entmaa, who personally led the league in wins, goals against average, save percentage and shutouts.  Aurora accomplished this with a disciplined game that saw them finish with the second least penalty total, taking just 694 penalty minutes, while allowing the fewest power play goals against (31) as part of the fifth best penalty killing unit (83.94%). 

With three players in the top 20 of overall OJHL scoring, the Tigers offensive game was not affected by the defensive conscious mindset.  The club finished third in the league with 220 goals for, as well as the league's best power play, firing at a 26.19% success rate.  Their offensive success was led by the forward trio of Kory Kennedy, Dylan Sikura and Taylor McCloy, while rookie defenceman Eric Williams anchored the blueline, leading all OJHL rearguards with 14 goals. 

The 49-year old native of Mississauga, Ontario, who now resides in Oak Ridges, previously coached the Georgetown Raiders from 2005-06 to 2009-10, being named the MacKinnon Division's Coach-of-the-Year in 2008-09 after leading his club to the OJHL regular season title.  After playing Junior 'B' for the famed Henry Carr Crusaders (now Orangeville Flyers), Richmond spent four seasons playing NCAA Division I hockey with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, before turning professional in Europe.  Following a brief minor pro career in Europe and North America, Richmond set his sights on coaching and has become a well-respected teacher of the game.  This past summer, he was hired by the NHL's Los Angeles Kings in a player development role, spending time working with the club's younger players and prospects.

The OJHL Coach-of-the-Year Award is awarded to the Head Coach that is adjudged to have contributed the most to his club’s success throughout the course of the regular season.

Jason Fortier of the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots was named runner-up in the OJHL award balloting to Richmond. 

Fortier joined the Patriots this season, previously having coached the Vaughan Vipers, and led the club to their first Conference and Division regular season title in franchise history, finishing with a 35-12-6 record for 76 points and a .717 winning percentage.

The Coach Canada Most Improved Player Award recipient will be announced later this week.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Four more NOJHL awards finalized

Press Release

SUDBURY – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League announced today that four more of its annual awards have been finalized, all of which all were earned by members of the regular season champion Soo Thunderbirds.

The NOJHL’s most valuable player, in the Thunderbirds’ Joel Horodziejczyk, factored in three of the accolades for his outstanding 2013-14 campaign with Sault Ste. Marie.

He earned the Molson Trophy as the NOJHL player of the year and thus will also be the league’s representative for the RBC – CJHL national player of the year award, which will be announced during the RBC Cup Canadian Jr. A Championship May 10-18 in Vernon, B.C.

The first team all-star enters the postseason having gone unbeaten in his past 27 starts registering a very impressive 26-0-1-0 record in that span.

Horodziejczyk also won the Wayne Chase Memorial Award for posting the best goals-against average in NOJHL this season at a stingy 1.72.

The Soo stopper also teamed up with his goaltending partner Brian Kment to earn the NOJHL Team Goaltending Award, which is presented annually to the goalkeepers on the club that allowed the fewest goals against during the campaign.

In 56 games the duo gave up just 107 goals for an NOJHL-low average of 1.91 per game.

It marks the third time in the past four seasons that T-Birds goalkeepers have garnered the accolades.

The final award went to Thunderbirds captain Gavin Burbach, who earned the Jimmy Connors Memorial Trophy as the league’s regular season scoring champion.

Burbach led all NOJHL skaters in offensive production with 87 points on a league-best 48 goals along with 39 assists.

Two other NOJHL honours will be announced at a later date in the RBC Scholastic player of the year award along with the NOJHL playoff MVP plaque.

 (Nathan can be reached at

OHL Academic Players for February

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the OHL Academic Players of the Month for February, 2014, including Michael Holmes of the Saginaw Spirit, Adam Craievich of the Guelph Storm, Riley Bruce of the North Bay Battalion, and Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs.

West Division: The West Division Academic Player of the Month for February is the Saginaw Spirit’s Michael Holmes. Holmes, a 17-year-old rookie from Barrie, ON, was  Saginaw’s 2nd round selection in 2013. While attending Heritage High School Holmes has been able to achieve great success in the classroom. While maintaining grades in the high 70’s on a tough course load which includes University prep English and Physics, Holmes has continually demonstrated that he has both the tools on the ice which made him the 28th overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection as well as in the classroom. The Saginaw Spirit would like to congratulate Michael on all his success so far and continued success in the future.

Midwest Division: The Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for February is the Guelph Storms’ Adam Craievich. Craievich, a 16-year-old rookie from Sarnia, ON, is an extremely disciplined, self motivated and conscientious student. His commitment to his academic studies was evident with the demanding course load he carried earning a 91% average in five University prep courses. His teachers have described him as a “very focused student with strong leadership skills”. His high standards of excellence is a direct reflection of his positive work ethic. The Guelph Storm would like to congratulate Adam on his superb efforts in the classroom and wishing him continued success in second semester.

Central Division: The Central Division Academic Player of the Month for February is North Bay Battalion Defenseman Riley Bruce.  Bruce, a 16-year-old rookie from Carp, ON, has maintained a high honours average during his time at Chippewa Secondary School and  throughout his high school career. This past semester he excelled in his accounting and marketing classes where he showed great insight into solving case studies and analyzing business problems. He demonstrates a strong work ethic and critical thinking skills in his classes and is conscientious about staying on top of his assignments despite his busy travel schedule.

East Division: The East Division Academic Player of the Month for February is Kingston Frontenacs’ rookie Lawson Crouse. Crouse, a 16-year-old Mt. Brydges, ON, native was a first round draft pick for the Frontenacs last season. He has certainly lived up to his billing, having been selected as a member of Team Ontario for the World Under-17 Hockey challenge. Academically, Lawson attends Holy Cross CSS. He is enrolled in challenging courses and is committed to achieving high academic success. Lawson has proven himself successful in his commitment to academics and in his hockey pursuits.

(Nathan can be reached at

Troy and Aafke Loney Join Phantoms Ownership and Operational Group

Press Release

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Former Pittsburgh Penguins forward Troy Loney and his wife Aafke have partnered with Phantoms Owner & CEO Bruce Zoldan to become members of the club’s ownership and operational group, the team announced today.

Under the agreement, which is dependent upon league review and approval, Loney will oversee the day-to-day business and hockey operations of the Youngstown Phantoms.

“I am excited for the opportunity to build upon the foundation that the Phantoms have laid in the Steel Valley, Western Pennsylvania, and the USHL as a whole,” said Loney. “I have seen firsthand how the USHL has become a breeding ground for Division I talent, as well as the NHL. I continue to be enthused with the development of the league and its players, and I can’t wait to get started in Youngstown.”

“This is a tremendous move for the Phantoms and for the Youngstown community,” added Zoldan. “Troy brings a true historical hockey figure to our team. His connection to both Pittsburgh and Youngstown, and the Stanley Cups that he has won—including one under Edward DeBartolo, Sr.’s ownership—speak for themselves. The credibility he brings is immense, and his interest in this team further shows that the USHL is recognized by the NHL and the NCAA as the most talented developmental system in the nation.”

Loney possesses both a wealth of NHL experience and deep connections to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ front office. A veteran of over 600 NHL games, Loney was drafted by the Penguins in 1982 and spent ten seasons with the club, winning the Stanley Cup in 1991 and 1992. He was also named the first-ever captain of the expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the 1993-94 season.

“This is a great day for hockey in Youngstown,” said David Morehouse, CEO and President of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Troy was a valuable player for the Penguins, contributing to two Stanley Cup championships and many exciting moments on the ice, but he also forged a very successful post-hockey career as a corporate executive in the Pittsburgh area. The Phantoms organization and their fans will benefit from his considerable experience in both the hockey and business worlds. We are big fans of the Phantoms, and we look forward to great things from Troy and his team.”

Since retiring from the NHL in 1995, Loney entered the business world, and for the past 15 years, has been a senior executive at various levels. Most recently, he served as the president of a division in a Fortune 250 company. He has continued to make his home in the Pittsburgh area since retirement from his playing career.

“Having someone of Troy’s caliber in our team’s management is a great move for this organization,” said Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen. “This helps solidify the Phantoms as a top USHL franchise, as well as adds to the long-term stability of our team in the Youngstown community.”

Adding to his ties to the Youngstown community, Loney’s son, Ty, spent two seasons playing for the Phantoms before moving on to the University of Denver. As a Phantom, Ty Loney registered 46 points in 71 games played. Currently in his junior season with the Pioneers, he has 65 points in 111 career games at the Division I level.

“When my son, Ty, played in Youngstown a few years ago, I got a firsthand view of the city and the Phantoms organization,” continued Loney. “I know that Ty had a great on- and off-ice experience in Youngstown, and he was able to develop his skills to the point where he is now playing Division I college hockey at Denver. I look at coming here as an opportunity to invest not only in the Youngstown community, but also in the Phantoms organization.”

Both Zoldan and Loney anticipate this new partnership will further solidify the commitment to the existing fan base and are hopeful that potential season ticket holders and new fans will experience Phantoms hockey firsthand. Season tickets and premium seating are available at the Covelli Centre.

(Nathan can be reached at

Storm forward commits to Bentley University

Press Release

 The Tri-City Storm announced that forward Ryan McMurphy has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Bentley University beginning next season.

“I knew I wanted to go to a strong academic school,” McMurphy said.  “When Bentley called me I really enjoyed the fact that they have a great business school.  It’s a good spot for me.”

McMurphy has recorded 16 points (10g, 6a) through 48 games this season with the Storm.  He opened the season scoring a goal in each of the first two games for the Storm, including the lone tally in the 1-0 win against the Des Moines Buccaneers on October 5th.  The 19-year-old had a USHL career high three-point game (2g, 1a) on January 3rd in the 5-1 win against the Sioux Falls Stampede in which he scored his first shorthanded goal.  The native of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma is playing his second USHL season after appearing in 58 games last season with the Storm and recording eight points (2g, 6a).

“I think the goal for most youth hockey players is to be in the USHL because it’s the league that produces the most Division I scholarships,” McMurphy said.  “I think coming here to Tri-City definitely helped me to achieve my goal of playing D1.”

 (Nathan can be reached at

Pats honour four builders

Press Release

Regina, Saskatchewan – The Regina Pats Hockey Club is pleased to announce the team has honoured four long time volunteers as “Builders” of the team.  Off-ice Officials Gary Renner and Bill White along with Dr. Ian Hill and Dr. Ralph Berdan join current Builders Graham Tuer, Lorne Davis, Bob Turner, Del Wilson, Gord Staseson and Al Ritchie.

As off-ice officials, Garry Renner and Bill white were key parts of Pats game nights, ensuring accurate scorekeeping and timekeeping throughout Pats games.  Renner was a member of the Pats’ off-ice officials for 44 years while White volunteered for 42 years.

“We have been very fortunate as an organization to have long term volunteers such as Gary and Bill working as off-ice officials,” commented Pats VP of Business Operations Cliff Mapes.  “Off-ice officials and game night volunteers are integral to the survival of junior hockey and we are happy to have the opportunity to honour Gary and Bill for over forty years of reliable service.”

Dr. Ian Hill served as the Pats’ team doctor for 45 years before retiring last season while Dr. Ralph Berdan will end his time as the team dentist at the conclusion of this season after 35 years with the Pats.

“It’s invaluable… you can never repay guys like that,” said Pats Athletic Therapist Greg Mayer.  “Their commitment, professionalism and passion for the team, they both bleed red white and blue.  They’ve seen every player here from probably as far back as guys like Al Dumba and (Clark) Gillies to Jordan Eberle and Jordan Weal so that’s a lot of players who have come through their door.”

(Nathan can be reached at

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CHL announces BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the twenty-fifth edition of the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2013-14 regular season.  The weekly rankings of the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 25

Last Week Rank:
Number of Weeks Ranked:
Kelowna Rockets (54-11-0-4)
Guelph Storm (50-12-2-1)
Portland Winterhawks (51-13-2-3)
London Knights (47-13-1-4)
Erie Otters (49-14-2-0)
Baie-Comeau Drakkar (45-16-2-3)
Victoria Royals (48-17-1-3)
Rimouski Oceanic (43-15-3-4)
Halifax Mooseheads (45-18-0-3)
Edmonton Oil Kings (48-18-2-1)
  Honourable Mention:
  Calgary Hitmen (46-17-3-4)
  Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (40-16-5-5)
  Oshawa Generals (41-18-0-6)

 (Nathan can be reached at

Statement from OHL Commissioner with regards to Updated Saginaw schedule

Press Release

Toronto – Yesterday, upon learning the tragic news about the Saginaw Spirit’s Terry Trafford, it was determined, in consultation with the Spirit that the game scheduled for tonight in Saginaw would be postponed and that the team’s regular season would reconvene when the Spirit players felt ready.

In speaking with the Spirit today, they have met with their players who have asked to commence playing on Friday night in Sault Ste Marie.

The OHL has extended the regular season for one day to accommodate the new schedule.

The team’s remaining regular season schedule is as follows:

Friday March 14, 2014, in Sault Ste Marie at 7:07 pm
Saturday March 15, 2014, in Saginaw against London at 7:11 pm
Monday March 17, 2014, in Saginaw against Sault Ste Marie at 7:11 pm

The League wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds in accommodating this schedule.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Jets goalie Halladay makes NCAA DI commitment

Press Release

The Janesville Jets, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Logan Halladay has made a commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota of the BIG 10.

Halladay (6’2/180) is 17-years-old and calls Cary, North Carolina home.  This season, Halladay has appeared in 27 games and has a 16-8-1 record with a 2.32 goals against average and a 93.1% save percentage.

“We are very proud of Logan because this commitment is a result of all the hard work he puts in on and off of the ice. He has a confidence to his game that you don’t usually find in players his age. His compete level is off the charts and he improves his game every day. The Gophers are a first class program with an outstanding staff and they are getting a first class young man, it’s a great match,” said Janesville head coach Joe Dibble.

Last month, Halladay turned heads at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament where he played on the NAHL 18U Selects Team, where he posted a 1.98 goals against average and a 91.3% save percentage in the two games against the HPHL All-Star team and the USNTDP-17 Team.

Halladay is also an alumni of the NAPHL, having played in the league during the 2011-12 season for the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 16U team. During that season in the NAPHL, Halladay put up an 4-4-1 record and was in the top 8 in save percenatge with a 91% mark.

“I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity that I’ve been blessed by God with to play college hockey for such an unbelievable University. It’s been a lot of hard work and I would like to thank all of my coaches for pushing me to be the best that I could and always helping me get better but especially all of my family members who have been the best support system that I could ever ask for. There is no way I could have made it this far without them so I owe it all to them,” said Halladay.

“It has been a great year here in Janesville so far. The coaching staff and management have given the players every opportunity to succeed and I am extremely thankful for the help and support they have given along the way. We have a special group of guys this year in Janesville and we have all certainly pitched in to help get wins, as well as college commitments. Although we are receiving attention for commitments that we have earned, our number one goal is winning a championship and that is not something that we will stop working for. We are extremely excited to finish out the year strong and make a run for the Robby!” stated Halladay.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Mason Bergh commits to Colorado College

Press Release

BENSENVILLE, Ill. (March 12th, 2014) – The Chicago Steel have announced that forward Mason Bergh has committed to play for Colorado College after the conclusion of his United States Hockey League career.

Bergh, who is in his first season with the Steel, has recorded 21 points (9g, 12a) in 48 games in 2013-14. The 6-foot, 161-pound native of Eden Prairie, Minn. was named the USHL CCM Forward of the Week for Feb. 10-16 following an impressive seven point weekend (4g, 3a).

Bergh said he was offered a scholarship last week by the Colorado College coaching staff and knew during his visit that he would be wearing the black and gold of the Tigers when his collegiate career begins.

“When I arrived on campus, I had the immediate feeling that this was the right place for me,” Bergh said.  “I love the area, I loved the coaching staff, the mountains are awesome and the campus is great.  To get a good education is very important and CC will provide that for me.

“I called my parents when I was out there visiting and told them how much I liked the school. They were very happy that I was going to commit to Colorado College.”

Bergh played for Eden Prairie High School last season, scoring 21 goals and tallying 17 assists in 25 games.  The Steel drafted him with the 21st overall pick in the 2013 USHL Entry Draft.

“We are very proud of Mason and excited that he will have the opportunity to continue his hockey career at Colorado College,” Steel head coach Scott McConnell said. “Mason has had a positive impact on our organization in his short time here in Chicago.  We look forward to further being a part of his development as a player and a young man in the next year and seeing him arrive in Colorado Springs with an equally positive impact there.”

 (Nathan can be reached at

SIJHL announces first round playoff schedule

Press Release

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced today the release of its opening round playoff schedule.

There will be three first round match-ups, including a pair of best-of-seven quarter-final series.

Also on tap will be a 1 vs. 2 Showdown featuring the No. 1 Fort Frances Lakers taking on the No. 2 Thunder Bay North Stars in a two-game total-goal series with the winner earning the right to choose their semifinal opponent.

Thunder Bay will host game 1 Saturday at the Fort William Gardens at 7:30 p.m.

The finale goes Friday, March 21 at the Ice for Kids Arena in Fort Frances at 7:30 p.m.

Should the two teams be tied in total goals after the second game, overtime, and if required, a shootout will be used to decide a winner.

As for quarter-final play, both of those best-of-seven affairs will get underway Friday.

Game 1 of the No. 3 Minnesota Iron Rangers – No. 6 Wisconsin Wilderness series takes place at 7 p.m. at Hoyt Lakes Arena.

Game 2 goes Sunday evening back at 7:30 p.m. in Hoyt Lakes before shifting to the Spooner Ice House for games 3 and 4 March 19 and 21 at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile the opener between the No. 4 English River Miners and No. 5 Dryden Ice Dogs features a 7 p.m. face-off at Ear Falls Arena.

Game 2 will take place Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. in Ear Falls.

That series will then head to Dryden Memorial Arena for games 3 and 4 March 19-20 at 7:30 p.m.

Though tied in the regular season standings English River earned home ice advantage over Dryden by virtue of a better head-to-head record vs. the Ice Dogs, winning six of the 11 meetings.

The following is the SIJHL first round playoff schedule.


1 vs. 2 Showdown (Two-game, total-goal series)
No. 1 Fort Frances Lakers vs. No. 2 Thunder Bay North Stars
Winner earns the right to choose semifinal opponent

Game 1: Saturday, March 15 @ Thunder Bay 7:30 p.m. (Fort William Gardens)
Game 2: Friday, March 21 @ Fort Frances 7:30 p.m. (Ice for Kids Arena)

Quarter-final (Best-of-seven)
No. 3 Minnesota Iron Rangers vs. No. 6 Wisconsin Wilderness

Game 1: Friday, March 14 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
Game 2: Sunday, March 16 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
Game 3: Wednesday, March 19 @ Wisconsin 7 p.m. (Spooner Ice House)
Game 4: Friday, March 21 @ Wisconsin 7 p.m. (Spooner Ice House)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 22 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
Game 6*: Monday, March 24 @ Wisconsin 7 p.m. (Spooner Ice House)
Game 7*: Tuesday, March 25 @ Minnesota 7 p.m. (Hoyt Lakes Arena)
*-if necessary

Quarter-final (Best-of-seven)
No. 4 English River Miners vs. No. 5 Dryden Ice Dogs

Game 1: Friday, March 14 @ English River 7 p.m. (Ear Falls Arena)
Game 2: Sunday, March 16 @ English River 3 p.m. (Ear Falls Arena )
Game 3: Wednesday, March 19 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Arena)
Game 4: Thursday, March 20 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Arena)
Game 5*: Saturday, March 22 @ English River 7 p.m. (Ear Falls Arena)
Game 6*: Monday, March 24 @ Dryden 7:30 p.m. (Memorial Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 26 @ English River 7 p.m. (Ear Falls Arena)
*-if necessary

 (Nathan can be reached at

Burke Family Donate $1 million to Meridian Centre Campaign

Press Release

St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan announced today that a new road, to be built adjacent to the Meridian Centre, will be christened IceDogs Way.

Niagara IceDogs owners Bill and Denise Burke were given the naming rights to the road in recognition of their $1 million donation to the Meridian Centre fundraising campaign.

"We’re pleased to accept this generous gift from Bill and Denise Burke, which demonstrates their commitment and dedication to our community," said Mayor Brian McMullan. "At the first game, I look forward to dropping the puck at the Meridian Centre located on IceDogs Way."

The donation kicks off the public fundraising campaign for the Meridian Centre, which will see various sponsorship and fundraising opportunities announced in the coming months.

"Denise and I are passionate that the Meridian Centre will be the key to rejuvenating our downtown," said Bill Burke, owner, Niagara IceDogs. "We want everyone to follow IceDogs Way to the best entertainment in Niagara."

The entire IceDogs organization is extremely excited for the completion of the Meridian Centre in time for the 2014-15 season and looks forward to seeing everyone come down IceDogs Way on their way to the Meridian Centre for years to come!

 (Nathan can be reached at

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Otters’ Connor McDavid named CHL Player of the Week

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters is the CHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 9 after recording 11 points in three games scoring four goals with seven assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-8.

McDavid tallied back-to-back four-point performances to start the week and claimed first star honours in both contests.  On Wednesday night he scored a goal with three assists in an 11-2 win over the Plymouth Whalers, then scored twice with two assists in a 6-1 win over the Windsor Spitfires on Friday.  He finished the week on Saturday with a three-point performance scoring his 25th goal of the season adding two assists as second star of a 7-3 win over the Kitchener Rangers helping the Otters reach the 100-point mark for the second time in franchise history and first since 2001.

McDavid, a 17-year-old from Newmarket, ON, is playing in his second OHL season with the Otters and is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.  The 2013 OHL Rookie of the Year and member of Canada’s National Junior Team is fourth in the OHL scoring race with 93 points in just 53 games.

Also considered for the award this week was 2014 NHL Draft prospect Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders with five goals and four assists for nine points in three games, and Sebastien Sylvestre of the Rimouski Oceanic who scored four goals with four assists for eight points in three games.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Greyhounds’ Brandon Halverson named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ rookie Brandon Halverson is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending March 9 after posting a 2-0-0-0 record including a shutout victory with a goals-against-average of 0.50 and save percentage of .986.

Halverson stopped 68 shots last week in a pair of victories for the Greyhounds who locked up first place in the OHL’s West Division for the first time since 2008.  On Friday night Halverson earned his second career shutout with 35 saves as second star of a 7-0 win over the Sarnia Sting, then made 33 saves on Sunday as first star of a 5-1 win over the Windsor Spitfires.

Halverson, a 17-year-old from Traverse City, Michigan, was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.  Eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, Halverson was listed ninth among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting in their Midterm rankings and has an 11-6-0-0 record with a goals-against-average of 2.79 and save percentage of .905 this season.

Also considered for the award this week was Jordon Cooke of the Kelowna Rockets who went 2-0-0-0 with a shutout victory in three appearances last week posting a 0.43 goals-against-average and a .984 save percentage, while in the QMJHL Marvin Cupper of the Shawinigan Cataractes faced 100 shots in two games posting a goals-against-average of 1.92 and save percentage of .960 despite two losses.

  (Nathan can be reached at

OHL Cup Minor Midget Top-10 Rankings

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the eighteenth and final edition of the weekly minor midget rankings for the 2014 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

The weekly rankings are determined by a panel of OHL Central Scouting Staff and represent the top teams that are competing to play in the annual year-end championship tournament which takes place March 11-16, 2014, at Buckingham Arena in Toronto, ON.

Minor Midget Rankings for the 2014 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament – Week 18
Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Toronto Marlies
Detroit Honeybaked
Mississauga Senators
Waterloo Wolves
Whitby Wildcats
Ottawa Valley Titans
Vaughan Kings
Southern Tier Admirals
Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs
  Honourable Mention
  Don Mills Flyers
  Ottawa Jr. 67's
  Kitchener Jr. Rangers

The action begins on Tuesday afternoon with three Wild Card ‘Play In’ Games to complete the list of 20 tournament entries before the 40-game Round Robin action begins on Tuesday night through Friday.  The Quarter-Finals and Semi-Final contests will be played on Saturday with the Championship Final set for Sunday afternoon.

Wild Card ‘Play In’ Games:
Game 1: 12:00 pm North York Rangers (GTHL Invite) vs. Don Mills Flyers (GTHL Invite) – Winner is WC1
Game 2: 2:00 pm South Central Coyotes (OMHA Invite) vs. Brantford 99ers (ALLIANCE Semi-Finalist) – Winner is WC2
Game 3: 4:00 pm Guelph Gryphons (OMHA Championship Qualifier) vs. Halton Hurricanes (OMHA Invite) – Winner is WC3

Wild Card ‘Play In’ Game Invites were determined by a Tournament Selection Committee based on regular season, playoff, and tournament play.  All three matchups were randomly drawn on Monday night.  

 (Nathan can be reached at

Bucs Hall of Fame Class Announcement Saturday

Press Release

(Urbandale, IA) The Des Moines Buccaneers have a rich history stretching 34 seasons with hundreds of players who have played over the years and with each playing a role in the team’s enviable tradition. Though some become a footnote in an old program in a dusty attic, many more leave fond memories in the minds and hearts of the fan base and it’s from that pool that a few select players not only are remembered but revered.

This upcoming Saturday night March 15, during the second intermission of the Buccaneers’ 7:00pm game versus Omaha, the franchise will be proud to induct five new members into the team’s Hall of Fame. Each inductee will have a personalized plaque on display for one year and have their name permanently on display at Buccaneer Arena on the Hall of Fame board in Blackbeard’s Lounge.

The induction ceremony will include at least two pre-recorded acceptance speeches.

Hall of Fame members are selected by a volunteer committee of fans who base their selection on a player’s accomplishments while with the Buccaneers and not necessarily on collegiate and professional success. Though the two usually go hand in hand, not all National Hockey League alumni are in the Hall of Fame while a number of players who never played pro have been selected. It’s all based on what a player did to impact the Buccaneers’ organization.

The Buccaneers’ Hall of Fame was dormant for more than a decade with no new inductions until it was revived prior to the 2012-2013 season. Last year five inductees were added including Scott Purpur, Scott Owens, Peter Fregoe, Peter Sejna and Trevor Lewis.

To be considered for the Hall of Fame a player must be done with the Buccaneers for at least five seasons. Coaches may also be considered, but while previous committees selected non-hockey operations personnel  the modern committee has chosen to bypass them at the moment so as to catch up on deserving players/coaches.

Including non-hockey personnel is not out of the question for future seasons.

Not counting the inductions this Saturday, the Hall of Fame currently has 25 members:
 Jamie Adams  Player
 Reggie Berg  Player
 Beau Bilek  Player
John Blue  Player
Scott Clemmensen Player
Dave Cooper  Player
Paul Erickson  Player
Bob Ferguson  Coach
Brad Frattaroli  Player
Peter Fregoe  Player
Don Geiger  Board Member
Curt Hammer  Board Member
Nick Krueger  Player
Scott Krueger  Player
Trevor Lewis  Player
Marc Magliarditi  Player
Bob Nardella  Player
Scott Owens  Coach
Ivan Prediger  Coach
Scott Purpur  Player
Mike Real  Player
Eric Rud   Player
Kelly Sanner  Fan
Peter Sejna  Player
Daryl Seltenrich  Player

Any fan interested in being a part of the selection process for 2015 should contact Scott Montesano at the 278-2827 ext. 7027 or

  (Nathan can be reached at

USHL Honors - Week 25

Press Release

 The United States Hockey League today announced the CCM and Reebok player awards for the 25th week of the 2013-14 USHL regular season.

Winners include Scott Conway of the Indiana Ice, recognized as CCM Forward of the Week; Brandon Montour of the Waterloo Black Hawks, selected as CCM Defenseman of the Week; and Hayden Stewart of the Indiana Ice, tabbed as Reebok Goaltender of the Week.

Scott Conway, F, Indiana Ice: Skating in his first USHL season, the Kissimmee, Florida native posted seven points (4g, 3a) and a plus-four rating over three games played during the week.  On Thursday, the 18-year-old dished out an assist in Indiana’s 5-2 loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks.  He upped the ante on Friday by scoring a goal in each period of the 6-1 win against the Lincoln Stars for his first USHL hat trick.  He also dished out an assist to record his 50th point of the season.  Conway rounded out his stellar week with a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Lincoln.  Committed to Penn State University, the forward is tied for fifth in League scoring with 52 points (24g, 28a) in 47 games played.  His 24 goals are tied for the fourth most, and his plus-34 rating is tied for the second highest mark in the USHL.

Brandon Montour, D, Waterloo Black Hawks: Hailing from Oshweken, Ontario, the defenseman helped guide the Hawks to a trio of wins, registering three points (1g, 2a) and recording a plus-five rating last week.  He tied a game-high plus-two rating in Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Indiana Ice.  On Friday night, he potted the game-winning goal in the 3-2 comeback win over the Sioux City Musketeers.  The University of Massachusetts commit capped off his weekend with a pair of assists, including one on the game-winner, in a 3-2 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers.  Playing in his first USHL season, the 19-year-old Montour leads all USHL defensemen with 49 points (11g, 38a) in 50 games played, ranking 11th overall in League scoring.  He also ranks sixth in the USHL with a plus-28 rating, and has had an even-or-better plus/minus rating in 42 of his 50 games this season.

Hayden Stewart, G, Indiana Ice: The 19-year-old has been on fire since joining the Ice, and his hot play continued over the weekend as he allowed just one goal over two starts and backstopped the Ice to a weekend sweep of the Lincoln Stars.  Friday night, he turned aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced in a 6-1 win.  He was perfect on Saturday, blocking all 26 attempts on net to earn his fourth shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory.  It was also his 20th USHL career victory.  Committed to Cornell University, Stewart is now 9-0-0 since joining Indiana in mid-January, and has only allowed six goals over those contests to post a stellar 0.67 goals-against average and .972 save percentage.  He now ranks second amongst USHL goaltenders this season in both GAA (2.07) and SV% (.923) while compiling an overall 15-6-1 record. 

 (Nathan can be reached at

NAHL announces Easton Divisional Stars of the Week

Press Release

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Easton for the week ending March 9, 2014.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2013-14 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions. Only players that are nominated by their respective teams are considered for the Divisional Players of the Week award.

Central Division Star of the Week: Zach Doerring, forward, Aberdeen Wings

The Aberdeen Wings kept their Central Division title hopes alive with three big road wins this past week. Wings forward Zach Doerring, 19, played a big role in all three wins as the Chanhassen, Minnesota native totaled two goals and three assists for five points in the three wins and was also a +5. The week started with a 5-4 win in Bismarck on Wednesday in which Doerring (6’4/190) scored the game-winning goal late in the 3rd period. It continued with a 7-0 win on Friday in Brookings against the Blizzard as Doerring had a goal and an assist. On Saturday, Doerring assisted twice more in a 6-0 win. For the season, Doerring has 19 points in 43 games played for the Wings. “Zach has been great for us the last few weeks. He was rewarded this weekend for his hard work put in. He is getting stronger, more confident and playing with a lot of energy right now. He has also shown great leadership qualities for us. He has been a big part of our recent success,” said Wings head coach Travis Winter.

2nd Star: Nick Lehr, G, Austin Bruins

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Erik Baskin, F, Aberdeen Wings – Tim Donohue, F, Minot Minotauros – Brandon Wildung, G, Minot Minotauros

Midwest Division Star of the Week: Kevin Aldridge, goaltender, Fairbanks Ice Dogs

With two wins over the Wild in Wenatchee this past weekend, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs were able to secure the Midwest Division regular season title. Veteran goaltender and Lake Superior State recruit Kevin Aldridge, 20, was as solid as ever between the pipes. The native of Beverly Hills, Michigan shut the door on the Wild helped by an effective Ice Dogs defense as he allowed just two goals on 39 shots in the two wins. On Friday, Aldridge (5’8/150) made 16 saves for his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 win. On Saturday, Aldridge made 21 saves in a 5-2 win. For the season, Aldridge is second in the NAHL in wins with 29. “I think the entire team played really well all weekend, but Kevin was the catalyst,” said Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart. “Wenatchee had several good scoring chances and he was there when we needed him to be with the big saves.”

2nd Star: Sebastian Fuchs, F, Kenai River Brown Bears

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Eric Brenk, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Michael Covach, F, Minnesota Wilderness – Nick Hinz, D, Fairbanks Ice Dogs – Frankie Spellman, F, Kenai River Brown Bears

North Division Star of the Week: Logan Halladay, goaltender, Janesville Jets

With two wins in Johnstown this past weekend, the Janesville Jets find themselves in the 4th and final playoff spot in the North Division with just a few weeks to go. Rookie goaltender Logan Halladay, 17, was again spectacular in the series as he played in both wins and allowed just a single goal in the two games. Halladay (6’2/180) faced 53 shots and stopped 52 of them. On Friday, the Cary, North Carolina native stopped all 27 shots that came his way for his second shutout of the season in a 2-0 win. The next night, Halladay made 25 saves in a 2-1 win. For the season, Halladay has a 16-8-1 record with a 2.32 goals against average and a 93.1% save percentage, which ranks 7th in the NAHL. “Logan is so much further along in his development than his age indicates. He has no problem putting the team on his back and carrying the load. He is going to be fun to watch play at the next level,” said Jets head coach Joe Dibble.

2nd Star: Matt Menta, F, Soo Eagles

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Alex Blankenburg, G, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Drew Callin, F, Janesville Jets – Tyger Howat, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – Max Milosek, G, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Michael Sabatini, F, Soo Eagles – Trevor Stone, F, Springfield Jr. Blues

South Division Star of the Week: Sean Mostrom, defenseman, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Although it came early in the week, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees defenseman and University of Denver recruit Sean Mostrom, 19, had a great couple of games as the Killer Bees took two wins in a weekday series against the Odessa Jackalopes. In the two wins the native of Wayzata, Minnesota totaled four points from the blueline, which included three goals and an assists, and was also a +4 in the two wins. On Monday, Mostrom (6’3/205) scored twice and added an assist in a 6-2 win. On Tuesday, Mostrom had Rio Grande Valley’s first goal in a 2-1 win over the Jacks. For the season, the second-year defenseman leads all Killer Bee blueliners in points with 18 in 40 games played. “Sean kept it simple and he is very effective as a player when he plays that way. He bounced back after a tough weekend and responded like a veteran leader should,” said Killer Bees head coach Joe Coombs.

2nd Star: TJ Black, G, Lone Star Brahmas

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): PJ Bridges, G, Topeka RoadRunners – Aleksi Luhtalampi, F, Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees – Sam Piazza, D, Wichita Falls Wildcats – Daniel Rzavsky, F, Topeka RoadRunners – David Zevnik, G, Wichita Falls Wildcats

(Nathan can be reached at

California 18U forward O'Donnell signs NAHL tender

Press Release

The California Titans of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Danny O’Donnell has signed an NAHL tender agreement with the Kenai River Brown Bears.
O’Donnell, 17, just finished his first season at the 18U level with the Titans. The native of Ventura, California, appeared in all 24 NAPHL league games for California this past season. He recorded 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) in those 24 games and also had 48 penalty minutes.
This is O’Donnell’s (6’2/190) second season in the NAPHL. Last season, O’Donnell played for the Titans 16U team that made it all the way to the NAPHL Semi-Finals. In 21 NAPHL games last season with the 16U team, O’Donnell had 15 points.
In his 45 game NAPHL career, O’Donnell has 30 career points. He has also appeared in eight playoff games, recording five points.
O’Donnell is the sixth member (third from the 18U team) of the California Titans to have signed a tender this season. He joins 18U teammates Austin Wild (Austin) and Corey Pelone (Springfield) as players from the 18U team who have signed NAHL tender agreements.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Blues' Schreyer named MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week

Press Release

Joel Schreyer of the Winnipeg Blues has been named the MJHL Recycle Everywhere Player of the Week for the week ending March 9th.

 The 20-year-old from Lorette recorded four points (1-3) in two playoff games for the Blues, who are facing Selkirk Steelers in the Addison Division semi-final.

The runners up are 20 year old forward Darien Cardinal of the OCN Blizzard and 20 year old forward Riley Hay of the Portage Terriers.

(Nathan can be reached at

2014 NTDP Evaluation Camp Roster Announced

Press Release

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Fifty-two of the top American hockey players born in 1998 have been invited to USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp it was announced today by team officials. The camp, which will help select the 2014-15 U.S. National Under-17 Team, will take place March 21-25, at the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Ice Cube.

"We're excited to welcome another talented crop of players to our tryout camp," said Peter Ward, director of player personnel for the NTDP. "The entire scouting staff puts in days, months and years of hard work to identify what we believe are the nation's top players in this age group."

The 52 players, including 19 defensemen, 27 forwards and six goaltenders, will be divided into three teams - Red, White and Blue. The squads will participate in on-ice practices and off-ice training as well as four 30-minute practice sessions and two full games.

NTDP alumni Blake Geoffrion (Brentwood, Tenn./2004-06), Kyle Lawson (New Hudson, Mich./2004-05) and David Tanabe (White Bear Lake, Minn./1997-98) will serve as coaches at the camp. In addition, NTDP intern assistant coaches Josh Brown and Dan Naurato will also work behind the bench.

F Joey Anderson Roseville, Minn. Hill-Murray School (Minn.)
F Jamie Armstrong Warwick, R.I. Bishop Hendricken High School (R.I.)
F Kieffer Bellows Edina, Minn. Edina (Minn.) High School
F Logan Brown Chesterfield, Mo. Indiana Ice Midget Minor
F Hank Crone Cedar Hill, Texas Dallas Stars Midget Minor
F Grant Cruikshank Delafield, Wis. Milwaukee Admirals Midget Minor
F Josh Dunne O'Fallon, Mo. St. Louis Blues Midget Minor
F Trent Frederic St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis Blues Midget Minor
F Timothy Gettinger North Olmstead, Ohio Cleveland Barons Midget Minor
F Keeghan Howdeshell Brighton, Mich. Detroit Compuware Midget Minor
F Max Jones Rochester, Mich. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Major
F Clayton Keller Swansea, Ill. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
F Patrick Khodorenko Walnut Creek, Calif. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Minor
F William Knierim Skokie, Ill. Chicago Mission Midget Minor
F Noah LaLonde Macomb, Mich. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Minor
F John Leonard Amherst, Mass. Springfield Cathedral High School
F William Lockwood Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Oakland Grizzlies Midget Minor
F Mitchell Mattson Grand Rapids, Minn. Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School
F Graham McPhee Bethesda, Md. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
F Dominic Mersch Park Ridge, Ill. Chicago Mission Midget Minor
F Jacob Nielsen New Berlin, Wis. Milwaukee Admirals Midget Minor
F Nick Pastujov Bradenville, Fla. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Minor
F James Sanchez Northbrook, Ill. Chicago Young Americans Midget Minor
F Riley Tufte Ham Lake, Minn. Blaine (Minn.) High School
F Garrett Wait Edina, Minn. Edina (Minn.) High School
F Zach Walker Boise, Idaho Colorado Thunderbirds Midget Minor
F Kailer Yamamoto Spokane, Wash. LA Jr. Kings Midget Minor

D Brett Callahan Westmont, Ill. Chicago Mission Midget Major
D Michael Campoli Pointe-Claire, Que. Lac St. Louis Lions
D Derek Daschke Troy, Mich. Oakland Grizzlies Midget Minor
D Cameron Dineen Toms River, N.J. NJ Rockets 19U
D Mitch Eliot Grosse Pointe, Mich. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Minor
D Tyler Farmer O'Fallon, Md. St. Louis Blues Midget Minor
D Adam Fox Jericho, N.Y. Long Island Gulls Midget Minor
D James Greenway Potsdam, N.Y. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
D Matthew Hellickson Rogers, Minn. Rogers (Minn.) High School
D Kenneth Johnson Ann Arbor, Mich. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
D Matthew Kiersted Elk River, Minn. Elk River / Zimmerman High School
D Alex Green Chicago, Ill. Chicago Mission Midget Minor
D Chad Krys Ridgefield, Conn. NJ Rockets 19U
D Ryan Lindgren Minneapolis, Minn. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
D Griffin Luce Williamsville, N.Y. Salisbury (Conn.) Prep
D Luke Martin St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis Blues Midget Minor
D Luke McInnis Hingham, Mass. Hingham (Mass.) High School
D Andrew Peeke Parkland, Fla. Selects Academy Midget Minor
D Sam Rossini Inver Grove Heights, Minn. Burnsville (Minn.) High School

G Stephen Dhillon Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo Regals 15U
G Ryan Edquist Lakeville, Minn. Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.)
G Michael Latorella Macomb, Mich. Detroit Honeybaked Midget Major
G Jake Oettinger Lakeville, Minn. Lakeville (Minn.) North High School
G Dayton Rasmussen Eden Prairie, Minn. Holy Family Catholic High School
G Joseph Woll Dardenne Prairie, Mo. St. Louis Blues Midget Minor

 (Nathan can be reached at

Dan Wedman Awarded Evolution Hockey Scholarship

Press Release

 Dan Wedman of the Bonnyville Pontiacs has been awarded the Evolution Hockey Award for Perseverance and Dedication and become the first ever recipient of the award.    Pontiacs alumnus and Evolution Hockey Owner, Jay Blakley, presented the award to Dan Wedman prior to tonight’s AJHL Playoff game in Bonnyville.

The Evolution Hockey Award for Perseverance and Dedication was developed to promote post-secondary education by assisting students currently playing in the AJHL.    The Alberta Junior Hockey League and Evolution Hockey announced the creation of the new scholarship in January 2014.   Eligible applicants must be committed to attend a post-secondary institution either in Canada or the United States for the following season, and have completed at least one full season in the League.   A $1,500 scholarship will be awarded annually to a current AJHL player.

Dan Wedman (Edmonton, AB) is an 18 year-old defencemen and a second year member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs.  Wedman has committed to Cornell University for the 2014/2015 season.  Pontiacs GM / Head Coach Rick Swan identifies Wedman as a  proven leader for the Pontiacs this season, “On a high performing team you can’t underestimate the power of a great leader, and with Dan he helps unify a group of 25 young men from different backgrounds and experience to believe in a common goal together.”

“Dan is a tireless worker off the ice through his approach to school as well as volunteering in the community,” added Swan. “He is an honor student and his SAT scores are considered elite. Dan is an exceptional individual who possesses many admirable qualities reflected in good citizens such as integrity, commitment, a drive to succeed, and wisdom.”

“We are very pleased to present the very first Evolution Hockey Award for Perseverance and Dedication to Dan Wedman of the Bonnyville Pontiacs,” said Evolution Hockey co-owners Chad Shiel and Jay Blakley.  “Dan has shown the qualities and characteristics both on and off the ice that make him deserving of this award and scholarship. We want to wish Dan all the best as he moves forward athletically and scholastically next season playing for Cornell University.”

(Nathan can be reached at

Williams commits to Northeastern

Press Release

 Aurora Tigers rookie defenceman Eric Williams (photo credit - Kevin Sousa/OJHL Images) has confirmed his commitment to join the Northeastern University Huskies beginning with the 2015-16 Hockey East season.

The Newmarket, Ontario native joined the Tigers this season out of the York-Simcoe Express Midget 'AAA' program, also having played eight games with his hometown Newmarket Hurricanes as an affiliate.  Williams jumped right into heavy minutes in the Aurora lineup, leading the club's rearguards with 14 goals and 35 points in 52 games played, including 18 points on the power play.  Williams 14 goals, not only topped Aurora's defensive corps, but also topped the entire OJHL defenceman scoring chart, while his 35 points ranked him 12th overall.  Entering his first junior post-season run, Williams has already registered four points in the club's four game sweep of Newmarket in the first round.

Congratulations to Eric and best of luck the rest of the playoffs and beyond!

 (Nathan can be reached at

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gies named OJHL volunteer-of-the-year

Press Release

The Ontario Junior Hockey League today announced that Hal Gies (pictured during 30th anniversary in 2006 - photo credit: Graham Paine/Canadian Champion), a long-time volunteer with the Milton Icehawks, has been named the recipient of the OJHL Volunteer-of-the-Year Award.

The London, Ontario native has spent the past 38 years helping out the Milton Icehawks, beginning in 1976-77 with the Junior 'B' Milton Flyers, after being the London Knights stick boy from 1971-73.  During his tenure with the franchise, Gies has seen the club undergo three name changes, from Flyers to Steamers (1983) to Merchants (1986) to Icehawks (2003), as well as make the transition from Junior 'B' to Junior 'A' in 1992.  He was part of the Merchants dynasty from 1997-99 that would see the club capture back-to-back OJHL Championships in 1997 and 1998, while finishing as runner-up in 1999.  They also captured back-to-back regular season titles in 1998 and 1999, as well as 2006, captured seven Division titles and won the Dudley-Hewitt Cup in 1997-98, earning a trip to the Royal Bank Cup, National Junior 'A' Championship that was held in Nanaimo, B.C.

Gies is Mr. Hockey for the Icehawks and a jack-of-all-trades.  Never missing a game, the extremely reliable and affable assistant equipment manager is the longest serving volunteer in the OJHL, while also one of our most spirited fans.  Always willing to lend a hand, Gies is often seen filling water bottles, moving sticks, cleaning jerseys, running the clock, assisting trainers and even helping the visiting team unload and set-up when they arrive.  Suffice to say, the OJHL is Gies' passion and he has an uncanny memory when it comes to its players, coaches, owners and stories.

In 2004, Gies was honoured at the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards (for Hamilton and Area) for his 10 years of service to Service for Seniors and in November of 2006, he was honoured by the Icehawks for his 30th anniversary helping out with the club.

Born on August 2, 1959, the 54-year old Gies plays baseball, bowling and floor hockey.  He also has spent time volunteering with a variety of or other organizations in the area, including the Allendale Long-Term Care Facility, The Family Place Child Care facility at Bishop Redding and with Community Living North Halton.

The OJHL Volunteer-of-the-Year is awarded annually to the person who has volunteered for a club(s) that is adjudged to consistently have gone above & beyond the call of duty for his/her member club throughout the course of the regular season, while past experience and time served will be taken into consideration.

The OJHL Coach-of-the-Year and Coach Canada Most Improved Player Award recipients will be announced later this week.

(Nathan can be reached at

NOJHL announces three stars of the week

Press Release

SUDBURY – A trio of Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goaltenders have earned 3 Stars of the week honours for the period ending March 9.

Kirkland Lake Gold Miners netminder Kenny Fitzgerand, Elliot Lake Bobcats goalkeeper Alex Bitsakis and Soo Thunderbirds stopper Joel Horodziejczyk picked up the accolades for the final week of the regular season, which came to a close Sunday.

KENNY FITZGERALD, (G) KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD MINERS – In two road starts last week Fitzgerald won both of them stopping 50 of 53 shots fired his way.

The 19-year-old native of Port Coquitlam, B.C. began by turning aside 29 of 31 attempts he saw in a 4-2 victory in Iroquois Falls vs. the Abitibi Eskimos.

Saturday night he then only allowed one to get by him on 22 shots in an 8-1 triumph over Blind River.

In regular season play Fitzgerald finished fourth overall in goals-against average at 2.06 and third in save percentage at .918. He was also second overall in the NOJHL in wins with 22.

ALEX BITSAKIS, (G) ELLIOT LAKE BOBCATS – Bitsakis, who turned 20 last week, turned in an impressive performance in his only appearance of the week.

The Montreal product was stellar kicking out 38 of the 39 shots he saw in leading Elliot Lake to a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Kirkland Lake on Friday.

Bitsakis’ efforts allowed him to conclude regular season play with the fourth most victories of any goalkeeper in the league at 16.

He also played the third most minutes of any netminder at just under 1,854.

JOEL HORODZIEJCZYK, (G) SOO THUNDERBIRDS – The second-year goaltender capped off a fantastic regular season by posting a shutout in his final start prior to the playoffs.

His fourth game without giving up a goal, which tied him for the league lead, came Saturday as he shut the door on his hometown Sudbury Nickel Barons by a 4-0 count. In all he finished with 19 saves on the night.

The 19-year-old Horodziejczyk, who was named the NOJHL’s most valuable player and a first team all-star led all league backstops in both goals-against average and save percentage at 1.72 and .935 respectively.

The Soo stopper ended regular season action by going unbeaten in his last 27 starts for the Thunderbirds winning 26 times against no losses and one tie.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Robbie Fisher Awarded Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy

Press Release

 Okotoks Oilers Team Captain, Robbie Fisher, is the recipient of the 2014 Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy.  AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk presented Fisher with the Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy prior to Thursday night’s AJHL Playoff Game in Okotoks, alongside Stewart family representative Shirley Barby.

The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is named in honour of a long-time Calgary area fan who supported hockey at all levels. "Stewy" died in 1997 and the award was created to honour his support and commitment to the game.  The Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the AJHL player in the South Division that best exhibits the following attributes: character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.

Robbie Fisher was nominated for the award by Okotoks Oilers General Manager and Head Coach James Poole.  Each award applicant was required to submit an essay to outline their qualifications; the essay submitted by Robbie Fisher describes his appreciation for the award and his experience applying the attributes of character, dedication, perseverance, integrity and sportsmanship.

(Nathan can be reached at

LaCouvee's strong playoff start earns Player of the Week honours

Press Release

Alberni Valley goaltender Connor LaCouvee has been named BCHL Player of the Week ending Mar. 9, the league announced Monday.

LaCouvee's strong start to the playoffs has given his team a surprising 3-1 series lead over the number-one seed from the Island Division, the Victoria Grizzlies. His 37-save performance in a game-two 6-3 win gave the Bulldogs the split in the first two games on the road. LaCouvee followed that up by stopping 33 shots in a 4-0 shutout win in game three. His dominant week was capped off in game four when he faced 48 shots and allowed only one goal in a 3-1 win over the Grizzlies which means the Bulldogs will have three chances to finish off the series and advance to the second round.

The 19-year old netminder from Qualicum Beach, B.C. posted a 1.51 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage going 3-1 in the first four games of the playoffs. He was named first star in games two, three and four and has faced 156 shots in the series, allowing only six goals.

Honourable mentions this week:

Langley Rivermen F Matt Ustaski: 6G, 3A, 3 1st stars

Vernon Vipers F Brett Mulcahy: 7G, 1A, Hat trick, 4-goal game, 2 1st stars

Coquitlam Express G Gordie Defiel: 3-1, 2.01 GAA, .936 SV%, 1 SO

Penticton Vees F Brad McClure: 6G, 2A, 1st star, 2nd star

Penticton Vees F Cody DePourcq: 3G, 4A, 1st star  

 (Nathan can be reached at

CJHL announces three stars for February

Press Release

CALGARY, Alberta (March 10th, 2014) – The CJHL 3 Stars for the month of February 2014 are Sam Tanguay (Kingston Voyageurs, OJHL), Devin Tappenden (Fort Frances Lakers, SIJHL) and Bryce Milson (Miramichi Timberwolves, MHL).

1st STAR – SAM TANGUAY, G, Kingston Voyageurs, OJHL (8 GP, 8 W, 0 L, 1.73 GAA, .935 SV%, 2 SO)

Sam Tanguay’s impressive month of February included an 8-0 record with a stellar 1.73 goals against average, two shutouts and a .935 save percentage.   Although the 18-year old Quebec City, Quebec native did not play enough regular season games to qualify (15GP), he finished the season with a 1.79 goals against average and .940 save percentage, both of which would rank number one in the OJHL.

 2nd STAR – DEVIN TAPPENDEN, G, Fort Frances Lakers, SIJHL (8 GP, 8 W, 0 L, 1.88 GAA, .927 SV%)

Devin Tappenden, the 19-year old native of Markham, Ontario posted an impressive 8-0 record, including five victories on the road, helping Fort Frances wrap-up the SIJHL’s regular season title along the way.  Tappenden recorded a solid 1.88 goals against average along with a .927 save percentage in February, while allowing two or fewer goals against in each of his past six starts.

3rd STAR – BRYCE MILSON, F, Miramichi Timberwolves, MHL (9 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 PTS, 2.11 PPG)           

Bryce Milson registered 19 points, scoring nine times and adding ten assists. On six occasions during the month, the Miramichi, New Brunswick native registered a multi-point game, among them a pair of four point outings in a span of five days, on February 7th and 12th respectively.  Milson, who is currently second on his team and fifth in the league scoring race with 63 points in 42 games, played a crucial role in his club's success as the Timberwolves clinched the Meek Division title for the first time since 2007-2008.

Honourable Mentions:

ANDY STURTZ, F, Carleton Place Canadians, CCHL (12 GP, 13 G, 10 A, 23 PTS, 1.1 GPG)

 (Nathan can be reached at