Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plymouth acquires Marsden from Fronts

The Plymouth Whalers announced today the acquisition of 19-year-old right wing James Marsden from the Kingston Frontenacs.

Marsden, from Exeter, Ont., was originally selected by Kingston in the seventh round (134th overall) of the 2006 Ontario Hockey League draft. In three seasons with Kingston, Marsden scored 13 goals with 10 assists for 23 points and 100 penalty minutes in 129 games. Marsden enjoyed his best offensive season last year when he scored eight goals with five assists for 13 points in 55 games.

Marsden adds to Plymouth’s depth, with forwards Ryan Hayes, Jamie Devane, Stefan Noesen, Austin Mattson and RJ Mahalak all currently out of the lineup with various injuries.

Schnell signs AHL deal with Penguins

The Saginaw Spirit has announced that forward Ryan Schnell has signed a one-way contract with the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins – the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Additional terms of the contact where not disclosed.

“We are really happy for Ryan as he takes the next step in his hockey career,” stated Spirit coach-GM Todd Watson. “We wish him the best of luck this season.”

Schnell came into the Ontario Hockey League as a free agent, signing with the Spirit as a free agent in January. The 1989-born forward tallied two goals, four assists and 71 penalty minutes in 23 games for the Spirit last season.

The Cary, Ill., native was a free agent invite to the Penguins 2009 rookie camp and participated in their September 2009 prospect tournament. Schnell attracted the notice of the Penguins’ management during camp, as noted by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Todd Reirden on

“Ryan Schnell has come in here and opened a lot of people's eyes with the elements that he brings to the game," said Reirden.

“Ryan Schnell is the perfect example as to why players come to our league rather than pursue other options,” stated Spirit president Craig Goslin. “We wish him all the best as he continues to pursue his NHL dreams.”

LIST: Michigan natives in the NPHL

Dan Conner (Farmington Hills), Missoula
Corey Denback (Trenton), Yellowstone
Andy DiCristofaro (St. Clair Shores), Missoula
Kyle Kennedy (Howell), Eugene
Nick Kent (Milford), Yellowstone
Alex Odea (Lake Orion), Yellowstone
Doug Raymond (Livonia), Missoula
Chris Rinaldi (Sterling Heights), Yellowstone
Kory Sosnowski (Canton), Yellowstone
Matt Topolewski (Bloomfield), Eugene
Alex Vasquez (Shelby Township), Yellowstone

*** This is an incomplete list as several teams have not yet released their 2009-2010 rosters.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

LIST: Michigan natives in the EJHL

Rick Brown (Holt), Bay State
Fred Burnham (Rochester Hills), New England
Ricky Cigile (Plymouth), Capital District
Nick Dries (Lake Orion), Bay State
Jake Friedman (West Bloomfield), South Shore
Josh Goryl (Rochester), Bay State
Arthur Griem (Grosse Pointe Shores), New York
Hayden Hafey (Birmingham), Green Mountain
Rob Heath (Portage), Bay State
Greg Merrill (Brighton), Bay State
Chris Sandmeyer (Portage), Green Mountain
Kyle Schultz (Macomb), Philadelphia
Mike Szuma (Novi), Green Mountain
Andrew Tate (Canton), Bay State
Trevor Wight (Portage), Valley
Mike Yanis (Grosse Pointe Woods), Green Mountain

Monday, September 28, 2009

North Stars get Wild tonight, tomorrow

Just eight games into the 2009-10 season, the Traverse City North Stars are gearing up for a measuring-stick series.

The Wenatchee Wild, who are undefeated at 9-0-0, coming off an NAHL West Division playoff title and a berth in the Robertson Cup championship, visit Centre ICE arena on Monday and Tuesday to kick off the Stars’ home slate.

“If they’re not the best team in the league, then they’re one of the best,” offered North Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “They have a ton of talent, pretty much spread across the roster – I guess you call that ‘balance.’ It’s early in the season, but I think you want to see how you stack up against the best teams and players out there.”

Rookie Andy Huff and defenseman Phil Wendecker lead Traverse City with seven points each, with Huff and TC native Sean Burke each scoring a team-best five goals through seven outings.

Kelin Ainsworth sports a plus-8 plus-minus rating, while goalkeeper Drew Strandberg is 4-1-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .870 save percentage. The North Stars got late goals from Wendecker and Ainsworth on Saturday night at Motor City, forcing an overtime session in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Metal Jackets.

“We played a very solid third period (on Saturday), and if we play that way against Wenatchee, we’ll have a chance,” Palumbo added. “But we know we’re going to have to be at our best – playing with the same energy and intensity we showed late Saturday.”

The Wild stayed in the Midwest since finishing the NAHL Showcase 4-0 earlier this month, and swept a trio of games this weekend at Alpena before heading west.

Jeff Jubinville leads Wenatchee with seven goals, while Shawn Pauly is tops with 12 points. Goalie Mac Carruth has started six games, winning each with a 1.55 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.

Wenatchee - a hockey-crazed town of nearly 30,000 located in central Washington state – will return to the Robertson Cup finals this year regardless of their record as hosts of the annual event. The Wild lost a 3-2 overtime decision in the championship game last May to St. Louis.

LIST: Michigan natives in the CSHL

Marcus Andary (Sault Ste. Marie), Dubuque
Jason Avedesian (Canton), Motor City
Dalton Bates (North Branch), Flint
Benjamin Belton (Kentwood), Grand Rapids
Aaron Beutenmiller (Tecumseh), Toledo
Jeff Birk (Gaylord), Flint
Mason Bohlinger (Grand Rapids), Grand Rapids
Justin Bowyer (Caledonia), Grand Rapids
John Brooks (Walker), Grand Rapids
Jonathan Bunch (Riverview), Motor City
Matthew Busterna (Commerce), Cleveland
Robert Butterfield (Big Rapids), Grand Rapids
Joseph Camarata (Clinton Township), Flint
Nick Ceccolini (Dexter), Grand Rapids
Adam Chapie (Oxford), Cleveland
Matt Cinader (Ortonville), Flint
Mike Corder (Warren), Metro
William Dawson (Fenton), Flint
David Defever (Brighton), Motor City
Mike Denston (White Lake), Metro
Kristofer DesMadryl (Algonac), Motor City
Connor Dresser (Canton), Motor City
Scott Eberline (Novi), Quad City
Ryan Eby (Linden), Flint
Daniel Edwards (Casco), Motor City
Paul Elezaj (Leonard), Motor City
Jonathon Elliott (Bloomfield Hills), Metro
Michael Evans (Kalamazoo), Grand Rapids
Shamus Finnerty (Novi), Quad City
Eric Fletcher (Adrian), Toledo
Shawn Flynn (Northville), Motor City
Jacob Frein (Muskegon), Grand Rapids
Jack Garrettson (Port Huron), Grand Rapids
Brett Grech (Hartland), Metro
Brandon Greulich (Woodhaven), Motor City
Taylor Jarvis (Southgate), Toledo
Derek Johnson (Livonia), Toledo
Jake Harlick (Royal Oak), Flint
RJ Heath (Holly), Metro
Mike Herter (Dexter), Metro
John Hickman (West Bloomfield), Motor City
Brandon Hogrefe (Fenton), Flint
Tim Hooker (White Lake), Metro
Richard Jones (Grand Blanc), Flint
Adam Keasey (Canton), Quad City
Theodore Keranen (Northville), Motor City
Derek Kessler (Farmington), Motor City
Dean Kmiecik (Sterling Heights), Toledo/Flint
Jacob Koslakiewicz (Dearborn), Motor City
Nathan Kranich (Lansing), Grand Rapids
Joseph Larson (Flint), Peoria
Gregg Leonardo (Bloomfield Hills), Cleveland
David Lindensmith (Sterling Heights), Toledo
Anthony Lobstein (Macomb), Motor City
Steve Lockwood (Clarkston), Metro
Michael Maciag (Plymouth), Flint
Joel Majszak (Canton), Motor City
Bradley Makowski (Wyandotte), Dubuque/Peoria
Dylan Mantay (Troy), Metro
Anthony Marrocco (Shelby Township), Metro
Frank Matyok (Clinton Township), Toledo
Joe McAuliffe (Goodrich), Flint
Lucas McCarthy (Scottville), Grand Rapids
Matthew McLaughlin (West Bloomfield), Motor City
Benjamin McParlan (Kawkawlin), Flint
Ian Mercer (Rochester Hills), Metro
David Merkle (White Lake), Metro
Drew Meyers (Brighton), Flint
Zachary Mielen (Allen Park), Motor City
Tyler Miller (Livonia), Motor City
Matt Moeller (Fraser), Metro
Tristan Musser (Lansing), Dubuque
Nicholas O'Lewin (Linden), Flint
Nicholas Page (Lake Orion), Flint
Jesse Peterson (Clinton Township), Metro
Michael Peterson (Marquette), Cleveland
Vinnie Pietrangelo (Traverse City), Metro
Radney Ritchie (Kendallville), Grand Rapids
Louis Ronayne (Northville), Chicago
Cameron Rossman (Allen Park), Toledo
Joe Rutkowski (St. Clair Shores), Metro
Zachary Runge (Hastings), Grand Rapids
Will Saley (Milford), Metro
Kurt Schoenherr (Royal Oak), Toledo
Tyler Schofield (Clio), Metro
Nathan Scurfield (Midland), Flint
Sean Serapilia (Madison Heights), Toledo
Zachary Shaw (Troy), Motor City
Ryan Shepard (Canton), Motor City
Nathan Sherriff (Rochester Hills), Flint
Jonathon Starling (Saginaw), Grand Rapids
Tyler Stricker (Ceder), Flint
Lucas Swardenski (Ada), Dubuque
Andrew Theisen (Dearborn), Motor City
Chad Tickner (Ann Arbor), Toledo
Trevor Troupe (Goodrich), Flint
Steve Vandenberghe (Bruce Township), Metro
Derek Vanderlinder (Ann Arbor), Motor City
Justin Vinson (Livonia), Metro
Casey Wheatley (Tawas City), Flint
Jonathan Wickersham (Macomb), Metro
Joshua Williams (Flushing), Toledo
Zacari Woodard (Jackson), Grand Rapids
Cole Workman (Howell), Motor City
Peter Wychocki (Allen Park), Motor City
Ryan Wysocki (Wyoming), Toledo
Andrew Yocius (Holland), Peoria
Matthew Zaremba (Gaylord), Cleveland
Michael Zielke (Clinton Township), Toledo

Sunday, September 27, 2009

LIST: Michigan natives in the USHL

Kevin Albers (Lake Orion), Green Bay
Shane Berschbach (Clawson), Indiana
Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge), U.S. Under-17 Team
Jack Campbell (Port Huron), U.S. Under-18 Team
Brock Carlston (Muskegon), Cedar Rapids
Jake Chelios (Bloomfield Hills), Chicago
Austin Czarnik (Washington), U.S. Under-18 Team
Scott Czarnowczan (Macomb), Green Bay
Nick Czinder (West Bloomfield), Youngstown
Brent Darnell (Canton), Sioux Falls
Dan Dekeyser (Algonac), Sioux City
Justin DeMartino (Macomb), Tri-City
Luke Eibler (Pinckney), Youngstown
Kevin Gravel (Kingsford), Sioux City
Rocco Grimaldi (Auburn Hills), U.S. Under-17 Team
Steven Hensley (Livonia), Cedar Rapids
Stuart Higgins (Troy), Youngstown
Cason Hohmann (Plymouth), Cedar Rapids
Adam Janeczyk (Ada), Sioux City
David Johnstone (Grand Ledge), Indiana
Jacob Johnstone (Grand Ledge), Sioux Falls
Joe Kalisz (Davison), Sioux City
William Kessel (Bloomfield Hills), Green Bay
Justin Kovacs (Grosse Pointe Woods), Cedar Rapids
Alex Krushelnyski (Bloomfield Hills), Chicago
Christopher Leone (Dearborn Heights), Green Bay
Travis Lynch (White Lake), Green Bay
Matthew Mahalak (Monroe), Youngstown
John McCarron (Macomb), Lincoln
James McNulty (Fenton), Lincoln
Jon Merrill (Brighton), U.S. Under-18 Team
Ryan Misiak (Shelby Township), Sioux Falls
Michael Montrose (Howell), Tri-City
CJ Motte (St. Clair), Waterloo
Mac Olson (Grosse Pointe), Chicago
Adam Philips (Farmington Hills), Indiana
Blake Pietila (Brighton), U.S. Under-17 Team
Rick Pinkston (Trenton), Tri-City
Ryan Rashid (Farmington Hills), Sioux City
Eric Rohrkemper (Grosse Pointe Woods), Omaha
Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills), U.S. Under-18 Team
Andy Ryan (Brighton), U.S. Under-17 Team
Reed Seckel (Melvin), Green Bay
Dominik Shine (Pinckney), Lincoln
Andrew Sinelli (Dexter), Sioux City
Brad Smith (Trenton), Green Bay
Matt Stewart (Brighton), Green Bay
Brent Tate (Canton), Lincoln
Brady Vail (Northville), Waterloo
DJ Vandercook (Farmington Hills), Des Moines
Michael Voran (Livonia), Sioux Falls
Steve West (Milford), Lincoln
Charles Williams (Canton), Des Moines
Camden Wojtala (Trenton), Omaha
Greg Wolfe (Canton), Chicago
Willie Yanakeff (Jerome), Sioux City

Saturday, September 26, 2009

LIST: Michigan natives in the NAHL

Austin Accettura (Novi), Marquette
Ryan Amin (Canton), Kenai River
Alex Amundson (Brookfield), Janesville
Kurtis Anton (Rochester Hills), Topeka
Billy Balent (Waterford), Motor City
Derek Bayagich (Clinton Township), Kenai River
Kevin Bechard (Trenton), Marquette
Doug Beck (Canton), Kenai River
Steven Behm (Grand Rapids), Texas
Wolff Belanger (Marquette), Marquette
Sam Bell (Munith), Motor City
Joel Benson (Marquette), Alpena
Bobby Bodette (Garden), Marquette
Josh Botimer (Bay City), Alpena
Mike Bourgon (Plymouth), Motor City
Steve Brancheau (River Rouge), Motor City
Sean Burke (Traverse City), Traverse City
Josh Bussell (Detroit), Texas
Brad Chapman (Marquette), Marquette
Chris Ciotti (Romeo), St. Louis
Doug Clifford (Woodhaven), Traverse City
Kent Daavettila (Howell), Marquette
Ali Dakroub (Dearborn), Motor City
Scott Deur (Big Rapids), Texas
Cody Donnay (Fenton), Marquette
Carter Foguth (Fenton), Marquette
Will Ford (Ann Arbor), Marquette
Ryan Gaffney (Okemos), Alpena
Nickolas Gatt (Farmington Hills), Topeka
Kevin Gibson (Grosse Pointe), Marquette
Matt Grassa (Clinton Township), Wichita Falls
Philip Graveline (Marshall), Wichita Falls
Andrew Graves (Allen Park), Motor City
Mike Gunn (Livonia), St. Louis
Jimmy Hamby (Ann Arbor), Kenai River
Chris Heineman (New Boston), Traverse City - pictured
Curtis Heinz (Grand Rapids), Traverse City
Scott Henegar (Trenton), Marquette
Tyler Hinkson (Manistique), Alpena
Dustin Hopfner (Eastpointe), Motor City
Andy Huff (Howell), Traverse City
Anthony Iaquinto (Brighton), Wichita Falls
Alex Jacobs (Detroit), Texas
Bo Jacobs (Twin Lakes), Traverse City
Brian Jean (Sault Ste. Marie), Traverse City
Kyle Jean (Sault Ste. Marie), Traverse City
Dave Johnson (Lake Orion), Marquette
Matt Johnson (Clinton Township), Albert Lea
Tanner Kero (Hancock), Marquette
Kevin Kissaw (Goodrich), Marquette
Bryon Kozlowski (Livonia), Springfield
Adam Kuhn (Southgate), Wichita Falls
Garrett Ladd (Fenton), Marquette
Trevor Ladd (Fenton), Marquette
Rodney Lalonde (Utica), Janesville
Gregg Leonardo (Bloomfield Hills), Kenai River
Brett Lubanski (Farmington Hills), Kenai River
Brandon Lubin (Commerce Township), Albert Lea
Micki Mahailovich (Westland), Kenai River
Tyler Marble (Traverse City), Traverse City
Brandon Marshall (Howell), Alpena
Jimmy McCusker (Novi), Alpena
MacAulay McDonnell (Allen Park), Motor City
Daniel McDougall (Sterling Heights), Marquette
Sean McKenzie (Howell), Wichita Falls
Kevin McLean (Detroit), Texas
Eric McLintock (Traverse City), Traverse City
Nate Milam (Westland), Topeka
Jordan Miller (Trenton), Alpena
Josh Miller (Trenton), Traverse City
Dajon Mingo (Canton), Kenai River
Patrick Moran (Highland), Kenai River
Josh Munford (Muskegon), Bismarck
Kevin O'Connor (Ann Arbor), Motor City
Stephen Obarzanek (Macomb), Alpena/Albert Lea
Tim Opie (Troy), Traverse City
Dominic Panetta (Grand Rapids), Bismarck
Nicholas Peruzzi (Rochester Hills), St. Louis
Sam Rendle (Grand Rapids), Bismarck
Eric Rivard (Traverse City), Traverse City
Joe Rogers (Marysville), Albert Lea
Josh Royston (Mason), Kenai River
Collin Saint-Onge (Marquette), Marquette
Nick Shkreli (Romeo), Traverse City
Petrus Siplila (Grosse Ile), Albert Lea
Thor Skalski (Brighton), Motor City
Michell Snider (Traverse City), Alpena
Jason Souva (Alpena), Alpena
Joe Spencer (Clinton Township), Kenai River
Robert Tadazak (Lapeer), Alexandria
Nate Taurence (Trenton), Marquette
Nick Taurence (Trenton), Alpena
Sheldon Taylor (Grosse Ile), Motor City
Tony Thomas (South Lyon), Topeka
Garrett Thompson (Traverse City), Traverse City
Mike Thompson (Farmington Hills), Janesville
Ryan Timar (Novi), Alpena
Steve Tulgetska (Alpena), Alpena
Jared Van Wormer (Traverse City), Traverse City
Phil Wendecker (Westland), Traverse City
Travis White (Sterling Heights), Traverse City
Jon Wilson (Trenton), Motor City
Cody Wydo (Allen Park), Motor City
Andy Yarber (Livonia), Alpena
Joe Zarzycki (Clinton Township), Motor City

Photo by Robert Meyer

Friday, September 25, 2009

Watson promoted to GM in Saginaw

The Saginaw Spirit have announced a contract extension and promotion for director of hockey operations and head coach Todd Watson.

Effectively immediately, Watson will serve as the team’s general manager and head coach.

“We are happy to come to the agreement with Todd that essentially has him here for another five years minimum," said Spirit president Craig Goslin. "He is supported by a family that includes his wife, Nicole, daughters, Emily and Allison, and sons, Joseph and John Michael that have all become major ingredients to the fabric of the Saginaw Spirit and of the Great Lakes Bay region. We are glad that they will call Saginaw their home for many years to come."

"Todd has done a outstanding job building and representing our community and franchise,” stated Spirit owner Dick Garber. “I have complete confidence that with Todd and the staff he has assembled around him that we will accomplish the franchise’s goal of competing for championships. However, even more important is the confidence I have that the young men who represent our hockey club are getting developed off the ice. What I respect most about Todd Watson is that he cares more about the our players, program and our community than he does about himself or career, and that is a sign of a great leader"

“My family and I couldn’t be happier," said Watson. “We’re happy to be here and we’re thankful to Dick and Craig for the continuing opportunity to be a part of the Saginaw Spirit family. We’ve been very successful on and off the ice thanks in no small part of the work ethic and devotion of our players and hockey staff. I am proud of their involvement in the fabric of the local community and I am thankful for the opportunity to continue working with them.

"Professionalism, competency, work ethic, accountability, respect, loyalty, honesty and integrity are all values that the Saginaw Spirit organization strives for each day," added Goslin. "Todd Watson has a proven track record of working to achieve these values in his managing and coaching of the fine young men that make up the roster for the Spirit hockey club. We look forward to continuing to work together with Todd and his fine staff to build a winner here in the Great Lakes Bay region that we all can be very proud of."

LIST: Michigan natives in the OHL

Evan Accettura (Novi), Erie
Alex Aleardi (Farmington Hills), Kitchener - pictured
Brandon Archibald (Port Huron), Sault Ste. Marie
TJ Battani (Armada), Sault Ste. Marie
Josh Bemis (Clarkston), Plymouth
Tyler J. Brown (Westland), Plymouth
Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills), Windsor
AJ Jenks (Wolverine Lake), Plymouth
Jared Knight (Battle Creek), London
Austin Levi (Farmington Hills), Plymouth
RJ Mahalak (Monroe), Plymouth
Austin Mattson (Livonia), Plymouth
Myles McCauley (Sterling Heights), Plymouth
Jimmy McDowell (Dimondale), Oshawa
Dean Pawlaczyk (Madison Heights), Barrie
Saverio Posa (Grand Blanc), Windsor
Garrett Ross (Dearborn Heights), Saginaw
Barry Sanderson (Dearborn), Saginaw
Beau Schmitz (Howell), Plymouth
Shawn Szydlowski (St. Clair Shores), Erie
Joe Underwood (Canton), Saginaw
Brad Walch (Saginaw), Saginaw
Austin Watson (Ann Arbor), Windsor

Photo by Walt Dmoch

Vandenberghe looks steady for Jets

When the Metro Jets overhauled their roster during the offseason, they did so by bringing back three defensemen from last year, leaving only a handful of spots on the back end for the taking.

At the annual CSHL draft last May, the Jets picked up blueliner Steve Vandenberghe from De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, and he’s fit in very nicely most nights playing with second-year defenseman Steve Lockwood (Clarkston).

“Playing with Lockwood has been good and we have done pretty well together,” said Vandenberghe, a 17-year-old from Bruce Township. “I think I have adjusted well to the speed of the game and am used to the speed.”

The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Vandenberghe said he had several options after last season, a season in which he captained De La Salle, but bought into what the Jets are building and chose to come to Waterford, even if the team is off to a rough start.

“The mood is still positive,” Vandenberghe said. “I think we will get it going soon.”

Metro’s coaching staff is high on Vandenberghe, who turns 18 next month, and feels he can definitely advance his game to higher leagues.

“Steve is a skilled player and was a top-notch defenseman last year,” Jets GM Butch Wolfe said. “With good offensive instincts, he needs to simplify his game a bit to be successful at this level. If he can pull that together, he should be able to move on.”

“Vandy’s a guy who’s got good skill on the back end,” continued Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop. “He’s very mobile and he’s learning that sometimes keeping it simple will make him much more effective. He’s a good character guy, doesn’t say much, but he works very hard. He fits right in here and he keeps working like he does, I’m sure he’ll have a chance to move up.”

Vandenberghe, who said his strengths are puckhandling and skating and weakness is lack of a physical game, already has thought of what the words “moving up” mean.

“In five years, I want to be done with college and be able to start off with a solid job,” he said. “That would be nice.”


Metro was idle in CSHL action last weekend, but did play an exhibition game against ACHA D-I Adrian College, losing to the Bulldogs, 6-3, in Adrian.

Justin Vinson (Livonia) scored twice and Michael Denston (White Lake) added a single for the Jets.

Ian Mercer (Rochester Hills) started in goal and allowed one goal on 13 shots in 30 minutes of work. R.J. Heath (Holly) played the last half of the game and gave up five goals on 22 shots.

"The guys picked their game back up to a more respectable level after, more or less, a total letdown last Wednesday," Wolfe said.

Metro also had two goals disallowed.

Prior to the game, the Jets toured the arena and its facilities, as well as the rest of the 1400-student campus.

"(Adrian coach) Dan Phelps and his staff were very gracious hosts," added Wolfe.

Metro heads to Pittsburgh this Saturday and Sunday for a pair of games with the Jr. Penguins, who are a perfect 4-0-0 in their first season in the league.

Pittsburgh is led offensively by Mikael Lemieux (5-8-13), Vincent Somma (3-7-10) and Kyle Rosendale (4-4-8) and by goaltender Colin LeMay, who has three of the team’s four wins this year while posting a 2.00 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

The Jr. Penguins are also second in the CSHL in goals allowed with eight and also sit second in goals scored with 26 – an average of more than six per game.


Rookie forward Jesse Peterson (Clinton Township) was released on Tuesday after posting no points in the season opener Sept. 12 against St. Louis.


Steve Greenberg, a Metro forward in the late 1990s, is now an assistant coach for the Capital Centre Pride Midget Major AAA team that plays in the Northern Lakes Hockey League.

After playing for the Jets, Greenberg played for the Pride franchise in the North American Hockey League and then went on to play Division III college hockey at SUNY-Fredonia.

Photo by Andy Grossman

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rangers' home opener tomorrow night

You would be right in thinking the Marquette Rangers are anxious to start the 2009-10 regular season, especially after going 3-1 at the North American Hockey League Showcase last week in Blaine, Minn.

Although optimistic following the strong start, head coach Kenny Miller says the team is taking a “moment by moment” approach heading into the Rangers’ home opener tomorrow night at Lakeview Arena against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL West Division.

“The showcase was great, but that was last week,” Miller said. “We’re really trying to focus in on today and what we need to do today to be a better hockey team. We’re pleased at what we’ve seen so far, but we’re really trying to get across to the guys that every day is important. We’re not talking about playoffs, we’re not talking about points in the division, we’re not talking about next week. We’re truly working on just being as good of a hockey team today as we can be.”

Miller acknowledges it sounds cliché, but with a young group of players and a 54-game schedule ahead, he wants to make sure this team sees the big picture.

“If we get too far ahead of ourselves, we might start focusing on things other than improvement,” Miller added. “If we keep our eye on what we’re doing, and take away talk of division races, points, individual numbers and things like that, I really think good things will happen for this team.”

The Rangers recorded Showcase wins over Texas, Wichita Falls and Kenai River. Their only loss was to Wenatchee.

In the early part of the season, Miller has seen a balance in scoring between returning Rangers and a talented group of rookies.

Rookie Brent Bain and third-year Ranger Garrett Ladd (Fenton) lead the team in scoring with five points apiece on the young season, while newcomer Andrew Kolb leads the team in goals so far with three in four games at the Showcase.

Kevin Kissaw (Goodrich) has seen the bulk of the load in goal so far this season, sporting a record of 2-1 and a goals-against average of 1.33 to go with a save percentage of .968. Ranger rookie netminder Lukas Hafner saw action in the team's win against Kenai River, picking up his first win, as well as his first point (an assist) in a Rangers uniform.

Fairbanks, a perennial power in the West, is off to another strong start with a 3-2-2 record on the season, including a Showcase record of 3-1 with wins over Springfield, Albert Lea and North Iowa.

The Ice Dogs, who will stay in the Lower 48 to play at Alpena next week, are led in scoring by Michael Juola (3-8-11) and Mark Pustin (5-5-10) in six games so far this season.

Tyler Bruggeman (2.91 GAA, .922 SV%.) and Mike Taffe (1.00 GAA, .959 SV% ) have split time between the pipes for Fairbanks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

North Stars meet the public Thursday

The Traverse City North Stars will officially meet the public tomorrow at Auntie Pasta’s in Traverse City, hosting its annual meet-and-greet from 5-8 p.m.

North Stars players, coaches, and ownership, including new co-owner and former Detroit Red Wings great Dallas Drake, will be in attendance.

The event will be part of a live broadcast on WKLT-FM (97.5/98.9) and is open to the public.

Auntie Pasta’s is located in Logan’s Landing in Traverse City, 1 ½ miles east of the Grand Traverse Mall on S. Airport Rd.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Whalers very active in local community

Courtesy Plymouth Whalers

If you are a fan of the Plymouth Whalers, you’ve heard of the term "Whaler Hockey."

Whaler Hockey is aggressive, blue-collar, in-your-face, emotional hockey. It’s successful hockey that doesn’t work for the faint of heart.

Sweat equity equals success on the ice.

The attitude of Whaler Hockey permeates into other areas of the organization away from the rink.

On Saturday, Tyler G. Brown scored a goal in overtime that was sure to make the highlight reel.

On Sunday, the team came together and made more highlights that nobody even knew about.

Following a weekend in which the Whalers won two games, the team could have taken the day off to rest, follow the pennant race with the Detroit Tigers, cheer for the Detroit Lions, or maybe hit the golf course.

Maybe the Whalers did get to do those things on a beautiful afternoon, but first they had a job to do. Whalers head coach and GM Mike Vellucci led his team to Northville High School, where the Whalers worked cleaning up and beautifying the Mustangs’ softball field.

Three hours later, the sweat equity of pulling weeds, edging the infield, defining the warning track, picking up debris and generally cleaning up the area left the field in excellent playing shape.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saginaw trades former top pick Pachis

The Saginaw Spirit traded forward Daniel Pachis to the Oshawa Generals Friday for a conditional 10th-round pick in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection.

Pachis is entering his third year in the Ontario Hockey League. The 1991-born Whitby, Ont., native tallied four goals and six assists in 81 games the past two seasons after being Saginaw's first-round pick in the 2007 draft.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Heath playing well early for Metro

Last season, it was no secret that goaltending wasn’t at the level it needed to be for the Metro Jets to make an impact in the Central States Hockey League.

This season, the team brass went out and made sure goaltending would be an asset this season and so far, even though Metro is still winless, the goalies cannot be faulted.

R.J. Heath and Ian Mercer make up the combo in net for the Jets this season and are the main reason for keeping the team in all three games they’ve played so far.

Heath, in particular, has been stellar and has the praise of the coaching staff.

“Heater's a goalie who's capable of carrying a team,” Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop said. “From the day he got here, he's made a difference in how our team plays. Our guys are very comfortable with him between the pipes and most times, R.J.'s going to make the big save when called upon. Through our first couple exhibition games and our first couple regular season games, he's yet to give up a bad goal.”

This time last year, Heath, a Holly native, was the No. 3 goalie with the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American Hockey League and wound up the year back in Michigan with the Motor City Machine, but didn’t see any game action with either club.

“Our scout, Tim Ross, had been watching R.J. play for a year or two before this one and Tim had always liked him,” said Skop. “R.J. started the past couple years up in the NAHL, and because of a few injury problems, never really got a chance. This year, he was looking for a place where he could play. He wanted a chance to compete and play, and he's getting that here. It works out well for him because he's a local guy, and he can take care of some school while he's playing, too.”

Skop added that in addition to his skill, Heath comes with a bit more of the intangibles.

“He's a big guy who doesn't give you much to look at when you're shooting,” Skop said. “He fills up a lot of the net. The best thing about Heater is he's really quick for his size. I don't think there are too many guys at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds that can move the way he does.”

Heath will also serve as a mentor to Mercer (Rochester Hills), two years his junior, and once the Jets team as a whole gets untracked, goaltending will be an even bigger key to any success Metro will have this year.


The Jets opened their 21st season in the CSHL last weekend at home and suffered a pair of defeats to the St. Louis Jr. Blues.

Saturday night, Josh Magnan (Waterford), Jonathon Elliott (Bloomfield Hills), Will Saley (Milford) and Vinnie Pietrangelo (Traverse City) scored in the 8-4 loss, while Heath stopped 31 shots.

Then on Sunday afternoon, Magnan and Jonathan Wickersham (Macomb) were the goal scorers in a 4-2 loss that saw Mercer make 36 saves.

"On Saturday night, if not for a six-minute stretch in the second period, that's a one-goal game," Metro GM Butch Wolfe said. "Then Sunday, we took a three-minute stretch off in the third period and it cost us the game.”

Veteran defenseman Brett Grech (Hartland) had an assist in each game for Metro, who was then shutout Wednesday night in Flint, 6-0. Heath and Mercer combined for a 38-save outing.

Afterwards, Skop showed his emotions.

"(Wednesday) night was a setback I'm not happy about," said Skop. "We weren't ready to play. Period. The easiest thing to do in hockey is work hard and we didn't do that. No one did that. We weren't physical and we weren't intense. We brought nothing. If not for Heath and Mercer, it could easily have been a 12-0 game.

"This is surprising because our guys have done a good job of bringing it every day. I'm sure they'll get back to that."

Tomorrow night, the Jets play an exhibition game against Adrian College’s ACHA Division I team before jumping back into CSHL play next weekend in Pittsburgh.


Captains have yet to be named this season … Two Jets from last season – goaltender Nick Ceccolini (Grand Rapids) and forward Paul Elezaj (Motor City) – have landed with new CSHL teams this year … This season is the 20th for the Jets at Lakeland Arena. Their first year’s home games were played at Inkster Ice Arena.


Austin Brown, a defenseman who played for the Jets during the 2005-2006 season, is entering his sophomore season at St. Scholastica College, a Division III school located in Duluth, Minn.

Brown, a 22-year-old from Bloomfield Township, tallied five assists in 23 games last season with the Saints.

Photo by Andy Grossman

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rangers readying for NAHL Showcase

Despite temperatures in the high 70s over the past week, the Marquette Rangers have been on the ice preparing for this Wednesday’s North American Hockey League season opener against the Texas Tornado at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minn.

“We’re to the point where it will be good to play in an actual game instead of just practice,” said head coach Kenny Miller. “We had a successful exhibition weekend over in the Soo (against the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League) where we won two games against a good team, but to see how we play within our league will give us a much better idea of where we are and what we might need to work on.

“Obviously, we’re excited to try and improve on last year where we had some good things happen, but ultimately didn’t make the playoffs which is one of our main goals this season.”

The Rangers open the showcase Wednesday against a perennial NAHL power in the Texas Tornado. The Tornado organization was dormant last year while renovations were made to their rink in suburban Dallas, but have a strong history in the NAHL claiming three straight Robertson Cup championships from 2004-2006.

The game with Texas will also be a matchup involving four Tornado players who skated in Marquette prior to moving south. Forward Scott Deur, defenseman Brendan Bandyk and goaltender Dan Sullivan all skated for the Rangers last season, while Texas forward Josh Bussell was a Ranger in 2007-08 before being traded to the Motor City Machine.

Marquette will follow with games Thursday against the Wenatchee Wild and Friday against the Wichita Falls Wildcats before wrapping up the event Saturday against the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Marquette opens the home portion of the regular season September 25-26 at Lakeview Arena against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the West Division.

“We have a good blend of newcomers and veterans,” Miller added. “We’ll be strong in goal with Kevin Kissaw returning and the addition of Lukas Hafner. We have experienced defense and a strong core group of guys who can put the puck in the net, too, so we’re anxious to get on the bus and get the season underway.”

The Rangers have also named captains for the 2009-10 campaign. Garrett Ladd, a third-year Rangers forward has been named captain, while Collin Saint-Onge, Scott Henegar and Austin Accettura will act as assistants.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Spirit sign Russian forward Telegin

The Saginaw Spirit announced yesterday the signing of Russian center Ivan Telegin, who was drafted by the Spirit 42nd overall in the 2009 CHL Import Draft.

Telegin is a top prospect for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and is one of the top-rated 1992-born players coming out of Russia.

The Novokuznetsk native spent the 2008-2009 regular season with the Novokuznetsk Metallurg in addition to sevaral stints on the international stage. Telegin participated in the 2009 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge with Russia, where he garnered two goals and two assists in five games and won silver with Russia in the 2009 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka, where he tallied three assists.

“We are excited to get Ivan,” stated Spirit head coach Todd Watson. “He is a top NHL prospect that plays with an edge that combines grit with offensive skill. From the video I’ve seen and from what I’ve heard, this kid will be a factor on-ice.”

Spirit director of scouting Jim Paliafito echoed Watson’s thoughts.

“He is an elite center with NHL first round talent," Paliafito said. "He plays the North American style of hockey, and combined with his offensive skill, makes a valuable addition to the Spirit’s future."

"The Saginaw Spirit organization is thrilled to welcome a player with the international credentials that Ivan Telegin brings to the Great Lakes Bay Region,” stated Spirit president and partner Craig Goslin. “He was the captain of Team Russia and is regarded by many in the NHL scouting community as being a ‘highly skilled difference maker.' His presence as part of the Saginaw Spirit will certainly be something that all sports fans are going to want to come to the Dow Event Center to experience for themselves this season."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Jets hoping for success in '09-10

It’s a new season and a new attitude for the Metro Jets.

The players and coaching staff are hoping the attitude and renewed confidence will translate to more wins and improved morale around Lakeland Arena.

Defensemen Brett Grech (pictured), starting his fourth season with Metro, Steve Lockwood and Tyler Schofield are back along with forwards Will Saley and Justin Vinson, and those five players should form a solid leadership group to mentor the younger players.

That said, the Jets’ brass is banking on its goalie tandem of rookies R.J. Heath and Ian Mercer to be the backbone to any improvement.

“From what I can see, our goaltending duo of Heath and Mercer should help out the cause immensely,” said Jets GM Butch Wolfe. “The players returning should be better with a year under their belts. Team chemistry is good and that should help lead to our anticipated success this season.”

“Getting an NAHL-caliber goaltender in Heath and a quality young goaltender with Mercer will be huge to our success this season,” added Metro head coach Jamie Hayden. “Both guys will go out game in and game out and give a chance to win, as well as win us a few games by themselves. That’s something we haven’t had since (Alex) Pikunas left (after the ’07-08 season). After the disappointing season last year, we knew we weren't going to bring many players back, but the guys we did bring back are working hard and are positive role models for all the new players.”

New in town are forwards Michael Denston, Jonathon Elliott, Mike Herter, Tim Hooker, Chris Kienzle, Josh Magnan, Anthony Marrocco, David Merkle, Matt Moeller, Jesse Peterson, Joe Rutkowski, Shane Wheatley and Jonathan Wickersham and defensemen Mike Corder, Dylan Mantay, Vinnie Pietrangelo, Steve Vandenberghe and Matt Zacharias.

Forwards Matt McCaig and captain Adam Novack will be hard to replace, but right now, it looks as though the new crop of Jets will help the team in climbing the Central States Hockey League standings right off the bat.

“We are ahead of last year at this point and we are stronger in all three positions - goaltending, defense and forwards,” Hayden said. “I think on defense we are much more mobile and solid - really nothing flashy back there. Grech will be the leader back there again, but with a solid group around him, I expect him to have a much better season with him not having to play 30-40 minutes a night like last year. The forwards have seemed to be grasping the defensive system very quickly and that has to be our main focus, keeping the puck out of our net this year. I think with Vinson and Saley back from last year and the addition of guys like Merkle, Magnan and Elliott, we will have enough offense to win hockey games and a pretty good group of young talent to fill out the roster led by role player like Moeller, Wickersham and Herter.

“I fully expect us to be in every game this year.”

Wolfe also said that although he’s not sure how the Jets will match-up with the other dozen teams in the CSHL, their opponents could count on every game being intense and using the past as a building block.”What I do know is the staff took the previous two seasons to heart and did a very good job in the identification and recruiting of talent, so special kudos to (assistant coach) Ryan (Skop) and (head scout) Tim (Ross),” said Wolfe. “As far as expectations go, I feel we should be much more competitive and earn a playoff berth.”

The Jets host the St. Louis Jr. Blues for a pair this weekend at home. Game time is 7:50 p.m. Saturday night and 1:20 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Photo by Walt Dmoch

Thursday, September 10, 2009

North Stars open season in Janesville

The Traverse City North Stars can’t possibly know what to expect when they open the 2009-10 regular season on Saturday in Wisconsin as their opponent, the Janesville Jets, are an expansion club playing their first-ever North American Hockey League contest.

The Jets roster has seven players with NAHL experience, including former Marquette defenseman Mike Thompson and one-time North Star Rodney Lalonde, who spent part of the off-season with the club.

“One thing’s for sure – they’ll have a ton of people in there and they’ll be jacked up,” forecasted Traverse City head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “It’s their inaugural game in their new home, and we’ll have to be ready to match their energy.”

The season-opening road trip is a bit of a departure from the previous four seasons, in which the North Stars kicked off their slate at the NAHL Showcase. This year’s event is set for Sept. 16-19 in suburban Minneapolis, a few days after the Janseville series wraps with a Sunday matinee.

“It’ll be nice to have a couple games under our belts before the Showcase,” Palumbo admitted. “But these aren’t exactly tune-ups. Janesville is a divisional opponent, a team that has to be respected, and will be a great addition to the North.”

Traverse City, coming off a franchise-best 34-17-7 mark in 2008-09, will start the season without three of its all-star players in forwards Kyle Jean and Nick Shkreli and defenseman Chris Heineman. Jean and Shkreli will likely miss the first 10 games or so with upper body injuries, while Heineman is sidelined until at least January following off-season surgery.

“Those are three of our top guys, no doubt about it,” Palumbo lamented. “And between Jean and Shkreli, those are two of our top scorers. But I do like our depth, and we do have a bunch of guys with a lot of experience and we’ll have to have guys step up in those areas.”

The recent history of NAHL expansion clubs is mixed-bag fare. Last season, the Albert Lea Thunder went 4-49-5 while the Wenatchee Wild posted an astounding 35-19-4 mark en route to a Robertson Cup finals berth. In Traverse City’s inaugural campaign of 2005-06, the Stars were somewhere between, going 17-34-7.

“They have the potential to be very good, just like we do,” surmised Palumbo. “You get some smart people and good coaches together and pick a team of talented players and you go out and play the game. And that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Whalers, Spirit show off new unis

The Plymouth Whalers and Saginaw Spirit – in association with the Ontario Hockey League, Canadian Hockey League and corporate partner Reebok – unveiled their new jerseys yesterday.

Whalers photo - Josh Bemis, Leo Jenner, Tyler Seguin and Joe Gaynor model Plymouth's new Reebok EDGE jerseys. (Photo - Walt Dmoch)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

CSHL quartet ready for the season


Home arena: Iceland Arena
Head coach: George Dritsas
Last season: 17-27-1-0 (9th)
Back for more: Forwards Dalton Bates, Matt Cinader, Jake Harlick, Brandon Hogrefe, Ricky Jones and Ben McParlan, defensemen Trevor Troupe and Zack Warson and goaltender Tyler Stricker
Welcome: Assistant coaches Ben Guzak and John Vanbiesbrouck, defensemen Ryan Eby (trade with Metro), Mark Haynes (Michigan Jaguars), Mike Maciag (Little Caesars U-16), Nick Page (USA Eagles), Nathan Sheriff (Michigan Travelers), forwards Jeff Birk (Gaylord HS), Joe Camarata (St. Clair Shores Midget AA), Will Dawson (Compuware U-16), Ted Kernan, Dean Kmiecik (trade with Motor City), Joe McAuliffe (Flint Icelanders Midget), Bret Menten (L.A. Selects U-18), Drew Meyers (trade with Dubuque), Shane Olson (Michigan Ice Dogs Jr. C), Mark Riviera (Stonehill College, NCAA D-III), Nate Scurfield (Midland HS), Jonah Spurlin (Flint Powers HS) and Cody Thompson (Flushing HS) and goaltenders Nick O'Lewen, Karel Popper (Philadelphia, UJHL) and Jordie VanGaul (Belgium National U-17 Team)
Coach's comments: "The team, owned by Gale and Kelly Cronk, will most definitely be a team to deal with in the upcoming season. This hard-working group of young men has come together to form a team that will definitely be very competitive this year. Even though it was only preseason, the team is off to winning ways in handling Metro twice (August 22-23)." - Head coach George Dritsas

Home arena: Southside Community Ice Center
Head coach: Greg Geldart
Last season: 0-44-0-1 (12th)
Back for more: Forwards Mason Bohlinger, Mike Evans, Nathan Kranich and C.J. Tangen and defensemen Jacob Frein and Zach Runge
Welcome: Goaltenders Ben Belton (East Kentwood HS) and Nick Ceccolini (Metro Jets, CSHL), forwards Phil Klaas (Sun Prairie HS), Luke McCarthy (Manistee HS), Jordan Sabatino (Sharp Shooters U-18 AA), Anthony Wolfe (Culver Prep HS), Radney Ritchie (Soo Indians U-18) and defensemen Justin Bowyer (Lowell-Caledonia HS), Jack Garrettson (Mooretown Jr. C), Zane Scofield (Milwaukee Phoenix U-18), Josh Sellden (Team Michiana U-18) and John Starling (Heritage HS)
See ya: Goaltender Anthony Petrak (Davenport, ACHA), forwards John Cirone (Jamestown, NJHL), Bryan Costello (Robert Morris University, ACHA), Kyle McConnell (Minnesota Flying Aces Jr. A) and Chad Wade (Arizona, ACHA) and defenseman Kevin Akers (East Coast Eagles Jr. B)
Coach's comments: "With some experience under the belts of the returning players and the enthusiasm and work ethic displayed by the new players coming in, the Owls coaching staff is excited about the prospects of competing this year and look forward to a strong effort by all. The influx of new players adds a different dimension to the Owls and we are looking forward to the start of the new season." - Assistant coach and assistant GM Scott Runge

Home arena: Lakeland Arena
Head coach: Jamie Hayden
Last season: 7-36-1-1 (11th)
Back for more: Defensemen Brett Grech, Steve Lockwood and Tyler Schofield and forwards Will Saley and Justin Vinson
Welcome: Forwards Michael Denston (Oakland Grizzlies U-18), Jonathon Elliott (Brother Rice HS), Mike Herter (Dexter HS), Tim Hooker, Chris Kienzle (Metro Moose Jr. C), Josh Magnan (Soo Eagles, NOJHL), Anthony Marrocco (Summit Plastics Midget AA), David Merkle (Kettering HS), Matt Moeller (Troy Sting U-16), Jesse Peterson (Troy Sting U-16), Joe Rutkowski (St. Clair Shores HS), Shane Wheatley (Northview HS) and Jonathan Wickersham (Summit Plastics Midget AA), defensemen Mike Corder (Mt. Clemens Midget AA), Dylan Mantay (Summit Plastics Midget AA), Vinnie Pietrangelo (Traverse City West HS), Steve Vandenberghe (De La Salle HS) and Matt Zacharias (Coffman HS) and goaltenders Anthony Griffore (Lansing Capitals Midget AA), R.J. Heath (Alexandria/Motor City, NAHL) and Ian Mercer (Honeybaked U-16)
See ya: Forwards Matt McCaig (Michigan-Dearborn, ACHA) and Adam Novack (Oakland, ACHA) and defensemen Jacob DeSano (Oakland, ACHA) and Jake Williams (Davenport, ACHA)
Coach's comments: "We are ahead of last year at this point and we are stronger in all three positions - goaltending, defense and forwards. Getting an NAHL-caliber goaltender in Heath and a quality young goaltender with Mercer will be huge to our success this season. Both guys will go out game in and game out and give a chance to win, as well as win us a few games by themselves. After the disappointing season last year, we knew we weren't going to bring many players back, but the guys we did bring back are working hard and are positive role models for all the new players. I think on defense we are much more mobile and solid - really nothing flashy back there. Grech will be the leader back there again, but with a solid group around him, I expect him to have a much better season with him not having to play 30-40 minutes a night like last year. Between the improved goaltending and better defensive group, we should greatly cut down on the number of goals against. The forwards have seemed to be grasping the defensive system very quickly and that has to be our main focus, keeping the puck out of our net this year. I think with Vinson and Saley back from last year and the addition of guys like Merkle, Magnan and Elliott, we will have enough offense to win hockey games and a pretty good group of young talent to fill out the roster led by role player like Moeller, Wickersham and Herter. I fully expect us to be in every game this year." - Head coach Jamie Hayden

Home arena
: Canfield Ice Arena
Head coach: Jeff Bond
Last season: 12-31-0-2 (10th)
Back for more: Defenseman Derek Kessler
Welcome: Bond, Jason Avedisuan (Motor City Chiefs Jr. C), David Defever (Howell HS), Conner Dresser (Motor City Chiefs Jr. C), Brandon Greulich (Motor City Chiefs Jr. C), Jake Koslakiewicz (Bozeman, NorPac), Anthony Lobstein (Michigan Travelers), Joel Majszak (Plymouth HS), Tyler Miller (Motor City Chiefs U-18), Andrew Theisen (Motor City Chiefs U-18), Cole Workman (Howell HS), Peter Wychocki (Motor City Chiefs Jr. C) and goaltenders Kory Rickermann (Illinois Frontenacs Jr. C), Zak Shaw (Notre Dame Prep HS) and Dan Wenner (Buffalo Stars Jr. B)
See ya: Forwards Zac Archer (Eastern Michigan, ACHA), Matt Casey (Florida Gulf Coast, ACHA), Shane Darrow (Ohio, ACHA), Shawn Flynn (Michigan State, ACHA), Jake Garrison (Kennesaw State, ACHA) and defensemen Brad Curtis (Michigan State, ACHA) and Ryan Shepherd (Eastern Michigan, ACHA)
Coach's comments: "This season's team will be a young, fast team that we would like to build upon for two years. We have very good leadership in having a seasoned junior defenseman in Jake Koslakiewicz and returning defenseman Derek Kessler. The Chiefs pride themselves as teaching puck possession and having the skill set to play a fast finesse-style game. The youngsters will have to adapt to the level of play quickly and be major contributors for the Chiefs to have a successful year. Goaltending should be a position that will have internal competition thought the year as the play of Shaw, Wenner and Rickermann improve. The Chiefs have built this team from within their own organization promoting four players from last year's Junior C team and three players from their Midget Major team." - Head coach Jeff Bond

Friday, September 04, 2009

Spirit unveils new team website

The Saginaw Spirit has launched a new and improved in partnership with team web developer Netsource One. incorporates many new features to increase fan interaction and accessibility. Such features include a news feed connecting Spirit fans with the latest news from both the team and the Ontario Hockey League, an improved schedule page and a more advanced, and secure, ticketing page.

Netsource One worked with the team to further develop its fan zone page, adding new options like SMS text alerts featuring scoring updates, podcasts featuring team broadcaster Leigh Cunningham and more.

The site also features embedded photos from the team’s scrapbook and embedded video from the Spirit YouTube page. For the team’s mobile phone users, now features a mobile-based platform for optimal viewing on your cell phone.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Three state natives on NTDP U-17 team

USA Hockey's National Team Development Program today announced the 21-player roster for its 2009-10 U.S. National Under-17 Team.

The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players in the 1993 birth-year, will take on opponents from the United States Hockey League and as well as compete in three international competitions over the course of the season.

Team USA will carry eight defensemen in 2009-10 including Barrett Kaib (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.), Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio), Michael Paliotta (West Port, Conn.), Alexx Privitera (Old Tappan, N.J.), Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.), Andy Ryan (Brighton) and Matt Van Voorhis (Edina, Minn.).

The U.S. will look to 11 forwards to carry the offense including Cole Bardreau (Fairport, N.Y.), Tyler Biggs (Cincinnati, Ohio), Reid Boucher (Grand Ledge), Travis Boyd (Hopkins, Minn.), Dan Carlson (Corcoran, Minn.), Rocco Grimaldi (Rossmoor, Calif.), Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.), Zac Larraza (Scottsdale, Ariz.), J.T. Miller (East Palestine, Ohio), Blake Pietila (Brighton) and Adam Reid (Chino Hills, Calif.).

Backstopping Team USA will be goaltenders John Gibson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Matt McNeely (Burnsville, Minn.).

Ron Rolston, a Flint native who returns for his sixth season as a head coach at the NTDP, will be at the helm of the U.S. National Under-17 Team. Chadd Cassidy will serve as the assistant coach as he enters his fourth season in Ann Arbor. Matt Greason joins the NTDP as the graduate assistant coach for the Under-17s.

For the complete roster, click here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Eagles set 25-man roster, six back

Courtesy Sault Ste. Marie Evening News

The Soo Eagles Junior A hockey team has announced its 25-man roster for the upcoming season.

The Eagles have six players returning, including forwards Peter Formolo, Ryan McAleese, Jake Watchorn and Jake Johnson and defensemen Anthony Raymond and Ryan Axsom.

“This is going to be a physical team that can skate, hit and move the puck,” Eagles GM Dave Guisbert said.

New forwards and their former teams include Clayton Brackett (Bay State Breakers), Joseph DeLisle (Marquette Electricians Midget AAA), Josh Camiller (Maine Moose Jr. A), Brian Depp (Little Caesars Midget AAA), Aaron Leonard (Belle Tire Midget AAA), Kevin Michelcavage (Notre Dame Prep HS), Jordan Crews (Pen Inforcers Jr. A), Kyle Slicker (Orchard Lake HS), Justin Scott (Soo Indians Midget AAA) and Philip Webb (Little Caesars Midget AAA).

New defensemen for the Eagles include Frank Asztalos (West Bloomfield HS), Joseph Spitzer (Chicago Blues), Ryan Teal (Anchor Bay HS), Brendan Tuchowski (Marquette Electricians Midget AAA), Jimmy Morris (Soo Indians Midget AAA) and Sam Hadar (Lansing Capitals Midget AAA).

Eagles goalies are Clayton Brown (LaSalle HS), John Kleinhans (DeLaSalle Collegiate HS) and Michael Doan (St. Mary’s HS).

As they enter their second season in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Eagles will again be in the league’s Western Division. The Eagles begin the season with an exhibition game against the NAHL's Marquette Rangers on Sept. 11 and 12 at Pullar Stadium. The first regular season home game is Sept. 19.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Four Michiganders make NTDP U-18 team

USA Hockey's National Team Development Program today announced the 22-player roster for its 2009-10 U.S. National Under-18 Team and four Michigan natives made the cut.

The squad, comprised of some of the top American-born players born in 1992, will take on opponents from the United States Hockey League and NCAA Division I and Division III schools, as well as compete in three international competitions over the course of the season.

Highlighting the roster are five players that were part of the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team that captured the gold medal at the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-18 Championship in Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn. Included in that group are goaltender Jack Campbell (Port Huron), an all-tournament selection in Fargo, defensemen Adam Clendening (Niagara Falls, N.Y.) and Jon Merrill (Brighton) and forwards Matthew Nieto (Long Beach, Calif.) and Jason Zucker (Las Vegas, Nev.).

Eighteen players from last season's U.S. National Under-17 Team are returning for their second NTDP campaign including Campbell, defensemen Kevin Clare (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Clendening, Justin Faulk (St. Paul, Minn.), Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.), Merrill, Frankie Simonelli (Bensenville, Ill.) and Jarred Tinordi (Millersville, Md.) and forwards Chase Balisy (Fullerton, Calif.), Austin Czarnik (Washington), Jacob Fallon (Southlake, Texas), Michael Mersch (Park Ridge, Ill.), Luke Moffatt (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), Nieto, Bryan Rust (Bloomfield Hills), Nick Shore (Denver, Colo.), Shane Sooth (Canyon County, Calif.) and Zucker.

Four new players will join the U.S. National Under-18 Team for the 2009-10 campaign including goaltender Andy Iles (Ithaca, N.Y.), defenseman Derek Forbort (Duluth, Minn.) and forwards Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) and Brandon Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.).

Iles backstopped the Salisbury (Conn.) School to the 2009 Prep School title. Forbort, who also appeared with the U.S. National Under-17 Team at the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Port Alberni, B.C., was a standout defenseman for Duluth (Minn.) East High School in 2008-09. Arnold led Nobles and Greenough (Mass.) School with 55 points (28-27) in just 29 games last year. Saad, who was an all-tournament selection for the U.S. National Under-17 Team at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, was the North American Hockey League Rookie of the Year for the 2008-09 season as a member of the Mahoning Valley Phantoms and was also the Saginaw Spirit's first-round pick at the 2008 Ontario Hockey League draft.

Kurt Kleinendorst, who enters his first season at the NTDP, will serve as head coach of the Under-18 squad. John Wroblewski returns for his second season as the assistant coach, while Cole Bassett returns for his second stint as a graduate assistant.

To view the complete roster, click here.


Saginaw vets off to NHL camps

Nine Saginaw Spirit players will be attending NHL rookie camps over the next several days.

The following drafted players will report to their parent clubs: T.J. Brodie (Calgary), Nick Crawford (Buffalo), Jordan Szwarz (Phoenix), Cody Sol (Atlanta) and Edward Pasquale (Atlanta).

Other Spirit players invited to NHL camps include Ryan Schnell (Pittsburgh), Tyler Murovich (Columbus), Joe Pleckaitis (Vancouver), Brad Walch (Atlanta) and Jordan Skellett (Edmonton).

Schnell will be reporting on his camp experience for

Wendecker comes back to North Stars

When the Traverse City North Stars officially kick off their 2009-10 home schedule with Thursday’s exhibition contest against Alpena at Centre ICE arena, fans will see yet another familiar face in a TC sweater.

Defenseman Phil Wendecker, who originally opted out of his final year of junior eligibility earlier this summer, has come out of his brief retirement and will lace ‘em up again this season for the North Stars.

“It’s huge for us,” said Traverse City head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “Phil’s an all-star caliber defenseman and we’re thrilled to have him back. When we lost (David) Chaney to Western (Michigan University), we lost a lot of the things we got back by trading for Curtis (Heinz). Now with Phil back as well, we have a real position of strength on the blue line. We have a lot of experience, toughness and skill back there.”

Wendecker, who was tendered by the club back in 2007 as a prep star at Livonia Churchill, appeared in 35 games with a trio of goals and pair of assists in 2007-08. He jumped to five goals and 13 assists last year, and was tied for ninth among North American Hockey League defensemen with a +14 plus-minus rating.

“When it came right down to it, I couldn’t walk away,” said Wendecker, a Westland product. “I didn’t want to look back a few years from now and wonder what I might have done with another year, another opportunity. It was a bit of an extended vacation, but it’s great to be back with the guys, with my housing family.”

The North Stars, coming off a franchise-best 34-17-7 record a season ago, will begin their quest for an NAHL North Division title on Wednesday, playing their exhibition opener at Alpena before returning to Centre ICE arena on Thursday for the back end of the two-game preseason series.

“You work hard all summer, you have your camps, and you get a few weeks before the season starts to get things ready for the year,” Palumbo explained. “But it’s difficult to simulate an actual game setting, with all the competitive dynamics, until you line up against someone in a different colored jersey. It gives us a chance to see what we have against a live opponent, and we think we have something with a lot of potential here.”

The Stars will face a streamlined divisional field with the departures of Mahoning Valley and the U.S. National Team Development Program to the USHL. After finishing just four points out of the top spot in 2008-09, Wendecker & Co. have their eyes on a divisional crown this go-round.

“Of course, the ideal way to go out would be to win the division, go to the Robertson Cup finals in Wenatchee, and get to play college hockey,” he added. “That’s the goal of just about every player in the league this time of year. We’re going to be a little different from last season in terms of our style of play, but there’s definitely enough talent here to reach those goals.”