I decided to scrap the idea after my first couple of conversations.
Monday, August 31, 2009
I decided to scrap the idea after my first couple of conversations.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
But there are no delays around the start of another Ontario Hockey League season, with all 20 teams reporting to training camps this week.
*Denotes active player from 2008-2009 Spirit roster
Jordan Bailey, Forward (92)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Metro GM Butch Wolfe said he doesn’t take much stock in the preseason, but did note some areas that impressed him in his team’s outings.
“It’s not a big deal as far as win or lose,” said Wolfe. “We just rolled lines and got a feel for where individual players are. Several things stood out to me. It’s obvious we have a better team than last year, but also, we know we still have to continue to work hard to prepare for our league opener. It’s also obvious that the players have been very attentive in practice and diligent in their conditioning workouts so far.”
One area of improvement Wolfe saw is between the pipes. R.J. Heath (Holly) played in Saturday night’s game, while Ian Mercer (Rochester) got the nod in yesterday afternoon’s contest.
And it doesn’t appear offense will be an issue for the Jets this season, either, as Josh Magnan (Waterford), David Merkle (Waterford), Will Saley (Milford), Mike Herter (Dexter), Mike Corder (Rochester Hills) and Jonathon Elliott (Birmingham) had multi-point weekends.
Another new player, 16-year-old forward Matt Moeller (Fraser), showed a tenacity that opened more than a few eyes during the two games.
“Moeller was spectacular,” said Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop. “He's just a ‘93, but he was our most physical and fearless player.”
Skop, like Wolfe, also reiterated that to see this many positive developments at this stage of the season, the preseason games should be taken with a grain of salt.
"I couldn't be happier with this weekend – two losses or two wins, that's irrelevant. This is preseason,” said Skop. “I'm a big believer that there's a process to being successful and that includes evaluating, correcting, improving. Our process doesn't include preseason special teams units or playing guys who aren't going to be there for us in the fall. This weekend was perfect for us in the sense that it gave every guy on our squad an opportunity to work in every sort of situation. (Head coach) Jamie (Hayden) and I had a chance to evaluate who could play in certain game situations, and who cannot.
“Our guys have worked so hard these first couple weeks that the correcting and improving is going to be the fun part. I'm excited to get back at it today."
After yesterday's game, the players autographed their sweaters and presented them to the members of the Lakeland Hawks 2000 travel team.
Just 19 days until the season opener as the St. Louis Jr. Blues come to town for a pair of games Saturday, Sept. 12 (7:50 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 13 (1:20 p.m.).
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Spirit is pleased to invite the general public to attend the training camp’s three blue-white games.
The first two take place on Thursday, August 27 at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and the third takes place on Friday, August 28 at 9:00 a.m.
All three games take place at the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
All four were introduced amongst family and friends at the Spirit ticket and merchandise store Wednesday afternoon.
Braun signed with the Spirit following a season with the Oakville Blades, where he accumulated a goal and four assists and 61 penalty minutes in 27 games. The 1992-born Mississauga, Ont., native was selected 70th overall by the Spirit in the 2008 OHL Priority Selection.
“I am a big believer that hard work is what will get you far in life,” stated Braun. “I’m more of a defensive player - stay-at-home 'D.' I like to make simple plays and keep the puck out of the net when I’m on the ice."
Galansky, a '92-born Czech native, was selected 33rd overall by the Spirit in the 2009 CHL Import Draft.
"I want to become a goalie for the Saginaw Spirit and stop the puck," Galansky said. "I am looking forward to the upcoming season."
Ross and Schumacher, two Victory Honda alumni, were joined at the signing by the staff of Victory Honda and their former coaches.
Ross joins the team as a free agent after being selected 17th overall in the 2009 USHL Futures Draft by Cedar Rapids. The '92-born Dearborn native spent the 2008-2009 season in Victory Honda’s U18 program, accumulating 28 goals, 28 assists and 40 PIM in 46 games.
“I’m the type of player that likes to make plays, score goals, and work hard at the same time,” stated Ross. “I know Coach (Todd) Watson will push me hard and get help me play to the best of my ability."
Victory Honda U18 head coach Sean Ortiz feels that Ross is a tough kid.
“Garret Ross was the leading scorer on our team as a '92," said Ortiz. "He’s a very skilled player and a very competitive kid and that’s what’s going to help him continue to develop and grow."
Schumacher played in Victory Honda’s U16 program last season, posting nine goals, 10 assists and 63 PIM in 30 games. The '93-born Brighton native was selected 130th overall in the 2009 Priority Selection.
“I’m more of an offensive defenseman and I like to move the puck, score goals, and get points," Schumacher said. "My coaches were a big part of my development. They gave me a lot of confidence and continuously encourage me to work hard and do my best.”
Victory Honda U16 head coach Tony Maci guided Schumacher last season.
“Frank played last year as a defenseman and led our team in points as defenseman, which is hard to do at our level," Maci said. "I think he’ll be a good fit for these guys year after year."
All four players are set to attend the Spirit’s fall training camp that starts on August 26.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
David Chaney’s tenure as a member of the Traverse City North Stars didn’t last long – one training camp, to be exact.
The nimble defenseman, who came to Traverse City from former NAHL North Division foe Mahoning Valley in the off-season, has accepted an offer to play college hockey next fall at Western Michigan University.
“They (WMU) had a player turn pro and had an opening, and they went for David right away,” said North Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “It hurts because he’s a very talented player of course, but when an opportunity like this comes along, you can’t be anything but be glad for him, and wish him well at the next level.”
Chaney, a power play specialist who would almost certainly have been a top-four blue-liner, appeared in 41 game for Mahoning last season, scoring six goals and assisting on 10 others. He came to the North Stars after the Phantoms jumped ship for the United States Hockey League in the spring.
Palumbo did not sit idle for long, acquiring defenseman Curtis Heinz in a trade with Wichita Falls for a conditional draft pick in 2010. Heinz, a Grand Rapids native, spent the past two seasons with Wichita Falls. He has registered five goals and 12 assists over 79 regular-season games with the Wildcats.
“Curtis is a veteran guy who saw regular duty two years ago as a young player,” Palumbo said. “He’s been through the rigors of the league, been through the battles. We expect he’ll come in and be a regular contributor. Plus, he’s a Michigan kid who will get to be closer to home now, so it’s a good situation.”
Palumbo also inked veteran goaltender Drew Strandberg, a Thunder Bay, Ont., product who spent the past two years with the Thunder Bay Bearcats of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. Strandberg went 20-6-6 last season with 2.60 goals-against average and .918 save percentage, after winning SIJHL Goalie of the Year honors the previous season.
“We felt like we needed a veteran to go with our two rookie goaltenders,” Palumbo explained. “Drew’s played high-level junior hockey for two years, he’s an '89 birth year, he’s seen plenty of minutes against top-flight competition. He’s had multiple colleges already looking at him and we feel very comfortable putting him in net. It’s a great pickup for us.”
Palumbo and the 2009-10 edition of the North Stars will take to the ice for the first time on Sept. 3 at Centre ICE arena against the Alpena IceDiggers in an exhibition contest. Tickets are $5, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Dallas Drake GTHA New Skater Fund.
NORTH STARS IN THE NCAAs (32)
Kelin Ainsworth (09-10), Lake Superior State*
Arthur Bidwill (05-06), Colorado College
Kyle Bonis (07-09), Ferris State
Alex Breeden (06-08), Wisconsin-Stout
Clinton Bourbonais (07-08), Air Force
David Chaney (09), Western Michigan
Zeke Costello (05-06), Nichols College
Danny Dries (05-06), New Hampshire
Eric Elmblad (05-06), Michigan
Brett Englebright (06-07), Nichols College
Mike Glaesmer (06-07), St. Mary's College
Kyle Jean (08-10), Lake Superior State*
Brett Jendra (06-07), SUNY-Brockport
David Johnstone (08-09), Michigan State*
Matt Hughes (06-08), Lawrence University
Kory Kaunisto (06-08), Northern Michigan
Tyler Marble (08-10), Lake Superior State*
Patrick Nagorsen (05-07), Western Michigan
Harrison Niemann (06-08), Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Eric O'Hearn (07-09), Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Steven Oleksy (05-06), Lake Superior State
Travis Paeth (05-06), Western Michigan
Phil Partyka (06-07), Wayne State
Dan Radke (08-10), Lake Superior State*
Jameson Raymond (06-08), Lawrence University
Mike Sand (06-07), Niagara
Anthony Schooley (06-07), Michigan Tech
Eric Scovill (06-07), Wisconsin-Stout
Jonathan Sheridan (07-08), Lawrence University
Tyler Stephens (07-09), Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Brandon Stephenson (07-09), Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Nick Von Bokern (06-07), Nebraska-Omaha
Monday, August 17, 2009
So good, in fact, that the Jets’ coaching staff gave the players last Friday night off to relax, unwind and get ready for this week’s activities, again to go down at Lakeland Arena.
“All of the guys were very eager to learn and it was very competitive both on the ice and during our off-ice workouts,” Metro assistant coach Ryan Skop said. “We worked them pretty hard, got their feet going, and everyone responded to that in a good way. These guys want to work hard and want to be pushed. It's very encouraging and exciting to be with a group that wants to work like this.”
One area of camp Skop and Jets’ general manager Butch Wolfe noticed to be a big positive was the chemistry between the new players and returning players. Even the players themselves noticed this.
“The first day or two were pretty quiet,” said rookie defenseman Matt Zacharias. “Not too many guys knew each other, but now we're all talking and getting to know one another. I haven't seen any problems between anyone and everyone is starting to joke around with the guys. Skop has been pushing all of us pretty hard and it is really going to pay off in the long run, especially with all of the competition for spots in the lineup.
“I think it's easy to say that this team should surprise more than just a few people come September and October.”
“The returnees have looked well, obviously having experience, but a lot of the younger guys don't look out of place,” added veteran defenseman Brett Grech. “The first week is never fun, but it seems like we have a pretty good team. Everyone's working hard and obviously, that's a good sign.”
Last week’s camp was comprised of two hours of skating and hockey drills and the same amount of time in the weight room, running outside, plyometrics and more importantly, getting back into the hockey season frame of mind.
“I believe our overall skill set is improved,” said Wolfe. “We may be a bit quicker with more skill. It seems like the focus is on preparing for the season. There seems to be an air of single-mindedness as to the player's purpose at this point.”
“No matter if they played here last year or somewhere else, everyo ne was pushing everyone,” Skop said. “The guys all had good spirits and even when we knew there was nothing left in the tank at the end of practice, they kept working, and had fun with each other doing it. Everyone seems to be fitting right in and gelling together.”
Training camp continues this week at Lakeland Arena, with the opening night roster to be finalized by week’s end.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
After reporting to camp and participating in off-ice testing on Wed. Aug. 26, players will scrimmage on Thurs. Aug. 27 and Fri. Aug. 28 from 9-11am and 2-4pm on both days.
The scrimmages are open to the public and media. Rosters will be provided the days of the scrimmage.
The Whalers open the preseason on Sat. Aug. 29 at Brighton against Saginaw at 7pm at the Kensington Valley Ice House. Proceeds of the game will support the Kensington Valley Hockey Association. Tickets for the game are currently being sold at Brighton Ford, located at 8240 Grand River Ave., just north of I-96 in Brighton. For more information, call Brighton Ford at (800) 836-8206.
Training camp concludes on Sun. Aug. 30 with the Whalers first-ever alumni game at Compuware Arena at 2:30pm. Tickets for the event are free. After the game, fans are invited to re-connect with Whalers alumni in a reception at CJ’s Brewery at 5pm.
Whalers alumni currently committed to playing in the game include Pat Peake (1990-93), Chris Terry (2005-09), John Vigilante (2002-06), Steve Ward (2004-07), Andrew Fournier (2003-08), Tom Sestito (2004-07, pictured above), Damian Surma (1998-02), Dan Pawlaczyk (1993-97), Shaun Fisher (1997-00), Bill McCauley (1992-95), David Liffiton (2001-04), Zack Shepley (2003-08), Kris Purdy (1997-00), Scott Holsinger (1997-99), Jamie Lalonde (1997-00), Duane Harmer (1993-95), Jeff Mitchell (1992-95) and James Ramsay (1998-01).
More alumni are expected to be added to the game.
Photo courtesy Walt Dmoch
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Kurt Kleinendorst, who spent the past three seasons as the head coach of the American Hockey League's Lowell Devils, was today named a head coach with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor.
"It's exciting to welcome Kurt to USA Hockey and our National Team Development Program," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "He brings the capacity to help the young men in our program reach their fullest potential."
"We're thrilled to get someone with Kurt's background and experience level," said Jim Johannson, assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey. "He's well suited in helping develop players for the National Hockey League and college hockey and someone I know our players will benefit greatly from having as their coach."
Kleinendorst served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Quebec City, Quebec. He was also a member of Team USA at the 1981 IIHF Men's World Championship.
Kleinendorst spent the past nine seasons in the National Hockey League's New Jersey Devils' organization. Prior to serving as head coach of its AHL affiliate, Kleinendorst was a member of New Jersey's scouting staff for five seasons, including four as a special assistant scout (2002-06) and one as a professional scout (2001-02). He joined the NHL's Devils as one of the team's assistant coaches for the 2000-01 campaign.
Before working with New Jersey, Kleinendorst served as the general manager and head coach of the Manchester (U.K.) Storm of the Ice Hockey Superleague, Britain's top ice hockey league, for three seasons (1997-2000). He led the Storm to the league championship and garnered coach of the year honors in 1999.
Kleinendorst spent five seasons (1991-94, 1995-97) as the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Raleigh Ice Cats of the East Coast Hockey League and was named the league's top coach in 1993. In 1994-95, he served as an assistant coach and assistant general manager of the International Hockey League's San Diego Gulls.
Kleinendorst began his coaching career in 1989 as president and founder of Salt Lake City, Utah-based North American Sports, Inc., where he was responsible for teams of select college and professional players that participated in a series of tours throughout Europe.
He skated professionally in North America for parts of five seasons between 1983-1990 with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League, the New Haven Nighthawks and Utica Devils of the AHL, and the Salt Lake Golden Eagles, Toledo Goaldiggers and Indianapolis Checkers of the IHL. Kleinendorst also played two seasons in Europe with the Rotterdam Pandas (Netherlands) in 1987-88 and Iserlohn (Germany) and Peliitat (Finland) in 1986-87.
Kleinendorst played four seasons (1979-83) collegiately at Providence College and was an All-America selection, ECAC Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist as a senior.
NOTES: Kleinendorst replaces John Hynes, who announced his resignation earlier this month to accept the position of assistant coach for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League ... USA Hockey's National Team Development program, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., consists of two teams, the U.S. National Under-18 Team and the U.S. National Under-17 Team. Kleinendorst will coach the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2009-10, while Ron Rolston will guide the U.S. National Under-17 Team ... Both teams will participate in the United States Hockey League, the nation's only Tier I Junior A hockey league, for the 2009-10 season.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Bennett, a 19-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie, ended last season with a goal and two assists in seven games for the Jr. Generals after beginning the year with the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he had six points in nine games. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound Bennett also registered four of those points in one games with a one-goal, three-assist outing last Sept. 19 against Blind River.
“Ronnie should add maturity to the team on and off the ice,” said Metro GM Butch Wolfe. “He will most likely see the majority of playing time at forward. However, it’s nice to have another player that can spend time on our blue line if necessary. Others of the same ilk are (recent signee) Jon Wickersham and (veteran) Brett Grech.”
Eby, 18, played 35 games with Metro last season with a 9-19-28 line and 109 penalty minutes. In 2007-2008, he recorded 16 goals (10 on the power play) and 27 points in 45 games with the Jets. The trade will also allow Eby to play closer to home, as he is a Linden native.
“We’d like to thank Ryan for his contributions last season and hope he can get a fresh start in Flint,” added Wolfe.
Eby photo courtesy Walt Dmoch
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Plymouth also acquires Windsor’s second-round draft pick in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League draft, Kitchener’s fourth-round draft choice in the 2013 draft and the Rangers' first pick in the 2010 CHL Import Draft. The Whalers also acquire a conditional choice – Kitchener’s second-round pick in the 2012 OHL draft – in the deal.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Josh Magnan, a 19-year-old forward, signed with the Jets after last weekend’s tryout camp at Lakeland Arena and will join fellow Waterford-area natives Steve Lockwood, David Merkle and Tim Hooker on the team this season.
Magnan already has a year of junior hockey under his belt as he tallied eight goals and 35 points in 42 games with the Soo Eagles of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League last season. Magnan was also second on the team with 103 penalty minutes.
Two seasons ago, he played high school hockey for Waterford Kettering.
“Josh is an edgy player with a good skill set,” said Metro GM Butch Wolfe. “We look forward to him contributing to what is shaping up to a much-improved start this year.”
Jets assistant coach Ryan Skop offered his take on Magnan’s signing.
“‘Mags’ is a big addition for us,” said Skop. “He’s a guy who plays the game with an edge, has a good set of paws and can put the puck in the net. He isn’t the biggest guy out there (5-foot-11, 155 pounds), but he definitely plays bigger than his size. He gives us another weapon that our opponents will have to account for. We’re very excited to have Josh with us this year.”
Next up for the Jets is training camp, scheduled to start next Monday at Lakeland Arena.
“We’ll go hard for two weeks and get these guys back on the ice, working the kinks out, get their feet going, get them in our system and hit the ground running,” Skop said. “It’ll give us a good chance to evaluate these guys on a day-to-day basis, how they work, how hard we can push them, and we’ll see just how much they’re willing to give.”
Metro starts the 2009-2010 season on Sat. Sept. 12 at home against the St. Louis Jr. Blues. Game time is 7:40 p.m.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
For Traverse City North Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo, the final day of training camp is a bittersweet affair. The three-day competition of lofty talent yields exceedingly difficult personnel decisions and Sunday was no different.
“It’s a great day because you pick your team and there’s excitement about all the potential,” Palumbo explained. “But it’s also a day filled with conversations with young men who are talented, have worked very hard and are great kids. Sometimes it’s those conversations that stick with you as much or more than telling a kid he made your team. As time goes by and you begin to set about preparing for the season, some of that goes away, but it’s easily among the toughest aspects of coaching.”
The 2009-10 roster, which was hewn from eligible returnees, tenders, draft picks, and a summer’s worth of tryout camps – culminating with Sunday’s training camp finale – features a very familiar flavor. There are 14 players coming back, plus a trio from former NAHL North Division rival Mahoning Valley, and a pair of local high school products who earned roster spots with their strong weekend showings – Traverse City West product Eric Rivard and Traverse City Central’s Jared Van Wormer.
“Now we knew coming in that they both of them were good hockey players,” Palumbo said. “But they played their way in. Eric just kept making plays, and showing up all over the ice. Everybody who was evaluating kept raving about his consistent performance. He was strong in the offensive end, and a real presence physically. I wouldn’t call anyone who makes it onto the roster from our training camp a ‘surprise’, but I’m not sure we realized they were this ready.”
Among the returning players is All-North defenseman Travis White, plus an additional four returnees – Bo Jacobs, Chris Heineman, Cody Walsh and Mike Schenfeld – along the blue line. Heineman, who is slated to undergo surgery later this summer, is out until at least January.
Matt Davis – a former teammate of Schenfeld at Lake Forest Academy – along with draft picks Nilan Nagy and Trevor Campbell – round out the unit.
Seven forwards return from last year’s club that went 34-17-7, including Dan Radke, Tim Opie, Kyle Jean, Eric McLintock, Josh Miller, Garrett Thompson, Sean Burke and Chris Salomone.
Jean will miss at least the first month of the season with an upper body injury suffered last season. First-round draft pick Taylor Burden skated into a North Stars sweater, as did tenders Sean Keane and Andrew Huff and Ontario import Kelin Ainsworth.
Tyler Marble, who became the Stars’ third goalie a year ago after the retirement of Dallas Kniss, and Brian Jean – younger brother of Kyle Jean – landed backstopping duties. Palumbo said the team may well add a veteran goalie to the mix.
While many of the weapons from last season’s franchise year return, three former foes will now sport the interlocking 'TC.' Forwards Nick Shkreli and Doug Clifford bring a combined 24 goals and 46 assists from Youngstown, while David Chaney brings own-zone prowess and a special teams skill set to the Stars.
“It’s hard to say exactly what kind of team we’ll have yet, style-wise,” Palumbo assessed. “But it’s probably similar to last year’s team in that respect. There are some injuries to contend with, but we do have depth. There’s a lot of potential to meet and exceed some of the benchmarks we set last year, but ‘potential’ is a big word. We’re at the beginning now.”
The club opens with an exhibition game against Alpena on Sept. 3 at Centre ICE arena. The regular season gets underway with a Sept. 12-13 at Janesville (Wis.) in advance of the Sept. 16-19 NAHL Showcase in suburban Minneapolis.