Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kessel commits to Western Michigan

Green Bay Gamblers forward William Kessel has committed to play collegiate hockey at the Western Michigan University and will enroll at the school in the fall of 2011.

During his first USHL season, the native of Bloomfield Hills scored 18 points (10g, 8a) and posted a plus-10 rating while appearing in 52 regular season games to help the Gamblers earn a team record 45 wins and the Anderson Cup.

Kessel tallied a goal in his first career USHL game, a 5-1 win over Team USA on October 9, 2009. The 18-year-old also helped the Gamblers capture the Clark Cup as playoff champions. He appeared in all 12 postseason contests and contributed four points (1g, 3a) and a plus-five rating.

Seven other USHL players from the 2009-10 season are also committed to attend Western Michigan University: Alex Carpenter (Chicago Steel), Nick Pisellini (Chicago Steel), Shane Berschbach (Indiana Ice), Dennis Brown (Omaha Lancers), Dan DeKeyser (Sioux City Musketeers), Chase Balisy (Team USA) and David Donnellan (Youngstown Phantoms).

Photo courtesy USHL Images

Quarters new assistant in Des Moines

The Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League are pleased to announce that Marty Quarters has accepted the position as assistant coach with the organization.

He joins Regg Simon, who was hired as the new head coach and general manager on August 1, on the coaching staff.

"I am honored to be part of one of the most storied organizations in junior hockey," said Quarters. "Des Moines is known for its proud tradition and having some of the most passionate fans in hockey. I'm excited to be a part of that."

Quarters, a Southfield native, brings with him 17 years of coaching and recruiting experience. His resume includes teams from youth AAA, Tier III Junior B, Tier II NAHL, Division I college hockey and three years of previous assistant coaching experience in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers. In Sioux City, Marty drafted and coached teams that qualified for the playoffs each season, including the runner-up in the 2005 Clark Cup Finals.

"We wanted an individual that had junior hockey experience and a proven track record in coaching and recruiting," said Simon. "I really came to respect the teams Marty helped build in Sioux City. He understands the USHL and knows what type of players can be successful in this league."

Twenty of Quarter's former players have been drafted into the NHL, including five first round picks. Eleven of those draft picks came from his Sioux City teams. He has also helped coach and develop over 70 players for Division I college hockey, including three Hobey Baker Award finalists.

"I am very excited and grateful to work with Regg Simon," added Quarters. "We both have an undeniable love for the game and a common passion in helping players to reach their highest level. The USHL is a great league and I'm proud to be a back in it."

Port Huron names Stuckey broadcaster

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons and Liggett Communications - RadioFirst are proud to announce they have signed an agreement that gives WHLS/X (1450 and 1590 AM) the rights to broadcast play-by-play for the team's inaugural season.

Fan favorite Dennis Stuckey will broadcast all the home and away games.

Stuckey has done play-by-play in Port Huron for 11 years, announcing games for the Border Cats, Beacons, Flags and most recently the Icehawks of the IHL. Stuckey will travel with the team to provide broadcasts for all regular season and post-season games.

Stuckey came to Port Huron in 1995 and has been the sports director for Radio First for all but two of the last 16 years. In 13 seasons of announcing professional hockey in five different leagues, Stuckey has called 998 games.

“I am looking forward to a new chapter in the history of Port Huron hockey,” Stuckey said. “The junior game should prove to be an energetic and exciting brand to broadcast.”

“We’re very happy to be able to bring Mr. Stuckey in to broadcast our games this season,” said Mike Reed, media/public relations manager for the Fighting Falcons. “Dennis has always been extremely popular for his work in Port Huron and I know of more than a couple fans who actually bring radios to the games to be able to hear his calls.”

WHLS has broadcast hockey since the original Port Huron Flags of the IHL made their debut in the 1962-63 season.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two more North Stars off to college

Forwards Eric McLintock and Chris Salomone shared an oversized corner stall in the Traverse City North Stars’ locker room during the team’s magical run to the Robertson Cup last season.

The tandem hopes to bring some of that same successful synergy to NCAA ice as teammates – and roommates – at Wisconsin-River Falls of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.

“It wasn’t really by choice that we got put together in the same stall,” mocked Salomone. “To tell you the truth, he’s kind of disgusting.”

The Homer Glen, Ill., product, who spent the past two seasons with the North Stars after starring for the midget major Chicago Young Americans, signed on with River Falls early in the off-season and helped convince McLintock that he’d be a good fit with the Falcons program as well.

“I knew Sal was going there and I got a call from their coach,” explained McLintock, a Traverse City native and Grand Traverse Hockey Association alum. “I went on a visit and really liked the campus. Now we’re up here getting settled in and we’re both very excited about the school year and the season.”

McLintock, who finished his three-year run with the North Stars fourth on the club’s all-time scoring list and first in career penalty minutes, wasn’t even sure that he was going to play NCAA hockey following the 2009-10 season.

“I was on a softball team with coach (Anthony) Palumbo and coach (Chad) Fournier, and they encouraged me, and eventually convinced me that I wanted to pursue the opportunity to play college hockey,” he said. “I’m glad they did.”

Palumbo says River Falls is getting a pair of freshmen ready to make immediate contributions.

“Eric’s a guy who got plenty of Division I consideration during the year. Given his skill set, I’d project him to be a top player in Division III. Sal’s also a solid two-way player, who really came on and helped key our run last year. These guys are going to make an impact and get to play for a great program at a great school.”

Salomone levied five goals and assisted on 17 others during his 54-appearance 2009-10 regular season and added a pair of goals and an assist in 10 playoff appearances. As a rookie in 2008-09, he poured in eight goals on just 45 shots. Salomone says that this next rung on the hockey hierarchy is certain to bring new challenges.

“It’s going to be a step faster in pace,” he explained. “The guys are bigger and stronger. It’s not as long a schedule as we had in juniors, but you get to focus on school a bit more as well.”

While McLintock made his way to many a penalty box over the course of his junior career in the pursuit of separating would-be combatants from their teeth, he plans to begin learning how to repair them in River Falls’ pre-dentistry program.

“It’s like having the best of both worlds,” McLintock offered. “You know school comes first, but you get to do it while playing college hockey. Anyone who has gotten to this level has a lot of people who helped them get there. For me, I had a lot of great coaches over the year, but definitely my parents. They know how much I love hockey and I’m grateful for all the support they’ve given me over the years.”

Salomone echoed those sentiments.

“When you reach a goal you’ve been striving for, there are lots of people you want to thank,” he said. “I’d thank coach Palumbo, coach Chad, and coach (Mike) Matteucci, the whole organization. And my parents who have driven or flown me all around the country and world to play – I can’t thank them enough.”

Photos by John L. Russell/Great Lakes Images

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TC's Burke commits to Finlandia

Sean Burke has been an avid outdoorsman since he was old enough to hold a rod and reel.

Now, the former Traverse City North Stars forward and Grand Traverse Hockey Association product will be able to hunt the plentiful bounty and fish the well-stocked waters of the northernmost reaches of the Upper Peninsula – and get to play college hockey in Copper County.

Burke, who spent the last three seasons with the North Stars after a decorated high school career at Traverse City West, is headed to Finlandia University in Hancock, where he’ll study business and skate for the Lions.

“It feels good to have my direction set,” said Burke, who finished his junior career with 33 points over 137 contests. “It felt like there was a weight off my chest when it finally became official. I mean, there was no way I was going to go to college and not play hockey. I’m pretty excited about it.”

Burke was an All-State selection at TC West in 2007 and tendered by the North Stars. He appeared in 40 games as a rookie, with a pair of goals and five assists. His offensive output jumped to eight goals and as many assists in 2008-09 and he had logged a career-high nine goals last season before breaking his kneecap against Motor City on Jan. 23. He returned for the season finale and saw action in the team’s Robertson Cup playoff run, but hadn’t returned to full strength until the summer.

“That was hard because I had seen some interest from some schools, but when I was out injured – I had lost a lot of opportunity time; I was sitting on nothing,” Burke explained. “I hadn’t talked to Finlandia, but I got a text one day from (current TC West) coach Rintala asking me what I thought about it. It kind of came out of nowhere, but I’m glad it did.”

North Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo says the Lions are getting the total package in Burke, and he should know – he’s coached Burke for the last eight seasons.

“I coached him as a bantam, in high school, and for the past three years in juniors,” Palumbo offered. “I know they’re getting a great kid and a great teammate with a tremendous work ethic. He’s earned everything he’s gotten at every level and I have no doubt he’ll do the same up there.”

Burke, who plans to study business at the 500-student private college on the rugged Keweenaw Peninsula, will not be alone as he embarks on his college hockey career. A pair of fellow TC West alums are also set to play at Finlandia this year: forward Shane Totten and defenseman Vinnie Pietrangelo.

Former North Stars goalie Ryan Donovan and ex-Marquette Rangers forward Collin Saint-Onge are also on the Lions roster.

Burke will also get to see some familiar faces on opposing benches this year by virtue of playing in the NCAA Division III Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association – Former North Stars Matt Hughes, Jameson Raymond and Jonathan Sheridan at Lawrence University, and Ben Plocar and Mike Schenfeld at Milwaukee School of Engineering.

“It’s exciting to move on to the next step of your career, to know you’re going to get a great education in a comfortable setting,” Burke said. “I think (playing) juniors – at that level, that pace – helps you mature as a player. You’re around good players who help you raise your own game and help you acclimate to the game when you’re a younger player.”

Like most hockey players, Burke had plenty of backing in matriculating from mite through bantam in the Grand Traverse Hockey Association youth program, his prep career at TC West and three-year run with the North Stars.

“I’ve had a lot of great coaches over the years who have helped me get this far,” Burke concluded. “And getting to play basically all my hockey in Traverse City, I’ve made a lot of lifelong friends and I’m grateful for that. But through it all, I’ve been lucky to have tremendous support from my family.

"I can’t thank them enough.”

Photo by John L. Russell/Great Lakes Images

Monday, August 16, 2010

Saginaw acquires goaltender Parks

The Saginaw Spirit have completed a trade with the Barrie Colts, getting veteran goaltender Mavric Parks for the rights to prospect Mark Scheifele and Saginaw’s second round pick in 2013.

Parks is a three year veteran of the league, having started his OHL career with the Kitchener Rangers. In 2007-2008 Parks was dealt to the Kingston Frontenacs, but later returned to the Rangers for the start of the 2009-2010 season.

After a strong first half in 2009 where he posted a 2.39 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 19 games for the Rangers, Parks was traded to the Eastern Conference champion Barrie Colts where he tallied a 2.28 goals-against average and .921 save percentage in 14 games.

During the Colts' 2010 post-season stint, he earned a 2.29 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 10 games.

The Eganville, Ont., native enters this season as an overager and will wear the number 49 for the Spirit.

Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Plymouth back on 88.1 FM WSDP

After a trial run in 2009-10, the Plymouth Whalers will return to 88.1 FM WSDP “The Escape” as its radio home for the upcoming season.

“The Escape” – a state-award winning radio station located at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park – will begin covering the Whalers this year with a special broadcast during Plymouth’s first preseason game against Windsor on Sat. Sept. 4 at 7:00 p.m. during “The Clash at the Coliseum” in Chelsea. The station will resume its broadcast schedule during the Whalers’ season opener on Thurs. Sept. 23 in Windsor.

Pete Krupsky remains Whalers play-by-play voice with Sean Baligian providing analysis of home broadcasts.

88.1 FM will carry the bulk of the Whalers games this season with a minimum of preemptions. All Plymouth regular season and playoff games will be streamed online at http://www.plymouthwhalers.com/.

In addition, the Whalers will continue to team up with Schoolcraft College Sports Network for television broadcasts and will partner with Neulion.com (formerly Insinc.com) as the team’s internet streaming provider.

The Schoolcraft College Sports Network utilizes students from Schoolcraft and Madonna University to work the Whalers television broadcasts and provides hands-on experience on the broadcasts for Plymouth-Canton students interested in learning about the media business. In addition, the Whalers will offer assistance to students interested in finding out about marketing, broadcasting and public relations.

"WSDP is excited to partner with the Plymouth Whalers and Schoolcraft College,” said Bill Keith, WSDP station manager. “This partnership makes so much sense because it puts our local hockey team on Plymouth and Canton's radio station. We look forward to being the radio home for the Whalers as they make a long run into the playoffs."

“The Whalers and Schoolcraft have a lot in common. We both draw people from a wide range of communities in the region,” said Marty Heator, director of marketing at Schoolcraft College. “We both appeal to people of all ages -- the Whalers offer a family-friendly experience, and we have programs for school-age children, college students and mature adults. And we both offer exceptional value for the dollar.”

“It’s been great to have WSDP as a partner because the station reaches a geographic area that is important to us and the mission of the station, as an educational and creative outlet for students, is something that we can get behind.”

The Whalers originally teamed up with The Schoolcraft College Sports Network in 2004-05, partnered with Neulion.com the following year and moved to 88.1 FM WSDP for radio broadcasts last season.

Warriors announce training camp roster

The Michigan Warriors today announced its training camp roster, featuring 28 talented young players from Michigan, other Midwest states and Ontario.

The players, most ranging in age from 18 to 20, earned an invitation to the team’s training camp, which begins at 2 p.m. Monday, Sept. 6 at Flint’s Perani Arena. The training camp roster will feature 24 players from communities across Michigan, including several returning from the roster of 2009-10 NAHL North Division champion Marquette Rangers, the team that moved to Flint to become the Michigan Warriors this spring.

The Warriors’ final 2010-11 roster will include 23 players from the training camp roster announced today. The team plans to announce the final roster by Oct. 1.

“It’s worth repeating that not just any kid off the street is making this team,” said Michigan coach-GM Moe Mantha. “Our scouting staff has worked all summer to identify the very best young hockey players available and to bring the Flint hockey community a team it can be proud of. We’re excited about the talent, character and determination we have on the training camp roster and are looking forward to showing all of mid-Michigan what the Michigan Warriors and NAHL brand of hockey is all about.”

The complete training camp roster is below.

Training Camp Roster
(Player, Position, Last Team, Hometown)

Austin Accettura, Defense, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Novi, MI
Nick Beaune, Defense, Victory Honda U16 AAA, Brighton, MI
Kevin Bechard, Forward, Compuware U18 AAA, Trenton, MI
Bobby Bodette, Forward, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Flat Rock, MI
Brock Campbell, Forward, Kitchener Jr. Rangers Midget AAA, Kitchener, ON
Brad Chapman, Forward, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Marquette, MI
Eli Davis, Forward, Cleveland Barons U18 AAA, Macomb, MI
Patrick Gregory, Forward, St.Louis Jr. Blues Jr. A, St. Louis, MO
Scott Henegar, Forward, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Trenton, MI
Justin Hoomaian, Forward, Buffalo Jr. Sabres Jr. A, Novi, MI
Dave Johnson, Defense, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Lake Orion, MI
Kyler Kleindiest, Forward, Monroe HS, Monroe, MI
Trevor Ladd, Forward, Marquette Rangers Jr. A, Fenton, MI
Robert Mantha, Forward Little Caesars U18 AAA, Clarkston, MI
Thomas McEachern, Forward, Atlanta Knights Jr. B, Rochester Hills, MI
Ian Miller, Forward, Compuware U18 AAA, Fraser, MI
Alex Ostrowski, Forward, Grand Rapids West Catholic HS, Coopersville, MI
Tyler Perpich, Forward, Novi HS, Novi, MI
Andre Rakas, Defense, Lansing Capitals U18 AAA, Holt, MI
Alec Suleskey, Defense, Rochester United HS, Rochester Hills, MI
Luke Swardenski, Forward, Dubuque Thunderbirds Jr. A, Ada, MI
Michael Szuma, Defense, Green Mountain Glades Jr. A, Novi, MI
Robert Tadazak, Goal, Alexandria Blizzard Jr. A, Lapeer, MI
Ryan Teal, Defense, Soo Eagles Jr. A, New Baltimore, MI
Zak Thompson, Forward, St. Mary's Prep HS Rochester, MI
Brach Tiller, Goal, Pickering Panthers Jr. A, Maumee, OH
Ryan Trenz, Defense, St. Louis Jr. Blues Jr. A, St. Louis, MO
A.J. White, Forward, Compuware U18 AAA, Dearborn, MI

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cirone named new bench boss for Jets

The Metro Jets are proud to announce that Jason Cirone has agreed to take over as head coach, effective immediately.

Cirone, a third round draft pick (46th overall) of the Winnipeg Jets in 1989, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Motor City Metal Jackets of the North American Hockey League.

Cirone replaces Jeff Bond, who recently resigned for personal reasons.

"I'm really excited about this opportunity," said Cirone. "I know the Central States Hockey League is a good developmental league and that the Jets have been around for a long time. I think the main reason I took the job was for the challenge of making Metro a top team and developing kids for the next level."

A 39-year-old Toronto native, Cirone played three games for Winnipeg during the 1991-1992 NHL season, registering two penalty minutes. He finished up his 16-year pro career in 2007-2008 with the International Hockey League's Flint Generals where he tallied 21 goals and 63 points in 63 games.

Cirone's biggest offensive output was in 1998-1999 where he potted 42 goals among 68 points with the Kansas City Blades of the IHL.

Prior to joining the Metal Jackets, Cirone was a player-assistant coach with the Central Hockey League's Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in 2006-2007.

Cirone described his coaching style as one that is simple, yet effective.

"I demand hard work and want kids that want to learn," Cirone explained. "My biggest goal is to put together a team that competes every shift of every night."

At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, Cirone played for the Italian squad on their home turf. He also skated the 1992-1993 season and five more from 2001-2006 with the Asiago HC team in Italy.

In all, Cirone played 88 games at the American Hockey League level, 505 at the IHL level and 73 more with teams in the ECHL, now-defunct West Coast Hockey League and CHL. He also played one season in Germany in 2000-2001.

Before turning pro, Cirone saw action in 212 games with the Cornwall Royals and Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League from 1987-1991.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Lumberjacks to play at "The Joe"

The United States Hockey League and organizers of the Motor City Cup Midget Festival hockey tournament have entered into a partnership for the 2010 event, scheduled to take place in rinks throughout Detroit from September 10-12.

Highlighting this year’s event will be a USHL exhibition game, featuring the USHL’s new Michigan entry, the Muskegon Lumberjacks, facing off against the perennially strong Chicago Steel. The game will take place in the soul of Hockeytown, USA – Joe Louis Arena – on Friday, September 10.

The Motor City Cup, now in its eighth year, has grown into the largest tournament in North America for teams at the midget major and midget minor levels. The event’s organizers are anticipating record participation for the 2010 event, as more than 100 top-ranked teams from across the United States and Canada are scheduled to compete in rinks throughout the Detroit area.

“We began working with the good people at this event last year,” said USHL commissioner Skip Prince. “It’s carefully and professionally run, features the best players in North America at the midget age level, and just offers a great on-ice and off-ice experience for the players and their parents. The USHL is the next step for these young players, many of whom we’re going to see playing NCAA and NHL hockey in the coming years, and it’s a privilege to participate.”

The USHL game will be played at historic Joe Louis Arena, home of the Detroit Red Wings (who boast USHL alumni Brian Rafalski, Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller in their lineup). Though final rosters have not been set, the Steel and Lumberjacks feature players from 13 states – including 14 players from the state of Michigan.

“It will be the first time that the Muskegon Lumberjacks take the ice for a game and we look forward to representing the USHL and the state of Michigan,” said Josh Mervis, owner of the Lumberjacks. “We want to be a Michigan team for Michigan players and taking part in this game is the perfect opportunity to showcase the League to players from this state and across the continent.”

Coaches and scouts from all sixteen USHL member clubs will be in attendance throughout the event, and CCM and the league will present most valuable player awards to individuals throughout every game of the tournament.

“We are excited to have the USHL as part of the 2010 tournament,” said Bill Ciraulo, director of amateur sports for the Detroit Red Wings, as well as lead organizer for the Little Caesars AAA hockey organization. “The USHL is the premier league in the United States, so we are thrilled to have their involvement and have their representatives come to see these players.”

Friday, August 06, 2010

Fighting Falcons unveil three new logos

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the North American Hockey League have unveiled their official team logo, an updated version first seen at the team’s July 14 press conference.

The primary logo (pictured) features a falcon in flight and will appear on home jerseys.

The secondary logo features a falcon with feathers in the team's colors of blue and yellow and will appear on the team's road jerseys.

A third logo, featuring a circular design with the Blue Water Bridge will appear as a shoulder patch on both jerseys.

“We’re very excited to show off our new logo,” said Dave Goetze, the Fighting Falcons' vice president and business manager. “I think our fans will love the new design, and we’re looking forward to presenting the jerseys in the near future.”

The Fighting Falcons will begin to form their roster as they hold their first tryout camp from Aug. 11-15 in Glacier Pointe, with the main training camp taking place at Port Huron's McMorran Arena from Aug. 25-29.

Plymouth names Sommariva asst. GM

The Plymouth Whalers have announced the promotion of assistant coach Brian Sommariva to assistant general manager, a new position created within the Whalers organization.

Sommariva joined the Whalers as a volunteer assistant coach in 2006 and has since worked in a variety of jobs for the team, including video analysis and player development. He was an assistant coach at Notre Dame Preparatory School for three years prior to joining the Whalers.

"Brian has been with us the last four years and he deserves this chance," Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci explained. "I have been looking to fill this position for the last few years and we're confident in Brian's abilities. He'll be assisting me with daily duties and be in charge of our scouting and drafts. We want to stay connected with our prospects and Brian will be watching those players and maintaining those relationships."

Sommariva’s new position encompasses a variety of areas that have grown in importance as the Canadian Hockey League continues to develop league-wide.

“I’ll be assisting Mike and (associate coach Joe) Stefan with immigration and billet issues,” Sommariva said. “I’ll be helping Mike with player personnel decisions. I plan to be out on the road more this year, scouting as well as keeping in touch with our prospects.

"I feel privileged over the last four years to have seen so many players from our league continue their careers to the NHL level. I'm excited to talk to prospective players about the benefits of choosing the OHL, the Plymouth Whalers and our community. This job is a natural extension for me to continue to work with the coaches and current scouts. They know my personality and I know theirs, so there should be a real good synergy among us.”

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Warriors get pair of Tier III champions

Two more members of the Tier III Junior A national champion St. Louis Jr. Blues have signed to play in the North American Hockey League this season as Ryan Trenz and Patrick Gregory have signed with the Michigan Warriors.

"Kevin Carlyle (Michigan assistant coach) sent me a text on Saturday during their final camp and he was very excited about both Ryan and Patrick," said former St. Louis coach Jack Behan. "In my mind, this will be a great fit for both Ryan and Patrick. The Michigan area is in the top recruiting area for Division I schools looking in the NAHL.

"Warriors head coach Moe Mantha is going to be a huge asset for both these players careers. As a former NHL'er and U.S. National Development coach, to go along with an impressive pro coaching resume, that will give him a lot of collegiate coaches' ears just by picking up the phone."

Both players were impact players in the Jr. Blues national run.

"Ryan was definitely our most improved player this past year and we will always remember his bomb that beat New Hampshire in the national semi-finals," remembered Behan. "Patrick probably was our most improved forward. Neither his shorthanded snipe nor his brilliant pass on the game-winning goal in the national championship game against South Shore will be forgotten.

"Both players were pivotal in our national championship and both players are off the chart in character and competitiveness. I am very proud of these two and wish them continued great success."

Paliafito named assistant GM in Saginaw

The Saginaw Spirit announced the promotion of Jim Paliafito to the position of assistant general manager Wednesday.

Paliafito was hired as the Spirit’s director of scouting in March 2009 and moving forward, he will continue to play a key role in the organization’s scouting process as well as being more involved in the team’s administrative side and in the overall direction of the hockey club.

"Jim has done everything he has said he was going to do when he came here to Saginaw,” stated Saginaw coach-GM Todd Watson. “He has recruited and scouted vigorously in Ontario and the United States, and although he makes his home in Kentucky, he has always been a fixture on the road as he logs endless miles trying to improve our team.

"Since he joined the Spirit, he has held two very good drafts and has played a critical role with player acquisitions and as such, I have come to depend on Jim's input and opinions as he helped shape our team. He has continued what John Kisil started in bringing in free agents to Saginaw. John was the one who brought in Tyler Murovich and Ryan Schnell. Jim continued that path by adding Garret Ross, Michael Kantor and Dalton Young through free agency. He was also instrumental in bringing Ivan Telegin and Brandon Saad to Saginaw.”

“Jim has demonstrated an outstanding feel for talent during his time as the head scout for the Spirit,” stated Spirit president and partner Craig Goslin. “His work ethic, eye for the intangibles and strong character have earned him this promotion to assistant general manager.”

“Jim is loyal to the Spirit program and has become a trusted and close friend of mine in his short time with the team," added Watson. "His contributions have been significant and promoting him to assistant general manager will allow him to have continued input in our program’s development. Dick Garber and Craig Goslin have been very supportive of Jim and together, we will work to bring to Saginaw a championship caliber team that all of our fans deserve."

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

NTDP forward Czarnik chooses Miami

Team USA Under-18 forward Austin Czarnik has committed to play collegiate hockey at Miami University and will enroll at the school following his USHL career.

Czarnik had initially committed to Michigan State, but de-committed last fall, starting rumors that he would wind up in the Ontario Hockey League with the Windsor Spitfires.

Playing in 26 USHL games for Team USA's Under-18 squad during the 2009-10 season, Czarnik was second on the team in scoring with 28 points (10g, 18a). He led the team with 18 assists and finished tied for second on the team with a plus-16 rating.

The native of Washington also posted an 11-game point streak in which he tallied 22 points (9g, 13a) and a plus-15 rating. At one point during the streak, he scored a goal in seven straight contests, including two goals in a four-point game (2g, 2a) during the 5-2 victory versus Indiana on January 31.

After completing his eligibility with Team USA, Czarnik is set to return to the USHL this coming season as a member of the Green Bay Gamblers.

Photo courtesy Dave Arnold/USA Hockey

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Seguin inks entry-level deal with Bruins

The Boston Bruins announced today that the club has signed forward Tyler Seguin to an entry-level contract.

Per club policy, financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Seguin, the second overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, spent the past two seasons playing with the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League. In 2009-2010, the 6-foot-1, 172-pound forward led the OHL in scoring with 106 points, sharing the title with fellow top prospect Taylor Hall. Seguin notched 48 goals and 58 assists in 63 games while compiling 54 penalty minutes.

The 18-year-old Brampton, Ont., native played in nine playoff games for Plymouth in 2010, scoring five goals and tallying five assists for 10 points.

He played in 124 regular season games during his two years with Plymouth, recording 69-104=173 totals. Seguin then added 10-16=26 totals in 20 postseason contests.

Seguin also won the 2009-2010 Red Tilson Trophy as the most outstanding player in the OHL and the 2009-2010 CHL Top Draft Prospect Award as the top eligible prospect for the NHL Entry Draft from the Canadian Hockey League. Seguin finished the season ranked as the number one prospect from by NHL Central Scouting.

He participated in the Bruins’ fourth annual prospect development camp held at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington, Mass., from July 6-10.

Per the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, if Seguin does not make the Bruins NHL roster out of the club’s upcoming training camp, he must be returned to his junior team in Plymouth. This is due to Seguin’s age (18), as CHL players under the age of 20 must be returned to their junior teams, instead of being assigned the NHL club’s respective American Hockey League affiliate.

Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Saginaw gets Sartoretto from Kitchener

The Saginaw Spirit completed a trade with the Kitchener Rangers today, adding forward Micky Sartoretto to the roster in return for defensemen Cody Sol and Matt Braun.

Saginaw also received Kitchener’s second round pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection and their third round pick in 2013.

Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Sartoretto is a 1991-born right wing from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. He posted three goals and four assists for seven points in 43 games last season, and 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points in 92 games over the course of two OHL seasons. Sartoretto, who comes in at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, was the 123rd overall pick in the 2007 draft.

Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Metro drafts impact players for '10-11

The Metro Jets drafted a total of 23 prospective players in the CSHL Draft back on May 29 and then selected another in the dispersal draft of former Dubuque Thunderbirds players.

Of the 23 taken in the league draft, seven already have junior hockey experience, including one in the Eastern Junior Hockey League in 20-year-old forward Ryan Baratono.

Baratono comes as a high-profile pick as the Windsor Spitfires also selected him in the 2006 Ontario Hockey League draft. If he plays for the Jets this season, Baratono will be the third OHL draft pick to lace up the skates in Waterford in three seasons as goaltender Colin Greeley (Saginaw Spirit) and forward Chad Rutkowski (Plymouth Whalers) played for Metro back in the 2008-2009 season.

Jets GM Butch Wolfe is optimistic that this year’s draft will be a turning point in producing more wins on the ice next fall.

“We like our picks and we feel if we can get as many of these kids signed, we can get to work and start getting ready for next season,” Wolfe said. “I think our scouts, in particular our head scout Tim Ross, did a fine job identifying players they feel can make an impact with our organization and help us climb the league standings.”

All of the drafted players are from Michigan and 12 of them played high school hockey last season with a handful earning All-State honors.

Forwards Adam Frank (Clarkston) and Chris Pontello (St. Clair Shores) were both named Second Team All-State among Division 1 forwards this past season. A teammate of Pontello’s, forward Cory Shafer, was All-State Honorable Mention. Walled Lake Northern forward Chris Hellebuyck earned Division 2 First Team laurels. At the Division 3 level, Dexter forward Matt Strling made the First Team.

Forward Kevin Filthaut played Junior A in Canada last season with the Elliot Lake Bobcats of the Greater Metro Hockey League, while four others played Junior B hockey in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League.

Forward Andrew Theisen saw action in 40 games a year ago with the CSHL’s Motor City Chiefs (now Michigan Mountain Cats), as did defenseman Robert Speer, who played eight games with the Chiefs’ Junior A club.

“I think we drafted a lot of experience, which is something maybe we haven’t done in recent years,” added Wolfe. “It remains to be seen whether or not that junior experience will translate into success for us, but I think if our coaching staff gets these kids to buy into our system here, we should be able to surprise a few teams next season.”

In the Dubuque dispersal draft, the Jets nabbed the rights to Adam Newkirk, an 18-year-old defenseman from Crystal Lake, Ill., who played in 19 games last year for the Thunderbirds.

(Name, position, hometown, ’09-10 team)

Ryan Baratono, F, Livonia, Bay State Breakers Jr. A (EJHL)
Joshua Beleski, Southgate, Victory Honda Midget AAA
Thomas Emery, Leonard, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Kevin Filthaut, F, Royal Oak, Elliot Lake Bobcats Jr. A (GMHL)
Adam Frank, F, Clarkston, Clarkston High School
Anthony Galloway, Washington, Oakland Grizzlies Midget AAA
Scott Hamill, Livonia, Livonia Churchill High School
Chris Hellebuyck, F, Commerce Township, Walled Lake Northern High School
Corey Hrischuk, Oxford, Oxford High School
Daniel Hudson, Chelsea, Chelsea High School
Jaymes Kastley, Northville, Michigan Ice Dogs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Thomas Killgore, Pinckney, Pinckney High School
James LaFontaine, Plymouth, Canton High School
Kevin Lander, Brighton, Wisconsin Mustangs Jr. A (MnJHL)
Tyler Myers, Brighton, Howell High School
Mike Orosey, Oakland Township, Stoney Creek High School
Chris Pontello, F, Warren, St. Clair Shores Unified High School
Corey Shafer, F, St. Clair Shores, St. Clair Shores Unified High School
William Shier, Sterling Heights, Summit Plastics Midget AA
Robert Speer, D, Southgate, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Matt Stirling, Dexter, Dexter High School
Andrew Theisen, F, Dearborn, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Ryan Walter, Casco Township, Oakland Grizzlies Midget AAA

Jr. Gens, Jr. Owls, Mountain Cats picks

Flint Jr. Generals

Blake Blaha, Gregory, Chelsea HS
Warren Carter, Brookfield, WI, Tri-City Ice Hawks
Bobby Cassatt, Moline, IL, Quad City Blues HS
Timothy Donnelly, Flint, Davison HS
Stephen Hibbard, Bloomfield Hills, Brother Rice HS
Derek Kessler, Farmington Hills, Compuware Midget
Benjamin Kitts, Freeland, Tri-City Ice Hawks
Ezra McPhail, Antigo, WI, Marquette Electricians
Michael Mikulan, Aurora, IL, Chicago Fury AAA
Caleb O'Brian, Saginaw, Tri-City Ice Hawks
Richard Ocksrider, Nokesville, VA, Virginia Express Jr B
William Peltier, Fenton, Little Ceasars AAA
Matthew Ragains, Kalamazoo, Portage Central HS
Brooks Roth, McMurray, PA, Marquette Electricians
Jacob Taylor, Atlanta, IN, Team Indiana
Billy Tilot, Green Bay, WI, Green Bay Unified
Shane Totten, Traverse City, Traverse City West HS
Tanner Warner, Huntertown, IN, IPFW Comm. College
Dylan Welch, Davison, Davison HS
Patrick Wenzell, Kennegan, GA, Pioneer Midget AAA
Austin Willenborg, Epworth, IA, Tri-City Ice Hawks

Grand Rapids Jr. Owls
James Aldrich, West Des Moines, IA, Des Moines Capitals
David Bechard, Crestwood, KY, Louisville Storm U-18
Ryan Brown, Holt, Lansing Capitals
Sean Campbell, East Lansing, Grand Rapids Griffins
Shayne Capone, Williamston, East Side Stars
David Coppeck, Muskegon, Mona Shores HS
Ian Costello, Lansing, Grand Rapids Griffins U-18
Jordan Crawford, Jenison, West Michigan Warriors
Brandon Hughes, East Grand Rapids, Green Mountain
Hunter Jenerou, Spring Lake, Grand Rapids Griffins
Alex Kromm, Muskegon, Calgary Royals
Hayden Lopez, Sanford, NC, Carolina Hurricanes U-18
Alexander Lucas, Marquette, Green Bay Jr Gamblers
Jason Millette, Fort Wayne, IN, Snider HS
Michael Murphy, Plainwell, West Michigan Warriors
Chris Norkus, Muskegon, Mona Shores HS
Alexander Ostrowski, Grand Rapids, West Catholic HS
Austin Shipaila, Wyoming, West Michigan Warriors
Kane Smith, Kalamazoo, S2 U-18 AAA
Alexander Stutzky, Wyoming, Grandville HS
Daniel Swink, Grand Ledge, Lansing Capitals

Michigan Mountain Cats
Michael Baker, Durand, Wisconsin Mustangs
Charles Baudino, Holly, Michigan Mountain Cats
Joshua Catchpole, Macomb, Troy Sting
Daniel Cowan, Grand Blanc, Michigan Mountain Cats
Cody Damon, Flint, Michigan Mountain Cats
Jacob Endicott, Grand Blanc, Grand Blanc HS
Michael Hoy, South Lyon, South Lyon HS
Kyle Jackson, St. Clair, Michigan Mountain Cats
Dean Kmiecik, Sterling Heights, Michigan Mountain Cats
Brett Kovel, Clio, Flint Powers HS
Alexander Murphy, Roselle, IL, Wisconsin Rampage
Ryan Rotondi, Port Huron, Port Huron HS
David Salazar, Flint, Michigan Mountain Cats
Spencer Scahill, Port Huron, Michigan Mountain Cats
Robert Schultz, Pinconning, Illinois Frontenacs
Zachary Soulliere, Romeo, Troy Sting
Mark St. Martin, Racine, WI, Wisconsin Rampage
Aaron Teal, Chesterfield, Michigan Mountain Cats
Alexander Trekian, Fort Gratiot, S2 AAA
Alexander Wojnar, Canton, Michigan Ice Dogs