Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jr. K-Wings' Brooks commits to UWSP

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings have announced that defenseman Alex Brooks has committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Brooks posted eight points (three goals, five assists) and had a plus/minus rating of plus-8 in 21 games with the Jr. K-Wings.

Before coming to Kalamazoo, Brooks started the season with the Aberdeen Wings, where he notched 17 points (three goals, 14 points) in 35 games.

The native of Grand Rapids will join former Jr. K-Wing Drew Graves, who committed to UWSP earlier in the offseason.

Brooks is now the sixth Jr. K-Wing who has committed to play hockey at the college level, joining Austin Hervey (Western Michigan), Graves, Ken MacLean (Rochester Institute of Technology), Chad McDonald (Ferris State) and Brock Raffaele (Bethel University).

Photo (Brooks with Janesville) courtesy NAHL

Friday, June 29, 2012

Carrick signs with Whalers after all

The Plymouth Whalers announced the commitment of 18-year-old defenseman Connor Carrick, who signed a standard Ontario Hockey League contract today with the Whalers.

“We’re really excited to have Connor come to Plymouth,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “He’s got a great opportunity to continue his education while playing in the best developmental league in the World. With Beau Schmitz leaving, Connor fills a need as an offensive defenseman who will help our power play.”

Carrick’s rights were acquired by the Whalers on Wednesday from the Guelph Storm in exchange for a sixth round draft choice in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection. Carrick was originally taken by Guelph in the 11th round (212th overall) of the 2010 OHL draft and had committed to the University of Michigan for this fall.

“From a hockey perspective, I believe that the Plymouth Whalers offer the best opportunity for me to reach my dreams in this game,” Carrick said today in a telephone interview. “You have a great team (in Plymouth) and I’m hoping to add to it. I felt it was a great fit and I’m very excited to make this decision.

“It seemed it (the decision to come to Plymouth) was a no-brainer – both my hockey and my schooling will be in great hands. The underlying message is I’m very excited. I definitely lost some sleep over a couple of nights, but I’m confident in moving forward this is what’s best for me.”

Carrick – 5-feet-11 and 187 pounds and from Orland Park, Ill. – was selected by the Washington Capitals in the fifth round (137th overall) of the recent 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He has played over the last two seasons with National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor. Last season, Carrick scored eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 57 games for the NTDP U-18’s. In 2010-11, Carrick scored four goals with 16 assists for 20 points in 55 games for the NTDP U-17’s.

In August, Carrick will be joining Plymouth teammates Ryan Hartman, J.T. Miller and Stefan Noesen as they participate in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. The camp is an audition for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will play in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

Photo courtesy Getty Images/Washington Capitals

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Muskegon adds to management team

The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced that experienced sports executive Patrick Day will join their front office as chief operating officer on July 9.

Day spent the last six seasons as general manager of the Lansing Lugnuts baseball team, part of the Midwest League and current Class A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.

He joins the Lumberjacks’ management team, which features owner/CEO Josh Mervis and president Tim Taylor.

“I believe the addition of Pat, along with Tim Taylor, will help our franchise reach the level of excellence that we are committed to achieving,” Mervis said. “Pat’s experience and past successes have uniquely prepared him to help lead our program.”

Day oversaw the entire Lugnuts operation after his 2007 arrival in Michigan’s capital city. The Lugnuts frequently rank among the attendance leaders in minor-league baseball and have established themselves as a valued part of the Lansing community.

“I am excited to join the Lumberjacks,” Day said of his hiring. “I look forward to bringing my 13 years of professional sports experience to continue to grow the business. I want to ensure the Lumberjacks are the preeminent affordable family option in the Muskegon area for years to come.”

Day, 37, began his career with the Charleston (W.Va.) Alley Cats of the Class A South Atlantic League, overseeing ticket revenue streams as assistant GM. He then moved into a similar role with the Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits of the Southern League, a franchise that twice claimed Baseball America’s Class AA franchise of the year award while he was there.

“The entire Lumberjacks staff did a wonderful job last season,” Day said. “The investment Josh Mervis has put into L.C. Walker Arena is incredible and I look forward to making sure the entire community, including families, youth teams, churches and schools, know what a great atmosphere it is for them to bond and create memories.”

Day grew up in western Massachusetts, then attended Concord University in West Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications with a focus on public relations and advertising.

He and his wife, Erica, have a 14-month-old daughter named Emerson.

“The hiring of Pat is just another sign of the long-term commitment that we have for our program here in Muskegon,” Mervis said. “We intend to make an impact on and off the ice, bringing value to our fans, corporate partners, and the community as a whole.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Defender Carrick reporting to Whalers?

The Plymouth Whalers announced Wednesday the acquisition of 18-year-old defenseman Connor Carrick's rights from the Guelph Storm in exchange for a sixth round draft choice in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Carrick was originally selected by Guelph in the 11th round (212th overall) of the 2010 OHL Priority Selection.

Carrick – 5-feet-11 and 187 pounds and from Orland Park, Ill. – was selected by the Washington Capitals in the fifth round (137th overall) of the recent 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

He has played over the last two seasons with National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor and has committed to the University of Michigan for this fall. Last season, Carrick scored eight goals with 13 assists for 21 points in 57 games for the NTDP U-18’s. In 2010-11, Carrick scored four goals with 16 assists for 20 points in 55 games for the NTDP U-17’s.

In August, Carrick will be joining Plymouth teammates Ryan Hartman, J.T. Miller and Stefan Noesen as they participate in the USA Hockey national junior evaluation camp. The camp is an audition for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will play in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

Earlier today, the Whalers participated in the annual Canadian Hockey League Import Draft and selected two defensemen from Sweden. With the 21st pick, the Whalers took 17-year-old defenseman Ludvig Bystrom, who taken by the Dallas Stars in the second round (43rd overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Later, the Whalers moved up in the draft in a trade with Mississauga to take 18-year-old defenseman Simon Karlsson with the 90th selection. Karlsson was originally selected by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL draft.

Photo courtesy MiHockeyNow

Plymouth tabs Bystrom in import draft

The Plymouth Whalers selected Swedish defenseman Ludvig Bystrom with the Whalers' first pick (21st overall) in today's Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Bystrom - a 6-foot-1, 175 pound defenseman - was taken by the Dallas Stars in the second round (43rd overall) of last weekend's National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Bystrom, who turns 18 in July, was ranked eighth overall among European prospects by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau for the NHL draft.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Whalers drafted in Pittsburgh

Plymouth Whalers right wing Tom Wilson was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round (16th overall) of the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held Friday in Pittsburgh.

On Saturday, the Colorado Avalanche selected Whalers center Mitchell Heard in the second round (41st overall) and then right wing Cody Payne went to the Boston Bruins in the fifth round (145th overall).

Heard was succinct in a Twitter message: "Thanks to the best family ever for pushing me to be the best I can be. Love all my friends and family. Happpiest day of my life."

MiHockeyNow has more.

LIST: Whalers selected in the National Hockey League Entry Draft, dating back to 1990.

Wilson photo courtesy MiHockeyNow

Sunday, June 24, 2012

DeBlouw headlines Muskegon draft class

In the 1980s and early ‘90s, the Muskegon Lumberjacks provided a pipeline to the National Hockey League via their player development affiliation with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This past weekend, the Steel City was once again a gateway to hockey’s highest level for Muskegon’s best as five players with connections to the Lumberjacks were selected in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center.

Matt DeBlouw, Brendan Woods, Jaycob Megna, Adam Gilmour and Doyle Somerby all had their NHL rights claimed Saturday afternoon.

The proud group was headlined by DeBlouw (pictured), who just finished a two-year stint with the Lumberjacks and heard his name called by the Calgary Flames in Saturday’s seventh round. The Chesterfield native and Michigan State recruit played 97 USHL games (including playoffs) and accumulated 48 points while providing responsible defense from the center position.

 “It’s a great feeling,” the 18-year-old told assembled media members immediately following his selection at No. 186 overall. “All the hard work has paid off and I’m very thankful for everyone that’s been a part of this. It’s a great program in Muskegon and they really developed my game to what it is today.”

DeBlouw was one of three players who honed their skills in Muskegon who went to NHL teams, with 2010-11 Lumberjacks Woods and Megna also getting chosen in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively.

As the 129th overall choice by the Carolina Hurricanes, Woods was the first former USHL Lumberjack to ever be drafted by an NHL team. As a 6-foot-3 freshman at the University of Wisconsin, Woods dressed in 34 games and put up 10 points. He wrapped up his USHL career with a 26-point effort in Muskegon.

“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” the power forward prospect Woods said via phone. “I can’t wait to meet the players and everyone in the organization.”

With the second-to-last pick of the NHL Draft, the Anaheim Ducks snagged Megna, a 6-foot-6 defenseman who played 35 games in his first year at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The Illinois product played in 55 matches for Muskegon two winters ago.

“It’s kind of a whirlwind right now,” Megna said in a text message. “It’s an honor to be drafted and it lets me know that my hard work is paying off. I have a lot of work left to do though!”

Lumberjacks’ first-round USHL Entry Draft pick Gilmour was actually the first Muskegon-connected skater to be announced on the floor at CONSOL Energy Center. He was the 98th name called in the two-day draft, going to the Minnesota Wild early in the fourth round. Gilmour, a 6-foot-2 center who averaged two points per game for Nobles & Greenough school in Massachusetts, was joined by fellow Lumberjacks Entry Draft choice Somerby in the fifth round when the New York Islanders summoned him.

Somerby is a 6-foot-5 defenseman who attended Kimball Union prep in New Hamshire last year. Gilmour (Boston College) and Somerby (Boston University) are both committed to play NCAA Division I hockey, providing evidence that the USHL is a prime avenue for high-end prospects looking to play in the NHL and get a college education.

In all, 47 players with USHL connections were selected either Friday night or Saturday in Pittsburgh and 28 of those players suited up in the USHL during the 2011-12 campaign, while 10 are alumni from prior to last season and nine have been drafted by USHL teams.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jets' Perks anxious for 2012-13 season

Tim Perks came to the Metro Jets last year as a highly-touted prospect that put up solid numbers at Oxford High School during the 2010-11 season.

Even after a torn ACL sidelined him just prior to last season, Perks didn’t sulk. Instead, he stayed with the Jets all season and went through extensive rehab to help heal his bum knee.

“Sitting out for a season was brutal, especially my first shot at junior hockey,” said Perks, who was drafted by Metro in the fourth round (52nd overall) of the 2011 NA3HL draft. “A lot of people told me it was a setback, but I thought it more as an opportunity to improve my game in all aspects and see hockey in a new perspective. I had some rough moments, but I needed to keep focus to make sure I have a positive comeback."

While he’s still not 100 percent, the Jets offered Perks a tender for this coming season and the 19-year-old signed it without hesitation.

”The docs and therapist said it’s a year-long recovery,” Perks said. “I’m cleared for contact, so I need to make sure I’m not doing anything stupid and focus on recovering. I haven’t played a true hockey game for a team in over a year. I couldn’t be more excited at this point to just be able to play hockey again.”

Oxford High School is getting a reputation for advancing kids on to juniors and college hockey. Perks said that playing for the Wildcats didn’t feel like a typical after-school activity.

”They have a great hockey program and each year, I always hear something new and exciting,” said Perks, who graduated from OHS in 2011. “I believe they love having fun, teaching the kids and making great memories. (Coaches) Dave (Hague) and Rick (Ignagni) treat you like adults and bring in some junior hockey mentality into the program, which helped me out a lot. I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from that group of guys.”

Perks, who describes himself as a “talented forward who has finesse, but plays physical with a chip on my shoulder,” said he’s anxious for the 2012-13 season to get underway.

“I personally expect a lot out of myself,” said Perks. “I have talent and a good work ethic and there is no reason for me to fall behind even if I have missed a year.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Muskegon camp helps local economy

More than 200 hockey players competed at L.C. Walker Arena in last week’s Muskegon Lumberjacks tryout camp, but the Muskegon community was the big winner.

Approximately $300,000 was infused into the local economy as players, families, scouts, officials and fans converged upon downtown Muskegon from June 11-17. The estimated total was determined using a formula approved by the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Not only is tryout camp a significant step in building next season’s team, it’s also a great way to stimulate business in the community that supports us,” said Lumberjacks owner/general manager Josh Mervis. “Not every team in the USHL conducts its camp in its home market, but we feel it’s important to keep the money it generates here in Muskegon.”

Lumberjacks veterans, draft picks and free agents competed over the course of seven days for the right to make the United States Hockey League franchise’s 2012-13 roster. The players who made the team will return in late August for training camp, which will also be conducted at L.C. Walker Arena.

This year’s tryout camp featured players from all over North America, plus a handful from overseas as well.

Scouts from several NCAA Division I schools (including Michigan and Michigan State) and NHL teams also made the trip to West Michigan to scope out the talent.

“I’d like to thank everyone who made tryout camp a success, from L.C. Walker Arena and Lumberjacks staff to the volunteers who donated their time,” said Mervis.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Novi native Ferriss chooses Connecticut

The Michigan Warriors have announced that forward Joe Ferriss has made a NCAA Division I commitment to play college hockey for the University of Connecticut of the Atlantic Hockey Association.

Ferriss, 19, who is a native of Novi, was the second leading scorer on the Warriors' roster in 2011-12, his first in the NAHL. Ferris appeared in 59 regular-season games and scored 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists). He also had two points in four playoff games.

“My goal has always been to play college hockey and get an education, so I am thrilled to make this commitment to the University of Connecticut,” said Ferriss.

Ferriss started his NAHL career on a hot note, scoring five points in his first three games at the NAHL Showcase.

Ferriss said he learned a lot in his first year thanks in large part to Michigan head coach Moe Mantha.

“You definitely learn that you have to play at both ends of the ice and that you have to be responsible every second of every shift,” said Ferriss. “Moe also taught us that we have to make practices count and to take care of ourselves off the ice and do the little things to improve as a player and as a person.”

Ferriss was also selected to participate in the 2012 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament back in February in Troy as a part of the North Division team. He had a very successful event, scoring three points in three games and was also a +3.

 “Being invited to Top Prospects was huge for me personally,” said Ferriss. “It was a great experience from start to finish and was cool playing with guys that normally are your opponents. There was a lot of talent on display in front of a lot of scouts, so it made you want to really play well and not leave anything out there. I played well and I think that had something to do with the opportunity to play at the NCAA Division I level.”

“We at the Michigan Warriors are very excited and happy for Joe,” said Mantha. “He came in as a first-year player and really made an impact from the start of the season, showing he was ready to play at this level. As the season went along, he really improved his play without the puck, which ultimately was one of the reasons he is realizing his dream of playing college hockey.”


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nedeljkovic, Corbin sign with Whalers

The Plymouth Whalers have announced the signing of two 16-year-old goaltenders.

The Whalers signed Alex Nedeljkovic, Plymouth’s selection in the sixth round (120th overall) of the 2012 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection and Riley Corbin, who was acquired from the Sudbury Wolves in a trade earlier this month.

Both will be attending high school at the Plymouth-Canton Education Park in the fall.

“We think Nedeljkovic and Corbin have a chance to be a big part of our success,” said Plymouth assistant general manager Brian Sommariva. “We like Riley’s athleticism and Alex’s technical skill. We hope to help both young men take their careers to the next level.”

Nedeljkovic – from Parma, Ohio – played last season the for Belle Tire U-16s, where he recorded a 1.88 goals-against average, .903 save percentage, three shutouts and a 12-1-4-3 won-loss record. He is a student of the Bandits Goaltending School, which is run the Plymouth goaltending coach Stan Matwijiw.

Nedeljkovic attended the Whalers' rookie orientation in May and played well.

“It’s exciting to be drafted by the Plymouth Whalers,” Nadeljkovic said. “It looks like we’ll be a young team this year with a lot of skill. Stan really helped me last year with the way I approach the game, mentally – both in practice and in games. I can’t wait to get started.”

Originally selected by the Wolves in the fifth round (102nd overall) of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, Corbin played for the Thunder Bay Kings midgets last season, where he posted a 1.72 goals-against average, .924 save percentage, three shutouts and an 8-3-2 won-loss record.

“I love the fact that Plymouth is an organization that has made the playoffs 21 straight years,” Corbin said. “The goalie coach (Matwijiw) has done a good job developing goaltenders. I’m not big or tall (5-feet-11, 170 pounds), so I have to make the most of my talent. I’m sure Stan will help me.”

Nedeljkovic and Corbin are expected to report to the Whalers training camp in late August.

Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci with Nedeljkovic photo courtesy Plymouth Whalers

Muskegon main camp gets underway

After two days of invite camp action, Muskegon Lumberjacks main camp has begun at L.C. Walker Arena.

The Lumberjacks are headed into their third season in the Tier I United States Hockey League, the top American league for developing NCAA and NHL talent. The 2012-13 version of the club will be largely determined by what happens this week.

Several free agents have advanced from invite camp, which ended Tuesday night. They are now joined by nine returners from the 2011-12 Lumberjacks roster, plus five affiliate list players who saw action last year and one trade acquisition.

The Muskegon veterans in action this week are defensemen Carter Foguth, Zach Yoder and Florida Panthers draft pick Rasmus Bengtsson, forwards Joe Cox (Michigan State, pictured), Max Shuart (Michigan), Tyler Heinonen (Michigan Tech), Mike McNicholas (New Hampshire) and Mason Jobst, plus goaltender Hayden Stewart.

In addition, Battle Creek native Chad McDonald makes his Muskegon debut after arriving in a deal from Des Moines.

Seventeen selections from the twin USHL drafts conducted in May are also in town, led by first-round Entry Draft pick Adam Gilmour. The 6-foot-3 Boston College recruit went second overall to the Lumberjacks and is listed among the top 100 North American prospects for the upcoming NHL Draft, which is next weekend.

Camp activities will be mostly limited to controlled games, which are open to the public. Additional roster information can be found in the L.C. Walker Arena Beer Garden. Concession stands will be serving, Lumberjacks merchandise will be available and the arena box office will be open throughout the week.

The players will be divided into six teams until Thursday night, when the talent pool will be pared down to four squads. After Friday’s action, two teams will remain for a pair of “all-star games” Saturday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Following camp, the Lumberjacks must submit a 25-man roster to the USHL no later than July 1. That group of 25 players will return to Muskegon in late summer for training camp.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

NA3HL announces 2012 draft results

The North American 3 Hockey League has announced the results of its 2012 Entry Draft, which was conducted online on Tuesday.

View the results of the draft here. A total of 205 players were selected.

With the first pick in the draft, the Breezy Point North Stars (one of two expansion teams in the 3HL for the 2012-13 season) selected goaltender Walker Enstad from the Cleveland Barons 18U team.

The other new team in the 3HL for the 2012-13 season, the Alexandria Blizzard, took forward Ian Ecklund from Proctor High School No. 2 overall.

The Battle Creek Jr. Revolution, who had the third overall draft pick, went to the North American Prospects Hockey League and forward Cam Miglia (pictured) from the Detroit Falcons 18U team.

A total of 30 PHL players were selected in the 3HL Entry Draft.

Players not drafted or tendered by 3HL teams are still able to participate in each team's respective open tryout camps. Click here for tryout information for all 17 3HL teams.

Click here for more information on the 3HL Entry Draft.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Warriors acquire Dery from Corpus Christi

Michael Dery will continue his NAHL career next season in Michigan after being dealt to the Michigan Warriors in exchange for Mike Economos.

As a rookie forward last season with the Corpus Christi IceRays, Dery posted eight goals and 10 assists in 47 games. He will join a Warriors' squad that made the NAHL playoffs in the North Division, but lost to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons in four games in the divisional playoff round.

“We wish Mike the best of luck next season and appreciate all his hard work and dedication he brought to our team last season,” said IceRays' head coach Justin Quenneville. “He will now have an opportunity to play in his home state and for a great organization as well.”

Economos, also a forward, notched eight goals and assisted nine others in 51 games played while picking up 57 penalty minutes with the Warriors last season.

Monday, June 04, 2012

NA3HL Draft set for tomorrow

The 2012 North American 3 Hockey League (3HL) Entry Draft will be conducted online on Tuesday, June 5 at 6:00 p.m.

Draft results will be available by following @NA3HL on Twitter or at and the complete results by round/selection will be posted on at the conclusion of the draft.

There is no registration process to be eligible for the 3HL Entry Draft. Amateur players less than 21 years of age on December 31, 2012 who are not listed on an 3HL team roster or are listed on an 3HL team roster but played less than 10 3HL regular season and/or playoff games during the 2011-12 season and did not accept a tender from an 3HL team prior to the 2012 3HL Entry Draft are eligible for selection in the draft.

The 3HL Entry Draft shall consist of 12 rounds. Each eligible 3HL club shall be entitled to one selection per round unless it has acquired or lost selections due to approved trades with other 3HL clubs.

Eligible teams shall make selections in each round in reverse order of their finish in the 2011-12 3HL regular-season standings. New member clubs shall have their order of selection determined by lottery. If there is only one new member club, it shall have the first selection in each round.

2012 3HL Draft Order of Selection:
1. Breezy Point North Stars
2. Alexandria Blizzard
3. Battle Creek Jr. Revolution 
4. Michigan Mountain Cats 
5. Quad City Jr. Flames
6. Queen City Steam
7. Minnesota Flying Aces
8. Peoria Mustangs
9. Twin City Steel
10. Three Rivers Vengeance
11. Metro Jets 
12. North Iowa Bulls
13. Toledo Cherokee
14. St. Louis Jr. Blues
15. Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks
16. Granite City Lumberjacks
17. Flint Jr. Generals 

For more information on the 3HL Entry Draft, visit

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Whalers grab goalie Corbin from Sudbury

The Plymouth Whalers have announced the acquisition 16-year-old goaltender Riley Corbin from the Sudbury Wolves in exchange for two draft choices – the Whalers' fifth- and 11th-round choices in the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Originally selected by the Wolves in the fifth round (102nd overall) of the 2011 OHL Priority Selection, Corbin played for the Thunder Bay Kings midgets last season, where he posted a 1.72 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage, three shutouts and an 8-3-2 won-loss record.