Thursday, July 17, 2014

We are moving!

The Indy Hockey blog is now the Indy Puck Report. Check us out at: IndyPuck.com

Older posts will remain here.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 17

Happy birthday to ...
Hank Therrien: Chiefs forward from 1959-62. He split the 1959-60 season between the Chiefs and Milwaukee, and the 1960-61 season between Milwaukee, Toledo and the Chiefs -- tallying 28 goals that season. He had 16 goals in 1961-62, the Chiefs' final season. He went from the Chiefs to play in the semi-pro USHL and tallied 33 goals in Green Bay the following year. He played for the United States at the 1966 World Championships. He retired after the 1967 season and coached small college hockey in Wisconsin. A native of Chapleau, Ont., he was born in 1934. He passed away in 2010 at age 76.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fuel roster starts with energy, character

When Scott Hillman became the Indy Fuel's head coach, he said he wanted a hard-working team that would be fun to watch.

So far, the five players signed to the team seem to fill exactly what he's looking for.

The Fuel have five players signed as part of a roster that will eventually number at least 20 by the start of camp in October (with 6-8 of those being from the Chicago Blackhawks' roster), and there's no secret they're following that personality.

Indy hockey link roundup July 16

A few links of interest to local hockey fans.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 16

Happy birthday to ...
Bob Whitlock: Racers left wing from 1974-76. In 103 games with the team, he had 38 goals and 41 assists, as well as 72 PIM. He was claimed by the team in the 1974 Expansion Draft and had a 31-goal season in 1974-75, and played half the following year with the Racers and the other half with their NAHL affiliate in Mohawk Valley. He finished out his eight-year pro career in the NAHL in 1977, and played senior hockey thereafter. He played one NHL game with the North Stars in 1969-70, and 244 NHL games from 1972-76, playing for the Chicago Cougars and Los Angeles Sharks in addition to the Racers. He had 81 goals and 98 assists in his major pro career. He is a member of the Prince Edward Island Hall of Fame. A native of Charlottetown, PEI, he is 65.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 15

Four birthdays today: former Racer Ralph Hopiavuori and former USHL Ice Glen Ylitalo, Anthony Bitetto and Tim Smith.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fuel to play two preseason games in Alaska

The Indy Fuel will play two preseason games in Alaska against the defending ECHL Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces.

The games will be played at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage on Oct. 7-8 -- a two-game tuneup for the Fuel's Oct. 17 season opener against the Fort Wayne Komets.

This will mark the only meeting between the teams this year. The Fuel and Aces are not scheduled to play during the regular season, although they could meet in the Western Conference Final during the playoffs. The Aces won their third Kelly Cup title since 2006 last spring, beating the Cincinnati Cyclones -- whom they faced in the preseason doubleheader in Anchorage last year.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to take on the Aces in the preseason,” Fuel coach Scott Hillman said in a team release. “It will be a great test to play the defending champions and the trip will provide our team a good chance to bond before the season gets underway.”

Fuel release
Aces release

Indy's title teams: The 1942 Capitals

This is the 8th in a nine-part series looking at Indianapolis' championship-winning hockey teams. Previously: the 2009 Indiana Ice (USHL), the 2000 Indianapolis Ice (CHL), 1990 Indianapolis Ice (IHL), 1983 & 1982 Indianapolis Checkers (CHL), the 1958 Indianapolis Chiefs (IHL) and the 1950 Indianapolis Capitals (AHL). Next week: the 2014 Indiana Ice.  
 
Much was changing around the world as the 1941-42 hockey season approached. Pearl Harbor was a few days away, and many players would be called to military duty, causing great turnover in rosters and shortages of professional hockey players in North America - and claiming some lives.
And for the Indianapolis Capitals, there was a bit of an overhaul, too, as the team tried to rebound from a disastrous 1940-41 season in which the team went 17-28-11 and finished last in the AHL West.

The most obvious new face when the Caps convened in Detroit for training camp was that of goaltender Joe Turner, a teenager out of Windsor, Ont. with a stellar amateur record. He replaced Jimmy Franks, who had been the Caps' netminder for most of their first two seasons.
Franks was available, but Turner quickly proved his services wouldn't be needed.

Another Cap defensive mainstay - Archie Wilder - was called into the army before the season. More would follow as the United States entered the war in December.

Those that stuck around would put something special together. With Turner leading the way, the Capitals rolled to the AHL West title, survived a hair-raising first-round series with Springfield - which the Caps won in OT of the deciding game - and then brought home the Calder Cup, giving Indianapolis its first-ever postseason hockey championship.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 14

Three birthdays today: former Capitol Dennis Kassian & late former Capitals Bill Hudson and Don Morrison. Also, the Checkers roll out an ill-fated attempt to get into the NHL.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 13

One birthday today ... 
Kevin Conway: Right wing who played 29 games for the Checkers in 1986-87. He had 11 goals and eight assists. Conway played a bit in North America after finishing his junior career in 1984 -- playing for Toledo and Salt Lake in the IHL -- but in the interim, went to Britain and put up a 129-goal, 227-point season in 1985-86 (in 35 games!). He came back to Indianapolis the following year, and then headed back to Britain and put up video game-like numbers -- 148 goals in 1987-88, 107 two years later, 100 two years after that, followed with 87 and 64 goals. Conway also played for the British national team. Conway played in the UK through 2008, and is a member of the British Ice Hockey Hall of Fame. His son, Scott Conway, was the Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice's leading scorer in 2013-14. A native of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, he is 51.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Blackhawks' system, an update

The Chicago Blackhawks are set at the NHL level -- as of now, 23 players are on NHL contracts, the max. They'll have to make a couple of moves, as they're currently a couple million dollars over the NHL's hard salary cap, but it's worth taking another look at what's in the Blackhawks' system signed for this year.

The Blackhawks currently have 46 players signed for next season -- 23 on NHL contracts, 23 currently "non-roster players" or on minor-league deals (the maximum number allowed under contract to an NHL team is 50, but most teams start the season a few players under that amount to be able to sign players who age out of junior/graduate from college/college free agents at the end of the season). The Indy Fuel can expect to get about 6-to-8 players out of that group of 23. The CapGeek depth chart.

Take note, this is fluid. Trades often involve prospects going both directions, and the Blackhawks will likely sign players who have aged out of junior or college hockey at the end of the season, some of which we'll be likely to see in Indy.

Several of these players will be headed to the Blackhawks prospect camp this week. This post is focusing on the signed players. A post next week will update the unsigned prospects in the system whose rights the Blackhawks control -- the players still in junior, college or European hockey.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 12

On July 12, we celebrate two birthdays:
Happy birthday to: 
Pete Leswick: Right wing for the Capitals from 1944-46, with a pair of 29-goal seasons. He played 114 games for the Caps, with 58 goals and 91 assists. He was a Second-Team All-Star in 1945, and a First-Teamer in 1946 with the Caps. He also had three points in eight playoff games those two seasons. He came to the Caps after playing six years before the war in various minor leagues -- and one game for the NHL's New York Rangers. After he returned from the service, he played two games for the Boston Bruins, and went from Indy to a high-scoring career with the AHL Cleveland Barons, where he posted four straight 30-goal seasons. He was a six-time AHL All-Star. He retired after the 1952-53 season. His brother Tony would later make a mark in Indianapolis, coaching the short-lived Capitols team in 1963. A native of Saskatoon, Sask., Pete was born in 1917. He passed away in 2005 at age 88.
Chris Snell: Ice defenseman in 1996-97. He had a strong season from the blueline, with 22 goals and 45 assists in 73 games. He also had 130 PIM in helping lead the Ice to a division championship. He was named an IHL Second Team All-Star for his efforts that season. The Sabres' seventh-round pick in 1991, Snell played six pro seasons in North America, mostly in the AHL/IHL. He played 34 NHL games for the Maple Leafs and Kings, tallying nine points -- both of his goals were scored shorthanded. He played his last six seasons in Germany, retiring in 2003. A native of Regina, Sask., he is 43.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Commentary: Impact of new rules?

Like a lot of sports followers worldwide, I've been enjoying soccer's World Cup over the last month. The artistry, the high drama, the back-and-forth play, it's all been great. But there's one thing that's notable about soccer -- it never changes. Tactics might change, and a few tweaks might be thrown in here or there (like the yellow/red card system instead of verbal warnings), but change comes slowly.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 11

Six birthdays today: former Capital Bill Folk (87), Racer Rick Fraser (60), IHL Ice Travis Thiessen (42) & Dave Chyzowski (43) and CHL Ice Duncan Paterson (40), as well as the late former Capital Eddie Bush.

Midweek link roundup

A lot has happened in hockey the last few days. A ton of links below the jump:

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Defenseman Anders Franzon joins Fuel

Anders Franzon (Photo provided by Indy Fuel)
The Indy Fuel continued to add to their roster Thursday, announcing the signing of defenseman Anders Franzon.

Franzon is the fifth player, and the first defenseman signed by the Fuel. He is a big puck-moving defenseman who stands 6-3 and a shade under 200 pounds. He played his rookie season for Fuel coach Scott Hillman last year, with 10 goals and 21 assists in 66 games for the CHL's Missouri Mavericks. He was the team's second-highest scoring defenseman.

"Andres is a steady defenseman that has a great ability to move the puck," Fuel coach Scott Hillman said in a release on Thursday. "He's coming off a strong rookie season, and given his steady, reliable play, we believe he has a bright future in professional hockey."

Franzon is a 25-year-old right-shot blueliner who hails from Plattsburgh, New York. 

Franzon also played four years collegiately at Vermont -- where he was a teammate of the Fuel's first signing, Pete Massar. He had four goals and 20 assists in 124 games and played a top-four defense role for the Catamounts. He was also a member of the Hockey East All-Academic team as a senior in 2013.

He's the third player who played for Coach Hillman with the Missouri Mavericks, joining Massar and center Kenton Miller.

"It was a great experience playing for Coach Hillman last season," Franzon said. "He's a determined, passionate coach that puts everything on the line to win every night."

Fuel release
Franzon's HockeyDB page
Franzon's University of Vermont profile
A "Getting to Know You" from the Lee's Summit Tribune

Today in Indianapolis hockey history: July 10

Five birthdays today: former Chief Monty Reynolds, IHL Ice Alain Nasreddine and USHL Ice Jay Cascalenda, Kyle Lundey and John Mitchell.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Commentary: Blackhawks' move stresses developmental system

The Chicago Blackhawks handed out a lot of money Wednesday afternoon -- $168 million, to be exact. That's just $7 million less than the United Center cost to build in 1994.

What it means is the two franchise's centerpieces -- Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane -- will be wearing Blackhawk sweaters through 2023. The two signed eight-year, $84 million extensions. Those will carry a $10.5 million annual cap hit -- an increase of $4.2 million each from the pair's current contracts.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 9

Five birthdays today: IHL Ice Steve Dubinsky and Marc Magliardti and USHL Ice Kyle Page, Christian Hilbrich and Matt Krug.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fuel add Kenton Miller, Garrett Klotz

The Indy Fuel have added two players to their roster, including their first veteran -- high-scoring center Kenton Miller and big, tough left wing Garrett Klotz. 

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 8

Five birthdays today: former Chief Len Ronson (78), IHL Ice Karl Dykhuis (42) & Glen Featherstone (46) and USHL Ice Adam Cardwell (27) and Mike Cichy (20).

Link roundup: Jim Waite back with Hawks & more

A few links from around the hockey world of interest to local hockey fans:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Indy's title teams: The 1950 Capitals

This is the 7th in a nine-part series looking at Indianapolis' championship-winning hockey teams. Previously: the 2009 Indiana Ice (USHL), the 2000 Indianapolis Ice (CHL), 1990 Indianapolis Ice (IHL), 1983 & 1982 Indianapolis Checkers (CHL) and the 1958 Indianapolis Chiefs (IHL). Next week: the 1942 Indianapolis Capitals.  
 
The 1948-49 season was one of change for the Indianapolis Capitals - and change for the better. With a new coach in Ott Heller and a host of new faces, the Caps were in the playoffs for the first time in three years, posted a 39-win season and re-established themselves as one of the AHL's elite teams.
1949-50 was a year to prove it.
The Calder Cup champion 1950 Indianapolis Capitals.

Most of the pieces were in place from the previous year. Terry Sawchuk, the AHL's Rookie of the Year in 1948-49, was rested, healthy and back for another tour in Indianapolis - thanks to future Hall of Famer Harry Lumley's presence in the Detroit Red Wing net. 

Gerry Reid was back. Fred Glover and Enio Sclisizzi would soon return from Detroit and reform the line that started the previous year on fire together. The Morrison brothers, who combined for 100 points as linemates, were back. Popular Nellie Podolsky, Englishman Al Dewsbury, big scorer Gordon Haidy, winger Pat Lundy, defenseman Benny Woit - all were back and ready to make a run at the Calder Cup. Newcomers were defenders Clare Raglan and future longtime NHLer Max Quackenbush, center Jim Uniac and wings Lyall Wiseman, Sam Mulholland and Doug McKay.

These Caps had something to prove. And the lineup to prove it with.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 7

Three birthdays today: IHL Ice Tony Hrkac, Richard Keyes and late former Capital Gerry Brown.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 6

Happy birthday to ...
Anders Kallur: Forward who played two games for the Checkers in 1979-80, compiling two assists. He came to North America after four years in the Swedish Elite League, and quickly went to the Islanders. He was part of four Stanley Cup champions and five Stanley Cup finalists during his six-year NHL career, playing 383 games and scoring 101 goals and 211 points. He also had 35 points in 78 playoff games. He and teammate Stefan Persson were the first European player to win a Stanley Cup. He is currently a scout with the Islanders. A native of Ludvika, Sweden, he is 62.
Kevin Herom: Left wing who played seven games for the Ice in 1988-89. He played 76 pro games, the majority with the AHL Springfield Indians the prior year. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Islanders in 1985. A native of Regina, Sask., he is 47. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 5

Happy birthday to ...
Ron Ingram: Racers coach for part of the 1977-78 season. The Racers went 16-31-4 under his tutelage before he was replaced with player-coach Bill Goldsworthy. He played 14 pro seasons, including 114 NHL games with the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Rangers, before retiring in 1970. He coached throughout the 1970s, winning championships in the EHL and NAHL. He was born in Toronto in 1933. He passed away in 1988 at age 54.
Byron Pool: Ice defenseman in 2002-03. He had seven assists and 118 penalty minutes in 46 games with the Ice. He also played in the WPHL and CHL with Monroe and Corpus Christi during a five-year pro career that spanned 1999-2004, which followed a four-year NCAA career at Colgate. He began coaching in 2007, and has spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach with the USHL's Fargo Force. A native of Unity, Sask., he is 39.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day links: Rockford, Regier & more

Happy Independence Day!

A few links for you, with the Indy Fuel, legendary former Checker Darcy Regier landing in the Coyotes' front office, and some development camp news.
  • Former Checker Darcy Regier was hired as the assistant GM of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes on Thursday. Regier, who played five seasons for the Checkers and was their coach for much of the year in 1984-85, had previously spent 17 years as the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres. He replaces another person with strong Indianapolis ties - Brad Treliving, who had played for the IHL Ice and was later commissioner of the CHL when the Ice played in that league. Treliving is now the Calgary Flames' GM. The Arizona Republic has more.
  • The Rockford IceHogs -- the Indy Fuel's AHL affiliate -- have signed a pair of players to AHL contracts in 29-year-old defenseman Zach Miskovic and 25-year-old forward Ryan Schnell. Both bring a measure of size and toughness to Rockford. And, as always, keep an eye on the IceHogs roster, as the Fuel anticipate 6-8 players being sent to Indy from the NHL & AHL affiliates in Chicago and Rockford.
  • IceHogs coach Mark Bernard discussed the organization's affiliation with the Fuel at a recent availability. "It's going to give us the ability to send a few more players down there if we want them to develop and work on certain things. I think they're going to be a fantastic organization in the ECHL. They've got a great coach in Scott Hillman, and we're excited to be partnered with them." Click below the jump to watch.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 4

On Independence Day, we celebrate three birthdays: Capitals champion Joe Fisher, Racers legend Pat Stapleton and former IHL Ice player & NHL vet Michal Sykora. 

Commentary: Pan Am Pavilion leaves memories

The boards are gone, the scoreboard taken down, and soon, the walls will be coming down, too. The Pan Am Pavilion has closed its doors.

The Indiana Ice warm up for a game at Pan Am Pavilion.
Built in 1987 as a legacy of the city hosting the Pan Am Games, the two ice rinks and the adjacent plaza have stood as a monument to an event that really propelled Indianapolis into the national eye as a host of major sporting events. Regular visits by the NCAA Final Four, Olympic Trials, the Super Bowl and others have followed, but for those of us who were around, the Pan Am Games left a great legacy.

As a rink, it was built to be a participatory one -- the home of the Indiana/World Skating Academy (which relocated a year ago) and a downtown place for public skating and recreational hockey. It became, out of necessity, the part-time home of the USHL's Indiana Ice the last two seasons.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 3

Happy birthday to ...
Samu Perhonen: Goaltender for the Ice in the 2013-14 season. He was 2-2-1 with a 3.19 GAA in eight games with the team. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A native of Jamsa, Finland, he is 21.

Fuel updates: Mascots, ticket plans, staff

A few updates from the Indy Fuel as they prepare for their first season.
  • The Fuel have introduced a half-season ticket that includes 18 of the 36 home games, including opening night Oct. 17 against Fort Wayne. Click here for info. Season tickets are now on sale. According to the team website, 9-game ticket plans will go on sale Aug. 1, and single-game tickets will go on sale Sept. 1.
  • The Fuel have introduced a dragon mascot, but are asking for your help. In July, anyone over age 13 can help name the dragon by going to the team's Facebook page, or via Twitter by tweeting @IndyFuel and using the #IndyFuelMascot hashtag, or via email at mascot@indyfuelhockey.com. Also, those under age 18 can enter a coloring contest to color the Fuel mascot! Click to download the coloring page. For more, including rules, terms and conditions, click here
  • The Fuel have recently announced several game-night staff additions, including photographers John & Kelly Wikman, off-ice officials supervisor Dennis Weber, and the announcing team of Andrew Smith (public address) and Scott Alan (emcee).

Links: Free agent frenzy

Whew! A pretty crazy start to the free agent period has leveled off a bit, but NHL stars and other players are moving.

Among movement of interest to local hockey fans:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 2

Happy birthday to ...
Randy Burchell: Goaltender who played five games for the Racers in 1976-77. He was 1-0-0 with a 3.53 GAA. He played two seasons professionally, spending much of his time with the Racers' affiliate in Mohawk Valley. A native of Montreal, he is 59.
Ryan Huska: Ice center from 1995-98 and former captain. He played 188 games for the Ice, with 39 goals, 31 assists and 230 penalty minutes. He played one game in the NHL for the Blackhawks in 1997-98. He played five professional seasons after finishing his junior career as a three-time Memorial Cup champion in Kamloops in 1995. He played three years with the Ice and two with the AHL's Lowell Lock Monsters. He began coaching in 2002 with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL, and has been there ever since, matriculating to head coach in 2007. He won the WHL's championship in 2009. He has a career coaching record of 303-164-37, including 109-29-8 the last two years. A native of Cranbrook, BC, he is 39.
James Kohout: Goaltender who played nine games for the Ice in 2004-05, going 1-4-1 with a 4.82 GAA. He played the next two seasons in the Tier III EJHL. A native of Acton, Mass., he is 27.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ECHL protected lists

The ECHL's teams have released their lists of qualifying offers. Players not on qualifying offers and unsigned become free agents available to sign with any ECHL team or any other hockey team. For reference, here are the end of season rosters.

One thing to note is the number of veterans who become free agents that the Indy Fuel (and other ECHL teams) can sign, as several players crossed the 260 professional game threshold to become veterans. Teams are allowed to sign up to four veterans, who often are core players and leaders of the team. Currently, the Fuel have 2 players on the roster -- both rookies, Pete Massar and Rhett Bly. 

What's notable is that a lot of teams rarely qualified their veterans (who become RFA). The teams retain the rights of qualified non-veterans for one calendar year. Not all teams used all eight qualifying offers. Players already signed do not have to be issued qualifying offers. Players on NHL/AHL contracts obviously do not have to be qualified, either, as they are property of the parent club. 

There have been a handful of affiliation changes this offseason so far besides the Fuel's affiliation with Chicago. 
Elmira: Buffalo (formerly New Jersey & Ottawa)
Indy: Chicago (expansion team)
Reading: Philadelphia (formerly Washington)
South Carolina: Washington (formerly Boston)
Toledo: Detroit (formerly Chicago & Detroit)

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: July 1

Happy Canada Day to our friends from north of the border. 
Happy birthday to ...
Harvey Fleming: A player who split the 1957-58 season with the Chiefs and Troy Bruins in the IHL. He started the year in Indianapolis and then went to Troy prior to the team winning the Turner Cup. He joined the Chiefs after playing two junior seasons in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He played two pro years, playing the following season in the Eastern Hockey League with Johnstown. A native of Elliott Lake, Ontario, he was born in 1931.
Justin Bailey: Right wing who played two games for the Ice in the 2011-12 season. He scored one goal in that stint. He went to the OHL's Kitchener Rangers the following year, and has scored 42 goals in 111 OHL games. He was picked by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. A native of Williamsville, NY, he is 19. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Indy's title teams: The 1958 Chiefs

This is the 6th in a series looking at Indianapolis' championship-winning hockey teams. Previously: the 2009 Indiana Ice (USHL), the 2000 Indianapolis Ice (CHL), 1990 Indianapolis Ice (IHL), 1983 & 1982 Indianapolis Checkers (CHL). Next week: the 1950 Indianapolis Capitals.

After finishing second in 1956-57, Indianapolis Chiefs coach Leo Lamoureux had a definite goal in mind - close the gap on the Cincinnati Mohawks.

The Mohawks were the IHL's greatest dynasty. In the 1957 Turner Cup Finals, the Mohawks swept the Chiefs in three games, outscoring them 16-2. In the Mohawks' five years in the league, they had never been challenged for first place and only once challenged in a playoff series - going seven games with Troy in the 1956 final.
The 1958 Turner Cup champion Indianapolis Chiefs.

They were the team to aim for. And Lamoureux wasted little time trying to bridge the gap. Two weeks after the Chiefs had been swept out of the 1957 Turner Cup Finals, their coach was scouring Canada, looking for the half-dozen players who would turn the Chiefs from a good team into a Turner Cup contender.

Lamoureux knew championships. He had played on two Stanley Cup winners with Montreal in 1944 and 1946, leaving hockey to run a restaurant. He sold the restaurant in 1956 to take over the Chiefs, and he slowly built the team into his image.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 30

Four birthdays today: former Capitol Ron Harris, Checkers Ron Sanko and Jamie Wansbrough and IHL Ice Craig Fisher.

June 30 in Indianapolis hockey history
2013: Three players with Ice ties are picked in the NHL Entry Draft -- 2010-11 player Adam Erne goes to Tampa Bay with the 33rd overall pick. 2013-14 players Aidan Muir (4th round-Edmonton) and Brian Pinho (6th round-Washington) also hear their names called at the podium.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday hockey links

A few items from around the world of hockey.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 29

June 29 in Indianapolis hockey history: 1981: Fred Creighton is named head coach and GM of the Indianapolis Checkers. He would lead the team to two Adams Cup championships and three Adams Cup Finals series in his three years as the team’s head coach. He would also become the Checkers' GM in 1984-85, before putting himself behind the bench during the playoffs, and later staying in the Islanders organization to coach the AHL Springfield Indians.

Happy birthday to ... 
Alec Richards: Goaltender who played four games for the Indiana Ice in 2004-05. He went 1-2-1 with a 3.47 GAA. He later played four years in the NCAA with the Yale Bulldogs. He signed with the Chicago Blackhawks upon the end of his college career and played four seasons in the Blackhawks' organizatuion for ECHL Toledo and AHL Rockford. A native of Robbinsdale, Minn., he is 27.

Tim Shoup: Indiana Ice defenseman in the 2013-14 season. He had five goals and 11 assists in 52 games for the Ice, and was named to the USHL's All-Rookie Team for his defensive play. He is committed to play collegiately at Dartmouth. A native of Pittsburgh, he is 19.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More NHL Draft: Blackhawks picks

As the ECHL affiliates of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Indy Fuel will be receiving players from the Hawks' system as they sign pro deals. So, it's worth taking a peek at who the Blackhawks added this year. Of the nine picks, the top 5 come from U.S.-based junior teams, two are from Europe and two from the Canadian Junior A ranks. All but the two Europeans are committed to U.S. colleges.

A peek at Chicago's draft haul. These are longer-term prospects, as Major Junior players cannot play professionally until they turn 20 or until they sign and their junior seasons end. Players who go to college will have the NHL team hold their rights until 30 days after they leave school.

ESPN.com has a good look at the Blackhawks' draft haul, and the fact that they drafted so many college players allows them a long-term development timeline. Also, a look at the picks from Blackhawks.com.

5 Ice taken in NHL Draft

Five Indiana Ice players were taken in the 2014 NHL Draft, including 3 members of the 2014 Clark Cup champions -- Josh Jacobs (NJ), Rinat Valiev (TOR), Blake Siebenaler (CBJ), Ryan Mantha (NYR) & Dwyer Tschantz (STL).

The five Ice players selected are the most in a single draft year. 

Jacobs' selection as the 41st overall pick makes him the second-highest Ice player to be drafted. John Carlson was the only one picked higher, taken 27th overall by Washington in 2008. He is the fourth player to be picked in the second round, joining Adam Erne (2013-TB), Sam Kurker (2012-STL) & Cristoval Nieves (2013-NYR). There have been 33 players from the Indiana Ice picked in the NHL Draft.

More below the jump.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 28

HUGE batch of birthdays today. Former Indianapolis Capitol (and NHL veteran) Jim Watson, Racers Murray Kennett and Gary Inness, Indiana Ice owner & former Checker Paul Skjodt, former Checker and Stanley Cup champion goalie Roland Melanson, another former Checker in Doug Moffatt, and IHL Ice Don Herzceg. Also born on June 28: late former Capitals Bill Jennings and Norm McAtee.

Friday, June 27, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 27

In addition to a draft retrospective, there are three birthdays today: former Checkers Red Laurence (57) and Sean Toomey (49) and late former Capital Lou Jankowski.

June 27 in Indianapolis hockey history 
2009: The NHL Entry Draft concludes in Montreal with two Ice players being picked in the seventh round. Nic Dowd, who would play for the Ice in 2009-10, is picked by Los Angeles. With the next pick, Mike Cichy, who finished the 2008-09 season with the Ice and was the Clark Cup Playoffs MVP, is picked by Montreal. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pre-draft link roundup

On NHL Draft eve, a few links to peruse while going through your favorite mock draft:
  • On Monday, former Indianapolis Ice goaltender Dominik Hasek became the 17th person with Indianapolis hockey ties to be chosen for the Hockey Hall of Fame. THN's Matt Larkin makes the case for the Dominator to be considered the greatest goalie ever. That was a title many once bestowed to another HOFer to matriculate in Indianapolis -- Terry Sawchuk.
  • This week, former Indiana Ice defenseman (and Fort Wayne native) Blake Siebenaler was profiled in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Siebenaler is one of several Ice players who are considered NHL Draft prospects. Also getting some ink this week in larger draft stories: 2012-13 Ice D Rinat Valiev & 2013-14 player Mitch Slattery, who was an affiliate list member who played one game for the Ice this past season. Ryan Mantha and Josh Jacobs are also projected to be picked in the draft. The first round is Friday night, with rounds 2-7 on Saturday. 
  • We look forward to the draft, but it's also a time to look back. With the Indy Fuel being affiliated with the Chicago Blackhawks, members of past draft classes could be in Indianapolis this fall. ESPN.com looks back at the 2010 class (which includes a familiar face in Nick Mattson -- whose development the Blackhawks seem to be happy with. Mattson will play at North Dakota this year), as well as the 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes. 
  • On the fun side, the Indy Fuel have unveiled the team mascot, a dragon. They're now seeking fan input on a name
  • ECHL affiliation news: the South Carolina Stingrays announced an affiliation with the NHL's Washington Capitals. South Carolina had previously been affiliated with the Boston Bruins. Washington moved its affiliation from Reading, which aligned with the previously-unaffiliated Philadelphia Flyers. This currently leaves Boston as one of five teams without an ECHL affiliation (the others: Colorado, New Jersey, San Jose, Ottawa). Currently, two of the ECHL's 21 teams are listed as independent, although Fort Wayne is reportedly open to seeking affiliation (the other team is Colorado). There are six ECHL teams that each have two NHL affiliates. Current ECHL-NHL affiliations.
  • More NHL news: the Pittsburgh Penguins have found a coach from the Western Hockey League: Mike Johnston of the Portland Winterhawks.
  • Don't forget to check our posts from earlier in the week: an interview with the Fuel's first player, Pete Massar, the Fuel's second signing - Rhett Bly, the ECHL's new division alignment and rules changes, and former Ice player Torey Krug being named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 26

June 26 in Indianapolis hockey history
2010: The NHL Entry Draft concludes in Los Angeles, with three Ice players being picked. Washington takes 2008-09 Ice player Stanislav Galiev in the third round with the 86th overall pick. In the sixth round, Anthony Bitetto (2008-10) goes to Nashville and Nick Mattson (2009-11) goes to Chicago. In addition, defenseman R.J. Boyd, who would be traded to the Ice in 2011, is drafted by Florida in the seventh round.   
2004: The NHL Entry Draft takes place in Raleigh, and two future Ice players hear their names. Brian Gifford is taken in the third round by the Penguins, and Sergei Kukushkin in the seventh round by the Stars. Gifford plays two seasons with the Ice, from 2004-06. Kukushkin plays part of the 2004-05 season with the team. 

Happy birthday to ...
Jean Therrien: Forward who played 66 games for the Chiefs in 1961-62, scoring 31 goals and assisting on 40. He was the team's third-leading scorer. He also played defense in a 12-year minor pro career that spanned 1959-71. His Chiefs season was his best in terms of goals and points. A native of Quebec City, he was born in 1937.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 25

Three birthdays today: Racer Dick Proceviat (68) and IHL Ice Dino Grossi (44) and Bill Armstrong (48).

June 25 in Indianapolis hockey history
2011: The NHL Draft concludes in St. Paul with three Ice players being selected. Blake Coleman, the reigning USHL Player of the Year, is picked in the third round by New Jersey. Fellow 2009-11 Ice player Brian Ferlin is picked in the fourth round by Boston. Sean Kuraly, who plays with the Ice from 2009-12, is taken in the fifth round by San Jose. Also, future Ice goaltender Samu Perhonen is taken in the third round with the 62nd overall pick by Edmonton. Perhonen would play for the Ice in the first part of the 2013-14 season.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Krug named to NHL All-Rookie Team

Former Indiana Ice defenseman Torey Krug was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team during the NHL Awards on Tuesday.
Torey Krug as a member of the Indiana Ice. 

Krug had a stellar rookie season with the Presidents Trophy champion Bruins, with 14 goals and 26 assists to total 40 points in 79 games. He was very solid in quarterbacking the Bruins' power play, with six goals and 19 points coming with the man advantage. Krug led rookie defensemen in power play goals, assists and points, and was third among rookie-defensemen in plus-minus with a +18 rating. He factored in on nearly two-fifths of his team's 50 power play goals. The Bruins had the NHL's third-best power play.

It was Krug's first full season in the NHL. He signed with the Bruins as a free agent in 2012 and played three regular-season games with the team through the end of the 2013 regular season, before being called up for the playoffs and helping lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final.

He ranks third in Bruins history for goals by a rookie defenseman, trailing only Ray Bourque and Greg Hawgood.
All-Rookie Team member Torey Krug

A 5-foot-9, 180-pound defenseman from Livonia, Mich., Krug had 47 points for the Indiana Ice in 2008-09. He helped lead the team to a Clark Cup championship, scoring the series-winning goal in the opening-round series' Game 5 against Cedar Rapids, and totaling seven points in the postseason. He went from the Ice to Michigan State, where he played two years and captained the Spartans, before joining the Bruins.

Torey isn't the only Krug to have a Clark Cup ring with the Ice. His older brother Adam was an assistant coach for this year's championship-winning Ice squad. Torey returned to Indianapolis and was on hand to drop the first puck before Game 4 of the Clark Cup Final this spring.

Krug is the second Indiana Ice player to receive an NHL All-Rookie honor. John Carlson, who played for the Ice in 2007-08, was named to the team in 2011 as a member of the Washington Capitals.

The rest of the All-Rookie team were Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen, Anaheim defenseman Hampus Lindholm, Tampa Bay forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, and Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon, the Calder Trophy winner.

Krug was fourth in the Calder Trophy voting, behind MacKinnon, Palat and Johnson. He was the highest-rated defenseman.

NHL.com release
Boston Bruins release

ECHL: Fuel in Western Conference, rules tweaks

The ECHL wrapped up its Board of Governors meeting, with a significant change to the division structure and a couple of minor rules tweaks.

The most notable change is the division/conference structure and a new playoff setup, creating four relatively equally-sized divisions. The Indy Fuel will compete in the ECHL's Western Conference, and in the Midwest Division, along with the Colorado Eagles, Evansville IceMen, Fort Wayne Komets and Kalamazoo Wings.

Fuel sign rookie Rhett Bly

The ECHL's Indy Fuel signed the team's second player over the weekend, adding rookie forward Rhett Bly from Merrimack College.
Indy Fuel forward Rhett Bly (Merrimack College)

Known as a strong skater, Bly played four years for the Warriors. In 143 career college games, he had 16 goals and 27 assists. He ranks among Merrimack's career games played leaders. His best year was a five-goal, 16-point season over 38 games as a junior. This season, he had a goal and two assists against NCAA qualifier Vermont, and also led the Warriors in +/- with a plus-3 rating.

He was named Merrimack's "Unsung Hero" for the last two years, going to the player who "exemplifies perseverance, enthusiasm, dedication and hard work throughout the season." He was also Merrimack's Strength and Conditioning Award winner.

"Rhett is a talented scorer and a relentless competitor," Fuel coach Scott Hillman said in a team release. "You can't keep him off the ice."

Bly is a 24-year-old forward who majored in business at the Massachusetts-based school. He came to Merrimack after playing three years of Junior A hockey in Canada. He was a point-a-game player, with 74 goals and 108 assists in 164 games. He had back-to-back 70-point seasons from 2008-10. He is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan. He joins fellow Hockey East alum Pete Massar, who played at the University of Vermont, as the Fuel's first two players. 

Indy Fuel release
Bly's Merrimack bio
Bly's career stats (from HockeyDB)

Meet the Fuel's first player, Pete Massar

Last week, the Indy Fuel announced Pete Massar as the ECHL team's first player.

Pete Massar (Photo: Ed Wolfstein)
The 5-9, 180-pound rookie from the University of Vermont is looking forward to his first full professional season, and being the first player on the Indy team.

"It comes with a lot of responsibility," Massar said Monday afternoon about being the team's first signing. "I'm going to have to put a lot of work in and make sure they made the right decision bringing me in. I'm pretty excited."

Massar comes to the Fuel from the University of Vermont, where he played the last two years of his four-year collegiate career. This past season, he scored six goals -- ranking fifth on the Catamounts -- and had nine points.

Although he describes himself as a skill player, Massar played this past season on Vermont's checking line. He also played on the power play and penalty kill for his home-state university -- a team he grew up watching when Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis were wearing green and gold.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 24

June 24 in Indianapolis hockey history
2006: The NHL Entry Draft takes place in Vancouver, and two future Ice players are picked. The Atlanta Thrashers take goaltender Alex Kangas in the fifth round, and the Washington Capitals pick Brent Gwidt in the sixth. Kangas would play the 2006-07 season for the Ice, Gwidt would play the 2006-09 seasons with the team and captain the Clark Cup championship team in 2009.
 Happy birthday to ...
Jean-Yves Leroux:  Ice left wing who had 14 goals and 17 assists in 69 games in 1996-97. The Blackhawks' second-round pick in 1994, "J-Y" needed only a year of seasoning in the IHL before jumping full-time to the NHL. He played four full seasons for the Blackhawks, scoring 16 goals and assisting on 22 in 220 games through 2001. He played one AHL season in Norfolk in 2001-02, and then played eight seasons of senior hockey and minor pro hockey in Quebec before retiring in 2010. A native of Montreal, he is 38.
Fred Creighton: Checkers coach from 1981-84, and again in the 1985 playoffs. He led the team to two CHL Adams Cup championships, a third Adams Cup final appearance, and one CHL regular-season championship in three years as the team's head coach and general manager. He remained as GM of the Checkers in their first season in the IHL in 1984-85, and ended up coaching the team in the final six games of the playoffs that season. Creighton is the only coach to win two championships coaching Indianapolis-based teams. His Checkers teams went 126-97-9 in the regular season, and exploded in the postseason. They were 27-15 in the playoffs -- including 11-2 en route to the 1982 title and 9-4 in the 1983 championship season. He remained with the Islanders organization, going behind the bench of the AHL Springfield Indians in 1985-86, and again as a midseason replacement the next two seasons. In total, he won five championships -- in 1971 & 1972 with EHL Charlotte, 1973 with CHL Omaha, and 1982 & 1983 with the Checkers. He also coached in six NHL seasons with the Atlanta Flames and Boston Bruins. A native of Hamiota, Man., he was born in 1930. He passed away in 2011. He is the uncle of former NHL and Indianapolis Ice player Adam Creighton. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hockey link roundup: June 23

A little bit to cover on Draft Week:
Ryan Huska with the Ice.

  • Former Indianapolis Ice captain Ryan Huska is moving up the coaching ladder. The longtime coach of the WHL's Kelowna Rockets, Huska was named as the head coach of the AHL's Adirondack Flames on Monday. They are the top affiliate of the Calgary Flames, and are based in Glens Falls, NY (the Flames' ECHL affiliate is the Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces). Huska's boss in Calgary, Brad Treliving, is also a former IHL Ice player, although their tenures did not coincide. Treliving was also the president of the Central Hockey League when the Indianapolis Ice played there.
  • In other former Ice player news, Bruce Cassidy is mentioned as a possibility for the Boston Bruins' coaching vacancy (scroll down the article to catch it). He is currently the head coach of the AHL Providence Bruins, and his development work has been heavily praised. Cassidy played for, and later coached, the IHL's Indianapolis Ice. He also has been the Washington Capitals' head coach. 
  • There are also a couple new NHL head coaches: Gerard Gallant in Florida, Willie Desjardins in Vancouver. And, as of yet, nobody in Pittsburgh.
  • Indiana native Mike Emrick describes for SI his call (and subsequent 110 seconds of silence) of the Kings' Stanley Cup championship moment, as well as a brief interview with the broadcasting legend. 
  • If you need to know when your favorite NHL team is playing, the 2014-15 schedule is out. It opens Wednesday, Oct. 8, and will conclude on Saturday, April 11.
  • The ECHL meetings took place over the weekend. This link has a small recap, but expect a few changes to be announced soon. Among the notables, a voice that might be familiar to Central Indiana fans, Fort Wayne's Bob Chase, was named Broadcaster of the Year. The 88-year-old is on his seventh decade as the Komets' broadcaster

  • Hasek elected to Hall of Fame

    Former Indianapolis Ice goaltender Dominik Hasek has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
    Dominik Hasek with the Indianapolis Ice.

    Hasek was a goaltender for the Ice from 1990-1992. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in 1983, but came to North America in 1990 and began his pro career with the Ice, sharing time in net with Jim Waite. He played 53 games for the Ice, going 27-21-4 with a 2.91 goals against average. He got called up to Chicago during each of those two seasons.

    However, with Ed Belfour manning the net in Chicago, Hasek was traded to Buffalo in the summer of 1992. There, he began to establish his Hall of Fame credentials, posting a 1.95 GAA in his first full season as a starter -- 1993-94. He topped that with a 1.87 GAA in 1998-99, the year he helped lead the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Final.

    Hasek is the 17th person with Indianapolis ties to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, and the first since former Checkers GM Jim Devellano in 2010.

    The remainder of the 2014 class is made up of players Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, as well as referee Bill McCreary and former coach Pat Burns, a posthumous inductee.

    Considered one of the greatest goaltenders of all time, "The Dominator" won the William Jennings Trophy (fewest goals allowed) with Buffalo in 1994 and 2001 and with Detroit in 2008. He also won the Vezina trophy six times (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001), all with the Sabres. He was the Hart Trophy winner (NHL MVP) in 1998, after a year he went 33-2313 with a 2.09 GAA. He also won the Lester Pearson Trophy (NHL MVP as voted on by the players) in 1997 and 1998.  He was a Stanley Cup champion in 2002 and 2008, both with Detroit, and played in the Stanley Cup Final in 1999 with the Sabres.

    Indy's title teams: The 1982 Checkers

    This is the fifth in a nine-part series looking at Indianapolis' nine championship-winning hockey teams. Previously, the 2009 Indiana Ice (USHL), the 2000 Indianapolis Ice (new CHL), the 1990 Indianapolis Ice (IHL) and the 1983 Indianapolis Checkers (old CHL). Next Monday: the 1958 Indianapolis Chiefs (IHL). 

    In minor league hockey, franchises come and go. Players do the same. Rosters turn over completely every couple of years. A team at the end of the season looks nothing like one at the beginning.

    The Checkers skate the Adams Cup in 1982
    The Indianapolis Checkers had managed to buck the trend in their first two seasons -- and for most of their five-year history in the Central Hockey League. But there was one major overhaul the New York Islanders' minor-league affiliate went through during its five-year history, coming in the summer of 1981.

    There was a new home rink, as the Chex traded their spot at Market Square Arena for the cozier digs of the 8,100-seat, 1939-built Fairgrounds Coliseum. There were several new players. And there was a new sheriff in town, as coach Bert Marshall and GM Jim Devellano left the team at the end of the previous season, to be replaced by one man – Fred Creighton.

    A hard-nosed coach, Creighton had seen several stints in the National Hockey League. He was trying to find his way through the new league and a handful of new players sent down by the New York Islanders. He stressed being sound and disciplined on defense and creating pressure on the forecheck. With the Coliseum’s gigantic – and unorthodox -- 210x90 surface, offensive play was going to be even more stressed. But despite a number of new faces on the roster, Creighton had a number of returnees including a pair of goaltenders who had joined the Chex at the end of the previous season, and were on their way to becoming household names in Indianapolis – veteran Rob Holland and rookie Kelly Hrudey. Captain Kevin Devine was also back, as was big-scoring wing Neil Hawryliw. Charlie Skjodt, Monty Trottier and Mike Hordy also returned after a stint with the Isles.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 23

    June 23 in Indianapolis hockey history
    2012: The NHL Entry Draft concludes in Pittsburgh with three Ice players selected. 2011-12 player Cristoval "Boo" Nieves goes in the second round to the Rangers, 2010-12 player Jon Gillies goes in the third round to Calgary, and 2011-13 player Robbie Baillargeon in the fifth round to Ottawa. In addition, Sam Kurker -- who would join the Ice for the end of the 2013-14 season -- is picked in the second round by the Blues with the 56th overall pick.  

    Happy birthday to ...
    Larry "Sam" Kennedy: Capitals right wing in 1946-47. In 27 games, he had three goals and three assists. He played five minor pro seasons, mostly in the "AA"-level USHL and PCHL. A native of Brantford, Ont., he was born in 1921. 

    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 22

    In addition to a big draft day, there are four birthdays today: Racer/Checker Jim Park (63) & USHL Ice Eric Kattelus (27), Tyger Howat (19) and Adam Johnson (20).

    June 22 in Indianapolis hockey history:
    2007: The NHL Entry Draft takes place in Columbus, and four future Ice players hear their names. Brett Bruneteau goes in the fourth round to Washington, Ben Blood in the fourth round to Ottawa, Paul Carey in the fifth round to Colorado and Scott Darling in the sixth round to Phoenix. All four would play for the Ice in the 2007-08 season.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 21

    June 21 in Indianapolis hockey history
    2008: The NHL Entry Draft concludes in Ottawa. In addition to John Carlson being selected 27th overall by Washington, two other Ice players hear their names -- 2007-08 player Corey Fienhage goes to Buffalo in the third round, and 2004-07 player Garrett Roe goes to Los Angeles in the seventh round.

    Happy birthday to: 
    Jeff Ricciardi: Ice defenseman from 1993-95. In 135 games, the rugged defender had five goals and 31 assists, as well as 494 penalty minutes. Drafted in the eighth round by Winnipeg in 1991, he broke into the professional ranks in 1992 with ECHL Johnstown and AHL Providence, before joining the Ice the following year. He also played two more IHL seasons before moving to Europe for a long career before retiring in 2008. A native of Thunder Bay, Ont., he is 43.
    Gerry Skrypec: Ice defenseman in 1994-95. The Blackhawks' sixth-round pick in 1992, he had a goal in 14 games, playing that season primarily for ECHL Columbus. It was his only minor pro season after a four-year OHL career. A native of Kitchener, Ont., he is 40.

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    Friday link roundup

    A few items of interest to local hockey fans have popped up in the last couple of days, so time for another link roundup.
    • ICYMI, a couple of posts from yesterday: 
    • The NHL Draft is a week away. Three players with Indiana Ice ties were rated in the top 100 by THN's Ryan Kennedy. Josh Jacobs is rated 43rd, 2012-13 Ice player Blake Siebenaler is rated 74th and defenseman Ryan Mantha was rated 85th. The Hockey Writers' Shawn Reznik has Jacobs rated 32nd in his top 60. Several other current and former USHL players are also on the list. THW's profile on Jacobs is here.
    • The United States of Hockey's Chris Peters has an interesting blog post on USA Hockey participation around the nation. Indiana's 5,922 players ranks 21st in the nation, but the growth (2.1%) is higher than the national average.
    • Indiana Ice 2008-09 Clark Cup champion-turned-Boston Bruin Torey Krug has a new website. Check it out at ToreyKrug.com.
    • A few NHL items with potential local interest: 
      • It's been known for some time that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic. We now know their opponent - the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks will be playing in their second Winter Classic -- they hosted the second one at Wrigley Field -- and third outdoor game. The Hawks also hosted Pittsburgh in a Stadium Series game last season at Soldier Field.
      • Boston Bruins assistant Geoff Ward is taking a head coaching job in Germany, leaving a vacancy on Claude Julien's bench. One candidate widely mentioned to be moving up? Former IHL Ice player and head coach Bruce Cassidy, who is the head coach of the Bruins' AHL affiliate in Providence. Cassidy also has NHL head coaching experience with the Washington Capitals.
      • The Carolina Hurricanes hired Bill Peters as their head coach on Thursday. Peters had previously coached in the Blackhawks' organization in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs.
      • The 2014-15 NHL schedule will be announced Sunday. 
    • The Pan Am Pavilion, where the Indiana Ice played a significant number of home games the last two seasons (as well as a handful of games in previous seasons) is officially closed. The site is slated for redevelopment into a two-tower hotel. Here was their Facebook post on the closing: "This is how it ends. The funeral dirge for Pan Am pavilion, a building that has seen 30 years of hockey figure skating and even curling pass through its doors and onto the ice of two rinks. The altogether unimpressive brick and mortar clothing metal girders has undoubtedly held the echoes of many of you for the last time. From the echo of private conversation to the constant hum of the compressors the building will sit silent because of all the life taken from it. All that life belonging to you our customers, from the die hard, week in and out attendees to those who visited once in a great while you will all be missed. Because in the end Pan Am the building was just that; a building. It was the great people whom passed through those doors that gave it life. It’s from the bottom of our hearts and with the most sincere offering we the staff say thank you. Thank you for bearing through it all with us, and most importantly thank you for helping us chase a dream and afford the blessing of working in a field where our hearts passion was the main focus of our livelihood."

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 20

    In addition to a big draft day, there are five birthdays today: Checker Chris Pusey, USHL Ice Chris Darnell, Daniil Tarasov and Cody Gylling, and late former Capital Alex Motter.

    June 20 in Indianapolis hockey history
    2008: Ice defenseman John Carlson is picked in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals. Carlson had led the Ice to a division title. He goes 27th overall in the draft, and becomes a mainstay on the Caps' blueline.

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Ice on the move: Brown to Ottawa & more

    As we noted last night, former Indiana Ice coach Jeff Brown has been named the head coach of the OHL's Ottawa 67s.

    "To join my hometown OHL team and provide my family with the opportunity to live in the great city of Ottawa is a dream come true," Brown said at his introductory press conference today. Brown, 48, is an Ottawa native who coached the Ice for two seasons. 

    Links to articles from Ottawa about Coach Brown:
    Ottawa 67s release 
    Ottawa Sun 
    Yahoo Canada
    Ottawa Citizen

    More Ice notes below the jump.

    Fuel sign first player: Pete Massar

    The Indy Fuel have signed their first player, rookie forward Pete Massar from the University of Vermont.

    Pete Massar (Univ. of Vermont)
    He played four years of college hockey, two at Clarkson and two at Vermont. In 70 collegiate games, he had nine goals and eight assists, including six goals and three assists in 31 games as a fifth-year senior this past year.

    He made his professional debut last spring for Fuel coach Scott Hillman's Missouri Mavericks in the CHL, playing the team's final two playoff games. He made an immediate impact, scoring two goals in his first game.

    "He traveled three time zones after being notified at 1 a.m. that we needed him that very same day," Fuel coach Scott Hillman said in a release. "He arrived just a few hours before the game and scored two goals in a heartbreaking 4-3 double OT game. Despite having played just two games he has shown that he is ready to be an impact player in professional hockey.”

    A native of Vermont, Massar is a right shot forward who stands 5-9, 180. Prior to his college career, he had 54 points in 36 games in the Tier III Eastern Junior Hockey League in 2008-09.

    He was considered a strong forechecker who was a key part of Vermont's checking line a year ago. He played on the power play and penalty kill for the Catamounts.

    Indy Fuel release
    Burlington Free Press article on Massar
    University of Vermont bio
    Pete's HockeyDB profile

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 19

    Two birthdays today:
    Happy birthday to ... 
    Ed Reigle: Defenseman for the Capitals from 1944-46, joining the team after a tour of duty in the Canadian Army during World War II. He had a goal and eight assists in 35 games with the Caps, as well as a goal and three assists in five playoff games in 1945. He played most of those two seasons for the Red Wings' "AA" affiliate in Omaha. He played the bulk of his minor pro career in Cleveland from 1949-55. He played 17 NHL games with the Boston Bruins in 1950-51. A native of Winnipeg, he was born in 1924. He passed away in 2003 at age 79.
    Shane Berschbach: Ice winger from 2008-10. He had 32 goals and 47 assists in 98 USHL games with the Ice, as well as 17 points in 19 playoff games. He had four goals and six assists in 10 games to help lead the Ice to the 2009 Clark Cup championship. He also led the team with four goals in the 2010 playoffs. He recently completed a four-year career with Western Michigan, where he had 39 goals and 78 assists in 146 games. He led the Broncos with 16 goals and 38 points this season. After finishing his collegiate career this spring, he played for the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings, scoring a goal and an assist in three games. A native of Clawson, Mich., he is 23.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Report: Ice's Brown headed to Ottawa

    Multiple sources out of Ottawa have reported that Indiana Ice coach Jeff Brown will be announced Thursday as the coach of the Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League.
    Jeff Brown (Indiana Ice photo)

    Brown led the Ice to a 42-11-7 record and the USHL Clark Cup championship this past season. As coach and general manager, he took over midway through the 2012-13 season and orchestrated a rebuild that led to a worst-to-first turnaround and a championship. He was named the USHL's General Manager of the Year this past season for his efforts in building the roster, using a slew of trades during the 2012-13 season to build a stockpile of draft picks that was used to pick several key pieces for this year's championship squad.

    During his tenure with the Ice, Brown's teams went 54-32-5. They also went 9-4 in the postseason -- all coming this season. His teams had a strong emphasis on defense, a heavy forecheck and mobile defensemen who had the freedom to play as Brown often did as an NHL veteran, with the freedom to pinch in from the points to keep the attack alive. This season, the Ice were the USHL's top possession team, leading the league in both shots and shots allowed. The Ice had eight shutouts in 2013-14 -- a franchise record -- and were the top defensive team in the USHL this past season. The Ice were also the third-highest scoring team in the league at the same time.

    Hockey links: Cups running over

    Even though it's the offseason, a pretty decent link roundup today.
    Updated with a couple of new links Wednesday evening.
    • The ECHL offseason began Monday, and teams have begun the process of re-signing their players. Orlando has inked five -- including two new players. Fort Wayne discusses its offseason plans. A look at the teams' end-of-season rosters is here. There are two big dates to look for -- one was Monday, the other is June 30. After that date, all players not signed or extended qualifying offers by their ECHL teams are free agents.
    • The ECHL league meetings are this weekend in Las Vegas. The major item on the agenda is the league alignment and playoff structure now that the Eastern Conference has 14 teams and the Western Conference has seven. Some rules changes could also be proposed/enacted, especially with the NHL making some minor tweaks to the game, especially with regards to faceoff procedure. The ECHL and NHL rulebooks are very similar, with the most notable difference being the ECHL has a five-round shootout as opposed to the NHL's three rounds.
    • In other ECHL news, the Nashville Predators re-upped their affiliation with Cincinnati. The Predators and Florida Panthers shared an affiliation with the Eastern Conference Champion Cyclones this year. 
    • The AHL's Texas Stars (Dallas affiliate) won the Calder Cup on Tuesday with their third straight overtime victory. Patrick Nemeth was the series hero with the OT winner in Game 5 to clinch the best-of-7 4-1. Nine Stars were ECHL alumni.
    • Speaking of championships, Adam Gretz has done an interesting breakdown of recent Stanley Cup champions and the qualities they share. Most important? Possess the puck.
    • Led by coach Darryl Sutter, the Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three years last Friday. The "dynasty" word is being thrown around a lot? ESPN's Pierre LeBrun asks if they're a dynasty in the making. Yahoo's Harrison Mooney says no, they're not a dynasty
    • Looking ahead to next weekend's NHL Draft, the Blackhawks look at their 27th pick. In addition, five former Indiana Ice players -- Josh Jacobs, Ryan Mantha, Blake Siebenaler, Rinat Valiev and Mitch Slattery -- are draft prospects and could hear their name called next weekend. 
    • Speaking of the Blackhawks, TSN takes a look at their off-season gameplan & roster. 
    • Former Indianapolis player news: ex-Checker Bruce Affleck has a new job in the St. Louis Blues' front office. The Hrkac Circus is going to the USHL - former IHL Ice scorer Tony Hrkac is a Madison Capitols assistant coach. THN has a nice piece on Blake Geoffrion, whose brother Sebastien played for the 2009 Clark Cup champion Ice. 
    • And a fun one to cap things off: THN's Rory Boylen takes a look at 9 of his favorite "obscure" players. Two are former IHL Ice players -- Chris Terreri and Sergei Krivokrasov. 

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 18

    One birthday today.
    Happy birthday to ...
    Ryan Mantha: Indiana Ice defenseman in 2013-14. Joining the team in a midseason trade with Sioux City, Mantha was a pivotal piece in the Ice's Clark Cup championship. He had two goals and seven assists in 24 regular-season games, and three assists in 10 playoff games. Mantha had the second assist on Brian Pinho's Clark Cup-winning goal with 2:15 left in the 3-2 Game 5 victory over Waterloo. He has committed to play collegiately at the University of North Dakota. He is the nephew of former NHL player Moe Mantha. A native of Clarkston, Mich., he is 18.

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 17

    Seven birthdays today: Racers Dave Fortier and Al McLeod, IHL Ice Jeff Sirkka and Andrei Kozyrev, CHL Ice Eric Soltys and USHL Ice Jason Bourgea. Also, we honor the late Mark Teevens, a 30-goal scorer with the Ice in 1988-89.

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    ECHL: Season-ending rosters released

    The ECHL released its season-ending list of 20-man rosters on Monday. The rosters had to be submitted and finalized Sunday afternoon. This will mean more to us in a year when the Indy Fuel are protecting players, but it's at least a good look at the player pool in the ECHL.

    Read the list here. 

    The ECHL does a good job of explaining what this means. Essentially, of the 20 players on each roster:
    • A team can sign any of its own players starting today. Players who sign contracts with their existing team do not have to be extended offer sheets. 
    • A team can extend offer sheets to 8 unsigned players on its 20-man roster, essentially "protecting" those players, between now and July 1. 
    • Players have until Aug. 1 to either sign or reject the offer sheet.
    • The ECHL team extending the offer sheet will hold the rights to non-veterans (players with less than 260 professional games) for one year. Veteran players become restricted free agents free to sign with any team, but the original team has seven days to match any offer until Aug. 31. After that date, all veterans with unsigned offer sheets become unrestricted free agents and are free to sign with any team.
    • All players not re-signed by their original teams or extended qualifying offers by June 30 become unrestricted free agents and are free to sign with any team. Those free agents are the players to keep an eye on, as those will be the players available to the Fuel -- and by extension, any other ECHL team.
    • Players under NHL or AHL contracts are not subject to this system, as their rights are held by the NHL/AHL parent club and not with the ECHL club.
    Of note: Las Vegas will suspend operations for one season while it works out its arena situation, so it does not have a 20-man roster.  Therefore, all of the Wranglers are automatically free agents.

    Indy's title teams: The 1983 Checkers

    This is the fourth in a nine-part series looking back at Indianapolis championship hockey teams. The next five editions will run each Monday. Previous retrospectives: the 2009 Indiana Ice, the 2000 Indianapolis Ice and the 1990 Indianapolis Ice.Next Monday: The 1982 Indianapolis Checkers.

    The Checkers stream off the bench to celebrate the 1983 championship.
    The New York Islanders were hockey's premier franchise in the early 1980s. Winners of four straight Stanley Cups -- and five straight trips to the Stanley Cup Final -- they were one of hockey's greatest dynasties.


    Not only were the Islanders one of the greatest teams in NHL history in that time frame, their success filtered down through the organization. During their dynasty years -- from 1979-84 -- their top farm team was the Indianapolis Checkers. Wearing the same blue-and-orange uniforms as the Islanders, the Checkers mirrored the success of their parent club -- with a group of veteran stars that remained largely intact year-to-year, a stable roster and a winning tradition. The Checkers had been birthed in the aftermath of the Racers' midseason suspension of operations in December 1978. Eight months later, the Islanders put a minor-league team in Indianapolis, and GM Jim Devellano said, "when hockey treats Indianapolis right, Indianapolis will treat hockey right."

    The Islanders and Checkers couldn't have treated Indianapolis much better, putting a winning team on the ice their first two seasons -- although they were successful, they couldn't scale the mountain and win a title. In 1981-82, that changed. With new coach Fred Creighton in charge, a stellar tandem of Rob Holland and future NHL mainstay Kelly Hrudey in goal, and a roster built around a veteran core and a few promising prospects, the Checkers had the right ingredients. One big addition was that of 40-goal scorer Red Laurence, whom Creighton had coached in the NHL. The team caught fire at the end of the season and won the Adams Cup championship.

    In 1982-83, the team looked poised for a repeat. Many of the same players were back -- including Holland and Hrudey in goal, rocks Tim Lockridge, Kelly Davis and Darcy Regier on the blueline, and perennial Checkers Garth MacGuigan, Kevin Devine, Steve Stoyanovich and Laurence up front, the team had a strong veteran core. Add to it a slew of talented rookies -- Gord Dineen, Scott Howson, Mats Hallin, Greg Gilbert, Ron Handy and Dave Simpson among them -- and this team looked to be the class of the CHL.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 16

    Two birthdays today: CHL Ice players Steve Toll & Kevin Carr.

    Happy birthday to ...
    Steve Toll: Ice forward in their inaugural 1999-2000 CHL season. He had four goals and five assists in 26 games. After playing collegiately at RIT -- where he was the national Div. III Player of the Year in 1997 -- he finished the 1997-98 season in the ECHL and played three full professional seasons, all in the CHL. After retiring from hockey, he became an accomplished lacrosse player, winning five NLL championships in Toronto and Rochester. "Speedin' Stevie" was named the league's Transition Player of the Year in 2007. He is currently an executive in the Canadian Lacrosse League. A native of Thorold, Ont., he is 40.
    Kevin Carr: Defenseman who played two games for the Ice in 2003-04. A native of Chicago, he is 36.

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 15

    On June 15, the Ice announce a move to the Central Hockey League and we celebrate two birthdays: Hall of Famer Marcel Pronovost and Indiana Ice player Dan Cesarz.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    Former Ice coach Sutter wins Stanley Cup

    The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup late Friday night (or Saturday morning in Indy) when Alec Martinez buried a rebound in the second overtime, giving the Kings a 3-2 win in the game and a 4-1 victory in the series.
    Darryl Sutter coaching the Ice in the 1989-90 season.

    What this means, of course, is that Kings coach Darryl Sutter is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, adding another name with an Indianapolis connection to the Stanley Cup.

    Sutter coached the Indianapolis Ice to the 1990 IHL Turner Cup championship and has now led the Kings to the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.

    Coverage of the final game from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and New York Times, as well as the LA Times' postgame column from veteran hockey writer Helene Elliott.

    Also, check out a couple of feature stories on the Kings' coach, who has famously been a man of few words publicly this postseason. One, from Newsday, looks at him matching his brothers Duane & Brent, who each won multiple Stanley Cups as players with the Islanders. Duane also coached the Ice from 1993-95. Another story, from the Toronto Star, looks at Darryl's relationship with his son, Christopher, and others who have Down Syndrome.

    Click here for a list of all Indianapolis hockey players/personnel who have had their name on the Stanley Cup.