Monday, May 30, 2011

Today in history: May 30

Please remember those who have served our nation on this Memorial Day.

Some birthdays:
Archie Wilder: Left wing who played in 65 games with the Capitals from 1939-41, and was part of the inaugural Capitals team. He had 13 goals and 15 assists in a blue-and-white Caps uniform. He also played part of the 1940-41 season with the Red Wings, his only NHL action. He totaled two assists. After his brief two-year professional stint, he played senior hockey in Saskatoon and Calgary through 1952. He is also a World War II veteran. A native of Melville, Saskatchewan, he was born in 1917. He passed away in 2002.
Bob Cox: Center who played for the short-lived 1963 Capitols team. He had a goal and two assists in the eight games the team was known as the Capitols, and ended up with a 16-goal season after the team moved to Cincinnati to finish out the year. He would play three years after that in the "AA"-level USHL. A native of Kimberley, B.C., he is 70.
Vern Smith: Defenseman who joined the Indianapolis Checkers from junior as a playoff-only player in 1984 after playing for New Westminster in the WHL. He was the Islanders' second-round pick in 1982. He played seven playoff games, then got his NHL break the next year when he suited up for one Islanders game. He spent five years in AHL Springfield -- the Isles' top affiliate after the CHL folded in 1984 -- before suiting up for several other CHL and IHL teams and retiring from hockey in 1992. A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, he is 47.
David Hymovitz: "Hymo" was a left wing who had a breakout season with the Ice in their final 1998-99 year, but played three seasons with the Ice after graduating from Boston College. He began his pro career primarily playing with ECHL Columbus in 1996, but suited up for six Ice games. He played the next two full seasons in Indy. He totaled 57 goals and 46 assists in 147 Ice games, and also had a 3-4-7 line in 11 postseason games over those three seasons. His best year was 1998-99, in which he tallied 46 goals and 30 assists and helped lead the Ice to their first playoff series victory in nine years. After the Ice dropped a level in 1999, he played with Houston, Lowell, Grand Rapids, Binghamton ad Manchester of the AHL and UHL Richmond, Danbury and Elmira, retiring in 2007. He had a 100-point season with Richmond in 2004-05 -- his highest-scoring season. His 1999 Ice season was his only 40-goal season as a pro. A native of Randolph, Mass., he is 37. Today, he lives and works in the Boston area.

Saint John, Galiev win Memorial Cup

Stanislav Galiev has now won the highest prize in junior hockey in not one, but two countries.

The Russian forward who played for the Ice's Clark Cup champs in 2009 -- the national championship in the United States' lone Tier I junior league -- has now hoisted Canada's top prize. Galiev's Saint John Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup by beating the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 3-1 in the title game.

Galiev, a Washington Capitals draft pick, scored 37 goals and added 28 assists this year. He also had a 10-17-27 line in the postseason. He had a goal and two assists in the four-team Memorial Cup tournament. 

The Majors also had a local tie, as coach/GM Dave Cameron was a member of the Checkers from 1979-81, totaling 40 goals in his second season with the Chex. Cameron was also coach of Canada's silver medal-winning hockey team in the World Junior Championship this year.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Today in history: May 29

It's Indianapolis 500 Sunday, so we look back at the birthdays while sitting in traffic and putting our earplugs in. Enjoy race day, wherever you are!
Ken MacKenzie: Left wing who played a partial season with the Capitals in 1948-49, splitting the year between the Caps and Buffalo Bisons. He had 13 goals on the year. He had played in the "AA"-level USHL prior to his stint with the Ice, and went back to the league after 1949, posting back-to-back 20-goal seasons. A native of Winnipeg, he was born in 1920.
Bernie Hill: Defenseman who played 13 scoreless games with the Chiefs in their inaugural 1955-56 season. He played seven years, primarily in the Eastern Hockey League -- the IHL's eastern seaboard counterpart. A native of Toronto, he was born in 1929. 
Larry Mavety: Member of the Racers in their 1976-77 season, playing 10 games and totaling two goals and two assists. He played several WHA seasons, starting with the league's inaugural 1972-73 year, but those would be his final games in the WHA. After retiring in 1979 as a player, he began a long coaching career, all spent in the major junior OHL. He is currently the general manager of the Kingston Frontenacs -- and his last stint as coach was succeeding ex-Ice player and coach Bruce Cassidy. He is one of several ex-Indianapolis players running major junior teams. A native of Woodstock, Ontario, he is 69.
Brian Noonan: Right wing who played for the Ice in their Turner Cup championship season of 1989-90, stayed in Indy the following year, and returned in 1998-99 after a long NHL career. In 180 games with the Ice, he totaled 97 goals and 133 assists. He also had a 6-9-15 line in the 1990 Turner Cup playoffs, and also scored six goals in the epic 1991 seven-game loss to Fort Wayne. He was an IHL Second-Team All-Star in 1990 and a First-Team All-Star in 1991. He also was the top American-born rookie in the league in 1986 with Saginaw, then the Blackhawks' affiliate. In the meantime, he played 629 NHL games, totaling 116 goals. He played for the Blackahwks, Rangers, Blues, Canucks and Coyotes, leaving the Ice in 1999 to go to Phoenix at the end of that season. After the Ice left the IHL, he finished his career with the IHL's Chicago Wolves. He won the Stanley Cup in 1994 with the Rangers -- and is believed to have scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in Game 7, although it was attributed to ex-Racer Mark Messier -- and played in the 1992 finals with Chicago. Today, he coaches high school hockey in Chicago. A native of Boston, he is 46. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Today in history: May 27-28

Another birthday post on Today in History
May 27
Philippe Choiniere: Wing who played with the Ice in their final CHL season of 2003-04. He had five goals and five assists in 57 games that year after joining the team from the University of Calgary. He played one more CHL season in Amarillo, then two years in Europe. A native of Durham, Quebec, he is 31. 
Nic Dowd: Ice center in 2009-10 who was picked in the seventh round by the Kings in 2009. He had 16 goals and 23 assists for the Ice -- in addition to two playoff goals -- in 46 games and then had a 5-13-18 line in 36 games as a freshman at St. Cloud State this year. A native of Huntsville, Alabama, he is 21.

May 28
Doug McKay:  Left wing who is the answer to a trivia question, as he played his only NHL game in 1950 for the Detroit Red Wings -- in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Wings went on to win the Cup that year, giving McKay a rare double. He and teammate Gordon Haidy won the Calder Cup with the Capitals, then went to Detroit and finished the playoffs with the Stanley Cup champs. He played for the Caps from 1949-52, totaling 25 goals and 47 assists in 150 games. He also had a 2-6-8 line as the Caps swept the 1950 Calder Cup playoffs. McKay's best season was the championship year, when he posted a 16-31-47 line. Long after retiring from playing, he coached in the IHL and AHL from 1979-82, winning the Turner Cup with Kalamazoo in 1980. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, he is 82.
Hugo Belanger: Left wing who played for the Ice from 1993-95, joining the team after finishing his collegiate career at Clarkson. He posted two 20-goal seasons, totaling 43 goals and 40 assists in 141 games with the Ice. After his two-year stint in Indy, he primarily played at the "AA" level, with stints in the ECHL, WCHL and a long six-year stint with Adirondack of the UHL, in which he posted six straight 30-goal seasons and came two points shy of six straight 100-point seasons in 2006, his final pro season. He had an amazing 42-101-143 year in 2002-03 with Adirondack, and a 54-90-144 season in 1995-96 with the ECHL Nashville Knights. He continued to play senior hockey in Quebec through 2008. He was a prolific scorer who tallied 425 goals and 848 assists in his career, had two 50-goal seasons and nine 100-point seasons. A native of St. Hubert, Quebec, he is 41. 
Jared Dumba: Left wing who played for the Ice in their final two CHL seasons from 2002-04. He was a strong scorer, with two 25-goal seasons. He had 53 goals and 60 assists in those two years, playing 107 games. He also had 10 playoff goals those two years. He had been a CHL veteran, playing three years in OKC before coming to Indy, and then six more pro seasons -- four in the CHL, two in the reconstituted IHL -- before retiring in 2009. He had five 20-goal seasons in his career. A native of Dysart, Saskatchewan, he is 32.
Alex Kangas: Ice goaltender in 2006-07 who just completed a successful four-year career at the University of Minnesota. He had a 19-19-5 record and a 3.31 GAA with the Ice. He was picked in the fifth round in 2006 by the Atlanta Thrashers. He is one of three goaltenders in Minnesota history to stop 2,600 shots in his four-year college career. A native of Rochester, Minnesota, he is 24.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today in history: May 23-26

We're shifting into a bit of off-season mode, so the posts will be a bit more of a "catch-up" variety. So, here's a "catch-up" on the birthdays. We have a lot of them.

May 23
Vic Stasiuk: Winger who played eight games for the Capitals in their final season of 1951-52, but he wouldn't last in the minors long that year. He'd tally seven goals and an assist in those eight games, and quickly end up in the NHL, playing 58 games for the Red Wings' Stanley Cup champions that season. He split the next three seasons between Detroit and Edmonton -- the WHL team that replaced the Caps as the Wings' top affiliate -- before being dealt to the Boston Bruins in 1955. Vic played five and a half seasons in Boston -- tallying 20+ goals four times -- before going back to Detroit for two more full seasons. Ironically, he finished his hockey career in 1965-66 for the CHL's Memphis Wings -- a team whose life began two years earlier as the Indianapolis Capitols. He was a part of the Red Wings' 1952, 1954 and 1955 Stanley Cup champions, although his name was not on the Cup in 1954 because he spent the postseason in Edmonton. He tallied 183 goals in 745 NHL games between 1949-62. He would later spend several seasons as a coach, including stints as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, California Golden Seals and Vancouver Canucks. A native of Lethbridge, Alberta, he is 82.
Gary Moscaluk: Defenseman who played 31 games for the Ice in 1989-90 at the end of his pro hockey career. He had four assists. A native of Waskatenau, Alberta, he is 44.
Jeff Buchanan: Defenseman who played 102 games for the Ice between 1994-96. An enforcer, he had seven goals, 23 assists and 340 penalty minutes in that stretch -- including 277 in the 1995-96 season. Buchanan would play three more years in the IHL and AHL after his stint in Indianapolis, and eventually get the call-up to the NHL in 1998-99 -- his final pro season -- playing six games with the Colorado Avalanche. A native of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, he is 40.

May 24
Garry Lacey: Left wing who played the full 1984-85 season with the Checkers, potting 14 goals and 21 assists in his first of two pro seasons. He was a third-round pick of the Islanders in 1982. A native of Falconbridge, Ontario, he is 47.  
Tom Karalis: Defensmean who played 26 games for the inaugural Ice team in 1988-89, totaling eight assists and 132 PIMs. He was one of 12 players on that legendarily-penalized team to total the century mark in the penalty box. Karalis split that year between Flint, Indy and AHL New Haven. His pro career began in 1984 and he played with several IHL, AHL, CHL and European teams in that time frame, playing his last year in 1997-98 with the Tulsa Oilers. A native of Montreal, he is 47.
Alain Lemieux: A fifth-round pick of the Blues in 1980, Lemieux is probably best known as the older brother of former Pittsburgh Penguins star -- and current team owner -- Mario Lemieux. Alain arrived in Indianapolis as part of the inaugural Ice team in 1988-89. He provided some offensive punch, totaling 18 goals and 26 assists in just 29 games. Before arriving in Indy, he had been a veteran of 119 NHL games over seven NHL seasons with the Blues, Nordiques and Penguins, although he spent a lot of time in the minors over that time frame. Although Alain played one game with the Penguins, he never did play with his brother, as he was actually replacing Mario in the lineup that day. He retired in 1991, but came out of retirement in 1997-98 to play eight games with the WCHL's Tucson Gila Monsters. A native of Montreal, he is 50.
Doug Altschul: Left wing who played two games for the Ice in 1999-2000. He would eventually play 56 games over seven pro seasons with nine different teams in five different leagues. A native of Chicago, he is 37.

May 25
Fred Weaver: Diminutive (5-6, 160) winger who played for the Capitals in the 1942-43 season, the start of a 17-year long pro/senior hockey career. He had seven goals that year, splitting time between Indianapolis and the Washington Lions. A native of Saskatoon, he was born in 1924.
Dick Kowcinak: Left wing who played 84 games for the Capitals between 1943-45, totaling 28 goals and 47 assists. Kowcinak played one more year in the AHL after his stint in Indy, with the St. Louis Flyers -- a team that included several ex-Caps -- before four years in the upstart IHL, leading the league in scoring twice. He was also part of the Trail Smoke Eaters team that won the Allan Cup and the World Championship in 1939. He also won the Allan Cup one more time in 1940, and was part of the 1937 Memorial Cup championship team. He is a member of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. Kowcinak played at 5-8, 155 pounds. A native of Winnipeg, he is 94, and currently resides in Sarnia, Ontario.
Gary Bredin: Right wing who played 10 games for the inaugural Racers team in 1974-75, totaling three goals and two assists. He would total 26 goals in two full WHA seasons, also playing for the Michigan/Baltimore franchise, San Diego Mariners and the Denver Spurs/Ottawa Civics franchise between 1974-76. A native of Edmonton, he is 62. 

May 26
Cody Bradley: Current member of the Ice, this 5-9, 160-pound forward totaled 11 goals and nine assists in his first USHL season in 2010-11. A native of Tampa, Florida, he is 17 today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Greatest playoff games #5: Checkers 4, Wichita Wind 3 (1982)


In the early 1980s, there was no better rivalry in the National Hockey League. Bossy vs. Gretzky, Potvin vs. Coffey, Trottier vs. Anderson, Smith vs. Fuhr.

They were the premier franchises -- but their rivalry didn't just play out in the majors. The Indianapolis Checkers -- owned and operated by the Isles -- were rapidly developing into the Central Hockey League's premier franchise. Their foil was the Wichita Wind -- the top farm team of the Edmonton Oilers.

The Isles-Oilers rivalry was just budding at the time in 1982 as their top farm teams went at it for the right to play in the CHL's Adams Cup Finals.

The most intriguing part of the series was the goaltending matchup -- two guys who would soon patrol the nets for their respective NHL franchises -- Kelly Hrudey for the Checkers and Andy Moog for Wichita -- were between the pipes. Before long, each would lead a team to the Stanley Cup Finals. And fittingly, the series began not in Indianapolis or Wichita, but in Edmonton -- due to ice unavailability in Wichita, and the Wind wanted to keep the home game. In front of 12,000 fans in the Northlands Coliseum, the Checkers ended up pulling out a late 3-2 victory when Kevin Devine scored with 1:25 left. Then, they won Game 2 in Wichita by a more comfortable 7-4 score -- although the Chex had to score four unanswered goals in the third period.

That brings us to our "great game" #5. Game 3s are always huge, especially when it's 2-0. Either one team takes a commanding lead, or it becomes a series again. And, as evenly-matched as these two teams seemed to be, Wichita was fully capable of coming back in the series.

The series shifted to the Fairgrounds Coliseum -- hosting its first playoff game since 1959, as the Checkers had moved there that season after two years at Market Square Arena. That first game -- April 22, 1982 -- would be one few of the 4,616 in attendance would forget.

Hrudey took his position between the pipes for the Checkers. Moog did the same for Wichita. And the game was end-to-end from the beginning. Wichita fired 12 shots at Hrudey, but the Islanders' goalie-in-waiting stopped them all in the first 20 minutes. The Checkers struck on a 4-on-3 with 6:29 left in the first when Steve Stoyanovich rammed home a feed from Bruce Affleck to make it 1-0. After killing off a second-period 5-on-3, the Checkers' leading scorer Red Laurence made it 2-0 with 2:01 left in the period, but Ken Berry answered just a few seconds ahead of the second-period horn.

When Berry and Peter Sullivan scored 1:44 apart in the third period -- giving Wichita a lead with 5:56 to go -- the crowd might have been resigned to the thought of having to take a 2-1 series lead into Game 4.

But that's just when the drama began.

A trick Checkers coach Fred Creighton often loved to try was to challenge an opposing stick when his team was down a goal. The victim was Curt Brackenbury -- and with 2:06 left, Creighton sent Kerry Fraser out to measure Brackenbury's stick. Nothing to lose -- down 3-2, just enough time for one power play. Lose the measurement, and you're likely losing the game anyway. Win it, and put one of the CHL's most lethal lines on the ice.

The stick had too much of banana blade.

Over the boards hopped the high-scoring line of Neil Hawryliw, Garth MacGuigan and Devine. Inside a minute to go, Hawryliw shot. Moog stopped it. MacGuigan pounched on the rebound and shot. It popped off Moog's shoulder and into the air. In the scrum in front of the net, Devine batted at it. It slipped underneath Moog's arm and into the net. At the same time, Devine caught a high stick and headed to get stitches.

The pain wasn't too bad. It was 3-3 with 29 seconds left.

The game went to overtime.

In the extra session, both teams had a lot of action, as Hrudey stopped eight shots. Moog stopped the first eight he saw, too. But on the ninth, the Checkers' Hawryliw fed Monty Trottier in the slot. Monty -- the younger brother of the Islanders' star pivot Bryan Trottier -- fired a slapshot.

Moog couldn't handle it . Game over.

The Checkers poured over the bench to mob Trottier. They had a 3-0 lead in the series, which they'd finish off a couple of nights later at the Coliseum 5-3. The Checkers then went on to finish off the Dallas Black Hawks in the best-of-7 championship series in six games -- the last four of which were played in Indianapolis. A championship team was in Indy, but the stick measurement and the Devine goal was a big boost in getting them there.

Game boxscore: Game 3: April 22, 1982 at Fairgrounds Coliseum


First period
IND-Stoyanovich 3 (Affleck, Hordy), 13:31 (pp)
Penalties: Brackenberry (W) interference, 3:04; Bidner (W) roughing, 12:06; Davis (I) slashing, roughing, 12:06; Nethery (W) hooking, 12:06; Lockridge (I) cross-checking, 15:41; Hubick (W) tripping, 18:06; Jackson (W) high-sticking, fighting, 19:17; Devine (I) fighting, 19:17
Second period
IND-Laurence 3 (Beaton, Stoyanovich), 17:59
WIC-K. Berry 1 (Brackenberry, Forbes), 19:39
Penalties: Nethery (W) holding, 7:54; Simpson (I) tripping, 11:25; Davis (I) holding 12:04
Third period
WIC-K. Berry 2 (Sullivan, Brackenberry), 12:20
WIC-Sullivan 2 (Hubick, Forbes), 14:04
IND-Devine 5 (Hawryliw, MacGuigan), 19:31 (pp)
Penalties: Hubick (W) hooking, 4:56; Blum (W) roughing double minor, 6:18; Stoyanovich (I) roughing double minor, 6:18; Hordy (I) tripping, 9:15; Brackenberry (W) illegal stick, 17:54
IND-Trottier 2 (Hawryliw, Simpson), 15:16
Penalties: Regier (I) hooking, 8:33; Hawryliw (I) slashing, 13:07; Blight (W) high-sticking, 13:07
Shots on goal: WIC 12-10-15-8-45 (Hrudey 42 saves), IND 11-9-11-9-40 (Moog 36 saves)
Power play: WIC 0-6, IND 2-6
Att: 4,616
Officials: R-Kerry Fraser, L-David Butova, Brian Collins

Previous games

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today in history: May 22

Lots of birthdays:
George Patterson: Right wing who joined the Capitals in the 1942-43 season and helped lead them to the Calder Cup Finals, where they would fall to Buffalo. He was at the end of a long career that began with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1926, and spanned 299 NHL games with Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Detroit, the St. Louis Eagles and the New York Americans. "Paddy" is best known for scoring the first goal in Toronto Maple Leafs history -- at least after they changed their name from St. Patrick's. He played his last NHL game in 1935, but played another decade in the minors. A native of Kingston, Ontario, he was born in 1906. He passed away in 1977. 
Jim Playfair: Defenseman who played three years for the Ice from 1989-92, and was a key part of the 1990 Turner Cup championship team. In 113 games in black and silver, he totaled 11 goals and 29 assists, including a 7-24-37 (and 131 PIM) line during the 1989-90 championship season. He also had a goal and five assists in the playoffs. He broke into pro hockey with the Edmonton Oilers in 1983-84, and later played 19 games with Chicago from 1987-89. He was the Oilers' first-round pick (20th overall) in 1982. After he finished playing, he began coaching the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL in 1993, and has been behind the bench ever since. He won the Calder Cup with the Saint John Flames in 2002, and was the Calgary Flames' head coach in 2006-07, and an assistant with the Flames from 2002-09. The last two seasons, he has been the head coach of the AHL's Abbotsford Heat. A native of Fort St. James, B.C., he is 47.
Barrie Moore: Left wing who played 43 games and totaled 9-10-19 for the Ice in 1998-99, their final IHL season. He played 14 professional seasons, mostly in the minors, although he did play 39 NHL games, primarily with Buffalo (1995-97), although he also played a handful of games with Edmonton and Washington. He began playing in Britain in 2000, and after returning to the States in 2001, he played primarily in the ECHL and UHL before returning to Britain in 2005. His best pro season was 2003-04, where he had 23 goals and 36 assists for ECHL Columbia. A native of London, Ontario, he is 36.
Dan Cousineau: Defenseman who was a key part of the Ice's 2000 Miron Cup championship team. He played 192 games for the CHL Ice from 1999-2002, totaling 10 goals and 57 assists (and 268 PIMs), one of several Ohio State grads to take a position on the team. He went on to play two more seasons with the San Diego Gulls. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, he is 36. 
Marc Suderman: Forward who played five games for the Ice after finishing his collegiate career with Providence College in 2002-03. He had an assist in those five games, which were his only pro experience. A native of Regina, Saskatchewan, he is 34.
Will Aide: Energetic forward on this year's Ice squad, he had six goals and nine assists and a team-high 142 PIMs in 53 games. A native of Bismarck, North Dakota, he is 21.

Today in history: May 17-21

I apologize for not keeping this up-to-date. Life intervened this week, but we'll catch up. We'll also be catching back up with our countdown of the 10 greatest playoff games in Indianapolis hockey history.

Birthday posts for the five-day span that we're catching up:
May 17
Carl Liscombe: One of the initial Capitals, playing 43 games for the Caps as he split time between Indy and Detroit between 1939-41. He scored 12 goals in an Indianapolis uniform, and also two goals in the 1940 Calder Cup playoffs. He would play 373 games with the Red Wings from 1935-46, winning the Stanley Cup in 1943. He scored 36 goals the next season. In 1947-48, he went back to the AHL and had a 50-goal, 118-point season with the Providence Reds, setting all of the league scoring records and becoming the first pro hockey player to break the 100-point barrier. He was the AHL's MVP in 1948 and 1949. A native of Perth, Ontario, he was born in 1915. He passed away in 2004. 
Claude Larose: Left wing who played 41 games for the Racers between 1977 and the franchise's folding in December 1978. He totaled 19 goals and 24 assists in that time span. He was the #1 pick in the WHA draft in 1975 by the Cincinnati Stingers, and totaled a 30-goal season in 1976-77. After his WHA tenure, he spent much of the next eight seasons in the AHL, but did play 25 games with the New York Rangers. He scored 92 goals in 277 WHA/NHL games. A native of St. Jean, Quebec, he is 61.
Dan Gauthier: Center who played two full seasons for the Ice between 1994-96. In 136 games, he totaled 50 goals and 89 assists before being traded to the St. Louis Blues late in the 1995-96 season, where he would finish the year with the Peoria Rivermen. He also had five NHL games with Chicago in 1994-95. Following the 1996 season, he went to Europe, and played 12 seasons in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. He was active in Quebec senior leagues through 2010, scoring 57 points as a 39-year-old in 2009-10. A native of Charlemagne, Quebec, he is 41.
Mike Prokopec: Right wing who played three full seasons for the Ice from 1994-97. He played 194 games for the Ice, totaling 52 goals and 52 assists and 354 PIMs. He also played 15 games for the Blackhawks from 1995-97. He continued to play -- primarily in the IHL -- through 2000, when he had a 23-goal season with the Manitoba Moose. A native of Toronto, he is 37.
Brian Keane: Forward who played 15 games for the Ice in 2006-07, totaling five goals and two assists. He just finished an NCAA career at UMass-Amherst, where he totaled 18 points in four years. A native of Shortsville, NY, he is 23.

May 18
Ryan Leasa: A junior amateur signee who played in the 2003 CHL Playoffs for the Ice. The defenseman played two minor pro seasons in the ECHL and CHL for Toledo and Austin, respectively, before playing a year of senior hockey in Ontario. A native of Sarnia, Ontario, he is 21.

May 19

Bob Hess: Veteran defenseman who joined the Checkers in 1983-84 at the end of a long hockey career. He had two goals and eight assists in nine regular season games, and then had a 2-4-6 line in nine playoff games for the Checkers as they advanced to the Adams Cup Finals that year. He played 329 NHL games for the Blues, Sabres and Whalers between 1974-84. He was the 26th overall pick in the 1974 NHL draft. A native of Edmonton, he is 56.

Bob Laforest: Winger who played for the Checkers' first IHL entry in 1984-85, totaling a 3-6-9 line in 18 games. He played five NHL games with the Kings in 1983-84. A native of Welland, Ontario, he is 48.
Tom Stewart: Winger who scored five goals and had seven assists for the Ice in 1999-2000. He would be dealt to Macon during the year, but was someone who appeared in 24 games for the eventual Miron Cup champions. He continued to play through 2003, and then began coaching, primarily in the Southern Professional Hockey League. A native of Brantford, Ontario, he is 36. 

May 20
Bruce Cassidy: "Butch" was a popular member of the Ice who spent three stints in Indy, playing a key role as a defenseman for the Ice's Turner Cup championship team in 1989-90, totaling 11 goals and 46 assists from the blueline. He also had a 1-10-11 line in the playoffs. After three seasons in Europe, he returned to the Ice in 1994 and played three more years with the Ice. In 170 games, he totaled 18 goals and 79 assists. He left the team early in the 1996-97 season to begin coaching the Jacksonville Lizard Kings of the ECHL. He then joined the Ice as their head coach in 1998-99, leading them to a 33-37-12 record and an appearance in the second round of the IHL Playoffs. Cassidy became the Washington Capitals' coach in 2002, and coached the team for a year and a half. He was the AHL's Coach of the Year with Grand Rapids in 2002. After the lockout, he was a Blackhawks assistant for a year, and then coached two years in the Ontario Hockey League. He has spent the last three years as an assistant with the AHL's Providence Bruins. As a player, he played 36 NHL games with Chicago between 1985-90, scoring four goals. A native of Ottawa, he is 46.
Stu Grimson: The "Grim Reaper" was a legendary enforcer who played five games with the Ice in 1991-92, totaling a goal, an assist and 17 PIMs. He returned to the NHL that season and never left, eventually playing 729 NHL games between 1988-2002 for Calgary, Chicago, Anaheim, Detroit, Hartford/Carolina, Los Angeles and Nashville, totaling 2113 PIMs. He was part of a Blackhawks team that played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1992. He later earned a law degree from the University of Memphis and is currently a practicing attorney in Nashville. A native of Vancouver, he is 46.

May 21
Lou Dietrich: Defenseman who played for the Chiefs in 1958-59, their final playoff season. He also was a part of the powerful Cincinnati Mohawks' Turner Cup championship team in 1957. A native of Waterloo, Ontario, he was born in 1932. 
Gary Stewart: Defenseman who scored one goal, 14 assists and had 103 PIMs for the Ice's inaugural team in 1988-89, playing 48 games. That was close to the end of a seven-year pro career primarily spent in the IHL. He played with Salt Lake and Milwaukee before joining the Ice. A native of New Westminster, B.C., he is 47.
Todd White: Ice's leading scorer in 1997-98, his first pro year. He totaled 46 goals and 36 assists in the regular season, and then had two goals in the five-game playoffs series loss to Orlando that year -- including an OT goal in Game 4 to prolong the series. He would parlay that into a long NHL career that saw him play 653 games and score 141 goals for the Blackhawks, Flyers, Senators, Wild, Thrashers and Rangers. He had 22 goals and 51 assists for the Thrashers in 2008-09. White is still active, having played this past season for AHL Hartford. A native of Kanata, Ontario, he is 36.
Jon Sorg: Defenseman who played the 2001-02 season with the Ice, totaling six goals and 21 assists at the end of a six-year pro career that began with AHL Hershey in 1997. A native of Branchville, N.J., he is 37.


Dubuque wins Clark Cup

After the Fargo Force came close as an expansion team against the Ice two years ago, an expansion team has won the Clark Cup, as the Dubuque Fighting Saints beat the Green Bay Gamblers 3 games to 1 to clinch the championship.

Dubuque scored four goals in the third period to win 6-1 against a Green Bay team that had been airtight defensively throughout the first three rounds of the postseason and during the regular season.

Congrats to the Fighting Saints and the Clark Cup champs. 

Dubuque Fighting Saints website

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Is Marion a go?

Earlier this week, the Marion city council approved a $30 million bond issue to pay for a 4,100-seat arena which would play host to a USHL team beginning in the 2012-13 season -- the year after next.

If it comes to fruition, it would give the Ice the in-state rival they've lacked since leaving the now-defunct International Hockey League in 1999. Since, the Indianapolis hockey teams have competed in the Central Hockey League (1999-2004), whose teams were primarily based in the Plains states and the Deep South, and since 2004, the Indiana Ice franchise has played in the Midwestern-based USHL. While the USHL follows the footprint of the old pre-1990s expansion IHL, the Ice's closest geographic rivals have been in the western suburbs of Chicago or, for a brief time, Columbus, Ohio.

The rink would be just off I-69 at the Ind. 18 exit, and would be an easy 90-minute (or less) drive from Indianapolis -- even shorter for the core of fans on the north and east sides of the city.

Currently, according to published reports, the dormant Thunder Bay franchise would be moved to Marion to fill the arena. However, the USHL governors would have to approve the move.

Two questions arise. Will it be approved, and will it work?

The USHL is already at 16 teams, and currently operates as the only Tier I junior league in the United States. It compares favorably to Canadian Junior A hockey, and is often used as a training ground for players wanting to play U.S. college hockey instead of going to Major Junior. Tier I is unique in that the teams pay all player expenses. In Tier II and Tier III, the players pay for some or all of their expenses. One question is, how much further does the league want to expand? The other is, would it approve Marion?

Let's look at Marion. With a population of 30,528, according to a 2006 Census Bureau estimate, Marion would be the smallest market in the USHL. The city's $30,000 median household income places it as a smaller market. The population of surrounding Grant County is 68,796, with a median income of $38,677. In both city and county, the population has been in decline, meaning there would be a need for fans to come up from nearby Anderson, Muncie and Fort Wayne. However, of those communities, Fort Wayne is the only one with any significant hockey culture -- there are no ice rinks between Fishers and Fort Wayne in the I-69 corridor -- and that city fervently supports the Komets, which has consistently drawn strong crowds even since dropping a level from the IHL to the old United Hockey League in 1999 and merging with the Central Hockey League this year. How many Fort Wayne fans could be drawn an hour south to watch a new team in Marion? It's an important question, and that could factor into whether or not this new Marion team would be successful.

Madison and Delaware Counties -- which straddle I-69 and whose county seats of Anderson and Muncie are about a half-hour's drive from Marion -- have a combined population of 246,500+, but both have been declining, and a growing of the Madison County population is significantly closer to Indianapolis than Marion -- specifically, the fastest-rising areas of Pendleton and Lapel. The counties to the north and east have a combined population of less than 50,000, so a regional population base would be important and promotion would be key.

The positive for Marion is that, like its bigger neighbor to the north -- Fort Wayne -- it would be the only game in town. It would provide a centerpiece for civic pride in a town whose struggles have been well-documented over the last decade. Right now, the sporting landscape in the Indy-to-Fort Wayne corridor is essentially dominated by high school sports, with Ball State University in Muncie being the only major college in the corridor. There have been attempts at minor-league sports -- most notably the ABA's Anderson franchise and an independent baseball circuit -- but they've been short-lived. The rink's location on I-69 signals that it intends to draw fans from nearby communities and be a regional franchise.

Marion would be the second-smallest city in the USHL, represented by the second-smallest population base and -- by far -- the least affluent. On the positive, the team controls the rink and therefore all ancillary income, and operating costs would be smaller -- for example, the Ice do not have any control of the rink or parking/concessions income.

Just for comparison, here are some other USHL markets (all data from the U.S. Census Bureau)
Bensenville, Illinois (Chicago Steel): county population 932,531; median income $77,040 (city: >25,000). MSA population: 9.8 million. Other sports; Independent baseball, in MSA, virtually everything.
Indianapolis (Indiana Ice): county population 890,829; median income $43,823 (city: 785,597). Other sports: NFL, NBA, Triple-A baseball, two Div. I colleges, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. MSA population: 1.7 million
Omaha, Nebraska (Omaha Lancers): county population 510,199; median income $52,222 (city 419,545). MSA population: 837,925 (Omaha-Council Bluffs). Other sports: Div. I college, Triple-A baseball, College World Series
Des Moines, Iowa (Des Moines Buccaneers): county population 429,439; median income $56,980 (city: 193,886). Other sports: Triple-A baseball, Div. I college. MSA population: 562,906
Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln Stars): county population 281,531; median income $52,228 (city: 241,167). Other sports: Div. I university, independent baseball. MSA population: 289,672
Green Bay, Wisconsin (Green Bay Gamblers): county population 247,319; median income $53,558 (city: 100,353). Other sports: Div. I university, NFL, arena football. MSA population: 282,599. 
Youngstown, Ohio (Youngstown Phantoms): county population 236,735; median income $40,508 (city: 81,520). MSA population: 565,773.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders): county population 209,226; median income $55,173 (city: 124,117). Other sports: Single-A baseball. 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota (Sioux Falls Stampede): county population 183,038; median income $55,138 (city: 142,396). Other sports: Arena football, independent baseball, NBDL basketball
Muskegon, Michigan (Muskegon Lumberjacks): county population 173,951; median income $41,274 (city: 39,608).
Fargo, North Dakota (Fargo Force): county population 143,439; median income $46,942 (city 90,056). Other sports: Div. I college, independent baseball
Waterloo, Iowa (Waterloo Black Hawks): county population 129,276; median income $45,647 (city: 65,998).
Sioux City, Iowa (Sioux City Musketeers): county populations 125,041; median income $43,616 (city 83,262). 

Dubuque, Iowa (Dubuque Fighting Saints): county population 93,072; median income $49,160 (city: 57,696).
Marion, Indiana (proposed team): county population: 68,796; median income $38,677 (city: 30,528).
Kearney, Nebraka (Tri-City Storm): county population 45,814; median income $46,316 (city: 29,385).

Fighting Saints take Game 3 in OT, on cusp of Cup

The Dubuque Fighting Saints came into the Clark Cup Finals as underdogs, but their Game 3 win on Friday night puts them in position to win the championship tonight.

Tony Larson and Joakim Ryan scored twice within 29 seconds to give the Saints a 3-1 lead, and they would go on to win 4-2.

Dubuque leads the best-of-5 series 2 games to 1. 

Game 4 of the series is tonight at 8 p.m. Indianapolis time. game story

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A new Ice rival in Marion?

From 1984-99, Indianapolis had a built-in rival, as the Checkers & Ice had annual meetings with the Fort Wayne Komets. Huge crowds, lots of passion and more.

Is there a chance the Ice could be having a close in-state rival in the USHL?

According to Fort Wayne's WANE-TV and several other published reports, the city of Marion (IN) has passed a $30 million bond issue to build a 4,100-seat hockey rink. It is being built by a Chicago-based group, which is attempting to move the dormant USHL Thunder Bay franchise to Marion, which is about 60 miles northeast of Indianapolis. The rink would be located right off I-69 and its exit with State Road 18 southeast of town.

The rink would be ready in time for the 2012-13 USHL season. 

More: WANE

Ice shore up blueline with Panthers draft pick

Defenseman R.J. Boyd was traded to the Ice on Wednesday by the Chicago Steel. 

In exchange, the Ice sent goaltender Colin Stevens, a member of the team's affiliate list, to Chicago. Stevens played in the EJHL with the Boston Junior Bruins last season.

Boyd played 33 games with Chicago last season. He had two goals and 42 PIMs. He also played 15 games with Sacred Heart University. Boyd is 6-3, 190 and a left-hand shot. He is a native of Fort Myers, Florida, and was picked by the hometown Panthers in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He is also a product of Cushing Academy in Massachusetts. With a 1991 birthdate (2/7/91), he will be eligible to play the 2011-12 season in the USHL. 

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