Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ice owner discusses future

Indiana Ice owner Paul Skjodt discussed the team's championship and its future in the wake of the Clark Cup championship in an interview with Larry Hawley that aired on WXIN Friday night.

Click here to watch the interview.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Indy hockey links 5/30: Coaches with Indy ties headed to USHL

Two coaches with Indianapolis ties are headed to USHL teams -- Des Moines and Fargo. Some ECHL news -- the Kelly Cup Final begins tonight in Alaska and some affiliation updates. 

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 30

It's the traditional Memorial Day here in the United States, and in Indianapolis, that means it's the "traditional" date of the Indianapolis 500 (which isn't often run on such day anymore). Four birthdays to honor today: Capital Archie Wilder, Capitol Bob Cox, Checker Vern Smith and IHL Ice Dave Hymovitz.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Q&A with Fuel head coach Scott Hillman

On Wednesday, the Indy Fuel named Scott Hillman the first head coach in team history. Hillman comes to the Fuel after five years with the CHL's Missouri Mavericks, and two championship-winning years prior to that with the Knoxville Ice Bears of the SPHL. 

Fuel coach Scott Hillman in Missouri (

The 40-year-old Hillman is a veteran of nine professional seasons -- nearly all with the CHL's Odessa Jackalopes -- before turning his skates in for a suit and heading behind the bench in 2007. His first two seasons, both in Knoxville, ended with SPHL championships. He then went to Missouri -- based in the Kansas City suburb of Independence -- and started the franchise, posting five successful seasons. This year's Mavericks team was the CHL regular season champion. The Fuel will be Hillman's third head coaching stint, in a third different league, and will be his second time coaching an expansion franchise. 

Hillman graduated from the University of Windsor (Ontario) -- where he played college hockey --  and also has a master's degree from the University of Texas.

I had the opportunity to chat with Coach Hillman about a variety of topics Thursday afternoon. It's easy to see how he's described as a "rising star" in hockey coaching circles. He'll be very well-liked very quickly in Indianapolis as the first head coach of the Fuel. 

Our conversation is below the jump:

Fuel announce major sponsor partnerships

Community Health Network to provide sports medicine services

Indy Fuel press release
The Indy Fuel professional hockey franchise has attracted almost $1 million in annual corporate sponsorship commitments nearly half a year before dropping the puck on its inaugural season in the ECHL, including a major partnership with Indianapolis-based Community Health Network that includes sports medicine services to the team. The Fuel announced the Community Health agreement today, along with several other deals as its sponsorship efforts gain momentum.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 29

A big birthday day: former Capital Ken MacKenzie, Chief Bernie Hill, Racer Larry Mavety, IHL Ice Brian Noonan and USHL Ice Lukas Laub.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Indy hockey-related links 5/28

A cornucopia of links related to Indianapolis hockey.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 28

Four birthdays on May 28: former Capital Doug McKay, IHL Ice Hugo Belanger, CHL Ice Jared Dumba and USHL Ice Alex Kangas.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fuel name Scott Hillman head coach

New Fuel coach Scott Hillman. Photo:
Scott Hillman has been named the first head coach of the ECHL's Indy Fuel.

Hillman comes to the Fuel from the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks, where he led the team to the regular season title in the league this year. He was also the Southern Professional Hockey League Coach of the Year in 2009 with the Knoxville Ice Bears.

He had been the only coach in the Mavericks' five-year history, posting a record of 186-132-26 in his five years with the Kansas City-area based team. He began his coaching career in Knoxville, and went 67-32-13 in two years there from 2007-09, winning the SPHL title both seasons.

Ice's Brown named USHL GM of the Year

Indiana Ice head coach & general manager Jeff Brown was named the United States Hockey League's General Manager of the Year.

In his dual role, Brown led the Ice to the franchise's second Clark Cup championship. The Ice went 9-3 in the playoffs, beating Green Bay in four games, Dubuque in three, and Waterloo in a best-of-five series that was decided in the final two and a half minutes.

Brown also led the Ice to a 41-11-7 regular-season record -- second overall in the USHL and first in the league's Eastern Conference -- a significant turnaround from the team that finished last overall in the USHL a year ago.
Jeff Brown coached the Indiana Ice to the Clark Cup title.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 27

Two birthdays: CHL Ice Philippe Choiniere and USHL Ice Nic Dowd.

Monday, May 26, 2014

An "Ice" look back: The forwards

With the offseason upon us, it's time to take a look back at the 2014 Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice on a player-by-player basis, their contributions and where they'll continue their hockey careers. Yesterday's post focused on the defense and goaltenders. Today, look at the 14 forwards who finished the season on the Ice roster this year.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 26

Just one birthday today
Cody Bradley: Forward who played two seasons for the Ice from 2010-12. In 67 games, he had 14 goals and 14 assists, before being dealt to Dubuque partway through the 2011-12 season. He just finished his sophomore season at Colorado College, where he has 10 goals and 19 assists in 68 career games. A native of Tampa, Fla., he is 20.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 25

Three birthdays today: former Capitals Fred Weaver and Dick Kowcinak, and Racer Gary Bredin.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Ice look back: The D

With the offseason upon us, it's time to take a look back at the 2014 Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice on a player-by-player basis, their contributions and where they'll continue their hockey careers. Today's installment looks at the defense from the 24-man roster to finish the season.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 24

Four birthdays today: former Checker Garry Lacey, IHL Ice Tom Karalis and Alain Lemieux, and CHL Ice Doug Altschul.

Friday, May 23, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 23

Three May 23 birthdays: former Capital Vic Stasiuk and former IHL Ice Gary Moscaluk and Jeff Buchanan.

Clark Cup series thoughts

There will be more time for a greater look at what has been an amazing run for the Indiana Ice, but after having 48 hours to collect thoughts (and sleep off that LONG happy bus ride from Waterloo), a few loose ends from the Clark Cup series.

Ice-Waterloo Game 5 highlights

The USHL site has posted the highlights of Game 5 between the Ice and Waterloo. Jim Mirabello calls the Ice goals and longtime Waterloo broadcaster Tim Harwood calls the Black Hawks' top plays. Both were at their absolute best on this night. All three Ice goals were excellent plays -- Mitch Hults batting a rebound out of the air and into the net from in front of the net, Alex Talcott with a backhand rebound reach around Waterloo goaltender Cal Petersen, and Brian Pinho's snipe into the lower left corner after Aidan Muir carried in and dropped him the puck, changing the angle just enough to give Pinho some net to bury the puck into.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 22

Big birthday post today, as we wish happy birthdays to former IHL Ice Jim Playfair and Barrie Moore, CHL Ice Dan Cousineau and Marc Suderman, and USHL Ice Will Aide. Also, to the late former Capital George Patterson, the first Toronto Maple Leaf to score a goal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 21

Four birthdays on May 21: former Chief Lou Dietrich, IHL Ice Gary Stewart and Todd White, and CHL Ice Jonathan Sorg.

CHAMPS! Ice rally to win Clark Cup

The Ice hoist the Clark Cup after their 3-2 win in Waterloo.
The Indiana Ice produced a perfect ending to a perfect season.

Down a goal going into the third, the Ice rallied with two third-period tallies, vaulting themselves to a Clark Cup championship.

Brian Pinho scored from the right-wing circle on a drop pass from Aidan Muir with 2:15 left in the third period, breaking a tie and giving the Ice a 3-2 victory and the franchise's second Clark Cup.

Pinho's goal came off the rush, with Muir carrying the puck up the right wing, dropping the puck and going in to screen goalie Cal Petersen. Pinho fired and beat Peterson under his right pad, just inside the post. Jason Pawloski made a pair of big saves in goalmouth scrambles from there, and Muir dove to clear Waterloo's last-ditch effort with 12 seconds left.

Earlier in the third, Alex Talcott tied the game, burying a rebound that came from Joe Sullivan's stick. The Talcott-Sullivan-Tyler Pham line was one of the team's best in the series, and carried the play again.

The Ice trailed 2-1 going into the third despite carrying the play for much of the first two periods. Waterloo scored the first goal of the game -- for the first time in the series -- just 3:40 in when Patrick Russell scored on a rebound. Mitch Hults tied it up with his fourth goal in as many games at 11:21 of the first, batting a rebound of Pinho's shot out of the air and in.
The 2014 Clark Cup champions

Waterloo led 2-1 when Jake Horton intercepted a clearing pass at the blueline, and immediately fed Zach Sanford in front of the net for a tip-in goal. It was Sanford's third goal in the last two games.

Ice goaltender Jason Pawloski made 33 saves in the victory. The Ice outshot Waterloo 44-35.

Pawloski was also named Clark Cup Playoffs MVP for his efforts. 

It was the Ice's second Clark Cup title -- joining one won in 2009. It was the ninth champinoship for an Indianapolis hockey team -- joining the 1942 & 1950 Capitals (AHL), 1958 Chiefs (IHL), 1982 & 1983 Checkers (CHL), 1990 Ice (IHL) and 2000 Ice (CHL).

We'll have more looking at the game and the season after returning from Waterloo!

Box score
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (with YouTube links to several interviews)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Game 5 pregame

An hour before faceoff in Waterloo, Iowa. The Indiana Ice & Waterloo Black Hawks have one game to decide the title.

It's the fourth winner-take-all championship game played by an Indianapolis-based hockey team, joining the 1942 Capitals (beat Hershey 8-3 in Game 5 of AHL Final), 1958 Chiefs (beat Louisville 3-2 in Game 7 of IHL Final) and 2000 Ice (beat Columbus 3-0 in Game 7 of CHL Final). All but the 1942 game were played on the road.

Lineups & more below the jump.

Broadcast: (PPV video), (free audio) with Jim Mirabello and Andrew Smith

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 20

Two birthdays today: one to legendary former Ice player and coach Bruce Cassidy, and to legendary NHL pugilist Stu Grimson, who also saw a stint with the Ice, both born on the same day in 1965. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 19

Four May 19 birthdays: former Chiefs coach Alex Shibicky, Checkers Bob Hess and Bob Laforest, and Ice Tom Stewart.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Game 4 recap: Headed back to Waterloo

One game. 60 minutes (at least) between the two best teams in the USHL with a Clark Cup championship on the line. It's somehow fitting that's how the 2013-14 USHL season will come to a conclusion.

That one game will be Tuesday night in Waterloo's Young Arena, as the Black Hawks thwarted the Indiana Ice's opportunity to win the title on home ice by a 7-2 score Saturday night.

Leading the best-of-5 series 2-1, the Ice had an opportunity to close things out at home, and looked like a team chasing a title in the first 20 minutes -- they completely carried the play and spent the evening buzzing the Waterloo net. But a quick push by Waterloo in the second period and a fortunate bounce in the third gave the Black Hawks an insurmountable lead, and eventually, a 7-2 victory in a game that was much closer than the final score.

Box score
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 18

One birthday to note on May 18
Happy birthday to
Ryan Leasa: Defenseman who made his professional debut with the Ice in 2002-03 as a playoff-only player -- CHL rules allowed teams to add a limited number of amateur players for the playoffs. He was scoreless in four games in the playoffs, which came after he finished his college career at Alabama-Huntsville. He played two pro seasons with ECHL Toledo and CHL Austin, scoring two goals. A native of Sarnia, Ontario, he is 34.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 17

May 17 has five birthdays: former Capital Carl Liscombe, Racer Claude Larose, IHL Ice Dan Gauthier and Mike Prokopec, and USHL Ice Brian Keane.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Game 3 links

Links from Game 3 Pham-Tastic
Indy hockey site recap game story (with links to interviews with several players & coaches)
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Black Hawks down to last out

One more: A YouTube link to Brandon Montour smashing a piece of glass with a skate. Caused a brief delay in the first period, but the rink maintenance crew was able to rather quickly clean up the mess, cut a new piece of glass and get back to playing.

On the cusp: Ice start, finish strong in Game 3 win

The Indiana Ice put themselves one victory away from a Clark Cup championship Friday night with a textbook performance in a 4-1 victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks in Game 3 of the Clark Cup Final. The Ice now lead the best-of-5 series two games to one, with Game 4 set for the Pan Am rink with a puck drop of 7:05 p.m. on Saturday night.

Tyler Pham scored with 7:15 left in the first period, then fed Patrick Newell for what would become the game-winner six minutes later. Mitch Hults had a power play goal late in the second to briefly put the Ice up 3-0, and Scott Conway had the dagger into an empty net. Jason Pawloski was stellar in goal, making 28 saves -- including quite a few point-blank stops in the early part of the second period when Waterloo had a big push that resulted in two power plays. The only blemish was a snipe through traffic by Patrick Russell that deflected off the inside of the post with 15 seconds left in the second.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 16

Just one birthday today ...

Happy birthday to ...
Matt Smith: Carmel native who played 83 games for the Ice over three seasons from 2005-08. A defenseman, he had a goal, 16 assists and 123 penalty minutes. He also played six postseason games, and was a part of the division championship team in 2007-08. He went on to play four years at Nebraska-Omaha. He is 26.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Clark Cup Games 3 & 4 preview

The Indiana Ice and Waterloo Black Hawks couldn't have been much closer in Games 1 & 2. Two contests that could have gone either way -- the Ice had early leads in both, and had a 2-0 lead in Game 1. Waterloo, briefly, had a third-period lead in Game 2. The Ice dropped the first game 4-2 that included two disallowed goals and was sealed with an empty-netter, and won the second 3-2 in 2OT.

The best-of-5 series heads back to Pan Am Pavilion for Games 3 and 4 this weekend, with both games dropping the puck at 7:05 p.m. With Pan Am's limited seating capacity, get there early. If necessary, Game 5 will be Tuesday night in Waterloo.

Ice's Conway named USHL First Team All-Star

Indiana Ice forward Scott Conway was named a USHL First-Team All-Star on Thursday.

Conway was the league's second-leading goal scorer with 33 goals. He also was fourth in total scoring with 68 points. He was also tops in the USHL with a plus-40 rating. Conway is a native of Kissimmee, Fla, and will play collegiately at Penn State.

Despite the Ice finishing with the league's second-best record, Conway was the team's lone representative. Of the 13 players selected to the first and second teams, Omaha and Waterloo had four players each. 

The rest of the first team were Omaha goalie Hayden Hawkey, defensemen Brandon Montour (Waterloo) and Tucker Poolman (Omaha) and forwards Kyle Connor (Youngstown), Matt Iacopelli (Muskegon) and Jake Randolph (Omaha). The second team consisted of goalie Cal Petersen (Waterloo), defensemen Mark Friedmen (Waterloo) and Alexx Privitera (Dubuque), and forwards Jack Eichel (USA), Peter Krieger (Waterloo) and Tyler Vesel (Omaha).

Indy hockey links & updates

A few links and news items with ties to hockey in Indianapolis.

Ice release: Clark Cup championship hits Pan Am


INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Ice will make their homestand in the battle for the 2014 Clark Cup Championship this Friday (5/16) and Saturday (5/17) as the team hosts the Waterloo Black Hawks from Pan Am Pavilion.  Both contests are set to begin at 7:05 pm.

Indy relieved Waterloo of their home-ice advantage over the weekend, splitting a pair of contests with the Western Conference Champions at Young Arena.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 15

The 1982 Checkers claim a championship, and we honor the birthdays of fomer Capital Jim Hay and IHL Ice Taj Schaffnit.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ice's Smirnov, Shoup named to All-Rookie Team

Indiana Ice forward Denis Smirnov and defenseman Timothy Shoup were named to the USHL's All-Rookie Team on Wednesday.

Smirnov, a left wing from Dunmore, Penn., had 15 goals and 26 assists in 47 games for the Ice, despite being one of the younger players in the league at age 16. He was also a plus-20 on the season.

Shoup, a 6-0, 180-pound defenseman from Pittsburgh, had 16 points in 52 games and a plus-17 rating.

The rest of the team was comprised of Chicago forward Robby Jackson (also the USHL Forward of the Year), Waterloo forward Tyler Sheehy, Cedar Rapids defenseman Charlie Curti, Waterloo defenseman Hayden Shaw, and Omaha goaltender Hayden Hawkey (also the USHL Goaltender of the Year). The USHL's other announced individual awards -- Defenseman of the Year and Player of the Year -- went to Brandon Montour of Waterloo.

The Ice and Waterloo Black Hawks meet for Games 3 and 4 of the Clark Cup Final this weekend at Pan Am Pavilion, with games being played at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday night.

Indy's title teams: The 2000 Ice

The Ice celebrate with the Miron Cup (Indianapolis Ice photos)
Of the nine championship teams in Indianapolis, some looked like contenders from the start of the year -- the Checkers mini-dynasty and the 1990 Ice squad that steamrolled the competition come to mind. Some, like the 1950 Capitals with the great Terry Sawchuk in goal, were obviously contenders once we look at the roster in hindsight.

But none was as unlikely as the 2000 Indianapolis Ice. On May 12, 2000, they hoisted the Miron Cup, emblematic of the league championship. A mere 12 months earlier, the team didn't exist. Five months earlier, it had a losing record and looked like a longshot to make the playoffs.

Today, we look back at the 2000 Ice as we review the Indianapolis championship hockey teams.

Previously: the 2009 Indiana Ice

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 14

May 14 in Indianapolis hockey history
1990: A crowd of 6,003 roars for the entire final half of the third period as the Ice clinch the IHL's Turner Cup, sweeping Muskegon in four games by beating the Lumberjacks 2-1. Mike Eagles scores 5:43 into the second, and Sean Williams follows with another goal at 9:05. That would turn out to be the championship-winner, as the Lumberjacks would score later in the period. Jim Waite stops 33 of the 34 shots he sees, including all nine in the third period. The Ice have to kill off three power plays after taking a one-goal lead, and do so successfully. The championship celebration is legendary, as the Turner Cup ends up needing to be put back together after a night on the town in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Future Fuel? Scouting the Blackhawks system

With the 2013-14 ECHL season still ongoing -- and other minor pro and junior loops in the process of finishing their seasons -- the Indy Fuel still has some time to put together its roster.

But with the Fuel announcing an affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks, we know the source of some of the team's players -- the Chicago system. The rest will be made up of free agents who will be contracted to the Fuel this summer and fall. While we wait for the announcement of a coaching staff and free-agent signings to come in, we can scour the Chicago system to keep an eye on the potential players coming to play at the Fairgrounds Coliseum this fall.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 13

A birthday post today, as five former Ice players -- IHL performers Petri Varis and Jamie Allison, CHL players Chad Spurr and Jim Shepherd, and USHL player Michael Bernardy -- were born on May 13.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ice official release: Home-ice advantage for Game 3, 4


CLARK CUP CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE                                                                                      


Friday, May 9: at Waterloo (L 2-4)
Saturday, May 10: at Waterloo (W 3-2, 2OT)
Friday, May 16: vs. Waterloo (at Pan Am Pavilion), 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 17: vs. Waterloo (at Pan Am Pavilion), 7:05 p.m.
Tuesday, May 20: at Waterloo, 8:05 p.m.


This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 12

A busy day in Indy hockey history. The 2007 Ice see a late goal dash their championship hopes in the USHL semis. The 2000 Ice clinch the city's seventh hockey title with a 3-0 shutout in Game 7 of the Miron Cup Final. In 1990, the Ice get within a game of the Turner Cup on Mike McNeill's OT goal, and the 1982 Checkers have their Adams Cup celebration slowed by one game. Also, birthday celebrations for former IHL Ice Warren Rychel and Dave Christian, and current USHL Ice captain Tyler Pham.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Clark Cup Game 2 postgame links

Postgame links & news about the Ice's Game 2 win over Waterloo. For whom the cowbell tolls
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: Indiana outlasts Black Hawks 3-2 in 2OTs
Indy hockey blog: Sullivan's shot squares series in 2OT
USHL YouTube interviews with Jeff Brown, PK O'Handley, Josh Jacobs, and a hard-hat wearing Joe Sullivan

The series returns to Indy for Games 3 and 4 this Friday and Saturday at Pan Am Pavilion. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. each night.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 11

 On May 11, the 2000 Ice force a seventh game in Columbus in the Miron Cup Final, and the 1990 Ice take a 2-0 lead in the Turner Cup Final on Brian Noonan's late PPG. Also, birthday celebrations for USHL Ice Locke Jillson, Rinat Valiev and Brian Pinho.

Sullivan's shot squares series in 2OT

Joe Sullivan has played a number of critical roles for the Indiana Ice -- checker, penalty killer, alternate captain -- fitting well into coach Jeff Brown's disciplined style. He hasn't needed to be a big scorer because of the team's tremendous depth at forward.

But, as often happens as playoff games drag close to the midnight hour, it's often precisely that player who ends up making the big play, and bringing about a sudden celebration.

On the Indiana Ice's 62nd shot of the night, after 86 minutes and 49 seconds of largely-even hockey, Sullivan corralled the puck behind the Waterloo net, skated in front and buried a shot past Black Hawks' goalie Cal Petersen's glove and into the net, giving the Ice a 3-2 2OT victory and squaring the Clark Cup Final series at a game apiece. The best-of-5 series shifts to Pan Am Pavilion for Games 3 and 4 next weekend, May 16-17.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Game 1 links

Media links from Game 1 of the Ice-Waterloo series:
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
KWWL (with highlights)
USHL (YouTube highlights) 

Tonight's game: 8:05 p.m. EDT at Young Arena, Waterloo. Broadcast at (video, pay). Audio broadcast will definitely be available at 1650 The Fan Waterloo. Jim Mirabello's Ice broadcast should be available at or at WOOT-FM.

Games 3 & 4 will be May 16-17 at Pan Am Pavilion.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ice drop Game 1 by 4-2 count

The Indiana Ice had a perfect start, but a couple of second-period bounces allowed the Waterloo Black Hawks to rally and tie the game, and eventually beat the Ice 4-2 Friday night in Game 1 of the Clark Cup Final.

Scott Conway and Josh Jacobs scored early to give the Ice a 2-0 lead, but Waterloo tied the game in the second and Blake Winiecki scored the game-winning goal off a rebound with 6:11 left.

Game 2 of the best-of-5 series is at 8:05 p.m. Saturday in Waterloo.

Gameday links: Ice vs. Waterloo

The Clark Cup Final's first game is upon us tonight, as the Ice take on the Waterloo Black Hawks. Game 2 will be 24 hours later, both in Young Arena in Waterloo.

Time: 8:05 p.m. EDT
Broadcast: will have a video broadcast. Check or WOOT FM for Jim Mirabello's radio broadcast.

Indy hockey blog series preview
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier preview
USHL preview
Official Ice release

Games 3 and 4 will be at Pan Am Pavilion at 7:05 p.m. May 16-17.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 9

In today's edition, the 1990 Ice open the Turner Cup Final, the 1982 Checkers put themselves one game away from a title with Red Laurence's 2OT goal, and we celebrate the birthdays of former IHL Ice Brent Grieve, USHL Ice A.J. Panchenko, Jon Ammerman, Luke McManus and Alex Barron, as well as late former Racer Bruce Greig.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Former Checker named Preds' coach

Former Indianapolis Checker Peter Laviolette was named the head coach of the NHL's Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

Laviolette had previously coached the Carolina Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup championship in 2006, and the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010. He is currently coaching the United States in the IIHF World Championships in Belarus, which begins Friday.

The Franklin, Mass. native played his rookie pro season for the Checkers in 1986-87, tallying 10 goals, 30 points and 146 PIMs in 72 games. He represented the United States in the 1988 Winter Olympics the following year. He retired from an 11-year playing career -- nearly all in the minor pro ranks -- in 1997, and immediately began coaching. He led the Providence Bruins to the AHL's Calder Cup in 1999, and was named the league's Coach of the Year. He became the New York Islanders' head coach in 2000, and has coached three different NHL franchises in the years since. He started this past season in Philadelphia, but was fired three games into the year.

Laviolette replaces Barry Trotz, who had been the only coach in Predators history.

Predators site and feature

Clark Cup Final preview: Ice vs. Waterloo

As the USHL season went along, it became apparent the Indiana Ice and Waterloo Black Hawks were the class of the field. Both teams pulled away to division titles, and battled tooth and nail for the Anderson Cup before Waterloo edged out the Ice 93 points to 91 for the USHL's regular season title.

The formalities are past. Both teams dominated their conferences in the playoffs as they did during the regular season -- going 6-1 against their neighbors. Now, it's time for the USHL's two best teams to square off over five games for the championship.

Dubuque and Green Bay have had a stranglehold on the title for the last four years, so there will be a new champion. For the second time in their 10-year history, the Indiana Ice are in the Clark Cup Final. They'll be seeking their second championship in five years. Meanwhile, Waterloo will also be seeking its second title in history, having won in 2004.

The schedule is as follows -- as has been the norm, stacked with weekend games (all times EDT):
Friday, May 9: at Young Arena, Waterloo, 8:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 10: at Young Arena, Waterloo, 8:05 p.m.
Friday, May 16: at Pan Am Pavilion, Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, May 17: at Pan Am Pavilion, Indianapolis, 7:05 p.m. (if necessary)
Tuesday, May 20: at Young Arena, Waterloo, 8:05 p.m. (if necessary)

Series preview follows after the jump.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 8

The Ice win the Clark Cup, and we wish happy birthdays to the late Cully Simon and former Chief Pierre Brillant, the most prolific goal scorer in Indianapolis hockey history.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Indy's title teams: The 2009 Ice

With the Indiana Ice in the 2014 Clark Cup Final, it's a good time to look back at the eight championship teams that have brought titles home to the Circle City. The first came in 1942, the most recent in 2009. We will look at each championship team over the next few days, starting with the most recent -- the 2009 Indiana Ice.

Ice seeking ninth title in city's hockey history

In 1942, Judd McAtee scored an overtime winner in the semifinal series to propel the Indianapolis Capitals into the AHL's Calder Cup Final, where they'd beat the Hershey Bears in a deciding fifth game at the Coliseum.

That would be the first time a championship trophy has come to Indianapolis, but not the last.

Ice release: Clark Cup Final preview

 The official weekly release from the Indiana Ice previewing the Clark Cup Final.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 7

Today's post is an all-birthday post. Former Chief Bob Bowness and Checkers Ron Kennedy and Mike Nepi were born on May 7.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 6

The 1982 Checkers take the lead in the Adams Cup Final, the 2009 Ice score three goals in 44 seconds to take command of the Clark Cup Final, and the 2012 Ice play the final game in the pre-renovation Fairgrounds Coliseum. Also, birthday celebrations for former Ice players Bob Bassen and Cheyne Lazar. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Ice official release: Clark Cup Final preview

The official release from the Indiana Ice previewing the Clark Cup Final vs. the Waterloo Black Hawks.
Clark Cup Finals Playoff Schedule (all times EDT)
ICE at Waterloo                     Friday, May 9                    8:05pm- Young Arena
ICE at Waterloo                     Saturday, May 10              8:05pm- Young Arena
Waterloo at ICE                     Friday, May 16                  7:05pm- Pan Am Pavilion
Waterloo at ICE*                   Saturday, May 17              7:05pm- Pan Am Pavilion
ICE at Waterloo*                   Tuesday, May 20               8:05pm- Young Arena
*-if necessary

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 5

The 2000 Ice get an OT goal from Chris MacKenzie to take a lead in the Miron Cup Final, the 1990 Ice punch a ticket to the Turner Cup Final thanks to Brian Noonan's OT goal, and the Checkers drop a game to Dallas in the 1982 Adams Cup Final. Also, happy birthdays to fomer Capital Jim Conacher, Checkers Bruce Affleck and Tim Thomas, and Ice Mike Stapleton. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ice to face Waterloo in Clark Cup Final

The Indiana Ice now know the opponent for the USHL Clark Cup Final - the Waterloo Black Hawks.

The series sets up a matchup of the league's top two teams this season. The Black Hawks won the Anderson Cup as the league's regular-season champion by two points over the Ice, but the two teams ran away with their division titles, and each went 6-1 en route to clinching a Clark Cup Final berth.

USHL: Ice will go dormant for 2014-15 season

The USHL has released a statement granting dormancy to the Indiana Ice for the 2014-15 hockey season.

The Ice have competed in the USHL since 2004, and have had a tremendous amount of success, with nine playoff appearances, two division titles in 2008 and 2014, and a Clark Cup championship in 2009. The Ice also were a league semifinalist in 2007.

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 4

Today's trip back in time sees the Ice clinch a spot in the USHL final four in 2007, Jim Waite making a 12-save shutout in 1990, and the Checkers emphatically clinching a back-to-back title in 1983. Also, birthdays for former Racers Steve Richardson and Dave Morrow, Checker Greg Evtushevski, CHL Ice Joe Gunther and USHL Ice Corey Fienhage. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

This date in Indianapolis hockey history: May 3

In today's installment, the Ice close their IHL history with a sudden goal, and wish happy birthdays to former Checker Paul Boutilier, and former IHL Ice Beau Bilek.  

Friday, May 2, 2014

Ice on to the Clark Cup Final

The Indiana Ice are headed back to the Clark Cup Final for the first time since 2009, after beating the Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-2 Friday night to sweep the series three games to none.

The Ice are now 6-1 in the postseason and will begin play in the Clark Cup Final next weekend against either the Waterloo Black Hawks or the Sioux City Musketeers.

Ice continue series at Dubuque

Game 3 of the Indiana Ice-Dubuque Fighting Saints series is tonight, with the Ice holding a 2-0 edge in the series. Puck drops at 8:35 p.m. EDT. If necessary, Game 4 will be at 8:05 p.m. EDT Saturday, with both games at the Mystique Ice Arena in Dubuque.

Preview & links
Time: 8:35 p.m. EDT
Broadcast: FastHockey (video), KIYX (audio, click for online link)
Preview the game
Official Ice preview
Game 1 recap
Game 2 recap

This date in Indianapolis hockey history: May 2

In today's installment, the 2009 Ice take a big step toward a title, the 2007 Ice take a step toward getting to the league final four, Mike McNeill has a Gordie Howe hat trick in 1990, the 1983 Checkers get to within a game of a championship, and the 1977 Racers are eliminated by the Nordiques. Also, birthdays for former Racer Jim Hargreaves, former Checker Steve Stoyanovich, CHL Ice Ryan Reid and USHL Ice Mike Gurtler and Tristin Llewellyn, as well as a posthumous recognition of ex-Capital "Jud" McAtee. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

This day in Indianapolis hockey history: May 1

In today's installment, we look at a couple of heartbreaking last-minute losses in 1999 and 2009, and honor 1988-89 Ice Scott Clements and Jamie McKinley, and posthumously honor Bill Brennan, Sid Finney and Mike Greeder, all of whom were born on May 1.