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. 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

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. 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. 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
    • 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.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 14

    Two June 14 birthdays:

    Johnny Wilson: Left wing for the Capitals from 1950-52. He played 112 games in Indy, tallying 59 goals and 35 assists. He split time with the Red Wings both seasons, and stuck with Detroit after the 1952 season. He played 15 pro seasons from 1947-62, and 688 NHL games -- including 580 consecutive from his callup in 1951-52 through 1960. He tallied 161 goals and 332 NHL points with the Red Wings, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs and Rangers. He won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955. Wilson became a coach in 1967 in the AHL, and was called up to the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings in 1969-70. He was the head coach of the Kings, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Rockies and Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, and the Michigan Stags/Baltimore Blades and Cleveland Crusaders in the WHA. He won the AHL's Calder Cup as a coach in 1971 with Springfield. His brother Larry also played for the Capitals, and his nephew Ron Wilson has been a head coach in the NHL. A native of Kincardine, Ont., he was born in 1929. He passed away in 2011.
    Joel Rechlicz: Right wing for the Ice for two games in 2005-06, where he earned 16 penalty minutes. "Wrecker" turned pro in 2006-07, and played stints in the IHL, AHL and ECHL, often racking up triple-digit penalty minutes. In 2008-09, he became the first USHL Ice alum to play in the NHL, when he played 17 games for the Islanders, tallying one assist and 68 penalty minutes. He has played 26 total NHL games -- most recently a three-game stint with the Washington Capitals in 2011-12. He recently finished his eighth pro season with the Hershey Bears, where he had two points and 87 PIM in 25 games. A native of Brookfield, Wis., he is 27.

    List of Indy Stanley Cup winners

    List of Stanley Cup winners who either played for, coached or managed with an Indianapolis-based professional or Tier I junior hockey team.

    (click below the jump)

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 13

    Three birthdays today, all Indiana Ice players: Nick Deutz (29), Alexander Kuqali (23) and Mattias Soderqvist (20).

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Fuel news: Brown, Jones hired for media/community relations positions

    The Indy Fuel have announced the hiring of Tony Brown as their media relations director. Tony will also be the team's radio play-by-play announcer.

    Brown comes to the Fuel from the USHL's Omaha Lancers, where he held similar roles.

    A brief bio of Brown & the Fuel front office staff
    Omaha Lancers release on Brown's departure for the Fuel

    Also, the Fuel franchise has named Jonathan Jones as the Director of Community Relations. "JJ" has worked for the Indiana Ice, Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Indians in various community relations roles.

    Mid-week link roundup

    So much has happened in the last few days, it was time for another roundup. Here, Indiana Ice memorabilia is headed for the Hockey Hall of Fame, USA Hockey looks to curb fighting, the ECHL recaps the Kelly Cup Final, the Blackhawks sign Swedish forward Dennis Rasmussen, a handful of proposed and enacted NHL rule changes (which would likely filter down to the ECHL, which, as one of two official developmental leagues for the NHL, adopts a similar rulebook), and NBC follows Doc Emrick around for a day.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 12

    Today lists three birthdays: former IHL Ice goaltender Jeff Cooper (52), CHL Ice Greg Olsen (39) and USHL Ice Chris Martin (23).

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 11

    Four birthdays today: former Checkers goaltender Lorne Molleken (58), IHL Ice Kip Miller (45) and late former Capital Hec Kilrea and IHL Ice Bryan Fogarty. More below the jump.

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Roundup: KIngs, Aces & the draft

    Today's link roundup has items on former Ice coach Darryl Sutter a win away from another Stanley Cup, a peek at the NHL Entry Draft, the Alaska Aces winning the Kelly Cup, a peek at the ECHL offseason and Ice player movement updates. All below the jump.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 10

    Three birthdays today: Checkers mainstay and Indiana Ice coach Charlie Skjodt (58), and Indiana Ice player Ryan Peckskamp (29), as well as late former Capital Leo Gravelle.

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Indy's title teams: The 1990 Ice

    This is the third in a nine-part series looking back at Indianapolis' championship-winning hockey teams. This feature will appear periodically through the offseason. Previously: the 2009 Indiana Ice, the 2000 Indianapolis Ice. 

    The Indianapolis Ice had a fresh start in the summer of 1989. After spending their first year as an independent, the team announced a primary affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks, meaning the Ice would be a team full of NHL prospects much like the Checkers had been a half-decade before.
    Bruce Cassidy hoists the Turner Cup in 1990. (Indpls. Ice)

    The local fans knew they’d be seeing players on their way to the NHL. Little did they know the season they’d get on the way there. 

    The 1989-90 Indianapolis Ice will go down as one of the great teams in IHL history, and also one of the great ones in local hockey lore. They went 53-21-8, won the IHL’s West Division championship by a whopping 31 points, and were hardly touched in a playoff run that saw them sweep the Muskegon Lumberjacks and win the Turner Cup – the city’s first hockey championship in seven years.

    It was a given this would be a whole new team. The 1988-89 Ice had been an independent, and with no NHL affiliate to feed them players, put together a squad of veteran scorers and tough guys – in some cases, in the same package – that evoked memories of the 1970s Philadelphia Flyers. But on the ice, they hadn’t been successful, winning just 26 games.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 9

    Two birthdays today.

    Gerry Leroux: Left wing who played 10 games for the Racers in their short-lived final 1978 season. He had three assists. He became a big scorer in the IHL during his three-year pro career, including a 72-point season with Flint in 1979-80, his final pro year. A native of St. Bernadine, Quebec, he is 56.
    Andre Racicot: Goaltender who played parts of two seasons in the IHL with the Ice from 1995-97. He played 13 games for the Ice during those years, going 4-6-1 with a 3.90 GAA. The Canadiens' fourth-round pick in 1983, he spent his first five pro seasons splitting time between the AHL and Montreal, and was Patrick Roy's full-time backup in 1992-93, when he won the Stanley Cup. The always-tough Montreal fans gave him the unfortunate nickname of "Red Light" during his NHL career, despite being a capable backup. He played his last NHL game the following year, and continued to play in the minors in the IHL, AHL, WPHL and ECHL, as well as in Britain and Russia, through 2002. He continued to play senior hockey in Quebec thereafter. A native of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, he is 45.

    Sunday, June 8, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 8

    One birthday today.

    Dennis Rathwell: Left wing who played for the short-lived 1963 Capitols franchise. He had a goal and two assists in the Caps' eight games before they moved to Cincinnati due to the Coliseum explosion. That year, he had nine goals and 17 points in 29 games. Rathwell's minor pro career spanned 1960-69, with stints in the Western, Eastern Professional, Central, Eastern and American Hockey leagues, topping 25 goals twice from 1965-67 in the EHL. A native of Fort Francis, Ontario, he is 74.

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 7

     Seven birthdays on June 7: former Capital Leo Reise, former Racers Hugh Harris and Kevin Nugent, and USHL Ice Brandon Richardson, Gregory Squires and Ryan Obuchowski, as well as late Racer Gilles Marotte.

    Friday, June 6, 2014

    Hockey links & potpourri June 6

    Below the jump in today's link roundup, read about Jeff Blashill's contract extension, another new ECHL coach -- this time in Evansville (creating a vacancy in Elmira), the Reading Royals' new affiliation, an update on the Kelly Cup Final, and a really incredible story about Indiana native Doc Emrick that you won't want to miss.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 6

    One birthday today:
    Jan Jas: Right wing who played 90 games with the Ice from 1999-2001. He was a key part of the Ice's 2000 Miron Cup championship team, with 10 points in the playoffs that year. Playing alongside his brother Peter, Jan had 38 goals and 28 assists with the Ice, including a 26-goal season in 1999-2000. He played junior hockey in the U.S., and broke in as a professional in 1998 in the ECHL and WPHL with three different teams. After his two years with the Ice, he played in Europe and several more seasons in the UHL/IHL  before retiring in 2009 -- scoring 22 goals for three different teams in his final pro season. He since spent a stint the head coach of Indiana University's club hockey program and is currently a scout based in Indianapolis. A native of Presov, Slovakia, he is 36.

    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    Next step for Fuel: Filling up the roster

    With the opener four months away, a lot is beginning to happen with the ECHL's newest franchise, the Indy Fuel.

    The team has secured an NHL affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks (and a corresponding AHL affiliation with the Rockford IceHogs). On May 27, Scott Hillman was named the team's first coach (read our interview with him here). And Wednesday, the ECHL announced the 2014-15 schedule, and so the Fuel know where they're going for 72 regular-season games spanning the Oct. 17 opener against Fort Wayne and the April 11 finale in Reading.

    What's next? The Fuel will soon begin filling out the roster.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 5

    One birthday today:
    Alfie Turcotte: One of a handful of Indiana-born players to play hockey for an Indianapolis-based team, Turcotte played 17 games for the Ice in 1997-98, with five goals and six assists. He came into the NHL right away, as the 17th overall pick in the 1983 NHL Draft by Montreal. He played 112 NHL games, nearly all with the Canadiens from 1983-85. He also saw action with the Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals later in the 1980s and early 1990s, but primarily saw action in the AHL & IHL, as well as over four seasons in Europe. Although he was raised in Michigan, he was born in Gary, Indiana. He is 49.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    Fuel to open schedule with home-and-home against old rival

    The Indy Fuel and Fort Wayne Komets haven't yet played a game against each other, but their rivalry is already pretty strong.

    It's a rivalry goes back to the days when the IHL's Indianapolis Ice and Fort Wayne Komets did battle, often a dozen times a year. And while the rivalry has been on hiatus for 15 years -- the last time Fort Wayne and Indianapolis hockey teams met on the ice, it was an exhibition game in 1999 -- it still fuels passions on both sides.

    So, fittingly, as the Indy Fuel begin their inaugural ECHL campaign this fall, it will happen with the Fort Wayne Komets as the visitors.

    Fort Wayne will visit the State Fairgrounds Coliseum on Oct. 17 for a 7:35 p.m. puck drop, beginning a new era in Hoosier hockey, both for the Indy Fuel and the newly-renovated Coliseum, which will be unveiled after a two-year remodeling project that transformed the Coliseum into a spectacular, modern arena. The next night, the Fuel will head up I-69 to help the Komets usher in their season. There's no better way to usher in a new era.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 4

    Two birthdays today:

    Bernie John: Defenseman who was a mainstay on the Ice blueline in all five of their CHL seasons from 1999-2004. He is the all-time assists leader among Indianapolis hockey players, with 262 in his five-year career with the Ice. He ranks ninth among all Indianapolis pro players in games played (301) and fifth in points (353). He also had 91 goals in those five seasons, including a 21-goal year in 1999-2000 and a 23-goal season the next year. He had nine points in the Miron Cup championship run in 2000, and had nine goals and 22 assists total in 31 playoff games. He came to the Ice after spending seven years in the Colonial/United Hockey League, and played two years in Corpus Christi after the Ice left the CHL in 2004. He returned to Indianapolis and was an assistant coach on the Indiana Ice's Clark Cup championship team in 2014 -- a coaching career that began with him being a player-assistant to Ken McRae in his last two seasons with the Ice as a player. A native of Sudbury, Ont., he is 42.
    Daniel Passero: Defenseman who played seven games with the Ice in 2000-01 after finishing his season at the University of Prince Edward Island. He had a goal and an assist in the regular season, and a goal and an assist in three playoff games. He played 20 total minor pro games before retiring in the 2001-02 season. A native of Vaughan, Ont., he is 35.

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    Indy hockey links: June 3

    A cornucopia of links related to local hockey: catching up with former Turner Cup champion coach Darryl Sutter, a look at the ECHL teams' protected lists for next season and more ECHL news (including the Kelly Cup Final in Cincinnati and a familiar foe heading to Toledo). Also, updates on the new USHL commissioner and four players with Ice ties participating in the NHL Combine.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 3

    Three birthdays today: CHL Ice Mike Bozoian and USHL Ice players Max Cook and Brian Ferlin.

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    New USHL commish: "Indiana a priority"

    As has been expected for some time, Bob Fallen was named the USHL's new commissioner today. He replaces Skip Prince, who is moving on to a position in the University of Texas athletic department.

    Fallen has ties to the USHL, as his son Tommy played for Cedar Rapids for two seasons. He also has most recently served in marketing/branding at Reebok-CCM.

    This day in Indianapolis hockey history: June 2

    Eight birthdays to celebrate today, including two notable late former players -- Don Deacon, who scored the first goal in the Fairgrounds Coliseum, and Ott Heller, the player-coach who led the Caps to the 1950 Calder Cup title. Also, former Checkers Randy Johnston and Don Sylvestri, former Checker and Ice Mike Berger, IHL Ice Adam Creighton, CHL Ice Ryan Carter and USHL Ice Drew Fisher.

    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    This day in Indianapolis Hockey History: June 1

    Four birthdays today -- former Capital Larry Zeidel, USHL Ice defenseman Ryan Scott, and two players who played one game in Indy -- Checker John Baldassari and CHL Ice Chris Bonvie.