Sunday, May 31, 2015

Senators Sign Viper Alumni Hammond To Three-Year One-Way Contract:

The Ottawa Senators have signed former Vernon Vipers goaltender Andrew Hammond who was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 2015.

Hammond attended the Ottawa Senators development camp in July before being released from the Sens Training camp was sent down to the AHL. Hammond was in his second season with the Binghamton Senators before being recalled from the American Hockey League on January 29th 2015 where he would finish the remainder of the season in the NHL with the Senators.

Hammond made his first career NHL start February 18th 2015 vs the Montreal Canadians, recorded 42 saves in a 4-2 win over the Habs for his first career NHL victory.

After four seasons with Bowling Green University Hammond signed his first pro contract with the Ottawa Senators on March 20th 2013. Hammond played last year as a rookie with the American Hockey League (AHL) Binghamton Senators. In 48 games with Binghamton Hammond went 25-19-3 with one shutout and a 2.81 GAA.

Hammond made his NHL debut last season was called up to the Ottawa Senators on February 27th 2014 vs the Detroit Red Wings. Hammond was the backup for Senators starting goaltender Robin Lehner that night but made his NHL debut after Lehner was pulled late in the 2nd period giving up six goals on fifteen Detroit shots. Hammond would finish the game playing just over thirty four minutes stopping all eleven Red Wing shots in a 6-1 loss to Detroit. Hammond attended the Chicago Blackhawks 2012 development camp and attended the Ottawa Senators 2013 development camp playing in a few exhibition games with the Senators last season. (no stats)

Hammond played parts of two years in Vernon (2007-2009) after coming over in a trade with the Surrey Eagles during the 2007-08 season. In 52 regular season games with the Vipers Hammond posted a (33-15-1) record recording 6 shutouts.

Andrew Hammond's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Senators website:

News Release: Senators agree to terms with goaltender Andrew Hammond on a three-year contract extension

Wednesday, 05.20.2015

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators (@Senators) announced today the club has agreed to terms with goaltender Andrew Hammond on a three-year contract extension which will run through the end of the 2017-18 National Hockey League season. The average annual value of the contract is $1.35 million ($1.2M, $1.35M, $1.5M).

Hammond, 27, earned a record of 20-1-2 in 24 games with the Senators last season, posting a 1.79 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage, while recording three shutout victories.

This was in the Ottawa Citizen Newspaper:

Senators sign Andrew Hammond to three-year one-way contract

Peter Robb, Ottawa Citizen

Published on: May 20, 2015

One of the NHL’s feel-good stories of the past season had a happy ending Wednesday morning as Andrew Hammond got what he wanted from the Ottawa Senators — a three-year deal to play for the NHL team in the city he and his wife have grown to love.

The man known as the Hamburglar is now looking forward to the upcoming season and competition for a spot in the net.

The Hammond contract carries an average annual cap hit of $1.35 million ($1.2M, $1.35M, $1.5M) for a total of $4.05 million. The deal is a one-way contract meaning he will be staying in the National Hockey League next season. The B.C. native was set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

One thing the deal does not have is a “no move” clause meaning Hammond could be traded at the club’s discretion. He says there were no job guarantees offered by the club.

But all that is for another day. Right now, Hammond is basking in a reward for what was a truly remarkable debut on the NHL stage and settling into his summer home in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Hammond’s critical role in the team’s historic run to the 2014-15 playoffs made him a fan favourite and almost a must sign. During that improbable journey, the 27-year-old’s record was 20-1-2 in 24 games. He posted a 1.79 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage with three shutouts. He lost two games in the playoffs.

Hammond took part in a conference call with Ottawa media telling reporters it was a personal priority to stay in Ottawa.

“My wife and I really loved Ottawa. It was a place that we wanted to be.”

Most of the negotiations were handled by Pierre Dorion, the team’s assistant general manager, Hammond said, and once Dorion returned from the world championships this past weekend, where Canada won a gold medal, the contract came together quickly — in fact, in the last two days.

“The three-year deal was pretty important to me,” Hammond says, “just to give me some security. And start moving forward to build a career.”

Dorion told reporters that because of Hammond’s record during the stretch run, the team felt comfortable signing Hammond, despite the relatively short sample size of 26 games.

“Andrew came in and under difficult conditions showed he was an NHL goalie through his ability to win pretty much every game he played in. He showed he could win under pressure and win big games under pressure. We thought we should reward him with an NHL contract.

“We feel he can push our other two goalies. We don’t get into the playoffs without Andrew

The idea of a one-way deal was important as well and Hammond says he is happy Ottawa felt that way too.

Reflecting back on the incredible run, the B.C. native says he tried to keep it in perspective and took it one day at a time at the time.

“The great thing about sports is that anything can happen and I was given a chance to hit the refresh button when I was called up.”

Typically thoughtful and always seemingly ready to learn, Hammond said he did not play his best during the playoff series against Montreal, but nor did he play his worst.

“I think I got caught up in the emotion of the games in Montreal and it took away from my game a little bit. … I was having too much fun playing and that made some of my movements speed up. Ultimately as a goaltender, that will open up holes.”

He knows there are now more expectations of him.

“I am aware that the expectations are obviously going to change, but I’ve proven myself over the past few months here that I can play at this level and I am more than willing to learn every day. You go in just trying to play as many games as you can. No matter what happens you have to keep training and practising as if you are the No. 2 guy.”

Hammond praised Senators goalie coach Rick Wamsley for helping him to improve his technique and he says he intends to build on those improvements.

The signing leaves the team with three goaltenders with NHL contracts:

• Craig Anderson, the team’s No. 1 with three years left on his latest contract;

• Robin Lehner, who is also under contract for two more years and is working out and expected in camp in the fall free of concussion symptoms;

• And now Hammond.

As well the team signed a highly rated U.S. college free agent this spring. Matt O’Connor will report to AHL Binghamton next season on a two-year entry-level contract worth $925,000 per year plus bonuses, the maximum for an entry-level player. The club also has Chris Driedger, who played well in Binghamton after Hammond moved to Ottawa, under contract. The team has also drafted Marcus Hogberg, who is a 20-year-old, playing in the Swedish Elite League.

Dorion says a team can never have too much talent in net. “We feel we have an abundance of talent at that position.”

For Hammond’s part, he says he gets along well with Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

“They were both extremely supportive of me the more I played; they are both just quality guys. I don’t know what will happen here but we are all professionals and you learn that this is part of the game.”

Dorion says the team will now look at trading one of their three NHL goalies.

“We could go into training camp with three. We haven’t started to explore the trade market yet.”

Dorion said the team has been in talks with its bevy of pending free agents. He said he has permission to talk to Erik Condra’s representatives, who will be unrestricted July 1. They are still looking at making him an offer, but much will depend on what happens with other contracts.

He said there have been a range of contacts with the agents for several restricted free agents including Mike Hoffman, J.G Pageau, Mark Stone, Alex Chiasson and Mika Zibanejad. He says the team is prepared to go to arbitration if it comes to that but hopes to have all RFAs signed and in camp by Sept. 15.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Former Viper All-Star Gare Wont Be Back With Lions:

It sounds like former Vernon Vipers forward Lanny Gare wont be back next season with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Frankfurt Lions.  The Lions are a professional men's ice hockey club from Frankfurt, Germany that play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga hockey league.   

Gare has played the past three seasons with the Lions playing in 96 games.  In 46 games this season Gare collected (13-goals-24-assists-37-points).

After four years with the University of New Hampshire Gare played three seasons with five different teams in the UHL, AHL & ECHL before playing the past ten seasons in Germany & Denmark.

Gare played two years with the Vipers (1997-1999). In 117 games with the Vipers Gare collected (67-goals-107-assists-174-points) & still holds the Vipers record for most points in a single season with 111 pts during the 1998-99 season.

Lanny Gare's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Lions website:

Lions say goodbye in the summer break

19th April, 2015

800 fans by the discharge of the team. The first personnel decisions announces.

Frankfurt (TS) - The team of the lions Frankfurt has said goodbye on the Sunday noon with great mood before about 800 fans in the pickepackevollen festival hall to Eddy Hausmann on the Dippemess in the summer break.

Rüdiger took over at first the word and looked back with pride at the tramped season:, the lions Frankfurt are limited again a steady size in the German hockey. Now from the small and tender plant a small small tree has become again. '

Also the companion Stefan Krämer and Andreas Stracke were contented of high and emphasized once again the spectator's record which the Frankfurters put up in this season.

The coach's team around Tim Kehler and Chris Stanley rang in the team's presentation. Lion's trainer Kehler promised with the fact that in the coming season even harder and more body-stressed hockey is played in Frankfurt.

Afterwards the players were called in two groups on the stage. Besides, quite a lot of anecdote from a long season was revealed and the Gamer was handed over to the happy winners of the loose drawing. For everything which were not on site the ticket numbers on the lion's web page are published during the coming days over again.

However, there was also less gratifying news. Thus it was announced that Hungarian Márton Vas, Thomas Ziolkowski and Lanny Gare done accumulate in the next season no more for the lions. Accordingly the fans and also the team thanked the players for your achievements in the lion's dress.

At the end Clarke Breitkreuz received the price of the choice to the player of the March from hockey news editor Frank Gantert. The final celebration was concluded with a group picture of all present fans and the team.

The lions Frankfurt wish a restful summer break all fans and the team.

And thinks of protecting You now already your long-term map for the season 2015/16 in the lion ticket shop.

The DEL2 starts on the 11th September, 2015 in the new playing time. At the beginning of August the lion's herd will gather again in Frankfurt. Till then!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Ex Viper Kane Advances To Kelly Cup Finals:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Kory Kane &
the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) South Carolina Stingrays clinched the 2015 ECHL Eastern Conference Championship Wednesday after a 1-0 victory over the Toledo Walleye in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals earning a berth into the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals.

Kane attended the Boston Bruins Training camp in October before being released-sent down to the American Hockey League (AHL) Providence Bruins.  Kane spent most of this season with the Bruins played in 55 games collecting (7-goals-12-assists-19-points) was re-assigned to the ECHL playing in six games with the Stingrays picking up (2-goals-2-assists-4-points).

Kane finished four years at Ferris State University (2010-2014) before signing a PTO (player tryout) contract with the American Hockey League (AHL) Providence Bruins on April, 7th 2014. In 4 games last season with the Bruins Kane registered (0-goals-1-assist-1-point). Kane played two years in Vernon (2008-2010) In 119 regular season games with the Vipers Kane collected (42-goals-55-assists-97-points).

Cory Kane's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Stingrays website:

Stingrays Head to Kelly Cup Finals with Triple Overtime Thriller in Game 7; Finals Schedule Released

May 28th 2015

By: Joseph Zakrzewski

Toledo, OH – Forward Joe Devin scored the game-winning goal 5:35 into triple overtime and goaltender Jeff Jakaitis earned a 44-save shutout victory to catapult the South Carolina Stingrays (12-8) into the Kelly Cup Finals with a 1-0 victory over the Toledo Walleye (11-10) in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Huntington Center Wednesday night. The Stingrays win the best-of-seven series 4-3 and will meet the Allen Americans in the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals starting Sunday in Allen, Texas.

The Walleye outshot the Stingrays 9-4 in the first period of action, but the Stingrays built momentum with several good shifts working the puck below the goal line and wearing down the Walleye defense around netminder Jeff Lerg (L, 41 saves on 42 shots). The Stingrays turned 11 shots on Lerg in the middle frame and Jakaitis (W, 44 saves on 44 shots) stopped all six Walleye chances including a Justin Mercier breakaway to keep the contest scoreless through two periods.

The Stingrays ramped up the pressured in the third period, earning a 10-4 shot advantage, but could not slip the puck past Lerg. In overtime, both sides exchanged rushes as Toledo rifled a period-high 16 shots on net, but Jakaitis received help from his posts twice and made several acrobatic saves to keep the game scoreless. The two sides generated 10 combined shots in the second overtime to force a third segment. After Walleye forward Martin Frk missed an open net early the frame, the Stingrays raced down the ice and forward Joe Devin caught a drop pass from forward Caleb Herbert and beat Lerg under the blocker for the game-winning goal at 5:35. For Devin, the marker is his second Game 7 game-winning tally (Game 7 vs. Reading). Defenseman Wade Epp received the second assist. The Stingrays finished the game 0-for-3 on the power play while the Walleye went 0-for-1.

The Stingrays meet the Allen Americans in the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals with Game 1 on Sunday, May 31 at 8:05 p.m. ET at the Allen Even Center in Allen Texas. The Stingrays and Americans collide in a 3-3-1 format and host the Americans for Game 4 on Sunday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m. at the North Charleston Coliseum. If necessary, Game 5 is Tuesday, June 9 at 7:05 and Game 6 is Wednesday, June 10 at the Coliseum.

2015 Kelly Cup Finals Schedule:

Game 1 – Sunday, May 31 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas
Game 2 – Tuesday, June 2 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas
Game 3 – Wednesday, June 3 at 7:05 p.m. CT at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas
Game 4 – Sunday, June 7 at 7:05 p.m. ET at North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C.
Game 5 – Tuesday, June 9 at 7:05 p.m. ET at North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C. *
Game 6 – Wednesday, June 10 at 7:05 p.m. ET at North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, S.C. *
Game 7 – Sunday, June 14 at 4:05 p.m. CT at Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas *
* – If Necessary

Do not miss a second of the action! 2015-16 Stingrays Ticket Plans are on sale NOW! Save money off of box receive office prices and great benefits like FREE parking, Buddy Passes, discounts off of merchandise, advanced ticket purchases to North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center events and more! Click here to see all the benefits and options!

Become a “Fan” of the Stingrays on Facebook at and join the conversation on Twitter at . Stingrays Hockey – Wanna Go?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tigers Sign Former Viper Forward Bayda:

The Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Straubing Tigers have
signed former Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Bayda. The Tigers are a professional men's ice hockey team, based in Straubing, Germany, which plays in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.

Bayda spent the past two seasons with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Augsburger Panthers before signing with the Tigers in March.  In just six games this season with the Panthers Bayda collected (4-goals-6-assists-10-points).

After playing three years at the University of North Dakota Bayda played the following eight seasons split between the American Hockey League & NHL.  Since the 2010-11 season Bayda has played the past six seasons in Germany with three different teams.

Bayda played one season in Vernon (1998-99) playing in 45 games with the Vipers collecting (24-goals-58-assists-82-points). Bayda was drafted 80th overall in Round 3 of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the Carolina Huricanes. Bayda played parts of five seasons with the Huricanes before signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins but played the 2009-10 season with the Penguins farm club the AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

Ryan Bayda's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Tigers website:

DEL2 top defender Edwards comes from castle Ravens – tiger get attacker Connolly and Bayda as well as defender Jobke from Augsburg

Thursday, 26th March, 2015

Four new actors have taken for the coming season DEL 2015/16 Straubing of tiger under contract. From the Augsburg panthers defender Colton Jobke as well as the attackers Ryan Bayda and Mike Connolly change to the powder tower.

With Maury Edwards of the castle Ravens Towerstars (DEL2) have secure the tiger, besides, the top defender of the second-highest play class „ We are right in the middle in the construction of the team for 2015/16 “, according to Dunham to the topical situation with the tiger. 28-year-old Canadian Maury Edwards was chosen by the coaches and managers of the DEL2 to the best defender of the season 2014/15. The offensive defender collected for the castle Ravens Towerstars 51 Scorer points (!) in 51 parts, under it 15 hits. „ Maury have observed Larry and I during the last two years of the more often. He is läuferisch top and we are persuaded that he can also assert himself in the DEL “, according to Jason Dunham, sporty leader of the tiger. Already in 2013/14 Edwards with 67 Scorer points became a talking point in 71 parts for Kaufbeuren ESV in the DEL2.

The adaptably useable Canadian plays since 2010 in the DEL.Nachdem attacker Ryan Bayda (34) in the playing time in 2013/14 another 41 Scorer points under Larry Mitchell for the panthers collected, threw him in the tramped season a heavy elbow injury from the road. Bayda could graduate from only six plays in which he marked strong four hits and six presentations. In the coming season the experienced left shooter wants to attack again fully. Bayda comes with the experience of 194 NHL-and 358 AHL parts to Straubing.

Last the 25-year-old Mike Connolly was likewise unlucky. After a prominent season 2013/14 with 42Scorer points in 52 plays a cruciate ligament injury from braked him in the tramped playing time. After an OP the weasel-agile attacker who might already likewise accumulate twice in the NHL should overshoot in 2015/16 again so properly.

„ Without doubt Bayda as well as Connolly will bring us in the coming season forwards. They had both extreme injury bad luck the last year. Under Larry Mitchell they were in Augsburg before, nevertheless, achievement bearers “, explains Jason Dunham, sporty leader of the tiger.

Defender Colton Jobke (22) came only in the course of the playing time in 2014/15 to the Augsburg panthers to the DEL. Indeed, the Youngster with German passport was got to Mitchells time with the Swabians to Europe, nevertheless, the change of the German Canadian in the DEL was already threaded under Mitchell in last summer. „ Colton is a young defender with German passport which fits perfectly in our draft “, according to Dunham.

After the obligation of forward Sean O'Connor five new entries have taken the tiger therefore already for the next playing time under contract.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ice Name Former Viper Pierce New Head Coach-GM:

The Western Hockey League (WHL) Kootaney Ice have named former Vernon Vipers forward Luke Pierce their new head Coach-GM.

Pierce spent six seasons as Head Coach-GM of the Merritt Centennials. Pierce was named BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the year in 2013 played his final year of Junior hockey in Vernon (2003-04) after being aquired from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations on June, 10th 2003. In 53 regular season games with the Vipers Pierce collected (7-goals-21-assists-28-points).

Luke Pierce's Player-Coaches Profile:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

2013 BCHL coach of the year Pierce takes WHL job with Kootenay

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The BCHL is congratulating now-former Merritt Centennials head coach and general manager Luke Pierce on accepting a position as head coach of the WHL's Kootenay Ice.

Pierce, 31, joined the Centennials for the 2009-10 season as an assistant but was promoted to the head coach/GM role in November of that year. The hometown Merritt native spent the rest of that season, and the subsequent five campaigns, running the Cents. His teams qualified for the postseason each year he was with the club.

“I feel very fortunate to have been the head coach of my hometown team and want to thank all of the Centennials fans, volunteers and partners for their support,” said Pierce. “I especially want to thank (Centennials director of hockey operations) Brian Barrett for his role in helping me grow as a coach and for his constant belief in me. I consider him a great friend and an invaluable mentor.

“I also want to thank all my previous players in Merritt who have dedicated themselves to helping grow the program and pushing me to be a better coach. I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.”

Pierce was named BCHL Coach of the Year in 2013 and he was an assistant coach with Team Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.

“The BCHL is all about developing players and coaches for other opportunities in hockey,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “I’m proud of the quality of coaches we have in our league and Luke is one that has shown he is deserving of this chance. I wish Luke, his wife Amy and their three boys all the best as they make this transition.”

As a player, Pierce spent three seasons in the BCHL – two with Merritt and another with the Vernon Vipers. He went on to a five-year university hockey career at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.

This is posted on the Ice website:

ICE Name New Head Coach

May 26, 2015

Cranbrook, BC --  Jeff Chynoweth, General Manager of the Kootenay ICE Hockey Club, today announced the Club has hired Luke Pierce as the seventh Head Coach in franchise history. Pierce, who has signed a three-year contract, replaces Ryan McGill who in April mutually agreed to part ways with the Club when his contract expires on June 30, 2015.

“Luke is one of the bright young coaches coming through the system. He has coached in Merritt which is very similar to Cranbrook in terms of his teams achieving on-ice success despite the obstacles faced as a small market team. In speaking with numerous hockey people throughout this process there was one common theme: his teams come to play and work hard every night, while most importantly getting better as the season progresses. Patience and teaching will definitely be needed as we turn over the majority of our roster and ice one of the youngest teams in the WHL this year,” continued Chynoweth.

“This is a great opportunity for my family and I. Kootenay has been one of the most successful WHL franchises for the past 17 years. I intend on keeping the strong culture and tradition going despite the expected roster turnover. Hard work gives you a chance to win and we definitely will be a team that competes each and every game,” commented Luke Pierce.

Luke Pierce has been the General Manager / Head Coach of the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League since November 2009. During his time behind the bench his teams posted a 168-111-21 regular season record and qualified for the playoffs all six years. Pierce was named the BCHL Interior Conference Coach of the Year in 2012-2013 and was an Assistant Coach for Team Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge. Luke attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario from 2004-2009. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a Psychology Major and Business Minor. He also earned a Master’s Degree of Business Administration with a concentration in Strategic Management.

Luke Pierce is a 31-year-old native of Merritt, BC. He and his wife Amy are the parents of three boys – William (6), Bennett (3) and Austin (1).

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Penguins Sign Ex Vernon Viper Gill:

The American Hockey League (AHL) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Penguins have signed former Vernon Vipers forward Sahir Gill to a professional tryout agreement (PTO).

Gill finished his second season with the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Wheeling Nailers also had stints with the American Hockey League Hamilton Bulldogs & Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Gill & the Nailers were eliminated in the opening round of the ECHL playoffs.  In 26 games this season with the Nailers Gill recorded (9-goals-20-assists-29-points).  In 12 games this season with the Penguins Gill has posted (1-goal-2-assists-3-points).

Gill attended the Montreal Canadians Training camp this season was released before signing with the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs on October 10th 2014. Gill was released after going pointless in one game with Hamilton returned to the Nailers where he played last season before signing a professional tryout agreement (PTO) with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Gill played in 12 games with the Penguins collecting (1-goal-2-assists-3-points) before being released January 16, 2015. Gill signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO) on January 17th 2015 with the Hamilton Bulldogs played in 24 games collecting (2-goals-2-assists-4-points) was released on March 25th 2015 before returning to Wheeling to finish the season.

Gill played last year with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers. Gill finished sixth in rookie scoring and lead the team in scoring collecting (13-goals-41-assists-54-points). Gill was suppose to enter his fourth and final season at Boston University last season but left school signing with the Nailers early in the season. Gill played parts of two seasons in Vernon (2008-2010). Gill left the Vipers in July of 2009 for the United States Hockey League (USHL) Chicago Steel but after just 26 games would return to Vernon in mid January of 2010. In 71 regular season games with the Vipers Gill recorded (21-goals-30-assists-42-points).

Sahir Gill's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Penguins website:


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Pittsburgh Penguins have assigned goaltender Eric Hartzell and defenseman Harrison Ruopp to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), it was announced today.  In addition, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has recalled defenseman Clark Seymour from loan to Wheeling.

Hartzell went 2-0-0 with a 2.92 goals against average and a .882 save percentage in two appearances this season for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.  Currently in his second season of professional hockey, the 25-year-old also compiled a record of 17-14-1 for the Nailers, while recording a 2.75 GAA, a .914 save percentage and one shutout.  In five games during the 2015 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Hartzell was 2-2-1 with a 2.36 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

Ruopp, a second-year pro, registered one assist and 58 penalty minutes over 30 games this season with the Nailers, while appearing in seven contests for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.   The 22-year-old from Zehner, Saskatchewan also played in four games for Wheeling during the team’s North Division Semifinal series versus Toledo.

Seymour, 21, notched one goal and 72 penalty minutes over 54 games with Wheeling while ranking first among team defensemen with 14 assists.  A first-year professional hailing from Brockville, Ontario, Seymour appeared in 12 contests for the Penguins, posting one assist.  He also skated in two postseason matches with the Nailers.

In a separate transaction, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have signed forward Sahir Gill to a professional tryout agreement (PTO).

Gill joins the Penguins for the second time this season.  Signed to a PTO on Dec. 4, 2014, Gill played in 12 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, collecting one goal and two assists.  He also dressed for 25 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), registering two goals, two assists and six penalty minutes.

Gill, 23, averaged more than a point per game during the 2014-15 season the Nailers, amassing nine goals and 20 assists in 26 contests.  Gill was third on the team during the playoffs with six points (4G-2A) in seven games.

The Penguins are in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 13th consecutive year – the longest active streak in the AHL – and begin their Eastern Conference Semifinal series versus the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday, May 6 at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets for Penguins Playoff Home Games C (Saturday, May 9) and D (Monday, May 11) are available now by calling 570-208-7367 or going online to

Monday, May 25, 2015

Viper Alumni Bigos Happy Playing At Home:

Here is an article I found on former Vernon Vipers defenceman Kyle Bigos.

Bigos is in his second season with the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Ontario Reign.  Bigos & the Reign have a 3-2 series lead on the Allen Americans in the best of seven series in the ECHL Western Conference Finals with Game 6 going Tuesday.

Bigos attended the San Jose Sharks Training camp in October before being released-assigned to the American Hockey League. Bigos started the season in Worcester after signing with the Worcester Sharks on September, 8th 2014 before being assigned to Ontario on October 12th 2014. The Reign assigned Bigos to Worcester on January 29th 2015. In three games this season with the Sharks Bigos had just one assist.  Bigos returned to the Reign on February 20, 2015 after the Sharks assigned him back to the ECHL.  In 43 games this season with the Reign Bigos has (1-goal-12-assists-13-points).

Bigos spent last season with three different teams (San Francisco, Ontario & Worcester). Bigos signed his first semi-pro contract with the Worcester Sharks on July, 16th 2013. Bigos attended the San Jose Sharks Training Camp last year before being released back to Worcester where he was then assigned to the East Coast Hockey League San Francisco Bulls on October, 1st 2013. In 40 games with the Bulls Bigos collected (2-goals-4-assists-6-points) before the team ceased operations in late January. Bigos become an unrestricted free agent signed with East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Ontario Reign playing in 19 games collected (1-goal-4-assists-5-points). Bigos was called up to the AHL played in five games with the Worcester Sharks registered one assist before being sent back down to the ECHL.

Bigos played two seasons in Vernon (2007-2009) collecting (10-goals-40-assists-50-points) in 166 regular season games with the Vipers. Bigos an assistant captain in his second and final season with the Vipers was drafted 99th overall by the NHL Edmonton Oilers in the 4th round of the 2009 NHL Draft. Bigos attended the Oilers Developement Camp two out of the last three years. The Edmonton Oilers traded Bigos to San Jose for Lee Moffie on July 7th 2013.

Kyle Bigos's Player Profile:

This is in the Daily Bulletin Newspaper:

Kyle Bigos happy playing at home with Ontario Reign hockey team

By Bill Norris, Correspondent


When Kyle Bigos left Upland in 2006 to pursue his dreams of playing hockey, he never imagined he’d have the chance to play professionally in front of his friends and family.

“When I left when I was 15, I didn’t think I’d ever really be back,” Bigos said Wednesday. “But a year and a half has really been a blessing, and I’ve been really grateful for every moment.”

The 26-year-old defenseman is in his second season with the Ontario Reign, after the San Jose Sharks assigned him to Ontario after the San Francisco Bulls folded midseason last year.

The second-year pro was returned to Ontario for the 2014-15 season, and has become a key contributor for the Reign as the team gets ready to play in the ECHL Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history.

ECHL playoffs


Ontario Reign vs. Allen Americans

Game 1: Reign at Allen, Sunday, 2:05 p.m.
Game 2: Reign at Allen, Monday, 5:05 p.m.
Game 3: Allen at Reign, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Allen at Reign, May 23, 6 p.m.
*Game 5: Allen at Reign, May 24, 6 p.m.
*Game 6: Reign at Allen, May 26, 5:05 p.m.
*Game 7: Reign at Allen, May 27, 5:05 p.m.
* — if necessary

And getting the chance to do it at home has been an extra bonus for the 6-foot-5 Bigos.

“It’s good. I know a lot of my family hasn’t really seen me play since 15,” he said. “Seeing them last year for the first time, and rebuilding the connections with family has been a powerful thing.”

Having that hometown connection is something that even coach Jason Christie says has to help his players’ comfort level.

“I think it’s good,” Christie said. “How many guys can say they play at home and play pro hockey? He’s just a great person. He’s great to deal with every day. He pays attention to details. He’s a gem to have around.”

But while playing at home has been nice, the goal for any player in the ECHL is to move up to the next level. And Bigos has stepped up his play in the postseason to prove that he’s ready to challenge for a spot on the Sharks’ American Hockey League team next year.

A stay-at-home defenseman, Bigos has been paired with the more offensive-minded Matt Register on the Reign’s blue line in the postseason. Bigos has been counted on to hold down the fort when Register goes forward. While Register leads the Reign with 14 points in the playoffs, Bigos is set in his role, with no points, but a plus-7 rating.

It’s something the Sharks organization wants him to focus on at this point in his career.

“(They) definitely keep pushing me toward simplifying the game and working from inside out as a stay-at-home defenseman,” Bigos said. “So as long as I’m getting ice time and minutes, definitely getting better. Getting a lot out of being here and very excited for the opportunity.”

It’s an assessment his coach agrees with — with the caveat of continuing to fix the little things that might keep him from moving on.

“He’s got to keep competing,” Christie said. “He’s been called upon here in the last couple of
rounds. He’s definitely got opportunities, but he’s got those little things he’s got to work on. Whether it’s going back hard for pucks or getting your shot off, or maybe being that defensive force out there. He’s got a great reach, and that’s something where he’s got to keep progressing at.”

Bigos was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2009 after two seasons with the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League. Instead of going pro, he spent four seasons at Merrimack College, where his 457 career penalty minutes set the Hockey East career mark.

He was traded to the Sharks in July 2013, and made his debut that fall with San Francisco, which eventually led him to Ontario.

Things will change next season, however. With Ontario moving up to the AHL next season, and the Sharks moving their affiliate to San Jose, the future is up in the air for Bigos. But this playoff season is an extra chance for Bigos to show he’s ready to make the move up.

“This is a big playoff for him,” Christie said. “The better the playoff he has, the more teams will be looking at him, too.

“And that’s why they’re down here, developing. Work every day. You’ve got to work every day. You have to work. If you don’t work, you don’t put the time in, do those little things, it’s going to be a tough road.”

For Bigos, however, the focus remains on the task in front of him.

“Still focusing on the task at hand,” he said. “Next year is next year — right now is where you want your focus and energy on this year.”

But he knows that this playoff, and the rest of his summer, will be huge for his career.

“It’s a very big offseason, and I think it really stems from play coming up in the playoffs — how do you want to end?” Bigos said. “How do you want to complete? It’s definitely something that is in the daily process.”

Sunday, May 24, 2015

HC Red Ice Sign Former Viper Forward Nikiforuk:

HC Red Ice Martigny-Verbier-Entremont has signed former Vernon Vipers forward Alex Nikiforuk.  HC Red Ice Martigny-Verbier-Entremont is a Swiss ice hockey club, founded in 2008.  HC Red Ice is a member of the Swiss national League B.

Nikiforuk started the season with the GC Küsnacht Lions was in his second season with the Lions before joining HC Red Ice.  The Lions are a Swiss professional ice hockey team.

After playing four years at the University of Nebraska, Nikiforuk has spent the past eight seasons overseas playing with eight different teams.

Nikiforuk played one season as an affiliated player "AP" with the Vipers (1999-2000) before being traded the following season to the Burnaby Bulldogs. In just 6 games with the Vipers Nikiforuk collected (0-goals-2-assists-2-points).

Alex Nikiforuk's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Red Ice website:

Alex Nikiforuk with Red Ice for play-off


Beep Scorer des GCK Lions, the Canadian Alex Nikiforuk joins Red Ice as third étanger with the aim of play-off.

Arrived in Switzerland, to GCK Leos, in 2013, Nikiforuk inscribed 74 points in matchs 83 of LNB. He should join Red Ice for training of tomorrow, on Thursday, and will be at disposition of the coach Albert Malgin from the beginning play-off on Friday, February 13th, 20 h 00 in the Forum of Octodure against HC Ajoie. ' It is important to be able to lean on such joker during play-off ', comments Albert Malgin.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Milano Rossoblu Sign Ex Vipers D-Man Waddell:

Milano Rossoblu have signed former Vernon Vipers defenceman Matt Waddell.  Milano Rossoblu is an ice hockey team from Milan, Italy.  It is currently playing in Serie A, the highest level of ice hockey competition in Italy.  In 7 games with Rossoblu Waddell has two assists.

Waddell started the season with ESV Kaufbeuren.  ESV Kaufbeuren is a professional ice hockey team based in Kaufbeuren, Germany that play in DEL2 the second level of ice hockey in Germany.  Waddell signed with ESV Kaufbeuren on September 7th 2014.  In 34 games this season with ESV Kaufbeuren Waddell collected (4-goals-13-assists-17-points) after playing last season with the HC Nikko Ice Bucks, an Asia League Ice Hockey team based in Nikkō, Tochigi, Japan. In 41 games last year with the Ice Bucks Waddell collected (8-goals-26-assists-34-points).

After four years at Ohio State University Waddell spent one season (2007-08) in the East Coast Hockey League & American Hockey League with Charlotte & Hartford.  Since 2008 Waddell has played overseas in seven different leagues with eight different teams.

Waddell played two years in Vernon (2001-2003). In 110 games with the Vipers Waddell collected (9-goals-44-assists-53-points).

Matt Waddell's Player Profile:

This is posted on the Rossoblu website:

January 8, 2015

Matt Waddell: a reinforcement for the Hockey Milan

THE Hockey Milan rossoblu, and am pleased to announce the agreement reached with the player Matt Waddell for the continuation of the sports season.

The inclusion of Matt Waddell in the Roster rossoblu and due to the forthcoming commitments of the Coppa Italia and the busy agenda of the Championship.

Matt Waddell - Class 1984 - born in Vernon (BC - Canada) defender - carton left. 185 Cm x 93 kg.

Defender with the vitiation of goals and the point, a past history of NCAA, and a year in ECHL (63 games and 18 points including 4 goals) year in which, among other things, Matt made his debut in AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack, with which dispute 12 games.

In the two years following Matt lands in Europe, in the season 2008/2009 in Allsvenskan and in season 2009/2010 in Mestis in the following year between the row of the Hungarian team of the Miskolci Jegesmedve JSE.

Matt is not new or even the italian ice. In the beautiful Country has played for two consecutive years, in the seasons 2011/2012 to Pontebba, being the defender with the highest number of points made in the league) and in the season 2012/2013 to Alleghe (being the defender with the greater number of goals made in the series A).

Matt comes out of the 2, alloy in which this year has started the season with the mesh of the ESV Kaufbeuren with whom he played 34 games making 17 points (4 goals and 13 assists).

Today Matt Waddell clothe the mesh number #79 Rossoblu

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dates For 2015 Bauer BCHL Showcase Announced:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Dates for 2015 Bauer BCHL Showcase announced

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - Submitted by BCHL Media

The British Columbia Hockey League is pleased to announce the Chilliwack Chiefs and Prospera Centre as the host team and venue for the fourth annual Bauer BCHL Showcase, happening Sept. 24 to 27, 2015.

An extra day has been added to this year’s Showcase in order to allow all games to be played on Prospera Centre’s main ice surface.

“Chilliwack has been a gracious host and has provided a beautiful venue in Prospera Centre for the Bauer BCHL Showcase since its inception in 2012,” said BCHL commissioner John Grisdale. “Our teams and players get optimum exposure to scouts from the college and professional ranks and the opportunities gained as a result speak for themselves.”

Since the first Showcase was held, the BCHL has had 12 players selected in the NHL Entry Draft with another five projected to be drafted this June. Over the last three seasons, the league has also averaged 132 players with college commitments, 114 of those to the NCAA Division I level.

The ability of scouts to evaluate players will only be enhanced this coming September as Prospera’s main sheet of ice will be used exclusively, which will also improve the fan experience at the Showcase.

“The Chilliwack Chiefs and Prospera Centre are proud to again welcome the university and professional hockey scouts of North America as well as Junior hockey fans from across the BCHL,” said Chiefs president Glen Ringdal.

All the matchups for the 2015 Bauer BCHL Showcase will be released after the conclusion of the league annual general meeting June 4 to 6.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

2014 RBC Cup Boosts Area Charities:

This was in Wednesdays Morning Star Newspaper:

RBC Cup boosts area charities
by  Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star

May 20, 2015

Three North Okanagan charities will benefit financially from the 2014 RBC Cup national Junior A hockey championship, held at Kal Tire Place.

Greater Vernon KidSport, the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association  and the Vernon Boys and Girls Club each received a cheque for more than $14,000 from RBC Cup tournament committee members Don Klepp and Betty Chan Klepp.

“These three groups helped run the 50-50 lotteries during the tournament and they each received $9,206.67, which was one-third of the net proceeds of the 50-50 lottery,” said Don Klepp.

“Each of these three groups will receive a minimum of an additional $5,000 from the 2014 RBC Cup’s net profits.”

Other legacies from the tournament, won by Saskatchewan’s Yorkton Terriers – who eliminated the host Vernon Vipers in a semifinal – include items purchased or donated for the event have been provided for community use.

Approximately $8,600 worth of digital two-way radios and an accompanying service package, which was donated by Kenwood and VMR Communications, was given to Kal Tire Place and the Vipers for use at hockey games and other events.

Office chairs that were purchased to use in the press box and the Hockey Canada/CJHL seating area have been donated to Kal Tire Place. Additional chairs were donated by Corbett Office Plus.

If sufficient funds remain, an electronic 50-50 gaming system will be purchased for use by community organizations during events at Kal Tire Place.

“The event also generated more than $60,000 in concession and beer sales, which accrued to Kal Tire Place,” said Don Klepp.

In addition, RBC’s Avion program paid Kal Tire Place for the free concession drinks that were provided to fans who signed up for the Avion card.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wenatchee Wild Set To Announce Press Release Regarding News On Franchise:

This is posted on the Wild facebook page & twitter account:


Wenatchee Wild Hockey

May 12

On May 31st We will be sharing a press release that involves exciting news about our Franchise.

Each day gets more exciting around here as we get ready for next season and we will constantly update everyone as we get more official information.

Remember to call us at 888-7825 to put your deposits down for next year’s season tickets. All you need to put down is a minimum of $50 and this will cover all your seats.

As soon as you can do this the better as there are some fans wanting to change seats and new fans waiting to find out what’s available.

We promise we will not give any seats away without talking to the current season ticket holder first.
2015/16 Season is going to be awesome and the beginning of a new ERA and you don’t want to miss it!!

This is posted on Brian Wiebe's Blog:

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Penticton Vees play-by-play man Fraser Rodgers had BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale on during his broadcast of the Vees-Soo game yesterday at the RBC Cup. During the interview - which is on the link below,

Grisdale confirms what was reported in this space earlier this month, which is that the Wenatchee Wild will play in the Mainland Division next season. However, Grisdale also mentions that Wenatchee's division placement will be reviewed following the 2015-16 season. The Wild's import situation is also clarified in the interview. Basically, Wenatchee is allowed four imports under USA Hockey rules, but the BCHL has allowed the Wild to have a catchment area which consists of Washington, Missouri, California, and Colorado. Any players from those states won't be considered import players for Wenatchee while any players from the remaining 46 states and Canada will be considered imports.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Former Viper Sanford Goes Big With WHL Tigers:

This was in Sundays Morning Star Newspaper:

Sanford goes big with WHL Tigers

by Kevin Mitchell - Vernon Morning Star

May 17, 2015

Snubbed in the 2014 NHL entry draft, Cole Sanford’s huge numbers with the Medicine Hat Tigers have teams taking a closer peek a year later.

Seeing sweet success of NHL players with similar vitals as the 5-foot-9 roadrunner forward has also boosted Sanford’s stock after a 50-goal, co-MVP season with the Western Hockey League Tigers.

“My agent, Tobin Wright, of Minnesota, has talked to a couple of teams and he says there’s some interest, but I’m not banking on being drafted,” said Sanford, a Vernon minor hockey grad who turns 20 in July.

Sanford rang up 95 points and 71 penalty minutes in the regular season, supplying 10 game winners, a dozen powerplay snipes and six shorties. He added five goals and 11 points in 10 playoff games as Medicine Hat’s season halted in a Game 5 double overtime loss to Canuck prospect Jake Virtanen and the Calgary Hitmen.

One of nine B.C. players who helped the Tigers finish fifth overall, Sanford’s fast hands make him dangerous being blessed without the big vital stats scouts drool over.

“Maybe when I was younger, it bugged me,” said Sanford, an alternate captain who wears No. 26. “Now a days, you look at Johnny Gaudreau, Tyler Johnson and Brendan Gallagher, they’re helping out guys like me by doing what they’re doing in the NHL. You can’t really worry about that. There’s nothing I can do now about my size except show them how I can play.”

Sanford, Trevor Cox of Surrey and Steve Owre of California formed Medicine Hat’s elite unit with Cox amassing 29 goals and 109 points. Owre pocketed 20 goals and 52 times while missing time with a broken jaw.

“Cole brings one of the best scorers in the WHL to our line,” said Cox. “He’s a veteran guy in the league that leads both on and off the ice. He’s got one of the best releases I’ve seen and when you have a guy on your line scoring 50 goals a year, it’s never a bad idea to pass the puck to him.”

Detroit Red Wing scout Marty Stein has watched Sanford since his Watkin Motors Pee Wee AAA Mustangs days in Vernon.

“His biggest assets are his skating ability and hockey sense,” said Stein. “The WHL is a very hard league to score in and for him to score 50 goals is a huge achievement. The WHL’s rules and type of play are indicative to the NHL. He has great sense and he competes. One play comes to mind was in the series against Calgary. He was getting hacked and whacked by Keegan Kanzig who is a monster of a d-man (6-foot-6, 242-pound Calgary Flames pick). Cole turned around and cross checked him for every whack. Big balls to do that.

“He’s still very weak but you can’t question his ability. He’s a type of player that could start in the minors and work his way up. He just needs a window of a chance.”

Vernon’s Dennis Holland of the Dallas Stars’  scouting staff saw Sanford half a dozen times this season.

“Cole is a very smart intelligent player,” said Holland. “Good offensive instincts and a quick release.  Understands his limitations size-wise and plays to his strengths. Will need to show he can produce against bigger stronger players at the next level which is no different than any other smaller, skilled player.”

Sanford developed his 747 snapper the past couple of summers, shooting thousands of pucks at an outside net with buddy Colten Dahlen (Nanaimo Clippers grad). He scored from the red line on a dump-in after Calgary goalie Mack Shields misplayed the puck in Game 5. Reaching the 50-snipe club was somewhat of a chore.

“I scored my 50th in P.A. (Prince Albert). Owre feathered me a pass mid-blue and I went forehand, backhand. It felt unreal. I felt like I was on 47, 48 for a while. I think our trainer still has the puck, hopefully.”

The Tigers were spoiled by sellout crowds of 4,006 in a 45-year-old building affectionately known as The Arena. Fans all shout “Let’s Go Tigers,” jeer opposing netminders and taunt Brent Sutter if he’s in the building. They move into a new $94 million facility outside of the Gas City next season. The Events Centre seats 6,500 with 222 luxury suites.

“It’s pretty exciting to play there every night,” said Sanford, who racked up 33 goals and 73 points two seasons ago after playing Junior B in Revelstoke and spending eight games with the BCHL Vernon Vipers.  “People ask me where my favourite place to play is and I have to say home. The support we get every night and in the playoffs with them waving the orange towels, there’s really no better rink to play in. I know guys from other teams who come into Medicine Hay and say, ‘What a crowd, what an atmosphere every night.’”

Sanford also made the WHL’s second all-star team while winning the Tigers’ Three Stars honour and sharing team MVP with Cox, his roomie on the road. He also took playoff MVP. The Tigers lost to Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings in round three of the playoffs last year. Sanford had 11 points in 53 games as a rookie when the Tigers stunned the Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades in the playoffs.

“We had quite the start as a team and personally. We went through some ups and downs midway and towards the playoffs, but overall, I’ve never played on a team like I did this year. Just how close we were and how much fun it was to play there. Would have liked to have go further, but that’s just the way it goes. Probably one of the most memorable seasons I’ve ever played. Personally, I was able to achieve some goals and it was pretty exciting.

“I’ve been playing with Coxy for a while and Stevie kind of jumped in and filled the role with losing (Curtis Valk through graduation) Volky, and I couldn’t have done it without those two guys. I see Coxie as being a passer and he’d always find me. Stevie’s a smart player so we had quite the chemistry this year and I’m really looking forward to playing next year with them.”

Sanford gives props to Medicine Hat head coach Shaun Clouston, a 47-year-old former Portland Winterhawk offensive star.

“He’s a good coach. Coming in, we didn’t really know each other much. He gave me that opportunity halfway through my 17-year-old year, to get in the lineup a little more and play some more minutes. I’m grateful for him giving me those opportunities. The way he coaches and organizes practices, he’s always pushing guys to get better each and every day so when you have a coach like that, there’s a good atmospshere.”

He also credits his parents – Mike and Shelley – for influencing his career and adulthood. Evan Marble, his Bantam coach at Pursuit of Excellence, “has also always looked out for me.”

Sanford’s skating speed tested well in Minnesota a few years ago. He’s got pro wheels and now aims to work on lower body strength alongside Parker Bowles of the Tri-City Americans with Kelowna trainer Shane Pizzy to get even faster while striving to pass and shoot harder. He wears Bauer skates and used CCM Superfast and Tacks sticks this season.

“Off the ice, I’m pretty easy going, laid back,” said Sanford, who took in a few Kelowna Rockets’ playoff games. “I like to have fun, smile and laugh a lot. On the ice, the same. Like to keep it loose before the games and keep it fun. On the ice, I like to play pretty physical and play on the edge a bit.”

He loves kicking the soccer ball around, wake surfing and beating buddies like Michael Roberts of the Vipers on the tennis court. He played with the KIJHL Grizzlies alongside older brother Tye, an aspiring RCMP member.

On Virtanen, a Canucks’ first-rounder, he said: “He’s obviously a great player. As he got going in our series, he was hard to shut down, especially when he winds the zone. He’s a power forward, maybe around 200 pounds. You see him off the ice and he’s pretty thick. He’s got a great shot as well, real powerful.”

On Adam Tambellini, an ex-Viper with the Hitmen: ”Tambo had quite the second half of the season. I think he ended off with 48, 49 goals and he carried that play right into the playoffs. He’s a great player with great potential. He signed (with the Rangers) for a reason and he’s gonna do good things there.”

Monday, May 18, 2015

Former Vernon Laker Metropolit’s Unexpected Rise From Toronto’s Mean Streets:

Here is a great article-story on former Vernon Lakers Alumni Glen Metropolit.

Metropolit is in his first season with the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) Adler Mannheim Eagles.  The Eagles are an ice hockey team that play in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the highest ice hockey league in Germany. The Eagles are based in Mannheim, a city in the north of Baden-Württemberg.

Metropolit signed with the Eagles on July 29th 2014 played last season with two teams. HC Lugano & Schlittschuh Club Bern. Hockey Club Lugano is a professional hockey club based in Lugano, Switzerland while Schlittschuh Club Bern is also a hockey team based in Bern, Switzerland. Metropolit played two seasons with HC Lugano before joining Schlittschuh Club Bern. In 40 games last season with HC Lugano Metropolit collected (6-goals-28-assists-34-points). In three games with Schlittschuh Club Bern Metropolit picked up one goal. Metropolit was also Captain for Team Canada at last years Spengler Cup where he picked up (1-goal-2-assists-3-points) in four games with Canada.

Metropolit played one season in Vernon (1994-95) with the Vernon Lakers. In 60 regular season games with the Lakers Metropolit lead the team in scoring with (43-goals-74-assists-117-points). Mettropolit was never drafted but played eight seasons in the NHL with seven different teams (Washington, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia & Montreal).

Glen Metropolit's Player Profile:

This was posted on the CBC website:

Glen Metropolit’s unexpected rise from Toronto’s mean streets

His brother served 16 years in prison. His family had no money. Now Metropolit is approaching his 1,400th game as a pro.

by Tim Wharnsby for CBC Sports

The neighbourhood Glen Metropolit knows has changed quite a bit since he left Regent Park for good to embark on a hockey career two decades ago.

When Metropolit, now 40, was a teenager he saw it all. He saw crack cocaine being sold and smoked. He saw prostitution. He saw fights and he saw thefts.

“When I was a kid, Regent Park was pure energy,” Metropolit said, via a phone interview from his new hockey home in Mannheim, Germany. “I remember walking through there from the rink and I’d see men fighting, people selling drugs, bikes being stolen. It was crazy.

“It’s nothing like when I was growing up. I don’t know anybody there anymore when I come back. I dropped by the rink last summer and it was empty. All the buildings are being torn down.”

The Regent Park social housing neighbourhood was built just east of downtown Toronto in the 1940s. A few years ago work began to soften the hardscrabble area.

The gentrification – or revitalization as politicians like to call it – continues. The last of the remaining 14-story apartment buildings are being demolished. Those structures are being replaced by shiny new condominium towers. Modern townhomes are being built to replace the old townhouses.

Even Metropolit’s home away from home, the Regent Park south rink, has undergone a facelift. The city of Toronto, Hockey Canada and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment joined forces to fund the renovation. It reopened on Jan. 4 and has become a lively spot for locals to work on their shot and play shinny.

The youngsters that now have replaced Metropolit on the rink have heard of him. They know he played in the NHL. But they don’t know his entire story.

Maybe when Metropolit visits in the summer, there could be a ceremony and the rink could be named after him.
Metropolit’s hockey career has taken him from Regent Park to Vernon, B.C., Nashville (ECHL),
Atlanta (IHL), Pensacola, Fla., Grand Rapids, Mich., Portland, Maine, Washington, Tampa Bay, Helsinki, Lugano, Switzerland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal and back to Switzerland to Zug, Lugano and Bern before landing in Mannheim this season.

Most summers, Metropolit returns for a week in Toronto. He spends an afternoon at the Regent Park community centre spreading his goodwill. He tours around his old stomping grounds and reflects.
 He even travels a few blocks away, takes the footbridge across the Don Valley Parkway and runs the Riverdale Park East hill.

When Metropolit was younger, a friend spotted then Toronto Maple Leafs captain Doug Gilmour running the hill as part of his summertime training. That was enough for Metropolit to copy one of his idols.

What does Metropolit think about when he visits Regent Park?

“I look back and get in the moment,” he said. “I’m so thankful in being able to get out of there. It gives me strength. It renews me, even at this age. It gives me an appreciation and reminds me where I came from.”

Metropolit came from a challenging childhood. His mother, Linda Hachey, gave birth to her eldest son when she was 18. Metropolit knows only the name of his biological father, Marty McGill.

Metropolit gets his surname from Bruce Metropolit, Linda’s former boyfriend and father of her son Troy, who is three years younger than Glen. Troy and Glen have a younger sister, Nicole, now 30.

Because of the family’s dire financial situation back then, Glen and Troy were in and out of foster homes as kids, and sometimes they were separated. But Glen found solace on the hockey rink. Troy, on the other hand, was lured by the excitement of Regent Park’s mean streets.

Sixteen years ago, Troy and two accomplices kidnapped lawyer Schuyler Sigel and his wife Linda, and then ransacked their Rosedale condominium.

Troy was sentenced to 14 years and then was charged with first-degree murder of a fellow inmate in Millhaven maximum security prison in Bath, Ont. He ended up spending 16 years in prison and was released to a halfway house last month.

“He’s upbeat,” said Glen, who frequently kept in touch with his brother throughout his incarceration. “He’s worried, but he seems to have it together. I’m doing what I can through some connections to get him a job in construction.”

Who knows what would have happened to Glen had he not fallen for hockey. If he wasn’t outside playing shinny, he was hanging out with his uncle Neil Karrandjas and his friends watching their beloved Maple Leafs.

“In looking back and thinking about it now, there was so much negative stuff going on around me, and when I fell in love with hockey, it was a way for me to get away from all the negative stuff,” Metropolit said. “As I think back now hockey brought me to a happy place.

“There was a lot of talent on that rink back in those days, but there also was a lot of misguided youth. Some of them are now dead.”
“All I could think about was this little kid from Regent Park, who played organized hockey but didn’t play at a high level. I was trying not to be overwhelmed. But I was in awe. I wish I wasn’t, but I was.”

Metropolit never played AAA hockey. Instead, he suited up for house league at Ted Reeve Arena, playing in hand-me-down equipment from friends. His uncle often was there to help with costs.

Eventually, through a friend, Metropolit landed a tryout in Richmond Hill for the local tier II junior team. From there, at age 20, he left Toronto to further his junior career in Vernon, B.C., in the hopes of landing a U.S. college scholarship.

He signed a letter of intent to play at Bowling Green University, but his marks weren’t good enough. So instead a coach helped him get a tryout with the IHL Atlanta Knights. He almost made the team, but started the season with the Knights ECHL affiliate in Nashville.

 It was in his second pro season, with the ECHL’s 1996-97 Pensacola Ice Pilots, that Metropolit
met his wife Michyln. They have three children: Alivia, 13, Max, 10, and Esther, 8.

Metropolit calls Michyln his rock. His pro career got a lift when he landed in Grand Rapids, Mich., the following season and got to play under head coach Dave Allison.

“Metro is a guy you cheer for,” Allison said. “He lives life in the sense of what is presented in front of him. He has no agenda. He hasn’t cheated anyone.”

Playing on a line with Michel Picard and Mark Greig, the three combined for 76 goals.

“The thing that struck me about him was how naïve Metro was,” Allison said. “But naïve in a great way. He was naïve in the way that whatever we wanted him to do, he would do it.

“Nothing was beneath him. We needed him to defend better, so he did it. If that’s what he needed to do to get better he would do it.”

Metropolit did get better. The Washington Capitals took notice and after his lengthy journey there was Metropolit ready for his first NHL game on Nov. 2, 1999 against the Florida Panthers.

He started the game alongside Adam Oates and Peter Bondra and lined up for the opening face-off staring at Pavel Bure. That first shift is among Metropolit’s fondest moments in the game.

“All I could think about was this little kid from Regent Park, who played organized hockey but didn’t play at a high level,” he said. “I was trying not to be overwhelmed. But I was in awe. I wish I wasn’t, but I was.”

For the next few years, Metropolit bounced back and forth between the Capitals and their AHL affiliate in Portland, Maine. He wasn’t getting a fair shot, so he packed up the family and went to Finland to play for Jokerit.

He had one year remaining on his deal with the Capitals and felt a year in Europe would allow him a fresh start the following season with a different NHL team. But a lockout cancelled the 2004-05 season.

Metropolit stayed with Jokerit and with the many Finns like Saku Koivu having returned to play at home during the lockout, along with some Canadians, Metropolit continued to flourish. He finished eighth in league scoring. He was once again on the radar of NHL teams.

But he remained in Europe in 2005-06 to play with Lugano, won the scoring title, MVP honours and a league championship. His play earned him a spot on the Canadian national team for the 2006 world championship in Riga, Latvia.
Metropolit was a mentor to a young Trevor Daley, who now plays for the Dallas Stars.

One of his teammates on that team was Dallas Stars defenceman Trevor Daley, who was raised a few blocks east of Regent Park and who was mentored by Metropolit.

“Just stay focused on his hockey and not answer the call of the streets,” replied Metropolit, when asked what advice he gave a young Daley. “I’m so proud of him. He’s such a good kid.”

After the world championship, Atlanta Thrashers general manager Don Waddell signed Metropolit.
He bounced around in the NHL, playing with five teams in four years. But he proved himself and he played an important role in limited ice time in the Montreal Canadiens run to the East final in 2010.

Fast forward to this season. After four seasons in Switzerland he jumped at a chance to hook up with his old Boston Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward, who now is running the Mannheim Eagles.

Metropolit, whose new teammates include former NHLer Jochen Hecht, leads the team in scoring with six goals and 38 points in 40 games. The Eagles are in first place and Metropolit has played so well he has signed on to play for next season.

This is Metropolit’s 20th pro season. At 1,381 combined regular season, playoff, Spengler Cup and world championship games, he is nearing the 1,400-game milestone. It’s a remarkable feat for the kid from Regent Park.

“When I first started I didn’t think about any of that,” he said. “It was all about playing a game that I love. I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to stay healthy and that I continue to get an opportunity to play.

“Hockey was all I knew [two decades ago]. I don’t know what life had to offer me outside of hockey in Toronto. But I knew hockey was all I wanted to do.”

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Thunder Suspend Former Vipers Captain Ullrich:

The East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Stockton Thunder have
suspended former Vernon Vipers forward-captain Mike Ullrich after not reporting to the team.  Ullrich has yet to play a game with the Thunder is contemplating his future after the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears traded Ullrich to Stockton on February 4th 2015.

Ullrich was in his second season in Orlando after playing with three teams during the 2012-13 season. (South Carolina, Tulsa & Trenton). Ullrich a free-agent signed with Orlando on July 1st 2013 before re-signing with the Solar Bears on June 17th 2014. Ullrich collected (10-goals-25-assists-35-points) in 42 games last season with the Solar Bears while picking up (9-goals-23-assists-32-points) in 37 games this season with Orlando. Ullrich also spent time in the American Hockey League last season playing with Manchester & Iowa as well as a try-out with St. Johns. Since the trade Ullrich has yet to play a game with the Thunder.

Since 2007-08 Ullrich has played in three leagues with seven different teams. Pensacola, Tulsa, Orlando, South Carolina, Trenton, Manchester & Iowa. In 228 semi-pro games Ullrich has collected (73-goals-85-assists-193-points).

Ullrich played parts of two years in Vernon (2005-2007). Ullrich left the Vipers during the 2005-06 season before returning to Vernon the following season after a short stint with the WHL Lethbridge Hurricanes. In 103 games with the Vipers Ullrich collected (39-goals-92-assists-131-points).

Mike Ullrich's Player Profile:

This was on the website:

By Scott Linesburgh
Record Staff Writer

Posted Feb. 12, 2015

Forward Mike Ullrich has not reported to the team, and Kromm said he is contemplating his future. Ullrich was acquired in a trade with Orlando on Feb. 4 for forward Peter Sivak, who was assigned to Orlando by Bridgeport as part of the agreement.  Ullrich has been placed on the suspended list by the Thunder.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

2014-15 Reflections With Viper Alumni Adam Tambellini:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Adam Tambellini & the WHL Calgary
Hitmen's season come to an end after an 8-2 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings falling 4-1 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Championship series.  In 71 regular season games with Calgary Tambellini recorded (47-goals-39-assists-86-points) was tenth in WHL scoring this season.  In 16 playoff games Tambellini collected (13-goals-13-assists-26-points).

Adam Tambellini's Player Profile: 

Tambellini attended the New York Rangers Prospect Development Camp in July was one of twenty players reassigned from the Rangers Training Camp in September. The Rangers reassigned Tambellini to the Hitmen on September 24th 2014.

Tambellini left the University of North Dakota last season for the Western Hockey League joining the Calgary Hitmen in early January after being acquired in a trade with the Portland Winterhawks. Tambellini played a season and a half in Vernon (2011-13) before being traded to Surrey on January 10th 2013 along with future considerations (Michael Roberts) for Mason Blacklock & future considerations (Jordan Klimek and Demico Hannoun). In 91 regular season games with the Vipers Tambellini collected (49-goals-46-assists-95-points). Tambellini was drafted 64th overall in the 3rd Round by the New York Rangers at the 2013 NHL Draft.

This was posted on the Hitmen website:

Posted: 05 May 2015

Hitmen Alternate Captain Adam Tambellini looks back on his final season in the WHL

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ex Viper Hannoun Returns For A Third Straight RBC Cup With Third Different Team:

Former Vernon Vipers forward Demico Hannoun is in his third straight National Championship this time with the Penticton Vees.  Here is an article I found on Hannoun going to three straight Royal Bank Cups.

Hannoun is in his first season in Penticton played one season in Vernon (2013-14) before being traded to Surrey along with Ben Butcher on June 9th 2014 as the Future Considerations in the Brett Mulcahy trade from January 2014. The Vipers sent forward Chase McMurphy & Future Considerations to Surrey for Brett Mulcahy & Future Considerations on January 6th 2014.

Hannoun played two seasons in Surrey before joining the Vipers. Hannoun was part of the future considerations in the Vipers-Eagles trade at the 2012 BCHL trade deadline that saw Vernon send Adam Tambellini & Michael Roberts to Surrey for future considerations wich at the end of that season were named (Mason Blacklock and Demico Hannoun). In 47 games with the Vipers last season Hannoun collected (15-goals-29-assists-44-points). Hannoun was committed to Michigan Tech for this season was traded from the Eagles to Penticton on August 13th 2014.

Demico Hannoun's Player Profile:

This is posted on the RBC Cup website:

Third time’s a charm?

Demico Hannoun returns for a third straight RBC Cup, with a third different team

Kristi Patton

May 12, 2015

Act like you have been there before.

If anyone at the RBC Cup, Canada's National Junior A Championship, knows what that means, it is Penticton Vees forward Demico Hannoun. In fact, he knows it all too well.

After a trip to nationals with the Surrey Eagles in 2013 and earning a bye to the tournament playing with the host Vernon Vipers last season, he plans for his third attempt to hoist the cup to be the most memorable.

“Hopefully third time is the charm,” said Hannoun. “I think it does actually haunt my dreams.”

While he has a cool, quiet confidence about him, it is the exact opposite on the ice. In the BCHL playoffs, Hannoun led Penticton with 21 points. He said the edge in his game comes from years of road hockey battles with cousin, and Winnipeg Jets prospect, Nic Petan. Despite his playoff performance, Hannoun admits the transition to the Vees this season was a bit awkward.

“I was on the teams that knocked them out of the BCHL playoffs the past two seasons and then finding out I was coming to their team for this season, it was a bit strange initially,” said Hannoun. “I didn't know what to expect but it has been an unreal season, and needless to say, looking back I am pretty excited to be playing for Penticton.”

Vees head coach Fred Harbinson knew he wanted the guy who ended their season early on his side.

“When there was an opportunity to get him on our roster last summer we jumped. He has a lot of experience playing late in the year and it is a great opportunity for him to go to the RBC Cup again,” said Harbinson.

The coach expects Hannoun to lead the team through a challenging week.
“Our veterans have played in key situations and Demico is definitely one of those guys,” said Harbinson. “He can be one of the best players on the ice when he wants to be and hopefully we will see the best parts of his game this week. He knows what to expect and hopefully he can lead the rest of the boys.”

Patrick Newell, who has joined Hannoun and Tyson Jost on what has been the Vees’ best line in the playoffs, said he feels lucky to have been put on a line with Hannoun early in the season.

“He is one of the most talented players I've skated with and has been here before so he can show us what it takes. He has already told us that in a tournament like this you can't take any days off and you have to come ready to play. That is the kind of attitude he has every game,” said Newell. “Hopefully we can get him a win this time.”

Having played on a trio of teams that have made it to the RBC Cup, Hannoun said it takes more than just a few talented players to get to the national final. The Vees, he feels, are giving him his best title shot yet.

“This team has a lot of depth (compared to) the other teams I played for. We roll all four lines and everyone can go hard out there and there is no worries. We also have a great goalie on our side as well,” said Hannoun of netminder Hunter Miska, who was named top goaltender at the Western Canada Cup, received the same nod from the BCHL and was nominated for the nation’s top honour.

Hannoun readily admits to being the quiet guy in the locker room; it only perks his teammates’ ears more when he does say something. That comes with the experience of dealing with pressure situations, whether on home ice in Penticton or on the international stage.

Twice the North Delta, B.C., native has played in the World Junior A Challenge, winning a bronze medal in 2013. Playing with the Maple Leaf on his chest, he said, taught him to take nothing for granted.

“Cracking that roster for two years is amazing. I learned what to expect playing on a big stage just like at nationals; it will be all Game 7 situations from here on out,” he said.

The fast pace of international play is something that stuck with him returning to his club team, and Hannoun said it allowed him to see things differently on the ice and realize what a winning squad looks like.

“Staying focused at nationals will be the difference. Even if we are down a goal, we have to rely on that feeling in our gut that we can score. I think that will be the difference in some of these games and what has been the difference between us and other teams this year,” said Hannoun. “There are a lot of good teams at the RBC that won their league, so we have to stay positive.”

The comments all play into Hannoun's calm composure, but when it comes down to it he is just like every other player who dreams of winning the RBC Cup.

“Getting a chance to lift the cup with this team, I don't think words can describe it. I would finally accomplish the goal that I have wanted so bad these past two seasons and accomplish the goal this team put forward at the beginning of the year.”

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Former Vipers Associate Coach Mallette Wins WHL Championship:

Former Vernon Vipers Associate Coach Kris Mallette & the Kelowna
Rockets defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-0 on Wednesday night, winning the WHL Championship in four games, qualifying to the Memorial Cup.

Here are the Game highlight's from Game 4 last night,

For more on the Rockets visit Regan Bartel's Kelowna Rockets Blog,

Mallette a Rocket Alumni & current Rockets Assistant Coach was an Associate Coach with the Vipers last year (2013-14) before leaving the Vipers for the Rockets on July 4th 2014. Mallette was selected 62nd overall in Round 3 at the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers played ten years in the Minor Pros with Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Asheville, Elmira, Colorado, Youngstown, Laredo and Flint before starting his coaching career.

Kris Mallette's Players-Coaches Profile:

This is posted on the Rockets website:

Rockets Win WHL Championship

May 13, 2015

The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 3-0 on Wednesday night at Prospera Place, winning the WHL Championship in four games and qualifying to play in the 2015 Memorial Cup.

Leon Draisaitl, Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley scored for the Rockets as they claimed the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL Champions in front of the largest crowd in Prospera Place since 2004 as 6,428 cheered the Rockets onto victory.

It's the Rockets fourth WHL Championship after winning it in 2003, 2005, 2009 and now 2015.

Game four was a tightly contested game that scoreless through two periods of play before the Rockets took control with two short-handed goals on the same penalty.

First Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring on a nice passing play and then just 19 seconds later, Chartier scored his 13th of the season to give Kelowna a 2-0 lead early in the third period.

Merkley would add the insurance goal later and Jackson Whistle shut the door for his fourth shutout of the WHL Playoffs.

The Memorial Cup in Quebec City opens next Thursday and the Rockets will play the host Quebec Ramparts on Friday May 22.