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Around the Leagues - Week of 7/24/11

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In what will likely become a regular staple here at Cluster Pucks… I go around the hockey leagues with news tidbits from the last week, and once the season gets underway, this will turn into more of a “recap” of various things, including scores and current standings from all the leagues which this blog covers.

Anyway, let the first installment of the chaos begin.

The biggest story this week, at least when it comes to my realm of coverage, was the announcement that the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be played in Windsor, Ontario, as was reported by Paul on Wednesday. This is especially exciting news for me, as if I can afford to swing the budget, and land the proper press credentials, it will likely represent the first chance I’ll have as a new member of the hockey media to go and cover an event in person!

Second up, is the news that the Trenton Titans will return as the Flyers new ECHL affiliate, as was reported on Thursday by KK’s own Marc Siciliano.

Also, St. John’s AHL team has finally been given a name, The IceCaps. They have a fancy new logo to boot as well… which is something I reported early yesterday morning.


That is the news that you likely know, however I still felt as if those few things were important enough to warrant repeating. Now, on to the news you might not know… starting with the Ontario Hockey League…


Saginaw Gets Bigger: Jamieson Oleksiak, the 6’7” defenseman drafted 14th overall by Dallas in 2011, has signed with the Saginaw Spirit on Monday… full story ...

Oleksiak Joins Canadian Junior Camp Roster: Mere days after signing with Saginaw, the gigantic defensive prospect was added to the Canadian National Junior Team’s summer development camp roster, along with a long list of other major junior prospects, for that full list, check out the full story ...

Miller Signs with Plymouth: Center J.T. Miller, 15th overall pick by the New York Rangers in 2011, that he signed with on Thursday, as reported by our own Patrick Hoffman has decided to pass on playing in the AHL for now, and signed a deal with the Plymouth Whalers on Friday… full story...

Gibson Passes on U-of-M for Kitchener: Goaltender John Gibson, the 39th overall pick by Anaheim in 2011, decommitted from the University of Michigan on Wednesday, and signed a deal with the Kitchener Rangers… full story...

Boucher and Murphy Sign with Sarnia: Reid Boucher (forward), fourth round pick of the Devils in 2011, and Connor Murphy (defenseman), 20th overall pick by Phoenix in 2011, have both signed deals to play with the Sarnia Sting… full story...


Starting to notice a trend here?

Not only were Miller, Gibson, Boucher, and Murphy all teammates on the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2010-11, but if you throw in Oleksiak, they were all prospects that were drafted this past June in Minnesota, who all chose to go play in the OHL over offers they had from NCAA schools to play college hockey. Looks to me like the CHL isn’t just limited to luring European prospects overseas, but they are also now gaining even more interest of potential college hockey players as well.




Now to move on to this past week’s Western Hockey League news…


Kelowna to Host 2012 Top Prospects Game: The Kelowna Rockets of the WHL announced Wednesday that they will host the Home Hardware Top Prospects Game on February 1, 2012 ... full story...

Regina Pats Hire New Head Coach: Former NHL player Pat Conacher was hired as the Regina Pats next head coach on Wednesday… full story...

Pats Acquire Underwood: In additional Regina Pats news, they have acquired 19-year-old d-man Brandon Underwood in a trade with the Kamloops Blazers on Thursday… full story...

Broncos Sign Leth: On Thursday, the Swift Current Broncos signed 39th overall 2011 WHL Bantam Draft pick, Calvin Leth (forward)... full story...

Calgary Claims Kenton Miller: Also on Thursday, the Calgary Hitmen claimed 20-year-old forward Kenton Miller on waivers from the Spokane Chiefs… full story...

Onward to “the Q” - the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (warning - several “full story” links may be in French, so have your web-translators ready if you want to read more)


St. John Planning Two Separate Events to Honor Memorial Cup Title: Due to five core members of the Sea Dogs championship team being drafted in June, and as many as 15 other players eligible to return from last year’s team, expected to miss opening night on September 8, due to opportunities to attend NHL training camps, the team will hold two separate gameday events to honor their championship season. The first, on September 8, will feature a pre-game ceremony with the Memorial Cup at center ice alongside the QMJHL President’s Cup, along with a special video presentation highlighting the championship season. The second event will occur on October 29 in a game against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, when St. John will raise their championship banners, as well as special championship ring ceremony, with former players expected to return to participate in said honors… full story


Not surprisingly… that’s actually the only relevant news from the Q this past week… but in an attempt to at least flush out this post a bit more, I’ll bring you a few more news tidbits from the Q… they are just slightly older than the rest of the stories I’ve been covering thus far…


Top 5 QMJHL 2012 Draft-Eligible Players to Attend 2011 NHL RDO Camp: From July 22 - Five of the top-rated QMJHL players eligible for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (Selected by NHL Central Scouting) have accepted invitations to participate in the 2011 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp, August 17 and 18… full story...

MacKinnon’s rights traded to Halifax: From July 13 - The Baie-Comeau Drakkar have traded the rights to Nathan MacKinnon, the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft’s first overall pick to the Halifax Moosheads… full story...

Blainville-Boisbriand Franchise Unveils Name, Logo and Colors: From July 12 - The newest member of the Q has announced all their details - so welcome The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada! Check out the full story to see their home and away jerseys, which I think are pretty cool looking, personally. I would just post the image in this blog, but I’d rather save the time of not uploading the image and then resizing it, as I’d like to get the rest of this massive post finished before midnight.

 

With that… let’s move on to the world of college hockey news…


Western Michigan Names Andy Murray New Head Coach: With the departure of Jeff Blashill, now assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings (like you guys didn’t already know). WMU announced on Monday the hiring of former NHL head coach Andy Murray (St. Louis 2006-2010 and Los Angeles 1999-2006) as their new head coach, and made it official with a press conference held at noon (ET) Tuesday… full story...

Northeastern Looks to Reclaim Old Magic With Jim Madigan: In a blast from the past, Northeastern University has hired former Huskie, Jim Madigan as their new head coach on Tuesday. Madigan was a key player on the roster during NU’s “golden age” from 1981-1985, in addition to helping the team prosper as an assistant coach from 1986-1993… full story...

Four Atlantic Teams Meet With CCHA to Discuss Possible Moves: On Tuesday, representatives of four Atlantic Hockey schools (Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara and Robert Morris) met with CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch and members of the league’s executive board in Erie, Pennsylvania, to explore the possibility of changing conferences… full story...

Taylor Holmstrom to transfer to Penn State: On Monday, Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Year, Taylor Holmstrom, announced his decision to transfer from Mercyhurst to Penn State… full story...

The following two stories are a little older, but I still think they are significant enough to warrant a quick mention…

Northern Michigan Officially Moves to WCHA: From July 20 - The WCHA has officially announced NMU’s acceptance into the conference, effective starting 2013-2014, which is the same year the Big Ten will begin play… full story...

New Conference - The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is Official: From July 13 - College hockey will welcome it’s seventh conference, the NCHC, which will also begin play in 2013-2014. The league will initially consist of the following previous WCHA programs: Denver, Colorado College, North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth and Nebraska-Omaha. It will also include Miami, which will leave the CCHA. In addition, Notre Dame has been invited and is currently “mulling it over”... full story...


A quick note for those of you not closely following college hockey: The landscape is undergoing a massive change beginning with the 2013-2014 season… but I’ll explain it all for you at a later time in a separate blog, once some of the dust settles and all of these conference moves get finalized.

 

This is the part where I’d get into some AHL news… but aside from the St. John’s IceCaps news, which I already reported… there really isn’t much going on… and I’d like to get this post up before it gets too late in the day, as I would have had it up this morning or afternoon, but the whole being sick all day Friday kind of screwed up my plans to get this big news round-up done earlier, so my apologies.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: college+hockey, ontario+hockey+league, quebec+major+junior+hockey+league, western+hockey+league

Comments

Primis's avatar

Really looking forward to this weekly installment.  I enjoy following minor pro hockey and miss things in the course of attempting to do so.

Wasn’t Oleksiak already playing NCAA hockey out east?  What prompted the move?  Unhappy with the program?

Posted by Primis on 08/01/11 at 01:03 AM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

Wasn’t Oleksiak already playing NCAA hockey out east?  What prompted the move?  Unhappy with the program?

Yes, he was playing at Northeastern, as for what prompted the move, it’s talked about in the full story I linked to on “Saginaw Gets Bigger” - but I’ll save you the time, here’s the quote from said article:

“Northeastern has been phenomenal for me and has really helped in my development, but as for what’s happening next year, it’s all up in the air,” Oleksiak told the Stars’ website at the draft. “My goal is to play professional hockey one day, and I really want to go where it’s going to continue my development and get to my goal and help me achieve the most.”

As I noted… seems to be an increasing trend in NCAA players jumping ship for the CHL, as they likely feel they get better prepared for the pros that way (at least that’s my guess).

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/01/11 at 01:18 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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