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Albany Week in Review

by Mike Buskus
on

Snow out west postpones game

For those who have forgotten their geography, Albany, New York is upstate, gets plenty of snow, and provides residents and visitors (when they are not at Pepsi Arena watching the River Rats) with such winter sports as snow-shoeing, down-hill and cross-country skiing and pond hockey. Area snow blower dealers usually do quite a business each season. Department of Transportation snow plow operators usually rack up some nice overtime during the winter season.

But, in its nine years in the American Hockey League as the affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, the River Rats have never had to cancel a game on account of too much snow, or excessively icy roads. Till now. On Saturday, December 29, 2001, the roads were clear and dry in Albany. There was no snow to speak of on the ground. But the situation was a bit different three hundred miles to the west. The New York State Thruway (Interstate 90) was closed west of Rochester. Buffalo, infamous for its winter weather and setting records in 1977, once again put its meteorologists on the front page. Buffalo and western New York received amounts of snow variously estimated at seven and eight feet in four days.

Meanwhile, the scheduled opponents of the Albany River Rats for the December 29 contest, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, were stranded in Hamilton, Ontario. Having played the Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum, the Maple Leafs were scheduled to bus out of Hamilton to Albany.

Efforts on Saturday to arrange a charter flight were unsuccessful and the Maple Leafs never go Read more »

Jackets CHL Player Update

by Aaron Vickers
on

Western Hockey League

Shane Bendera – G – Kelowna Rockets
It can be said that Shane Bendera likes his new home in Kelowna. At least his stats reflect it. In the 5 games he’s started since joining the Rockets, Bendera’s posted a 1.38 GAA and an incredible .951 SV%. Bendera is hoping to impress his new bosses by leading them into the playoffs, where it is no secret that he can come up with a big game.

Ben Knopp – RW – Kamloops Blazers
Benn Knopp continues his offensive struggles since being aquired by the Blazers. Although he sits third in team scoring behind Canadian Junior members Jared Aulin and Scottie Upshall, he only has one point, a goal, in his last 4 games, and 2 goals in his last 14. His plus/minus has remained at a –16 rating. There is no reason to think that Knopps production should’ve increased on the Blazers second line, but playing in the shadow of the two previously mentioned stars may have Knopp a little green.

Kiel McLeod – C – Kelowna Rockets
McLeod has shown that he is a mark of consistency. Over the last two-three months, his production has remained exactly the same. He has netted 14 goals and has 39 points(14-25-39) in 32 games. On the Rockets, his plus/minus is second only to Jesse Ferguson(+15), with +8. His play has been that of consistency.

Tyler Sloan – D – Kamloops Blazers
Tyler Sloan has continued to develop quite nicely, and seems to have added another dimension to his game, somewhat. In his firs Read more »

Calder Corner: Handicapping the Field-December

by HF Staff
on


 

 


It’s time again for Hockey’s Future to answer the question “If the Calder Trophy were awarded today,
based on what you have seen so far this season, who would your Top 10 Rookie Finalists be?” We’ve recruited several of
HF’s finest to take part this month and totaling up their votes, here is this month’s version of ‘Handicapping the Field’:
Read more »

Sponsor Spotlight: EverestNews.com

by HF Staff
on

There is the old adage said among mountain climbers when asked why they risk their lives to climb grand peaks: “Because it is there”. It seems that answer really is the subconscious driving force in most humans, to answer that call to accomplish something that simply “was there” and moved them to action.

Remember when you were a small child playing in some setting where there was a tall hill? Whether it was a large dirt-pile at a construction site or a natural slope that was formed naturally by the earth, the odds are that you climbed that hill. Sweating and breathing heavy, remember that feeling when you got to the peak and stared down at everything below, that feeling of accomplishment, solitude, and peacefulness?

With that being said, Mountain climbing has become one of the most talked about and followed activities for the professional and amateurs alike. When Sir Edmund Hillary became the first Man to summit on Everest in 1953, Mountain Climbing became a source of national pride for England and a world-wide phenomenon was born. Since than, countless books, movies, documentaries, and companies have came into existence to fuel this global obsession with Mountain Climbing.

There is one site on the Internet that has fast become the pre-eminent place to get virtually almost any kind of information on Mountain climbing, EverestNews.com

Read more »

Trade Deadline a Seller’s Market in the West

by Jeff Bromley
on

I’m all for the concept of parity that has inundated the Western Hockey League but as far as trade deadline deals, speculation and innuendo goes, she just ain’t what used to be.

In just over a week’s time, on January 14, the WHL’s trade deadline will have past and with the emerging trend of too much demand, not enough supply, this year’s round of poker will have lots of players, all wanting to draw some cards, but few wanting to meet the ante.

Every year the Christmas wish list gets extended a few weeks in the WHL because of the multitude of G.M.’s still searching for that elusive cog that could push their club over the top, put them into contention to make some noise in the playoffs or augment an already powerful lineup. Looking for the bargain deal, most of the gifts this year have been opened early in the season long before the economics of supply and demand had put their prices into the stratosphere.

B.C. Division -In the B.C. Division, where four of the five clubs have a legitimate shot of reaching the Western Conference final, the shopping could be all but done. Teams such as Kootenay, Kelowna and Kamloops have all made deals that are designed to address certain needs. Kootenay and Kelowna both revamped their goaltending situations by adding B.J. Boxma and Shane Bendera, respectively. Kelowna also tinkered with their defensive corps with the addition of former ICE blueliner Jesse Ferguson and Kevin Young out of Portland in October. In continuing the trend of adding former Kootenay players, Nick Marach joined the Rockets in a deal from Vanc Read more »

WJC: Interview with Pär Bäcker

by pbadmin
on

HF: Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 yesterday, what are your impressions of that game?

Bäcker: We had most of the play but once again our biggest problem this tournament turned up again: scoring. That almost got us in trouble.

HF: How about the performance of team Sweden at the WJC so far?

Bäcker: We are still undefeated so……

HF: In the quarter finals you will meet Canada, who are favourites for gold.

Bäcker: Canada will be a very hard and tough game for us, but so would probably have been all of the other opponents we could have drawn. We will give our best and see what comes from it.

HF: What about your own performance so far at this WJC?

Bäcker: I’m playing an ok tournament so far. I’m satisfied with my own performance.

HF: What are your strengths and weaknesses in your game?

Bäcker: My strengths are my puckhandling and the ability to stay calm on the ice when needed. A thing I need to improve though is my shooting.

HF: You play for Färjestad, currently by far the best team in the Swedish league. What’s it like to be part of that team?

Bäcker: It’s great. Really fantastic. It’s a great club and I’m proud to be part of them at the moment.

HF: Jörgen Jönsson and Mathias Johansson have been selected in the Olympic squad for Sweden. Both are teammates of yours. What do you have to say about it?

Bäcker: That is really great for them and for the club as well of course. Both players are very good players. Johansson and Jönsson are Read more »

A Wheatie and a Hawk Named WHL Players of the Month

by League Press Release
on

Calgary – The Western Hockey League today announced the Players of the Month
for December in both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

In the Eastern Conference, which includes the East and Central Divisions,
the Player of the Month is forward Jordin Tootoo of the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The 18 year-old from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut recorded ten goals and 18 points
in ten games during the Month of December including three power-play goals
and two game-winning goals. He helped lead his team to an impressive 8
wins, one loss and a tie for the month.

Tootoo was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.

WESTERN CONFERNCE

In the Western Conference, which includes the B.C. and U.S. Divisions, the
Player of the Month is forward Joe Balej of the Portland Winter Hawks.

Balej, a 19-year-old from Myjava, Slovakia recorded 14 goals and 23 points
in 14 games during the Month of December, including ten power-play goals, a
short-handed goal and one game-winning goal. Balej was drafted by the
Montreal Canadiens in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Joe Balej is also a deserving choice as the Western Conference Player of the
Month for December.

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