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W. P. Kinsella once wrote, “if you build it, they will come.” We built it and they came, in droves. In a scene reminiscent of an arena setting in Spokane or Calgary, the Kootenay ICE held their two inaugural home opening games this past weekend at Cranbrook’s brand new Recreational Complex and, to put it mildly, it was an unqualified success. Two consecutive sold-out crowds of 4301 were treated to two exciting and dramatic hockey games that seemed to play themselves out to an unofficial script that every hockey team opening a new home would be overjoyed to occur -wins. A 5-3 victory over the Regina Pats on Friday and a 4-3 nailbiter decision over the rival Calgary Hitmen on Saturday seemed to be icing on the cake for the many thousands of fans who took in the games over the weekend. “Incredible”, “fantastic” and “wow” were just some of the many superlatives mentioned by the visiting fans. “It doesn’t seem like were in Cranbrook” said visiting patron Tina White, “It feels like we’re in Calgary not Cranbrook, this place is really great”. For majority ICE owner Ed Chynoweth, the weekend was the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people. “It was certainly a tremendous weekend. Personally the building is just total outstanding. Everything about it is major league and to start it off with a pair of wins is an added bonus,” said Chynoweth. For Chynoweth, the opening of the Rec/Plea was the payoff for a lot of people, most importantly the fans of the Kootenay ICE, “I couldn’t help but think when I was out at center ice for the openi Read more »
Tomas Divisek: Out with a separated shoulder. The latest word is that he will be out until midseason.
Francis Lessard: Recovering from a broken jaw; has lost a good deal of weight. Still not ready to return to the lineup.
Roman Cechmanek: The Philadelphia Phantoms are basically a waystation for Cechmanek. The Czech Extraleague and national team veteran was sent to the Phantoms because of the outstanding preseason play of Maxime Ouellet. He will remain in the AHL until the Flyers figure out what they are going to do with him– bring him up, trade him to another NHL team, or let him go home. He has nothing to prove in the American Hockey League, except perhaps that he can handle the small rink game. Cechmanek is scheduled to be paid $1 million this season- $300,000 of which have already been paid in a signing bonus. If the Flyers keep him all season, they are responsible for the full $1 million, even if Cechmanek were to agree to spend the year in the AHL. Cechmanek, however, is under no obligation to play for the Phantoms. His contract allows him to return to his Czech team, Vsetin, at any point (with Vsetin then becoming responsible for the balance of his salary).
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We’ve all managed to suffer through another painful summer without ice hockey, but finally it’s time to dust off the ol’ beer stein and armchair, kick back, and get ready for another (thankfully) long NHL season. As expected, this year’s Stars roster is burgeoning with new players – quite a few of them young prospects who could have an impact in the NHL this year. Summarized for your perusal, are some of these players we may see during the 2000-2001 season and some thoughts.
Richard Jackman: For Jackman, the most highly touted Dallas prospect of the last few years, this is a make or break year. Now an aging prospect, Jackman has been working the past few years on improving his spotty defense and his penchant for making mistakes, as well as trying to accelerate the wind-up on his impressive, yet oft telegraphed, slap shot from the point. Jackman will get lots of ice time this year in the 3rd defensive pairing and on the Stars power play, and he should have enough time to prove that his defensive responsibility is up to snuff and his offensive skills are truly NHL calibre.
Jackman had a fine preseason and his NHL start this year was marred with only a few mistakes (most of in the offensive zone that led to breakaways). But, he has shown alacrity and intelligence in clearing his own zone and his wind-up – though still telegraphed and easily blocked – has managed to take a few opposing players by surprise.
Down on the Farm—
Kip Brennan has adapted to the AHL – he has 29 PIM’s in 5 games.
Brian McGratten already has a two-goal game and a date with the AHL. He manhandled a linesman during a fight.
Alexey Volkov lost his first game in Lowell, allowing three goals in the defeat.
Another in a series of weekly articles summarizing activity in Leafland during the previous 7 days – with some personal observations, commentary, prospect updates and fun thrown in for good measure.
Back to Mother Russia: Vladimir Kulikov, the spunky little Russian goalie who performed so strongly at last year’s Rookie Camp and then again at the Main Camp this year, has returned home to play for Red Army this season … the Leafs were obliged to try find a job for the late-round 1999 draft pick somewhere in North America after he signed their minimum $40,000 contract offer (one that had been made simply to guard the team’s long term negotiating rights) … unfortunately, he had signed too late in order to be included the Canadian Hockey League’s European Draft … as a 19 year-old, he is too young to play in the minors and as a signed player, he’s ineligible for the U.S. junior league where the Leafs had hoped to place him …
Therefore, it would be extremely arrogant to announce the Turner Cup
champion for the 2000-2001 season after only a few games have been
played. The only proclamation that can be made at this point in time is
that it is going to be very difficult for opponents to beat the Chicago
Wolves this season as they aim to win their third championship in four
of professional hockey. There are only three players on the opening day
roster that have never competed in an NHL game; this includes the
youngsters Rick DiPietro, who has only played one year of college hockey
and Peter Nylander, who is playing in North America for the first time.
The third player, defenceman Bob Nardella is a veteran with loads of
professional hockey experience on this continent as well as abroad. The
other seventeen players have played an astounding three thousand, four
hundred and eighty-four NHL games between them. And, twelve of the
twenty players are age thirty or older. Such experience will go a long
way in an IHL campaign.
Belanger, Guy Larose and Peter Nylander are mainly pure offensive
performers that can deliver on a consistent basis. Neil Brady, Glen
Featherstone, Mark Lawrence and Dan Plante are able to provide a Read more »
centre Patrick Jarrett. This year the Thunderbirds boast another top
notch OHL prospect in defenseman Jeff Whitfield. Whitfield, 15, is 1
year removed from Bantam hockey in the Sault.
OHL draft. I have seen him play a number of times and was very impressed
with what I saw. There are a few rough spots in his game but that’s
expected, especially considering he is playing against players 3 and 4
years older than he is.
If he starts a rush he tends to not try to beat the defenseman with an
outstanding move. He is more likely to dump the puck in, let a shot go
or pass the puck off to a teammate.
somewhat of a short fuse. He tends to let his opponents get the best of
him. His size, 6’2″ and 200 lbs, is intimidating enough, especially for
there are not very many, will get better as he gets more experience and Read more »