News & Features
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July 2001 – Assistant Coach Wanted
1. Green Bay Gamblers:
The Gamblers won the coveted Clark Cup as the playoff champion defeating the Waterloo Black Hawks, Des Moines Buccaneers and the Twin Cities Vulcans on their way. They would lose in the National Junior A Championship game to the same Vulcans. Green Bay played a hard nose style of hockey. With solid defenseman such as Jeff Finger, Dan Calzada and Dan Boeser, they were hard to beat. Green Bay’s defense would only be part of their dominating play this year with strong forwards as Aaron Smith, John Eichelberger and Brett Engelhardt. Not to be outdone was goalie Jure Penko who played consistently night in and night out. Green Bay put on a show every game as they earned another championship banner to hang in the rafters at the Brown County Auditorium.
Nick Beverly off to the Windy City: Leafs Director of Player Development, Nick Beverly, left the team this week in pursuit of new challenges with the Blackhawks (Late note: Director of Pro Scouting, Joe Yannetti has also left to join the Hawks)… Nick is said to enjoy a very close working relationship with Chicago’s de facto General Manager, Mike Smith… Beverly, a respected executive, will be missed… perhaps more importantly, the Maple Leafs lately can’t seem to keep a management team intact for more than a year or so… expect Toronto to move slowly in securing a replacement as Pat Quinn and Bill Watters remain on hand to conduct all necessary business… 30-year-old Mark Hillier may be in line for expanded responsibilities… former Flames execs Al Coates and Nick Polano are also said to be interested in coming to Toronto… these options are all very viable ones as Hillier is widely regarded as a rising star in the Leafs’ front office and Calgary, under the guidance of Coates and Polano, has quietly built one of the league’s very best player development programs…
Gens, is a mobile defenseman with a good offensive sense of the game.
“The NTDP has been fantastic for me,” said Gens. Gens and his teammates
willl have a great solid returning team next year and look for them to do
some damage at the U-18 world championships. Gens is looking at staying in
the WCHA for his college options. “I really like Wisconsin, Minnesota, and
North Dakota; they are all great schools with great tradition,” Gens
exclaimed. As far as the summer goes Gens is taking a break off from the
ice and just training to get stronger and gain some bulk to his frame.
couple of weeks, and includes a couple of potential big name players. The
Hawks losses from last year include the four seniors, forwards Chris Bell
(9-21-30), John Campbell (7-11-18) and Craig Brown (4-5-9) along with
defender Kevin Bertram (10-8-18). Two players that would have been
sophomores this year, defenseman Andy Wozniewski and goalkeeper Dan
will return to junior hockey for the 2000-2001 year.
positions that were lost. The big name of this years incoming class is
forward Laurent Meunier, a freshman from Echirolles, France and former
teammate of River Hawk junior forward Yorick Treille. Meunier, 5’11″, 180
pounds, is described by Coach Tim Whitehead as a “very well-rounded
forward.” Meunier, born 1/16/79, spent the last year as a member of the
Leon Lions in the French Elite League. He might have made a name for
himself though at the 2000 World Hockey Championship in St. Petersburg,
Russia this past year. Meunier was the 11th leading scorer in the
Tournament, with a 4-3-7 line in 6 games, even though he was one of the
younger players participating. “Laurent is a top-notch player,” Whitehead
said. “He skates well and is very smart with the puck. I can see him doing
lot of things for us.”
team. Vlasenkov’s rights were acquired from the Calgary Flames along with Hnat Domenichelli on Feb. 11, 2000 in exchange for Darryl Shannon and Jason Botterill. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
in 168 games. He has also played for Yaroslavl’s division two team. Vlasenkov led the 1998-99 club with 11 goals and tied for fifth in scoring, registering 16 points in 41 games. The native of Olenigorsk, Russia, was originally selected by the Flames with their fourth choice, 73rd overall, in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.
It may be a vacation for many including players, families and many others but not quite a vacation for the likes of Larry Pleau. Pleau has been very active throughout the summer and the following is a recap of his moves thus far.
The first bit of news was the announcement to some veterans that they would not be a part of the blues future. These players included: Center Bob Bassen, Right Wing Stephane Richer, and Defensemen Dave Ellet and Rudy Poeschek. It was also made clear that minor leaguers Jim Campbell and Derek King would not be offered contracts and would become unrestricted free agents.
Next was the signing or releasing of the 98 draft picks. For junior draft picks, you retain their rights for two years after the draft, for European draft picks, you retain their rights for four years after the draft and for college players remain your rights until their college eligibility is up. In keeping with the rules, no decision had to be made at this time on defensemen Christian Backman, Andrei Trochinsky, Yvegeny Pastukh and John Pohl. For the remaining players in the system the blues elected to sign only defensemen Matt Walker of the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. For others, Maxim Linnik, Brad Voth and Brad Twordik were all released. Along with the 98 draftees, 21 year old James Desmerais was not given a contract and became a free agent, he was selected in the final round of the 99 draft.
Hockey’s Future: It been a very tumultuous past couple of weeks for both you and the Long Beach Ice Dogs. Let’s start with the team’s transition first. What was the reasoning behind the team switching from the IHL to the WCHL?
John Van Boxmeer: There were two reasons really one being the fact that we were isolated out here on the West Coast. Our nearest competition was 2 and a ½ hours away and our travels costs were very high. Secondly the operating budget (Players’ salaries, social benefits etc) in the WCHL were half of what they were in the IHL.
HF: How could you compare the two leagues in terms of competitiveness, philosophy, and organization?
JVB: WCHL is a step below the IHL, the former being a feeder league to the latter. As for philosophy, while we aren’t there yet, the goal in the WCHL is to be the AHL of the west coast. The organization of the WCHL is of the same quality as the IHL right now.