Turner Cup Champions Orlando Solar Bears Cease Operations and Detroit Vipers Cea

by Andrew Bourgeois
on

IHL NEWS

The Orlando Solar Bears has ceased business operations, RDV Sports COO John Weisbrod announced today.

The Solar Bears became a member of the International Hockey League in December of 1994. Since beginning play in 1995-96, Orlando compiled an all-time regular season record of 286-162-44 (.626), the best mark in the IHL during that time frame.

In six seasons, the Solar Bears captured one division title (1995-96 Central Division), three Eastern Conference crowns (1996, 1999, 2001) and the 2001 Turner Cup championship. Orlando also advanced to the IHL Playoffs every year. The International Hockey League, which was founded in 1945, ceased operations on June 4, 2001.

The Solar Bears completed a historic 2000-01 season by defeating Chicago, 4-1, to capture its first Turner Cup championship. Orlando picked up numerous postseason accolades along the way. Goaltender Norm Maracle was named IHL Most Valuable Player during the regular season and playoffs, defenseman Brian Pothier earned both the IHL’s Rookie of the Year and U.S.-born Rookie of the Year awards, while Peter Horachek picked up the IHL Coach of the Year.

Other Solar Bears highlights have included: becoming the first Eastern Conference expansion team to reach the Turner Cup Finals (1996), posting a 16-game winning streak in 1996-97 (the third-longest winning streak in professional hockey history), and becoming the first and only team in IHL history to win a seven-game playoff series after overcoming a 3-0 deficit (1999 Eastern Conference Finals vs. Detroit).

Followin Read more»

Give 67’s GM some credit for the team’s consistent success

by Jared Hall
on
Lost amidst the accolades honouring Brian Kilrea’s illustrious coaching
career is his brilliant record as the team’s general manager. Yes,
Kilrea’s coaching has inspired some pretty grand achievements but it’s
his knack for procuring and developing talented hockey players that
keeps the 67’s contending among the league’s elite. Consider these
achievements since 1995-96:

· 1999 Memorial Cup

· 2001 OHL Championship

· 3 trips to the OHL finals

· 5 consecutive Eastern division regular season crowns
  (95-96 through 99-00)

· Overall record:
  GP	W	L	T	OTL	PCT
  356	252	104	41	5	.708

· 16 players drafted to the NHL including 4 first-rounders.
  (Nick Boynton only counted once)
So how does he manage to keep the 67’s on top while most teams go
through cycles of peaking and rebuilding?

First of all, the foundation for Ottawa’s success starts at the draft
table. Kilrea realizes that defence wins championships and he drafts
accordingly. From 1994 to 2001, six of Ottawa’s eight first rounders
have been defencemen. And with credit to top-notch scouting led by Joe
Rowley, the 67’s have produced these blue-chip defenders:


Luke Sellars	2nd round draft choice, Atlanta
Jeremy Van Hoof	2nd round draft choice, Pittsburgh
Jonathan Zion	4th round draft choice, Toronto
Nick Boynton	1st round draft choice, Washington and Boston
                MVP 1999 Memorial Cup
Brian Campbell	6th round draft choice, Buffalo
                1998-99 CHL Player of the Ye Read more»

The 20/20 Hindsight Panther Draft History Analysis

by Mark Fischel
on

It’s always fun to go back and look at a team’s drafts and see if they glaringly over-looked a player or made the right choice.

By no means is this ever a total indictment upon a teams scouting department, since most of the time teams will draft for specific needs, and having a near perfect 20/20 hindsight is another disservice to the pressures of being on the clock during the draft.

Below is an analysis of the Panthers history at the draft table, to see how the team could have been different if the scouts had the amazing clarity that time affords. To keep things somewhat realistic, the analysis will be limited to the 5 picks after the original pick. A player like Adam Deadmarsh went 14th overall in ’93, and if the draft was redone with the hindsight, he probably would have gone in the top 5, but in 93, 13 teams passed over him since he wasn’t rated that high back then.

In this exercise for entertainment purposes only, comment are only made on a pick if it turned out a better player could be had. Another thing to consider is that a passed over player might not have developed unless he was in the right situation as well. There will be instances where the pick was exactly dead-on correct. Again, this is for entertainment purposes mainly and is the total benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

1993 Draft

5th – Robbie Neidermayer

Players taken in the next 5 spots are as follows: Kozlov, Arnott, Sundstrom, Harvey and Thibault. While Robbie hasn’t lived up to his expectations to be a scorer, he is a physical and defensive minded pre Read more»

Phoenix Signs Martin Grenier

by Brandon LeBourveau
on

The Phoenix Coyotes have signed defenseman Martin Grenier to a mulit year contract. Grenier became an unrestricted free agent after he failed to sign with Boston before the June 1st deadline for all 1999 draftees. The 20 year old Grenier, selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft by the Colorado Avalanche and dealt to the Bruins in the Ray Bourque deal, just completed his 4th season of junior hockey.

The 6’5 245 pound Grenier played 26 games for the Quebec Ramparts and 28 for the Victoriaville Tigres this past year. He is now one of the biggest players in the Coyotes’ organization, and they are glad to have him. He will likely see time next season in the AHL but it is possible he could crack the Coyotes’ defense during camp.

Other News: As expected the Phoenix Coyotes failed to sign Scott Kelman, the club’s 1st choice in ’99, 15th overall. Since they did not sign him, they will receive the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft as compensation. Also, Preston Mizzi was not signed as well.

Connolly and Spezza on Long Island: Perfect Together

by Bill Bennett
on
In the last few weeks Islander fans in cyberspace have been treated to every possible rumor regarding who they will draft, or who they will trade the pick for.

Even the chance at moving up to draft first has been in the headlines. Mike Milbury has openly talked about what the pick could bring and has even hinted that next year’s pick could be traded as well in an interview on Wfan.

What Mike Milbury, the Islanders Owners, and the Scouting Staff should do is take a step back in the remaining time before June 23rd and look at all the players on other teams that have been drafted by this organization and understand it’s time to keep the core group of players here that began with the 1999 draft and let them finish what they started even if it means some Unrestricted Free Agents decide not to come here. NHL General Managers always talk about using the Devils as models as to how to put together a winning franchise long term, the Islanders now can do just that.

Some credit to the New Islanders owners has to be given because very quietly among the criticism for keeping Mike Milbury they have signed many of their drafted prospects in: Rick DiPietro, Juraj Kolnik, Taylor Pyatt, Raffi Torres, Branislav Mezei and now Justin Mapletoft to go with their brand new AHL franchise in Bridgeport.

I can only speak for myself in this article, but from what I have read from many fans what they want is for the franchise to stick to a plan, keep the kids and close down the Mad Mike Show on draft day. It’s old, tired, and it’s not working. It’s time for Read more»

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