Friday, December 29, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

DOUBLE TAKE – Muskegon defenseman Josh Chase was joined in the lineup by twin brother Jeremy for two games over the weekend. Josh recorded an assist and a plus-4 rating over the two contests while Jeremy was held scoreless. They are the third set of brothers to play in the UHL this season, but the first to play on the same team this year. Kalamazoo’s Adam Elzinga and Port Huron’s Josh Elzinga were teammates last season in Kalamazoo. Flint’s Tony Tuzzolino and Fort Wayne’s Nick Tuzzolino have also seen UHL action this season.

ALL-STAR COACH – The first place coach in each conference as of games played on December 31st will be selected as the head coach for their respective conferences in the 2007 UHL All-Star Classic. Muskegon Fury head coach Bruce Ramsay clinched a spot as the head coach for the Eastern Conference. Friday’s 5-4 shootout win over Kalamazoo secured his spot in the mid-season event. Kalamazoo’s Mark Reeds was mathematically eliminated from contention for the honor when his club was saddled with Friday’ shootout loss.

Flint Generals - (0-2-0) – The Generals have lost their last three games...After scoring just two points (2a) in his first 29 games, defenseman Sean Kotary had two points (1g, 1a) in his last two games…Defenseman Gerard Miller had his four-game point streak snapped in Friday’s 7-2 loss to Quad City…Goaltender Bryan Worosz made a personal season high 40 saves in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to Rockford…Center Terry Marchant recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season when he scored two points (1g, 1a) on Friday.

Kalamazoo Wings - (0-0-2) – Forwards Glenn Detulleo, Lucas Drake, Scott Dobben and Justin Cross are all riding four-game point streaks...Defenseman Joe Markusen is plus-10 over his last 11 games and now leads the team in plus/minus…Nick Bootland is two games shy of 600 for his career…Kalamazoo has not had a fighting major penalty in their past 11 games…Kory Karlander is one assist shy of 300 for his career…The next four games for the club are on the road. They play five games in the next six days.

Muskegon Fury - (2-0-0) – The Fury have won ten consecutive games on the road...Muskegon is undefeated vs. Western Conference opponents this season (12-0-0)…Left wing Mike Watt is riding a ten-game point streak… Center Todd Robinson fired a UHL season high 14 shots on goal in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win vs. Bloomington… Right wing Rustyn Dolyny is on a league season high 13-game point streak…The Fury have a road win in every UHL city this season with the exception of Rockford, where they have yet to play a game.

Port Huron Flags - (2-0-0) – The Flags have won a team record six straight games...They have won four straight at home…Winger Bobby Kukulka is riding a six-game goal streak…Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win was the first win for the Flags at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo…Goaltender Dustin Traylen has won his last four starts. He is tied with teammate Noah Ruden for fourth place among UHL goaltenders in save percentage (.913)…Port Huron is 6-3-0 vs. Western Conference opponents including three straight wins.

Taken from the official UHL website

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Dear Griffins Fans,

This is a truly bittersweet week.

Yesterday, with a bevy of emotions, I informed the Griffins and the DP Fox Sports staff that I am leaving our organization after 11½ years. I have accepted a newly created position of Chief Operating Officer for McShane & Bowie, a growing Grand Rapids law firm specializing in business and real estate transactions and estate planning. In this new post, I’ll provide the firm with a leadership role in day-to-day-management, strategic planning and business development.

While I am eagerly anticipating the new opportunity in January, my appreciation for Dan DeVos and the entire organization is virtually indescribable. I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to contribute to the birth of one of America’s premier minor pro sports companies. Our community is a better place because of Dan’s commitment to launching professional sports.

Most importantly, thank you for your wonderful support of our teams. The success we have enjoyed is a direct result of your commitment as ticketholders. I’ll cherish the friendships developed over the past decade.

The Griffins and DP Fox have an outstanding staff ready to continue service to you. I look forward to seeing you as part of the team for many years to come.

Again, thanks. Go Griffins and Merry Christmas!


Bob Sack

Senior Vice President

K-Zoo Teddy Bear Toss Night a success

Kalamazoo Wings defenseman Adam Elzinga helps clean up stuffed toys on "Teddy Bear Toss Night" last Saturday at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo. A total of 1,239 were collected for local charities.
(Photo by Deanna Bradford)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Heading into the tenth week of the United Hockey League season, the Port Huron Flags had earned six victories in their first 24 games of the season. The tenth week proved to be fruitful for the club as they won all four games and found themselves just two points shy of three teams who are tied for fourth place in the overall UHL standings.

Prior to the four-game winning streak, the Flags had won consecutive games just once all season. Home ice has been kind to the team as they have won three straight at McMorran Arena and six out of their last seven playing at home while outscoring their opponents 22-12 during that span.

The offense for the Flags has picked up the pace and scored four or more goals in each of the last three games. Right wing Bobby Kukulka has five goals during the four-game win streak including the game-winner in two of the contests. Captain Greg Bullock has seven points (1g, 6a) during the streak and now is tied for the team lead in scoring. Center Steve Hildenbrand ended an eight-game scoring drought when he posted four points (2g, 2a) over the last three games. Defenseman Chris Bogas has dished out an assist in three straight games and has an even or better plus/minus rating in each game of the four-game winning streak.

Both goaltenders for Port Huron have contributed during the win streak. Rookie Noah Ruden earned the first victory of his professional career when he stopped 32 shots in the 2-1 win vs. Elmira on Wednesday. He followed that up by earning a victory on Friday in the 4-2 win vs. Elmira. Dustin Traylen picked up the next two wins during the weekend, including the 43 saves he made in the 5-2 victory on Saturday to snap Quad City’s seven-game unbeaten streak in regulation. Traylen (.914) and Ruden (.913) currently rank fourth and fifth among UHL goaltenders in save percentage (SPCT). Traylen also currently ranks fourth among league netminders in goals against average (2.67), minutes played (1146:52), and saves (542).

Port Huron looks to continue their success as they will play six of their next eight games on home ice.

CLUTCH PERFORMERKalamazoo Wings left wing Lucas Drake became a hero last season when he scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game Five of the UHL Finals to clinch the first Colonial Cup in team history. Drake re-signed with the team this week and quickly picked up where he left off. In his first three games with the club, he netted five goals and dished out one assist. He registered a hat trick on Saturday and scored the game-winning goal in both Kalamazoo victories during the weekend.

GOOD LUCK BEARS – The Kalamazoo Wings are undefeated (11-0-0) all-time in the UHL when playing games on “Teddy Bear Toss” nights. Seven of these wins have come at home, including Saturday’s 4-2 win vs. Fort Wayne when Kalamazoo fans tossed a total of 1,239 stuffed toys to the ice.

Flint Generals - (2-1-0) – After trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Generals scored four unanswered goals to defeat Chicago 4-2 on Friday…Left wing Bobby Reynolds dished out four assists in Saturday’s 6-3 win vs. Elmira…Defenseman Gerard Miller is on a four-game point streak…Right wing Mike Kinnie is riding a five-game point streak… Center Tony Tuzzolino is on a five-game point streak. He has a point in 10 of 12 games he has played for the Generals this season…Goaltender Bryan Worosz has won his last three starts posting a .930 SPCT.

Kalamazoo Wings - (2-1-0) – Nick Bootland has a goal in three straight games and is riding a four-game point streak...Goaltender Ryan Nie earned his first victory on home ice making 32 saves in Sunday’s 6-2 win vs. Elmira… Including the 2006 playoffs, left wing Lucas Drake has scored 12 goals in his last six games on home ice…Forward Scott Dobben has seven points (2g, 5a) and a plus-6 rating over his last four games…Right wing Justin Cross has 14 points over his last ten games and is currently ranked second in scoring among UHL rookies.

Muskegon Fury - (2-0-0) – Over their last nine games, the Fury are outscoring the opposition 33-15 (1.67 GAA)... With Saturday’s 3-2 win at Chicago on Saturday, Muskegon has set a new team record with nine straight road victories…The club is 11-0-0 vs. Western Conference opponents…Right wing Rustyn Dolyny is riding a league season high 13-game point streak and 12-game assist streak…Left wing Mike Watt is on an eight-game point streak…Goaltender Clayton Pool’s shutout on Friday came in his 100th career game in a Muskegon uniform.

Port Huron Flags - (4-0-0) – Wednesday’s 2-1 win at Elmira was the team’s first road victory since opening night... Sunday’s 4-3 win snapped Flint’s four-game win streak and snapped a four-game winless streak vs. the Generals (0-3-1)…Defenseman Craig Mahon scored his first professional goal in Friday’s 4-2 win vs. Elmira. The goal also proved to be game-winner…Forward Mike Olynyk had a goal in back-to-back games over the weekend… Center Ryan Markham leads the Flags with a plus-8 rating. He has received a minus rating in just three games all season.

Text taken from the official UHL website
Port Huron photo courtesy Deanna Bradford

Friday, December 15, 2006

Playoff hero Drake returns to Wings tonight

The Kalamazoo Wings have signed forward Lucas Drake.

Six and a half months ago, Drake helped the K-Wings reach the pinnacle of the UHL by scoring the Colonial Cup overtime clinching goal, May 27 in Danbury, Connecticut. Beginning tonight the forward is poised to lend a hand to the K-Wings repeating efforts.

“Lucas played a key role for us in capturing the championship,” said Kalamazoo GM Paul Pickard. “He brings a lot of intangibles to our team and we are looking for him to pick up where he left off.”

Besides scoring the most important goal in K-Wings’ UHL history, during the 2006 Colonial Cup Playoffs, Drake set the K-Wings’ UHL franchise record and tied the UHL record for goals in a playoff game with five on May 6 versus the Rockford IceHogs. In the same game, Drake also set the K-Wings’ UHL franchise record for most shorthanded goals (2).

Drake’s playoff success was a carry over from a stellar regular season, in which the left winger tallied career highs in goals (35), assists (33) and points (68).

Kalamazoo has been a second home for the Holt native. Besides last year with the K-Wings, Drake played four seasons of collegiate hockey for the Western Michigan Broncos (2000-2004), registering 55 points in 149 games.

After leaving WMU, Drake spent two seasons in the ECHL with the Mississippi Sea Wolves. With Mississippi, Drake had success recording 30 points in 72 games and made a playoff run in both of his seasons with the Sea Wolves.

Starting this season in the ECHL with the Columbia Inferno, Drake registered 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 22 games.

Drake is scheduled to be in the lineup tonight, as the K-Wings hit the road to start a home and home series against archrivals, the Fort Wayne Komets.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Goaltending plays a major part in the success of any hockey club, and several United Hockey League goaltenders are filling that role in a big way during recent games.

Muskegon Fury netminder Clayton Pool continues his hot start to the season and leads all league goaltenders with a 1.83 goals against average (GAA), a .938 save percentage (SPCT), and has the most wins (15). He has yet to lose a road game this season (9-0-0).

Veterans Tom Askey (11-6-0) in Kalamazoo and Kevin St. Pierre (13-5-0) in Fort Wayne have filled the most time in the crease for their respective clubs, but both have been supported by promising young back-ups.

Kalamazoo’s Ryan Nie earned his first professional shutout when he stopped all 26 shots in the 4-0 win vs. Port Huron on Sunday. The rookie currently has a 4-2-0 record, a 2.00 GAA, and a .934 SPCT in seven appearances this season.

Fort Wayne’s Dan McWhinney has watched St. Pierre make nine straight starts, but has been solid when called upon to help the Komets. Both youngsters have stopped all four shooters in their first appearance in professional shootouts this season.

Rockford’s Frederic Cloutier has been one of the hottest goaltenders as of late. In his last nine games, he has posted a 1.78 GAA and .940 SPCT. His performance has also earned him two call-ups to the American Hockey League this season.

Chicago’s Marty Magers and Elmira’s Kris Tebbs have been the “workhorse” for their teams. They rank second and third, respectively, among UHL goaltenders in minutes played. Tebbs leads the league with 612 saves while Magers sits behind him with 578 saves.

Dustin Traylen of Port Huron has earned the confidence of his team, especially on home ice. Prior to Saturday night, he had allowed just one goal at home over his last three games and has won three of his past four starts in his home arena.

Quad City’s Jason Tapp has played a key part in the recent six-game unbeaten streak for the Mallards. In his last five starts, he has a 4-0-1 record, a 1.80 GAA, and a .946 SPCT.

TEAM EFFORT – Kalamazoo goaltender Tom Askey earned an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Flint. Every member of the team, including goaltenders, now has recorded a point this season. The Kalamazoo Wings are the only team in the UHL with this distinction.

Flint Generals - (2-2-0) – Left wing Jeff Zehr has a goal in back-to-back games including the game-winner on Sunday vs. Bloomington...Zehr’s power play goal in the first period on Sunday ended a 0 for 40 slump on the power play that lasted over 16 periods of play for the Generals…Defenseman Gerard Miller leads the team in scoring with 15 points (6g, 9a)… The Generals have won three of their last four on home ice…Defenseman Greg Snitowsky scored a goal in just his second game with the club after being signed late in the week.

Kalamazoo Wings - (2-1-0) – Kalamazoo has won four straight games on the road...Right wing Justin Cross leads all UHL rookies with 12 goals…Forward Glenn Detulleo played his 300th career professional game on Saturday… The K-Wings have a 5-1-0 record on Sundays this season…Left wing Nick Bootland is one game-winning goal shy of tying the K-Wings all-time record of 11…Kalamazoo has only given up 12 power goals this season to lead the UHL in penalty killing (93.3%)…Center Kory Karlander is three assists shy of 300 for his career.

Muskegon Fury - (3-0-0) – The Muskegon Fury have won seven straight on the road, one shy of tying the team record…The club is 9-0-0 vs. Western Conference opponents…Muskegon has outscored their opponents 44-16 in the second period this season…Right wing Rustyn Dolyny is riding an 11-game point streak. He has a league season high ten-game assist streak...Left wing Mike Watt is riding a six-game scoring streak…Dating back to last season, the Fury are unbeaten in regulation in their last 14 games (11-0-3) vs. Port Huron.

Port Huron Flags - (1-1-1) – After trailing 1-0 through two periods on Friday, the Flags scored four goals in the third period to defeat Rockford 4-1...After missing more than a month due to injury, left wing Colt King scored five points (3g, 2a) in his first two games back in the lineup…The Flags play four games in five nights during the upcoming week with three straight at home over the weekend…Port Huron currently leads the UHL with 234 minor penalties this season…Defenseman B.J. Adams has an even or better plus/minus rating in 17 of 22 games this season.

Taken from the official UHL website.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kalamazoo deals Snider for Lawmaster

The Kalamazoo Wings completed a trade with the Bloomington PrairieThunder yesterday.

In the deal, Kalamazoo acquires forward Jason Lawmaster and in return, Bloomington gets forward Shawn Snider.

Known for his physical prowess, Lawmaster gives Kalamazoo a player that is effective at both forward or on the blue line. In his eight seasons of professional hockey, Lawmaster spent three with the Muskegon Fury.

"We want physical players that can also produce offensively and that's what he has done in his career," said Kalamazoo GM Paul Pickard. "The trade also gives us another player that has championship experience on his resume."

The native of Westland has four championship rings to his name, including two in the UHL with the Fury (2004, 2005). During the 1999-00 season, Lawmaster was a member of the Kelly Cup champion (ECHL) Peoria Rivermen and also won a championship in the Ontario Hockey League with the Belleville Bulls (1998-99) after starting his OHL career with the Plymouth Whalers.

Besides playing in both the ECHL and UHL, Lawmaster has skated in 61 games in the American Hockey League.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Red Wings recall Meech, GR signs Galvin

The Detroit Red Wings today recalled defenseman Derek Meech from the Grand Rapids Griffins, who then signed defenseman Tom Galvin.

Galvin, a 2004 Notre Dame graduate, played last season with the Muskegon Fury. He originally signed a professional tryout with the Griffins on Oct. 3, 2006 and a standard player's contract today. The 27-year-old has contributed three assists and a plus-four rating in eight games with the Griffins.

Meech (pictured) was the Wings' seventh-round pick in 2002 and in juniors, was partnered with Calgary's Dion Phaneuf with the Red Deer Rebels and with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship.

An alternate captain in his third campaign with Grand Rapids, Meech has three assists and a plus-four rating in 24 contests this season, and he has totaled 37 points (10-27—37) in 181 career games as a Griffin. The 22-year-old has missed just three games (two to injury, one to suspension) during his pro career.

"Derek has been the best defenseman probably in Grand Rapids to this point in time," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Wednesday in the Detroit Free Press.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Flags add offensive threat, waive defender

The Port Huron Flags signed right wing Bobby Kukulka to the roster today, as they prepare to head into a busy stretch that includes nine home and four away games until the end of the month.

Kukulka spent the last two seasons in the UHL, playing with the Flint Generals and the now defunct-Richmond Riverdogs. During those two seasons, he racked up 26 goals and 25 assists. He played the initial part of this season in the Central Hockey League with the New Mexico Scorpions. In 11 games, he netted a goal and three assists.

“Bobby is a feisty, gritty forward," Port Huron head coach Stan Drulia said. "He goes to the net and will hopefully provide a spark for our offense. He sticks his nose in when it counts."

A native of Macomb, Kukulka weighs in at 175 pounds and stands 5-foot-8. He won a Continental Elite Hockey League title in 2003 with the Detroit Lightning.

Additionally, the Flags waived defenseman Sam Webber on Monday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Michigan UHL teams - News & Notes

Flint Generals - (2-1-0) – Center Tony Tuzzolino has eight points (2g, 6a) and a plus-5 rating in his first five games with the Generals...Winger Bobby Reynolds has a point in five of his last six games…The Generals won consecutive home games for the first time this season when they defeated Port Huron on Saturday and Rockford on Sunday…Right wing Mike Kinnie scored his four goals this week on ten shots (.400)…Flint won their first shootout of the season when defenseman Shaun Fisher scored in the fifth round of Saturday’s 3-2 shootout win.

Kalamazoo Wings - (2-0-0) – Center Shawn Snider is riding a five-game point streak…Right wing Justin Cross recorded the first hat trick (3g) for the club this season during Wednesday’s 9-1 win vs. Chicago. Cross ranks tied for second in scoring among UHL rookies…The nine goals by the K-Wings ties a league season high…Kalamazoo has won three straight games on the road…Forward Glenn Detulleo has seven points (1g, 6a) in six games since being acquired in a trade. He is riding a four-game point streak.

Muskegon Fury - (1-1-0) – Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Kalamazoo marked the first time the Fury have lost this season when leading after the first period...Muskegon has outscored their opponents 19-6 in the first period on home ice this season…Captain Rustyn Dolyny is riding an eight-game point streak. He is four assists away from 400 for his career…Left wing Dave Noel-Bernier is on a five-game point streak…The Fury are the only UHL team not to have a game end in a shootout this season… Goaltender Clayton Pool is three games shy of 100 for his Fury career.

Port Huron Flags - (0-0-1) – The Flags have gone to three shootouts this season and lost all three, including Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Flint...Defenseman Chris Bogas scored his first goal in a Flags uniform on Saturday…Port Huron is 1-3-1 vs. Flint this season…Defenseman Pat Sutton has an even or better plus/minus rating in nine of 11 games he has played this season…Center Ryan Markham has an even or better plus/minus rating in 13 of his 15 games on the year…The Flags play six of their next eight games on home ice.

OH BROTHER – The Fort Wayne Komets signed defenseman Nick Tuzzolino before Friday’s contest. His brother Tony was recently signed by the Flint Generals. They are not the only brothers currently playing in the UHL. Port Huron’s Josh Elzinga and Kalamazoo’s Adam Elzinga both play defense for their respective clubs.

*Team averages as of December 1st

Bloomington PrairieThunder – 6-0, 194 lbs, 26 years 1 month
Chicago Hounds – 5-11 ½, 191 lbs, 27 years 1 month
Elmira Jackals – 6-0 ½, 204 lbs, 26 years 4 months
Flint Generals – 6-0, 189 lbs, 27 years
Fort Wayne Komets – 6-0, 196 lbs, 27 years 1 month
Kalamazoo Wings – 6-0 ¼, 197 lbs, 25 years 10 months
Muskegon Fury – 6-0, 198 lbs, 25 years 7 months
Port Huron Flags – 6-0 ¼, 193 lbs, 25 years 5 months
Quad City Mallards – 6-0 ¼, 194 lbs, 26 years 3 months
Rockford IceHogs – 6-0 ¾, 200 lbs, 24 years

Entering the games on December 1st, this is how the average UHL player size up: height (6-0), weight (196 lbs), age (just over 26 years old).

Tallest – Chris McAllister (6-7), Kalamazoo Wings
Shortest – Steve Cygan (5-6), Chicago Hounds
Oldest – Scott Drevitch (41 years, 3 months), Elmira Jackals
Youngest – Milan Maslonka (20 years, 1 month), Elmira Jackals
Oldest team – Fort Wayne Komets (27 years 1 month)
Youngest team – Rockford IceHogs (just over 24 years old)

Taken from the official UHL website

Monday, December 04, 2006

K-Wings make deal with Quad City

The Kalamazoo Wings and Quad City Mallards completed a swap of forwards today.

Going to Quad City is David Herring and coming to Kalamazoo is Jesse Rycroft (pictured right).

“Rycroft has the size and ability to be a productive power forward in this league,” said Wings' GM Paul Pickard. “We feel Jesse fits in to our concept and will continue to strengthen our team.”

The 24-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario, put up four points in 14 games with the Mallards this season. Prior to turning pro, Rycroft played four years of collegiate hockey at the University of Toronto.

Herring, 22, played last year with the defunct Motor City Mechanics. He tallied four points (all goals) this season with the Wings.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Kalamazoo owner Parfet passes away

The United Hockey League lost a member of its family last Monday when “R.T.” Parfet Jr. passed away at the age of 84. Parfet was the owner of the Kalamazoo Wings since April 2002.

Before his time in the UHL, Parfet owned the Kalamazoo Wings from 1974 to 2000 when it was a member of the International Hockey League. The team enjoyed much success during those years, missing the playoffs only twice. The club also captured back-to-back Turner Cup Championships in 1979 and 1980. The Kalalmazoo Wings captured their first Colonial Cup Championship last season, bringing a league title back to the city of Kalamazoo.

Parfet and his wife, Martha, could be found at home games sitting in Section 8 to cheer on their beloved K-Wings. Parfet also contributed Wings Stadium Complex to his native Kalamazoo. The multi-purpose facility is comprised of Wings Stadium, The Annex and The Cube. The complex hosts numerous events, shows, and programs that welcome over 500,000 guests annually.

“This is such an enormous loss to our league and the Kalamazoo community,” stated Richard Brosal, UHL President/CEO. “He had a positive impact on the UHL and was a man of the highest character. Ted had a heart of gold and will be missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to spend time with him. On behalf of the UHL, we extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife Martha and the Parfet family.”

Funeral services for Parfet were held this past Thursday in Kalamazoo.

Photo by Deanna Bradford