Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday in Grand Rapids - Steve Yzerman

Fury and Icehawks swing 1-for-1 deal

The Muskegon Fury completed a straight one-for-one trade with the Port Huron Icehawks today.

Muskegon has obtained top-scoring center Mark Cadotte, a former Plymouth Whaler in juniors, in exchange for the playing rights to center Mark Nebus, a 2007 Wayne State grad.

“Bringing Mark here fills an area that we have been looking to upgrade," Fury head coach Bruce Ramsay said. "He is a true, tested veteran who has the skills and ability to play all three forward positions. Mark has had a tremendous pro career and with his presence in our lineup, he will give us speed, energy and much-valued veteran leadership. Last season, he was a key player on a team that did not sometimes score a lot.

"With the Fury and playing with the right players, he has the capability of delivering some excellent numbers.”

Monday, October 29, 2007

Around the IHL - Oct. 29, 2007


Port Huron was the only undefeated team during this week’s IHL action, giving the Icehawks a league-leading six points (3-2-0-0). With a win over Muskegon on Friday and two huge come-from-behind victories over Flint on Saturday and Bloomington on Sunday, the Icehawks are currently riding a 3-game winning streak. Port Huron is unbeatable on home ice so far this season (2-0-0-0), along with Bloomington (1-0-0-0) and Fort Wayne (2-0-0-0).

Muskegon’s special teams have come out strong early this season. With a 25% power play record (4 for 16) and 100% penalty killing record (15 of 15), the Fury are ranked number one for both categories in the International Hockey League. Also hot on the power play, Flint ’s Josef Fojtik leads the league with two power play goals in his four games played, helping improve the Generals to second place on the power play with a 23.1% record (3 for 13).

Bloomington forwards Don Parsons and Jason Ralph has both recorded points in all four games played by the PrairieThunder. Parsons is ranked first in the league in scoring and assists (1g, 6a, 7pts.). Ralph is tied for second (2g, 4a) with Muskegon ’s Mike Watt (1g, 5a).


Flint Generals - (1-0-0-1) – Generals rookie forward Josef Fojtik is already making his name felt with two power play goals in four games. The Generals are second in the IHL on the power play with three power play goals in 13 chances. The Generals have scored the first goal in four straight games and currently support a record of 2-1-0-1. Jordan Fox has scored first in two of the four games. Flint is currently first in the IHL in goals for averaging just over three per game, while they are third in the IHL in shots for averaging just over 34 per game. The Generals have surrendered eight goals in the third period this season which is the most of any team in the IHL.

Kalamazoo Wings - (0-2-0-0) – K-Wings opened up their home schedule in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 4,975 last Saturday during the 4th Annual Orange Ice Game. Kalamazoo 's 4-1 loss in the home opener, dropping their record on orange ice to 1-3-0-0, with all three loses coming against Muskegon . Matt Elich played in his 400th career game last Friday in Flint . Goaltender Jeremy Symington is one-game shy of 200 in his career. Kalamazoo 's best scoring periods are the first and third, posting three goals in each stanza. On the season, the K-Wings have scored seven goals. Nick Bootland ranks third in the league with 20 shots, but ranks first on shots per game average at 6.67. After playing just three games in the first nine days of the season, the K-Wings will play three-games in three days starting this Friday versus Flint .

Muskegon Fury - (1-1-0-0) – After launching the IHL season with a rare two consecutive losses, both on home ice, the Fury became the last team in the league to record their initial victory of the season Saturday night at Kalamazoo , 4-1. Muskegon ’s magic in Kalamazoo seems to be continuing as they are now 23-5-4 in their last 32 decisions at Wings Stadium. The Fury specialty teams are flourishing early in the new season; both the power play (4-16; 25%) and the penalty-killing (15-15; 100%) are ranked #1 in the IHL. Left Wing Mike Watt and Defenseman Philippe Plante are both on 3-game season opening point streak (three each). Robin Bouchard (646) is just 18-games away from tying Scott Feasby (664) for most games played in Fury franchise history.

Port Huron Icehawks - (3-0-0-0) – Port Huron forced the league’s first overtime and first shootout Saturday versus Flint . Port Huron landed two goals in the shootout, while Flint had zero. Brian Felsner and Jamie Carroll both had shootout goals for the Icehawks. Icehawks rookie Jamie Carroll is among the league leaders in several categories. He leads the league for shots on goal with 27 and is tied for first in the plus/minus category at plus-5. Ron Vogel posted two wins in net for Port Huron , and rookie goalie Marty Magers recorded his first win of the season Sunday in his second start in goal. Port Huron now leads the league in third period scoring after third period comebacks in back to back home games last weekend.

K-Wings auction Orange Ice jerseys

The Kalamazoo Wings announced the organization raised and donated $14,150 from the 4th Annual Orange Ice jersey auction, which occurred last Saturday at Wings Stadium.

Fans were clamoring for all of the K-Wings special Halloween jerseys. However, at the end of the night, the three highest bids were for the jerseys worn by forwards Justin Cross, Lucas Drake and Tyler Willis. Cross’ jersey received the high bid of $1,250, while Drake and Willis’ each went for $1,000.

“Our fans continue to amaze us (K-Wings) with their generosity,” said Wings GM Wade Welsh. “With close to 5,000 fans at Wings Stadium to see both the K-Wings and our alumni, Saturday was a very special night and the jersey action was a perfect way to cap off the evening.”

Charities selected for the Orange Ice jersey auction were American Red Cross, Great Lakes Burn Camp, Ronald McDonald House and SPCA of Southwest Michigan.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wings sign Draper to three-year extension

The Detroit Red Wings locked up one of their key veterans for the long term, signing forward Kris Draper to a three-year contract extension last Thursday.

The deal will pay him $1.85 million next season, $1.65 million in 2009-10, and $1.25 million in the 2010-11 campaign.

Draper, one of the league's top defensive forwards, has 137 goals and 302 points in 895 career NHL games.

He played parts of three seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and was traded to the Red Wings in 1993 for one dollar. He has helped lead Detroit to three Stanley Cups in his 13 seasons with the club and also won the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward in 2004.

Draper, who earns $2.128 million this season, scored five goals in his first 10 games of the 2007-08 campaign.

The 36-year-old was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kalamazoo announces pooch promotion

The Kalamazoo Wings have announced a new partnership for its “Hockey Pup of the Game” promotion.

Over the past three seasons, the K-Wings have helped find a home for over 120 dogs in southwest Michigan. For the second straight season, the K-Wings will be calling on the SPCA of Southwest Michigan to lend a hand and continue the miraculous efforts of eliminating pet homelessness. Also helping with the efforts will be PetsMart.

The SPCA of Southwest Michigan will bring one lucky dog to each of the Kalamazoo home games to participate in the K-Wings promotion. The dog gets to meet and interact with the fans and find a new family.

Founded in early 2002, the SPCA of Southwest Michigan is a not-for-profit animal welfare community that is bringing leadership and results to the problem of pet homelessness in the area. Its mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find loving homes for the forgotten pets in southwest Michigan pounds by saving adoptable pets and making families complete. For more information about the SPCA, log onto www.spcaswmich.org.

The title sponsor of the K-Wings “Hockey Pup of the Game” promotion will be PetsMart. Located at 5200 W Main St in Kalamazoo, PetsMart is one of the nation’s largest pet stores and is a huge supporter of the SPCA of Southwest Michigan.

IHL NOTEBOOK - Michigan teams

The International Hockey League kicked off the 2007-08 campaign on Friday when the Port Huron Icehawks flew into Flint for the first game of the season against the Generals. The crowd of 2,551 was booming throughout the entire game as the Generals defeated the Icehawks, 4-1.

All six member clubs hit the ice on Saturday, when the remaining four teams began their journey. Kalamazoo traveled to Muskegon to renew the rivalry between the Fury and the K-Wings. During the heated contest, the K-Wings cooled off the Fury with a 3-1 victory. Fort Wayne hosted the Icehawks Saturday as the Komets celebrated the return of the IHL in front of a sellout crowd of 10,153. Fort Wayne goaltender Kevin Reiter shut down the Icehawks offense, turning away all 30 shots he faced to earn the IHL’s first shutout of the season. Flint ’s second home game of the weekend was Saturday when the Bloomington PrairieThunder visited the Generals. Flint scored the lone goal in the opening period, but the second and third was all Bloomington as the PrairieThunder edged off the Generals for the 5-1 victory.

Flint Generals - (1-1-0-0) – Opening night was a huge success for the Flint Generals as more than 2,500 fans cheered loudly for the team all night long. Four different goal scorers paced the Generals past the Port Huron Ice Hawks 4-1 as the 2007-2008 IHL season officially got underway. Greg Bullock, Mike Alexiou and goaltender Chad Alban all had great games on Friday for the Generals. Bullock had a goal and two assists, while Alexiou scored his first professional goal. Alban turned aside 33 shots in the win over Port Huron. The Generals tallied first goals in both games over the weekend but ended up going 1-1 when doing so. Flint was 8-for-9 penalty killing over the weekend with a lone goal surrendered on Saturday night.

Kalamazoo Wings - (1-0-0-0) – As a franchise, the K-Wings have won its last five opening night games. K-Wings "Cash Money" line (Mike Manley, Lucas Drake, Justin Cross) cashed in for two of the K-Wings three goals on Saturday. Each member of the line had two points. Jeremy Symington had 26 saves in the victory, losing the shutout with just 24 seconds left in the game. Symington is tied for second in the IHL with a 1.00 GAA. Rookie Mike Bickley scored on his lone shot on Saturday, which proved to be the game-winning goal. Bickley led the K-Wings in preseason scoring with seven points. Kalamazoo opens up its home schedule on Orange Ice this Saturday. With its win over Muskegon last Saturday, the K-Wings are 102-106-71 versus IHL teams from Muskegon (101-106-71 versus the Mohawks/Lumberjacks, 1-0-0-1 versus the Fury). K-Wings lead the league in major penalties with five.

Muskegon Fury - (0-1-0-0) – On Saturday night, the Fury launched the 48th consecutive season of pro hockey in Muskegon, ranking the city fourth all-time for consecutive years of minor pro hockey longevity. It is the 16th consecutive year of Muskegon hockey under the Fury banner. Rookie Adam Segerie averted the Fury being shutout on opening night when he notched a power-play goal with only 24 seconds remaining in the third period. After being the lone undefeated team in the IHL pre-season at 2 (2-0-0-0), the Fury sustained their initial setback of the season on opening night against Kalamazoo at their home of Walker Arena. Previously, Muskegon operated IHL teams under the monikers of the Zephyrs (1960-65), the Mohawks (1965-1984), the Lumberjacks (1984-1992) and now the present-day Fury.

Port Huron Icehawks - (0-2-0-0) – The Icehawks kicked off their inaugural season with two road games; Friday, October 19 at Flint and Saturday, October 20 at Fort Wayne. They face another road contest this Friday at Muskegon before returning home for back-to-back games Saturday and Sunday with Flint and Bloomington. Chris Bogas will face several of his former teammates on the ice Sunday, when the Icehawks take on Bloomington at home. Four members of the Icehawks roster were not active last weekend for the first two games of the season. All four are expected to return this weekend. Rookie goalie Marty Magers made his first start in goal for Port Huron Saturday at Fort Wayne, tallying 40 saves, with a save percentage of .909.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Kalamazoo adds Cross, Ianetta

The Kalamazoo Wings announced the signing of forward Justin Cross and defenseman Matt Iannetta yesterday.

After a stellar rookie season, which earned him a spot in the 2007 UHL All-Star Classic, Cross returns to Kalamazoo for second season. While getting acclimated to the pro game, the native of Camarillo, California was dazzling in racking up 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) in 72 games.

“He will compliment an already deep crop of forwards,” said Kalamazoo GM Wade Welsh. “Justin is a double threat on the ice. He can score goals, but also has a great passing ability to set up his teammates.”

Before turning pro, Cross spent four years at Niagara University, where as a member of the Purple Eagles, he recorded 92 points (36 goals, 56 assists) in 138 games.

After lacing up the skates in Italy a year ago, Iannetta returns to North America to compete in his second season as pro.

A hard-working defenseman, Iannetta played four years of collegiate hockey at the University of Waterloo. During his senior season, Iannetta led the Warriors in plus/minus (+10). The native of Woodbridge, Ontario also earned the Coaches Award, which is given to the player that is dedicated, most committed and showing the most leadership to the hockey program.

“After witnessing the preseason, we wanted to add a defenseman that has size and could help us offensively,” said Welsh. “We have heard good things about him and believe he could be the player that will fill that void.”

To make room of the roster the K-Wings waived forward Mike Carter and placed forward Tyler Willis on the 7-day injured reserve list.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bootland named Kalamazoo's captain

The Kalamazoo Wings announce their captains for the upcoming 2007-08 season, which begins Saturday in Muskegon.

Wearing the letters on this year’s team will be forwards Nick Bootland, Kory Karlander and defenseman Ed Campbell.

“With the leadership we have in our locker room, there were a lot of individuals we could have given the letters to, but in the end we believe the selected players best exemplify what it takes to be a K-Wing,” said Wings GM Wade Welsh. “While we have three capable players wearing letters, we still expect everyone on our team to lead by example.”

For the third straight year, the K-Wings have selected Bootland as its captain. Joining elite company, Bootland is just the fourth K-Wing (Ron Wilson, Scott Robinson and Derrick Smith) ever to wear the 'C' in three straight seasons.

Karlander and Campbell will be assistant captains will be Karlander and Campbell. This season will be Karlander’s third as assistant captain, while Campbell is receiving the honor in his first season with the K-Wings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Griffins promote "Pink at the Rink" cause

The Grand Rapids Griffins have teamed up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grand Rapids to bring you "Pink at the Rink," a celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Griffins fans along with friends of Komen for the Cure Grand Rapids have the opportunity of purchasing specially priced tickets to the Oct. 28 game through an exclusive web offer. With each ticket purchased online using the instructions below, the Griffins will donate $5 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grand Rapids.

In addition to discounted tickets, fans will enjoy several other special features:

-- Griffins players will show their support by displaying pink ribbons on their helmets
-- Special "Pink at the Rink" hockey stick auction to benefit Komen for the Cure
-- Breast cancer educational messages on the video board throughout the game
-- Intermission "Shoot for the Cure," honoring local breast cancer survivors
-- Sale of pink merchandise with proceeds benefiting Komen for the Cure
-- Postgame skate and Griffins player autograph session

Purchasing tickets is as easy as 1...2...3:

2. Enter username: grkomen
3. Enter password: griffins0708

Tickets are $10 for upper bowl and $15 for lower bowl.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

K-Zoo goalie Quesada gets AHL call-up

Kalamazoo Wings goaltender Tony Quesada has been called up to the Quad City Flames of the American Hockey League.

Quesada’s call-up is his second trip to the AHL. Last season, Quesada spent his first-year of professional hockey in Texas , mainly with the Houston Aeros.

“We believe it’s our job to do our due diligence in helping our players reach their goals and this is a great opportunity for him to get a step closer to the NHL,” said Wings GM Wade Welsh. “In the off-season we made the decision to bring in three quality goaltenders that had the passion and ability to make it to the next level. This call-up is great not only for him, but our league.”

Making the most of his time in his previous stint in the AHL, Quesada earned his lone AHL win with a dazzling 41-save performance to preserve a 1-0 shutout for Houston (top affiliate of the Minnesota Wild) on April 7 against Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, who are now the Quad City Flames.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Generals add offense with Cirone signing

More offensive firepower was added to the Flint Generals Saturday with the singing of veteran center Jason Cirone.

Cirone, a former third-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets at the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, spent last season with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees of the Central Hockey League where in 59 games, he notched 28 goals and added 35 assists for 63 points and 84 penalty minutes.

Cirone, a native of Toronto, spent five seasons in Italy playing for Asiago HC (2001-2002 to 2005-2006) and had 84 goals and 92 assists for 176 points and 384 penalty minutes in 166 games.

“Jason is a proven player at this level,” said Flint director of hockey operations Ron Sanko. “Once you follow him with (Greg) Bullock, I believe we have the best 1-2 punch in the league at center -- two veteran guys that can help Jordan Fox along.”

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound left-shooting centerman, played one year (2000-2001) with the Frankfurt Lions in Germany where he had 18 goals and 17 assists for 35 points and 138 penalty minutes.

Cirone is no stranger to the IHL having played seven seasons with four different teams- Cincinnati Cyclones, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Rochester Americans and the Kansas City Blades. In 442 career games, Cirone tallied 139 goals, 148 assists for 287 points and 830 penalty minutes.

Cirone also spent time in the ECHL, WCHL, American Hockey League and played three National Hockey League games for the Winnipeg Jets.

Cirone had a solid career in the Ontario Hockey League where he played four seasons with the former Cornwall Royals and part of a year with the Windsor Spitfires. During his junior career, he played in 212 games and had 130 goals and 150 assists for 280 points and 261 penalty minutes.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Generals sign Greg Bullock

The Flint Generals added some veteran leadership on Thursday with the signing of forward Greg Bullock.

Bullock, a native of Cambridge, Ontario, was acquired from the Port Huron Icehawks last week in exchange for forward Jeff Zehr. In 74 games with Port Huron last season, Bullock had 18 goals and 51 assists for 69 points and 70 penalty minutes. He also was a key player during the postseason where he had four assists in four games.

"I remember him as being a guy who was hard to play against," said Generals head coach Kevin Kerr. "Every time he was on the ice, you noticed him. That's the kind of player we want on our team. He allows us to have more strength up the middle. He's adds great stability to the middle up front.”

Bullock’s name and presence on the ice will be memorable to Generals’ fans. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder played for the Motor City Mechanics of the UHL where he posted 18 goals and added 40 assists for 58 points and 81 penalty minutes in 59 games in 2005-06

Prior to his time in Michigan, Bullock spent one season in the Central Hockey League with the Corpus Christi Rays where he had 66 points and 24 penalty minutes (17 goals and 49 assists). Bullock has also played in Europe in Germany, Italy as well as in the British Super League.

Bullock has also spent time in the IHL with the former San Francisco Spiders, Grand-Rapids Griffins, Kansas City Blades and the Michigan K-Wings. In 54 career games, Bullock picked up 30 goals and 59 assists and 89 points and 144 penalty minutes.

Bullock’s career has also seen him spend time in the American Hockey League where he had 106 points in 89 games for the St. John’s Maple Leafs, and the Lowell Lock Monsters. He also played one season in the ECHL and another in the former WCHL.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Flint re-signs defensemen Ondrej and Fisher

Two of the Flint Generals' steady defensemen from a year ago will be back with the hockey club for another season.

The Generals announced on Wednesday the signing of Martin Ondrej and Shaun Fisher.

Ondrej was chosen as the Generals’ top defenseman last year and put some solid rookie numbers. He also appeared in all 76 games and picked up five goals and 22 assists for 27 points and 162 penalty minutes.

“We are thrilled to have Martin back with us here in Flint,” said Flint head coach Kevin Kerr. “He was our best defenseman last year and brings character and great work ethic to our team. He hits like a truck and will fit well into the new rules of the IHL.”

Fisher played in 71 of the club’s 76 games last season and notched five goals and added 28 assists for 33 points and 92 penalty minutes.

“We are very excited to have Shaun back with us this season,” said Kerr. “With the added support of players like Ryan Jorde, Brett Westgarth and Kris Mallette, Shaun will be able to focus and be the offensive threat.”

Much of Fisher’s career has been spent in the ECHL where he has played with several different clubs over a span of four seasons. In 2005-2006, the Detroit native played with the Augusta Lynx, Phoenix Roadrunners and the Bakersfield Condors. In 56 games, he had four goals and 20 assists for 24 points and 58 penalty minutes.

Fisher spent the 2004-2005 campaign with the rival Kalamazoo Wings where he had 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 point and 70 penalty minutes in 65 games.

Fisher’s first three seasons of his professional career were spent in the ECHL with the Florida Everblades, Greenville Grrrowl, Trenton Titans, Texas Wildcatters and the Roanoke Express. In 169 games Fisher had 14 goals and 49 assists for 63 points and 143 penalty minutes.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

K-Wings add five to roster, now at 20

The Kalamazoo Wings announced the signings of forwards Mike Carter and Tim Morrison, along with defensemen Michael Barrett, Chris Kolvalcik and Paul Lynch today.

Carter comes to Kalamazoo after spending three seasons in the Central Hockey League. A skilled forward, Carter has recorded 91 points (29 goals, 62 assists) in his pro career. A standout performer at Mercyhurst College, the native of Cambridge , Ontario led the Lakers in scoring with 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) in 36 games during his senior campaign.

Morrison is a K-Wing looking to make an impact in K-Wings training camp. At 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Morrison is a hard-hitting forward entering his first-season of pro hockey. As a collegiate, the native of Londonderry, New Hampshire played two seasons at Quinnipiac University.

At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Barrett is a physical defenseman that is ready to begin his pro career. Last season, Barrett finished off his collegiate career at the University of Ottawa . He also brings a wealth of Junior A hockey experience, including one season under hockey icon Don Cherry in Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League.

A double threat, Kolvalcik can play forward and at defense. The native of Detroit is entering his fourth season as a pro. In three previous seasons, Kolvalcik has chimed in with 71 points (28 goals, 43 assists) and amassed 551 minutes in penalties in the Southern Professional Hockey League.

After a two-year hiatus, Lynch is ready to hit the ice and show why he was a National Hockey League prospect. A 2001 draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning (fifth round, 138 overall), Lynch last played in the 2004-05 season in the ECHL.

The addition of Carter, Morrison, Barrett, Kolvalcik and Lynch gives the K-Wings 20 players signed for the upcoming 2007-08 season.