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Sifers Named Comets Man of the Year

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(Lindsay A. Mogle / Utica Comets)

JAIME SIFERS NAMED UTICA COMETS’ 2018-19 IOA/AMERICAN

SPECIALTY AHL MAN OF THE YEAR

Utica, N.Y.  – The Utica Comets are proud to announce that Jaime Sifers has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Utica community during the 2018-19 season.

There are many causes close to his heart, but the most notable is his passion for the military and its veterans. The son of a Marine, Jaime is leaned upon to be an ambassador for the Comets organization with the many military programs and facilities in our area. After each and every home game, he takes the time for a meet and greet with that night’s hometown hero, and his/her family.

During the summer, Sifers attended weekly office meetings with area Purple Heart recipients, and became a critical component of the Comets becoming the first-ever hockey team to be designated as a Purple Heart Organization. He was with the team every step of the way, and his participation was integral in the preparation and execution of the honor.

“When you’re around Jaime, you’re exposed to moments that are truly profound,” said Comets broadcaster Joe Roberts. “Often times they are simple gestures that create special moments and lifetime memories for others.  

While in Allentown playing Lehigh Valley, the Phantoms rolled out a carpet from the corner doors to recognize that night’s hometown hero during a media timeout. The crowd cheered and gave a rightful standing ovation, and one player skated over, took off his glove, and shook the hero’s hand. It was Jaime Sifers. It may not seem like a big deal, but in that moment, I realized that Jaime is more of a fan of these veterans than they could ever be of him as a pro hockey player.”


Sifers is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.

Paetsch Named Amerks Man of the Year

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NATHAN PAETSCH NAMED AMERKS 2018-19 IOA/AMERICAN SPECIALTY AHL MAN OF THE YEAR

Defenseman now one of 31 finalists for the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award


(Rochester, NY) — The Rochester Americans are proud to announce that defenseman Nathan Paetsch has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Rochester community during the 2018-19 season.

After winning the same award last season in his return Rochester following a five-year stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Paetsch continued to deepen his footprint in the local community despite playing in 10 games during the 2018-19 campaign.

Prior to the start of the season, his sixth in Rochester and second since the 2010-11 campaign, Paetsch assisted with volunteers and members of the Seneca Park Zoo to remove nearly 10 pounds of water chestnuts from the Genesee River. Weeks later during training camp, Paetsch accompanied several Amerks players, coaches and office staff by delivering season tickets to various local businesses and corporate partners of the organization.

While being a healthy scratch for the first three months of the season, Paetsch, a former four-time winner of the Amerks’ McCulloch Trophy for his commitment and dedication to the Rochester community, made the most of his time, as he would regularly make appearances to meet with fans and other youth organizations either during or following games as part of the Captain’s Club program.

A few weeks later, Paetsch kicked off the 14th season of the ever-popular Amerks Reading Power Play Program at the Fairport Public Library. The Amerks Reading Power Play program involves players stopping by local libraries, reading to kids and giving a hockey demonstration and allows the kids to learn about the game of hockey and the shows the importance of reading.

As the holidays approached, Paetsch was among a full-team outing as all 25 Amerks players, in addition to head coach Chris Taylor, visited two Rochester-area hospitals in the same day. Paetsch led a contingent of players to Golisano Children’s Hospital – the very place his own son was born eight years prior – to share some smiles and spread Christmas spirit to patients. While there, he played musical bingo, made room visits and also surprised the children, along with their families, with an assortment of Amerks teddy bears and Christmas gifts to help make their holidays a little more cheerful.

Later in the evening, Paetsch, accompanied by his wife, Jaclyn, and their two children, Mira and Kellen, joined several of other Amerks players and their significant others at the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The group prepared and served a dinner to nearly 40 families. On the menu was a Rochester staple: Garbage Plates.

As the season progressed, Paetsch continued his service off the ice as he made regular appearances as part of the Fidelis Care Dental Health Awareness Program. The new program featured an Amerks players at local schools in support of reading and proper dental hygiene. The visiting player provided the children with a hockey demonstration, while discussing the importance of dental health awareness and reading a book.

In January, the Amerks partnered with the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester to host “Defend the Ice Month” for the second consecutive season. The month-long campaign focused on efforts to help raise awareness for polar bear and ice conservation primarily in the Arctic regions. The Amerks wore special polar bear-themed jerseys along with matching socks in support of polar bear awareness. To kick off the month, Paetsch, along with goaltender Adam Wilcox, volunteered to appear in video public service announcements and made regular visits to the Zoo in support of the cause.

The Amerks once again partnered with New York’s 529 College Savings Plan for the return of the Amerks Jr. Reporter Program and Paetsch helped provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to local kids that won the chance to interview him and get a tour of the Amerks locker room afterwards as well as watch an Amerks practice.

In February, Paetsch participated in the annual ball hockey game against a group of athletes from Lifetime Assistance, a local organization dedicated to fostering independence, dignity and respect for individuals with disabilities.

As the regular season was nearing its end, Paetsch alongside fellow assistant captain Kyle Criscuolo, spent an afternoon delivering lunch to Rochester’s elderly community as part of the Meals on Wheels program, an affiliate of the UR Medicine Home Care which today serves more than 220,000 meals annually.

A week after assisting with the Meals on Wheels, the veteran blueliner accompanied a handful of players to Wesley Gardens, a non-profit nursing home dedicated to long-term residential care, short-term rehabilitation, respite and hospice care, for a special meet-and-greet and a question and answer session. 

One of Paetsch’s most admirable attributes is his willingness to develop personal relationships with the fans. Following games which came with a “jersey off the back” presentation to the winning fans, Paetsch always took it upon himself to greet each fan with a smile and thank them for being such a loyal supporter of the team.

In addition to being a true Amerks ambassador both on and off the ice, these are just a few of the outstanding things Paetsch is consistently doing to make a difference in the Greater Rochester Community all while serving as one of the Amerks assistant captains.

Paetsch is now one of 31 finalists for the AHL’s 2018-19 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year. The league award is named after the former Hershey Bears forward and AHL All-Star who died in 1997 following a 16-month battle with leukemia. The winner of the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award will be announced by the American Hockey League at a later date.

OJDL Ready For Another Campaign

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DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE DROPPING PUCK ON 5TH SEASON

New sponsor College Hockey Inc. presenting seminar at OJDL Showcase

April 2, 2018, Mississauga, ON – Officials with the Ontario Junior Development League (OJDL) are excited about this spring’s season – and the graduates the league has already produced.

Ten teams will play in the OJDL this May and June.  Games will be played in Oshawa, Etobicoke, Oakville and Brampton.

It’s the fifth season for the league run by the Ontario Junior Hockey League.

College Hockey Inc. has been announced as a new major sponsor of the OJDL. Other sponsors include, ClifBar and Barn Burner Hockey.

As the name implies, it’s all about developing teenaged hockey players.

“It’s one piece of our development pyramid,” said Rick Morocco, the OJHL’s Director of Business Development and Events. “From our combine, to the development league and onto OJHL camps.”

All 22 OJHL teams will have officials in attendance during the combine.

“It’s a major off-season recruiting tool for all of our teams,” said Chris Vanstone, the OJHL’s Director of Hockey Operations. “The OJDL offers an opportunity for players to gain an introduction to the OJHL. I believe the OJDL offers a great experience for players to work with our teams and their coaching staffs.

“Over the last four years, we have seen our numbers grow with players moving from the OJDL to Jr A hockey. Last spring, 40 per cent of the players who played in the OJDL moved onto play Jr A hockey the next season. “

From the 2018 OJDL teams, 84 players made OJHL teams or teams in other junior hockey leagues.

Jamie Engelbert spent two summers with the Cobourg Cougars OJDL team. This year, he played on Team Canada East at the World Jr. A Challenge in Alberta. He has interest from several NCAA schools.

Alex Dameski was the leading scorer (19 goals/3 assists) in the OJDL for Orangeville/Brampton last summer – his second in the summer league. The 17-year-old, who played AAA minor hockey in Brampton, went on to have 22 points in 38 games with the Brampton Admirals in the OJHL this past season.

“Only one player from our 2016 Oakville Blades OJDL team didn’t go on to play junior hockey,” said Blades General Manager Jordan Sellinger.

Two jumped to Ontario Hockey League teams. Josh Rettinger, now a member of the North York Rangers of the OJHL, played in Oakville the next season. Oakville and North York finished 1-2 in the overall OJHL standings this season.

 “We want to give the development league players the experience of playing at a higher level under OJHL coaches,” said Morocco. “It’s an extremely competitive league.”

Teams playing in the 2019 OJDL will include: the Collingwood Colts, Brampton Admirals, Toronto Patriots, Whitby Fury, Oakville Blades, Burlington Cougars and two squads each from the Cobourg Cougars – Cobourg East and West – and Georgetown Raiders – Raiders 1 and 2.

Play begins May 5 with two games at 16 Mile Sports Complex in Oakville.

Each team will play two games during the OJDL Showcase at Campus Ice Centre in Oshawa June 1 and 2. College Hockey Inc., will conduct a seminar for all OJDL players during the Showcase.

College Hockey Inc. works with NCAA Division I men’s college hockey to raise the sport’s profile and to encourage elite young players to pursue a college hockey career.

Teams are recruiting players now, but players are also welcome to contact teams themselves.

“The development league lets players get their feet wet and get the jump on other players,” said Vanstone.

About the OJHL – “League of Choice”

The Ontario Junior Hockey League is the largest Junior ‘A’ league operating under the auspices of the

Canadian Junior Hockey League with 22 member clubs. A proud member of the CJHL and Ontario

Hockey Association, the OJHL was originally named the Ontario Provincial Junior ‘A’ Hockey League and it was formed out of the Central Junior ‘B’ Hockey League in 1993-94. With a long and storied history of developing players for the next level, including U Sports, the NCAA, CHL, minor pro ranks and the NHL, the OJHL had more than 135 commitments in 2017-18, including 65 NCAA Division I scholarships.

For more information on the Ontario Junior Hockey League, please visit www.ojhl.ca

Clarkson’s Kielly & Sturm Sign Pro Contracts With NHL Organizations

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Two of the best to ever wear the Green and Gold for Clarkson University Hockey, junior classmates Jake Kielly and Nico Sturm have signed professional hockey contracts with National Hockey League organizations, foregoing their final season of NCAA play.

An all-star goaltender for the Golden Knights the past three seasons, Kielly signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver Canucks release.

A standout center for Clarkson since the 2016-17 campaign, Sturm signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Minnesota Wild for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. Minnesota Wild release.

“Jake and Nico have been fantastic members of our program the past three years,” said Head Coach Casey Jones. “They are tremendous players, competitors and leaders. They excelled in their play and in the classroom, and were outstanding representatives of Clarkson University in the community. Although I am sorry to see them leave, I am excited for their opportunities at the professional level. We wish nothing but the best for Jake and Nico.”

Kielly and Sturm helped to lead Clarkson to one of its best seasons in the 2000s, playing key roles in the Green and Gold’s 26-11-2 campaign in 2018-19, which included the ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. The Knights’ season ended this past Friday in Manchester, N.H. with a 3-2 overtime loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

Kielly, a 6-2, 201-pound native of Eden Prairie, Minn., leaves the Clarkson program as the Knights’ third all-time winningest goaltender with a career record of 64-37-13, including 16 shutouts since the start of the 2016-17 campaign. A Top 5 Finalist for the Mike Richter Award, Kielly ranked among the best in the NCAA this winter, posting a .929 save percentage and a 1.91 goals against average en route to a 26-11-2 record, including five shutouts. Kielly was named a Second-Team ECAC Hockey All-Star and to the conference’s All-Tournament team in Lake Placid on March 23. Kielly also served as a Clarkson assistant captain.

A 6-3, 211-pound native of Augsburg, Germany, Strum closed out his Clarkson career with 103 points on 36 goals and 67 assists through 118 games. A Top 10 Hobey Baker Award Finalist, he tallied a team-high 45 points this season, including 31 assists, the most helpers by a Golden Knight in 23 years. Strum was a two-time winner of ECAC Hockey’s Best Defensive Forward Award, a First-Team conference all-star this season after gaining Second-Team honors as a sophomore in 2017-18. He was also named to ECAC Hockey’ All-Tournament team. A Clarkson co-captain, Sturm posted the best plus/minus in the conference at +23 and was the Knights’ leading center at the face off circle winning 57.9% of his draws (392-of-677).

Clarkson has had five players sign free-agent contracts with NHL organizations over the past three years. Along with Kielly and Sturm, Sheldon Rempal (Los Angeles) and Josh Dickinson (Colorado) last year, and Sam Vigneault (Columbus) after the 2016-17 season, have left the Golden Knights’ program early to pursue their professional careers.

Hobart’s Lascelle Named To USCHO All-Rookie Team

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Hobart College first-year goalie Liam Lascelle was named to the USCHO.com All-Rookie team as announced this morning. He is the third Statesman to earn USCHO.com All-Rookie team honors.

Lascelle guided the Statesmen to a 10-2-2 overall record in his 15 appearances in goal season. He posted a 1.64 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He finished the year sixth in the nation in GAA, sixth in winning percentage (.786) and 11th in save percentage. Lascelle matched the program record for shutouts, finishing the year with four. That number was tied for fifth in the nation.

Lascelle earned a spot on the NEHC All-Rookie team and the NEHC All-Tournament team. He was 2-1 in the conference tournament, posting a 29-save shutout against top-seeded UMass Boston in the conference semifinals. Lascelle made a season-high 37 saves in his second career start, a 3-1 win over New England College on Nov. 17. He made his collegiate debut in a 4-2 win at Castleton on Nov. 2.

Senior Tanner Shaw (2015-16) and Frank Oplinger ’18 (2014-15) also received USCHO.com All-Rookie team honors during their first season as Statesmen.

The Statesmen finished the year with a 21-8-2 overall record, matching the program record for wins in a season. It was Hobart’s 17th consecutive winning season. The Statesmen advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year. Hobart reached the national semifinals for the third time in program history. The Statesmen were edged by the eventual national champion, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 5-3.

Lippa and Arfelt Selected to USCHO Second Team

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Manhattanville College men’s ice hockey seniors Matt Lippa (Richmond Hill, Ont./Oakville Blades (OJHL)) and Oscar Arfelt (Stockholm, Sweden/Connecticut Oilers (EHL)) recently added additional accolades to their already-long list of honors for the 2018-19 season. The two First Team All-Americans were selected to the United States College Hockey Online (USCHO) Men’s Division III Second Team, announced by the organization over the weekend.

Lippa completed his career as the all-time leading goal scorer in program history and is second in points. Arfelt led all of Division III defensive in assists per game for the majority of the season and finished third in the country.

The two were key members of a squad the earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men’s Hockey Championship by winning the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Tournament Title – their first as a program in the conference’s second year of existence. It was the Valiants first NCAA berth since 2008, and they were able to advance to the quarterfinal round following a huge road win in the opening round at UMass-Boston.

2 RIT Hockey Players Turn Pro

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RIT men’s hockey captains Erik Brown and Abbott Girduckis sign professional deals

ROCHESTER, NY – Senior captains Erik Brown (Keene, Ontario/Kemptville 73’s) and Abbott Girduckis (Belleville, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) of the RIT men’s hockey team have signed professional contracts for the remainder of the 2018-19 season. Brown signed with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL), while Girduckis joined the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL.

Brown, a 2018 All-Atlantic Hockey first team selection and 2019 third team pick, led RIT with 18 goals this season and added 11 assists for 29 points. On. Jan. 11, Brown became the 11th player in RIT’s Division I history to reach 100 points in his career in a win over American International. He also tallied a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Colgate on Oct. 20. He is also one of 10 finalists for the 2018-19 Senior CLASS Award.
 
Brown, who set a Division I team single-season mark with 29 goals last year, finished his four-year career with 70 goals, which is RIT’s Division I school record. He is seventh in RIT’s Division I era with 115 career points on 70 goals and 45 assists in 148 games. Brown finished second all-time in the Division I era with 26 power-play goals and 11 game-winning markers.

Girduckis, a 2019 All-Atlantic Hockey second team selection, led RIT in scoring in 2018-19 with career-best totals of 11 goals, 25 assists and 36 points in 38 games. Girduckis, the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week on Jan. 8, recorded 10 multiple-point games in 2018-19, including a career-best four assists in a 6-1 win over Colgate at Blue Cross Arena as part of RIT’s Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend on Oct. 20.
 
In four seasons, Girduckis recorded 93 career points on 30 goals and 63 assists in 146 games, while taking just 20 minutes in penalties.

RIT finished with 17 wins and advanced to the Atlantic Hockey Semifinals in 2018-19.

US Women’s National Team Update

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U.S. Women’s National Team Arrives in Espoo, Finland, for 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship
Team USA enters tournament as four-time defending gold medalist; Opens play April 4 vs. Finland
ESPOO, Finland – The 2019 U.S. Women’s National Team arrived in Espoo, Finland, today ahead of the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship. The United States, which enters the tournament as the four-time defending champion, will compete in Group A alongside Canada, Finland, Russia and Switzerland.Seventeen of the 23 players on the roster have Olympic experience, 14 of which helped the U.S. claim gold at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, including Cayla Barnes (Eastvale, Calif.), Kacey Bellamy (Westfield, Mass.), Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.), Dani Cameranesi(Plymouth, Minn.), Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.), Brianna Decker (Dousman, Wis.), Megan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.), Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho), Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.), Emily Pfalzer (Buffalo, N.Y.), Alex Rigsby (Delafield, Wis.), Maddie Rooney(Andover, Minn.) and Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.). The roster also includes 2014 Olympic silver medalists Megan Bozek (Buffalo Grove, Ill.), Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.) and Shelly Picard (Taunton, Mass.).Bob Corkum (Salisbury, Mass.) is serving as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team alongside assistant coaches Joel Johnson (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and Brian Pothier (New Bedford, Mass.), and goaltending coach Steve Thompson (Anchorage, Alaska)Corkum made his head coaching debut with Team USA at the 2018 Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where the U.S. earned four wins in five days en route to its fourth straight tournament championship.All U.S. games at the 2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship will be televised live in the U.S. on NHL Network. To follow along with the U.S. Women’s National Team on its journey to Espoo, click here.2019 IIHF Women’s World Championship – Team USA Schedule
April 4-14 – Metro Areena – Espoo, FinlandDateOpponent/RoundTime (Local/ET)Thurs., April 4Finland7:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.Sat., April 6Canada7:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.Sun., April 7Switzerland7:30 p.m./12:30 p.m.Tues., April 9Russia4 p.m./9 a.m.Thurs., April 11QuarterfinalsTBDSat., April 13SemifinalsTBDSun., April 14Bronze-Medal Game4 p.m./9 a.m. Gold-Medal Game8 p.m./1 p.m. NOTES: The U.S. Women’s National Team has taken part in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship since it began in 1990. The tournament initially took place in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1997 until it became a sport in the Olympic Winter Games in 1998. Since that time, the IIHF Women’s World Championship has taken place annually with the exception of an Olympic year when it is not held…. The U.S. has played Canada in the gold-medal game in all 18 of the events, capturing the event’s top prize the last four years and now a total of eight times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017), including seven of the last eight tournaments and eight of the last 10. Team USA is 70-4-6-8-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) in 90 career games and has outscored their opponents 593-141 … USA Hockey’s international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. national teams.

Amerks Weekly Report

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**This Week’s Storylines**

VIEW NEAR THE TOP

Following a pair of wins over the Laval Rocket and Binghamton Devils to close out the weekend, the Amerks sit just one point behind Syracuse for the AHL’s North Division lead going into this weekend’s home-and-home set with the Crunch. Rochester sits seven points ahead of third-place Toronto and has a 14-point lead on Belleville, which currently has a one-point lead on Cleveland for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division coming into the month of April. The Amerks have earned 46 out of a possible 66 points in their last 33 games heading into the final two weeks of the 2018-19 regular season. Among all AHL teams, only the Charlotte Checkers (46) and Crunch (43) have more wins than the Amerks (43), who are fourth overall in the AHL with a .657 points percentage.

RACE TO CLAIM THE NORTH

Of the remaining six games for the Amerks, who are second in the North Division, four are outside the Flower City while three will be played over the final weekend of the regular season with three games in three nights. Rochester will play five contests against North Division opponents, including three more against Syracuse.

AMERKS ARE PLAYOFF BOUND

The Amerks have officially punched their ticket into the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs, marking the 46th time in the 63-year history of the franchise that the Amerks have advanced to the postseason. It’s also the sixth time in 10 years Rochester has qualified for the playoffs, clinching on the road by way of a 6-4 win over the Binghamton Devils on March 30.

COMEBACK KIDS

Trailing 3-1 in the minute of the first period of Saturday’s game in Binghamton, the Amerks scored five of the game’s next six goals, including four in the third period, to complete the 6-4 win. The victory was the Amerks eighth win when trailing after 40 minutes of play, which is most in the AHL this season. Additionally, it was the fourth come-from-behind win when facing a multi-goal deficit this season for the Amerks, who rallied from being down 3-0 for a 4-3 overtime win in Utica on Feb. 22 and used a three-goal third-period in Hartford on Nov. 18 to earn a 4-3 road win over the Wolf Pack. Rochester also scored three times in the final 13:53 of regulation to overcome a three-goal deficit in a 5-4 overtime win in Toronto on Mar. 24.

SHARING THE WEALTH

After failing to produce a 20-goal scorer last season for just the second time in franchise history, the Amerks could potentially have six or more by the season’s end. Defenseman Zach Redmond and forwards Victor Olofsson, C.J. Smith, Taylor Leier and Danny O’Regan all have reached the mark while Wayne Simpson remains on the brinkhaving scored a career-high 19 goals this season. The last time Rochester had six different 20-goal scorers in the same season was during the 1996-97 campaign when the team had seven. Rochester is just one of two teams in the AHL (Syracuse) this season with five different 20-goal scorers. Rochester’s well-balanced offense has also produced two 50-point getters so far in 2018-19 in Olofsson (60) and Smith (56) with two more on the verge as Redmond has a career-high 49 points and O’Regan has 46 coming into the first weekend of April.

OLOFSSON LEADING THE WAY

Currently on recall with the parent Buffalo Sabres, Victor Olofsson continues to lead the Amerks in all offensive categories, including goals (27), assists (33) and points (60) through 64 games this season. Olofsson, who earned CCM/AHL Player of the Month honors for October, is currently tied for eighth in the AHL in points while also sharing the 12th spot among the league’s top goal-scorers. Additionally, he ranks among the league leaders with 15 power-play assists while his nine game-winning goals, three of which have come in his last 12 games, are also tied with teammate Zach Redmond for most in the AHL.

CAREER-YEAR FOR C.J.

C.J. Smith has been piling up the points on an absolute torrid pace. With his 10th multi-point game of the slate, the second-year pro has amassed a whopping 39 points (21+18) over his last 36 games dating back to Dec. 5, having been held scoreless just nine times over that span. He also posted a season-long nine-game point streak in that time. Smith is eyeing the 60-point plateau for the first time in his career and has already established career-highs in goals (27), assists (29) and points (56). He also holds the team lead with a plus-28 on-ice rating, which is tied for seventh-best in the league, in 57 games while playing at nearly a point-per-game pace for the better part of the last three months for Rochester.

DYNAMIC DUO

With 27 goals each on the season, forwards Victor Olofsson and C.J. Smith are well on their way to becoming the first set of Amerks to score 30 in the same season since Thomas Vanek (42) and Jason Pominville (30) both reached the mark during the 2004-05 campaign when Rochester finished the year with an AHL-best 51-19-6-4 record, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as regular-season champions. The Amerks would set several single-season franchise records for the most points (112) and the longest home winning streak which saw Rochester win 17 consecutive home games between Dec. 17 and Mar. 4 while Vanek would go on to tie the single-season franchise marks for most goals by a rookie (42) and most power-play goals (25).

RED-HOT REDS

With 19 points (5+14) over his last 16 games, which includes six multi-point efforts during that span, Redmond has scored a career-high 21 goals through 53 games, including 10 on the power-play, good enough for 12th in the league in that category. Redmond, who is currently averaging just under a point-per-game and had an AHL-best nine-game point streak to end the month of October, ranks second among all AHL defensemen with 49 points while his 21 goals and 186 shots are the most by an AHL blueliner this season. In addition to nearing the first 50-point season of his career, his nine game-winning goals are tied with Olofsson for tops in the AHL.

A WEDGE-WALL BETWEEN THE PIPES

Scott Wedgewood,who has won nine of his last 14 games, boasts a career-best 27-12-2 record in 45 appearances this season. In addition to his 27 wins, which are five off the league lead coming into the week, the sixth-netminder has posted a career-best five shutouts, which are second-most in the AHL. Wedgewood, who previously won a season-long five straight to close out the month of October, also ranks sixth among all goaltenders in saves (1,112) while his 2.60 goals-against average and .909 save percentage and are 18th and 19th in the AHL, respectively. He’s also on pace to become the first Amerks netminder to reach 30 wins in a season since former two-time MVP David Leggio posted 38 victories during the 2012-13 campaign.

ROAD WARRIORS

At 22-8-3-1, Rochester has the third-best road record in the AHL and have the second-most regulation wins away from home with 22. The Amerks also have the fewest regulation road losses in the AHL this season with eight, having collected at least one point in 26 of their 34 contests away from The Blue Cross Arena. Coming into the week, the Amerks have won three straight and eight of the last 10.


Rylan Responds To CWHL Ceasing Operations

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Statement from NWHL Founder & Commissioner Dani Rylan

“All of us at the NWHL were very saddened to learn this morning that the CWHL is discontinuing operations. The CWHL was the first successful professional women’s hockey league in North America, and we have the deepest respect for all of the players and leaders who built the league. 

“We had an excellent meeting with the CWHL in January where we presented significant proposals to them about forming one league, and we agreed to meet again in April. We are sorry to know those talks will not continue. We wish the best to Jayna Hefford and everyone involved in the CWHL. 

“The NWHL wants to assure the players, fans, staff and supporters that our season is confirmed to start in October. As we have since our first season in 2015, we remain committed to building the value of women’s professional hockey players — not just in the U.S., but around the world.”

(Photo by Janet Schultz)

Putnam Awards Presented

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2019 Honorees

BY RANDY SCHULTZ

The Sixth Annual Tyler Putnam Awards were recently held at the Webster Golf Club in Webster, NY. This year’s event honored 26 players from 26 high schools and hockey programs from around the Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse area and hosted another record breaking 300+ people.

Two other awards were given out as well. It was a great experience for all involved and raised thousands of dollars for local charities.

The recipients were:

Nick Cira, Aquinas Institute; Evan Dusky, Batavia/Genesee; Zach Quinton, Pittsford High School; Devin Mulcahy, Webster Thomas High School; Jack Skakuj, Brockport High School; Jack Gramlich, Monroe County Youth Hockey.

Riley Hauf, Victor High School; Cameron Misiurewicz, Greece Storm; Cameron Kuzniar, Rush Henrietta High School; Erin McCarthy, Rochester Girls Edge; Charlie Merkley, McQuaid Jesuit High School; C. J. Mason, Hilton High School.

Patrick Nowak, Rochester Junior Monarchs NCDC/Premier; Jack Feola, Rochester Junior Monarchs 18U AAA; Max Letta, Irondequoit High School; Ryan Pitka, Canandaigua Knights Youth Hockey; Joe Papin, Syracuse Nationals 15U AAA; Aiden Hill; Newedge Hockey Development Academy.

Zac Case, Spencerport High School; Hunter McDonald, Rochester Youth Hockey; Joshua Fitzpatrick, Canandaigua High School; Matt Rockhill, Penfield High School; Alexa O’Neil, Rochester Coalition Girls; Jude Cole, Brighton/E. Rochester/HFL High School.

Matthew Nielson, Tri-County Youth Hockey; Cory Foster, Fairport High School.

Winner of the Joshua Opladen Goaltender Award was Lenny Perno, Aquinas Institute. Winner of the new Colin Montesano Unsung Hero Award was Blake Humphrey, Rochester Youth Hockey.

Since 2012 the Tyler Putnam Foundation has donated more than $16,000 to families in need of assistance for registration fees for hockey. Additionally, the Foundation has awarded an annual Scholar Athlete Scholarship of $1000 (for the last six years, totaling $6000) to a graduating senior at Irondequoit High School who played hockey and is moving on to college. That is a total of $22,000 to area youth.

Tyler Putnam’s dream was to play for his High School Hockey team, The Irondequoit Eagles, Junior Hockey, Division I Hockey and ultimately Professional Hockey. Tyler was able to realize two of those dreams, having played for The Irondequoit Eagles as an eighth and ninth grader and then with the Maksymum Junior team here in Rochester, NY.

At the conclusion of his first Junior season, Tyler was well on his way of realizing his next dream as he was offered roster spots on five Junior A teams from Rochester, Minnesota to San Diego, California.

In July of 2011, Tyler’s hockey dreams ended tragically when he died of an illness called “meningococcemia”, which is an infection that affects the bloodstream. Tyler Putnam was known for his high energy, incredible work ethic, and desire to achieve his goals.

Tyler has been memorialized with a banner hanging above the ice at a local hockey arena as well as by a memorial helmet sticker that dawns the symbol of a hard hat – a symbol of Tyler’s hard work and dedication to the game that he loved.

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Meg Gifford Presented With 1st Hasek’s Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award

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Meg Gifford

(The following was what was written, in part, about Meg Gifford in the Hasek’s Heroes Hockey Awards program. Meg was the winner of Hasek’s Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award)

Meg Gifford has spent a “lifetime” of energy, compassion, and generosity working on behalf of others so that they may have the opportunity to experience the game of hockey. Gifford epitomizes many of the qualities that are synonymous with the Hasek’s Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the ultimate volunteer as she has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the sport.

In 2008 Meg joined the Cazenovia Hockey board of directors working at every level of the organization. In 2010 Meg made an immediate impact to the Cazenovia Youth Hockey Organization by implementing the Cazenovia Lady Chiefs Hockey Program. Shortly after, Meg became the President of the board leading through action resulting in many new opportunities for the players and the organization.

In addition to the Cazenovia Youth Hockey Program, Meg is an 11 year WNYAL representative, a 2012 volunteer for the World Juniors and she is responsible for launching the NHL Learn to Play Program with the Buffalo Sabres at the Cazenovia Rink in 2016.

In 2017 Gifford expanded her hockey portfolio to include the Buffalo Explorers High School Team, serving as the franchise holder and manager.

Meg lives in South Buffalo with her husband, Jim, and is a mother of four. Despite that the most amazing aspect is none of Meg’s family is currently playing youth or high school hockey. Meg’s devotion to all of these organizations and the community is genuinely a result for her passion and love for the players and the sport of hockey.

Hasek’s Heroes Honors Local High School Hockey Players

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All Fed WNYGVIH

BY RANDY SCHULTZ –

BUFFALO, NY — The first annual Hasek’s Heroes Western New York High School Hockey Awards ceremony was recently held at the Keybank Center Lexus Club. The ceremony honored the top players, coaches and teams for the 2018-19 season in Western New York High School hockey for boys and girls.

Awards were given out in three divisions including Boys’s Federation, Girl’s Federation, and Boy’s Club. A committee of local hockey representatives was assembled to structure the ceremony similar to that of the NHL Awards Ceremony. The committee was made up of high school and club hockey coaches on a point system.

GOALTENDER OF THE YEAR

Boys Fed winner: Kyle Karoleski, St. Mary’s

Girls Fed winner: Isabella Battaglia, Monsignor Martin

Club winner: Corey West Fall, St. Joe’s

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Boys Fed winner: Mitchell Floccare, St. Joe’s

Girls Fed winner: Abigail Blair, Kenmore/Grand Island

Club winner: Ray Wasielewski, City Honors/O’Hara

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Boys Fed winner: Ethan Yotter, Kenmore West

Girls Fed winner: Emma Roland, Williamsville

Club winner: Zachary Mecca, Orchard Park

COACH OF THE YEAR

Boys Fed winner: Don Pray, Grand Island

Girls Fed winner: Rick Hopkins, Williamsville

Club winner: Thomas Grupp Depew

UNSUNG HERO AWARD

Boys Fed winner: Michael Wolf, Williamsville East

Girls Fed winner: Abigail Lillis, Frontier/Lakeshore/Orchard Park

Club winner: Tyler Connors, Depew

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Boys Fed winner: Chase Chadkowski, West Seneca West

Girls Fed winner: Brooke Becker, Frontier/Lakeshore/Orchard Park

Club winner: Isaac Murray, Buffalo

TEAM OF THE YEAR

The Niagara County Girls Varsity Ice Hockey Team. In their inaugural season the Niagara County team overcame many trials and tribulations both on and off the ice. But through it all these girls have laid the groundwork for a team and organization to thrive on going into the future.

BOY’S FIRST TEAM ALL FED

LARGE SCHOOL TEAM

Zachary Mecca, F, Orchard Park

Anthony Scoma, F, Lancaster

Will Redding, F, St. Joe’s

Sammy Nichols, D, Canisius

Mitchell Floccare, D, St. Joe’s

Joseph Fronczak, G, St. Joe’s

BOY’S FIRST TEAM ALL FED

SMALL SCHOOL TEAM

Chase Chodkowski, F, West Seneca West

Ethan Yotter, F, Kenmore West

Dylan Russo, F, Grand Island

Fergus Gould, D, Bishop Timon

Trevor Samplinski, D, Grand Island

Nathan Stroh, G, Grand Island

GIRL’S FED

ALL FED TEAM

Emma Faso, F, Clarence/Amherst/Sweet Home

Jersey Phillips, F, Lancaster/Iroquois/Depew

Emma Roland, F, Williamsville

Brooke Becker, D, Frontier/Lakeshore/Orchard Park

Abigail Blair, D, Kenmore/Grand Island

Isabella Battaglia, G, Monsignor Martin

CLUB HOKCEY

1st TEAM RED

Zachary Mecca, F, Orchard Park

Jack Kinsman, F, Orchard Park

Kyle Flynn, F, Orchard Park

Jason Kuchey, D, Roy-Hart/Barker/Medina

Kyle O’Brien, D, Orchard Park

Ryan Albert, G, Orchard Park

CLUB HOCKEY

1st TEAM WHITE

Isaac Murray, F, Buffalo

Danny Dy, F, Wilson/Newfane

Michael Martin, F, Eden/Lakeshore

Zach Tomnich, D, Depew

Ray Wasielewski, D, City Honors/Cardinal O’Hara

Dante Direnzo, G, Depew

HASEK’S HEROES LIFETIME

ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Meg Gifford for her work with the Cazenovia Hockey Organization, 11 year WNYAL representative, volunteer for World Juniors and the launching of the NHL Learn To Play Program with the Buffalo Sabres.

HASEK’S HEROES YOUTH

HOCKEY IMPACT AWARD

14U Cazenovia Lady Chiefs featuring Hannah Lockwood, who has created The Mighty Pucks hockey team, who will be participating in 11 Day Power Play. To date they have raised $20,000 or their $30,000 goal.

HASEK’S HEROES

FRED KOREY AWARD

Faustin Ushindi who best represents the Hasek’s Heroes Hockey Program and their mission.

Haseks Heros Photo Gallery by Janet Schultz, NYHOL Magazine

(Photos by Janet Schultz)

A Look Back At The NWHL 2018-19 Season

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2018-19 Season Sets New Highs for Attendance, Viewership, Merchandising and Engagement

March 28, 2019 – Although the Isobel Cup was won by the Minnesota Whitecaps less than two weeks ago, the busy NWHL offseason is already in full stride. In providing a detailed recap of the 2018-19 season, the NWHL would like to share important data about increases across all key business metrics, along with areas where the league is working to elevate.

ATTENDANCE, PARTNERSHIPS

Of the 46 NWHL games in 2018-19, 16 drew sold-out crowds – setting a new league record. The average attendance of the 46 games was 954.

2018-19 season average attendance:

  1. Minnesota: 1,200
  2. Buffalo: 1,101
  3. Riveters: 721
  4. Boston: 706
  5. Connecticut: 423

In their first season as the NWHL’s first expansion team, the Minnesota Whitecaps sold out all 10 home games at TRIA Rink – 8 regular season games, the playoff semifinal against the Riveters and Isobel Cup Final against Buffalo. Prior to the start of the season, the team established an alignment with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. The Whitecaps not only were Isobel Cup champions, but the team was a profitable business venture in their first season.


The Boston Pride sold out their last 3 home games and generated strong crowds all season at Warrior Ice Rink. The Pride received a strong midseason boost when the club formed a partnership with the NHL’s Boston Bruins, collaborating on youth hockey programs and crossover promotion of the sport.

Owned by Pegula Sports and Entertainment, the Buffalo Beauts drew large crowds for their 8 games at HarborCenter and one at Key Bank Arena, the home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. The Beauts organization has also been recognized by players, media and fans for setting a standard in professional women’s hockey by providing first-class facilities and additional ice time, enhancing player development.


The Metropolitan Riveters, who are aligned with the New Jersey Devils and have started a Girls Hockey program with the NHL club, sold out their regular season finale and played to large crowds in their seven regular season games and one playoff game at RWJBarnabas Health Hockey House. They also played their home opener before more than 2,000 fans at the Prudential Center.  “In the last 18 months, four NWHL teams have formed mutually-beneficial partnerships with the NHL teams in their markets, resulting in effective cross-promotion and the development of girls’ programs,”

(Photo by Janet Schultz)