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Sabres Ink Dea To Two-Year Deal


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed forward Jean-Sebastien Dea to a two-year contract with an AAV of $700,000.

Dea (5’11”, 175 lbs., 2/8/1994) split time between the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2018-19, posting six points (4+2) in a career-high 23 NHL games. He also appeared in 46 AHL games last season, recording 44 points (17+27) in those contests.

In his career, Dea has totaled seven points (5+2) in 29 NHL games spent with the Devils and Penguins. Through parts of six professional seasons, the Laval, Quebec native has also played in 308 regular-season AHL games, totaling 185 points (83+102) for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Springfield Thunderbirds.

(NHL.com photo)

Sabres Sign Goaltender Hammond


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has signed goaltender Andrew Hammond to a one-year contract with an AAV of $700,000.

A six-year veteran, Hammond (6’2”, 223 lbs., 2/11/1988) has 56 games of NHL experience with the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche, including two extended stays with the Senators in 2014-15 and 2015-16. During those two seasons, Hammond went 27-12-6 and ranked among the NHL’s leading goaltenders with a minimum of 15 games played in save percentage (2nd, .927) and goals-against average (8th, 2.21).

In addition to his time in the NHL, Hammond has appeared in 132 AHL contests for the Binghamton Senators, Belleville Senators, San Antonio Rampage and Iowa Wild. The Surrey, British Columbia native has a 62-55-6 career AHL record.

(NHL.com photo)

Sabres Acquire Vesey From Rangers


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has acquired forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Vesey (6’3”, 199 lbs., 5/26/1993) totaled 35 points (17+18) last season, including 31 at even strength, which ranked third among all Rangers skaters in 2018-19. For the second consecutive season, 16 of his 17 goals were scored at even strength.

In three career NHL seasons with the Rangers, Vesey has totaled 90 points (50+40) in 240 regular-season games, adding five points (1+4) in 12 playoff contests. Of his 50 career goals, 43 have been scored at even strength, ranking third among Rangers skaters since he entered the league.

Prior to beginning his professional career, the North Reading, Massachusetts native played four seasons at Harvard University, where he totaled 144 points (80+64) in 128 games. His collegiate career culminated with the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player following a senior season during which he led all Crimson skaters and finished third in the ECAC with 46 points (24+22) in 33 games.

Vesey has also represented the United States internationally on two occasions. He won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship and took home a bronze medal at the 2015 IIHF World Championship.

(NHL.com photo)



To all of our friends and followers across the boarder, have a wonderful and safe Canada Day Weekend.

Amerks Sign Leier To Contract

Photo: Micheline V/ Rochester Americans


(Rochester, NY) – Rochester Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced today that the team has signed forward Taylor Leier to a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2019-20 season.

Leier recently underwent successful offseason surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

Leier, 25, returns for his second season in Rochester after recording 42 points (22+20) in 69 games between the Amerks and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2018-19. After being acquired by the Buffalo Sabres from the Philadelphia Flyers in January, the 5-foot-11, 181-pound forward tallied 23 points (12+11) in 35 games with Rochester to close out the campaign.

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Leier has totaled 159 points (68+91) in 261 career AHL contests over the four previous seasons with the Amerks and Phantoms while also adding a pair points (1+1) in eight postseason games. Leier, who was named Most Valuable Player of the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, has also recorded seven points in 55 NHL games with the Flyers, who selected him in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Prior to turning pro, Leier played three seasons with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL), where he produced 178 points (77+101) in 198 career games. He also notched 49 points (20+29) in 64 playoff games with the Winterhawks, helping Portland reach the WHL Finals four straight years and serving as team captain during the 2013-14 campaign.

Sabres Acquire Miller From Golden Knights


BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres today announced the team has acquired defenseman Colin Miller from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft (from St. Louis) and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Miller (6’1”, 196 lbs., 10/29/1992) spent the last two seasons with the Golden Knights, where he led all Vegas defensemen in both assists (57) and points (70) during that stretch. He recorded 29 points (3+26) in 65 games for the Golden Knights in his fourth NHL season in 2018-19.

Through 250 NHL regular-season games with Vegas and Boston, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has totaled 99 career points (22+77). Selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Miller has also appeared in 30 career NHL playoff games, recording 11 points (4+7) and a plus-7 rating.

(NHL.com photo)

Former Clarkson Hockey Player Helps Blues Win Cup


Taylor Helps Guide St. Louis Blues to Stanley Cup Championship

An all-star for Clarkson Hockey in the mid 1970s and a 17-year standout in the National Hockey League for the Los Angeles Kings, Dave Taylor currently serves as Vice President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues. Taylor, a 1977 Clarkson graduate, reached the pinnacle of team success in the NHL as he played a prominent behind-the-scenes role in helping St. Louis win the 2019 Stanley Cup Championship.

The Blues defeated the Boston Bruins 4-1 in the Stanley Cup Final series deciding Game 7 at the Boston Garden on Wednesday night to claim the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup, ending a 52-year drought that began in their first season of 1967-68.

• June 13, 2019 – Former Kings player and GM Dave Taylor finally gets to lift the Stanley Cup – The Los Angeles Times

photo courtesy of Bob Ahlfeld

Taylor, Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer amassing 251 points (98-153) through 116 games for the Golden Knights from 1973-77, is an inaugural inductee into Clarkson’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mike Towns Added To Clarkson Coaching Staff


Clarkson University Men’s Hockey Head Coach Casey Jones has announced that Mike Towns will join the Golden Knights staff as an assistant coach.

Towns comes to Clarkson after serving five years on the staff at American International College, including the past season as the Yellow Jackets associate head coach. Since coming to AIC in August 2014, Towns helped guide the Yellow Jackets to the most successful seasons in the program’s history.

“I am very excited about Mike and Dianna joining the Clarkson Hockey family,” states Jones. “Mike’s body of work and reputation aligns him perfectly with how we want to conduct our business. Ultimately every successful program starts with the people you have and the relationships you build. Our athletes will benefit greatly from Mike’s addition to our staff.”

Serving as AIC’s recruiting coordinator since 2016-17, Towns was instrumental in recruiting efforts that helped rebuild the Yellow Jackets program. Towns helped recruit head coach Eric Lang’s first recruiting class for the 2016-2017 season, which was regarded as one of the best in the conference. The 2017-2018 season saw more impressive recruiting efforts. The team set program records for wins in a season (15), and was able to host and win its first Atlantic Hockey Championship Tournament series. The Yellow Jackets continued improving and enjoyed unprecedented success in 2018-2019, reestablishing a record for victories (23), and winning both the Atlantic Hockey regular season and playoff championships. AIC excelled at the NCAA tournament as well, upsetting No. 1 St. Cloud State to advance to the West Regional Championship.

Towns was responsible for many facets of AIC’s hockey program. His primary responsibilities included coaching the team’s forwards, including bench management and skill development. He was also responsible for video and statistical breakdown and coaching the power play.

“My wife, Dianna, and I couldn’t be more excited to join the Clarkson University hockey program and Clarkson community,” states Towns. “I was very impressed with the campus and facilities when I came up here, but was even more impressed with the incredible people I got to meet with. It will be a pleasure working with Coach Jones and Coach (Josh) Hauge. I can’t wait to get started.”

As a player, Towns spent four seasons in the BCHL playing with the Penticton Vees before attending Adrian College. At Adrian, Towns was an alternate captain his first two seasons, and the team’s captain in his junior and senior years. During his senior season, Towns captained the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division III Frozen Four, eventually losing in the National Championship Game. Towns graduated from Adrian with a Bachelor’s of Business administration in Management, and completed his Masters of Business Administration at AIC in May 2016. Following his successful collegiate career, Towns embarked on a three-year professional career, making stops with the Denver Cutthroats of the CHL, the Idaho Steelheads and Ontario Reign in the ECHL.

Towns will begin his duties at Clarkson in July.

Amerks Sign Forward



(Rochester, NY) – Rochester Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Sean Malone on a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2019-20 season.

Malone, 24, returns for his third season in Rochester after recording 13 points (4+9) in 38 games with the Amerks in 2018-19. During the 2017-18 campaign, his first year with the Amerks, the 6-foot-0, 190-pound forward tallied 22 points (12+10) in 73 games. His 12 goals ranked second among all Amerks rookies.

A native of West Seneca, New York, Malone has totaled 35 points (16+19) in 111 career contests over the two previous seasons with the Amerks while also adding a pair assists in three postseason games. Malone made his NHL debut during the 2016-17 season for the Buffalo Sabres, who selected him in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Prior to turning pro, Malone played four years at Harvard University (ECAC), where he produced 31 points (42+57) in 115 career games for the Crimson. As a senior, Malone finished third on the team with 42 points (18+24) and was named to the All-ECAC All-Tournament Team while helping the club earn an ECAC Championship.

Brooks Orpik Announces Retirement After 15 NHL Seasons


The two-time Stanley Cup Champion skated in 1,035 regular-season NHL games

…Retires as an Olympic silver medalist

TORONTO – Brooks Orpik has announced his retirement today from the National Hockey League (NHL) after 15 seasons.

Born in San Francisco, California, but raised in Amherst, New York, the steady defenceman was a well-respected teammate and leader with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals over the course of his career – a journey that saw him total 194 points over his 1,035 regular-season games.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have the best job in the world for many years, but my body is telling me it is time to move on to something new,” said Orpik. “I’m excited for more family time and to experience a lot of the things that being a professional athlete forces you to miss out on. Thank you to the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me the opportunity to play against the best athletes in the world. I’ll be forever grateful for the memories and relationships that hockey has given me.”

Orpik was selected 18th overall in the 2000 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins before ending his successful collegiate career at Boston College in 2001 by helping his team to an NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. He made his professional debut in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, where he played two seasons with the Penguins’ American Hockey League affiliate. In 2002-03, Orpik made his NHL debut on the road against Toronto Dec. 10, eventually suiting up for six games that season. He would become a regular on Pittsburgh’s blue line the following season in 2003-04, playing in 79 games for the Penguins, during which he would score his first NHL goal.

The six-foot-three, 217-pound defenceman’s leadership and defensive prowess were key contributors to a Penguins team that grew into one of the top teams in the NHL. Ultimately, Orpik would capture the first the Stanley Cup of his career in 2008-09 by playing in all 24 games of the postseason as the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings in a seven-game final.

After 10 seasons in Pittsburgh that established him as a reliable, physical and efficient defender, Orpik signed a five-year deal with the Washington Capitals as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2014. Upon joining the Capitals to start the 2014-15 season, Orpik immediately became a focal point of their defence and brought veteran poise and leadership. The highlight of his five seasons in Washington would come in 2017-18, when the Capitals captured the first Stanley Cup in franchise history and the second of Orpik’s career.

Internationally, Orpik proudly represented the United States on a number of occasions, including the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2000, the 2006 IIHF World Hockey Championship and the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He was a key member of the 2010 American team that brought home a silver medal from Vancouver.

Statement from the Washington Capitals:

“On behalf of the entire Washington Capitals organization, we would like to congratulate Brooks on a terrific NHL career. Throughout his tenure in the league, Brooks epitomized leadership and hard work. He had a tremendous influence on his teammates both on and off the ice and was instrumental in helping us capture our first Stanley Cup. We thank Brooks for the impact he had across the organization and the Washington, D.C., community over the course of five seasons and wish him, his wife Erin, and daughters Harlow and Brooklyn all the best.”

Player Statements:

Alex Ovechkin

“Batya was a great leader in our locker room and was so important for us to win our first Stanley Cup. We will miss his presence in the room and on the ice. Not only was he a great leader and a player, but he was a better person. I’m so happy I had a chance to play with him and for our young guys to have had the chance to learn from him. I want to wish him, Erin and his kids the best. We will miss him and the Batya protein shakes!”

Nicklas Backstrom

“Brooks was one of the best leaders I’ve had the chance to play with in my career. It is difficult to find a better teammate, and a player who worked harder and enjoyed the game as much as Brooks. We all learned from Brooks and he made his teammates better every day. It was a pleasure playing with him and I wish him and his family all the best.”

T.J. Oshie

“Brooks was a great player, leader, warrior and an Olympic Silver Medalist – the type of guy that would always stick up for his teammates, sacrifice his body and do whatever it takes to win. More importantly, he is a terrific person and a friend. Congrats, Batya, on a long and successful career!”

Tom Wilson

“Brooks was someone that I looked up to from the first day that he got to D.C. I don’t think he ever took a shift off his entire career, nor did he ever take a day off being a great leader. Brooks is truly one of the best in the game of hockey and we will miss having him in our room. Congrats, Orps, and thanks for everything. I’m wishing you, Erin and the girls all the best in the next chapter.”

John Carlson

“I had the great opportunity to see up close how impactful Brooks was for our team. Spending time as his defensive partner and playing alongside Brooks was something that I will always cherish. He showed his teammates the importance of hard work, accountability and always being there for your team every time he stepped on the ice. We all learned from Brooks; he was our role model and he made us better. I wish him and his family all the best!”

(NHL.com photo)

Former Sabres Player Joins Duo To Launch ECSC


Former Sabre Great Don Luce joins with Corrin Rutkowski and Greg
Reeds; mental performance experts, to launch the “next” step in mental training for athletes

Buffalo, NY)–Extraordinary Change Sports Consultants (ECSC) is
now offering the “next step” in mental training and sport performance enhancement. After a stellar playing career in the NHL with 894 games played and a Masterton Trophy awarded for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication, Don Luce is working on a different game –the mind game. Now, this new program aims to take athletes to the next level providing a creative path to mastering the mental edge. After serving for many years as a Director of Player Development in the NHL, Luce worked diligently to find creative ways to teach the tactical aspects of the game. He helped his players learn the secrets associated with the technical aspects of extraordinary athletic performance.

Luce is teaming up with noted mental skills coach Corrin Rutkowski (CHt, CAHA) and Dr. Greg Reeds, Associate Professor of Sport Psychology at Canisius College. Corrin runs her own successful business, offering over 18 years of experience in the field of personal development and performance enhancement. Her practice is grounded in the behavioral sciences which can create rapid change. Corrin has worked with athletes and teams on every level of performance. Her clients span across the United States and internationally including the United Kingdom, Canada, Egypt, Brazil, Spain, Poland, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and Yemen. Corrin

has consistently received 5-star reviews regarding her ability to bring out an athlete’s best performance immediately.

Dr. Reeds has taught courses in Sport Psychology, Motor Behavior, Coaching Theory and Leadership for over 30 years. He has served as a Head Soccer Coach in Canada (CIAU) where his teams ranked in the nation’s top 10 and has served as an NCAA Division I and Olympic Development Soccer Coach. He has served as performance enhancement consultant for Canada’s Olympic and national baseball team along with teams in the NHL and AHL.

Traditional mental training programs can be slow to produce change and results are
seldom quantifiable. Programs promising significant improvement in performance need to be accountable and the effects must be sustainable over time. ”If you don’t significantly minimize or eradicate the mental blocks which can trigger apprehension, tension and uncertainty, no actual long term change in performance can be seen” says Luce..

The program offered by ECSC is coined “quantum mind development” (QMD) for
the mind’s ability to expand and incorporate new ideas. A trained mind is like an atom, it is capable of releasing considerable energy. The training takes place over two or three sessions. It combines guided relaxation, biofeedback, neurolinguistics and deep mind suggestion. The mind opens up to receive the power of positive thoughts and powerful suggestions.

The programs offered by ECSC utilize a unique blend of modalities including concentration, focused attention, and relaxation to help athletes address the mental changes that must take place in the brain to produce quick and sustainable change. Luce has also recruited several of his associates from the NHL into the ECSC fold to provide an array of services including: substance abuse, sports specific nutritional plans and concussion recovery protocols. Rutkowski has an extensive background working with student-athletes providing techniques to improve academic performance along with life skills essential to athletic success. Luce, Rutkowski and Reeds have a lot of experience working with a broad spectrum of athletes over the years delivering excellent results.

NEHDA College Prep Showcase Comes With A Twist



It is a warm spring day in June at Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex on the campus of Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. Outside, the temperatures hover around the 70-degree mark.

But inside the temp is much cooler but the hockey action is hot on the ice. A group of 53 boys have been divided into four teams, with two teams aged between the years of 2001-2002 and two other teams between the years 2002-2003.

Over a period of four hours, two games were played in a hockey showcase atmosphere with onlookers including family, hockey coaches and media. On this particular Saturday the NewEdge Hockey Development Academy held their 2019 College Prep Showcase Games.

But this hockey showcase had a bit of a twist to it. While most showcase events usually cost anywhere between $200 and $500, this one was free.

Yes, free.

“NewEdge Hockey Development Academy offered this elite level showcase event at no charge as a thank you to the players and families that chose to train with us,” said Rob Sedia, founder of NEHD. “Approximately 90 percent of the players playing in this showcase chose to train with us.

“But you did not need to be a NewEdge Hockey customer to participate in this showcase.”

Did NewEdge Hockey make any money at this event?

“No,” continued Sedia. “Not only did NewEdge Hockey Development Academy not make any money from this event, we donate several thousand dollars and many hours to make this event possible.”

With 53 players available, a draft was held five days prior to the showcase. The first overall draft picks for all teams received gifts from Howies Hockey and Adidas. MVP’s from both games received awards.

All players received jersey/socks. Each bench was supplied with Gatorade, water, towels, tape and tools.

Each game had live access via LiveBarn and was recorded as well. Each players team and number, as well as video copy of the game was supplied to NEHDA’s NCAA and Junior Coaches list.

“It was an honor to be chosen to play in a game like this,” commented Andrew Sarafin, who scored a hat trick in the second game and was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player for his team. “I knew several of the players from both teams.

“It’s great to be able to play in a game like this where there is a high level of competition. It’s a great experience.”

NEHDA’s Prospect Development Program is designed to develop, educate, and advocate for players in the 2001-2003 birth year range. With direct contact to 30 NCAA Division I coaches in connection to 17 NCAA Division I programs, multiple USHL, OHL, NAHL, BCHL and EHL coaches and representatives.

“NEHDA provides player information and connection opportunities to players and their families interested in pursuing any college’s or junior hockey leagues we are connected with,” concluded Sedia.”We feel it’s a great experience and has its rewards for the players.”

(photo by Janet Schultz)

Sabres Day Two Recap



VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Buffalo Sabres selected four players on the second day of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia These four selections join Buffalo’s first-round picks, forwardDylan Cozens and defenseman Ryan Johnson, to complete the team’s 2019 draft class, which includes four forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender.

The Sabres began the day by selecting goaltender Erik Portillo (6’6”, 209 lbs., 9/3/2000) in the third round (67th overall). Portillo spent the 2018-19 season with Frölunda in Sweden’s SuperElit (U20) league, where he led all goaltenders in both save percentage (.931) and goals-against average (1.99) while also tying for the league lead with 21 wins in 26 appearances. He added a 2-1 record in the 2019 SuperElit postseason, logging a .933 save percentage in those three games.

A native of Gothenburg, Sweden, Portillo has spent the last four seasons playing junior hockey for Frölunda at the under-16, under-18 and under-20 levels. He was selected fifth overall by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2019 USHL Entry Draft and is committed to the University of Michigan.

In the fourth round, the Sabres traded one of the team’s three sixth-round picks to move up from 122nd to 102nd overall to select forward Aaron Huglen (5’11, 166 lbs., 3/6/2001). The Roseau, Minnesota native split the 2018-19 season between the USHL and high school hockey. He recorded 14 points (4+10) in 28 USHL games with the Fargo Force and posted 54 points (17+37) in 26 games as team captain in his senior season at Roseau High School, earning a nomination as a 2019 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist. The forward rounded out the season by representing the United States at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he scored two goals in five games.

The Sabres traded up once again in the fifth round, sending one of the their remaining sixth-round picks and the team’s seventh-round pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for the 143rd overall pick. With the 143rd pick, the team selected forward Filip Cederqvist.

A Skara, Sweden native, Cederqvist (6’1”, 187 lbs., 8/23/2000) made his SHL debut with the Växjö Lakers last season, recording eight points (4+4) in 33 regular-season games in Sweden’s top professional league. He added one goal in six playoff contests as rookie. In his second season as part of the Växjö organization, Cederqvist also played in 26 SuperElit games, totaling 32 points (14+18) in his third partial season at the under-20 level.

With their final remaining pick, the Sabres selected Czech forward Lukas Rousek (5’11, 165 lbs., 4/20/1999). Rousek totaled 11 points (4+7) in 60 games during the last two seasons for Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga, the Czech Republic’s top professional league. In 2018-19, he also appeared in 16 games in the Czech second division, recording 15 points (7+8) in 16 games for Stadion Litomerice.

(photo by Koz)

Islanders Day Two Recap



By Warren Kozireski–

After landing Simon Holmstrom of Sweden in the first round, the Islanders had only four picks remaining on day two of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver and used all four on Canadian junior players.

They used the first in the second round (57th overall) on defenseman Samuel Bolduc from Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL—the fifth player taken from that junior circuit this draft.

Bolduc already has some size at 6’4” and 212 lb. and put up a career-best 37 points in 65 games this past campaign.

“I was placed (projected) lower in the draft, so I wasn’t expecting to be drafted where I was,” Bolduc said in the media room. “I am a two-way “D”, like to skate with the puck, have a great shot and my first pass is very good and I can play PK (penalty kill) defensively.”

They waited two rounds before selecting Portland Winterhawk center Reece Newkirk in the fifth round (147th overall). The 5’11”, 172 lb. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan native had a breakout campaign offensively in 2018-19 with 23 goals and 59 points over 68 games in his second year in the circuit.

Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL) center Felix Bibeau was the Islanders sixth round selection (178th overall). Standing 6’0” and 186 lb. he has put up back-to-back 60-point seasons with a combined 50 goals in 124 games.

New York’s final pick was 6’0”, 198 lb. right wing Cole Coskey from Saginaw of the OHL. The Illinois native also has shown his offensive flair with 50 and 63 points for the Spirit over the last two seasons respectively.

“We were pretty happy,” General Manager Lou Lamoriello said after the final pick. “We ended up getting four forwards, two of them center-iceman and different types. One (has) size and strength, one (is) a little chippy and with a little grit behind him, a lot of finesse.”

(Photo by Koz)