Woody on Hockey

Alaska is hockey heaven -- the Alaska Aces are perennial ECHL contenders, the UAA Seawolves play in the nation's premier college league and NHL star Scott Gomez headlines a contingent of pros. Join the conversation about the Aces and Alaska hockey with Doyle Woody, who has covered the game here at all levels for 29 years.

Contact: dwoody@adn.com

Here's a historically encouraging way of looking at UAA's WCHA series in Grand Forks - 10/25/2012 3:43 pm

Aces: Ambroz released (Plus, Courchaine note) - 10/25/2012 1:26 pm

Aces: Gee, those are some decent linemates Imbeault just got; plus, numbers changes - 10/25/2012 10:45 am

Aces add a defenseman in fourth-year pro Alain Goulet - 10/25/2012 9:59 am

A bunch of Alaska connections play in the Austrian League where Alexandre Imbeault began the season - 10/24/2012 5:41 pm

Man, UAA's Early Schedule Is Odd - 10/24/2012 5:07 pm

Former Aces Center Imbeault Is Now Current Aces Center Imbeault (UPDATED) - 10/24/2012 1:16 pm

North Pole's Copley Is WCHA Rookie Of The Week - 10/23/2012 12:19 pm

Seawolves Nab A Recruit In The AJHL

According to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting website, UAA has landed a recruit out of the Alberta Junior Hockey League for next season.

Center Tanner Dusyk of the Bonnyville Pontiacs is a 5-foot-9, 172-pounder who already has put up 5-8--13 totals in just eight games to tie for second in the league in points.

Dusyk, 20, is in his last year of junior.

In 57 games for Bonnyville last season, Dusyk posted 24-26--50 totals.

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POLLS, POLLS!: WCHA Coaches Pick UAA For Last; Coaches And Media Bury UAF

Man, UAA and UAF took it on the chin prediction-wise today -- both hockey clubs were predicted to endure dismal seasons.

WCHA coaches in the 42nd annual Grand Forks Herald poll (which is below) tabbed Minnesota and North Dakota to finish 1-2. Those schools did last season, of a sort -- Minnesota won the regular-season title, NoDak bagged the playoff title.

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Sullivan Arena Update: Repairs Proceeding, Should Know More Thursday

Talked to Joe Wooden earlier today -- he's the GM of SMG, which runs Sullivan Arena -- and he said repairs to the system that allows ice to be made in the rink were proceeding well, and we should know Thursday whether the Alaska Aces can play their exhibition games on the rink Monday and Tuesday nights.

Aces managing member Terry Parks, who seems to The Blog to usually have a good handle on these things and has been visiting Sullivan and staying in frequent touch with Wooden, said he is confident the matches against the Las Vegas Wranglers will be played at Sullivan.

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This Isn't About Hockey -- It's Far More Important (Matt Kenney Fundraiser)

Let's take a break from pucks for a minute address something far more important -- namely, a fundraiser to help out a good dude going through a rough patch.

Matt Kenney of Anchorage is an experienced mountain runner who The Blog met years ago while covering that sport. Matt, a former wrestler and football player, took a bad spill coming down Mount Marathon in that annual race up and down the 3,022-foot peak in Seward this past Fourth of July, and suffered severe head and leg injuries. He's been Outside continuing to receive treatment for his injuries.

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Notes: UAF's Kunyk Is CCHA Preseason 2nd-Teamer; Familiar Faces

Cody Kunyk, who last season led UAF in scoring, was selected a preseason second-team All-CCHA pick by the league's coaches.

Kunyk, a junior, last season racked 15-17--32 totasl in 36 games and led the Nanooks with seven power-play strikes.

Also, saw a few more familiar names on an ECHL training camp roster. Greenville is now home to former Alaska Aces goaltender Adam Courchaine, former Aces forward Patrick Schafer and (briefly) former Aces defenseman Brock Shelgren. Also on the Greenville roster is former UAA defenseman Lee Baldwin.

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Here Are Some Random Alaska-Connected Dudes At ECHL Training Camps

Haven't gone through all of the training-camp lists in the ECHL, but here are some dudes with Alaska connections who showed up on the transactions wire today.

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NHLer Dubinsky Practicing With Aces (UPDATED)

Here at Ben Boeke Arena this morning, locked-out NHL forward Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage is practicing with the Alaska Aces, but don't get ahead of yourselves, Aces fans -- yet.

Dubinsky has signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO) with the Aces, the club reported moments ago.

That allows Dubinsky, 26, to practice with the Aces. It's the same gig locked-oiut NHL center Scott Gomez of Anchorage has at the moment -- he's also practiciing with the Aces, though he has said he doesn't intend to play for them, as he did during the 2004-05 lockout.

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Some Big-Timers Are On The Ice With The Aces

The puck dropped on Alaska Aces training camp about 15 minutes ago, and some of the faces on the ice at Ben Boeke Arena will get the Cowbell Crew excited.

One of NHL center Scott Gomez of Anchorage, who played for the Aces during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Don't get too excited -- he merely signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO) that allows him to practice with the club. Gomez last week said his earlier Aces stint was a one-time deal.

But also on the ice is Joey Crabb, the NHL right winger from Anchorage. He has signed a one-year deal with the Aces, the club said.

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Aces Add Rookie Defenseman Wrenn Of Anchorage

The Alaska Aces today announced they have signed rookie defenseman William Wrenn of Anchorage to an ECHL contract.

Wrenn, 21, is a second-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks and currently is in training camp with the Worcester Sharks, San Jose's American Hockey League affiliate. Wrenn is not under contract to San Jose.

Wrenn spent the last season and a half with Portland of the Western Hockey League, and last spring helped the Winterhawks to Game 7 of the Memorial Cup, which they lost to Edmonton.

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Here's Your Aces Training Camp Schedule (First Session Is Friday)

The Alaska Aces just released their training camp schedule, and sessions, open to the public, per usual, kick off Friday morning at 10 at Ben Boeke Arena (Someone save The Blog a seat -- that's early for him).

Anyhow, you have been notified.

Here's the schedule, straight from the club's press release:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM @ Ben Boeke Ice Rink

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2012
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM @ Ben Boeke Ice Rink

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2012
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM @ Ben Boeke Ice Rink

MONDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2012

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Aces Re-Sign 4: Sinkewich, Harrison, Ambroz, Markowitz

Two days before training camp opens, the Alaska Aces today announced the signing of four more players, all returners: Defensemen Russ Sinkewich and Danny Markowitz, and forwards Zach Harrison and Matt Ambroz.

Sinkewich, 27, and Harrison, 24, return for their third seasons with the club, and Ambroz, 24, and Markowitz, 24, are back for their second seasons -- OK, Ambroz played one playoff game for the Aces two seasons ago, coming out of Nebraska-Omaha, but this will really be his second season with the club.

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The First WCHA Preseason Poll Is Out: You'll Be Shocked (Not) Where UAA Landed

Well, this was not unexpected, given UAA’s last-place finish in the WCHA last season: a crew of 25 media types who cover the league have pegged the Seawolves for a last-place finish this season, according to the 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll.

Given the point system – 12 points for first place, down to one point for 12th (last) place – looks like 24 votes pegged UAA 12th and one vote pegged it 11th.

Minnesota, last season’s regular season WCHA champ, bagged 24 of 25 first-place votes, with the other one going to North Dakota, which won the WCHA tournament last season.

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From The Where-Are-They-Now File: Former Aces Galbraith, Beckford-Tseu

Thanks to a heads-up from Alaska Aces assistant coach Scott Burt, The Blog now knows what Burt's buddy and former Aces (and Idaho) teammate, Lance Galbraith, is doing these days.

Hold onto your hat: He's a head coach in Canadian junior hockey.

Dialed up the Google machine and, indeed, Galbraith is head coach of the Toronto Canada Moose in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League -- that's a circuit that debuted in 2006.

Alas, the Moose have started 0-2-0.

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Eagle River's Hanson Gets A Mention From NHL Central Scouting

NHL Central Scouting has released its preseason Players To Watch list, and defenseman Josh Hanson of Eagle River rated a mention.

Central Scouting pegged Hanson, 18, as a C prospect -- that means he is viewed as a potential draft pick in rounds 4, 5 or 6 next summer.

Hanson is in his third season with the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks -- that's the team NHLer Brandon Dubinsky of Anchorage played for. In 72 games last season, the 6-3, 200-pound Hanson, who shoots right, put up 13 assists and a +6 rating.

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Alaska Goalie Connections At AHL Binghamton Camp

Given the NHL lockout, we knew former UAA goaltender was ticketed for training camp with the AHL's Binghamton Senators -- he signed a one-year, two-way deal with the NHL's Ottawa Senators in the summer -- but now it turns out two Alaska college connections will be between the pipes next week at Binghamton's camp.

Former UAF goalie Scott Greenham, who has signed with ECHL Bakersfield, where he spent some time after wrapping his Nanooks career last spring, will be one of four goalies in Binghamton's camp.

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Aces Make Moves: Acquire Rights To D-Man, Sign Forward Fresh Out Of College

The Alaska Aces are announcing their business early today – they’ve made a trade with ECHL Trenton to acquire the rights to third-year defenseman Corey Syvret and also signed rookie forward Jarred Smith fresh out of college.

The Aces gave up “future considerations’’ to get Syvret, 23, a former sixth-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers who spent most of last season with Trenton (worst team in the league, 20 games below .500). He earned 4-6—10 and -19 totals for the Titans last season, when he also played three games with Portland of the AHL. He’s a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder.

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North Dakota Will Be A Little Light For Its Season Opener Against UAA (4 Sioux Captains Suspended One Game Each)

North Dakota opens its season Oct. 19 against UAA at UAF's Brice Goal Rush Classic, and the Sioux will be a little light on the roster after their four captains today were suspended for the season opener, apparently because of a team party on Saturday night.

To catch up on the situation, click here to check out Brad Elliott Schlossman’s blog in the Grand Forks Herald.

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Former UAA Skater Mellor Commits To Western Michigan

Winger Sam Mellor, who left UAA this spring after just one season and is back in the British Columbia Hockey League, has committed to Western Michigan for the 2013-14 season, according to Chris Heisenberg's excellent recruiting site and College Hockey, Inc.

Mellor, still just 19, is skating for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL -- they won Canada's national title last spring. In four games, he owns 2-3--5 totals.

Mellor in 31 games for UAA produced 4-5--9 totals. He was considered an elite recruit for the Seawolves after going 33-34--67 in 45 games for Trail of the BCHL in 2010-11.

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Get Your NCAA Rules Update Here Via Video

Spent some time watching an NCAA Rules Video today, and it was decently interesting -- not spellbinding, but not something you'd watch and think, Geez, that's 25 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Some key points from the video, which you can check out by clicking here.

Contact to the head remains a point of emphasis, and the video shows several examples of behavior that will not be tolerated.

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Aces Sign Veteran D-Man, Young Goalie -- Both Are Newcomers

With three of their ECHL-allowed four veteran skaters from last season retired and two veteran slots still open for the upcoming hockey season, the Alaska Aces filled one today when they announced the signing of long-time AHL defenseman Sean Curry.

The Aces also announced the signing of second-year goaltender Mark Guggenberger, who last season was voted the Central Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Goaltender and Rookie of the Year.

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