Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Two More Invited To Camp

Two more free agents have been given invites to Saint John Sea Dogs training camp.

The team announced today that forwards Shawn Hubley and Isaac Ceh have each been invited to attend next month’s camp.

Hubley, a 17-year old Sackville native, spent last season with the Halifax Macs of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League where he registered seven goals and 10 assists in 30 regular season games. He added another eight goals and eight assists in 17 playoff matches, helping the squad win NSMMHL Championship. At the 2014 Major Midget Atlantics Tournament, Hubley had four goals and six points in five matches en route to helping the Macs win the tournament and being named MVP.

"I love the way (Hubley) gets under the opposition's skin, and in order to be effective in the QMJHL, he will have to play the same, abrasive style while minimizing the amount of penalties he takes,” said Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young in a release.

Young also noted that Hubley was one of the first players to receive an invite to camp after he was not drafted nor signed by another QMJHL club.

Hubley is listed at 6'1", 190 lbs.

Ceh, an 18-year old American from Chicago, recorded five goals and five assists in 17 games with the Chicago Mission Under-18 team last year. He added another 14 goals and eight assists in 18 contests with the Belle Tire Under-18 squad.

The Sea Dogs’ news release notes that he was a late cut from the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s last year.

"I had the opportunity to watch him at the USA National Championships and came away impressed with his skill and speed,” said Young.

"We are not bringing Isaac here to compete for a bottom-six spot, but rather a spot in the top six forwards. If Isaac produces the offense we believe he can, then he will earn a spot with the Sea Dogs."

Ceh is listed at 5'11", 185 lbs.

Saint John’s full training camp roster has not been released yet. The team hits the ice for training camp on Monday, August 11.

Canada's Under-17 Camp Has Begun

Hockey Canada’s massive under-17 development camp began today in Calgary.

Among the more than 100 players invited to attend are Sea Dogs prospects Luke Green and Julien Tessier. Green, a defenseman from Bedford, was taken first overall by Saint John in May’s QMJHL Entry Draft while Tessier, a forward from Quebec, was taken 15th overall.

The group of players have been divided into six teams for the camp that runs until next Monday. Practices began today and the games will begin on Thursday.

Green, who recorded 17 goals and 20 assists in 34 games with Newbridge Academy last season, will play with Team Blue. Tessier, who registered seven goals and 14 assists in 38 games with Trois-Rivieres last year, is part of Team Green.

Team Green plays their first game on Thursday night against Team White. Team Blue opens action on Friday against Team Black. Each team will play three games.

The camp is the beginning of Hockey Canada’s under-17 program revamp. Instead of regional teams representing Canada at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, there will be three national teams. The tournament is also taking place November 2-8 rather than over New Year’s.

The camp can be followed on the Hockey Canada website here. The Canadian Press also has a big article on the camp here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

R.I.P. News 88.9

The day has finally come.

News 88.9 is officially no more. Newcap, whose purchase of the station from Rogers was approved a few months ago by the CRTC, flipped the station to a music format today.

The station is now called Rock 88.9 (“The Rock of Saint John”) and is apparently playing nothing but music for the next 30 days. According to the Telegraph-Journal (paywall), a new studio for the channel will be completed in late August and regular programming will presumably come with it.

Folks on Twitter were noticeably upset and confused over the sudden switch. I’m definitely going to miss some of the local talk shows as well as the programming picked up from The Fan in Toronto. And let us not forgot the legendary John Tesh Radio Show that kept us company before and after many Sea Dogs broadcasts.

The Sea Dogs have been broadcast on News 88.9 for the past eight seasons. The team signed a deal with New Song 96.1 FM a few weeks ago.

A few other things…
  • The New Song FM signal is definitely weaker than News 88.9’s, but it’s way better than having no FM broadcasts at all, obviously. I do feel bad for some of the fans who live outside the Saint John area who could be – depending on their Internet quality – cut off.
  • Just weeks away from the beginning of training camp and the QMJHL pre-season, a couple teams are scrambling to find a head coach.
  • Sea Dogs training camp starts in two weeks. Off-season has gone by pretty quick.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Report: Dogs Getting A 14th-Round Pick

The Saint John Sea Dogs will reportedly receive a 14th-round pick in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft from the Val-d’Or Foreurs in exchange for Stephen Anderson.

Alex Drouin of the Val-d’Or newspaper L'Écho Abitibien, who confirmed the Anderson trade yesterday, tweeted today that the Dogs will receive the pick for the 20-year old forward.
20-year olds typically don’t generate a huge return in trades, but this is an awfully low pick. One has to think that, given Anderson’s health problems in the second half of last season, that this is a conditional trade and the Sea Dogs will receive more down the road if all goes well with the PEI native. We shall see.

Anderson recorded 11 goals and 14 assists in 38 games last season. He only played in a few second half games, not playing again after taking a big hit on January 5, a hit that forced him to spend some time in hospital.

Foreurs head coach Mario Durocher told L'Écho Abitibien yesterday that his team tried to land Anderson during last year’s trading period.

Word of this trade came from Anderson on Twitter yesterday morning. The transaction has not been posted on the league website yet.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stephen Anderson Moving To Val-d'Or

According to Stephen Anderson, Stephen Anderson has been traded.

The 20-year old forward tweeted the following this morning:
Neither the Sea Dogs, Val-d'Or Foreurs, or league have confirmed the deal. Foreurs head coach Mario Durocher did however confirm the transaction to the Val-d’Or newspaper L'Écho Abitibien.
The Morell, PEI native was a sixth round pick of Saint John in the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft. He played in 127 career games with the Sea Dogs over three seasons, collecting 29 goals and 39 assists. In two playoff contents he registered an assist.

Last season, Anderson scored 11 goals and 14 assists in 38 games. He did not play again after taking a hard hit on January 5, a hit that saw him spend some time in hospital.

It was inevitable that one of Saint John’s 20-year olds would be traded at some point since they had four. This trade leaves the team with the league limit of three: forward Mark Tremaine, defenseman Michael Abbott, and goaltender Sebastien Auger.

The Sea Dogs host the Foreurs on Sunday, December 3 and travel to Val-d'Or on Saturday, December 13.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Seats For Pre-Season Opener

The Saint John Sea Dogs made a great move today, announcing that fans will be able to attend the team’s pre-season opener on August 15 free of charge.

According to the team, “fans must obtain a ticket for an assigned seat through the Harbour Station Box Office, but the ticket is free. Tickets will be available to season ticket holders beginning Friday, July 25th, and to the general public on Tuesday, August 5th.”

"We think this is perfect way to kick off our tenth-anniversary season," said Shanna Hopkins, Manager of Business Development, in a release. "We want to recognize the contributions our fans have made since the Sea Dogs first hit the ice by giving as many people as possible the opportunity to see the opening game of the preseason."

This should allow some fans who aren’t able to regularly attend games a great chance to see some action. It should also create some much-needed hype and atmosphere for a game that would, under normal circumstances, be scarcely attended.

The Sea Dogs will host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles that night. It’s also worth noting that the game features at 7pm start time.

Having a free exhibition game has become a popular promotion for many hockey teams over the past few years. It hasn't caught on at the junior level all that much, but maybe that will begin to change.

Saint John will play six pre-season games in total with three of them taking place on Harbour Station ice. The Dogs host the Halifax Mooseheads on August 22 and Charlottetown Islanders on September 5.