Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blizzard Joins Sea Dogs

Terry Blizzard has been named the Saint John Sea Dogs strength and conditioning coach.

Blizzard is a personal trainer and owner of Afterburn Performance, a training centre that many Sea Dogs players have trained at over the past few years. A news release notes that Blizzard and the facility “played a key role in developing former Sea Dogs Jonathan Huberdeau, Charlie Coyle, Nathan Beaulieu, Tomas Jurco and Kevin Gagne.”

"Over the past four years we have seen Terry's role with the hockey club expand and grow, and we have greatly valued his contribution to the team," said Sea Dogs General Manager Darrell Young in the release. "We are extremely fortunate to have someone of his ability and talent in the Saint John area and our players have benefited greatly from his knowledge.

"We have dedicated student-athletes who deserve the best, and we need to show them that we are dedicated to their development."

More info on Blizzard can be found here.

SeaDogsTV has done a couple features on Afterburn Performance over the years.

Notebook: Fullerton Signs With Jackals

Former Sea Dogs goaltender Travis Fullerton has signed a Standard Player Contract for the 2014-2015 season with the Elmira Jackals of the East Coast Hockey League.

"Travis is a warrior between the pipes," said Jackals head coach Jamie Russell in a release. "He possesses a tremendous work ethic and displays his will to win each and every night. Travis and Josh (Robinson) will push each other for the starting job, which will create a competitive atmosphere throughout the season."

Fullerton spent parts of two seasons with Saint John. He posted a 2.98 GAA and .905 SV% in 2007-08 and helped the Sea Dogs reach the QMJHL semi-finals in their first ever post-season appearance.

The Riverview native then spent five seasons with the UNB Varsity Reds, winning three CIS Championships. He played with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers last season.

"I couldn't be more happy to be joining the Jackals for the upcoming season," said Fullerton in the release. "I am excited to meet my teammates and enjoy a great season in Elmira."

The Jackals are affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres.

Hockey’s Future has an article recapping how the QMJHL did at the NHL Draft. The site briefly mentions Sea Dogs defenseman Olivier LeBlanc who was taken in the seventh round by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Notebook: Mill Rats Staying In Saint John

The Saint John Mill Rats are sticking around.

The team announced at a press conference this afternoon that they will be moving towards a community-owned model, which will keep the basketball squad playing at Harbour Station for at least the next two seasons.

"Members of the Southern New Brunswick basketball community reached out to us to help make sure the team is here for future generations," said Mill Rats President & General Manager Ian McCarthy. "They are assembling an entity that will acquire ownership in the Mill Rats over the coming months."

According to a press release, the group is in formation and seeking additional members.

Tickets to the Saint John Sea Dogs’ pre-season game in Truro are now on sale.

Tickets for the Halifax Mooseheads preseason game versus the Saint John Sea Dogs in Truro are on sale now. The game will take place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Saturday, August 23rd at 7p.m. Tickets are available online at or in person at the R.E.C.C. for $8.50.

According to the Moose site, last year’s contest in Truro featured a packed house of roughly 3,200 fans. The game is a fundraiser for Truro Minor Hockey.

The Score has an article on how Jonathan Drouin hopes to follow in Jonathan Huberdeau’s footsteps.

Like Huberdeau, Drouin was sent back to junior for additional seasoning after being a high NHL draft pick. Huberdeau had 72 points in 37 games in his final full season of junior while Drouin had 108 in 46 games.

Huberdeau, after the lockout ended, won the NHL’s rookie of the year award. Drouin, who is basically a lock to make the Bolts, will look to do the same.

Could Tomas Jurco become a star in the NHL? That’s a question, using advanced statistics, the Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown examined last week.

Jurco played in 36 games with the Red Wings last season, recording eight goals and seven assists.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gerard Gallant In The News

Former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant appeared on the front page of The Guardian newspaper yesterday.

The full article, which is on Gallant’s career as both a player and a coach, can be read online here. In it, the Florida Panthers bench boss talks a bit about his time in Saint John.

Over at All Habs, writer Sean Garland discusses why the Montreal Canadiens’ biggest loss this off-season may have been Gallant’s departure.

Lastly, the Florida Panthers website has an interview with Gallant. In the video, the Summerside native talks a bit on hiring Mike Kelly as an assistant coach.