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July 2011 Volume 1, Issue 1

WNY er’s Impact OHL

What Does Megan Sarles Have in Common with LaFontaine, Crosby and Connolly?


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Western New York Hockey

managing partner Ian C. Woods marketing Ned McDonnell publisher Steve Manson

Designer & photographer Janet Schultz columnists Warren Kozireski Janet Schultz Dave Reichert Mike Mroziak contributing Writers James Fink Mike Haim Dave Ricci

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WESTERN NEW YORK HOCKEY REPORT New Website and Great Reporting


managing Editor & Senior correspondent Randy Schultz

July 2011

By Janet Schultz


t’s a new era for Western New York Hockey! You will continue to enjoy your monthly print version of WNY Hockey Report featuring the writers you have come to know and trust including Senior Writer and now Managing Editor Randy Schultz, Women’s columnist and hockey photographer, Janet Schultz, columnists Warren Kozireski, David Reichert and Mike Morziak. You will now be able to access up-to-the-minute hockey news on the group’s website, Our content will include coverage of the Buffalo Sabres, Rochester Americans, local junior teams, college, high school, amateur, adult and women’s hockey, as well as what’s happening in USA Hockey. In addition we will have specialty sections on hockey schools and clinics, product highlights and product reviews, conditioning and tournaments. “We want to be the single on-line source for Western New York hockey,” said Ian Woods, Webmaster. “We are about hockey at the local level,” he continued. “We want to share the stories of the 12 year old hockey player, as well as the 54 year old hockey player.” While the site will carry stories about the Buffalo Sabres, it is not a Sabres or NHL site. The stories at the national level will be those up-to-the-minute news items that can’t wait for the next monthly magazine. The site will also carry interactive maps of the local rinks, as well as those rinks that our local teams travel to. WNY Hockey Report has also found a need for a source to buy and sell new and used equipment. Thus, a Classified Section will be posted on the web, as well as in the print magazine. “We are also working on a calendar that will include

open skate times, pick up hockey times and available ice times at the local arenas,” continued Woods. Visitors to the web will also be encouraged to share their stories and photographs in what the publication hopes to be an open platform for players, coaches, parents and spectators. “Our site is predicated on UGC (User Generated Content),” said Woods. “While WNY Hockey Report will supply the relevant Western New York hockey content, we will be looking for the community to share content also.” “We will also be holding some on-line contests with prizes,” he continued. Advertisers will also have a place on the web, as well as in the print publication. “We are actively looking for partners that would connect with this community,” Woods stressed. “The advertisers will be associated with WNY Hockey Report and those associations we work with. In turn, the community will see them as a trusted source because our staff is trusted in the hockey community,” he continued. As the site progresses, it is planned that each of our columnists will be blogging on the most current hockey topics in Western New York and beyond. As you read this copy of WNY Hockey Report, the site is up and running. We encourage you to take a moment and visit the site. A directory and email contacts are listed if you have any news items, story ideas, event listings or just want to contact one of our staff regarding any of the above and/or advertising opportunities. We are looking forward to the 2011-12 hockey season and sharing all the highlights from Western New York with you on not only a monthly basis, but now a daily one.*

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Western New York Hockey

Empire West Dissolves T

July 2011

Buffalo Regals Update


ith the Empire West Amateur Hockey League being dissolved, The Buffalo Regals will now be heading in a new he Empire West Amateur Hockey direction. And the Regals have some very high League, a huge promoter of Triple A expectations. hockey in the Western New York area “We’ve had a huge influx of interest in the for nearly three decades, have ceased operaRegals Triple A program.,” said Mike Antions. According to Mike Answeeney, Presisweeney, President of the Regals. “The Buffalo dent of Empire West, the final decision did Sabres are now sponsoring our Midget program. not come easily. “We have an offer from the Southern Ontario “Empire West had been in business since Hockey League. To even be considered for that, 1984,” said Answeeney. “We started the league with five original members including an American-based hockey association to be Amherst, West Seneca, Wheatfield, playing in that league, is unbelievable. Rochester and the Buffalo Regals. “Not only that, but we have an invitation from “Basically we formed it to promote Triple the Midwest Elite League. But we’re not quite A hockey in the area. It was very successful ready for that this year. Again, just to be offered over the years. that opportunity speaks volumes. We’re going to “Over the years we had something like 16 Mike Answeeney do that next year. Outgoing President, Empire West or 17 different hockey organizations involved “At the same time we were receiving the offer with Empire West. We even had teams from from the Midwest League, we got an offer to play Ohio and Pennsylvania. in the Super Series. That’s a combination of three weekends of the “But eventually we transitioned from promoting Triple A hockey best teams in North America playing against each other. to being just a scheduling body. There is no reason to have two “All of those teams are coming here for three weekends. In return scheduling bodies in the Western New York area. we will be travelling to New Jersey, Philadelphia, Minnesota and At“We have the Western New York League that does a very good job as a scheduling body. So why have two of us doing the same job. lanta. It is a lot of travel but that is what we have chosen to do. “To have those three offers made to us in just one year is out of “But in the end it became a situation of the local teams deciding this world. And it is all at the Triple A level. to move over to the Western New York League and dissolve Empire “Our program has evolved to a point where our Triple A programs West. are second to none. Is it for everybody. No, not really. “It was a great run with a lot of great hockey. They have left a “But those that do will be a part of something great.”* lasting memory in the minds of many hockey people in the area. “They will never be forgotten.”* By Randy Schultz (

A Summer Break? By Scott McManigle


o most students summer is defined as a vacation, a time to be lazy and a time to recharge their batteries. This is not, however, the definition of summer to the Buffalo Junior Sabres. While most students are staying up late and sleeping in late, the Buffalo Junior Sabres will be waking up early and working harder than ever. After 4 ½ weeks of grueling tryouts Coach Grant Ledyard cut the record number of players trying out from 238 to 30. In the next three months the roster will have to be frozen at 23. Ledyard said although this was one of the toughest tryouts he has seen as a coach, he is confident that the 30 players chosen are the best 30 players. “Although we have seven more tough choices to make, we look at it as a positive thing. When you have tough choices then you have players pushing each other and the talent pool increases.” The record number of participants were not just from the Western New York area either, players from countries as far away as Italy

and Sweden attended. “We are starting to be recognized as the quality program we are striving to be” said Ledyard. “We are looking at possibly keeping three goalies on the roster which would push the other 20 skaters to work hard and compete.” The summer is a crucial time for the players not just on the ice, but also it is a time to get physically stronger and mature during training camp. Two spots opened up this spring when two former Junior Sabre players were rewarded with contracts in the United States Hockey League. The USHL is the top Tier 1 Junior A league in the United States. Third year Junior Sabre, Pat Conti will be suiting up this fall for the Youngstown Phantoms and another third year player, Matt Krug will be wearing the blue uniform of the Indiana Ice. “Both players will be greatly missed, but their success is our success. One of our top priorities in this organization is to help our players better themselves and improve their hockey future, this is a great example of that,” Ledyard said. *

Western New York Hockey

July 2011

Western New York Wrap-up


estern New York was well represented at the Women’s/Girl’s Nationals this season. Teams from both Rochester and Buffalo traveled to Minnesota to compete among the nation’s best. The Rochester Rochester Edge Senior A Team Edge took the title in the Women’s Senior A Division when they beat the Minnesota Blue Js 5-4 in the third overtime. Named to the Top Scorers list were the Edge’s Marissa Dombovy-Johnson with 11 goals and 6 assists; Ann Marie Cellino (6-6); Liz Zorn (5-4) and Chelsea Walkland (4-4). Ashley Schneegold was on the Top Goaltenders List with 5 wins, 1 loss and a 1.96 goals against average. In the Senior C Division, the Edge lost to the Lady Monarchs with Alyssa Henkel and Andrea Blais being named to the Top Scorers List and Jenn Hicks and Brandy Moks-Lenay to the Top Goaltenders. The Buffalo Bisons 14U team lost in the semi-finals to the Mid-Fairfield Stars. Taylor Cranfarano had 10 goals and 4 assists in the tournament followed by Allison Gasuik, Alanna Herne and Jillian Battista. Goaltenders Madison Welch and Sydney Glynn were also recognized for their outstanding performance during the tournament. Welch had a 1.07 GAA and Glynn a 1.82 GAA. In the 16U Division the Rochester Edge missed the finals but came home with one win and two losses. Anna Zorn had three goals and two assists over the tournament and Goalie Mikaela Thompson had a 1-1 record and 2.0 GAA. The Buffalo Bisons 19U team recorded one win and three losses.

WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey


he playing season may have ended but the passion and activities are continuing as the WNY Girls Varsity Hockey Federation prepares for the 2011-12 seaThe 2011 Section VI Girls Varsity Ice Hockey son. Champions-- Orchard Park/Frontier KATZ hockey (Amherst/Sweethome) held a Girls Hockey Clinic at the beginning of May to give girls in grades 3 through 12 an opportunity to work on their skills and work with varsity players. Coach Chris Utz started with the basics including skating skills and puck handling. Assisting him were Mary Ellen Kather and Jeanette Yoder. “The goal is to attract new skaters that may have been thinking about playing hockey but were not sure yet,” said Isabell Posner, a parent rep. The three-day clinic ended with a pizza party.

Women’s Ice Hockey

Team Updates


by Janet Schultz

he Hamburg Hawks 12U team finished the season undefeated in league play with a 15-0-1 record and an overall 40-10-4 season record. They headed for the State Tournament seeded first in the West section and made a strong run at the championship. The girls battled hard and advanced to the state finals where they finished second in the state. The Hawks will continue preparing for the upcoming season with a dryland program through out the summer.


ill Cardella, a former member of the Rochester Edge, is a sophomore at Boston University where she plays hockey. Boston defeated Mercyhurst to advance to the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four. Jill, #22, plays on a line with Marie Phillip Poulin, a Canadian 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist. Poulin scored both goals against the US to capture the gold. Boston lost to the University of Wisconsin in the championship game.


Named to WNYGVIHF All-League Selections were: First Team: Forwards: Shauna Clair (Williamsville), Erin Gehen (West Seneca), Kate Miller (Kenmore) Defense: Jamie Cohen (Williamsville), Ashley Malicki (Mon. Martin) Goalie: Abby Posner (Amherst/Sweethome) Second Team: Forwards: Rachel Ziarnowski (Mon. Martin), Rachel Leonard (Frontier/Orchard Park) and KristenSpulecki (Mon. Martin) Defense: Olivia Gajewski (Mon. Martin), Stacy Lobaugh (Kenmore) Goalie: Emily Terranova (Mon. Martin)

Honorable Mention: Forwards: Taylor Bergman and Julia Duquette (Mon. Martin), Chelsae Ortolano (Frontier/Orchard Park) Alyssa Werynski (Lancaster), Blair Pembleton (Williamsville), Molly Silorski (West Seneca) Defense: Katie Frieh (Amherst/Sweethome), Grace Page (Frontier/Orchard Park), Sara DiBernardo (Williamsville), Kathleen Zimmer (West Seneca) Goalies: Alyssa Molnar (Williamsville), Sydney Glynn (West Seneca) The teams will be conducting fundraisers throughout the summer in order to play next year. We are also awaiting news of new schools who will be icing teams for the 2011-12 season.

USA Team USA won their third straight world title with a 3-2 overtime victory against Canada in the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation World Women’s Championship. Hilary Knight scored the game-winning goal at 7:48 of the extra session, while Jessie Vetter made 50 saves in the championship game. Team USA finished the tournament with a 4-1-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) to capture the gold medal for the fourth time in the last five world championships. On Team USA from New York was Josephine Pucci (Pearl River/Harvard), and Killey Steadman (Plattsburg/Mercyhurst). Jen Schoullis of Erie, Pa is also a member of the squad. Schoullis plays for the University of Minnesota.*


Western New York Hockey

July 2011


iagara University closed out its 2010-11 season 11-17-5, losing to Syracuse 1clinic for the Mosquito Division which focuses on skating, puck handling, passing 0 in the CHA Tourmanet Semi-finals. and shooting. “We were a young team and got off to a slow start,” said Coach Chris The Bengals will lose Amanda Johnson, Alyssa Koniar, Katie Olejarski and MacKenzie. “In the second half of the season we went 7-5-2 showing that we gained Marissa McMullan to graduation. maturity and that the freshmen were playing like sophomores, the sophomores like juniors and so on.” magical season ended in the national semi-finals for the Big Red of Cornell. NU faced many ups and downs this season which included an eight-game road They fell to Boston University 4-1 at Tullio Arena in Erie, Pa, closing out a trip and losses to Mercyhurst and Cornell. They also had a six-game undefeated 31-3-1 season. streak, the longest winning streak in several years. The team set a hockey record for the most wins in a sea“We did well in the conference, but it was a learning curve,” continued MacKenson and four members of the Class of 2011 ended their career zie. “Our defense was good but we had trouble scoring goals because of the youth up guiding the team to national prominence, winning back-to-back front. ECAC Hockey and Ivy League Championships and taking “We had the youngest team in the league,” the program to consecutive Frozen Four appearances. Jenni Bauer he said. Sophomore Laura Fortino was selected to the Reebok NU lost four seniors to graduation and Hockey/ACHA All-American First Team and was joined will start next season with an experienced by Lauriane Rougeau and Rebecca Johnson on the Second group of players. Team. The team took part in the annual Pink Fortino was the only defenseman named as a top 10 fiThe Rink for Breast Cancer fundraiser nalist in the Patty Kazmaier Award as she led all defenseand raised over $4,000, which commen in the nation in scoring with 41 points going into the bined with other CHA teams, netted NCAA Frozen Four competition. Her average of 1.00 assists approximately $10,000 for a designated per game tied her for fifth in the nation among all players and she is charity. tied for 16th in the country in Coach MacKenzie honored six game-winning goals with four. Jessica Garland Purple Eagles including Senior netminder Jenni Bauer who was named IT finished Most Valuable Player for the second a dream seaBri Murphy straight season. Bauer was second in son with a the CHA with a 2.36 goals against average, .919 percentage 5-2 loss to Norwich and 702 saves en route to being named to the First Team Allin the 2011 NCAA CHA for the second consecutive season. Bauer was also nomNational Champiinted for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award and onship game. The was on the shortlist for the WNY Mellon Wealth Management Tigers (26-2-2) Hockey Humanitarian Award. Bauer was also named First completed their best Team All Star. season as a proby Janet Schultz Defenseman Chelsea Witwick and Forward Natasha Fryer gram setting were both awarded Most Improved Player. less records including Witwick saw action in 26 games earning one 26 wins and a .900 assist over the course of the season. In her winning percentage. second year as a Purple Eagle, Fryer played in They advanced to 30 games notching three goals and one assist. the National Championship game for the first time in program hisFreshman Forward Jessica Hitchcock tory. claimed Rookie of the Year Honors after appearHannah Epstein (Amherst/Nichols School) scored for the ing in all 32 games and leading NU scoring with Tigers, as did Kourtney Kunichika. Freshman goaltender Laura 16 points. Chamberlain made 26 saves. Both goals were scored in the The Jenn Goulet award for perseverfirst period. Although disappointed in the outcome, Coach ence was awarded to Forward Sarah Scott McDonald was very proud of his team’s accomplishConnelly. Named after former NU ments. player Jennifer Goulet (2000-03) it “We couldn’t ask for anything more of our playis given to the player who is coners,” he said following the game. Erika Owczarczak sidered the unsung hero of the Named to the Reebok Hockey All-American team. Hockey Team were RIT’s Traci Galbraith and Christine Senior Forward Autumn Stuntz received the Sarah Dagg. Batavia’s Katie Stack was named Williams Brother Steve Award for the player that best exemplifies commitment and dedication. to the Second Team. Stuntz was also named the CHA’s best defensive forward and won the individual Dagg was also the recipient of the sportsmanship award. 2010 PAYCHEX Female College Athlete of the West Seneca’s Erica Owczarczak was named Second Team All Star. Year. Stack was last year’s recipient.



WNY Women’s Collegiate Hockey


ortland Junior Julie Fleming (Buffalo/Buffalo Bisons) scored the game-tying goal on the power play as the team skated to a 3-3 tie versus Buffalo State in the season finale for both teams. Cortland did not make the playoffs and closed out their season 4-18-3 overall and 3-12-3 in the ECAC West. Fleming also had an assist and Orchard Park’s Maggie Giamo contributed a goal as did Sophomore Chelsey Wright. Seniors Shannon Hakes (Rochester/Rochester Edge) and Meghan Ward (Buffalo/Niagara Coyotes) were honored prior to the game as they graduate this season.


uffalo State ended its season 9-14-1 overall for the second straight season. The Bengals were 5-12-1 in the ECAC West, finishing 2-0-1 in the last three games including a first-ever win over Elmira. Most Valuable Player recognition went to Christine Williams of Niagara Falls. She led the Bengals with 16 points including 10 goals and six assists in 24 games. She also led the NCAA with four short-handed goals and for her goal and an assist in a 43 overtime victory over Elmira, she took an All-ECAC West honorable mention. Williams was named to the ECAC West Honorable Mention All-Conference Team. Mel White took Rookie of the Year honors after appearing in 18 games and recording two assists for the Bengals. Amanda Johnson collected the Unsung Hero Award while Cheektowaga’s Jessica Garland (Maryvale) received the Most Improved Player Award for the second year. The Bengal Award went to Lauren Mallo for her leadership on and off ice. Depew native Bri Murphy earned academic achievement recognition. Several members of the Bengals volunteered with the Positive Coaches Alliance’s Youth Hockey Clinic this season. Fredonia hosted the event, which included a skill


yracuse celebrated the end of their season by recognizing graduating seniors Stefanie Marty, Julie Rising and Ashley Cockell. Marty and Rising were members of the original Orange squad that started the program in 2008. Cocknell joined the squad for her senior year after playing three seasons at Mercyhurst. Marty took home the Coaches Award and Freshman goaltender Kallie Billadeau received the Rookie of the Year honor. Most Improved went to Margot Scharfe. Three members were honored by the CHA with Sophomore Forward Isabel Menard named to First Team All-Conference and Billadeau and Defender Akane Hosoyamada named to the All-Rookie Team. The Orange ended their season with a 14-16-6 overall, 7-6-3 in CHA action and by advancing to the championship game where they came up short against Mercyhurst 5-4.


he Elmira Soaring Eagles completed another successful season under Coach Greg Fargo. With a 16-8-2 record and 12-4-2 conference record they earned a number three seed in the ECAC Women’s playoffs. The team was led offensively by forward Tori Charron who led the nation with 28 goals, accounting for 23 of Elmira’s 68 goals scored during conference play. She was named ECAC Rookie of the Year and named to the ECAC West Second Team. With one of the nation’s top defensive units, Elmira finished seventh in the nation in scoring defense allowing 42 goals for a 1.62 goals against. The defense was led by Spencerport’s Amanda Ritzel who appeared in all 26 games, netting 2 goals and 5 assists. Ritzel graduates this season.*

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


Buffalo Stars Add Youth, Streamline Junior Program by Michael Mroziak


he Buffalo Stars hockey organization’s plan to position itself as the Buffalo area’s most expanded and inclusive program got off to a mixed start heading into this summer. While the Stars, founded in 2002 as a junior independent club, expanded its brand in local amateur hockey by taking over its longtime youth hockey affiliate, it also found itself forced by increased and intense competition for players to scale back its junior program for the 2011-2012 season. The expansion into youth came first, when the Stars assumed control of the Buffalo Hornets, a program that existed for nearly four decades. Youth teams previously wearing Hornets black and purple will instead wear Stars blue, red and white beginning next season. The takeover also includes the Hornets’ girls and women’s teams as well as those of the Buffalo Alliance, a short-lived project involving the Hornets and Buffalo Regals. “This will allow our organization to operate from mite through juniors under one singular structure,” said Stars president Pete Preteroti. “This restructuring will allow the Buffalo Stars to focus on a hockey program at all levels under the same roof and operating structure. The youth program will continue to operate in the same classes as they did as the Buffalo Hornets.” While the newly renamed Stars youth squads were moving ahead with preparations for the 2011-2012 season, the team’s junior division is going into its tenth season scaled down to one team. Once home to as many as three junior squads, this spring the Stars found themselves losing several players to opportunities at prep schools and other local junior programs. They lost enough players, in fact, to force Stars management to make a tough decision. "We found ourselves down to 26 signed players," said Preteroti. "Trying to find another 16 to 18 players to fill a second team seemed an almost impossible task.” The decision was to shelve its Continental Hockey Association entry until the 2012-2013 season, focusing entirely this fall and winter on competition in the Empire Junior B Hockey League. The Stars paid both the CHA and USA Hockey its required dues to remain a team in good standing in that Junior B league. All players signed to the Stars prior to this decision were given an opportunity to play for the Empire squad. Preteroti said no players were cut as a result of the reduction to one junior team. “I didn't want to go out and

Seven WNY Players Selected Among the Sean Malone Wilson Vershay

Top 11 USHL Future Drafts Picks By Randy Schultz ( Photos Provided by

promise additional kids a place to play and then find out at the start of the season we do not have enough players and then have to cut kids in August,” he said. “I do not operate that way.” Preteroti will return to the bench for the first time in many years as the Stars’ junior coach, with associate coach Jerry Wheeler and assistant coaches Mike Flatley Steve Kinney returning as well. The junior staff finds itself preparing and for a new season with an almost all-new lineup. “90 percent is all new,” said Wheeler. “There are fresh faces all across the board, with some big standouts.” For Kinney and Flatley, their roles as assistant coaches continue a relationship with a program that began when both were boys. “It started off when I was four, so I’ve been here a while,” said Kinney. “I ended finishing (with the Stars) in the Empire (junior league), took a year off and came back to coach.” Why decide to come back and coach, when peers his age were otherwise spending their nights and weekends studying, working or skating in senior leagues? “I like being around the game and have known Pete (Stars GM Preteroti) for so long,” Kinney added. “I kind of had a nice idea about how he runs things and how things work around here, so it was really kind of easy to just jump in and share what I know with the kids.” Flatley, a former goaltender in the Stars and Buffalo Hornets youth affiliate system, took a coaching job simply because he was asked. “Different people actually offered it to me,” said Flatley, who took his first position under the former head coach of the team’s former Continental Hockey Association Junior C squad. “He asked if I wanted to help out at a couple of the skates. I had a good time doing it and just kept going from there.” So what are his aspirations? Flatley was asked if he hopes to take a head coaching position some day, be it with the Stars or elsewhere in Western New York junior hockey. “Hopefully in the next couple of years I can get that job and take it as far as I can from there,” said Flatley. “There’s always a lot to learn,” said Kinney. “You pick up different things from different coaches. I’ve had the pleasure to work with a few different coaches, so you pick a little here and there.” The Stars will open their Empire Junior B Hockey League regular season on October 1, at home in Holiday Twin Rinks against the Jersey Wildcats.* Kim Kimberly, Nicholas School


even Western New York hockey players were among the 90 players aged 15 and 16 selected in the United States Hockey League’s 2011 Futures Draft. Three of the players from the Buffalo Regals 16-and-under team were selected in the top 11 picks. It was the first time three players from any WNY team have ever been selected in the first 11 picks of the draft. The Regals had a total of five players chosen, tying Detroit Honeybaked and Team Illinois for most players drafted. The other two WNY players were selected from Nichols School. The seven WNY players chosen from the Regals were: Patrick Polino, first round, fourth overall pick, Chicago Steel; Dylan McLaughlin, first round, ninth pick, Sioux Falls Stampede; Justin Bailey, first round, 11th pick, Indiana Ice; Kyle Eastman, third round, 38th pick, Tri-City Storm; Joey Palumbo, fourth round, 54th pick, Des Moines Buccaneers. Nichols players chosen were Sean Malone, fourth round, 49th pick, Lincoln Stars; Wilson Vershay, fifth round, 61st pick, Waterloo Black Hawks. Terry Miller, coach of the Regals 16 U team commented on his players selected. “It is a testimony to our organization to have given these players the platform to play hockey with,” said Miller. “We get a lot of scouts and coaches at our games. “The boys took advantage of what the Regals had to offer. It’s exciting for me as a coach as well as our organization. “Plus, I think it’s a great testimony to hockey in Western New York in general with all of the players that were selected. This is a great area for amateur hockey development. “We’re glad to be a part of it.”*



Western New York Hockey

July 2011

pencerport native Shane Prince plays for the Ottawa their hockey goals.” 67’s, Greece’s Phil Lane wears the battle fatigue Prince began his OHL career with green of the Brampton Battalion and Irondequoit’s Kitchener but was traded midway David Shields just finished his junior career with the Erie through last season to Ottawa and his caOtters—all in the Ontario Hockey League. reer has taken off with increased playing All three, after a year or two playing locally at the high time. school level, made the decision to give up their college eliHe finished this past season tied for gibility and make the jump north of the border. tenth in the league with 88 points on 25 Irondequoit’s Shields was a sixth round draft choice (168th goals and 63 assists—far surpassing his overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft career highs of the previous season. and recently signed a three-year entry level pro contract Listed at 5’11” and 180 lb, the 18 year after his fourth season of juniors. old left wing is a pass-first type of player Lane (pictured), whose younger brother Matt plays with who can also surprise with a quick wrist the U.S. National Development Team in Ann Arbor, Michishot. by Warren Kozireski gan, was selected in the second round 52nd overall last In spite of his productive season, ( summer by Phoenix after his first season in Brampton. Prince was not selected to be a part of the And Prince, who was among the top ten scorers in the OHL U.S. Under-20 World Junior Team that for most of the year awaits his likely second or third round won a bronze medal in Buffalo back in selection this summer at the draft January—a snub that may have provided to be held in St. Paul, Minsome inspiration. David Shields nesota. “That was something that was out of At 6’3” and 215 lb, my control, but I’ve had to prove people Shields is a shutdown dewrong my whole life.” fenseman who was “I am happy to be on the (draft) list paired virtually every and I’ve been trying to move up on the night against the other list all season. I’m more of a playmaker team’s top scoring line. That makes his team and I’ve always had more assists than goals. When the shot is there I take it, but I best +29 plus/minus ranking over 61 regular do look for my teammates.” season games even more impressive. “Growing up in the Rochester area we had a lot of great players who are get“One of the things I look at the most is my plus-minus ting recognized by major junior programs. Phil (Lane) went in the second round trying to keep their top line from scoring—that’s my last year and now I’m doing well and (Hilton’s Ryan) Callahan came through here goal every night.” so we are producing some good players.” “I just try to do the small things like the first As for the team he would like to draft him this summer, his response begins pass out of the defensive zone and using my head with the standard statement, but soon his true preference emerges. playing smart defensively; just using my stick “Whatever team wants me and takes me I will happy to be a part of that orpreventing them from getting shots.” ganization, but one team that I watched growing up that would be a dream come He began playing for Irondequoit in eighth true would be Buffalo.” * and ninth grade before joining the Maksymum junior program in Rochester and then moving on to the OHL. “I used to watch (Irondequoit native) Rory Fitzpatrick play all the time when I was growing up. I went to the National Development Camp and they asked me who I modeled my game after and I told them Rory Fitzpatrick because he’s a defensive defenseman.” Shields finished the 2010-11 season with a career best 21 assists and 29 points. He is likely to begin his pro career this fall with the Blues American he fourth annual National Hockey League franchise Hockey League affiliate in Peoria with the Rivermen. Lane was named Brampton’s Rookie of the Year in 2009-10 after his 18 goalrankings, chosen by The Hockey News, were recently 14 assist campaign, but struggled through an up-and-down season this past year released and the Buffalo Sabres finished third overall. which included recovery from head and shoulder injuries. The Detroit Red Wings ranked first with the Pittsburgh Pen“We had a lot of older players last year and, even though I don’t have a letter, guins finishing second. I needed to step up and be a leader to the younger guys; be their mentor and help The rankings were based on the following criteria including them out because I know how it was last year for me.” Front Office Continuity, Attendance, Regular Season Finishes, Phil Lane “I just need to work harder off the ice and Future Watch, Playoff Performance, Entry Draft Success, have a better (Phoenix prospect) camp than I had Franchise Value, 2010-11 season and Ownership. last year and go from there.” The category that Buffalo scored the highest in was Entry “My role is to be a big power forward for Draft Success where they were tied with the Chicago Blackthe team every night and disrupt their defense. “ hawks for first overall with 34 points. The scores in this cateLane played two years of high school gory were determined by each team’s performance in the NHL hockey in Greece before jumping to the Draft between the years of 2001 through 2005. Buffalo Jr. A Sabres for one year prior to THN figured that the vast majority of the players from moving north. His brother’s OHL rights those drafts have separated themselves as either full-time are also held by Brampton as a fifth round selection, so the two may play on NHLers or minor-leaguers by now. They awarded two points the same team together next season if Matt for each player drafted who either is or has been an NHL regudecides to also give up his college eligibility. lar for at least one season. “We’ll talk this summer, but I’m not sure how much conThe Sabres also scored high grades in Front Office and Atvincing I can do. It’s his decision so I won’t pressure him, but tendance. it would be nice to play in the same organization.” “Hockey in the Western New York area has definitely develThe San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks rounded out the oped from the coaching to the organizations and a Junior A team top five. The lowest ranked franchise was the New York Isthere now. It’s developing and giving kids an opportunity to pursue landers. *

WNY’ers Impact the OHL

Sabres Do Well in NHL Franchise Rating


Western New York Hockey

July 2011


Balance Training for Hockey (Part 1)


alance is the fundamental skill a hockey player must possess. In a sport where athletes often perform on a single leg above a quarter inch wide blade of steel, balance is a serious necessity and often ignored. The first step to improving balance for life and sport is to understand what balance is. Balance is the ability of the body to stabilize, maintain upright stance, move and engage in positions to counteract forces. This ability is a learning task that begins at 6 months of age and progresses throughout the lifespan. The ability ‘to balance’ relies on the synergistic mechanisms of the brain center, spinal cord, muscular system, the inner ear and eyes. The ability is both conscious and reflexive and is honed into skills such as rolling over, standing, walking , running, jumping, biking, skating, snowboarding, using a Segway and a host of other activities. Training for balance begins with static exercises that involve standing in place. The following can be used in a progressive method to improve balance. 1. Stand erect with hands to the side, followed by hands extended out to the sides, front and overhead. 2. Stand on one foot and perform the above. 3. Stand with feet in a straight line, ‘toe to heal’ under the body and perform the arm movements listed in #1. Reverse the foot position and repeat. 4. Stand on one foot and bend over and touch the same foot with the opposite hand. 5. Stand on one foot and swing the opposite leg front to back. 6. Stand on one leg and swing the legs and arms in various movements. 7. Repeat the above with eyes closed.

8. Stand on one leg and hold or lift a light dumbbell or medicine ball. Once the static balance skills are mastered, progression can occur to the dynamic mode. The following can be used. 1. Walk ‘toe to heal’ in a straight line. 2. Walk ‘toe to heal’ forward and backward. 3. Walk ‘toe to heal’ in a circle pattern. 4. Hop in place on one foot. 5. Hop on one foot in a forward direction. 6. Hop on one foot forward and backward. 7. Hop on one foot upstairs (up only). 8. Lean forward until almost falling and then step out. The above sequence can be done most days per week. Balance training should be done early in the work out and in relaxed fashion for 6-10 minutes. Balance ability gains can be lost if not maintained. Results are generally immediate with exercisers of all ages experiencing improvement within 2-4 days for consistent training. For questions or additional information, contact; Frank Albert, MS, CSCS, CHFS Frank is a Master Level Coach with USA Hockey, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Mentor Coach with the National Strength & Conditioning Association, Combine Director with Epic Performance and Certified Health Fitness Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. As the founder of Performax Hockey Systems, Frank has trained and performance tested professional and amateur athletes for 25 years.*


Western New York Hockey

July 2011

Megan, Pat, Tim and Sid Share A Common Injury--Concussion! ble experience.” That is why Buffalo Sabres general manager, Darcy Regier, feels hen it comes to a hit in the head concerning hockey, so strongly about protecting not only his players but those throughthere should be zero tolerance. I don’t care if it’s the out the NHL as well as all hockey. NHL or youth hockey. “There is no doubt that when a player like Sidney gets hit, the “Any hit to the head should be considered illegal and there awareness level goes up,” said Regier, who suffered concussions should be some kind of punishment for it. Anything less is just not during his pro hockey career. “I think it’s a big deal. Period. acceptable. “We really have to make an effort to protect our players on the “Concussions have become too common these days. Something concussion front. All of them. has to be done to eliminate concussions in hockey.” “And for me it is a big deal with the young kids because most kids That is how Pat LaFontaine, who played in all or parts of 15 Naplay hockey for fun. They shouldn’t be put at risk with concussions. tional Hockey League seasons (1983-1998) with the New York Is“The need is there to protect those players from concussions. Most landers, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers, explained his of these kids aren’t going to play NHL hockey. feelings regarding concussions.The injury has become a source of “They are there for the enjoyment of the game. So it is critical to great concern not only at the professional level but in the amateur get it right at those levels of the game.” levels of hockey as well. For 14 year-old Megan Sarles fate has not been very kind. The This NHL season alone saw one of the game’s young goaltender has already experienced biggest stars, Sidney Crosby, miss almost half the three concussions and her hockey career, season recovering from concussion symptoms. In- “When it comes to a hit in like LaFontaine’s, is finished. fact, it has only been in the last month that the “I received my first one about two the head concerning hockey, years ago,” recalled Sarles, the daughter Pittsburgh Penguins superstar was allowed back on the ice to resume skating. of Scott and Anna Radin. “My head hit The Sabres Tim Connolly also suffered concus- there should be zero tolerthe crossbar and then the ice and then I sions in the past. He continues to play, but underance. I don’t care if it’s the blacked out. I stayed in the game and finstands the risks involved. ished it. NHL or youth hockey.” Unfortunately, LaFontaine knows all too well “Later, back at the hotel, my dad nowhat he speaks of when discussing concussions. ticed that I wasn’t acting like I normally The Hall of Fame center suffered five of them dur- Pat LaFontaine, did. He took me to the emergency room. ing his NHL career. “After I was examined I was told I had Former Buffalo Sabre “I talk to a lot of people by phone, emails or a pretty bad concussion.” even texting each week regarding concussions,” A few months later the second concuscontinued LaFontaine. “They come from all walks of life. sion occurred, again during a game. Her third concussion came dur“I think the ones that bother me the most are when I hear about ing a practice. kids who have suffered a concussion from playing hockey or another “One of my teammates came in, tripped over a defenseman and sport. That’s when the rules on recovery have to be really enforced. fell into me. My head twisted as I fell to the ice and I had my third “Anyone recovering from a concussion should make sure that they concussion. don’t have any recurring symptoms before they are active again. The “After the third one, I recovered, but I didn’t come back to play biggest problems begin when a person who has suffered a concushockey.” sion returns to Upon the suggestion of her doctor, Sarles was told not to play active work behockey again. A fourth concussion could mean no sports at all. fore they are So following a hockey career that began for Sarles when she was symptom-free.” 10, she is finished with the game at 14. Connolly still “I was pretty disappointed when I found out I was finished with recalls what his hockey,” remarked Sarles, who will continue to play softball, field life was like hockey and possibly basketball. “Hockey was one of the things I regoing through ally loved. post-concussion “It was a great feeling being a goalie. I was a neat feeling knowing syndrome. that your team depended on you to stop the puck. “I had “Now it’s over for me.” headaches conMany of Sarles’ teammates were very surprised. stantly, almost “A lot of them were very shocked,” remarked the goalie. “Others every day, for were very disappointed.” the first few Sarles does have advice for athletes in general. months,” re“Do everything you can to protect you head,” concluded Sarles. called Connolly. “And it’s not the end of the world if you can’t play your sport any“Finally they more. began to go “I would also like to contribute anything I could to help in the away. study of concussions. I’ve already been talking to my doctors about Megan played for Orchard Park/Frontier during the “I had trouble what I think could be done to improve protection for players.” first season of the WNY Girls Varsity Ice Hockey reading. It was How does the teen goaltender feel about being the “poster child” League. Unfortunately, her career ended before the hard to concenfor concussions? team’s appearance in the first championship matchup! trate on anything. “I’m OK with it if it is helping others,” remarked Sarles. OP/Frontier took the Section VI Championship. “It was a terriSo what is being done from a medical point of view to assist with By Randy Schultz


Western New York Hockey

July 2011


“It all goes back to the techniques taught by coaches,” remarked the treatment of concussions? Dr. Saikali “Teaching the right techniques on how to hit. “It was about a year and a-half ago that the National Football “Clean hits. If you are taught that you should be able to execute League brought to light all of the concussion problems football was that. having,” recalled Dr. Nicolas P. Saikali of the Dent Neurologic Insti“Start it with the young kids. Make sure they are taught things cortute in Amherst. “It really brought to light all of the concussion probrectly. lems that were going on. “Laziness is another reason. People have too much technology “Once the NFL brought it today. to light, ‘boom,’ everything “They don’t use their brains to think things out. They look to techjust exploded. It’s unfortunology to come up with the solutions.” nately that concussions had to Dr. Sailkali feels that children are more in danger of playing with be brought to light through concussions than adults. the media. “Kids just want to play the game and keep playing, no matter “But prior to the media getwhat,” he said. “Adults will stop if they are hurting and are aware of ting involved, nobody really the consequences of playing with a concussion. paid any attention to the prob“Kids, they may say they saw stars after getting hit, but they will lems that former players were continually say that they are fine. They continue playing. having in their lives after “In the end it’s who is watching the kids that has to make the ultifootball. Then it came out that mate decision. Examine the child. Ask them questions. between one and three mil“Coaches should know their players. Pay close attention. lion athletes suffer from some “If a players personality changes check it out. That personality has form of concussions. to be changed back as quickly as possible. “Now people, especially “And remember, not only does a patient suffer when they have a parents of children suffering Tim Connolly wore a protective helmet concussion, but everyone around them including family and friends, from headaches or concusfollowing a concussion he suffered this will suffer as well. sion-like season. (Photo by Janet Schultz) “It takes a child longer to recover from a concussion symptoms, “If a child suffers than it does an adult. That’s why you try and prevent are paying concussion from happening. closer attention to what is going on. more than two con- that“Ifsecond a child suffers more than two concussions at an “News is getting out through radio and television, newspapers and magazine and on computers through cussions at an early early age, third the internet and on-line sources. age, a third could be acould be “So people are becoming more aware of concuslife changing. life changsions. And they are taking things more seriously re--Dr. Saikali ing. garding them. Dent Institute “That’s “It’s not all about secondary gains anymore. The why this athletes over health and future are being looked at has to be a team effort with much more seriousness.” when dealing with kids Dr. Saikali gave a quick history lesson on how things have changed in sports. The coach, aswhen dealing with concussions. sistant coaches, trainers “An athlete used to come to a doctor complaining about or anybody connected headaches,” said Dr. Saikali. “When asked why he was having with the team should be headaches the athlete would say that they got ‘dinged.’ We don’t use paying attention to the that term anymore.” young athletes at all So what is a concussion? times. “A concussion doesn’t have to be a loss of consciousness,” contin“Parents have to be ued Dr. Saikali. “It’s not a ding anymore. paying attention as “You can get a concussion by just hitting your head and then havwell. Especially as kids ing the symptoms that go along with it. And the symptoms don’t have get older and more to happen right away. things might be on the “They can happen hours later or even days later. But most will hapDr. Nicholas P. Saikali of the Dent Institute. line for them. pen right away. (Photo by Janet Schultz) “Pull an athlete out “There will be pain. There is always some type of pain when you of the lineup if there hit your head. are scouts in the stands. Sit the athlete even if the game is on the line. “The most common symptom is dizziness. Then comes headaches. “Put your priorities in order. There are guidelines to follow. “Other symptoms will follow. It could be loss of appetite or feeling “But not everybody follows them. That’s where the risk factor sick. comes into play. “Pay attention to what is happening to the athlete. And coaches are “That’s why I think it is so important for former players like Pat now being told, ‘when in doubt, sit them out.’ LaFontaine speaking out on concussions. People will pay more atten“I truly believe in that. And I’m not a believer in medications eition to them than maybe anybody else. ther. “I think a lot of progress has been made in the treatment of concus“I work for a narcotic-free clinic. No drugs.” sions. We’re learning new ways in treating them, especially with the So why did it take so long for hockey to recognize the seriousness new technology we have. of concussions? “People are being educated better. The media is promoting it more. “Hockey is not as popular as football is across the United States,” “Remember, you have nothing in the future if you don’t take care answered Dr. Saikali. “That’s why football brought it to the attention of your health now. Don’t blow off concussion symptoms an athlete first. may have. “Now people are paying attention to concussions in hockey. And “Pay attention. It will make a big difference in everyone’s life. things are being done about it.” “It’s a team effort.”* So how does the Doctor see hockey preventing concussions?


Western New York Hockey


July 2011

he Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association is helping to make dreams for some special young baseball players come true. The Sabres Miracle League Field on Grand Island has been specially designed for boys and girls using wheelchairs, crutches or walkers. The $500,000 complex includes a baseball diamond, pavilion, wheelchair accessible playground, concession stands and restrooms, all tailored for the disabled. Along with the Sabres Alumni Assn. funds are coming from the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, community donors and fundraisers. Taking part in the Groundbreaking Ceremony earlier this Spring were Jim Lorenz, Rene Robert, Mike Robitaille, Craig Muni, Danny Gare and Larry Playfair.*

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


Men’s Collegiate Hockey News & Notes Canisius Names 2011-12 Team Captains

Nazareth Adds Men’s Ice Hockey



2011-12 Team Captains Scott Moser and Preston Shupe. (Photos courtesy of Canisius College)

anisius College head coach Dave Smith has announced that Scott Moser (Tonawanda, N.Y.) and Preston Shupe (Weyburn, Saskatchewan) will serve as captains of the Golden Griffin hockey program for the 2011-12 campaign. “These two players are terrific student-athletes who are excellent leaders and role models on and off the ice,” Smith said. “They follow in the footsteps of many great captains dating back to our first varsity captain in Joe Casaci. Our captains have gone on to great careers and have carried with them the responsibility of leadership throughout their lives.” Moser, who served as an assistant captain during his junior campaign, set career highs with 21 points and nine goals last season to go along with 12 assists. During his first three seasons with the Griffs, the Tonawanda, N.Y. native has appeared in 98 career games with 49 points, 16 goals and 33 assists. Shupe played in 32 games as a sophomore during the 2010-11 season, totaling 24 points, 10 goals and 14 assists. The team’s Rookie of the Year during the 2009-10 campaign, Shupe has totaled 49 points, 20 goals and 29 assists in 69 career games as a Griff. With both Moser and Shupe serving as team captains, it marks the first time since the 2003-04 campaign that two or more student-athletes will lead the Griffs. Moser is also the first Western New York Player to be named captain since Greg Brown for the 2007-08 season. Canisius returns 17 letterwinners from the 2010-11 team that advanced to the Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinals.

ECC’s Frijol and Lyness Named First Team All NJCAA All American


icholas Friol and Todd Lyness were both named firstteam selections to the 2011 NJCAA All-America hockey team, announced by the NJCAA. Friol, a sophomore forward from Orchard Park, N.Y., was also the most valuable player at the 2011 NJCAA Championships where ECC won its first-ever national title. Friol recorded 24 goals and a team-high 32 assists for 56 total points in 26 games. His 32 assists also led Todd Lyness the NJCAA while he was fourth overall in Nicholas Friol points. Lyness, a sophomore forward from North Tonawanda, N.Y., led ECC with 29 goals. He added 25 assists for 54 points in 26 games. Lyness was seventh in the nation in scoring while his 29 goals were the fourth-most in the NJCAA. The Kats went 20-6 and won the national championship.

azareth College will add men’s ice hockey to its intercollegiate athletic offerings with competition at the NCAA Division III level slated to begin with the 2012-13 season. With no on-campus playing venue, Nazareth is still in negotiations to determine the best location for its newest team. Athletic Director Pete Bothner also said that the athletic department would move forward in the next few weeks to conduct a nationwide search to hire a head coach. Nazareth also has petitioned the ECAC West Division to join that conference. Elmira, Hobart, Manhattanville, Neumann and Utica are current members. “We think this will be a great new program for Nazareth College and for the larger Rochester community,” said Nazareth president Daan Braveman. “Hockey is a popular sport at the collegiate level and we think this will be received as a good addition to our athletic landscape.” In deciding to add ice hockey, Nazareth has used the assistance of local resident Craig Dahl, who has nearly three decades of hockey coaching experience, including 19 as a Division I head coach at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. “We feel fortunate that we can utilize Craig as a great resource in this overall process,” Bothner said. “He has a lot of experience and can bring forth some great insight.” Men’s ice hockey will be Nazareth’s 24th intercollegiate team. The Golden Flyers are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and recently won the Division III national championship in men’s volleyball.*

LOOKING TO PLAY TRAVEL HOCKEY for the 2011 – 2012 season ***Well it’s not to late*** The Niagara County Coyotes are scheduling try-outs for our inaugural Squirt Mixed Tier III Ice Hockey Team (birth years 2001 and 2002 - 9 and 10 year olds) For more information and try-out dates/times please contact Coach: Mike Finnegan Email – Home - 716-285-2162 Niagara County Coyotes Proud of our Past and Poised for the Future

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


there are a Few Openings Left! call tODaY!

NYSAHA Announces 2011-12 Championship Tournament Schedule Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth High School High School

Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier


Youth Youth Youth Youth Girls Girls Girls Girls Sr. Women Sr. Women Sr. Women Sr. Women

Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier


Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Youth Girls Girls Girls Girls

Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier Tier


Squirt 10 U Squirt 10 U Squirt 10 U PeeWee 12 U Bantam 14 U HS Club HS Open

March 2 - 4, 2012

Buffalo Regals Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles Onondaga Youth Genesee/Batavia Norfolk/Norwood TBA TBA March 9 - 11, 2012 PeeWee 12 U Suffolk PAL Bantam 14 U West Sencea Youth PeeWee 12 U Oswego Minor Hockey Bantam 14 U Clinton Youth Hockey 12U Saranac Lake Peewee 14U Adirondack Youth 16U Amherst 19U Potsdam Jr. Hockey Sr. A Sr. B Malone Minor Hockey Sr. C Malone Minor Hockey 30 & Over March 16 -18, 2012 Midget 16U Amherst Midget 18U Troy/Albany Youth Midget 16U Massena Minor Hockey Midget 18U Cheektowaga Rec Midget 16U Alexandria Bay Midget 18U Valley Youth Hockey 12U Buffalo Bisons 14U Buffalo Bisons 16U Buffalo Bisons 19U Ogdensburg

West West Central West North

East West Central Central North North West North North North West North North West North Central West West West North

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


Hockey Timeline:

Now is the time to set Goals and Plans for a Successful 2011-12 Season By Steve Thomson HPHD Staff Writer – Owner


ome teams will soon begin summer skates and off-ice training. The “official” opening of the youth hockey season in early September is only about two months away. If you haven’t already, with tryouts for the 2011-12 winter hockey season behind and spring hockey underway, now is a good time to reflect on last season and begin to envision next season. As you look to the future, it is important to establish goals, set priorities and plan for individual and team success. Goals: Establishing goals is an important prerequisite to accomplishing any desired outcome. The goals you establish will serve to define how you will measure success. Coaches, players and parents all want to achieve success; however, without defined goals each individual will have a different definition of success. These goals should require significant progress, while also being attainable. Where possible, a baseline should be established at the beginning of the season so progress can be measured objectively. As most individuals and teams have budgetary constraints, it is important to prioritize goals and allocate dollars to the areas that will have the greatest impact on accomplishing established individual and team goals. • What are your team and individual goals? • What plans to do you have in place to achieve these goals? Most coaches and parents indicate “development” as a priority, however, many teams spend a large share of the team budget on various social and competitive aspects of the team experience that typically can be achieved more cost effectively. For example, by eliminating one or two out of town tournaments and choosing quality tournaments over the quantity of tournaments, teams can redirect a significant pool of dollars to team and individual skill development

Parents. A comprehensive Team Season Plan should establish specific goals, objectives and priorities and include the following training elements: • Physical (ex., endurance, speed, agility, etc.) • Technical (ex., skating, shooting, passing, etc.) • Tactical (ex., individual offensive, team offensive play, etc.) • Mental (ex., relaxation, concentration, motivation, etc.) Individual Development Planning: As a complement to your Team Season Plan it is important for you as the player and / or parent to create an Individual Development Plan. The “off-season is the time of year where individual player development should be brought to the forefront. This is the only time of year where the individual should be prioritized over the team. While the results players achieve during this “off-season” can create break-through results, it is important to continue this progress during the regular winter hockey season through ongoing, consistent and focused training. Some coaches will want to be involved with players and / or parents to make sure the Individual Development Plan focuses on the skill development deemed most relevant to a given player / goalie and is aligned effectively with the team season plan. A comprehensive Individual Development Plan should be focused on the individual aspects of the Physical, Technical, Tactical and Mental training elements referenced above. It is important that any decisions regarding spring hockey, camps, clinics or off-ice training should be made in the context of the Individual Development Plan. In order to maximize growth, players should seek the best personalized instruction possible to allow for consistent, quality feedback. Consistent practice with proper technique is critical to maximizing skill development.*

Season Planning: In order to maximize progress, season planning should be done in the context of the goals that have been established for the team and each individual. If “development” is the #1 priority, this should direct your hockey season planning decisions. Team Planning: Hopefully as part of your decision criteria for team selection at tryouts, you have some insight into the coaching staff’s plan for the season. If you aren’t sure, the majority of coaches are open to you asking this fair question. Although some individual skills should be reinforced during team practices throughout the year, you will find the primary focus throughout the season should be on team concepts. The key aspects of the Team Season Plan are usually communicated to Players and

Steve Thomson HPHD Staff Writer – Owner Steve has 25 years experience coaching and HPHD instructors are trained to develop hockey skills for players of all ages and levels. Steve’s current and former players are playing hockey at levels ranging from House to the NHL. As an owner of High Performance Hockey Development (HPHD) Training Centers, he is implementing offer a variety of year round programs to accelerate the hockey development of players, teams and coaches in Western New York.


Western New York Hockey

July 2011


DRYLAND TRAINING: Internal and External Hip Rotation in Goaltenders Ryan L. Crotin, PhD Candidate, University at Buffalo National Strength and Conditioning Association CSCS 2010-2011 Buffalo Junior Sabres Strength and Conditioning Coordinator


have been a sports performance coach and personal trainer for almost 10 years. Over the past 5 years, I have had the opportunity to program athletes in Western New York across baseball, football, hockey, softball, basketball and soccer. My previous experience included athletic performance programming at University at Buffalo. After three years, I had moved into Player Development with the St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball. In professional baseball, I provided biomechanics analyses for free agent drafts, established minor league strength and conditioning programs, and assisted the hitting coordinator. The athletes I have worked with provide a new understanding in movement mechanics. In hockey, I have come to know the essential movement tools including balance, core stabilization, pelvic-trunk rotation, and multi-directional agility. Also, hockey players are intermittent athletes and have to be conditioned for aerobic performance, as well as extended and rapid energy bursts. Each day, I continue to learn more about my athletes through questions. The following topic was established by a question posed by a Junior Sabres goaltender. THE QUESTION The goaltender had expressed difficulty moving into and out of the butterfly position and wondered what was causing movement limitations. THE ANSWER The first aspect I had investigated was the athlete’s ability to internally and externally rotate his hips. This was accomplished by Supine Internal Hip Rotation to estimate internal rotation angles. Indeed, the athlete had internal rotation limitations and required additional exercises to correct range of motion. Achievement of the butterfly position and creation of ice-reaction forces to move the goalie about his crease entails muscular coordination of internal hip rotation (angling knees inward, skates outward) and hip abduction (pushing off the ice laterally, or from the side). External rotation muscles of the hip must have flexibility to allow for greater internal rota-

tion and that is the first aspect of improving internal rotation range of motion. The Seated Piriformis Stretch, enacted by simultaneous pulling upward on the ankle, while gently pushing downward on the knee, will stretch external rotation muscles allowing greater internal hip rotation. In strengthening the hip internal rotators, Seated Internal Hip Rotation Isometrics (holding a muscular contraction) will improve the neural firing of the muscles required to produce rapid internal hip rotation. Resistance can be added to this exercise in the form of ankle weights. To coordinate internal rotation, hip abduction and knee and hip extension, a stability ball can be incorporated to simulate these actions. The Stability Ball Wall Lunge has the athlete starting with the ball against the wall, the counter-balanced foot dropped behind the active leg with the shoulder in contact with the ball. The athlete then extends himself/herself upward pushing against the ball until standing. This exercise should be performed repetitively for at least 2 sets of 20-30 repetitions each leg. Hip musculature strength and coordination are essential for movement mechanics in skating, goaltending, shooting and passing. It’s important that conditioning programs examine athletes’ abilities to internally rotate the hip (knees angling in, skate rotated out), externally rotate the hip (knees angling out, skate rotated in), hip adduction (pulling foot in at the hip) and hip abduction (pushing foot away at the hip). Pelvic rotation can be further improved by training the previously mentioned movements, which is essential for creating maximal shot velocity. Flexibility cannot be ignored, as shortened muscles from tightness can cause sciatic nerve pathologies and groin strains. It is important to allow for appropriate range of motion through flexibility training and much back pain and postural deficits can be alleviated through stretching exercises. Abnormal lumbopelvic posture can greatly impact skating efficiency and predispose athletes to lumbar disc degeneration. Prior to any competitive season and throughout the season, athletes should be screened for movement mechanics efficiency, postural alignment and muscular coordination in reducing the risk of injury and maximizing physical performance.*

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


Wheatfield Blades Mite Minor Cap Off Season with Championship


heatfield was well represented and has good reason to be proud of its Wheatfield Blades Mite Minor hockey team. The team is made up of seventeen local youngsters who gave it their all. On March 5 the Wheatfield Blades Mite Minor AAA team beat the Erie Lions team with a final score of 3-2 for the WNY AHL (Western New York American Hockey League) championship. This caps off a record season for Wheatfield which went undefeated in regular league play as well as capturing the Silver medal in the coveted Wayne Gretzky International tournament in Brantford, Ontario in January 2011. The Gretzky tournament, now in its 41st year, is one of the most prestigious youth hockey tournaments in North America featuring the top teams across the world. Over 100 teams traveled to the Brantford & District Civic Center in January for four days of exciting hockey competition. The Wheatfield Blades, in the Minor Novice MD division, skated their way into the finals against the Brantford 99er’s where they secured a Silver medal with outstanding performances.

The excitement continued at the Championship game and was a well fought battle that saw Wheatfield & Erie tied at 1-1 in the first period. Erie scored in the second period to move ahead 2-1. Through persistence and determination Wheatfield tied the game at 2-2 in the third period with a significant goal by Riley Kubiak that sent the game into an emotional overtime. Jaden Riley scored the crucial game winning goal to win the championship for the Wheatfield Blades. Riley also scored the initial goal in the first period. Coach Ken Franasiak said “We are very, very proud of our boys. We had a fabulous season in both league and non-league play. To see what these remarkable seven and eight year young men can do is a true testament to their hard work and dedication. The entire coaching staff is extremely proud as well as the entire organization. To have a record of being undefeated the entire season is really only half the story. These boys have amazing skills and heart. Their hard work and drive made it a real pleasure to watch and we’re proud to be part of such an exciting team.”*

Western New York Hockey

July 2011


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WNY Hockey Report July 2011  

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