Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hello, It's me...

Hello readers it has been too long.

I have to apologize, when I took on the position of photographer and writer for Call of the Wild I honestly thought I could keep up both blogs. I can't, no matter how hard I try there are just not enough hours left in the day. I will keep this blog active in case I need to express something that my voice on ChicagoNow can't. However for the moment to continue to see my photos and words please go to or just follow the link at the right.

Thank you for your loyalty over the past years, I'm just a different click away.

Jane Rickard

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicago Wolves Fire Coach Granato and Christie!

It has been a long season of losses for Chicago Wolves fans and the rumors of a coaching change have been flying thick and fast. Today at 12:37 the Wolves front office announced that Head Coach Don Granato and Assistant Coach Jason Christie services were no longer required by the club. In the brief association Powderhornhockey had with Don Granato he was accessible and open. We wish him and his family well in where ever life takes him.

Tonight there is a swirl of activity and speculation regarding the men or women that will replace these coaches. Many names are being mentioned from several leagues and states. For now the Wolves are remaining quiet and are sticking to their plans to announce the new personnel before Fridays game. Oh, it is going to be a busy week on the fan boards until game time Friday!

Davy Phillips Update, A Giant Still Walks Among Us...

Last July a contact in Northern Ireland wrote me with the news that “a Giant was going to walk among ye.” Davy Phillips was going to have a try out at the Black Hawks prospect camp. To say the least there was excitement in Belfast among Giants fans. A few days later I found myself watching David Phillips, as the roster listed him show of his skills at camp. He impressed me as a solid stay at home defense man who, bless him could be counted on to stick with a goalie. Phillips looked like the product of good coaching, ready for the AHL and a good fit for Rockford.

After his last scrimmage with the Blackhawks Patrick Kissane and I did a brief interview with him where he was noncommittal but confident considering his future in hockey. The major difference between the European game and what he had experienced in Chicago was size of ice and difference in training of the players. He seemed a young man living on the cusp of his dreams.

Since those moments in the United Center “Phily “ as he is called by his fellow IceHogs has signed an American Hockey League contract, moved into his flat and is adjusting to life in the US. He seems well matched with Rockford, an arena where they dance for every goal and sing chants to the opposing goalie. Much like Davy's previous home with the Belfast Giants. Last Saturday I had a chance to meet with him again after a game. When asked what is the major adjustment he has had to make, again it is the size of the ice. The small ice we play on in North America compared with the larger European ice makes for a faster game. It also demands a quicker mental and physical response time from players. Philips stated he now has to “think faster” on the ice specifically due to this.

There have also been alterations in his conditioning, a core muscle regimen has been added as part of post game cool downs and individual electrolyte drinks. A chance from the single flavor and brand he had in Belfast.

Apparently it hasn't all been training and nutrition. When asked what is his favorite American food he thought a minute and answered “ I don't know if you can call them food, but Reeses Peanut Butter Cups” Good choice Davy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Belfast Giant Among Us!

Davy Phillips late of Belfast and of the Belfast Giants looking good in a Rockford IceHogs uniform. Here are a few photos there will be lots more, very soon...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicago Wolves Lose Home Opener to Milwaukee 3:2

Sad but true the Wolves lost their home opener to old rivals the Milwaukee Admirals 3:2 at the Allstate arena on October 3rd. The home crowd left the arena hoping for better things from what looks to be one of the most gifted line ups the Wolves have ever seen but one that simply played 20 minutes of hockey on opening night. Coach Granato has presented fans this year with a tasty mix heavy with vets and as light on youngsters as possible. Returnees include Jason Krog, Kevin Doell, Brett Sterling, Spencer Machaeck,Grant Lewis, Nathan Oystrick , Yes NATHAN OYSTRICK sent down from a blueline heavy Atlanta and Joey Crabb.

The current hot gossip is that veteran Chris Chelios is set to sign with the Wolves. Indeed he is going to skate with the team on Monday and that. is all the Wolves office is willing to confirm. Like Atlanta the Wolves are blueline heavy if Chelios does join the team as a player they will have to show one on the roster the door. To my eyes the one most likely to see the gate is Brian Sipotz.

As always here are some images of opening night!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wolves-a new blog Belfast Giants Struggle.

There have been big changes happening behind the scenes at Powderhornhockey, it is a great pleasure to announce that a new sister blog has been created at The blog is entitled "Call of the Wild " a nod to it's primary subject the Chicago Wolves. You can reach it easily by it's link This new challenging assignment is going to ask the most of me as a artist and as a photographer, I'm looking forward to it!

The Belfast Giants are having some difficult days. They are below 500 and are struggling with a near nonexistent PP and are simply unable to stay out of the sin bin. The one bright spot seems to be Sean McMorrows dance card which seems to be filling up. In last Saturdays game it was reported that not only did he have a fight but he impressed Panther fans by standing in the tunnel and flexing his muscles for the fans amusement gaining him a game misconduct. That's the Sean McMorrow we know and love!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rumblings of the Giant

Ohhh there are rumblings of discontent from Giant fans and followers alike. The season has barely started and they have not done well, if I'm reading the statics correctly they got their first power play goals this weekend. Yesterday they lost in a heart breaker to the Coventry Blaze and today in a 2:0 shut out to the Newcastle Vipers. Possibly the one man feeling the pressure the most in Belfast City is Canadian Sean McMorrow. A classic old school enforcer McMorrow has not only had a blank dance card this season but there have been reports of players refusing enter into banter with him. This has to place the man brought over to protect skill players and fulfill a role on the team, all be it partially entertainment, difficult. There were reports of him leaving the box in the second period for a shift, falling forward and leaving the ice promptly, hopefully unhurt. The new sheriff in town must be one frustrated guy by now. However it is early days, if there are chemistry problems disrupting the locker room Coach Thornton needs to get on the stick. As for the PP and the dodgy penalty kill- time for more than a few long captain's practices.

I found a bit of history while researching another matter, the story of Hockey's first professional woman goalie. I'm not going to retell it the story is his and most importantly hers.

The story was simple but it was best told form Leonard "Oakie" Brumm her coaches eyes. The material is from The Marquette Iron Rangers Site:

'How pro hockey's first woman goalie took the world by storm-right here in Marquette-as told by her coach.

With the tremendous growth of girl's hockey, especially here in the far north, I think it would be interesting to the sport's fans and female players to where when and where the first woman hockey player made her debut and how she fared. It happened in October 1969 at the old Palestra Ice Arena in Marquette. It came at opening tryouts for the Marquette Iron Rangers when all comers war invited to show their skills. I was the coach for the Iron Rangers, a very strong senior United States Hockey League team, and the woman player was Karen Koch (pronounced "Cook") from Gibraltar, Michigan.

In those days the first night of Iron Ranger practice was a combination of a happening, a civic event, and a circus with some serious hockey mixed in. Several players from the previous season were signed to contracts and two or three good players were signed or about to sign. Then, there were the usual ten to fifteen guys who either felt they were good enough to make the team, had been goaded into trying out by their friends, or had bragged about their hockey skills all summer. Now it was time to "put up or shut up!"

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula it was every young hockey player’s dream back then to someday get paid for playing hockey. The Iron Rangers, or some other USHL team was usually their only practical chance to get paid for playing. Salaries ranged from $25 per game for marginal rookies to $100 or more per game for top-notch players with a Division I college, minor league experience or occasionally a former NHL player on the way to retirement. The USHL was a good deal for many excellent hockey players because they could hold down full-time jobs and still get some decent money for playing a game they probably would have played for fun.

Besides, in those days there were only eight or nine NHL teams (the first expansion took place the previous Year, 1968). At that time, the USHL had ninety-five percent of the best American hockey players, many Canadian Junior "A" graduates who had recently graduated from U.S. Division I universities and were not quite good enough for the NHL but wanted to continue playing while they started their chosen careers.

The league was strong and the Iron Rangers were the defending champions. Interest in the team for the coming year was extremely high, so fan attendance at the first practice was high as well. By 1969 I had coached for eighteen seasons, so I was used to all kinds of hype and confusion. I had a pretty good idea which players I could count on, which new players should make the team and how to let down gently those who simply were not good enough to play. Consequently the Iron Rangers always had one or two guys coming out of nowhere to become solid team members. The best example was the Carlson/Hanson Brothers, later famous for the movie Slap Shot.

I got a big surprise. Our regular goalie was Brian Lunney, who had been sent to us by the Toronto Maple Leafs via the Canadian Olympic Team. Outnumber One backup was Lonnie Lytaikainen, a local kid who showed great promise. Both were on the ice along with two goalies I had never seen before and hadn't expected. After a brief talk to the entire group (four goalies and about twenty-five players), we did some preliminary skating drills and easy shooting drills so everyone had a chance to show what they had. Of course, our best goalie looked good, our backup looked pretty good, but one of the two newcomers couldn't stop a basketball with a snowshoe. The other one looked surprisingly quick and made some nice saves in spite of being small.

We'd been working for twenty minutes when Barry Cook, our captain, skated up to me and said, "Coach, did you know that little squirt of a goalie is a girl?"

"What!" I said. "How do you know?"

"One of the kids from Northern (Michigan University) told me," he said.

I quickly asked him to take the practice so I could talk to her myself. She had given no indication that she was a woman. All players were required to wear helmets, so with the helmets and goalie pads it was impossible to tell she was a female. I motioned her off to the side where we could talk without being run into or hit by a puck. She was extremely apprehensive and wouldn’t look at me. (I found out later that she had expected me to kick her off the ice).

Finally she told me her name was Karen Koch, she was eighteen years old and she had enrolled at Northern Michigan University specifically to try out for the Iron Rangers. She had been playing hockey and lacrosse with the boys in Gibraltar ever since she could remember. She went on to say that none of the senior teams in the Detroit area would give her a tryout. She said she had heard nothing but good things about the Iron Rangers and felt she could make the team. She desperately didn't want to be cut without a fair tryout.

I thought to myself, A girl goalie...what if she gets hurt? Where is she going to change clothes? Just how good is she? For one of the few times in my life I didn't know what to do. She had done nothing to justify cutting her. So I told her we should see how well she did and that she'd be given a fair tryout.

In subsequent practices she showed remarkable ability. Her only drawback was her size. Both of our goalies were big guys. They stopped more pucks by accident than she did on purpose.

Hockey's First Female Pro, Karen Koch

Koch's presence on the squad brought complaints from the veteran players, but even they admitted she was surprisingly good and probably equal to our regular backup goalie. Their griping was far overshadowed by the national publicity she generated after her photo was run in the daily and weekly newspapers. We got calls from the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters and newspapers, radio and TV stations from all over the U.S. and Canada. It was a major news story. And, all the while Karen Koch was stopping pucks and earning her place on the squad. When it came time to cut the team down to eighteen players and two goalies; I changed the number and kept seventeen players and three goalies, including Lunney, Lytaikainen and Koch. Koch signed a contract for $40 per game. As far as I know she was the first female player ever to do so in the world.

She played as well as any of our previous backup goalies when I was able to use her. She wasn't solid enough to start and play regularly because the league simply was too good. Word of her being on the squad preceded our first game of the season in the Canadian Soo. She caused so much interest that Soo officials called and insisted that she be announced as the starting goalie to swell attendance. City staff arranged for the Mayor of Sault St. Marie, Ontario, who had been a pretty good hockey player in years past, to take a pre-game penalty shot at Karen-the Mayor going in all-alone against the world's only female goalie. Her presence, along with the highly anticipated "shootout”, filled the arena and she received a standing ovation when she stopped the Mayor's shot. He received taunting boos as he returned to the stands. She played the first period, giving up tow goals on twelve shots as the Iron Rangers left the ice trailing 2-0. Lunney finished the game with the Iron Rangers winning 5-3.

Later on Koch again filled the Green Bay Arena when the rumor spread that she was going to start against the Bobcats. I hadn't planned to start her, but the sight of more than 5,000 fans in the arena changed my mind. I decided it would be good for hockey and for the Green Bay coffers. She played half of the first period but had to come out when she took one of Paul Coppo's slap shots on the knee above her leg pad and below her thigh pad. The score was 1-1 at the time.

As the season wore on Koch reached a plateau in her ability, partially caused by her small size. She never missed a practice and finally was accepted by all but the most chauvinist guys on the team. Unfortunately, she seemed to have a "death wish" for a facial scar caused by a hockey puck in a USHL game. She simply and consistently defied my orders to wear a mask while playing. After flagrantly removing her mask during all of the games after Christmas, I was forced to let her go with about ten games remaining in the schedule.

Koch left NMU the next semester and went to Canada to play in the Toronto area. She again made headlines throughout North America when she was barred by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association from playing on men's teams.

Today Karen is a legal secretary in Minneapolis. After her hockey days, she earned bachelors degree at Wayne State University and a Master's degree at the University of Dayton, both in the Liberal Arts. She holds a black belt in judo and is training in jujitsu. She also is writing and is illustrating her first children's book."

What I found most interesting is she thought of herself as just someone who wanted to play hockey, to simply be taken for her skills in a mans world. Isn't what we fought for as feminists in the 70's? I also found it curious that ultimately what may ended her career was her refusal to wear protective equipment, to this nurse very hard to understand. Someday I'd like to talk to her about this and other things.

Indiana Ice Melt under Chicago Steel

Friday night the Chicago Steel notched another one in the win column for their pre season warm ups. Both teams came to play but only one, the Steel to win last night at Bensonville's Edge Arena. The Ice dominated early but seemed to run out of legs and became a team of individuals. The Steel after taking 30 minutes to warm up caught their stride on the ice and looked well coached.

The venue at the Edge has been significantly upgraded since my first visit years ago. It now boasts an bar and sky boxes which can be rented for parties. Tickets on game day can be reserved for five dollars until 1:00 pm, parking is free, yes, even in this recession you can afford to take the family to to a Steel game. However one thing hasn't changed, one of the best things about seeing a game at the Edge is it's intimacy. Where ever you sit you are right on top of the ice, the sight lines are great. But the price is that the arena is often cold, so if you attend a game bring your favorite sweater or fleece even on a 80 degree day and you will be glad you did.

For those who have never seen the Steel they are members of the United States Hockey League or the American equivalent to the Canadian Major Junior Leagues. It is composed of young men under the age of twenty, has 14 teams divided into two divisions. All teams are based in the Midwest making for a “bus league” where games are only a few hours apart. The members of this league are funneled into the college system after “graduation” from the USHL.

Still it's pre season all these games are shake down cruses and are just a glimpse of what is to come for the season. If this is first snap shot of a team still finding it's legs things look good for the regular season. The kids in the USHL can skate, oh man can they hit and they even dig for the puck in corners. The regular season opens October 3rd against the USA Hockey team they will have all the bells and whistles for the fans out for opening night you can be sure. For a $7.00 ticket what's not to love?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blackhawks Training Camp

Sit Down And Shut UP
We are knee deep in Blackhawks camp this week, a poster on my favorite Hawks site, Second City Hockey posted this on youtube. To my friends in Belfast watching for Davy Phillips enjoy the coverage.

Sadly my day job is keeping me home from camp this year however this site is giving fine coverage to the event.

Friday night the Chicago Steel will be playing Indiana Ice at the Edge in Bensonville. With luck it will be a chance to see Blackhawk prospect 17 year old Cab Morris in goal for for Indiana. He looked great at rookie camp against the big boys in July he should be really strutting his stuff before a home town crowd against the Steel. Game time is 7:30, be there or be square!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Belfast Giants Drop Home Opener To Sheffield 3:2 in Shoot Out!

The boys of Belfast worked HARD last night putting 30 shots at Sheffield nettie Kevin Rieter to Sheffield's 22 drilled at Belfast's Nathan Craze but it would not be enough for a win. Both teams would hit the net for goals during the first period, Sheffield taking advantage of George Awada's second penalty of the night to gain that all important first goal advantage. Then with moments to go in the period Pierre-Luc Faubert found the back of Sheffield's net to tie the score, new game.

Second period as described by the Belfast Giants was an "revolving door" of penalties. The league statics show a game total a balanced 18minutes for 9 infractions for Belfast and 20 minutes for 10 infractions for the Steelers. What will show every time is the ability to capitalize on the power play and a rock solid penalty kill. Teams can talk about power play but the plain fact is they have to also have a deadly penalty kill in their pocket too. The first month of the season is often a "shake down" period of assessment of team needs, this is obviously something shaking down for the Giants.

Third period action started fast and furious with Scott Basiuk putting the Steelers a head with a PP goal at 4:10 into the period . Not to be denied the home crowd went crazy when Tim Cook evened the score for Belfast at 8:14. The game would end in a tie in regulation and ultimately with a Sheffield victory in a shoot out.

Today at 13:00 hours Central(Chicago) time the Giants and Steelers will face off again, this time in Sheffield. There will be no webcast of the game, updates are available from the league or the

There is good news to share! As was reported earlier in the season Giants mascot Gordy was hospitalized with the H!N! virus. He has been released and is now recovering at home. Everyone at Powderhornhockey wishes him a full and speedy recovery, lots of chicken soup for you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Signs of the Times, Chitowndailynews turns out the lights.

It was announced today the the has ceased publication. As the vast majority of my blog entries are posted under both Powderhornhockey and the Dailynews this changes nothing for us here.

The editorial team of Patrick Kissane, Kris Gray and Jane Rickard will soon be announcing the new home of " Sit Down and Shut Up" . Meanwhile, life and hockey goes on unchanged, at your "View From the Rail" our batteries are charged, the lights are on and we are good to go.

There is hockey to cover, games to shoot and Powderhornhockey will be there.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Belfast Giants Squish Hull Stingrays 3:2!

It was a good night for the boys of Belfast learning a lesson from last night scoring early and often. First goal came at 2:55 in the first frame,shortly after a kneeing penalty by Hull's Sylivan Couliter had expired. Belfast enforcer Sean McMorrow returned the favor with a 2:00 penalty for roughing in retaliation . That's the Sean we know and love from the American Hockey league, the new sheriff in town, keeping order. The rest of the game featured 15 shots on goal for Belfast and 21 for Hull, Belfast's Welsh nettie Nathan Craze was the starter for the night. Penalty minutes were not evenly divided between the teams with 8 minutes for the Giants and 20 for the Rays.

All in all not a bad weekend for the Giants. Both goalies got a start to work out the kinks away from the home crowd, by tweeted reports from Giants supporters attending the match the defence was reported as improved. The next game for the Giants is a home and home series against the Sheffield Steelers starting in Belfast on Saturday. Plenty of time for Coach Thornton to work on the power play and penalty kill.

Now if I could only find a way to get a plane ticket to Belfast...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nottingham defeats Belfast in home opener 4-1

That pretty much says it all Nottingham dominated the entire game scoring within the first two minutes, the final score 4:1. There was no web cast for the game and the only transmission was via the "Cats Whiskers" of the Nottingham Panthers. Thank you to the kind folks in the Kingdom of the Giants chat room for the color commentary along the way.

Stats courtesy of the Belfast Giants Game Report.

Period Scores: 2-0, 1-1, 1-0
Penalty Mins: Not 21 - Bel 29
Powerplay: Not 3/11 - Bel 0/7
Shots On: Kevin St Pierre 32 - Stephen Murphy 35
Referee: Matt Thompson

Looking at the stats it brings three questions. First the goalie question, Stephen Murphy the Giants nettie turned away 31 shots. It begs the question whether he had proper defensive support? Not having had a visual of the game I can't comment beyond this is a coaching problem. A goalie should not be left all alone flapping in the breeze like laundry left out overnight. However this is something Coach Steve Thornton can best answer by proper coverage in today's game.

The second issue is the number of penalties, no team can win if they hand a man advantage to the opposition every shift change. Ugly goals may win games but stupid penalties loose them. While thinking of penalties Sean McMorrow gained his first time in the box for the season for "taking on the Panthers bench" according to the "Cats Whiskers" feed in the closing minutes of the game. McMorrow was given two minutes for roughing according to the feed, something has to be missing, that doesn't sound like a bench brawl by the time given.

Power play, needs work, the Giants were handed seven and did not capitalize on any of them.

Still it is early days and an away opener. These are the games where kinks are worked out. This game might have been kinkier than most but hockey unlike American football is a marathon not a sprint. Should the Giants finish the weekend with 2 points in their pocket and no injuries it will be well done. Tomorrow is another day and there will be yet another chance for the Giants they will be playing in Hull against the Stingrays 17:30 London time. That's 12:30 pm Central, grab a s sandwich and follow on Twitter.

For as Scarlett O'Hara says"Tomorrow, is another day."

Hockey Time in Belfast!

Ok, hockey fans in North America this is the day to get your errands done early for it is the season opener for the Belfast Giants today at 19:00 hours Belfast time or 14:00 hours Chicago time. (2:00 pm for those not on military time) . The Giants will be taking on the Nottingham Panthers in Nottingham.

There are new reasons for local interest in the Giants this season first is the Phillips brothers. David Phillips late of the Giants has inked a contract with the American Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks the Rockford Icehogs. His brother Kevin Phillips has taken his place on the Belfast roster. Second Sean McMorrow long time AHL enforcer and member of last years Icehog line up is now a Giant. Obviously there is a bit of a Rockford and Belfast connection brewing, something this writer and photographer is very happy to see.

For those not lucky enough to have caught the flight last night at O'Hare the game will be Web Cast link at right just like last year. Unlike last season there is a nominal fee, to the hockey starved, McMorrow fans or just plain Giants fans it is well worth the price.

Giants roster for tonight's game is as follows:

4 Shane Johnson
31 Stephen Murphy
72 Pierre-Luc Faubert
41 George Awada
8 Tim Cook
71 Craig Peacock
32 Robbie Brown
16 Steve Thornton
7 Kevin Phillips
9 Evan Cheverie
26 Brandon Benedict
20 Mark Morrison
6 Tom Walsh
19 Colin Shields
23 Sean McMorrow
18 Graeme Walton
5 Michael Jacobsen
1 Nathan Craze
15 Pat Bateman

Notice something? 19 names, one of things that first caught my eye about this league was that like the old United Hockey League team rosters were small. Simply put these players skate their hearts out. With a small team and the big ice they play on conditioning and skating skill becomes a key factor in the game from the start of the season, the way it should be. It will be interesting to see how the addition of Sean McMorrow fits into a league where each player has to be flexible in his role. McMorrow when playing in the AHL filled the role of enforcer beautifully, but not as a goal scorer. I am looking forward to seeing how player coach Steve Thornton uses McMorrow's on ice skills to the Giant's advantage.

On a personal note, there are reports that beloved Giants mascot Gordie is in hospital possibly with H1N1, get well soon, Powderhornhockey's thoughts are with you.

Here we go, GAME ON!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Patrick Kane Has his first Day in Court.

Patrick and James Kane went on the record today entering a plea of not guilty before Buffalo Chief City Judge Thomas P. Amodeo.
to misdemeanor and violation charges tied to the alleged assault of Jan Radecki a Buffalo cab driver on August 10th.

In a short statement to reporters outside of the courtroom according to the Buffalo News Patrick Kane stated "Today was a tough day for us. You know, I just reiterated to the judge that I'm not guilty of any crime, and I'm confident in the legal process," . He said.
"Right now, much more can't be said," he added.
This would be the only glimpse of the proceedings for the media, as per the request of the defense attorneys the courtroom itself was closed to all press by Judge Amodeo. Defense attorneys also requested that both Mr. Kanes be absent for next Thursdays 10:30 court date, Judge Amodeo also granted this request.
So the saga continues of the twenty cent tip. The courtroom doors are firmly closed today however the doors are open in the court of public opinion. There is a week until the next gathering at City Court lots of time for a duck and cover drill or a side show. We can hope the wheels of justice run smoothly and blindly for the Kane boys. Then our minds can return to important things, like how many days until the first puck drop on home ice?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back to Buffalo for Patrick Kane

The Grand Jury is Baaacck!!!
It's misdemeanors and a violation each for Patrick Kane and his cousin James M Kane. According to the Buffalo News the the Erie County grand jury passed down bills of inditement for charges of third-degree assault and theft of services, both misdemeanors and harassment, a violation. No felony charges there for either Kane.
Both Patrick and James Kane will be in Buffalo City court tomorrow for arraignment. It would be typical of a first offender case such as this that the Kane's attorney Paul Cambria will be working for a plea arrangement with DA Frank Sedita III. We shall see what tomorrows court date shall bring, the saga of the Kane boys and the twenty cent tip is far from over, but the light is near the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stevie Martins, Ages like a Fine Wine...

The time has come for my annual valentine to a favorite Wolf, Stevie Martins. Just why am I so fond of Martins? He is always there in on every play scrambling and scrapping. As a veteran he is constantly guiding the younger players on the ice and as one lucky enough to be standing at the glass you can the chatter between players. Steve Martin may be one of the oldest players on the ice but he is also one of the most respected. There has yet to be an announcement of the signing of his contract with the Wolves for this season, may the news come soon that # 26 will be taking the ice again in Chicago.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Patrick Kane Arrested in Buffalo.

Eight days ago 20 year old Patrick Kane and Blackhawk super star was arrested in Buffalo with a relative for fourth degree robbery, theft of services and criminal mischief. He stands accused of beating Jan Radecki, a cab driver in a rage over twenty cents. That's right twenty cents, one fifth of a dollar less than a quarter, you can't even make a phone call with twenty cents!

The absurdity of the entire situation has left me shaking my head, you see Buffalo is my home town and the location and some of the players involved are still familiar to me. All I want to do is ask this young man is,
“Patrick just what were you thinking?” .
What we do know outside of all the media buzz is that the case went to the Grand Jury last Thursday and has not returned a bill or no bill of inditement to date . Paul Cambria, Kane's attorney is launching a media campaign placing his client in the best light possible and stating the entire situation has been blown all out of proportion .

Mean while, last Friday the State of New York suspended Jan Radecki's drivers license .It was discovered he had been driving under a license he had gotten after his previous license had been revoked for failing to submit to a chemical test in April 1999 and for driving while intoxicated . Mr Radecki had simply reapplied under a different name and address took the written test for the learners permit . On September 10th 1999 he was issued a new New York State drivers license.

As the Grand Jury hears testimony behind closed doors and then deliberates if the evidence presented is enough to spend taxpayers time and money on a trial. It still brings my mind to one question, Patrick Kane, gifted 20 year old Blackhawk star, what were you thinking at 4 am last Monday morning?

Friday, August 7, 2009

K-Zoo Joins forces with Sharks and Flyers

Patrick Kissane, file photo
The speculation is over, the Kalamazoo K-Wings in their newly minted East Coast Hockey League affiliation have joined forces with the San Jose Sharks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Practically this means they will be funneling players to and from Wrochester Sharks and the Phillphedphia Phantoms both of the American Hockey League.

The move of K-Zoo from the IHL to the ECHL is great news for IceHog and Wolves fans, as it means the Gwinette Gladiators the shared farm team for the Wolves and Hogs will be a four hour drive away a couple of times a season. To those who have never been to Kalamazoo is is a lovely old barn of a stadium and easy to find off of the interstate. Three years ago it was the site of one of the best games I have ever witnessed in my life, game 6 of the 2007 Colonial Cup Championships a knock down drag out fight between the then United Hockey League K-Wings and the Rockford IceHogs. The game had everything, broken glass, a hole in the net, and to top it off a goalie fight! I can't wait to go back, can you say road trip?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wendell Young Named Chicago Wolves General Manager

As reported here earlier this week the American Hockey League's Chicago Wolves have named Wendell Young as General Manager . Young seems a natural choice for the position having been with the club since its inception. First as its crown jewel in net, leading the team to Turner Cup championships as goalie in 1998 and 2000. Then as a coach for the Calder Cup in 2008. All this hardware with a pair of Memorial and Stanley Cup rings on his dresser at home. His succession to G M with these championships behind him mean far more than just the silver. To accomplish these he he has had to gain and understanding of the culture of winning necessary to bind a group of athletes together and make a team of them.

In an interview earlier today with Atlanta Thrashers Assistant Coach Todd Nelson he described Wendell Young to Powderhornhockey as having an “ Understanding what it takes to win.” More importantly he also said that “ Wendell has a way of bringing a team together” . The ability to scout a team that will gel is magic, the ability to keep it together during a season is alchemy. Championships take the greatest of management, Wolves owners and fans are accustomed to seeing banners raised and frequently. From the time he started out with the Cole Harbor Colts at 16 Wendell Young has been immersed in a culture of discipline, friendship and contacts. He should have a well filled Rolodex by now, perfect for prospect spotting. That's the work ahead of him, the alchemy of of building a team from a group of strangers, finding next years kids and keeping it all balanced. Young has been preparing for this since his first game with the Wolves in 1998, Kevin Chevyeldayof has cast a long shadow now is time for Young to make the job his own. Good luck and a winning season to him.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

David Phillips On Defense, I like what I see...

It is hard to get a real grip on a player with as brief a look as I got of Davy Phillips last month. True, there were the web casts of the Giants games last winter where I was introduced to this young man holding his own in a in a 20 minute bench clearing brawl against arch rival Newcastle Vipers. Feel the love...Hey, they all shook hands at then end of the game! What caught my attention about Davey Phillips is simple he is a blueliner who stays at home. You don't need a Low Jack to find him on the ice.

This is what I like best about him though... just look at these photos on two days of camp there he is, he gets it, simply gets it. Nobody comes between you and the goalie! Pewee stuff but how many goals, games and series have been lost because some go getter got between a D-man and the goalie. It all comes down to the basics and it looks like Phillips has this one rock solid. Davy Phillips may have "player development" ahead of him in the next year in his transition from the Elites to the American Hockey League looking toward the National Hockey League but David has a good start.


To quote Roddy Doyle, " It's a start and I believe in starts" , the American commitment for this young man is beginning . The rest of the good stuff should follow.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wendell Young To be named General Manager of Chicago Wolves

Sources have told the Powderhornhockey that Wendell Young will be named General Manager of the Chicago Wolves tomorrow.

The 46 year-old Halifax, Nova Scotia native has a storied hockey career; in 1981 as a member of the Kitchener Rangers he won Canada’s Memorial Cup. His first professional championship, the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup came with the Hershey Bears in 1988. Shortly after in 1991 and 1992 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins he collected two National Hockey League Stanley Cup rings. In 1994 Young joined the fledgling Chicago Wolves. Young continued as their first line goalie until hanging up his skates after the 2001 season. In 1998 and again in 2000 Young became the only man in hockey history to win all four major North American hockey cups when he drank from the IHL’s Turner cup with his Wolves teammates.

According to Wolves website, after retirement Young moved north to Canada taking the position of goalie coach with the Calgary Flames until 2003. After his tenure in Calgary he returned to the Wolves as Assistant Coach and Executive Manager of Team Relations. His promotion to General Manager has been described by sources as “deserving.”

Young is a well know face to the fans, he was usually to be found at games behind the bench working with the goalies and the defensive players.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Kevin Chevyeldayoff Named Chicago Blackhawk Assistant General Manager

One of the greatest pleasures in life is seeing good things happen to deserving people, this is one. Kevin Chevyeldayoff is a true professional and one of the gentlemen of hockey. I will miss seeing his big smile around the All State but am looking forward to seeing it at the United Center. Chevy, working with the Scotty and Stan Bowman woowhoo, the Hawks really are back.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Third Valentine, Jason Krog!

The time has come to welcome Jason Krog back with his summer Valentine. Last year when he signed with Manitoba the first thing I said to my contact in Winnipeg was how happy the team photographer was going to be. Jason Krog is one of the most photogenic players on the ice today. He looks great in a suit off the ice but put him on skates and sweat him up and he becomes Jim Morison on ice. Happy days are here again for Chicago based hockey photographers, Jason Krog, 2008 AHL Most Valuable Player and scoring machine is back on home ice!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two more Wolves signings a Pohl and a Doell returns!

They have been busy boys and girls at the Wolves office this week. On Tuesday forward Jonny Pohl was signed by the team. Pohl should be a familiar face and name to Wolves fans. Despite spending last season dividing his time between the Swedish Elites and the Swiss league. Pohl comes to us after a long tenure with Toronto Marlies, including being named team Most Valuable Player of 2005. If memory serves correctly he is a “physical “ player and will be a factor near the net.

Kevin Doell is back! Yesterday team management announced that Doell had inked a team contract. This is good news indeed, for this guy has a heart three times his size and will add not only depth but to team chemistry. Kevin Doell came to the Wolves as a skinny kid looking for all the world like every bodies little brother. During his first season with Gwinnette he broke his jaw, twice. Hockey has not been easy for him, still he persevered and changed from that skinny kid to the 5'11” 190 lbs of solid player he is today. After the 08' championship season Doell signed with a Swedish team and spent a year in the land of the midnight sun. Their loss is our gain, welcome back Kevin, the fans missed you, it will be good to see #21 with your name on it again.

Lastly an old Wolf, Andy Delmore ,another member of the 08' Calder Cup Championship team signed a contract for the 09' season yesterday with the Detroit RedWings. Fair play and good luck to him!

Toronto Marlie Tim Stapleton Dons Wolf's clothing

Chicago Wolves may well have another local player in the line up when the season opens in October. Tuesday the Atlanta Thrashers reached terms with La Grange native, Tim Stapleton of the Toronto Maple Leafs . Two things I like about this addition to the stable, first the 79 points he got last year accompanied by the 26 penalty minutes, not bad. His two years with the Jokerit team of Helsinki, one of the finest in Finland.

Looks like a good move to these eyes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Belfast Giant Sheds Teal for Red, David Phillips Signs as an IceHog!

It was announced to day by Rockford IceHogs team management that defenseman David Phillips has been signed to a one year AHL contract with the club. It was first reported here that Phillips a Belfast Giant, would be attending the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp earlier this month. Obviously the young Englishman impressed for he will be around to carry the flag for British hockey program in Rockford for the next season.

Meanwhile back in Belfast it was announced this last week that David's older brother, Kevin Phillips, would be taking his own place on the Belfast Giants blueline. Obviously Giants ownership sees what they like in the Phillips boys.

Photos of David Philips will be published at a later date.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cab Morris Blackhawk Eyes Are Upon Him!

This year work commitments kept me away from the Blackhawk Prospect Camp for it's first four days. My contact with the camp was purely as a photo editor of the thousands of images taken each day. It surprised me just how much I learned about each player simply by this form of observation . One of the players that impressed me most is Cab Morris the 17 year old goalie from Wilmette. Next season if you wish to see him in net he will be playing with the Indianapolis Ice who face the Chicago Steel in Bensonville. Blackhawk fans he is well worth a look.
One of the first things I noticed about Morris was the way other players gave him room on the ice, respect. This is coinage each player has to earn, epically difficult for an high school student going against tough college students and Canadian Major Junior veterans. Still the “the Kid” took no guff and gave as good as he got.
Cab Morris has a very unusual stance. Not so much of a butterfly but a powerful catchers squat, reminiscent of Thurman Munson. As we will have the chance to watch his development as a member of the Ice it will be easy to compare images of his stance and spot if coaching tinkers with his individual style for better or worse. This blog will not the the only set of eyes trained on young Morris you can bet Wade Flahrety Hawks goalie coach is keeping a close eye on his future prospect .

This is an image of a young goalie taking his crease and owning it.

Sit Down and Shut Up!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Waiting for the Call, Blackhawk Goalies....

Summer time and the hockey news slows down to a trickle between camps and contracts. This weeks flutter is the resigning by Wolves parent club the Atlanta Thrashers free agents Scott Lehman and Grant Lewis, two weeks ago goalie Kari Lehtonen inked his contract. Don't expect to see anyone of those names back in Chicago unless the injury bug bites and a reconditioning assignment comes our way.

The Hawks goalie situation still continues to fascinate me, with Nikolai Khabibulin out of the picture, Cristobal Huet, Antti Niemi, and Corey Crawford move up the roster. Both Niemi and Crawford are looking to star in the big show only one will get the call for the opening Hawks game. The Hawks organization has an embarrassment of riches in their stable goalie wise, tough choices will need to be made before it is decided who will be wearing the colors of Chicago or Rockford .

If anyone need reminding what the two top prospects to back up Cristobal Huet look like here are a few images of the boys from Rockford, Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi.


On a happy side note news has reached us that Mike Peck the voice of the Rockford Icehogs and "Mr Hockey " is back home and recovering with his family. Those of us at Powderhornhockey and it's sister blog Sit Down and Shut Up wish Mike and family a continued recovery and all good things. Including the Chicago style hot dog with the works he has requested.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Woops Joel Kwiakowski "Forgot" about That Pesky Russian Deal...

It looks like Joel Kwiakowski will not be skating for either Chicago or Atlanta next season. As he was negotiating with the Thrashers it seems he forgot about a preexisting Russian contract. His Russian team owners have no intention of letting him out of his deal with the Russian leagues. Sorry Joel, it's back to Mother Russia for you!

Dancing at Blackhawk Prospect Camp

This week hopeful young men gathered in downtown Chicago answering the siren call of the Indian Head, the National Hockey Leagues Chief Black Hawk and all he represents. The object of a prospect camp is for players aged 17 and up to strut their stuff and impress the coaches of the host team. You can smell the hunger of these young men in the air, it makes for some pretty exciting hockey, for sure.

Just a few of these players will be offered a contract with either the NHL Blackhawks or with the AHL IceHogs. For most the camp is about assessment, information and next year. After five days of playing before the Blackhawks coaches the players then meet with Hawks staff for an “exit interview”. This is where they are told if they have made the team but also what they need to do to take their game to the next level. Invaluable information for a young athlete, looking to improve their personal best and and what that will bring to the table for future prospect camps.

As a first posting from camp here are some images of an encounter between Paul Phillips(#28) and Zach Cohen (# 47) these two players looked like they wanted to dance all day!

A friend of this blog, Mike Peck known as "Voice of the IceHogs" is in hospital recovering from a heart problem. Peck collapsed while interviewing a player at the United Center as part of Prospect Camp coverage. CPR was given on site and he was transported to Stroger Hospital where he is listed in Critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike and his family for a speedy recovery.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Atlanta Signs Two More, Kwiatkowski returns to the line up and Drew McIntyre comes aboard.

The goalie round up for Atlanta starts now, Ondrej Pavelec Chicago's Calder Cup winning goalie in 2008 just got some competition for his position as primary Wolves goalie,that is, if he wants it. This week Atlanta signed Drew McIntyre one of the most well traveled goalies in the AHL. McIntyre had his first professional start with the infamous Toledo Storm as part of the Redwings System. He then received the call up to the Grand Rapids Griffins and was a crowd favorite with the Manitoba Moose during his tenure there. Finally moving on to Milwaukee last season where he lead the Admirals to last months Calder Cup semi finals. This looks to be a good signing, talented goalie with a solid record. However, I have my nose in the air for a goalie trade in the near future, too much talent standing around for there not to be one in the wind.

The second signing brings the return of Joel Kwiatkowski or Kiwi as he is known among fans. Kwiatkowski spent the last year playing in the European Elites and it is good to have him back again playing on home ice again. Like Jason Krog who rejoined the Atlanta system last week he was part of the 08' Calder Cup Championship team. With John Anderson now the Atlanta coach he will first be given a solid look to see if he fits their needs. We will know if the happy reunion that seems to be developing in Atlanta will stay in Blueland or move north in October. Only John Anderson will be able to enlighten us on that subject.

Links to the stories :


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Jason Krog Signs with Atlanta!


I would like t thank my fellow posters at for tipping me off to this story on a holiday.

This is good news indeed Jason Krog, linchpin of the 08'Calder Cup Championship season has been signed to a 2 year contract by the Atlanta Thrashers. The bad news for Wolves fans is that don't expect to see him in a Wolves uniform. With John Anderson firmly installed as head coach in Atlanta you can bet he is going to want to keep his American Hockey League MVP close and not send him north to to enrich the Chicago goal stats.
Take heart Wolves fans, any player or move that keeps the parent club winning,healthy and happy bodes well for the farm team. Fewer call ups and a more stable line up dramatically increase chances for a return to the winning Wolves of years past.

Put one tic in the optimistic column for this years Wolves season for moi!

It's Summertime, That means Player Valentines!

One of the advantages of following minor leagues is that players can be followed from age 16 or 17 until they make it to the big show with the National Hockey league. One such player that that has has been under the gaze of my camera lens has been 22 year old Chad Denny. He first came to my attention at Traverse City during the Red Wing Rookie Tournament along with another big guy Boris Valabik. Unlike Valibik who was of age and started immediately with the Wolves Denny was 18 and returned to his Major Junior team the Lewiston Maineiacs for another year of seasoning.

What sets this 6'3” Canadian apart from the heard is not his killer wrist shot it is his spirit. He plays with the heart of a kid on a back yard pond. After bouncing between the East Coast Hockey League and the American Hockey League for two years he still plays with his heart on his sleeve. One can only hope he will never loose it to the hard knocks of the game. This will be his last year of his rookie contract with Atlanta, so far he seems to have spent most of his time with the Gwinnette Gladiators rather than with the Wolves. When he has been in Chicago he has been left warming the bench rather than seeing regular ice time. It begs the question just what is Wolves Coach Granato thinking keeping such an aggressive player muzzled. Were I to bump into the coach tonight at his favorite haunt that is exactly one of the questions I would ask him.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hockey in September and Scotland-Pipe in the Haggis!

For those of us desperately needing a hockey fix by September, grab your passports and cross the pond for Scotland's Gardiner Cup. In those long months since the end of the 08' season the Gardiner Cup offers an early and distinctive treat. The Edinburgh Capitals and the Belfast Giants will meet the Hamilton Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies in a tournament in Edinburgh on September 24th, 26th and 27th. Hockey in beautiful Edinburgh, kilts, haggis, bagpipes and single malt whiskey, what is not to love about that package?

The tournament is named for Charles “Chuck” Gardiner the first Scot named to the NHL Hall of Fame. It is expected that the series will be available by net feed and by audio link. It will be the first time an American Hockey League team has met head to head with a British Elite team. It looks to be an interesting match-up.

Although on opposite sides of the ocean, there is more contact between these leagues than one might think. Several familiar names have been part of the Belfast Giants roster over the years, starting with this year's addition of Sean McMorrow, Ed Courtenay, and former NHLer Theo Fleury. Next month a member of the current Giants roster, blueliner Davey Philips, will be attending the Chicago Blackhawks prospect camp.

Tickets for the Gardiner Cup games are available through the Edinburgh Capital's box office, The Belfast Giants website at has a helpful line on out-of-town games and lodgings for those thinking of making the trip. From all the publicity it looks like not only will there be hockey in September but quite a party being planned. What could be better!

For the full story linkage below:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Belfast Giant Walking Amongst Us!

A couple of days ago this came across my desk courtesy of Craig Shillingday our contact in the British Elite League. It appears we shall have Davey Phillips, an upcoming British blueliner and a Belfast Giant walking amongst us at prospect camp next month. The word from Ireland is that if he stays in Chicago it will be blow to Belfast's hopes to take the Elite League this season. However, they are looking forward to seeing how the local favorite stacks up to North American talent.

Linkage to the Belfast Giants site announcement below:

Ivy King Cup Challenge

Saturday night while the city enjoyed it's first night of summer the UIC Pavilion rocked with Ivy King Cup championship featuring the Manic Attackers against the ladies in red and last years Ivy King Cup winners the Hell's Bells. It was a intense match as these old foes know each other well,however, at the end of the bout the Manic Attackers emerged the winners winning 137 to 115.

Thus ends the regular season for Chicago roller derby. But derby addicts take heart for the travel season is about to begin, The Windy City Rollers All Stars presently ranked second nationally in Women's Flat Track Derby Association will be meeting teams from other cities in the US. There is a July bout scheduled please see site for scheduling and details. Be there or be square!

As always here are images of the bout: