Monday, July 21, 2014

Yale's Jesse Root signs deal with Stars

Jesse Root, Yale's captain last winter, signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Dallas Stars. He'll head to the team's NHL camp in September. When Yale's season ended in March, Root signed an ATO with Bridgeport, scoring a goal in his first game.

Root scored one of the most historic goals in Yale history, just 8 seconds into overtime to beat Minnesota, which ignited the Bulldogs championship run in 2013. Always a strong defensive player, Root took his game to another level last season, leading the Bulldogs with 14 goals and 37 points. He was also named "best defensive forward" by the ECAC.

He's remained in the area this summer and is working out at various rinks in New Haven and Fairfield county. We'll also take a moment to thank Jesse for taking time out of his schedule last month to attend and speak at the Register's All-Area MVP banquet at Amarante's in New Haven. He was there to accept the Dave Solomon Memorial Sports Persons of the Year Award on behalf of the Yale hockey team. Here's the clip, courtesy of the Register's Jim Fuller.    

Friday, July 11, 2014

Here's a shot of Devon Toews at Islanders mini-camp

Many thanks to the Isles for sending it along, unsolicited. Toews, who is returning to Quinnipiac for his sophomore season, is one of many QU and Yale players participating in developmental camps this summer.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Jordan Samuels-Thomas traded to Buffalo Sabres

Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Quinnipiac's rugged senior forward, was looking at NHL free agency, so the Winnipeg Jets dealt him to Buffalo. A pre relocation draft-pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, Winnipeg had until August 15 to sign him or lose his rights to free agency. Samuels-Thomas didn't attend the Jets prospect camp this week, and was unlikely to sign with the team. Rather than walk away with nothing, Winnipeg will get a 7th-round draft pick in 2015.

Samuels-Thomas is big, strong and tough to move off the puck. He scored 30 goals in two seasons at Quinnipiac after transferring from Bowling Green, including 17 during the Bobcats run to the NCAA championship game in 2013, three during the NCAA tournament.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jonathan Quick, Stanley Cup visit to Hamden a private affair

HAMDEN – Jonathan Quick’s return to his hometown, Stanley Cup in tow, is not open to the general public. The event, scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Hamden High, is exclusively for children and families of the Hamden Youth Hockey Association.

Earlier reports of the visit neglected to mention the viewing party was meant to be a private affair.  On Thursday night, Quick emailed a statement to the Register to clear up the confusion.

“We would like to apologize that incorrect information was released and want to clarify the event on Sunday. Jonathan wants to share the Stanley Cup with the young hockey players of Hamden, where he grew up playing and dreaming of winning it. This will be a private event for only the Hamden Youth Hockey Association and their families at the Louis Astorino Ice Arena.

“Details will be provided to the families who have children who participate in Hamden Youth Hockey. He appreciates all the hometown support he has received throughout his career.”

Quick organized the event as a fundraiser for the family of the late Jason Pagni, a friend and prominent youth hockey coach in Hamden who died in an auto accident in January. His intention from the outset was to make Sunday a special day for the hockey-playing children in Hamden.

All Hamden Youth Hockey Association players, roughly 175, and their immediate families can see the Cup and take photos with Quick that afternoon. Those without invitations will not be able to enter the rink.

Quick, one of the biggest names in the NHL, led the Los Angeles Kings to their second Stanley Cup in three seasons by defeating the New York Rangers last month. The goaltender grew up in Hamden, and his parents still reside in town. Word of his visit spread quickly, first through social media and then a report in the Register earlier this week.

Organizers believed there was potential for thousands of visitors to descend upon the high school for the scheduled two-hour visit. Dan Bush, owner of the company that operates Astorino Rink, said his office has been besieged with calls and emails from fans as far as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. At least one said he had rented a bus specifically for the event.

Quick had a conference call Thursday afternoon with Bush and a representative from the Kings to finalize plans for Sunday.

Pagni, a Hamden resident and fixture in area youth hockey circles, coached Quick as a youth player and the two remained friends as Quick went off to Avon Old Farms and the University of Massachusetts before starting his pro career. As a tribute, Quick had a quote from Pagni inscribed on his helmet throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Proceeds from Sunday will be donated to a college fund for Pagni’s two daughters.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Yale adds Northeastern, drops Merrimack

Slight change to Yale's schedule for the fall. A tentative date with Merrimack couldn't be worked out for this winter, according to Yale associate athletic director Wayne Dean. So the Bulldogs are at Northeastern on Tuesday, Jan. 6. It's a nice addition. The teams haven't played since November 1995. As part of the deal, Northeastern will play at Ingalls Rink in the future, likely 2015-16.

Yale may meet Merrimack anyway, as both are in the Liberty Invitational at the Prudential Center in Newark Halloween weekend.

So, here's Yale's schedule as it stands.


25: vs. Canadian university TBA (exhibition)
31: vs. Princeton at Liberty Invitational, Prudential Center, Newark N.J.

1: vs. UConn or Merrimack at Liberty Invitational, Newark, N.J.
7: Clarkson
8: St. Lawrence
14: at Dartmouth
15: at Harvard
21: at Cornell
22: at Colgate
29: Rochester Institute of Technology

5: RPI
6: Union
27: Russian Red Stars (exhibition)
30: at Holy Cross

3: Vermont
6: at Northeastern
10: "Rivalry on Ice" vs. Harvard at Madison Square Garden (non-conference)
17: Brown
18: at Brown
23: at St. Lawrence
24: at Clarkson
30: Princeton
31: Quinnipiac

6: Harvard
7: Dartmouth
13: at Union
14: at RPI
20: at Quinnipiac
21: at Princeton
27: Colgate
28: Cornell

Thursday, May 15, 2014

UConn will play five games in Bridgeport this season

UConn, beginning its inaugural season in Hockey East, will play a total of five games in Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena this winter. In addition to the Frozen Hockey Classic on Dec. 27-28, the Huskies take on Quinnipiac there in October, Colorado College on Tuesday, Jan. 6 and Notre Dame in a Hockey East game on the afternoon of Jan. 18, a Sunday.

"We're very excited about playing games in Bridgeport," UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said, adding he's interested in continuing to bring a handful of games downstate. The Huskies will use Hartford's XL Center for their other home games.

Cavanaugh, like Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo, is still holding out hope for an all-Connecticut tournament with Quinnipiac and Yale somewhere down the road. Both coaches would also like to continue the Frozen Classic in Bridgeport in 2015. Quinnipiac withdrew from the event about a week after the April 14 press conference announcing its inception. UMass Lowell joins UConn, Sacred Heart and defending national champion Union in the field. It's unclear whether Webster Bank Arena president Howard Saffan will continue the event beyond this season. He did not return a phone message Thursday.

"If Howard Saffan wants to do it again in 2015, UConn will be there," Cavanaugh said. "He has my commitment."

Quinnipiac withdraws from Bridgeport's Frozen Holiday Classic

Last month, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold was part of a press conference at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena to announce the inaugural Frozen Holiday Classic in December. UConn, Sacred Heart and Union would round out the field for the Dec. 27-28 event, which organizers hoped would lay the foundation for a all-Connecticut tournament.

Turns out Quinnipiac didn't realize its schedule for the upcoming season was already booked.

So Quinnipiac, about two weeks after the media event, made phone calls to Webster Bank Arena officials and the other participating schools to apologize and formally withdraw.UMass Lowell was secured as the Bobcats' replacement.

"There was a lot of miscommunication on our end," Quinnipiac athletic director Jack McDonald said Thursday. "We misread our situation. We had other commitments and weren't going to be able to pull it off. It's our fault."

According to McDonald, Quinnipiac overlooked a two-year, four-game contract with St. Cloud State that begins this season. The Bobcats are at St. Cloud this season for a two-game series; St. Cloud returns the trip to Hamden in the 2015-16 season.

Whether the Frozen Holiday Classic endures beyond this year is unknown. A call to Howard Saffan, president of Webster Bank Arena, wasn't immediately returned.

According to a press release after the April 14 media conference in Bridgeport, Yale was set to join the three other Connecticut teams in the second annual Frozen Hockey Classic, set for 2015. That statement was inaccurate. Yale senior associate athletic director Wayne Dean said Thursday Yale is considering joining the field. But its schedule appears to be booked for 2015-16, and it hasn't committed to the Classic for any future dates yet.