Game Day Blog
Final Summer Blog Entry: August 28
08/28/2015 2:32 PM - Adrian Denny
With the last Friday in August here, this will do it for my 2015 Summer Blogs.
So far, we have announced nine of 17 players officially under contract with the team. We have four defensemen and four forwards to still unveil and some may not be announced until the training camp roster is released. None of the four defenseman have participated in game action at Maverik Center, while all four forwards are returning from last year.
10 of the 17 players under contract with the Grizzlies are Americans. It’s a very average sized team so far with 16/17 players ranging from five-foot-eight-inches to six-foot-three-inches.
We’ll announce another player or two on Tuesday.
Looking at the other team rosters in the West Division, it looks to me like each team is looking pretty similar to last year, which means everyone will be good. So at this point, I’d say I wouldn’t expect very much to change in the standings. That will make for another down to the wire year as usual.
The end of the offseason is here with major junior and college teams having opened their training camps.
Summer Blog Entry: August 21
08/21/2015 1:37 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies will announce their first new addition of the offseason Tuesday. The player was a point-a-game forward during his rookie season last year and to me was head and shoulders the best player on his team.
One of Tim Branham’s goals for the season he mentioned at the Season Ticket Holder Event on August 6, was the desire to match the team’s second half records the last two years in the first half. Utah was 25-8 -1-2 the final 36 games in 2013-2014 and 22-12-1-2 in the second half of the season last year. That is a 47-20-2-4 mark during the second half under Branham in Utah and a winning percentage of .684.
Breaking down the Grizzlies travel this season. They will have six trips by flight, two trips by sleeper bus; both to Rapid City and currently seven trips on a coach bus to Boise and Colorado. The flights will cover Alaska, the trips to Tulsa and Allen and the east coast swings. In January, they will fly to Detroit to play Toledo and then fly directly to Denver to play Colorado to wrap up the four-game swing. In March, the team will fly in and out of Chicago and in between be bussing to: Quad City, Indy and Kalamazoo.
When it comes to visiting Utah, as it stands now; Colorado, Gwinnett and Alaska will be the only teams flying in, while Idaho will take a coach bus. Rapid City, Tulsa, Allen and Wichita will all apparently be taking sleeper busses here.
The preseason schedule will officially be announced next week, but there will be a Saturday night game in the Salt Lake Valley for the first time since 2007.
Summer Blog Entry: August 14
08/14/2015 3:04 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies preseason schedule has been finalized and for the first time since 2007, a preseason game will take place in the Salt Lake Valley, details coming up.
Individual tickets for the 2015-2016 season went on sale today at noon. They are available at the Maverik Center box office, any Smith’sTix location or by visiting www.utahgrizzlies.com.
Utah’s new division foe in Rapid City signed an affiliation with the Arizona Coyotes this week. With that, there are now only three teams in the ECHL not affiliated with NHL teams. However, two of three, in Alaska and Colorado, are in Utah’s division and Wichita is on Utah’s schedule.
Here’s a feature on cousins Barry Almeida and T.J. Syner who re-signed with the team as it was announced this week. The story was written by Grizzlies Salt Lake Tribune Beat Writer David Winkworth late last season.
The Grizzlies open the season with six of nine games on the road. That is their only stretch of the sort during the first half of the season and their longest until they go on the road for eight of ten games January 22-February 12. Utah has three stretches during the season of seven of nine games on the road.
Utah plays their longest stretch of the year at home December 7-28 with seven of nine games at Maverik Center. They also have a seven-game home stand January 6-18. That December 7-January 18 stretch will be a run of 14 of 19 games at home.
Summer Blog Entry: August 7
08/07/2015 1:52 PM - Adrian Denny
With the added opponents, this year, the only team that will come to Utah twice before December 17 is new opponent Allen. Utah won’t visit a city twice until December 16 when they go to Idaho; meaning the first two months of the schedule will be pretty fresh.
The Grizzlies first three road trips will be to familiar sites in: Colorado, Idaho and Alaska before making their first ever trip to Rapid City. Utah’s first four road trips will be within their division.
However, from January 22-March 8; 11 of Utah’s 15 road games will be played out of the division as they go to: Toledo, Tulsa, Allen, Quad City, Indy and Kalamazoo.
2015-2016 ticket holders on Tuesday night participated in a question and answer session with Head Coach Tim Branham and the newly signed players. Branham gave fans answers on what other players will be returning and who will not. The other returning players will be announced to the general public in the coming weeks. Just another perk of being a Grizzlies ticket holder. Here is the transcript of the public information released by Branham and company Tuesday evening.
Utah’s top rival Idaho will have a new Head Coach next season as Assistant Neil Graham will take over with Brad Ralph being named Head Coach of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.
Summer Blog Entry: July 31
07/31/2015 2:48 PM - Adrian Denny
Last week, we talked about old/new rivalries that rekindle familiar opponents and cities from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s to the Grizzlies current schedule. This week, I’ll breakdown the three rivalries that carryover into this season from recent seasons.
Idaho - Brad Ralph, like Utah’s Tim Branham, is an up and coming hot coaching prospect and wins every season. His teams are similar to Utah’s in work ethic, swagger and skill. It doesn’t take long for things to get feisty on the ice between the Grizzlies and Steelheads and the games are always close.
Colorado - The Eagles also have a winning program that starts in their home arena and culminated when the organization began in 2003-2004. Their organizational expectation is to win and the players understand that. It’s very similar to the Utah/Idaho matchup. Colorado is another team that can change out a roster and still look the same on the ice because of culture and coaching.
Alaska -The Aces missed the playoffs for the first time in 11 ECHL seasons last year. They had talent and a very good head coach in Rob Murray, but the four playoff teams in the Pacific Division were just better. A second-straight playoff-less season in Anchorage will not go over well, so again watch out for the pesky Aces.
The Grizzlies will announce their first three signings of the offseason Tuesday at Maverik Center at 6:30 p.m. Anyone who is a 2015-2016 season ticket holder is welcome to attend. Ticket packages for 2015-2016 are on sale now starting at $30. Call (801) 988-8000 to purchase your ticket package and attend the press conference for ticket package holders only. All three players and Coach Branham will be in attendance for a question and answer session after.
Nearly a dozen other players are also under contract and will be announced for 2015-2016 in the days and weeks following the press conference.
While the Grizzlies will no longer be playing the Ontario Reign in California this season, they will still see a familiar face, style and rivalry six times; just in a different uniform. Ontario Reign Head Coach Jason Christie was named the Head Coach of the Tulsa Oilers last week and Friday announced that he was taking his Winnipeg affiliation with him to Oklahoma. Christie, whose teams usually win their division, play hard and agitate; coached the Reign from 2011-2015 and Utah from 2005-2008.