Game Day Blog
Summer Blog Entry: July 24
07/23/2015 2:01 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies schedule this year adds new teams, but it’s really a trip back in Utah hockey history to almost identical opponents of the early 1980s and beyond.
The Salt Lake Golden Eagles in 1983-84 played in the Central Hockey League with the Colorado Flames, Tulsa Oilers and Indianapolis Checkers along with the Montana Magic. Utah of course will play Colorado, Tulsa and Indy this year. Montana unfortunately hasn’t been involved in pro hockey since that 1983-84 season.
Going back over the Central Hockey League teams even earlier, Salt Lake played the Wichita Wind for several years ending in 1982-83. The Wichita Thunder come to Utah for games January 15, 16 and 18.
As Utah prepares to play the Allen Americans in the NE Dallas Suburbs, it will return the Utah organization to the Metroplex where they played the Dallas Black Hawks and Fort Worth Texans up until 1981-82.
Enter 1984-85, the Golden Eagles moved to the IHL and played Toledo, Kalamazoo and Indianapolis. They will go to Toledo, Kalamazoo and as mentioned earlier Indianapolis this year.
Back in modern day, the Grizzlies will play regularly against Idaho and Alaska for the 11th-straight year while playing Rapid City for the first time in Utah hockey history. It does however get Utah back in that same Montana Magic region though.
Oh and don’t forget, the Grizzlies will be playing the Gwinnett Gladiators out of suburban Atlanta for the second time in four years February 17,19 and 20 which will parallel their meetings against the Atlanta Knights, who played the Golden Eagles and Grizzlies in the IHL from 1992-1996.
Summer Blog Entry: July 17
07/17/2015 10:27 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies have 12 players officially signed for 2015-2016, nine of which are from last year’s team and one more player who has played for the team in multiple seasons before. Again, the team will start announcing player signings the first week in August at a to-be-announced event.
Utah, so far, looks like an extremely skilled team on both the front and back ends. As Tim Branham pointed out last summer, recruiting players here, is more of a process of deciding what players he wants. Top players want to play for the Grizzlies, and his phone rings off of the hook. From that point, it is a matter of collecting character references and deciding who is the best fit for Utah. It is more that for Tim during the summer than getting into a recruiting war with other teams for specific players and trying to sell Utah to them.
In addition, Anaheim, is looking extremely deep so far in terms of talent at all contract levels of their organization as the Grizzlies enter their third season as a Ducks affiliate.
As was the case during the four seasons that the Grizzlies were affiliated with Calgary and their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, they once again have one of the most convenient AHL affiliates with Anaheim’s now located in San Diego and a two hour flight from Salt Lake City.
Summer Blog Entry: July 10
07/10/2015 9:57 AM - Adrian Denny
At the ECHL Board of Governor’s Meetings in Las Vegas last month, the league voted to play five minute overtimes in a three-on-three setting. If no one scores in the overtime, it will then proceed to a three round shootout. The ECHL had previously been doing five round shootouts, but the NHL does three round shootouts.
As of Wednesday, the Grizzlies had eight players under contract for 2015-2016 and another stack of contracts that are on their way to the league office to be made official. Grizzlies player announcements are scheduled to start the first week of August.
Anaheim signed goaltender Ryan Faragher to an AHL deal with San Diego earlier this week. Faragher went 10-8-1 with Utah last year with a .908 save percentage and a 2.72 goals-against-average. He had one shutout, a 2.57 goals-against-average and a .901 save percentage in the AHL.
One former Grizzlies player has signed with an NHL team since free agency started on July 1 with goaltender Dan Ellis going from Florida to Washington.
Other former Grizzlies who are still free agents: Adam Morrison, Michael Ferland, Keith Ballard, Aaron Dell, Trevor Smith and John Erskine.
Summer Blog Entry: June 19-July 9
06/19/2015 10:19 AM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies completed the trade that brought Brenden Walker to Utah in March, earlier this week, when the rights to Jacob Johnston were sent to the Gwinnett Gladiators. However, according to Elite Prospects, Johnston has already signed with Edinburgh in England’s EIHL for the upcoming season.
Walker had nine goals and six assists for 15 points in 13 regular season games with Utah after trade and seven points in seven playoff games on three goals and four assists before going down with an injury.
Grizzlies Head Athletic Trainer Mike Plandowski was recognized at the Athletic Trainer and Equipment Manager’s Meetings in San Antonio on Thursday night for working his 1000th professional game on January 23, 2015.
More Weekly Notes On The 2015-2016 Schedule
The Grizzlies first home opponent in 2015-2016 will be the Allen Americans, who beat South Carolina in game seven of the Kelly Cup Finals on Sunday. Utah will host Allen twice over Opening Weekend and twice over Thanksgiving Weekend at Maverik Center.
Idaho will again be Utah’s most frequent road trip. The Grizzlies are scheduled to go to Boise for five trips this season. Last year, the Grizzlies went to Boise eight times total with five regular season trips, one in preseason and two bus rides to Idaho in the playoffs. The only other place the Grizzlies will go more than twice is Colorado, with three trips scheduled to Loveland in 2015-2016.
Utah’s busiest home week will be Saturday, February 13-Saturday, February 20; in which they will play five games over eight days against three opponents in: Idaho, Rapid City and Gwinnett.
Due to ECHL League Meetings in Las Vegas next week and a scheduled vacation, this will be the only Summer Blog between now and July 11.
Between now and then, the Grizzlies will announce 8 qualifying offers for the 2015-2016 season on July 1. Other individual player signings will be announced coming up as well.
Summer Blog Entry: June 12
06/12/2015 2:21 PM - Adrian Denny
2011-2012 Grizzlies defenseman and former Calgary prospect John Negrin is the last remaining Grizzlies player still playing for a championship. He is currently with the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate in Utica. The Comets trail Manchester two games to one in the Calder Cup Finals. They lost games one and two in overtime. Negrin got called-up prior to morning skate on the road in Colorado on November 9, 2011. He went to airport, as team went to arena and he was never heard from again; spending the rest of the year in the AHL and being traded to Winnipeg midseason.
Former Grizzlies Head Coach Kevin Colley is an Assistant Coach for the Allen Americans who will host South Carolina in game seven of the Kelly Cup Finals on Sunday. Colley has been working all season with the Americans in Dallas.
With the Kelly Cup Finals going to game seven for the first time since 2009 and a 15-day series; Sunday will mark an end to the ECHL season, which on June 15, 2015 will play its latest date ever.
More weekly notes on the 2015-2016 Schedule:
This is the first year since 2010 that the Grizzlies don’t open with Idaho. A trip to Alaska on November 3 for games November 4, 6 and 7 will be Utah’s earliest ever visit to Anchorage.
Utah will play five three-game road series in the same city after doing it just twice last year, with both three-game series in Alaska. Utah will play three games in Anchorage twice, a three-game series in Rapid City and three games each in Kalamazoo and Toledo.