Summer Blog Entry: August 30
08/30/2013 1:43 PM - Adrian Denny
Busy offseason in the ECHL’s Western Conference; as it wraps up, approaching Labor Day, as far as I’m concerned this is the last weekend of the offseason. If you’ve checked out this summer, here’s what you’ve missed.
New Head Coaches in Utah, Bakersfield, Stockton and Las Vegas.
Edmonton’s affiliation has gone to Bakersfield from Stockton.
Utah has added Anaheim, while in turn, Calgary has moved to Alaska.
Winnipeg’s affiliation has moved from Colorado to Ontario, where the Reign have had a Jets goalie for the past two seasons.
Idaho and San Francisco are the only teams to have both the same Head Coach and affiliation situation from 2012-2013.
Oh, and Stockton broadcaster Mike Benton (far right) has moved from the Thunder to the Alaska Aces after being in Stockton since the team's inception in 2005.
The Grizzlies announced their first three player signings this week. As I explain every year, the ECHL sends out a private spreadsheet to Head Coaches each week during the summer with team rosters, so everyone knows what is going on and who’s where. Teams decide when to announce signings based on their market. In the past, immigration kept most teams from announcing players from Canada; however the procedure has changed this year, which will change the way the Grizzlies announce things and allowing them to announce Canadians without creating a potential immigration issue at the border when the player arrives.
Looking at Utah’s current roster spreadsheet, they are among the most filled in teams roster wise, with most roster spots currently accounted for, before anyone is assigned from Anaheim; so there will be some transition during camp. There will be at least one player announcement a week until the training camp roster is released in October. The reason, the first announcement came this week, was a result of new Head Coach/GM Tim Branham transitioning in and evaluating the signed contracts from the previous regime and moving forward with his signed contracts. We didn’t want to announce any players signed before his arrival, while he took time to evaluate things and move forward in his desired direction.
Summer Blog Entry: August 9-29
08/09/2013 1:40 PM - Adrian Denny
f you haven’t had a chance to watch the over an hour of video footage from the introductory press conference and affiliation announcement from Wednesday along with the Season Ticket Holder Meet and Greet Wednesday night, here are some of the notable quotes from Tim Branham.
“Anaheim has a deep talent pool, they have a very strong management team and it became very clear that they were the choice.”
“My first order of business was to find an affiliate, other than that it’s just recruiting. Recruiting character players, who want to develop, want to get to the next level and want to get involved in the community.”
“Fast paced, we want players to get up and down the ice, puck possession, in your face, tough to play against. Those are the players that not only work hard on the ice, but off the ice. Those are the players that get the job done in playoff time.”
“It’s all about structure. It’s very important to bring in the right players. You lose so many players throughout the season whether it’s injuries or call-ups that you need a constant rolodex of players for players to come in and fill the void. That’s why you need good leadership so it’s a smooth transition for them and you can just continue along in your ways.”
“I played here a few years back. It’s beautiful, the first thing you notice is the mountains. These facilities are phenomenal. I had heard throughout the league that the people, the management that were associated with Utah were top notch and upon meeting them and confirming that, it just made the passion to come here stronger.”
“I was always a student of the game, so I always knew that I wanted to get into coaching. I started my hockey school my first year pro, to give back to my community and there was a lot of coaching there. I learned a lot about the game and a lot about this league in Reading.”
“I would like to be involved in the youth hockey out here. I definitely want our players at practices. Every kid that comes to a game here idolizes these player.”
CEO Kevin Bruder
The blog will return August 30, with a final summer blog, recapping the very fluid offseason around the Grizzlies in the ECHL.