Summer Blog Entry: July 29, 2016
07/29/2016 11:10 AM - Adrian Denny
Erik Higby signed his July 1 qualifying offer and is now officially under contract for 2016-2017. He finished tied for fourth on the team last year with 14 goals after signing with the Grizzlies for the third week of the regular season. He’ll begin his second full pro season in October.
The Colorado Eagles signed an affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche last week and Head Coach Aaron Schneekloth referenced Utah’s affiliation with Anaheim in the process.
"When you look at like a Utah for instance (an Anaheim Ducks affiliate), a lot of their top players were contracted players.”
Grizzlies Head Coach Tim Branham will be back in Utah this weekend and will be working with the Grizzlies Adult Rookie League at the Utah Olympic Oval for the next five Saturdays. Email Jae at the Utah Olympic Oval for more information on getting involved: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m in Brazil for the next month working the 2016 Summer Olympics for Cartan Worldwide. Cartan is a sister company of the Grizzlies under the umbrella of the Elmore Sports Group. I’m with Grizzlies CFO Jill Roberts; assisting her ticketing. Cartan sells travel and hospitality packages to clients around the globe and is also an authorized ticket reseller for 36 countries. You can find more on their website at CartanGlobal.com.
Summer Blog Entry: July 22, 2016
07/22/2016 12:28 PM - Adrian Denny
A recent focus of Tim Branham has been signing a goaltender that will play presumably alongside the goaltender the Grizzlies will receive from Anaheim. That takes patience at this point in the summer as the top goaltenders are waiting to see if they receive NHL/AHL deals. As a reminder, the same goes for most skaters as well. The players announced as signing between now and September are mostly young returning players. I’d be concerned if I was a team right now that has most of its roster under contract. Recruiting and building a good roster takes patience and it usually comes together late in the offseason.
ICYMI, the Grizzlies added Jon Puskar back for 2016-2017. He came to camp as a tryout player last year, earned a roster spot, stayed all season and had a good playoffs which is always a good story. He was the last player Tim Branham gave a tryout to last year and it came right before training camp.
With the playoffs going divisional, four of seven teams in the Mountain Division will make the playoffs, which will be the same ratio as 2014-2015 when Utah, Ontario, Idaho and Colorado were in and Stockton, Bakersfield and Alaska missed the cut. The Mountain Division this year will consist of: Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Allen, Missouri, Rapid City and Alaska.
Around the league, the Colorado Eagles named Assistant Coach Aaron Schneekloth as their Head Coach Monday and then announced an affiliation with the Colorado Avalanche. It is the first time that the Eagles and Avalanche have been affiliated.
Summer Blog Entry: July 15, 2016
07/15/2016 10:02 AM - Adrian Denny
Entering today, at least 11 of 27 ECHL teams will have new head coaches from Opening Night last year. The Grizzlies have become a model for coaching consistency over their 21 years. Five of their seven coaches have coached three or more years with the team as Tim Branham enters his fourth year in Utah. The only two coaches who didn’t coach at least three years in Utah departed when the team’s changed leagues. Of the seven other ECHL teams who have been in the league as long as the Grizzlies, only Reading has had as few as three Head Coaches during the same 12 seasons that Utah has also had three. Alaska, Idaho, Atlanta and Florida have all had four. South Carolina has had five and Wheeling has had six, including three in the last 12 months.
Phil Pietroniro returned his qualifying offer and is the first Grizzlies player announced for 2015-2016. Tim Branham has also added a pair of rookies who will come to training camp. The Grizzlies expect to announce the first non qualified player in the next week or so.
Grizzlies leading scorer Charlie Sarault signed in Europe for the upcoming season. The work Sarault did with Utah last year on the final year of his contract with Anaheim, that he knew would not be renewed, showed what a real professional he is.
Around the league this week, Wichita announced an affiliation Ottawa. Florida hired former Idaho Head Coach Brad Ralph (2012-2015) as their Head Coach after he spent a year in the WHL. The Colorado Eagles will announce their next Head Coach on Monday.
The ECHL announced new division and conference alignment earlier this week. Missouri and Allen will join the Grizzlies in the Mountain Division as each conference now condenses to two divisions each. The first two rounds of the playoffs will be divisional. Kalamazoo and Toledo will come to the Western Conference. Cincinnati will go back to the Eastern Conference.
Summer Blog Entry: July 8, 2016
07/08/2016 11:57 AM - Adrian Denny
Some 16-17 Grizzlies likely participated in Ducks Prospects Camp last weekend in Anaheim.
Last year Matt Berry, Bryan Moore, Andrew O’Brien and Ryan Faragher all appeared at the Ducks Prospects Camp over 4th of July Weekend and played for the Grizzlies as well.
Seven former Grizzlies signed or re-signed with NHL teams as free agency began last Friday.
Andrew O’Brien (With Utah 2013-2015) re-signs with Anaheim.
Joseph Cramarrosa (With Utah 2013) re-signs with Anaheim.
Steve Ott (With Utah 2002-2003) signs with Detroit.
Victor Bartley (With Utah 2009-2010) signs with Minnesota.
Trevor Smith (With Utah 2007-2008) signs with Nashville.
Micheal Haley (With Utah 2007-2008) re-signs with San Jose.
Aaron Dell (With Utah 2012-2013) re-signs with San Jose.
Colorado Head Coach Chris Stewart retired as Head Coach of the Eagles on Wednesday, but will continue as the team’s President and General Manager. Including this year’s playoffs, the Grizzlies played 67 games against the Eagles with Stewart at the helm. The Grizzlies have had a personal relationship with Stewart for longer than that as he coached San Antonio of the CHL from 1999-2002 when it was owned by Grizzlies Owner Dave Elmore; who has always been a big fan of Stewart.
I’ll be on field hosting between innings with the Salt Lake Bees this weekend, so I’ll see you at Smith’s Ballpark Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Summer Blog Entry: July 1, 2016
07/01/2016 2:56 PM - Adrian Denny
The Grizzlies issued 8 qualifying offers on Friday that will retain the rights of each player for the upcoming season.
Last year 4 of the players from the six qualifying offers issued played for Utah during the year with T.J. Syner and Alex Krushelnyski both playing all year in Utah and Ryan Hayes and Marc Cantin returning at the halfway point.
In 2014, two of the six players issued qualifying offers were on the opening night roster. And again in 2013, two players issued qualifying offers were on the opening night roster.
In the ECHL, there is a lot of turnover in the summer. Players retire, decide to go play overseas or are unsure of their plans in a lot of cases. The qualifying offer gives the teams the rights to retain players so that if they do play in the ECHL it will be with that team.
In Utah’s case this year, Barry Almeida has already signed in Italy for the upcoming season.
Our radio broadcasts will have a different sound next season as congratulations to our pregame and postgame host Will Wodka who has landed his first play-by-play job in pro hockey that will be announced shortly.
Also, congratulations to Tim Montemayor, my color commentator on 1320 KFAN and KMYU TV during the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons as he will entertain Phoenix sports fans middays on Sports Radio 1060 starting Tuesday as “The Monty Show” returns.
Two Grizzlies opponents in 2016-2017 hired rookie Head Coaches this week. Missouri hired John-Scott Dickson who has one full season as an Assistant Coach. Toledo has hired Assistant Coach Dan Watson, who had a 5-13-3 mark as the Walleye’ Interim Head Coach in 2014. Those two rookie coaches inherit the ECHL’s top two regular season teams from last year.