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Hello again hockey fans and welcome to this week’s edition of “View From the Booth”. I hope your summer is going great. Mine sure is going by fast as I’m anxiously waiting to head to Denver for Avs training camp to officially kick off the start of the 2011-12 hockey season. I think camp is going to awesome this September in Denver with a lot of familiar faces and some new ones of course too.
I was reading a blog post by Adrian Dater, the Avs beat writer for the Denver Post, and I came across a story he wrote about young, talented and promising defenseman Stefan Elliott. He’s a player I’ve mentioned before. He has a great upside, and I was impressed the little bit I saw of him during our first-round playoff series with Manitoba in April. He’s a proven scorer at the major junior level, he’s one of the best defenseman to ever suit up and play in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and that league has produced a boatload of them. I really like his size, his skating, his puck-moving skills and his ability to see the ice and read plays, all of which are vital components to a successful professional defenseman. Training camp for Elliott, along with several other young prospects, will be the first real chance to impress the Avs. It should be fun to watch him compete with NHL and AHL veterans in Denver come mid September.
The Avs recently held their rookie developmental camp in mid July. There were no on-ice activities, just a lot of off-ice drills, team-building and bonding type things. Those activities allow players the opportunity to show leadership qualities that are so vital at the AHL and then of course at the NHL level. It sounded like things went quite well for the players and staff at developmental camp.
When we see the Rochester Americans and Hamilton Bulldogs this season, both teams will have new head coaches behind their respective benches. The Amerks, now affiliated with the Buffalo Sabres, named Ron Rolston their new head coach earlier this week. Rolston comes to the AHL after many years as one of the main cogs in the United States National Teen Development Program (USNTDP) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. That same program produced Monsters head coach David Quinn, as well as last year’s AHL coach of the year, John Hynes of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.
The USNTDP, started in the mid 90’s by USA Hockey to develop the top US-born hockey players, is becoming a great breeding ground for coaches as well. David Quinn was there for a couple of years in the early part of the 21st century and coached the likes of Ryan Stoa, Kevin Porter, TJ Henick, Matt Hunwick and Jack Johnson, just to name a few. The program has produced dozens of NHL players and it’s great to see that coaches are proving themselves there and now getting chances at the pro level to prove themselves.
The Hamilton Bulldogs have a new head coach for the second straight season. Guy Boucher left after the 2009-10 season for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, and late last week, both of the Bulldogs coaches, head coach Randy Cunneyworth and Assistant Coach Randy Ladouceur were called up to their parent club in Montreal. From my perspective, Cunneyworth was great to deal with. He was always very accommodating and friendly. I wish both men the best of luck in their opportunities with the Habs. The new head coach of the Bulldogs this season will be Clement Jodoin, who spent the last four seasons coaching in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He also spent time a few years back as a member of the Canadiens hockey department, so he’s no stranger to the way the Habs do things.
We’ve got our Monsters Hockey Clinic coming up on Monday, August 8th and Tuesday, August 9th at Winterhurst Arena in Lakewood. Justin Mercier is slated to be on hand for the clinic to help give the youngsters some tips on and off the ice. Jock Callander is also going to be lacing up the blades to work the clinic as well. If your child is registered for the camp you can see a video we did last week with Youth Hockey Specialist Ben Shank on our website.
Don’t forget, opening night is Friday, October 7th at The Q. If you’re looking for tickets or a season ticket plan, you can always reach out to any of our great sales staff at 216-420-0000 and they will take great care of you. Until next week, thanks for reading and continue to enjoy your summer. Talk to you next week with another edition of “View From the Booth”. Until then, Go Monsters!
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