This is one of the biggest weeks of the offseason, and so there’s a bunch of stuff to catch up on.
- The ECHL released its qualifying offer lists on Wednesday. Teams were allowed to protect up to eight skaters by extending qualifying offers. The Fuel protected seven.
- The Fuel also made their first two signings of 2015-16, re-signing F Rhett Bly and adding F Casey Thrush, a rookie from New Hampshire. The Fuel will continue to announce signings on Mondays in July.
- The Chicago Blackhawks did not extend a qualifying offer to Fuel goaltender Mac Carruth, making him an unrestricted free agent.
- The Fuel’s ownership group has purchased the Fishers Forum and re-named it the Fuel Tank at Fishers. The rink will also be renovated this summer and an apartment complex will be built adjacent to the rink to house players.
- The ECHL has made a couple of changes to the playing rules – notably overtime will be 3-on-3 followed by a 3-round shootout (instead of 4-on-4 and a 5-round shootout as had been used in the past). Also, the hashmarks on the face-off circles will be moved to the NHL width of 5-foot-7, getting the wingers/D-men farther apart on the draws. All Kelly Cup playoff games will use a two-referee system.
- In ECHL news, the Orlando Solar Bears have named their new coach, former USHL Youngstown Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen. He becomes the second USHL Coach of the Year in as many seasons to move to the ECHL – joining Derek Lalonde, who went from Green Bay to Toledo last year. Noreen replaces former IHL Ice player Vince Williams as Orlando’s head coach.
- An ECHL game will be held at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, as the the Adirondack Thunder will host the Reading Royals at the famous arena on March 13, 2016. It will be the first-ever pro hockey game at the rink, which hosted the 1980 Olympic Games hockey events.
- At the ECHL meetings, Idaho’s Will Hoenike was named Broadcaster of the Year, Fort Wayne’s Chuck Bailey the top media relations person, the Orlando Solar Bears won the Ticket Department of the Year award, Toledo’s Brian Perkins was the top ticket executive, the Allen Americans had the top website, and the Colorado Eagles were named the top marketing department,
- Check out ECHL Week, the league’s TV program.
- A few Ice alumni are on the move this week.
- Blake Coleman, the USHL Player of the Year in 2011, signed a two-year ELC with the New Jersey Devils. The forward had played four seasons at Miami University. He was a third-round pick of the Devils in 2011. Coleman played for the Ice from 2009-11, and had 42 goals and 66 assists in 95 games, including a 92-point season in 2010-11. He had 20 goals and 17 assists in 37 games for Miami last season.
- Stanislav Galiev, who was a key part of the Ice’s 2009 Clark Cup championship run (then won the Memorial Cup), re-signed with the Washington Capitals. The winger made his NHL debut with the Caps this spring, scoring one goal in two games. His contract is a two-year, $1.15mm deal that is two-way for the first year and one-way for the second. Galiev scored 25 goals and had 45 points in 67 games for the AHL Hershey Bears last season.
- Cameron Schilling, a Carmel native who played with the Ice, signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks worth $1.13mm. Like Galiev’s deal, it’s a two-way contract for the first year and a one-way deal in the second. The defenseman played for the Ice in 2007-08 alongside John Carlson, and has played six NHL games with the Washington Capitals. He signed with the Caps in the spring of 2012 and spent much of the last three seasons with the AHL Hershey Bears.
- Sean Kuraly was also on the move. His rights were dealt from the San Jose Sharks to the Boston Bruins as part of a trade that sent goaltender Martin Jones to San Jose. Kuraly had 19 goals and 10 assists in 40 games at Miami University last season. He will captain the RedHawks in his senior year. He played 110 games for the Ice between 2009-12, tallying 41 goals and 61 assists, including a 32-38-70 line in 54 games in 2011-12. Kuraly joins former Ice teammate Brian Ferlin in the Bruins’ organization. Another former Ice player, Torey Krug, is also a Bruin. Kuraly was a fifth-round pick of the Sharks in 2011.
- More immediate, Scott Conway, who led the Ice in scoring in their 2013-14 Clark Cup season, is also on the move. He will play this season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He is in his “transfer year” after playing his freshman season at Penn State.
- The NHL Draft was Saturday, and three former Ice players heard their names – Chris Martenet (Dallas), Troy Terry (Anaheim) and Matt Roy (Los Angeles). Indiana native Karch Bachman was also drafted.
Other hockey news
- The 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame class was announced Monday, and it’s a worthy group. Players Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov, who made their marks in Detroit, join Phil Housley and Chris Pronger. Housley played much of his career with Buffalo, while Pronger made his mark in St. Louis, but also led Edmonton, Anaheim and Philadelphia to Stanley Cup Finals in a five-year span, winning it with Anaheim in 2007. Hurricanes owner Peter Karamonos Jr., former HHOF chair Bill Hay and U.S. Olympian Angela Ruggerio were also named to the class.