Category Archives: Hockey

All things related to hockey.

Yes Virginia there is a Santa Clause, Because he brought hockey back to Port Huron

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D.J. Palm
Staff writer

Christmas came early for hockey fans in the Blue Water Area. The Federal Hockey League announced it will establish a professional team at McMorran Arena.
A press conference was held April 2 by Assistant General Manager of McMorran Arena Rob Churchill, along with owner of an unnamed franchise Barry Soskin and FHL Commissioner Don Kirnan.
The Federal Hockey League now in its 6th year of existence will expand to 7 teams with the addition of Port Huron. The lease agreement with the building is good for the next five years.
This will be the 4th team in 13 years that Port Huron has hosted, with the most recent being the Port Huron Fighting Falcons (now the Keystone Ice Miners in Pennsylvania) the Port Huron Icehawks, Beacons, and, of course, the Bordercats.
“The leagues that Port Huron has been in in the past, didn’t suit them or the facility,” Soskin said. “I was in the East Coast Hockey League in Toledo with a 5300 seat building, really hard to make ends meet when your budget is only a million and a half to two million dollars. Now I don’t know about Port Huron’s exactly but I know enough about the league to know if their budgets work, those numbers don’t fit.”
The Federal Hockey League wants to meet their expected target profits but it also wants to provide quality family entertainment at affordable prices.
Soskin would also state, “If the owner is making all the money and the fans aren’t getting a product, that doesn’t work. If the fans are getting everything and the owner keeps going into his pocket, that doesn’t work. So it has to be a win-win for everybody and by doing that the building will be successful too. I believe that the FHL has a model that works it’s a proven winner the product is great. This is family affordable entertainment, and it’s better than going to see a movie.”
This is the first time in 6 years Port Huron will have professional hockey vs. having a junior league team.
“I think we were leaning towards pro all along, and I’ve been working on this since the month the Fighting Falcons left,” Churchill said. “The crowd had pretty much told us (the Mcmorran Staff) that’s what they were interested in.”

Red Wings’ Maltby visits Port Huron

Twana Pinskey

Editor-in-Chief

Mother Nature may not have cooperated with the weather for the 2012 Chilifest, but former Detroit Red Wings player, Kirt Maltby sure did.

Maltby was all smiles as he greeted fans Jan 28 at McMorran Place Auditorium.

According to Maltby, he chose this event because of proceeds benefiting the diabetics association. Maltby said he likes causes relating to kids.

Eric Hiller(left) of Port Huron and Andy Morris(right), also of Port Huron, was invited by the diabetics association to meet former Detroit Red Wing Kurt Maltby(center) on Jan. 28 at McMorran Place. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey Eric Hiller(left) of Port Huron and Andy Morris(right), also of Port Huron, was invited by the diabetics association to meet former Detroit Red Wing Kurt Maltby(center) on Jan. 28 at McMorran Place. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey
Eric Hiller(left) of Port Huron and Andy Morris(right), also of Port Huron, was invited by the diabetics association to meet former Detroit Red Wing Kurt Maltby(center) on Jan. 28 at McMorran Place. Photo Credit: Twana Pinskey

“Anytime we can help the kids and bring awareness to diabetics, it’s a good thing,” said Maltby.

According to Andy Morris of Port Huron, he was diagnosed with diabetics at the age of 7.

“Having diabetics doesn’t affect doing the things I like,” said Morris.

Morris explained one of the challenges he faced is getting the word out to people about kids like him that deal with diabetics.

Eric Hiller of Port Huron agreed, saying he thought telling people about diabetics is one of the best ways to show people that diabetic patients  lead normal lives.

Hiller said anytime kids like us can still get the word out to others about the diabetics association, it is a good cause.

Fifth time is the charm

Fifth time is the charm

Robert Kroll

Guest Writer

As a former student and current instructor here at SC4 I have spent my share of time in the Port Huron area. I still go to many of the same places now as I did when I was a student and I am always curious about why I can’t find a parking spot.

I have also maintained a healthy fascination/confusion in the McMorran arena and their seeming lack of knowledge about giving the people what they want.

Among many things, I am stumped at the arrival of the most recent hockey team at the arena. I have always heard that Port Huron is a “hockey town.” I have always found this hard to believe though because this is now the fifth hockey team that McMorran has hosted since 2000. I’m not sure what qualifies a town as a “hockey town,” but I’d like to think a team’s longevity would be a factor.

Aside from hockey, I feel that McMorran is a great place to see a live show. I am very excited for the “Rocky Horror Show” coming up at the end of the month and loved seeing Third Eye Blind back in March. They aren’t exactly one of my favorite bands, but it was great to see something like that in Port Huron.

I know that the Third Eye Blind show had issues in regards to promotion and attendance. I was sad to see that the arena wasn’t as packed as it could be. At the same time, I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. If the people who run the arena can’t maintain a hockey team, how can they promote a concert?

The problem with events at McMorran appear to be that they think they know what the people want and expect them to come.

What about just giving the people what they want?

Looking through old issues of the Erie Square Gazette years ago I came across old stories of how Kiss, Rush, and Aerosmith had played at McMorran. These issues dated back to the 70s when all of these bands were on the verge of becoming some of the most popular music acts of their time.

Reasonably speaking though, McMorran probably can’t book any of those bands now. Sure they might be able to play an “intimate” show there, but those bands usually play at venues that hold over 15,000 people.

What McMorran does have though is the ability to start getting acts that are on the verge of breaking through, again.  It would be wise to start looking into acts that play at the Fillmore or Fox Theatres in Detroit. Shows frequently sell well in those venues and they are easily twice the capacity of McMorran. There should not be anything that can stop McMorran from having the kind of booking power of those venues.

I don’t know what to say about sporting events though. I have little to no knowledge about sports. If Port Huron is indeed a “hockey town,” it may need more than just a team and a few public relations events to spark interest.

With the “Rocky Horror Show” and the other sports teams coming for this season, McMorran has a good chance of giving the people what they want and one less thing for me to be confused about.

Editor’s note:

All views expressed in editorials and columns contained within the ESG are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ESG or any of its advertisers.

We welcome feedback!

Black Hawk Down

Black Hawk Down

Cody Kimball

Webmaster

The Port Huron Icehawks, following in the footsteps of the Flags, Bordercats, Beacons, and Flags, again, are no more. After 3 seasons, Mike Reed, Media Relations Coordinator, announced that the Port Huron Icehawks of the International Hockey League will be “discontinuing its hockey operations in Port Huron”.

Kinney Entertainment, the company that owns and manages the Icehawks, and whose name is semi-hidden in the logo of the team, expressed gratitude to the fans, staff, and members of the team, with the assurances that the Icehawks will not be going anywhere else to play.

Port Huron's hockey has "A New Hope",in the Falcons Photo by Cody Kimball

The loss of one of the largest aspects of McMorran Place’s entertainment schedule, and revenue streams, comes just 2 weeks after the announcement of the loss of the Miss Michigan Pageant, to Ann Arbor.

These losses, coupled with less than desirable attendance for events like the Third Eye Blind concert, and the questionable response to the “Blue Water Fest” have some concerned about the future of McMorran Place, and of Port Huron tourism and entertainment industries in general.

Downtown businesses are upset about the management of the Blue Water Fest, and many have signs in their windows addressing the issue.

We value you and thank you for the many positive relationships we formed here, and encourage you to participate as much as you can in the many community events at the McMorran.” said Dave Goetze, Vice President and Business manager of Kinney Entertainment, in a press release.

The reality is, we live in a challenged economy in our community,” said Goetze, “and the entertainment dollars were not there to sustain a professional hockey team long term.”

The Icehawks are being replaced by another hockey team the “Port Huron Fighting Falcons” which will play for the North American Hockey League. The team will debut in the 2010-2011 season, and season tickets are now available.

Somewhere in a sort of cyberspace-limbo, the Port Huron Icehawks website now bears a solemn message, “Thanks for all your support and understanding.”

O. D.’s Rant 57-14

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Dearest reader, I have been maligned for too little or too many words in this, our last missive, of the book of O.D. I considered writhing or maybe just writing the word “THE” 666 times. But for you, dear faithful, I shall cry once more into the wilderness.

Again, I am forced to watch the Stanley Cup coverage when the national jerk works televise the games with the sound off. Their clear biases either send me to the gym or for a Canadian soda which I imbibe while screaming Iggy chants.

How to beat Phoenix? Find a ref who doesn’t feel it necessary to make up for being a bullied, inept hockey wannabee. Next, bring up the heavy hitters and don’t try to play finesse with wannabee Broad Street Bullies. Gosh, I’d love to see the Coyotes “toughies” on the ice with Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and company. Pant pant.

When I was blessed to meet the great Mickey Redmond, he had much to say about the playoffs.

“With the way the Western Conference is right now,” Redmond said, “I think the Wings are as good as anybody getting into the final four. If we continue to stay healthy and stay on track we have a good shot.”

On the “New” NHL…

“We must get rid of the phantom penalties,” Redmond said. “The way the game has cleaned up, without those calls the players would be able to exhibit their skills.”

No surrender Wings, we’ve battled back from worse than the leg-humping of desert critters.

Now for more hockey news.

Congratulations to Port Huron Icehawks’ Governor and Chief Financial Officer Frank Kinney for being selected 2009-2010 International Hockey League Executive of the Year.

I say it, the league says it, reader please see that the Icehawks are a class organization that excels despite having an arena that seats less than a fifth of some of their rivals.

Eh, Mr. Kinney, I, uhm, am graduating soon. Could you use a true hard-working fan-atic?

The playoffs are here. The Icehawks will be battling the team that defeated them in the seventh game of the finals two years ago. The time for revenge is ripe. Let’s douse the Komets.

Get out there and support the Hawks. I have had the honor to cover the players and the words class and dedication hardly describe these guys. They have an opportunity to bring the Turner Cup to our town.

This is playoff hockey, folks. This is Port Huron hockey. If you have never seen it, try it. Once you see it I feel it impossible you could not be hooked.

Icehawks’ Tab Lardner believes it will be a hard fought series.

“Fort Wayne is a strong team and have excellent older experience,” Lardner said, “but I don’t know what they will bring to the table. We have a lot of depth in our line up so we’ll keep the shifts short.

“Both teams are evenly matched. Whoever plays the game fundamentally will come out on top.”

Take a chance, dear reader, the Icehawks are one addiction that I think you will treasure.

Thanks to all involved. I’d just like to say … (rest chopped by the thought police).

Icehawks begin playoffs

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Two years ago, a defeat in the finals after a seventh game overtime loss to the Fort Wayne Komets left a bitter taste in the mouth of Icehawks’ fans. Although only the opening round, a chance for revenge begins Thursday as Port Huron travels to Fort Wayne to begin their quest for the cup.

The Icehawks ended their season in third place in the International Hockey League with a record of 47-25-0-4. The team produced two 30 plus goal scorers in Mickael Bedard and Derek Patrosso and two 25 plus goal scorers in Mike Kinnie and Brandon Naurato.  Bedard was also named the IHL’s 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year.

“Bedard was phenomenal,” Icehawks’ Coach Stan Drulia said. “With a young kid you don’t know what you are in for but he’s been professional, worked hard every day, and desires the next level.”

Hawks’ goalie Larry Sterling led the team with a 22-11-0-1 record and a 2.72 goals against average.

“If we’re going to go far in the playoff, Larry has to play well,” Drulia said. “Larry is well aware of this.”

Fort Wayne finished in second in the IHL with 104 points and a 50-22-1-3 record. The Hawks are 5-6 against Fort Wayne in regular season play.

“Fort Wayne has been the champion for the last two years,” Drulia said. “I would love to be the guy to end that reign. That is the mentality of the staff, the organization, and we’re going to relay that message to the players. I feel we’re up for that challenge.”

Port Huron’s 98 points occurred despite injuries to key players such as Tab Lardner, Jason Selleke, and Cory Stillman.

Icehawks’ Alternate Captain Robert Cowan feels the team will succeed if they stick to the basics.

Cowan said, “We need to realize that the regular season is over now. Whatever happened in the regular season is out the window.”

Unlike last year, the Hawks are entering the playoffs with momentum; especially at home with their eight game winning streak.

“Last year we were sputtering,” Drulia said. “This year we finished with a 7-3 record and 29 home victories for the year. That is the most I’ve won here in my four years. Not only have we played great here, we have performed well in Fort Wayne.”

There is a sense that the playoffs will be, well, chippy.

“There is a bit of a history between us,” Cowan said. “Losing game seven to them two years ago has developed a rivalry.”

Drulia agreed.

“I think it will be more physical here because of the rink size,” Drulia said. “Because their rink is larger and both teams skate so well, it should be more open in Fort Wayne.”

Port Huron faces the Fort Wayne Komets in the opening round of the playoffs on Thursday in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne visits McMorran on Saturday, April 24, for the second game of the playoffs.

Face off time is 7:30 p.m. For further Icehawks’ information, visit   www.porthuronicehawks.com.

O. D.‘s Rant 57-11

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Let ‘em play, let ‘em play, let ‘em play …

Now that’s old time hockey. The Olympics provided a stage for what purists call the way the game should be played.

Few whistles, hard hitting, tight checking… all that was left out was a few droppings of the gloves.  Oh, I forgot no Bettman and no NHL Toronto High Court Tribunal to dictate which team should have extra advantage… oops, I mean whether it was a goal or not.

The final game’s outcome would have hurt much worse if Mike Babcock wasn’t the coach of Team Canada. Mike is a class act who takes both wins and defeats as a true professional.

There are the cretins out there well play the “Nah Nah you lost” card against us U.S. fans. But hey, scoring with 24 seconds left to send it to overtime makes the game a victory in my book.

Both teams were winners. If only anyone but that classless Crosby scored the winning goal.  You have got to admit the Devil got his due, but we got a game for the ages. No whining just good, hard hockey.

Speaking of whiners. O.D. has not only covered but has been a spectator at many events in many diverse sports.

Yet, even he was appalled at the antics of the Oakland women’s basketball coach in last Wednesday’s 66-55 SC4 victory. Throwing fits then rolling over when chastised by refs, acting out. This is how you teach values to your players?

That is only what was viewed from the stands. If only the SC4 players could tell their tales.   Oh, that’s because our team comports themselves as professionals.

Even Bobby Knight would blush.

Congrats, Lady Skips in coming within seven against number one ranked Schoolcraft, Friday.  The next day, Schoolcraft humbled Western Conference and number 14 Lake Michigan College, 85-54. Which leads me to, why wasn’t SC4 ranked?

As to men’s basketball, pending Wednesday’s District 9 quarterfinals result against Alpena, the Skippers should be heading to Mott Community College in Flint on March 5 and 6 for the NJCAA District 8 and 9 semi-finals and championships.

With Henry Ford and Mott ranked nationally in the top five, what an opportunity to attend some highly competitive basketball and support a Skippers basketball squad that should also be ranked.

All right, O.D. will admit when he was wrong. The 2010 Winter Olympics were absolutely fabulous. The camera work allowed home spectators to feel a part of the action. O.D. does not have H.D. but felt like he was there.

Yes, those athletes put in the dues to get there. Only when the professional status gets crossed does this humble reporter tremble.

But O.D. was right about curling which is becoming more and more popular. The U.S. performance was sadly lacking yet the competition overall was superb.

Those who decry the sport because it is different, well, some of those have yet to learn that T.P. is for something besides tossing on a neighbor’s house.

So Johnny Damon (demon?)  is a Detroit Tiger. Wasn’t he the guy who said he would never be a Yankee and now claims to be such a factor in their purchased title?

I used to be a fan until he whored off to New York and went corporate. Remember C,S,N&Y’s “Almost Cut My Hair?” That’s what happens when you trim those locks for a few dollars more.

And they got rid of Curtis Granderson?

Just a reminder that O.D. has gone global.  More rantings can be found on www.bareman25.blogspot.com.

O. D.’s Rant 57-9

Support your local Skippers athletics!
‘Twas a big day Saturday for both the men’s and women’s basketball athletic programs. The men’s team knocked off number one in the nation Henry Ford Community College, 76-72. This was the first singeing of the Hawks’ feathers all year. Henry Ford had won 19 consecutive games until that night.
The Skippers trail the first place Hawks and number six in the nation Mott Community College Bears by one game. Their 7-2 record places them in third with plenty of time to make a move on first place.
The Lady Skippers won handily against Henry Ford by 14 points, 90-76. The Lady Skippers reside in second place in their conference.
They trail number one in the nation Schoolcraft Community College by two games with a 9-2 record. Schoolcraft has yet to lose a game and are 12-0 in the Eastern Conference and 22-0 overall.
Just as our Lady Skippers volleyball squad was in a fight to the finish, so are our basketball teams. Now is the time to fill the gym and cheer on the ladies and gents teams as they make their run for the roses.
The next home game is on Saturday, February 6 at the school gymnasium. Kirtland Community College comes to town. The ladies’ game begins at 1 p.m. and the men’s at 3 p.m.
Call me rah-rah if you will but these student athletes are performing outstandingly and deserve the support of the fans, the staff, and the community.
Don’t change the column’s name but again I am rah-rah for the Port Huron Icehawks. I don’t know why McMorran is not filled for every game. I could understand this 25 years ago when the teams skated like a group of old timers who just finished the keg.
But this is quality hockey. The price is reasonable. The ownership supports our community. Why not support a team that cares?
Now for the ranting (hip-hip hooray!).
According to msn.foxsports.com, Miguel Cabrera spent three months in rehab after supposedly being a bit tipsy for the big series to conclude last year’s pennant race.
Being drunk (or at least hung over as most unrepentant Lions fans on Monday) then playing sports on the major league level is a time honored tradition. In the early days of baseball players had to be dragged to the ball park from the barroom. The Detroit Lions won a championship with Bobby Layne who, if the rumors are true, did not need blocking. The alcohol fumes of his cadence would stupefy the defensive line.
As baseball is now an entertainment property of the New York Yankees, perhaps all players should be required to drink a twelve before every game. That way money would not determine the world championship, but the strongest liver.

Icehawks Ka-ream Komets

It was truly clobbering time for the Icehawks Tuesday, January 26 … both with red lights and black eyes. With the game out of hand the Fort Wayne Komets dropped the gloves. The Icehawks did not stand down.
“We know most of our toughness is in the back end,” Port Huron Coach Stan Drulia said. “They know what they have to do. Everyone stepped up and that’s an encouraging sign. You cannot intimidate anyone on our team.”
The final score was Icehawks 6, Komets 1 but Port Huron dominated all aspects of the game.
“The big key was our penalty kill early,” Drulia said. “Surviving the first period to get back to five on five set the tone for the rest of the night. As soon as we did we scored and took over from there.”
Drulia referred to Mickael Bedard’s goal after the Icehawks began the game with two penalties. The Icehawks scored two more in the first along with sending two more players to the penalty box.
“We were fortunate to take advantage of the kills,” Port Huron’s Derek Patrosso said. “Anyone will tell you that a couple killed penalties will give you energy. However, we need to minimize the opportunities we’re giving our opponents.”
Port Huron added two more goals in the second including Bedard’s second of the night with a minute remaining in the period.
“Their goalie goes low a lot,” Bedard said. “I held the puck behind me, watched the goalie drop, and flipped the puck past him.”
Port Huron’s Jamie Lovell ended the scoring at the five minute mark of the third with a power play goal. Despite a 6-1 victory, the Icehawks only out shot the Komets 30-26.
The newest Icehawk, Brandon Kaleniecki, arrived at game time after a 17 hour drive from his previous team, Wichita, Kansas, of the Western Hockey League.
“I didn’t meet anyone until I got to the rink,” Kaleniecki said. “I played with (Brandon) Naurato before and I know him from back home. They put me with him on every shift. Lindberg helped me a great deal, too.”
The Hawks realize that a pounding of the Turner Cup champions tastes sweet but there is much more to accomplish.
“Yes, we need to defeat the big teams,” Patrosso said. “But we realize it’s only one game in 76. In the big scheme of things, there is a lot more to do.”
Drulia added, “We cannot rest on our laurels. We’ll enjoy the win for a few hours, then put it behind us and concentrate on the next one. That is one thing we have done very well as a team this season.”
The Icehawks return to McMorran to begin a three game home-away-home weekend series with the Flint Generals on Friday, February 12. Game time is 7:30 p.m. for the Friday match and 5 p.m. on Sunday. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.

Icehawks soar past Gems

The gods of hockey move in mysterious ways.
Elusive bounces of the puck gave the Dayton Gems a 3-1 lead after the first period despite being out shot by the Port Huron Icehawks, 13-9. Whether it was a change of goalies or a renewed focus on the game plan, the Icehawks roared back to score five unanswered goals.
Port Huron defeated Dayton, 6-3, on Friday, January 15 to continue to hold sole possession of first place in the IHL.
“The guys really rallied and found a way,” Port Huron Coach Stan Drulia said. “Dayton got a real lucky one, a deflection, then a late one.”
After the first period Port Huron replaced goalie Larry Sterling with Adam Russo.
“All their goals had nothing to do with my change of goalies. I can’t blame Larry,” Drulia said. “That was the first time I pulled a goalie all year. The move was a wake up call to the whole team.”
“I was really surprised they got lucky on all three goals,” Russo said. “The last goal was a snipe right past Larry’s head.”
Russo blanked the Gems the rest of the night, stopping 19 shots.
“In the last two periods our hitting swung the momentum,” Russo said. “We laid down six or seven checks in the first five minutes. We got the back to back goals that changed the tempo.”
After a Port Huron Brandon Naurato power play goal, the Hawks’ Tab Lardner tied the game at the ten minute mark of the second period. Mike Gershon gave the Hawks the lead with two minutes left.
“Big hits seemed to get contagious,” Drulia said. “That’s the way we know we can play. We need to get physical by committee. When we do that we are going to wear teams down with our speed. That’s what changed the game around.”
Jason Kostadine scored his first goal of the season at the 3:27 mark of the third period.
“It feels like I got a huge gorilla off my back,” Kostadine said. “I felt I was happy but my teammates started acting like we won the cup.”
“Kostadine has been working so hard for that goal,” Russo said. “He’s been playing so well lately.”
Port Huron’s Derek Patrosso added the Hawks’ sixth goal with less than two minutes left to ice the cake.
Quad City will visit McMorran on January 23. Game time is 8:00 p.m. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.