Despite the setback that comes with having to grant inactive status to one of their teams, the North American Hockey League made a number of huge strides this week.
NEW MEXICO MUSTANGS
I may give Mustangs owner a lot of crap, but the guy does things the right way for his team. Outside of a lackluster marketing effort, Dennis was a strong owner that lived up to his end of the bargain. With the NAHL granting his team inactive status for 2012-2013, we are hoping that Dennis secures a new venue within the next month and begins the effort to market his team for the following season.
Ken Dennis is one of the good guys.
What does a coach like Bliss Littler bring to the Wenatchee? The Wild Instantly became the favorite to win the 2013 Robertson Cup. Littler is a big picture guy that will recruit with an eye towards another championship he would like to capture in 2014, the Royal Bank Cup.
The British Columbia Hockey League is going to force Wenatchee to declare their home branch. The Wild will ask for their home state of Washington with the addition of Idaho and Oregon. Any FIRST year player from outside of the branch would be considered imports. So look for Littler to be especially interested in high-end 1994 birth-year players. Meanwhile, youth level players born in 1995 or later, that want an advantage over players from outside the branch, should strongly consider Wenatchee's AAA programs, the NORPAC, or one of the three Western States Hockey League teams in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League, the BCHL is one of the ten leagues, also restricts non-North Americans from the league. This means that Littler will have to look north to Canada for Wehatchee's import spots.
The good folks in Wenatchee are in for one heck of a ride.
I will say this about Tomahawks owner Jim Brouchard, he means business. General Manager Rick Boyd and Head Coach Jason Spence will have to pull out all the stops to put a good product on the ice.
The Alaska Avalanche end of season roster had only five players born in 1991. Ten returning veteran players are "west coast" kids. I feel that Boyd and Spence will try to accommodate players that do not wish to make the move to western Pennsylvania, but they are not going to just give those prospects away.
Bouchard is going to expect immediate results on the ice, while Boyd also has to bring in players that will be welcomed into the community. Trust me folks, there will not be any "Flow of the Month" winners wearing a Tomahawks sweater. Every player on this team should expect the eyes of the community following their every move and with that comes an overwhelming level of support. Let's hope the boys are up to the task.
I am hearing a funny story about Ironmen owner Kenji Yamada. Numerous former players are telling us that Mr. Yamada likes the lace up the skates and join his team for practices.
Mr. Yamada, it is your team, your money, and your empty arena. If the desire is to one day have a respectable team with a respectable following, limit your ice time to the local men's league. Every second you are on the ice with the NAHL team is a lost developmental opportunity.
Will Tony Curtale return to Frisco for the 2012-2013 season? I am hearing that there is friction between Curtale and Consolidated Sports president Gary Gelinas. I think it is fair to say that Curtale's name will never come up as a candidate to coach Consolidated Sports' Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.
Curtale does get the job done and that is not the problem. The issue continues to be Curtale's love of attention, the 1970's slapshot mentality, and his legendary temper tantrums. All character traits that don't sit well with Consolidated Sports' owner Bill Yuill or Gelinas.
The NAHL Board of Governors will take another stab at the Divisional Alignment today. Knowing how much they value my opinion, I'll just throw this out there...again.
I know this makes entirely too much sense for the NAHL to go into this direction. Folks, it really does not matter anyway, the schedule will be far from balanced...again.
What do you think?