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Blowing, drifting snow - Junior Hockey News

Published: Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013
By: Randy Russon

Three words were uttered repeatedly over Sault Ste. Marie airwaves the past two days: Winter storm warning
How bad was the weather up here? My daughter was scheduled to fly home to Sault Ste. Marie from Toronto on Tuesday. But her airplane couldn't touch down on the runway here and ended up having to fly back to Toronto.
Then there was the Hockey North Show that I host on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. on ESPN Radio. Concerned for the safety of guests who were scheduled to be on the HNS, we cancelled the show two hours before air time when the wintery weather became worse than it already was.
On a lighter side, there came a few e-mails from a certain JuniorHockey.com columnist who is stationed in sunny Mexico. Concerned chap (ya, right) that he is, our man Steve Heisler wanted to make sure we were safe and sound indoors from the wilds of winter.
Not to worry, I told Steve. It's hockey weather.
Apropos, after putting my Coulee Region Chill hockey jersey on over my pyjamas, I settled in for the night with my wife and our dog, drank a few beer and thanked God that the family was all safe.
Just another day in Hockeytown.   
I have met and interviewed more than a dozen players from the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League this season.
And with each player I meet, it becomes more and more obvious that Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo and his assistant Gerry Fraser went for character as well as ability in putting their team together.
Really and truly, I have yet to meet a an Eagle who isn't nice, polite, respectful, friendly and down-to-earth.
If the Eagles have a prima donna on their team, I either haven't met him or he's been traded or released.
The Eagles, to be sure, are in first place in the North Division because they are seasoned, skilled and smart.
But character makes for team chemistry and the Eagles have plenty of that.
They also have a firm, solid ownership led by the self-made Ron Lavin, who has complete trust and faith in Bragagnolo and his program. 
A transfer in ownership of the Jamestown Ironmen from Kenji Yamada to Michal Ovsjannikov is in the works, I am told.
It's a pending transaction, a story that we were in on from the opening line and a story that we will continue to follow as long as there is one.
As noted in previous columns, David Cole, a veteran junior hockey coach-general manager who has vast experience on both sides of the Canada-United States border, is involved with Ovsjannikov  as a consultant. Previously, Cole worked for Yamada for two years before being abruptly dismissed before the start of the 2011-2012 season.
At any rate, bygones have apparently become bygones and Cole is part of the Ovsjannikov group that is working on a deal to purchase the Ironmen from Yamada.
Business is business, as they say.
Adding one plus one as easy arithmetic, I am thinking that Cole will be the next general manager in Jamestown should the sale of the team from Yamada to Ovsjannikov go through.
But what about Dan Daikawa, the current, second-year coach-general manager of the Ironmen who has taken the team from last place in the NAHL North Division in 2011-2012 to a first-place contender in 2012-2013?
Conventional wisdom suggests that, with Daikawa's two-year contract with Yamada set to expire after this season, that he won't be offered a new contract if Ovsjannikov buys the Ironmen and installs Cole as GM.
But if Cole is GM and not head coach, why would that position not be offered to Daikawa?
Daikawa has done an outstanding job in Jamestown under trying conditions. I say that if the Ironmen are sold that Ovsjannikov and Cole would be wise to at least seriously consider holding on to Daikawa.
From what I know of him, Daikawa is a good coach, a good guy and a good family man.
Through 46 games this season, Aberdeen Wings have a record of 12-28-6 and are in last place in the six-team Central Division of the NAHL.
Travis Winter is Aberdeen's third coach this 2012-2013 campaign and the 28-year old, who was an assistant in the United States Hockey League for parts of four seasons in Cedar Rapids, has the Wings at the .500 level through the 10 games that he has been in charge of hockey operations. 
The Wings have a 4-4-2 record under Winter after having gone 8-16-4 under Pete Sauer and 0-8 with Garrett Strot at the helm.
Of note, Winter, a former captain during his Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association playing days at Bemidji State, was also an academic standout, making both the President's List and the Dean's List.
In other words, Winter appears to both hockey smart and book smart.
Looking ahead, while Aberdeen appears destined to miss the playoffs this season, it can return every player on its current roster for 2013-2014.
Scoring leader Justin Parizek is the only 1992 birth year player on the Wings, which means the likes of top-line forward Peter Krieger, top-four defenceman Jake Horton and goalies Chad Catt and Zach Nagelvoort are all eligible to return next season. 
It's Winter time in Aberdeen.


posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 1:10pm
Hurd Applegate says:
Good info as alweys Randy! The Soo Eagles are a credit to the Junior Hockey world as you have often said Bruno runs a good ship!

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 1:12pm
Hurd Applegate says:
Coach Winter = smart in the classroom & smart behind the bench = more than a passing grade!

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 1:31pm
Christian Poulsen says:
Good stuff again Randy...and I love the cold and snow! (well, sometimes lol) (but not the problems "big ones" create)

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 2:35pm
Randy Russon says:

Thanks for the nice words, man.

Real hockey weather here these days. Brrrrr.

By the way, I took the lead from you in writing up Aberdeen today. You had said earlier to "watch out for the Wings" next season.



posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 3:09pm
Christian Poulsen says:
Cool Randy!...but now I better watch out for my ego (a part of my brain that is out to screw me LOL)...but really...I think...DROP THAT PUCK!

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 3:21pm
Randy Russon says:

Heading out to clean off the back deck and play in the yard with my dog. Haven't seen this much snow since I was in Houghton, Michigan to watch Michigan Tech play a CCHA game a few years ago.



posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 3:41pm
Christian Poulsen says:
We had a pair of Huskys that loved the cold and snow...they "aged out"...now the Shepherds (Cami and Ovie) always want more "minutes" inside!

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 3:49pm
Randy Russon says:

Your dog looks so much like my shepherd-huskies, Mika (who passed away in 2011 at the good age of 14) and Stafford, who is now two-and-a-half. Both girls.

Stafford, by the way, is named after the Detroit Lions quarterback.

I still miss Mika. She will never leave me. Her picture, I carry with me wherever I go. Her name, I have tatooed on my left forearm.

And Stafford, I rarely let her out of my sight. She is my trusted friend, just like Mika.



posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 6:13pm
Stephen Heisler says:
I once named a cat Gretzky...because he was such a cute little *****.

Thinking about getting another and naming it Frankenfeld.

posted Feb. 20th, 2013 - 6:51pm
Christian Poulsen says:
LOL! and tears again...I know, about time for the straight jacket...

posted Feb. 21st, 2013 - 10:08am
Tony Prito says:
Randy: A Coulee Region jersey?...My guess is this has something to do with the "Chill" of winter that you guys have been getting up North!! I figured you for more of a fan of the Warriors, Jamestown or the Soo !!!
I have been following your article's with regards to the possibl sale of the Jamestown Ironmen & as usual you are on top of the story ! Just so you know Mr. Michael Ovsjanikov is a very respected man in Oakland Twp. area and yu are right about his generosity and love for hockey.
I also tip my hat to you Randy for being so respectful of Keni Yamada . Good for you and keep up the awesome work covering the NAHL esp the North.

posted Feb. 21st, 2013 - 10:10am
Tony Prito says:
Come on Warriors!! Sweep this weekend you guys can do it come on! Looking forward to the game at Perani!
Come on Marty Gruse! Come on Jake Hofner!

posted Feb. 21st, 2013 - 10:11am
Tony Prito says:
Dave Cole is a good man! No b.s. and a strait shooter imho!

posted Feb. 23rd, 2013 - 4:51pm
Jack Dodd says:
Hi Randy Its time for a new Column. We need our fix lol!

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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Randy Russon, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.

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