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On the road on a Sunday - Junior Hockey News

Published: Sunday, 24 Feb 2013
By: Randy Russon

Let's begin a Sunday swing in Jamestown, NY and make a pit stop in Flint, MI. And before we're done, we'll tell you how a California kid took a trek up north to the Canadian side of the border at Sault Ste. Marie, ON.
Putting aside any distractions that a potenial change in ownership may be causing, the Jamestown Ironmen tended to business on ice with a weekend sweep of the visiting Wenatchee Wild.
Before above-average crowds of 805 and 844 at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, the Ironmen showed rigorous resolve with 3-1 and 3-2 wins over the Wild, one of the top teams in the North American Hockey League.
Steered by steely-eyed coach Dan Daikawa, the Ironmen pulled to within four points of the North Division-leading Soo Eagles with the back-to-back wins over the Wild.
Interested observers at JSBA to watch the Ironmen skate to their Friday-Saturday wins was a group that is negotiating with owner Kenji Yamada to take over day-to-day operations of the team as majority shareholders.
Railroad manufacturer Michal Ovsjannikov, accompanied by hockey consultant David Cole et al, has been in extensive talks with Yamada about a potential takeover of the Ironmen, with lawyers from both sides also involved.
With the end of the NAHL regular-season nearing on March 30, sources linked to both sides say it is essential that any deal would have to get done prior to that date.
The pending lawsuit that Dennis Canfield, owner of the erstwhile Jamestown Jets has filed with regards to a lease that he had with Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, would not affect any deal involving the sale of the Jamestown Ironmen, sources with knowledge of the situation told me.
Sources say the Ironmen have an agreement with JSBA that it will assume any and all legal and financial responsibilities with regard to its previous tenant, the Jets, formerly of the Greater Metro Jr. Hockey League.
Flint Jr. Generals of the North American 3 Hockey League are for sale, multiple sources have confirmed.
The ageless Gale Cronk, owner of the Jr. Generals, is open to offers for the NA3HL team that he founded several years ago. The legendary Cronk has been involved in Flint hockey circles for parts of six decades and is considered to be the face of the Eastern Michigan Hockey Association.
The Jr. Generals, who play out of Flint Iceland Arena, are currently in third place in the hotly-contested, six-team East Division of the NA3HL.
The Jr. Generals are linked to seasoned scout Doug Bailey, who has recruited countless players who have subsequently moved on from the NA3HL to the NAHL and the Division 1 and 3, National Collegiate Athletic Association ranks.
David Radke is chasing his hockey dream a long way from home.
Well, a long way from one of his homes, at least.
Radke, a 5-foot-10, 175 pound, 1994 birth year defenceman who hails from the Berkeley area of California, is spending the winter months in Sault Ste. Marie as a first-year player with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
But Sault Ste. Marie is not new to Radke.
Not only was his father, John Radke, now a California University professor, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie but the family still maintains a summer home area.
Ergo, it was a no-brainer for young Radke to head north to pursue his hockey dreams, especially with his older brother, Dan Radke, nearby. Dan, a 1991 birth year forward, is in his third season with the Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Lake Superior State Lakers.
"It's a good league," Radke said of the NOJHL. "And I'm playing for a good hockey team in the Thunderbirds."
Despite being a rookie, Radke has developed into a top four defenceman for the Thunderbirds, who are in a torrid race for first place with the North Bay Trappers in the seven-team NOJHL.
"He's a smart hockey player with a lot of skill and he's a really good kid besides. This is a kid who is going places," Thunderbirds coach-general manager Kevin Cain said of the personable Radke.
Before heading north, Radke played major midget hockey in California for the San Jose Jr. Sharks.
"It's a well-run program," Radke said of the Jr. Sharks. "But this is much higher-level hockey up here."
Radke had initially hoped to play the 2012-2013 season in the NAHL with the Springfield Jr. Blues for his old San Jose coach, Tony Zasowski.
"But Tony wanted to switch me from defence to forward and that didn't work out," Radke explained. "I ended up in the Soo though and it's been great."
Radke said he'd like to follow in his older brother's tracks and play at the Division 1, NCAA level.
"That's been a dream of mine for a long time," he related.


posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 9:27am
Hurd Applegate says:
It is proven that most players who are in the NOJHL can play in the NAHL no problem examples being Easten Powers and Chris Truhel. The NOJHL gets the short stick from some of the big mouths who live in Sault Michigan who have hockey knowledge that equels ZERO!

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 9:28am
Hurd Applegate says:
Doug Bailey the Head Scout for the Flint Junior Generals is a fine man who knows this busines of scouting inside and out! He is not a pretender or a follower like some scouts! Doug Bailey is legitimat!

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 9:52am
Christian Poulsen says:
Great stuff Randy!...luvn' it for our Sunday morning Hockey fix (it was a "2 dog night" here and the wood burner is cranking in the middle of a Rocky Mtn. blizzard)...I noticed it too that Jamestown was 150+ over their avg...that's got to be a good thing...

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 11:03am
Randy Russon says:

Thanks, man. Heisler has me writing on Sunday while he lays on a beach in Mexico.

As for the weather your way, I think we sent it to you.

As for Jamestown, I hope this works out for all parties concerned.



posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 11:30am
Stephen Heisler says:
Sunday is one of my roughest days during the season. especially in a league with so much parity. 23 of the 24 teams have the guns to battle with any of the others. Even #24 Odessa has proven the ability play with the top teams on occasion.

As for the weather and beach, somebody has to live here and soak it all up, it would be a shame for God's paintbrush to go unappreciated.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 12:00pm
Randy Russon says:
Sunday is a rough day? You call what we do work? Writing is not work. In that respect, I have not worked a day since 1975.

posted Feb. 24th, 2013 - 6:15pm
Billy Bonney says:
We can only hope that this deal works out in the best way for all that it pertanes to with the Ironmen.Jamestown I do beleive will support the Ironmen but as has being shown in Johnstown in this day & age so much of this support is related to Marketing, Community Involvement etc etc. Good reporting Randy if not for you and Stephen I would be like Poulsen and not have my junior hockey fix ,

posted Feb. 25th, 2013 - 8:00am
Tony Prito says:
If the Junior Generals are sold I hope that someone like Mo Mantha takes over this operation.

posted Feb. 25th, 2013 - 9:23am
Dennis Canfield says:
Mr. Russon,

A number of calls have been directed to the Jamestown Jets legal council of late. Actually quite late Friday evening in fact and that's not the only thing that has come to light either in the last 48 hours which in time everyone will know.

The Jamestown Jets attorney is Dan Gard. His phone number is 716-867-7543. I respect you as a writer but considering you referenced the legal side of this case I would ask you contact Dan for the facts pertaining to our lawsuit from this source.

Much much more to come public...


Dennis Canfield

posted Feb. 25th, 2013 - 10:36am
Randy Russon says:

Thanks for the information.



posted Feb. 28th, 2013 - 10:19am
Tony Prito says:
Randy: where have you been, you havent wrote a story since Sunday! The Warriors fans and all the North Div fans miss you columns!

posted Feb. 28th, 2013 - 11:51am
Randy Russon says:

Actually, I am working on columns for Juniorhockey.com for both Friday and Sunday. Should have one posted before 7:30 a.m. (EST) tomorrow.

Thanks for your interest.



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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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