Q&A with Chris Curran.

When Chris Curran’s 2008-09 season ended before that of his teammates, it merely meant that the Reign forward got to make his plans for 2009-10 that much earlier.

“Right after the injury, (head coach Karl Taylor) said he wanted me to come back,” Curran said from his home in Mississauga, Ontario. “Injury or not, I was coming back no matter what. The season, the fans, the organization was amazing. It’d be crazy not to want to go back to Ontario, it’s such a good spot.”

Here’s what else Curran had to say about the injury, his rehab, and the upcoming season…
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Reign: Bowness confirms he’s retired.

Ryan Bowness, who appeared in 12 games for the Reign last season before sustaining a season-ending injury in November, said he has retired from professional hockey.

Bowness was part of the Reign’s inaugural roster and scored one goal while recording 21 penalty minutes. He broke his hand during a fight against the Utah Grizzlies on November 5, underwent surgery a month later, and remained on injured reserve the rest of the season.

“After missing the majority of this past season, obviously it is tough for someone to have seen me play and give me a chance,” he said. “With an injury like that to my hand, you just never know how long it will take to fully heal. As for what’s next, I am waiting to hear back on a couple of jobs in hockey, so I’m hopeful to stay in the game.”

Bowness’ father, Rick, is an assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks and has served as the head coach for five different NHL teams in his career.

Report: Techjma will play in England, not Ontario.

It appears that forward Jason Tejchma, whom the Reign acquired from the Mississippi Sea Wolves in June, will play overseas in 2009-10. Tejchma was expected to bring some offense after notching 19 goals and 49 points in 70 games last season.

According to a recent report out of England, he’ll instead be suiting up for the Newcastle Vipers of the Elite Ice Hockey League:

Also American forward Jason Tejchma, who comes to the UK from Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL and is taking advantage of the Vipers’ links with north east Universities to study for a Masters degree.

Tejchma was selected as the player to be named later in the trade that sent goaltender John Murray to Mississippi, and the Reign would still hold his ECHL playing rights.

Two Reign alumni are already playing in Europe. Goaltender Kellen Briggs (Dresdner Eislöwen) defenseman P.J. Atherton (Bietigheim Bissigen) are both playing in the German 2nd Bundesliga.

Report: S.B. County 7th-best minor sports market

The Sports Business Journal lists San Bernardino County seventh in its annual ranking of the nation’s top minor-league sports markets. From bizjournals.com:

It’s the home of three class-A minor league baseball teams: the Inland Empire 66ers (1987), the High Desert Mavericks (1991) and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (1993); and a minor league hockey team: the Ontario Reign of the ECHL.

“Attendance for the area’s three Class A teams is on pace to top 600,000 for the first time since 2005, and the clubs have combined for a 7 percent increase in attendance to date compared with last season,” the report said, drawing a comparison to the area’s high unemployment rate and poor housing statistics.

Hershey-Harrisburg, Pa., topped the new list, followed by Fort Wayne, Ind., and Tulsa, Okla.

Q&A with Shawn Germain.

More than anything I wrote in my recent post about Shawn Germain, who is returning to the Reign defense in 2009-10, I’ll remember him as a gym rat. Specifically, he was the only player who I saw take advantage of the team-issued pass to a Rancho Cucamonga gym during the season, and he would be there at least twice a week on average. It was the surest sign of his intensity and work ethic off the ice, and it set quite an example for the team’s rookies.

So it came as no surprise today to learn that Germain has spent his off-season working at an Edmonton conditioning camp with hockey players from various pro and amateur levels, from the Western Hockey League on up to the NHL. Our conversation on that topic went so well that I’m going to save it for a future story. In the meantime, here’s what Germain had to say about coming back to the Reign…
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It’s jersey-poll time again.

The Hockey News is back at it, giving Reign fans a mulligan to get their team back into the running for “best jersey in pro hockey.” You might recall that the Reign shocked the world (of unofficial online polling) by making the Final Four in their inaugural season a year ago.

This year’s voting starts against other ECHL jerseys. The Hockey News staff is already seeding Bakersfield and Stockton ahead of the Reign, so let the voting begin: http://www.thehockeynews.com/pages/puck_poll.html