Hockey’s Stanley Cup comes to Ontario Airport, Citizens Business Bank Arena

Fans lined up for a chance to see the Stanley Cup …

Four hours before the Stanley Cup was on display Friday at the LA/Ontario International Airport, Cassandra Duong was lined up with her family, eager to take her picture and show her support for hockey.

“This is the hardest achievement to ever get,” said Duong, an Ontario resident. “This is the hardest trophy to obtain. All the work and dedication that any hockey team has to go through to get this, it should be well respected.”

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Ontario Reign ready for a change from ECHL to AHL for next season

Via Bill Norris

On a cloudy Friday afternoon, the crowd outside Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport drove home the point:

Ontario is a hockey town.

As fans lined up to see the Stanley Cup, some of the final puzzle pieces were being put into place as the Kings and Reign announced that Los Angeles was taking full control of the Ontario franchise, and that it would become the team’s American Hockey League affiliate.

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It’s official: Kings, Ducks moving AHL franchises to Ontario, San Diego

LANG hockey writer Elliott teaford breaks down the NHL West Coast teams moving their AHL affiliates to California …

The American Hockey League’s California migration became official Thursday. The Kings will shift their top minor-league team from Manchester, N.H., to Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario and theDucks will move theirs from Norfolk, Va., to the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego.

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Ontario Reign on a roll, may learn fate of next season soon

Via Bill Norris …

A little rest did the Ontario Reign some good after all.

The Reign returned to action after six days off by winning three of their last four games to head into the All-Star break tied for first in the Pacific Division with the Idaho Steelheads.

With the break for the All-Star game, the Reign will be off until Jan. 27, and won’t return to action at Citizens Business Bank Arena until Jan. 28.

And when they return to the ice in Ontario, the team’s future may become clearer, as Ontario’s long-speculated move to the American Hockey League is expected to become official at the AHL meetings Jan. 25.

And with it, a new era for Ontario hockey will begin.

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Reign bring back Cameron Burt

Just in from the Reign:

“The Ontario Reign announced today that Cameron Burt is back with the Reign for the third time.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in Ontario and taking another run at the Kelly Cup Championship with a strong team,” Burt said.

Burt, 26, made his professional debut with Ontario at the end of 2011-12 and returned for his full rookie campaign in 2012-13. The Detroit, MI native, a natural forward, stepped up and played defense last year, a position he had little experience in, only 30 games as a junior. Burt not only held his own at the blue line, but was a standout as the highest scoring defenseman for the Reign and second highest scoring rookie defenseman in the ECHL.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound skater earned 38 points (2g, 36a) in 61 games and finished the season with a plus-minus rating of +18. His impressive performance in 2012-13 earned Burt a spot on the All-ECHL Rookie team.

“Looking at this next season, I want to improve the physical side of my game and gain more experience playing with the veteran players that are on the team,” Burt said.

Reign sign Kings left wing Kyle Clifford

ONTARIO – The Ontario Reign announced on Wednesday the signing of Kings left wing Kyle Clifford.

Clifford, 21, appeared in 85 games and recorded 12 points (five goals, seven assists) and 123 penalty minutes with the Kings during their Stanley Cup winning 2011-12 season. During their playoff run he skated in three games.

An Ayr, Ontario, native, Clifford was a second round draft pick (35th overall) for the Kings in 2009.

Clifford made his professional debut with the Manchester Monarchs during the 2009-10 postseason. He played in seven games and recorded two assists. He made his NHL debut with the Kings in 2010-11 playing in 76 games. He posted 14 points and 141 penalty minutes. He played six games in the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs and earned five points (three goals, two assists).

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound left, ranked first in penalty minutes for the Kings and second in the NHL for rookies with 141. He also came in fourth on the team for hits with 138.

The Reign play at San Francisco on Friday and at Bakersfield on Saturday before returning home to take on the Orlando Solar Bears on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

Ontario Reign sign Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi.

Devin SetoguchiMinnesota Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi has signed with the Reign, the first locked-out player under NHL contract to join the team.

The 25-year-old had 19 goals and 36 points last season, his fifth in the NHL. He scored a career-high 31 goals in 2008-09 with the San Jose Sharks.

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First Reign-Eagles clip from Friday hits YouTube.

Friday’s 9-8 shootout win over the Colorado Eagles was a momentous one for the Reign.

It clinched the team’s first playoff berth since the inaugural 2008-09 season with a full 18 games left in the regular season. It pulled the team within two points of first place. It set a season-high in goals scored and allowed several players to pad their stats and streaks:

• Kyle Kraemer (two goals, assist) has assists in six straight games and points in 13 straight – both the second-longest active streaks in the ECHL.

• Everett Sheen (goal, two assists) has goals in four straight games, which matches the longest active streak in the ECHL.

• Tristan King (three assists), Derek Couture (three assists), Alan Mazur (three assists) and Chris Huxley (goal, two assists) all had three-point games.

But let’s also not forget this light moment, the one that earned Eagles coach Chris Stewart a game misconduct in the second period:

It’s the kind of only-in-minor-league-hockey clip that tends to gain traction on the internets. It might even get the touch of gold that is a SportsCenter plug.

The Reign make a trade, and who’s in the lineup tomorrow?

The Reign traded the rights to defenseman Mike Montgomery to the Reading Royals for left wing Everett Sheen on Tuesday. While coach Jason Christie hasn’t done too much wheeling and dealing the past couple months, perhaps the only question is why this move (or something similar) didn’t happen sooner.

Montgomery, who has been on loan to the American Hockey League’s Houston Aeros all month, had one goal and one assist in 27 games with the Reign. The 25-year-old rookie has played 10 games in the AHL during three separate stints (two with Houston, one with St. John’s). Six of those games have come during the last two weeks, and it could be that Montgomery is becoming an established piece of the Aeros’ blue-line corps.

That’s a little ironic, since Montgomery was skating at forward for the Reign just prior to his February promotion.

Ever since Christie lured defensemen Alan Mazur from England, and Mike Gabinet from temporary retirement, both players have been productive. That’s left little room for Montgomery, Jason Fredricks and lately Pat Bowen to play their natural position. Mazur and Gabinet also have more experience than Montgomery, a quality Christie was looking to add to a young roster. As responsible as Montgomery is — both with and without the puck — he simply wasn’t needed anymore. The Royals can deal with the question of if and when Montgomery will come back from Houston.

What do we know about Sheen?

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Reign hit hard with suspensions.

The Reign will be forced to play without their leading goal scorer, their top fighter and their highest-scoring defenseman for the near future.

The ECHL suspended right wing Derek Couture for five games, left wing Chris Cloud for four games and defenseman Steven Tarasuk for three games as “a result of actions prior to” Saturday night’s 6-4 victory over the Utah Grizzlies. Cloud was also suspended a fifth game “under
Rule #23.7, which states any player who incurs a total of three (3) game
misconduct penalties for fighting-related infractions shall be
automatically suspended for his team’s next game.

All three players were fined, as were head coach Jason Christie and the Reign organization.

The league also suspended Grizzlies defenseman Cody Lampl (four games), center Jordan Foreman (four games), and defenseman Matt Sorteberg (three games). They were fined along with two other Utah players (center Mitch Wahl and defenseman Nick Tuzzolino), coach Kevin Colley and the Grizzlies organization.

After Saturday’s game, Colley said that Reign players were “shooting slapshots down at our guys in warmup.” Reign coach Jason Christie said Monday that pucks were flying in both directions during the warmup period, and he was not disappointed with his team’s response.

Messages left for Christie and Reign president Justin Kemp were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

Couture, Cloud, Tarasuk, Lampl, Foreman and Sorteberg all received fighting majors and game misconducts. The game-misconduct penalties will be counted toward each player’s suspension, meaning Couture and Cloud are eligible to return next Wednesday against Stockton, and Tarasuk is eligible to return this Saturday against Utah.
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