ECHL All-Star Game: Pregame notes

Aaron Lewadniuk’s first all-star moment has come and gone without much fanfare.

Lewadniuk, the lone Reign All-Star here at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, participated only in the shootout competition, and missed on his only attempt. Lewadniuk attempted a forehand-to-backhand move against Idaho Steelheads goalie Tyler Beskorowany and saw the puck slide off the end of his stick, wide of the net.

The skills competition was a brief, 40-minute affair. Not a bad format if your attention span is short; not a good one if you prefer the skills competition to the game itself.

Reign president Justin Kemp said that today’s ECHL Board of Governors meeting was a relatively short one, too – 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Kemp said that the most encouraging news is the league is closer to adding to its current total of 19 teams than subtracting. The Chicago Express is set to begin play next year, which will bring the league to 20 teams.

Beyond that, the ECHL is eyeing a few markets in both the East and West, but Kemp couldn’t disclose where.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

No practice updates today – it’s the rules. Updates.

The Reign, and the rest of the ECHL, were off the ice today. It’s written into the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association that teams don’t practice during the All-Star Break. With no practice comes no updates, but here are a couple tidbits to pass along:

• Aaron Lewadniuk told me after last night’s game that he is leaving for Bakersfield today. Karl Taylor told me about a month ago that, because Ontario is relatively close to Bakersfield, it was possible that the ECHL would turn to the Reign for any injury replacements simply because it’s easier to get players to the game on short notice. The game is two days away and Lewadniuk, to my knowledge, is still the only Reign player heading north.

• Dusty Collins didn’t play for the Manitoba Moose yesterday, the first time he’s been scratched since being recalled to the AHL a week ago. His name hasn’t popped up on the transactions wire yet, but the player whose roster spot he took – Sergei Shirokov – was just returned to Manitoba by the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. But … the Canucks also recalled a defenseman from Manitoba, Lee Sweatt. No clear signals on this front.

• I spoke to Kings assistant GM Ron Hextall today about the Reign and the Manchester Monarchs. No Earth-shattering news to relay, but Hextall did say that he considered assigning a top-six-type forward (he didn’t give a name) from Manchester to Ontario at one point earlier this season when that player was struggling. That player turned his season around, however, and stayed in Manchester.

3:30 p.m. update: The Monarchs released defenseman Jordan Hill, who had been on loan from the Reign since December. Manchester doesn’t play a game until Wednesday, while the Reign don’t play until Friday in Utah. For now, pencil Hill in for the road trip – but a lot can happen in four days. Hill had one assist, 19 penalty minutes, and a minus-1 rating in 14 games with the Reign. He had one assist and 15 penalty minutes in 10 games for Manchester.

4 p.m. update: Hill is indeed flying in to Ontario today.

Lenes, Hogeboom, Walker on All-Star experience.

Because you can’t get enough ECHL All-Star Game material, here’s what David Walker, Greg Hogeboom and Peter Lenes had to say after last night’s game … also, interesting to note that Judd Blackwater was traded from Stockton to Alaska for Colin Hemingway, a day after Blackwater appeared in the all-star game. 
Continue reading “Lenes, Hogeboom, Walker on All-Star experience.” »

American Conference 10, National Conference 9, SO.

The ECHL All-Star Game went to a shootout for the first time in the history of the event.

The unabated scoring was typical of an all-star game, and David Walker and Peter Lenes chipped in with one goal each. Greg Hogeboom, the third Reign player selected, was held scoreless.

Walker gets credit for the quote of the night. Asked about the lack of hitting (there were no checks to speak of), the National Conference captain said, “it’s like playing hockey in Europe.”

More details in tomorow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Hall of Fame luncheon roundup.

Tears were shed, autographs were signed, and memories were shared Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario Hilton during the ECHL’s third annual Hall of Fame luncheon. Cam Brown, E.A. “Bud” Gingher, Olaf Kolzig and Darryl Noren all received induction, and Luc Robitaille warmed up a packed auditorium with a few words of motivation for the ECHL all-stars in attendance — and coming from the former ninth-round draft pick, they ought to go far.

“Never take it for granted,” said Robitaille, currently the Kings’ president of business operations. “It’ll be televised, scouts will be here … but it’s a privilege to represent your entire league.”

Continue reading “Hall of Fame luncheon roundup.” »

National Conference wins, Reign get hardware.

The National Conference won the ECHL Skills Competition, 12-11, and captain David Walker was presented with the winner’s trophy, before 4,368 at The Bank. 

Peter Lenes won the 1-on-1 puck control relay and got to keep his trophy for winning that event.

Walker and Greg Hogeboom didn’t get any individual trophies, but got the loudest reception from the home fans. So did the five amateurs who competed in the breakaway competition, though none were able to score on an ECHL goaltender.

More details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

David Walker is the captain …

… of the ECHL National Conference All-Star team. 

The Reign defenseman, a first-time ECHL all-star, will have a pair of alternate captains, Ryan Kinasewich of the Utah Grizzlies and Shawn Weller of the Bakersfield Condors.

J.C. Sawyer of the Toledo Walleye will captain the American Conference squad, while the alternate captains for the American Conference will be Ben Gordon of the Reading Royals and Zach Tarkir of the South Carolina Stingrays.

Another change to your National Conference roster.

Please add Sasha Pokulok, defenseman for the Bakersfield Condors, and delete Robby Bina, defenseman for the Las Vegas Wranglers, on your National Conference scorecard for the ECHL All-Star game Jan. 20.

Pokulok is tied for the league lead among defensemen with five power-play goals and is third with 13 power-play points, while his 10 goals are second and his 24 points in 33 games are tied for third.

Good news for Reign fans: Bina has chosen to leave the Wranglers to sign with a team overseas. The defenseman has been a thorn in the Reign’s side, scoring one goal in six games and often being responsible for the Wranglers’ scoring chances.