By Victor Fernandes Erie Times-News staff blogger
Staff writer Victor Fernandes has ice in his veins. Hockey – he plays it, coaches it and provides the region's best coverage of it.   Read more about this blog.
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Posts tagged ‘bill wager’
Posted: September 1st, 2010

Robbie Ftorek (Contributed/Erie Otters)

Sherry Bassin wants to keep coach Robbie Ftorek and assistant coach Peter Sidorkiewicz with the Erie Otters in the future.

So Bassin, managing partner and general manager, plans to restructure their contracts, he said Wednesday at Tullio Arena. Bassin either will add to their existing deals or finalize a new contract.

Either way, their new deals will last a minimum of three years apiece. Ftorek has two years left on his current deal. Sidorkiewicz has one year remaining. “They’re good,” Bassin said of Ftorek and Sidorkiewicz. “It’s good for the continuity of the team. It’s good for the new players that are coming in.”

* Camp cuts: Club officials cut 11 prospects on Wednesday to reduce the roster to 40 players.

The list includes five 2010 OHL draft picks – goaltender Hunter Johnson (10th round), defenseman Liam Maaskant (eighth) and forwards Eric Kimmerly (11th round), Brent Hambly (14th round) and Liam Walker (15th round) and a pair of 2009 picks – defensemen Mikhel Poldma (fifth round) and Matt Halloran (14th round). Bassin originally planned to keep Maaskant in camp. But he wasn’t able to practice because of a case of shingles, a painful skin rash triggered by the same virus that causes chicken pox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That’s too bad because he deserves to stay longer,” Bassin said of Maaskant.

Harborcreek Township native Billy Wager, a goaltender, and Harbor Creek High School defenseman Hunter Conboy headlined a list of free-agent invites cut that included defenseman Tyler Mayea and forward Jack Pirie.

* Ailing Luciani: Right wing Anthony Luciani had wisdom teeth removed a few days before training camp began. That should keep him from practicing all week. Bassin said Luciani developed a throat infection stemming from the procedure. Club officials also removed Luciani from the team’s cabins at Camp Sherwin in Fairview over concerns that other players could be infected.

“We’ve been very careful with that,” Bassin said. “We’re not upset (that Luciani can’t practice) because we don’t have to evaluate him.” Luciani led the team with 38 goals last season.

In other injury news, goaltender Ramis Sadikov (foot) missed Wednesday’s practice. He was struck with a shot on Tuesday. Center Connor Crisp (groin), a 2010 second-round pick, and free-agent winger Macaulay McDonnell (charley horse) also sat out practice.

Billy Wager (Contributed/Bill Wager)

* Wager chooses NCAA: Wager approached Ftorek after the second scrimmage on Wednesday. Wager informed Ftorek that NCAA hockey is in his future. “I just realized I really want to focus on education,” said Wager, 16, who will play for Plymouth, Mich.-based Victory Honda‘s U16 team this season.

He pointed to the Otters’ annual seminar on Tuesday night, which featured Mercyhurst College men’s coach Rick Gotkin.

“It cleared things up for me,” Wager said.

Wager’s collegiate list includes NCAA Division I Boston University (his favorite), Boston College, Canisius, Denver, Maine, Mercyhurst, Michigan State, Ohio State (his father Bill‘s alma mater) and Wisconsin. He has made unofficial visits to BC, BU and Ohio State. “I’m still trying to find out what school is right for me,” said Wager, who wants to earn degrees in business and film. “I’ve looked at hockey programs. Now it’s time to look at education programs.”

* News and notes: Veteran winger Matthew Paton has added eight pounds of muscle to his 208-pound frame. That will help his physical style of play. But he has still focused on his speed and skill. Without that, he said, “I’m useless.” … John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario, and Sudbury Arena in Sudbury, Ontario, will host the OHL’s two games in the Subway Super Series, which features a six-game series between OHL, QMJHL and WHL all-star teams against a Russian club.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: May 18th, 2010

Harborcreek Township native Billy Wager wasn’t selected in the United States Hockey League’s Futures Draft on Tuesday – nearly three weeks after being bypassed in the OHL Priority Selection.

Wager, 15, a sophomore at Harbor Creek High School, attended the inaugural USHL Combine last weekend in Orland Park, Ill. An Indiana Ice official contacted the family on Sunday about Wager’s interest in the USHL, the nation’s top junior league that features 16 teams located mainly in the Midwest.

Wager expressed his interest, his father, Bill, said, even though he likely would spend the next year or two developing his goaltending skills at the Under-18 or North American Hockey League level.

But every team passed on Wager in the Futures Draft, which consisted of prospects born in 1994. The USHL Entry Draft, which features players born between 1990 and 1993, is set for today.

Wager could be selected in the NAHL Entry Draft on May 26. He also has received offers from a few U-16 clubs. For now, Wager will focus on earning a spot with a U-18 AAA club.

A coach from Victory Honda, an AAA organization based in Plymouth Township, Mich., drove to Toronto a week ago to watch Wager play with the East Coast Selects in the Toronto Prospects Tournament. Victory Honda officials haven’t finalized their goaltending situation, Bill Wager said.

The Cleveland Barons invited Wager to participate in the team’s mini-camp this weekend. But he already committed to attend a tryout with the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets this weekend.

- Victor Fernandes

– Victor Fernandes

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