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.
 Phone: 814-870-1716
Posts tagged ‘usa hockey’
Posted: August 13th, 2014

Anton Karlsson (

Anton Karlsson (

Erie Otters assistant GM Dave Brown read the news on the Swedish club Skelleftea’s website – that CHL 1st-round pick Anton Karlsson has signed a 2-year deal with the 2-time defending Swedish league champion.
It was a bit surprising, given the conversation Brown and Otters GM Sherry Bassin had with Karlsson on Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y., where Karlsson was playing for Sweden in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp.
Brown said they made what he believed to be a strong pitch to Karlsson.
Besides that, Karlsson’s agents and officials from the Arizona Coyotes have said they wanted Karlsson in Erie. “At that point, I could have thought it was better than 50-50,” Brown said, referring to the odds of Karlsson committing to the Otters. “He seemed upbeat and optimistic.”
The Otters still hold out hope. Brown said Karlsson signed with Skelleftea’s Junior U20 team, not the professional club. So they will “continue to work.”
If it doesn’t work, Brown called losing Karlsson would be a bit of a setback. But the club would move forward with the players they have. Brown confirmed that CHL 2nd-round pick Igor Vladykovsky will report to camp (he apparently attended the Otters’ recent conditioning camp) as well as the signing of 2014 OHL 3rd0-round pick Shaun Bily.
Expect an announcement early next week on a few more signings, presumably from the 2013 and 2014 draft classes…

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: March 6th, 2014

Christine Bestland

USA Hockey announced today that Minnesota sophomore F Hannah Brandt, Clarkson senior F Jamie Lee Rattray and Cornell junior F Jillian Saulnier are the three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, which is awarded to NCAA Division I’s player of the year. Mercyhurst senior F Christine Bestland, who was on the initial list of 10 players, didn’t make the final cut.
The winner will be announced March 22 at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Conn., as part of the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, which is set for March 21 and 23 in Hamden, Conn.

Posted: September 17th, 2013

The Mercyhurst University women’s hockey team stands eighth nationally in the USA Hockey/USA Hockey Magazine preseason poll, which was released today. The Lakers return 16 players, including reigning College Hockey America player of the year Christine Bestland, from a team that finished 29-7-1, won an 11th straight CHA championship, secured a NCAA-record ninth consecutive national playoff appearance and reached the Division I Frozen Four a season ago.
Minnesota, which finished a 41-0-0 season with a national title, received 18-of-19 first-place votes and 179 points to finish ahead of runner-up Boston College, which had one first-place vote and 160 points. Clarkson (106 points), Boston University (102) and North Dakota (100) rounded out the top five teams. Cornell (96), Wisconsin (94), Mercyhurst (70), Harvard (41) and Northeastern (20) completed the top 10.
The Lakers open the season this weekend with an exhibition games at Mercyhurst Ice Center. They face the University of Western Ontario Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by a game against the Whitby Wolves on Sunday at 1 p.m. The players will be awarded their CHA championship rings before Saturday’s game.
In other news, Bestland was named captain while fellow senior Christie Cicero and juniors Shelby Bram, Molly Byrne and Caroline Luczak will serve as assistant captains.

Posted: July 29th, 2013

Erie Otters D Adam Pelech has withdrawn from Hockey Canada’s World Junior summer camp because his wrist, which was surgically repaired for the third time this past May 1, didn’t heal as quickly as initially expected. Pelech had surgery to fix a bone that hadn’t healed properly.
The cast was removed about two weeks ago, which was two to three weeks later than Pelech had hoped. “It ended up taking about 11 (weeks). If it would have taken eight or nine weeks, I probably would have been able to play (in the WJC camp),” said Pelech, who originally fractured his wrist early in the 2011-12 Ontario Hockey League season. He underwent the first surgery shortly after suffering the injury, and then the second procedure in May 2012 to remove a screw inserted during the first procedure. “It should be the last (surgery),” he said. “This time they got it right.”
Pelech said he hasn’t suffered a setback in his recovery. He wants to take more time to heal so he will be fully healthy for opening day of Otters training camp Aug. 27 at Mercyhurst Ice Center.
“It really feels a lot better than, say, last summer after my (second) surgery,” Pelech said.
Pelech will attend the opening two days of WJC camp in Montreal on Saturday and Sunday. But he won’t travel with the team to Lake Placid, N.Y., for USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp Aug. 5-10, where they will play exhibition games against the United States, Sweden and Finland. Yet Pelech doesn’t believe not playing in this camp will hurt his chances to earning a spot on the WJC team this coming winter.
“The way I look at it,” Pelech said, “(it’s) better to let it fully heal, and then by the time the Christmas camp comes around, even the regular season, I’ll be able to play to my full potential rather than having this lingering wrist injury that could make me play worse during the season or at the Christmas camp.”
Otters goaltender Oscar Dansk is expected to play for Sweden in that camp. Windsor Spitfires D Slater Koekkoek reportedly has replaced Pelech on Canada’s WJC roster.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: June 5th, 2013

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – The Jamestown Ironmen hockey club has suspended operations for the 2013-14 season, Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena officials announced Wednesday. The Ironmen spent the past two seasons in the North American Hockey League, the largest USA Hockey-sanctioned Junior A league that recently completed its 37th season. They finished second in the North Division this past season with a 37-19-4 record, and then won the division’s playoff title before finishing fourth in the four-team Robertson Cup national championship tournament.
The roster included Erie native Nathan Ropelewski, 19, a forward who had four goals and seven points in 24 regular-season games and one point in eight playoff games.
“The team made a valiant effort at the Robertson Cup this season, and that effort was matched by some local people and business owners who worked diligently in multiple attempts to save the team and maintain operations for the 2013-2014 season,” Kurt Silcott, the arena’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Unfortunately those efforts ultimately did not come to fruition, and the team will not be playing in the upcoming season.”
In the statement, Ironmen owner Kenji Yamada said that “I am strongly looking forward to make the Jamestown Ironmen come back on the ice for the 2014-2015 season.”

Posted: October 6th, 2012

Oscar Dansk remains a work in progress, even after his stellar 34-save performance Friday night against Brampton.
“I’m just taking it a day at a time,” the rookie goaltender said before the Erie Otters’ game against London Saturday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Dansk missed time in the preseason while recovering from a knee injury suffered in the summer while playing for his native Sweden’s national junior team at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. So Dansk is still working on his timing.
“It’s something I work on every day. You get better and better every day,” said Dansk, who believes he produced a solid overall effort in his first five games of the season. He entered his outing against the Knights with a 2-3-0-0 record, 4.51 goals-against average and .891 save percentage. He surrendered 19 goals on 110 shots in his losses to Niagara, London and Ottawa.
Yet he stopped 81-of-83 shots in wins against Brampton and Peterborough. “It’s up to me to prove myself,” said Dansk, who added that his return to full strength was slowed by “different opinions from different people” regarding his rehabilitation. But he’s ready to play now. And on Saturday, he was ready to face the Knights, who scored seven goals on 39 shots against him in London Sept. 21.
“I’m really pumped,” he said. “We’re looking to rebound.”
Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, isn’t concerned about Dansk’s inconsistent start early this season.
Besides the knee injury and subsequent slow rehabilitation, Bassin said, goaltending coach Peter Sidorkiewicz was unable to work with Dansk and backup Devin Williams on the ice until this past Tuesday. The ongoing renovations at the downtown arena forced the Otters to settle for an abbreviated practice schedule in previous weeks. Yet Ian Clark, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ goaltending coach, is scheduled to arrive in Erie today to work with Dansk, the NHL club’s second-round pick in the draft this past June.
“He’s still not there,” Bassin said of Dansk. “He’s getting there.” Better yet, Bassin said, “the players love playing in front of him.”
* News and notes: Scott Howson, the Blue Jackets’ executive vice president of hockey operations and general manager, attended both games this weekend to watch Dansk play. … The Otters scratched Anthony Cortellessa (flu) and Dane Fox (broken foot). Liam Maaskant, Justin Felker and Mitch Eisenberg were healthy scratches. Maaskant and Eisenberg haven’t dressed for a game this season.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: August 13th, 2012

Former Mercyhurst University women’s hockey player Kelley Steadman has joined 78 other players from across the nation at the 2012 USA Hockey Women’s National Festival at Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minn.
The event concludes with a three-game series Thursday through Sunday against Team Canada. Steadman, a native of Plattsburgh, N.Y., continues to vie for a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team since ending her Lakers career with a four-year total of 78 goals and 132 points. Twenty-one of 23 members of the U.S. team that won silver at the last IIHF Women’s World Championship are at the event, including past U.S. Olympians Julie Chu, Molly Engstrom and Jenny Potter.

Posted: August 8th, 2012

It appears the Erie Otters finally have a place to begin preparing for the 2012-13 OHL season.
A source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed today that the Otters will hold training camp at Morgan Firestone Arena in Ancaster, Ontario. The source said Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, will make the official announcement Thursday.
The source said the Otters will finish camp by playing their preseason opener Aug. 31 at Firestone Arena. They face Niagara in a 7 p.m. game.
The Otters cannot have their annual week-long camp at Erie Insurance Arena because of ongoing renovations at the downtown facility. The Otters held camp in Erie or Jamestown, N.Y., for the first 16 years of the franchise’s history. Bassin also considered the Ontario towns of Fort Erie and Newmarket, the source said, but ice availability in Ancaster was a key factor in Bassin’s decision. Players report to camp Aug. 27.
Bassin declined to comment Wednesday about the location for training camp. He spent the past few days in Lake Placid, N.Y., watching goaltender Oscar Dansk, the Otters’ first-round pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, play for his native Sweden’s junior national team at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp. The camp began this past Saturday and continues through this coming Saturday.
“We’re very impressed,” said Bassin, who was joined by Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations.
Bassin declined to comment further on Dansk, who remains unsigned. But a source said Bassin has been in contact with Dansk’s agent, Peter Wallen, of Alterno Management AB, Sports & Entertainment in Sweden. Bassin and Brown planned on leaving Lake Placid Wednesday to continue negotiations with other draft picks. “When we get back, we’re going to get that done,” Bassin said.

UPDATE: The Otters have scheduled a news conference for Thursday at 11a.m. at Firestone Arena. Bassin and Brown will be in attendance. Details for training camp and sites for exhibition games will be announced.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted: June 22nd, 2012

It looks like the Erie Blizzard will be back for another season in 2012-13.
Curtis Prue, who’s now the junior hockey club’s owner and general manager, said this week that the Blizzard has joined the Midwest Junior Hockey League. According to, it’s a Tier II Junior A league that’s sanctioned by the American Athletic Union.
The Blizzard, who joined a month ago, didn’t have to pay an expansion fee because they are a founding member of the league. Prue said the MJHL has 14 teams, primarily made up of teams that left the USA Hockey-sanctioned Great Lakes Hockey League. They will play a 50-game schedule. said the MWHL’s inaugural season is set to begin on or around Sept. 15.
Prue said he has four players returning from last year’s team. Prue hasn’t determined what it will cost players to play next season, but he figures it will be between $3,500 and $4,500.
Prue has six undisclosed applicants for the vacant head coaching position.

- Victor Fernandes

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 1st, 2012

Senior forward Bailey Bram, pictured at left, of the Mercyhurst women’s hockey team has been named a top ten finalist for the 15th annual Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented by Easton Foundations.

An award for The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is annually bestowed upon the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.

Held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be awarded at a brunch ceremony on March 17 at the Greysolon Ballroom in Duluth, Minn.

Senior forward Kelley Steadman and sophomore forward Christine Bestland were among the original finalists, but did not make the cut to the final ten. Neither did Girard native Jen Schoullis, a redshirt senior forward at Minnesota.

It marks the second time that Bram has been a top ten finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, also accomplishing the feat as a sophomore in 2010, the year that Mercyhurst’s Vicki Bendus became the only recipient of the award in program history.

A 13-member selection committee will choose the three finalists (announced March 8), as well as the award recipient, which will be announced live at the brunch ceremony in Duluth on March 17.

2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top Ten Finalists

Bailey Bram, F, Sr., Mercyhurst University, Ste. Anne, Manitoba
Brianna Decker, F, Jr., Univ. of Wisconsin, Dousman, Wis.
Laura Fortino, D, Jr., Cornell Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Rebecca Johnston, F, Sr., Cornell Univ., Sudbury, Ontario
Amanda Kessel, F, So., Univ. of Minnesota, Madison, Wis.
Hilary Knight, F, Sr., Univ. of Wisconsin, Sun Valley, Idaho
Jocelyne Lamoureux, F, Jr., Univ. of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, F/D, Jr., Univ. of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.
Florence Schelling, G, Sr., Northeastern Univ., Oberengstringen, Switzerland
Natalie Spooner, F, Sr., Ohio State Univ., Scarborough, Ontario

- From Mercyhurst news release, staff report