Thursday, August 23, 2012

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night...

The Texas Brahmas Insider is calling it quits

Yeah, this is well overdue - considering that this was supposed to be a one year gig! 

I began this venture way back on the evening of May 22, 2008 with the intent on covering the Brahmas off-season and throughout the 2008-09 season until the Brahmas did what I thought they might - win the Ray Miron President's Cup championship. I told Fonger just that when we sat down for the very first of many Insider Interviews, published that June.

Following that unforgettable night - May 6, 2009 - when along with many of you, I drank from the Cup (and several others) and eventually passed out in the NYTEX Sports Centre parking lot, I fully intended to retire from blogging.

But given the thrill of that championship season, how could I stop?

Now, I'll be the first to say that while I was very proud of what I did on the blog that first season, my contributions began to wane as the next three seasons went on.

My interest in covering the team's exploits with my camera grew and that became more and more of a focus (pardon the pun) for me. I was happy to contribute images not only to the players, their families, the fans, the fan club and the team itself, especially last season for use in the program, on magnet schedules, pocket schedules, posters and the website as well as a large photo display inside Zuroma. My photos have also been used extensively by the league as well as newspapers and websites world-wide. What a thrill!

My decision to end this now has been in the works for some time now - I was just waiting for the right time to sit down and tap out this post and today felt like the right time. 

This is just an announcement - not quite the last post - as I have a few things to say about the whole experience as well as a lot of people to thank for making this whole thing a wonderful and memorable part of my life. 

For now, I'll leave you all with one of my favorite songs, which seems fitting for the day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big changes coming to the Brahmas organization

Press release expected very soon

One of the benefits, but ultimately one of the drawbacks to being an "insider" is you are often privy to information not available to the public and out of respect to the team, I keep that information in the vault. More than anything else, that's why the Texas Brahmas Insider has been even more quiet than usual this off-season.

That's about to change.

For those of you wondering why there have been no announcements of any kind from the Texas Brahmas since May 24th, you're about to find out why. According to multiple confirmed sources, a big change is coming to the organization - don't worry, it's all positive as far as I'm concerned.

More to come...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sabres Goaltender coach Jim Corsi talks to goalie Mark Guggenberger. Photo Credit: Derek Gee/Buffalo News
Guggenberger attends Buffalo Sabres development camp

Former Brahmas goalie holds his own with NHL prospects, Navy Seals

"Nothing Dominator-like in the save department, but, after reviewing video, noteworthy because he always seemed to come up with the save. Not bad for an invitee."

- Buffalo Sabres Now Blog

Guggenberger (left rear) and fellow prospects do push-ups on the ice/Photo Credit: Bill Wippert

Former Texas Brahmas goalie Mark Guggenberger never considered training with America's elite special forces in his quest for a spot in the show, but that's just what he found himself doing last week while attending the Buffalo Sabres 2012 Development Camp.

Along with 38 of the Sabres' top prospects, Guggenberger was told on Sunday evening that they would be training with the U.S. Navy SEALs each day, beginning early the following morning. Early, as in 4:30 am - a rude awakening for anyone, especially when you have to make your bed, be dressed and ready to leave in 15 minutes.

After a short bus ride to Woodlawn Beach outside of Buffalo, the players endured a grueling workout straight out the SEALs' training book, which included squats, push-ups, sit-ups, crunches and a swim in Lake Erie. There were also some unconventional exercises that sometimes involved giant logs.

The idea was that the SEALs would be better qualified than anyone to teach teamwork - a unique and effective way to inculcate a spirit of camaraderie and toughness. 

The SEALs had the group for nearly three hours. Then, after a two-hour break, the players hit the ice at the First Niagara Center to skate and make their first impressions on the coaching staff.

Besides the morning workouts, the SEALs forced the players to make their beds, clean up after meals and as well as other military protocol, which was punishable by more pushups and squats if not followed.

Here's some raw video from - you'll spot Guggs if you watch carefully:

Guggenberger joined three other sizable goalies at this year's camp including Connor Knapp and Nathan Lieuwen, who both stand at 6-feet 5-inches and Linus Ullmark, who like Guggs, stands at 6-feet 3-inches.

All indications are that the former Brahma held his own during the camp, except maybe for a humbling trio of goals on day two by a very impressive 18-year-old center by the name of Mikhail Grigorenko.

Here's a quote from the Die By The Blade Blog:

"Mark Guggenberger has a cool name....and he is a solid goalie, which was a nice surprise...Jim Corsi was working on his positioning a lot at the beginning of the second session, showing him how he should be exiting the crease to challenge a shooter and how he should move corner to corner to cover the net."

Guggenberger prepares to make a save on a shot by Brayden McNabb

Here's a video from KSI Management which shows Guggenberger's performance in a scrimmage shootout versus fellow camper Linus Ullmark.

Here's another video, from bgred105 on YouTube, which shows more of Guggenberger's experience. Some additional videos can be found here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Brett Findlay headed to the Petes

Soo Greyhounds deal overage forward for three draft picks

Soo Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Dubas has announced that the club has completed a transaction with the Peterborough Petes, dealing overage forward Brett Findlay in exchange for the Pete’s 2nd Round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection (conditional), the Pete's 3rd Round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection (conditional) and the Pete's 15th Round pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.

Findlay, 19, was signed by the Hounds as a Free Agent in September 2010. He was one of seven player’s on the Hounds current roster eligible for an overage spot heading into the 2012-13 season.

During the 2010-11 season, Findlay notched 44 points (20 G, 24 A, -3) and 31 penalty minutes in 57 games played with the Greyhounds. Last season, he contributed 56 points (20 G, 36 A, -6) and 44 PIM in 68 games played.

At the end of the 2011-12 Greyhound season, Findlay signed with the Brahmas and played in 11 playoff contests where he found the back of the net twice and added four assists.

"I was a little shocked when I got the call, I am going to miss my friends and family and all the great fans that are here in the Soo but at the same time, I am turning the page to another chapter in my hockey career and I am very excited to be joining a very good Peterborough Petes team," Findlay told
“Peterborough’s got a lot of power up front and I think that will benefit me and I can bring something to the team,” he said. “Obviously me being an over-ager is an issue, you can only have so many. I’m just really excited that Peterborough wants me and I couldn’t be happier to be a Pete right now.”

Petes GM Dave Reid told the Peterborough Examiner that the trade for Findlay fulfilled a need for a solid top six forward.

“Brett is an all-around player who can play both ends of the rink,” Reid said. “He has good offensive skills, two 20-goal season. We were looking for an experienced centerman and Brett is one.”

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nicholls true to form in Adelaide

Former Brahmas forward makes an impact in his first start down under

Dan Nicholls didn't really know what to expect when he stepped off the plane at the Adelaide International Airport but the 24-year-old native of Whitby, Ontario was sure of one thing - he wanted to get on the ice as soon as possible.

Sidelined by a shoulder injury that's kept him from playing since March 25th, Nicholls missed out on the Brahmas' post-season run and returned home to continue his rehabilitation before preparing for his trip down under.

Nicholls arrived just hours before Saturday's game against the reigning AIHL champion Melbourne Ice, the first of a two-game weekend series. Adelaide won three out of four games against the Ice last season including both home games, but were eliminated by Melbourne on the road in the post-season Semi Final last September.

Nicholls was greeted by a representative of the team and after a 10 minute drive, got his first look at his new home ice, Ice ArenA Adelaide, a 1500-seat venue opened in 1981. Coach Ryan O'Handley opted not to play Nicholls on Saturday, giving him instead, a chance to rest from the nearly 21 hour flight from Toronto and the opportunity to watch his first Australian Ice Hockey League contest.

Not unlike his experience in the Central Hockey League, Nicholls witnessed a  tough and physical encounter that also saw sixteen penalties handed out.

The Adrenaline enjoyed a two-goal advantage at the end of both the first and second periods but Melbourne kept fighting back and scored the first two goals early in the final frame to tie the game 4-4. The Adrenaline scored the next two, once again giving themselves that two-goal buffer.

With the game intensifying, the Adelaide gave away two soft penalties giving Melbourne a two-man advantage with just under three minutes left to play. While Melbourne did find the back of the net, Adelaide held the Ice out for the remaining minute and a half to secure the 6-5 win.

On Sunday, Nicholls was ready to go and suited up for the first time in an Adrenaline sweater, number 14. The former Brahmas wrecking ball performed exceptionally well, producing a couple of hits that literally rocked the IceArenA. 

Unfortunately, the Adrenaline’s penalties were costly - Melbourne’s two regulation goals were scored during power plays in the second period. The team was also rocked midway through the frame, when Josef Rezek took what appeared to be an elbow to the head at center ice. Rezek was eventually assisted from the ice after losing consciousness and suffering some dizziness but the tough Czech was able to return to the game in the third period and assisted on Dan Nicholls' equalizing goal, his first in the AIHL.

The contest went into overtime but there was no resolution and Melbourne took the win in a shootout. 

Despite the 2-3 loss, Adelaide took four out of a possible six points and in their first three games remain undefeated in regulation to sit in third place in the AIHL's Eastern Conference.

The Adrenaline will play a two-game road series against the Gold Coast Blue Tongues this coming weekend.

Photo Credit: Frank Kutsche

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wichita Thunder players in happier times
The Texas Brahmas Curse continues...

Wichita defeated in the 2012 President's Cup Finals

So it doesn't pay to beat the Brahmas in the playoffs does it? To date, no team that has eliminated a Wildfong-coached Brahmas team in the post-season has won any series that followed.

2008 - The Colorado Eagles defeat the Brahmas in the semi-finals 4-3 and is swept by the Arizona Sundogs 4-0 in the President's Cup Finals.

2009 - N/A...Brahmas win President's Cup.

2010 - The Odessa Jackalopes defeat the Brahmas 4-2 in the semifinals and are eliminated 4-3 by the Allen Americans in the Conference Finals.

2011 - The Odessa Jackalopes defeat the Brahmas 3-1 in the opening round and are eliminated by the Allen Americans 3-2 in the Conference Semi-Finals.

2012 - The Wichita Thunder defeat the Brahmas 4-2 in the Conference Finals and are defeated by the Fort Wayne Komets 4-1 in the President's Cup Finals.

Don't mess with Texas...'nuff said.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith