Tuesday, August 23, 2011

...In with the new

Brahmas sign forward T.J. Fox to 2011-12 roster

The Texas Brahmas have announced the signing of fifth-year pro forward T.J. Fox to the 2011-12 roster. Fox, 27, played for the Hannover Indians in the German Oberliga last season where he registered 31 points (14 G, 17 A) and 69 penalty minutes in 47 regular season games.

“T.J. will bring great offensive depth for us and will undoubtedly be a great addition on the roster,” Brahmas Head Coach Dan Wildfong said.

The 6', 1" 196-pound native of Oswego, New York began his junior hockey career with the Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL). In 94 games over two seasons (1999-01), Fox tallied 54 points (30 G, 24 A) and 55 PIM.

Fox spent the next three seasons in the USHL, playing in 2002-03 with the Green Bay Gamblers and in 2003-05 with the Chicago Steel. During these three seasons, Fox accumulated 83 points (35 G, 48 A) and 176 PIM in 148 regular season games. He added six points (3 G, 3 A) and 12 PIM in 12 post-season contests. He was named to the 2005 USHL All-Star Game.

In 2005, Fox committed to Union College (ECAC), where he played with the Dutchmen for the next two seasons. In 66 games, he totaled 57 points (21 G, 36 A) and 88 PIM. He was named team MVP after he contributed 37 points (13 G, 34 A), which tied a school record, during the 2006-07 campaign. In March of 2007, signed a two-year contract with the San Jose Sharks (NHL) organization.

Fox was assigned to the Worcester Sharks (AHL) and in 150 regular season games over the next two seasons, he tallied 42 points (19 G, 23 A) and 48 PIM. He added three goals and four penalty minutes in nine contests during the 2009 Calder Cup playoffs.

The following season, with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), Fox put up his best numbers to date - 60 points (26 G, 34 A) and 42 PIM in 64 contests. He was also called up to the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for four games.

Here's a video of an awesome game-winning goal by Fox from his days at Union College (start at the :55 second mark if you don't want to watch the lead-in)

Here's a video of a 2009 fight between Fox and the Norfolk Admiral's Blair Jones. (Gotta love the announcer's enthusiasm on this one!)

Photo Credit: Mark Mauno
Out with the old...

Brahmas trade Deitsch to Allen for "future considerations"

Well, this one's been in the making for some time now. It's an unfortunate situation and from a PR standpoint, it looks terrible having your team captain go to the team with which you have the biggest rivalry with. Suffice it to say, what's done is done.

I never touched one of the original issues that contributed to the trade and won't go into it here, but as Greg Rajan said today:

This trade culminates a messy divorce between Deitsch and the Brahmas. Expect him to be jeered lustily when Allen plays at the Shoebox this year. If Deitsch learned anything this summer, it'd be this: Be careful what you and/or your significant other post about your employer on a social networking site, and also be careful when you accept friends on said sites (or at least learn how to use the privacy settings).

Despite the overall situation that led to the trade,which has more to do than an errant Facebook post, there's no forgetting the contributions Jason Deitsch made to the purple and black, which includes 164 points (54 G, 110 A, +25) and 222 penalty minutes in 149 regular season games. This also includes 58 points (19 G, 39 A) on the power play and 13 game winning goals. Deitsch added 37 points (17 G, 20 A, +10) and 61 PIM in 28 post-season contests and of course, contributed to the Brahmas' 2009 Ray Miron President's Cup win.

"I enjoyed my time with the Brahmas and definitely enjoyed winning a championship there." Deitsch said in the Americans' press release. "I'm looking forward to turning that page in my life and hockey career. I'm excited about playing for the Allen Americans and will do all I can to help bring a CHL cup to Allen."

OK, well good luck with that. As he is now a member of the Americans, I can hardly say good luck (I mean that in the nicest of ways). I have known Jason for a few years now and he's a good fellow and a talented hockey player, so I guess I can say I wish him all the best in his future pursuits, both on and off the ice. 'Nuff said.

Keeping Deitsch on the protected list prevented him from going off on his own and the trade will give the Brahmas a player at a later date - who and when? We'll just have to wait and see. From what I understand, there was an idea that Deitsch would be going to the Americans and at the very least, we'll get something in return.

From a player standpoint, having Deitsch on the Americans' squad will be detrimental to the Brahmas as the intense rivalry between the two clubs moves forward. Deitsch remains an effective top line forward and there's no doubt Brahmas fans will be concerned when he heads for the goal.

From an intelligence standpoint, Deitsch will be able to provide the enemy a lot of insight on his former team - something Fonger will no doubt keep in mind. At the same time, there's a lot known about Deitsch that can and will be used against him. All I can say is enjoy your visits to "The Shoebox" Jason!

The move now opens up the debate on who will wear the "C" on their sweater this season. Personally, I can see it going to Chad Woollard - and I've already taken some jabs from a few people on that choice, but I'll stick with it. Woolly's experience and leadership on the ice as well as the work he's done with some of the younger players make him a righteous candidate in my book.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, August 22, 2011

Matheson signs with the Steelheads

Rookie defenseman played nine games with the Brahmas

The Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) have announced that Derek Matheson has been signed for the 2011-12 season. Matheson, 24, joined the Texas Brahmas on March 16th and played a limited role in seven regular season and two post-season contests, contributing two assists and 12 penalty minutes.

Prior to joining the Brahmas, Matheson played collegiate hockey at Morrisville State (SUNYAC) where he was the top-scoring defenseman last season with 13 points (6 G, 7 A).

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Evansville confirms Sgroi signing

Veteran left wing labeled the "new sheriff" (did they have an old one?)

The Evansville IceMen have announced the signing of former Brahmas enforcer Mike Sgroi, confirming the big man's own announcement via Facebook. Never at a loss for the dramatic in their press releases, the IceMen played up the addition this way:

Having attained a long-running reputation as one of the most feared, revered, intimidating physical specimens in minor pro hockey lore and annals, Sgroi brings his unique blend of talents to Southwest Indiana to inject another important dimension into the IceMen team’s on-ice persona.

“Mike will certainly add a strong physical presence in our lineup for the upcoming season," Evansville head coach Rich Kromm said. "He is especially strong in the corners, goes to the net hard and always plays hard. There should be more room on the ice when he is on the ice. Also, we can’t lose sight of the fact that he brings a real wealth of experience to our club and that he has the ability to be a versatile player for our team.”

And we'll just leave it at that.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Monday, August 15, 2011

Andrea and Mike Vellinga at ZuRoma shortly after the Brahmas won the President's Cup

Andrea Vellinga - A time for prayers and a time to give...

Please take a moment to help some members of the Brahmas family

Early on in my endeavor to chronicle the championship season of 2008-09 (which was the original purpose of this blog), Mary Bradford from the Texas Brahmas Fan Club let me know that Mike Vellinga's wife was looking for someone who was taking photos at the games. Turns out, Mike was planning on retiring at the end of the season.

I met Andrea at the game later that particular evening and she told me that she wanted to get some photos of Mike taken during the course of the season to commemorate his final year in professional hockey. It would work out well, as I was planning on photographing most of the games anyway and I told her it wouldn't be a problem to get a dozen shots of Mike per game and maybe put together a photo book at the end of the season.

Andrea had gone back to work in Indiana with daughter Lydia while Mike remained in Texas with the Brahmas. Each time she came out to visit, she made a point of stopping by and saying hello. She was truly one of the nicest people you ever wanted to meet and I was very happy to have the opportunity to help out with this project.

After the Brahmas won the 2009 Ray Miron President's Cup championship on May 6th, it was time to get to work on organizing the several thousand photos shot during the season and as one of many side projects, put together the photo book which was titled Mike Vellinga - A Championship Season 2008-09.

Mike and I had a running inside joke about an interview we never did and throughout the season, we would joke about it. To my knowledge, he didn't know about the project and he gave me a call after he received the book to express his thanks. We talked about a lot of things and before we hung up, we joked that we would talk soon and get that interview done...

Now, I'd heard about the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair and although we hear about tragedies of all sorts every day, this one struck a chord, probably because I have many ties to the Hoosier State. On Sunday, my wife came out to the back yard where I was doing some work and told me my cell phone kept going off and that she read a text from my friend Gina, telling me that Andrea had been critically injured.

Here is a detailed news article from The Herald Bulletin of Anderson, Indiana

Here is a blog post by a friend of Andrea's worth reading

Suffice it to say, Andrea's a strong woman and everyone is praying hard for her, for Mike and Lydia, as well as the other victims of the stage collapse at the fairgrounds. Brahmas fans, they can use your prayers...please keep them in your thoughts.

In addition, there are bound to be some long term financial needs for the Vellinga family. I'd like you to consider giving anything you can, whenever you can, to assist. You can go to the Catalyst Church website here, find the Catalyst Online tab and select Vellinga Support. I've checked with Andrea's brother and this is a Vellinga family-approved fund.

I am planning an online auction of some Brahmas memorabilia, photographs, as well as some other CHL items from my personal collection to raise some money. I'll advise when and where you can go to bid.

Photo Credits: Robert Keith
Texas Brahmas 2011-12 schedule released

Season opens at home against Tulsa on October 22nd

The Texas Brahmas' 2011-12 schedule was released this afternoon reflecting a 66-game season opening at home on Saturday, October 22nd and closing at home on Sunday, March 25th. This is the first time the Brahmas will open and close a season at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

The schedule includes 28 home weekend dates (11 Friday, 11 Saturday and 6 Sunday games). The Brahmas will also include several new promotions for the upcoming campaign, including a “Pink in the Rink” game and backpack night. A promotional schedule will be released in the near future.

The Brahmas will make their first visits to the Dayton Gems, Evansville IceMen and Fort Wayne Komets for the first time and will host the Bloomington Blaze, Dayton Gems and Evansville IceMen at NYTEX for the first time. The Brahmas' schedule has them playing all CHL teams except for the Quad City Mallards.

The longest home stretch is six games, between February 25th and March 10th (Tulsa, Tulsa, Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande Valley, Missouri, Laredo). If you consider the Allen Events Center close enough to home, then you can call the longest home stretch 10 games, between February 25th and March 18th.

The longest road trip is also six games and follows the Christmas break, from December 30th to January 14th (Wichita, Missouri, Arizona, Arizona, Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande Valley).

As far as long-distance travel, the Brahmas will make the journey to Arizona twice - a three-game stint on November 17, 18, 19th and two games on January 6-7th during the aforementioned road trip. The boys will also travel to Fort Wayne, Dayton and Evansville on December 21, 22, 23rd, during the same trip.

Longest Distance to a Road Game (one-way): 1,031 miles (Prescott Valley, Arizona)

Shortest Distance to a Road Game (one-way): 50 miles (Allen, TX)

The team's lightest month is October, with just four games - three at home and one on the road. The toughest month is December, with 16 games scheduled - six at home and 10 on the road. Here's the per month breakdown:

October: 4 Games: 3 Home/1 Road; November: 11 Games: 5 Home/6 Road; December: 16 Games: 6 Home/10 Road; January: 11 Games: 5 Home/6 Road; February: 13 Games: 7 Home/6 Road; March: 11 Games: 7 Home/4 Road.

The Brahmas will play three games in three nights nine times this season.

The Brahmas will meet the Allen Americans 11 times with five games at NYTEX and six at the Allen Events Center. Two of the mid-season dates will encompass the continuing "North Texas Vintage Game Series". The Vintage Game Series reflects the historical past rivalries between teams in Tarrant and Dallas counties. The majority of the games between the cross-town rivals will be at the beginning and end of the season (Home: 10/28, 12/2, 12/3, 2/10, 3/18; Road: 12/16, 2/14, 2/21, 3/16, 3/17, 3/24).

The Brahmas will also play the Laredo Bucks 11 times and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 10 times. 30 games in total will be played between the four remaining Texas CHL teams.

Here is the per team break down:

Allen Americans - 11 Games (5 Home/6 Road)
Arizona Sundogs - 6 Games (1 Home/5 Road)
Bloomington Blaze - 2 Games (2 Home)
Dayton Gems - 2 Games (1 Home/1 Road)
Evansville IceMen - 2 Games (1 Home/1 Road)
Fort Wayne Komets - 1 Game (1 Road)
Laredo Bucks - 11 Games (5 Home/6 Road)
Missouri Mavericks - 3 Games (2 Home/1 Road)
Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees - 10 Games (5 Home/5 Road)
Tulsa Oilers - 9 Games (5 Home/4 Road)
Rapid City Rush - 1 Game (1 Home)
Wichita Thunder - 8 Games (5 Home/3 Road)

Here is the link to the Brahmas' schedule courtesy of Pointstreak.com

By the way, the playoff format this season is as follows:

- A total of eight of 14 teams will qualify for the post-season, consisting of four clubs from both the Berry and Turner Conferences. Both conference winners will be seeded 1st in their conference heading into the playoffs based on point totals. The next three highest teams in each conference’s regular season standings (based on point totals) will be seeded 2nd, 3rd and 4th in each conference and will also qualify for post-season play.

The playoffs will consist of three rounds:

Conference Semifinals – Best-of-7
Conference Finals – Best-of-7
CHL Championship Finals – Best-of-7

- The #1 seed will play the # 4 seed and the #2 seed will play the #3 seed in each conference with the winners advancing to the conference finals to battle for the respective Turner Trophy and N. Thomas Berry Trophy. The respective trophy winners will battle in the Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Finals. Home ice advantage in the conference finals will be determined based on conference seeding.

- Home ice advantage in the Championship Finals will be awarded to the club with the higher regular season point total, regardless of any earlier playoff seeding.

Should two or more teams be tied in points for any seeding issue throughout the playoffs, the following tiebreakers will be used:

-Most Wins (not including shootout wins)
-Head-to-Head Record
-Goals For/Against Differential

Photo Credit: Robert Keith
Sgroi giving a complimentary NYTEX Whoopin' on the Mudbugs' James DeLory

Mike Sgroi says he's signed with the IceMen

Former Brahmas enforcer will police the new Evansville Arena

His new team hasn't announced it, but according to a Facebook post by our favorite Mixed Martial Artist, Mike Sgroi has signed with the Evansville IceMen.

Sgroi, who turned 33 on Sunday, signed with the Brahmas on January 6th and tallied four points (1 G, 3 A, -3) and 94 penalty minutes in 26 regular season games. He added an assist in three post-season contests. He played nine games with the Colorado Eagles prior to joining the purple and black. Following the Brahmas' elimination in the post-season, he was called up to the American Hockey League's Bridgeport Sound Tigers for two games.

Sgroi was an easy fan favorite and took on the opposition's tough guys in regular bouts, often set up during pre-game warm-ups. He was an effective and necessary deterrent, part of the NYTEX triumvirate of toughness that included Roger Maxwell and Nathan Saunders.

Brahmas coach Dan Wildfong has decided to go in a different direction this season and Sgroi, entering his 12th pro season, had no trouble hawking his veritable talents. Evansville fans will be in for a treat.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maxwell returns to Quebec

The "Silver Hammer" will play for Saint-Georges once again

Saw this on the Saint-Georges (LNAH) website today (thanks to Eliteprospects.com):

"Roger Maxwell will be back with the troupe Beauce. During his last visit with the team, Maxwell was one of the best strong men in the league and he may find this title quite quickly. Roger is also very effective in front of opposing goalies to veil the sight of them. It will help to bring order to the ice."

Maxwell played 11 games with the Brahmas before his season came to an end due to injury. There were differing opinions on his role with the team, but as I said on the Brahmas forum, Roger showed up in training camp in the place of someone else and filled a role that needed to be filled. Even as a situation player, he had more heart and motivation than many of the kids who passed through last season - especially those who gave up on themselves and their teammates or those who weren't honest about the true nature of their physical condition.

He contributed one goal on just four shots and 27 penalty minutes during his time in purple and black. The crowd went wild when he was on the ice and he was the only enforcer who dropped another with a solid punch all season.

Roger knew it was a privilege to be on the ice and he did what Fonger asked him to do. All he wanted in return was respect. He very quickly had my respect, as evidenced by this article I wrote for Pro Hockey News back in October.

I spoke with Roger late in the season and he said he wanted to be back at training camp in September and was hoping to get another shot. I for one, would have liked to have seen him in a Brahmas sweater once again - even after 15 pro seasons, here's a man whose motivation will likely outlast his physical ability. I say more power to you, Roger!

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wild signs with Gwinnett Gladiators

Former Brahmas forward to play in ECHL in 2011-12

The Gwinnett Gladiators announced today that they have agreed to terms with former Brahmas forward Calin Wild for the 2011-12 season.

During his rookie season in purple and black, Wild posted 21 points (10 G, 11 A, -10) and 24 penalty minutes in 55 regular season games played. He added two points (1 G, 1 A) and four PIM in four post-season contests.

Prior to joining the Brahmas, Wild played four seasons at the University of Manitoba (2006-10) where he registered 44 points (25 G, 19 A) in 111 games.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Woollard is back!

CHL's leading goal-scorer re-signs for 2011-12 campaign

The Texas Brahmas have announced the re-signing of veteran sniper Chad Woollard for the 2011-12 campaign.

Last season, the prodigal Woollard, 31, tallied 92 points (46 G, 46 A, +2) and 89 penalty minutes, including nine power play goals, 15 power play assists and eight game-winning goals in 65 games played. He led all players in the league with his 46 goals and was fifth in scoring with his 92 points. He was also the league's top 3 Star Leader with 83 Star points.

Woollard was named the first star of ‘Oakley’s Three Stars’ for the month of February, during which he put up 26 points (13 G, 13 A). From February 1st thru March 11th, Woollard had an impressive 17-game point streak in which he scored 35 points (18 G, 17 A).

“Bringing Woolley back was key in our efforts to have a strong offensive team, Head Coach Dan Wildfong said. "It is a certain level of comfort we receive with Chad on the ice; he is a special player who can get things done.”

Woollard's leadership skills were recently lauded by defenseman Ross Rouleau in an interview for the Texas Brahmas Examiner. Asked if he could sign one player from last year's team, without hesitation Rouleau chose Woollard.

"Not only because he scored 46 goals, but he’s been around the league and he’s a smart player," Rouleau said. "He lets you know when you’re doing wrong and helps you out with what you need and he’s a good leader."

Last season, Woollard marked two career milestones, scoring his 700th career point and playing in his 700th career game. In addition, he scored his 10th CHL (fifth as a Brahma) on the road against the Odessa Jackalopes (November 23rd), in an 8-6 victory.

The 6' 3", 210 pound native of Durham, Ontario spent his Junior career in the Ontario Hockey League, playing with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Owen Sound Platers and the Toronto St. Michael's Majors. His Junior totals were 101 points (48 G, 53 A) and 255 PIM in 153 regular season games and 15 points (3 G, 12 A) in 26 post-season contests.

Woollard began his professional career in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) in 1999-00 skating for the Jackson Bandits and Greensboro Generals. In 32 games, he had 14 points (6 G, 8 A) and 25 PIM.

The following season, he joined the Fort Worth Brahmas, where he would spend the next five seasons, accumulating 264 points (132 G, 132 A) and 686 PIM in 290 games. During the 2001-02 season he was called up to the Utah Grizzlies, the Dallas Stars' American Hockey League affiliate at the time, for two games after attending their training camp. Woollard was also called up by the AHL's St. John’s Maple Leafs for four games during the 2003-04 season.

Woollard led the Brahmas in points in 2002-03 and 2004-05 but unfortunately played under four different head coaches during some of the Brahmas' toughest times. He only saw post-season play following the 2001-02 season and tallied three points (2 G, 1 A) and 4 PIM in four games.

Seeking a change, Woollard signed with the Quad City Mallards (UHL) in 2005-06 and played there for two seasons. In 145 regular season games, he registered 158 points (79 G, 79 A) and 231 PIM. During the 2006-07 season, he was called up the the San Antonio Rampage (AHL) for two games. The Mallards made the playoffs both seasons, but lost in the first round each time. Woollard would contribute 18 points (11 G, 7 A) and 30 PIM in 12 post-season contests.

In 2007-08, Woollard returned to the CHL, signing with the Mississippi RiverKings. On the team's top line, he tallied 68 points (37 G, 31 A) and 84 PIM. He added two goals in the first round of the 2008 playoffs, in which the RiverKings were knocked out by the Texas Brahmas.

The following season, Woollard signed with the Muskegon Lumberjacks (IHL) where he registered 57 points (33 G, 24 A) and 69 PIM in 50 games during the regular season and six points (2 G, 4 A) and 8 PIM in 10 playoff games.

Woollard was a member of the Corpus Christi IceRays' final roster in 2009-10 where he tallied 64 points (40 G, 24 A, +10) and 72 PIM in 57 games played. He added three points (1 G, 2 A) in two post-season contests against the Brahmas. He also reached 30 goals in 40 games, the second-fastest pace in franchise history.

Maybe the most spectacular goal of his season (and the most painful) came on December 18th at home against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Just 8:34 into the contest, teammate Jason Tessier sent in a slap shot that unfortunately hit Woollard right in the mouth. But the puck deflected past an out-of-position Andy Franck and into the net for the score. Woollard was credited with the goal and Tessier with the assist. Woollard returned later in the game wearing a full shield and with three teeth lost, managed to score another goal in the final minute of the middle frame. Talk about moxie!

Woollard holds franchise records in: regular season games played (355), points (356), goals (178), shots (1,287), game-winning goals (23) and power play goals (50). The 2011-12 campaign will mark his 13th pro season and his seventh with the Brahmas.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Friday, August 5, 2011

Brahmas confirm Towns signing

Rookie forward shows great potential

The Texas Brahmas have announced the signing of former Adrian College standout Mike Towns.

Head coach Dan Wildfong commented on the addition of the rookie forward to the team's 2011-12 roster.

“Based on Mike’s reputation, he has the grit that we need to make it difficult for opponents to get an edge," Wildfong said. "He is a tough kid to play against, and his style of play will fit nicely in our system.”

Towns is the fifth player announcement by the Brahmas, joining defensemen Jim Burichin and Ross Rouleau, forward Alex Curran and goaltender Steve Silverthorn.

Photo Credit:
Brendan Hodge reportedly signs on for 2011-12 season

Veteran center is consistent special teams contributor

Jim Holland of the The Rapid City Journal has reported that Brendan Hodge has signed with the Texas Brahmas. Rapid City Rush Media Relations Director/Broadcaster Daniel Nieves states the same on Twitter. The Brahmas organization has neither confirmed or announced this signing.

According to Holland's article, which was posted to the Internet on Thursday night and published in Friday's paper edition, "Hodge became a free agent and confirmed Wednesday his signing with the Texas Brahmas."

Also in the article, which can be read here, Rush head coach Joe Ferras commented on Hodge's departure after two seasons with the team.

“Brendon played very well for us and we know he’ll be successful in Texas,” Ferras said. “It’s always tough to see (players) go, but this is a business and he knows we have decided to go in a different direction with our veterans. It’s well-known that we want our players to have opportunities, whether it’s in Europe or in other leagues, where they can make more money or have a chance to further their careers. Like Brendon, it’s tough to see him go but we wish him the best.”

Hodge, 32, is entering his ninth pro season. The 6', 2" 200-pound native of Lynnfield, Massachusetts is the youngest hockey-playing son of former Boston Bruins great Ken Hodge Sr. and the younger brother of Ken Hodge, Jr. and Dan Hodge, who played and coached in the CHL.

Brendon wears the number eight - a tribute to his father, who wore the same number.

Hodge played junior hockey with the Lincoln Stars (USHL) for two seasons (1997-99) and tallied 90 points (35 G, 55 A) and 147 penalty minutes in 105 regular season games and nine points (6 G, 3 A) and eight PIM in 19 post-season contests.

Hodge committed to the State University of New York - Plattsburgh (NCAA Division III) where he played for the next four seasons (1999-03). During his collegiate career with the Cardinals, he registered 162 points (67 G, 95 A) and 130 PIM.

He went pro in 2003, signing with the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), where he spent the next three seasons, contributing 158 points (58 G, 100 A) and 145 PIM in 208 regular season contests. Hodge played with former Brahmas Mike Sgroi (2004-05) and Jordan Cameron (2005-06) during his time with the Nailers.

In 2006-07, Hodge signed with the Stockton Thunder (ECHL) where he scored 29 points (9 G, 20 A) and 26 PIM in 37 regular season games. In Stockton, Hodge was a teammate of former Brahmas defenseman Eric Main (2007-08).

Hodge signed with the Tulsa Oilers the following season, where his older brother Dan had just taken a position as assistant coach after ending a 10-year pro career with the team. After 16 games, Dan Hodge took over as head coach when the Oilers fired Butch Kaebel and was himself fired after 26 games the following season. In 97 games with the Oilers, Hodge tallied 89 points (37 G, 52) and 58 PIM. He played just 35 games in 2007-08 due to injury or his numbers would have no doubt been better.

In 2009-10, Hodge joined the Rapid City Rush and contributed 57 points (23 G, 34 A) and 22 PIM in 61 games during the regular season. In the post-season, he added 12 points (3 G, 9 A) and 2 PIM in 17 games as the Rush defeated the Allen Americans for the Ray Miron President's Cup Championship.

Last season, Hodge contributed 35 points (8 G, 27 A) and 22 PIM in 63 regular season contests and three points (2 G, 1 A) in 11 post-season games.

Photo Credit: Robert Keith

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Former Adrian College standout to join Brahmas?

Winger Mike Towns comes from a tradition of excellence

The Daily Telegram, a newspaper located in Adrian, Michigan reported yesterday that former Adrian College standout Mike Towns will join the Texas Brahmas for the upcoming season. Towns' signing has neither been confirmed or announced by the Brahmas organization.

Towns, who turned 25 yesterday, served as the Bulldogs' captain the past two seasons and compiled 60 points (24 G, 36 A) in 103 career games during his collegiate career. The 6' 4", 220-pound native of Surrey, British Columbia helped Adrian’s penalty kill consistently rank among the best in NCAA Division III.

The Bulldogs' seniors ended a remarkable run with a 4–3 loss in the D-III championship game to St. Norbert College (Alma mater of former Brahmas captain Jason Deitsch). Under then new head coach Ron Fogarty, the group of 17 young men who came together as freshmen for the 2007-08 season established a tradition of excellence built upon a simple motto: "We will win!"

And win they did. The Bulldogs went on to become Adrian's first team to win four consecutive Harris Cup titles and four straight MCHA regular season titles, as well as the fastest team to record 100 victories in the NCAA.

Towns spoke to Issac Berky of U.S. College Hockey Online about the team's success following the completion of the season.

“I hope to have left behind a great program and tradition that will continue to make Adrian College one of the most-recognized programs in D-III hockey,” Towns said. “The tradition that we built is a winning program from scratch, and that’s not easy to do.”

Here's a fun video made after the Bulldogs defeated Marian University 5-0 to win their fourth straight MCHA Tournament title.

Here's another video, titled Adrian College Hockey - The Brotherhood produced and posted on YouTube in April.

Prior to committing to Adrian College, Towns played junior hockey for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. With the Vees, Towns contributed to the Interior Division Championship teams in 2006 and 2007. During his four seasons there (2003-07), Towns registered 52 points (21 G, 31 A) and 517 PIM. He served as alternate captain in 2006 and 2007 was named the team's most improved player in 2007.

Read the original article from The Daily Telegram here

Photo Credit: The Daily Telegram