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More signings

08/29/2008 10:12 AM - Chris Etheridge
Here's some interesting signings for Rockford IceHogs fans:
  • Defenseman Ryan Stokes (07-08) who led AHL defensemen with a +7 in the first two rounds of the 2008 Calder Cup playoffs signed with the Boston Bruins.
  • Goaltender and frequent flier Mike Brodeur signed an AHL deal with the Hartford Wolf Pack. As Rockford's #3 goalie in 2007-08, Brodeur was recalled from Pensacola four times last year and backed up Patrick Lalime for one game with the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • Blue-liner Tyson Marsh (07-08) signed with the ECHL's Reading Royals for 2008-09. Marsh filled in late in the season when the Rockford defense was hurt by call-ups and injuries. He also jumped in to play in the post season when Jordan Hendry was out with an injury.
  • Robin Big Snake (05-06, 06-07) and Kaleb Betts (06-07) join many of the former UHL IceHogs and coach Steve Martinson with the ECHL's Elmira Jackals.
  • Former friend and foe Kevin Ulanski (06-07) joins the Colorado Eagles (CHL) for 2008-09.
  • Ross Carlson skated briefly with the Rockford IceHogs before finding a home with the Houston Aeros in 2007-08. He signed with the Florida Everblades (ECHL) for 2008-09.
  • Forward Benoit Doucet (06-07), who joined the UHL IceHogs for their 2007 Colonial Cup run, also signed with the Jackals.

A Wild Week In IceHogs Land

08/22/2008 8:32 AM - Mike Peck
One thing I’ve learned working in sports is how quickly things change and how quick you have to adjust on the fly.  On the same day that Ryan Washatka announces that he is stepping down as Team President, IceHogs new coach Bill Peters arrived in town.

The three positions of power in the IceHogs organizations will feature new faces in 2008-09.

Let me first talk about Ryan.  It is going to be strange for myself walking into the office in late September and not find Ryan in the office.  He has been here since the team’s second season and ever since I’ve been with the team.

Working close with Ryan over the years, I know that Team President is not an easy position to be in.  Having the title “Team President” or “General Manager” might seem glamorous, but there are a lot of politics that you have to play in that position and there are some decisions that are perceived as unpopular that have to be made.

If you want to a good perspective on how successful Ryan’s tenure was, look at where the team was when he took over in 2003-04 and where the team is at right now.  I think the team is in very good shape!

Mark Bernard is a familiar face to IceHogs fans, but is in a new role with the team.  As General Manager of Minor League Affiliations, Mark takes over for Al MacIsaac atop the Hockey Operations Department.  Bernie is a great addition to the IceHogs (yes, he is technically a Blackhawks employee) and I think he’ll help this team take that next step on and off the ice.

Al might still be involved a bit with the IceHogs and ironically, a big reason why he decided to move out of his role as IceHogs General Manager is similar to Ryan’s.  Al’s family still lives in the Norfolk area and his redefined role will allow him to spend some more time at home.  I tip my hat to both Ryan and Al for making a sacrifice with their careers for their family.

That brings us to Rockford’s new bench boss.  All of sudden, the IceHogs have established a pretty good run of head coaches and there is good reason to believe that Bill Peters will continue that.  As tough as it was for Mike Haviland to win over IceHogs fans after the success of Steve Martinson, Bill will have an equally challenging task of doing the same following Havy’s promotion to the Blackhawks.

Bill has won three championships since April and just hearing him speak at Thursday’s press conference, it didn’t take long to see why Dale Tallon and Stan Bowman were sold on him.

And if you think the IceHogs are at a disadvantage because of a new head coach, you might be surprised.  New coaches in the AHL are almost the norm this year as 12 out of the 29 AHL teams will feature new leaders behind the bench once the season opens in 2008-09.