By Curtis J Phillips
Time to check in to see where some of our local heroes will be playing professional hockey this year.
Paul Dainton (Oil Barons, 2006-2007) has made the move across the Ocean to tend goal for Milan in the Italian league. The former University of Massachusetts-Amherst star (2009-2011) played pro for four different teams in the AHL and ECHL before setting sail.
As of this writing he has recorded one shutout in seven games.
Forward John Dunbar (Oil Barons, 2011-2012) made the cut last weekend for the Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL).
The 22 year-old scored three goals during the Komets three exhibition games to showcase his skills. Last year he suited up for the Komets in 17 games with five goals and five assists. He had also played 27 games for the Pensacola Ice Pilots (SPHL).
Several homegrown talents played for the Ice Pilots at one time or another including Trevor Buchanan, Harlan Pratt and Keyano Huskies men’s hockey head coach Paul Strand. The Komets mind you have found Fort McMurray talent on their rosters including Brian Shantz along with brothers Bobby and Dan Stewart.
Dan is in his 11th season of pro hockey lacing up for the Fife Flyers.
Centre Tyler Gron (Oil Barons, 2007-2008) is back for year two with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL). He probably won’t recognize many teammates as the club cleaned house with only five returning players.
Playing half the season last year for the Bloomington Blaze (CHL) and Steelheads, he had an impressive 21 goals and 11 assists in 34 games for the Idaho club including two goals in his debut against the Alaska Aces.
Going back in the time tunnel again the Steelheads was home base for Bobby Stewart and Blue Bennefield.
Jack MacLellan, (Oil Barons, 2007-2008) like Gron played four years of university hockey south of the border. He was with Brown University (2008-2012) while Gron wore the colours of Northern Michigan University (2008-2012)
MacLellan is trying to make the roster of the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) after having played last season for the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) and Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL).
Oil Barons Shane Bogden played for the Nailers in 1996-1997.
Former NHL and current NHL players and homegrown hockey heroes Dan Hodgson and Scottie Upshall are both Admirals alumni.
No doubt we will see more than a few Keyano Huskies men’s hockey players in the pros one day but for now here are a few Bet you’ Didn’t Know tidbits about this year’s squad.
Brody Lynott played for the Fresno Monsters in 2010-2011.
Mitch Galbraith once played for former ACAC member Mount Royal Cougars in 2011-2012.
Homegrown Tommy Fitzpatrick played for three semipro teams last year – Columbus Cottonmouths, Ontario Reign and South Carolina Stingrays.
Coach Paul Strand can tell you a little bit about the life of a semipro hockey player having suited up for the – in order starting in 1997 and ending in 2004 – Baton Rouge Kingfish, Raleigh Icecaps, Hamburg Crocodiles, Louisiana IceGators, Pensacola Ice Pilots, Topeka Scarecrows, Greensboro Generals, Cincinnati Cyclones and Roanoke Express.
Imagine his air miles!
Catch you on the rebound.