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For those of you that can’t live without your tech...


14U/16U: Profiling True

College Hockey Prospects

09/02/2014, 4:00pm MDT
By USA Hockey

Michael Cavanaugh, the University of Connecticut men’s hockey head coach and one of the game’s top recruiters, believes that all college hockey coaches initially look for the same things in a recruit: “Skating ability, the ability to make plays and a high-grade hockey IQ.”

Cavanaugh knows firsthand how to evaluate a college hockey prospect. Prior to taking the reins at Connecticut, Cavanaugh spent 18 years as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Boston College, during which time the Eagles won four national titles. In all, Cavanaugh helped groom 22 All-America selections and more than 30 NHL players. A large part of Boston College’s winning foundation was built on Cavanaugh’s ability to not only recruit premiere talent but also find premiere talent that fit his program’s culture both on and off the ice.

Cavanaugh will be the first one to tell you that college hockey recruiters don’t merely evaluate players’ on-ice skill set. To get a full evaluation of their true ability, potential and character, Cavanaugh considers a host of other factors, too.

“We also look at little things like how good of a teammate the player is,” said Cavanaugh. “How well a player handles adversary and criticism and coaching is also very important.”

Cavanaugh offers the following advice on what college coaches seek in prospective recruits:

Style of Play

“I think it’s important that coaches recruit to the style of hockey that they want to play,” said Cavanaugh.

There are 59 Division I hockey teams and all of them have varying degrees of team identity and playing style.

“Union won the NCAA championship with fast and mobile defensemen like Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere,” said Cavanaugh. “The coach decides what style he wants to play and then recruits according to that model.”

The Whole Game

When Cavanaugh watches a prospect, he judges the player’s entire game, not just the highlights. The player’s actions and reactions to negative and positive situations between whistles and on the bench are included in his evaluation, too. This is important for 14U/16U players to remember, because emotions can often run high and then swing low if they’re not in control.

“I watch the player throughout the whole game,” said Cavanaugh. “We watch his body language on the bench. Does he try to lift up his teammates? How does he handle the coach’s criticism during the game? These are the things you can’t see on video.”

Work Hard on the Ice and in the Classroom

At Boston College, renowned Eagles head hockey coach Jerry York has two basic principles for the foundation of the hockey program: Compete for championships and graduate players. Cavanaugh has carried this tradition with him to UConn.

“When I recruit a player, I tell him that if they don’t want to go to class, they should go play major junior hockey,” said Cavanaugh. “If you’re going to come to UConn, I’m going to push you as hard in school as I do on the ice.”

Cavanaugh truly believes that there’s a direct correlation between kids that do well in school and kids that succeed on the ice.

“I know that the teams I coached at B.C. that won championships were always led by a senior class that had guys flirting with 3.0 GPAs or better,” he added. “I think as a hockey player, if you’re going to put the time and effort into school, hockey will be the fun part.”

The Importance (and Unimportance) of Size

Cavanaugh also wants 14U/16U players to know that they shouldn’t be discouraged if they are smaller in stature.

“If you’re good enough, you’re big enough,” said Cavanaugh.

He points to outstanding Boston College alums and current NHL players Nathan Gerbe (5-foot-5), Johnny Gaudreau (5-foot-9), and Brian Gionta (5-foot-7) as examples of players who were often overlooked because of their size but achieved great things through hard work and heart.

Parents’ Role

“The college decision is four years that will shape the next 40,” said Cavanaugh. “That should be the student-athlete’s decision. That being said, it’s important that the parents provide their child with a strong sounding board and guidance. They can express their opinion and present the facts. At some point in their life though, the child has to make decisions on their own.”

Cavanaugh illustrates this point by telling a story about the time he recruited a player for Boston College.

“The player’s dad went to a rival alma mater and I assumed the dad would guide the kid to that school,” said Cavanaugh. “I was pleasantly surprised when the kid committed to B.C. Later on, the dad told me that the one phone call he never wanted to get was from his son asking him why he sent him to that school and not the one he really wanted to go to. That really shaped my views.”

The One Constant

A true college hockey prospect is comprised of many desirable traits, but there is always one constant.

“Work ethic is a given,” said Cavanaugh. “Everybody that plays for me works hard. I would think all 59 Division I coaches would say the same thing.”

The Big Radar

Cavanaugh believes that there are many different paths that can lead to Division I opportunities for a 14U/16U player.

As long as players are dedicated and routinely practice their basic skills, play hard and act as good teammates, good things can happen for any player in any city. After all, college coaches have huge radars and they’re always looking for talented players.

“I flew to Minnesota to watch a certain player,” said Cavanaugh. “But during the game, I noticed two outstanding players on the opposite team. I inquired with the coach of the two opposing players. We took another look at these two kids and really liked them. We recruited them and brought them out for a visit. We couldn’t figure out why these two kids weren’t being heavily recruited. Now, both Johnny Austin and Spencer Naas are on our UConn roster. It all worked out.”


by posted 10/22/2014

Solar Bears, Orlando roll out big All Star plans


ORLANDO, FLA – With the 2014-15 ECHL regular season set to open in the next few days, the Orlando Solar Bears took time Wednesday night to look ahead three months from now when the minor league hockey world will gather in the City Beautiful for a big AllStarparty.

During its season kickoff event, the Solar Bears rolled out more details of the events that will surround the ECHL/CCM All-Star Classic sponsored by Visit Orlando in January. The team also took the opportunity to show off the jerseys the squad will wear when it faces the best of the rest of the ECHL on January 21st at the Amway Center.

“We’re fortunate to have a lot of great partners. We’ve got the City of Orlando, Visit Orlando, the Downtown Development Board, Levy Restaurants and certainly the Amway Center who all helped us secure the bid for the game so it started there,” Solar Bears President/C.E.O. Jason Siegel. “This is all about the fans. They turned out at a great pace over the first two years and for us to get be able to go the Board of Governors and say this is how well we’ve drawn, here’s the support we have locally, here’s the corporate support we have in place, we wanted to make it as close to a no brainer to vote to bring the game to Orlando and we’re really excited for that to happen.”

The excitement has already produced a big push for tickets locally. Buoyed by a strong response from season ticket holders, the Solar Bears announced that about 6,000 seats at the game have been spoken for already. The presale numbers are music to the ears of city officials and tourism officials.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community to bring in new tourists at one of our slower time periods. To reach out to all of these (ECHL) markets, expose them to Orlando, have them follow their teams to come in is a great opportunity to have them experience the destination and bring and come and stay and help grow our economy,” Danielle Saba Courtenay, Visit Orlando’s Chief Marketing Officer, said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Courtenay said that Visit Orlando is taking advantage of the Solar Bears being affiliated with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs to boost attendance by working with the Leafs on a special promotion. Fans in Orlando’s top international tourist market will have the chance to win trips to Florida through the Leafs.

“We’re going to be doing a two month long promotion with them. In the stadium up there (Air Canada Center), we’ll be promoting travel to Orlando, giving away trips to Orlando,” she said. “They’re (city of Toronto and the Maple Leafs) very excited about it, especially with their relationship with the Solar Bears. It’s going to be really awesome.”

The use of the teams around the ECHL to market Orlando is already paying off with regards to one part of the festivities. The Orlando Youth Hockey Association’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday tournament will be directly connected to the all-star game.

Eric Baier (left) and Scott Tanski model Orlando's All-Star game jersey (Photo courtesy of Orlando Solar Bears).

Eric Baier (left) and Scott Tanski model Orlando’s All-Star game jersey (Photo courtesy of Orlando Solar Bears).

“It’s an amazing opportunity because now we’re connected with a professional team in our area. They will be bringing in all stars from all over the country that our kids watch when they go to games and now they’ll be included in the All-Star event which is amazing,” OYHA President Louis DiPaolo, who also helps to broadcast the games over the internet through their DSPN website, said. “Last year at this time we had eleven teams signed up at this time and we ended up with 50. So far we have 38 teams already signed up from all over the country. We’ve got teams from Canada coming down. It’s going to be great exposure because the NHL Network will be here to cover part of the tournament.”

After four days of youth hockey, the ECHL will hold its Fan Fest event on Tuesday, January 20th. Included in the festivities that day are a block party at the Church Street entertainment complex a block away from the Amway Center. The Hockey Hall of Fame will have an exhibit which will include an appearance by the Stanley Cup while MeiGray will have a “History of Hockey” jersey and memorabilia display. The ECHL all-stars will be available for autographs before the day ends with a concert by country music artist Madeline Smith.

Gameday Wednesday will start with morning practice and team photos. At noon, the ECHL will hold its Hall of Fame induction luncheon at the Doubletree Downtown Orlando hotel followed by a pre-game block party outside the Amway Center. Puck drop for the game itself is at 7 p.m. Between periods of the contest, the league will hold its All-Stars skills competition.

Not all of the competition will be on the ice. Team and city officials have their eyes set on the ECHL record for All-Star game attendance. The current mark is 11,493 set in 1998 by the Louisiana IceGators at the CajunDome in Lafayette. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer challenged the entire city to get behind the Solar Bears and turn out for the game.

“We need to sell this game out,” Mayor Dyer said.

By the looks of things, the mayor and the Solar Bears may just see that wish come true.

Follow us on Twitter @prohockeynews

effort John, nicely done and spot on.


by posted 10/16/2014

All-Star and FanFest Tickets On Sale Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
Orlando, FL - The Orlando Solar Bears, proud affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL's Toronto Marlies, unveiled the jersey the team will wear for the 2015 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by Visit Orlando, and also announced the full schedule of events surrounding the All-Star game. Tickets for the All-Star Classic and FanFest go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, October 16, at 10:00 a.m. To purchase tickets, visit

The Solar Bears All-Star Jersey (pictured at right) features a vivid orange jersey All-Star Jersey Back with the 2015 All-Star logo displayed prominently on the shoulders of the jersey. The All-Star Logo, along with the Solar Bears logo, was designed by Joe Bosack Graphical Design, one of the leading sports graphical designers in the United States. The overall design of the jersey was crafted by CCM Hockey, while Exclusive Pro Sports handled the lettering and numbering of the jerseys.

Along with unveiling the All-Star jersey, the Solar Bears recognized their All-Star committee, who have played an integral role in the planning and implementation of the events during the All-Star week in Orlando. Ricardo Rangel, Michon Walls, and Kristy Lemons from the 2014-15 All-Star Season presenting Sponsor Cricket Wireless were introduced, along with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Danielle Courtney of Visit Orlando. The Solar Bears also thanked Allen Johnson, Executive Director of Orlando Venues, Thomas Chatmon, Executive Director of the Orlando Downtown Development Board, John Bisignano, President and CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission, and Jim Breig, representing Levy Restaurants in the Amway Center.

The All-Star schedule of events begins with the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Hockey Tournament, hosted by the OYHA (Orlando Youth Hockey Association). All-Star Jersey The tournament begins on Friday, January 16, and runs through Monday, January 19, at the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den.

The week of events continues with the ECHL All-Star FanFest presented by Walgreens on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. The FanFest will include the Church Street Block Party with a DJ, inflatable games, Shades, and the Solar Bears Dancers, a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit presented by Sutton Special Risk, player appearances, a MeiGray "History of Hockey" and memorabilia exhibit, and interactive games. In addition, a country concert featuring Madeline Smith, presented by Wealth by Design, will take place that evening.  In front of the Station 1 Firehouse local youth house leagues and travel hockey team players will team up with ECHL and Solar Bears All-Stars for an outdoor deck hockey exhibition. A limited number of FanFest and concert tickets will go on sale as both events are almost SOLD OUT. FanFest tickets will go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, October 16th, at 10:00 a.m. and the concert will go on sale in December.

The ECHL Hall of Fame Luncheon sponsored by BFL CANADA will take place on FanFest Wednesday, January 21, at noon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown hotel. The eighth class of inductees will be announced in December, 2014, and will enter into the ECHL Hall of Fame during the luncheon. Players from the Orlando Solar Bears and the ECHL All-Star Team will be in attendance and several of the NHL and ECHL's most prestigious trophies will be on display.

Then, at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the puck drops for the 2015 CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic, presented by Visit Orlando, at the Amway Center. The game will feature All-Star skills competitions during intermission, an intermission performance from recording artist Madeline Smith, and intermission recognition of Solar Bears community partners.

To view a printable schedule of events, click here.

The Solar Bears are expected to announce their season opening roster tomorrow afternoon.

Take advantage of the Orlando Solar Bears season ticket pre-sale offer by placing a $50 deposit per ticket now to receive seat selection priority for the 2014-15 All-Star season. Call the Solar Bears at 407-951-8200 or visit
Orlando Solar Bears Single Game Tickets for the regular season are on sale now! Click here to purchase tickets.

The Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL's Toronto Marlies, play all of their home games at the 2012 Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year, the Amway Center.

Follow the Solar Bears at, Facebook, and Twitter (@OrlandoHockey) for all the latest news and updates. Stay in touch with Shades on Instagram by following ShadestheSolarBear.

Group tickets are a great way to entertain employees, co-workers, clients, friends and family. For more information on discounted group tickets and a list of group benefits, call 407-951-8200 or visit

Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at:

Since beginning operations in November of 2011, the Solar Bears have helped raise over $730,000 for the Central Florida community. To read the Solar Bears Report to the Community, click here.  
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by posted 10/16/2014

by posted 10/08/2014



TEAM Day 1 - On Ice Day 1 - Off Ice Day 2 - On Ice Day 2 - Off Ice Friday Knight (7:30pm)
Squirt Minor - Rigsby Monday - 6:00 PM N/A Thursday - 6:00 PM N/A 9/12, 10/10, 11/7, 12/12, 1/23
Squirt Major - Nyman Monday - 6:00 PM N/A Thursday - 6:00 PM N/A 9/12, 10/10, 11/7, 12/12, 1/23
Pee Wee Gold (2003) - Nyman Monday - 7:30 PM TBA Thursday - 7:00 PM  TBA 9/19, 10/17, 11/14, 12/19, 1/30
Pee Wee Black (2002) - Mace Monday - 7:15 PM TBA Thursday - 7:00 PM TBA 9/19, 10/17, 11/14, 12/19, 1/30
Bantam A - Conway Monday - 8:30 PM Monday - 7:00 PM Thursday - 7:15 PM Thursday - 6:00 PM 9/26, 10/24, 11/21, 1/2, 2/6
Bantam AA - Pinel Monday - 8:30 PM Monday - 7:00 PM Thursday - 8:15 PM Thursday - 7:00 PM 9/26, 10/24, 11/21, 1/2, 2/6
Midget 16 A - Ullyot Tuesday - 8:30 PM Tuesday - 7:00 PM Thursday - 8:30 PM Thursday - 7:00 PM 10/3, 10/31, 12/5, 1/9, 2/20
Midget 16 AA - DeBello Monday - 8:45 PM Monday 7:30 PM Wednesday - 8:30 PM Wednesday - 7:00 PM 10/3, 10/31, 12/5, 1/9, 2/20
Midget 18 AA - Conway Monday - 8:45 PM Monday 7:30 PM Wednesday - 8:30 PM Wednesday - 7:00 PM
10/3, 10/31, 12/5, 1/9, 2/20


* Friday "SKILLS KNIGHTS" are by division

* THANKSGIVING Week - last day is Tuesday 11/25/14

* CHRISTMAS / NEW YEAR Break - last day is Friday 12/19/14

* MLK - no practice Monday 1/19/15

PRESIDENT'S DAY - no practice Monday 2/16/14

SAHOF - last week of practice 2/23/15 (no Friday night)

by posted 09/01/2014

For those of you that can’t live without your tech toys – there’s a real handy feature on the Web site that allows you to synchronize the team schedule to Outlook and your cell phone.

There are a couple different ways you can perform this synchronization.

When you are looking at your team's schedule page on the Web site, you’ll see a header with 3 buttons.  The button on the left  says "Subscribe to an iCal feed for this schedule".  This button allows you to set up an automatic feed that synchronizes the schedule to Outlook.  If you have Outlook synchronized with your cell phone, it will then automatically synchronize with your cell phone.  Click here to find out how to set it up.


The other option is a manual export/import.  Use the blue arrow button for this operation.  .  The site allows you to download the schedule to a .csv file.   Once you have the schedule saved to a .csv file, you can import it into Outlook. 

To import the schedule data into Outlook, use the Outlook File/Import and Export menu commands.  The resulting dialog box allows you to choose what action to perform.  Choose "Import from another program or file" and click "Next".  The next screen prompts you for the type of file to import.  Choose "Comma Separated Values (DOS)" and click "Next".  On the next screen, enter the path and file name of the .csv file you downloaded previously.  You can also choose how duplicate events are handled.  Choose "Replace duplicates".  After you press "Next" again, you'll be prompted for the folder to import into.  Choose your "Calendar" from the list and press "Next" and then ""Finish" on the following screen.  Your calendar should now contain all the game and practice events from your schedule.

Remember, this is a manual operation, not automatic synchronization.  This means that when there are changes to your schedule (e.g. when tournament games are added to the schedule) you'll need to export the schedule again and re-import it into Outlook.

by posted 08/20/2009
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