By Ryan Stanzel
Director of Communications
Late Breaking News
Help our hot dog, "Chilly, cool down from the Houston heat with a party in your backyard. All you have to do is invite 25-40 of your closest friends and family to enjoy the cool-off! Here's how you enter: Write a 150 word essay describing why you need to cool down with Chilly and mail it, fax it, or e-mail it to the Aeros office. Tell us why you love the Aeros, why hockey is the best sport in town, how you'll promote the party, and why you LOVE free food and drinks! Remember, "Chilly" has to cook for a minimum of 25 people. Hurry, all entries must be submitted by Monday, Aug. 2. Put on your thinking cap and Chilly will grab his chef's hat for the best and coolest barbeque party in town!
Click here for dates, how to enter and to see how Chilly is gearing up for the cool-off.
Street Fleet finale Saturday in The Woodlands
For those of you who havent yet attended an Aeros Street Fleet event, this Saturday is your last chance until next summer. Hope you can join us at Bear Branch Park in The Woodlands from 11 a.m. 2 p.m. for the street hockey clinic. Its a great event for parents, too! Let us run your kids around for three hours, and then watch him/her sleep the rest of the evening. The Street Fleet was a great success in large part to the new Aeros director of amateur hockey Ben Weber and Ojinga Green and Gabe Presas of game operations. Thanks for the hard work this summer. Thanks also to our great sponsors Pepsi, Dreyers, Sysco and Klose BBQ Pits for making Street Fleet possible. Ive been told all the ice cream and hot dogs have to go! If you cant make it, check out KTRK Channel 13 Sunday evening for a recap.
West continues to change
Aside from new jerseys for the Aeros and Grizzlies, new coaches in Utah and San Antonio and a flock of Calder Cup champions departing from Milwaukee, the landscape in the West continued to change this week.
Former Aeros Travis Roche and Cory Larose each signed with the Atlanta Thrashers, meaning both most likely will spend a considerable amount of time with Houstons arch-rival Chicago. As if this rivalry needed to get any more intense. Larose, who got married earlier this month, has made only one appearance in Houston since his trade to the New York Rangers. He fought Darby Hendrickson in a lightweight match-up in January.
Get that jersey customized
Pre-orders are flowing in for new customized Aeros jerseys. Crazy Jim is offering half off customization, plus FREE shipping, for a limited time. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to take advantage of this crazy deal.
Also, get your chance to own a piece of the game! Bid on your favorite players game worn home jersey from the 2003-2004 season. You can do this by clicking on the Online Jersey Auction icon from the Aeros Homepage at www.aeros.com. Auction ends August 2 so dont wait!
Prospect camp underway
The Wild prospect camp is underway, and this year its even stronger than usual. Marian Gaborik is using the camp to better his game. Also included in the camp is former first-round pick Mikko Koivu, the younger brother of Canadiens captain Saku Koivu. Three years after he was drafted, Minnesota is happy to have Koivu on U.S. soil. His tour guide for his first few days in the U.S. was none other than Zbynek Michalek.
Im not going to dog the WHA, but
former (and I mean a LONG time ago) Aeros enforcer Dave Moose Morrisette was picked in the ninth (out of 30) round of the WHA Free Agent Draft last weekend. He was selected by the Founders Franchise, which as of press time had no city. Its like when youre drafting a fantasy football team for a friend of yours, and you want to make sure youll win at least one game, so you pick a pack of third-string quarterbacks for him.
Efforts to reach Moose were unsuccessful, presumably because hes in the gym shedding a few extra pounds to get ready for training camp.
The Quebec Nordiks (lawsuit pending) franchise picked 30 French speaking players, including former Aeros goalie Frederic Cloutier. Were assuming thats a better demographic than say if the Dallas Americans had selected 30 guys who all owned a 10-gallon hat and cowboy boots.
Ive called Kevin Mitchell a lot of names since we broke in to the pros together in the ECHL in 2001, but I can add one more name to the list Rooster. Mitchell signed with the Iserlohn Roosters of the German DEL this week. Still not the best nickname of a team that recently signed a former Aero Bobby Brown signed with the Cannibals. If theres any consolation to Houston fans, its that the German DEL is included in the EA Sports NHL Series hockey games. Former Aero Brett McLean also signed a free-agent deal with the Colorado Avalanche this week.
Since veterans Craig Darby, who signed with Tampa Bay, and Ray Giroux, the newest Wild, both signed free agent pacts elsewhere, will former Aero Mike Matteuci request a babysitting clause in Albany if he re-signs with the Devils?
New bosses in Springfield, Manitoba
Tampa Bay selected pro scout Dirk Graham as Springfields new head coach. The Indians were in the market for a new bench boss since former coach Marty McSorley was under contract with Phoenix.
Manitoba, meanwhile, went retro in its pick for a new head coach. For seven seasons a coach in some form for the Winnipeg Jets or Moose, and for nine seasons a player for the Jets, Randy Carlyle officially came home earlier this week. Carlyle has spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Washington Capitals.
The lone AHL team left without a head coach is Binghamton, which has to replace John Paddock. The Senators head man is now an assistant to Bryan Murray in Ottawa.
More logos a-changin
Norfolk unveiled its new colors and logo yesterday. The Admirals new logo is red and black, reflecting its affiliation with the Chicago Blackhawks. Utah, now affiliated with Phoenix, is expected to announce its new scheme too. Also, the New York Islanders have reached an agreement to buy the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. No report on whether Storm will get a Tony the Tiger orange makeover.
$11 seats going fast
A reminder that you can reserve an Aeros season ticket for only an $11 deposit! Its a limited time offer, so make your plans early. Call the Aeros office at 713.974.PUCK for more information.
The not real trivia question
What do Tony Iob, Rick Corriveau, Matt Hoffman, Paul OHagan, Greg Clancy, Shayne Antoski, Chris Chrombie, Dale Craigwell, Michael Reier and Jerrett DeFazio each have in common? Dont spend too long thinking
They were all located in my 1990-91 Ontario Hockey League Tomorrows Stars Today 10-card pack that I purchased for 50 cents at the baseball Fan Fest last weekend in Houston. Im going to write 7th Inning Sketch, the printer, and demand my money back or suggest another name: Tomorrows Minor Leaguers Today.
I bought the pack hoping Id catch some value and maybe a vacation fund. Heck, two of those guys were Eric Lindros teammates in Oshawa!
What I did catch was one guy who made it to The Show (Craigwell, who Aeros fans will remember more from his time in Kansas City than his 98 games in the early San Jose Sharks years). One!
Two saw action in 2003-04: Iob (Klagenfurt in Austria) and Crombie (Bracknell in Britain).
The card with the most value, however, (I figure about 1/1000th of its purchase price) is Reier. After all, hes one of only 73 players to don the Dukes of Hamilton jersey over the teams two seasons before the AHL took over in Ontario 1992.
Ryan - I have been meaning to contact you since receiving your 7/9 Summer Scribes newsletter. Like you, I grew up watching minor pro hockey in Upstate New York. In my case, it was the Syracuse Blazers of the old EHL, first at the New York State Fairgrounds, and later at the Onondaga County War Memorial, now the home of the Crunch. (As you can tell, I'm somewhat older than you.) Having relocated to Memphis, Tenn., in 1975, I caught the hockey bug again in the early '90's when the CHL put the RiverKings in the Bluff City. For the last four years, I have been watching the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL, having moved there in 1999. Every time I get transferred, I step up a league.
Now I am living in Houston, and plan to take in as many Aeros games as possible. But beginning in January, I will be traveling quite a bit, and will only be home on the weekends. What would be your recommendation for a ticket package for someone who wants to catch most of the weekend games, at least for the first half of the season? Do you have a weekend-only package? Or what about a package good for a select number of games?
--Steve from Houston
Thanks for the e-mail Steve. Onandaga County War Memorial (now called Onandaga County War Memorial at Oncenter) and the Toledo Sports Arena (where the popcorn vendor walks through the locker room to get to the stands) are without a doubt the two minor-league barns I want to visit. I was able to cross Winnipeg Arena off that list during a freezing cold trip last winter.
Glad you asked about the tickets. Because we realize how busy many of our fans are, our ticketing staff has selected several partial season ticket plans, such as 13- and 22-game plans and packs of 10 vouchers. All are still discounted and have great perks. The 13- and 22-game plans include tickets to Opening Night. Hopefully well have plenty of weekend games when the AHL schedule comes out in the next couple of weeks, and youll be able to get to Toyota Center plenty of times. Welcome to Houston!
To submit an email to SummerScribes, click here
Congrats to Brenda Storch, the proud owner of a red Aeros koozy. She correctly answered that Maxime Gingras (ZHING-rah), at 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, was the shortest and lightest modern day Aero. Thanks to the throngs that submitted responses, many of them correct. Well work harder to make you work harder this week.
This weeks question will get you excited for the new AHL shootout. Well, it might get you excited that this guy is no longer in an Aeros jersey. Which Aero, with at least six attempts, has the lowest shootout percentage in team history? Send answers to email@example.com. This weeks winner will get a green koozy. Please, only one winner per household per month.
And speaking of Gingras, hes the newest member of the new UHL expansion team in Kansas City. Former Aeros president Richard Adler is in the teams front office.
The last word
The ECHLs Pensacola Ice Pilots and Louisiana IceGators are giving new definition to the term Trading Places. The teams, essentially, swapped head coaches last week when Dave Farrish resigned to go from Louisiana to Pensacola. The IceGators countered by bringing in Todd Gordon, whose contract was terminated by ex Philadelphia Flyer and current Ice Pilots owner Tim Kerr. No word yet on whether the coaches are saving themselves some trouble and buying each others house.