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2018-19 Manitoba Bisons/USports Thread

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icon1.png July 18: UK TOUR: BACKGROUND ON MANCHESTER STORM

 

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The Bisons will start their exhibition schedule in the home of more top-notch bands than any city in the world. When you think of Manchester you think of the Buzzcocks, Joy Division/New Order, The Smiths, Oasis, and The Stone Roses. And if that isn't enough there's always James, Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, and The Charlatans. I could post a video link for a classic Manchester tune every day until the game!

 

There are/were a lot of USports/CIS grads on the Storm roster.

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(C) and

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(D) were with Carleton (Bakker from 2008-09 to 2012-13 and Stanisz from 2011-12 to 2014-15).

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(D) was with St. Thomas from 2011-12 through 2014-15.

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(D) was with Lakehead in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Former Bison

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also played for the Storm in 2016-17, but split last year between the Dundee Stars (EIHL) and Birmingham Bulls (SPHL).

 

Hockey in Manchester has been up and down, going back and forth between Britain's first and second tier leagues, and rotating between the Storm and Phoenix franchises. At one time, they drew a crowd of over 17,000 to a game, then had to fold a couple years later. Seems expense management is the problem. They now play in a small rink of 2,400 capacity, called the Altrincham Ice Dome.

 

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Altrincham Ice Dome - current home holds 2,400.

 

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Manchester Arena - over 17,000 fans at this game.

 

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CUSN had another Tuesday Morning Skate this week. It goes over the recruiting announcements previously reported.

 

In other news, Ian McNulty has finally escaped Regina and is off to the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL.

 

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icon1.gifJuly 23: BISONS ADD A GAME

 

Manitoba-50px.gif   Nebraska_Omaha-2011-50x50.jpgNorth_Dakota-2016-green.jpg

 

The Bison schedule has been updated with an additional exhibition game on Sunday, October 7th in Omaha against the UNO Mavericks. That makes for a double-header that weekend, following a Saturday night game in Grand Forks against the UND Fighting Hawks. I do not see any space for more games for the Bisons this season, unless they add something in the Christmas/New Year's season.

 

The updated Bison schedule is now like this:

Aug 21 Manitoba at Manchester Storm (EIHL)
Aug 23 Manitoba at Fife Flyers (EIHL)
Aug 25 Manitoba at Belfast Giants (EIHL)
Aug 26 Manitoba at Belfast Giants (EIHL)
Sep 14 Manitoba v TBD (in Regina)
Sep 15 Manitoba v TBD (in Regina)
Sep 21 Regina at Manitoba (MTS Iceplex)
Sep 22 Regina at Manitoba
Oct 06 Manitoba at North Dakota (NCAA)
Oct 07 Manitoba at Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)

 

Note that regular season games will be played September 28-29 in the Town of Bedrock against the Dinos.

 

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MRU now has the 2018-19 team schedule posted, but without exhibition games. From what other teams have posted, we have these three exhibition games:

Sep 15 Mount Royal at Alberta
Oct 06 Mount Royal at Minnesota State (NCAA)
Oct 07 Mount Royal at St. Cloud State (NCAA)

 

The team also had the only recruiting announcement of the week, coming from the Okotoks Oilers' Twitter. Goaltender Riley Morris has been added to the lineup.

 

Also, from the MRU site we have this announcement:

Mount Royal's men's hockey Director of Hockey Operations, Nathan Higgins, was named as the Equipment Manager for the U SPORTS Women's Hockey All-Star team. The team is set to attend Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase in Calgary, Aug. 2-11.

 

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icon1.png July 27: A FEW LINKS TO END THE WEEK

 

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The Bison website posted a story which contained nothing new and had errors.

The story points out the Bison trip to the UK, which is accurate, and says they'll play in England and Northern Ireland, which is accurate, but omits their game in Scotland! No haggis for the author!

 

It also says the team record was 17-14 last year. I don't know how they get that. The records were:
Conference record: 16-10-2
Non-conference record: 4-4-1
Playoff record: 0-2-0
Overall record: 20-16-3

 

The story also has the regular season starting in Calgary on October 5th, when in fact it starts one week earlier on September 28th. Also, the team schedule has the opening tour game on August 22nd, but the Manchester Storm have it scheduled for August 21st.

 

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There is one fewer Mutt in the doghouse. Defenceman MacKenzie Johnston is going back to the Rosetown Redwings after one season in Saskatown. He played for Mount Royal in 2014-15 and 2015-16, redshirted for a season (where he played for Rosetown), then went to Saskatchewan last year.

 

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The Ottawa Gee-Gees have no schedule page on their site. They are the only team in USports which links to their conference site for their team schedule. That schedule has just one game (Sept 22 against St. F.X.), but their Twitter announced two games in the Big Lemon, against Ryerson on Sept 14 and Toronto on Sept 15.

 

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Episode 9 of the on-line radio show of Breakin News 'N Crackin Brews is up, but I haven't heard it yet.

 

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icon1.gif July 30: THE NEWS CONTINUES TO TRICKLE IN

Belfast_Giants-50x50.jpgLethbridge-50x50.jpgRed_Deer-rdc-50x50.jpgAlberta-50px.jpgGuildfordFlames-50x50.jpg

 

There are a couple of links coming in now, from sources outside the CW. The Alberta Golden Bears and Manitoba Bisons remain the only CW teams with non-conference games on their schedule and no team has a 2018-19 roster page. The UBC Thunderbirds are the only team to have made official recruiting announcements.

 

So what news is there?

 

First, Bison pre-season opponent Belfast Giants have re-signed their captain, Blair Riley. He's a 32-year-old Canadian boy who peaked at the AHL before heading to Europe. This will be his 3rd season over there.

 

Second, Red Deer College and the ACAC schedules have announced that the Red Deer Kings will visit the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept 7-8. Other sources have the 'Horns off to Lakehead Sept 21-22, starting the regular season against UBC on Sept 28-29, then going to the States Oct 6-7 to wrap their non-conference season. That just leaves Sept 14-15 empty, and Edmonton and Regina appear to be hosting events that same weekend.

 

Third, Monkey graduate Jamie Crooks is off to the EIHL. He will just miss the Bisons because he's playing for the Guildford Flames.

 

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icon1.png Aug 1: UBC SCHEDULING, PLAYER MOVEMENT IN BANJOLAND

 

UBC-wo-birds-50x50.jpgRegina-50x50.jpgSask-green-50x50.jpgRosetown-50x50.jpg

 

Welcome to August!

 

This is the month where the Bisons will start playing hockey again. Finally! No news from the Bisons, but there is some news from elsewhere.

 

First, the UBC T-irds have updated their schedule to include exhibition games. However, they did not include the Sep 7-8 games announced by the Evil Monkeys to be played in Penticton. The announced games are:

Sep 14 N.A.I.T. (ACAC) at U.B.C.
Sep 15 N.A.I.T. (ACAC) at U.B.C.
Sep 21 Simon Fraser (BCIHL) at U.B.C.

 

The Regina Cougars have a new recruit, but not announced by them. Keith Anderson's commitment was announced by the Battlefords North Stars on Twitter. The right winger previously played in the WHL where he had 1 goal and 5 assists in 46 games. In 43 games in the SJHL he was 18-20-38.

 

Meanwhile, the doghouse continues to empty up the road in Saskatown. The Rosetown Redwings have landed another defenceman, Jordan Fransoo, from the Saskatchewan Huskies. He had used up 4 years of eligibility.

 

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icon1.png Aug 3: THE HŎRNY ONES NEED A COACH

 

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I wasn't expecting much in new news as we head into the long weekend, but instead there is shocking news from Lethbridge. The Hørny Ones are in the market for a new head coach because Spiros Anastas has tendered his resignation. Despite hosting the University Cup this year, the team is now having to find a new coach at the last minute. This might also explain the slow rumour mill on new acquisitions for the Hørny Ones.

 

I have searched high and low but don't see where Anastas is going. Before Lethbridge, he was an assistant with Grand Rapids in the AHL.

 

In four seasons since taking the helm from Greg Gatto, Anastas had a spotty record. They were in a prime position to make a playoff run last year but folded in sthe stretch to finish 7th yet again. Anastas has not devoted full time to the Horns. In his first two seasons, he also worked with South Korea and in the last two seasons he has helped out with Estonia, not to mention Alberta youth squads.

 

Here's Anastas's record with Lethbridge:

2015 05-23-0 10 8th
2016 11-15-2 24    7th
2017 11-14-3 25 7th
2018 09-16-3 21 7th (got 2 points for Calgary forfeit)

 

So was Anastas mailing it in this off-season? Does that explain the lack of recruits for the U-Cup host team? Or did he jump ship after failing to land some quality recruits he wanted? Did the UofL issue an ultimatum? Did the UofL try to convince him to stay? Or are they ticked off? Lots of questions and speculation.

 

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Meanwhile, the Regina Cougars have added their pre-season games. The games are:

Sep 14 Saskatchewan at Regina
Sep 15 S.A.I.T. (ACAC) at Regina
Sep 20 York v Regina (in Lumsden)
Sep 22 Regina at Manitoba

 

Since the Bisons are in Regina for the tournament on Sep 14-15, I infer that the Bisons will be facing S.A.I.T. on Sep 14 and Saskatchewan on Sep 15. Unless, of course, somebody like Lethbridge is also included in the tournament.

The York game on Sep 20 is odd. What's happening for the previously announced Bison home game against Regina on Sep 21? The Banjo Cats likely won't be coming. Will York come instead? They have yet to announce a schedule.

 

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The Belfast Giants announced two signings of AHLers, Kyle Baun and Francis Beauvillier. Baun was with the Toronto Marlies and Berauvillier was with the Manitoba Moose. Previously, Beauvillier played for the UNB Varsity Reds of the AUS.

 

Also, Kendall McFaull (recruited from Sask) will be wearing #27 in honour of the late Troy Gasper, deceased in a vehicle collision.

 

CUSN-2017-50x50.jpg

 

Over at CUSN the Tuesday Morning Skate was delayed to Thursday. It runs down the recruiting news, including the blue-chip 6-pack of recruits at St. F.X. The only new part from a CW perspective is the news that Colton Bobyk will not be on his way to the Town of Bedrock. The Dinos announced him a year ago and he had to red-shirt last year.

 

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icon1.png Aug 7: ANASTAS IS OFF TO SOUTH CAROLINA

 

Lethbridge-50x50.jpgSouth_Carolina-_ECHL-2018-50x50.jpg

 

Spiros Anastas is off to be the head coach of the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, farm team to the Washington Capitals and Hershey Bears. They had been coached by Ryan Warsofsky, who got an AHL job in Charlotte.

 

No further word on a replacement for the Hørny Ones.

 

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icon1.gifAug 8: LISOWAY GOING PRO

 

Rapid_City_Rush-50x50.jpgManitoba-brown-50x50.png

 

Quintin Lisoway is leaving after two years to join former Bison teammate Shaq Merasty with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL.

 

Since the Bisons are laden with forwards, this loss won't hurt too badly. His stats were Cy Young-like, 11 goals and 3 assists last year.

 

So who all is coming back? This is the last thing we find out every year. No team has a 2018-19 roster page up yet. At Elite Prospects, the only returning player to be listed is defenceman Blake Heinrich. It is always great news to see returning defencemen, especially those from the WHL. With pre-season just two weeks away, my hope is that we'll see a Bison roster, or at least a tour roster, up soon.

 

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icon1.png Aug 12: ROSTER LINKS

 

CW-2017-Manitoba-73x73.jpg

 

We should be getting roster pages uploaded as the next phase in the off-season as players officially re-enroll. Thius far, no CW has a 2018-19 roster page. I have the links to roster pages here for future reference.

 

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