ECHL report: Gacek excels in debut
Alex Gacek shuffled between three ECHL teams in 2016-17, but he finished seventh in rookie goals and ninth in points by a first-year player in that league.
Gacek, a 2016 Miami graduate, scored 26 times and dished for 26 assists en route to a 52-point rookie campaign with South Carolina, Orlando and finally Atlanta.
Gacek started the season with South Carolina but was traded to Orlando on Dec. 29. On March 7 he was acquired by Atlanta at the trade deadline.
Gacek ended the season with a plus-11 rating and his shooting percentage was 18.7.
OTHER ROOKIES: Matthew Caito played just 23 games with Toledo during the regular season, but the defenseman scored eight times and added six assists.
Caito picked up his first pro hat trick vs. Fort Wayne on Nov. 25 as part of a five-game stretch in which he found the net seven times.
Caito also played with Grand Rapids (AHL) for 13 games before returning to Toledo for the playoffs, racking up nine more points in 17 games. He logged eight games with the Walleye at the end of 2015-16 following Miami’s season.
Defenseman Taylor Richart netted seven goals and picked up 13 assists in his first pro season.
Playing for Utah, Richart was limited to 48 games in 2016-17 but still finished second on the team in blueliner goals. He was tops among ex-Miamians in ECHL defenseman points with 20.
Defenseman Colin Sullivan made his pro debut with Atlanta this spring after wrapping up his season season in Oxford.
Sullivan earned his first career assist at Greenville on April 2.
LEADING AT INDY: Alex Wideman led all former RedHawks in ECHL points last season with 55.
He was tops on Indiana in assists (33) and shootout goals (3) and has already racked up 94 points in 128 games in the league.
Wideman played juniors in Indianapolis for two years prior to his Miami career, and now calls his former rink home.
MINORS MASTERTON: Alden Hirschfeld required season-ending brain surgery in 2015-16 but returned to post a career-high 49 points last season for Toledo.
Hirschfeld also set high marks in goals (23) and plus-minus (17).
After earning a promotion to AHL Grand Rapids, Hirschfeld collapsed on the bench as the result of a seizure on Jan. 8, 2016 and underwent a craniotomy on March 14, during which a malformation on his brain was removed.
MILESTONES: Gary Steffes needed two points to reach the 200 mark for his career entering the final game of the 2016-17 regular season.
His line in that contest: 1 goal, 1 assist, capped off by a clinching marker in a 4-2 win over Wichita.
Steffes also scored his 100th ECHL goal late last season and has rolled up 105 in four seasons in that league.
PLAYOFFS?! PLAYOFFS?!?! No former Miamian advanced to the championship series, but Kevin Morris and Matthew Caito both posted nine points as their respective teams qualified for the conference final.
Morris played 19 games with Manchester, scoring five goals and adding four assists, and defenseman Matthew Caito racked up a goal and eight helpers.
Dynasty team Allen was bounced in the second round, and Gary Steffes finished with three goals and three assists in that team’s postseason.
See also: BoB’s look at RedHawks in the NHL, as well as RedHawks in the AHL in 2016-17.
On deck: BoB takes a look at Miamians in other leagues.
A look at all RedHawks that appeared in ECHL games this season:
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||67||3||6||9||4||76|
|Devin Mantha||Fort Wayne||F||25||2||4||6||2||2|
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||8||0||0||0||4|
Religion lifts Steffes to ECHL dominance
Looking at Gary Steffes’ career stats line from juniors in Cedar Rapids, four years in college and the last six years when he has played in several levels of the pros, his senior season at Miami stands out for all of the wrong reasons: 17 games, no goals, one assist.
Without knowing more about the 29-year-old forward, one might assume he was hurt that year, lost his passion for the game or battled any other of countless issues that sidetrack numerous would-be pro athletes from their ultimate goal.
But while many would hang up their skates and cash in their Miami degrees for lucrative jobs in their respective fields, the struggles of that 2009-10 campaign combined with hard work and a strong religious faith have culminated in his becoming one of the most lethal clutch scorers in the ECHL and Kelly Cup championships each of the past two seasons.
“I look back at my senior year, and it was probably one of the hardest years, hockey-wise, that I’ve ever had,” Steffes said. “I didn’t score a single goal all season, I had one assist and I played half of the games, and I really went through a lot. There’s no question that my faith in Jesus Christ was impactful for me.”
After netting just 12 goals in 98 games in the USHL, Steffes arrived in Oxford in the fall of 2006, becoming a member of the first freshman class to play at Cady Arena.
“I came in one guy and left another guy, both on and off the ice,” Steffes said. “Being a part of the RedHawks’ organization was an amazing blessing, and I can’t say thanks enough for how the coaching staff invested in me. When I think about my experience about Miami, it’s so much bigger than hockey, but my experience as a hockey player was top-notch. I got to play against some of the best programs in the world, and it was a tremendous honor. It developed me a ton, and I’m grateful.”
Steffes skated in all 42 games his rookie season, and as a sophomore, Steffes doubled his points total from his 5-3-8 freshman season, as he scored six times and set up 10 more while rising on Miami’s forward depth chart.
He also dressed for both games in the NCAA Tournament before Miami fell in the regional final.
Steffes was roomed with classmate and former NHLer Jarod Palmer when he first came to Oxford. The two had never met before but are now close friends.
“He was extremely energetic – a go-getter in every facet,” Palmer said. “I was a lot more laid back as far as life went, but Gary was 110 percent in everything he did, in every category. That really impressed me, honestly, and kind of intimidated me.”
Junior season was Steffes’ collegiate high point. It started with him recording a hat trick in the RedHawks’ home opener vs. Ohio State, and he finished with 11 goals – tied for fourth on the team – and 12 assists.
Miami advanced to the national championship game for the only time in its history, and Steffes netted the RedHawks’ first-ever NCAA title game goal.
“Junior year was probably the best year that I had of all of them,” Steffes said. “We get to go into the Frozen Four, and we beat Bemidji (State) and then we go to the national championship game, and the environment was just crazy. I still remember the line I got to play with and the teammates that I had – it was an exhilarating run and an exhilarating year, and really just to be a part of a team that was atop the nation fighting to win a national championship. It was an amazing experience that I’m blessed to have been a part of.”
There was reason to believe Steffes’ development would take yet another step forward in 2009-10, but his on-ice story in Oxford was pretty much complete.
“In college, (Steffes) had a tough time trying to stay calm,” Palmer said. “He was really nervous before games, and it would show in his play. He’d make panicked decisions out there. He wanted to be successful – he trained harder, he practiced harder than anyone. If you came to our practices you’d have thought he was the best player on the ice, without a doubt. But when it came to game time, performance time, he would get nervous and make strange decisions. As things didn’t go so well, his pressure increased.”
He was a healthy scratch down the stretch, including the NCAA Tournament as the RedHawks again qualified for the Frozen Four.
“Going through my senior season, it really was a very big maturing year, and the Lord, he pulled some things out of me and I had to develop in a lot of ways, mentally and emotionally. I look back at my performance, and I would’ve liked to have seen it a little better, but at the same time there are so many things that I took from that. I grew as a man, I grew as player – it was a tough year overall.”
Meanwhile, Palmer scored a team-high 18 times and picked up 27 assists for a RedHawks-best 45 points in his final season at Miami, but he was unable to help his struggling friend garner that same success.
“Senior year, he tried to find his way in life, and he really changed dramatically,” Palmer said. “He became a close follower of Christ, and I think it was really tough for him to watch other guys play games. He was (a) healthy scratch sometimes, and I saw that it hurt, it was really painful, and I didn’t really know how to help him. I tried to tell him mostly…he needed to relax, he needed to not think hockey is the most important thing in the world. He would put so much pressure on himself that he would kind of choke out there.”
Unless there’s a major injury, it’s almost a given that when a skater’s stat line reads 0-1-1 his final collegiate season, it’s time to find another line of work.
Steffes’ stock had obviously taken a major hit, and after being discussed as a potential AHL candidate prior to 2009-10, he found himself out of college eligibility and wondering if he had logged his last competitive game.
“I remember getting on my knees, saying Lord, if you want me to play, open up a door,” Steffes said. “But honestly, I didn’t have a ton of credibility to get my own contract. I didn’t know if I was going to play again. The Lord opened up a door in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to go play in the Central League and get my pro career started. It was crazy: An agent called me and asked if I wanted to play, and I said absolutely, I’d love to if there’s still an opening, and sure enough I had a contract a couple of weeks later, and I spent the next three years in Tulsa. I’m really grateful that I got to, I can tell you that.”
Tulsa, in the now-defunct CHL, was a step below the ECHL. Already 23 years old entering his first pro season, Steffes spent three full seasons with the Oilers and improved his points-per-game average in each one.
He went from 43 points in 66 games (0.65) as a rookie to 52 points in the same number of contests in his second pro season – a 0.79 clip – finishing third on his team in scoring and goals (22).
Steffes’ third season was a turning point in terms of offensive production. He scored 20 times and set up 14 more goals in just 37 games before vaulting two levels to the AHL, where he played 16 games with Lake Erie.
“I’d heard that the Central League was not the greatest league, and I was totally blown away by how gifted those players were,” Steffes said. “I grew so much as a player there, and my coach, Bruce Ramsay, took me under his wing and taught me how to be more offensive, and how to play in different spots on the power play, and how to be in situations that allow my game to develop and grow. And through that, I got my opportunity to go Lake Erie of the American League.”
Steffes put up a modest three points in his inaugural call-up to the Lock Monsters of North America’s second-best league, and his play in that 2012-13 season earned him a spot on Bakersfield of the ECHL the following fall.
It was Steffes’ first stint in that league, and he posted 18 goals and 17 assists, adding nine more points during the Condors’ conference finals run.
From there it was on to Allen – his current team and member of the ECHL – and Steffes has seemingly found the net at will since joining the Americans in 2014-15.
He led the league in goals with 44 despite a nine-game call-up to AHL Milwaukee. No one in the ECHL has scored more regular season goals since 2011. Steffes ended the season with 73 points and a plus-31 rating.
Steffes also netted four goals with the Admirals during his promotion and said that helped boost his confidence level even more.
“How could it not, right?” Steffes said. “You get to live out your dream, you get to go to the American League and play just on the verge of being in the NHL. There’s not an awe factor like there is some places. Now there’s a confidence like, holy smokes we could be called to be there tomorrow, and that’s just a totally different mentality. Obviously everyone’s games are totally top-notch, so it was extremely encouraging.”
He was sent back to Allen for the playoffs, where he resumed his torrid pace. Allen won the Kelly Cup that season, thanks largely to 13 goals by Steffes, tied for the second most that playoff year.
That gave him 61 goals between the regular season and playoffs.
Steffes called Palmer after he won that first Cup in Allen to thank him for helping him through that difficult period in Oxford.
In that conversion, Steffes told Palmer that he remembered their first game day together at Miami in the fall of 2006. Palmer was relaxed that day and took a nap while Steffes was pumped up in the hours before the puck dropped.
The result: Palmer had a solid night and Steffes did not.
“I said ‘wow, I’m glad I did something to help you out,’” Palmer said. “He said ‘I stayed really relaxed out there and we played great and we won the championship,’ and I said ‘that’s awesome’.
“The best athletes in the world, they’re not nervous before the game because they’re confident in themselves and they’ve practiced so many times and they’ve seen success in what they do so many times that they don’t have a thought in the world that something could go bad. It took Gary a long time to figure that out, and you can see it in pro hockey – he’s done really well for himself. Not just in the ECHL, but he’s gotten some chances to play in the AHL. That’s pretty special compared to where he finished his college career.”
But that was just half of Steffes’ championship story. He returned to Allen last season and earned another brief stint in the AHL, this time a two-game recall with San Jose where he picked up an assist.
Palmer, who had retired because of concussion issues in 2012-13 after six games in the NHL, actually joined shorthanded Allen over the holidays and played three games with his former Miami teammate before hanging up the skates again, this time for good.
“I’m really excited for him, to see his hockey success,” Palmer said. “I know he really battled hard in college and had some rough times, and to see him come out of that and end up becoming a champion in the (ECHL), it’s pretty cool. He was a captain in every way, shape and form. They even had him kind of coaching the penalty kill and teaching the system. It was pretty cool to see what a prominent role he played on the team.”
Steffes dominated in the playoffs again last season, amazingly putting up the same 13-5-18 postseason line en route to another Kelly Cup title this June.
“It’s such a neat feeling,” Steffes said. “You can look your brother in the eyes and say, ‘we did it’. Of all that we went through, in that moment you’re thinking about all of the bus trips, and you’re thinking about the ups and downs of your season, and you’re thinking about the injuries that guys took on, the guys that took big hits to make plays, the sacrifice guys made and the times you’re getting in at four in the morning from a bus trip and you’ve got to be up and ready to play the next day. There’s just this feeling of joy and relief and excitement and gratitude – it’s just a great feeling. And then that’s something you get to celebrate with your guys moving forward, right? We’ll always have that bond as brothers. It’s not just another team that we played for, it’s a team that did something successfully, a team that won the last game that they played in the season. That’s a pretty awesome feeling to have.”
So what has been the difference in Steffes’ game? He scored 22 goals in 136 games in four years with Miami and never recorded more than that in a single season dating back to juniors.
In 2014-15 and 2015-16 he has 96 between the regular and postseasons, including his trips to the AHL, in 192 games.
“I would say there’s been some significant development that’s happened in my career the past couple of years,” Steffes said. “My coach in Allen (Steve Martinson), of course, gave me the chance of a lifetime. He’s put me into opportunities when I can be effective offensively. And then I’ve had people come into my life that have really challenged me to become a critical thinker and to become a guy who is not just a robot and just does what coaches says but actually tries to get into (players’) heads as to how they think. When you watch the NHL and see some of the most prolific offensive players like Patrick Kane and Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton and (Joe) Pavelski and try to get into their minds, and what are they thinking in different situations? I really put a lot of time into that, I was watching video, I was learning, I was practicing different skills and trying to learn how to be a scorer. And then I got a coach that gave me the opportunity to do it and the Lord totally blessed the road. I walked away with nearly 50 goals in a season and to be a part of two incredible playoff runs, words can’t really express how I feel when I think about the whole journey I’ve been on here.”
Steffes will return to suburban Dallas again this fall where he will attempt to skate the Kelly Cup for a third straight year.
With three trips to the AHL in four years, chances are good he earns another recall.
No one in the hockey world appreciates his opportunities as much as Steffes, yet like all North Americans that lace up the skates, he still has strong NHL aspirations.
“I dream of it, man,” Steffes said. “I’m getting older, and I’m being careful of that line of perseverance and stubbornness. There’s a line where either you have to keep fighting a little longer, or you’re at the point of stubbornness, and you’ve kind of got to let go. But I’m still going for it, and I would love to be able to make the NHL and play one game. Anything’s possible and I’m going to keep working at it until God leads me out of it, leads me away. I’m hopeful – you never know – I got an opportunity last year, and I got an opportunity with Milwaukee the year before. (Need another) opportunity, and you never know what can happen from it.”
Now 29, Steffes has to make that annual decision: To keep playing or to turn pro in another field?
Even now, at the top of his game, it’s something he thinks about each off-season.
“Those are questions that I’ve really got to take some time to start thinking through, especially heading into my seventh year,” Steffes said. “I’ve definitely considered going to Europe, I’ve considered playing until I can’t play any more – you know, when you hang them up, you hang them up. I realize it’s a very big decision and I still love the game. I feel like I’m the prime of my career, and I feel like I’m totally in the best shape of my life at 29, so I’m not in a rush to hang them up, but I don’t know, but as for now I definitely hope to keep playing for a little while here.”
Opportunities, constant learning and staying in peak physical shape are musts for a hockey player’s game to spike.
But then there’s the mental side, the side that began evolving for Steffes during a tumultuous senior season in Oxford. And for Steffes, that growth directly correlates to his faith.
“As my life began to change in so many ways, I had to learn how to be motivated differently,” Steffes said. “I think there was definitely a transition of going from being motivated to prove people wrong and being motivated to prove how good and prove my worth by my performance to playing because I love the game, and I love my teammates and I love the Lord and I want to honor Him the best I can and be a man of excellence and be a man of honor in everything I can do.
“To be completely honest, this twitch in motivation has actually raised my game, because now my end goal isn’t just to be great in people’s eyes, my goal is to be the best I can possibly be in God’s eyes, and that draws me to a place where in my heart, I know if I’m really giving my all or not.”
Prior to that life-altering senior season at Miami, it was expected that Steffes’ final campaign with the RedHawks would pick up where his third year had left off.
Double-digit goals and assists as a top-six forward, even on a loaded MU team.
It didn’t work out that way for Steffes in 2009-10. But what if it had? What if the ECHL came easily to Steffes right out of college? Would he still be the player he is today?
“Where would I be if I had gone on that road, where would I be if that had happened?” Steffes said. “I definitely don’t know that I would be as strong in certain areas of character, in certain areas of the mental game that I am today. I have so much grateful for, but I realize that I don’t want to walk through that again. But looking back on it I can’t help but be grateful for some things that came out of it.”
So many people encounter seemingly-overwhelming obstacles in hockey and in life, and Steffes talked about how to overcome them.
“The encouraging thing is even when you walk through a valley, it doesn’t mean there’s not the opportunity for a mountain to be coming,” Steffes said. “If people are going through valleys, there are three enemies to persevere: The first one is we can buckle under the pressure and we can totally cave under the pressure. The second one is we can bail, when things get hard we just want to escape and want to get out of there, and the third one is we can start blaming. We can blame others and start pointing the finger left and right. Those three things I think about all the time when things get hard: Don’t buckle, don’t bail and don’t blame. Some of those competitive quote-unquote set-backs in life are really set-ups for us to do something greater. For me I look back at that tough (senior) season, and it was hard. It was really hard. But it totally molded me and I learned so many things that year that have really been huge for my in my pro career. I learned so much about strength of character and maturity and perspective and things outside of the rink that have totally catapulted me to be the player I am today. Totally.”
Steffes, whose Bachelor of Science from Miami is in kinesiology and health, is involved in an organization called Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In the off-season, he travels around the country and the world, running hockey camps and teaching Christianity.
He enjoys meeting and helping kids that are struggling with their own challenges in life.
“It’s bigger than hockey, but hockey has become my tool to impact a lot of people for Christ,” Steffes said. “I’ve learned so many things about how to be a confident, consistent, excellent athlete that’s not defined by hockey. I think one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned over the years is that it’s so easy – especially for us as men – to be completely defined by what we do. What we do determines our worth and our value, and (determines) what other people think about us. To find freedom from that and to be able to experience the game the way it was intended to be played – you can compete when every time you’re touching the ice you’re not worried about your worth, your value being on the line. If you totally blow it, you totally fail you’re still the same guy – you’re worthy, you’re valuable. I think that is one of the biggest aspects of my journey is learning and realizing that hockey does not define me any more.”
When Steffes finally has to put the skates away for good, he would like to stay involved in the sport that he loves. He said he may write a book about his life and how to be a victorious Christian athlete.
“He’s very happy,” Palmer said. “He’s enjoying hockey, and he’s enjoying life – success or not – and I think that’s something that’s different about him since I played with him in college to now. When he found Christ he realized that he was loved by the Creator in all facets, regardless of whether he scored goals or not – that’s not something that’s very important in terms of eternity. Something for him was he found out that it wasn’t life or death to perform or not perform. Obviously everyone wants to perform and it’s always nice and feels good too, but I think Gary has gotten to the point where when he has a bad game or a bad shift, it doesn’t affect him like it used to because he knows he’s loved eternally by Jesus Christ. He’s a very loving human being and I think that comes from the Creator and his relationship with Christ.
“When I meet with him he likes to ask me the deep questions in life, like how’s your social life, how’s your relationship with your wife and your kids? And those are things that can be uncomfortable to talk about sometimes, but he’s really, genuinely concerned. Gary’s a very special human being because of how much he cares and loves people.”
To find out more about the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, click here:
Miami pros won Cups at three levels
It was a memorable spring for several former Miamians, as ex-RedHawks won hockey championships in the top three North American pro leagues this playoff season.
Goalie Jeff Zatkoff will have his name etched on hockey’s most coveted trophy, the Stanley Cup, after a the backup’s Pittsburgh Penguins beat San Jose in a six-game title series that wrapped up on Sunday.
The RedHawks were guaranteed a Stanley Cup champion, as Tommy Wingels skated for the Sharks in all six games of that final.
Forward Trent Vogelhuber also skated a trophy, winning the Calder Cup with the AHL Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top affiliate.
Gary Steffes was an integral member of the ECHL Allen Americans, who won their second consecutive Kelly Cup.
Zatkoff picked up one of Pittsburgh’s 16 postseason wins, posting a .908 save percentage. He went 4-8 in the regular season with a 2.79 goals-against average and a save percentage of .917.
Zatkoff has 16 career wins in 1,940 regular-season minutes, and he has one shutout. He played three seasons for Miami in 2006-09.
Vogelhuber went 2-5-7 this playoff year after recording 11 goals and 16 assists in 70 games in the regular season. He has played parts of five seasons with Lake Erie, racking up 24 markers and 35 helpers for 59 points.
Steffes scored 13 goals in the playoffs for the second straight season and has 29 career playoff postseason tallies in 65 ECHL games. He went 22-23-45 in the regular season and has scored 84 times in the last three seasons with Allen.
Other season highlights…
NHL – Forward Reilly Smith made quite an impression in his first year with Florida, scoring a career-high 25 goals and notching four more in six postseason games. Smith has 150 career points and has missed just one game the past three seasons.
Defenseman Alec Martinez also set a career high, racking up 31 points including 10 goals for the Los Angeles Kings. Martinez is 39-69-108 in 337 career games.
Defenseman Dan Boyle became the first former RedHawks to reach 600 NHL points, as he went 10-24-34 this season for the New York Rangers. Boyle is Miami’s all-time leader in NHL games played (1,093), assists (442) and points (605), and he second to Brian Savage in goals with 163.
AHL – Forward Andy Miele set several personal milestones this season, eclipsing 100 goals, 200 assists and 300 points for his AHL career. Miele went 18-44-62 this season with Grand Rapids, giving him 106 goals, 205 assists and 311 career points. He has played 355 AHL games in five seasons, averaging 0.88 points per game.
Forward Pat Cannone established career highs in goals (20) and points (52) with Chicago this season. Cannone has scored 80 career goals in the AHL and surpassed the 200-point mark for his career, finishing this regular season with 203.
Forwards Riley Barber and Austin Czarnik may be on different teams now, but they both proved they can roll up the points in the pros. Barber scored 26 goals and added 29 assists for 55 points for Hershey in his first AHL action. Czarnik went 20-41-61, giving him 63 career points in 71 games for Providence including his three-game stint at the end of 2014-15.
Forward Carter Camper was a playoff stud, racking up six goals and 10 assists in 19 games as Barber’s teammate with Hershey. The Bears lost to Lake Erie in the Calder Cup final.
ECHL – In addition to his playoff scoring, Steffes reached 150 points for his ECHL career this regular season. He has 84 goals and 59 assists for 153 points in three seasons with Allen. Steffes has scored 150 goals and dished for 126 assists in six minor league seasons between the CHL, the ECHL and the AHL.
While Steffes led all former Miamians in the ECHL, forward Alex Wideman also had a strong showing, going 15-24-39 in 58 games with Evansville.
Below is a list of 2015-16 stats for Miamians playing in the pros around the world, and RedHawks’ pro stats can always be accessed at this link:
2015-16 STATS – FINAL REGULAR SEASON
|Reilly Smith||Florida Panthers||F||82||25||25||50||19||31|
|Alec Martinez||Los Angeles Kings||D||78||10||21||31||16||40|
|Dan Boyle||NY Rangers||D||74||10||14||24||0||30|
|Tommy Wingels||San Jose Sharks||F||68||7||11||18||-10||63||Chris Wideman||Ottawa Senators||D||64||6||7||13||4||34|
|Andy Greene||New Jersey Devils||D||82||4||9||13||7||26|
|Curtis McKenzie||Dallas Stars||F||3||0||0||0||-1||0|
|Jeff Zatkoff||Pittsburgh Penguins||14||728||4||7||2.79||.917||0|
|Andy Miele||Grand Rapids||F||75||18||44||62||18||77|
|Trent Vogelhuber||Lake Erie||F||70||11||16||27||13||65|
|Gary Steffes||San Jose||F||2||0||1||1||-1||2|
|Alden Hirschfeld||Grand Rapids||F||5||0||1||1||1||2|
|Chris Joyaux||St. John’s||D||8||0||1||1||-3||6|
|Will Weber||San Antonio||D||2||0||0||0||0||0|
|Connor Knapp||Lehigh Valley||2||113||1||0||5.31||.821||0|
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||64||3||8||11||10||103|
|Justin Mercier||Val Gardena (Italy)$||F||39||20||24||44||0||72|
|Matt Tomassoni||Frankfurt (DEL-2)%||F||52||11||31||42||13||38|
|Dan Stewart||Fife (EIHL)+||D||59||14||20||34||0||75|
|Ryan Jones||Cologne (DEL)#||F||41||15||15||30||3||55|
|Mitch Ganzak||Belfast (EIHL)+||F||63||9||18||27||0||146|
|Cody Murphy||Vasteras (Sweden)@||F||52||9||13||22||11||16|
|Mike Glumac||Zagreb (KHL)&||F||58||8||3||11||-4||30|
|Chris Bergeron||Bowling Green||WCHA||39||23||11||5||.654|
|Reilly Smith||Florida Panthers||F||6||4||4||8||7||0|
|Tommy Wingels||San Jose Sharks||F||18||2||0||2||4||21|
|Dan Boyle||NY Rangers||D||4||0||1||1||0||0|
|Alec Martinez||Los Angeles Kings||D||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Curtis McKenzie||Dallas Stars||F||1||0||0||0||0||5|
|Andy Miele||Grand Rapids||F||9||2||5||7||7||12|
|Trent Vogelhuber||Lake Erie||F||15||2||5||7||6||8|
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||16||0||3||3||2||22|
|Justin Mercier||Val Gardena (Italy)$||F||5||3||7||10||2|
|Ryan Jones||Cologne (DEL)#||F||11||3||2||5||4|
|Matt Tomassoni||Frankfurt (DEL-2)%||F||4||0||0||0||-3||18|
Last updated: 6-4-2016
*-no longer with team
$-Val Gardena is in the Italian League Serie A, the top league in Italy.
%-Frankfurt is in the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga and plays in DEL2, the second highest league in Germany.
#-Cologne is in the German Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), the top league in Germany.
@-Vasteras is in HockeyAllsvenskan, the second highest league in Sweden.
+-Fife and Belfast are in the Elite Ice Hockey League, the highest league in the United Kingdom.
&-Zagreb is in the Kontinental Hockey League, the top league in Russia, its territories and surrounding countries.
Catching up with Miami alumni
(Defenseman Vincent LoVerde, photo by Cathy Lachmann)
Between the Stanley Cup playoffs, minor league championships, the NHL draft and its resulting transactions, trades and Wednesday’s free agent madness, numerous Miami alumni have spent the past couple of months winning trophies and moving to different cities.
If all of the activity is giving you a headache, here is the Miami-centric version of recent events involving former RedHawks.
LOVERDE WINS CALDER – Defenseman Vincent LoVerde, the captain of AHL Manchester, led the Monarchs to a Calder Cup championship in June.
The fourth-year pro who graduated in 2011 tied a career high in the regular season with nine goals, and he went 2-8-10 in 19 playoff games. LoVerde, 26, has already played in 275 professional games, racking up 25 goals and 69 assists for 94 points in the Kings organization.
STEFFES A KELLY CUP WINNER – What a season it was for Gary Steffes. The 2010 Miami graduate scored 61 goals between the regular season and playoffs and capped his year off by winning the Kelly Cup with Allen of the ECHL.
Steffes netted four goals in nine games in a call-up to AHL Milwaukee, potted a league-leading 44 regular season goals for Allen – more than twice his previous career high – and tallied 13 more in 25 postseason contests, the second-highest total in the league.
In 317 pro games, Steffes has 128 goals and 116 assists for 244 points.
BOYLE REACHES NHL CONFERENCE FINAL – Defenseman Dan Boyle advanced to the Stanley Cup conference final as a member of the New York Rangers, playing 19 postseason games and recording three goals and seven assists.
Boyle, the only RedHawks alum to participate in the Stanley Cup playoffs, also became the first former Miamian to play in 1,000 regular season games in 2014-15. In addition to leading all ex-RedHawks in career regular season games played (1,019), he is tops in assists (428) and points (581), as well as career playoffs games played (126), goals (17), assists (63) and points (80).
PRO SIGNINGS, PLAYERS ON THE MOVE – Former Miamians were involved in a number of transactions between draft weekend and the first day of free agent signings on Wednesday.
Here are the highlights:
– Forward Reilly Smith was dealt from Boston along with F Marc Savard to Florida for F Jimmy Hayes. Hayes and Smith played against each other in the 2010 Frozen Four.
Smith has 36 goals and 64 assists for 100 points in 203 NHL games with the Bruins.
– F Blake Coleman signed a two-year deal with New Jersey on Wednesday. Coleman was drafted by the Devils but did not join a New Jersey affiliate in the spring after Miami was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
– F Andy Miele was re-signed by Detroit for one year. He finished second in the AHL in points last season with 70.
– D Chris Wideman was re-signed by Ottawa for one year. Wideman led all AHL defensemen in assists (42) and points (61) and was tied for the league lead in goals (19).
– F Carter Camper, who played in the Boston, Columbus and Ottawa systems, was signed to a one-year deal by Washington. Camper finished with a pro-high 52 points with Binghamton in 2014-15.
– F Marc Hagel was inked to a two-year deal by Minnesota. Hagel is coming off his second full pro season, and he went 12-21-33 with AHL Iowa.
– F Curtis McKenzie signed a two-year deal to remain with Dallas. McKenzie split time between AHL Texas and the Stars. He went 6-15-21 in 31 games in the AHL, and he was 4-1-5 in the NHL.
– F Austin Czarnik signed with the Bruins right after Miami’s season ended, coincidentally ending up in Providence, where the RedHawks played their final game of 2014-15. Czarnik played three games with the P-Bruins, notching two assists.
– Though he’s not an alumni yet (thank God), F Sean Kuraly had his rights traded from San Jose to Boston last week. Kuraly will be a senior at Miami this fall and could rejoin Czarnik in 2016.
Twenty-four former RedHawks either logged games in the AHL, the NHL or both last season. Here are the final 2014-15 regular season and postseason stats for all former Miamians currently playing pro hockey around the world:
F Reilly Smith, BOS, 81 GP, 13-27—40
F Tommy Wingels, SJ, 75 GP, 15-21—36
D Alec Martinez, LA, 56 GP, 6-16—22
D Andy Greene, NJ, 82 GP, 3-19—22
D Dan Boyle, NYR, 65 GP, 9-11—21
F Curtis McKenzie, DAL, 36 GP, 4-1—5
D Cameron Schilling, WSH, 4 GP, 0-0—0
G Jeff Zatkoff, PIT, 1 GP, 0-1, 1.62 GAA, .941 Sv%
F Andy Miele, GRP, 71 GP, 26-44—70
D Chris Wideman, BNG, 75 GP, 19-42—61
F Carter Camper, BNG, 75 GP, 15-37—52
F Pat Cannone, CHI, 64 GP, 14-33—47
F Marc Hagel, IOW, 67 GP, 12-21–33
F Curtis McKenzie, TEX, 31 GP, 6-15—21
D Vincent LoVerde, MNC, 63 GP, 9-11–20
D Cameron Schilling, HER, 63 GP, 3-15—18
F Trent Vogelhuber, SPR, 64 GP, 8-8–16
F Tyler Biggs, TOR, 47 GP, 2-3–5
D Steve Spinell, HFD, 52 GP, 1-4–5
F Gary Steffes, MLW, 9 GP, 4-0–4
F Justin Mercier, 16 GP, 2-2–4
F Alden Hirschfeld, GRP, 12 GP, 1-1–2
F Austin Czarnik, PRO, 3 GP, 0-2–2
F Ryan Jones, UTC, 5 GP, 0-1–1
D Will Weber, SPR, 30 GP, 0-1–1
F Alex Wideman, BNG, 4 GP, 0-0–0
G Jeff Zatkoff, WBS, 37 GP, 18-18, 2.45 GAA, .910 Sv%
F Gary Steffes, ALL, 63 GP, 44-29–73
F Justin Mercier, TOL, 46 GP, 22-21–43
F Alden Hirschfeld, TOL, 59 GP, 11-33–44
F Tyler Biggs, ORL, 8 GP, 4-2–6
D Steve Spinell, GRE, 6 GP, 1-1–2
F Bryon Paulazzo, STK, 22 GP, 2-2–4
G Connor Knapp, REA, 41 GP, 24-15, 2.58 GAA, .915 Sv%
G Cody Reichard, STK, 31 GP, 8-20, 4.31 GAA, .872 Sv%
F Devin Mantha, MIS, 39 GP, 11-17—28
F Bryon Paulazzo, MIS, 35 GP, 6-16—22
F Max Cook, COL, 36 GP, 3-9—12
F Dustin Whitecotton, Deggendorf, Oberliga (Germany), 38 GP, 14-33—47
F Evan Cheverie, Belfast, EIHL (Britain), 47 GP, 12-32—44
F/D Matt Tomassoni, Kassel, DEL-2 (Austria), 43 GP, 9-27—36
F Ryan Jones, Cologne, DEL (Austria), 30 GP, 12-5–17
D Dan Boyle, NYR, 19 GP, 3-7–10
F Andy Miele, GRP, 16 GP, 3-11–14
D Vincent LoVerde, MNC, 19 GP, 2-8–10
D Cameron Schilling, HER, 10 GP, 3-5–8
F Pat Cannone, CHI, 5 GP, 0-6–6
F Curtis McKenzie, TEX, 3 GP, 1-1–2
D Steve Spinell, HFD, 3 GP, 1-0–1
F Alden Hirschfeld, GRP, 6 GP, 1-0–1
G Jeff Zatkoff, WBS, 1 GP, 0-0, 1.03 GAA, .958 Sv%
F Gary Steffes, ALL, 25 GP, 13-5–18
F Justin Mercier, TOL, 20 GP, 8-4–12
F Alden Hirschfeld, TOL, 7 GP, 1-0–1
G Connor Knapp, REA, 7 GP, 3-4, 2.44 GAA, .919 Sv%
F Bryon Paulazzo, MIS, 5 GP, 4-1–5
F Devin Mantha, MIS, 5 GP, 1-1–2
F Mike Kompon, Belfast, EIHL (Britain), 4 GP, 1-3–4
F Dustin Whitecotton, Deggendorf, Oberliga (Germany), 4 GP, 1-2–3
F/D Matt Tomassoni, Kassel, DEL-2 (Austria), 5 GP, 0-1–1