Saturday, August 1, 2015

NOTEBOOK: Training Camp Is Coming

Saint John Sea Dogs training camp begins in just over a week.

The Sea Dogs will begin to report to the club next Sunday with the first on-ice sessions taking place on Monday, Aug. 10 at Harbour Station.

Saint John will play six pre-season games this year with the first being on Thursday, Aug. 13 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Tickets to that game are free of charge and the general public can begin to pick them up at the arena box office beginning on Aug. 10.

Saint John’s other home pre-season games are on Aug. 22 and Aug. 27 against the Moncton Wildcats.

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy, who reported on QMJHL Entry Draft day that Shane Bowers would not report to Cape Breton, was obviously not shocked by this week’s announcement.

Kennedy had an article on Bowers this week, an article that featured this interesting paragraph:

There had been speculation that Bowers would have played for Saint John or Halifax, though right now that’s a moot point. I can say that Cape Breton attempted to trade the fourth overall pick to at least one of those teams, but the price tag was deemed too high by the potential partner.

The Eagles have said they do not intend to trade Bowers and he is expected to join the United States Hockey League’s Waterloo Black Hawks.

In what could be Bowers related news but also may not be – we shall see – the QMJHL’s trading period opened today.
Of course, overagers and imports can be traded after that deadline.

Alumni Game One Week Away

The Saint John Sea Dogs’ alumni game is now just a week away from taking place at Harbour Station.

The game is the main event of the 2015 Wallace McCain Memorial Alumni Reunion. Tickets to the contest, which takes place next Saturday, Aug. 8 at 2 p.m. at Harbour Station, are now available.

The game will feature two star-studded teams made up of Sea Dogs alumni facing off against each other. A number of current NHL players have confirmed that they will attend along with several other fan favourites.

The full rosters have not been released yet, but here’s who has been confirmed so far:

Nathan Beaulieu
Simon Despres
Eric Gelinas
Mike Thomas
Michael Kirkpatrick
Jason Cameron
Zack Phillips
Stephen MacAulay
Kevin Gagne
Jonathan Huberdeau
Danick Gauthier
Brett Gallant
Sebastien Auger
Mark Tremaine

Following the game, an autograph session with alumni will take place at Harbour Station. There will then be a reception and live auction at Rocky's Sports Bar beginning at 8 p.m.

The reunion is in support of the Children's Wish Foundation and the Saint John Regional Hospital Auxiliary's Brighten Group.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bowers Not Reporting To Cape Breton

Shane Bowers won’t be reporting to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles after all.

Bowers, who was one of the top players available in this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft, was selected fourth overall by the Screaming Eagles. It was reported before the draft that he would only report to a select few markets – and Cape Breton wasn’t one of them. The Eagles drafted him anyways, he went on stage, put his jersey on and it sounded like he would report.

Yesterday, the Cape Breton Post broke news that Bowers won’t be reporting to Cape Breton after all, opting for the United States Hockey League. The Halifax native was a third round pick of the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL Futures Draft.

Screaming Eagles head coach Marc-Andre Dumont said that he was both surprised and disappointed that Bowers won’t be reporting, especially since he is a Nova Scotia native.

It’s the third straight year that Cape Breton’s top draft pick has not reported to the team, following Nicolas Roy in 2013 and Michael O’Leary last year.

It appears the Eagles aren’t interesting in trading the talented forward, which would allow them to take a compensation pick in next year’s draft.

“We have no intention of trading Shane – he is a top end player who could have a significant impact on our franchise, not just our team,” Dumont told the Post.

“We have no intention of trading Shane,” Dumont added in the Chronicle Herald. “He's a franchise player. We have to keep him and we will keep him.”

So there’s that. We’ll see what actually happens from here.

Bowers would have likely gone first overall to the Sea Dogs if Joe Veleno was not deemed “exceptional” by Hockey Canada. There have been rumours and speculation that the Dogs tried hard to move up in the draft to select Bowers.

Bowers registered 23 goals and 29 assists in 34 games with the Halifax McDonald’s of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League last season. He added 33 points in 17 playoff games.

Photo: QMJHL

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rifai Heading To Harvard

Not on Saint John’s training camp roster: Marshall Rifai.

It was announced today that Rifai, a Beaconsfield, Quebec native who was an eighth round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft, has committed to Harvard University.

Rifai, listed at 5’7” and 137 lbs on Elite Prospects, is a product of the Lac St-Louis Tigres Espoir program. This past season he played United States prep school hockey at Hotchkiss in Connecticut.

Training Camp Roster Released

A total of 60 players have been invited to Saint John Sea Dogs training camp.

The Sea Dogs unveiled their full camp roster today. The full list can be found on their website.

As expected, the roster includes a mixture of returning players, new draftees and free agent invites.

Highlighting the list of fresh faces will be Saint John’s three first round picks from this year’s QMJHL Entry Draft – forward Joe Veleno, goaltender Alex D’Orio and forward Cedric Pare.

On ice sessions of training camp begin on Monday, Aug. 10 at Harbour Station. Their first pre-season game is just a few days later on Thursday, Aug. 13 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

We’ll break down Saint John’s camp roster later.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Free Seats For Pre-Season Opener

For the second straight year, it’s not going to cost fans anything to get into the Saint John Sea Dogs’ pre-season opener.

The Sea Dogs officially announced today on social media that tickets to the team’s Thursday, Aug. 13 exhibition game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan will be free of charge.
Last year, an announced crowd of 6,377 watched the Sea Dogs stomp the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 7-2 to open up the pre-season. Although the game was listed as a packed house there were plenty of empty seats.

Season ticket holders can purchase and pick up pre-season tickets now. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Aug. 10 at 10 a.m.

According to the Harbour Station website, a ticket is required for entry to the free Aug. 13 game and can only be obtained at the box office in person.

The Sea Dogs will play six pre-season games in total this year. Along with the Aug. 13 game, they’ll also be playing at Harbour Station on Aug. 22 and Aug. 27 against the Moncton Wildcats.