Monday, July 28, 2014

R.I.P. News 88.9

The day has finally come.

News 88.9 is officially no more. Newcap, whose purchase of the station from Rogers was approved a few months ago by the CRTC, flipped the station to a music format today.

The station is now called Rock 88.9 (“The Rock of Saint John”) and is apparently playing nothing but music for the next 30 days. According to the Telegraph-Journal (paywall), a new studio for the channel will be completed in late August and regular programming will presumably come with it.

Folks on Twitter were noticeably upset and confused over the sudden switch. I’m definitely going to miss some of the local talk shows as well as the programming picked up from The Fan in Toronto. And let us not forgot the legendary John Tesh Radio Show that kept us company before and after many Sea Dogs broadcasts.

The Sea Dogs have been broadcast on News 88.9 for the past eight seasons. The team signed a deal with New Song 96.1 FM a few weeks ago.

A few other things…
  • The New Song FM signal is definitely weaker than News 88.9’s, but it’s way better than having no FM broadcasts at all, obviously. I do feel bad for some of the fans who live outside the Saint John area who could be – depending on their Internet quality – cut off.
  • Just weeks away from the beginning of training camp and the QMJHL pre-season, a couple teams are scrambling to find a head coach.
  • Sea Dogs training camp starts in two weeks. Off-season has gone by pretty quick.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Report: Dogs Getting A 14th-Round Pick

The Saint John Sea Dogs will reportedly receive a 14th-round pick in the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft from the Val-d’Or Foreurs in exchange for Stephen Anderson.

Alex Drouin of the Val-d’Or newspaper L'Écho Abitibien, who confirmed the Anderson trade yesterday, tweeted today that the Dogs will receive the pick for the 20-year old forward.
20-year olds typically don’t generate a huge return in trades, but this is an awfully low pick. One has to think that, given Anderson’s health problems in the second half of last season, that this is a conditional trade and the Sea Dogs will receive more down the road if all goes well with the PEI native. We shall see.

Anderson recorded 11 goals and 14 assists in 38 games last season. He only played in a few second half games, not playing again after taking a big hit on January 5, a hit that forced him to spend some time in hospital.

Foreurs head coach Mario Durocher told L'Écho Abitibien yesterday that his team tried to land Anderson during last year’s trading period.

Word of this trade came from Anderson on Twitter yesterday morning. The transaction has not been posted on the league website yet.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stephen Anderson Moving To Val-d'Or

According to Stephen Anderson, Stephen Anderson has been traded.

The 20-year old forward tweeted the following this morning:
Neither the Sea Dogs, Val-d'Or Foreurs, or league have confirmed the deal. Foreurs head coach Mario Durocher did however confirm the transaction to the Val-d’Or newspaper L'Écho Abitibien.
The Morell, PEI native was a sixth round pick of Saint John in the 2011 QMJHL Entry Draft. He played in 127 career games with the Sea Dogs over three seasons, collecting 29 goals and 39 assists. In two playoff contents he registered an assist.

Last season, Anderson scored 11 goals and 14 assists in 38 games. He did not play again after taking a hard hit on January 5, a hit that saw him spend some time in hospital.

It was inevitable that one of Saint John’s 20-year olds would be traded at some point since they had four. This trade leaves the team with the league limit of three: forward Mark Tremaine, defenseman Michael Abbott, and goaltender Sebastien Auger.

The Sea Dogs host the Foreurs on Sunday, December 3 and travel to Val-d'Or on Saturday, December 13.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Seats For Pre-Season Opener

The Saint John Sea Dogs made a great move today, announcing that fans will be able to attend the team’s pre-season opener on August 15 free of charge.

According to the team, “fans must obtain a ticket for an assigned seat through the Harbour Station Box Office, but the ticket is free. Tickets will be available to season ticket holders beginning Friday, July 25th, and to the general public on Tuesday, August 5th.”

"We think this is perfect way to kick off our tenth-anniversary season," said Shanna Hopkins, Manager of Business Development, in a release. "We want to recognize the contributions our fans have made since the Sea Dogs first hit the ice by giving as many people as possible the opportunity to see the opening game of the preseason."

This should allow some fans who aren’t able to regularly attend games a great chance to see some action. It should also create some much-needed hype and atmosphere for a game that would, under normal circumstances, be scarcely attended.

The Sea Dogs will host the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles that night. It’s also worth noting that the game features at 7pm start time.

Having a free exhibition game has become a popular promotion for many hockey teams over the past few years. It hasn't caught on at the junior level all that much, but maybe that will begin to change.

Saint John will play six pre-season games in total with three of them taking place on Harbour Station ice. The Dogs host the Halifax Mooseheads on August 22 and Charlottetown Islanders on September 5.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Notebook: Mill Rats Staying In Saint John

The Saint John Mill Rats are sticking around.

The team announced at a press conference this afternoon that they will be moving towards a community-owned model, which will keep the basketball squad playing at Harbour Station for at least the next two seasons.

"Members of the Southern New Brunswick basketball community reached out to us to help make sure the team is here for future generations," said Mill Rats President & General Manager Ian McCarthy. "They are assembling an entity that will acquire ownership in the Mill Rats over the coming months."

According to a press release, the group is in formation and seeking additional members.

Tickets to the Saint John Sea Dogs’ pre-season game in Truro are now on sale.

Tickets for the Halifax Mooseheads preseason game versus the Saint John Sea Dogs in Truro are on sale now. The game will take place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre on Saturday, August 23rd at 7p.m. Tickets are available online at or in person at the R.E.C.C. for $8.50.

According to the Moose site, last year’s contest in Truro featured a packed house of roughly 3,200 fans. The game is a fundraiser for Truro Minor Hockey.

The Score has an article on how Jonathan Drouin hopes to follow in Jonathan Huberdeau’s footsteps.

Like Huberdeau, Drouin was sent back to junior for additional seasoning after being a high NHL draft pick. Huberdeau had 72 points in 37 games in his final full season of junior while Drouin had 108 in 46 games.

Huberdeau, after the lockout ended, won the NHL’s rookie of the year award. Drouin, who is basically a lock to make the Bolts, will look to do the same.

Could Tomas Jurco become a star in the NHL? That’s a question, using advanced statistics, the Red Wings blog Winging it in Motown examined last week.

Jurco played in 36 games with the Red Wings last season, recording eight goals and seven assists.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Gerard Gallant In The News

Former Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant appeared on the front page of The Guardian newspaper yesterday.

The full article, which is on Gallant’s career as both a player and a coach, can be read online here. In it, the Florida Panthers bench boss talks a bit about his time in Saint John.

Over at All Habs, writer Sean Garland discusses why the Montreal Canadiens’ biggest loss this off-season may have been Gallant’s departure.

Lastly, the Florida Panthers website has an interview with Gallant. In the video, the Summerside native talks a bit on hiring Mike Kelly as an assistant coach.