Summer Blog Entry: May 30
05/30/2014 10:43 AM - Adam Turner
Former Grizzlies Equipment Manager Eddie Summers passed away last week. “Fast Eddie” was the Grizzlies Head Equipment Manager from 2005-2009. After a decorated military career in the Air Force, he moved to Idaho. Most people don’t know his career path to a Head Equipment Manager in the ECHL. He started off as President of the Idaho Steelheads Booster Club, then to helping out in the Steelheads locker room where he developed a passion for that aspect of the game. He went on to be certified in skate sharpening and was hired by former Grizzlies Head Coach Jason Christie with the Peoria Rivermen in 2004-2005. When Christie became Head Coach of the Grizzlies in 2005, Summers was the only member of his staff to make the move with him. In Eddie’s final years, as he continued to battle multiple health issues, he stayed involved in hockey working with the Idaho Junior Steelheads where him and his son David worked as Equipment Managers.
Alaska and Cincinnati open the Kelly Cup Finals tonight in Anchorage with the top seed from the West in Alaska taking on the fifth seed in the East in the Cyclones. The Eastern Conference has won five of the last six Kelly Cup Championships and in four of the last six series the underdog without home ice advantage in the series has won the championship. Also, four-straight finals and six of the last eight have been decided in five games.
Head Coach Tim Branham will hold a Parent/Child Clinic with Saturday at the Utah Olympic Oval from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Cost is $10. Attendees should come in hockey gear and have gym clothes for dry land/team building session from 12-1. For questions or to RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Grizzlies Hockey Operations department has the following item for sale that went unused this season. We have 10 in stock: Google Nexus 7 16GB Wi-Fi 7in Black Color Bluetooth Webcam Android 4.1. Buy them here for $100:
Summer Blog Entry: May 23
05/23/2014 9:21 AM - Adam Turner
The Grizzlies will open their 20th season in Utah in 2014-2015 and their 18th at Maverik Center.
That kind of stability is almost unheard of in minor league hockey and minor league hockey teams are definitely taken for granted. It is not an easy business model to succeed in and teams like Utah, Idaho, Bakersfield, Stockton and Alaska aren’t given enough credit for their ability to remain successful and relevant in their marketplaces. Minor league hockey teams give back to their communities like no other sport and provide affordable, family fun entertainment six months a year during the winter months. It’s not easy. Profit margins are extremely thin, if that, across minor league hockey and the mass yearly comings and goings of teams illustrates just how hard it is to succeed in this business.
Just this week, the Las Vegas Wranglers announced that they will not participate in the 2014-2015 ECHL season, but intend to resume play in 2015-2016. The San Francisco Bulls ceased operations in January. In fact, of the 26 teams in the ECHL when the Grizzlies joined the league in 2005-2006, only 10 remain from that group; with five teams from the west and five teams from the east still standing.
Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Florida and Gwinnett are the only five ECHL teams to have had the same ownership since 2005-2006. Utah, Idaho and Florida are the only three teams to also manage the arenas that they play in, which also lends to stability.
So with the announcement this week in Las Vegas and as you renew your Grizzlies tickets for 2014-2015 and prepare for more action at Maverik Center this October, take a moment to appreciate and feel fortunate for what the Elmore Sports Group has done for this community and don’t take the Grizzlies for granted. While the Grizzlies operation is as stable as it gets in professional sports; fans in Las Vegas, San Francisco , Phoenix, Fresno, San Diego and Long Beach continue to live life without the same ECHL hockey teams that they recently cheered for and are envious of the cities that continue on, entertaining fans and giving back to their communities.
Summer Blog Entry: May 16
05/16/2014 10:01 AM - Adam Turner
While most Grizzlies players have now been back in their hometowns for over two weeks, Bakersfield and Alaska open the conference finals tonight.
There are absolutely no apologies and no regrets over Utah’s 2013-2014 season including the playoffs. It ended against a great team, who has a chance to win it all. The Grizzlies hired the right coach, who signed the perfect affiliation, then recruited a great team of character people who made the community around them a better place off the ice as well. The organization is excited to have Coach Branham here for the long run as he continues to build off of a spectacular first year in 2013-2014. On a related note, the Grizzlies Head Coach celebrated his 33rd birthday on Sunday.
Bakersfield was overlooked by most people as the sixth seed, but I’ve felt all season that they were at least a second round and
probably a conference finals team. Most people expected Utah and Bakersfield to be a conference finals matchup or at least a second round matchup; not a first round matchup. But the Condors losing to league worst Las Vegas on the last day of the season gave Utah Bakersfield in the first round instead of Colorado. The Eagles went 16-20-7 after Christmas, second worst in the conference, after leading the Mountain Division going into the holiday break at 17-6-5; and were defeated by Idaho in round 1. Bakersfield was third behind only Utah and Alaska after Christmas.
The Condors have gotten the usual great goaltending from Laurent Brossoit and in the playoffs they are 4-1 when trailing after two periods. They have gotten timely goals and made big plays at crucial times. They’ve done exactly what teams that make playoff runs do.
But as their Head Coach Troy Mann has said all playoffs, momentum doesn’t carry from game to game or series to series. Tonight, the Grizzlies first round playoff opponent opens the conference finals. My prediction is whoever wins tonight wins the series. Having to win 3 of the next 6 versus 4 of the next 6 games makes a huge difference. Teams in the West so far that have won game one have won five of the six series with only Idaho not winning a series after beating Alaska in game one of the second round.
Bakersfield kind of reminds me of the 07-08 Grizzlies who also finished sixth in the conference and had several special games in the first two rounds beating Fresno and Victoria. After over a week off, the team stumbled in game one against seasoned Las Vegas and never got restarted. If Bakersfield wins game one, they have a good chance of being Western Conference Champions. If they don’t, a likely script could repeat to Utah’s 2008.