Handy Sports Rag
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Latest Alberta Junior Hockey League News
Carder backstops Grizzlys to a pair of
Moore signs with Red Deer Rebels
A very unique player has left the Olds Grizzlys to pursue
other options in junior hockey.
Grizzlys building character
With just two games played in the current 2006/2007 AJHL season, the Olds Grizzlys
are showing they are a team built around character.
Grizzlys open fall camp
A familiar chant, "Go Grizzlys
be heard in the Olds Sportscomplex commencing this weekend as the Grizzlys
will officially embark into
Alberta Junior A Hockey League season with the opening of the annual Fall Camp
on Aug. 27, 2006.
AJHL Rule changes should benefit
New rule changes adopted by the Alberta Junior Hockey League board of govenors
at the league's annual general meeting should benefit the Olds Grizzlys.
Former Gold Medalist Olympian
signs with Canucks
Calgary Canucks, of the alberta Junior hockey League,
have a 'golden touch" behind
Be proud of the Grizzlys
Despite bowing out to the Calgary Canucks in the first
round of the AJHL Rogers Wireless South Division playoffs, Grizzlys'
head coach, Kevin Hasselberg has
just one message for the fans..."Be proud of the Grizzlys."
Wong named to AJHL all-rookie team
Olds Grizzlys' netminder Matthew Wong has been mamed to the 2005/2006
AJHL All-rookie team.
settle for second place
Olds Grizzlys' fans will still have the opportunity of shouting "Go Grizzlys
Go" for a
Marsh stepping down as AJHL president
year tenure as Alberta Junior Hockey League president for Kim Marsh
the past thirty years, Marsh has been involved with the league
in different positions.
press release issued by the AJHL last week, Bob Clark, chairman
of the board of
the direction of Marsh, the AJHL saw growth with the addition of
under Marsh's direction, the AJHL hosted the Royal Bank Cup, emblamatic
expetise in Junior A hockey has also been focussed with the Canadian
As the league heads into it's final week of action in the 2005/2006 regular season, it appears play-off positioning in the Rogers Wireless north and south divisions will go down to the final buzzer as positioning has yet to be determined.
And the Olds Grizzlys are in a battle for top spot in the Rogers
Wireless south division with
statistics released on Feb. 16 2006, the Kodiaks hold a slim three
point lead over
a pair of wins, this past week, the Kodiaks have garnished 66 points
while the Grizzlys
a game in Calgary aginst the Royals on Thursday, Feb. 23 and a
Since there is a raging battle for the reamining post season positions, the Grizzlys are uncertain who they will face in the play-offs. It could possibly be the Brooks Bandits or the Drumheller Dragons.
Play-off dates will be announcednext week. For dates and ticket sales contact the Grizzlys office.
During the 1960's "Slip Sliding Away" was
a popular song and today
it could be
A Grizzlys' three game losing streak
coupled with a Camrose Kodiaks' streak of four
It was a tough week of action for the
Grizzlys as they were downed 4-1 by the
After Kirk Deeg gave the Grizzlys an
early first period lead, the Oilers stormed back
Meanwhile, in Grande Prairie, Chris
Wilson and Dustin Sather dented the twine twice
For the Oilers, the win was important
as it moved them into a third place tie with
"We set a goal on making the playoffs this season and the players are very
"But the regular season isn't over yet as we want to finish as high as we
can in the
"They (Grizzlys) are a strong team in front of the net as most of their
goals are scored
VanHereghe praised his player for playing
a disciplined game and noted they refused to
"With the Grizzlys having one of the best power play units in the league,
I was pleased
And Hasselberg was not pleased with
the work ethic indicating the players were
"They (Oilers) ouworked us throughout the enire game," Hasselberg said.
"There are no excuses for the way we're playing right now," added Hasselberg.
Whether the players are now content
they have made the playoffs or not, Hasselberg
"Home ice is a tremendous advantage in the playoffs and we will have to
wait and see
This week the Grizzlys travle to Camrose
to play the Kodiaks on Feb. 17 and
They will finish the regular season
next week with home games against the Kodiaks on
Playing through injuries
By Barry Williams
February 5, 2006
Injuries are part of any game, just ask the AJHL coaching staff.
Two teams riddled by injuries tangled
at the Olds Sports Complex on Friday Feb.3
And in a game with first place in the
Rogers Wireless south division on the line, the
With the win the Kodiaks moved into
a first place tie with the Grizzlys, each team
When the weekend action was completed,
the Grizzlys regained first place by posting a
Due to injuries to key players, the
Grizzlys have inked in affiliate players from the Red Deer
"Our coaching staff has used these players in different situations and they
"We are very fortunate to have an excellent working relationship with the
Red Deer and
Although the injuries have resulted
in roster changes, Hasselberg feels comfortable in
Some of the injuries sustained by the
players have been serious but the training staff of
And Hasselberg is thankful for their
dedication towards the players and team.
"All of our players work extra hard on conditioning so being out of condition
Despite the injuries, the Grizzlys have
been playing well enough to challenge for first place
"Right now, the main focus is to make sure the injured players are healthy for the play-offs," Hasselberg added.
Like the Grizzlys, the Kodiaks were
hit hard with a rash of injuries and head coach Boris
"I hope our injury problems are behind us, we need every player healthy during the stretch run," Rybalka said.
"Since our injured players have returned we are now playing our best hockey," Rybalka added.
Most of the Kodiaks' injuries came at
the beginning of the current season and resulted in
"We are fortunate our veteran players have stepped up their play," Rybalka
In some ways, the injuries were a blessing
for the Kodiaks as it allowed the first year players
Because Rybalka realized the Kodiaks
would be a younger team this season, it allowed
"We have added some excellent first year players this year," Rybalka
In Olds, the Kodiaks received a pair
of power play goals off the stick of Scott Wiancko
For the Grizzlys, Dave Cowan, Steve
Hougen and Michael Penny dented the twine.
Denting the twine for the Royals were
Jordan Sealock, Tyler Lynn, Jordan Sealock
This week the Grizzlys play the Okotoks
Oilers on Tuesday Feb. 7 at the Sports Complex
Back on track
After being demolished by the Canmore Eagles 7-2 in Canmore on Fri. Jan.27, the
Stormy times for Grizzlys
Although the weather has been sunny and mild throughout Alberta, the Olds Grizzlys
into a storm at the Drayton Valley Complex on Friday Jan.20 as they were balmed
8-2 by the
Drayton Valley Thunder in AJHL action.
of the ice
King Michael LeClair and his loyal subjects, the Olds Grizzlys, defended a royal
invasion at the Olds Sportscomplex by defeating the Calgary Royals 7-2 in AJHL
action played on Friday, Jan. 13.
maintain division lead
a pair of victories this past week end at the Olds Sportscomplex,
the Olds Grizzlys maintained their six point lead over the Brooks
Bandits in the Rogers
Wireless South division standings.
Cup rewarding experience for Grizzlys' players
It is considered one of the best Junior A hockey tournaments in Canada and for
three Olds Grizzlys' players the Viking Cup was a rewarding experience.
leads AJHL South all-stars to victory
Olds Grizzlys' sniper, Dustin Moore, dented the red light once and added a pair assists to lead the AJHL South All-Stars to a 3-0 victory over Finland in Viking Cup play held in Camrose on Dec. 26.
Drumheller Dragons' leading scorer Derek Werenka and Kyle Burton added the other south all-stars' markers.
In an evenly matched game, the difference was truly the
outstanding work by Brooks Bandits' Kyle Richter, who
made 24 saves to record the shutout. Richter
several brilliant saves in the third period, when the South All-stars found
themselves in trouble due to penalties.
Richter it was his first goose egg in Viking Cup tournament
Although not overly busy between the pipes, Scrivens finished the game with 24 saves.
Taking to the ice in their second game, the AJHL South All-Stars doubled up on Switzerland 4-2.
Blinking the red light for the southern all-stars were Derek Werenka, Darren Zurkan, Mike Bolton and Landon Novotney.
For Switzerland, Aurellio Lemm and Sven Berger dented the twine behind netminder David Thompson, who finished the game with 20 saves.
Throughout the entire contest, the south all-stars dominated the play firing 42 shots at Ivan Mantegazzi in the Switzerland net.
Camrose Kodiaks veteran netminder, David Thompson blocked 20 shots. He was brilliant in the first two periods when the game was still a one goal deficit. To secure the victory, the South All-Stars scored three unanswered goals in the third period.
In their second game of the tournament, the North All-Stars defeated Finland 4-1.
Denting the twine for the northern all-stars were Mark Lestu, Taylor Fedun, Jesse Martin and Joel Hentuik. Robert Nyholm was the lone marksman for Finland.
This was the first time the AJHL entered two all-star teams in the Viking Cup.
Round robin play continued right through to Dec. 31. On January 1, 2006, the championship game was played. Results were not known at press time.
Prior to the start of the Viking Cup, the Olds Grizzlys entertained the Germany U-18 Selects in an exhibition tilt played at the Olds Sportscomplex on Friday, Dec. 23.
the entire contest, the Germany squad used their size and
puck control to their advantage
with a 6-1
"We were very entertained by the pace the Germans played at," Hasselberg said.
"For a big team, they moved the puck very well, were excellent skaters and didn't shy away from the physical play," Hasselberg added.
"From a fan's perspective, I thought they got their money's worth," Hasselberg said.
Because of a few nagging injuries sustained by some players, Hasselberg had the opportunity to insert five affiliated players into the line-up.
"I thought the players called up for this game were not out of place," said Hasselberg.
"Our coaching staff got to use these players in different situations on the power play and killing penalties," said Hasselberg.
After taking a week off for the Christmas break, the Grizzlys are prepared to swing back into action with a pair of games at the Olds Splortscomplex this coming weekend.
On Fri. January 6, the Grizzlys entertain the Grande Prairie Storm and on Sat. January 7 they tangle with the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
increase lead in south division
With a pair of victories over the Canmore Eagles last week, the Olds Grizzlys
have increased their overall lead in the Rogers Wireless South Division to six
points over the Brooks Bandits.
move into first place
It wasn't a hostile take-over of the Brooks Bandits and the price was right for the Olds Grizzlys, two points.
With a 3-1 victory over the Brooks Bandits on Wed. Dec. 14 at the Olds Sportscomplex, the Grizzlys moved into first place in the Rogers Wireless south division standings two points ahead of the Bandits.
In the latest AJHL statistics released on Dec. 19, the Grizzlys have 44 points two ahead of the Bandits with 42 points.
This past weekend, the Grizzlys had an opportunity to widen the point spread but failed to do so by dropping a home and home series with the Drumheller Dragons.
Playing in Drumheller on Fri. Dec. 16, the Grizzlys lost 3-2 and in Olds on Sat. Dec. 17, the Dragons scored three unanswered goals in the third period to skate away with a hard fought 5-4 victory.
Before over 800 home-town fans on Saturday evening, the Grizzlys
completely dominated the Dragons in every facet of the
game except on the scoreboard.
LaRose was simply outstanding between the pipes making several brilliant saves and when the final buzzer sounded, the Grizzlys' sharpshooters left the ice shaking their heads.
Mid way through the third period, the Grizzlys held a 4-2 lead and were enroute to pick up two points.
However, a series of penalties against the black and gold allowed Aaron Knelson to net a pair of power play goals to draw the Dragons even at four goals a piece.
Jeff Young notched the winning goal with four minutes left to play in the game.
the clock clicked down to less than a minute to play, the Grizzlys
pulled netminder Cole Anderson in favor of an
were unable to
notch the tying marker.
Dustin Moore blinked the red light twice to pace the Grizzlys' scoring. Singleton markers were netted by Jeff Smyth and Curtis Beaudoin.
Other goal scorers for the Dragons were Derek Werenka and Joel Chisholm.
"Actually, we had no business being in this game, the Grizzlys outplayed us by a wide margin," said Dragons head coach, Rob Hegberg.
"There's no doubt the difference was our goal tending, LaRose played an outstanding game," Hegberg said.
According to Hegberg, theDragons' veteran players are leading by example and are excellent role models for the rookies.
"Over the summer our coaching staff spent countless hours recruiting players and I think we have the right mixture now," noted Hegberg.
"When you're playing the top team in the division, it's easy for the players to become motivated," Hegberg added, indicating the Dragons have a lot of respect for the Grizzlys.
"LaRose is an excellent goalie and this is not the first time he has beat us this year," said Grizzlys' head coach, Kevin Hasselberg.
Although the Grizzlys had lots of shots on LaRose, Hasselberg felt they didn't follow up on their scoring opportunities.
"We have to capitalize on our scoring chances," Hasselberg said indicating the forwards
have to drive to the net and pick up the garbage goals. In Drumheller, Anderson and LaRose were the stars of the game as both goalies turned in solid performances.
Anderson finished the game with 27 saves while LaRose blocked 29 shots.
Braden Desmet and and Adam Ross handled the Grizzlys' scoring. Meanwhile, Laine Allen, Jade Portwood and Derek Werenka notched the Dragons' goals.
Against the Bandits, Jordan Baker, Ryan Ekdahl and Kyle Dorowicz dented the twine for the Grizzlys.
Replying for the Bandits was Jade Portwood.
"I thought both teams played a bit conservative out there tonight," said Bandits head coach, Kevin Higo.
"Because this game was a battle for first place, the players didn't want to make a mistake," Higo said.
"They (Grizzlys) are offensive minded and if a team makes a mistake in their own end they can burn you," Higo added.
Once again the Grizzlys faced a hot netminder, as all-star Kyle Richter made 48 saves and was the only reason the Bandits were able to stay close to the Grizzlys.
"He (Richter) is probably the only reason we're challenging for first place at this point in the season," said Higo.
Because the Grizzlys have four lines with the potential of filling the net, Higo noted they are a hard team to match lines against.
"We're not a high scoring team so we have to play a sound defensive game to give us
the opportunity to win," Higo said.
"We're not a team to give up and we battle right to the final buzzer," Higo said, noting most of the games are decided by a single goal.
"Tonight, I thought they were better prepared than us and this was the difference in the game," Higo noted.
"It's not hard getting up for a game when there is so much on the line," said Grizzlys assistant coach, Chad Allen.
"We were very well prepared for this game and for the most part the players executed the game plan to perfection," Allen added.
Because the Bandits are great puck handlers, Allen indicated the Grizzlys were patient in their forechecking and as a result controlled the play in the neutral zone.
"I thought our transition game was well executed and we dominated the middle of the ice," Allen said.
"They didn't give us many good scoring opportunities," Higo said.
As a result of last week's AJHL action, the Grizzlys are leading the Rogers Wireless south division standings with 44 points while the Bandits have chalked up 42 points. Holding down third place with 41 points are the Camrose Kodiaks while the Dragons are fourth with 37 points.
This week the Grizzlys play two games against the Eagles in Canmore on Dec. 20 and Dec. 22. Their next action in the friendly confines of the Olds Sportsplex is on Fri. Dec. 23 when they entertain the German national team.
struggle against Oil Barons
Two teams priding themselves in defensive play were involved in a defensive struggle at the Olds Sportsplex on Friday, Dec. 11.
When the final buzzer sounded the Fort McMurray Oil Barons skated off with a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Grizzlys.
the Oil Barons rode the spectacular goaltending of Jimmy Bernier,
who turned aside 33 shots fired his way by the offensive minded
"I thought Bernier was the difference in the game tonight," Thibodeau
head coach, Kevin Hasselberg, agreed with his Oil Barons' counterpart
saying..."their goaltending was the main reason the game was so close."
On a goal by Oil Barons' veteran sniper Matt Lamirande, the visitors held a slim one goal lead after the first period of play. in the second frame, Brandon Skinner increased the Oil Barons margin to 2-0.
in the third period, Kyle Dorowicz netted the Grizzlys' only
goal, a short handed effort. With 53 seconds left on the scoreboard
clock, the Grizzlys pulled
netminder Matthew Wong for an extra attacker but they failed to net a tying
Thibodeau wasn't too concerned about the limited scoring chances the Oil Barons had during the game.
In most of our games, we've been out shot," said Thibodeau, noting his forwards shoot at the most opportune time.
"I thought the Grizzlys limited our scoring opportunities by keeping our forwards to the outside," Thibodeau noted.
Despite the loss, Hasselberg wasn't to worried about the negatives of the game and praised his players for playing a very well executed game.
"When a team plays a close checking game the opposition is going to have limited scoring opportunities," Hasselberg added.
"There was no doubt we out played them in both ends of the rink," Hasselberg
"We have three high scoring lines and the Grizzlys did an excellent job in shutting us down," Thibodeau added.
win for the Oil Barons kept them in top spot in the Rogers Wireless
north division standings while the loss for the Grizzlys kept
them two points be
hind the Brooks Bandits front runners in the Rogers Wireless south division
"Our next game against the Brooks Bandits is important for it will be a battle for first place," said Hasselberg.
"We can't afford a loss if we want to keep pace with them," said Hasselberg.
at the Max Bell Arena in Calgary on Sunday Dec. 11, the Calgary
Canucks dented the twine three times on the power play but were
defeated 5-3 by the
A rough chippy game, the Grizzlys lost the services of Parker Burgess who was injured when he was cross checked into the boards by Kyle Gotto, who received a five minute major and a game misconduct for his foolish actions. On the power play, the Grizzlys were unable to dent the twine mostly due to some exceptional saves by Inglis and scrambly play.
Besides playing the Brooks Bandits at the Sportscomplex on Wed. Dec. 14, the Grizzlys have a home and home series with the Drumheller Dragons. On Fri. Dec. 16, the teams will tangle in Drumheller and return to Olds on Sat. Dec. 17.
Grizzlys complete multi player trade with Oil Barons
Olds Grizzlys' head coach, Kevin Hasselberg, has tested the trade waters.
In the deal, the Grizzlys sent Jody Pedersen and Tyler Webb in exchange for Steve Hougen and Ryan Hore.
A three year veteran of AJHL battles, Pedersen came to the Grizzlys last year in a transaction with the Camrose Kodiaks. An AJHL all-star, Pedersen was chosen to the AJHL all rookie team three years ago and has played in two-All-star games as well as the Prospects game.
Meanwhile, Webb was in his second season with the Grizzlys. An excellent two way forward, Webb made his presence felt with the Grizzlys playing in different situations including on the power play and killing penalties.
As a rookie defenceman, Hore provided the Oil Barons with size and has the ability to deliver bone crushing body checks and he doesn't shy away from rough play as he has racked up 40 minutes in penalties so far this season.
Hougen is a gifted forward and will be a perfect fit in the Grizzlys' offensive threat. A three year veteran, Hougen has had his best offensive start as he has racked up 25 points on 14 goals and 11 assists. Besides providing offence, Hougen is also a solid defensive player as he is a masterful penalty killer.
According to Hasselberg, the trade benefits both the Grizzlys and the Oil Barons and he felt comfortable in making the deal.
"These transactions are a good fit for the teams and the players involved," said
"And the trade will allow both Pedersen and Webb a better opportunity to excel in a place where they are capable of playing in," noted Hasselberg.
In AJHL action this past week end, the Grizzlys put on a defensive clinic, as they defeated the Okotoks Oilers 5-1 in Okotoks on Friday, Dec. 2, and downed the Canmore Eagles 4-1 at the Olds Sportscomplex before 500 fans on Saturday, Dec. 3.
both games their attention to play a solid defensive games
reaped dividends as they failed to allow a power play goal
to be scored
against them in
And between the pipes, rookie netminder Matthew Wong stole the spot light in both games allowing just a pair of goals while handling a combined 60 shots.
Wong, filling in for the injured Cole Anderson has appeared in 15 games and has compiled a 2.33 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. Anderson has played 16 games and has a 2.60 goals against average and a save percentage of .913.
the Oilers, Parker Burgess dented the twine for a power play
and a short handed goal to pace the
Desmet and Kyle
Dorowicz rounded out the scoring.
In Olds, Michael LeClair notched a pair of goals with Parker Durgess and Dustin Moore adding singletons.
Netting the Eagles' lone goal was Mitch Jaffray.
Wong made 33 saves while the Eagles combination of Ryan Rondeau and nick Olynyk faced 37 shots.
With the wins, the Grizzlys closed the gap for first place honors in the Rogers Wireless south division standings to just a couple of points. Brooks Bandits continue to lead the division standings with 40 points while the Grizzlys have 38 points with two games in hand.
This week the Grizzlys trekk northward to Fort Saskatchewan to play the Traders on Tuesday, Dec. 6 and entertain the Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Sportsplex on Friday Dec.9 at 7:30 p.m.
a Grizzly always a Grizzly
For four years, Aaron Sept was a stalwart player for the Olds Grizzlys.
And with his junior hockey playing days behind him, Sept has decided to give something back to the organization who believed in him as a player and as a person. Sept is now an assistant coach with the Grizzlys and he believes he can make a difference with the current players by teaching them what he learned as a player and by relating to them the life experiences of being a Junior A hockey player.
"When I was a player with the Grizzlys, the organization and the entire community treated me well," said Sept.
"Because the people were so good to me when I played here, it made the decision of giving something back to the community very easy for me," Sept noted, indicating he is proud to be associated with the Grizzlys again.
"It is one of those things I will never regret and I hope I can be involved for years to come," Sept said.
"By helping out as an assistant coach, is my way of giving something back to the Grizzlys and I guess saying thanks to them for giving me the opportunity of playing in Olds," Sept said.
An AJHL all-star, Sept was an offensive minded player comfortable playing along the blue line and at times taking a turn on the forward line.
His dedication to the game and volunteering to assist the community earned him the prestigious Stuey Stewart award, an honor he is very proud of.
As a player, Sept had an astute mind for the game and he always strived to learn more in an effort to make him a better player. For most of his career here in Olds, Sept played for Garry VanHereweghe and he feels the knowledge he gained from the former AJHL Coach of the Year will make him a better coach.
"I looked up to him (VanHereweghe), he's a great coach and I just hope I can be as good as he is," Sept added.
"Everytime he (VanHereweghe) has a team the players respect him and because of this they are going to work as hard as they can," Sept added.
"And he always respects his players," Sept said.
"If there is one thing I can relate to the players it is to respect the coaching staff and their teammates," Sept indicated.
In AJHL action this past week, the Grizzlys picked up three out of a possible four points by defeating the Drayton Valley Thunder 1-0 on Nov. 15 in Olds and losing a 4-3 overtime encounter to the Okotoks Oilers in Okotoks on Nov. 18.
Against Drayton Valley, the only noise the Thunder made was when their bus started up and left town.
Although the scoresheet indicated a defensive struggle, the game on the ice was completely different as the Grizzlys held the territorial advantage outshooting the Thunder 28 to 16.
After a scoreless first period, Michael LeClair dented the twine with a power play marker seven minutes into the second period.
In the final frame, the Thunder were knocking on the Grizzlys' doorstep but they were denied entrance as Cole Anderson made several exceptional saves in registering his first goose egg of the season.
Meanwhile in Okotoks, Neil Graham netted the winning goal midway into the first overtime session beating Anderson on a partial breakaway.
Rounding out the scoring for the Oilers were Carter Madsen, Everett Sheen and Andrew Owasiak.
For the Grizzlys, Braden Desmet, Curtis VanGrinsven and Adam Ross blinked the red light. Ross's goal with two minutes remaining sent the game into the extra session.
With the single point garnished from the Oilers, the Grizzlys moved their seasonal total to 28 points good enough for second place in the Rogers Wireless south division standings. Leading the way in the south are the Brooks Bandits with 38 points. There is a log jam in the middle as the Camrose Kodiaks with 27 points are just a point behind the Grizzlys and one point ahead of the Drumheller Dragons with 26 points. In the past two weeks, the Dragons have fallen back as they were at one time challenging the Bandits for the lead in the south.
In the Rogers Wireless north division, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons are showing the way with 48 points, three ahead of the Spruce Grove Saints with 45 points. in the latest Canadian Junior Hockey League statistics, the Oil Barons are ranked as the best junior A team in Canada.
With 31 points on ten goals and 21 assists, Desmet is the leading scorer for the Grizzlys and has moved into the top ten in league scoring.
Veteran Mark Lestu, of the
Bonnyville pontiacs, is
the league's top
sniper with 56 points
on 22 goals
second with 51
holding down second place
After picking up five out of a possible six points in AJHL action last week, the Olds Grizzlys are now holding down second place in the Rogers Wireless south division standings.
In 23 games so far this season, the Grizzlys have garnished 25 points on 10 wins, 8 defeats, 2 ties and 3 overtime defeats.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Grizzlys defeated the Brooks Bandits at the Olds Sportsplex 6-2 while on Saturday Nov. 13, the Grizzlys skated past the Sherwood Park Crusaders 7-1. Playing in Carstairs on Friday, Nov.11, the Grizzlys and the Drumheller Dragons played to a 2-2 draw.
In all three games the Grizzlys were backstopped by outstanding netminding and stingy defensive play.
the Grizzlys commenced league play this season, Grizzlys' head
coach, Kevin Hasselberg, realized the defensive play would have
to be solid
if they were to
generate any success. And defensively the Grizzlys have been superb
as they have allowed just 63 goals against, third overall in league
"And they're very proud of their defensive play," added
Part of the Grizzlys recent improvement in their defensive play has been the play of the netminding tandem of veteran Cole Anderson and rookie Matthew Wong.
"Both goaltenders have gained the respect of the players and they are comfortable playing in front of either goaltender," noted Hasselberg.
Although Anderson, an AJHL all-star last season, has played the bulk of the games this season, Hasselberg isn't afraid to ink in Wong as the starting goaltender. And Wong has responded when he is between the pipes as he has posted a 2.40 goals against average and a save percentage of .925. Among the masked men in the league, Wong is ranked as the fourth best and he has earned his place between the pipes.
Offensively, the Grizzlys are led by a crew of veteran snipers and although not one Grizzly is in the top ten in league scoring, the Grizzlys are an offensive threat every time they lace up their skates as they have racked up 80 goals and have the third best goals scored record in the league.
Despite giving opposing netminders sun burnt necks, the Grizzlys offensive threat has been spread around and not one player is within the top ten in league scoring.
With four balanced lines, Hasselberg has the luxury of playing any line in different situations.
"All four lines are contributing offensively and it seems a different line will step up their play in any given game." said Hasselberg.
In the off-season, the Grizzlys made a deal with the Drumheller Dragons to bring Braden Desmet, a noted veteran goal scorer, into the fold and the trade has reaped divedends as Desmet currently leads the Grizzlys in scoring with 29 points on 9 goals and 20 assists.
"He (Desmet) is an exciting unselfish player and a regular contributor in different situations," Hasselberg noted.
Desmet has played on a regular line, the power play and killing penalties. Two of his goals have been scored shorthanded and four have been notched on the power play.
Against the Bandits, Desmet had a four point outing denting the twine twice and adding a pair of helpers and was named the game star.
Other players to notch a goal against the Bandits were Dave Cowan, Curtis VanGrinsven, Jody Pederson and Jordan Baker.
With just two minutes left in the game, Judd Blackwater spoiled Mathew Wong's bid for a shut out notching an unassisted power play goal for the Bandits.
Carstairs, the Grizzlys and the Dragons treated the 1,100 fans
an exciting contest
highlighted by exceptional
as the Dragons'
Jonathan LaRose and Mathew Wong put
on a netminding clinic
turning aside several glorious scoring
opportunities executed by the
made 48 saves while Wong handled
Against the Crusaders, Tyler Webb chipped in with a pair of goals with singletons being added by Dave Cowan, Michael LeClair, Jeff Smyth, Braden Desmet and Parker Burgess.
Reid Fraser replied for the Crusaders.
This week the Grizzlys entertain the Drayton Valley Thunder on Wednesday Nov. 16 and travel to Okotoks on Friday Nov. 18 to tangle with the Oilers.
Up and down like a yoyo is the only way to describe the Grizzlys' recent
play in the AJHL.
When play commenced last week, the Grizzlys found themselves in a battle
for first place with the Brooks Bandits in the Rogers Wireless south
division standings. At the end of a three game string, the Grizzlys failed
to register a win and are now in fourth place stuck with 20 points.
On Tuesday, Oct. 25 at the Olds Sportsplex, the Grizzlys lost a 3-2
overtime decision to the Fort Saskatchewan Traders while on , Sat. Oct.
29, the Canmore Eagles flew into town and left with a 3-2 victory.
Meanwhile, in Brooks on Friday, Oct. 28, the Bandits robbed the Grizzlys
with a 4-2 decision.
Against the Traders, the game was a battle between a seasoned veteran
goaltender, Traders' Dean Stabler and a raw rookie Grizzlys' Mathew Wong.
Throughout the entire game the masked men made several brilliant saves
robbing the sharpshooters time after time.
Both teams dented the twine with power play goals in the first period as
Michael Dempster scored for the Grizzlys and Blair Hennes replied for the
After Michael LeClair gave the Grizzlys a slim 2-1 lead after forty
minutes of play, Taylor Fedum sent the game into the extra session scoring
with just 16 seconds left in the game. Three minutes into the overtime,
Ryan Donald beat Wong by sliding a loose puck underneath the Grizzlys'
netminder securing the Traders' victory.
At the end of the game it was not difficult in selecting game stars as
Stabler made 38 saves and Wong 35.
A struggling Eagles team showed heart and desire in defeating the Grizzlys
on Saturday evening. With just a pair of wins to their credit, the Eagles
are marred in last place in the south division and on paper it should have
been a win for the Grizzlys but hockey has never stuck to the norm.
Although the Grizzlys held the territorial advantage in the game they
struggled in finding the back of the Eagles' net as veteran Ryan Rondeau,
playing his second game of the season, blocked 50 shots and was the only
threat they could throw at the Grizzlys.
In describing Rondeau's play, Eagles coach, Bob Miller had just one word,
"He (Rondeau) was a major part of our success last year and we're
counting on him to have a stand-out year this season," Miller said.
Although the Eagles went winless for several games at the start of the
season this year, Miller has noticed some improvement overall, especially
in the past two games where they picked up wins against the Calgary
Canucks and Grizzlys.
"I'm not making any excuses for our poor start but we do have a lot
of new faces in the line-up who are knew to junior hockey and of course we
were missing our veteran goaltender who was out due to an illness,"
"There are a lot of positives to take from this game tonight,"
added Miller, indicating the players have proven to themselves they can
win in this league.
Heading into the game against the Traders, the Grizzlys were on a winning
streak chalking up points in their last seven games.
"I am not worried about the loss tonight, the players will bounce
back," said Grizzlys head coach Kevin Hasselberg.
And Hasselberg isn't surprised the Grizzlys have climbed up in the south
standings and are within striking distance of first place.
"We had a bad start to the season but the players remained positive
and put together a pretty good winning streak," Hasselberg,
indicating they can do it again.
In the past few games, the Grizzlys have made some adjustments to the defense
to cover for injuries.
"Our defense has played excellent in the past few games," said
Hasselberg, noting they are moving the puck out of their own end with
authority and they are getting involved offensively.
"When the defense jump up into the play we are more of an offensive
threat," Hasselberg said.
With nine scheduled games against south division teams during November,
Hasselberg knows it is a critical part of the schedule.
"All these games are a difference of four points and if we are able
to win the majority of these we will remain at or near the top of the
standings," Hasselberg added.
And Hasselberg knows any successful team is built around good goaltending
and he is content with the netminding tandem of Cole Anderson and Matthew
"Anderson has proven he is one of the best goaltenders in this league
and Wong is an exceptional rookie goaltender," Hasselberg said,
noting he is comfortable playing either goalie.
Anderson, an AJHL all-star last season, is among the top three within the
league in goals against and save percentage. As of Oct. 25, Anderson has
posted a 2.50 GAA and a save percentage of .931. Meanwhile, Wong has a
2.96 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Overall, the Grizzlys are the
third best defensive team within the league having allowed just 47 goals
against in 17 games.
This week the Grizzlys have just one game against the Calgary Royals at
the Father David Bauer Arena. on Wed. Nov. 6
elevated to second place in south standings
Two overtime victories in last week's AJHL action have elevated the Olds
Grizzlys to second place in the Rogers Wireless South Division standings.
In Calgary at the Father David Arena on Tuesday Oct. 18, the Grizzlys
defeated the Calgary Royals 2-1. Meanwhile, at the Olds Sportsplex on
Friday Oct. 21, the Grizzlys edged the Okotoks Oilers 5-4.
At the Father David Arena, 400 fans were treated to a classic goaltenders
dual as the Royals' Matt Dreger and Grizzlys' Cole Anderson put on a
Both goalies were spectacular between the pipes making sensational saves
denying the opposition sharpshooters on quality scoring opportunities.
Most of the Grizzlys' 23 shots at Dreger came from the outside but when
the Grizzlys managed to get point blank scoring opportunities, the Royals'
netminder turned them aside.
Michael Dempster dented the twine with just 17 seconds left in the
overtime to secure the Grizzlys' win.
After a scoreless first period, Jeff Matheson found the back of the
net to give the Royals a 1-0 lead after forty minutes of play.
Late in the third period, Dempster netted a power play goal to send the
game into the extra session.
A wide open affair featuring end to end rushes and punishing body
checks, the Royals held the upperhand in territorial play and were
afforded several glorious scoring opportunities. with poor defensive play
by the Grizzlys, the Royals were able to penetrate the Grizzlys' end and
set up scoring chances through tic tac toe passing. As a result, the
Grizzlys' relied on Anderson to keep them in the game and many of his 33
saves were game savers.
"Only one player came to play and we were fortunate Anderson was on
top of his game," said Grizzlys' head coach Kevin Hasselberg.
"This wasn't the first game Anderson stole for us this season,"
In six-teen games played this year the Grizzlys have allowed just 44
goals, the lowest in the south division and third overall within the
In Olds on Friday evening, the Grizzlys dominated the first period jumping
out into a 3-0 lead midway through the period. Jordan Baker, Francois
Auger and Kyle Dorowicz dented the twine for the Grizzlys.
After forty minutes of play, on a goal off the stick of Scott Kenway the
Oilers closed the margin to 3-1.
Midway through the final stanza they held a 4-3 lead by scoring three
unanswered goals netted by Cole Geddes, John Webb and Neil Graham. With
just one minute left to play, the Grizzlys went on the power play,
pulled Anderson and sent the game into overtime with a power play marker
by Baker with just three seconds left to play.
Thirty seconds into the extra session Baker completed his hat trick
notching another power play marker.
"There are no excuses for losing this game," said a disgusted
Oilers coach, Garry VanHereweghe.
"We lost our composure late in the third period and handed them the
victory," VanHereweghe added.
"Because the south division is so close in the standings, every game
is importan even the ones early in the season," VanHereweghe said.
"In the past three games against the Grizzlys we handed them six
points," noted VanHereweghe.
Meanwhile, Hasselberg praised his players for keeping their cool late in
"Give the players credit they took some cheap shots late in the game
and just skated away," said Hasselberg noting he was pleasantly
surprised with the power play.
With the two wins the Grizzlys increased their point total to 19 and are
just one back of the front running Brooks Bandits in the south division
This week the Grizzlys entertain the Fort Saskatchewan Traders on Tue. Oct.25 and tangle with the Camrose Kodiaks at home on Sat. Oct.29. Their only away game is slated for Brooks on Fri. Oct. 28.
Team character often emerges when there is turmoil on or off the ice, in
the dressing room or outside the arena.
During the Olds Grizzlys recent four game losing streak the players
remained positive and their gritty play of late has enabled them to pick
up points in their last five games which includes four wins and a single
Grizzlys' head coach Kevin Hasselberg commended the players for their work
ethic, dedication and commitment towards their team mates during their
struggles of enduring the losing streak.
"Everyone in the dressing room including the coaching staff was
feeling the effects of the losing streak along with the rumors floating
around town," said Hasselberg.
"When a team is losing everyone wants to point the finger and blame
the other player," added Hasselberg.
"We are a very close knit team and when things aren't going right on
the ice everyone wants to take responsibility for their efforts,"
"It's not called being selfish, it's building Grizzly
character," added Hasselberg.
When the Grizzlys first skated into the Alberta Junior Hockey League,
their team was built around character and over the years the Grizzlys'
distinct character of believing in themselves has reaped dividends in
league play and Hasselberg is confident this year's team can be built
around the character of past teams.
"Ask any player in the dressing room if they are proud to wear the
Grizzlys' uniform and they will answer yes," Hasselberg indicated.
"We want to maintain this character of past teams," said
Hasselberg indicating team character is directly responsible for the
Grizzlys turning around their misfortunes.
week, the Grizzlys kept their point streak alive by defeating the Calgary
Canucks 5-2 at the Olds Sportsplex on Oct.12 and downing the Brooks
Bandits 3-1 in Brooks on Oct.15.
In Olds, the Grizzlys dominated the game by building a comfortable 5-0
lead midway through the third period.
Dustin Moore dented the twine twice with power play markers to pace the
Grizzlys' scoring attack. Other goals came off the sticks of Jeff Smyth,
Braden Desmet and Tyler Webb.
With under five minutes left on the scoreboard, the Canucks netted their
two goals with a power play marker from Bennet Royer and a short handed
tally from Tyler Gotto.
A high energy game, both clubs had numerous scoring opportunities but were
turned aside by outstanding saves from Canucks' tender Patrick Inglis and
Grizzlys' masked man Cole Anderson.
Anderson, named the Grizzlys' Player of the Game, turned aside 33 shots
while Inglis faced 35 shots.
Meanwhile in Brooks, Anderson was once again called upon to keep the
Grizzlys in the game as the Bandits, first overall in the Rogers Wireless
South Division standings, held the territorial advantage peppering
Anderson with 30 shots.
Between the pipes for the Bandits, Kyle Richter, handled only 19 shots.
After a scoreless first period, the Grizzlys held a 2-0 lead after forty
minutes of play. Jordan Baker dented the twine on the power play and
Braden Desmet notched a short handed goal to account for the Grizzlys'
scoring in the middle frame.
With three minutes left in the game, Judd Blackwater, the Bandits' leading
scorer, spoiled Anderson's bid for the goose egg notching a power
play goal at 17:27.
In an effort to gain even ground, The Bandits pulled Richter in favor of
an extra attacker but the moved was fruitless as Desmet notched an empty
net goal with just four seconds left in the game.
Since the first drop of the puck commencing the current AJHL season,
Hasselberg has stressed the old adage, "there is no I in team,"
and he is satisfied with the overall team play.
"All five of our goals scored against the Canucks tonight were a
result of the puck control as not one of our markers was unassisted,"
"In order for a team to have success in this league the players must
work together, there is no room for players being selfish," added
Over the past two weeks, Hasselberg has tweaked the lines and he now feels
he can roll all four lines against any opposition line and have success.
"Right now I am satisfied with the line combinations,"
With their recent winning streak the Grizzlys have moved into a third
place tie with the Okotoks Oilers. Both teams have 15 points, one behind
the Drumheller Dragons and three back of the front- running Bandits.
This week Grizzlys' pride will invade the Father Bauer Arena on Tue. Oct.
18 to tangle with the Calgary Royals and will host the Okotoks Oilers on
Fri. Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Keep the Grizzlys' character alive by cheering them on at the next home
drill Oilers in home opener
If goals were set at the price of oil, the Olds Grizzlys would be
In their home opener against the AJHL's newest team, the Okotoks Oilers,
the Grizzlys went drilling and struck it rich by denting the twine eight
times defeating the Oilers 8-1 before a crowd of 1,000 noisy fans gathered
at the Olds Sportsplex on Friday, Sept. 16.
Although the Oilers are playing their first year in the AJHL they have
eight players with previous junior hockey experience either with the AJHL
or Western Hockey League.
Grizzlys' Head Coach, Kevin Hasselberg, indicated the Grizzlys failed to
take the Oilers as an underdog team and as a result played a near perfect
"We knew they (Oilers) were a good team and at no point were our
players over confident," Hasselberg said, noting the Grizzlys stuck
to their game plan throughout the entire contest.
With the boisterous crowd cheering loudly throughout the encounter, the
Grizzlys were energized and gave them what they were looking for, goals,
goals and more goals.
Early in the first period, the Grizzlys hit their first gusher as Brendan
Hull dented the twine. Shortly after, Michael LeClair deposited his first
of two goals, one on the powerplay, Jody Pederson added a late power
play marker to give the Grizzlys a 4-0 first period lead.
In the second period, the Grizzlys netted a pair of goals off the sticks
of Dustin Moore and Jordan Baker giving the Grizzlys a commanding 6-0 lead
after two stanzas of play.
Baker netted his second marker just a minute into the third period and
Kyle Dorowicz finished the onslaught of goals with a marker late in
Andrew Owsiak spoiled Cole Anderson's bid for a shutout with a goal
mid-way through the third period.
Anderson finished the game with 26 saves while the netminding tandem of
Trevor Peters and Trevor Kalemba blocked 40 shots directed at the Oilers
Oilers' Head Coach, Gary VanHereweghe, said there was no excuse for his
team's poor showing in the game.
"This loss has nothing to do with the fact we are a younger team or
this is our first year in the league," VanHereweghe said.
"The truth is we were not prepared to play when the first puck was
dropped and as a result it was a very embarrasing game for us,"
According to VanHereweghe, the Oilers failed to win the battles along the
boards and the loose pucks and because of this they ran into penalty
"I guess we can be thankful it was only 8-1, it could have been
worse," VanHereghe noted.
"But we lost to a very good team," he said.
"There is no doubt in my mind, the Grizzlys could challenge for the
league championship this year," VanHereghe concluded.
VanHereweghe is no stranger to hockey fans in this area as he has been a
former Head Coach/GM and an assistant Coach for the Grizzlys.
Meanwhile, Hasselberg is somewhat satisfied with the effort put forth by
the Grizzlys in the two games played last week.
In their league opener against the Drumheller Dragons in Drumheller on
Wednesday, Sept. 14 the Grizzlys lost 4-3 in double overtime.
After skating to a 3-3 deadlock in regulation time, the Dragons and
Grizzlys played one five minute sudden death four on four overtime period.
Since no one decided the score in the first extra session, the teams
proceeded with a three-on-three overtime period. At 2:24 into the second
overtime, Dion Knelson beat Anderson to give the Dragons the victory.
Knelson notched a powerplay goal in the third period to send the game into
Dustin Moore bent the twine twice to pace the Grizzlys' scoring. Chipping
in with a singleton was Jordan Baker.
Other Dragons to blink the red light were Joel Chisholm and Braden Knelson.
"Although we're only two games into the season, I am seeing some
positive aspects about our play," Hasselberg said.
Probably the most important thing Hasselberg has noticed has been off the
ice inside the dressing room.
"All the players have become very good friends and the comradery
between them is fantastic," Hasselberg said.
"They are more than willing to support each other on and off the
ice," Hasselberg added.
Hasselberg indicated all the practices have been upbeat, full of energy
and quite intense.
"We are trying to carry this energy and intensity into the games and
play with a bit of edge," Hasselberg said.
"For the most part, the positive attitude expressed by the players
has been a factor in our past two games," Hasselberg added.
"They truly believe they can beat any team within the league,"
Hasselberg added, noting it is an attitude of confidence rather than being
Since the majority of the players played with the Grizzlys or within the
league last year, Hasselberg indicated they are familiar with each other
and their play is further ahead at this point compared to last season.
"We've already won a game, in fact we haven't lost a game and this is
certainly good for the players' confidence," Hasselberg concluded.
This week the Grizzlys entertain the Camrose Kodiaks on Tuesday,
Sept. 20 and journey north to tangle with Fort McMurray, Lloydminster and
Bonnyville on the weekend.
receiving coach's message
When the Olds Grizzlys embarked on their current exhibition schedule, Head
Coach, Kevin Hasselberg challenged the players to push themselves to
the limit in order to become better hockey players.
And for the most part the players have taken this message to heart and
Hasselberg is pleased with the work effort put forth by the players during
the exhibition games, especially the first year players.
"Although I didn't think tonight's work ethic was as good as previous
games overall I have to be satisfied," Hasselberg said after the
Grizzlys defeated the Brooks Bandits 5-1 before 432 fans at the Olds
Sportscomplex on Thursday, Sept.1.
With seventeen veteran players in camp, a limited number of positions are
expected to be filled for this year's squad but Hasselberg has made it
clear all spots are open and the competition has been fierce from day one
of training camp.
"This season the coaching staff has every intention of rolling all
four forward lines and six defensemen," Hasselberg said.
"Every player in the line-up has to be prepared to play and I expect
no less than a hundred percent from them on every shift," Hasselberg
"If a player isn't prepared to play, he won't be here very
long," Hasselberg added.
And as the commencement of the 2005/2006 AJHL regular season approaches,
Hasselberg realizes he has to make decisions to ensure the best possible
players are on the roster. Some of these decisions may not sit well with
some players but Grizzly pride is on the line.
Until last year the Grizzlys had a streak of thirteen consecutive years of
qualifying for the playoffs and Hasselberg knows a playoff run this year
is essential for the team's pride and bottom line.
"Making the playoffs just won't due, we need to challenge for the
league championship," Hasselberg indicated.
According to Hasselberg, this message has been instilled into the players
from the opening day of training camp and they are starting to believe in
themselves and the system the coaching staff is implementing.
Since the opening of training camp, Hasselberg has noticed a steady
improvement in the players' attitude, dedication and commitment.
Rebuilding is something a junior hockey club has to face every three years
and Hasselberg insists the Grizzlys are going through a transition rather
than rebuilding this season.
Like every junior hockey coach, Hasselberg would like to see a three year
tenure with the current players but he also realizes most players want to
further their careers by playing major junior or college hockey.
Because the AJHL supports the mandate of developing players, Hasselberg is
content with the situation and is more than willing to assist a player in
obtaining a hockey scholarship.
"If a player receives a scholarship, I have to respect his decision
to play college hockey even when he has another year of junior left to
play," Hasselberg noted.
As players move on to bigger and better things in life, their vacancies
have to be filled and although the Grizzlys have very few voids to deal
with this season, Hasselberg is impressed with the rookie players in camp.
The rookies in camp this year are pushing the veterans for their positions
and it is possible an unknown rookie could bump a seasoned player from the
Hasselberg has commended the recruiting efforts of the team scouts
acknowledging the crop of first year players at camp this year is
With the exhibition season now complete, the Grizzlys are prepared to
enter their 25th AJHL season with confidence. They begin play on the road
in Drumheller on Sept. 14. Their home opener is scheduled on Sept. 16
against the expansion Okotoks Oilers.
will bring leadership and scoring to the Grizzlys
For two years, Braden Desmet was the leading scorer and served
as the captain for theDrumheller Dragons.
Now Olds Grizzlys Head Coach/GM Kevin Hasselberg believes the attributes
which made Desmet the Most Valuable Player for the Dragons last year will
be applied as an Olds Grizzlys.
Desmet is the latest acquisition to the Grizzlys and he could be the
missing link to propel the Grizzlys back into the AJHL playoffs.
Desmet was inserted into the line-up in the Grizzlys latest exhibition
game against the Drayton Valley Thunder and although he failed to dent the
twine Hasselberg feels he will have the faithful Grizzlys' fans sitting at
the end of their seats during the upcoming AJHL season.
"Once he (Desmet) is familiar with our players and system he will
bring some excitement into most of our games," Hasselberg said,
noting fans won't be sitting on their hands when the three year AJHL
veteran is on the ice.
"He is a proven scorer in the league and he has excellent leadership
capabilities," said Hasselberg.
According to Hasselberg, the Grizzlys have been shopping around the league
for an offensive minded veteran and Desmet has all the attributes in
bringing forward Grizzly pride.
"I am excited in having him as a Grizzly and I am positive he will
become a fan favorite," Hasselberg added.
And with the likes of another three year veteran, Jody Pederson providing
a calming influence on the rookie players, the Grizzlys are certain to
have excellent leadership on and off the ice.
Pederson, an AJHL all-star, played two seasons with the Camrose Kodiaks
before being dealt to the Grizzlys last year.
When the Grizzlys open their 2005/2006 AJHL season on Sept. 14 against the
Drumheller Dragons in Drumheller Hasselberg feels the Grizzlys will be a
stronger team than the one iced last year.
"Last year we missed the playoffs and if you speak to any of the
returning veterans this year their ultimate goal is to make the
playoffs," added Hasselberg.
In some ways the Grizzlys deserved a better fate last year but the veteran
players remaining on the Grizzlys roster so far are already putting last
year's woes behind them and are concentrating on re-establishing Grizzly
Pride not only for this year but years to come.
Even with fifteen players returning from last year's squad, the Grizzlys
will still be one of the youngest teams in the league as most teams are
skating with nineteen and twenty year old players.
And as the Grizzlys' exhibition season starts to wind down, the Grizzlys'
bench boss still hasn't made up his mind as to how many veteran players
will don the Grizzlys' uniform.
"Our veteran players realize their position on the team is not
automatically guaranteed and it is up to the rookie players to push the
older players for their position.
Hasselberg indicated all positions on the club are still open and it is up
to the veteran players to know the rookie players still in camp have an
equal opportunity in making the team.
"It is up to the veteran players to work extremely hard for their
positions and the rookie players to make sure they are pushing
the veterans for their position within the team,"
This week the Grizzlys continue their exhibition play with a home encounter against the Brooks Bandits on Sept. 1 at the Olds Sportsplex.
Rosehill signs with Tampa Bay Lightning
A former blue liner of the Olds Grizzlys, Jay Rosehill has signed a
contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League.
Rosehill came to terms with the Lightning last week and terms of the
agreement were not released by press time.
A native of Olds, Rosehill started his minor hockey career with the Olds
Minor Hockey Association and finished it with the Red Deer Midget AAA
Optimist Chiefs where he controlled the blue line for two years. He was a
member of the Chiefs when they challenged for the Air Canada Cup, emblematic
of Midget AAA supremely in Canada.
Every so often a "diamond in the rough" is often drafted by a
National Hockey League team in the third and fourth rounds of the draft
and Olds Grizzlys Head Coach/GM, Kevin Hasselberg believes Rosehill is
such a player.
"I truly believe the Lightning don't realize what kind of hockey
player they got when they drafted Jay," said Hasselberg.
"He (Rosehill) is the type of player who gives you a hundred percent
on every shift," said Hasselberg.
"Besides being a good hockey player Rosehill is a true ambassador for
the sport and he speaks passionately about the game he loves,"
When Rosehill was a member of the Grizzlys, Hasselberg noted the tall
lanky blueliner was always involved with the community helping with minor
hockey when ever he could and assisting in the Grizzlys Help A Reader
program they have in conjunction with Olds Elementary School.
"When ever the community needed assistance from the Grizzlys, Jay was
always the first player to volunteer," Hasselberg.
In reacting to Rosehill's NHL signing, Hasselberg noted it was a feather
in the cap for both the Grizzlys and Olds Minor Hockey.
"He is a prime example of a small town hockey player making an
impression while playing Junior A hockey in his home town."
"I am certain Jay could have played Major Junior Hockey but he chose
to stay at home and he was committed to the Grizzlys' organization of
which the Grizzlys are truly thankful," Hasselberg added.
While a member of the Grizzlys, Rosehill was one of the most popular
players to don the black and gold uniform and to many minor hockey players
in Olds he quickly became an icon.
After a home game, Jay often spent time talking to the kids and this was
one of the attributes which propelled him into being noticed by the
NHL hockey scouts
According to Hasselberg, Rosehill was the type of player who demanded more
of himself with each and every shift on the ice and his work ethic never
changed. Whether playing in a game or practicing he always challenged
himself to become a better hockey player.
It was Rosehill's work ethic, dedication and desire which propelled him
from the ice of the Olds Sportsplex to the larger surfaces of professional
hockey and according to Hasselberg it will be these attributes which will
keep him in professional hockey for years to come.
Rosehill is the third Grizzlys' player to have the opportunity to play
professional hockey. Phil Crowe and Kevin Haller, all former Grizzlys are
the most recent graduates to put their stamp on professional hockey.
"If he plays with the same passion for the game he had while a member
of the Grizzlys, I think he will surprise a few people and have an
outstanding career in professional hockey," Hasselberg concluded.
With Rosehill's embarking on a professional hockey career, more and more minor hockey players will have their own dreams and thanks to the talents of Jay Rosehill the desire of playing professional hockey can become a reality for all big dreamers in Olds.
returns to coaching
Former Olds Grizzlys Head Coach, Garry VanHereweghe, of Carstairs, has
returned to coaching in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
VanHereweghe has come to terms with the newest member of the AJHL, the
Okotoks Oilers, and will be behind the bench when the Oilers enter play in
the 2005/2006 AJHL season.
In making the announcement Oilers Club President, Wayne Lauinger said,
"Having VanHereweghe take over as Head coach brings a wealth of
experience and credibility to the Okotoks Oilers organization."
When the Oilers were awarded an AJHL franchise in 2004, they immediately
named Van Hereweghe as Director of Hockey Operations/General Manager.
To facilitate VanHereweghe's move to behind the bench, the Oilers have
appointed Dave Kelly as Assistant General Manager. With many years of
experience within the league, Lauinger believes Kelly gives the Oilers a
strong management team in place capable of guiding the team into their inaugural
year of participating in the AJHL.
"Kelly is a highly organized individual with years of experience
within the league and his new duties will be familiar to him,"
As well, Jamie Sheer and Trevor McFarlane will remain in their previously
announced positions of Assistant Coaches with the Oilers.
VanHereweghe has a very successful AJHL coaching resume. He was an
Assistant Coach with the Grizzlys when they won the Centennial Cup, emblematic
of Junior A hockey supremecy in
Besides being involved with the Grizzlys, VanHereweghe was instrumental in
bringing an AA minor hockey program to the Carstairs Minor Hockey
Association. While coaching the Carstairs Pee Wee AA Bruins he won a
provincial champion and the South Central Pee Wee AA league
A retired Calgary Police Officer, VanHereweghe has been recognized with a
community service award from the Calgary Police.
In an earlier interview with the Olds Albertan, VanHereweghe indicated
working with a brand new Junior A hockey team has unique challenges and he
was excited about guiding the Oilers into their Junior A hockey
And junior hockey fans can welcome VanHereweghe back to the confines of
the Olds Sportsplex on Sept. 16 when the Olds Grizzlys open up their
2005/2006 AJHL home schedule against the Oilers.
After a year of
restructuring and financial restraint, the Olds Sportsmen's Recreational
Association is content on moving the Olds Grizzlys forward towards being a
viable franchise in the Alberta Junior A Hockey League.
And judging from the response at the association's annual general meeting
held on Thursday June 9, 2005, board members, volunteers and die-hard
hockey fans are willing to work together to bring back the glory days of
the 1990's when the Grizzlys were the envy of the AJHL on and off the ice.
"We've proven to the league the Grizzlys are a viable franchise and
the team is here to stay," said Grizzlys' president, Dave Belsher.
"The Grizzlys are a valuable member to the community and we must move
forward to make sure the team remains in Olds for years to come,"
Last year, the Grizzlys were facing a financial crisis and a uncertain
future but through the support of the business community, the Town of Olds
and many individuals the Board of Directors were able to raise enough
funds to keep the team operational.
Although the Grizzlys failed to make the playoffs in the 2004/2005 AJHL
season, the bottom line of the financial report noted a modest surplus of
$17,000. This surplus could have presented a more rosier picture if the
Grizzlys would have qualified for the playoffs. In the past, the Grizzlys'
financial situation benefited from playoff revenue.
"We probably have the most dedicated fans and volunteers within the
entire league," said Belsher.
"Everyone from the coaches, players, fans, volunteers and business
community has to be thanked for making it possible for the Grizzlys to
remain in Olds," Belsher added.
Like all the other Board of Directors, Belsher is a die-hard hockey fan
and he didn't want to see the Grizzlys leave town.
"I know what a Junior hockey club means to a town like Olds and it is
for this reason I got involved in fund raising last year," Belsher
Besides being a contributing member of the business community, the
Grizzlys are an inspiration for the hundreds of players registered with
Olds Minor Hockey.
"I would say the majority of the minor hockey players in Olds dreams
about playing for the Olds Grizzlys at some time," Belsher said.
According to Belsher, providing an opportunity for local and area
graduating Midget players to play Junior hockey at or close to home
is a main focus of the Grizzlys.
In the past, the Grizzlys have always maintained a local focus on their
roster as several players have made the transition from Midget AAA,
or Midget AA teams from Olds, Innisfail, Didsbury,Carstairs, Sundre,
Three Hills, Red Deer, Airdrie and Calgary
With the reassurance the Grizzlys will remain in Olds, the executive
committee is now working on different fundraising ideas. One such project
proposed by Belsher is having a house lottery.
Other teams in the league have had major lottery fund raisers and have
been quite successful Belsher noted.
"If we do have a house lottery, the funds can be used towards
administration and buying players to keep us competitive," Belsher
Last year, the Grizzlys entered into an agreement with the Edge School of
Hockey Excellence. Besides providing the Grizzlys with funds, the Edge
School carded up to four affiliated players with the Grizzlys. A
discussion centered around the involvement with the Edge School and there
was a general agreement amongst the members to honor the two year
contract, even though some people felt the Edge School was not sending
their best players to the Grizzlys.
In his report, Head Coach, Kevin Hasselberg, indicated at least sixteen
returning players have indicated they will be attending Fall Camp.
With a good crop of returning forwards, the Grizzlys will have some
explosive offensive threats. On the blue line, the Grizzlys are searching
for some offensive minded defensemen. Between the pipes, Cole Anderson has
moved on to college hockey in the States. Tyson Sexsmith has accepted an
offer from the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
"If Sexsmith stays with the Giants we will be looking at a
couple of new goalies," Hasselberg said.
Elected to the executive for the upcoming season were, Dale Belsher, Rob
McKenzie, Caroline Bodmer, Brent Beaudoin, Doug Bell, Wanda Blatz, Mark
Baron, Norma Dickaua, Garrett Funkhouser, Kevin Rowland, Bruce Stuart,
Brent Taylor and Hugh Bodmer.
finalizes 2005-2006 league schedule
After a lengthy scheduling meeting, the Alberta
Junior Hockey League has finalized it's 2005-2006 league schedule and it
appears the Olds Grizzlys have lucked out.
"I am very satisfied with this year's schedule, it has met all our
requirements," said Olds Grizzlys' Head Coach, Kevin Hasselberg.
"It is a very good schedule, one we can definitely work with,"
With the addition of the Okotoks Oilers into the league this year, the
AJHL will play with a balanced schedule, thirty home games and thirty away
games for all teams.
And from all indications, the Oilers, who replaced the Crowsnest Pass
Timberwolves, will ice a competitive team and Hasselberg is anxious to
meet the Oilers in head to head battles. Although the Oilers are a new
entry this season, their on ice staff members are no strangers to the AJHL.
Carstairs resident Gary VanHereweghe, is the Oilers' Director of Hockey
Operations and he is very well adversed with the AJHL having previously
coached the Grizzlys and the Camrose Kodiaks. While with the
Grizzlys, Van Hereweghe was an Assistant Coach when the Grizzlys won the
Centennial Cup ten years ago. He has also served as Head Coach/General
Manager with the local bears hockey club. After leaving the Grizzlys,
VanHereweghe accepted a position as Head Coach with the Camrose Kodiaks.
Four years ago he was behind theKodiaks' bench when they won their
first Royal Bank Cup. And during this time, VanHereweghe was also named as
the AJHL Coach of the Year.
"Because the Oilers have an experienced coaching staff, I expect them
to be very competitive," Hasselberg added, indicating he would like
to see a rivalry develop between the Grizzlys and Oilers.
"Because of the way the schedule is drawn up this year, I believe the
traditional rivalries will be rekindled and some new ones will be
started," Hasselberg said.
Because the Grizzlys failed to make the playoffs last season, Hasselberg
feels the returning players have something to prove to themselves and to
"Every player was disappointed with the team's performance last year
and they are committed towards making the Grizzlys a contender for the
league championship this year," Hasselberg added.
Last season, the Grizzlys were laden with a crop of rookie players and the
experience these players went through will no doubt make them better
players in the upcoming season.
"There is an old saying a team has to know how to lose before they
can learn how to win and this was the case for the Grizzlys last
year," Hasselberg said, noting the Grizzlys played in more overtime
games than any other team in the league.
According to Hasselberg, the veteran players are already working towards
making amends to last year's disappointing season.
"All the players I have spoken to are committed to an off ice
conditioning program and when they report to Fall Camp on Aug. 19, they
will have a positive outlook to a new season," Hasselberg added.
According to Hasselberg, the veteran players will be challenged for their
jobs at Fall Camp as the Grizzlys' coaching staff and scouts have
identified some very talented players graduating from the Midget AAA
ranks. It is expected several graduating players from the Red Deer
MidgetAAA Optimist Chiefs and the Rockyview Midget AAA Lightning will be
vying for a spot on the Grizzlys' roster this year.
On June 7, at the Olds Sportsplex, the Grizzlys will be making a
transition from hockey to lacrosse as they have scheduled a charity
lacrosse game against the Olds Junior Stingers lacrosse team.
All proceeds from the game will be turned over to the Mountain View Food Bank and both teams involved in this game are encouraging fans to bring a donation to the food bank.