Amesbury Maples Legend Series: Larry Fournier

( Photo Credit:  The Fournier Family )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Growing up in my hometown of Amesbury, Massachusetts, it was unfortunate for me as a passionate hockey fan to not see any of these Amesbury Maples hockey team legends play, but stories of the past from those who witness firsthand are always just as good. Like back in the day when former Amesbury Middle School athletics teacher Leo Dupere, who often used old Maples player comparisons when a young man, was making an end-to-end rush during the popular floor hockey season. Dupere was a longtime Maples player himself and had a tremendous hockey career. The former Northeastern University standout will be the subject of a future article and was a mastermind when it came to player development.

Every player that donned the Kelly Green and White jersey certainly earned the right to be a member on the roster throughout the years, but you also have to give an assist to the Amesbury families and their ability to produce generations of hockey talent under their respected roofs. The Fournier family was no slouch when it came to a family legacy in this area, and for those who don’t know, I’ll explain a lot more below.

The Fournier last name was brought up often in my Maples research that I’ve been doing for the past 3-4 years. The first mention was when Freddie Fournier Sr. stepped on the ice during the 1950-51 season. Fred, a tremendous skater, and from a hockey history standpoint, I’d compare his skills to former Bruins player Derek Sanderson who was a pest to play against. With the way, both could forecheck, and the ability to strip the puck off an opposing player with their skilled reach was most impressive to hear. Fournier’s offensive attributes were also a key to his success as he used his speed to transition the other way for defensive relief.

(Photo Credit: The Fournier Family)
Fred Fournier Sr. (right) showing you what I meant about his style of play.

Speaking of defense and strong skating, I should stop rambling and get to the point of my fourth Amesbury Maples Legend Series article, which is my tribute to Fred’s son, Larry Fournier. This was another great research project and want to thank all that were involved and who I personally met. Gathering information about a person’s unselfish acts from our Amesbury community on and off the ice are my favorite projects, and I hope everyone enjoys this article — most importantly the Fournier Family.

Larry Fournier: The Original Larry Legend

(Photo Credit: The Fournier Family)

Before Boston Celtics, great Larry Bird stepped on the parquet floor of the original Boston Garden and later be nicknamed “Larry Legend,” there was another Larry in the Merrimack Valley already earning legendary status with every day contributed to the game he loved. Born in 1953 to the parents of aforementioned Maples Legend Freddie Sr. and wife Lorraine (Lariviere), young Larry was the second born to the family of five who had Ricky leading the way (former Maples player) down to Fred Jr (former Maples player), Glenn (Retired AFD, 35 YOS), and rounding it off daughter Lynne who I had the pleasure of meeting as mentioned below.

Larry Fournier was a product of outstanding homegrown development that you are going to continue to hear from me when it comes to the history of the Amesbury Maples and the clubs sustainability for over 75 years. The tutelage from his father and older sibling Ricky helped mold the young prodigy’s game to be his best and represent family and community with the utmost respect on and off the ice. Fournier, a quiet young man, had his athleticism speak louder than words as he’s been mentioned to have excelled in multiple sports growing up and was a fantastic golfer like his father.

Having never met Larry myself and only hearing stories of the past, I wanted a better understanding of how Larry was as a person was on a day-to-day basis, I thought it was important to get in touch with his siblings as they’d know best for that character factor. Younger sister Lynne told me he was very active and would hardly be seen lounging around with nothing to do. She mentioned to me at a local coffee shop in Amesbury that he would often go on long trips around the area on his bicycle or would go on foot and run miles for exercise and pass the time. Without prior notice, one morning he woke up very early and rode all the way to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire and back in the same day. After hearing that, I was hooked into learning more about that never-quit attitude and that mentality when it came to his game on the ice.

(Photo Credit:  The Fournier Family)

The young Fournier rose through the Amesbury Youth Hockey leagues to be considered as one of the city’s all-time athletes. The three-time All-League Defenseman helped his Amesbury Indians High School team to a 52-5-3 record when he played from the 1968 to 1972 seasons. After graduating from Amesbury, the 18-year-old Fournier made his first appearance on the Maples roster during the 1972-73 winter season and immediately started playing like a pro in the higher leagues he played in. There was no shortage of leadership when it came to developing Larry’s game.

( Photo Credit: The Fournier Family / Unknown Local Paper )

Having played with the likes of defensemen Jim Henderson, Steve Klien, Roger Nadeau, Randi Picard, and Carl Vedrani on the blue line in his rookie season and names like Goerge Dodier, Leo Dupere, Doug Gleason, and Jack Morrill up on the offense, he didn’t exactly have to go far when seeking to get advise. He also came into the league as the Maples semi-pro organization was celebrating its 50th consecutive season as one of the top amateur teams in the United States since 1924. Larry also joined older brother Ricky and cousin Mike Fournier in his first year and unfortunately missed playing alongside his father Fred Sr. when he hung up the skates a year prior after the 1971-72 season and an honorable 22-year career. Fred Sr. also managed the Maples organization as a player for 10 seasons but relinquished his post after the 1962-63 season.

(Photo Credit:  The Fournier Family)

A lot of great things happened to Larry during the 1972-73 season as seen above but he also took a serious step in his hockey development as a postgraduate when he attended the Berwick Academy Prep School team in Berwick, Maine. Fournier showed his skills to the best of his ability and was fortunate to join the Berwick Prep team on a two-week trip to Sweden to participate in a youth tournament and play a few other teams throughout Scandinavia that year.

While playing with Berwick Academy, Fournier was fortunate to play and roommate with 1980 Team USA Gold Medalist Mike Eruzione. After leaving Berwick, Eruzione would go onto play at Boston University for four seasons before joining the United States team who would make history that year in Lake Placid, New York.

(Photo Credit: 15 Minutes With)

Eruzione, a Winthrop, Mass. native talked about his time with the Berwick Academy hockey club in a Foster’s Daily Democrat article written by John Doyle and mentions how great that team was playing alongside players like Fournier and others. Eruzione said:

“I remember we were awfully good and it was an honor playing for Pop. (Former Head Coach) He was a legend and a great guy to play for. I remember how good we were. Prep Schools couldn’t play against us. We played a lot of College JV teams. We played UNH a ton. We were basically all PG’s, some local kids.”

After the 1972-73 season, Fournier would attend Salem State College for one season and would play under legendary coach Barry Urbanski. According to a Larry Fournier Tournament Program’s brief history, the talented defenseman was a late cut in his dream of being an Olympian in 1980 representing his country during the Winter Games from Lake Placid, New York.  Fournier made it as far as the Eastern Region which was a great accomplishment for an Olympic bid.

(Photo Credit:  The Fournier Family)

Fournier returned to the Maples organization and was heavily involved in several semi-pro leagues from 1973 to 1986 according to the Fournier Tournament pamphlet. When it comes to a player’s defensive game on the ice, you can’t get any better than to have a chance to talk to his linemate and best friend, Steve Klien. Steve was a 24-year veteran of the Maple organization and a member of the greatest two seasons of his and Larry’s high school career when Klien joined the team as a freshman while Larry was to have his best season on record in his junior year. Klien says both became instant friends after one practice together and a bond that would continue for years. Off the ice, the fierce defensive tandem would often take their support for each other as teammates when they were walking about town. Klien said:

“Funny thing I remember we’d be walking downtown and if someone was walking at us we always made them go around as we walked never let anyone between us. Then after they passed by we would turn to each other an say “no one splits the D”!

(Photo Credit: Fournier Family / Local Newspaper Unknown)

Klien also mentioned Larry’s time and passion for coaching as he was heavily thought of from three different school systems. As taught to him as so many from the past advised him, he was very well known for his defensive coaching abilities. He was the assistant coach to mentioned Maples Legend Leo Dupre behind the Amesbury High School bench and also with Newburyport and Triton which are two schools located in the Northeastern part of Essex County.

Per an article that was written on March 15, 1988 by Daily News Sports Editor Kevin Doyle, former bench boss of the Amesbury High School hockey team Leo Dupre had this to say about Larry’s coaching style:

“You knew you could give Larry the defensemen and not worry. He had a knack to develop them. He had an even temperament and vast knowledge of the game and was a great help to me as a head coach.”

Triton Head Coach Dan O’Connell also chimed in on the 1988 article by Daily News Editor Doyle saying after spending 16 years with the team. Fournier was O’Connell’s assistant coach for two seasons:

“It doesn’t make much sense that one guy could coach in three systems and remain well-liked and well-respected by the people in all three. But that was Larry Fournier.”

In September of 1987 at the age of 33, Larry Fournier passed away from a short battle with cancer. His legacy and memory continued for over 28 years with so many charitable donations and successful Fournier Tournament Committee events that raised more than $130K to graduate students that were eligible from Amesbury, Newburyport, and Triton according to the Larry Fournier Official Facebook Page.

(Photo Credit: The Daily News/Kevin Doyle)

Dupere also mentioned that his dedication to the game went to the final days of his life when he missed only a few practices while coaching at Newburyport and was a regular attendee at several area summer hockey camps before leaving us in the fall of 1987. In 1988 and information shared from the article that Doyle wrote, Larry was to be honored by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association for his commitment to hockey and in the article Leo Dupere mentioned:

“Larry knew and liked everybody and had a great personality. You just don’t want a guy of his magnitude to be quickly forgotten. This award is a class act by the association,” and saying that “Larry was a model person. He left something for all of us who knew him.”

To End…

In the fall of 2017 Minnesota State resident, Roger Krafve got in touch with me after he did a website search related to the Amesbury Maples. He wanted to know if I had any information on an old jersey that he bought on Ebay from a collector in Texas. After I viewed the photos and particulars of the fantastic item, I said the jersey looked close but needed more details. He later sent me a photo of the tag on the inside and found that the Kelly Green and White jersey was manufactured in Brockton, Mass. by a company named Stall & Dean, who was one of the oldest sporting goods manufacturers in America and outfitted the NHL’s original six franchises until the league expanded in 1967.

To make this particular part of my tribute short, it was later confirmed that the jersey was, in fact, the hockey jersey worn by the late and great Larry Fournier. I later shared my findings with Michael Gorman who is working with Global Property Developers as a team to get a hockey facility back to Amesbury and erase a 40-plus year absence.

Through the mutual contact in the process, Mr. Gorman asked me for purchasing inquiries of the jersey to bring it back to it’s Amesbury home and closer to our town’s legacy when it comes to the Fournier family and their contributions to the area. Mr. Gorman mentioned he’d like to honor Larry and surviving family with a shrine somewhere in the new facility in the foreseeable future at the South Hunt Road location later to be called the Amesbury Sports Center.

In a June 26th, 2018 article written by Jim Sullivan of The Daily News out of Newburyport, Mass., The Town of Amesbury Planning Board approved the hockey mega center’s plan and taking positive steps forward to finally breaking ground. For the official Global Property Developers Corporation presentation that was released in 2016-17, please CLICK HERE

On Sep. 7, the aforementioned Jim Sullivan wrote an update about the permits that were granted from the City of Amesbury for the project that will cost $48 million. That article can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

Check out the photos of Larry’s Jersey below.

       

I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone that had a hand in this project and if it weren’t for those folks who helped out this wouldn’t have happened. Special appreciation goes out to Larry’s siblings Lynne and Glenn for the great conversations about your brother and other family members that have reached out with great information. Big thanks to Steve Klien for sharing his memories about his best friend to add to this project. Always a Class Act when I have Maples related questions. I will continue to thank the late and great sports researcher Bert Spofford for his amazing work gathering information for the Maples 75th Anniversary Ceremony in 1994, and to all of you that took the time to read my tribute to this unbelievable person.

Below is a video of the aforementioned Roger Krafve who found Larry’s jersey on Ebay and a little history of his hockey collecting throughout the years.

I hope you all enjoyed this read, and ask if anyone has Maples Hockey related news or photos that you’d like to share and contribute to future articles, please send me an  email at blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com.

Help Wanted: Join Our Black N’ Gold Writing Team!

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Are you a passionate Boston Bruins fan who wants to voice your opinion to a wide audience throughout Bruins Nation? As the 2018-19 National Hockey League season approaches, we are seeking writers to fill certain positions on our growing team. This is a great platform for folks that want to get started and possibly showcase their writing skills to higher Boston Sports media companies that would like to see samples of your work.

Currently, we are a team of 19 writers and 4 podcasters, but we’d like to play a bigger role and cover the multiple levels of the Bruins organization. We could always use more NHL Bruins writers but also want to invite B’s fans that might want to cover the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins, ECHL Atlanta Gladiators, and Bruins prospects playing throughout North America and overseas in Europe.

We also would love to add writers that have an interest in the history of the NHL club and would definitely entertain the thought of a “This Day in Bruins History” writer for that nostalgic feel. Also, we are looking for motivated individuals that can post game recaps from the NHL Bruins and AHL Providence team. Our goal in the upcoming year is to have a recap done for every game at both levels.

If anyone is interested in covering the NWHL Boston Pride, we are also looking to add coverage from that club here on our Black N’ Gold website. If you’re available to attend every home game played at the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass., let us know and we’ll look into getting you media passes and provide links to cover away games as well.

We are also looking for skilled editors to join our crew so we can publish articles in a timely fashion depending on the article topic and if it’s breaking news or not. Maybe writing isn’t for you but we have other roles that need to be filled here so please apply and let us know if this is something that would be interesting to you.

Black N’ Gold Team Requirements

We highly recommend you get a Twitter account. Very important tool when it comes to sharing your work and following the well-known hockey personalities for news ideas.

1) Applicants must have previous writing experience and WordPress media program knowledge. If you’ve never written for any previous media company or blog platform in the past, we ask that you still apply but please have strong punctuation and spelling skills.

2) Must be able to post four articles during the regular season and two articles during the summer offseason. Our regular season writing schedule here on our team is from the beginning of September and ends when the Bruins season ends or how far the club makes it in the playoffs.

3) Regardless if it’s our regular season or our offseason posting schedule, to be eligible for our Advertising Revenue Share Program, you must post five or more articles per month to receive compensation for your hard work and dedication to our team. This is not an opportunity for full-time work and is not by any means a dollar value that you can quit your current job. The more you post, the greater your share could be, but please keep in mind that other team members will have the same opportunity to post as much as they can so distributed amounts can change per individual.

4) Members of our team have had the pleasure of representing our website as media members for events such as Bruins Development Camp, annual Prospects Challenge, and Rookie/NHL Main training camps in the past. Our goal is to get our website credited by the Bruins organization to cover B’s regular season and playoff games regularly.

5) Must be a team player if hired on with us. This means you are asked to support fellow members’ work and often share on the many social media outlets that you currently use.  Also, a requirement is to be active on our BNG Slack team communications app for important announcements and article topic discussions.

6) As we do our due diligence and try to get our website noticed by the Bruins organization to cover games from the TD Garden we ask that you refrain from bashing a player, the organization, or another writer that works for another media affiliate in your articles. If you happen to disagree with another off team writer or frustrated with a certain player, we ask that you be respectful and seek many angles to your argument. Foul language will not be tolerated here, and after ONE warning you will be removed if vulgar language is used or personal attacks are made.

7) We ask that potential new hires use our previous articles as a template for how we do things here. Any changes that do not look the same will be reverted back so we can keep our format the same for every post. Articles are to be at least 500 words or more and in the case of a “Breaking News” story to get something out quick, you may go under the 500-word threshold but keep in mind that any articles that are under that minimum will not be considered when it comes to our Advertising Revenue Share Program that was mentioned above. 

All applicants that are serious about this opportunity and want to join our team, please send an email to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com and tell us a little about yourselves and what type of team player you could be if hired. Also, if you do have previous experience on another platform, we ask that you please provide a sample of your work. If you do not have any samples, it’s not a big deal and will not be the end-all-be-all when it comes to the hiring process.

Watching Providence Bruins Games Just Got Better & Cheaper

( Photo Credit:  The American Hockey League )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The American Hockey League announced today that they’ve agreed on a partnership with the internet streaming platform HockeyTech. This is great news for Boston Bruins fans that want to get more involved and keep up with the action of the organizations’ top minor-pro affiliate, the Providence Bruins. For many years the AHL worked with a company called Neulion which was the primary platform for hockey fans, but the video quality and stream interruptions frustrated subscribers that often had to pay hundreds per season to get their fix of AHL action.

The quote below was from the Official Press Release:

“HockeyTech is proud to launch AHLTV in a true partnership with the American Hockey League,” said HockeyTech founder and CEO Stu Siegel. “Using the most advanced, cutting-edge digital technologies, AHL fans will have the most innovative multimedia hockey viewing experience available worldwide.”

The recent partnership with the Neulion Company went back to early October of 2008 and charged $7.99 per game or $150 per season to watch your favorite team’s home and away games, and over $300 for the season to watch all the teams in the league either home or on the road. Well, after 10 years and thousands of paying customer complaints, there’s a new platform in town, and it’s called AHLTV, and it’s available on theahl.com website.

A message from Chief Executive Officer of the American Hockey League David Andrews:

“We are extremely excited to introduce AHLTV beginning this fall,” said David Andrews, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Hockey League. “AHLTV reflects the high standards that our fans and stakeholders have come to expect from the American Hockey League, and HockeyTech shares our vision of bringing the excitement of AHL hockey as an enhanced digital experience to fans who can’t make it to the rink.”

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Check out the affordable prices below and sign up today and be ready for the Providence Bruins 2018-19 season which is expected to be a solid one with a boatload of talented Bruins prospects and supporting players under AHL deals.

All-Access

$79.99 – Full Season All-Access

$19.99 – Monthly All-Access

$6.99 – Daily All-Access

Single-Team

$59.99 – Full Season Single Team Pass

$39.99 – Home OR Away Single Team Pass

The Stream Will Be Available On All Devices Below!

PC/Mac

iOS/Android

Apple TV

Roku

Android TV

Amazon Fire TV

Bruins Players And Coach To Play In Comm Ave Alumni Benefit

 

( Photo Credit: Boston University )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGod277

The fourth annual Comm Ave Classic is set for puck drop this coming Friday, August 24 at the Walter Brown Arena in Boston. Collegiate hockey rivals Boston College Eagles, and Boston University Terriers have submitted their alumni rosters for the charitable event that benefits Pete Frates, Compassionate Care ALS, and the Travis Roy Foundation. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a serious disease that continues to need increased funding to find a potential cure. I highly suggest if you have the funds to donate, do a Google search for those approved organizations and means of trying to make a difference.

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To those who might not know about two great gentlemen that continue the good fight every day to express the unselfish mission of awareness, I suggest you get to know who in fact Mr. Pete Frates and Mr. Travis Roy are and their message provided below in two incredible videos shared below via Youtube.

Pete Frates: The Inspiring Story Behind The Ice Bucket Challenge

Travis Roy: 20 Years And 11 Seconds

Another way of supporting this great cause is being in attendance. If you, friends, or family want to see some great on-ice action from current Boston Bruins players and others that called either Boston College or Boston University their alma mater, please click on this TicketMaster Link and get your tickets today as the event is selling fast. Each purchaser will have a chance to order up to eight tickets for this event. All tickets for this game are priced at $15.

Let’s Meet The Five Bruins Organizational Members Who Will Be In Attendance This Friday From The Walter Brown Arena

Ryan Donato

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

Donato is a special guest of this annual event as he spent three seasons playing for Harvard University before signing his pro contract with the Bruins in March. In those three seasons with the Crimson, Donato posted 104 points in 97 games and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist for the 2017-18 campaign along with the ECAC Player of The Year in the same season.

Drafted in the second-round In 2014, Ryan’s only played in 12 regular season games at the National Hockey League level. The now 22-year-old has proven he has what it takes or at least will continue to showcase his skills to secure a roster spot during training camp events that start to ramp up in the middle of September 2018. Ryan was also fortunate enough to get a taste of the Stanley Cup Playoff action, appearing in three games. He was unable to get on the scoresheet and was a plus/minus of -3 in those contests. With more NHL playing time during the upcoming 2018-19 campaign, if he can win a spot and create chemistry with linemates and be consistent point-wise, I can’t imagine a player of his age and talent can’t flirt with a 20-goal, 20-assist rookie season.

Ryan Fitzgerald

( Photo Credit: College Hockey Update )

Fitzgerald spent his entire four-year collegiate career with Boston College, contributing 132 points in 152 games. After leaving college after his final season, Ryan signed an entry-level contract in March of 2017 and joined the Providence Bruins for the remainder of the 2016-17 regular season adding two helpers in eight games. His breakout year was last season in his first full year of American Hockey League action, and he didn’t disappoint.

As a gritty forward for the Providence Bruins in 2017-18, the 5-foot-10, 177-pound fourth-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft caught the eye of many fans when he posted 21-16-37 numbers in 65 games played in his rookie year. Alongside his tenacity to chase pucks down and his effort in winning puck battles, the North Reading, Mass. native has impressive offensive attributes with his speed and professional release/shot. Fitzgerald will have an outstanding opportunity to showcase his skills during next month’s training camp festivities and could possibly win a job as a bottom-six role player.

Matt Grzelcyk

( Photo Credit: Rich Images Photography/Hockey East Online )

Grzelcyk played all four seasons at BU and was a threat on the ice whether in the defensive zone or pinching in offensively. In Matt’s career with the Terriers club, the third-round selection of the B’s in 2012 posted 95 points in 2015 games in the tough NCAA Hockey East Conference.  His strong defensive game with the Providence Bruins and his time in the NHL while covering for injured players was the best way for the Bruins brass to gauge his potential. After playing in 61 games last season, the Bruins signed the rugged “Krug-Like” defenseman to a 2-year extension in June.

The 24-year-old Grzelccyk was able to contribute 15 points in those 61 games during his rookie season and should not disappoint when it comes to strength training and on-ice workouts as the 2018-19 NHL season approaches. Tough to say at this point where he fits in when talking about next season’s roster with eight defensive NHLers and a few prospects challenging for a 6-spot job.

Charlie McAvoy

( Photo Credit:  Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images )

McAvoy played two seasons for the Terriers before signing his pro contract with the Bruins organization. During his time with Boston University, the talented defenseman posted 8-43-51 numbers in 75 games played. Charlie was drafted by the Bruins in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and only took a year for the Bruins to sign him and get him involved into the NHL lineup due to injuries before the first-round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup with the Ottawa Senators in April of 2017.

The 6-foot, 208-pound blueliner contributed three assists in his first playoff action for his Bruins team, but the 2017-18 campaign would be his coming-out party even though his rookie season would come with terrible health issues. Last season McAvoy played in 63 games in Black and Gold and posted 7-25-32 numbers at the highest level in the world. When McAvoy was healthy, many top hockey analysts had him in the running for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie. If I were a gambling man, I would definitely put a bet on McAvoy breaking the 50-point mark in the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Jay Pandolfo

( Photo Credit: Hockey Hall of Fame )

Pandolfo played four seasons for Boston University from 1992 to 1996 and in 136 career games for the Terriers, he posted 169 points. His best collegiate season was his senior year when he was the Hockey East Player of The Year with 38-29-67 numbers in only 40 games played in the 1995-96 campaign. After being drafted in the second round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the New Jersey Devils, Pandolfo would spend a better part of 14 years with the club before leaving the organization as a free agent in after the 2009-10 season. Jay played 12 games in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons in 2010-11 and would return to the NHL with the New York Islanders a year later posting 3 points in 62 games in 2011-12. The only goal of his career with the Islanders organization, it proved to be his milestone 100th career NHL goal and the last of his pro career.

The Burlington, Mass. native would have his dream come true when the Boston Bruins called and invited the then-37-year-old Pandolfo to training camp before the 2012-13 season on a professional tryout agreement, but after going pointless in 18 games, it appeared the dream could no longer continue, at least as a player. In January of 2014, Pandolfo announced his retirement from the game of hockey and immediately joined the Bruins front office as a member of the player development staff. In May of 2016, Jay was officially named to the Bruins NHL coaching staff where he is today. Pandolfo and other members like Jamie Langenbrunner have played pivotal roles in this Bruins organization when it comes to relating to players that continue to develop and what’s expected as a professional at this level.

With an already impressive developing depth in this Bruins organization, regardless of recent rankings from many of my mentors, I believe this Bruins prospect pool his going to get stronger, and with the continued guidance it’s only going to ramp skyward. It’s nice to have complete facilities that attract younger players to excel here and maybe have the necessities that entice a potential free agent in the future, who knows?

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Bruins And Noebels Camp Seem Further Apart Than Reported

( Photo Credit:  City-Press GbR )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Last week’s report out of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (German Pro League) of Berlin Polar Bears forward Marcel Noebels leaving his German team for the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins seemed to have many B’s fans confused in the translation. To many, the news of the signing meant it was an NHL contract and have been waiting patiently for the Bruins club to officially confirm, but this may be a case of certain German Media sports outlets leaking bad information.  The tweets below are not to discredit any media outlets, member’s articles, or social media activities but instead show an example of biting on the news for the sake of fast publications.

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Regardless of what was previously reported on the topic, it does seem like both sides are interested in making a deal, but it won’t be for an NHL contract, at least not for now. Providence Journal’s Bruins beat writer Mark Divver sheds some light to the contract talks and believes that Noebels will be signed to a Professional-Try-Out when the Bruins get closer to training camp events that are set to kickoff from the Warrior Ice Arena on September 10, 2018.

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The 6′-2″ 205-pound German native was originally drafted in the fourth round ( 118th Overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers shortly after the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. After playing in the Western Hockey League for two seasons (2010/11 – 2011/12) posted 48-64-112 numbers in 128 career games before turning pro in the 2012-13 season. In his first pro year, Noebels started the season in the ECHL with the defunct Trenton Titans where he’d tally 30 points in 31 games earning a promotion to the Flyers American Hockey League top minor-pro affiliate the Adirondack Phantoms where he’d finish the 2012-13 year posting 23 points in 43 games. The 2013-14 season brought a lot of disappointment as he posted 11 points in 52 games which would ultimately be his last North American Pro hockey experience.

The last four seasons the now 26-year-old has played in the DEL as mentioned above with the Berlin Solar Bears club and has 32-55-87 numbers in 144 games and seems ready to try to make a run at his first pro-NHL games but will have to survive a grueling Bruins training camp coming up in September. If he doesn’t make the cut with the B’s there’s heavy speculation he could, in fact, return back to German team as he might not want to entertain contract discussions that would have him start with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. On the other side of the coin,  if he wants to stay in North America and fight for that dream of making it to the highest level in the world of hockey, Providence would be a fantastic place for him to get back to and add another lethally skilled player to a sick 2018-19 AHL Bruins roster.

Amesbury Maples Legend Series: Alphonse Picard

Photo Courtesy of Amesbury Resident Tammi Picard/Perkins

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a die-hard Boston Bruins fan, researching and writing about the prospects that are developing in the many leagues around the world is one of my favorite things to do. The developmental process of a young player that just got drafted to his first game on Boston/TD Garden ice has been a pleasure to follow. Hockey development certainly sparks my interest when it comes to my hometown of Amesbury, Massachusetts and it’s rich hockey history as being one of America’s best Amateur/Semi-Pro teams.

In simpler times attending an outdoor ice hockey game was the thing to do in my area while showing the ultimate community pride for those who dawned the Kelly Green and White jerseys wasn’t out of the ordinary. Interest back in the early days of the Amesbury Maples organization would be so high, considerations for outdoor facilities with one thousand fan capacity were heavily talked about.

With the Maples having a successful career lasting a little over 75 years and being known as the longest-running amateur organization in the United States in that timeframe, youth interest was imperative for the team’s future sustainability and developing correctly was the utmost importance for that “next-guy-in” mentality. The most impressive thing about this research project to me is the numerous mentions of  Maples players giving back to the younger generations rising through youth hockey into the high school ranks.

There’s a long list of wonderful people that took their time back in the day and continue to do so while keeping the hockey tradition alive in my hometown and hope I have a chance to gather information about them to do more write-ups. In my newest research project, this gentleman stood out from the rest, and with the incredible help from his family and the legacy he left behind, It’s my honor to write about this wonderful person and hope you enjoy.

This is my second edition of my “Legend Series,” and if you have a moment and want to get caught up, I’d certainly appreciate if you’d check out my other articles in this series like my write up about the Great Archie Cloutier, and the Amesbury Hometown Rinks where the Maples organization played their games.

The Perseverance Of Alphonse Picard

Alphonse was born on November 21, 1913, in Amesbury, Massachusetts to the parents of John and Marie. During the time of Picard’s birth, the town of Amesbury was experiencing tremendous growth in the game of ice hockey, and that’s most likely due to the fact that the first official game was played at the St. Paul’s college-Preparatory school in Concord, New Hampshire.  Per James Dylan Laverance’s article in August of 2012, the first ice hockey games in the United States were played on the St. Paul’s Lower Pond after a faculty member named James Potter Conover visited Montreal in 1880-81 where he witnessed a Hockey match and brought back sticks, rules, and a leather puck back to the school in Concord.

When Alphonse was a young boy, older brothers Aurel, Everett, and Wilbrod already had a head start when it came to the game of ice hockey. The Picard clan would spend countless hours on a manmade rink made of snow and ice on a flat area of the family’s Thompson Street neighborhood. With many factories in town creating club teams in the “shop leagues” players like Aurel and Everett were amongst the towns best, and they played like it. Alphonse gained a ton of experience being so close to his older brothers as a player but also the much-needed intel from the oldest of the three in Wilbrod when it came to the management side of the organization and the keen eye of evaluating talent.

During the 1928-29 season, Alphonse’s dream came true as he joined two of his older brothers on the very talented Maples team. Picard was so gifted as a 16-year-old he played for two teams honoring a commitment to his  Amesbury High School hockey team but also was a pivotal addition to the Amesbury Maples Amateur Club which was a mix of talent from all ages. His aggressive move forward to the higher adult leagues were evidence this area breed some of the nation’s best which many national publications mentioned in the past. The Maples were established in 1924 by two young businessmen Armand Hudon and Emilien “Mickey” Jutras to create a town team, one that would rival any willing combatants.

 

Alphonse had a legendary hockey career that spanned over 27-years and was an asset to his team with the ability to excel at any position but goal when asked to. Finding ways to learn the complete game from every angle was essential to Picard while community pride and leadership would never take a back seat to the sport he loved. Although family-first was instilled, the passion for the game and willingness to find ways to volunteer time away from loved ones was one of the most honorable things I’ve read in this research.

Picard’s best years as a player were from the 1930-31 season to the 1940-41 campaign where he helped his Maples team to an impressive 149-39-11 record. In that timeframe, Picard and Maples club would appear in nine New England Amateur Athletic Union tournaments that at times were held at the old Boston Garden (1928 to 1995), Providence, Rhode Island Auditorium (1926 to 1989). After a 19-3-2 record in 1939-40 and capturing the New England Amateur Championship, the Maples team moved up to the National Amateur Athletic Union tournament to play the University of Minnesota in Lake Placid, New York. The Maples, unfortunately, lost to the Gophers team 9-4 ending a stellar year and one of the best Maples seasons in history.

 

Alphonse was also so good during that decade of dominance that he gained increased interest from the Boston Bruins organization. After the 1939-40 season, Picard caught the eye of Boston Garden General Manager Walter Brown after hearing so much talk about him from Brown’s assistant and former Haverhill, Massachusetts native Edward Powers who was often seen at Maples games and practices. Picard was offered a contract to try-out for Brown’s Boston Olympic hockey team which was a minor-pro affiliate of the National Hockey League Bruins. His obligation to his job and family was way to valuable at the time to accept the offer and returned to his beloved Maples team for 14 more years until he retired from the game after the 1956-57 season.

After Picard’s playing days were over, he spent a lot of time coaching and managing the club with the tutelage he learned from older brother Wilbrod in the past. He has spent countless hours organizing ice hockey training sessions on the Amesbury Park Pond to keep the development of younger talent flowing and interest in the game at peak levels. Many folks have said the number of interested players every year were upwards of 300 players would participate in tryouts for different positions available in youth hockey.

Town legend George Dodier who had a long Maples career mentioned Picard in an Amesbury News interview by Tom Lane saying “He was one of the founding fathers of Amesbury Youth Hockey, having spent over50 years involved.” Dodier added, “He was one of my first coaches – a real teacher type of coach who is patient and has a real knowledge of the game.”  Alphonse was also mentioned in the Amesbury News article as being a calm leader from behind the bench who never swore or screamed at his players. “If someone needed help, I preferred to pull them to the side and talk to them one-on-one,” Picard said.

One of my favorite stories told to me when I spoke to his daughter Tammi while gathering information on Picard, was the kindness shown to kids less fortunate. Over the many years of his involvement in youth hockey, he would gather articles of hockey equipment. When a kid would visit the Picard household and showed interest in the sport, many times Alphonse would send the child home with a bag full of everything needed to participate in the game he helped grow for so many years.

( Photo Courtesy of Amesbury Resident Tammi Picard/Perkins )

Alphonse had his son, Randi on skates at one-year-old on Lake Gardner.  He just loved hockey!  The youth hockey program was like a family business.  It involved many families all supporting a common goal. By devoting time and love to teach children values, respect, responsibility and the values of teamwork built character.

Picard’s knowledge of the game and personal experiences were also important when teaching his own children at young ages. Daughter Tammi learned the game on the homemade rink in the families backyard and would often ask her father to start a girls team with her desire of playing competitively. His son Randi a defenseman also learned to skate locally rising through the Amesbury Youth Hockey levels to have a successful four-year career at Amesbury High.

( Photo Courtesy of Amesbury Resident Tammi Picard/Perkins )

Randi also had a brief tenure at Tilton Academy before playing his collegiate hockey at Boston College. Randi was named Rookie of the year in 1964-65, winner of the Chiefie Lemoine Memorial Trophy in 1966-67 and 1967-68, and won the Archie Cloutier Trophy in 1967-68 as an Amesbury Maples player.

With some current and former Maples, and a few close friends as coaches, he founded the Amesbury Youth Hockey League in Amesbury in 1957.  Door to door canvassing for donations and local “Tag Day,” funded the program in the early days.  He purchased a skate sharpening machine placed in his basement and sharpened all the kid’s skates for free, sometimes taking an entire day.  As his bantams and peewees grew to high school ages, he devoted his time to coaching the Amesbury High School. On December 29, 1964,  Alphonse was appointed Assistant Hockey Coach of Amesbury High School by Judson R. Merrill for a mere salary of $200.00, and he proudly accepted the job. 

Alphonse last skated at 80 years old with his son Randi and grandson J  at the Maples Reunion/Alumni game.  All three skated around the rink proudly carrying a Maples banner during the period of this very emotional game.

Picard found local employment in the early years at Amesbury Metal Products and the Bailey’s Corporation before finding jobs outside the community with the Kingston Manufacturing Company and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Picard passed away on November 7,1999, just two weeks before his 86th birthday. Although his contributions to the game and the world ended in the final year of the century, his legacy lives on today with every coach, parent, and volunteer that inspires a child to try and succeed at the game of hockey.

( Photo Courtesy of Amesbury Resident Tammi Picard/Perkins )

In closing, I’d like to add a message from daughter Tammi and Son Randi who spent time working on this project either from close by or far away. It’s my honor to learn so much of what this gentleman was like on and off the ice. It’s important for me to learn more about this hockey club and I enjoy giving back to those interested in learning about one of the nations best amateur/semi-pro organizations and the common goal of keeping the hockey dream alive in our community back in the day.

From Tammi and Randi,

He was as talented a player as there was during this era but his legacy was he impacted many more people than he ever faced on the ice and he changed a lot of lives.  We love you Dad,  Randi and Tammi

Alphonse Picard

1913-1999

If anyone has information or photo’s regarding the Amesbury Maples Hockey team or organization for the purpose of my future articles, please send me an email to the address below and let’s see if we can get together enough related material to publish a post about a family member or friend that played on the team.  These are fun projects but to keep the rhythm going, I need your help!!

Send info and photos to blackngoldhockeyblog@gmail.com 

Former Bruins Player Gets Coaching Job In OHL

( Photo Credit: Alchetron )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The Ontario Hockey Leagues Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds announced today that the club has hired former Boston Bruins player Jamie Tardif as new Assistant coach.  Tardif hung up the skates after the 2017-18 campaign with the ECHL Quad City Mallards after spending the previous three seasons over in Europe playing in the German DEL league for the Mannheim Eagles. The 33-year-old Welland, Ontario, Canada native played nine of his twelve years of minor-pro hockey in North America and even had a cup of coffee in the National Hockey League.

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The 6′-0″ 205-pound winger was originally selected by the Calgary Flames in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft after he finished playing in his second-year with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. In 324 career games of Canadian Junior Hockey with the Petes, Jamie posted 155-136-291 numbers in five years of service before turning pro in the 2006-07 season. Playing a majority of his minor-pro hockey with the Detriot Red Wings organization’s Grand Rapids Griffins American Hockey League affiliate,  he posted 154 points in 316 games before leaving the Wings organization via free agency.

On July 5, 2011, the Boston Bruins came calling five days after the NHL’s Free Agent Frenzy began and agreed on a two-year, two-way contract. Spending his first season in the B’s organization with Providence he had 15-15-30 numbers but worked hard with current NHL Bruins bench boss Bruce Cassidy and coaching staff to produce a minor-pro career high in goals when he posted 30-15-45 numbers in 2012-13. In that same season, the then 28-year-old Tardif’s dream would come true when he was called up to the highest level in the world where he would make his first NHL appearance against his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs in February of 2013. Per Wikipedia, he was called up for the injured Brad Marchand.  In two career games in the NHL Jamie registered zero points. In 487 career games in the AHL, Tardif posted 142-125-267 numbers with 45-30-75 totals while playing for Providence.

Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Raftis had these words to say below in the official press release from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds article on July 26, 2018, that can be seen HERE.

“We are very fortunate to add Jamie to our coaching staff” started Raftis.

“Jamie’s experience through his junior and pro career, along with his passion and approach to the game will be a great resource for both our players and staff. His ability to work on the fine details will only further our commitment to player development” he concluded.

Also, in the above-mentioned article, Tardif responded with his own words about his addition to the Greyhounds coaching staff.

“I am extremely honored and fortunate to have the opportunity to join a great organization.  I want to thank Tim Lukenda and Kyle Raftis for this great opportunity.  I look forward to working with John and Jordan and creating a great working relationship. My family and I are looking forward to becoming a part of a great community” stated Tardif. 

What’s Next For Bruins Prospect Jesse Gabrielle?

( Photo Credit:  NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

At the 2015 National Hockey League Entry Draft from Sunrise, Florida the Boston Bruins selected ten times in the seven-round event to replenish the prospect pool orchestrated by first-year General Manager Don Sweeney. Regardless of popular opinion about how this franchise has drafted lately and who the club could’ve had, I believe in the process of developing and retooling properly while being patient. Many hockey fans have seen late round selections go on to have successful NHL careers and I believe the B’s have one in Saskatchewan, Canada native Jesse Gabrielle.

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The 5′-11″ 205-pound left winger has been a pleasure to watch throughout his Canadian Junior career before joining the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins prior to the 2017-18 campaign. Watching his game and skill set making the rounds in his Western Hockey League career making appearances with the Brandon Wheat Kings (84 Games), two tours with the Regina Pats (60 Games), and the Prince George Cougars (133 Games). The now 21-year-old Gabrielle has a serious chance to make some noise over this offseason assuming he’ll be fully recovered from an injury that held him out the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup festivities that were held in his return to his Provinces Capitol of Regina, Saskatchewan.

After starting his first full year of pro hockey in Providence, Jesse didn’t meet the expectations set for himself nor the top minor-pro affiliates management team. After 21 games and four points with the Rhode Island club, he was sent back to the Canadian Juniors in the WHL after his rights were traded from Prince George to Regina. In 27 games for Regina last season, Jesse contributed 19 points in the regular season and zero points in two games in the playoffs before succumbing to his injury calling it a year. As Player Development Coordinator Jamie Langenbrunner said at this year’s development camp from the media room at Warrior Ice Arena, players of Gabrielle’s and later draft classes were granted camp graduate status and didn’t need to attend the annual event.

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In my opinion, this offseason Jesse has a lot to prove to management and he’ll challenge for roster spots in either the NHL or back in the AHL with camps starting up in September. Where Gabrielle plays in the pro hockey levels is totally up to him but going back to play in junior hockey won’t happen as he’s not eligible for a return. I would have to say that a full season in the AHL with Providence would suit both sides fairly, but would have to see him not be ready for that opportunity and go down a level in the ECHL with the Bruins Premier “AA” minor-pro affiliate the Atlanta Gladiators.

I know he’s an unproven commodity in the AHL but I always have to look back at his WHL career where he posted 228 points in 277 games and believe he certainly has the talent to stay with Providence for the upcoming 2018-19 AHL season. Take a look at the video below for a small sample size of his offensive capabilities.

Gabrielle compares his game to current NHL Bruins forward Brad Marchand and even said so in an interview with BostonBruins.com’s  Eric Russo back in September of 2017 when Jesse was in town for training camp. Gabrielle had these things to say below and can also be traced back to the original article that Russo wrote HERE.

“I try to learn from him,” said Gabrielle, who is entering his first pro season after notching 35 goals and 29 assists – to go along with 88 penalty minutes – in 61 games for Prince George of the WHL last season.”

“He’s my favorite player and I try to emulate my game after him. I just try to be a sponge around him. When you can watch him play and experience it and have him on the bench….I’m just trying to be a sponge and learn from him.”

“It was fun up until you get over that line just a little bit,” said Gabrielle, who had two shots on goal in just over 10 minutes of ice time against the Flyers, while playing on a line with Riley Nash and Noel Acciari.

“The whole game it was going good. I was getting underneath a lot of their guys’ skin. A lot of NHL guys were coming after me and it was a lot of fun. Like I said, it’s just a learning experience. You live and you learn. It’s not going to happen again.”

“I went up to [Marchand] after the game and talked to him about it,” said Gabrielle, “and he said, ‘You just got to find that line.’ He said, ‘You’re going to get caught sometimes and you just got to learn from it.'”

Brad Marchand had these things to say about Gabrielle’s game also in Russo’s article seen below.

“For sure, especially early on,” Marchand said when asked if he saw similarities between himself and Gabrielle. “He’s doing whatever he has to do to open some eyes and make a name for himself and he’s good at what he does. He had the whole team [the Flyers] hating on him. He had a couple 2-on-1 opportunities, almost scored a goal. He did everything that he was supposed to do.”

“I was the same way coming up. You just try to find your little niche that makes you different from other players and he definitely has that.”

Bruce Cassidy also chimed in on Russo’s article on Boston Bruins.com giving his personal evaluation of the gritty, speedy winger.

“Gets on top of pucks and disrupts the forecheck, very similar to March,” said Cassidy. “He’s got a good shot. He wants to be an agitator, so it is a good comparison. It’s a little premature, but for Jesse – for anybody – it’s a good player to emulate, a guy that fought his way out of the American Hockey League to the NHL, played on a lower line and worked his way up and just wouldn’t be denied. Definitely a good role model for him.”

“It happened in Development Camp, so here’s a guy who walks on the edge, and I thought played a very good hockey game [Thursday],” Cassidy said of Gabrielle. “At ice level, he had a few other guys frustrated. If that is what makes him tick and he can stay on the right side of the line, then we’re OK with it.

“But clearly he crossed it [against the Flyers]. I think if as a young guy, you try to take on the officials in the National Hockey League, you are going to lose, and he lost tonight.”

Below is a 2014 scouting report provided by Elite Prospects writer Curtis Joe.

A gritty winger who plays with an edge and has a nose for the net. Plays an agitative style and is very effective on the forecheck. Possesses good skating ability and is able to evade larger opponents with ease. All-in-all, a scrappy, skilled winger that can be difficult to play against.

2018-19 Providence Bruins Projected Roster

( Photo Credit:  Heather Rose / Smoke & Honey Photography )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

While many Boston Bruins fans are scrambling their brains with what the 2018-19 National Hockey League roster could look like, I wanted to look at how the roster might shape up with the clubs top minor-pro American Hockey League affiliate. The AHL’s Providence Bruins team has seen some changes since the NHL’s free-agent frenzy happened on July 1st with significant additions and unfortunate departures. In the 2016-17 AHL campaign the Baby B’s were one of the best minor-pro franchise playing their best hockey in the second half of the season to end the year with a record of 43-23-6-4. That year the Providence club went all the way to the Calder Cup Playoff Conference Finals losing the best-of-seven third-round series 4-1 to the hands of the Syracuse Crunch.

The 2017-18 season for the Providence club brought a similar result to the season prior going 45-26-3-2 but failed to get out of the first round of the postseason being matched up to a Lehigh Valley Phantoms team that wanted it more and downed the B’s in the best-of-five series 3-1. The 2018-19 season is going to be yet another challenge for second-year Providence Head Coach Jay Leach as he prepares his lineup options over the offseason while wondering who the franchise will hire as assistant coach Spencer Carbery departed to be the next head coach of the Hershey Bears. Regardless of who joins coaches Jay Leach and Trent Whitfield behind the bench for the upcoming season, when I look at all the players that could with the Providence team next season, there’s an element of excitement as I’ve faithfully watched every AHL Bruins games for the last five years.

The Departures

After the July 1st free agency the Providence club has moved on from six players from last season and three that remain unsigned. Players such as defenseman Sena Acolatse (Signed in DEL), forward Kenny Agostino (Signed with Montreal), goaltender Jordan Binnington (Returned from loan to St. Louis),  Forward Austin Czarnik (Signed with Calgary), forward Justin Hickman (Signed in Norway), forward  Adam Payerl (Signed in DEL). Players that remain unsigned and don’t look like a Providence return is in the future are players such as former Bruins 2012 draft seventh-round draft pick forward Colton Hargrove, Veteran forward, Josh Hennessy, and veteran forward Chris Porter. Longtime Providence defenseman and team Captain Tommy Cross was also passed over for an extension with the club and signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets shortly after the July 1st Free Agency Deadline.

New Providence Additions

With the departures mentioned above, new additions are needed to fill out the supporting cast of the upcoming Providence Bruins season. This year’s free agent signings that are seemingly headed to play in the State of Rhode Island are 28-year-old forward Martin Bakos, 25-year-old forward Mark McNeill, 28-year-old defenseman Cody Goloubef, and 22-year-old forward Karson Kuhlman. Players returning to the club after agreeing on contract extensions from the Bruins this summer are 23-year-old forward Anton Blidh, 23-year-old Colby Cave, and defenseman Connor Clifton.

The 2018-19 Providence Bruins Schedule

You can view the upcoming 2018-19 Providence Bruins season schedule by clicking HERE. Below is a breakdown of the season schedule when it comes to playing teams home and away. Next season will once again operate on a 76 game schedule that officially starts on the road in Hartford, Connecticut on Friday, October 5, 2018, and the regular season wraps up at the Dunkin” Donuts Center on Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Springfield Thunderbirds                                            14 Games  (7H+7A)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers                                             12 Games  (6H+6A)

Hartford WolfPack                                                        10 Games  (5H+5A)

Charlotte Checkers                                                      8 Games  (4H+4A)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins                        6 Games   (3H+3A)

Lehigh Valley Phantoms                                            6 Games  (3H+3A)

Hershey Bears                                                                 6 Games  (3H+3A)

Laval Rocket                                                                     2 Games  (1H+1A)

Rochester Americans                                                 2 Games  (1H+1A)

Belleville Senators                                                       2 Games  (1H+1A)

Utica Comets                                                                  2 Games  (1H+1A)

Toronto Marlies                                                            2 Games  (1H+1A)

Binghamton Devils                                                     2 Games  (1H+1A)

Syracuse Crunch                                                         2 Games  (1H+1A)

I reached out to my co-host Josh Bemis to help out with our 2018-19 Providence Bruins roster projections, and he came up with his ideas below. Bemis is a key member of the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast as he joins me in our second-hour segment where we talk about all the Bruins prospects and give weekly updates during the regular season and playoffs. Josh also covers the AHL Bruins for thesinbin.net website which is a fantastic way to catch up on all minor-pro hockey news.

Bemis’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Frederic  –   Szwarz

 Koppanen  –  Forsbacka-Karlsson  –  Bakos  /  Kuhlman

Gabrielle  –  Cave  –  Senyshyn

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Goloubef

Lauzon  –  Clifton

Breen  –  Vaakanainen  /  Johansson

Goaltenders

Vladar

McIntyre

Below are my thoughts on the potential roster I see Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach role out for his second year behind the B’s bench in 2018-19. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with the amazing group of players in the developing depths of this Bruins organization.

Allred’s Roster Projections

Forwards

Cehlarik  –  Forsbacks-Karlsson  –  Bakos / Szwarz

Koppanen  –  Frederic  –  Senyshyn

Gabrielle  –  Cave / Kuhlman  –  Fitzgerald

Blidh  –  Hughes  –  McNeil

Defense

Zboril  –  Clifton

Lauzon  –  Andersson /Johansson

Sherman  /  Vaakanainen  –  Goloubef  /  Breen

With both of our projections above, we’re just spitballing ideas and moving forward as a remains-to-be-seen-scenario.  At this point in the offseason, Bruins management still has to figure where players are going to be during the upcoming season. Who knows if defenseman Vaakanainen is actually going to play which I believe he is but there’s also the option of continued development over in Europe.

The Europe option can also be said for 2018 second-round defensive selection Axel Andersson who was playing in Sweden for his Djurgardens IF J20 club.  The 18-year-old Andersson also has an option in the Canadian Hockey League for the upcoming season if the Bruins see fit that he gets proper development on North American ice before joining the Providence Bruins for his first year of pro hockey.

The forward core mentioned in both of our predictions above could drastically change by this fall when the Bruins organization holds it’s annual Rookie camp starting on Thursday, September 6, 2018, and Bruins NHL Training Camp at the Warrior Ice Arena starting on Monday, September 10, 2018. All upcoming training camp events held at the Brighton, Massachusetts facility are all open to the public unless updated by both the Warrior Ice Arena or Bruins organization. Stay Tuned…………………….

NCAA Bruins Prospects Playing In New England In 2018-19

( Photo Credit:  NHL.com )

By: Mark Allred   |   Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

As a Writer/CEO/Founder here at the Black N’ Gold Productions team, it’s important for me and some of my great teammates to focus on the lower levels of the Boston Bruins organization and prospects scattered all over the world. Now, I can’t just warm up the BNG private jet and fly over to Russia to watch 2017 National Hockey League seventh-round draft pick Pavel Shen, but living in New England certainly has its benefits to catch some B’s prospects throughout the six-state region.

As a proponent of the “old eye-test,” I enjoy taking the time and the opportunity to see the Bruins developing youth as I start to track their progress the day they were selected. I live in the northeastern part of Massachusetts and reap the benefits of the highways such as Interstate 95 and Interstate 495 when going out on a local scouting mission with a prospect in the area. Also, a huge fan of MBTA public transportation and Uber/Lyft when a vehicle is not available and a trip is needed to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island to cover the B’s top-minor pro affiliate in the American Hockey League.

Below are two Boston Bruins prospects that are set to play for their respected University’s in the upcoming 2018-19 Mens Division 1 seasons and places throughout New England where fans can go and watch.  This is a great way to see the young Bruins stars of tomorrow before they hit the pro ranks in the AHL or NHL.

Curtis Hall  –  Yale University

( Photo Credit:   NewsLocker )

The 6′-3″ 196-pound Princeton, New Jersey native was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry draft and is committed to play at Yale as a freshman. Before being selected by the B’s, the skilled center played in the United States Hockey League with the Youngstown, Phantoms and posted 31 points in 54 games in his second year in the league. Hall was invited to the Team USA’s World Junior Summer Showcase camp which is being held this year in Kamloops, British Columbia to prepare for the upcoming 2019 World Junior Championships from Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Draft Analyst Steve Kournianos had this to say about Hall’s game in his March 3, 2018, scouting report article.

Strong, powerful two-way center with speed who can finish in a variety of ways. It feels like you can count on Hall to get at least one breakaway per game in addition to the three or four odd-man rushes he initiates. His overall puck skills are good for a kid who is willing to play physical, and most of his shifts are spent buzzing opposing defenders who are looking to break out. Hall, who is committed to Yale, is more of a finisher than a playmaking pivot, but his size, instincts, and speed make him valuable on both the penalty kill and late in games.

Check out Hall and his Yale Bulldogs team play at these New England locations in the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Friday, October 26, 2018, Away against the Brown University Bears- Meehan Auditorium 225 Hope St, Providence, RI 02912   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 9,2018, Home vs. Harvard University – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 10, 2018, Home vs. Dartmouth College Big Green – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, December 7, 2018, Home vs. the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers- Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, December 8, 2018, Home vs. the Union College Dutchmen – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Away against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen – Mullins Center 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA 01003   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, December 31, 2018, Home vs. the University of Connecticut Huskies – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 5, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 7, 2019, vs. the University of Maine Black Bears – Cross Insurance Arena 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, ME 04101   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 12, 2019,  Home vs. the Sacred Heart Pioneers – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 18, 2019, Home vs. the Clarkson Golden Knights – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 19, 2019, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 2, 2019, Home vs. the Brown University Bears – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 8, 2019, Away against the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – People’s United Center 305 Sherman Ave, Hamden, CT 06518   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 15, 2019, Home vs. the Colgate University Raiders – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Home vs. the Cornell University Big Red -Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 22, 2019, Away against the Dartmouth College Big Green – Rupert C. Thompson Arena 4 Summer St, Hanover, NH 03755    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 23, 2019, Away against the Harvard University Crimson – The Bright-Landry Hockey Center 65 N Harvard St, Boston, MA 02163   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, March 1, 2019, Home vs. the Princeton University Tigers -Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 2, 2019, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Ingalls Rink 73 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT 06511   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Jeremy Swayman – University of Maine

( Photo Credit:  GoBlackBears.com )

Swayman certainly surprised many as a fourth-round selection of the B’s in 2017. The 6′-2″ 187-pound goaltender joined the Black Bears last season and pretty much won the starting job from the get-go to start the 2017-18 season as a freshman. Jeremy went on to start his NCAA hockey career with a season one record of 15-12-3, a 2.90 Goals-Against-Average, and .914 Save Percentage. The 19-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native was 28 stops away from a one-thousand save season in 32 games played in 2017-18. After talking to him at this year’s Bruins development camp from the Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Massachusetts he mentioned that this offseason he was going to work harder with his weight room workouts and on-ice training regiment.

Sid Osmond of Dobber Prospects had this to say about Swaymans game in an article revision in July of 2018.

Most freshmen goalies in the NCAA either serve as a backup with limited ice time or platoon with the established starter. Swayman walked into Orono and with hard work and solid play stole the starter job for the University of Maine. Against older and more mature competition, in a division including the Hockey East powerhouses that are Boston University and Boston College, Providence, and Northeastern, Swayman improved his GAA from his draft year to 2.72. He also improved his save percentage, finishing his freshman season with a .921. His first year at college, his club lacked goal scoring, but Swayman held his own. He will more than likely remain at Maine next season to continue developing on a squad with a lot of returning players.

Check out Swayman and his Maine Black Bears team play at these New England locations in the upcoming  2018-19 season.

Friday, October 12, 2018, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints –  Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, October 12, 2018, Home vs. the St. Lawrence University Saints  – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, October 26, 2018,  Away against the University of Connecticut Huskies – XL Center One Civic Center Plaza Hartford, CT 06103   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, October 27, 2018, Away against the University of Connecticut Huskies – XL Center One Civic Center Plaza Hartford, CT 06103   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 2, 2018, Home vs. the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 3, 2018, Home vs. the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 16, 2018, Away against the Boston University Terriers – Agganis Arena 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215     Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 17, 2018, Away against the Boston University Terriers – Agganis Arena 925 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston MA 02215     Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 23, 2018, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, November 24, 2018, Home vs. the Quinnipiac University Bobcats – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, November 30, 2018, Away against the University of Vermont Catamounts – Guterson Fieldhouse 147 Spear St. Burlington VT 05405  Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, December 1, 2018, Away against the University of Vermont Catamounts – Guterson Fieldhouse 147 Spear St. Burlington VT 05405  Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Wednesday, January 2, 2019,  Home vs. the Colorado College Tigers – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 7, 2019, vs. the Yale University Bulldogs – Cross Insurance Arena 1 Civic Center Square, Portland, ME 04101   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 11, 2019, Home vs. the Northeastern University Huskies – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 12, 2019, Home vs. the Northeastern University Huskies – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Thursday, January 17, 2019, Away against the Boston College Eagles – Kelley Rink at Conte Forum 140 Common Wealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Monday, January 21, 2019, Home vs. the University of New Hampshire Wildcats -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, January 25, 2019, Home vs. the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, January 26, 2019, Home vs. the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 1, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 2, 2019, Away against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats – Whittemore Cente 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 8, 2019, Home vs. the Providence College Friars – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 9, 2019,  Home vs. the Providence College Friars – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 15, 2019, Away against the Merrimack College Warriors –  Lawler Rink 315 Turnpike St. North Andover, MA 01845    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Away against the Merrimack College Warriors –  Lawler Rink 315 Turnpike St. North Andover, MA 01845    Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Friday, February 22, 2019, Home vs. the Boston College Eagles – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, February 23, 2019, Home vs. the Boston College Eagles – Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 2, 2019, Away against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen -Mullins Center 200 Commonwealth Ave, Amherst, MA 01003   Schedule / Ticket Info / Website

Saturday, March 9, 2019, Home vs. the Boston University Terriers- Alfond Arena ‎College Ave; Orono, Maine 04473       Schedule / Ticket Info / Website