Hoof Beats: Summer pro signings continue

Cam Talbot is back in Alberta after signing a free agent contract with the Calgary Flames.

The Flames are the fourth NHL team for the former Charger goaltender, who turned pro in 2010. Talbot has a 138-112-24 record with a 2.60 goals against average and a .915 save percentage in 288 career NHL games.

Last season, Talbot had a 3.36 GAA and .893 save percentage in 31 games with the Edmonton Oilers before being traded to Philadelphia in February. He made only four appearances three starts with the Flyers.

“Coming here, I want to prove that I still have a lot of hockey left in me and there’s no better team to do it with than this one,” Talbot told the Calgary media on Saturday.

Meanwhile, other UAH alumni were signing minor-league deals.

Josh Kestner is returning to the AHL after signing a one-year deal with the Grand Rapids Griffins. In his first full pro season, Kestner helped the Newfoundland Growlers win the ECHL Kelly Cup last season with 22 regular-season and nine playoff goals.

Matt Salhany will return to the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL. Salhany, who finished his UAH career in 2017, scored 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games.

Staying with Salhany in Adirondack is Hans Gorowsky, who signed a one-year contract with the Thunder. Gorowsky scored two goals in four games with the Thunder after 12 goals in his senior season with 12 the Chargers.

Tyler Poulsen has re-upped with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL. In his first full pro season, Poulsen had 15 goals and 15 assists in 57 games.

On Tuesday, Brennan Saulnier also signed with Rapid City. Saulnier spent last year in Sweden, scoring 30 points in 11 games for Division 2 IFK Munkfors and seven points in 17 games for Division 1 Morrums GolS.

In the coaching ranks, Jay Woodcroft, who played for UAH from 1996-2000, agreed to a contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers through the 2021-22 season to coach their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Woodcroft led the Condors to the Western Conference regular-season title and their first AHL playoff berth.

Corbett on bench for U.S. U-17s: UAH head coach Mike Corbett will be on the staff for the United States at the 2019 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament next month in Germany, USA Hockey announced on Monday.

Corbett will assist Alaska-Anchorage coach Matt Curley along with Ohio State’s Dave Caruso and USA Hockey’s Rich Hansen.

The Five Nations Tournament, which will take place in Füssen, Germany from August 12-17, will also include teams from Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.

Teets named Academic All-American: Senior John Teets was named to the CoSIDA All-America At-Large Second Team on June 24.

Teets, who joined the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers after finishing his senior season with the Chargers, earned a 4.0 GPA majoring in finance.

Teets played all 38 games for the Charges this season, earning six points and blocking 55 shots.

Development added to master plan; AD Brophy reassigned

The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees physical properties committee has approved the addition of the Executive Plaza mixed-use development to the UAH campus master plan. The approval came at the board meetings in Tuscaloosa on June 6.

The development would include a multi-use facility that would become the new on-campus home for UAH hockey, basketball, and volleyball.

“The next step will be to hire a master developer who will be responsible for recruiting companies and organizations to locate in the development,” according to UAH spokesman Ray Garner. “You can expect a development timeline of several years. The burgeoning Huntsville market will drive the types and pace of the development going forward.”

The development will move forward with a new athletics director.

Dr. E.J. Brophy, who was UAH’s A.D. since 2011, has been reassigned within the university. The news was first reported by WAFF’s Carl Prather.

Sources say the move was decided months ago. Brophy will remain with UAH until his contract expires next year. An interim athletics director has not yet been named.

No official reason has been given or announcement has been made. Brophy’s name has been removed from the UAH athletics web site.

Kestner a champion: Former Charger Josh Kestner helped the Newfoundland Growlers claim the Kelly Cup as ECHL champions.

The Growlers defeated the Toledo Walleye in six games, finishing the series with a 4-3 victory on June 5. Kestner had a goal and an assist in the clincher.

Kestner finished the ECHL playoffs with nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 21 games.

The Huntsville native missed Game 3 of the finals after being hit in the head with an elbow in Game 2.

Teets named Academic All-District again: UAH defenseman John Teets earned his second Google Cloud Academic All-District At-Large Team honor on May 22.

Teets, who joined the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers after finishing his senior season with the Chargers, earned a 4.0 GPA majoring in finance.

Teets played all 38 games for the Charges this season, earning six points and blocking 55 shots.

Hoof Beats: Recruiting and pro updates, Frenchy Open set

There’s been a lot of news coming out of Huntsville lately – most of which has centered around a new arena – and lost in the shuffle has been a strong trio of commitments for the upcoming 2019-2020 season:

Daneel Lategan, F, 6-1, 180, 1998, Cape Town, South Africa, Langley Rivermen (BCHL). Yeah, you read that right, UAH received a commitment from a hockey player born in South Africa. Although he played his minor and junior hockey in Canada, this has to be a first for UAH hockey. Cool backstory aside, Lategan is a freakin’ hockey player. He’s a kid who’s gone from playing Midget AA a few years back to playing in Canada’s top junior A circuit (outside of major junior) due to sheer tenacity, mental toughness and a consistent commitment to getting better. That’s no small feat and speaks volumes about his character. So it should come as no surprise that his game exudes those traits that led him to a D-I commitment. Lategan is extremely aggressive and physical, regularly dishing out big hits as the first one in on the forecheck. He’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas and do the little things that help make a team successful. The scouts at Neutral Zone had this to say about him:

All in all, Lategan is solid recruit whose game is trending upward. After scoring just five goals and five assists in 49 games in 2017-2018, he put up a 61/20/20/40 final slash line, which was good for third on the team. Given his history, I’m hopeful he’ll rise to challenge once again and be a lineup regular from day one.

Tanner Hickey, D, 5-10, 175, 1999, Leduc, Alta., Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL). Hickey committed to UAH on the same day as Lategan, making April 11 a marquee day for the 2019-2020 recruiting class. I’m really excited about Hickey. He’s a right-handed shot and comes from a hockey family. His brother played at Boston University and is Buffalo Sabres draft pick (who, coincidentally, was a teammate of former Charger Kurt Gosselin with the AHL’s Rochester Americans this past season), so he knows what it takes to play big time college hockey. Scouts laud him for his heady two-way play, speed/edges, quick shot and strength for his size. “Hicks” can put up points, as evidenced by his 11 goals, 12 assists, and 23 points in just 39 regular-season games for the 2018-2019 season, and is also said to be a leader in the dressing room. Quality pick-up for Coach Corbett and his staff. Should slot in to lineup right away.

Lucas Bahn, D, 5-10, 170, 1999, Hendersonville, Tenn., West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL). The former University of New Hampshire commit recently decided to play his college hockey closer to home when he gave his commitment to UAH in late April. An alum of the Nashville Jr. Predators hockey program, Bahn has played all over the continent these last few years. After playing a couple of years of Midget AAA for the vaunted Skipjacks Hockey Club in Pennsylvania, he played a season in the USHL split between Sioux City and Des Moines, Iowa, and then went out to British Columbia for 2018-2019. Bahn is very athletic with a lot of upside. Moving the puck and generating offense from the back end are his strengths, and you’ll notice him right away for his skating ability. Check out this clip to see what I’m talking about:

As he continues adds weight and gets stronger, his game should grow by leaps and bounds. Expect Bahn to push for playing time early, and put a few extra butts in the seats for UAH home games with friends and family making the short trek down to see him don the blue and white. 

All three were needed for this class. Maybe we’ll hear another name or two added to the Herd in the coming months. — Asher Kitchens

Chargers in the pros: Two Chargers are still playing pro hockey as their teams continue to advance in their league playoffs.

Josh Kestner and the Newfoundland Growlers are in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference finals. Kestner scored in Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Florida Everblades as the Growlers took a 2-0 series lead, giving him four goals and eight points in 13 playoff games this season.

The Western Conference finals of the ECHL features John Teets and the Tulsa Oilers, who are down 1-0 in their series against Toledo.

Matt Salhany and the Adirondack Thunder lost in the first round of the ECHL playoffs to Manchester, scoring two goals in five games. Cam Knight and the Fort Wayne Komets also lost in the first round to Toledo.

In the AHL, Kurt Gosselin had an assist but the Rochester Americans were swept in three games in the first round by the Toronto Marlies.

In other news, forward Madison Dunn signed a pro contract for the 2019-20 season with the Corsairs de Nantes, a Division 1 club in France.

Frenchy Open set: The 2019 UAH Hockey golf tournament fundraiser is set for Saturday, June 22 at the Hampton Cove River Course.

A pre-tournament social outing is Friday, June 21 at TopGolf in Huntsville.

Registration is $150 per individual and $600 per team. Hole and tournament sponsorships are available.

For more information, contact assistant coach Lance West at 907-322-3092 or westl@uah.edu.

The program’s biggest summer fundraiser is named for Jean-Marc Plante,
who died in 2001. Also known as “Frenchy,” the Laval, Quebec, native played for UAH from 1988-92, scoring 16 goals and 19 assists in 94 games.

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Hoof Beats: Kestner off to solid start in ECHL

Josh Kestner, who led UAH with a modern Division I-era school-record-tying 24 goals last season, is playing well in his first full pro season with the Newfoundland Growlers of the ECHL.

The season started a little late for Kestner, who was on injured reserve, but he scored two breakaway goals in his second game back in a 3-2 loss to Brampton on Oct. 27. The Huntsville native scored seven goals in his first eight games with the Growlers. Kestner has seven assists to give him 14 points in 15 games.

Kestner signed a tryout contract with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies after his career at UAH ended in March. He was assigned to Newfoundland during the preseason.

Other former Chargers in the ECHL: Matt Salhany scored twice for Adirondack on Oct. 17 against Newfoundland, but spending time on injured reserve has limited his action to five games this season. He recently returned to the lineup and has already produced a goal and an assist.

Tyler Poulsen started the season on the reserve list for Rapid City. He has an assist in nine games since his return.

Also in the North American minor leagues, Cody Dion (2010-11) has three goals and five assists in 10 games for Roanoke of the SPHL.

in the big leagues, the 2018-19 season has been a struggle for Cam Talbot, who is in his coldest spell of his NHL career. The Oilers netminder has a .873 save percentage in his last six starts, all losses, allowing 23 goals. Edmonton has been playing Mikko Koskinen in goal more over Talbot, who has a 3.29 goals against average and .889 save percentage in 15 starts.

Danchenko signs NLI: The Chargers got their first player in the new signing period on Tuesday when Adrian Danchenko signed his National Letter of Intent.

Danchenko, who announced his commitment to UAH on August 25, is a forward with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the NAHL. has 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists) in 18 games this season. The Palm City, Fla., native had 12 goals in 55 regular-season games with the Knights season.

The signing period for all Division I and II sports except football and basketball started on November 14, and will go all the way to August 1, 2019.

Sinclair named WCHA goaltender of the week: UAH goaltender Mark Sinclair was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Week on Nov. 19 for his performance in the Chargers’ 3-1 win at Alaska on Nov. 16. Sinclair stopped 44 of 45 shots, the most saves in Division I that week. It was the first collegiate victory for Sinclair.

Club team update: The UAH club hockey team’s first season back since 1985 is in full swing.

The Chargers (2-5-0) began their first season in October with a two-game series against UAB at the Huntsville IcePlex. The Chargers lost 9-3 in the first game, then the Blazers rallied late to win 6-5 in the second game.

UAH played three games at the Scholar Shootout at Vanderbilt from Nov. 9-11, losing 8-1 to Michigan, winning 3-1 to Clemson, and falling 3-2 to Vanderbilt. In the Chargers’ first victory, Alex Reichle stopped 62 of 63 Clemson shots. The Chargers split a two-game series at Middle Tennessee State on Nov. 16-17, winning 5-2 and losing 6-3.

Alexander McLeod has nine goals in UAH’s last five games.

UAH’s next action is Jan. 11-12 at Auburn. The Chargers host Middle Tennessee State at the IcePlex on Feb. 15-16. The Chargers will play more home games starting next season when they join the Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference (SECHC).

For more information on the UAH Chargers club hockey team, visit uahclubhockey.com.

Hoof Beats: Updates on Talbot and other Charger pros

Cam Talbot and the Edmonton Oilers finished a disappointing season on Saturday, missing the Stanley Cup playoffs after a run to the Western Conference final a year ago.

The former Charger (2007-10) had a career-low .908 save percentage and a career-high 3.02 goals against average in 67 starts, compiling a 31-31-3 record with one shutout.

Josh Kestner has played three games for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies during his amateur tryout, scoring a power play goal. The playoff-bound Marlies finish the regular season on Sunday.

Tyler Poulsen scored a goal in two games for the ECHL’s Allen Americans, and was able to turn his amateur tryout contract into a pro contract. He is not on the Americans’ postseason roster.

Brennan Saulnier was released from his amateur tryout contract with the ECHL’s Atlanta Gladiators after three games.

Matt Salhany (2013-17) scored a goal and three points in 25 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.

Cody Dion (2010-11) had 12 goals and 24 points in 38 games for the Peoria Rivermen of the SPHL.

On Tuesday, Graeme Strukoff (2011-15) signed with the Sydney Bears in Australia for the 2018 season.

Chargers in the Pros page

Chargers pick up transfer goaltender: Jake Theut, a goaltender from Northeastern University, will be a graduate transfer to UAH for next season.

Theut was the third goaltender for the Huskies this season, playing in two games. In 2016-17, Theut played in three games, getting a shutout in his only start.

Theut gives UAH three goaltenders this season. Mark Sinclair, who started five games this season, and Josh Astorino will be returning sophomores.

Club hockey returns: A student hockey club is being formed at UAH.

UAH has not had club hockey since 1985, when the original club team, created in 1979 and winners of club national championships in 1982, 1983, and 1984, was elevated to varsity status in preparation for the university to join the NCAA.

It’s not uncommon for schools with NCAA Division I or III varsity hockey programs to also have student club teams, although this would be the first such situation in the Southeast. The team will play other southern club teams in the American College Hockey Association (ACHA).

UAH students interested in playing can email the club at clubhockey@uah.edu. Off-ice memberships are also available.

West a finalist for Alaska job: UAH alum Lance West is a finalist for the head coaching job at Alaska.

West, an assistant with the Nanooks for nine seasons prior, was the interim coach this season after Dallas Ferguson resigned. Alaska was 11-22-3 overall and 9-17-2 in WCHA play, finishing in eighth place.

West played for the Chargers from 1991-95, scoring 113 points in 108 games.