Thursday, September 27, 2012

Harvey Bennett Sr. Entering AHL Hall of Fame

Providence Reds Goalie Spent 12 Seasons Here
September 27, 2012

The Providence Bruins, entering their 21st season in the American Hockey League, announced today that former Providence Reds great Harvey Bennett, Sr. has been inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013.

With a name that is synonymous with hockey in Rhode Island, Bennett was a mainstay with the Providence Reds and the Rhode Island hockey community, as both a player and youth hockey coach.

A native of Edington, Saskatchewan, Bennett played 15 professional seasons, guarding the Reds' net for 12 of those seasons. Bennett began his career with the Boston Bruins in 1944. By the age of 19, Bennett became one of only a handful of NHL players to start more than 15 games in a row while still in their teenage years, by playing in 22 consecutive games for Boston.
During his 12 seasons with the Reds, Bennett won two Calder Cups with the team in 1949 and 1956. He enjoyed his most successful professional season in 1948-49, putting up a 3.16 goals-against-average in 67 games, en route to leading the club to its third Calder Cup. 

"The Bennett name is synonymous with Rhode Island hockey. Whether it be through the Reds, the AHL or just Rhode Island hockey in general, Harvey Bennett was an industrial figure in this community. This is a long overdue and well deserved honor for the entire Bennett family," said Jeff Fear, CEO of the Providence Bruins/Providence Sports + Entertainment.

Bennett's connection to Rhode Island continued long after his retirement in 1959, as he made Rhode Island his permanent home for him and his family. He stayed involved in the game, helping found the Edgewood Hockey Association and opening Bennett Sports, which is still housed at the Cranston Memorial Ice Arena today. All five of Bennett's sons played professional hockey, including three in the NHL. In 2007, Bennett was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame, an honor befitting those whose efforts have added significantly to the heritage of the state of Rhode Island.

The Class of 2013 will be honored as a part of the festivities at the 2013 Dunkin' Donuts AHL All-Star Classic in Providence, RI. The American Hockey League Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Monday, January 28 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

Formed in 2006 to recognize, honor and celebrate individuals for their outstanding achievements and contributions in the American Hockey League, the AHL Hall of Fame is housed on-line at and is accessible to fans worldwide with the click of a mouse as part of the AHL Internet Network. The Network also includes and all 30 official team sites, and hosts more than 250 million page views each year.

*Information gathered from

Friday, September 21, 2012

Providence Announces Practice Schedule

P-Bruins Have 34 Players Reporting to Camp
September 20, 2012 

The Providence Bruins, entering their 21st season in the American Hockey League, have announced their training camp schedule and roster for the 2012-13 season. The roster is comprised of 34 players, including 19 forwards, 12 defensemen and three goaltenders. Camp is set to begin on Friday, September 28 and will run through Saturday, October 6, with sessions to be held at the Rhode Island Sports Center.

The group of 19 forwards includes Chris Bourque, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Justin Courtnall, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Christian Hanson, Alden Hirschfeld, Jared Knight, Lane MacDermid, Kyle MacKinnon, Matthew Pistilli, Tyler Randell, Bobby Robins, Max Sauvé, Ryan Spooner, Jamie Tardif, Trent Whitfield and Kelsey Wilson. Pistilli and Wilson are in Providence on tryout agreements.

The defensive unit is made up of Matt Bartkowski, Art Bidlevskii, Ryan Button, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Garnet Exelby, Damon Kipp, Torey Krug, Ryan Lowery, Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky. Bidlevskii, Kipp and Lowery are at camp on tryouts.

Between the pipes are Michael Hutchinson, Adam Morrison and Niklas Svedberg.

Please note that training camp practices held at the Rhode Island Sports Center are open to the public.

The full training camp schedule, including Providence's three preseason games, is as follows:

• Friday, September 28 - Rhode Island Sports Center 1 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

• Saturday, September 29 - Rhode Island Sports Center 10:35 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

• Sunday, September 30 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:55 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

• Monday, October 1 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:30 a.m. - Noon

• Tuesday, October 2 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:30 a.m. - Noon

• Wednesday, October 3 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:30 a.m. - Noon

              vs. Springfield @ New England Sports Center, Marlborough, MA 7:05 p.m.

• Thursday, October 4 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:30 a.m. - Noon

               vs. Bridgeport @ New England Sports Center, Marlborough, MA 7:05 p.m.

• Friday, October 5 - Rhode Island Sports Center 9:30 - Noon

• Saturday, October 6 - Rhode Island Sports Center 10:35 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

               vs. Springfield @ MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA 7:00 p.m.

Providence serves as the host team in two of its three preseason games as the club takes on the Springfield Falcons and Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the New England Sports Center on October 3 and October 4 at 7:05 p.m. in Marlborough, Massachusetts. For information on tickets, please call the New England Sports Center at (508) 229-2700.

*Information gathered from

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Providence Bruins Add Third Pre-Season Game

Providence to Face Bridgeport on October 4th
September 20, 2012

The Providence Bruins, entering their 21st season in the American Hockey League, announced Tuesday that they will face the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a preseason game at the New England Sports Center on Thursday, October 4.

The P-Bruins' pre-season schedule begins on Wednesday, October 3 at 7:05 p.m. as Providence serves as the host team to the Springfield Falcons at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, MA.

The P-Bruins return to the New England Sports Center on Thursday, October 4 to face Atlantic Division foe, Bridgeport, in a 7:05 p.m. matchup. For information or tickets for the game, please contact the Sports Center at (508) 229-2700.

Providence will then travel to the MassMutual Center on Saturday, October 6 where they will wrap up the pre-season in a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Springfield Falcons.

* Information gathered from

Friday, September 14, 2012

Providence Gets First Roster of Season

Boston Bruins Make Roster Moves Today
September 14, 2012

Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli announced today, September 14, the following transactions:

The following players have been assigned to Providence: Matt Bartkowski, Ryan Button, Carter Camper, Jordan Caron, Colby Cohen, Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek, Michael Hutchinson, Jared Knight, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, Adam Morrison, Tyler Randell, Max Sauve, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg, Zach Trotman and David Warsofsky.

The following players have cleared waivers and have been assigned to Providence: Garnet Exelby, Christian Hanson, Jamie Tardif and Trent Whitfield.

Dougie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs) and Malcolm Subban (Belleville Bulls) have been assigned to their junior teams in the Ontario Hockey League.

*Information gathered from

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Providence Has More Goals Than Usual

Scoring Ability Vastly Improved
September 6, 2012
By Thomas Chace Jr.

What a difference a summer can make for a team in the American Hockey League.  The Providence Bruins hope to show that they have addressed their major shortcoming over the last two seasons, the skill and ability to score goals.  With a single trade, an influx of higher draft picks than last season, experienced second year players, and a veteran or two, the Providence Bruins may enjoy one of their best seasons in a while.

In late May of this year, the Boston Bruins traded their 2007 1st round pick, Zach Hamill, 23, to the Washington Capitals for Chris Bourque.  Hamill, the 8th overall player taken in the draft, would have to be classified as a disappointment here in New England.  Hamill, a Vancouver native, had 139 career points in 256 games; hopefully, he’ll gain the confidence he needs, to improve as a pro.  Hamill was re-called to Boston on several occasions and played 20 NHL games, but never seemed to gain the trust of the coaching staff or management.

Bourque, the son of Ray, was the AHL’s top scorer last season with 27 goals and 66 assists for 93 points with the Hershey Bears.  Bourque is 14th on the all-time scoring list for Hershey, as well as 25th in games played for the Bears.  While with Hershey, Bourque was a five-time 20 goal scorer, a First Team All-Star, won 3 Calder Cups, and was named the MVP in the Calder Cup Playoffs in 2010. Seems like an even exchange to me, right?  Bourque, a Boston native, was set to be a free agent but was signed by Boston through the 2014 season. 

Despite their recent Stanley Cup win with the “Big, Bad, Bruins” style of play, the physical squad has recently drafted a handful of small, playmaking forwards that will make their way to the Providence roster this season.  It will be interesting to see how these changes in philosophy will affect the future of Bruin hockey.  New England hockey fans demand physical play from their home team.  Surely though, a balance is what’s required in today’s NHL.

Ryan Spooner was drafted in the 2nd round in 2010 and is projected as a top six forward, with his ability to score, make plays, and use his greatest asset, speed.  Head Coach Bruce Cassidy says that, “Spooner can fly.  He is not a big framed guy, but for a skill guy, there are guys like him in the NHL with that kind of speed.”  In two short stints in a Providence uniform, Spooner had 7 points in just eight games.

Jared Knight, also a 2nd round pick in 2010, will be in Providence this season as well.  Knight also got to play in Providence for three games and recorded two assists.  Playing for the London Knights, ironically, Knight was a three-time, 20 goal scorer. Cassidy is wondering how his game will translate to the AHL.  “Knight plays a straight line game and he likes to bull his way to the net against bigger players, it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.”

AHL All-Star, Carter Camper, was the leading Providence scorer last year with just 48 points.  Craig Cunningham led the team in goals with 20.  Those two were part of a group of about nine to ten first year players last year that spent about half the season learning the Boston system of defense and where and what to do without the puck.  The emphasis switched to more scoring during the second half of the season, but with expected scorers hurt or under-performing, the team played on a razor thin line of not allowing too many goals because they couldn’t score themselves.

Trouble getting the puck in the net was exaggerated even more when you have a man advantage on the power-play and still can’t score.  The Providence Bruins have been last in the AHL over the last two seasons on the power-play, 30th out of 30 teams.  Is this an organizational issue?  Boston’s play with the man advantage is not so good either, as evidenced in their last two seasons.  Since Boston was one of the top scoring teams in the league, you would think they would thrive with a man advantage.  Somewhere there’s a disconnection.  Cassidy says, “We had trouble scoring period, on the power-play or five-on-five.”  For the record, Boston doesn’t tell him how to run the power-play.  

Cassidy has been working on a little project this summer to put a little more emphasis on the power-play.  Last year,  so much time was spent on teaching systems and dealing with player adjustments to the professional hockey life, that some worthy aspects of the game were not always a point of emphasis. 

The addition of Bourque, Spooner, Knight, Justin Florek, and highly drafted blue-liners like Tommy Cross, Zach Trotman, and Torey Krug should really impact the scoring drought the team has experienced.  The return of Camper, Cunningham, oft-injured Max SauvĂ©, and Jamie Tardif only gives them more depth.

The defense is the best crop to start a season in years.  They should be led by newcomers, Cross, a 2nd round pick, who starred at Boston College, Trotman, who came out early for the draft from Lake Superior State, and Krug, a Michigan State product who was a scoring machine in college.  All three got a taste of the pros at the end of last season.  Returning Colby Cohen, David Warsofsky, Matt Bartkowski, and Ryan Button are no longer rookies and should be better.

Goaltending seems solid as well.  With Boston’s Tim Thomas sitting out this year, the Bruins obtained Niklas Svedberg, of the Swedish Elite League.  Svedberg, 23, should push returning netminder Michael Hutchinson in camp.  “Hutch,” 22, has to show that he can be an NHL caliber goalie. Being in a contract year adds to his burden.  He’s going to be given every opportunity to prove he’s up for the challenge though. 

The team looks like it will be a more ornery bunch to play against as well.  The signing of veteran NHL defenseman, Garnet Exelby, will help Trent Whitfield in the locker room and on the ice.  The re-signing of tough Bobby Robins, the return of feisty Tyler Randell, and “McQuaid-like” d-man Kevan Miller should make things unpleasant for visiting teams to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  Lane MacDermid adds more toughness if he doesn’t make Boston’s roster.

Speaking of the DDC, the attendance for the Providence Bruins has been phenomenal, despite the lack of any playoff action in recent years.  The P-Bruins approached nearly 300,000 fans for their 38 home games last year.  Coach Cassidy said, “It sure is nice to come into the rink and feel the energy; there’s people that care, it’s better for everybody, hopefully we can reward them this season.”

The goals have been stated, it’s time to put the pucks in the net, boys.  This year’s edition of the Providence Bruins should feature more scoring, more excitement, and more games played this season.  The season also features Providence as the host city for the AHL All-Star Game and Skills Contest in January 2013.  Perhaps the Eastern All-Star squad could have a few homeboys in this year’s extravaganza.  More goals.

Providence Signs Two More Players

P-Bruins Sign Hirschfeld and Re-Sign MacKinnon To AHL Contracts
Sepember 7, 2012

The Providence Bruins announced that the club has signed Alden Hirschfeld and re-signed Kyle MacKinnon.  Financial terms were not disclosed.
Hirschfeld, 24, is a four-year product of Miami University (Ohio) where he recorded 70 points on 35 goals and 35 assists. As a team tri-captain in 2011-12, Hirschfeld was one of only three players who skated in all 41 games for the RedHawks. The 6'1", 206-pound forward scored a collegiate-best 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points during his junior season.

The Sylvania, Ohio native spent two years with the Mahoning Valley Phantoms prior to joining the RedHawks in 2008.
MacKinnon, 24, skated in 67 games for the P-Bruins last season, recording 21 points on 14 goals and 7 assists. His 14 goals ranked third among rookies and fifth on the squad. The forward went pointless in two games with the Reading Royals (ECHL).
The 5'11", 185-pound Mackinnon joined the P-Bruins for five games at the end of the 2010-11 season after a standout four-year career at Providence College. As a co-captain in 2010-11, MacKinnon led the Friars in goals scored for the second consecutive year en route to recording a career-high 14 goals. He finished his collegiate career with 71 points on 37 goals and 34 assists.

*Information gathered from
Photo by T.Chace Jr.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Providence Signs a Courtnall

Justin Courtnall Signs AHL Contract
Providence Adds Former Boston University Terrier
The Providence Bruins, entering their 21st season in the American Hockey League, announced today that the club has signed forward Justin Courtnall to an AHL contract. Per club policy, the financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

A native of Victoria, BC, Courtnall has spent the last three years at Boston University. As an assistant captain in 2011-12, Courtnall recorded a collegiate-high seven points on four goals and three assists. The 6'3", 210-pound forward is the son of former Bruins forward Geoff Courtnall, and the nephew of Russ Courtnall, veterans of 17 and 16 year NHL careers respectively.

Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the seventh round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the 23-year-old finished his collegiate career with 13 points and 104 penalty minutes.

*Information gathered from

Bobby Robins Re-Signs With Providence

Tough UMass-Lowell Product is Back in Town
Forward Led P-Bruins with 150 Penalty Minutes Last Season

The Providence Bruins, entering their 21st season in the American Hockey League, announced today that the club has signed forward Bobby Robins to an AHL contract. Per club policy, the financial terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Robins, of Peshtigo, WI joined the Providence Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement at the end of December 2011. In 33 games with Providence, Robins recorded 2 goals and 10 assists in addition to a team-high 150 penalty minutes.

Before coming to Providence, Robins spent time with the Abbotsford Heat and the now defunct Chicago Express (ECHL). In 28 games with Chicago, Robins registered seven goals and eight assists in addition to leading the team in penalty minutes with 123. In his six professional seasons, Robins has made stops in several AHL and ECHL cities, including Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Albany and Syracuse. The centerman jumped the pond in 2008 to play for the Belfast Giants of the EIHL and Jesenice in Austria the following season. In 138 AHL games over five seasons, Robins has registered 13+21=34 totals and 294 penalty minutes.

A four-year product of UMass-Lowell, Robins led the River Hawks in scoring with 31 points during his senior season. The 6'1", 220-pound winger made his professional debut following his final campaign at Lowell in 2005-06 with the Binghamton Senators, registering seven points in 16 games. Robins, 30, tallied a career-high 46 points in 2008-09 with Belfast en route to winning the EIHL Challenge Cup.

*Information gathered from