The Will Sports Group

The RIG 28 for Spring 2016

Apr 1

Coyotes Recall Dauphin from AHL
Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – Arizona Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney announced today that the Coyotes have recalled forward Laurent Dauphin from the Springfield Falcons, the club’s American Hockey League affiliate (AHL).

The 21-year-old Dauphin recorded 1-0-1 in 3 games with the Coyotes this season. The Repentigny, QC native has registered 11-12-23 in 63 games with Springfield in his first full season in the AHL. Dauphin was the Coyotes’ second round pick (39th overall) in the 2013 Entry Draft.


Apr 3

Paul Geiger Postgame

Apr 4

Tampa Bay Lightning
Press Release

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed forward Mitchell Stephens to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.

Stephens, 19, skated in 39 games with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, collecting 20 goals and 38 points to go along with 14 penalty minutes. Stephens missed 29 games during the regular season but still ranked fifth on the Spirit for points and tied for fourth for goals. The Peterborough, Ontario, native also appeared in four games for Saginaw during the 2016 OHL Playoffs, posting two goals and three points.

The 6-foot, 193-pound forward has skated in 158 career OHL games, all with Saginaw over three seasons, recording 51 goals and 107 points. Stephens also suited up for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Jr. Championships this past season, notching a goal and two points in five tournament games.

Stephens was selected by the Lightning in the second round, 33rd overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft.


Saginaw Spirit’s Stephens signs with Tampa Bay Lightning
Midland Daily News

Saginaw Spirit forward Mitchell Stephens signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Stephens has been assigned by the Lightning to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League on an amateur tryout.

Stephens battled injury in the 2015-16 season, keeping him out of the Spirit lineup for nearly half of the regular season.

The 19-year-old Peterborough, Ontario native came back to the lineup after a World Juniors appearance for Canada and scored nearly a point per game, finishing with 38 points in 39 regular-season games and three points in four playoff games.

Stephens has 107 points in his Spirit career, tying him for 23rd all-time in franchise history with current Calgary Flames’ defenseman T.J Brodie.

“The Saginaw Spirit are very happy with the announcement of Mitchell signing his entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.” said Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill. “As an organization, any time you see a young man take the next step to reaching his dream, it is a satisfying and an exciting time. Mitchell was drafted by the Spirit and has been integral to the team since joining us. We could not be more proud of him.”

At age 19, Stephens still has two years of junior eligibility and could be returned to the Spirit by the Lightning.

Also on Monday, the Spirit announced their 2015-16 team awards, which were presented in a ceremony on Saturday.

Stephens was named the team’s Most Valuable Player, and defenseman Will Petschenig received both the Community Service Award and the Fan Favorite Award.


Apr 5

Andreoff goal vs Calgary

Andrew Campbell makes Maple Leafs’ debut
Shawn Smith
The Satchem

If playing in the NHL could be described as a dream, there’s probably not a good way to describe playing for your hometown team.

Caledonia’s Andrew Campbell, a pounding defenseman known for his relentless pace and grinder capabilities, made his debut for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, March 31 against the Buffalo Sabres.

For Campbell, who has bided his time this season as captain of the AHL Toronto Marlies, playing for his favourite team is a dream come true.

“I got a call Wednesday (March 30) around noon saying that I was going up (from the Marlies to the Maples Leafs) and would play on Thursday (March 31),” Campbell said. “I was a Maple Leafs fan throughout my childhood. Playing my first game in the NHL was really special, but to play for the Maple Leafs is even that much cooler.”

Campbell played just over 14 minutes during his first game as a member of the Maple Leafs, adding up one hit, one shot block and two penalty minutes.

“I had my parents, my sister, my wife and some aunts, uncles and cousins as well as some friends there, which only made it that much more special,” Campbell said.

For his first game in the blue and white, Campbell says he wasn’t as nervous as he was for his first NHL game, which took place during the 2013-2014 season with the Los Angeles Kings.

“I’ve obviously played some NHL games now,” Campbell said, referring to his 36 games with the Arizona Coyotes last season. “I’d say I was a little more nervous because it was with the Maple Leafs, but I’ve obviously played some NHL games now.”

Campbell says he expects to stay with the team through the remainder of the season, which ends April 9 against the New Jersey Devils.

“My game isn’t flashy by any means, but I battled hard and competed,” Campbell said of his debut performance for the Maple Leafs That’s my game right there.

Campbell has one year remaining on his deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it’s unclear what next year will bring for the rugged defenseman. With solid defensive play, he’ll likely be hoping to remain on the Maple Leafs’ roster beyond this season.


Apr 6

Nail Yakupov goal vs Vancouver

Apr 8

Andreoff goal vs Winnipeg

Dallas Stars C Tyler Seguin Unveils His ‘Segs and Bacon’ Burger at the AAC

Apr 10

Mitchell Stephens scores first pro goal
Peterborough Examiner

Peterborough’s Mitchell Stephens scored his first professional hockey goal for the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night.

Stephens, signed last week by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, scored for their affiliate team in a 3-2 win over the Toronto Marlies in Syracuse. It was Stephens’s second game for Syracuse where he was assigned at the end of the Saginaw Spirit’s season.


Apr 13

How the frenzy over an infectious, matured Tyler Seguin has dispersed throughout Dallas
Brad Townsend

Tyler Seguin wasn’t due until 5:45 p.m., but the line for this meet-and-greet at the Rally House Alpha sports boutique formed much earlier.

Would you believe 1 p.m.? On a Monday? For a hockey player? In Dallas?

By evening’s end, 500-plus fans, roughly 60-percent of them female, got one-on-one face time with 24-year-old Star-attraction Seguin. Some came from out of state, including two young ladies from New Jersey.

“He’s good at hockey,” explained Amy Simons, one of the Garden Staters.

“And he’s good-looking,” chimed the other, AnnMarie Lapelosa. “Not gonna lie.”

Days later, Seguin’s mother, Jackie, was told of the numerous blushing, tongue-tied teen girls who took selfies with Tyler and wobbled out of Rally House in shock.

“Just as long as he’s polite and kind to everybody,” Jackie said. “Because Tyler’s just Tyler. He’s no superstar to me. He’s just my son.”

Though she was 1,400 miles away in the Seguins’ hometown of Brampton, Ontario, Jackie need not have worried about Tyler’s Rally House manners.

He made friendly small talk, shook every hand and looked each fan in the eyes. The event was supposed to end at 7, but at 6:49 chants of “Tyler, Tyler!” rang through the store when, with Seguin’s blessing, extra fans were ushered in.

He treated the last person, at 7:13, the same as the first — in the manner he says he was taught as a kid by his father, Paul.

“It’s so crazy because you don’t comprehend just what you mean to some people, being an athlete,” Seguin said. “To some of these people, their lives are going to work every day, worrying about what makes them happy, including just the game of hockey.

“So I need to take some pride in that.”

Granted, this was only a 90-minute glimpse of Seguin off-ice, but think long and hard: How often since his July 4, 2013 acquisition from Boston has he made cringe-inducing news?

How often have his nocturnal habits proved as concerning as Bruins officials inferred them to be, as rationale for trading their former No. 2 overall pick, the skilled, speeding dynamo who at 19 wowed all of hockey during Boston’s 2011 Stanley Cup title run?

“He was like any other 21-year-old,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “He did some things he probably would like to take back, if you could, but you learn from it.”

And now?

“Him and Jamie Benn have become the face of our franchise,” Nill said. “Tyler’s probably one of the most misread guys around the league. He’s infectious with people. He loves to be around them. And we’re seeing him mature.”

The Seguin family is a hockey family

In three regular seasons as a Star, Seguin’s 234 points are fourth-most in the NHL, behind Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby (273), Benn (255) and Chicago’s Patrick Kane (239).

The Stars’ surge from 10th in the Western Conference last season to first this season has awakened American Airlines Center echoes from the franchise’s late-1990s and early-2000s glory seasons.

But as Dallas opens the playoffs against Minnesota Thursday night, both sexes of Seguin fans are anxious about his playing status.

Seguin missed the regular season’s final 10 games after suffering a 15-percent cut of his right Achilles tendon on March 17. He just returned to practice this week and is questionable for Game 1 against the Wild, though it seems likely he’ll play sooner than later in the series.

He was the NHL’s third-leading scorer, with 73 points, when Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman’s skate sliced the tendon.

What happened in the next 15 hours could prove defining in how fans and media regard Seguin — whether they see substance within the style; grit behind the good looks.

First, after getting sliced he skated out the final 22 seconds of the pivotal 4-3 win. The next afternoon, he tweeted a grisly close-up photo of the injury, adding, “I really hate when I get paper cuts.” (If you’re brave enough to look, the picture is right here).

On the night of the injury, Jackie Seguin was attending a play. She typically watches Stars games on TV, and has attended several road and home games this season.

“As soon as I came out, I saw that somebody had texted, ‘Oh my God. I hope Tyler is OK,'” she said. “I started sending messages to his manager. Then I came home and saw the injury.”

The Seguins understand the realities of the sport. Paul played defenseman for four years at the University of Vermont. Jackie played organized hockey well into her teens, and later in the Brampton Canadettes women’s league.

Both of Tyler’s siblings, 21-year-old Candace and 17-year-old Cassidy, also play. Candace came up through the junior ranks and played a season at Vermont. Cassidy finished her junior career with the Vaught Flames a few weeks ago.

“It’s a Canadian thing, right?” Jackie, 55, said with a laugh. She gave up playing competitively a few years ago, but last month played in a mother-daughter game with Cassidy.

“I was sore for three days,” she said.

Like Tyler, the Seguin women all play center. Paul stands 5-11, Jackie 5-3, Candace 5-7 and Cassidy 5-4. Tyler, fortunately, had a 10-grade growth spurt and is 6-1.

While many elite athletes carry 6-to-13-percent body fat, Tyler’s is 3.6-percent, but that hardly makes him invincible, as the Achilles injury showed. That’s why Jackie wishes he took more precautions, such as wearing Kevlar socks that might have lessened the cut’s severity.

“That’s just a mom’s opinion, though,” Jackie said.

After Tyler’s injury, Jackie’s instinct was to fly to Dallas. Since he couldn’t drive, how would he get from place-to-place? How would he cook for himself?

For that matter, how would he move about in the four-bedroom, six-bath, 7,250-square foot mansion he bought in 2014 from Hockey Hall of Famer and Stars great Mike Modano in 2014.

Jackie said Tyler assured her he could get friends to drive him. He also hired a chef.

“He always seems to have people,” Jackie said, adding with a sigh: “He tries to become so independent that he doesn’t need his mom around.”

Seguin was just 18 years, eight months old when he made his NHL debut. He scored 22 points that season and got to hoist the Stanley Cup, becoming one of the youngest players in history to do so.

He scored 67 points the following year, then 32 in the 48-game, lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, when Boston returned to the finals and lost to Chicago.

Ten day after that series, Seguin was sent to Dallas in a blockbuster seven-player trade. The following morning’s Boston Herald headline blared: “B’s trade problem child; Send Seguin to Dallas for Eriksson.”

The story cited “well-placed sources” who expressed concern about Seguin’s lifestyle choices, fearing he was “headed for trouble with his nightlife pursuits.”

Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli, who previously expressed concern about Seguin’s “professionalism” and “focus,” didn’t exactly douse the trade-day story when he spoke of being overwhelmed by social media photos of Seguin at clubs.

“Maybe some of it is true, but I know not all of it is true,” Chiarelli said, adding that Seguin was “a good kid, with a good heart and he is going to continue to grow up.”

Two weeks before he acquired Seguin, Stars GM Nill hired Lindy Ruff as coach. Ruff said he considers Seguin to be a good teammate and a coachable player who has worked at becoming a more consistent and trusted player away from the puck.

“I think he’s learning to deal better with the off-ice,” Ruff said. “I don’t track the off-ice that much, but I know he’s a pretty busy social person, which that’s his character. But I think he’s trying to put his priorities in place. Hockey is first and the off-ice has come second.”

Sure, some eyebrows were raised in January when video and photos were tweeted with Seguin, Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons and Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard with Johnny Manziel at a concert in Deep Ellum, but none reported any over-the-top behavior.

Mostly, Seguin fans devour morsels through social media and Seguin’s weekly show with The Ticket’s BaD radio, about such topics as his Chocolate Lab Marshall and Black Lab Cash; his friendship with The Bachelor’s JoJo Fletcher; and his renting a suite for last Sunday’s Justin Bieber concert.

“He’s a fun-loving guy, got a great personality,” Nill said. “I think that fit into this city. I think people appreciate that.

“On the flipside, I think Dallas has been good for him. It’s not a city where you’re in the spotlight all the time. You can get away at times and take a deep breath. And he needs that.”

Stars defenseman Jason Demers, who along with Jamie Benn are Seguin’s closest friends on the team, said he’s noticed that North Texans tend to be respectful of Seguin in public.

On the road, Demers said, Seguin is much more likely to be pestered at restaurants. And at visiting arenas, Stars players are accustomed to hearing shrieks and seeing handmade Seguin signs.

Most memorably, there was this season’s November game in Boston and the yellow “My Only Wish For My Sweet 16 Is To See Tyler Seguin” sign. The girl twice melted into tears, when Seguin flipped a puck to her before the game, and when he signed the puck and hugged her after the game.

“I’m sure his head is a little bigger than he leads on, but he does a good job with all of that,” Demers said. “It’s tough for any young kid to be that popular and to handle it that way.

“I’m sure there is a learning curve to it. I wouldn’t know myself.”

Seguin said he deeply respects the hockey tradition in Boston and its knowledgeable fans, who, he points out, “are born into hockey,” much like fans in Canada.

“Dallas might have more families that have chosen it, rather than having it run through their family,” Seguin said. “From Day One of coming to Dallas to now, there’s always been hockey fan-support. But the way it’s grown and changed has been pretty amazing and eye-opening.”

The Stars rank behind the Cowboys, Rangers and Mavericks in popularity, but when in public with Tony Romo, Dirk Nowitzki, Parsons and other local athletes, Seguin has noticed how fans are, generally.

“They know who you are, but they kind of leave you alone and respect you,” he said. “I’m not saying other places don’t respect you, but some people in other places are either out to take pictures with you or almost get you.”

Count Jackie Seguin among those who believe Dallas has been a great fit for her son, and vice-versa.

Though she appreciated Boston’s history, cobblestone streets and hockey passion, she doesn’t miss going to malls there with Candace and Cassidy and emerging from restrooms to fans pointing phone cameras at them.

“Dallas is clean It’s new. It’s refreshing,” she added. “I drive in Dallas. I know my way around Dallas. That’s what I like.”

Before Tyler’s second season in Dallas, Jackie helped him house hunt. Though buying Modano’s former mansion for $1.9 might seem extravagant for a bachelor, Tyler and Jackie say there was practicality behind the choice.

“I went to see Mo’s place first, just to kind of see it because it was on the market,” Tyler said.
They saw 50-to-60 more houses, but Seguin couldn’t take his mind off of Modano’s.

“It’s obviously cool that it was Mo’s house, but it’s just the general setup,” Seguin said. “I guess you could say some hockey minds think alike. He had the media setup I like, the weight room setup, the backyard, the inside concept.

“It’s a big square-footage house, but it’s still cozy. I couldn’t beat it.”
Jackie calls it “a masculine hockey house,” but adds, “I knew Tyler would be on his own for quite a while, but if you want to add feminine touches to it, you can.”

Seguin doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to do that, nor does Jackie want him to be. She did joke to him that now that Dallas’ JoJo Fletcher has been cast as next season’s Bachelorette, perhaps he should be on the show.

Jackie has met Fletcher through Tyler and calls her a “cool girl.” But mostly, Jackie enjoyed being able to text Tyler back and forth while watching last season’s Bachelor.

“I was trying to get the inside on it, because he would know more than I would know,” Jackie said. “I was trying to find out the stuff ahead of time. He would tell me a little bit, then make me wait.”

Seguin spends much of his offseasons in Brampton, Ontario’s big-brother neighbor, Toronto. But Jackie was grateful to learn that Tyler has an older-adult sounding board in Dallas.

It’s 58-year-old Nill, who says Seguin often drops by his office. Nill describes their relationship as almost father-son.

“If I see something where he’s on the wrong side of the road and it’s time to get on the right side, we talk about it and he’s open to it,” Nill said.

“We have a pretty open, honest relationship,” Seguin said. “I’ve only had two GMs in my career, so it’s hard to compare. Even though my last GM traded me, I never had one problem with him. He was always nice to me, as well.

“I think Jim just takes it to another level. You ask anybody about Jim Nill, they’ll tell you about his respect for people, his general demeanor. And he’ll also give it to me straight. If I’m playing like (expletive), he’ll tell me I’m playing like (expletive).

“That’s a good, open relationship.”

It should be noted that not every female becomes a Seguin fan because of his looks.

The first three people to arrive for his meet-and-greet at Rally House were Yvette Gardner, 40, 14-year-old daughter Madison and 9-year-old son Steven.

They drove 45 minutes from Saginaw.

“I’ve watched the game for many, many years,” Yvette said. “The way he can handle the puck and maneuver it, you think somebody’s going to take it from him and, “whoop,” he toe-drags it and is gone.”

The day after the meet-and-greet, Yvette was schedule for surgery at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Tulsa, Okla.

“This is like one last hurrah with the kids before I go,” Yvette said.

And, no, they didn’t seem to mind sitting on the floor for five hours, at the head of a line that snaked around the store.

“I’ve had all this time with my kids, just talking and chit-chatting,” Yvette said. “So that’s just priceless.”

And when Seguin arrived at 5:45, he greeted Yvette and the kids as if they were old friends. Those few minutes? Again, priceless.

“That’s pretty surreal,” Seguin said later. “It puts things in perspective of how important a sport can be to people. It’s what they’re watching on TV, as a family.

“That’s why you want to give them the most respect you can for the short amount of time you have with them.”


Tyler Seguin on respecting fans

Apr 15

Jimmy Lodge scores hat trick as Manitoba Moose topple Rampage 5-2

Apr 19

Sea Dogs’ Thomas Chabot named CHL Player of the Week

TToronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Ottawa Senators prospect Thomas Chabot of the Saint John Sea Dogs is the CHL Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 17 after recording 10 assists in four games with a plus-minus rating of plus-2.

Chabot produced three multi-point performances helping the Sea Dogs win two games last week in a tight QMJHL Quarter-Final series against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He opened the week by tying a club record for assists by a defenceman with four as part of a 5-2 Game 3 victory on Monday earning second star honours. On Tuesday night he was held without a point in a 4-1 loss in Game 4, then picked up two assists on Friday despite a 4-3 loss in Game 5. Facing elimination, the Sea Dogs delivered a 5-4 victory on the road in Game 6 on Sunday with Chabot once again collecting four assists and second star honours. Game 7 of the series takes place on Tuesday night in Saint John.

A 19-year-old from Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, Quebec, Chabot is playing in his third career QMJHL season. Originally a second round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2013 QMJHL Entry Draft, Chabot was taken in the first round by the Senators in the 2015 NHL Draft. He is currently fourth in QMJHL playoff scoring with 16 points in 11 games after finishing tied for 10th in scoring among defencemen with 45 points in 47 games.


May 13

Heffernan’s first title a big one
Mike Davies
Peterborough Examiner

Chad Heffernan has never enjoyed playing hockey as much as he is right now.

As a rookie with the Belleville Bulls in 2012-13, the Peterborough native only dressed for six games of their run to an Eastern Conference final. The next two years he didn’t make the playoffs including 2013-14 with Belleville and last season with the OHL’s last place Sudbury Wolves. A mid-season trade to the London Knights this season has taken Heffernan on a ride straight to an OHL championship – including a four-game sweep of the Niagara IceDogs capped by a 1-0 win Wednesday in St. Catharines.

It’s the first championship Heffernan says he’s ever won.

“When I got traded out of Sudbury a deep playoff run was one of the main focuses and something I looked forward to,” Heffernan said.

“Now that I’ve played every playoff game and gained the experience, winning what we’ve won so far, it just adds emotion to it knowing I’ve put it on the line every night and haven’t had any regrets. It’s just an amazing feeling and an amazing time I’ve had with a great group of guys.”

It was a goal of his that seemed a long way away the past two seasons.

“It’s something you’ve waited to do since you went to your first OHL camp, really, or were first drafted. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do as a hockey player, to play junior hockey and win a title, an OHL championship. To hear the final buzzer was so surreal that we had done it. To do it in four games was amazing. I can’t thank my teammates enough. We all dedicated so much for this and it’s an amazing feeling.”

London is a talented collection of players from first-round NHL draft pick Mitch Marner to future first-round picks like Matthew Tkachuk, Olli Juolevi and Max Jones to top scorer Christian Dvorak and defensive standout Victor Mete. But Heffernan says the thing that makes the group so special is how close they are.

“We’re a real tight, tight team. When we’re in the room we look at each other like we all came out of the same womb as a brother. Everyone knows their role on the team and no one is trying to do too much. We all know what we were brought in for and we’re sticking to the game plan and following what the coaches have laid out for us. We’re looking for a good run here in Red Deer.”

Red Deer, Alta. is hosting the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup where the Knights will look for their second franchise CHL championship. They last won in 2005.
“This is just another step for our team,” Heffernan said. “We’re definitely looking forward to heading out west to Red Deer and getting things started out there.”
Heffernan has experienced ups and downs in his OHL career and he’s not sure if he’ll return for one final overage year next season so he’s enjoying every moment.

“It’s definitely made the past 3 1/2 years, everything I’ve gone through worth it. All the experience I’ve gained is coming together and I’m glad everything is meshing,” he said.


May 4

Saginaw Spirit

SAGINAW, MI – On Wednesday, Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced that right wing Artem Artemov has signed with HC Sibir Novosibirsk of the Kontinental Hockey League and will not return for the 2016-17 season.

Artemov, 19, posted career highs in goals, assists, and points and led the 2015-16 edition of the Saginaw Spirit with 55 points during the regular season.

Artemov was taken 28th overall by the Saginaw Spirit in the 2014 CHL Import Draft and played two seasons with the Spirit.

The Spirit wish Artem all the best in the advances of his hockey career.


June 29

Hurricanes Sign Patrick Brown
Nicholas Niedzielski
Charlotte Checkers

The Hurricanes have tied down one of their free agent forwards, inking Patrick Brown to a one-year, two-way contract.

Brown, a restricted free agent who was issued a qualifying offer yesterday, enjoyed a breakout sophomore year for the Checkers in 2015-16. The 6-foot-1 forward exploded for 25 points, more than doubling his rookie season output, and tied for fourth on the club with 13 goals, up from two the year before. He also served as one of the team’s alternate captains.

Undrafted out of Boston College, Brown has spent time in the NHL during his young career as well, appearing in 14 games with the Hurricanes. The 24-year-old earned his first NHL goal at the end of last season as part of a two-point effort against the New York Rangers on March 31.

Back on a two-way deal, Brown will push to make the Hurricanes out of training camp (something he did in 2014-15 as a rookie). Should he not, Brown could boost the Checkers with his physical style of play and blooming scoring touch.