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Sundogs Lose Two, Roster at 19

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. - The Arizona Sundogs Professional Hockey Club today announced that forward Torrie Wheat and defenseman Richard Demen-Willaume are no longer with the Team.

Wheat, who was leading all Central Hockey League rookies in power play goals (8) and was second in scoring with 12 goals, has decided forego the rest of his 2006-07 pro season with the Sundogs and will attend the University of Calgary in Alberta.

Prior to his stint with the Sundogs, Wheat played in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The WHL offers scholarship programs to all of its players and is the leading provider of scholarships to Canadian Universities, totaling 2,300 scholarships to date.

The WHL scholarship program includes tuition, compulsory fees and books to any university, college or technical school in Canada. For every full-season played in the WHL, a full-year of tuition in turn is paid.

"Torrie no doubt played a big part in our team's success up to this point and it's tough to see him leave," said Head Coach/GM Marco Pietroniro. We support all of our players and hope to help advance both their on- and off-ice careers and we wish Torrie the best of luck with his educational pursuits."

Colorado Avalanche draft pick Richard Demen-Willaume has also left the Club being recalled by the Colorado Avalanche to Albany of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Demen-Willaume appeared in nine games with the Sundogs, collecting two assists and 16 penalty minutes. Most recently, Demen-Willaume was on I.R. after a concussion received in a game against Austin on Nov. 22. After being cleared by doctors and activated from I.R., he was recalled to the AHL Affiliate of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.

"It's tough to lose a guy like Richard," added Pietroniro. "He's young and has the talent and potential to advance his career to the higher level leagues. The game of hockey in North America is different than in Europe where Richard has played the last five seasons and he was adjusting well."

With the loss of Wheat and Demen-Willaume, the Sundogs' roster now sits at 19. Next up for Arizona is rival New Mexico on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16 in Rio Rancho. Both start times are set for 7:35pm.
 

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Ice Bats Battle Divisional Foes

Setting the Stage: The Austin Ice Bats of the Central Hockey League are 8-8-4 on the 2006-2007 CHL season, just eight points back of the lead in the Southeast Division, and just four points out of second place. The Ice Bats have begun play at all-new Chaparral Ice Arena, located on I-35 between Howard Lane and Wells Branch Parkway.

The Ice Bats play three games in three nights this week, all against Southeast Division opponents. After visits to Corpus Christi and Laredo, the Ice Bats host Rio Grande Valley on Saturday. The U.S. Army will sponsor the game, billed as "Support Our Troops" Night.

A look back: The Ice Bats' five-game winning streak came to an end with a close 3-2 loss to the Laredo Bucks last Friday at the Laredo Entertainment Center. The Bucks jumped on the Ice Bats for the opening score 17 seconds in. Forward Leo Thomas blew around the defense and slammed the puck on net. Laredo star center Jeff Bes followed up with the rebound goal. And Bucks goalie Eric Marvin turned in sterling saves in stopping all ten shots faced in the opening period.

In the second, Mike Possin's centering pass for Henry Kuster's low wrist shot tied the score at 6:38. It was then Austin goalie Kevin Couture's turn to shine-- the rookie netminder making terrific saves in stopping all 14 shots faced in the second period.

The Bats took their first lead just 61 seconds into the third on a Mike Tucciarone goal from the slot. But the Bucks' Justin Togiai followed up his own shot for a rebound goal at 3:36, and Serge Dube's shot from the point slithered in for the winner at 13:28.

Marvin stopped 26 of 28 shots faced in the win. Couture deserved better, making 30 saves in the loss.

On Saturday, the Ice Bats were blanked by Corpus Christi, 3-0. The Rayz' Justin Quenneville scored the only goal of the first period, and Corpus starting goalie Ron Vogel stopped all 14 shots faced in the period. But Vogel tweaked an injury early in the second, and was replaced by Brent Zelenewich.

The unexpected change didn't faze the Rayz, who built a 2-0 lead on Steve Pelletier's tip-in midway through the second, and salted the game away on Pelletier's empty net goal in the final minute. Zelenewich stopped all 25 shots faced, but Vogel got credit for the win. The Bats outshot the Rayz 40-23 in the loss.

Docile or Disciplined?: The usually rough-and-tumble Southeast Division now features four of the league's bottom five teams in penalty minutes per game. The Ice Bats are the most disciplined team in the league, averaging just 19.7 minutes in penalties per contest.

Wounded Wings: The Ice Bats have three players on the injured reserve list-winger Britt Dougherty, center Aaron Davis and defenseman Doug MacIver. All three will be out of action for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, defenseman J.F. Picard is listed as questionable for Thursday's game at Corpus Christi.

Player Plaudits: Winger John McNabb leads the Ice Bats in scoring, with 12 goals and 11 assists. Defenseman Terry Virtue has 16 points, and forward Henry Kuster has 9 goals and 6 assists. Miguel Beaudry is 5-4-4 with a 2.94 GAA in net, and Kevin Couture is 3-4 with a 3.08 GAA.

Potential Bite Victims: Corpus Christi snapped a five-game winless skid with a pair of wins last week. The Rayz are now 10-9-4, tied for second in the division. At times, Corpus has struggled to score, ranking 15th with 2.7 average goals scored. Forward Justin Quenneville is the league's #4 scorer, with 13 goals and 17 assists. Derrick McIver (8 goals, 16 assists) and Jason Baird (23 points) are next on the team. Ron Vogel (8-6-3, 3.09 GAA) has more wins, but his other numbers are inferior to the suddenly hot Brent Zelenewich (2-3-1, 2.46 GAA, .926 save percentage). The Rayz are 4-6 playing at home.

At 13-7-2, Laredo once again leads the division, but only by four points. The Bucks feature the league's top-scoring defenseman, and it's not Serge Dube. Adam Rivet has 10 goals and 15 assists from the blue line. Converted to forward, Dube is right behind him with 23 points, and rookie Bobby Chaumont has 10 goals and 12 helpers. When and if goalie Nathan Marsters (5-2, 2.61 GAA) returns from his NHL call-up to Anaheim, he may have to battle Eric Marvin (8-3-2, 3.18 GAA) for time in net. The Bucks are 7-3-2 at home this season.

Rio Grande Valley has built an 11-8-2 record on the strength of their defense. The Killer Bees allow less than three goals per game, third fewest in the league, and their penalty kill (89.4%) ranks second. Veteran forward Jason Cirone leads the attack with 10 goals and 14 assists. The Bees don't have a ton of scoring depth, but forwards Bill Newson (9 goals and 12 assists) and Matt Reynolds (20 points) are nightly in the mix. Goalie Jeremy Symington has been a godsend since his acquisition in a trade, upping his season marks to 8-2 with a 2.41 GAA and two shutouts. 5-4 on the road, Rio will visit Amarillo Friday, then come back down to Austin for Saturday's game.

The Series: Heading into this weekend, the Ice Bats have played 12 of their 20 games against divisional foes. The Ice Bats are 55-30-9 lifetime against Corpus Christi, but have had anything but an easy time with the Rayz this season, going 1-2-2 against Corpus. The Ice Bats have had better luck against the Rayz in Corpus Christi, pulling out a win and an overtime loss in their two games there.

The Bats are 16-26-2 lifetime against Laredo, 2-2-1 this season. With the first three meetings played in Austin, the teams have split the last two, both played in Laredo.

Austin is 16-15-2 lifetime against Rio Grande Valley, after winning both games played between the teams this season.

Comments From the Coach:

On Last Week: "Against Laredo, we were right there until the end. One mistake in defensive coverage probably cost us the game. Saturday, we outshot Corpus Christi by a heavy margin, but give them credit-- they kept us to the outside. We need our offensive guys to be offensive consistently. We kind of got back to playing on the perimeter last week. We'll switch the lines up a bit again this week, making sure there's sufficient grit to make each line effective."

On This Week: "Once again, these are tough, tough games in our division. They represent a chance to make up significant ground or lose significant ground. We've had good technical practices this week, and working the new guys in, we were able to work on the power play quite a bit. Hopefully we'll get that working again."

The "New" Bat Cave: This season, the Ice Bats begin a new era at Chaparral Ice Arena, located on I-35 between Howard Lane and Wells Branch Parkway.

This Saturday, the U.S. Army presents "Support Our Troops Night," as the Ice Bats face Rio Grande Valley. Fans who attend that game will have an opportunity to express their support by signing a large banner in the main lobby at Chaparral Ice Arena. After the game, the banner will be sent to U.S. Army troops in the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, stationed near Baghdad in Iraq.

Also, all military members receive $5 off regular admission price with their military ID. And the U.S. Army will provide personalized souvenir dog tags to all fans. In addition to providing tickets through the Ice Bats office at 927-PUCK, the Bats are for the first time utilizing Front Gate Tickets as the team's ticket outlet. Fans may conveniently purchase tickets at any Front Gate Tickets location, including Stubbs BBQ, Waterloo Records and Encore Video & CD.

Fans may order on-line through the Ice Bats website at Austin Ice Bats Hockey!. Phone orders may be placed by calling (512) 927-PUCK, or 1-888-512-SHOW. Individual game tickets range in price from $15 to $35, depending on section, with discounted rates for groups of 15 or more. Fans may call the Ice Bats ticket office at (512) 927-PUCK, or log onto the team's website at Austin Ice Bats Hockey! for more information.

Shuffle Up and Deal: The Ice Bats congratulate winger John McNabb, the top overall winner, and Marc Gray, the "last fan standing," as the winners of the third annual Texas Hold 'Em Tournament benefiting Ice Bats Children's Charities. The tournament took place this past Sunday at Chaparral Ice Arena.

In the Air: Once again, all Ice Bats away games will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, 1530 on the AM dial. The station will broadcast all road games during the 2006-07 regular season and CHL Playoffs. The games will also be available on-line, through the station website at The Big 1530 ESPN Radio. Ice Bats VP of Broadcasting, Media/PR Glen Norman will handle play-by-play duties for a ninth straight season.

Bats in Cyberspace: Bats fans can learn the latest about their team by logging on to Austin Ice Bats Hockey!. Home or away, Bats fans can also follow the action with real-time scoring on the website, courtesy of Pointstreak.com. Fans will be able to access a game box score in real-time, as well as those of all other CHL games being played.

In addition, the CHL has partnered with industry leader ONEsite to launch 'myCHLteam.com', a new digital community designed to increase and enhance fan, player, team and league interaction. ONEsite is a leading provider of private labeled social networks and communities, and provides individual websites, blogs, photo galleries and much more to fans at no cost. Fans may log onto Whoops! Browser Settings Incompatible to sign up or for more details.

THIS WEEK:

Thu., Dec. 14th, 7:05pm, vs. Corpus Christi Rayz, at AmericanBank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas

Fri., Dec. 15th, 7:30pm, vs. Laredo Bucks, at Laredo Entertainment Center, Laredo, Texas

Sat., Dec. 16th, 7:30pm, vs. Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, at Chaparral Ice Arena, Austin, Texas
 

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Rage Falls to Oklahoma City, 5-2

Broomfield, Colo. - The Rocky Mountain Rage hockey team (Central Hockey League) was defeated by the Oklahoma City Blazers, 5-2, tonight at the Broomfield Event Center. It marks the team's second consecutive home loss. Nick Warriner and Bret DeCecco scored Rocky Mountain's only goals on the powerplay and penalty kill, respectively. Rage goaltender Trevor Cunning earned his first start at home tonight and stopped 36 shots on goal.

The Rage drops to 6-13-2 for fourth place in the northwest division, while the Blazers improve to 13-4-2 for second place in the division.

In a slow first period, the Rage drew the first goal and took the early lead of the game at 11:20 with a powerplay goal down low by Warriner assisted by defenseman Craig Olynick.

Oklahoma City's Tyler Fleck tied the game at one a piece at 10:17 of the second period. The Blazers took the momentum and their first lead of the game at 16:34 when winger Michael Beausoleil wristed the puck in net on a rebound. Just over three minutes later, Beausoleil scored his second consecutive goal and gave Oklahoma City a two goal lead by cleaning up on the rebound once again. Jared Dumba and Marty Standish both made initial shots on the play and poked the puck under the pads of Rage goaltender Trevor Cunning, pushing the puck from right to left across the crease. Beausoleil picked up the puck on the other side and shot it in net with 11 seconds remaining in the period for Oklahoma City's third unanswered goal.

Early in the third, the Blazers picked up where they left off in the second period. Oklahoma City's Marc Connors drew an unanswered goal just 2:20 into the period leaving the Rage down 4-1. But Rocky Mountain had not lost all momentum yet.

On an Oklahoma City powerplay at 8:34, the Rage kept Oklahoma City out of the zone dumping the puck back down the ice. Blazers goaltender Sebastien Centomo came out of net touching up the puck behind the goal. Centomo attempted to pass the puck out of the zone but passed it directly to Rage right winger Bret DeCecco instead, giving DeCecco an open-net, short-handed goal. The turnover brought Rocky Mountain within two goals.

Just under the eight minute mark, Rocky Mountain players Kyle Kos, Matic Kralj and Mark Wires earned a series of fast scoring chances but were unable to capitalize. Oklahoma City's Mike Burgoyne added a goal at 15:14 to secure the Blazers win and close out scoring.

The Rage returns to action Dec. 15-16 with a two-game home series against in-state rival, the Colorado Eagles. Fans can listen online at Rocky Mountain Rage or over the radio live on AM Z560.The pre-game show begins at 6:50 p.m.

Single game tickets for the next home game and every other Rage home game are on sale now with prices ranging from $15-$40 per seat. Tickets may be purchased online at broomfieldeventcenter.com: Home, by calling 303-410-TIXS, or at the Broomfield Event Center box office (11450 Broomfield Ln., Broomfield, 80021). Season tickets, mini-packs, and group plans are also available for the 2006-07 season by calling 303-439-RAGE. For more information, visit Rocky Mountain Rage.
 

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Alex Dunn Stick Auction Ends Thursday

During warm-ups on Friday, December 2nd, several Jackalope players used a special one of a kind pink hockey stick. The first stick to be auctioned off on the Jackalopes website will be defenseman Alex Dunn's. All the proceeds from the stick auction will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

jackalopes.org: Jackalopes Auction
 

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Teddy Bear Toss returns at Friday's game

SOUTHAVEN --- The Memphis RiverKings are excited to once again help the less fortunate children in the DeSoto County area. This season's Teddy Bear Toss will take place Friday, December 15 when the RiverKings face off against the Wichita Thunder, at 7:05 p.m. at the DeSoto Civic Center.

Fans who bring a new or gently used teddy bear (stuffed animal) to the game will receive a special red level seat price of $7, normally $12.

Teddies tossed onto the ice following the RiverKings first goal will be collected and given to the North Mississippi Sexual Assault Resource Center's "Gifts From the Heart". Gifts From the Heart partners with the U.S. Marines "Toys for Tots" program to make sure that underprivileged children in the DeSoto County area receive at least one gift under their Christmas tree this year.

Gifts From the Heart helps 500 children within DeSoto County. Five years ago, Debbie Houck began Gifts From the Heart. "Years back I fell into some rough times and people helped me out. When I got into the position where I could, I wanted to payback what was given to me," Houck shared.

"Supporting our youth is an important aspect of the RiverKings community relations program," said Cristin Franklin, RiverKings Community Development staff member. "The Teddy Bear Toss has worked well in the past, and we are confident of its success this year. Our fans enjoy participating with the community and we, as well as the children, appreciate their contributions."

For further information on the Teddy Bear Toss contact the Memphis RiverKings Community Development department at 662.342.1755. To receive further information regarding the Sexual Assault Resource Center and the Gifts From the Heart program contact Debbie Houck at 662.280.9111 or via email [email protected].

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RiverKings tickets make great Christmas gifts. Flex Plan packages start at only $88 for 8 Red Level Coupons that can be used for any home game. Ticket Gift Certificates are also available.

Call 662-342-1755 for more information.

Don't miss the next Kevin McClelland Show on Tuesday, January 2 LIVE from Beef O' Brady's in Southaven from 6-7 on Sports 56 WHBQ.

RiverKings Single-Game Tickets for all 2006-2007 home games are on sale now at the DeSoto Civic Center box office and at all TicketMaster locations.

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: Friday, December 15 --- Mercury Printing Team Poster to first 1,500 fans; Teddy Bear Toss; Post Game Skate; Saturday, December 16 --- CW-30 Hockey Mr Potato Head to first 1,500 fans; Q107.5 Diamond Giveaway; Tuesday, December 19 --- WMC TV Channel 5 CheerStix to first 1,500 fans

After every RiverKings home game, the party heads to the new Buffalo Wild Wings on Airways in Southaven, the official Post Game Hang-Out of the RiverKings.
 

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RiverKings Kids' Club conducting coat drive this month

SOUTHAVEN --- The RiverKings Kids' Club, the coolest club in town, is supporting children and adults in the area in need of coats. The Kids' Club Coat Drive kicked off December 1 when the 'Kings defeated the Youngstown Steelhounds, at 7:05 p.m. at the DeSoto Civic Center and will continue until December 19 when the team faces off against the Oklahoma City Blazers, same time same place.

"Kids' supporting kids' was our goal," said Nikki Thomas, RiverKings Kids' Club coordinator. "With that goal in mind we are accepting both new and gently used coats at the RiverKings' home games throughout the month of December. The coats will be provided to the Salvation Army to distribute among individuals in need."

Coats will be collected at all RiverKings' home games throughout the month of December. Boxes to place your coats in will be located along the DeSoto Civic Center concourse by Customer Service, at the Kids' Club table, and behind section 112.

Coats can also be brought to the RiverKings office, until 5 p.m. December 19. The RiverKings office is located on the second floor of the DeSoto Civic Center.

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RiverKings tickets make great Christmas gifts. Flex Plan packages start at only $88 for 8 Red Level Coupons that can be used for any home game. Ticket Gift Certificates are also available.

Call 662-342-1755 for more information.

Don't miss the next Kevin McClelland Show on Tuesday, January 2 LIVE from Beef O' Brady's in Southaven from 6-7 on Sports 56 WHBQ.

RiverKings Single-Game Tickets for all 2006-2007 home games are on sale now at the DeSoto Civic Center box office and at all TicketMaster locations.

UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: Friday, December 15 --- Mercury Printing Team Poster to first 1,500 fans; Teddy Bear Toss; Post Game Skate; Saturday, December 16 --- CW-30 Hockey Mr Potato Head to first 1,500 fans; Q107.5 Diamond Giveaway; Tuesday, December 19 --- WMC TV Channel 5 CheerStix to first 1,500 fans

After every RiverKings home game, the party heads to the new Buffalo Wild Wings on Airways in Southaven, the official Post Game Hang-Out of the RiverKings.
 

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Garbutt crosses border and heads to New Mexico

[ RIO RANCHO, N.M.]- The New Mexico Scorpions, proud member of the Central Hockey League (CHL), have signed forward Josh Garbutt to a contract. Garbutt plans to arrive in New Mexico this weekend, but the Scorpions do not expect he will be in uniform Friday night.

Garbutt arrives in New Mexico after spending last season with the University of Regina . With CHL rookie points Lance Herauf already a Scorpion, Garbutt becomes the second Cougar to play for New Mexico this season.

Last season Garbutt led the University of Regina in scoring. In 23 games, the Medicine Hat , Alb. native played in 23 regular season games scoring 29 points (9G, 20A) and picking up 28 penalty minutes.

"Josh has proven he can provide offense consistently at the Canadian collegiate level," said Edwards. "The universities in have provided many of the top players at this level of hockey. We expect his continued success here in New Mexico ."

After finishing his collegiate year, Garbutt played seven games for the Victoria Salmon Kings in the ECHL. The 5'11", 208 pound, left wing scored his first professional goal during his seven game stint.

Garbutt will be in uniform this weekend as the Scorpions host Arizona Friday and Saturday night at the Santa Ana Star Center .

Don't wait to get your tickets for any December home game with the "All In Holiday Internet Special". Spend your holidays at the Santa Ana Star Center and get your Scorps' ticket through GetTix.net. Come watch the Scorpions Sting their competition.

The Scorpions have released tickets for all remaining home games during the 2006-07 season. Call the Scorpions office at (505) 881-PUCK [7825] to be a part of all the action at the beautiful Santa Ana Star Center .

Season tickets and corporate partnership information is available for the New Mexico Scorpions inaugural season in the Santa Ana Star Center . Make sure to reserve your seats now to be a part of all the exciting action. Reserve your season tickets at great mid-season special prices. Monthly plans are also available to fit any budget by calling the Scorpions office at (505) 881-PUCK [7825] or by visiting scorpionshockey.com: Home.
 

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Mudbugs Trade Murphy to Ice Bats

BOSSIER CITY, LA -- The Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs today announced that right winger Chris Murphy has been traded to the Austin Ice Bats for future considerations.

Murphy, a second year professional, appeared in twelve games for the Mudbugs this season. The Sparta, NJ, native scored a goal and an assist while registering 84 penalty minutes.

The Mudbugs travel to Wichita for a game against the Thunder this Saturday, December 16th. You can listen to the game on 1130 KWKH AM. The Mudbugs next home game is scheduled for December 22nd when the Bugs play host to the Memphis RiverKings. Group tickets are available at 318-752-BUGS. Single game tickets for the 2007 CHL All Star Game set for January 17th at CenturyTel Center can be purchased by calling (318) 741-9700 or by logging on to Official Ticketmaster site. Tickets for Concerts, Sports, Arts, Theater, Family, Events, more. Information on how to purchase All-Star banquet tickets is available at mudbugshockey.com: Splash.
 
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