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2006-07 OHL Preview

EASTERN CONFERENCE

EAST DIVISION

BELLEVILLE BULLS

Coach: George Burnett

Last season: 32-28-5-3, seventh in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Favourite to win conference title ... Overage forward Tyler Donati and defenceman Matt Pelech, acquired in the off-season, bring more depth ... John Hughes should be in contention for league scoring crown ... Scored fewest goals in division last year but there won't be a repeat.

KINGSTON FRONTENACS

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Petes open 51st OHL season tonight

The Peterborough Petes open their 51st season tonight, hosting the Brampton Battalion, 7 p.m., at the Memorial Centre.
Country music recording artist Julian Austin, in the city for a date at The Junction, is scheduled to sing the national anthem.
The Petes are looking to defend their Ontario Hockey League championship of the past spring under new head coach Vince Malette.
Ahead, the club will be in Belleville Saturday night before returning home next Thursday to host the Oshawa Generals.
 

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Petes ready to begin OHL season

Peterborough Petes will toast last year’s championship one more time before dropping the puck on a new season tonight.

There will be eight members of the 2005-06 OHL championship squad in the opening night roster when the Petes raise a banner to salute the franchise’s ninth league title.

Canadian country music star Julian Austin will also sing the national anthem prior to the 7 p.m. contest against Brampton Battalion at the Memorial Centre.

“It will be mixed emotions,” Petes’ veteran Justin Soryal said, “about the excitement of a new season plus being a little upset that our run from last year is over. It will be nice to see the banner go up. It’s something that will always be here to remember that year by.”

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Knights acquire Jordan Shine

LONDON, ONTARIO: London Knights General Manager Mark Hunter today announced that the team has acquired Left Winger Jordan Shine from the Belleville Bulls in exchange for a 7th Round Pick in the 2008 OHL Draft.

Shine, 17 is entering his 3rd Season in the Ontario Hockey League and was selected in the 3rd Round in the 2004 OHL Draft. Shine is expected to arrive in time for the Knight's home opener on Friday, September 22, 2006 at 7:30 PM vs. Saginaw Spirit.
 

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Kostitsyn Returned to Knights

LONDON, ON: The Montreal Canadiens announced today that they are sending 19 year old Right Winger Sergei Kostitsyn back to the London Knights for the 2006-2007 season.

Kostitsyn, 19 was the Canadiens 7th Round Selection at the 2005 National Hockey League Draft. Kostitsyn will begin his 2nd season in the Ontario Hockey League after recording 78 points in the 2005-2006 season and being named to the OHL All-Rookie Team.

Kostitsyn arrives tonight and is expected to be in the lineup when the Knights host the Saginaw Spirit on Friday, September 22, 2006 at the John Labatt Centre.
 

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Ontario Hockey League Announces Rule Adjustments for 2006-07 Playing Season

The Ontario Hockey League in concert with the Canadian Hockey League today announced that the new National Hockey League rule on stick curvature which was recently adopted by the National Hockey League will not be implemented until next season.

In addition, the Ontario Hockey League has adopted a new rule entitled Checking to the Head effective for the commencement of the 2006-07 playing season.

In making the announcement, Commissioner David Branch stated "prior to the 2002-03 playing season, the Ontario Hockey League introduced a Concussion Management Program for all players in the League and in so doing the League has continued to work towards ensuring the continued safety and welfare of all players including injuries to the head area".

Rule 48 - Checking to the Head

A minor or a major and game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of impact, shall be assessed to any player who checks an opponent to the head area in any manner.

A match penalty shall be assessed to any player who deliberately attempts to injure an opponent by Checking to the Head.

Note: A hit to the head with a shoulder shall be considered an illegal check and shall be penalized as checking to the head.
 

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Otters set to open season

The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League will kick-off the 2006-2007 Regular Season this weekend with a pair of road games. Friday the Otters travel to Windsor to take on the Spitfires followed by a Saturday evening encounter with the Plymouth Whalers. Both games can be heard live on 1330 Erie's ESPN Radio and on-line at www.ottershockey.com (presented by the James H. Cross Company). Friday's broadcast gets underway with the pre-game show at 7:15 p.m. Saturday the pre-game show begins at 6:50 p.m.

The Otters open their 11th season in the OHL with one of their youngest rosters in franchise history. The current 25-man roster features 12 rookies and seven others who are entering just their second season in the OHL.

Up front Ryan O'Marra is expected to carry the load, once he returns from a broken left fibula. The veteran Otters captain, who is rehabbing at the New York Islanders Training Camp, is scheduled to resume skating next week. His return to game action has yet to be determined. The 19 year-old forward finished second in team scoring last season with 27 goals and 50 assists for 77 points in 61 games. Veterans Sean O'Connor (19-37-56) and Vince Scott (18-19-37) will also be looked upon to have a positive impact offensively as will second-year forwards Nick Palmieri (13-10-23) and Justin Hodgman (7-13-20).

Defensively speaking the Otters will lean heavily on veterans Andrew Hotham and Josh Kidd. Hotham's offensive flair (10-39-49) will be key while Kidd's steady presence and demeanor should help level the learning curve for four rookie blue liners that will see plenty of action.

Ryan Ludzik assumes the role of No. 1 between the pipes with free agent rookie Jeff Dawson backing up. Ludzik saw limited action last season as a rookie appearing in only nine games but showed in exhibition action that he is prepared for prime time play.

The Otters kick off the home portion of their 2006-2007 OHL Regular Season Saturday, September 30th when the London Knights visit the Tullio Arena for a 7:30 p.m. contest. Get ready for the game at the Otters pre-game party outside the Tullio Arena beginning at 5 p.m. and don't miss the opening ceremonies starting at 7:15 p.m. Tickets for the game, as well as the remaining 33 regular season home games, are on sale now at all Erie-area TicketMaster locations as well as the Civic Center Box Office. Single game regular season ticket prices for the 2006-2007 season are $13.50 for platinum level seating and $11.50 for gold level seating. A child ticket is also available for $9.50 for children 12 and under in any seating section. All single season ticket prices include the City of Erie 3% Entertainment Tax.

2006-2007 Erie Otters Season Tickets are still available. Reserve your seats now and save big over the Box Office price. Platinum level tickets are $376.74, Gold level tickets are $328.61 and a Child (12 and under) Season Ticket in any seating level is $230.48. All prices do not include the City of Erie Entertainment Tax or fees. There are additional savings for Erie Youth Hockey Association and Erie Lady Lions members.
 

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Drummond Named Captain of Knights

LONDON, ONTARIO: The London Knights Hockey Club is pleased to announce that Robbie Drummond has been named captain of the 2006-2007 London Knights. Drummond, 20 was voted captain by his teammates and coaching staff for the upcoming season. Drummond was the Knight's 2nd Round Pick in the 2002 OHL Draft from the London Jr. Knights and is a native of London, Ontario. He was recently returned to the Knights by the Columbus Blue Jackets where he attended their Rookie Camp. Drummond will begin his Captaincy on Friday, September 22, 2006 when the Knights host the Saginaw Spirit at the John Labatt Centre at 7:30 PM.

The London Knights also named Adam Perry as a permanent Assistant Captain for the 2006-2007 Season. Right Winger Sergei Kostitsyn and Center David Meckler will serve as Assistant Captains for home games. Left Winger Josh Beaulieu and Defenseman Scott Aarssen will serve as Assistant Captains for all road games this season.
 

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Attack Announces Captains

Owen Sound Attack head coach Mike Stothers has announced the players that have been named team captains for the 2006-2007 season.

Once again this season the captain's C will be worn by Anaheim Ducks draft pick Bobby Ryan.

The assistants will be New York Rangers draft pick Bobby Sanguinetti, forward Derek Brochu, and forward Marcus Carroll.

Upcoming Games

Friday, September 22 at 7:30pm - Owen Sound Attack at Guelph Storm. Fans can listen live on Bear Radio on 560 CFOS or on the internet at www.attackhockey.com. Fans can watch the game on pay per view by clicking on the INSINC logo on the home page.

Saturday, September 23 at 7:30pm - Owen Sound Attack hosts Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the home opener. The game is sponsored by Bruce Telecom with the first 500 fans through the gates receiving complimentary t-shirts. Tickets are on sale Friday 8:30 - 5 at Saturday 10 - game time at the Attack Box Office in the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Phone orders with Visa or MasterCard by calling 519-371-7452 or toll free 1-866-5ATTACK. Internet orders at www.attackhockey.com. Team introductions start at 7:30pm so be in your seats early.
 

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Opening Night Activites -- Fireworks, CEYX, and More

The Saginaw Spirit hockey club is launching the new season in style! Join the team at the Dow Event Center on Saturday, September 23rd at 7:11 PM when it hosts the Guelph Storm.

Activities include a laser show, thundersticks, a miniature NASCAR racetrack in the Blue Line Club, the Marine Corps Color Guard, and the Saginaw Spirit Dance Team. CEYX will be performing outside and in the Blue Line Club!

Following the game, head outside to catch the fireworks celebration of the Spirit's fifth year in Saginaw, courtesy of the Dow Chemical Company and the Bay Regional Medical Center.
 

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Troops earn road victory against defending OHL champions

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. - Matt Smyth scored late in the second period to complete a comeback from a two-goal deficit, lifting the Brampton Battalion to a 3-2 victory over the Peterborough Petes on Thursday night, the first of the Ontario Hockey League season.

Cody Hodgson and Aaron Snow scored the other goals for the Battalion, while goaltender Bryan Pitton made 22 saves in the win over the defending OHL champions. Smyth, Hodgson and Snow, who played as a line, each added one assist as the Troops won a season opener on the road for the first time in club history.

Justin Soryal and Brett Theberge scored for the Petes, and goaltender Trevor Cann made 38 saves. Jake Laplante assisted on both Peterborough goals.

Hodgson, the Battalion's first-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection last May, started the comeback when he scored at 4:26 of the second period, taking a pass from Smyth and sweeping the puck home from the lip of the crease to Cann's right.

Snow stole the puck from Zach Bogosian, Peterborough's first-round pick in the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, and beat Cann on a breakaway backhander at 8:36.

Smyth then converted a two-on-one rush against Craig Cescon at 19:52, taking Snow's pass from the left-wing circle and slipping past Cescon to score from close range.

Soryal, positioned directly in front of Pitton, opened the scoring at 5:39 of the first period when he buried Daniel Ryder's pass from the right-wing corner.

The Battalion outshot Peterborough 13-10 in the opening period and had several good scoring chances. Hodgson snapped a shot off the right post from the deep slot in the 17th minute. In the 19th, Howie Martin also hit the post, and a sprawling Cann stopped a Smyth backhander from the slot.

Theberge scored on the power play at 1:20 of the second, taking a pass from Branislav Rehus and firing the puck into the top corner from high in the right-wing circle.

The game saw three penalties for checking to the head, a new OHL rule this season, with Cescon drawing the first at 10:18 of the opening period. Snow took two such calls later in the period, the second of which was combined with a slashing penalty.

Hodgson had several chances to add to his scoring total, including a chance in alone in the seventh minute of the third period, with Cann foiling him with a solid save.

Battalion scratches were rookies Ken Peroff, Conor O'Donnell, Kyle DeCoste and Kevin Christmas. Mark Pawlowski, Arturs Kulda, Steve Downie, Jordan Staal, Scott Cowie, Steve Lock and Justin Caruana were scratched for the Petes, who dressed 19 players, one below the limit.

The Battalion's home opener sees it host the Belleville Bulls at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

BATTALION NOTEBOOK: Attendance at the Peterborough Memorial Centre was 3,189 ... The Battalion went 0-for-7 on the power play. Peterborough was 1-for-7 ... Nine penalties were called in the first period ... The Battalion is 4-4-1 in season-opening games and 1-2-1 in season openers on the road ... The game was the first of 680 on the OHL schedule ... Opening Battalion line combinations included Hodgson centring left winger Snow and right winger Smyth, Martin skating between left winger Luke Lynes and right winger Michal Klejna and Graham McNabb working with John Seymour on left wing and Justin Levac on the right. Mike Lomas centred left winger Cody Smith and right winger Jason Dale ... Opening defence pairings were Kyle Sonnenburg and Phil Oreskovic, John de Gray and Tomas Stryncl, and Stephane Chabot and Brad Albert ... Hodgson, Lomas, Dale and Albert made their OHL debuts ... Aaron Rock backed up Pitton ... Downie and Staal are in camp with the National Hockey League's Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins respectively ... The first intermission was extended 14 minutes after the ice-surfacing machine broke down ... The Battalion opened against the Petes for the second time in its nine-year history. Peterborough won 5-1 on home ice in the Troops' first-ever game, on Sept. 24, 1998. Jason Maleyko scored for the Battalion, while Scott Barney, Preston Mizzi, John Brioux, Pat Kavanagh and Jack Hardill connected for the Petes ... The Petes raised the 2005-06 OHL championship banner in a ceremony that also saw a salute to the Peterborough junior and senior lacrosse Lakers, winners of the Minto and Allan cups respectively.
 
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