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Monday, February 27, 2012


Another game and another debate about a open ice hit that resulted in a checking to the head penalty.  During our first intermission discussion, colour man Ed Burkholder and I tried to break down the Brock Beukeboom hit and come to some sort of consensus about body contact.  I don't think either one of us were able to do that.  Here is what we can ascertain about the hit that Beukeboom delivered on young Jack Nevins of Kingston. If you go down to the highlights at the bottom of this post, you can check out the hit at around the 2:40 mark of the video.

  • The puck was in play as the lead pass from the defense was intended for Nevins
  • Beukeboom may not have caught Nevins head on ,but I would not call this a definitive "blind side hit"
  • The contact was almost certainly shoulder to shoulder- no contact to the head at all
  • Nevins got injured when he fell back and his head inadvertently hit the knee of the trailing Ice Dog, who I think was Brett Ritchie.  
The final point was the one that got lost in this.  It took me going home to re-watch the hit a good 3 times before I picked it up.  My guess is that this is what caused the injury to Nevins.   Beukeboom was assessed a five minute major for checking to the head and a game misconduct.  He also picked up a five minute major after a fight with Conor Stokes in the immediate aftermath of the hit.   

When the OHL looks at supplemental discipline, they usually follow a general list of criteria, not limited to the following: 

  • Player vulnerability
  • Whether or not there was contact to the head
  • Penalty called on the play
  • Injury to the player
Really, the only one that Beukeboom fits is the penalty part and the referees got that one wrong.  The puck was definitely in play, so the player should not be considered vulnerable, there was no contact to the head and the injury was not caused by the Beukeboom contact, rather the trail player.   

There is no way that there should be any supplementary discipline coming Brock Beukeboom's way. 
The referee's got the Brock Beukeboom call wrong on Sunday, and they can be forgiven because they had to make a snap decision. The OHL, with the benefit of video replay should take a pass on this.

 It would be a shame, almost a travesty if there was anything more attached to Beukeboom.

Steve Clark

PS..Almost forgot about the game itself.  The Ice Dogs jumped out to a 6-1 lead before the period was half over and coasted to a 9-3 victory over Kingston.  They retook the conference lead as Ottawa was bested by London.   Alex Friesen, Dougie Hamilton, and Joel Wigle paced the Ice Dogs with 2 each while Ryan Strome, Freddie Hamilton and Brett Ritchie added singles.  Chris Festarini broke off a personal three game losing streak with the win.

Here are the highlights:  Niagara 9 Kingston 3

Friday, February 24, 2012


Surprising news broke yesterday via the Hamilton Spectator that pointed towards a city council meeting on Monday to ponder the viability of an OHL franchise in Hamilton.  While the franchise to be moved into the Hamilton area has not been officially named, all signs point to the Erie Otters, who currently hold residency in the Tullio Centre. but have an expiring agreement at the end of June.  Now the Otters are currently in the midst of a project in which the end result would be a 42 million dollar renovation of the somewhat aging facility and hope to have the Otters as tenants for the long term.  A lot of the Erie perspective can be found via Erie writer Victor Fernandes and you can read it HERE

If you catch the gist of the article, both sides are being suitably vague and what is going to happen.  Maybe the both sides have something to hide, but more than likely they don't want to battle it out in the media.  Plus, it is in the best interest of owner Sherry Bassin not to definitively state his intentions.  Nothing hurts a fan base more than the moving trucks circling the arena.  Just ask the Phoenix Coyotes about that.   The Hamilton Spectator article, which incidentally, was front page material was penned in part by well-respected journalist Scott Radley, a guy who usually has his sources in order before going to print.  Read into it what you will HERE

The idea of franchises relocating is not a novel one.  First and foremost these are businesses designed to maximize profit margins.  Now, if I wanted to maximize profit margins, I'm not sure I choose sports franchise ownership as my means to an end because there are too many market variables, and if I chose to move a franchise, I'm not sure that Hamilton would be my first choice.  I say that as a proud Hamiltonian and not to say it would not be a workable choice.  This history of junior hockey, recently, has been very hit and miss.  The Hamilton Steelhawks had a good run in the 1980's first at Mountain Arena, and then at Copps Coliseum, while the poorly-named Dukes of Hamilton had an ill-fated run after the Steelhawks left, culminating in a horrendous team that had to give up its automatic Memorial Cup berth because they were would have been a league wide embarrassment.

These days the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL are the primary tenant in Copps Coliseum and their struggles to maintain a consistent fan base has been a well-documented one.  Critics who opine that Hamilton is not a good sports market will say that they are so jaded by failures of an NHL franchise to land in Steeltown, or are still holding out hope for the NHL dream and they will not consistently support minor pro or junior hockey.  It's an interesting question.  Can it be a good junior market?  Well, it would be a better junior market than an AHL market, provided they are tenants at Copps Coliseum and find ways to make the arena as cosy as possible.   The other arena being mentioned is the Dave Andreychuck Mountain Arena, with a capacity of 2500 and very little going for it.  Space is non-existent inside the arena, concessions are poor, and the seating is well short of what an OHL franchise should expect.  It is in a good location, just off a main artery of the city.   If it is in the mix, it had better be for the short term. 

Overall I like the idea of the OHL back in Hamilton, but at the same time, the Otters have a relatively consistent and loyal fan base who still show even in a year in which the team has just nine victories.  I do not like the idea of a fan base that has the rug pulled out from them, and I also hold a certain amount of disdain for people who use cities has pawns to leverage a better deal out of their existing city.  All the above are viable events that could happen as this plays out. 

The first ball to drop will be on Monday when Hamilton City Council makes their decision on the matter. 

Stay tuned.

Steve Clark

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I know that broadcasting is only my part-time gig, or to use the appropriate term, freelance gig.  However, when you cover a team at home on a regular basis you tend to get immersed in the product, spending copious amounts of time researching the team the Ice Dogs are facing, as well as any relevant information about the Dogs themselves.  Faced with the Dogs on a five game road trip, and two weeks between broadcasts, what is a guy to do?   Sure, I could follow the Dogs on the road, but with a nine month old whose first excursion to an OHL game lasted one period, taking the family to a game did not seem overly feasible.

Outside of trying to follow the Ice Dogs, I booked myself a nice day in which I broadcast four university games in one day.  Two were basketball, and two were volleyball.   It seemed like a good idea at the time.....Here's a diary of the two weeks without an Ice Dogs broadcast...

Thursday February 9th - The tail end of the Ice Dogs 11-0 mauling of the suddenly toothless Majors, which are by the way, a nightmare to broadcast and no fun at all.  By the third period I felt like I was kicking a puppy as the score mounted.  Somehow the Majors win their last two games of the weekend to go 2-1, despite giving up an 11 spot.  That's junior hockey in a nutshell.  Teenagers have the shortest memories!

Saturday February 11th- Ice Dogs visit Barrie, but its the same day that the Leafs are playing the Canadians on Mats Sundin night.  The Leaf game, and the ageless baritone of Bob Cole, win the day.  This would be a decision I would soon regret as the Leafs played abysmally, costing me not one, but two different bets.   Pretty sure that I saw Mats Sundin booing the Leafs as the 2nd period came to end.  In a touching moment, the Habs allowed Tomas Kaberle to take the ceremonial opening face off.  Kaberle won the face off, skated into good shooting position and passed the puck.  At least that's how I remembered it.   Meanwhile a quick check sees the Ice Dogs taking care of Barrie 3-0, another shut out for Mark Visentin and I almost see TSN cuing up the "Redemption Song" for Visentin.

Sunday February 12th:  Every time I watch an Oshawa game, two things come to mind.  The first thing are fond memories as I got my OHL start in the 'Shwa and the GM Centre is truly a jewel of an arena, with a fan base full of characters, though not necessarily teeth.  The second thing that comes to mind is a sigh of relief as I don't have to make the dreaded catwalk excursion.  Trust me I'm not the only one to think this.   How could they build an arena without easy access to the media suites?  As for the game itself, the man with the magic touch, Brett Ritchie, notched his 4th game winning goal since joining the Ice Dogs on route to a 4-3 win.  The Gens always play the Ice Dogs tough and the game marked the first regulation win for the Dogs in Oshawa.

Monday February 13th- After majorly screwing up the first two Valentines my now wife and I spent together, I've been pretty good the past three.  This time I decided to be proactive and returned home with flowers, the day before Valentines Day.  I'd like to say it was a bold, romantic, surprising gesture on my part, but I figured my wife would not open the door if I had them delivered, leaving a bunch of flowers sitting forlornly on the front porch.  A quick card search reveals no dogs doing funny things, so no card! Continuing to spread the joy, the best panzerotti's on the planet are on the menu the next day.  That's Valentino's with two locations in Hamilton, in case they want to comp me my next panzerotti's.

Wednesday February 15th-    Ice Dogs visit Erie with no TV, and with radio not being an option, time for Twitter to follow.  Here's hoping Johnny The SuperFan is at the game to provide instant updates.    The Ice Dogs had a 1-0 lead at the end of two periods and something like a 42-11 shots on goal difference.  Surely the Ice Dogs will blow the doors off this one in the 3rd period right?  right?   How about a 16 year old goalie standing on his head while the Ice Dogs give up a late power play goal to lose 2-1.  Aah life in Junior hockey!

Friday February 17th-   A little Ice Dogs vs Sudbury is on the docket.  That's an arena I have to get to, if only to see the giant stuffed wolf that comes down every time Sudbury scored. I still love hearing the story of how a friend of broadcast partner Ed Burkholder has his master bedroom decorated in head to toe wolf!  That is classic.    The Ice Dogs are out of the gate quickly with a 3-0 lead and hockey wrongs are righted as Joel Wigle engages in a spirited scrap with Brody Silk, the same Brody Silk who with great vengeance smited Ryan Strome.  The ensuing surgery rendered Strome better than before, and he was hardily a back end of a bus to begin with.  A flurry by the Wolves is neutralized by the Ice Dogs and a 5-2 win is snared, which is a quality win over a quality opponent.

Saturday February 18th: Yep, four games in one day, a real test for the old voice.   Fortunately the games are at my favourite place, McMaster University and I'm calling basketball and volleyball, two great sports to call live.   A good day overall as the McMaster Marauders won three of the four games, sweeping the two basketball games and splitting the two volleyball games. As I hav been broadcasting at Mac in one way shape or form for the last 20 odd years, lots of old friends to catch up with.  No Peter Brady type voice slip ups and all is pretty good, except for the journey home where the first thing that happens when I walk in the door is a get a 9 month old that has been bouncing off the walls for much of the day and is up way past its bedtime.  11:30 is the time the little one settles down after a decent bout of crying.  A quick reveal of the Ice Dogs reveal a tidy 3-0 victory in Sault Ste Marie in which Mark Visentin sets an OHL shut out record with 10 in a season and has a tidy 16 game personal winning streak on the go

Other Things on the Schedule:   A quick embarrassing secret to reveal that I did not include the fact that Friday night should mean party night, but in all actuality means "Dateline Night" and I was embarrassed to admit that I faithfully watch the Bachelor and Monday Night Raw every Monday Night until Twitter revealed to me that a number of Ice Dog players fully admit to watching both shows, so I feel immense pride and can hopefully keep my manhood intact.  Oh, by the way I also regularly watch The Voice, Survivor and American Idol, a TV scholar I am not.

This week it's back to Ice Dogs broadcasts on Thursday and Sunday, with two more basketball play off games in between, and American Idol, The Voice and Survivor are already recorded on the PVR.

Steve Clark

Friday, February 17, 2012


When you saw the match up between the front running  Niagara Ice Dogs and the bottom of the league Erie Otters, you may be excused if you banked the two points for the Ice Dogs.   The Dogs have been red hot on the road as of late, including taking the first two of a season long five game road trip.  Erie, with only 7 victories, had also yet to beat the Ice Dogs this year.

Why bother with the game?  Lets put the two points in the back pocket and move on!  Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the Tullio Centre.   The Ice Dogs, who fired 62 shots, could only muster a Freddie Hamilton goal.  Still no problem right?  The Ice Dogs have a league high ten shutouts, so goals allowed have been few and far between.  Check again.  The Otters, despite only a meagre 18 shots on goal, scored a power play goal with under six minutes to go to tie the game and then won it with a last minute power play goal by Leaf  draft pick Sondre Olden shocked the Ice Dogs.  Devin William, whom I have a sneaking suspicion got the 1st star, faced the 62 shot barrage and was the unquestionable star of the game. 

A couple of outlets and fan-sites referred to the game as a "heartbreaking loss" for the Ice Dogs. Please!  The Dogs will learn the valuable lesson that a hot goalie can steal a game, and that certainly was the case with young Williams.  Good for him, and good for the Otters who showed that anything can happen on any given night.   

The Dogs travel to Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie to finish off the five gamer before returning to face the same Soo Greyhounds Thursday February 23rd at home.  

Out shooting an opponent 62-18 and losing 2-1. 

It's why they play the games, no matter what the standings say!

Steve Clark
Niagara Ice Dogs TV Play-by-Play

Friday, February 10, 2012


The less said about this game the better.  The Ice Dogs opened the scoring at 1:33 through Alex Friesen and never looked back rolling to a 11-0 demolition of the Mississauga St Michael's Majors.   Andrew Agozzino recorded a hat-trick, Friesen and Ryan Strome had two each while singles were recorded by Brett Ritchie, Jamie Oleksiak, Miles Doan and Freddie Hamilton.  Games like this are never fun to broadcast as you kind of feel foolish getting excited as the score piles up.  Even the players on the victorious side are a little sheepish when the goals keep coming.  It should be noted that Oleksiak, along with a four point evening posted a + 7 on the evening.

The Ice Dogs are back at it again as they kick off a five game road trip in Barrie before their lone stop in Oshawa on Sunday.  That game will see the return of Dougie Hamilton after serving a ten game suspension.  The rest of the road trip will see stops in Erie, Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie before the Ice Dogs return home on February 23rd with a return bout with the Soo.

Highlights of last nights game is here, though if you are a Major's fan, I suggest you may want to avert your eyes and move along.  Nothing to see here.

IceDogs 11 Majors 0

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Been little busy, but in the interest of having people come to the blog to see highlights and not Ric Flair, here is an update of the Ice Dogs comeback 5-2 victory over the Brampton Battalion.  Though while on the subject of the Nature Boy Ric Flair, it appears the Ice Dogs have gone the way of the Carolina Hurricanes and added his trademark Woooo!, every time the Ice Dogs score a goal.  I must say that it was a resounding success proving that Ric Flair and Ice Dog fans are indeed one and the same.  Though it does not compare to the reaction that The Nature Boy gets in Carolina, where he is God!

I digress, after the Ice Dogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead via Steven Shipley's power play marker in the 1st the Battalion responded with two quick ones in the 2nd as Derek Froats and Jesse Miller both beat Mark Visentin.  The Troops would hold the 2-1 lead of the mid-way point of the 3rd period when the Ice Dogs embarked on a 3 goal in 1: 37 binge as Alex Friesen tied the game on a two man advantage, Brett Ritchie would add a power play marker 20 seconds later, while David Pacan would cap the barrage to make it 4-2.  Freddie Hamilton added the 4th power play marker for the Ice Dogs to provide some more insurance.   

Mark Visentin would pick up the win, his 9th in a row since returning from World Junior duty.  The Ice Dogs host Mississauga on Thursday February 9th at 7 pm.  Ed, Al and I will have the call of the game.  It will be the last home game for the Ice Dogs for two long weeks as they embark on a five game road swing that will see them hit Barrie, Oshawa, Erie, Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury.   

With their recent run of excellent play the Dogs are within two points of the conference lead and now lead Brampton in the division with two games in hand.   The Ice Dogs, who returned Brock Beukeboom back to the line-up on Friday in London will get Dougie Hamilton back from suspension when the Dogs are in Oshawa on February 12th. Injured forward Ryan Strome may also return during the road trip. 

Here are the highlights from Saturday: