Brampton Beast, the Central League and Matt Suderman

BramptonBeastFor a first year team, the Brampton Beast are proving themselves to be more than just a push over. Not that they intended to be but before today’s game against the Tulsa Oilers, they sit a game above .500 and 6th in the 10 team league. That’s a pretty healthy position to be in as we come to mid-season’s Christmas break.

It’s a good learning year and I expect them to jump a little higher in the standings come season’s end. I suspect them to end up in the top five which will pay dividends for next year as the Central League is expected to acquire two new expansion teams and up their squads to 12. No cities have been named or areas of interest have been announced but I would expect another Canadian team as to play rivalry for the Beast. Central league is difficult to pin point though as they have franchises in the most oddest places but they make it work.

Although a circle of controversy has followed him in his Elite league past, Matt Suderman has decided to lace the skates right back up with the Beast at home in Canada. After sending the first half of the season with the Hull Stingrays in England, Suderman left with a bad taste in his mouth from the league’s officiating and the fans. While I can’t comment on the officiating as I haven’t seen enough games (although what I have seen, it’s terrible. However, it’s been most Coventry Blaze games), I can comment on the accusations of the fans.

I’ve seen it in plenty of leagues. Some fans think it’s their god given right to antagonize the players. While that’s okay in some respects to haggle the opposing team (and there’s a fine line to be crossed their as well), when it comes to the home team, they think that they work for them. They feel entitled to harass the individuals who entertain them night in and night out. Of course, that comes with the territory I suppose but Suderman’s quote of “The fans think that they know hockey, but they don’t.”, is true to many teams and leagues.

The only difference here is that Suderman is just expressing himself out in the public eye as I’m sure many other players would love to do. While that might be showing a black spot on the organization and league, it’s nothing new or shocking and people need to put on their big boy panties and suck it up. Keyboard warriors indeed.

4e304eb2689ce247a72a3b848c0e614fThat being said, Suderman is going to make a huge impact for the Beast. It’s not his first rodeo in the league. He won the Ray Miron (shoutout Cornwall), President’s Cup back in 2008 with the Arizona Sundogs so he knows the teams and league well. His big 6’3 frame will do wonders guarding the blueline alongside the other giants of Michael Couch and Andrew Darrigo.

The Beast take on the Oilers today at 2pm eastern before they resume after the Christmas break with a set with the Quad City Mallards.

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Brampton Beast set for opening night

BramptonBeastFor the first time in the league’s history, the Central Hockey League are welcoming in a team from north of the border. The Brampton Beast will finally get their inaugural season underway this Friday when the Arizona Sundogs invade the Powerade Centre.

 

Brampton has picked up quite a core for forwards including former Belfast Giant, Andrew Fournier and Cardiff Devils/Sheffield Steelers alumni Tylor Michel. Both players must be thrilled to be back in front of a home country crowd. Veteran Rob Collins who spent a few years in the New York Islanders system will definitely bring the knowledge and leadership needed into the locker room for this new-found team. Collins has spent the past 8 season in the German Elite League. Matt Caruana who spent some time with the Toronto Marlies is another welcoming addition.

On defence, Brampton brings the power with CHL veterans, Jamie VanderVeeken, Michael Couch and Erik Spady. Rounding out the defence is Andrew Darrigo, Mike MacIntyre and former Alaska Ace Steve Ward.

Back between the pipes is Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan native Kristofer Westblom. Westblom had a great WHL career Kelowna Rockets before shipping off to Acadia University out east. He played 37 games last season with the Forth Worth Brahmas with a goals against average of 2.07 and save percentage of 0.907.

Brampton is also affiliated with the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. They will be a helpful addition to the Tampa Bay system in molding the right kind of players. The Beast are set to round-up their training camp and get ready for Friday night’s opening game. All fans will receive thundersticks to cheer on the Beast! Puck drops at 7:30pm.

Brampton Beast’s inaugural roster takes shape; add 4 more players

BramptonBeastAs the season inches closer for the Central Hockey League’s first Canadian franchise, the Brampton Beast brass are quickly shaping their roster. Last week they added  2 defencemen in the name of Eric Spady and Andrew Darrigo. Also signed on for the squad is right winger Mitchell Good and breakout goaltending sensation, Kris Westblom.

Westblom will be heading into his third CHL season with the Beast after spending an amazing season with the Fort Worth Brahmas. The 26 year old is a WHL Kelowna Rockets alumni who took them to the Memorial Cup back in 2005. In the same year he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Minnesota Wild.

Keeping an eye on the blue line is Westblom’s Brahmas teammate, Erik Spady. Spady spent four years with Northern Michigan University in the NCAA before turning pro. Last season saw him making a one game debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. The 24 year old B.C. native went undrafted.

Along with Spady is Andrew Darrigo. Darrigo is no stranger to the GTA area having played junior in the OJHL. The Oakville, Ontario native will begin his first CHL season with the Beast.

Right winger Mitchell Good is coming off an impressive year with the Pensecola Ice Flyers having won the 2013 SPHL championship. Before turning pro, Good suited up for Wilfred Laurier University. This will also be Good’s first CHL season.

The Brampton Beast are excited to usher in this historical first season. First game is October 18th when the Arizona Sun Dogs come to town. Puck drop is 7:30

Brampton Beast announce AHL and NHL affiliates

BramptonBeastThe Brampton Beast are the newest addition to the Central Hockey League and today was monumental in the team’s newly constructed history. The city of Brampton is now affiliated with an American Hockey League and National Hockey League team.

The Beast announced that they signed a one year contract and will be the feeder team to the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL and the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman expressed his excitement in partnering with the Brampton Beast and knows the talent that will be developed will be extraordinary. A strong developmental system in place is the key to success.

The Central Hockey League is venturing into Canada for the first time this year. The city of Brampton is excited for the opportunity to showcase their hockey talent to one of the best leagues in North America. The Beast are now the fourth CHL team to be associated with an NHL team. The Allen American are affiliated with the Dallas Stars, the Arizona Sundogs are affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Denver Cutthroats are with the Colorado Avalanche.

(Photo: bramptonbeast.com)
(Photo: bramptonbeast.com)

After Brampton’s OHL team, the Battalion took leave to North Bay earlier this year, the Powerade Centre was left empty. The Beast are looking to fill that arena with passionate fans across the GTA. This is another great opportunity for Canadian hockey fans to see the future of the NHL right in front of their very own eyes.

The Brampton Beast started off their inaugural CHL season October 18th where they host the Arizona Sundogs.

Central Hockey League’s newest addition, the Brampton Beast

BramptonBeastAt long last I finally have a Central Hockey League I can call my own and cheer for! Let me introduce to you the newest squad to join the CHL, the Brampton Beast.

The CHL has finally found it’s way into the Canadian market with it’s expansion Beast. After consistently having financial trouble and struggling to put fans in the seats, the city’s OHL team, the Brampton Battalion, jumped shipped and moved to North Bay. Leaving the Powerade Center team less, the former owner of the Kingston Voyageurs and current president of KIMCO Steel in K-town, Gregg Rosen, immediately jumped on board with finding a way to bring a new franchise into Brampton.

Both the city and the CHL immediately gave their stamp of approval and the expansion team was born. Brampton held a name the team event with the two finalists being Bandits and the clear winner, Beast. Their roster is starting to take shape with already announcing 3 signing in the form of 3 Canadians, Brett Smith, Jason Pitton and Calin Wild. Smith was a former alternate captain with the Fort Wayne Komets and brings plenty of experience to the group. Pitton was a former draft pick of the New York Islanders and spent the majority of his career in the AHL.

The Beast are currently holding a guessing game through their Facebook and Twitter pages which allows fans to ask questions to guess who will be their AHL and NHL affiliates. Exciting times for the world of hockey in Brampton as they get a step up from the OHL.

Q&A With Former Texas Brahmas and Hull Stingrays Enforcer, Ryan Hand

407820_10150436793533732_783894204_nRyan Hand has been all over North America in his hockey career so far. Spending time with 5 different teams in the Central Hockey League, to a few stints in the East Coast Hockey League and the Southern Professional Hockey League.

Most recently he spent time with the Hull Stingrays of the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom, but he is glad to be back on North American soil for this upcoming season. I caught up with him to get his take on the coolest game on earth.

March Hockey: You spent last season with the Hull Stingrays in the EIHL. How is UK hockey, or European hockey in general compared to hockey in North America? Or the EIHL to the CHL?

1011973_10151571105053732_1488936880_nRyan Hand: The biggest difference from North American hockey to the game in the UK had to be playing on the International ice. Teams that use that to their advantage, and stretch you out, make it hard to get the big hits that come pretty much every shift when I play on the smaller ice surface in North America.

MH: You’ve have a few tilts with LNAH legend John Mirasty. What was it like going toe to toe with a guy of that stature?

RH: Throughout my career I’ve fought a lot of tough guys, but everyone always asks about Jon Mirasty. The one face you don’t want to see when you’re squaring up at centre ice. He is one tough customer, I respect him a lot. We had 3 solid battles in 06-07.

MH: Who’s your favourite enforcer of all time and why?

RH: Favourite tough guy of all time has to be Bob Probert. A monster who destroyed everyone he dropped the gloves with and had skill too.

MH: How does it feel to be back playing on North American soil?

RH: It feels great to be able to play close to home this year. I’m looking forward to having friends and family come and support the team this year. Spending Christmas with the family for once will also be nice.

MH: And finally, if you could fight anyone, past or present, who would it be and why??

RH: I’d have to say if I could pick anyone it would be Probert. Even though it wouldn’t last long, I’d still give him a go.

Allen Americans Resign The Amazing Ludwig Brothers

AllenAmericansIn news coming from the Central Hockey League, the defending 2013 Ray Miron (Cornwall anyone?) President’s Cup champions, the Allen Americans have resigned a key tandem back into their fold.

Twins, Tyler and Trevor Ludwig’s contracts have been extended for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. An essential part to their championship victory, this is the first signing to start off a run at being back to back President’s Cup champions.

The sons of former National Hockey League great, Craig Ludwig, the twins are going into their 3rd season with the club.

The Allen Americans are co-owned by a few of Dallas Stars greats including Ludwig, Mike Modano, Steve Duchense and Eddy Belfour.