One on One with 2013/14 CHL Bodychecker of the Year, Kyle Bochek

By Ed Kimberley
Coventry, England

kinfdn02The next interview lined up for March Hockey’s partnership with the EIHL’s Coventry Blaze, is former Kingston Frontenac and 2013/14 Central league bodychecker of the year, Kyle Bochek. Bochek will bring the old school vibe to the Blaze lineup as he is a one of a kind pest. Pleased with Marc Lefevbre’s latest acquisition, Blaze correspondent Ed Kimberley caught up with Bocheck during this lengthy offseason.

EK: Kyle, I’d like to extend a huge welcome to the Coventry Blaze and thank you for taking the time to be a part of this series of interviews. How have you been spending the off season

Kyle Bochek: This off season I have been spending a lot of time in the gym conditioning using crossfit to improve my explosive power and strength. I have also been skating with a group of local pros near my hometown. In my off time I have been fishing, golfing and enjoying family and friends and am currently enjoying The Open.

EK: The EIHL/Central League have a lot of shared alumni, how did the move to Coventry come about and in doing your research did you ask advice from any former EIHLers?

KB: The move to Coventry came about by fielding offers from many European leagues. Through talking with my agent and Marc Lefevbre we gladly made the decision to sign in Coventry. The style of play in the EIHL suits my game and after researching the roster and the city of Coventry it made my decision very easy. I talked with a few friends who have played in the EIHL and received nothing but positive feedback on the hockey and Country.

EK: Playing the style of hockey you do, when it comes to the rivalry games (Nottingham in particular) is there a difference in how you view/approach these games?

8171341152_a0fc218c57
Photo: Daniel Russell)

KB: Personally I approach every game with the same mentality and focus. In rivalry games the intensity factor gets me a little more fired up. To me rivalry and playoff games are the most exciting and fun ones to play in. But as I have learned in talking with Coach Marc every game is so important during the season and should be approached with the same intensity.

EK:Tell us about the Checker of the Year award, growing up did you idolize a Scott Stevens type of player? How did this part of your game evolve?

KB: Receiving recognition for my physical style of play was a big honor for me last season. Growing up I idolized and fashioned my play after my favorite player Wendel Clark. The leadership, hard work, intensity, skill and willingness to not back down is something that I have tried to bring to my game my whole career. The passion and physicality he had playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs as captain when I was younger really influenced the way I play. Through my minor and junior hockey career I was always counted on to play physical and mix it up and as I moved on to professional hockey those assets of my game proved to be invaluable.

EK:Who was the toughest guy you have fought in your career so far and why?

KB: To be honest the toughest guy I ever fought was none other than new Blaze defenseman Craig Cescon. He throws hammers.

EK: You are coming off the back of a career year in points, are you looking for increased responsibility offensively?

KB: The coach has put together a team of players with different strengths that should compliment the teams play. I think that my style of play adds a physical dimension as well as the ability to create and finish offensively. Each year I strive to improve my offensive output and look forward to the challenge this season to continue to produce offensively.

Kyle Bochek (15)
Bocheck on Star Wars night. (Photo: Les Stockton)

EK: In your 2nd Press Release you mention you set a team goal of silverware but also a personal goal, what are your personal goals for the year?

KB:For me team always comes first. But personally, to gain the respect of my teammates and strive to improve in all facets of my game. The measure of success is how deep we can take this team in the later part of the season.

EK: With the roster almost complete what do you know about your teammates and how do you see this team’s style?

KB: From what I have seen of the team on paper and from what I have heard and read we have a very fast ,hardworking, physical and experienced group of players not to mention a monster between the pipes.

EK: Once again a big thank you Kyle, do you have any parting words for the fans?

KB: Thank you Ed. I hope that my style of play excites the Blue Army and let’s bring back a championship to Coventry.

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.

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.