Igloos Furious After Miranda Hurt on Season’s Last Day

On Sunday, the Anchorage Igloos faced off against their longtime rivals, the Michigan Gray Wolves, to end the regular season.  In prior years, this might have been a critical matchup; perhaps a playoff berth or even the division title might be at stake.  But this season, the Igloos were already locked into the second playoff spot, and the Wolves had long since been eliminated from contention.

Anchorage came into the game with one primary goal: make sure no one gets hurt.  A victory would be nice, but optional.  They benched three of their stars – C Jake Frost, LW Jerry Koons, and D Ted Keefe – as a precautionary measure.  But while they did win the game 4-2, they failed in their first objective, as RW Waldo Miranda went down with a serious injury, costing the team a key contributor for the postseason.  Making matters worse, the injury came on a questionable hit that left the Igloos outraged.

Waldo Miranda

Miranda had a very productive game for Anchorage, with a goal and two assists.  But in the closing minutes of the third period, with the outcome already assured, Miranda was slowly drifting backward in the offensive zone when he was felled by a rough blindside hit by Wolves RW Vladimir Beruschko.  The 37-year-old Beruschko, playing in what may be his final SHL game, skated up on Miranda from behind and leveled him.  The hit was shoulder-to-shoulder, but it sent the Anchorage winger’s helmet flying and caused him to collapse to the ice.  As Miranda writhed in pain, several Anchorage players swarmed Beruschko, shouting and shoving.  Miranda had to be helped off the ice, and he did not return.

After the game, the Igloos expressed fury at what they felt was a dirty and unwarranted hit by Beruschko.  “I thought that was a dirty play, absolutely,” said Frost.  “It’s the last game of the season, you have nothing to play for, and you’re going to crush one of our guys, take him out for no good reason?  That’s crap.  It’s an ugly play by a player who, let’s be honest, has played ugly a lot in his career.  He should have been ejected.  And he didn’t even get a penalty?”

“When a guy gets hurt in the course of a normal play, it stinks, but that’s hockey,” said coach Sam Castor.  “But when a key contributor like Waldo gets hurt on a hit that was questionable at best, in a game that has no stakes… that’s really low, in my opinion.  And it’s a real disappointment for a guy like Vlad.  He’s always been a hard-nosed player, but I’ve usually respected him.  But this might be the last game of his career, and he puts one of my guys in the hospital just to be ugly.  Is that how you want to be remembered?  I’d expect more from him.”

In the aftermath of the game, Beruschko denied that he’d attempted to injure Miranda, and instead seemed to blame the Anchorage winger for his own injury.  “Always, when you are on the ice, you must have your head up,” said Beruschko.  “[Miranda] had his head down, was not looking around. How is that my fault?  I hit him, but not to the head.  It was a regular hockey hit.”

Interim Wolves coach Roger Stackledge noted that the Igloos had injured Michigan D Brooks Zabielski on a hard hit earlier in the game.  “I absolutely don’t think Vlad was trying to hurt Miranda there,” Stackledge said.  “Hockey’s a fast game, guys crash into each other hard at high speed, and sometimes guys get hurt.  [The Igloos] are up in arms about what Vlad did to their guy, but they crushed our guy and I didn’t hear anyone saying sorry.  I guess it doesn’t matter because we’re not going to the playoffs.”

The Igloos open the Western playoff against the Portland Bluebacks on Friday.

2020 SHL Week 12 Transactions

  • On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Shockers activated D Chris Oflyng from the injured list.  Oflyng, the Shockers’ top-scoring blueliner, had been out for more than a month with a lower-body injury suffered just before the All-Star break.  In order to make room for Oflyng on the roster, the Shockers reassigned D Valeri Nistrumov to their CHL affiliate in Halifax.  Nistrumov as appeared in 20 games for Saskatchewan this season, recording 5 assists and a -7 rating.
  • On Friday, the Shockers activated C Cyril Perignon from the injured list.  Perignon was injured during the last game of the first half, and after a setback in rehab, is now returning to action.  To allow Perignon’s return, the Shockers returned C Trent Harlow to Virginia, and released D Kjell Hanson.
  • On Saturday, the Michigan Gray Wolves‘ affiliate in Cleveland activated D Gil Calvert from the injured list.  Calvert missed two and a half weeks with a lower-body injury.  To make room for Calvert on the roster, the Gray Wolves released D Davis McNeely.  McNeely appeared in four games with Cleveland, and did not record a point.
  • Also on Saturday, the Hershey Bliss recalled F Anton Lapointe from their affiliate in Milwaukee, and demoted RW James Clay to Milwaukee.  Clay appeared in 4 games with Hershey, recording an assist and a +1 rating.

Wolves Revise Classic Fairy Tales in Giveaway Kids Book

The Michigan Gray Wolves have not generally been known for their creative promotions.  When they bother to hold a giveaway, it’s typically a scarf, a knit hat, a T-shirt, or maybe a rally towel… nothing out of the ordinary.  This week, however, the Wolves held a children’s promotion that was truly unique — and reportedly developed by their mascot.

On Sunday, the first 5,000 children through the gates received a storybook that contained a retelling of a couple of classic fairy tales.  The cover stated that the book was written by the team’s mascot, Wally Wolf.  According to Michigan’s marketing department, Wally was inspired to write it in order to combat “rampant anti-wolf propaganda” found in many children’s stories.

Wally Wolf

“Honestly, Wally has a point,” said Wolves D Fritz Kronstein.  “Think about all the fairy tales that include the Big Bad Wolf.  What makes him so bad all the time?  I definitely think it’s time to hear the other side of the story.”

In Wally’s take on the classic stories, the “Big Good Wolf” was cast as the hero.  In the villain’s role were other animals — ones that bore a striking resemblance to the mascots of Michigan’s rival teams.

The first story in the book was a rewrite of “The Three Little Pigs.”  In this version, the pigs built hockey rinks out of straw, sticks, and bricks.  This time, they were visited by the “Big Bad Bear,” a giant earmuff-wearing polar bear that looks strikingly like Petey, the Anchorage Igloos‘ mascot.  After the Big Bad Bear blows away the straw- and stick-built rinks, the Big Good Wolf arrives and chases off the villainous bear with a hockey stick, then teaches the pigs the finer points of the slapshot.

The second story is a fresh take on “Little Red Riding Hood.”  Retitled “Little Blue Riding Hood” (because the heroine is dressed in Wolves’ colors), the story tells the tale of a young girl bringing Wolves tickets to her ailing grandmother.  But before our heroine can get there, Grandma is kidnapped by the “Dirty Dog,” a brown dog in a sailor costume who resembles Salty Sam, the Portland Bluebacks‘ mascot.  When Little Blue Riding Hood showed up at Grandma’s house, she noticed that something was amiss.  “What long ears you have, Grandma!” she says.  “What big jowls you have!”  Just before the Dirty Dog can spring up and snatch our heroine, the Big Good Wolf shows up, chases the villainous dog away, puts Grandma and Little Blue Riding Hood on the back of his motorcycle, and races them over to the Wolves game just in time.

“Finally, it’s a fairy tale where wolves get a fair shake,” said Wolves GM Tim Carrier.  “I’m glad that Wally decided to share his stories with our young fans.”

Wally’s book was a hit with the fans, but not everyone was so delighted.  The Igloos, for instance, weren’t pleased when they heard about  the portrayal of the Big Bad Bear.  “I thought that Petey and Wally had buried the hatchet years ago,” said Igloos C Jake Frost.  “But if the wolf wants to get things started again, I’m sure that Petey is willing to go back to war.  And we’ll all have his back.”

The Bluebacks were likewise unamused about the “Dirty Dog” portrayal, and expressed their displeasure.  “This is gross character assassination toward Salty Sam,” said RW Vince Mango.  “We all know that Sam is 100% pro-grandma, and he would never kidnap anyone or try to traumatize little girls.  And most importantly, he would certainly never try to steal Wolves tickets.”

Informed of the Igloos’ and Bluebacks’ objections, Carrier was unapologetic.  “Wally calls them like he sees them,” the GM said.  “Like most authors, Wally’s stories are informed by his life experience.”

2020 SHL Week 11 Transactions

  • On Monday, the Dakota Jackalopes activated C Tanner Brooks from the injured list.  Shortly before the All-Star break, Brooks suffered an upper-body injury.  Although the injury initially did not seem that serious, Brooks wound up missing over three weeks.  As the Jackalopes had an available roster spot, they did not need to make a compensating move to activate Brooks.
  • Also on Monday, the Hershey Bliss‘ CHL affiliate in Milwaukee placed LW Karl Gjovik on the injured list.  Gjovik exited in the first period of Sunday’s 3-1 win over Cleveland after being upended on a devastating check, and did not return.  He is expected to miss at least two weeks.  To replace Gjovik, Milwaukee signed F Jerry Cazenovia to a short-term contract.
  • On Wednesday, the Hamilton Pistols activated C Marco Venezio from the injured list.  The veteran center missed 10 games with a lower=body injury suffered just before the All-Star break.  In order to make room for Venezio, the Pistols reassigned C Hilliard Macy to their CHL affiliate in Oshawa, and released F Bobby Warner from Oshawa.
  • Wednesday was the trading deadline. The following trades were consummated at the deadline:
    • The Michigan Gray Wolves traded RW Gordon Lunsford to the Boston Badgers for RW Rory Socarra. (More details here.) After the trade, Boston demoted RW Felix Delorme to their CHL affiliate in Hartford, and recalled F Jacques Bacon from Hartford.
    • The Gray Wolves traded LW Misha Petronov, F Cary Estabrook, and D Brandon Arrowood to the New York Night for LW Flynn Danner, F Henry Constantine, and D Anson Brank.  (More details here.) After the trade, Michigan demoted LW Fendrick Scanlan to their CHL affiliate in Cleveland, and New York promoted RW Harris Wondolowski from their affiliate in Utah.
    • The Dakota Jackalopes traded D Victor Addison to Boston in exchange for D Jackson Creed.  After the trade, the Badgers demoted D Bjorn Tollefson to their minor-league affiliate in Hartford.
    • Michigan traded C Warren Marlow to the Quebec Tigres in exchange for C Phil Miller, LW Carl Bleyer, and a 1st-round draft pick. (More details here.) After the trade, the Gray Wolves released F Caleb Moulton.  The Tigres demoted C Dwight Flynn to their CHL affiliate in Halifax, and signed F Tim Daisey to a minor-league deal.
  • On Saturday, the Anchorage Igloos recalled RW Jean Pierre Fleury from their CHL affiliate in Minnesota. The Igloos demoted Fleury to Minnesota during the All-Star break, and he played brilliantly there, recording 19 points in 12 games, including the CHL’s first-ever five-goal game.  To make room for Fleury, the Igloos reassigned RW Lionel LaNeige to Minnesota.