- On Monday, the Hamilton Pistols demoted RW Michael Jennings to their farm team in Oshawa, and called up D Russ Klemmer from Oshawa. This move reverses a transaction made at the end of last week, when the Pistols called up Jennings to fill a spot opened up by Claude Lafayette‘s injury. The return move proved necessary when Oshawa LW Troy Blackwood got hurt, leaving the Drive short a forward. Jennings’ second stint of the season in Hamilton lasted a grand total of one game; he failed to record a point.
- On Wednesday, the New York Night activated RW Ivan “Trainwreck” Trujwirnek from the injured list. Trujwirnek was out for the last two and a half weeks with an upper body injury. His absence was a major blow to the Night’s depth, as he was a key contributor on their second line. Recently acquired Nori Takoyaki had filled in on the second line during Trujwirnek’s absence. To make room for Trujwirnek on the roster, the Night sent RW Sylvester Catarino to their farm team in Utah. The 22-year-old Catarino, a New York native, was a fan favorite, but struggled to put up the numbers to keep himself in the lineup. In 34 games with New York this season, Catarino registered 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) and a +4 rating.
- On Friday, the Pistols activated G Lasse Koskinen from the injured list. It’s not a moment too soon for Hamilton, which has been treading water in the absence of their starting netminder. The 22-year-old Koskinen posted a 17-10-2 record with a 2.30 GAA and a .922 save percentage prior to his injury. With Koskinen returning, the Pistols returned G Hector Orinoco to Oshawa. The 23-year-old Orinoco went 2-0-0 with a 2.00 GAA and an .878 save percentage during his stint with Hamilton.
- On Saturday, the Kansas City Smoke demoted RW Adriaen van der Veen to their CHL affiliate in Omaha, and promoted RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno from Omaha. This transaction reversed a move the Smoke made right after the All-Star break, when they sent Fortuno down and called van der Veen up. In 18 games with Kansas City, van der Veen put up only 3 points (2 goals, 1 assists) while recording a -14 rating. Fortuno started the season with the Smoke, and was demoted after recording 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists) in 24 games.
- On Monday, the Quebec Tigres activated D Ward Jones from the disabled list. Jones had missed more than a month with an upper-body that he suffered before the All-Star break. To make room for Jones on the active roster, the Tigres reassigned D Serge Rimbaud to their farm team in Maine. The 18-year-old Rimbaud appeared in 13 games with Quebec, recording 8 assists and a +1 rating.
- Also on Monday, the Hamilton Pistols placed goaltender Lasse Koskinen on the disabled list. Koskinen suffered an upper-body injury during Sunday’s 7-4 win over New York. He is expected to miss 2 to 3 weeks, a serious blow for a Pistols team that is trying to snatch a playoff spot in the East. To replace Koskinen, the Pistols called up Hector Orinoco from their affiliate in Oshawa. The 23-year-old Orinoco has gone 13-11-0 with a 2.69 GAA and a .902 save percentage with Oshawa this season.
- On Tuesday, the Tigres placed LW Stellan Fisker on the disabled list. Fisker suffered an upper-body injury during the Tigres’ 3-0 win over Hershey. He is expected to miss 3 to 4 weeks. To replace Fisker on the roster, the Tigres called up LW Carl Bleyer from their farm team in Maine. Bleyer has put up 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists) with the Moose on the year.
- Wednesday was the trading deadline. The following trades were consummated at the deadline:
- The New York Night traded RW Mickey Simpson, D Andy Ruger, and a 3rd-round draft pick to the Washington Galaxy for RW Nori Takoyaki. (More details here.) After making the trade, the Night promoted D Craig Werner from their farm team in Utah and signed D Sheldon Harville to a minor-league contract.
- The Galaxy traded Ruger to the Kansas City Smoke in exchange for a 3rd-round pick.
- The Michigan Gray Wolves traded RW Cleo Rodgers, G Gus Parrish, and a 2nd-round pick to the Smoke in exchange for LW Kevin Starkey and D Scott Hexton. (More details here.) After the trade, Kansas City called up Parrish and LW Veikko Sikanen from their CHL affiliate in Omaha, and demoted G Jim Fleetwood to Omaha. They also released G Toby Kemper. Meanwhile, Michigan released D Igor Shovshenkov, demoted F Yann Eberlein to their affiliate in Cleveland, and signed Kemper to a minor-league deal.
- The Saskatchewan Shockers traded C Tanner Brooks to the Dakota Jackalopes in exchange for D Rusty Anderson. (More details here.) After the trade, the Shockers demoted D Valeri Nistrumov to their farm team in Virginia. They also released D Knute Skoeglin and signed F Marvin Cascio to a minor-league deal.
- The Hamilton Pistols traded C Pat Collistone, D Buster Kratz, and a 1st-round pick to the Galaxy in exchange for C Eddie Costello. (More details here.) After the trade, the Pistols called up D Russ Klemmer from their CHL affiliate in Oshawa, and demoted RW Michael Jennings to Oshawa. They also signed D Gresham Sourwine to a minor-league contract. The Galaxy demoted Kratz to their affiliate in Baltimore and promoted C Tucker Barnhill from Baltimore. They also released D Sheldon Harville.
- The Quebec Tigres traded D Kirby Hanlon, C Jacob Cunniff, and a 1st-round pick to the Jackalopes in exchange for D Matt Cherner. (More details here.) After the trade, Dakota released RW Omar Zdurchek; Quebec then signed him to a minor-league deal.
- Finally, the Seattle Sailors traded D Serkan Mratic to the Galaxy for D Stan Gallagher. (More details here.)
- On Saturday, the Jackalopes activated D Rodney Black from the injured list. Black, who was sidelined in only his second SHL game, missed two and a half weeks with an upper-body injury. Since Dakota was one player short of the roster limit, they did not make a corresponding move.
- Also on Saturday, the Hershey Bliss placed LW Lance Sweet on long-term injured reserve. Sweet was carried off the ice on a stretcher after being crunched into the boards late in the second period during Saturday’s 6-3 win over Saskatchewan. Sweet underwent surgery on his right leg, and is expected to be out for the rest of the season. To fill Sweet’s roster spot, Hershey called up D Seth Dowd from their CHL affiliate in Milwaukee. The 33-year-old Dowd, who last played in the SHL in 2016, recorded 27 points with Milwaukee this season.
The worlds of politics and hockey had another awkward intersection this week, courtesy of Donald Trump. In 2015, back when Trump was still considered a fringe candidate, the Washington Galaxy mocked him by having fans shoot pucks at a caricature of his face, a stunt for which the team later apologized. Now that Trump has stunned the world by becoming president, the Galaxy invited him to drop the puck for their Opening Day game against the Hamilton Pistols.
Trump declined the invitation, but the Vice President agreed to do the honors in his place. But a seemingly harmless ceremonial ritual turned into the latest example of the partisan divide in America, as his appearance was met with protests and boos.
Prior to the game, a group of approximately 50 anti-Trump protesters demonstrated outside of Constellation Center, leading chants and holding signs with slogans like “Dump Trump,” “Impeach Trump,” and “Hail to the Thief.” Many fans walking into the arena flashed thumbs-up and expressed agreement with the protesters, although a couple of them stopped to argue. The arguments grew heated at times, but did not turn physical.
When it was time for the puck drop, the VP emerged onto the ice wearing a Galaxy jersey and waving to the crowd. As soon as his name was announced, the boos began to swell, drowning out the handful of cheers. By the time he arrived at center ice along with Galaxy C J.C. Marais and Pistols D Russ Klemmer, the booing was so loud as to be nearly deafening. Public address announcer Rob Crane urged the fans to show respect, which only made them boo louder. The VP dropped the puck, then briefly waved again and hurried off the ice as quickly as he could.
He also visited both locker rooms before the game. “We had a chance to talk a little bit,” said Galaxy D Bill Corbett. “He’s a really nice guy and a real sports fan.” Asked about the booing, Corbett said, “I mean, they’ve got the First Amendment rights, so they can do it. But it’s a real shame, because he doesn’t deserve it.”
Washington coach Rodney Reagle declined to discuss the incident, joking that “they’ve got 100,000 volts of electricity wired right through this chair, and if I say anything political, they’re gonna turn on the juice and I’m a goner. So I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut.”
Sources close to the Galaxy say that star winger Jefferson McNeely was supposed to take the opening puck drop, but that he declined to do so either out of a personal antipathy to the administration or out of fear that he would be shot. McNeely refused to confirm or deny the rumor, but said that “I’m glad to see our fans express themselves.”
For his part, the VP professed not to be upset about the booing. “I love freedom, and this is what freedom is about,” he said. “I don’t object to our citizens expressing their views. I very much appreciated the fans who had the courage to show their support.”