- 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.
Life in the minor leagues isn’t always glamorous. The CHL’s Baltimore Blue Claws learned that lesson the hard way this week, as they saw a simple bus ride turn into an ordeal that nearly ended in tragedy for one player.
On Monday, the Blue Claws played the Cleveland Centurions on the road and lost 2-1. The next night, they had a game at Harborside Arena. Rather than spend an extra night in the hotel and fly back the next morning, the Blue Crabs faced a six-hour overnight bus ride to get back to Baltimore.
Unsurprisingly, the long ride after a loss already had the team in a bad mood. But things went from bad to worse when the bus broke down outside of Pittsburgh at about 3:00 in the morning.
“A lot of guys were asleep,” said Blue Claws RW Alberto Fedregotti. “All of a sudden, the bus started making these terrible noises and we started to slow down. You could just hear everybody start to groan. We were thinking maybe we would need to hitchhike back to Baltimore.”
It took over an hour to summon a tow truck, and another forty minutes for a replacement bus to arrive. The team did not make it back home until around 10 in the morning, as the players staggered back to their houses for a few hours of shut-eye before reporting back to the arena for the game.
When they arrived, they received more bad news: The tow truck that hauled off the original bus got into an accident, causing the bus to plunge into the Allegheny River. Many of the Blue Crabs’ personal effects were still on the bus, so several players groused about the loss of their sticks, clothes, or jewelry.
D Sheldon Harville, however, feared for the loss of something even more precious: his childhood teddy bear, Mr. Fluffykins. Harville brought Mr. Fluffykins with him on every road trip he’d been on since high school as a good-luck charm. The bond between the two was practically unbreakable.
When he heard that his precious bear was likely lost, Harville “started having, like, a panic attack. I knew the guys would give me all kinds of grief if they found out what was up, though, so I tried to play it cool. But I was freaking out at the thought of not having Mr. Fluffykins anymore. He’s been with me so long that he’s like family. I’m supposed to be preparing for the game, and all I can think about is trying not to bust out crying.”
Fortunately, though, the story has a happy ending. The bus was rescued from the river and Mr. Fluffykins was retrieved, a little wet but none the worse for wear. “Thank God Mr. Fluffykins was okay,” said Harville. “If I’d lost him, I might have had to quit hockey.”
And despite their nightmarish bus ride and fitful sleep, the Blue Crabs managed to win that night’s game against the Oshawa Drive, 3-2. “It’s not really the kind of situation you can plan for,” said coach Roland Tedesco. “You can plan for what to do if your star player gets hurt or something. You don’t really have a plan for what to do when your team bus breaks down and one of your guys loses his lucky teddy bear. This is a strange life sometimes.”