Player Features

FEATURE | Former IceCap Eric Neilson: The Ultimate Pro

by Amy Johnson, Lead Correspondent, IceCaps Hockey Report

(Photo courtesy of the St. John’s IceCaps)

MONTREAL, QC — “I don’t need to take any vitamin D pills that I was taking in St. John’s, ’cause you get lots of it from the sun!” quipped Eric Neilson shortly after our call connected, describing the beautiful weather he was quickly getting accustomed to in Missouri.  Neilson recently took some time out of his busy afternoon to chat about his move from the St. John’s IceCaps to the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks.

“Hockey-wise, it’s been awesome,” he said.  “I’m actually playing more hockey – I’m actually playing more now with the Mavericks, ice time, then I have in the last three or four years.”

At time of writing, Neilson had tallied 17 games with the Mavericks in the short time he’s been with the team – compared to just six games played with St. John’s in the first half of the season.  “We’re first in the league, we’ve got really good teammates here, and we’ve got something special going.  So I’m having fun going to the rink every day,” he added.

(Photo courtesy of the Missouri Mavericks)
(Photo courtesy of the Missouri Mavericks)

Eric said it didn’t take long for the die-hard hockey fans in Missouri to welcome him as one of their own.  “They love their hard-hitting, hard-working, you know – they don’t mind a scrap or two every now and then.  They enjoy that part of the game, too.  So obviously me doing what I do and my role, I fit right in right away and I’ve met a lot of nice people, a lot of great people down here so far.”

A 6-foot-2-inch, 205 pound right-winger, Neilson was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 2004 after playing a few seasons in the QMJHL with Rimouski Oceanic.  He made his pro debut with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) in 2005 before playing with the Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL) in 2006 and the Alaska Aces (ECHL) in 2007.

During that season with the Aces, Neilson got called up to the AHL to play for the Peoria Rivermen.  He stayed with the Rivermen the following season, then went on to play with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2009.  Neilson played 38 games for the Bulldogs, scoring one goal and two assists.  After bouncing between a couple of other AHL teams, he found a home with the Syracuse Crunch in 2012 where he became a fan-favorite and team mainstay for three seasons.

(Photo courtesy of the St. John's IceCaps)
(Photo courtesy of the St. John’s IceCaps)

Making trips to St. John’s with the Crunch prompted a new dream for Neilson to chase: playing hockey in Newfoundland.  “Every time we came into St. John’s it just felt like home to me,” said the Fredericton, NB native.  “Being from the Maritimes, being from Atlantic Canada, I love the feel.  I love the people.”

It didn’t take long for that dream to become reality.  Early in the 2015-16 season, Neilson was signed to a PTO by the IceCaps after being sent down to the ECHL’s Manchester Monarchs.  The IceCaps Hockey Report team interviewed Eric after a road trip game against the Hershey Bears not long afterward – watch the video HERE.

From what we observed, it was apparent that Neilson not only made an impact on the ice, but also left a remarkable impression on his teammates, coaches, and surrounding staff members off the ice.  He says evolving into an upbeat team player was never an intentional choice, but rather a product of learning how to prove himself to new teammates ever since his days in junior.  “I learned the importance of being a good teammate and the communication wasn’t there, so you had to show other ways to express the way you’re gonna bring what you do for the team.”

For Neilson, getting the opportunity to play for the IceCaps, even if only for a few months, was everything he hoped it would be.  “I was so fortunate and so blessed to be able to go back and actually

(Photo courtesy of the St. John's IceCaps)
(Photo courtesy of the St. John’s IceCaps)

fulfill my dream of playing there,” he said sincerely.  “The people that I met there – Danny Williams and Glenn Stanford and the organization and the ownership, right down through the whole kit and caboodle, the staff.  It’s just something special.”

On January 16, 2016, just one month after signing Neilson to his second PTO, the IceCaps released him early after the Montreal Canadiens traded Jarred Tinordi and Stefan Fournier to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Victor Bartley and John Scott.  Neilson returned to the Manchester Monarchs who then traded him a few days later to the Missouri Mavericks for future considerations.

Now, he says, getting so much ice time in the ECHL allows Neilson to play more confidently and doesn’t require him to adjust his style of play.  “It’s a little bit slower than the American league, gives me a little bit more time to make a play with the puck or to react.”

In fact, Neilson has already lit the lamp twice for the Mavericks this season.  He laughed while recalling his first goal which came in his second game with Missouri.  “The puck was a rebound, I fanned on it.  The goalie made another save, I got the puck back again and I just fanned on it, actually, for the second time but this time it fooled the goalie, trickled through his legs and it was almost like it was a soft putt coming into the hole. It just barely crossed the goal line.”

Within the past couple of years, Neilson has realized that his hockey-playing goals have changed as he’s gotten older.  In a serious moment, he says he’s accepted that it’s possible he might not reach his “ultimate goal” of playing in the NHL but believes his role now serves a very important purpose.

“Now, for me, the goal and the motivation to come to the rink now is just to pass on what I’ve learned the last 10 years of my professional career to possibly a rookie or a second-year guy.  A younger kid who’s coming up through.”

He fondly recalls former teammates as an example.  “The smile on my face when I see a guy like Morgan Ellis get called up for the first time or when Dustin Tokarski got called up with Tampa Bay.  …Young guys that I’ve played with.”

For a seasoned veteran like Nielson, it’s moments like that which make all of the sacrifice and hard work worthwhile.  “I try to be a motivator and be a positive influence, have a positive attitude, and come to the rink every day with a smile on my face.”

Feature Player Features

#AskAnIceCap | Nikita Scherbak Answers Your Questions [with AUDIO]

by Taylor McIlwaine , Digital Media Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Nikita Scherbak (Photo by Rick Stephens | Rocket Sports Media)
Nikita Scherbak (Photo by Rick Stephens | Rocket Sports Media)


TORONTO, ON — Promising Montreal Canadiens prospect, Nikita Scherbak has some ideas about who he would put in his NHL starting lineup, and they might surprise you!

Nikita All Of the light
(Photo by Taylor McIlwaine | Rocket Sports Media)

For the St. John’s IceCaps, the 2016 Easter long weekend was spent rounding off a 14-day road trip, their last of the regular season. The team came to Toronto to face off against the Marlies in two games of good ol’ fashioned rivalry hockey. While they lost both games in the big city, 20-year-old Nikita Scherbak continued to show promising strides in his career, showing off some of that signature stick work and posting an assist.

The first round draft pick continues to clock big time minutes with the IceCaps, showcasing impressive puck handling and sly pivots, all the while, improving on his defensive play. His potential keeps growing in tandem with his determination and passion to be a top NHL forward.

After taking to Twitter and Facebook to collect some of your questions, I caught up with the Moscow-native in Toronto to get you some answers, and they definitely did not disappoint.

On Saturday afternoon, you played at the ACC and on Monday night you went to an NBA game at the ACC. How did you like watching the Raptors? Did you have good seats? — Jason (Markham, ON.) via Facebook

Scherbak: I was excited, really,  I like basketball a lot! It’s one of my favourite sports, because my mom used to play. So, about seats…[laughs] it wasn’t really good seats, I mean, it was on top, in the 300s. So, the guys made jokes on me in the morning, saying I watched from the CN tower, but I mean, that was my first experience, so I was really excited, and I [got the chance] to see Durant and Westbrook, they [are some] of my favourite players in the NBA, so it was really nice.

Scherbak: My music, actually, I put my music. Last couple of games, the boys give me a chance […] I don’t like, I’m not a big fan of country, so I like more techno and rap so yeah we’re listening to rap and techno before we go on the ice.

Describe the atmosphere of the dressing room: after a win and after a loss.

Scherbak: Well, it’s always tough, I mean, like when you lose the game and no one [is] happy, right? Because, obviously you’re trying, you put effort and something doesn’t go well so a bit more quiet after games. We try and just, I don’t know, try and forget right away that game, what happened on the ice.

And, obviously, when we win the game we’re all happy and we’re all smiling and it’s fun, you know, it’s fun to win!

What is your favorite thing to do when you are on the bus/plane? Play cards? Listen to music? Read? Sleep? — Amanda (Seattle, WA.) via Facebook

Scherbak: That’s a tough one, I don’t know. Try and get sleep maybe, but usually I can’t sleep on the bus or plane. I can’t sleep when I am sitting down so I try to play games on my iPhone or iPad or wherever. Watch a movie on the plane and listening to music.

Scherbak: A lot! I miss junior, I miss my junior career a lot, because it was so much fun. All the guys and the fans too, you know, it was crazy, especially in Everett. We had a good team, good year and uh, the crowd was good at those games so I was excited to play there, especially games against Seattle, it was sold out so it was awesome, I miss it a lot!

Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty recently joked that, “(Mike) McCarron probably has never shaved in his life.” When asked McCarron said that he shaves every three weeks. So Bobby, from Montreal, had to know..

Scherbak: I’m not a huge beard guy [laughs], so I don’t know, probably like same, yeah three weeks, maybe a month. I am not mustache guy, or not crazy beard guy so yeah, around three weeks too.

Scherbak: That’s a really tough one. I don’t know, if I were to be coach, I would, well first of all, I would take [Carey] Price in net, for sure, that’s 100 per cent. On defense, I would put Erik Karlsson and let’s say, Drew Doughty and forward would be [Sidney] Crosby, Jamie Benn and, uh, let’s take a Russian… let’s take [Pavel] Datsyuk!

Scherbak: I’ll be honest, it doesn’t…it’s a tough one. I played a lot on the wing, basically all my career and this year, I start centre and I like it alot. I don’t know, I think I rather play centre now, like after a couple games playing centre, I would like to play centre.

Scherbak: Oh, I don’t know that’s tough. I mean all guys talented, to play on this team, in this league, you have to be talented and you have to be, you have to work hard. […] Obviously, the older guys, but maybe most talented, I would say Charles Hudon. I really like how he plays and the way, the skill he has, so I really like him.

Scherbak: Everything! I dont know, my parents, my friends. Just the atmosphere and my culture and just the city. I mean, I am born there, and I [haven’t] been there in a long time so I’m really excited to go back. [I miss] my parents a lot, I didn’t see them for awhile.

Scherbak:  [Laughs] Probably, no, I like to jump, jumping, maybe over something, on something. I don’t know, maybe bench press [laughs]. Let’s say bench press, I am not good at that any way, so…

What is your plan/schedule for the off-season? Randy (Waterloo, Ontario) via Facebook

Scherbak: So I will go home, back [to] Moscow, right away, I think, and we’ll see from that. I need to make a new Visa and stuff so we’ll see. Ill go home first and I’ll decide after that. Go and hang out with my parents a lot, try and see all of my friends, which is a lot of friends, I didn’t see them for 3 years and maybe go for a vacation somewhere, we will see, we will figure [it out]!

Thank you for sending us your questions! Missed out? Be sure to follow along with us on social media @IceCapsReport@AllHabs and @TaylorOliviaMc so it never happens again. Meanwhile, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the promising career of Nikita Scherbak!


Listen to Nikita Scherbak answer fan questions here:


IceCaps McCarron, Ellis Stand Out in AHL All-Star Game [VIDEO]

By Amy Johnson, Ice Caps Hockey Report

Morgan Ellis, Michael McCarron (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)
Morgan Ellis, Michael McCarron (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)

SYRACUSE, NY — Fifty-two AHL stars gathered once again at center ice in Syracuse on Monday night. Each were selected based on their outstanding play thus far in the 2015-16 season. The best of the American League.  Many contend these players are a force to be reckoned with, and the jumbers tend to agree.

  • 82 AHL players league-wide have made their NHL debut this season (including Michael McCarron of the St. John’s IceCaps).
  • 23 of this year’s AHL All-Stars have played in the NHL this season.
  • This years All-Stars have tallied 1,968 career NHL games.
  • Of the 679 players (since 1995) who have played in the AHL All-Star Classic, 94.7% of them have gone on to play in the NHL.

It’s safe to say the AHL continues to produce a lot of promising talent for the NHL. And for the St. John’s IceCaps McCarron and Morgan Ellis certainly represented them well. We spoke with each of them before the game, watch the video below.

The game was broken down into three periods, each containing two nine-minute round robin games pitting divisions against each other. Each game was played 4-on-4 for the first half and 3-on-3 for the second half.

It took a couple of games for guys to get a feel for the format, but then they started to get serious. Ellis assisted on the North’s first goal by Josh Leivo and had plenty of scoring chances of his own. Ellis was quite noticeable every time he took the ice and skated very well. McCarron assisted on a different Leivo goal, then potted one of his own off a sweet centering pass from Matt Taormina.

In the end, Central beat out Atlantic for the championship win. McCarron and Ellis now head back to St. John’s for a short break before gearing up to face Utica on Friday. Be sure to check out their post-game interviews below.

Post-game interview with Morgan Ellis

Post-game interview with Michael McCarron


IceCaps McCarron, Ellis Shine in AHL All-Star Skills [VIDEO]

By Amy Johnson, Ice Caps Hockey Report

Morgan Ellis, Michael McCarron (Photo by Amy Johnson | Rocket Sports Media)

SYRACUSE, NY — The best of the best gathered at Syracuse’s War Memorial Arena on Sunday night to kick off the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic with the Skills Competition. Fifty-two of the league’s top forwards, defencemen, and goaltenders gatheredto show off their talents in a night of playful competition.

Michael McCarron and Morgan Ellis were chosen as the two North Division representatives from the St. John’s IceCaps. We spoke with them before the event began to get a sense of their excitement level for the weekend. You can watch the video of those interviews below.

We also chatted with former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj before the competition began. Budaj now plays for the Ontario Reign and is having a terrific season. You can listen to the audio from his interview, as well as audio from post-event interviews with McCarron and Ellis below as well.

Pre-event interview with Peter Budaj

Post-event interview with Morgan Ellis

Post-event interview with Michael McCarron

After watching the Puck Control Relay and Fastest Skater events from the sidelines, the Rapid Fire contest brought McCarron to the ice. He impressed the crowd by potting four of his five quick-shot attempts.

Next it was Ellis’ turn in the Hardest Shot event. He fired a laser at 100.0 mph to take the third hardest shot position overall, and one of only two players to get into triple digits.

Pass and Score teamed three skaters against a goalie. McCarron, Mike Sislo, and William Nylander peppered Budaj, but couldn’t get a puck past him.

Finally, both IceCaps players took part in the Breakaway Relay. McCarron faced Budaj once again and Ellis took on Laurent Brossoit. At the end of the night the Western Conference came out on top, but every participant seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Fans lined the boards afterwards for photos and autographs with their favorite players, who now look forward to the AHL All-Star Game Monday night.


After 14 Games: St. John’s IceCaps Review


(Photo courtesy of St. John’s IceCaps)

BRAMPTON, ON — The first year AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the St.John’s IceCaps are off to a good start through their first 14 games of the season. They are currently third in the Eastern Conference’s North Division with a 7-5-1-1 record for 16 points. Part of the IceCaps early success this season has largely been in part to some of the new faces that either made the jump to the professional ranks or signed this past summer with the Canadiens or the IceCaps organization.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the IceCaps early success is goalie Zach Fucale who is 5-2-0 so far in his seven games, helping his team pick up 10 out of a possible 14 points. Fucale has been mostly solid in his first professional season, although has a middling goals against average of 3.10 and a save percentage of .906 so far. Meanwhile he even chipped in offensively with one assist. The Canadiens 2013 2nd round draft pick has shown his ability to match up to the professional game so far, he will likely only get better as the season moves along.

George “Bud” Holloway, the 27-year-old former third round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, who is back playing in North America for the first time since the 2010-11 season, is the current leader in assists with 11 and points with 15 through the first 14 games. Holloway really impressed while playing overseas in Europe for four seasons signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Canadiens on July 1st.

Holloway was given a chance to crack the deep Canadiens lineup in training camp, however he was unsuccessful in doing so and was sent to the AHL where he has taken on a bit of a veteran role for the young IceCaps team. Holloway brings a ton of leadership to the IceCaps lineup and overall makes them a much better team. Holloway could be a call up later in the season for the Canadiens if injuries occur, however for now, the leading scorer of the IceCaps remains put.

Two first year professionals in Michael McCarron coming out of the Oshawa Generals organization and Nikita Scherbak out of the Everett Silvertips organization are proving that not everyone’s adjustment to the professional game is a difficult one. Big Michael McCarron is in a tie for third in IceCaps scoring with 11 points in 14 games, including six goals so far on the year while being tied for 18th in AHL scoring on the season.  Big Mac is a very intimidating presence when he is on the ice, so far this season he has shown he is not afraid to shoot the puck or play his style which is great news.

Nikita Scherbak on the other hand has had a pretty pedestrian start to the season. In eight games he has three points and is a minus-5.  For Scherbak, the adjustment to the professional game, speed and play hasn’t been the issue, it has been some injuries have kept him out. Once he gets back to being fully healthy, he will find it easier to play his skilled game and the points will start to come.

Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto and Charles Hudon were pegged as players who could have a shot to crack the Canadiens roster out of training camp as well, with two of them being full second year professionals. The trio are all off to good starts this season.

Daniel Carr who had 24 goals last season for the Hamilton Bulldogs is second in team scoring with 12 points in 14 games. Charles Hudon, who was named to the AHL’s all-rookie team last season with 57 points in 75 games, is off to a solid start with 10 points in 14 games.

Lastly, there is diminutive Swiss forward, Sven Andrighetto, who is now playing in his third professional season.  In his first season, Andrighetto registered 44 points; last season he tallied 43 points in 40 games. Andrighetto has started this season with nine points in 14 games.

For the IceCaps, these three – two of which were Captain and Assistant Captain at the Rookie Tournament in September – are all being watched closely by the Canadiens and their fans. They figure to be among the top call-ups for the Canadiens if there are any injuries. These young leaders are at the forefront of a, so far, successful St. John’s team in it’s first year as the Habs AHL affliliate.

The IceCaps boast prospects that the Canadiens can afford to wait on. The fact that the Canadiens can afford to let these prospects play together for a long period of time, to grow and learn together, is huge. It also gives the Canadiens management time to really see what type of players they have in the AHL and even in the ECHL with their ECHL affiliate, the Brampton Beast. With the talent the Canadiens organization boasts, the IceCaps figure to be competitive this season. A young, hungry team that can really do some damage this season, the Canadiens know success is paramount in the AHL and ECHL to create a winning environment for these prospects to grow from and translate into success at the next level.

The St.John’s IceCaps next play the Toronto Marlies on Friday, November 13th at home and the Brampton Beast with the likes of Angelo Miceli, Tim Bozon, Mark MacMillan and more next play the Saturday, November 14th vs the Elmira Jackals.


IceCaps Pre-Season Report

by Nic Phelan, Lead Correspondent, IceCaps Hockey Report


ST. JOHN’S, NL. — On the eve of the St. John’s IceCaps first game of the year in Hartford against the host Wolfpack, one cannot help but feel the buzz that is brought to the city this time of year. Typically every October you can feel it in St. John’s, but this year, under new management and new affiliation there is something special about being connected to the most storied franchise in sports.

In the Coleman’s Cup Training Camp series against rival Toronto Marlies, the IceCaps came back from a Game 1 loss to win games 2 and 3, and the first training camp series win of the franchise history. Game 1 occurred in Stephenville, NL during the IceCaps annual road trip to start the year. Jeremy Gregoire and Morgan Ellis tallied goals for the IceCaps but it wasn’t enough as they lost in the final minute to the Marlies.

Game 2 took place in Corner Brook, NL and was a complete reversal; the IceCaps went out and hammered the Marlies 5-2 on the back of last year’s rookie standout Daniel Carr as he registered two goals. Other scorers were Stefan Fournier, Connor Crisp and Markus Eisenschmid.

Game 3 was held in Gander, NL. The boys took over with a 5-4 shootout victory over the Marlies. Carr registered the lone goal in the shootout, following up a strong performance through the camp. Nikita Scherbak finally seemed to find his groove with a goal and two assists for a game high three points. Joel Hanley, Bud Holloway and Gabriel Dumont were the other goal scorers.

In the four years that the IceCaps have called St. John’s home, they have managed a 50 per cent success rate at finding the playoffs. It’s not necessarily the best percentage, but when they’ve made it to the dance they’ve stuck around all night, making it to Eastern Conference Finals in their inaugural season, and following that up with a loss to the Texas Stars in their third season in town. The exciting part of this is never in those four years did the team ooze the potential it possesses with this combination of young prospects and veterans.

With final cuts from the Canadiens last week, the baby Habs managed to find support in the likes of former Calder Cup Champion and World Junior Champion, Dustin Tokarski. He’ll add to a goalie tandem which has already proved to be competitive between blue chip prospect Zach Fucale and hometown favourite Eddie Pasquale.

Also clearing waivers or being sent down were former AHL Defenseman of the Year, Mark Barberio, incumbent Captain Gabriel Dumont, Christian Thomas, Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto, Nikita Scherbak, and Michel Therrien’s favourite pet project Jacob De La Rose.

New projected lines look like we could see Carr – McCarron – Scherbak as a fixture which was present during the Canadiens rookie camp and into regular camp. JDLR could also see time on a top unit with Andrighetto and Hudon. Dumont, Thomas and Gregoire/Bozon may round out the top 9.

The impressive part of these line combinations is the versatility with many of them playing multiple positions through junior and pro ranks.

This provides the IceCaps with potentially the deepest front nine in the Eastern conference, but certainly the most potential. If the Canadiens can remain healthy this year, residents of St. John’s will be in for a treat watching this team and you can feel the anticipation in the air.

Player Features

IceCaps Roster Feature – Gabriel Dumont

by Nic Phelan, Lead Correspondent, IceCaps Hockey Report

Gabriel Dumont (Photo by RDS)
Gabriel Dumont (Photo by RDS)

ST. JOHN’S, NL. — Gabriel Dumont hails from the small town of Ville Degelis, about three hours north west of Quebec City just before crossing the border to New Brunswick. He was drafted 139th overall in 2009 after posting near a point per game in his sophomore campaign for the Drummondville Voltigeurs during their run to the QMJHL championship in 2009, and saw action against players like Taylor Hall and Jamie Benn during the Memorial Cup tournament. He followed up his draft finishing third in league scoring at 93 points over 62 games for Drummondville and a league leading 51 goals. Dumont was named to the QMJHL First Team All Star and the CHL Second Team all-star as a part of his final year playing junior hockey.

On June 1st, the Canadiens signed Dumont to a one year, two-way extension. The longest active member of the Hamilton Bulldogs/St. John’s IceCaps has spent the last five seasons with the Canadiens farm club. In 318 career AHL games Dumont has 73 goals and 81 assists for 154 points. Throughout junior and his early AHL career Dumont has proven to be more of a goal scorer, rather than a playmaker. In his 18 NHL appearances with the Canadiens Dumont did manage to take home an NHL goal against Marc Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 17th, 2013.

Dumont projects to remain with the IceCaps this season, with an occasional call up always a possibility. Although Dumont saw three games with the Habs last season, the IceCaps figure to have more young guys vying for a spot in the lineup which Therrien may prefer to see in the lineup such as Hudon, McCarron, Carr or even Scherbak. Serving as Captain for the Bulldogs in 2014-15 he’ll be heavily relied on to provide leadership to the young players as they make the transition.

In case you missed our previous player features:

IceCaps Roster Feature – Sven Andrighetto
IceCaps Roster Feature – Mark Barberio
IceCaps Roster Feature – Mac Bennett
IceCaps Roster Feature – Tim Bozon
IceCaps Roster Feature – Daniel Carr
IceCaps Roster Feature – Connor Crisp
IceCaps Roster Feature – Josiah Didier
IceCaps Roster Feature – Darren Dietz


IceCaps Angelo Miceli: One Step Closer [AUDIO]

Angelo Miceli (Photo by La Presse)
Angelo Miceli (Photo by La Presse)

TORONTO, ON. — Twenty-one year old forward Angelo Miceli, a native of Montreal, Quebec realized a dream on September 27, 2015, when he signed his first professional contract. Not only was it his first professional contract, but it was with the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate, St.John’s IceCaps. Miceli is that much closer to realizing a childhood dream of playing in the NHL for his hometown Montreal Canadiens!

Junior Career

Miceli played a total of 255 games in the QMJHL for the Victoriaville Tigers over a total of five seasons. Miceli played five games for the Tigers during the 2010-11 season, he registered only one assist in that time. The following year Miceli was nearly 0.50 points per game as he scored 24 points in 50 games meanwhile spending only 24 minutes in the penalty box.

The 2012-13 season was Miceli’s breakout year in the QMJHL when he scored 81 points in 68 games. Miceli just barely missed matching that point total the following year with 77 points in 68 games. In Miceli’s last season in the QMJHL, the Tigers named him the assistant captain of the team. He managed to score 38 goals and 58 helpers for a total of 96 points, meanwhile amassing only 50 penalty minutes, something that attests to his discipline on the ice. His fantastic finish to his junior career earned him an invite to the Montreal Canadiens development camp in July.

Development Camp

Once Canadiens fans found out that Miceli had been invited to the camp, expectations rose and he did not disappoint. Miceli had a fantastic development camp among players in his age group. He was consistently one of the best players on the ice. As the camp moved along, his leadership on and off the ice, along with his strong play and heart earned him an invitation to the Montreal Canadiens rookie camp, a gigantic step forward for the invite.

Angelo Miceli (Photo by Chris Hatzitolios | Rocket Sports Media)

Rookie Tournament

As the rookie camp came along, coach Sylvain Lefebvre included Miceli in the lineup, on the fourth line to start, for the first game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins, a game in which Miceli stood out as the best player on the ice for both teams. Miceli was a driving force in the Canadiens taking the game to overtime, where they lost 4-3 on a breakaway by Daniel Sprong. Miceli had three primary assists in the game.

In the second game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Miceli took a penalty, that was his only showing on the scoresheet. However as the game progressed, coach Lefebvre used Miceli on the penalty-kill, but overall, it was a quiet night for Miceli.

In the final game of the tournament versus the Ottawa Senators, Miceli had an assist on the Canadiens only goal. It was a beautiful feed from below the red line to Dryden Hunt for a very nicely executed one-timer goal bringing the Canadiens within one. Miceli was once again one of the best offensive performers in the game as his vision and playmaking ability was on display.

Miceli’s performance at development camp and the rookie tournament was not lost among the Canadiens management as he made the cut for the Canadiens main training camp.


Angelo Miceli speaking to the media after the final game of the Rookie tournament.

A one-on-one interview with Angelo Miceli after his three assist game versus the Penguins.

Training Camp And a Dream Come True

Miceli attended the Canadiens training camp in September.  He was cut however he earned himself his first professional contract, a two-way AHL contract, where he can play with either the AHL IceCaps or the ECHL’s Brampton Beast. A dream was realized for the twenty-one year old forward from Montreal.  He is in the Canadiens organization and he is one step closer to potentially playing in the NHL with the team he idolized as a kid.

Angelo Miceli is attending the IceCaps training camp with his immediate future being decided shortly. Will the forward start his first professional season with the IceCaps or the Beast?

His hard work, dedication and love for the game came through over a crazy summer. Miceli said at the rookie tournament that he is proud of what he had accomplished so far. Little did he know that he would be getting a contract a few weeks later! The dynamic forward will be a big boost to either of the Beast or IceCaps as the season starts, just the beginning of his pro hockey career.

Player Features

IceCaps Roster Feature – Darren Dietz

by Nic Phelan, Lead Correspondent, IceCaps Hockey Report

Darren Dietz (Photo by Agence QMI)

ST. JOHN’S, NL. — The 20 year old Medicine Hat, Alberta native played his junior hockey with Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. In 2011 the Habs drafted Darren Dietz 138th overall after posting 27 points in 68 games in his first full season at the junior level. This investment proved to be smart as he continued to take jumps in the following years to 44 and 58 points respectively over 72 games in 2011-12 and 2012-13, which also resulted in a first team all-star nod for the latter season. In addition to his offensive abilities from the backend, Dietz also played with an edge hitting triple digits in penalty minutes in both his last two seasons for the Blades. This physical presence was on display in his tenure with the Bulldogs and he gives opposing forwards a reason to keep their heads up.

Dietz had a quiet and shortened rookie season for the Bulldogs in 2013-14 only lacing up for 34 games, but followed that up with an impressive camp for the Canadiens last year which saw him stick around through the final cuts and continued to progress with 17 points over 71 games with the Bulldogs. A right handed shot, Dietz finds himself down the depth chart behind the likes of Subban, Petry, Gilbert and late season call-up Pateryn.

He has the potential to be a top-4, possibly top-2 guy with the baby Habs this season, and will battle with recent rookie camp stand-out Ryan Johnston for PP time with the IceCaps. The one thing Dietz has on his side is the consensus understanding that defensemen typically take longer to develop. We see this in the case of guys like Tinordi (23), Beaulieu (22) and Pateryn (25), and so there is no pressure to make the jump immediately, but 2014-15 should prove an important season to ensure his development continues in the right direction. If Dietz should continue to progress and he remains a candidate to be called up pending a trade or injury the aforementioned righties in the Habs lineup. Long term projections are still a little early to say, by no means is he a blue chip, but a nice piece in the cupboard for Martin Lapointe to continue to work with and potential to develop into an NHL player one day.

In case you missed our previous player features:

IceCaps Roster Feature – Sven Andrighetto
IceCaps Roster Feature – Mark Barberio
IceCaps Roster Feature – Mac Bennett
IceCaps Roster Feature – Tim Bozon
IceCaps Roster Feature – Daniel Carr
IceCaps Roster Feature – Connor Crisp
IceCaps Roster Feature – Josiah Didier


Welcoming Habs Fans to St. John’s: Culture, Tradition, Hockey [GALLERY]

by Nic Phelan, Lead Correspondent and Julia Price, Photographer, IceCaps Hockey Report

Fan at most easterly point in Canada (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)
Habs fan at most easterly point in Canada (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)

ST. JOHN’S, NL. — Besides being reporters, photographers and videographers, like you, we’re hockey fans. Passionate hockey fans. And we are very proud to welcome the entire Canadiens fanbase to our backyard. With the Montreal Canadiens moving their AHL affiliate to St. John’s, we are excited to introduce you to the city that Habs prospects will be calling home.

St. John’s is North America’s oldest city. The Capital of Newfoundland and Labrador calls the rocky shores of the Atlantic home, with a population of nearly 200,000 in the metro and surrounding areas. With almost half the province compressed into one area, it became a natural breeding ground for competitive sports and in turn, minor hockey structure which results in multiple organizations with hundreds of registrants every year.

Cape Spear (3)
Cape Spear (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)

This in itself is the first line of what drives hockey fans in Newfoundland and Labrador. Parents are accustomed to travelling between towns and cities for Tuesday night games or hours across the province for a tournament in Central Newfoundland. Likewise the children develop a love for the game at an early age and that love for the game becomes ingrained in the culture of what it means to be from this province.

Newfoundland and Labrador is such a diverse province, with such a large area and relatively small population you can drive for hours at times without seeing a gas stop, depending on which part of the province you’re in. These smaller outport communities that call rural Newfoundland and Labrador home rely on hockey, as a means of entertainment. Community pride is at stake, no matter the level of the players, from Novice to Senior, when a game is being played at the local rink you can guarantee to see more than just the parents of the players in the stands.

St. John's Harbour (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)
St. John’s Harbour (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)

In St. John’s the culture remains, in recent years there has been an influx of out-port communities dwindling while their former inhabitants flock to St. John’s looking for steadier work or to attend post-secondary school. Although they find themselves in a larger city the passion for the sport still remains. This is where the IceCaps come in. The Maple Leafs came to St. John’s in 1991, it was the pride of the province for the better part of 15 years. Once they left there was a void left behind, and “Townies” as residents of the St. John’s area are so elegantly referred to, filled this void with minor hockey, senior hockey and our passion only grew for the sport.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are quite possibly the most friendly people you will meet in a country which is perceived as one of the friendliest in the world. Everyone is willing to have a conversation with a stranger, and certainly if it means recapping last nights IceCaps game. Danny Williams, former premier of the province, played a large role along with ex-Hamilton Bulldogs president Glenn Stanford, in bringing the AHL back to this province. We are forever thankful to both individuals and their organization for giving us back our pride of the province, and have repaid them in full through the passion we show for the organization.

Habs fan at Mile One Centre (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)
Habs fan at Mile One Centre (Photo by Julia Price | Rocket Sports Media)

St. John’s is a city of culture, and hockey is such a large part of what we know, if you ever visit to take in migration of the Humpback Whales, visit Cape Spear (North America’s most easterly point) or even take in an IceCaps game be sure to stop and have a chat with anyone you see on the streets, chances are they’ll have a story to tell.

But no matter where you are across the globe, you can be confident that our IceCaps Hockey Report team will be at the Mile One Centre for every home game bringing the most comprehensive coverage to the All Habs community.

Welcome to St. John’s Habs fans!