Friday, August 21, 2015

Chad Labelle Moves On

Also congrats to who has committed to going to the University of PEI to continue his hockey career!
Medicine Hat Tigers Twitter

I think this move was a very smart decision for Labelle. He would have been a player that was hard pressed to stick in the WHL. Moving in his 20 yr old year helps him continue his hockey career while also starting on his education. Crazy to think how fast time flies, it wasn't long ago when Labelle was a late season callup who scored a couple pretty pickoff goals in his 16yr old year.

Overagers
Matt Staples Cole Sanford L Dryden Hunt * Trevor Cox * Ty Stanton *

With Ast heading to Germany, and Labelle off to University, it cuts down the overage numbers to 5. I am fairly certain that Eisenschmid won't be back as a 20yr old euro due to the Tigers acquiring 2 in the off-season.

Right now Staples is again sitting on the outside looking in. He was in that position last year but his hard work and willingness to do anything kept him in the lineup.

Sean Clouston has mentioned other GM's have called asking about these players, but will see how the off-season plays out and if any of the above gets signed and plucked away.

Canalta Centre
I have heard nothing but glowing reviews of the new arena. There is an open House August 22 @ 1:00 PM.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Linden Vey: Bounce Back

Found an Interesting Read from TSN reporter Frank Seravalli on Former Tiger Linden Vey.
http://www.tsn.ca/vey-hopes-off-season-work-leads-to-bounce-back-year-1.332448

Vey's 4th year as a pro was his first full season as an "NHL'er" He signed with Vancouver for a 1 year deal for this upcoming season. He cracked the NHL is his 3rd year with 18 games with LA.

Article Excerpts

Vey said his biggest issue last season had nothing to do with adjusting to the NHL’s pace of play, a hurdle many young players struggle with. Instead, it was that his game lacked consistency. Vey was nearly a point-per-game player in his last two AHL seasons with the Manchester Monarchs.


“I’ve always been a fairly skilled guy wherever I’ve played. I could afford to take nights off in other leagues and maybe still put up numbers,” Vey admitted.

“In this league, you need to be willing to bring your ‘A’ game every night, or at least nine out of 10 nights. You look at our team in Vancouver; we bring it every day, in practice and in games. That’s why they’ve been able to be successful for so long.”
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So to sum up his comments: 
1.  " The NHL is hard" if you don't bring your "A" game every game, you're not going to have a good year. 

2. He could take nights off in the minors/junior because he was good enough to do so.

Here was Vey's numbers in junior. He was amassing a 1 ppg total by his 17 year old season, in which he was drafted in round 4, 96th overall by LA. In his last year here for those that remember, he went from sound defensively to taking quite a few defensive shortcuts.
GP  G     A     PTS
48--8-----9---17
71--24---48---72
72--24---51---75
69--46---70 --116

An interesting take that he "manned up" and recognized that he will need to work harder if he wants to keep his job in the NHL. Hopefully the Vets returning for the Tigers this season can heed his advice and recognize that taking nights off (while it may be easier for some than others) can develop bad habits later on in their career.

Tigers Sign 2

Two Prospects Signed
Medicine Hat, AB -- The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed another prospect this off season in Flower Mound, Texas native Max Gerlach. The 17 year old forward was a 6th round Bantam Draft pick in 2013 (120th overall).

Medicine Hat, AB -- The Medicine Hat Tigers have announced the signing of 16 year old Forward Tyler Preziuso. Preziuso, from Victoria, BC was a 3rd round Bantam Draft pick in 2014 (61st overall).

http://www.tigershockey.com/

Ast To Play in Germany?
Their has been  mention on twitter from a Vancouver based writer than Anthony Ast has signed a deal with a team in Germany. Ast would be an overager this season and likely one of the odd guys out.

The Tigers acquired Ast for a 3rd round draft pick in 2016, Ast played in 48 regular season games and 11 playoff games recording 23 points over 2 seasons, and 1 playoff assist.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Season Ticket Packages are Out

I got mine in the mail Today.

Season Ticket Exchange

 The Ticket Exchange is being held August 12-14th. You can pretty much guarantee that quite a few people will be utilizing that. I personally got moved one section over, and would have been interested in the seat exchange however I will be on holidays and looks like I'm locked.

Prices
The Price of the  base season ticket remain the same. However their are a couple "new charges". A "Facility Fee"   $2.15 a game for everyone.  Which adds about $80 to season ticket holders bill.

Their is also a "service charge" fee $2.75 for walkup, and $1.90 for season tickets. Walkup pay that charge everytime they buy a ticket. Season ticket holders pay that charge once for their tickets.

I've calculated a 24 game cutoff, where If you plan on seeing less than 24 regular season games it would make financial sense for walkups, however the convenience of the same seat is also not there, so I would bump that numbers down to about 20 games.

Their will not be a charge for parking! August 7th is the deadline to pay.

New Features
A new video replay scoreclock. That is a league standard I believe. The benches are now at the same side of the arena.

I would like to know when the facility is open to the public. I would like to talk a walk around. If anybody knows please make a comment.

Club Seats
Season Ticket holders get first crack at these. For $1500 to $2000  you can get seating at near centre ice, as well as first dibs on seating for any other canalta event, also "exclusive access to the VIP lounge". The seats are wider with more padding.





Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tigers Select Alexei Platonov

The Medicine Hat Tigers selected huge Russian Defenceman Alexei Platonov who stands 6'5 203 lbs.


Here is a scouting report on Platonov from hockey's future.
One of the biggest Russian prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, Platonov is a defense-first player who can use his size to his advantage in the defensive zone. He has very good mobility, especially for a player of his size. Platonov could be a very interesting name for the 2015 draft since NHL teams will give much value to his large body and skating ability. He has some offensive skills, but needs to use them more often in his game.
http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/117017/2015-nhl-draft-no-clear-favorite-among-russian-prospects-at-mid-season/

Platonov at the beginning of the year was considered to be in the top 10 Russian prospects for last year, but had some early injury troubles. He was not taken in the recent NHL draft. I've read conflicting reports about his puck handling ability, but they all say that he is strong and mobile in his own end.

I believe taking russian players can be hit or miss as their is no transfer agreement. I understand he signed a 3 year contract last with Atlanty Mytishchi of the MHL.   The site I took that info from is hard to read and I believe he does have a clause to opt out in case he wants to come over to juniors. (The translated site I read says a bilateral clause for the NBA, I'm going to take that as an out clause for the CHL)

It confirms that the Tigers did release last years import Michael Spacek, as Red Deer took him 6 spots ahead of the Tigers in the import draft.

The Tigers blue-line suddenly looks a lot bigger with 3 bodies  6'4 + and it appears they are all quite mobile as well.

Ty Stanton(20) 6'4 Ty Schultz(18)  
David Quenneville(17)  Tamas Laday(19) 6'7  (interesting potential pairing)
Brad Forrest(18) Alexei Plantonov 6'5
 PROSPECT

It will be interesting to see how the 2 new euro defencemen turn out. This blueline seems very difficult to predict on what they are capable of.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tigers Deal For Import

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane Chiefs announced today they have traded Hungarian defenseman Tamas Laday to the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for an 8th Round pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.
“This trade was initiated on a couple of fronts,” said Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz. “First, we have an abundance of good, young defensemen that we feel are ready to play. Second, with the 26th pick in the upcoming import draft, we are only allowed to draft an import player if we have an available import spot.”
Spokane now has one European import roster position to fill heading into Tuesday’s CHL Import Draft; Austrian forward Dominic Zwerger occupies the second. The 26th overall pick marks the highest import draft position the Chiefs have held since 2005. Laday was originally acquired by the Chiefs as the 42nd overall pick in the 2014 CHL Import Draft.
“Tamas improved greatly last year after adjusting to the North American game,” Speltz continued. “We appreciate his contribution and wish him the best with his opportunity in Medicine Hat.”
Laday played 60 games for the Chiefs last season, recording six assists while piling up 104 penalty minutes (second-highest on the team). He added an assist and 12 penalty minutes in six playoff games.
Thoughts
Tamas Laday is a big guy standing 6'6 190lb. He was involved in 8 fights through 60 games in his rookie season. Laday spent most of the season bouncing up and down between the 2nd and 3rd defensive pairing with spokane. We could expect him to jump into a 2nd pairing role providing some toughness and grit.  
Defensive group
Ty Stanton(20) Ty Schultz(18)  
David Quenneville(17)  Tamas Laday(19)  (interesting potential pairing)
Brad Forrest(18) PROSPECT
PROSPECT
PROSPECT

An 8th round pick is very cheap. If he can prove to eat 2nd line minutes that will be considered an excellent value deal.

We will find out tomorrow if the Tigers kept last year's import Michael Spacek. If they have, they won't be drafting anyone in the import draft.  I've heard unconfirmed reports that he was dropped, which would be disappointing as it looks like he wants to come over this season. If he was dropped the Tigers will be able to draft another euro in the draft.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

1 Tiger Taken in 2015 Entry Draft

With the 131st pick in Round 5 the Montreal Canadians selected Matthew Bradley

Import
Listed Import Michael Spacek was taken in Round 4 by the Winnipeg Jets 108th overall. It is unknown if he will come over. He apparently has a 1 year contract remaining with Pardubice HC.

He was interviewed and in the interview he had a translator who mentioned that he hopes to come over to North America.

He was selected by the Tigers in round 1 51st overall in last years Import Draft but may have been dropped.

Connor Hobbs
The Former Tiger was taken 143rd overall in Round 5 by Washington

Thursday, June 25, 2015

SMG & Tigers Reach an Agreement

Well we knew with the release of the WHL Schedule that the Tigers and SMG must have come to some kind of agreement. Nothing is in writing yet, but they have reached framework for a deal.

http://www.tigershockey.com/article/tigers-and-smg-reach-understanding

CHL Import Draft
Will take place in less that a week.  Tuesday June 30th
http://www.chl.ca/draft/chl  - Link for future reference

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tigers Deal For Goaltender

http://www.tigershockey.com/article/tigers-acquire-johnson-from-portland

 In what should be a busy offseason, the Medicine Hat Tigers made their first deal, acquiring 19 year old goaltender Evan Johnson from the Portland Winterhawks over the weekend.

--------

This likely solves the "2nd goaltender spot". ( Notice I didn't say backup) I would imagine that Johnson will push Nick Schneider for the starters job.

 This does create more competition, depth and provides a solid position in the net for a pretty cheap price.  Incoming goal-tending prospects may be hard pressed to make the team this upcoming season.



Monday, May 18, 2015

The New Arena Kurfuffle

The introduction to the new arena seems as confusing as the initial talks to actually build the new building.


News Article
http://medicinehatnews.com/news/local-news/2015/05/16/lease-talk-involvement-would-be-contract-breach-city/

I've bolded 3 key parts of that article

City hall cannot get involved in lease negotiations between the Medicine Hat Tigers and SMG-Canada without breaking its contract with the Event Centre’s private operator, according to the head of the public service committee

Further, she said, a key factor in choosing SMG was its North American network and ability to attract major concerts and other events to bolster profits.


“They have a wealth of experience in running buildings such as these,” said Friesen.
Senior team officials also said that in years past, negotiating with council had led to deals that accounted for the team’s financial position.
--------------------

I'm not exactly sure what the role of the operator entitles, but I believe how the business is handled on a day to day business will be very different compared to their old lease with the city of medicine hat.  

From what I've been told ticket prices, concessions, parking, hiring, security plus a lot more will be handled by the 3rd party SMG group. The Tigers will want to make a profit, as well as the SMG group who operates the Arena. I wouldn't be surprised if the Tigers largely controlled a lot of these aspects when the city was the operator. Now new building's operator SMG in contract with the city will be potentially handling large parts of that.  I'm largely speculating here but I would guess the Tigers are uncomfortable with giving up this control, and want the city involved to re-negotiate some of this control from the contract they signed with SMG.

With the New arena also comes more possible ticket sales. Last season the Tigers had "sellouts" every game, however I think we would both agree that their were only about 3200 in the seats.
SMG saw sellouts and the Tigers still made money with lots of tickets being dumped in the fans hands. I think that could also play a big part of the discrepancy of the negotiation process.



Investigating the SMG Group
With So Many Questions being un-answered heading into a new season, I decided to do a bit of research. SMG operates 3 other Arena's within canada, the OHL Niagra Icedogs. Mississauga Steelheads, and the Kingston Frontenacs.

Season Ticket Prices
Niagra (NEW in 2014) (399,499,569)    (pay, and free parking, downtown)
Mississauga (399 ends) (459 middle) (609 middle+lounge)    (free parking)
Kingston  (496,544,612,685)  (paid and free parking)

Note: Those teams have 2 less home games than the WHL. (add $20-$30 to each numbers for whl)

All 3 teams have a pricing that is different compared to where you are sitting in the Arena. So I guess we can expect the same thing at the New Arena. Niagra's building is brand new in 2014, and they also had the Tragically Hip  for the first concert.  Niagra has glowing reviews of their building with amazing sight lines, comfortable seats, restaurants, an enjoyable atmosphere, with the exception of concession pricing.

Concessions and Parking
Cost for parking? It is unknown at this point. In all 3 places above their are free parking spots, and paid lots but I'm unsure if these spots or 3rd party or not.

Looking at reviews for concessions, Medicine Hat is likely looking at an increase. $8.50/9.50 beer for playoff game in Niagra. It was noted that food was comparable to an NHL game, as well as "pricey" in Kingston.  In Mississauga,1998 built, and low attended, food/drink was a little lower $6 a beer. either way expect the price of food/drink to increase.

Intangibles
SMG will probably bring in a bunch of other events to the Arena. The Tragically Hip also opened up in Niagra's new building for this season. My opinion is I would  pay more money for concession prices if it means this group will bring in high quality entertainment to the hat.

Thoughts
Their are many different factors into this type of lease situation so speculating without knowing is hard to do.  I've speculated above but i could be dead wrong so please do not take that info as fact.

Regardless a deal should have been done at this time. I wonder if the Tigers currently have years remaining on the current Arena's Lease? If they do I wonder if they could choose to stay at the Current Arena?

My guess is that this would not be the case as their have been no mention of this in the news articles, and business wise it would make sense for SMG to have in their contract with the city that the city wouldn't be allowed to compete with them @ the old arena.

 I wonder if a 3rd party operator could take over the cities role as operator of the current Arena?, but that is likely a venture that wouldn't be profitable with an old building, so I highly doubt that happens, and the Tigers will need to find an agreement at the new centre.

Season Ticket Holders
The last few seasons the end of June has been the deadline to purchase season tickets, but I have not received a notice yet.  The lease negotiation have a Huge effect on the prices of season Tickets. So looking at the other 3 Arena's SMG controls, One would expect a similar price structure, in the 420-640 range as mentioned above but taking into consideration a 36 game schedule.