Internet access: The Youngstown SteelHounds have teamed up with All In Broadcasting to make their broadcasts available via the Internet. In order to access Hounds games on-line, log onto steelhounds.com and click the "Listen Live" link. WBBW-AM 1240 also carries all the team's games. This year's "Voice of the Hounds" is Chad Meyer. "We love having the ability to have all of our games on the Internet," said Bob Hoffman, SteelHounds assistant general manager. "It gives hockey fans outside the Mahoning Valley the chance to listen to all the action."
Happy Hour: The Youngstown SteelHounds' weekly radio show, "Hounds Happy Hour," is broadcast on Mondays at 7 p.m. on WBBW-AM 1240. Meyer is the host of the show that features player interviews, previews of upcoming games, trivia for prizes and more. "Happy Hour is a great way for fans to catch up on all the news and notes on the SteelHounds and the CHL [Central Hockey League], and I'm excited to bring it to them every Monday night during the season," Meyer said.
Ticket packages: Season ticket, mini-plans, and group tickets are available for the SteelHounds' second CHL season. Single-game tickets also are available for the Chevrolet Centre. For more information, contact the SteelHounds at (330) 747-PUCK (7825). SteelHounds owner Herb Washington says "ticket sales are considerably ahead of last year at this time. That tells me that going into year two it's catching on."
First home weekend: The SteelHounds' first two home games will be played Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. against the CHL expansion team Rocky Mountain Rage.
Gone: Coach Kevin Kaminski invited 30 players to training camp that began on Oct. 9. Released were: forwards Kelly Thomson, Nick Thomas, Shaun Aebig, Michel Bond and Ryan Boyko; defenseman Vince Guiducci; and goaltenders Corey Wogtech and Brian Gratz. Defenseman Mark Lindsay is on the CHL's Extended Training Camp list.
Off to Tennessee: The SteelHounds took 18 players to Memphis for this weekend's opening series against the RiverKings. "I am very happy with the team that is starting the season for us," Kaminski said. "We had a very competitive camp and the decisions were very difficult to make but I am confident with the 18 players I am taking to the ice this weekend in two very important divisional games." The SteelHounds will enter the season with seven returning players from last year's team. Forwards Jeff Christian and Chris Richards have veteran status (more than 280 games). Each team can have up to four veterans. Tending goal are Jeremy Symington and Brad Roberts, who attended training camp for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League. The Crunch are the Columbus Blue Jackets' Triple A franchise. The six defensemen are Kelly Sickavish, Jeff Alcombrack, John Neal, Josh Reed, Paul Esdale and Stephen Margeson. Sickavish and Alcombrack were SteelHounds last season. The other forwards are Joey Sewell, Shaun Landolt, Chris Shaffer, John Wheaton, Brian Boike, Jeff Valdes, Sam Miller and Brad Patterson. Sewell, Shaffer and Miller were SteelHounds last winter.
Man in charge: Washington says Kaminski has the authority to make the day-to-day calls for the team. "On ice, it's his call," Washington said. "If he wants to trade someone, he doesn't have to call me. If he wants to leave at 3 o'clock in the morning, he doesn't have to call me. I don't need to make those type of decisions." Kaminski said he appreciates working for an owner who is a former professional athlete. His most-recent coaching experience with Missouri of the United Hockey League began well then fizzled. "In the first year in Missouri when I ran things, we had the franchise record for wins and league record for shutouts. Last year was a disaster -- I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Knowing Herb's background in track and playing in the majors, he's an owner committed to win. This facility is unbelievable. The lockerroom is amazing and now we are getting a weight room put in. We're on the right track."
-- Tom Williams