Blog TBD: Volume 1

Hey gang, how’s everyone doing?

These are strange and unprecedented times and while I wish we were getting ready to open a weekend set against Colorado tonight on “The Ranch” in Loveland, instead I’m putting together the first version of this blog (which will need a name eventually) trying to remain as connected to you as possible as we wait out this scary virus. 

Hopefully you’re safe, inside and isolated as you’re reading this, if possible.

With that being said, obviously the decisions that have been made are best for everyone’s health and well-being.  This will come to an end eventually and we’ll get back to playing hockey.  Until then, let’s take a look at what’s transpired this week, which features plenty of good news…

Photo By Chris Hook

Giving Back to the Community

As a part of what could have been the best-attended and perhaps most fun weekend of the season that was supposed to take place last Saturday and Sunday at Tucson Arena, the team was set to auction off the game-worn jersey of goaltender Darcy Kuemper from his one-game stint with the club.

Naturally, the item would have been a big hit, the definition of a collector’s item.

With the games obviously having since been postposed, the team announced Wednesday that the jersey is currently now up for auction, now with all proceeds going to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson.

You can bid on that jersey here now.

It’s not lip service, we love this community and giving back is something that we’re aiming to do during this time.  We’re excited to do so with this auction.

Stay tuned over the coming hours and days as we provide you with information on how you can support some of our local partners during this time as well.

This Week In Team History

As you can imagine, it can be tough to come up with exciting content to push during a time like this when there’s no hockey going on, it would be premature to look back on the “moments of the season” being tat the season isn’t officially a wrap yet and frankly there’s a lot more important things going on.

But, you know, with a little additional time on our hands we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the memories that have been made over our previous three seasons in Tucson.

Here’s a quick glance in case you missed anything over the past few days:

Photo By Chris Hook

March 17, 2018 – Tied 1-1 late in the game at Stockton Arena, Conor Garland tucked one home with just 3:26 to go in regulation to secure a victory and a weekend sweep over the heat.  Also in that game Adin Hill stopped 26/27 and Michael Bunting had his eighth multipoint game of the season.

March 18, 2019 – In a press conference held in the lower level of Tucson Arena, President Bob Hoffman revealed that the team would be adding a new alternate logo and sweater with a spin on the iconic Arizona Coyotes Kachina.  Implementing the uncommon hockey color in purple into the scheme, the team made the announcement at the time to share with both renewing and prospective Season Ticket Members that they’d receive a Kachina jersey for their 2019-20 commitment.

March 18, 2017 – One of the most popular “specialty” sweaters in team history, on this date three years ago the team sported the lavender Breast Cancer Awareness sweaters against the Bakersfield Condors.

March 19, 2019 – In just his fifth game with his new team after being acquired from Montreal by the Arizona Coyotes, Michael Chaput records his first two goal game in a 5-2 win over the Iowa Wild.

March 20, 2018 – Adin Hill went 20/20 for his third shutout of the season coming in the form of a 4-0 victory against the San Jose Barracuda. Conor Garland, Lane Pederson and Michael Bunting all scored for Tucson in the affair.

The New Signings

(McGregor Photo Credit: Natalie Shaver / OHL Pucks & Stripes)

With so much being said about the past, two bits of welcomed news regarding the future came over the last 48 hours with two new signings by the parent Arizona Coyotes.

Thursday the team announced the three-year entry-level contract of forward Ryan McGregor, joining the team after five seasons and a franchise record 286 games with the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. 

It’s somewhat rare to see a player spend almost 300 contests with the same team in major junior, so that likely suggests there’s many qualities as both a human and a player that make Ryan loved.

Can we prove that though?

Sure can.

Leigh Cunningham, the radio voice of the Sarnia Sting, was kind enough to share some thoughts with me regarding Ryan’s character and play:

“He leaves the organization as one of the most distinguished players in the history of the franchise and that says something given the pedigree of some of our players that we’ve had here.”

Considering that the Sting have had some outstanding players and two number overall selections in the NHL Entry Draft over the last dozen years (Steven Stamkos and Nail Yakupov), along with other reputable NHLers such as Travis Konecny and Arizona Coyote Jakob Chychrun, that certainly speaks volumes.

“[Ryan] plays a 200-foot game, it’s very complete.  Over the last few couple of years in the [OHL’s] Western Conference poll, he’s been a finalist as best defensive forward and he’s certainly among the top faceoff men in the Western Conference as well.”

The 21-year-old’s deal starts with 2020-21 season, however, pending what comes of the pause of the AHL and NHL seasons, it may be possible for an end-of-season professional tryout situation.

McGregor concluded the 2018-19 with his first pro experience, spending four games on an amateur tryout with the Toronto Marlies.

Welcome, Ryan.

Less than 24 hours after the announcement of the first signing, the team supplemented that this morning with the inking of college free agent Nate Sucese.

Penn State’s all-time leading scorer, the Fairport, NY-born winger wrapped up his collegiate career with 140 points in 147 games.  Fingers crossed that that ability to find the score sheet comes to the next level, regardless of where he begins his tenure within the organization.

For more on Nate, check out this feature video on him here.

The Outro

Photo Credit: Kate Dibildox

Again, hope y’all are safe, healthy and finding ways to get your spirits up.

If you’ve enjoyed reading, have feedback, suggestions, or just want to say hello, is always open.

Oh, also, if you have a name for this, send it in.  I’m counting on your creativity here.