Archive for July, 2010

Chuck Weber will be named head coach of the Amerks today: http://rocnow.com/article/amerks-sabres/20107270316

more later.

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JASON BAIRD
(2001-02)

Jason Baird played for the Cyclones in their first year of their second tour of ECHL duty, 2001-02. He played 67 games for the Cyclones, amassing 18 goals and 21 assists while accruing 160 penalty minutes. The winger was third on the team in points, behind only Nick Bootland and Alan Egeland, both of which are now enjoying professional coaching careers. After he left Cincinnati, he spent two years in Indianapolis with the CHL’s ice, four games with the Guildford Flames of the now-defunct British National League, and parts of four seasons with the CHL’s Corpus Christi Ice Rayz before he ultimately found his way to the Youngstown Steelhounds in 2007-08.

In the summer of 2008 while working an off-season job as a landscaper, Baird was riding on a lawnmower that exploded. He was engulfed in flames and burned over 65% of his body. His wife, Bethany, kept a CaringBridge website updated regularly with Jason’s progress as he endured regular surgeries and therapy. As Jason was fighting his battle in the hospital in Akron, the help poured in across the continent: a charity hockey game in Youngstown, a 5k run/walk in Mississauga, ON, fundraisers in Cincinnati, Erie (where he played junior), Corpus Christi, Muskegon (where he was slated to play that fall), and his hometown of Cayuga, ON.

I was fortunate to catch up with Jason, just over two years to the date from the accident, to get an update on his progress. Jason is now living in Corpus Christi again with his wife and three children. He had his twenty-first surgery on March 27th in Akron, and could still need more in the future. He’s currently doing therapy three times a week, but is hoping to drop that to two as he’s gained more movement in his neck and shoulders. For now the 29 year old is enjoying time as a father and husband, but is hoping to get back into hockey in the future.

As for the fans of Cincinnati, Jason had these words to pass along to you: “just tell the fans of the Cyclones THANKYOU so much for the support they have showed me and my family during this tough time.”

– Although it was never a looming possibility, there is one more team to mark off the Chuck Watch map: Hamilton. The Canadiens have hired Randy Cunneyworth and Randy Ladouceur to be the head and assistant coaches (respectively) of the Hamilton Bulldogs this fall. Cunneyworth was formerly the head coach of the Rochester Americans, who are still in search of a head coach. According to Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, things seem to be at a relative standstill on the Amerks side of things. The other two AHL openings remaining are Binghamton and Springfield.

– Per the Canadiens’ official page, four former Cyclones have re-signed one-year two-way deals: David Desharnais, Cedrick Desjardins, Ryan Russell, and JT Wyman. Wyman, 24, and Desharnais, 23, made their NHL debut with Montreal last season. Wyman, who saw limited action with the Cyclones in 2008-09 in an attempt to convert the winger to a defenseman, had a strong season for the Hamilton Bulldogs, earning himself a 3 game call up, and played his debut against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Desharnais enjoyed a six game stint with the Habs, tallying an assist. He jumped immediately to the AHL after his outstanding 2008 season, putting together 58 and 78 point seasons back to back with Hamilton. His 78 points broke the Bulldogs’ single-season point record held by Jason Chimera. Desjardins and Russell have been limited to AHL duty, but have seen great success in their two seasons apiece. Desjardins, 24, the 2008 Kelly Cup MVP, shared the 2010 Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award with teammate Curtis Sanford, awarded to the goaltending tandem owning the lowest goals against average. Russell, 23, has scored 39 goals in 153 games in the last two years and was a combined +43. He scored the shorthanded overtime game winning goal for the Cyclones in game 5 of the American Conference finals to send them on to the Kelly Cup Finals where they would ultimately win in 6 games. According to Capgeek, all four will make league minimum at the NHL level, and between 60,000 and 65,000 with the Bulldogs.

According to the Cyclones official Twitter page, Matt “Chico” Syroczynski has announced his decision to retire to his current club, the Fort Wayne Komets.

Chico played 2 seasons with the Cyclones, totaling 102 regular season games scoring 55 goals and tallying 35 assists for a total of 90 points. He also accumulated 117 penalty minutes. In the post season he played 34 games and totaled 15 goals, 4 assists for 19 points and 49 penalty minutes.

This is not the 1st time Matt has decided to leave the game for a job. After the 2008 Kelly Cup Season, Matt was signed by the Cyclones but was then a no show for various training camps. There was a lot scuttlebutt as to where Matt was and why he wasn’t with the team. Ultimately, he showed and played what turned out to be a a rather tumultuous year.

Chico spent most of the 2008-2009 season battling injuries which were kept on the down low by the team for obvious reasons. Matt ended up being ridiculed by the fans, myself included,  for being a shell of the player he was the previous year. Despite the criticism Matt soldiered on through the injuries and really did put up great numbers, including some more playoff magic when he scored the Series winning goal against Wheeling in Double OT of Game 7 to advance the ‘Clones to the Conference Finals for the 2nd consecutive year.

This past Season Matt returned to the Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL, where he was a fan favorite, spending time there before he joined the Cyclones in 2007. Matt had many of the attributes necessary to play at the next level and despite receiving a long term call up from Norfolk, I question his return to the IHL and wonder where his hockey career might have been had he stuck it out in the ECHL, which is considered by many to be a higher League.

Matt will be best remembered by Cyclones fans for scoring the Championship clinching goal against Las Vegas in 2008.

CycWords would like to thank Matt for all of his hard work and effort with the Cyclones. We wish him the best of luck in all of his future endevours.

Thanks for the Memories Chico!

-Mike-

We didn’t go on a permavaction, but we have been enjoying some much needed relaxation time. Have a couple updates to nibble on:

The ECHL wrapped the Board of Governors Meetings in Las Vegas and the Cyclones Front Office walked away with some hardware;  Ticket Rep Josh Burdine was named Ticket Rep of the Year and Kristen Ropp was names Executive of the Year. Also, hang on to those American Conference Champions T-Shirts; the League has decided to rename the Conferences. The American Conference will now be known as the Eastern Conference and the National Conference will be called the Western Conference. Personally, I think they should have called the American Conference the ECHL and then called the National Conference “Those other teams that think they are better than they are.” There were two Division name changes as well, the old American Conference Eastern Division will now be the Atlantic Division and the former National Conference Western Division is now the Mountain Division.

– Assistant coach Dean Stork was named the head coach of the new Greenville (SC) Road Warriors. Congratulations to Coach Stork. He’ll be coaching the former Johnstown Chiefs in their new home. Best of luck to him – but not too much!

– Nothing is official as of yet, but latest rumblings about Head Coach Chuck Weber are hinting toward his future home being behind the bench of the Rochester Americans. Weber told Kevin Oklobzjia of the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle that he’d love to coach the Amerks. According to the article, Mike Santos, formerly of the Nashville Predators, was named Assistant GM of the Panthers (Rochester’s affiliate). Prior to joining the Panthers, Santos worked in player development for Nashville — in close quarters with Milwaukee & Cincinnati.

ECHL announced the players receiving Qualifying Offers. As expected the Cyclones qualified the maximum (8) number of players. Jamie Coghlan, Brett Robinson, Matt Pierce, Kevin Roeder, Chris Morehouse, Brock Sheahan, Brian O’Hanley, and Brett Motherwell were all given qualifying offers by the Cyclones. If signed, these 8 players will give the Cyclones a good building block for the 2010-2011 season. Whether or not these players will sign if Coach Weber moves on is another story we can’t speculate on. Absent from the list are notables such as Dwayne Zinger, Scott Reynolds, Dustin Sproat and Barret Ehgoetz. Reynolds and Sproat have signed with teams over seas while Ehgoetz and Zinger are both veterans.

– If you haven’t heard by now, we’ll go ahead and fill you in, John “the Hammer” Hamel is no longer with the Cyclones. There was no official statement from the Cyclones but it was all over Twitter and was confirmed by John on his personal Facebook account. It came as a shock to most fans and John will be missed. Taking John’s place will be Nick Brunker. Nick hosted the Cyclones Coach’s Show this past season and will have big shoes to fill. Best of luck to both John and Nick!