THE BEAR DEN WELCOMES DEFENCEMAN KLUBERTANZ, MACAULAY AND KOREN STAYING
American Kyle Klubertanz is the new defenceman in KHL Medveščak Zagreb’s lineup for the 2013/2014 season.
“Kyle is a very good all-around defenseman who can be counted on to play in all situations. He has played 4 out of his 5 pro seasons in the Swedish and Finnish league and has played at a very high level. He brings a very polished game to Zagreb and is looking forward to the jump to the KHL” said Medveščak’s director of athletics Aaron Fox.
Kyle Klubertanz was born in 1985 in Madison (Wisconsin , USA). Before heading off to college, he played two seasons in the junior USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers (117 games, 61 points), while in 2003 he played in the U18 World Championship with team America. In 2004 he was the 74th pick at the Anaheim Ducks’ NHL draft, and that same year he enrolled at Wisconsin University where he spent four seasons playing on their NCAA hockey team.
Klubertanz made his debut as a professional player in the 2007/2008 season playing for the Ducks’ AHL affiliates the Portland Pirates. However, he decided to develop his career on international ice already in the following season and signed a contract with Finnish TPS, while in 2009/2010 he donned the jersey of Swedish primary leaguers Djurgarden with whom he made it to the SHL finals and won a silver medal. After that he returned to North America and spent the 2010/2011 season with the Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliates), while in 2011/2012 he found himself on Djurgarden’s roster once again. He played the last season with HIFK (SM-liiga).
On Medveščak’s roster for the 2013/2014 season will also be two returning players; defenceman Kenny MacAulay and forward Gal Koren.
Kenny MacAulay joined the Bears in 2009/2010 just ahead of the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League playoffs. He has played 192 games with the Bears to date, and has earned 53 points, while in 2012 he debuted with the Croatian representation in Division II Group A at the World Championship and was the WC’s best defenceman that year. Prior to joining Medveščak, MacAulay played for the Fresno Falcons (ECHL), Rockford IceHogs (AHL), Stockton Thunder (ECHL), Portland Pirates (AHL), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), and Norfolk Admirals (AHL).
Twenty-one year-old Gal Koren arrived in the Bear den in the 2010/2011 season, and played 90 games in the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League over the past two seasons. In 2013 he debuted on Slovenia’s senior representation for two games at the World Championship Elite Group. Aside from Medveščak, Koren also played for HC Česke Budejovice U18 (Czech U18), Jungadler Mannheim U18 (DNL), and the Kelowna Rockets (WHL).
IT’S FINALLY OFFICIAL: JONATHAN CHEECHOO STRENGTHENS MEDVEŠČAK’S ATTACK
After several days of extensive negotiations, KHL Medveščak Zagreb has managed to strengthen its attack with experienced Canadian right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, who is the winner of the NHL’s Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard trophy, and has 560 NHL games under his belt (of which 59 were playoff games).
"Cheechoo is someone who we expect to be a top player at the KHL level. He scored 56 goals in a single season in the NHL and was an NHL All Star. He is a player that has performed very well in the AHL in the last two seasons, averaging almost a point per game. We have heard great things about him not only as a player on the ice, but as a teammate as well, and also about his work ethic both on and off the ice. Cheechoo is a true professional and is very excited about coming to Zagreb. We have signed a one-year contract with him with the ability to extend for a second year" stated Aaron Fox,director of athletics.
Jonathan Cheechoo was born in 1980 in Moose Factory (Ontario, Canada). Prior to his first professional arrangement, he played in the OHL for the Belleville Bulls (240 games, 302 points). In 1998 he was the San Jose Sharks’ 29 NHL draft pick, and later wore their jersey for six seasons.
Cheechoo, who is often referred to as Cheechoo Train, played his first professional season in 200/2001 with the Kentucky Thoroughblades, the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliates. He marked his debut as a pro hockey player in the AHL with an outstanding 66 points in 75 games. The following season he wore the Cleveland Barons (AHL) jersey, and in 2002/2003 after nine games and seven points with the Barons, he was given the opportunity to play for the San Jose Sharks in the NHL and he stayed there until the 2004/2005 season. During the NHL lockout in 2004/2005, he played 20 games (5 goals) for HV71 (SHL). After returning to North America in the 2005/2006 season, Cheechoo essentially exploded on the ice and scored 56 goals in 82 games with an additional 37 assists on goals (93 points). At the end of the season Cheechoo was awarded the Mauricce ‘Rocket’ Richard trophy for scoring the most goals in a single season and became the first Sharks player to be given that honour. That same season he set both the team’s record for most power-play goals in a season (24), and the record for most hat tricks in a season (5). Throughout the following three seasons he played another 241 games including playoffs with the Sharks and earned 151 points.
In the 2009/2010 season, Cheechoo switched from the San Jose Sharks to the Ottawa Senators (62 games, 5 goals, 9 assists), and also played 25 games with their AHL affiliates the Binghamton Senators. Over the past three seasons he has played for the AHL’s Worcester Sharks (55 games, 47 points), Peoria Rivermen (70 games, 56 points), and Oklahoma City (52 games including playoffs, 44 points).
WAUGH AND KOSTOVIĆ JOIN MEDVEŠČAK
Medveščak has also extended contracts with forward Dario Kostović and defenceman Geoff Waugh.
Dario Kostović joined the Bears in the 2011/2012 season and played 108 games (21 points) in the blue jersey over two seasons in the Erste Bank Ice Hoskey League, and also four games in the Croatian Championship. Prior to joining Medveščak, the Split native spent 11 seasons in the NLA (Swedish primary league) playing for Kloten, Ambrì-Piottu, Lugano, and ZSC, while in 2005/2006 he played for Swedish secondary leaguers Lausanne.
Geoff Waugh joined the Bears in the same season as Kostović (2011/2012) thanks to an initiative from Medveščak’s sponsor Pan and fans called ‘Kuna for a Bear’. Waugh, who holds a Croatian passport, played 97 games (19 points) for the Bears in the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League, and three games in the Croatian Championship. Throughout his professional career he also played for AHL teams Springfield Falcons, Binghamton Senators, Portland Pirates, and Manitoba Moose, as well as ECHL teams Johnstown Chiefs, Elmira Jackals, and Victoria Salmon Kings.
ZAGREB'S BEARS JOINED BY FORWARDS WILLSIE AND MURLEY
KHL Medveščak Zagreb has expanded its roster for the 2013/2014 season with another two forwards. Entering the Bear den are Brian Willsie and Matt Murley. Canadian forward Willsie plays wing and center, while American Murley plays right and left wing.
Brian WIllsie was born in 1978 in Belmont (Ontario, Canada). He grounded his hockey roots playing for the WOHL’s Belmont MHA, Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, St. Thomas Stars, and the OHL’s Guelph Storm. In 1996 he was the 146th NHL draft pick for the Colorado Avalanche, and in the 1998/1999 season he represented Canada in the U20 World Juniors and scored two goals.
Willsie signed his first professional contract in the 1998/1999 season with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, and in the following season he debuted in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. His first NHL game was on 9 January 2000 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Willsie spent the 2000/2001 season with the Bears, and then had the opportunity to play for Colorado in the NHL again in 2001/2002, and in the following season he played another 18 games with them and 59 with the Hershey Bears. In the following seasons he played for the NHL’s Washington Capitals and L.A. Kings, and during the NHL lockout in 2004/2005 he played for the AHL’s Portland Pirates and Ljubljana’s Olimpija (IEL), followed by the lake Eerie Monsters (AHL), Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL), TPS (SM-liiga), and for Kloten (NLA). Throughout his professional career, Willsie has played 391 games in the NHL (111 points), 574 in the AHL (433 points), 48 in the SM-Liiga (35 points), 11 in the NLA (10 points), 12 in the IEL (13 points), and also two games in the Slovenian Championship.
"Brian Willsie is going to give our team depth at the beginning of the season, and it’s going to be great to have a player of his calibre on the team! Throughout his career Willsie was always a significant player regardless of what level he played at and he is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to show his athletic qualities to Zagreb’s fans and to help Medveščak have a good start to their premiere season in the KHL" said Medveščak’s sports director, Aaron Fox, adding about his status in Medveščak and his so-called ‘double contract’ that “Willsie wanted to show off his talents in the KHL and has signed a ‘try-out’ contract with Medveščak from August until October while at the same time he has a six-month contract with Finnish TPS. If Willsie shows to be a player that we need and if he gets along with the new team then in October we will try to make him one of our players in the 2014/2015 season and have him back in Zagreb”.
Matt Murley was born in Troy (New York, USA). After spending his junior days playing with the Syracuse Jr. Crunch (MetJHL), in 1998 he enrolled at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute private university and spent four seasons (1998/1999 until 2001/2002) playing on their hockey team which competes in the NCAA.
In 1999 he was the 51st NHL draft pick for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and played his first professional season in 2002/2003 in Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliates the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. He wore the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins’ jersey for the next two seasons until 2003/2004 when he debuted in the NHL playing 18 games for Pittsburgh. Aside from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton and Pittsburgh Penguins, he also played for the Albany river Rats (AHL), San Antonio Rampage (AHL), Phoenix Coyotes (NHL), Amur Habarovsk (KHL), Langenthal (NLB), Lugano (NLA), Rapperswil (NLA), Linköping (SHL), and Timrau (SHL). Throughout his professional career, Murley has played a total of 62 games in the NHL (9points), 406 in the AHL (280 points), 33 in the KHL (8 points), 131 in the Swedish Hockey League, 16 in the NLA (16 points) and 22 in the NLB (23 points).
"Matt Murley is a player who is going to bring flexibility and also dynamic to our team. Last season in the Swedish league he had an average of one point per game. In the AHL, and also in European clubs, he was always one of the top six forwards on the teams. He played well in the NHL as a player on the third or fourth lineup. Murley is a player who can play center and wing" stated Aaron Fox.
AHL RECORD HOLDER BARRY BRUST SIGNS WITH THE BEARS, MARTINOVIĆ EXTENDS
KHL Medveščak Zagreb completed its goalie tandem for the 2013/2014 KHL season. Joining Mark Dekanich will be Calder cup winner and AHL record holder for longest shutout streak, Barry Brust.
‘Barry Brust is a big fortification to Medvescak’s net, and I am happy that we have brought this top quality goalie with outstanding stats onto the team. Brust is remembered in the AHL last season for breaking a 55 year old record and setting the new AHL record for longest shutout streak to 268 minutes, while in the 2011/2012 season he was pronounced the best goalie in Germany’s DEL league. Mark Dekanich and Barry Brust have been friends for a long time and will coincide well together. They are both looking forward to proving they are both top goalies at the KHL level. The KHL has a rule that limits one goalie to a maximum of 66% of a game, and for this reason we need to have two top goalies available on net’ said Medvescak’s sports director, Aaron Fox. As he announced the arrival of Brust to the club he was asked about Brust’s temperament on the ice: ‘I am familiar with some of Brust’s temperament problems on the ice which has gotten him into some trouble and some penalties. He paid for what he did at the time when he did it. But he himself is aware of the mistakes he has made and hopes to not make same mistakes again. We fully believe in Brust’s athletic qualities, but we equally require discipline and sportsman like conduct here in Zagreb. Honestly, I believe that Barry will display his athletic temperament on the ice, but in the most positive possible way’.
Barry Brust was born in 1983 in Swan River (Manitoba, Canada), and grew up in Kelowna (B.C., Canada). In his junior days he played for WHL teams Spokane Chiefs and the Calgary Hitmen. In 2002 he was the 73rd NHL draft pick for the Minnesota Wild, and on 9 June 2004 he signed a three-year contract as a free player with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL). His professional career however did not start with the Kings, but rather with their ECHL affiliates the Reading Royals, while in the following season he fought for a place in the Kings’ AHL affiliates the Manchester Monarchs (35 games, 91.6% saves, GAA 2.71 - preliminaries; 5 games, 89.9% saves, GAA 3.66 - playoffs). In the 2006/2007 season he had his chance at NHL and traded Manhester’s locker room 11 times for the locker room of the L.A. Kings (87,8% saves, GAA 3.70).
The following three seasons, from 2007/2008 until 2009/2010, he wore the Houston Aeros jersey (AHL affiliates of the Minnesota Wild), and in the last couple has played 16 games with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. In 2010/2011 he traded the Houston Aeros for the Binghamton Senators (AHL) with whom he played 52 games (92.5% saves, GAA 2.53, 7 shutouts)in the preliminary round of the tournament, and 6 in the playoffs (88.9%, GAA 3.45), all of which was crowned in the end by the Calder Cup.
After winning the Calder Cup with the Senators, Burst began to play for German primary leaguers the Straubing Tigers (33 games, 91.6% saves, GAA 2.47). Thanks to the Canadian goalie, the Tigers managed to get into the DEL’s playoffs and make it to the semi-finals. In the semi-finals they had to eliminate Eisbären Berlin, but Brust was suspended from 8 games for a foul on an opposing player. In the past season Brust played with the Abbotsford Heat (35 games, 91.1L saves, GAA 2.50), and at the same time, he broke the 55-year old AHL record for longest shutout streak which was set by former NHL player Johnny Brower (249:51) in 1957. Brust spent 268 minutes and 17 seconds without letting a single puck go by him.
Joining Dekanich and Brust will be another young Croatian goalie and national Croatian representative: Andrej Vasiljević. The nineteen year-old player from Zagreb was with the Bears when they played in the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League, and last season he trained internationally with Slovakian HK 36 Skalica U20. He played 19 games with Skalich at 87.1% saves and GAA of 3.91. Vasiljević is coming onto the team as a local ‘young’ player who the team must have because of the KHL’s league rules.
Aside from finalizing contracts with Brust and Vasiljević, Medveščak had extended their contract with Martinović. The Croatian player born in Germany joined Medveščak in 2011/2012, and accrued 110 games including playoffs in two seasons, earned 25 points in the Erste Bank Hockey League, and played 7 games in the Croatian Championship. Before coming to Medveščak, Martinović played in DEL for seven seasons, playing for the Hamburg Freezers, Krefeld Penguins, ERC Ingolstadt and Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg. He played 360 games in the DEL including playoffs and earned 54 points.
THREE TIME CALDER DUP WINNER BOYD KANE STRENGTHENS MEDVEŠČAK’S ATTACK
KHL Medveščak Zagreb has fortified its attack for the 2013/2014 season with yet another experienced AHL player, Boyd Kane, who also has 31 NHL games under his belt and has lifted the Calder Cup three times. This will be the first season in the KHL for the Canadian forward, who plays left wing.
”Boyd is an experiences leader and has all it takes to be a winner. He’s won the AHL’s Calder Dup three times, and when he’s on the ice he has a warrior mentality. We expect him to bring that winning attitude to the club and the locker room. He has all of those little athletic traits that are needed to win a game, and we are thrilled that he is going to be a part of our team and helping us in our performance in the KHL”, stated Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
Boyd Kane was born in 1978 in Swift Current (Saskatchewan, Canada). In his junior days he played four seasons in the WHL with the Regina Pats (260 games, 268 points). He found himself on the NHL draft twice. First he was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 72nd pick in 1996, but since no agreement was reached on his contract, Kane once again found himself on the draft in 1998 when he was the New York Rangers’ 114th pick.
Kane stepped into the world of pro hockey in the 1998/1999 season when he signed a contract with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers. He wore the Checkers jersey for three seasons (71 games, 24 goals, 22 assists), and at the same time he played for the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliates the Hartford Wolf Pack. He played a total of 213 games with Wolf Pack (34 goals, 46 assists). He played the 2002/2003 season with the Springfield Falcons (78 games, 42 points), and in 2003 he signed a contract with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Despite playing the 2003/2004 season on their AHL affiliate the Philadelphia Phantoms, Kane made his NHL debut (7 games). In 2004/2005, while he was team captain, he won the Calder Cup with the Phantoms. After that he signed a contract with the Washington Capitals (five games), and won the Calder Cup a second time with their AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears, of whom he was captain. Kane is one of two players in the AHL’s history to have won the Calder Cup two years in a row on different teams while being captain on both of them. The following season he returned to Philly and stayed with the Phantoms until 2008/2009, during which time he played 16 games for the Flyers, and then once again found himself on the rosters of the Washington Captials (3 games) and the Hershey Bears in 2009/2010. He crowned his return to the Hershey Bears in the most rewarding way possible: with the Calder Cup.
Kane spent five years of his professional career with the Philadelphia Phantoms, playing 352 games, scoring 72 times, and making 124 assists, and he also spent five years with the Hershey Bears, with whom he played 420 games with 110 goals and 136 assists.
Along with Boyd Kane, KHL Medveščak Zagreb have signed contracts for the 2013/2014 season with goalie Mark Dekanich, defencemen Mark Popovic, Mark Katic and Mathieu Carle, and forwards Mike Glumac, Hugh Jessiman, Charles Linglet, Ryan Vesce, Bill Thomas, Michael Ryan, Luke Walker and Patrick Bjorkstrand.
Secret of the #medvescak28 project revealed
CAPTAIN ALAN LETANG STAYS WITH THE BEARS FOR ANOTHER SEASON
In the year when Croatia becomes the 28th member of the European Union and the same year that KHL Medveščak Zagreb became the 28th team in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the integrity of Croatia’s most decorated hockey team is extended by Medveščak’s legendary number 28, Alan Letang.
This will be the Canadian defenceman’s fifth season in a row wearing the Bears jersey, and just like four years ago when he skated together with Medveščak into EBEL, he is back to lead into new uncharted territory. Over the past four years with Medveščak, Letang has played 216 games including playoffs and earned 96 points (26 goals, 70 assists), and has proudly worn the letter ‘C’ on his chest since being made team captain from his very first year.
“You don’t think about clubs, contracts, and changes throughout the season. You are simply dedicated to the game. For these reasons I can honestly say that not even in my wildest or sweetest dreams did I have doubts about returning to Zagreb and Medveščak for the fifth season in a row. When I arrived four seasons ago, the team was just being formed, and people were guided simply by love and the enthusiasm to create a new history for Medveščak. The team and I have grown together with the club and the fans from season to season over the past four years. Today Medveščak is a club that is recognized around the world, and joining the KHL is a concrete and well-deserved confirmation for everyone who believed in our club! This is going to be a new experience in my life, and I am extremely honoured that I will skate and play in front of the best fans in the world for a fifth season! I am coming back to Zagreb for new challenges, and I’m certain that Medveščak and their fans will once again be the greatest sports story I could ever have imagined!” said the now legendary captain of KHL Medveščak Zagreb, Alan Letang.
Prior to joining Medveščak, Letang played for the AHL clubs Fredericton Canadiens, Saint John Flames, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and the then-IHL teams Michigan K-Wings and Utah Grizzlies (now an ECHL member), German primary leaguers ESV Kaufbeuren, Augsburger Panther, Hamburg Freezers and Nürnberg Ice Tigers, Swiss primary leaguer Zug and secondary leaguer Langnau, as well as Austria’s Innsbruck. In 1993 he was the 203rd NHL draft pick for the Montreal Canadiens, and throughout his professional career he played 14 games in the NHL wearing jerseys from the Dallas Stars, Calgary Flames, and the New York Islanders. From 2010 Alan Letang has been the athletic spokesperson of UNICEF.
”We are very excited that captain Alan Letang has decided to return for another season. He brings such great work ethic and professionalism to the team and organization. He is very excited about the new challenges and opportunities the KHL brings.” said Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
MATHIEU CARLE IS MEDVEŠČAK’S NEW DEFENCE WITH KHL EXPERIENCE
KHL Medveščak Zagreb, following Mark Popovic and Mark Katic, have signed another defenceman; Canadian Mathieu Carle.
“Carle played for Dinamo Riga last season and has KHL experience that will greatly benefit our team. Also, we believe that a new club like Medveščak which just joined the KHL will be a positive change for him, which is useful for Carle to consistently contribute in defence and offence" stated Medveščak’s sports director Aaron Fox.
Mathieu Carle was born in 1987 in Gatineau (Quebec, Canada). He played his junior days in the QMJHL from 2003/2004 until 2006/2007 for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (291 games, 226 points), and in 2003/2004 he played at the WHC-17 for Canada’s Quebec U17 selection, and won bronze. In 2006, he was the 53rd draft pick for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens, and he played his first professional season in 2007/2008 with Montreal’s AHL affiliates the Hamilton Bulldogs. He stayed with the Bulldogs for four seasons (251 games, 33 goals, 78 assists), and in 2010/2011 he had the best +/- statistics at +19. He premiered in the NHL with the Canadiens on November 3rd 2009 against the Atlanta Thrashers, and played another two NHL games throughout the 2009/2010 season. In July 2011 the Canadiens traded him to the Anaheim Ducks for defenceman Mark Miter, and from there he spent the 2011/2012 season with then-affiliates of the Ducks the Syracuse Crunch (76 games, 40 points, +/- +7).
The 2013/2014 will be Carle’s rookie season with Medveščak, but not in the KHL. He rookied in the league in Lavtia’s Dinamo Riga jersey, and after 35 games transferred to Swiss primary leaguers Geneve-Servette.
YOUNG FORWARDS BJORKSTRAND AND WALKER COMING TO THE DEN
Young forwards Luke Walker and Patrick Bjorkstrand will be a part of Medveščak’s den in the 2013/2014 season. Walker plays right wing, and Bjorkstrand plays center and right wing. Both players come from hockey families. Luke’s father, Gordie Walker, played 31 games for the NHL’s New York Rangers and L.A. Kings and 227 games in the AHL, while Patrick’s father, Todd Bjorkstrand, played 14 seasons for Danish primary leaguers Herning with whom he won the championships seven times and the Danish Cup four times, and has spent the past 12 seasons as Herning’s head coach.
Luke Walker was born in 1990 in New Haven (Connecticut, USA), and grew up in Castlegar (B.C., Canada). He did his junior days with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks (215 games, 140 points). In the 2009/2010 season he was invited to represent the USA in the U20’s, and in 2010 he won the gold medal in the World U20 Championships together with his teammates. A couple of months after winning gold at the juniors, Walker was the 139th draft pick for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. He signed his first professional contract in the 2010/2011 season with the AHL’s Lake Eerie Monsters, and in three seasons he played 188 games with 72 points. In the 2011/2012 season he shared the Monsters’ locker room with forward Hugh Jessiman, who already joined the Bears a month ago.
“Luke Walker is a young player who is extremely excited to play and present his game in Europe. His biggest advantage is his ability to switch speed throughout a game, and he’s a player who’s able to play different roles on the team" stated Medveščak’s sports director Aaron Fox.
Patrick Bjorkstrand was born in 1992 in Herning (Denmark). He built up his hockey foundation step-by-step through every category in Herning. He started playing with Herning’s senior team, with which he won the title of champions twice and the Danish Cup once, at the age of 17, and from 2009/2010 to 2011/2012 he played 147 games with 86 points. Last season he played for Swedish secondary leaguers Moru (51 games, 6 goals, 7 assists). In 2009 Bjorkstrand joined the Danish representation, first in the U18 (two silver medals), and later in the U20 (silver and gold), and in 2012/2013 he debuted in the senior representation and the qualifiers for the Winter Olympic Games and at the World Championships Elite division.
”Patrick Bjorkstrand is a player born in ‘92 who is also on the Danish representation. Since we have to have two players born in ‘92 on the roster for each game, I think that Patrick is an excellent choice because I believe that he can be one of those players who, when he’s on the ice, can contribute to the team in critical moments. Patrick has extremely high aspirations despite being such a young player" stated Aaron Fox.
MEDVEŠČAK IS ANOTHER FORWARD RICHER, HERE COMES MICHAEL RYAN
KHL Medveščak Zagreb is working at full throttle filling up the roster for the 2013/2014 KHL season, and as of today they are enforced by another forward Michael Ryan.
„Michael is joining Medveščak after in the last season, which was his first in Europe, he won the title of Finnish champion. He has NHL experience, and is a player that earned a point per game in the AHL. We believe in him because he has the ability to be an attacker in our top line”, stated Medveščak’s director of athletics Aaron Fox.
Michael Ryan was born in 1980 in Boston (Massachusetts, USA), and plays center and wing positions. In 1999 he was the 32nd pick at the NHL draft for the Dallas Stars, and that same year he enrolled at Northeastern University and spent four seasons playing on their hockey team which competes in the NCAA (135 games, 113 points).
He signed his first professional contract in 2003/2004 for the AHL’s Rochester American (affiliates of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres). He spent four seasons with the Americans (221 games, 60 goals, 67 assists), and in 2006/2007 he was the team’s best shooter by number of goals (32). Aside from getting top stats in 2006/2007, he also made his debut in an NHL jersey playing 19 games for the Buffalo Sabres (3 goals, 2 assists), and he scored his first two NHL goals on March 2nd, 2007 against the Montreal Canadians. He spent the whole following season in 2007/2008 with the Sabres (46 games, 4 goals, 4 assists), and then on October 31st 2008 he left the Sabres and joined the Carolina Hurricanes, playing 18 games for them, and spending the majority of the season in the AHL affiliates the Albany River Rats. In the 2010/2011 season he signed a try-out contract with the Springfield Falcons (AHL), but after a month’s time and six played games, he signed on with the Philadelphia Flyers on November 23rd and spent the season on their AHL affiliates the Adirondack Phantoms. In the 2011/2012 season he briefly returned to the Rochester Americans, and last season he decided to try out international ice, specifically in the Finnish
SM-liige and primary leaguers Ässät. Despite 2012/2013 being Ryan’s premiere season on international ice, he adapted quickly and in 66 games including playoffs he scored 45 points (23 goals, 22 assists) and was amongst the team’s best shooters. At the end of the season he was crowned with the number one spot in the SM-liige along with his teammates.
So far KHL Medveščak Zagreb have signed contracts for the 2013/2014 season with goalie Mark Dekanich, defencemen Mark Popovic and Mark Katic, and forwards Mike Glumac, Hugh Jessiman, Charles Linglet, Ryan Vesce and Bill Thomas.
MEDVEŠČAK COMPLETES COACHING STAFF
KHL Medveščak Zagreb has fill out its coaching staff for the 2013/2014 season. The head coach, as was announced in early June, is Mark French. The Canadian expert with years of experience in the AHL will be supported in his coaching job by three assistant coaches; Dean Fedorchuk, Don MacLean, and Ivo Ratej, while Slovenian Klemen Mohorič will work with the goalies.
"I believe that we have formed a very strong coaching staff. Each of the coaches has a lot of experience and a diverse hockey background. I’m really looking forward to working with the Medveščak staff in their rookie season in the KHL", said Medveščak’s head coach Mark French.
Dean Fedorchuk, a 42-year-old Canadian, spent the last two seasons working as a scout for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, and prior to that he worked as the head coach of Danish primary leaguers Odensea (from 2008 to 2010), and as the head coach of the Straubing Tigers, a team that competes in the DEL (2010/2011).
”Fedorchuk is a young, ambitious coach who began his coaching career in 2008 in Denmark with Odensea, and in his first season as a coach he won 3rd place in the Danish league. Dean is a coach who likes modern hockey, he’s an incredible motivator, and has a lot of experience scouting players. Based on recommendations from other hockey coaches and general managers, it was said that he is the ideal person to be an assistant coach because of his organizational skills and scouting work he did for the NHL”, said the director of hockey operations and advisor to the club’s president Markoantonio Belinić.
Don MacLean came to Zagreb and Medveščak in the 2010/2011 season first as a player, and then left his career as a professional hockey player the following season to pursue coaching. He spent the past two seasons working as an assistant coach for Medveščak, and this year he coached the Croatian hockey representation at the World Championship, which was held in Zagreb , in Group A of Division II, winning gold, and getting promoted to Division I.
”Don is another young coach who lead Medveščak for two years as an assistant coach with then head coach Marty Raymond. He is eager to learn so as to one day become the head coach, which he showed this year when he took over the Croatian representation and won first place along with a promotion to a higher division of the IIHF” said Belinić.
Ivo Ratej, like Don MacLean, spent the past two years as one of Medveščak’s assistant coaches. In 2004 and 2005 he was the assistant coach for the Croatian hockey representation’s picks for players under the age of 18, and in 2013 he assisted MacLean in the senior selection.
”Ratej is a local guy and a former player for Medveščak for whom hockey is number one. He is full of motivation and has a willingness to learn from experienced coaches so as to one day become the head coach and lead a senior team. Ivo is a hard worker and the team is something sacred for him, and this year, like Don, he contributed as an assistant coach to place the representation in a higher category”, commented Belinić.
Klemen Mohorič is a former goalie and member of the Slovenian representation who began his coaching career in 2011/2012. His first coaching experience was with HK Jesenice, who competed in EBEL at the time, and throughout the past two seasons he occasionally worked with Medveščak
”Klemen is a young and ambitious goalie coach, who worked with the goalies of Jesenice in 2011/2012, and worked as Jesenice’s assistant coach at the same time. He also came to Zagreb to help out Medveščak and prepare our goalies throughout the season and for the playoffs. Klemen is coming to Zagreb as a coach for the goalies, and depending on the game schedule, when he has some free time he will join the coaches of younger divisions to help goalies in junior categories”, stated Belinić.
NHL FORWARD BILL THOMAS STRENGTHENS THE BEARS’ ATTACK
As of today, KHL Medveščak Zagreb is fortified by yet another forward. American Bill Thomas has joined Zagreb’s club. Thomas, who has played 87 games in the NHL, 417 in the AHL, and 8 in the NLA throughout his professional career, will be debuting along with Zagreb’s Bears in the KHL.
"Bill Thomas is a two-way attacker, a forward who is equally useful in both the offensive and defensive zones. While in the AHL, he constantly scored around 20 goals, and has also played 87 games in the NHL, with 28 points under his belt. His experience will be of great benefit for the team, and I expect that he will be one of our top six forwards" said Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
Bill Thomas was born in 1983 in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), and plays both right wing and center. Prior to playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s school team, which competes in the NCAA, he developed his skills on teams that play in the U.S.’ top junior leagues; the NAHL’s Cleveland Barons, and the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. In the 2004/2005 season he debuted with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, playing 39 games and earning 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists), and was dubbed the NCAA rookie of the year. He carried on the following season with outstanding stats (41 games, 50 points), which opened the doors for his first professional contract and premiere in the NHL. On March 26th, 2006, he signed his name on a contract with the Phoenix Coyotes, with whom he played 40 games over three seasons (9 goals, 8 assists). Aside from the Coyotes, Thomas also played for the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins (16 games, 3 pints) and the Florida Panthers (31 games, 8 points), the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage (204 games, 150 points), Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (51 games, 23 points), Springfield Falcons (33 games, 17 points), Rochester Americans (16 goals, 20 assists) and the Lake Erie Monsters (76 games, 43 points), and the NLA’s Lugano (8 games, 3 points). Throughout his professional career, Thomas shared the locker room with a few players who, like Bill, joined Medveščak this season. He played on the Falcons with Charles Linglet, and in Rochester and Florida with Hugh Jessiman.
As well as Bill Thomas, Medveščak has so far also signed goalie Mark Dekanich, defencemen Mark Popovic and Mark Katic, and forwards Mike Glumac, Hugh Jessiman, Charles Linglet and Ryan Vesce.
MEDVEŠČAK ANNOUNCES ITS 2013/2014 PRESEASON
KHL Medveščak Zagreb has begun filling up its roster for its rookie KHL season, and has just finalized its preseason plan. The team will come together in Zagreb at the end of July, while the preparations for 2013/2014 season will start in early August.
The Bears will practice in Zagreb in the first few days of the preseason, and from August 5-17th they will go to training camp in Maribor. In that same period, Maribor’s Ice Hall Tabor will also host KHL clubs HC Vityaz and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.
"We considered all of the different options that were available to us as possible preseason training camps on ice, and decided on Maribor for several important reasons: recommendations from KHL clubs, the proximity to Zagreb, the level of quality offered for sports and accommodation, the participation of other hockey teams with which we plan to play prep games. All that’s left now is to work out a schedule with the other teams taking part in the camp, game schedules, and whether the clubs will agree to play the games in front of fans. We will also play one prep game with Ljubljana’s Telemach Olimpija in Maribor!", announced Markoantonio Belinić, Medveščak’s director of hockey operations, about the preseason schedule.
After practices in Maribor, the Bears will return to Zagreb for preparations, and just about ten days later will hit the road toward Switzerland where on the 23rd and 24th they will take part in the international tournament ”Biasca Turnir”. At the Biasca tournament, the Bears will test their strength against Kazakhstan’s Sary-Arka Karaganda team, which competes in the VHL, and depending on their placement after the first game, they will play against Switzerland’s premier leaguers Ambri-Piotta or the KHL’s Metallurg Novokuznetsk.
The Bears will have their final prep game on August 30th in Graz against the Graz 99ers, a team that they’ve been facing off against in the Erste Bank Ice Hockey League for the past four seasons.
The Bears are expected to play their first KHL game of the 2013/2014 season in Dom Sportova on September 6th. Details about the game including scheduling, opponents, and cost of tickets will be announced shortly once all details are finalized.
SCHEDULE FOR PREPARATORY GAMES (preliminary dates!)
Notice: game times, locations, and information about whether training camp prep games in Maribor will be open to the public will be announced in July!
06. 08. (Maribor) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - Torpedo Nižnji Novgorod (RU)
08. 08. (Maribor) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - Telemach Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO)
11. 08. (Maribor) KHL Medveščak Zagreb – Telemach Olimpija Ljubljana (SLO)
17. 08. (Maribor) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - HC Vityaz (RU)
23. 08. (Biasca) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - Sary-Arka Karaganda (KZ)
24. 08. (Biasca) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - Ambri Piotta / Metallurg Novokuznetsk (RU)
30. 08. (Graz) KHL Medveščak Zagreb - Moser Medical Graz 99ers (AUT)
DEFENCEMAN MARK KATIC ALSO JOINS MEDVEŠČAK
In the 2013/2014 season, the Bears are going to have yet another Canadian defenceman of Croatian heritage with NHL and AHL experience in their lineup. Joining Popovic on the Bears’ roster is another Mark - twenty-four-year-old Mark Katic.
"Mark is a defenceman with Croatian roots who is going to bring a great dynamic to our attack. He’s only 24 years old, and his strongest asset is skating. I’m glad that Mark is going to be leaving a big impression on our club in the coming years, and in the Croatian representation too, I believe”, declared Medveščak’s sports director Aaron fox.
Mark Katic was born in 1989 in Porcupine, ON, Canada. He did his junior years playing two seasons with the Timmins Majors (GNML), and from 2005/2006 until 2008/2009 with for the Sarnia Sting (OHL). He played 75 games with the Majors (23 goals, 41 assists) while with Sarnia he accrued 241 games (30 goals, 137 assists). In 2007 he was invited to play in Canada’s under 18 representation, and took part in the IIHF World U18 Championships, playing 6 games with one assist, while his +/- was +10, earning him an award for best player by +/- stats. That same year he was chosen (62nd pick) at the New York Islanders’ NHL draft, with whom he later played 11 games.
Katic signed his first professional contract in the 2009/2010 season with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound tigers, where he spent three seasons playing 126 games and earning 48 points. He debuted in the New York Islanders jersey on February 24th, 2011 against the Philadelphia flyers and earned his first NHL point - one assist. By the end of the 2010/2011 season, he played 10 more games for the Islanders. In the 2012/2013 season, he came out onto international ice, playing in Germany’s DEL with the Eisbären Berlin. He played 60 games for Berlin, scoring 20 points, and helped the team win its third consecutive German title. On top of playing for Berlin last season, he also took part in the European Trophy (9 games, 9 points), and in the Deutschland Cup with Team Canada where he played three games and scored one goal.
BEARS’ FAMILY GROWS–MARK POPOVIC IS FIRST NEW DEFENCEMAN IN DEN
The Bears have expanded their ‘family’. Joining goalie Mark Dekanich and forwards Mike Glumac, Hugh Jessiman, Charles Linglet and Ryan Vesce – who will all help the Bears achieve great results in their rookie KHL season in 2013/2014 – is Canadian defenceman of Croatian heritage, Mark Popovic.
”Mark is a player with Croatian roots with valuable KHL and NHL experience. We expect him to be a leader on the ice and in the locker room, and he’s got a lot of potential to be our no.1 defenceman. Mark is extremely excited to finally have the opportunity to ‘come home’ as a part of Medveščak’s family, as he has been following our club and has heard a lot about our fans and the atmosphere at games”, said Medveščak’s director of athletics, Aaron Fox.
Mark Popovic was born in 1982 in Stoney Creek, ON, Canada. He spent his junior days playing for the Mississauga Chargers (Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League) and for the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (OHL). Throughout his four seasons in the OHL he played 280 games including playoffs, and scored 175 points, while in 1999 he played in the Canadian Winter Games for Team Ontario. In 2001 he was the 35th pick on the Anaheim Ducks’s NHL draft, with whom he played one game in 2003/2004. That same year when he was drafted, he debuted for the Canadian representation at the World U20 Championship and won a bronze medal. In 2002 he performed in the SP U20, and together with the rest of Canada’s representation he won silver.
He began to build his professional career in 2002/2003 in the AHL, playing for the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (affiliates of the Anaheim Ducks). In three seasons, Popovic played 241 games in Cincinnati’s jersey and scored 64 points. After Cincinnati, he played two seasons for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves (153 games, 31 goals, 56 assists), and throughout his professional career he played 80 games for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, 55 games for the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg (23 points), and 82 games with the NLA’s Lugano and Langnau. In the 2010/2011 season he played with Team Canada in the Spengler Cup.
” I’m anxiously waiting to meet my new teammates. This is going to be an incredible season”, briefly states Popovic a few days ago on his blog http://markpopovic.blogspot.com/. Additionally, aside from playing professional hockey, Popovic spends the summer refining his coaching skills in his summer hockey camp in Ontario, and also has his own blog.
BEARS ENTER PREMIERE KHL SEASON WITH MARK FRENCH AS HEADCOACH!
Mark French is KHL Medveščak Zagreb’s new coach! This will be the forty-two-year-old Canadian with many years of coaching experience’s premiere season both outside of North America and in the KHL.
”Mark French is a coach that I’ve been watching for the past two years and we hoped that the moment would come when he would decide to continue his career in Europe so that we could organize this for him. Mark is a young coach who brings modern hockey to the rink, discipline, and respect toward his players and club. Throughout his six years with the Hershey Bears - affiliates of the NHL’s Washington Capitals - he not only won the Calder Cup, but also broke the club’s records by winning 60 games in one season. I am convinced that Mark is exactly the type of coach that Medveščak needs in its premiere season in the KHL”said the director of hockey operations and advisor to the clubs president Markoantonio Belinić.
”Mark spent his entire AHL coaching career with Hershey, and he secured the playoffs every season, and won the Calder Cup once. Mark still holds the AHL’s record for being the fastest coach to achieve 100 wins. He’s going to bring a winning pedigree to Zagreb and he’s extremely happy to be able to help Medveščak become a successful KHL team”, stated Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
From the middle of the 2007/2008 season, Mark French was the coach of the AHL’s most decorated team, the Hershey Bears (11 titles). In his first season with the Hershey Bears and the AHL he worked as an assistant coach, while in 2009/2010 he was given the position of head coach, which he immediately crowned by winning the Calder Cup and with record stats. He got the record for the most amount of wins in one season, winning 60 out of 80 games, and scored the record for the highest amount of points, 123, which no coach prior to French has achieved. That season the Bears were unbeatable on home ice from the end of November 2009 until mid-March 2010, winning 24 games in a row, while in total they won 34 home games, which was another AHL record. On away ice they won 26 games, which was another record for the Bears, just like their record of wining 12 away games in a row. On top of all of those records, that season the Bears were also the first team in the AHL’s history to win a championship after losing the first two games of the finals, and were also the team that won a record 8 games in overtime in the Calder Cup playoffs. That was a spectacular season for the Bears, and the greatest debut of a head coach in the AHL’s 75-year history. For the next three seasons, the Bears played the conference quarterfinals under French’s helm.
Before his AHL career, he worked for Brock University (as the assistant and head coach), University of Guelph (assistant coach), Wilfrid Laurier University (head coach), for the OHL’s North Bay Centennials (assistant coach and assistant to the general manager), for the ECHL’s Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (assistant coach), and the CHL’s Wichita Thunder (head coach and director of hockey operations).
TOGETHER AGAIN: CHARLES LINGLET & RYAN VESCE PICK MEDVEŠČAK
Forwards Charles Linglet and Ryan Vesco will play together again after two seasons. In the 2010/2011 season they shared a locker room in Torpedo from Nizhny Novgorod, and now in the 2013/2014 season they will share it in Zagreb’s Medveščak. Linglet and Vesce played together in the same lineup with Torpedo, and they both got good stats; Linglet with 45 points, and Vesce with 48. Liinglet plays left wing, and Vesce right wing and center.
Charles Linglet was born in 1982 in Montreal (Quebec, Canada), and in addition his Canadian nationality, he also has Belarussian citizenship. He signed his first professional contract in the 2003/2004 season with the Utah Grizzlies, who now play in the ECHL but were in the AHL at that time. He only spent a short while in Utah’s lineup, playing just 7 games, after which he carried out the rest of the season in the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. On top of the Utah Grizzlies and the Alaska Aces, his professional career has also seen him play for the Peoria Rivermen (AHL), Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), Springfield Falcons (AHL), Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (KHL), Dynamo Minsk (KHL), Lugano (NLA) and the five games he played for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
Ryan Vesce was born in 1982.in Lloyd Harbor (New York, USA). He played four seasons for the Cornell University NCAA team, after which he signed his first professional contract in the 2004/2005 season for Swedish club Rögle which plays in the Allsvenskan league, and in 45 matches he earned 45 points. During his professional career he has played for the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, the Binghamton Senators and the Worcester Sharks, Finnish HIFK and Blues (both SM-liiga), Torpedo (KHL), Skelleftea Sweden (Elitserien), and the NHL’s San Jose Sharks, with whom he played 19 games and scored five points.
MEDVEŠČAK TAKE PART IN KHL DRAFT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY
On Sunday, May 26th in Donetsk, Ukraine, the KHL junior draft was held for the fifth time in a row, and Medveščak Zagreb took part in it for the first time along with the remaining 27 KHL teams. The draft was organized for Russian, European, and North American players born in 1996, and Zagreb’s club was represented in Donetsk by Markoantonio Belinić, the Director of hockey operations and advisor to the club’s president, and Aaron Fox, the Sports director.
Medveščak’s first pick at the KHL draft was Czech forward Vaclav Karabaček, who played for EC Salzburg U18 and EC Salzburg U20 in the 2012/2013 season. Prior to playing for Salzburg, he played for Czech HC Letnany, and in 2011/2012 he was the top-scoring player with 61 goals, and the player with the highest number of points at 104 in the Czech U16 league in just 32 games. He played in the International-Jr. with the Czech U16, U17, and U18 teams. The second pick was Canadian forward Jake Virtanen, who plays center and wing positions. He debuted in 2011/2012 in the WHL (Western Hockey League) in the Calgary Hitmen jersey, playing 14 games including playoffs and scoring 4 points, while in the 2012/2013 season he played 77 games including playoffs with the hitmen, scoring 18 goals and 22 assists, and he also played for Canada (Canada Pacific U17) at the WHC-1. Third picked was Slovakian forward Nino Ondris from HC Dukla Trenčin, who spent the last two seasons playing on their U18 team, and played one game with their U20. Fourth picked was Czech forward Jirij Smejkal from Czech Budejovica, who was pronounced the best assistant in the Czech U16 league in the 2011/2012 season with 48 assists, and who also played on the U18 and U20 teams. He played in the International-Jr. with the Czech U16 and U17 teams for the past two seasons. Fifth pick was Slovakian goalie Stanislav Škorvanek from Žilina. He defended the net in the MsHK Žilina U18 and U20 teams, and played in the WHC-17 with the Slovakian U17 and the International-Jr.
”Karabaček is a top Czech player who plays for Salzburg and is a permanent member of their national team. We watched him in video clips that we received from various agents, and they believe that Vaclav will be the top player in Europe in the next few years. Ondris is a young forward from the best school of hockey in Slovakia, Dukla Trenčina, and is a permanent member of their national team, while Smejkal is a permanent member of the Czech national ice hockey team. Škorvanek is currently the top goalie and young hope in Slovakian hockey”, declared Medveščak sports director Aaron Fox, while the director of hockey operations and advisor to the club’s president Markoantonio Belinić added:
”We analyzed over 200 players that were registered in the draft, and after our own considerations and research with agents and coaches who took part at the draft, we have come to the decision that the players we picked are of just the right strength that we will need for the first season in order to be even better in the season to follow in the KHL; young strengths on whom the club will depend in the future. In any case, we are going to monitor the development of our selected players throughout the season and decide at which moment we will sign any of the five draft pick players.”
The 2013 KHL draft was held outside of Russia for the first time in history.
MIKE GLUMAC ALSO JOINS MEDVEŠČAK
Another forward who plays right wing is coming to the Bear den - Canadian Mike Glumac, who has accrued 40 performances in the NHL, 464 in the AHL, and 137 in the DEL. Glumac has signed a one-season contract with the renewal option for one additional season, and the 2013/2014 season will not only be his premiere season in the Bears jersey, but also in the KHL.
"Mike is another top player who is extremely excited to come to Zagreb and to Medveščak because during his time in Europe he head about Medveščak. As a player, he is very skilled and knows how to make use of them in the opponent’s zone, especially in front of the net, and he’s a player that plays a physical game", stated Medveščak’s director of athletics, Aaron Fox.
Mike Glumac was born in 1980 in Niagara Falls, Canada. Before his professional career we wore the University of Miami’s jersey for four seasons in the NCAA. He signed his first professional contract in 2002/2003 with the ECHL’s Pee Dee Pride. That same season he debuted in the AHL with the Cleveland Barons, while already in the following 2003/2004 season he became a regular AHL player. Glumac stayed in the AHL for a full 7 years, during which he played for the Worcester IceCats, Peoria Rivermen, and the Hamilton Bulldogs, and in 2006 he had the opportunity to play in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues. He played 40 games with the Blues and got 7 goals and 6 assists.
Glumac spent the past three seasons with the German first division club Adler Mannheim, and in 137 games he got 98 points (59 goals, 39 assists). He also performed in the European Trophy and Spengler Cup with Mannheim.
Throughout his rich professional career, Glumac was always the best or amongst the top shooters on all of the teams he played for.
MEDVEŠČAK AT THE KHL DRAFT IN DONETSK THIS WEEKEND
On May 25th and 26th in Donetsk, Ukraine will be the fifth KHL Junior Draft – Entry Draft, which will be held outside of Russia for the first time in history. At the draft, which will showcase 1561 players, KHL teams will have the opportunity to select young players between the ages of 17 and 21 from Russia, Europe, and North America.
Medveščak Zagreb will also take part in the KHL draft, thanks to their entry in to the KHL on April 29th, 2013. Medveščak will be represented in Donetsk by Markoantonio Belinić, the director of hockey operations and advisor to the club’s president, and Aaron Fox, the director of athletics.
'This is our first time officially taking part in the draft. There are a couple of players that are of interest to us and we would be very happy if we manage to make arrangements with them. Either way, this is a new and rewarding experience for our club's athletics team', stated Medveščak's director of hockey operations and advisor to the club's president, Markoantonio Belinić.
The draft is divided into three categories: the Russian group, the European group, and the North American group of players, and on the day before the draft (May 25th) there will be an junior exhibition game with the most promising young players divided into two teams – East and West.
HUGH JESSIMAN STRENGTHENS MEDVEŠČAK’S ATTACK
Medveščak continue to actively beef up their roster. Following goalie Mark Dekanich into the Bear den is American forward Hugh Jessiman, who plays left wing and stands at 198cm tall, weighing 105kg. Jessiman, for whom the 2013/2014 season will be his debut in the KHL, has signed a one-year contract with the Bears with the option for another additional season.
" Hugh is a big, explosive, and strong attacker! He has a great sense for scoring goals despite his height, and can play a great physical game if necessary at the same time. We expect a lot of good things from him!"- briefly commented Medveščak’s sports director Aaron Fox on the new forward.
Hugh Jessiman was born in 1984 in New York, and grew up in Darien, Connecticuit, where he attended Brunswick and build his hockey roots. Throughout his career so far he’s played for: Dartmouth College (NCAA Roookie of the Year), the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers, the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators), Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks), Rochester Americans, Lake Erie Monsters, Abbotsford Heat and the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators). He also played a couple of games for the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
MARK DEKANICH IS MEDVEŠČAK’S NEW GOALTENDER
KHL Medveščak Zagreb have started to put together the pieces of their 2013/2014 season puzzle, which will see them play in the KHL for the first time in history! The first player who has decided to mark these historic moments with the Bears is Canadian goalie of Croatian descent Mark Dekanich, whom Medveščak’s management has been keen on for some time now.
” Mark is a great goalie who happens to have Croatian roots. He’s got three top seasons in the AHL behind him, during which his game was consistent. An injury kept him off the ice in the 2011/2012 season. However, despite a long recovery, toward the end of 2012/2013 he started to get back to the level he was at before his injury and we expect him to be the person who we are going to build this team around. Mark is very happy to have been given the opportunity to play in Zagreb and for Medveščak in the KHL” - declared Medveščak’s athletics director Aaron Fox.
Mark Dekanich was born in 1986 in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. He played in the juniors in the BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League) for the Coquitlam Express. In the 2004/2005 season he became a member of the Colgate University team in the highest-ranking American college league, the NCAA.
He skated into the world of professional hockey in 2008, playing in the AHL for the Milwaukee Admirals, a branch of the Nashville Predators. That same season he played two games for the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, and he also played in the AHL All-Star game. In December 2010 he had the opportunity to debut in the NHL wearing a Nashville Predators jersey in a game against the L.A. Kings.
In June 2011 he signed a contract with another NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and a year later he signed with the Winnipeg Jets and played a season in their AHL team, the St. John’s Ice Caps.
So far in his professional career, Dekanich has played 9,122 minutes in the AHL, and defended 3,898 out of 4,260 shots on net, giving him a 91.5% save count.