Sunday, August 24, 2014

Interview With Brace

Manny Paiva of Bayshore Broadcasting recently talked with new Varsity Reds recruit Cameron Brace. Among the topics discussed include his time in the Ontario Hockey League, his decision to attend UNB and play for the V-Reds, and the chance to play with former Owen Sound teammate Rob Mignardi. You can listen to the interview here.

Friday, August 22, 2014

V-Reds Confirm Trainor and Boudens, Announce Another

The five-time National Champion UNB Varsity Reds are extremely excited to add three top recruits to the forward position for the upcoming 2014-15 season.

Joining the Varsity Reds are former Drummondville Voltigeur Matt Boudens of Pembroke, Ontario, ex-Moncton Wildcat Chris Caissy of Campbellton, New Brunswick, and Peter Trainor from the Rimouski Oceanic.

The 6’0”, 195 lb Boudens comes to UNB after a break-out year with the Drummondville Voltigeurs which saw him put up 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points in 67 games played.  Boudens was also named captain of the team in his final year and finished his career with 110 points in 170 games while adding 304 penalty minutes.

Boudens was also part of the Pembroke Lumber Kings Royal Bank Cup National Championship-winning squad in 2011.  He comes to UNB as a highly-coveted and very versatile recruit. He was invited to rookie camp with the Montreal Canadians in 2013 and this fall will attend the Florida Panthers rookie camp. He will study Kinesiology at UNB.

Chris Caissy is coming off his two best seasons of junior hockey. This past year he put up 43 points in 53 games with the Wildcats - this despite missing 15 games with a serious injury.  The 6’2” forward is looking to build from that campaign and was recently invited to the St. Louis Blues development camp this past summer. 

Caissy also had a very successful career in the MJAHL which saw him rack up 121 points in 170 games. He won the MJAHL championship with Summerside Western Capitals in 2012-13 and was also named playoff MVP.  At the RBC Cup, Caissy added 9 points and played a key role in helping Summerside reach the national final. Caissy will study Kinesiology at UNB.

These two QMJHL players join Peter Trainor from the Rimouski Oceanic whose move to UNB was announced earlier this summer.  Trainor is coming off a fantastic QMJHL career which saw him put up 218 points in 203 career games including the 2012-13 season where he put up a staggering 46 goals and 54 assists for 100 points and a QMJHL Second Team All-Star selection. A former 1993 V-Red prospect, Trainor is known for his elite scoring prowess and is also a former Fredericton AAA Canadian.

“These three players will have a big role with our UNB program over the next few years.  We are very excited about the addition of these three players and their caliber and pedigree,” said associate coach Rob Hennigar. “All three bring something different and are also extremely versatile which is something we look for at UNB.  They bring a lot of leadership and will be looked upon to play in key situations.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Two More Recruits Announced, Another Commits

The UNB Varsity Reds hockey program is proud to announce the addition of two top defensemen to the 2014-15 lineup.

Alex Wall, a native of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, will join the V-Reds after completing his degree at the University of Prince Edward Island, as will Randy Gazzola from Thorald, Ontario, who was a key member of the QMJHL Champion Val d’Or Foreurs this past season.

The 6’2’, 225 lb Gazzola had a breakout year as a 20-year-old in Val d’Or with 16 - 58 -74 points, which made him the second leading scorer for defenseman in the QMJHL during the regular season.  He continued his dominance in the post season scoring 24 points in 24 playoff games to help his team secure a role in the Memorial Cup Championships.  Gazzola was named to the QMJHL 1st All Star team and was a finalist for the Emile Bouchard award as the league’s top defenseman.

Gazzola made his QMJHL debut with the Halifax Mooseheads before being traded to Val d’Or during the 2012-13 season. He attended the San Jose Sharks rookie camp this summer before confirming his decision to attend UNB where he will study Kinesiology.

Wall played four seasons in the QMJHL with St. John's, Montreal, Moncton and Quebec and amassed 22 goals and 92 assists in that time. He was a member of the QMJHL Champion Moncton Wildcats and had a career best 6-43-49 for the Quebec Ramparts in his seaon as a 20-year-old.

Wall also spent three seasons with UPEI in the AUS, racking up eight goals and 27 assists. The 5’10”, 190lb speedster was a member of the AUS All Stars who won the 2013 Winter Universiade where he played a key role in the success of the team. Wall was a three-time Academic All-Canadian at UPEI where he completed his degree in just three years. He will be enrolled in UNB’s graduate studies program.

"We're very excited to have Alex and Randy join the blue line for us," V-Reds coach Gardiner MacDougall said. "They are two high impact players who both have outstanding pedigrees and Memorial Cup experience. Alex is an outstanding puck mover who can be very active on the rush while Randy has outstanding puck sense and makes great decisions at both ends of the rink.”

Associate coach Rob Hennigar, a former student-athlete for the V-Reds, agrees.

"They are both great players and great students, both key elements to succeeding here. They will both fit in well with what we're trying to accomplish on the ice, in the classroom and in the community."

Meanwhile, forward Matt Boudens took to Twitter to announce his commitment to the Varsity Reds for the upcoming season. Boudens has played the last 3 seasons in the QMJHL for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, captaining the team last year as he posted a career-high 24 goals and 35 assists in 67 games.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

V-Reds Announce Addition Of 3 Recruits

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds have announced the addition of three OHL players to their roster for the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

The first is goaltender Chris Carrozzi, from Ottawa, Ontario.

From the press release:  
Carrozzi was a 4th-round draft pick with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers after a stellar four-year career in the OHL where he played with the Mississauga-St.Mike's Majors.
Carrozzi was named OHL goalie of the year in 2009-10 after posting a 2.36 GAA and a .916 save percentage.  His pro career was spent mainly with the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators and Ontario Reign, which saw him post a sterling 2.27 GAA and .992 save percentage in 2011-12.  He was called up to the AHL on three separate occasions and played in seven games. 
Carrozzi will start the season in his fourth year of eligibility.
"Chris has excellent pedigree as a top profile goaltender," said UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "He has valuable pro experience, has had an excellent summer of training with Dan Lacosta and is excited about the opportunity here at UNB."
 One scouting report, from 2011, states:
Carrossi is big (alternately listed at 6-2 or 6-3) but has some trouble with lateral movement and glove hand. His chief strength, aside from his obvious raw talent and technical skills, is his ability to remain calm and appear almost aloof regardless of the situation. Also showed tremendous perseverance in bouncing back from a disappointing 2088-09 season to have an outstanding final year in junior. 
The V-Reds have also added forward Cameron Brace to the line-up.

From the press release:
Cameron Brace is a highly touted recruit the Varsity Reds are thrilled to land. The 5'10", 180lb forward is coming off a fantastic five-year OHL career where he spent four years with the Owen Sound Attack and was part of their 2011 OHL Championship squad. Brace was later traded to the Belleville Bulls where he had 27 goals in 42 games and was named an assistant captain.
Brace was named OHL Player of the Week for his final week of junior hockey. He had a career best 35-39-74 pts in the 2013-14 season and attended the Pittsburgh Penguin's training camp. His OHL totals include 106 goals and 100 assists for 206 points in 265 games played.

"Cameron is a dynamic player with top notch speed and an excellent shot. He should thrive on our style of play and be a crowd favourite here at UNB," said MacDougall.
A 2013 scouting report mentions that his strengths are his speed, knack for coming through in the clutch, and penalty killing ability. It also went on to say:
Cameron Brace is a playmaking center with high offensive potential...Brace is a clutch performer who tends to come up with big goals in big situations. He finishes plays because of his ability to read plays in the offensive zone, and use his speed to beat defenders to the puck. being a re-entry for the NHL Entry Draft, scouts were originally concerned about his small frame and how it may impact his ability to compete. Because of Brace's smaller size, he lacks tenacity sometimes and needs to be more willing to engage in physical battles. On the other hand, he has developed into a proven clutch scorer at the Major Junior level with the offensive potential that NHL teams may be looking for. 
The 3rd new addition is defenceman Colin Suellentrop.

From the press release:
Colin Suellentrop is a five-year veteran of the OHL's Oshawa Generals where he was an assistant captain.  The 6'1", 205lb Suellentrop is a right-handed defenseman and a solid two-way player often called upon to match up against the other team's top men. He played in a total of 313 OHL games where he scored 11 goals and added 74 assists for 85 points.  He also added 368 penalty minutes.

In 2011, Suellentrop was drafted in the 4th round of the NHL entry draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Colin has attended NHL camps for both the Flyers and Florida Panthers and will be attending the Arizona Coyotes training camp this fall.

"Colin is an excellent addition to our D-core," said MacDougall. "He has a high compete level, moves the puck very well and has a top notch fitness level. He has excellent potential to be a top notch pro after getting his university degree."

Suellentop will study Chemical Engineering at UNB.
 An article from 2011 mentions:
Suellentrop could be a promising defender on the backend for the rebuilding Generals. While last season was a struggle at times, Suellentrop did have stretches of strong play and handled a lot of minutes for a bad hockey team. He played for the United States at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, and with a year under his belt, the Generals will hope that Suellentrop can take a big leap forward in his game this year. He has good size and puck instincts, but he’ll need to be better positionally and display more polish in his transitional game this year.
It goes on to say:
Definitely a prospect who made great strides this year, after being thrust into a larger role on an improving team. He's a stay at home type defender with good size at 6'2, 190lbs (probably fills out into the 210lbs range as a pro), but he's also fairly mobile. That mobility on the back end is definitely something NHL scouts look for in physical, stay at home types. While Suellentrop certainly profiles as a physical, shut down type, he will need to become a bit meaner and use his size in front of the net. He also will need to improve his positional defense, as at times he can get caught flat footed by forwards attacking off the rush. But on the plus side, his offensive game started to make strides later in the year and he even began to use that mobility by skating the puck out of his own zone, instead of making simple chip plays. He'll likely have to play on Oshawa's top pairing next year (because of graduations) so that makes him a likely breakout candidate given the improvements he made this year.
A more recent scouting report says:
Suellentrop is a big, stay-at-home defenseman whose game is just beginning to evolve. His biggest assets are his size, reach and skating ability and he is also adept at distributing the puck to transition from defense to attack. Suellentrop has made great progress over the past three seasons and should continue to develop as he matures physically....Suellentrop is playing for the OHL's Oshawa Generals in 2013-14. At the pro level, Suellentrop's size, strength and skating ability project him to be a prototypical shut-down, defensive defenseman, but he'll have to work harder to get the attention of another NHL club now that the Flyers have passed on signing him.
The Varsity Reds also re-announced the addition of forward Rob Mignardi to the team. Mignardi committed to the V-Reds last season but had to sit out the season after playing two years of professional hockey in the AHL and ECHL.

2014 - 2015 Season Ticket Info Announced

The University of New Brunswick has announced information regarding season passes for the upcoming Varsity Reds season and it looks pretty similar to last year, with one minor exception. Here are the highlights:

- Like last year, season passes are valid for all home events, including regular season, tournament, exhibition, the Mark Jeffrey Memorial, and AUS playoff games.

- The price for season passes is also the same as last year - $225 for an adult/senior, $75 for a non-UNB student (13 years +) with a valid ID, and $50 for a reserved seat for children K-5.

- The price for individual hockey games are $12 for adult/senior, $4 for students 13+ with a valid ID, and free for all UNB students and children under the age of 12. Playoff tickets will be $15 and $5.

- All seats for hockey will remain reserved, including, for the first time, those for the two elementary school nights. Previously these games were general admission seating.

- 2013-2014 season ticket holders will have the chance to renew and select their season tickets from August 18th - 29th at the AUC box office between noon and 4PM on weekdays.

- Season passes for the public will go on sale September 2nd - 12th and are also available at the AUC box office from noon to 4PM on weekdays.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alumni News: MacNeil, Former Coaches

Here is some recent news regarding Varsity Reds alumni:

- Nick MacNeil has agreed to terms with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL for the upcoming season, the team has announced. MacNeil joined the Condors after the Varsity Reds were eliminated in the AUS semi-finals last spring and contributed 2 goals and 4 assists in 9 games. After coming back to Fredericton to finish his schooling he re-joined the team for the 2nd and 3rd round of the playoffs and put up 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 games.

Condors head coach J.F. Houle had this to say about the 6'4" forward:

He’s a very good player. Nick is a physical forward up front who has skill as well. After talking with his coaches they liked what he did for their teams and he was a leader in college.
- It has certainly been an eventful off-season for former Varsity Reds coaches as five of them have moved on to the National Hockey League. These include Mike Johnston (head coach, Pittsburgh Penguins), who was the V-Reds head coach from 1988-1984, Gary Agnew (assistant coach, Pittsburgh Penguins), who was an assistant coach at UNB from 1985 to 1987, former video coach Andrew Brewer (assistant coach, Detroit Red Wings), who was at UNB from 2008 to 2011, former head coach Tom Coolen (assistant coach, Buffalo Sabres), who was at the helm for the V-Reds from 1998 to 2000, and former head coach Mike Kelly (assistant coach, Florida Panthers), who was the bench boss at UNB from 1996 to 1998, leading the school to their first National Championship.