Ice Caps to play pre­sea­son game in Clarenvill­e

The Southern Gazette - - EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT - BY BREN­DAN MCCARTHY TC ME­DIA SPORTS

In what’s be­com­ing an an­nual pre­sea­son part­ner­ing of the St. John’s Ice Caps and the Tampa Bay Light­ning’s Amer­i­can Hockey League farm teams, the Ice Caps will host the Syra­cuse Crunch for three ex­hi­bi­tion games late this month.

The con­tests – two at Mile One Cen­tre in St. John’s (Sept. 26 and Sept, 29) and an­other at the Clarenvill­e Events Cen­tre (Sept. 28) – will come dur­ing the Ice Caps’ train­ing camp, which will be held Sept. 23-29 in St. John’s.

This is the third straight year that the Light­ning’s AHL af­fil­i­ate has pro­vided pre­sea­son op­po­si­tion for the Ice Caps. In 2011, the Nor­folk Ad­mi­rals, then Tampa Bay’s af­fil­i­ate, met the Ice Caps in games at Gan­der, Grand Falls-Wind­sor and at Mile One.

A year ago, it was the Crunch who trav­elled here af­ter the Light­ning made an off­sea­son af­fil­i­a­tion switch to Syra­cuse. At that time, pre­sea­son con­tests were held in Cor­ner Brook, Stephenvil­le and Clarenvill­e.

In those cases, the Ice Caps based their train­ing camp out­side of St. John’s – in Gan­der in 2011 and Cor­ner Brook in 2012.

Glenn Stan­ford, the Ice Caps’ chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, sees the team go­ing out­side St. John’s for train­ing camp again next year, in what would be a two-year cy­cle.

Stan­ford said “Tak­ing our team out­side of St. John’s to other parts of New­found­land is im­por­tant to us.

“We be­lieve go­ing out the cen­tral or the western part of the prov­ince ev­ery two years is some­thing we can do. More than that, we think it is some­thing we should do and some­thing we need to do.”

The Ice Caps-Crunch pre-sea­son get­to­gether has suc­ceeded partly be­cause the Light­ning see the trip to New­found­land as an ex­cel­lent bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for its farmhands at the start of the sea­son, but came about largely be­cause of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Tampa Bay as­sis­tant gen­eral manger Julien Brise­Bois and Ice Caps’ chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Glenn Stan­ford, who had once worked to­gether on the AHL’s Hamil­ton Bull­dogs.

Stan­ford added the Ice Caps had looked at the pos­si­bil­ity of bring­ing in the Bull­dogs, the farm club of the Mon­treal Cana­di­ens, or the Toronto Mar­lies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL team, this year be­fore stick­ing with the Crunch.

Start time for the Sept. 26 game at Mile One will be 7 p.m., while the Sept. 28 matchup in Clarenvill­e is at 5 p.m. The Sept. 29 con­test at Mile One has a 4 p.m. start.

A se­lect num­ber of tick­ets will be given away through a con­test con­ducted by Mary Brown’s, spon­sors of the Mary’s Cup, which the Ice Caps and Crunch will com­pete for in their se­ries. Nor­folk won the Cup in 2011, with Crunch main­tain­ing the vis­i­tors’ hold on the tro­phy last year.

The Sun­day, Sept. 29 con­test has been des­ig­nated as a ‘school game’, with all tick­ets be­ing dis­trib­uted to St. John’s metro re­gion ju­nior high stu­dents. Ticket pur­chase will take place within the school sys­tem.

Tick­ets for the Clarenvill­e con­test are avail­able ex­clu­sively through Mary Brown’s. Fans can se­cure free tick­ets by en­ter­ing on­line at ‘www.win­with­mary­browns.com’ or by vis­it­ing their lo­cal Mary Brown’s restau­rant for more in­for­ma­tion.

The Ice Caps’ NHL par­ent, the Win­nipeg Jets, haven’t an­nounced its train­ing camp dates yet, al­though it is known the Jets will play eight ex­hi­bi­tion games be­tween Sept. 14 and Sept. 27.

The Ice Caps open its 2013-14 AHL reg­u­lar-sched­ule at home Oct. 4 against a yet-tobe-de­ter­mined op­po­nent.

St. John’s Tele­gram

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