The Indiana Ice will sit out the 2014-15 season, but first the team will continue its pursuit of a championship to end the 2013-14 season. The Ice will play the Waterloo Black Hawks in the best-of-five Clark Cup Finals beginning Friday in Waterloo.
The Clark Cup determines the United States Hockey League’s postseason title as well as the USA Hockey Tier I junior national championship.
The USHL announced this week that the Ice would not participate in the 2014-15 season. The organization is trying to develop a new facility as its permanent home. The team has split time between the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the National Basketball Association’s Indiana Pacers, and Pan Am Plaza the last two seasons.
The Ice had played at the Pepsi Coliseum from 2004 through the end of the 2011-12 season, before the Indiana State Fair Commission renovated the arena.
Players eligible to return to the Ice next season will be part of a dispersal draft after the season.
CLARK CUP: Indiana advanced to the Clark Cup Finals by completing a three-game conference finals sweep on Friday. The Ice beat the Dubuque Fighting Saints 3-2 despite managing just 14 shots. Joe Sullivan scored five minutes into the third period for a 3-1 lead and what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Waterloo defeated the Sioux City Musketeers 5-1 Sunday to complete a three-games-to-one victory. Cal Petersen made 37 saves in the clinching win.
Sioux City’s only win in the series came Friday, when it won 4-3 on a Joel L’Esperance overtime goal.
ROBERTSON CUP: The Fairbanks Ice Dogs will host the Austin Bruins Friday through Sunday in a best-of-three Robertson Cup Finals series. The Robertson Cup determines the North American Hockey League postseason title and the Tier II junior national championship.
Fairbanks allowed the Michigan Warriors just one goal during a two-game semifinal series sweep. Kevin Aldridge stopped 51 of 52 shots, including a 3-0 shutout in Game 2.
After Austin lost Game 1 against the Topeka RoadRunners, it recovered to win the next two games in Topeka, 6-4 and 4-3. The deciding game of the series came down to overtime. Drew Anderson scored on the power play a little more than two minutes in to end the series.
Fairbanks is looking for its second title in four years while playing in the final for the third time in five seasons.
USHL DRAFT: The Fargo Force made Riley Tufte, a forward from Blaine High School in Minnesota, the first overall pick in Phase 1 of the USHL Draft. Tufte, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound forward who committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, recently completed his sophomore season in which he scored 35 points in 25 games.
FRANCHISE MOVE: The North American 3 Hockey League has announced that the Battle Creek Revolution has been rebranded as the West Michigan Wolves and will continue in the league for the 2014-15 season.
Marc Fakler will take over as general manager and coach. Fakler was general manager and coach of the NAHL’s Kalamazoo Junior K-Wings from 2010-13.
MORE CHANGES: The Lincoln Stars have named Chris Hartsburg as the next coach of the USHL team. Hartsburg, a former USHL player from Edina, Minn., spent the 2013-14 season as assistant coach of the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League.
The Brookings Blizzard of the NAHL named Dan Daikawa as their next coach. Daikawa was in the NAHL this season as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Wilderness. The previous two seasons, he served as coach and general manager of the Jamestown Ironmen. Daikawa played for Japan in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
Paul Baxter has been promoted from coach to president and general manager of the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The team is searching for a new coach.
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Joseph Cecconi, a rookie defenseman with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, has committed to the University of Michigan. The 16-year-old from Youngstown, N.Y. scored a goal in his USHL debut. He had six points in 28 games.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.