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Toledo Walleye

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Toledo Walleye
Toledo Walleye Logo
City: Toledo, Ohio
League: ECHL
Conference: Eastern Conference
Division: North Division
Founded: 2007
Home Arena: Huntington Center
Colors: Powder blue, navy blue, gold, white

                   

Owner(s): Toledo Arena Sports, Inc.
General Manager: Joe Napoli
Head Coach: Nick Vitucci
Media: Toledo Blade
WCWA (1230 AM)
Affiliates: Detroit Red Wings (NHL)
Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL)
Rockford IceHogs (AHL)
Franchise history
1991–2007: Toledo Storm
2009–present: Toledo Walleye

The Toledo Walleye are a professional ice hockey team based in Toledo, Ohio. The Walleye are members of the North Division of the Eastern Conference of the ECHL. The Walleye play their home games in downtown Toledo at Lucas County Arena, which opened in 2009. The team is affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League and the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League starting with the 2009-10 season.[1][2]

Franchise history Edit

Toledo Storm Edit

Main article: Toledo Storm

The Walleye were originally founded as the Toledo Storm in 1991, playing their home games at Toledo Sports Arena across the river from downtown Toledo. The Storm were the first hockey team to play in Toledo since the International Hockey League's Toledo Goaldiggers ceased operations in 1986, eventually moving to Kansas City in 1990. In the Storm's inaugural season, the team won the West Division title and the Henry Brabham Cup after posting the league's best record in the regular season. The following year the Storm would win their first Jack Riley Cup, defeating the Wheeling Thunderbirds in six games. The Storm would come back the following season and win their second Riley Cup, defeating the Raleigh Icecaps in five games, becoming only the second team in league history to win back-to-back league titles (the first being the Hampton Roads Admirals in 1991 and 1992.). The Storm were dominant in their first few years, winning four division titles in their first five seasons and posting a winning record in thirteen of the sixteen seasons the team played. The Storm would win their second Brabham Cup in 2003 and would make the American Conference finals during the 2005-06 season, ultimately losing to the Gwinnett Gladiators in five games. The Storm's final game came on April 19, 2007 during the 2007 North Division semifinals losing to in-state rival, Cincinnati Cyclones, 4–0 losing the series 3 games to 0. In their sixteen seasons in the ECHL, the Storm posted a 610-395-103 record, winning two Riley Cups, two Brabham Cups and six division titles.

Sale to Toledo Arena Sports Edit

In 2007, the Toledo Storm were bought by Toledo Arena Sports, Inc., a subsidiary of the Toledo Mud Hens minor league baseball club that was planning to build a new state-of-the-art arena in downtown Toledo to replace the aging Sports Arena. Shortly after the sale, Toledo Arena Sports announced that after the 2006-07 season, the Storm would not compete again until the arena was completed and the ECHL granted the Storm a two year voluntary suspension from competition.

In February 2008, General Manager Joe Napoli announced that former Storm goaltender, ECHL Hall of Famer and head coach from 2003-2007 Nick Vitucci would return to coach the team when it returned to the ice in 2009.[3] One week after announcing Vitucci as head coach, the club revealed that the team's new name would be the "Walleye," in reference to the popular game fish that is abundant in the area.[4][5]

Inaugural season Edit

See also: 2009–10 Toledo Walleye season

At the ECHL Mid-Season Board of Governors meeting, the league announced that the Walleye would be members of the American Conference's North Division along with the Cincinnati Cyclones, Elmira Jackals, Johnstown Chiefs, Wheeling Nailers[6] and Kalamazoo Wings.[7] During the NHL's award ceremonies in Las Vegas, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland stated that the Walleye would become Detroit's ECHL affiliate for the 2009-10 season and that the Wings would send one of their three goaltender prospects (either Jordan Pearce, Thomas McCollum or Daniel Larsson) to Toledo for the season.[1] On June 21, 2009, the Walleye announced the schedule for their inaugural season which opens on October 16 as the Walleye host the defending Brabham Cup champion Florida Everblades in the first of a three game series. The Walleye will play fifteen of their first twenty-one games at home.[8] On August 5, 2009, the Walleye announced a second affiliation agreement, becoming the ECHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago's AHL affiliate the Rockford IceHogs.[2] On August 26, 2009, the Walleye signed their first player, centre Malcolm MacMillan. The six year veteran joined the Walleye from the Belfast Giants of the Elite Ice Hockey League in the United Kingdom and had previous stints in the ECHL with the Florence Pride, Peoria Rivermen, Cincinnati Cyclones (all in 2003-04) and Reading Royals (2005–08).[9]

The Walleye opened their inaugural season on October 16 with a home game against the defending Brabham Cup champion Florida Everblades. Prior to the game, head coach Nick Vitucci named defenseman Ryan Stokes as the team's captain and named centers Malcolm MacMillan and Adam Hobson.[10] Despite a strong effort, the Walleye dropped their opener to Florida 2–1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 8,000, the largest crowd to ever watch a pro hockey game in Toledo.[11] The Walleye would return the next night and rookie goaltender Jordan Pearce stopped 35 of 37 shots faced as the Walleye scored three goals in the final period to get past the Everblades for the team's first win, 5–2.[12] The initial home series with Florida would end the next night in entertaining fashion as Toledo defenseman Jean-Claude Sawyer scored the game winning goal with 55 seconds left in overtime as the Walleye won two of three games of the weekend series, 4–3.[13] On October 20, Toledo defenseman Jamie Milam was named the the Sher-wood Player of the Week for his five point performance over the three game series with Florida.[14]

On December 31, defenseman J.C. Sawyer and forward Maxime Tanguay were selected to the American Conference All-Star team and will play at the All-Star Game at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on January 20.[15] On January 20, Sawyer was named the captain of the American Conference All-Stars.[16]

At the end of the regular season, defenseman J.C. Sawyer was named as a First Team selection to the All-ECHL team[17] and won the Defenseman of the Year award[18], while center Maxime Tanguay was named to the All-Rookie team.[19]

The Walleye clinched their first playoff appearance on March 31, following a shootout loss to the Johnstown Chiefs, becoming the seventh of eight teams in the American Conference to clinch a berth in the Kelly Cup playoffs.[20] The Walleye would finish the regular season in eighth place in the American Conference, guaranteeing the team a matchup with the American Conference regular season champions, the Charlotte Checkers in the American Conference Quarterfinals. Toledo would host Charlotte in the first two games of the series, then the third game would be played at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, as well as games four and five if necessary.[21]

Season-by-season recordEdit

Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = shootout losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes

Season GP W L T Pts GF GA PIM Finish Playoffs
2009–10 72 35 30 7 77 254 274 1452 3rd, North Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 1–3 (Charlotte)

Players Edit

Current roster Edit

Updated July 21, 2010.

# Nat Player Pos S/G Age Acquired Birthplace
Flag of Canada.svg Gotto, TylerTyler Gotto

D L 29 2010 Calgary, Alberta
Flag of the United States Osman, DominicDominic Osman

F L 32 2010 Dearborn, Michigan
Flag of the United States Page, KyleKyle Page

D L 27 2010 Wixom, Michigan
Flag of Canada.svg Peralta, SalSal Peralta

LW R 31 2010 Leamington, Ontario
Flag of Canada.svg Smith, ScooterScooter Smith

C L 33 2009 Calgary, Alberta
Flag of the United States Walsh, MikeMike Walsh

LW L 31 2010 Northville, Michigan


Leaders Edit

Team captains Edit

Head coaches Edit

Awards and honors Edit

Defenseman of the Year

All-ECHL First Team

All-ECHL Second Team

All-ECHL Rookie Team

ECHL All-Star Game selection

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Sipple, George (June 19, 2009). Alex Ovechkin has fun beating Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk. Detroit Free Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Monroe, Mark (August 5, 2009). Blackhawks, Walleye join forces. Toledo Blade.
  3. Vardon, Joe (February 13, 2008). Ex-Storm coach Vitucci is first hire of next hockey team. Toledo Blade.
  4. Vardon, Joe (February 20, 2008). Mud Hens snag catchy "Walleye" as moniker for hockey franchise. Toledo Blade.
  5. New Arena Hockey Team to Be Called the "Toledo Walleye". Toledo Walleye (February 20, 2009).
  6. Press Release (March 30, 2009). ECHL Concludes Mid-Season Board of Governors Meeting. ECHL.
  7. Press Release (June 9, 2009). Membership Approved For Kalamazoo. ECHL.
  8. Monroe, Mark (June 21, 2009). Walleye season starts Oct. 16. Toledo Blade.
  9. Monroe, Mark (August 27, 2009). MacMillan is Walleye's first player. Toledo Blade.
  10. You must specify title = and url = when using {{cite web}}.Angie, Marie (October 16, 2009). . Examiner.
  11. Monroe, Mark (October 17, 2009). Walleye iced in debut. Toledo Blade.
  12. Monroe, Mark (October 18, 2009). Pearce shines in first win for Walleye. Toledo Blade.
  13. Monroe, Mark (October 19, 2009). Sawyer's goal lifts Walleye in overtime. Toledo Blade.
  14. Press release (October 20, 2009). Toledo's Milam Named Sher-wood ECHL Player Of The Week. ECHL.
  15. Staff (January 1, 2010). 2 from Walleye named ECHL all-stars. Toledo Blade.
  16. Staff (January 20, 2010). Walleye's Sawyer all-star captain. Toledo Blade.
  17. Press release (April 1, 2010). All-ECHL First Team Announced. ECHL.
  18. Press release (April 7, 2010). Toledo's Sawyer named Defenseman of the Year. ECHL.
  19. Press release (March 31, 2010). ECHL All-Rookie Team Announced. ECHL.
  20. Staff (April 1, 2010). Walleye lose, but qualify for playoffs. Toledo Blade.
  21. Monroe, Mark (April 4, 2010). Walleye get Charlotte in first round of playoffs. Toledo Blade.

External linksEdit


ECHL (2011-12)
Eastern
Conference
Atlantic Elmira Jackals · Reading Royals · Trenton Devils
North Cincinnati Cyclones · Kalamazoo Wings · Toledo Walleye · Wheeling Nailers
South Florida Everblades · Greenville Road Warriors · Gwinnett Gladiators · South Carolina Stingrays
National
Conference
Pacific Bakersfield Condors · Las Vegas Wranglers · Ontario Reign · Stockton Thunder
Mountain Alaska Aces · Idaho Steelheads · Utah Grizzlies
Begin play in 2011-12 Chicago Express
Related articles: List of ECHL seasons  · Kelly Cup  · Brabham Cup  · All-Star Game  · Awards  · Defunct teams  · Hall of Fame  · Arenas

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