Around the League: New Steelheads Coach; Could Fortunus Return?

Dallas came into the draft this past weekend with eight total picks across seven rounds. They came out with nine selections after trading Mike Ribiero for Cody Eakin and a second round selection. At the time, it was thought that the Stars might package those three second-round picks to move up in the first, but in the end, the player they wanted fell to 13th, thanks to a run on defensemen in the top 10.

Radek Faksa has been mentioned as a player who could crack the NHL roster this year. Remember though that due to CHL transfer rules, it's either NHL or back to the OHL's Kitchener Rangers for the young forward. There is no chance to see him in Texas next season.

Newly acquired forward Cody Eakin has a few connections to Texas as well. The center played four games of the Calder Cup Finals in 2010 with the Hershey Bears on an ATO. He had just finished his season with the Kootenay Ice where he played with current Star Matt Fraser. Eakin recorded no points in limited minutes in the Final. Eakin is expected to play in Dallas easily next season.

Coaching changes in minors

Elsewhere, Idaho has found a coach. Brad Ralph, out of the SPHL's Augusta Riverhawks, is the new head coach of the Steelheads. Ralph is only 31 years old and played in the ECHL as recently as 2009 with the Charlotte Checkers. Ralph was drafted in 1999 at #53 by the Coyotes. For an age comparison, Andrew Hutchinson was selected right behind him at #54 by the Predators.

Idaho's search included interviewing former Stars coach Jeff Pyle, according to sources. Pyle also interviewed for the head coaching job with the Orlando Solar Bears, but lost out to Drake Berehowsky. Pyle and his family have moved back to Atlanta for the time being.

Here's some other news from here in Cedar Park and around the leagues:
  • As of last week, the Stars were still in negotiations with free-agent-to-be Maxime Fortunus. Fortunus would represent the veteran player on the roster as the Stars have not indicated that they have been actively negotiating with current captain Brad Lukowich.
  • Will Hoenike, voice of the Idaho Steelheads, was a finalist for this year's ECHL Award of Excellence for Media Relations. Hoenike, 2011's winner and a friend and frequent reader of this blog, was beaten out by J.P. Puma of the Colorado Eagles. Congratulations to Will on the nomination! []
  • Taylor Vause was featured in a magazine called "Dub Nation" which sells itself as an inside look at the WHL. The article featured many of Vause's Photoshop works and an interview about his time in Texas. The article starts on page 66. []
  • Mike Heika did one of his always informative live chats yesterday. He thinks Fraser and Dillon could both start in the NHL this coming season. I think they could but probably won't. You can read the transcript. []
  • The Allen Americans announced this week that Nino Musitelli has re-signed with the team. Musitelli was a 2010 training camp invitee for Texas. [Don't Stop Livin' in the Red]
  • Staying the Central League, the RGV Killer Bees announced that they are ceasing operations for next season. This only leaves two CHL teams in Texas, Allen and Fort Worth. It is looking like rough times for the league as the long-rumoured merger with the ECHL could be coming in the next few years. [Killer Bee Hockey]
  • Something interesting here regarding the Connecticut Whale and their lease at the XL Center. [Hartford Courant]
  • Finally, we're down to just two openings on the coaching carousel, Lake Erie and Adirondack. []


  1. I would rather see lukowich come back atleast he plays physical ! Fortunus doesn't play physical at all


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. Remember to keep it civil. Using a name will help us identify replies and build a Texas Stars community.