Notes and quotes from the East Coast Hockey League and other communities, hoping you'll bring a new teddy bear to tonight's game at the Sports Arena between the Toledo Storm and the Dayton Bombers. When the Storm scores its first goal, toss the bear on the ice where it will be collected and donated to the City of Toledo Fire and Rescue and Police departments which will give the bears to needy local children victimized by trauma.
All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth.
Actually, what Storm coach Dennis Holland really wants for Christmas are his three front teeth.
Monday at practice, the coach was participating in a team scrimmage and tried to strip winger Kelly Miller of the puck by lifting the player's stick. Miller spun to keep the disc and, in the process, plunked his boss in the mouth with his stick.
Holland lost three front upper teeth and needed 12 stitches to repair the damage.
“I hadn't lost a tooth in 26 years of hockey,” said Holland, who played nine seasons in the minors. “That may be the most painful injury I've ever had.”
Holland, 31, left the ice and immediately went to the dentist to remove the mangled and impacted teeth. Holland now has a trio of false teeth on a plate to replace those lost.
Miller thought for sure he was also lost after the incident.
“The next day he came into my office and asked me what team I was trading him to,” Holland said.
Dayton enjoys a three-point lead over the Storm in the fight for second place in the Northwest Division.
“They are as important as any games we will play this season,” Holland said.
“There's a lot of bad blood between the two teams. The team that keeps its head the longest will have a good opportunity to win.”
If Toledo is to win, they'll have to do it with a reshuffled roster.
Leading scorer James Patterson is still with Houston of the International Hockey League after his call-up Wednesday. Patterson will be with the Aeros at least until Christmas.
Doubtful for this weekend are wingers Mike Christian and Todd Gillingham. Christian suffered a concussion in practice Monday when he collided with defenseman Ryan Gaucher.
Gillingham, who has been in Toledo for two weeks but has yet to play, has been battling the flu.
The coach also said yesterday it's possible that forwards Rob Thorpe or Andrew Williamson will not skate. Thorpe's been gone for two weeks with a groin problem and Williamson's head has been hurting since he was pummeled by a Peoria player last Friday.
Expected back in the lineup is winger Alexandre Jacques who hasn't played since suffering a leg injury on Nov. 11.
Also, gritty forward Tim Verbeek was reassigned yesterday to Toledo from Cincinnati of the American Hockey League. He was called up to the Mighty Ducks at the beginning of the week.
Friday, I served as a referee for the Hanson Brothers in Slap Shot skits before and during a Western Professional Hockey League game.
The next night, a free concert by country music entertainer Neal McCoy followed a fight-filled Brahmas' victory over Austin.
The fighting and the resulting three-hour game were not lost on McCoy, who got a huge response from the crowd of 7,000 with a pair of questions.
“How about that hockeeeeeeey game?” McCoy said. “Man, they just don't fight enough, do they?”