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Published: Friday, 7/11/2003

Teskey agrees to Storm pact

BY DAN SAEVIG
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Teskey: MVP wants to return. Teskey: MVP wants to return.
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One search is over for the Storm, while another continues.

As the ECHL franchise looks to replace head coach Claude Noel, it's glanced no further than last season's Brabham Cup championship team to find its No. 1 goaltender for the 2003-04 campaign.

Doug Teskey, Toledo's most valuable player after going 31-8-5 during the regular season and 4-2 during the 2003 Kelly Cup playoffs, has agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

It will be his second season with Toledo, after spending the first four years of his career with Fort Wayne in the United Hockey League.

“I'm really looking forward to picking up where we left off last year,” Teskey said. “We just kind of touched the tip of the iceberg last season with the possibilities.”

Although Teskey has agreed to return, his contract will not formally be recognized until a new labor deal is agreed upon between the ECHL and its players union. The contract between the parties expired at the end of the season.

“Nothing's carved into stone, but I want to play in Toledo next year and I'll do what it takes to solidfy a spot here,” Teskey said. “I'm hoping things will work out [on the ECHL labor front].”

Expect to split time with former Nashille Predators No. 1 pick Brian Finley last season, Teskey instead became Toledo's `go-to' netminder when Finley was injured. He accounted for all but 16 of the Storm's 47 victories while posting a goals-against average of 2.89 and a save percentage of .909.

In the post-season, his GAA of 1.17 was the best of any ECHL netminder who appeared in more than two contests. His save percentage of .967 was the highest in the league.

After shutting out Cincinnati in game No. 3 of the best-of-five Northwest Division finals, Teskey twisted his right ankle during a game of outdoor soccer that came in lieu of the Storm's morning skate prior to game No. 4.

Finley replaced Teskey and Toledo lost 4-1, ending the Storm's season.

“The way things finished up left a bad taste,” Teskey said. “It makes you want to come back and work harder to put together a group of guys that can take a run at it again.”

The person who determines how many appearances Teskey will make during 2003-04 will likely be annunced next week.

Earlier this week, Storm vice president and GM Mike Miller met with former Goaldiggers defenseman Steve Harrison and ex-National Hockey League backliner Gord Dineen regarding the head-coaching vacancy created last month when Noel was named to a similar position with Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.

Harrison has been an assistant coach in the Ontario (junior) Hockey League since 1997 while Dineen, who along with Jamie Ling is a finalist for the Dayton Bombers' vacant head-coaching post, spent last season leading the now-defunct Richmond Renegades.

Miller also had talks with another former Goaldigger, Kurt Kleinendorst, currently a professional scout for the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils. Kleinendorst, however, told The Blade yesterday that he is no longer a candidate because of family issues.

New Toledo assistant coach Nick Vitucci has also talked with Miller about the job.



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