For the first time in the 21 year history of the Green Bay Gamblers, a former coach (Jon Cooper) will lead a team for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Last night under the the guidance of Cooper, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New York Rangers 2-0 in game seven of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals.
Cooper was named the head coach of the Lightning in March of 2013 after having spent the previous three seasons behind the bench of Tampa Bay’s top minor league affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals from 2010-12 and the 2013 season with the Syracuse Crunch, compiling a 133-62-26 record in 221 AHL games.
Cooper, was awarded the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the AHL’s top coach during the 2012 season after guiding the Admirals to the Calder Cup Championship. He led Norfolk to a 94-44-18 record in the regular season and a 17-7 mark in the playoffs during two seasons behind the bench. In 2011-12 the Cooper-led Admirals set franchise records with 55 wins and 113 points en route to the franchise’s first Calder Cup Championship. Along the way Cooper and his team set a North American professional sports record, winning a remarkable 28 consecutive games.
Cooper spent two seasons with the Gamblers (2008-2010), posting an 84-27-9 record. With Cooper, the Gamblers posted back-to-back seasons with the best record in the USHL and won the 2010 Clark Cup. In 2008-09, Cooper’s first season, Green Bay saw a 50-point improvement from the previous year, setting a USHL record for largest single-season improvement. For his efforts he was awarded with the 2009 and 2010 USHL General Manager of the Year Awards, as well as being named the 2010 USHL Coach of the Year.
With the win the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in franchise history and will play either the Chicago Blackhawks or the Anaheim Ducks.
Former Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Jordan Schmaltz has signed an NHL contract with the St. Louis Blues. The Blues took Schmaltz in the first round of the 2012 draft, 25th overall.
The Verona, WI native tied for second among USHL defensemen in 2011-2012 with 41 points (10 goals, 31 assists) in 55 games spending the majority of the season with the Gamblers. Schmaltz help lead the Gamblers to a recording breaking season as the team secured the Anderson Cup with a 47-9-4 record. Schmaltz also added two goals and five assists in 11 playoff games en route to the Gamblers capturing the Clark Cup Championship.
Last season, Schmatlz led all defensemen with 28 points (4 goals, 24 assists) in 42 games as North Dakota won the NCHC regular season championship and advanced to the Frozen Four for the second consecutive season.
The Gamblers will hold the team’s annual main tryout camp June 14-18. The camp will be open to the public. Stay tuned to gamblershockey.com for more information.
The Green Bay Gamblers selected four defensemen, eight forwards and two goalies in phase two of the USHL Draft on Tuesday.
With the 2nd overall pick, the Gamblers selected Appleton, Wisconsin native Brett Gruber as their first pick. A product of the Victoria Grizzlies, Gruber registered 66 points (35 goals, 31 assists) in 57 games last season. Prior to the 2014-15 season, Gruber suited up for Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Team Wisconsin, and Appleton United.
Up front the Gamblers also selected Jared Spooner (Bismark Bobcats), Sam Craggs (Team Illinois U18), Jack McCarthy (Kimball Union Academy PS), Chris Gerrie (Olds Grizzlys), Drake Batherson (Valley Wild Cats), Jeremy Leipsic (Winnipeg Wild MAAA) and Tyler Cline (Minnesota Wilderness).
On the blue line the Gamblers selected Alexis Binner (Selects Hockey Academy U18), James Callahan (New Jersey Hitman U18), Parker Revering (Alexandria High School) and Connor Mackey (Team Illinois U18)
Between the pipes the Gamblers called the name of Green Bay native Ryan Wischow with the 133 overall pick in the 9th round. In 33 games last season with the Michigan Warriors, Wischow went 15-13 with a .918 save percentage to accompany a 2.74 goals against average. Gamblers also added goaltender Dryden McKay (Springfield Jr. Blues).
“I’m excited to get two forwards at the top of the draft to fill some immediate holes, said Gamblers Head Coach and General Manager Pat Mikesch. “We selected players that will compete to make our team this season and help us build for the future.”
The players selected in phase one and two of the draft, returning players, and free agents will be in Green Bay June 14 – 18 for the Gamblers Main Try-out Camp at the Resch Center. Stay tuned to gamblershockey.com for more information on the Gamblers Main Camp.
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