LONG BEACH, Calif. – The Long Beach Ice Dogs announced on Friday that the team has renewed its affiliation agreement with the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League and Hamilton of the American Hockey League, the AHL affiliate of the Canadiens. This marks the second consecutive year Long Beach will have affiliations with Montreal and Hamilton.
The Ice Dogs received five players from the Canadiens organization in 2004-05, including Matt Shasby, who was the Ice Dogs leading defenseman with 22 points (4g-18a) in 40 games and goaltender Olivier Michaud, who went 18-14-6 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. Others players included were Cory Urquhart, Christian Larrivee and Michael Lambert.
“We’re extremely excited to work with the Canadiens organization again,” said head coach and director of hockey operations Malcolm Cameron. “They are the bench mark team in the NHL with Stanley Cup success and we look forward to grooming prospects to help them regain the Cup.”
“We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with the Long Beach Ice Dogs,”said Andre Savard, assistant general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. “It was a huge success last year and we wanted to continue to grow and develop our younger players in an environment that would prepare them for the next level.”
In 2003-04, Montreal’s Michael Ryder, who played in the ECHL with both Mississippi and Tallahassee, finished second to Boston goaltender Andrew Raycroft in voting for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the National Hockey League’s top rookie. Ryder is the first player in ECHL history to be a finalist for the award. Named NHL Rookie of the Year by The Sporting News in May, Ryder led the NHL with 38 assists and 63 points and tied for the lead with 25 goals.
Ryder began his professional career in 2000-01 scoring nine points (4g-5a) in five regular season games with Tallahassee of the ECHL and 15 points (6g-9a) in 61 regular season games with Quebec of the American Hockey League. Ryder returned to the ECHL in 2001-02 and scored 27 points (14g-13a) in 20 games with Mississippi. Selected in the eighth round (216th overall) by Montreal in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ryder was selected to the 2002 ECHL All-Star Game, but was unable to participate after being called up to Quebec of the AHL where he scored 28 points (11g-17a) in 50 regular season games and one point (0g-1a) in three playoff games.