Photo courtesy of the Rochester Americans
CHRIS TAYLOR starts his second year as head coach of the Rochester Americans Friday night when the puck drops at The Blue Cross Arena in the Rochester War Memorial. Players have been shuffled down from Buffalo to Rochester and from Rochester to Cincinnati in the final days leading to the opener.
ROCHESTER – The Buffalo Sabres and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans, have been busy so far this week in bringing in and sending out a number of players.
Tuesday the big club announced the team had acquired defenseman Jack Dougherty from the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Nicholas Baptiste. Also Tuesday, the Sabres reported claiming forward Remi Elie off waivers from the Dallas Stars.
Dougherty (6’1”, 186 lbs., born May 25, 1996) has spent each of the last two seasons playing for the Milwaukee Admirals (AHL), where he appeared in 141 career AHL contests. Nashville’s second-round pick (51st overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, Dougherty also appeared in three playoff games for the Admirals.
Before turning pro, Dougherty played one season for the Portland Winterhawks (WHL). In 68 games for Portland, the St. Paul, Minnesota native ranked second among team defensemen with 52 points (11 goals + 41 assists). He also spent the 2014-15 season with the Wisconsin Badgers (NCAA), where he finished with nine points (2+7) in 33 games as a freshman. Dougherty recorded four points (2+2) in seven games as a member of the United States team that won the 2014 IIHF World U18 Championship.
Elie (6’1”, 215 lbs., born April 16, 1995) was drafted by the Stars in the second round (40th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft and has combined to record 21 points (7+14) in 90 NHL games during the last two seasons. He has also recorded 46 points (16+30) in 121 career AHL contests and added nine points (2+7) in 19 AHL playoff games last season.
The Green Valley, Ontario native was a member of the OHL-Champion London Knights in 2013. In 195 career OHL games for the Knights, Belleville Bulls and Erie Otters, Elie combined to notch 161 points (66+95) and added 32 points (8+24) in 41 OHL playoff games.
Also, the NHL parent announced Tuesday it was sending three additional players to Rochester in forward Alexander Nylander and defensemen Brendan Guhle and Brandon Hickey.
Baptiste, a native of Ottawa, Ontario was drafted in the third round of the 2013 NHL entry draft, No. 69 overall. He finished his junior career with the Erie Otters, where he played on a line with the No. 1 overall pick that summer, Connor McDavid. His final junior season started with the Sudbury Wolves before being traded to Erie. Baptiste scored 32 goals and had 32 assists that season (64 points) in 53 games. In 2016-17 and 2017-18 Baptiste appeared in 47 NHL games in the Sabres blue and gold. He scored seven goals and added three assists and was penalized a total of 20 minutes.
At Rochester, Baptiste played in 157 games, scoring 45 goals and assisting on 42 more in regular season play.
On the Rochester side of the roster ledger, Tuesday Americans General Manager Randy Sexton announced the team had reassigned defenseman Arvin Atwal to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL.
That followed Monday’s roster adjustment when Sexton announced 10 players were being reassigned to Cincinnati: forwards Pascal Aquin, Vasily Glotov, Judd Peterson and Alex Wideman; defensemen Tobie Bisson, Anthony Florentino, Eric Knodel and Devante Stephens; plus goaltenders Jonas Johansson and Michael Houser.
On a busy day for the Amerks front office, the team announced via press release plans for Opening Weekend, which will take place during the team’s first two home games of the 2018-19 season when they host the Charlotte Checkers on back-to-back nights at The Blue Cross Arena. Both games will feature pregame Happy Hour, giveaways and special events for the whole family.
Oct. 2 the Amerks coaching staff and select players joined members of the front office to deliver season tickets to fans and corporate partners throughout the Greater Rochester Area.
Wednesday night, The Distillery, a longtime Amerks sponsor, will host the annual Meet the Players Party at the restaurant’s Mount Hope location from 5 to 7 p.m. Head coach Chris Taylor and the players will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs. The Distillery will offer food and drink specials throughout the event. Fans can spin a prize wheel for the chance to win great gifts from the Amerks and Distillery.
Friday’s Opening Night festivities begin with a special two-hour Party on the Patio presented by Genesee Brew House from 5 to 7 on the riverside of The Blue Cross Arena. The event will feature live music from Big Eyed Phish. Fans will also have the chance to win some great prizes throughout the event, including a set of custom-made Amerks cornhole boards autographed by this year’s team.
Fans in attendance will also receive a 2018-19 Amerks magnet schedule courtesy of Nissan. Prior to the game, there will be special pre-game introductions of this year’s team on the ice.
Opening Weekend concludes with a post-game Meet and Greet with the entire team immediately following Saturday’s game. Amerks team posters will be distributed as a post-game handout.
Kids Tickets for ages 2-6 are also available for just $10 for every Amerks home game this season.
Fans are also reminded of the new security measures in place beginning this season at The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial. Under the security changes, the Rochester venue will now be a smoke-free facility. In becoming a smoke-free facility, there will no longer be designated smoking areas on arena property and fans will not be permitted to smoke on the grounds during any games or events. This also includes the use of electronic tobacco products (including e-cigarettes, Nicotine inhalers, etc.).
The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial will also begin to employ the use of metal detectors upon entry, where all patrons will be subject to hand-held metal detector screenings for all events.
In addition, The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial will be enforcing a restriction on bags entering the building. Only personal bags, such as medical and/or diaper bags and purses, will be permitted inside. All personal bags will be inspected upon entry. Bags should be soft-sided and must completely fit under your seat without blocking the aisle. Backpacks, coolers, duffel bags and briefcases are strictly prohibited.
Amerks 2018-19 season ticket memberships, which start as low as $12 per game, are now on sale. Full-season ticket member benefits include, but are not limited to, Riverside Club VIP Room access with Amerks Alumni, family meet and greet and annual Skate with the Players event, an exclusive preseason Ice Breaker Party and Chalk Talk with the Amerks coaching staff, Season Ticket Member ID and Discount Card and much more. For more information, visit www.amerks.com/seasontickets or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.