Empire of Dirt

2017-18 is in the books. The Washington Capitals are your Stanley Cup Champions. The Colorado Eagles secured back-to-back Kelly Cup crowns before they will elevate up to the American Hockey League in 2018-19 as the new affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. And last night the Toronto Marlies defeated the Texas Stars to earn the first Calder Cup in their franchise’s history. Across the board, NHL/AHL/ECHL, this may have been the most thrilling playoff season in the sport’s history.

“What happens next,” you ask.

In the past this was a question with a simple answer and a mapped out off-season guide. The NHL Awards aren’t that far away. That’s followed by the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. Before you know it there is Nashville Predators Development Camp and the start of NHL Free Agency. Yet what happens next in regards to Admirals Roundtable is an answer that is no longer clear.

I am a big believer in honesty. So I will be as open and transparent with the news that took place this past Monday as I can be.

Admirals Roundtable has been a fan blog backed by the Milwaukee Admirals. It was created and operated by Ryan Miller with an aim of having fun and giving fans a place to go and banter about their local professional hockey team. I had finished the 2012-13 season as a communications intern with the Milwaukee Admirals and it coincided with Ryan becoming a first-time dad and looking to move on with the website. If I wasn’t around, or willing to take on the role at that time, Admirals Roundtable would have died five-years ago.

From the moment Admirals Roundtable was first offered to me by Milwaukee Admirals VP/Communications, Charlie Larson, I was fully aware that there was next to no money in it. The real satisfaction would come from the work itself.

In the five-seasons I have had as Editor-in-Chief of Admirals Roundtable I can say that there was nothing I wanted to do more than this. I was chasing my dream and, like the communications internship out of college, it was an opportunity to make my dream of working in sports become a reality. This chase became my full-time job. The hunt of working in the sports industry, which so often times means working for nothing until you find or make a break for yourself, was my life from the moment I started writing for the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s student newspaper. I’ve never stopped trying to improve. I’ve never stopped believing in myself. But time is cruel and optimism can erode.

These last two seasons have been incredibly difficult for myself. It has been a battle between the hope and passion that I have of making an impossible dream exist versus the painful reality of reality. I do not have the financial means to support myself and haven’t this entire time. This was the path that I chose to walk. I knew it going in and I know it now. If I was going to be who I wanted to become this was the opportunity to grow. I have and have for the better. But as seasons come and go, as players arrive and depart, and as teams uproot and move or completely dissolve: my calling for one chance and hope for that one job has been answered by nothing louder than silence and the passage of time.

This past Monday the Milwaukee Admirals informed me that Admirals Roundtable will no longer receive the funding that has kept it and myself going strong. The path that I put myself on has stopped.

“What happens next,” is a question that looks back at me with cold eyes and kills me every single time I keep asking it in my head. I have been privileged to be around the Milwaukee Admirals these last six-years. I am so fortunate for every single person that I have met and so incredibly proud of the work that I have been able to accomplish. The man that I am today is better because of the experiences that I have had through Admirals Roundtable. I have loved this like nothing else and every part of me wants to find a way to see this dream stay alive. I just do not have an answer as to how it can.

I have had Development Camp in Nashville at month’s end circled on my calendar for awhile now. Nashville has always delivered, always. It’s become a place that reminds me of how not alone I really am and of the warmth and kindness the hockey community provides. I need every ounce of that right now and I will be there.

Until that time, my thanks to you -the Admirals Roundtable audience- cannot be stated enough. The “Roundtable” has had a seat for all of us, you and I, but you have been the driving force in keeping discussions going and making this so much fun to be able to do and keep doing. There are so many individuals who I haven’t even had the chance to meet in-person and I love them for contributing to the growth of this website and my journey as a person. You reading this now have made my life better. And I can’t thank you enough for that.

Daniel Lavender
Editor-in-Chief
Admirals Roundtable

Ramblings, Vol. 50

(Photo Credit: Milwaukee Admirals)

Welcome to Ramblings, which now exists in a world where the Washington Capitals are Stanley Cup Champions.

The post-game celebrations always get me when it comes to the Stanley Cup. But it is just all the more special seeing the likes of Lane Lambert, Barry Trotz, and Mitch Korn win it after their incredible contributions with the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. And, chills, the sight and raw emotion exploding out of Alex Ovechkin when lifting the Stanley Cup was incredible. T.J. Oshie when discussing his father was a tear-jerker. All of it was a beautiful encapsulation of why hockey is so great. What a moment for all of them, their families, and the fans of Washington.

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The Dean Evason Appreciation Post

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

23.

That is the number of players who logged their first career NHL game after playing under Dean Evason during his six-seasons as head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals.

Those players, by order of NHL debut, were: Victor Bartley (3/8/13), Taylor Beck (3/19/13), Austin Watson (4/7/13), Daniel Bång (4/9/13), Kevin Henderson (4/19/13), Joonas Rask (4/25/13), Magnus Hellberg (10/26/13), Marek Mazanec (11/8/13), Colton Sissons (1/28/14), Simon Moser (2/1/14), Calle Järnkrok (3/21/14), Mark Van Guilder (3/30/14), Miikka Salomäki (1/8/15), Anthony Bitetto (1/17/15), Viktor Arvidsson (3/21/15), Kevin Fiala (3/24/15), Juuse Saros (11/28/15), Pontus Åberg (5/3/16), Frédérick Gaudreau (10/22/16), Mike Liambas (12/3/16), Vladislav Kamenev (1/6/17), Alex Carrier (1/17/17), and Trevor Murphy (3/24/18).

The list is simply many and could perhaps even still grow in time.

And that doesn’t begin to cover the handful of names who worked with Evason and his coaching staff in Milwaukee and navigated into a secure place in the NHL. The likes of Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg come to mind as players who stamped out a season under Evason before settling into and remaining in Nashville.

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Ramblings, Vol. 49

(Photo Credit: Texas Stars // flickr)

With things quiet silent in our own camp -for now- let’s look back at our league. The 2018 AHL Calder Cup Finals begin tomorrow night and it will feature the Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars. The Marlies have home ice advantage for the occasion and are looking to claim their first Calder Cup trophy. The Stars will be looking to claim their second Calder Cup in five seasons.

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Ramblings, Vol. 48

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The first day of Summer might not -officially- be until late-June but I think hibernation time is done. Before we start the Memorial Day Weekend I think it’s a good time to bring Ramblings back. This column will keep active weekly throughout the off-season with news, notes, and commentary on all the changes taking place – of which there have been several the last few weeks. So, let’s not waste much more time because we actually have some catching up to do.

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Scott Nichol Named New Admirals General Manager

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Nashville Predators did not take long to react to yesterday’s news regarding Paul Fenton. The organization has promoted three individuals from within following Fenton’s move to the Minnesota Wild. Jeff Kealty has been named Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting, Brian Poile becomes an Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations, and Scott Nichol has taken over the role as General Manager of the Milwaukee Admirals and Director of Player Development.

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Paul Fenton Named General Manager of the Minnesota Wild

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

Perhaps the biggest change for the Milwaukee Admirals next season has just been triggered. The Minnesota Wild have announced that Paul Fenton will be their next General Manager. Fenton has been with the Nashville Predators since their inception as a franchise and has acted as General Manager of the Milwaukee Admirals in his time as Assistant General Manager to David Poile.

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