Hello from Magness Arena, where a Zamboni is out there right now resurfacing the ice following the Colorado Avalanche annual Burgundy-White game. This, after J.T. Compher wiped the competition on the same ice Sunday.

Compher, no question about it, was the No. 1 star of the game. He scored two goals – one a hard-to-the-net rebound putback against a rusty-looking Semyon Varlamov, and the other a pinpoint slap shot to the top left corner from the right circle. He helped his White team to an easy 6-2 win.

Compher was his usual “I don’t want to talk about myself, just about my team” unsmiling self after the game. “Intense” is definitely the word to best describe the ginger-haired 22-year-old from Northbrook, Ill. Compher’s idea of fun this summer was to punish himself every day in the Michigan area under the auspices of a new trainer and skills coach, Brandon Naurato. Compher was never slow, but he looks noticeably quicker than during his first season split between San Antonio and the Avs.

“I skated with (Naurato) for about eight weeks, working on a lot of stuff to help create space for myself, and a lot of shooting. It definitely helped pay off today,” Compher said.

Compher skated on lines with several players, but started the day centering a line with A.J. Greer and Nail Yakupov.

“J.T. is skating noticeably well,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “He had two perfect shots today. He’s moving real well and that’s why he’s getting a few more chances.”

Yakupov, who is on a one-year “prove-it” contract with the Avs (for more on his thoughts of making the team, click here), was another shining star on the day. He finished with two assists, both of the high-skill variety. He slipped a nice little lead pass to Compher for his right-circle snipe and dished some sweet sauce to Travis Barron on a 2-on-1 that the prospect finished off.

Other news, notes and observations from the game:

  • Andrei Mironov, the former KHL defender, did himself a lot of good Sunday. He scored a goal on a big slap shot and nearly scored on a similar shot, and generally looked steady in his own end. Bednar said Mironov seems to be slowing the game down a little better in his mind, not quite the scrambly, nervous-looking guy of the rookie showcase last weekend in San Jose.
  • Bednar said Chris Bigras, vying for a depth spot on the Avs’ defensive group, was just “OK” in the game. Bigras had a couple of turnovers and mishandled the puck a couple of other times. Bednar seemed more upbeat about the play of fellow rookie hopeful Duncan Siemens, who was very physical and jumped into the play offensively at times too.
  • Barron scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and has looked solid so far in camp and in the showcase. He won’t make the club out of camp, but he’s shown well as a big winger.
  • D-man David Warsofsky had a good day, scoring one of Burgundy’s two goals and playing a fast game with the puck.
  • Varlamov looked, well, not great. He allowed five goals on 28 shots and just seemed rusty. But he seemed to move well enough, and he was hung out to dry a couple of times by a Burgundy defense that struggled.
  • Sven Andrighetto scored the other Burgundy goal and was slippery with the puck most of the day.
  • Brady Shaw needed some help off the ice after taking a big hit. He seemed to have suffered a possible head injury, but there was no immediate word on this condition.
  • Alex Kerfoot had a quiet day on the score sheet and nearly gave Burgundy a gift goal when a back pass in his own zone was intercepted for a mini-breakaway. He did make a couple of nice passes, but overall he probably won’t remember the day with great fondness.


Click here to view the article on BSNDenver.com.

Photo courtesy of Total Package Hockey


By @MichaelCaples –

Total Package Hockey Detroit is proud to announce that Jake Transit has accepted a scholarship offer from Ferris State University.

The new Bulldogs commit and Center of Excellence alumnus is a ’99 birth-year skater currently with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, the USHL club that drafted him last spring.

He spent the 206-17 season with the TPH Center of Excellence before making the jump to juniors.

“TPH was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made,” Transit said. “The staff is committed to making you the best player and person you can be day in and day out.”

A Royal Oak native, Transit has skated for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, Belle Tire and Honeybaked.

“I Picked Ferris State because of how well I connected with the coachs as soon as I met them,” Transit said. “The Bulldogs seem like the perfect fit for me.”

Total Package Hockey Detroit is pleased to announce that eight TPH-trained players will be participating in the 2017 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game tonight in Buffalo, NY.


“On behalf of TPH, we congratulate these players on being selected to compete in an event that is truly one of a kind,” TPH Director of Hockey Brandon Naurato said.  “This is a testament to both the talent of these young men, as well as their willingness to go above and beyond to hone their craft over the years in various TPH programs.”


Five of the eight TPH-trained All-American Prospects Game participants, which includes defensemen Cole Krygier (Novi, MI), Christian Krygier (Novi, MI), Bode Wilde (Birmingham, MI) and Jacob Semik (Canton, MI), along with goaltender Drew DeRidder (Fenton, MI), attended the TPH Center of Excellence in Detroit, MI, honing their skills in a unique environment that combines both academics and on-ice training.  Four of these five players join forwards Paul Cotter (Canton, MI) and John Gruden (Rochester Hills, MI) along with defenseman Alec Regula (West Bloomfield, MI) who participated in TPH’s 8 Week On-Ice Summer Training Program.  Regula also donned the TPH colors for both the Michigan Hockey Advancement and OHL Cup programs.  In all, four TPH programs are being represented at the event, which features forty-two of the best US-born players, all eligible for the 2018 NHL draft.


Interestingly, no other players in Thursday’s event hail from the state of Michigan, highlighting TPH Detroit as the destination for the future stars of tomorrow, something Naurato and his staff take great pride in.


“The goal of Total Package Hockey as a whole is to positively impact the lives of all of our athletes through the game of hockey.  We are proud of the platforms we offer our players and feel incredibly fortunate to play a role in their development, both on and off the ice.  It has been a thrill to coach and mentor these eight players.  We all look forward to cheering them on tonight in Buffalo,” Naurato added.


For more information on the 2017 CCM/USA Hockey-All American Prospects game, visit www.allamericanprospectsgame.com.


Thunder would like to congratulate ’02 Forward Aidan Flynn on committing to play DI College Hockey for the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Aidan has been with the Thunder family for five years will begin during the ’21-’22 season.  He is one of six Thunder players to commit to UAH.

Total Package Hockey is pleased announce that the Michigan Hockey Advancement U16 and U18 programs finished a combined 8-0 in the midget division of the 2017 NAHL Showcase this past weekend in Blaine, MN.  With their victories, the U18 team has improved their overall record to 5-0-1 and the U16’s moved to 4-2.


“While winning is certainly not the main goal of the MHA program, it is nice to see the players get rewarded,” TPH Director of Player Development and MHA U18 Head Coach Brandon Naurato said.  “Michigan Hockey Advancement is about providing our players with a platform to be seen by the top junior and collegiate programs.  That was the real win this past weekend.”


In addition to their perfect record, the U18 MHA squad led the entire event with a goal differential of +15.  The U18’s were also the only team in their age group to finish a perfect 4-0 on the weekend.  The U16’s were one of three teams in their division to finish 4-0, joining Honeybaked and the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies.


As Naurato mentioned, the goal of Michigan Hockey Advancement is just that- advancement.  Perhaps the highlight of the weekend came when U18 defenseman Sam Brennan of Brighton High School committed to play Division I hockey at the Air Force Academy and dress for the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas in their Saturday morning game against the Philadelphia Rebels.


“We are proud of the steps the MHA program continues to take, and we were thrilled to be able to wear our colors at an event like the NAHL Showcase,” Naurato added.  “We look forward to once again exposing our players to the Blaine experience next September.”


To learn more about Michigan Hockey Advancement, visit http://totalpackagehockey.com/mha-hockey-tph-detroit.