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Tampa Bay Lightning Forward BJ Crombeen Joins ECHL's Solar Bears


Another Tampa Bay Lightning player has signed a lockout contract with an ECHL team. Forward BJ Crombeen will play for the Orlando Solar Bears, presumably making his debut on Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando. Crombeen has practiced with the Minnesota Wild affiliate.

Crombeen is a member of the NHLPA negotiating committee. (Photograph/Linda Hamilton)

The veteran right wing joins Bolts forward Nate Thompson as the second player to sign with an ECHL team. Thompson is playing with the Alaska Aces.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Center Nate Thompson Signs ECHL Contract

Tampa Bay Lightning center Nate Thompson has signed a tryout contract with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. He joins Montreal's Scott Gomez and Washington's Joey Crabb on the Aces training camp roster. (Photograph/Linda Hamilton)

Gomez, like Thompson, signed a tryout contract, while Crabb signed a standard deal.

Thompson, an Alaska native accumulated 29 goals and 35 points in 147 games during his two years with the Bolts. He also represented the United States at the World Championships last spring. He is entering his eighth season and has played 265 career NHL games

Thompson, Crabb, Gomez and Anchorage's Brandon Dubinsky (Blue Jackets) h...

Sound Tigers Suffer First Loss

This afternoon the New York Islanders announced that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach, Brent Thompson, would become the Islanders new assistant coach. Coach Thompson, like many others, began his coaching career after years of playing the game himself. Selected 34th overall by the LA Kings in the 1989 entry-level draft, Thompson (‘Tommer’, his ice name) played 121 games in the NHL with the Kings and Winnipeg Jets organizations. He also played for six different AHL teams in his 14 years as a player before beginning his career as a coach.

Coach

(Brent Thompson/Photo: Dennis Sievers)

The release of assistant coaches Scott Allen and Dean Chynoweth by the Islanders has led to speculation that Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson will be joining Jack Capuano and Doug Weight behind the teams bench. I hope this is not the case for three very good reasons. First, I think that coach Capuano should be allowed to select his own assistants and can’t think of any successful organization that doesn’t allow their head coach to do the same. Secondly, as remarkable a job as coach Thompson has done in Bridgeport, he has not finished his work here. Lastly, I am a selfish Sound Tigers fan and don’t want to lose him. (Okay, maybe that’s only two good reasons.)

Sweet Suite Night

The first annual ‘Suite Seat Competition’, sponsored by The Checking Line – Isles Edition was a huge success at every level. Any time you can make a six-year old happy you had a good day and Justin Juliano (whose father Joseph was our Grand Prize Winner) never stopped smiling. An hour before game time and the Webster Bank Arena concourse was already getting crowded as our groups VIP tour began. Artfully led by my personal account rep. Maddie Gillan, we navigated through the crowds to the seldom seen areas of the arena as she explained how they each come together to produce a circus, concert or other of the many events held at the arena. We were there for the game between the Connecticut Whale and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and ended our tour in suite 417, our home for the afternoon.

W.U. Grad next Sound Tiger?

Thirty teams in the NHL and each has an AHL affiliate to draw talent from as needed. All but two of these AHL clubs has a team in the ECHL providing a similar service. The two expectations are the Wild’s- Houston Aeros and the Islanders- Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

As a result, Coach Brent Thompson has relied heavily on his connections and experience in the ECHL to bring talented prospects up to Bridgeport. ‘Tommer’, as the players call him, was coach of the 2010-11 ECHL Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces and often looks there for talent.

An ever-changing line-up is part and parcel to being a coach in the American League. Bridgeport has already dressed seven different goalies and at least thirty-five skaters (forwards and defensemen), and it is just Ground Hog Day! The next call-up to Bridgeport might well be a hat-trick master from Frost Bite Falls, Minn.