2019-2020 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton Bulldogs 2019-2020 Season Preview

The Hamilton Bulldogs enter the 2019-2020 season with a level of confidence and level-minded optimism.

Mixed in with a promising blend of youth and veteran talent, the Bulldogs would like to make strides following a season that experienced growing pains both on and off the ice.

Here are the positional breakdowns of the roster set to take to the ice on Friday in Sarnia…


From November onward, Zackary Roy showed glimpses of strong play and noticeable retractions on other games as a starter. Roy ultimately led the Bulldogs to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and started all four games against Ottawa in the playoffs – an impeccable feat for a rookie netminder which led to him being awarded the part of the OHL Second All-Rookie Team.

Expect another season of growing pains for Roy, but needs to minimize mistakes to avoid a sophomore jinx.

Marco Constantini is projected to be the backup to Roy. The 17-year-old netminder played well as the main man between the pipes for the Hamilton Kilty B’s last season, leading to a playoff berth in the OJHL. Don’t expect Constantini to challenge Roy for the starting job this year, but should get considerable playing time at times during this season barring injury.


This core last season was largely scrutinized by fans and observers alike and battle-tested based on their level of play. This shouldn’t be the case this year.

The effective core consists the likes of Kade Landry, Josh Wainman, Michael Renwick, Jake Gravelle, Cameron Supryka, the newly acquired Nathan Staios, Frank Jenkins, Peyton Vescio, and Gavin White rounds out the core that will look to better protect the second year Roy with stability on the blue line.


Longtime fan favourite Matthew Strome has left Hamilton for professional endeavours with the Philadelphia Flyers organization, leaving an invaluable mark on the five-year-old franchise. Despite Strome’s departure, the leadership and talent level hasn’t been regressed as initially expected for a revamped, competitive team.

Franchise player Arthur Kaliyev return from NHL training camp with the LA Kings to jumpstart a promising flux of youth and veteran talent on the frontline. Tag Bertuzzi looks to stay healthy and produce.

Liam Van Loon, Logan Morrison, Narvin Mutter, Avery Hayes and local fan favourite Issac Nurse return to stabilize the unit that the team will rely on for production every game. Rookies George Diaco, Ryan Winterton, Mark Duarte, Lawson Sherk and Davis Young rounds out the core that look to accumulate more scoring from last year.

Prediction – Hamilton finishes in sixth in the Eastern Conference. The team has many building blocks to grow and prosper for another championship run in the foreseeable future.

2019-2020 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton Bulldogs Arena Situation

Last month, Hamilton Bulldogs Owner Michael Andlauer, along with Mall owner Cadillac Fairview, announced their intentions to have the city build a new arena at Limeridge Mall.

In addition, the Hamilton City Council made a recommendation to explore and potentially build an arena and convention centre near the current FirstOntario Centre.

Since the news first broke, social media reaction has been mixed, citing parking space and transit as main factors of both sides – folks wanting Limeridge and others wanting the team to remain in the downtown core.

In order to both maintain and preserve impartiality and unbiased, I have made the pros and cons of both cases. This is based on my own observations in both past years and current.

Limeridge Mall


– Huge outdoor parking space.

– Accessibly compatible.

– Arena across the public transit terminal.

– Commutable via Lincoln Alexander Parkway.

– Lots of places to dine and shop in the area before game time.


– Depending on time of game, the mall could close its doors for game attendees to shop.

– City Councillors doesn’t see the mall as an asset for the hockey team to play.

Downtown/FirstOntario Centre


– Entertainment and shopping district situated around the area within minutes by foot.

– Local transit terminal within a five minute walk via Jackson Square or on King Street off Bay.

– Inter-Regional transit buses stops five minutes walk across the arena on Bay/Main and at City Hall.


– A hub for gridlock traffic during rush hour.

– very noticeable drug activity around the arena’s vicinity and in Jackson Square.

– Parking not affordable on-site.

– Ice surface past its lifespan.

– FirstOntario Centre too costly to renovate/retrofit for junior hockey and accessibility standards.

According to the latest development from the Hamilton Spectator Monday, it is revealed the potential Limeridge Mall arena capacity is around 6,000, to be built at the old Sears location. Furthermore, it also comes with a multi-level parking garage.

Here are the links for the latest articles regarding the arena situation.

Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton Bulldogs Mid-Season 2018/2019 Review

The Hamilton Bulldogs entered to the holiday break with the tough situation in which the defending Ontario Hockey League champions are in. That is do they sell the core to restock the draft picks, or go with the core and risk further damage for the future?

Here is the breakdown of positions currently as stand…


Nick Donofrio entered the season as the undisputed #1 goaltender, while newcomer Zachary Roy won the job back in training camp as the backup. Early in the season, Donofrio struggled out of the gate. Roy took over the regular starting goaltender role with several quality performances in October. But for the last few weeks, Roy has struggled (giving up four goals a game the last several starts), while Donofrio revived his claim to be the starting net minder. However, Donofrio is now considered to be an asset for the team come trade deadline in January. That said, expect Roy to continue getting a lengthy look.


The central core of Matthew Strome, Brandon Saigeon, team captain Mackenzie Entwistle, and Arthur Kaliyev has been a steady force for the team that has, so far, lacking consistency on additional scoring. Rookies Avery Haynes and Logan Morrison hasn’t shown the quality play due to injuries and lack of ice time. Come trade deadline time, the fore mentioned core could leave the team but currently is undecided. It should be interesting how Tag Bertuzzi (acquired from Guelph) can regain his form that he once had in the minors.


As expected, the defensive unit has been faced with struggles and inconsistency for most of the season thus far. Veterans Kade Landry and Nicholas Mattinen has made their presence and considered to be an invaluable commodity. DJ King, Michael Renwick and Frank Jenkins are experiencing growing pains but should be given an extended look come second half. Connor Ali and Josh Weinman have also stepped up with their veteran presence.  

In Conclusion

The next couple of weeks after the break would be a defining sequence for the franchise as Steve Staios, Dave Matsos and company will have to make a decision to either ride on with the core intact with additional veteran rental talent, or restock the future ahead with the selling of talent. If remain intact, this franchise will be facing a tough task to repeat, but it will be something to observe and support regardless.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton Bulldogs 2017-2018 Season Review

The Hamilton Bulldogs concluded their illustrious and unforgettable 2017-2018 season with a Memorial Cup semifinal loss to the Regina Pats. Despite the gut wrenching defeat, this squad should reflect this season with a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Heading into the season, there were considerable thoughts into what the forthcoming campaign would unfold. The biggest question mark headed to the year was the year-long play of starting Goaltender Kaden Fultcher. How would he handle the everyday grind and also the gruelling postseason where anything could’ve happen? Well, not only the Brighton, Ontario native stepped up in big games, he was clearly the difference maker in the OHL championship run.

Furthermore, the defence and the great depth scoring prowess (led by Matthew Strome, Will Bitten and rookie sensation Arthur Kaliyev) alleviated the tension from early season struggles. Brandon “The Office Man” Saigeon and Isaac Nurse stepped up with a strong season.

Aside from the above, the hockey administrative management of the Bulldogs led by President and General Manager Steve Staios delivered a boatload of talent as the season progressed. The acquisitions of Landry, Mattinen, Cammano, Moore, Thomas and Stillman were a major gamble, but at the end, a greater reward as the hockey club proceeded into the postseason as the #1 seed at the Eastern Conference. At the playoffs, they went through Ottawa, Niagara, Kingston, and the number one team in the country Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds to win the OHL championship and a berth at the centennial Memorial Cup.

Give the Head Coach of the Bulldogs John Gruden and his staff a great amount of credit due to the great product they assembled every night and gettisoned these talented core through late-season leadership changes and delivered on the former’s mandate to earn the right to compete for the Memorial Cup the hard way.

Now, knowing the Bulldogs will undergo considerable overhaul for the next couple of years, it is worth knowing that patience will be acquired from this fanbase. As  supporter of this team since its inception, one give critical and commendable praise to the team operations from both hockey and business standpoints on their effort. I’ll look forward to see the Bulldogs in the coming season ahead!

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Playoff Preview

The Hamilton Bulldogs head to the postseason with great confidence and a plenty of playoff experience. 

With the likes of Thomas, Cammano, Moore, Strome, Bitten and Saigeon leading the charge, the Bulldogs are poised to make a long, deep run into the postseason and ultimately compete for the Memorial Cup. They are ranked first overall in the Eastern Conference going into the playoffs, and have the all important home ice advantage. However, the Bulldogs will face stern competition in the talent loaded upper portion of the conference in event Hamilton advances (see my prediction below).

Here are my three keys to success in the postseason…

  1. Kaden Fultcher. The Hamilton incumbent netminder will head to this postseason with limited experience. In game four of last year’s playoff series with Kingston, Fultcher relieved Dawson Carty for one period, and did admirably in relief. But when the current campaign commenced in September, it was widely expected that Fultcher was their number one guy, and had to prove that he’s a reliable commodity at a big game setting. With the playoffs in the horizon, and given the loaded talent the Bulldogs assemble, it is critical that Kaden Fultcher steps up and maintain a strong stable presence in net.
  2. Don’t get overconfident. Given the success of this team this year, it is normal to say that Hamilton can run the table with force in the conference rounds. In one’s opinion, don’t expect that. Regardless of pro, or in this case Major Junior hockey, the playoffs matter by how you deliver in the big games, and not solely on the regular season success. For the Bulldogs, take your opponents seriously and don’t overlook to the next round opponent, or otherwise they will be ousted in the first round like they did last season. In other words, never underestimate your opponent in this magnitude of the league season.
  3. Special Teams. Hamilton comes in to the playoffs with a great power play and an inconsistent penalty kill. The PP unit, led by Brandon Saigeon (16 goals with the man advantage), will need to answer the tasks of getting the big goal when needed. Regarding the PK, however, the Bulldogs need to step up and frustrate the opposition with the big bodies around the net and close the passing lanes in more efficient speed.

The Bulldogs faceoff against the Ottawa 67’s in the opening round of the 2017-2018 Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference playoffs. In the regular season, Hamilton convincingly swept their opposition in all five meetings.  

Here are my “fearless and passionate” predictions (in honour of Victor Newman parody from the Raw Mike Richards show) for the postseason of the Bulldogs in the Eastern Conference…

  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 1 — Hamilton wins series over Ottawa 4-1 (HAM has too much talent to not get dethroned by the still young Ottawa squad)
  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 2 – Hamilton wins series over Mississauga 4-1 (Steelheads pull upset over Barrie, but gets overwhelmed with the offensive weaponry and frustrates MISS defence a ton)
  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 3 – Hamilton wins series over Kingston 4-3 (Hamilton gets its sweet revenge against Kingston from last year. No better setting to do it than this round with OHL Championship appearance at stake. Hamilton outwits Kingston.)

Hamilton will then face the Sarnia Sting in the OHL Championship. If Hamilton remains healthy by this point, and Fultcher is as better than advertised, Hamilton could pull this one out and go on to the Memorial Cup. But I’ll get my official prediction for the OHL Championship series when the path is crossed.

In closing, it should be an exciting and memorable run for the team that should get its rightful due as one of the league’s best.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Kingston 4 Hamilton 3 (SO)

The Hamilton Bulldogs showed grit and continued to put pucks at the net, but couple of bad defensive miscues led to Kingston comeback twice to steal two points today in a shootout loss 4-3

The Bulldogs showed today that they can find the net, something they haven’t really done in the previous three games (4 goals overall in first three games), and still created multiple opportunities. Veteran Forward Will Bitten and rookie Forward Arthur Kaliyev were the major contributors for the home team with both a goal and an assist. 

The defense contained the experienced Kingston offensive attack, with limiting the opposition to single digit shot totals in the first forty minutes. But a couple of mistakes late in the second and the big rebound left unnoticed led to the comeback by the visitors. Goaltender Kaden Fultcher was good, but not as sharp like the previous two games. He allowed a saveable goal in the first minute of the third, and the eventual winner in the shootout.

Once again, discipline and lack of power play sustainability at the attack zone (0/6 in PP opportunities) was the two ciritical factors in the second period and the outcome of the game, but the positive was the penalty kill was very effective (4/4 in opportunities under a man). Another negative was the lack of face off victories (35-45 in face offs).

Despite the outcome, the Bulldogs got seven out of eight possible points to start the year. Hamilton remains at home for the next game next Saturday against the Niagara IceDogs.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton 2 Barrie 1 (SO)

The Hamilton Bulldogs win in an another nail biter performance, this time in a shootout. 

Goaltender Kaden Fultcher was incredible tonight, stopping 32 out of 33 shots. The defense showed grit, but was at times undisciplined, especially in the second period (had to kill three straight penalties). Give full credit to the penalty kill unit for preventing five opportunities by Barrie. The power play unit, however, it’s a work in progress. Can’t have several opportunities to have Barrie capitalize at the Bulldogs end when the opposition is short-handed.

Forwards Matthew Strome and Will Bitten provided enough offensive spark for a team that can go to the net a lot, but couldn’t cash in.

Next game to conclude the week is at home in FirstOntario Centre when the Bulldogs host their arch rival Kingston Frontenacs.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Hamilton 2 Mississauga 0

The Hamilton Bulldogs delivered a complete performance in Mississauga tonight. They won the matchup 2-0 in front of a sparse crowd at the Hershey Centre. 

Kaden Fultcher had a great performance in net today, with earning his first win and shutout of the 2017-2018 campaign. The Bulldogs goaltender stopped all 25 shots he encountered, and the defence helped him out with good hustle and timely blocked and diverted shots. 

The team managed to stay disciplined for the entire game, and engaged power play opportunities, but unable to captialize on both opportunities. The penalty kill was effective in its only one attempt. 

For the second straight game, the Hamilton Bulldogs offense went to the net with effective shooting at the opponent goaltending. The visitors outshot their opponent 34-25, with going double digit all three periods. Issac Nurse and Matthew Strome scored for the Bulldogs, while rookie Connor McMichael getting his first career OHL point with the assist on Nurse’s goal. 

Hamilton travels to Barrie to face the Colts on Saturday.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Hamilton Bulldogs

Niagara 4 Hamilton 1

The Hamilton Bulldogs opened its third season this evening, but eventually fell 4-1 at the hands of its QEW rival, the Niagara IceDogs.

The Hamilton offense managed to find opportunities shooting the puck at the net. But with their untimely turnovers at their end of the rink, as well as the lack of discipline and luckluster D in the final thirty minutes proved to be the fate for the Bulldogs. The penalty kill units were very good this evening, especially killing three consecutive penalties (latter was the McCourt double minor). As far as the goaltending as concerned, Kaden Fultcher didn’t get significant support from the Bulldogs D, and struggled at times to maintain vision and skill getting to the puck. 

The Bulldogs travel to Mississauga next Friday for their tilt against the Steelheads.

2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs


After advancing to the last years playoffs, and eventually fall in a hard fought seven game series against Kingston, the 2017-2018 Hamilton Bulldogs look into a longer run in the postseason.

Returning to the team are the likes of Matthew Strome, Mackenzie Entwistle, Will Bitten and Brandon Saigeon with the second year returnees Marian Studenic and Connor Roberts to provide efficient leadership. Mixing with the returning core of talents will be first year studs Connor McMichael and Arthur Kaliyev, who are capable in producing right away for the team that needs scoring depth in which Niki Petti, Michael Crammerosa, and Matt Luff (potentially) are graduated from the club. 

Regarding the defensive corps, team captain Justin Lemcke and Connor Walters lead the experienced core of talent that can be a backbone going forward this year. Rielly Webb, Riley McCourt, Jack Henley, and newly acquired TJ Fergus (via Erie) will look to establish themselves as the league elite. Special Teams need to be better in both phases. The penalty kill and the power play were not very good, as the team was in the bottom five at both categories.

Goaltending will be the most glanced and scrutinized of the entire team. Kaden Fultcher comes in as #1 netminder, looking to improve a progressive 2017 season in which he lost his starting job midseason as the team brought in Dawson Carty from Kitchener. Nick Donofrio will be the backup (Cole Ceci was traded to Guelph Friday afternoon), and could see several games starting during the season. If he can duplicate what he was able to do last year in the USHL, he will be a fordmiable piece.

Pending injuries and inconsistency, this team should be a threat for the OHL and Memorial Cup Championship this season.