A Legacy of Hope

Austin Carroll has a big heart.

We’ve seen him step in for teammates and take some punches.

We’ve seen him score big goals to give the Heat wins.

We’ve seen him in the Stockton community a lot, enough to be named last year’s Community Service Award Winner for his tremendous work in the Central Valley.

However, what you may not know what drives Austin to be the best human being he can be.

A young Austin Carroll (front right) with his father, Phil, right behind him.

His father, Phil, was a successful businessman, a loving husband and fathe, however the thing that brought him the most joy was making the lives of others better.  For 20 years, he took his family down to Mexico to build houses for those in need through the Homes of Hope program.

“My dad thought it’d be a good idea for us to see how people less fortunate have to live, and how we can help better their lives,” Austin explained.  “My father would bring us down to Tijuanna or Ensenada, Mexico and help build a house.”

Since 1990, Homes of Hope has made it their mission to provide help to those who need it in 21 different nations with a network of over 100,000 volunteers who’ve built over 5,300 homes.

All the lumber and supplies needed to build the homes are delivered and a team of volunteers like the Carroll’s, along with the family receiving the home, pitch in and get to work.

In his younger days, Austin mostly played with the kids and helped paint the house.  As the years went on, he saw how demanding the builds truly are, and began to do more, primarily being responsible for the roofing and trusses.

While playing with the kids occupied his younger years helping out, here’s Austin and his dad working together on the house.

The house is built of wood, concrete and metal and typically takes two days to complete.  While it may not look like much, Austin explains how grateful the families are to receive their houses, that they almost feel like they’re moving into a mansion.

“The moment they get to walk through their front door is when it hits me,” Austin said.  “Before we finish, we take the family grocery shopping to get them out of the house so we can surprise them with finishing touches, like their new kitchens, some beds, electrical and maybe the most interesting is the front door.”

Sometimes even the simplest things can be taken for granted, like a lock and a key.

“This year the family we built for had never even had a door, so we had to show them how to use keys,” Austin said.

Perhaps the coolest part of the entire experience is after the reveal when the family walks into their new home and shuts the door behind them.  The Carroll’s would knock, and then be invited in as guests.

“That’s the part I love the most,” Austin said. “It’s truly humbling.”

Can you see a grown up Austin Carroll in this group picture in front of one of the builds? Hint: He’s smiling!!

What’s humbling to see is a young man, 23-years-old professional hockey player, taking time from relaxing and training to complete the build with his family.

“We grew up very fortunate and so my mom and dad put a lot of emphasis on Home of Hope,” Austin explained.  “Sometimes it meant me missing a hockey tournament, but we learned to sacrifice and make time for what was really important.”

Now-a-days the builds have taken on more meaning for Austin than just helping a family in need, but also to continue a legacy.

Four years ago, Phil Carroll passed away, but the Austin and his family have continued to rally around the ideal Phil lived by: helping others make their lives better.

“Each weekend we go it’s a time to reflect,” Austin said, “not only about how you’re helping a family, but how great it was for my father to instill these morals in our family.”

“I love doing it, and his legacy lives on through us returning every year.”

To this day, Phil Carroll Pavilion stands in Tijuanna, Mexico, a dedication to a man who gave much of his time and money to help those in need.  The building dedicated to Austin’s father now hosts classrooms teaching English, writing and Bible studies.

There’s no doubting that the late Phil Carroll would be proud of the young community leader and philanthropist his son has become.

That’s a Wrap!

Flames Development Camp wrapped up with a Heat veteran standing out from the pack, along with a few newcomers making a name for themselves, but overall, General Manager Brad Treliving was pleased with what the Future Flames were able to show.

“This was about giving them the tools to be successful,” Treliving told CalgaryFlames.com. “A lot of it is the why and the how. How do you get there? Why do you do it? There’s no excuses now, it’s here’s what we expect and here’s how we’re going to help get you to where you need to be.”

No doubt Treliving was pleased with his most recent college signing in Spencer Foo and goaltender Tyler Parsons, who repeatedly stole the show.

In addition to stealing the show on the ice, both Parsons and Foo really impressed the Flames brass off the ice.

With his ability to bond with his teammates and put in tough work throughout the camp, the Flames gave Parsons the Flames Development Camp Character Award presented to him by Flames Equipment Manager Mark Depasquale.

Tyler Parsons pictured with Flames Head Equipment Manager Mark Depasquale.

As for Spencer Foo, he made an immediate impact off the ice and earned the trust of Flames Strength and Conditioning Coach Ryan van Asten, and was named the camps Fittest Player.

Spencer Foo pictured with Flames Strength Coach Ryan van Asten.

Having become a fan favorite in Stockton, it comes as no surprise, especially considering this was his third Development Camp with the Flames that Ryan Lomberg earned the Leadership Award by Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska.  His speed, effort and tenacity once again on display at camp, was also matched with his ability to lead younger players by example on what is expected of a professional athlete.

Ryan Lomberg pictured with Heat Head Coach Ryan Huska was named the best leader during Flames Development Camp.

 

Other Heat players in attendance at Flames Development Camp included Emile Poirier, Oliver Kylington, Andrew Mangiapane, Hunter Smith, Rasmus Andersson, Kayle Doetzel,  Adam Ollas Mattsson, Josh Healey, Brett Pollock, Matthew Phillips, Dillon Dube, and goaltenders Mason McDonald and Nick Schneider.Now the focus shifts over to the upcoming rookie camp in early September.

Flames Prospects Play Masterchef

With the Flames Development Camp underway in Calgary, plenty of the club’s prospects, including many who’ve played in Stockton, find themselves in some high intense training on and off the ice.  The Flames media members were very impressed by players like Ryan Lomberg, first-round selection Jusso Valamaki and certainly goalie Tyler Parsons, but the on-ice sessions are only half the battle.

Equally as important is the training off the ice, where players are expected to maintain a rigorous workout regiment and maintain a healthy lifestyle in the food they consume.

Which brings us to the kitchen, and as you’ll see on Flames TV, some prospects are better with knives, grilling, and making technical dishes like cordon bleu, than others!

Congrats to Team Blue for their victory in the kitchen, led by none other than 20-goal scorer and Heat resident Italian, Mr. Andrew Mangiapane!

Somewhere Gordon Ramsay is smiling!

Heat Home Opener and Preseason Schedule Announced

The Heat have added a couple of new dates to the calendar, including a preseason home game on Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m. and a new Home Opening date of Friday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m., both against the Bakersfield Condors.

Why the new Home Opening date? As you may recall, the Heat had announced in the Six Guaranteed Dates, an original Home Opening date of October 14, but the team was able to secure a weekend date a week earlier to open the season, meaning the Heat get to kick off the season a week earlier than anticipated.

So for you #IsItOctoberYet folks? How happy are you?

 

Saturday, October 14, which was originally slated to be the team’s home opening date will now be a Night of Champions, celebrating athletic, educational and other exceptional achievements across the Central Valley.

As for the preseason game, Heat365 Members will receive two tickets to the game at Stockton Arena for each membership they have and will be able to purchase additional tickets for the game against Bakersfield for $8 each.  Tickets for the general public will go on sale at the Stockton Arena Box Office and through Ticketmaster on Monday, September 18 at 10 a.m. and will be priced at $10 per ticket. A special discount rate is available for groups of 10 or more people for the preseason home game at $8 per ticket. All seating for the preseason game will be general admission.

Fans can purchase Memberships, Mini Plans or Flex Packages or start the process of getting your group together to ensure your seats for the Heat’s Home Opener today.  Learn more by speaking to a Heat Ticket Representative by calling 209.373.1500.

A Great Show of Strength

“It’s a great show of strength,” Brad Treliving told CalgaryFlames.com.

That was the reaction of Flames General Manager had when pressed by members of the media into Flames prospect, Emile Poirier, reaching out to him for help with an addiction to alcohol.

Heat fans can recall seeing the disappearance of Poirier from the lineup toward the end of the season and eventually it was made public that Poirier was on a personal leave.  On the second day of Flames Development Camp, which the winger is attending, he met with the media to open up about his problem.

“[Brad Treliving] has been truly supportive through the process,” Poirier said. “It wasn’t easy for me at that time. The whole organization, they’ve been supportive. My teammates have been there … I’m working with a guy, Brian McGrattan, every day. I think he’s awesome with me. He helped me to go through that process. I want to thank him, too.”

“They’ve been with me all the way and I want to thank them again.”

McGrattan, as you may recall, went through a similar battle with alcohol and is now approaching nine-years sober.  In fact, Poirier isn’t the first player to go through help with McGrattan as Flames forward Micheal Ferland struggled through the same addiction and used McGrattan as support.

Ferland, approaching four years sober and coming off a career year!

“When he called me it was like talking to a new guy,” Treliving explained. “There was a release of things going on. He sounds different and looks different. He said to me the other day that he’s looking at the world differently for the first time.”

“He was a dynamic player and now the work starts again but you can see the steps he’s taking to rededicating himself, it’s exciting for him and for us. I think he’s going to have a great summer.”

Poirier spent a few months in recovery and now finds himself spending the summer in Calgary to catch up on his conditioning ahead of training camp at the end of summer.  At just 22-years-old, Emile’s path is clearer than it ever has been, and the winger is hoping that pays dividends for him on the ice.

“I’ve just got to play my game like I used to,” Poirier said. “Now that I’m fully focused on hockey, I think I’ve got to play my game and everything (will) go well. I’ll just do my job and we’ll see what happens. If it’s the case that I’m here or not, at least that I’ll do the best that I can do and I think it will be alright.”

“I feel good. I feel awesome and I’m ready to go.”

Calgary Offseason Update #1

The off-season officially kicked off with the newest NHL club, the Vegas Golden Knights, going through the expansion draft process, giving the team a chance to select one player from each team that was provided to them on a list.  In the end, the Flames would lose a valuable role defenseman who was slated to be an Unrestricted Free Agent on July 1 in Deryk Engelland, who just so happens to call Las Vegas his home having played for the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers.

There wasn’t much time to breath though as the Flames staff had to be prepared for the NHL Entry Draft in Chicago just days later.  Going into the draft the team had five picks and while they’d make a trade (more on that in a moment), they’d still utilize all five of those picks to select one defenseman and four forwards.

Their first round selection, Juuso Valimaki is an offensively gifted defenseman who plays in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans.

The Flames Director of Amateur Scouting, Tod Button, seemed very pleased with the remaining picks he and his staff helped make on Day 2 of the draft, selecting Adam Ruzicka out of the Ontario Hockey League,  Zach Fischer out of Medicine Hat in the WHL, D’Artagnan Joly of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Filip Sveningsson out of Sweden.

In addition to filling the cupboards with new prospects, the Flames took care of some needs for the big club as well through way of trade, including a pre-draft trade to bring in goaltender Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes, and on the second day of the draft, the Flames stole the early headlines with a trade acquiring talented defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders, solidifying their top four defenseman as some of the most formidable in the AHL.

After the draft and tradewinds calmed, the Flames had to make some decisions regarding their younger prospects who also happened to be Restricted Free Agents (RFA).  For players like Jon Gillies, Tyler Wotherspoon and many others who are in need of new contracts and tagged as RFA’s, the first step for many is to receive a qualifying offer, which essentially doesn’t sign the player, but ensures that the rights of the player still belong to the Flames.

Nine of the 12 RFA’s in the Flames organization received qualifying offers, meaning the other three, Ryan Culkin, Kenney Morrison and Alex Chiasson, become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) that can sign with any club starting on July 1.

The Flames did qualify Sam Bennett (C), Micheal Ferland (RW), Jon Gillies (G), Garnet Hathaway (RW), Brett Kulak (D), Curtis Lazar (C), David Rittich (G), Linden Vey (C) and Tyler Wotherspoon (D).

While it wasn’t official until July 1, the Flames got an early start with a highly sought after NCAA free agent in Spencer Foo, beating out a number of other teams courting the talented winger.  Foo, who suited up for Union College the last three seasons, was a finalist last year for the Hobey Baker Award given to the top collegiate hockey player in the county. In 113 NCAA games, Foo has recorded 112 points, including a 62 point campaign last season.

The Flames would swing another trade just before Free Agency figuring out their backup goalie conundrum with the acquisition of Eddie Lack along with defenseman Ryan Murphy from the Carolina Hurricanes.  Going back the other way to Carolina was defenseman Keegan Kanzig who had spent parts of the last two seasons with the Stockton Heat.

With Free Agency opening up last Saturday, and the Flames re-upping the contract of Kris Versteeg while also buying out Lance Bouma and Murphy acquired in the Carolina Hurricanes trade, the Flames have some money to spend.  The question now becomes who’s done enough to earn an internal look and who, outside of the organization, can help the Flames win a Stanley Cup.

The team has added Slovakian forward Marek Hrivik and former Edmonton Oiler (and Bakersfield Condor) tough guy Luke Gazdic since Free Agency opened.

Members Only Trip to Six Flags

Don’t forget that our next exclusive perks for our Heat365 Members is right around the corner on July 22, as they’ll have an opportunity to get tickets to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom at a 50% off discount!

That means tickets are just $29.99 for Members Only!

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, located in Vallejo, California, is an animal themed, theme park, complete with shows, events and of course family and thrill rides, including their newest ride, Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth!

Members can order their tickets now by following this link and using:

Username: stocktonheat
Password (Case Sensitive): SixFlags7

Heat CEO Joins Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce Board

Stockton Heat CEO Brian Petrovek was sworn in as one of five new board members for the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and will serve a three-year term.

While Stockton’s Hockey teams have been active with the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce since 2005, Petrovek’s board membership marks the first time that an employee from either the Heat or Stockton Thunder (ECHL) has served on the board of directors.

Petrovek previously served as a board member in Portland, Maine with the Portland Regional and Community Chambers and was the recipient of the 2008 Henri A. Benoit Award for Leadership in the Private Sector from the Portland Regional Chamber not only for his successful stewardship of the Pirates organization, but also for his extraordinary contribution to the greater Portland community.

The Chamber’s board, which has 13 members in addition to six officers and directors, oversees the activities, goals and policies of the Chamber.  Petrovek joined Stephanie Banuelos (Croce and Company Accountancy Corporation), F.J. “Joe” Dietrich IV (F.J. Dietrich & Co.), Scott Frafius (Steele Insurance Agency) and Bryan Meadows (Stockton Ports) as the newest members of the board.

Congratulations to all of the new board members!

Schedule Coming In July

As the club made the transition to the American Hockey League in 2015-16, the wait for the schedule was always much anticipated by fans and teams alike, but it was a longer wait then everyone would have liked.

The 2016-17 schedule was revealed on August 22, 2016 while the team’s inaugural schedule was announced on August 27, 2015.  Why so late you may ask? It has more to do with the National Basketball Association’s schedule then our own, as back then, four AHL teams, the Charlotte Checkers, Cleveland Monsters, Milwaukee Admirals, and San Antonio Rampage all shared their building with an NBA team.  Now, only the Monsters and Rampage share their buildings with the Cavaliers and Spurs of the NBA, and the teams were able to make it work for everyone to plan for an earlier announcement of the schedule for us all.

A tough feat no doubt, but an appreciated effort for both the teams and schedule makers by everyone in the AHL!  During the 2017 AHL Marketing Meetings, nobody seemed happier than AHL President and CEO Dave Andrews, who excitedly announced to every team in attendance that the schedule will be announced in July this year!

However, Heat fans don’t have to wait for then to book your groups, premium seating options and plans to attend some of the most popular nights of the year!  The team has already announced six guaranteed dates for the 2017-18 season, including the Home Opener on October 14, Heat Hockey Fights Cancer on November 4, Teddy Bear Toss on January 18, Safety Night on February 17, Star Wars Night on March 3 and Heat Hockey Goes Green on March 17!