Vella makes pro debut with Rail Yard Dawgs

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

Another former member of the Dells Ducks has worn a pro jersey as Chris Vella suited up for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs in the team’s Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) home and season opener at the Berglund Center in Roanoke on Friday (Oct. 15).

Chris Vella

The Rail Yard Dawgs played host to the Fayetteville Marksmen, dropping a 4-1 decision in its only game of the opening weekend.

Vella, a native of Rochester, NY played four seasons (2013-14 to 2016-17) with the Ducks, wearing the ‘C’ in the final two, including the team’s USP3HL National Championship campaign.

Vella appeared in 128 games with the Ducks, collecting 56 goals and 103 points, good enough for sixth overall on the all time list that now includes 249 names. He came to the Wisconsin Dells as a 16-year-old rookie who patiently waited for his chance to shine. He barely played until after Christmas that first season, but once Head Coach Bill Zaniboni put his name on the game day roster, Vella made sure he had no reason to ever remove it.

The rookie became the veteran with the Ducks and when he aged out, he took the next step, playing NCAA Division 3 hockey with Morrisville State College for another four seasons, adding another 60-games to his total, the final two unfortunately shortened due to the restrictions of the pandemic.

Vella didn’t collect a point or a penalty in the first game with the Rail Dawgs, but watch for him to become a regular contributor beginning with the team’s next match, a do-over with the same Fayetteville Marksmen Friday at 7:05.

Anyone that has HockeyTV will be happy to know that SPHL pro games are also included on that site.

Thank you to Christine Vella for providing the photos for this story.

Local youth hockey teams named

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info.

All three of the Sauk County Youth Hockey organizations have announced players on at least a few of their teams.

The Sauk Prairie Flyers and Sauk Prairie Monkeys will have a total of 13 teams at the compertitive levels — two each at the Squirt, Peewee and Bantam levels for the Flyers as well as the 10U and 14U levels for the Monkeys. The Monkeys will boast an amazing three teams at the 12U level.

There are also 39 players registered at the 8U (Mite) level cross-ice programs and another 44 are signed up at the 6U Beginner levels

For more information on the rosters of the various Sauk Prairie teams for the upcoming seasons, visit the organization’s website at https://www.saukprairiehockey.com/ and look under the Teams tabs.

RWD has named both its Bantam and Mite Rosters and with final tryouts at the Squirt and Peewee level taking place late last week, the two teams at each level will also be named in the next day or so as well.

This week, the Squirts and Peewees have pre-season schedules practice with regular schedules next week and season openers as early as the Oct. 29-31 weekend.

For more information on the RWD teams, check out the organizations website https://www.rwdhockey.com/ and visit the team or ice schedule links.

The Baraboo/Portage Thunderbirds Youth Hockey organization has printed rosters of its competitive teams at the Squirt, Peewee and Bantam levels as well as the 14U Badger Lightning squad.

For more on the Thunderbirds and Badger Lightning visit the organization’s website at https://www.thunderbirdyouthhockey.com/.

Bright spots on a rough weekend for Ducks

By Jim den Hollander  

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

It was another tough lesson for the Dells Ducks against another of the division’s top teams this past weekend as the team absorbed a pair of tough defeats. 

After dropping a 9-3 decision on Saturday night at the Lake Delton Ice Arena against the Minnesota Blue Ox on Saturday night, the same two teams returned Sunday for an afternoon matinee contest, the Blue Ox going home happy with a 6-1 win.  

The Blue Ox outshot the Ducks 67-22 on Sunday but that was a slight improvement in both shots for and against for the Ducks over the previous night’s numbers.  

It might be hard to hear once again, but this is a Ducks team in a developing stage. The team has more 18 and young aged players and finds itself once again with Justin Green as the lone 20-year-old. The Ducks have a majority of players 18 and under.

The losses dropped the Ducks to 1-7 on the season so far which is one-win better than last season at this point and while the overall results have been rough, there some brightly shining diamonds in the rough so far as well.  

Caden Glamkowski, an ‘04 from St. Charles, IL scored three times on the weekend and he continues to lead the team with 13 points in eight games. Jayden Tkaczuk who has made it clear he wants to go after the team’s single season scoring record, played his first full weekend since the opening series and he was in on all three goals the first night. He has seven points in four games played and gives the two teams two lines that can score. Jacobsen has racked up 11 points, two more than he collected in more than 20 games played last season. Jacob Cartland has a share of the goal scoring lead for the team with six goals and nine points. 

The weekend series brought an end a set of eight straight games on home ice to open the regular season. The Ducks will make its first road trip of the season Friday, playing at Augsburg University Ice Arena in the Twin Cities at 7:30 p.m. The Mullets are coached by Chris Walby, a long tenured coach who played as a youngster in Sauk Prairie. On Sunday the Ducks will stop off on the way home at Owatonna to meet the Steele County Blades at the Four Seasons Center.

This begins an extremely busy stretch for the Ducks as they follow up this weekend set with four games in three days at the Midwest-West Showcase Tournament at Fogerty Ice House, home of the Minnesota Moose in Blaine, MN, Oct. 28-30, then return home Nov. 5-7 for another three-game weekend. All totalled, that’s 10 games in two weeks. 

Duck Feathers – The Ducks welcomed a half dozen players on a temporary basis on the weekend. The next new player to suit up for the Ducks will be number 250 in team history. 

  • – Tkaczuk boosted his all-time points total with the Ducks to 12 goals and 26 points, moving him into a tie with Colton Maynard for 53rd spot on the Ducks list. He has a good shot at climbing inside the top 50 with another good weekend at Augsburg. He has also crossed the 120-minute mark in penalties and is on pace to become just the third player in team history to go over 200 minutes. 
  • The November 5-7 homestand will be th final homegames for the team in 2021.