Welcome to the first installment of a series we are calling What ever happened to…? We will take you back to the glory days of years gone by, highlighting the (some times humourous) decline of famous athletes.
With their 4-0 win over the Iowa Wild last Saturday, the red-hot Abbotsford Heat have stormed to the top of the AHL standings with a remarkable 32 points through the first 22 games of the season.
Aaron Volpatti is only the second player from Revelstoke to ever play in the NHL, the first in 25 years. The hardworking 26-year-old was signed by the Canucks without ever being drafted
Taylor, now in his second season in the Flames organization, had bounced around the American Hockey League and ECHL early in his career before finding a steady job in Abbotsford. Taylor has impressed the Flames brass this season by posting phenomenal numbers with their Heat affiliate. He boasts an AHL best 1.82 GAA, is ranked fourth in the league with a .929 save percentage playing with the Heat this season, and earned himself a two-way contract with the Flames on February 6. With workhorse goalie Mikka Kiprusoff sidelined with a sprained knee, Leland Irving demoted to the Heat, and recently-acquired veteran Joey MacDonald needing a rest, Danny Taylor became the forth goaltender to start in the Flames’ crease this season.
It’s been a roller-coaster couple weeks for the Abbotsford Heat, after a second-period collapse in the last game of their eight-game homestand led to their biggest home loss of the season, and the first game of the road trip was rescheduled due to the extreme deep freeze in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The City of Abbotsford used the mid-way point of its 10-year contract with the Abbotsford Heat to pay half the estimated losses the city would have needed to pay over five years ($5.5 million), releasing both parties from the deal.
The Abbotsford Heat have directed their focus westward after they collected a rather pedestrian three points in a back-to-back-to-back set of road games against the Chicago Wolves and Peoria Rivermen. In those games the Heat achieved a win and a loss against the Wolves and lost in a shootout to the Peoria Rivermen.
Kevin Bieksa has come up huge in the 2011 playoffs; not only with three goals and an assist in the first three games of the Conference Finals, but also with his extraordinary defensive play. If the 7-3 victory in game two against the Sharks was maybe the most fun game of the playoffs to date, it should be no surprise that Bieksa played an enormous role in making that happen, managing a Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist and a fight) and first star in the game. That is because although Kevin Bieksa is one of the toughest players in the NHL, he’s also one of the most entertaining.
On the opening day of the NHL season the Abbotsford Heat showed 4267 onlookers NHL-calibre talent in a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals.
It seems to be a similar trend every week to talk about the tight playoff race in the North Division, but that’s been the story all year. The Abbotsford Heat, the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Manitoba Moose, the Toronto Marlies, and the Lake Erie Monsters have been battling for playoff positioning for the majority of the season, and it looks like it’s going to go down to the final games of the season before we are going to see which of these teams get into the playoffs.