MacKenzie lands in Central Hockey League

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By Tom Annelin
An expansion club from the Central Hockey League club has secured the services of a defenceman from Terrace Bay.
The Denver Cutthroats inked Aaron MacKenzie to a contract for their upcoming initial year of operation. The 31-year-old native brings with him eight years of professional experience, including six seasons in the American Hockey League, as well as a handful of games with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.
The 2012-13 season will be MacKenzie’s first in the CHL after spending last year in Asia playing for Japan’s Tohoku Free Blades.
MacKenzie, a former Thunder Bay Flyer, played at the University of Denver under George Gwozdecky where he earned multiple awards, including team MVP and top D-man laurels.
He was also team captain of the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen for the last two seasons.
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COLLEGE COMMITMENT: Thunder Bay’s Andrew Wiebe has secured a commitment to play Canadian university hockey next season.
The 21-year-old forward will be heading to Kingston, Ont., and the Queen's Golden Gaels.
Wiebe spent the previous few years with the Portage Terriers where he captained the club and helped lead them to a Manitoba Junior Hockey League championship this season as well as a berth at the Royal Bank Cup last month.
The former Thunder Bay King averaged over a point per game in Portage in 2011-12 with 47 in 41 outings on 23 goals and 24 assists.
He’ll be joining a Golden Gaels squad that finished eighth in the 10-team OUA East this past season.
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BACK ON THE BENCH: Dave Allison is moving back behind the bench.
The 53-year-old Fort Frances native was named the new head coach of the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL.
He had been serving with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an amateur scout and will remain with the NHL club through the draft before taking on his new position July 1.
Allison has 18 years of coaching experience behind him, which includes a stint with the Ottawa Senators in 1995-96.
It will also mark his fourth appearance as a head coach in the AHL.
Peoria is the top affiliate club of the St. Louis Blues and Allison may very well have the likes of Thunder Bay’s Paul Karpowich tending goal for the squad next season.
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TBAYTEL INTERNET SITE: The National Hockey League Draft will be held this weekend in Pittsburgh. Matthew Murray of Thunder Bay is on the draft list as the Soo Greyhounds goaltender hopes to hear his name call this weekend.
Follow the entire proceedings at the draft by visiting the TBayTel Internet site of the week at www.nhl.com/draft.

Tom Annelin’s column appears Mondays in The Chronicle-Journal. You can contact Tom at tommyhockey@tbaytel.net