Kris Gray

About Kris Gray

I've been a lifelong resident of Rockford, raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears. My day job is in nursing, employed at a local senior residential complex in the Rehab Unit of the Health Center. I've had a lifelong love for photography, but became more passionate about it several years ago. I'm a Wife, a Mother to 3 grown children & 2 silly Pugs, and a Grandma to 4 wonderful granchildren. I have a warped snarky sense of humor and a avid reader of books. I started on this wild and crazy ride into Photojouralism when I was asked to join Patrick & Jane's team covering the Chicago Blackhawks' AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs for the ChiTownDailyNews and ChicagoNow Call of the Wild blogs. I am currently learning the ins & outs of professional Rodeo and plan to follow regional area rodeos as my day job's schedule & the price of gasoline allows.

Rivermen Sink IceHogs 5-2














 Last night the Rivermen clearly out played the IceHogs, beating them 5-2. A professional hockey game is comprised of three 20 minutes periods. In order to win a game, a team must play as close to, if not the entire 60 minutes. Last night the IceHogs appeared to play for the first 20 minutes only, seemly forgetting that there were an additional 40 minutes that they needed to be active & present in too.

The IceHogs appeared to have finally made progress and were playing as a whole team during that first period. Passing appeared well thought out, with crisp tape to tape completions. Brian Connely put the IceHogs on the board first, with a slap shot through heavy traffic late in the first period. Who were these guys? But oops, during the 2nd period it became apparent that yes indeed, the old team was still there lurking, as they went back to their incomplete passing and turnovers galore. Sixty minutes boys, sixty minutes.

Alec Richards was tagged with the Loss and the Win went to Jake Allen for Peoria, stopping 42 out of 44 shots and earning himself the #1 Star of the Game.

Tonight at the BMO Harris Bank Centre in Rockford, the IceHogs take on the Milwaukee Admirals @ 7:05pm. Tickets are available at the door.


Photo Highlights from IceHogs Win

Photo highlights from the IceHogs well deserved 6-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves on 12/9/11.

Dylan Olsen and Kevin Connauton pictured during game action.




























Have A Skate With Bob 12/3/11

Pictured - Members of the HSWB All Stars and the Rockford Bear Minimum hockey teams after their charity game.


This past Saturday afternoon a charity hockey game was played at the BMO Harris Bank Centre in Rockford. Skaters from as far as Ontario came to help friends raise money to fight a deadly disease. The game was planned by a close knit group of friends who have been personally affected by Pancreatic Cancer. The Rockford IceHogs Charitable Foundation joined it’s forces with the Have a Skate with Bob Foundation to help raise money to help find a cure for this deadly disease.

Bob Klem, from Kansas, lost his wife Becky to Pancreatic Cancer in 1999, just 3 short months after diagnosis. In 2007 HSWB was founded after his daughter told him should put purple tape on his goalie stick to honor her. Bob has since worked tirelessly in his efforts to raise money to find a cure.

Bob is also a member of a very close group of Chicago Blackhawks fans who converse frequently in a on-line community, Many members of that community are also Season Ticket Holders for the Blackhawks and see each other frequently at games and in their personal lives. 

The IHN community lost one of their own this past summer to Pancreatic Cancer, Tom Jacobson. Tom fought PC for 2 years before passing away in June. The game Saturday was played in his memory. His daughter Nicole, skated in her very first game of hockey on Saturday to honor her father. Throughout the game, the video board displayed a endless visual into Becky’s and Tom’s lives.

The charity game was between the Have A Skate with Bob All Stars team and the Rockford Bear Minimum hockey club. As rumored, the All Stars’ roster had a ringer on it, former IceHogs player Oak Hewer. The final score wasn’t important, the Bears won 16-7 if anyone cared. The game itself, while not polished, was filled with laughter, played in the name of friendship and love. In the last few minutes of the 3rd frame, the All Stars emptied their bench onto the ice and were seen with big grins on their faces as they threw mock punches at each other in a line brawl within their own ranks.

A Silent Auction was held later that evening, while the IceHogs played against the Abbotsford Heat. A wide variety of auction items were donated by friends, family members, hockey players and teams. A raffle was also held for a team autographed IceHogs jersey. The tables and walls behind them were covered with priceless treasures waiting to be won by a lucky bidder. Fans attending the game could be seen through out the game crowding the tables placing their bids. At the end of the night, the auction & jersey raffle brought in over $4,200. Proceeds went to help the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.

For further information please visit .

Members of the All Stars staged a mock line brawl within their own ranks at the end of the game.


Heat Melts the Hogs 2-1

Rockford's Brandon Segal drives the puck towards the net, while Abbotsford's Leland Irving blocks his way.


The sparks always fly when the IceHogs play against the Abbotsford Heat and Saturday night’s game was no exception. The tension between the teams came to a boil several times, resulting in 2 fights and a handful of scrums. The game itself appeared to be heading for overtime when Ben Walter scored a goal late in the 3rd period, securing the 2-1 win for the Heat.

Saturday night was also Teddy Bear Toss Night and Rockford Fans did not disappoint. A grand total of 1,221 stuffed animals were tossed by fans to the ice after Brett McLean scored the first goal for the IceHogs at 14:26 in the first frame.



IceHogs Dealt Three Blows Friday

Former IceHogs player Evan Brophy is pictured with Alexander Salak.


The IceHogs players and fans received 3 hard blows to digest this past Friday December 2, 2011.

Blow #1 was a press release announcing that veteran IceHogs player Rob Klinkhammer had been traded that day to the Ottawa Senators. Many of the IceHogs players first learned of the trade after arriving to the BMO Harris Bank Centre for the game against the Lake Erie Monsters. Klinkhammer was currently in his 4th season with the IceHogs when the trade occurred. Ironically, December 17th is “Klinkhammer Bobblehead Night”, where the first 2500 fans entering the arena receive a bobblehead bearing his likeness. Perhaps this could now be considered a parting gift to fans.

Blow #2 came in the form of a injury. Starting goaltender, Alexander Salak went down very early in the second period with a lower body injury. His skate somehow apparently got hung up in the goal frame during play. He was seen requiring assistance leaving the ice, unable to bear weight on his left leg. He was transported to a area health center for further testing. A call went out immediately to Toledo for the recall of netminder Carter Hutton from the ECHL Walleyes. Also included in that recall was forward Rob Flick, to fill the hole in the roster made by Klinkhammer’s departure.

Blow #3 was the team’s loss to the Lake Erie Monsters 4-1. Starting cold apparently was not a good thing for Alec Richards, who replaced Salak in net, as the Monsters scored 3 times in 7 shots at him.

On a more cheerful note, fans were treated to the appearace of 3 former IceHogs players during the game. Evan Brophy, Mike Brennan and Hugh Jessiman are all playing for the Monsters this season. During the opening ceremony, a loud cheer went up when Brophy’s name was announced in the starting lineup for the Monsters. Brophy had played with the IceHogs for 4 seasons prior to being signed by Colorado this past July as a Free Agent.


Barons Best IceHogs 3-1

Alexander Salak covers the puck, stopping play during the game between the IceHogs and the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday night.


The IceHogs’ had their 2 game home winning streak cut short last night, as the Oklahoma City Barons took the win 3-1. Brian Connelly scored the lone goal for the IceHogs, with the assist going to Brett McLean. Philippe Cornet tallied twice in the 3rd frame the Barons, with Ryan O’Marra scoring a empty netter to secure the win.

The IceHogs are back at the BMO Harris Bank Centre on Friday December 2, 2011 when the IceHogs take on the Lake Erie Monsters. Puck drops at 7:05pm.



Pirri Shines, Spears IceHogs to 6-3 Victory

Pictured - IceHogs' Brandon Pirri and Brian Foster for the Rampage.


Wednesday night was Brandon Pirri’s night to shine. They say all things come in 3’s and Pirri’s night was no exception. The night ended with Pirri, a 20 yr old Toronto native, earning himself a Hat Trick during the game between the IceHogs and the San Antonio Rampage. His 2nd thrill of the night was being named #1 Star of the Game and cappping off a perfect night of hockey for him, was being named AHL’s #1 Star of the Night. In his 2nd year of a 3 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Pirri currently the IceHogs leading scorer.

Completing the game’s Stars were Brian Connelly with 4 assists and Rostislav Olesz with a goal and a assist. Left winger Olesz was recently assigned to the IceHogs by the Chicago Blackhawks. Alexander Salak was in net for the IceHogs while Brian Foster backstopped the Rampage.

It’s no secret that the IceHogs have been struggling on home ice, having lost the last 6 games in a row. But hopefully their 6-3 win over the Rampage will help the team turn the corner and skate out of that skid. This upcoming month, the IceHogs have a chance to improve their record before the home crowd as on Friday night they start a 4 week Friday/Saturday bak-to-back home game schedule.




IceHogs & Rivermen Split the Weekend


 The Rockford IceHogs again had a back-to-back games with the same opposing team, this time with their rivals the Peoria Rivermen. Friday night, The IceHogs visited the Rivermen in Peoria. They left with a 6-4 win in their pockets . However that joy was short lived, as the Rivermen left the BMO Harris Bank Centre the very next night with the win, beating the IceHogs 5-2.

In a rare show of temper Saturday, Rockford’s Alec Richards had a small meltdown after the Rivermen scored their 5th goal, slapping the top of the net before being replaced early in the 3rd period by Carter Hutton.

IceHogs players set a few career records over the weekend. Defenseman Brian Connelly notched his 100th career point. Connelly was recently named permanent Alternate Team Captain for the 2011-12 season. Veteran Center Brett McLean earned his 450th career point on Saturday. McLean also was named a Alternate Captain for the IceHogs and will wear the A on his sweater during away games.

Brendon Segal was named Team Captain for the IceHogs this season. Segal has the honor of being the only player to skate for the IceHogs in both the UHL and AHL eras to date. Brian Fahey rounds out the top Hogs, with being named the 3rd Alternate Captain for the team and will wear the A at home games. Trivia fact – Fahey was a member of the Chicago Wolves’ 2008 Calder Cup Championship Team.

Congratulations go out to IceHogs’ netminder Alexander Salak and his wife on the birth of a baby boy. Salak missed both Friday & Saturday night’s games to be with his family. Belated Congrats go to Brett McLean and his wife on the birth of their new baby a few weeks ago too.

Chicago Blackhawks’ prospect, Kyle Beach, was injured in Peoria Friday night during a fight with Riverman Stefan Della Rovere. He apparently suffered a upper body injury.

Stars Top IceHogs 6-2

Ben Smith for the IceHogs and Tyler Arnason for the Stars face off.

The Rockford IceHogs dropped their third game in a row on Tuesday. The Texas Stars tipped their hats in Thanks as they left the arena, soundly beating the IceHogs 6-2. The Stars capitalized on power plays, scoring 4 goals while the IceHogs were a man down.The sellout crowd of 6073 was treated to one fight during the game. Rockford’s Brandon Bollig and Texas’ Eric Godard dropped gloves @ 2:47 of the 2nd period. Both teams joined in the fans’ cheers, as sticks could be heard loudly tapping the ice & the boards in support of their teammates.The IceHogs started the game strongly with crisp passing but ended it in a flurry of wild scurrying back and forth on the ice trying to play catch-up. It’s early in the season though, so hope is still alive for this team of very young talented players to learn and grow together.

Scoring for Texas were Ryan Garbutt, Mathieu Tousignant, Matt Fraser (2), Luke Gadzic, and Phillip Larson. Shawn Lalonde and Ben Smith tallied for Rockford. Netminder Tyler Beskorowany took the Win while, Rockford’s Alec Richards got the big L.

Texas Stars' Tyler Beskorowany.


IceHogs Drop 2 to Wolves

Chicago's Mark Mancari falls to the ice after colliding with Rockford's Joe Lavin.

The Rockford IceHogs met up with the Chicago Wolves for back to back games this past Friday and Saturday nights, dropping both games to Chicago, 2-0 and 4-1 respectively. Chicago’s Matt Climie was stellar in net, stopping 47 out of 48 shots Saturday while IceHogs’ Alexander Salak had a fairly quiet evening, with only 16 pucks fired his way. 
Chicago goals were scored by Yann Sauve, Bill Sweatt, Dustin Friesen and a empty netter by Mike Duco. The lone goal for Rockford was by Phillipe Paradis. Interesting trivia fact – Wolves’ Bill Sweatt was a 2nd round draft pick in 2007 by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago Blackhawks’ prospect Dylan Olsen was injured in the 2nd period and did not return for the 3rd. During the after game radio show, it was mentioned that he had apparently struck his head on the ice after being hit hard into the boards.


New to the IceHogs this year, is netminder Alexander Salak.