Battalion stars ready to move up

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Tyler Harrison's disappointment at ending his Ontario Hockey League career with a loss lingered yesterday, but he departed the Brampton Centre with a smile on his face.

Harrison, an overager whose four-year OHL term finished Monday when the Brampton Battalion lost in double overtime to the Sudbury Wolves, agreed to a tryout deal with the Manchester Monarchs, the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.

"I still have not recovered from a bad loss and I'm pretty tired, but I'm really excited with this opportunity," Harrison, the younger brother of St. John's Maple Leafs defenceman Jay Harrison, said. "I just found out five minutes ago. It was totally unexpected."

Sudbury won the OHL Eastern Conference quarter-final 4-2 after twice beating Brampton in overtime, including 5-4 Monday night. Each club had finished the season with 77 points, and although the Wolves were one of the more undisciplined teams before the playoffs began, they were able to reign in their emotions against the Battalion.

Not many figured Brampton would do much this season but it made a 16-point improvement on 2003-04 and was on top of the conference for much of the season before falling off in the final weeks.

One question is the status of Stan Butler, who has been the director of hockey operations/coach since the club's inception. Butler, who is in the final year of his contract, has been behind the Battalion bench for seven seasons, the second-longest current stretch in the OHL after Ottawa 67's coach Brian Kilrea. Butler has not discussed an extension with Battalion owner Scott Abbott.

"I hope to be back," Butler said. "Right now my contract runs until Aug. 31 and I'm going to carry on as business as usual. I'm pretty excited about the team for next year and I hope to be the person running the ship."

In all likelihood, there will be a new captain in Brampton in 2005-06. Ryan Oulahen, who wore the 'C' with dignity, missed Game 6 against Sudbury after suffering a concussion in Game 5. The thinking is he will sign with the Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

"That's my goal, to settle with Detroit and be in Grand Rapids," said Oulahen, who was picked in the fifth round by Detroit in 2003. "I think we turned a lot of heads in Brampton this year. To watch (Game 6) from the stands was probably the hardest thing in my OHL career."


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