Sparks makes 33 saves in season debut, Kings rally past Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC – Garret Sparks made 33 saves in his season debut for the Los Angeles Kings, who rallied for a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena on Sunday.

Sparks, who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Kings on July 28, was making his first start since April 2, 2019, and earned his first win since March 20, 2019, with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Close Knit “Goalie Union” Key Part of Reign’s Success

ONTARIO, CA – The LA Kings have seen some outstanding performances from their goaltenders as of late. Whether it was Jonathan Quick’s sound play to defeat Toronto Monday night or Cal Petersen’s dazzling performance in Montreal on Tuesday, both of which included a total of 33 saves, goaltending has been a key part of the team’s current six game win streak. In each of the six victories, whichever netminder resided in the crease hasn’t surrendered more than two goals.

Kings Add Garret Sparks on One Year, Two Way Contract

LOS ANGELES, CA – The LA Kings have signed goaltender Garret Sparks to one-year, two-way contracts, carrying an AAV of $750,000 at the NHL level.

Sparks, 28, appeared in 16 games last season with the Stockton Heat (AHL) posting a .913 save percentage, 2.69 goals-against-average and 5-10-0 record. He also played in six games for the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL), where he recorded a .928 save percentage, 2.21 goals-against-average and a 4-1-1 record.

Local Goalie Garret Sparks Makes Good

CHICAGO, IL – When Garret Sparks was seven years old, his parents, Mike and Lisa, decided it seemed like the right time to introduce him to hockey.

They signed up Garret for the Scooters program at the Elmhurst YMCA – the same outdoor rink where Mike started playing in fourth grade and developed into a goaltender. Scooters, a program that continues to thrive today, encourages parents to get on the ice with their children while teaching the basics of skating and hockey.

“We had a lot of fun,” Mike said.

For the final session, the Scooters coaches wanted to hold a scrimmage to show off everyone’s progress. Just one problem: Every kid was a skater. Goaltending wasn’t part of the program.

With the parents off the ice and watching from the other side of the glass, a coach asked for two kids to volunteer to play goalie. Nobody moved a muscle. So he asked again.

Chicago Hockey Charity Classic focuses on inclusiveness with Compher, Russo, Coyne and Sparks as headliners

CHICAGO, IL – Several NHL players participated Sunday in the third annual Chicago Hockey Charity Classic: J.T. Compher, Ryan Hartman, Brandon Pirri, Garret Sparks.

The event, held at the Blackhawks’ Fifth Third Arena, raised about $40,000 for Special Olympics Chicago.

‘‘Special Olympics is all about inclusion and allowing everyone an opportunity to participate in sport, no matter what the game is,’’ Coyne Schofield said. ‘‘Today’s game embodied that, whether it was women’s players, sled players [or] NHL players.’’

Coyne Schofield’s team, which also featured Hartman, Sparks and 1970s and ’80s Blackhawks mainstay Grant Mulvey, battled Josh Pauls’ team, which also featured Compher, Pirri, former Hawks defenseman Adam Clendening and NHL agent/Special Olympics chairman Kevin Magnuson as players and Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as coach, to a 6-6 tie over two periods.

Sparks longs for clean slate with Golden Knights

CHICAGO, IL – Garret Sparks was still a little emotional on Wednesday, a day after the Toronto Maple Leafs traded the 26-year-old goalie to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward David Clarkson and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

But Sparks, selected by the Maple Leafs in the seventh round (No. 190) of the 2011 NHL Draft, is also ready for a fresh start.

“All I’ve wanted is a fair opportunity, come [training] camp, to try and make the team,” Sparks said Wednesday after a Chicago Pro Hockey League game at Fifth Third Arena, “and I think that I’ll get a better opportunity [with Vegas] than I would have in Toronto. At the end of the day, that’s what you’re looking for as a player.”

Sparks Proving Dubas Was Right


The Toronto Maple Leafs had a big offseason, one that included signing John Tavares, naming Kyle Dubas as general manager and the ongoing William Nylander contract dispute. When the season finally started, those three things set the tone for the 2018-19 season, but somehow, the backup goalie became the main subject of debate among fans.

Should the Maple Leafs stick with the 35-year-old career backup Curtis McElhinney, who just had the best season of his career, or should they give one of their two NHL-ready goalies from the Toronto Marlies a chance, Garret Sparks or Calvin Pickard? Since all three goalies needed to clear waivers to be sent down, the Maple Leafs had to choose who their backup goalie was going forward.

Sparks, Rosen Lead Marlies to Calder Cup Championship

TORONTO, ON – Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said his team went through “championship moments” during its long run through the American Hockey League post-season.

Responding after giving up a goal. Pinching in at the right time. Managing to shift momentum when needed.

The Marlies delivered again when it mattered most Thursday night, giving them a championship moment they’ll never forget.

Raising the Calder Cup.

Toronto defeated the Texas Stars 6-1 in the decisive seventh game of the AHL final to the delight of the towel-waving sellout crowd at Ricoh Coliseum.

Sparks Leads the Way of Marlies Who have Helped Their NHL Chances with Calder Run

TORONTO, ON – For players longing to step into (or step back into) the NHL, to what extent can a successful American Hockey League playoff run really affect their chances? A handful of Toronto Marlies could well find that out in the coming months.

The Marlies (AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs) have won nine straight postseason contests in back-to-back series’ sweeps en route to a berth in the Calder Cup Final, which opens Saturday against the Texas Stars.

Regardless of how these playoffs end, certain Marlies – blueliner Travis Dermott and forward Andreas Johnsson, for example – are pretty clear on what’s next. Both Dermott and Johnsson rejoined their AHL club after lengthy call-up stints with the Leafs, and will be prime candidates to start in the NHL come fall.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old defensive prospect Timothy Liljegren has only one professional year under his belt, and is likely to need more seasoning before he graduates to the NHL. And then there are players languishing somewhere in between – some who have gotten a taste of life with the Leafs before and some who are still waiting on their NHL debuts.

Whether those opportunities come in Toronto or beyond, being on the bubble makes every AHL game (especially in the playoffs) a fresh audition. Five Marlies in that position have used this run to their advantage in that respect, and in turn could be putting themselves on the radar for a potential NHL gig next season.