Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hurricanes getting help . . . Giants, Americans cut deal . . . Who's that with the MJ Moose?

F Chris St. Jacques (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Wedemark Scorpions (Germany, Oberliga). This season, with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Serie A), he had two goals and 12 assists in 15 games. He played his first game with Wedemark on Friday night, scoring once and drawing four assists in a 7-4 victory.

Ron Sakamoto, who knows a thing or two about marketing and promotions, has joined forces with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the ENMAX Centre in an attempt to raise the profile of the WHL franchise.
Sakamoto was introduced at a Friday news conference as part of a new advisory committee that will, according to a news release, “help support the Hurricanes community-owned franchise with promotion, fund-raising initiatives and ticket sales.” The other members of the committee weren’t identified in the news release.
For one thing, team president Doug Paisley said, work is going to be done to “build the identity and culture of our hockey club.”
To do that, Paisley added, “We’re looking to achieve this with banners and other identifiable markers that commemorate the heritage and the past players that have achieved the highest level in the sport.”
The news release refers to Sakamoto as “the leading music promoter in Canada as well as a longtime supporter of organizations and businesses in Lethbridge and Southern Alberta.”
Sakamoto is quoted: “I live here, this is my home, this is my community and I’m really proud of it. In order to keep this a community-owned team, I’m happy to lend my support to the organization but we have to have everyone’s help to keep (the team) in the community.”
Sakamoto, according to the release, “is looking at bringing in new initiatives to the table including the introduction of new benefits to season-ticket holders, as well as bringing in concerts with proceeds that would benefit the club.”
It’s interesting that Sakamoto would refer to wanting to keep the Hurricanes as a community-owned team. Don’t forget that at the franchise’s annual general meeting on Sept. 30, shareholders decided to vote at the next AGM on whether to explore the sale of the franchise.
Could it be that battle lines are being drawn in Lethbridge?
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has his weekly 30 Thoughts right here. This week he leads off with the financial mess in which Columbus Blue Jackets D Jack Johnson has found himself.


The Vancouver Giants have acquired D Josh Thrower, 18, from the Tri-City Americans in exchange for D Tyler Morrison, 19, and a second-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . Thrower, from Squamish, B.C., had three assists in 23 games with the Americans this season. He also has played with the Calgary Hitmen, who selected him in the second round of the 2011 bantam draft, and has 14 points, including three goals, in 124 regular-season games. . . . “Josh came to me and expressed a desire to play closer to home for personal reasons,” Americans general manager Bob Tory said in a news release. “We are sad to see him go, but this was the right thing to do for Josh.” . . . Thrower’s brother, Dalton, captained the Giants as a 20-year-old last season. Josh is wearing No. 47 with Vancouver, the same number that his brother wore. Josh wasn't in Vancouver’s lineup last night against the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Morrison, from Sherwood Park, Alta., had one goal and four assists in 20 games with the Giants this season. In 153 regular-season games with the Giants, he has 49 points, nine of them goals. . . . Morrison is expected to be in the Tri-City lineup against the visiting Spokane Chiefs tonight.

The Regina Pats have dropped G Tyler Fuhr, 19, from their roster and he will join the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. Fuhr was 1-0 with the Pats, backstopping them to a 7-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 26. . . . The Pats, who opened a B.C. Division swing in Vancouver last night, are carrying 22 players, including six defencemen and 14 forwards. . . .

Former Regina Pats D Tye Hand, 19, is considering a return to the game after quitting prior to the start of this season due to post-concussion syndrome. Former Pats assistant coach Billy McGuigan now is the head coach of the junior A Summerside, P.E.I., Western Caps and has made an offer to Hand.


In Prince Albert, F Jayden Hart scored three times to lead the Raiders to a 6-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Hart, who has 11 goals, got the game's first two scores early in the first period. He completed the hat trick into an empty net at 19:17 of the third. . . . Raiders F Craig Leverton added his 12th goal and three assists. . . . F Cory Mallette, who was acquired by the Raiders (10-13-0) from the Saskatoon Blades this week, went pointless. . . . Raiders G Rylan Parenteau stopped 44 shots. . . . On Wednesday night, Broncos G Landon Bow shut out the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings for his WHL-leading fifth blank job. Last night, he didn't get through the second period, leaving after giving up four goals on 18 shots. . . . Broncos F Coda Gordon had his WHL-high 15-game point streak come to an end. . . . The Broncos (13-9-4), who had points in their previous five games (3-0-2), are in Saskatoon tonight. . . .

In Brandon, F Nolan Patrick scored twice to help the Wheat Kings to a 7-4 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton F Brett Pollock set a franchise record with three goals in 53 seconds. . . . Pollock scored at 19:14 and 19:45 of the first period, erasing a 2-0 Brandon lead in the process, and completed his first WHL hat trick seven seconds into the second period. F Mitch Moroz had held the franchise record of two minutes 32 seconds. He did that last season in Brandon. . . . After Pollock's third goal, the Wheat Kings scored four straight, with F John Quenneville tying it with his eighth goal at 14:06 of the second, on the PP, and Patrick getting his sixth, while shorthanded, at 18:40. . . . Pollock has 12 goals. . . . F Jim Harrison of the Estevan Bruins holds the WHL record for fastest three goals. He scored three times in 24 seconds, in the last minute of the third period, as the Bruins beat the visiting Regina Pats 6-5 on Dec. 4, 1966. . . . Patrick has six goals. . . . Brandon (18-5-1) got a goal and two assists from F Tim McGauley, who has nine goals. . . . Brandon D Ivan Provorov drew three assists. . . . Edmonton F Mads Eller had a rough third period. He needed to be helped to the bench after taking a hit from Brandon F Jesse Gabrielle, and later headed for the dressing room after a hit from Brandon F Reid Duke. . . . Edmonton (12-9-3) had been 3-0-1 in its past four games. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Brandon. . . .

In Calgary, F Jake Virtanen scored his fourth goal and added two assists to spark the Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Hitmen (12-8-3) are 5-0-2 in their last seven. . . . Calgary D Colby Harmsworth tied the score 2-2 at 12:02 of the second period, with his first goal. . . . Calgary D Kenton Helgesen broke the tie at 15:05. . . . He's got five goals. . . . Calgary D Keegan Kanzig, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals on Wednesday, had one assist. . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk, who came over from the Kamloops Blazers in a Thursday deal, was in the Warriors’ lineup and scored their first goal at 2:53 of the first period. . . . Moose Jaw G Zach Sawchenko started -- it was his first appearance since Nov. 8 -- but left after stopping all seven shots he saw in the first period. Justin Paulic came on to stop 22 of 26 shots. . . . "Sawchenko tweaked his injury a little bit, so we pulled him out for precautionary reasons and put (Paulic) in after the first period," Warriors head coach Tim Hunter told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “He just felt it might get a little worse as the game went along, so we pulled him out and we'll re-evaluate him in the morning." . . . Calgary G Mack Shields made 13 saves. . . . The Warriors (9-11-3) had points in their previous three games (2-0-1). . . . The Warriors are in Lethbridge tonight, while the Hitmen are in Red Deer. . . .

In Red Deer, G Rylan Toth made 29 saves as the Rebels scored a 4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer F Evan Polei broke a 2-2 tie with his 10th goal at 15:45 of the thrid period. . . . Rebels F Wyatt Johnson got hi 11th into an empty net at 19:03. . . . F Cole Sanford scored his 16th goal for the Tigers, who got 30 saves from G Marek Langhamer. . . . The Rebels (12-9-3) are at home to Calgary tonight. . . . The Tigers (16-5-2) had been 2-0-1 in their previous three games. They will entertain the Kootenay Ice tonight. . . .

In Cranbrook, D Rinat Valiev scored a goal and set up four others as the Kootenay Ice scored a 5-1 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . He's got three goals. . . . Ice F Tim Bozon scored twice, giving him six, and added an assist, while F Sam Reinhart had two assists. Reinhart now is the franchise assists leader with 164. He had been tied at 162 with F Jarret Stoll. . . . Reinhart has 15 points, including 11 assists, in six games since returning from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. . . . Lethbridge remains without G Stuart Skinner (concussion), although he did ride the bike on Friday. He may return to the ice on Sunday. In his absence, G Zac Robidoux stopped 43 shots. . . . The Ice had F Levi Cable, F Jon Martin and F Kyle O’Connor, all of whom had been out with injuries, back in the lineup. . . . The Ice (9-14-0) has won six of its last seven and is in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . The Hurricanes (5-13-4) are 1-3-3 in their last seven. They are at home to Moose Jaw tonight. . . .

In Kamloops, D Josh Connolly drew four assists as the Blazers dumped the Prince George Cougars, 5-2. . . . Connolly is from Prince George. . . . Kamloops F Logan McVeigh broke a 2-2 tie 27 seconds into the third period. He's got three goals. . . . The Blazers scored three times in the third period with Connolly earning an assist on each of them. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully scored his 11th goal and added an assist, while F Matt Needham had two assists. . . . Blazers F Deven Sideroff, who leads all freshmen in goals, got his 12th just 1:33 into the game. . . . The Blazers lost D Ryan Rehill to an apparent leg injury in the second period. They already were without D Brady Gaudet (shoulder). . . . Kamloops F Matthew Campese, acquired during the week from the Victoria Royals, made his debut but left in the second period with a kneeing major and game misconduct for a hit on F Chase Witala, who didn't return. . . . The Blazers (11-10-4), now 2-0-1 in their last three, are in Spokane on Sunday. . . . The Cougars (12-13-0), who have lost five of six, are in Vancouver tonight. . . .

In Kelowna, the Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and dropped the Rockets 4-3 in OT. . . . F Alex Schoenborn won it with his second goal of the game and seventh of the season, at 1:04 of OT. . . . The Rockets led 3-0 at 16:29 of the first period. . . . Kelowna got is first goal from its big line -- Tyrell Goulbourne, with his 11th, from Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley -- but the unit was blanked after that. . . . The Winterhawks, who held a 52-26 edge in shots, began the comeback with two PP goals, from Chase De Leo, his 13th, and Schoenborn, at 5:42 and 19:02 of the second period. . . . De Leo tied it at 8:49 of the third. . . . Portland G Brendan Burke left after one period, having stopped nine of 12 shots. Aden Hill came on to make 14 saves and get the victory, improving his record to 1-2-0. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle made 48 saves. . . . Portland lost F Paul Bittner to an apparent leg injury early in the second period. . . . The Rockets scratched eight players, leaving them able to dress only 16 skaters, two under the maximum. They went with only 10 forwards. . . . The Rockets were without F Rodney Southam, who drew a one-game suspension for incurring his third game misconduct of the season during that end-of-game melee in Kelowna on Wednesday. . . . The Rockets (21-1-3) are 11-0-3 in their last 14 outings. . . . The Winterhawks are 10-12-3. . . . The same teams meet tonight in Kelowna. . . .

In Victoria, G Jayden Sittler turned aside 24 shots to help the Royals to a 3-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Sittler got his first WHL victory in his first home start. . . . F Austin Carroll and F Jared Dmytriw had a goal and an assist each. Carroll has 16 goals; Dmytriw has two. . . . Victoria D Joe Hicketts added insurance to a 2-1 lead with his seventh goal at 13:49 of the third period. . . . Everett G Carter Hart stopped 26 shots. . . . Victoria F Greg Chase, acquired Wednesday from the Calgary Hitmen, was pointless but had five shots on goal in his debut. . . . The Royals were without F Brandon Magee, who has been suspended for five games for a spearing incident at the end of Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. Magee began this season by sitting out a 12-game sentence left over from last season’s playoffs. . . . Victoria F Taylor Crunk drew a one-game suspension for his part in that melee. . . . Victoria (13-11-2) will meet the visiting Regina Pats tonight. . . . The Silvertips (14-4-3) will visit the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., tonight. . . .

In Vancouver, the Regina Pats spotted the Giants an early 2-0 and then roared back for a 6-2 victory. . . . The game was the first of Regina’s B.C. Division swing that continues tonight in Victoria. . . . F Tyler Benson, with his fourth, and F Jackson Houck, with his seventh, on a PP, gave the Giants the lead in the first period. . . . F Adam Brooks, with his ninth, and F Dryden Hunt, with his 11th, tied it for Regina before the end of the period. . . . D Kyle Burroughs gave Regina its first lead with a PP goal, his third, at 10:11 of the second. . . . Hunt finished with two goals. . . . Regina D James Hilsendager didn’t have any points but finished plus-5. . . . G Daniel Wapple stopped 25 shots for the Pats (13-9-1), who have won five straight. . . . The Giants (9-14-0) have lost two in a row. They are at home to Prince George tonight. . . .

In Kent, Wash., G Tyson Verhelst kicked out 35 shots to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . F Kailer Yamamoto scored both goals for the Chiefs (10-7-3), giving him five. Both came via the PP, at 15:03 of the first period and 9:35 of the third. . . . F Calvin Spencer had Spokane’s goal, his third, at 13:46 of the third. . . . Seattle (9-11-3) has lost three straight. . . . The Chiefs visit the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., tonight, while the Thunderbirds entertain Everett.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Book Shelf: Part 2 of 4

The Book Shelf: Part 2 of 4

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a brief look at some of the books I have read over the last while:

The Gods of Guilt -- Author Michael Connelly revisits Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, in this one. There is a murder victim, who was a prostitute; she also was a former client of Haller’s whom he had tried hard to get out of her line of work. Obviously, it didn’t work. If you read The Lincoln Lawyer (2005) and enjoyed it, you’ll like this one. (Kindle)

His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir -- If you are a sports fan and a reader, you no doubt will have read Dan Jenkins, either in Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest or Playboy, or between the covers of one of his numerous books. Now we have His Ownself, written in Jenkins’ take-no-prisoners style. This is writing the way it used to be, before political correctness smothered a lot of it. Go along with Jenkins on a great ride as he revisits his long and terrific career. But as you read along, you get the feeling that the author is laughing at life, like he knows he has pulled a fast one. Reading this is kind of like watching George Clooney and Brad Pitt in the movie Oceans 11. No one should have as much fun as they do; no one should have as much fun as Jenkins did during his career. (Kindle)

Hockey Card Stories: True Tales from Your Favourite Players -- This is a neat book, but it's not one to be read in one or two sittings. Rather, it's to be enjoyed over a month or six weeks. Author Ken Reid, a card collector who is an anchor with Rogers Sportsnet when he isn't counting cards, has selected a number of hockey cards and tells their stories through conversations with the pictured players. There are some terrific stories here, too. For example, Bryan Maxwell, now an assistant coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has three cards but his picture is on only one of them. (A note to the author: Despite what you might find on the Internet, Butch Goring’s famous helmet was a ‘SPAPS’, not a ‘SNAPS’. Yes, I had one.) (Kindle)

Kid Dynamite: The Gerry James Story -- Gerry James is the greatest Canadian athlete whom few people remember, and that’s unfortunate. Playing for football’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers and hockey’s Toronto Maple Leafs during the same years, James was Bo Jackson before Bo Jackson. James was one of the greatest players in CFL history, twice winning the Schenley Award as the league’s top Canadian. He won scoring championships and Grey Cups; he was one of best and toughest running backs of his day. As a hockey player, he played like, well, a football player. In southern Saskatchewan, he is best known as a senior hockey player, as well as a junior hockey owner, general manager and coach. He also is an enigma, something that is most evident in author Ron Smith’s work. Reading this book, you are left to wonder if James, a contradictarian if ever there was one, knows himself, and if he doesn’t, is there any chance of Smith figuring him out. This book is worth reading, if for no other reason than to understand just what a terrific athlete James was. Unfortunately, there is a bit too much of the author in this book. As well, this book, like so many others today, could have used a good editor. Darth Vadar? Schultz, as in Charles M. Schulz? Sidney Crosbie? Wayne Gretsky? . . . If you’re wondering where the nickname, Kid Dynamite, came from, James’ father Eddie (Dynamite) James was a terrific footballer in his own right. (Kindle)

The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America -- Author Gregg Easterbrook takes off the gloves as he takes on mostly the NCAA and the NFL, pointing out in no uncertain terms just how it is that football at those levels rules the roost. This just may get you looking at football and all of its money in a different light. (Kindle)

The Lost 10 Point Night: Searching for my Hockey Hero . . . Jim Harrison: When he was a child and first became a hockey fan, David Ward, the author of this little gem, became entranced with Jim Harrison. Almost 40 years later, Ward tracked down Harrison, along with a number of former junior, NHL and WHA teammates, and is able to tell the story of a boy/man and his hockey hero. Harrison is a great story, too, because he has beefs with a team or two, the NHLPA, Alan Eagleson and a few others, and he isn’t the least bit leery about voicing his opinion. This book won‘t get much publicity against some of the big boys that appear before Christmas, but it‘s a wonderful read. (Kindle)

My Cross to Bear -- Give this a read and you’ll wonder how it is that Gregg Allman, he of Allman Brothers Band fame, is still alive. From all the booze and all the drugs and all the wives (six at last count) and all the other women, not to mention the liver transplant, he should have been dead a long time ago. Still, this book, written with Alan Light, provides honest insight into Allman and his music career. You may recall that he once was married to Cher. “I was really glad that she never asked me what I thought of her singing,” he writes, “because I’m sorry, but she’s not a very good singer.” No, that marriage didn’t last either. (William Morrow, 390 pages, soft cover, Cdn$17.99, US$15.99)

Never Go Back -- Someone, and I can’t remember who it was, told me a long time ago to be wary of purchasing a book if the author’s name is larger than the title. Author Lee Child is there with Never Go Back, the latest book in his Jack Reacher series. Oh, it’s as readable and as much escapism as any of the earlier works, but there’s something missing here. Perhaps it’s the introduction of the teenager who may or may not be his daughter, who may or may not show up in a future book. I don’t know. Or maybe I just can’t get it out of my head that Hollywood selected Tom Cruise, all 5-foot-8 of him, to play Reacher, who goes 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, in that movie. Included is a Reacher short story (High Heat) that is quite good. (Dell, soft cover, 607 pages, Cdn$11.99, US$9.99)

99: Gretzky: His Game, His Story -- Keeping in mind that author Al Strachan and former NHL star Wayne Gretzky are good friends, this still is a good read. In fact, it may be worth reading just for the prickly Strachan’s many pokes at NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. There isn’t anything terribly shocking here, but there are a whole lot of Gretzky-related anecdotes that haven’t previously seen the light of day. (Kindle)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winterhawks in transition . . . Cougars add one, subtract another . . . Trio of trades

F Jakub Klepiš (Portland, 2001-02) has been released by Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL) by mutual agreement. An alternate captain, he had six goals and five assists in 21 games.


It is obvious that the Portland Winterhawks are a team in transition, and not only from general manager/head coach Mike Johnston to GM/head coach Jamie Kompon.
The Winterhawks are coming off four straight appearances in the WHL’s championship series, having won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2012-13.
Last spring, the Winterhawks lost a seven-game final to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Now the Winterhawks are scuffling. As they go into a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Kelowna against the Rockets, the Winterhawks are 9-12-3, which leaves them tied for seventh in the Western Conference with the Spokane Chiefs (9-7-3) and Seattle Thunderbirds (9-10-3). Quick math shows that the Chiefs hold five games in hand and the Thunderbirds two.
The Winterhawks reached those four straight championship series in no small part because they had the likes of Derrick Pouliot, Troy Rutkowski and Tyler Wotherspoon on the back end. You also can’t forget Garrett Haar, who was there last season, and Mathew Dumba, who was there for 26 games in last season’s second half.
The Winterhawks’ transition game and their short, quick passing game began with the puck on the stick of one of those defencemen, each of whom was good for close to a point per game.
Today, that dynamism is missing from Portland’s back end.
Watching the Winterhawks drop a 4-1 decision to the host Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday night, it was quite evident that the Portland forwards, especially the veterans, haven’t yet adapted to that fact.
Far too often, when a defenceman gained possession of the puck deep in Portland’s zone, the forwards were too quick to leave the zone. Full credit to the Blazers for taking advantage of that and getting a quick and heavy forecheck going. On more than one occasion that resulted in a turnover and a Kamloops scoring chance. In fact, there were two or three times when, after just such a sequence of events, a Kamloops forward found himself all alone with the puck on his stick in front of G Brendan Burke.
While it’s easy to point a finger at Burke and say that he needs to be more aggressive, his confidence likely would be higher if he could look up and see more than two teammates trying to ward off three opposing forwards.
The Winterhawks, after 24 games, are allowing 3.88 goals per game. That is exactly one goal more per game than they surrendered all of last season.
You aren’t going to win consistently in this league if you are giving up almost four goals a game.
For the Winterhawks to find their game again, the forwards are going to have to come back deeper with a purpose and visit a while longer, thus helping the defencemen clear the zone and cutting down on the opposing team’s scoring chances.
At the same time, the Blazers, who were 0-4-3 in their previous seven games, played awfully well in beating the Winterhawks on Wednesday night.
F Cole Ully, who is the straw that stirs the Blazers’ drink, looks to be back to his old self after a rough stretch battling an illness that, at one point, had him briefly in hospital.
He was the best player on the ice in Wednesday’s game and proved again that he is most deserving of an invitation to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp next month.

The Prince George Cougars have added D Kirk Bear, 19, to their roster. He had been with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires, where he put up two goals and eight assists in 23 games. . . . Bear, from Whitewood, Sask., was pointless in 35 games with the Red Deer Rebels last season. . . . The Cougars also released D Kobe Eagletail, 17, from their roster. He will join the Banff Bears of the Heritage junior league. Eagletail was pointless in two games with the Cougars. (Hey, gotta think there are worse places to play hockey than Banff!)
Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that G Nik Amundrud, 17, who has been out with a concussion since Oct. 31, has been cleared to return to action. With that, the Blades are expected to move one of their other two goaltenders -- Alex Moodie, 19, or Trevor Martin, 18 -- in the immediate future, perhaps even before they play host to the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday. . . . According to Nugent-Bowman, Blades F Alex Forsberg, who missed a 4-1 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Sunday with an undisclosed injury, is probable for Saturday, as is D Ryan Coghlan (shoulder), while F Wyatt Sloboshan (broken jaw) won’t play until mid-December at the earliest. . . . D Jordan Thomson (concussion) is away from the team but is expected back sometime next week.
Parts of Buffalo will have experienced about nine feet of snow by this morning. Apparently, it’s all because of something call a “localized lake effect.” . . . If you are wondering what that’s all about, National Geographic explains it right here, with the usual terrific photos, of course.

The Prince Albert Raiders have acquired F Cory Millette, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. That selection originally belonged to the Blades. . . . Millette, from Storthoaks, Sask., had 14 points, including five goals, in 22 games with the Blades. He was their second-leading scorer. . . . Last season, he was pointless in two games with the Red Deer Rebels, then put up 34 points, 17 of them goals, in 61 games with Saskatoon. . . . He was a second-round selection by Red Deer in the 2010 bantam draft. In 186 regular-season games, he has 86 points, 40 of them goals. . . . As Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix explains right here, the deal frees ice time for one of the Blades’ younger players.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have acquired F Jesse Shynkaruk, 18, from the Kamloops Blazers for a bantam draft pick. . . . According to the Blazers, it’s a fourth-round bantam draft pick in 2015 or 2017. According to the Warriors, it‘s a fourth-round pick in 2017. The WHL website says it’s a conditional fifth-round pick in 2015 or 2017. . . . He had eight points in 18 games with the Blazers this season. Shynkaruk, from Saskatoon, didn’t play in the Blazers’ 4-1 victory over the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday night. . . . The Blazers selected Shynkaruk in the seventh round of the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald has more right here.
The Vancouver Giants have acquired F Dakota Odgers, 18, from the Swift Current Broncos for a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Odgers, the son of former WHL/NHL F Jeff Odgers, is from Spy Hill, Sask. He was a second-round selection in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . In 65 regular-season games over two seasons, he has three goals and three assists. . . . This season, Odgers had two goals and an assist in 25 games with the Broncos. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province points out right here that the Giants are looking for some toughness and an improvement in their competitiveness. . . . Odgers is expected to be in the lineup tonight against the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson also is expected to be in the lineup. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.
Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts At Large, is working hard as he tries to chart all of the bantam draft picks that have changed hands. You can check that out right here.

F Mitch Holmberg, who won last season’s WHL scoring title while with the Spokane Chiefs, was involved in a trade on Thursday. . . . When the Vancouver Canucks dealt F Kellan Lain to the Edmonton Oil Kings for F Will Acton, the deal also included Holmberg’s rights. Holmberg, who had one assist in eight games with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, now may be joining the Utica Comets, the Canucks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Last season, Holmberg had 118 points, including 62 goals, as a 20-year-old with the Chiefs. . . .
Admiral Vladivostok of the KHL has dumped head coach Dusan Gregor and replaced him with Sergei Shepelev. Interestingly, Gregor is to remain on the coaching staff, along with the team’s other assistant coaches -- Alexander Selivanov, Andrei Matytsyn and Konstantin Vlasov. . . .
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association has selected Mike Boyle, the radio voice of the Spokane Chiefs, as one of three finalists for Washington Sportscaster of the Year. The winner is to be announced in mid-January. . . . Boyle has been the Chiefs’ play-by-play voice since 2002.

The Book Shelf: Part 1 of 4

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a brief look at some of the books I have read over the last while:

The Black Ace -- An old friend has died and Brad Shade, a former junior hockey star and ex-NHLer, is in Swift Current for the funeral. Of course, he gets drawn into the situation as there may be more to an apparent suicide than what meets the eye. If you are aware of author G.B. Joyce’s history with the citizens of Swift Current, there is more to this book than meets the eye, too. (Penguin, 362 pages, soft cover, Cdn$22.00)

Boy On Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard -- John Branch, a writer with The New York Times, wrote a three-part series on Boogaard, a WHL and NHL enforcer, for his newspaper. That led to this book, a thoroughly engrossing and unsettling look into the life on and off the ice of a giant of a man-child who wanted only to fit in and not be lonely. You need to read this book and then ask yourself why there still is fighting in hockey. You also might ask yourself how many positive drug tests it takes before the NHL, NHLPA or teams will intervene in the life of a troubled player. (HarperCollins, 371 pages, hard cover, Cdn$32.99)

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? (The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets’ First Year) -- That first year was 1962. Casey Stengel was the manager and he’s the one who coined the book’s title. Pulitzer Prize-winner Jimmy Breslin, the legendary New York newspaper columnist, takes us inside the Mets’ world, and it‘s hilarious and touching, all at the same time. Sheesh, Richie Ashburn could have returned for a second season with the Mets, but he chose to join the Philadelphia Phillies’ broadcast crew and took quite a paycut to do so. This is a quick and terrific read that should be on the must-read list of any sports fan. (Kindle)

City of Fallen Angels: A Mike Ward Mystery -- Mike Ward is a journalist for a wire service. He is Canadian and has been writing from Europe in the pre-Second World War years. But now he has been assigned to Los Angeles and all its glitter and its grunge. Yes, there has been a suicide, or was it a murder? Author Howard Engel gives the reader characters who are rich and dialogue that is richer. (Kindle)

Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football -- The New York Jets allowed author Nicholas Dawidoff access to all corners of their operation during the 2011 season -- they gave him everything he needed, including a security code, a locker and a desk. He attended meetings, stood on sidelines, watched games with co-ordinators. The result is one of the best sports books I have read. It especially provides the reader with a real feel for the brutality of pro football, not only with the injuries, but with the lack of job security for players and coaches. If you get the opportunity to read this book, do so. (Little, Brown, 485 pages, hard cover, Cdn$32.00, US$29,00)

A Drink Before The War -- Dennis Lehane is a favourite of mine, and he doesn’t disappoint with this book that introduced us to private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. The action takes place in Boston, so, yes, there are politicians involved. It’s Lehane’s ability to turn a phrase and to capture the seamy side of Boston in all its stinking glory that allows this book to rise to the top. This is good stuff, really good stuff. (Harper, 323 pages, soft cover, Cdn$12.99) 

The Drop -- I don’t know that anyone writes about the mean streets of Boston better than the afore-mentioned Dennis Lehane, and that is in evidence here. There are gangsters and bartenders and love and a puppy, all wrapped up into a nifty, grungy story. This one isn’t long so is perfect for a cold winter’s night. (Kindle)

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt -- Michael Lewis, perhaps best known in sporting circles as the author of The Blind Side and the terrific Moneyball, has turned to Wall Street for his latest book. He has been here before, especially with Liar’s Poker, a book that read like a novel but was about his time as a trader, so the ground isn’t unfamiliar. But, like Liar’s Poker, Flash Boys is so fantastic that the reader thinks it has to be fiction. Making Flash Boys even more interesting is that the hero, if he can be called that, is Brad Katsuyama, a Canadian who, in the beginning, works for the Royal Bank of Canada and wants only to do the right thing. (Kindle)

Future Greats and Heartbreaks: A Year Undercover in the Secret World of NHL Scouts -- Author Gare Joyce, who knows his way around more hockey arenas than he no doubt cares to admit, is a draft geek, no matter the sport. But with hockey in his veins, he is partial to the NHL draft. Thus, he spent the 2006-07 season inside the world of NHL scouts and the resulting book, which was published in 2008, is a terrific read with great insights from a number of perspectives. The reader gets a feel for life as a scout, some of which isn’t especially comfortable, and for the pressures on teenage hockey players as they strive to reach the NHL. (Kindle)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Royals, Hitmen make deal . . . Davis learns a lesson . . . Bow has answers for Broncos

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) has been released by Polonia Bytom (Poland Ekstraliga) by mutual agreement. In nine games, he had four goals and three assists. According to Polish reports, Meidl has an offer from a club in the Czech Republic Extraliga.

Immediately following the completion of Wednesday’s games, the Victoria Royals and Calgary Hitmen announced that they had swapped two players and three draft picks.
The Royals get F Greg Chase, 19, a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft and an eighth-round selection in 2016 for D Keegan Kanzig, 19, and a second-round pick in 2016.
It became evident that a trade was imminent when the Royals made Kanzig a healthy scratch before taking the ice against the visiting Kelowna Rockets last night.
Chase, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a first-round pick, 22nd overall, in the 2010 bantam draft.
This season, before leaving the Hitmen and asking to be traded, Chase had two goals and 13 assists in 15 games. Last season, he totalled 85 points, including 35 goals, in 70 games. In 219 career regular-season games, Chase has 177 points, including 60 goals.
A seventh-round pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2013 NHL draft, Chase signed a three-year entry-level contract in September.
After leaving the Hitmen, Chase played for the WHL that met a touring Russian side in the two-game Subway Super Series. Chase played well in those games; Dave Lowry, the Royals’ head coach, was the WHL’s head coach in the two games.
Chase is expected to be in Victoria’s lineup against the visiting Everett Silvertips on Friday night.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Kanzig, from Athabasca, Alta., is in his fourth WHL season. In 217 regular-season games, he has 23 points, including three goals. Kanzig was the seventh overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft. The Calgary Flames, who own the Hitmen, selected him in the third round of the NHL’s 2013 draft. He signed a three-year entry-level NHL contract in December.
“Keegan is a stay-at-home defenceman who will immediately make us a stronger team,” Hitmen general manager Mike Moore said in a news release. “We have a young blueline that will benefit from his experience, leadership and on-ice presence.”
The Hitmen next play on Friday against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Kanzig is expected to be in Calgary’s lineup.

On Tuesday evening, D Kevin Davis of the Everett Silvertips tweeted: “Wear your mouth guards.”
That’s it. Four words. Simple.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald posted an explanation:
“Davis was wearing a full bubble on his helmet during Wednesday's practice at the Comcast Community Rink. That's because during practice Tuesday he took a puck to the mouth on a deflected pass, and now his smile is a little different for the time being -- he was looking pretty gnarly in the aftermath. Davis ended up losing two teeth, and he could end up losing two more.”
Russ Farwell, the general manager of the Seattle Thunderbirds, has told Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province that F Mathew Barzal could rejoin his team early in January.
Barzal had surgery on Nov. 13 after suffering a fractured kneecap.
Farwell told Ewen via email that Barzal “has a recovery process to go through and is scheduled to be back with the team in early January.”
Asked how Barzal was injured, Farwell replied: “Prior to a practice in Saskatoon on our East Division road trip, Matt was roughhousing with some of his teammates in the locker room and tripped over a stick.”
Barzal, who put up 54 points in 59 games as a freshman last season, has 18 points in 16 games this season. He is expected to be an early selection in the NHL’s 2015 draft.

The Medicine Hat Tigers remain without D Connor Hobbs, 17, who left the team Oct. 29 and asked for a trade. He has since been added to the roster of the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. . . .
D Jordan Thomson, who has been sidelined with a concussion, has left the Saskatoon Blades and returned home to Wawanesa, Man., to deal with some personal business. He is expected back with the Blades sometime next week.


At Swift Current, G Landon Bow stopped 25 shots to help the Broncos to a 5-0 blanking of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Bow has a WHL-leading five shutouts in 22 appearances this season. . . . Broncos F Coda Gordon had a goal, his 12th, and an assist as he ran his point streak to 15 games, best in the WHL this season. He also finished plus-4. . . . F Calvin Leth’s first goal of the season, and fourth in 73 career games, stood up as the winner. . . . Brandon was 0-for-5 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-for-2. . . . The Broncos (13-8-4) have points in five straight (3-0-2) and closed to within five points of the East Division-leading Wheat Kings (17-5-1). . . . Brandon continues to play without D Kale Clague, who returned from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Broncos meet the Raiders in Prince Albert on Friday, while the Wheat Kings return home to face the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . .

At Moose Jaw, F Brett Pollock scored the game’s last two goals to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory in OT over the Warriors. . . . Pollock tied the game at 18:21 of the third period and won it at 4:14 of OT. He’s got nine goals this season. . . . F Brayden Point scored both Moose Jaw goals, his 13th of the season, on the PP, giving it a 2-1 lead at 4:23 of the third. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 30 shots, five fewer than Moose Jaw’s Justin Paulic. . . . The Oil Kings (12-8-3) have points in four straight (3-0-1) as they head for Brandon and a weekend doubleheader. . . . The Warriors (9-10-3), who meet the Hitmen in Calgary on Friday, had won their previous two games. . . .

At Cranbrook, F Trevor Cox scored three times and added an assist to lead the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 7-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice, which had its five-game winning streak come to an end. . . . The Tigers (16-4-2) took a 5-0 lead into the third period. . . . Cox, who has five goals, scored in the first and last minutes of the second period and completed his first WHL hat trick at 15:26 of the third. . . . Tigers D Tommy Vannelli scored his ninth goal and added two assists. . . . The Ice got a goal and two assists from each of F Tim Bozon and F Sam Reinhart. . . . Reinhart tied F Jarret Stoll’s franchise record for career assists, with 162. . . . The Tigers have points in their last three games (2-0-1). . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . . The Tigers visit the Red Deer Rebels on Friday, while the Ice is at home to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

At Kamloops, the Blazers ended a seven-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Blazers (10-10-4), who were 0-4-3 on that slide, got 41 saves from G Connor Ingram. . . . Kamloops F Cole Ully scored his 10th goal and added an assist, while F Colin Shirley had two assists. . . . The Blazers were missing F Matthew Campese, who was acquired Tuesday from the Victoria Royals, and veteran D Brady Gaudet. According to Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, Gaudet has a shoulder injury and will be out indefinitely. . . . The Winterhawks (9-12-3) had been 2-0-1 in their previous three games. . . . Trailing 2-0 early in the second period, the Winterhawks had two 3-on-1 breaks and a 2-on-1 and came up empty each time. . . . The Winterhawks will meet the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday and Saturday, while the Blazers entertain the Prince George Cougars on Friday. . . .

At Prince George, F Chase Witala and F Cal Babych each scored twice as the Cougars dumped the Vancouver Giants, 6-1. . . . Vancouver had won 6-4 on Tuesday night. . . . Babych broke a 1-1 tie at 16:03 of the first period and made it 3-1 at 14:17 of the second. He’s got three goals. He went into the game with a goal and an assist in 12 games. . . . Witala has 13 goals this season. . . . F Haydn Hopkins helped the Cougars’ cause with three assists. . . . F Zach Pochiro, who was returned to the Cougars by the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, had one assist. With him in the lineup, the Cougars scratched G Jared Rathjen to stay at the mandate three 20-year-olds. The other two are F Jari Erricson and F Chance Braid. The latter had a goal, his sixth, and an assist. . . . The Cougars (12-12-0), who visit Kamloops on Friday, had lost their previous four games. . . . The Giants slipped to 9-13-0. They are at home to the Regina Pats on Friday. The Pats arrived in Vancouver on Wednesday, while the Giants were playing in Prince George. . . .

At Victoria, D Jesse Lees scored twice and added an assist to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-3 victory over the Royals. . . . The Rockets led 3-0 when Lees scored his second goal, and fifth of the season, at 10:14 of the first period. . . . D Joe Hicketts, who scored his sixth goal and added two assists, cut the Royals’ deficit to 4-3 at 18:17 of the third period, but Kelowna F Nick Merkley scored an empty-netter at 19:44. . . . Rockets F Rourke Chartier scored his WHL-leading 24th goal. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer, whose rights belong to the Royals when this season began, stopped 30 shots. . . . The Royals (12-11-2) had won their previous two games. . . . The Rockets (21-1-2) are 11-0-2 over their last 13 outings. . . . The game ended with something of a melee that could result in fines and/or suspensions. As well, Victoria F Brandon Magee picked up a spearing major and game misconduct. Magee missed the start of this season as he waited out a 12-game suspension left over from a playoff series with the Portland Winterhawks last spring. . . . The Royals are at home to the Everett Silvertips on Friday. . . . The Rockets, who went 4-0-1 on a five-game road trip, will meet visiting Portland on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pochiro back to Cougars . . . Blazers, Royals deal . . . Dosanjh big for Giants

F Oleg Saprykin (Seattle, 1998-2000) has been released by Sochi (Russia, KHL) by mutual agreement. He had three goals in 15 games. . . .
F Toni Rajala (Brandon, 2009-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL). He was released by Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia, KHL) on Nov. 10, after recording three goals and 10 assists in 21 games. . . .
F Willie Coetzee (Red Deer, 2007-10) has been released after an unsuccessful tryout by Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had four assists in 12 games during the tryout.

F Zach Pochiro, 20, was returned to the Prince George Cougars by the NHL’s St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Pochiro, who is from Las Vegas, had been with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. He had two assists in eight games. . . . Pochiro, who didn’t play against the visiting Vancouver Giants last night, was selected by the Blues in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL draft. In 128 regular-season games with the Cougars, he had 105 points, including 42 goals. . . . Pochiro’s arrival leaves the Cougars with four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum. They will have two weeks to get down to three. The others are G Jared Rathjen, F Chance Braid and F Jari Erricson.
There was an interesting development on the NCAA front as Arizona State University announced that it is planning on transitioning its hockey program to Division I in time for the 2016-17 season. It plans on playing as full Division I schedule then as an independent and hopes to be part of a conference for 2017-18. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.
If you are wondering, there are four players on WHL rosters who are from Arizona. D Tristen Pfeifer of the Everett Silvertips is from Phoenix, while G Brendan Burke of the Portland Winterhawks, F Austyn Playfair of the Tri-City Americans and F Austin Carroll of the Victoria Royals all show Scottsdale as their hometown.

The Kamloops Blazers have acquired F Matthew Campese, who turns 17 on Dec. 10, from the Victoria Royals. The Blazers also get a 2016 fifth-round bantam draft pick, while giving up a third-round selection in 2015. . . . Campese, the son of Prince Albert Raiders general manager Bruno Campese, has two goals in 14 games with the Royals. He was a third-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. . .  Last season, Campese had 88 points, including 46 goals, in 37 games with a midget team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy. . . . Campese is expected to join the Blazers in time to play tonight against the visiting Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops is carrying 25 players, including eight defencemen and 15 forwards.

F Mathew Barzal of the Seattle Thunderbirds has undergone surgery to repair a cracked kneecap and is expected to be out until sometime in January. He was injured while horsing around with teammates while in Saskatoon during their recent East Division swing. . . .
D Austin Adam, who has missed 17 games with a shoulder injury, is expected back in the Moose Jaw Warriors’ lineup tonight as they play host to the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . With the 6-foot-6 Adam healthy again, the Warriors returned D Colin Paradis, 16, to the midget AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings. . . .Dickson Liong, who has done some writing from the Vancouver area for Taking Note, also writes for The Fourth Period. His latest piece, on Vancouver Canucks D Chris Tanev, is right here. . . .
F Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who won the WHL’s scoring title in 2008-09 while with the Vancouver Giants, has signed a tryout deal with the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. Pierro-Zabotel, 26, had been with the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators, putting up 13 points, including seven goals, in 11 games.


In Regina, F Connor Gay’s second goal of the game, at 2:45 of OT, gave the Pats a 5-4 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Gay, who also had an assist, has nine goals this season. . . . Regina D Colby Williams had broken a 3-3 tie with his third goal, via the PP, at 4:00 of the third period. . . . F Lane Bauer scored two PP goals for the Oil Kings, the second one, at 10:41 of the third period, forcing OT. . . . He’s got six goals. . . . F Dryden Hunt had a goal, his 10th, and two assists for the Pats, who got three assists from D Kyle Burroughs. . . . D Ashton Sautner had two assists for Edmonton. . . . The Pats (12-9-1) have won four in a row. . . . The Oil Kings (11-8-3) had won their past two games. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored the game’s first four goals en route to a 4-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . F Cole Sanford scored his 15th goal of the season for the Tigers (15-4-2), who had lost their previous two games. . . . D Tyler Lewington, F Trevor Cox and F Chad Labelle each had two assists for the Tigers. . . . D Ty Stanton helped out with his fourth goal and an assist. . . . The Rebels got goals from F Preson Kopeck, his seventh, and F Wyatt Johnson, his 10th, in the second half of the third period. . . . Red Deer was 1-for-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-for-6. . . . Red Deer (11-9-3) had been 3-0-1 in its past four games and 7-1-2 in its last 10. . . .

In Prince George, the Vancouver Canucks overcame a 3-0 deficit and went on to dump the Cougars, 6-4. . . . The Cougars took a 3-0 lead on F Chase Witala’s 10th goal, via the PP, at 6:16 of the second period. . . . The Giants tied it on D Clayton Kirichenko’s second goal, at 5:18 of the third, on the PP, and took the lead when F Matt Bellerive scored his seventh goal at 9:54. . . . Witala pulled the Cougars into a tie at 17:32, only to have Vancouver D Shaun Dosanjh scored his first goal just 28 seconds later. It stood up as the winner. . . . Vancouver G Cody Porter stopped 21 of 22 shots after replacing Payton Lee after the Cougars’ third goal. . . . F Thomas Foster had three assists for the Giants (9-12-0). . . . Vancouver F Dalton Sward scored his ninth career shorthanded goal, one off the franchise record held by F James Henry (2007-12). . . . The Cougars (11-12-0) have lost four in a row. . . . The same two teams meet in Prince George again tonight. . . . The Giants continue to be without F Tyler Benson, who suffered an undisclosed injury at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. He won’t play in tonight’s rematch either. . . . Vancouver did have F Jakob Stukel (hand) back in the lineup for the first time since the second game of the season. . . .

In Victoria, F Axel Blomqvist scored at 3:16 of OT to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals scored the game’s last three goals. . . . F Tyson Baillie scored twice for Kelowna, giving him 17. . . . Victoria F Austin Carroll got Victoria to within one, at 3-2, with his 15th goal at 6:04 of the third period, on a PP. . . . F Brandon Magee tied it with his seventh goal at 18:03 of the third. . . . Blomqvist has 10 goals. . . . Kelowna F Rourke Chartier, who leads the WHL in goals (23), had his 10-game goal streak snapped. . . . Kelowna F Nick Merkley had one assist; he leads the WHL in assists (34) and points (41). . . . D Travis Brown and F Tyler Soy each had two assists, as did Kelowna D Jesse Lees. . . . Baillie also had an assist. . . . The Rockets (20-1-2) have points in their last 12 (10-0-2). . . . The Royals (11-11-2) have won two in a row.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A look at Lorne Frey . . . Still hope for WolfPack . . . Constantine pays for early exit

Lorne Frey of the Kelowna Rockets may have the longest title in the WHL -- assistant general manager, head scout and director of player personnel. Besides being one of the good guys, he has an eagle eye for talent. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has a video look at Frey right here. It’s good, and it’s 5:34 in length.
F Tyler Nanne, an 18-year-old from Edina, Minn., has signed a national letter of intent with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Nanne, whose WHL rights belong to the Vancouver Giants, is expected to begin playing there next season. This season, he is with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. A fifth-round selection by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2014 draft, he is a grandson to former NHL executive and player Lou Nanne.
F Colt Conrad, whose WHL rights belong to the Brandon Wheat Kings, has signed a national letter of intent with the Western Michigan University Broncos. . . . Conrad, 17, is attending Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. He is from St. Alphonse, Man. . . . Conrad was selected by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the third round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. On Nov. 16, his rights were dealt to Brandon. The Hurricanes sent D Ryan Pilon and Conrad to the Wheat Kings for D Nick Walters, F Taylor Cooper and D Tanner Browne. Should Conrad end up with Brandon, the Hurricanes would get a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.
Mario Forgione, a former owner of the OHL’s Mississauga IceDogs, says CHL teams are making money on the backs of teenagers, who aren’t getting back nearly what they should. . . . “Fortunately,” offers CHL commissioner David Branch, he’s no longer an owner in our league. . . .” Rick Westhead of has that story right here.
Trevor Bast, who heads up a group hoping to revive hockey at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, and Cam Weir, a WolfPack player, met with athletic director Ken Olynyk on Monday.
According to Bast, “The meeting . . . went great.”
While Bast didn’t get approval to restart the program that was axed prior to the start of this season, it seems that his proposal will move on to the next level.
That means waiting until after Dec. 2 when “the other decision-maker,” as he put it, returns from a business trip to China.


Kevin Constantine, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, has been fined $500 for talking his way out of Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland during the first period. . . . He is the second WHL head coach to be fined this season. Steve Konowalchuk of the Seattle Thunderbirds paid $750 for post-game comments concerning the officiating after a 2-1 loss in Everett on Oct. 25. . . .
F Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice has 160 career regular-season assists, two shy of the franchise record held by F Jarret Stoll (1998-2002). . . . The Ice is at home to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Wednesday.


The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard has made a coaching change, with Jason Smith having replaced Clay Debray. . . . According to a news release, Debray resigned effective Nov. 13, with Smith, who had been the assistant coach, taking over for the remainder of this season. . . . The Blizzard, which plays out of The Pas, has a 10-13-1 record, good for seventh place in the 11-team league. . . .
The AJHL's Calgary Mustangs hired Chad Allen as their head coach earlier this month, replacing Derek Stuart, who was fired and has since returned to the Okotoks Oilers as an assistant coach. . . . The Mustangs are 7-18-1 and last in the eight-team South Division. . . . Stuart was in his second season as their head coach. He spent three seasons with Okotoks before signing with the Mustangs.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chartier, Magee tie records . . . Gordon continues streak . . . Constantine gets the gate

Defenceman Kevin Davis of the Everett Silvertips scores in the 15th round
of a Saturday night shootout with the Kamloops Blazers. That goal gave
Everett a 3-2 victory.

(Photo: Chris Mast /

Kelowna F Rourke Chartier tied a franchise record on Saturday when he scored a goal for a 10th straight game as the Rockets beat the Cougars 6-2 in Prince George. He now shares the record with F Jesse Schultz, who did it in 2002-03. The Rockets meet the Royals in Victoria on Tuesday. . . .(A tip of the hat to Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, for this one.) . . .

F Brandon Magee of the Victoria Royals tied a franchise record with five assists in Saturday’s 7-5 victory over the Giants in Vancouver. Magee shares that record with F Mark Santorelli, who managed that feat with the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) in a 7-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Oct. 27, 2007. . . . (A tip of the hat to Marlon Martens, the radio voice of the Royals, for this one.)

The Vancouver Giants leave today for Prince George and a Tuesday-Wednesday doubleheader with the Cougars. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that D Ryely McKinstry, who has an undisclosed injury, won’t make the trip, but that F Tyler Benson, who suffered an undisclosed injury at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge, and F Jakob Stukel (hand) should be on the bus.


In Swift Current, the Broncos erased a 1-0 deficit with two second-period goals and beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-1. . . . F Colby Cave pulled the Broncos even at 6:52 on the PP, and F Glenn Gawdin gave them the lead at 8:06. . . . Cave has nine goals; Gawdin has six. . . . Gawdin also had an assist. . . . Broncos F Coda Gordon drew an assist to run his point streak to 14 games, the longest in the WHL this season. . . . Broncos D Ayrton Nikkel and Seattle F Luke Osterman were ejected after a fight at 5:26 of the second period. They scrapped as they came out of the penalty box after serving unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Have to wonder if they won’t get suspended for being involved in a staged fight. . . . The Broncos (12-8-4) have points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Thunderbirds (9-10-3) have lost two in a row. They finished their East Division swing at 2-4-0. Author Gare Joyce, who besides writing novels does features for Sportsnet Magazine, rode the bus with the Thunderbirds during the trip. . . . The Thunderbirds continue to be without F Mathew Barzal, who I’m told has a broken kneecap. He is expected to be out up to six weeks. . . . The Broncos were without F Tanner LeSann, who drew a one-game suspension for being involved in a staged fight nine seconds into Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. D Mackenze Stewart of the Raiders also was suspended for one game. . . .

In Calgary, G Trevor Martin stopped 47 shots but it wasn’t enough as his Saskatoon Blades dropped a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Calgary scored twice in the first period and put it away with two more in the third, after the visitors had cut the deficit to 2-1. . . . D Michael Zipp had a goal, his third, and an assist for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary (10-8-3) has points in six straight (4-0-2), while the Blades (6-17-0) have lost three in a row. . . . Saskatoon played without F Nick Zajac, who was given a one-game suspension after taking a boarding major in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Rebels in Red Deer. . . . Among’s Saskatoon’s scratches was F Alex Forsberg, with an undisclosed injury. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game’s last seven goals and beat the Evertt Silvertips, 7-1. . . . Portland F Nik Petan scored twice to erase a 1-0 first-period deficit. He’s got four goals this season. . . . After his second goal, at 18:21 of the first period, Everett head coach Kevin Constantine was ejected from the game. Portland freelancer Scott Sepich tweeted: “Constantine basically forced the ejection by not putting any players on the ice after Portland’s 2nd goal. Held up the game to grandstand.” . . . Here’s what appeared on the Silvertips’ website: “Tempers flared after Ivan Nikolishin was launched into the boards from behind by Alex Schoenborn, but the ensuing penalties led only to a 4-on-4 situation. Petan scored his second of the period seconds later and Constantine was then ejected for arguing the calls with the officials.” . . . Petan also had an assist, while F Alex Schoenborn scored twice, giving him five.. . . .Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 12th goal of the season. It came via the PP that was awarded when Constantine was ejected with a bench minor. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-for-6. . . . The Winterhawks (9-11-3) are 2-0-1 in their last three games. . . . Everett (14-3-3) was trying to win its third game in as many nights. It had beaten visiting Portland 4-3 in a shootout on Friday. . . . These teams already have met six times this season, with Everett now holding a 4-1-1 advantage.

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