Thursday, November 27, 2014

What went wrong in Vancouver? , , , QMJHL team worth $20 million? . . . Rattie to Broncos

So . . . just what was it that happened with the Vancouver Giants and Troy Ward, the 25-game head coach who lost his job on Wednesday? Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province takes a look right here.
The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts have been sold and Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reports that one source has told him the sale price was “north of $20 million, and could perhaps be as high as $25 million.” . . . Campbell’s piece is right here.

G Logan Thompson, who was dropped from the Brandon Wheat Kings’ roster on Tuesday, will play for the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. Thompson, 17, was a sixth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . He was released by Brandon after it acquired G Alex Moodie, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades to play alongside Jordan Papirny, 18. . . . Thompson will remain on Brandon’s protected list. . . .

F Taden Rattie, 16, of the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, has committed to the Western Michigan Broncos of head coach Andy Murray. In 27 games this season, Rattie has nine points, including five goals. . . . He is the younger brother of former Portland Winterhawks star F Ty Rattie. . . . Taden was never selected in the WHL bantam draft.

The Book Shelf: Part 4 of 4

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

Tales of a First-Round Nothing: My Life as an NHL Footnote -- Terry Ryan, who was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the eighth overall pick of the NHL’s 1995 draft, went on to play just eight games in the NHL. What happened? Well, if you can get through all of the clichés and the obscenities, you will come to have some understanding of what went wrong. Ryan also paints a pretty vivid picture of the worlds of junior and professional hockey. And his dissing of the widely respected Red Fisher, a Hockey Hall of Famer who covered the Habs for the Montreal Star and Gazette for eons, is must reading. (Kindle)

True Confessions -- This book, by John Gregory Dunne, was published in 1977. I don’t understand how I missed it until the summer of 2014. But it was worth the wait, because this is a classic. Set in Los Angeles just after the Second World War, it is the story of brothers Des and Tom Spellacy, one a Catholic priest and the other a cop. Both are playing the game, their worlds dominated by men of power and their bagmen. Not for the faint of heart or tender ears, the dialogue in this book is as real as you will read anywhere from any era. . . . Under the headline The Book You Have to Read, a review at by Steve Nester, includes this: “Obviously a tribute to the genre, True Confessions is not obsequious, imitative, or slobbering. A nice long kiss on the mouth but with too much class for tongue, True Confessions says, ‘I love you,’ without any meretricious groping. As a work of art it takes its place in a long literary tradition of crime novels where the only new ground broken is originality of voice and the adroitly and distinctively depicted confluence of character, motive, and circumstance.” (Kindle)

Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years -- This is Volume 1 of what author Mark Lewisohn has said will be a trilogy. Lewisohn is recognized as the leading historian of the Beatles, and Volume 1 is evidence of that. There can be no calculating the amount of research that went into this work that covers The Beatles from the childhood of all band members through 1962. Between the covers are anecdotes and minutiae of all kinds. Not be missed if you’re a Beatles or music lover. (Crown, hard cover, 944 pages, Cdn$45.00)

The Two Faces of January -- Written by the award-winning Patricia Highsmith, this book -- the movie is billed as a psychological thriller -- was published in 1964. I found the book to be more of a character study than a thriller. Still, I quite enjoyed the story of an American student in Athens, who ends up in a bizarre relationship with a con artist and his wife. Highsmith, who died in 1995, also wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley, among many other books, and The Two Faces of January is very much in that vein. The movie, starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst and Oscar Isaac, was released early in 2014. (Kindle)

Up, Up & Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos -- Despite what has to be one of the more unwieldy titles in publishing history, author Jonah Keri hits this one clear out of Olympic Stadium. Yes, he hits it through the hole in the roof and right out of the Big Owe. If you were an Expos fan, reading this book will cut you to the quick. Keri, who lived in Montreal and had an obvious love affair with the team, opens the corpse and lays it all out there -- the good, the bad and the ugly. You may be surprised to learn that Claude Brochu and Jeffrey Loria shouldn’t get all the blame for the Expos’ departure; no, before Loria there were some cheap partners who may well have prevented this team from becoming a dynasty. Oh, and Bud Selig, the commissioner, might have some blood on his hands, too. (Kindle)

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 -- Margaret MacMillan’s incredibly well-researched book probes all that went on in Europe in the years, indeed decades, leading up to the start of the First World War. The Globe and Mail has described MacMillan as “one of the most recognized and respected historians in the English-speaking world” and she more than lives up to that reputation with this work. It is a compelling read, although it’s hard to comprehend the mess that was created as those in charge, some qualified and many not, jockeyed for position. (Kindle)

Wild Pitches: Rumblings, Grumblings, and Reflections on the Game I Love -- Jayson Stark has covered baseball, and had a grand time doing it, for ESPN since 2000. Before that, he was a veteran newspaper reporter on the baseball beat. His love affair for the game shines through this collection of columns that were written for ESPN. The columns revisit various recent World Series and other happenings of note. But it is the offbeat columns -- on such things as glove talking, the Home Run Derby and strange occurrences -- that give this work its charm. (Kindle)

The World According to Breslin -- Jimmy Breslin, who won a Pulitzer Prize for opinion writing, is a newspaper columnist of the highest order. He is a columnist’s columnist. No one loves New York like he does and that, more than anything else, shines through this compilation that was first released in 1984. He is at his best, though, when he takes on those in the world of politics and doesn’t take any prisoners. These days, at the age of 83, Breslin writes one column a week, for the New York Daily News’ Sunday edition. (Kindle)


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Giant coaching change . . . Ice loses one to retirement . . . Blades, Wheaties deal

F Malte Strömvall (Tri-City, 2011-13) has been released by the Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL) by mutual agreement. He had two goals in 21 games. . . .
D Frantisek Mrazek (Red Deer, 1997-99) has signed a contract through Dec. 15 with Weiden (Germany, Oberliga) after a successful tryout. He had three goals and two assists in four games.


The Vancouver Giants fired head coach Troy Ward on Wednesday, just four months after they had signed him to a three-year contract.
Ward was signed to a three-year contract on July 17 to replace Don Hay, who had spent the previous 10 seasons as the Giants’ head coach. Hay returned to Kamloops where he now is head coach of the Blazers.
The Giants were 9-16-0 and last in the B.C. Division under Ward, who spent the previous three seasons as head coach of the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Calgary moved the Heat to Glens Falls, N.Y., over the summer, but chose not to re-sign Ward.
“Obviously, with where we are in the standings, it just wasn’t working with Troy,” Giants general manager Scott Bonner said in a news release. “This is the unfortunate part of sports, but we thought change was needed.”
Matt Erhart, the Giants’ lead assistant coach, now is interim head coach, with Ian Gallagher, the club’s strength and conditioning coach, and skills coach Yogi Svejkovsky his assistants.
The Giants, who began an Alberta swing with a 6-1 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Tuesday, dropped a 4-0 decision to the Hurricanes in Lethbridge last night. Bonner is on the road with the Giants.
Ward is the second coaching casualty of this season. The Prince Albert Raiders fired Cory Clouston on Oct. 31 and replaced him with Marc Habscheid.
Over the summer, 10 WHL teams hired new head coaches.
The junior B Grand Forks Border Bruins of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired Brad Snyder, their general manager and head coach. The Border Bruins went into Tuesday in fifth place in the five-team Neil Murdoch Division, with a 7-15-1-2 record and five straight losses. . . . Snyder was in his first season in Grand Forks, having been hired on May 12. . . . Darryl Olsen, who is from Grand Forks, now is handling the coaching duties.
The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars have signed general manager and head coach Kevin Hasselberg to a two-year extension that runs through 2016-17. . . . Hasselberg is in his fourth season with the North Stars, who are 15-5-5-0. In the three-plus seasons under Hasselberg, the North Stars are 118-58-7-10.

F Kyle O’Connor, 18, announced his retirement from the Kootenay Ice on Wednesday. According to the Ice, O’Connor “has retired from hockey in order to pursue educational opportunities.” . . . O’Connor, from Calgary, was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . He had 22 points, including 10 goals, in 132 games over three seasons. This season, he had a goal and an assist in 20 games. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more right here.

The Brandon Wheat Kings and Saskatoon Blades did something of a goatending dance on Wednesday. The Blades dealt G Alex Moodie to the Wheat Kings for a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft. . . . The draft pick is conditional on Moodie being on the Wheat Kings’ roster on Jan. 10. . . . The Wheat Kings then released G Logan Thompson, 17, from their roster and are looking for a place for him to play. Thompson is from Calgary. . . Moodie, a 19-year-old Winnipegger, was a fifth-round selection by the Blades in the 2010 bantam draft. In Brandon, he will play alongside Jordan Papirny, 18. Moodie, who practised with the Wheat Kings yesterday,  should be in Brandon’s lineup on Friday night when it plays in Saskatoon. . . . This is the second time this season that Moodie has been traded by the Blades. Earlier, he was dealt to the Spokane Chiefs, who later returned him to Saskatoon. . . . The Blades have settled on Nik Amundrud, 17, and Trevor Martin, 18, as their goaltenders, at least for now.

D Anea Ferrario, a 16-year-old from Ogden, Utah, has committed to Brown University. He was a seventh-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. He is playing this season for the Victory Honda U16 team. . . .
F Kris Schmidli of the Kelowna Rockets will play for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship that runs Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Toronto and Montreal. Schmidli, an 18-year-old sophomore, has 17 points, including five goals, in 26 games this season.


In Saskatoon, the Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s first three goals and hung on for a 4-2 victory over the Blades. . . . F Tanner Jeannot’s first goal gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead at 4:58 of the third period. . . . The Blades then got PP goals form F Brett Stovin, his fifth, at 9:19, and F Ryan Graham, his seventh, at 14:10. . . . Warriors F Jaimen Yakubowski put it away with an empty-netter at 19:47. . . . Moose Jaw got PP goals from both its big guns, with F Brayden Point getting his 14th goal and F Jack Rodewald getting No. 13. Point has six goals in three games against Moose Jaw this season. . . . Warriors D Alexey Steptsov had two assists. . . . The Warriors are 11-12-3, while the Blades are 7-17-1. . . . Prior to the game, the Warriors brought in D Josh Brook from the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds. Brook, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 bantam draft, had 10 points, three of them goals, in 11 games with the Hounds. He’s from Roblin, Man. . . .

In Calgary, the Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Raiders F Gage Quinney broke a 1-1 tie with his fourth goal at 16:52 of the second period, via the PP. . . . F Reid Gardiner scored his 14th goal at 17:57 of the first. . . . Calgary D Travis Sanheim scored his ninth, on a PP, at 8:18 of the second. . . . Prince Albert G Rylan Parenteau stopped 17 shots, two fewer than Calgary’s Evan Johnson. . . . Raiders D Josh Morrissey and D Hunter Warner each had two assists. . . . The Raiders reached .500 at 13-13-0, while  the Hitmen slipped to 13-10-3. . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings scored 10 seconds into the first period and went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 4-1. . . . Edmonton F Brett Pollock scored his13th goal to get the home team rolling. . . . Edmonton G Patrick Dea, making his third straight start with Tristan Jarry battling an illness, stopped 31 shots as the Oil Kings (13-10-4) halted a three-game losing skid (0-2-1). . . . F Cole Benson and D Dysin Mayo each had a goal and an assist for Edmonton. Each has six goals. . . . Mayo also was plus-4. . . . The Broncos are 14-10-4. . . . They got their lone goal from F Colby Cave, his 11th, at 17:56 of the third. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Stuart Skinner stopped 37 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Hurricanes (6-15-4) had lost their previous nine games (0-6-3). . . . The Giants (9-17-0) have lost five in a row. . . . Skinner, a 16-year-old from Edmonton, recorded his first WHL shutout. He hadn’t played for the Hurricanes since Oct. 26. He played in the U-17 World Hockey Challenge and then suffered an undisclosed injury during a practice upon his return. . . . Lethbridge F Riley Sheen had four assists, while F Jamal Watson scored twice, the first one coming a minute into the game. He’s got 12 goals. . . .

In Prince George, F Morgan Klimchuk scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 5-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Klimchuk has eight goals. . . . The Pats (14-10-1) are 1-1-0 on their B.C. Division tour. . . . Regina led 3-0 when F Connor Gay scored his 10th goal at 7:01 of the second period. . . . F Dryden Hunt and F Sam Steel each had two assists for Regina. . . . The Cougars (13-14-0) got to within 3-1 and 4-2 but never any closer. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 30 shots. . . . Prince George F Jari Erricson took a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 18:56 of the third period. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Rourke Chartier, the WHL’s leading sniper, scored twice as the Kelowna Rockets dumped the Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . Chartier leads the WHL in goals (28) and points (47). . . . Linemate Nick Merkley, who has 46 points, had one assist. . . . Chartier’s second goal, 19 seconds into the third period, broke a 1-1 tie. . . . Chartier has 17 goals in 13 games this month. . . . Kelowna F Tyson Baillie scored his 19th goal to stretch the lead to 3-1 at 9:38. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistler stopped 26 shots, four fewer than Tri-City’s Eric Comrie. . . . The Rockets now are 22-2-3, while the Americans are 14-11-0 and have lost two in a row. . . .

In Spokane, F Kailer Yamamoto and F Calder Brooks each had three points as the Chiefs doubled the Victoria Royals, 4-2. . . . Brooks scored twice, giving him 10, and added an assist; Yamamoto drew three assists. . . . Spokane D Jason Fram broke a 1-1 tie with his third goal at 15:03 of the second period and F Adam Helewka added insurance with his 13th goal at 19:04. . . . F Greg Chase scored his second goal in as many games for the Royals, while F Austin Carroll added his 18th. . . . The Chiefs (13-7-3) have won four straight and moved into second in the U.S. Division, a point ahead of Tri-City. . . . The Royals (14-13-2) have lost two in a row. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored two first-period goals en route to a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . F Carson Stadnyk got his 11th goal at 5:51 and F Brayden Low scored No. 7 at 9:41, on a PP, as Everett took a 2-0 lead. . . . F Collin Shirley, with his sixth, got the Blazers on the board with a PP goal at 10:01 of the second. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz turned aside 22 shots. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram, making his fifth straight start, stopped 25 shots. . . . This was the final meeting of the regular season between these teams; the Silvertips went 4-0-0 and now have beaten the Blazers eight straight times. . . . WHL Facts tweeted that Lotz was 1.22/.957 in the four games with Kamloops this season. . . . The Silvertips (16-4-3) have won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (11-11-5) had been 2-0-2 in its previous four.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Warriors to honour Captain Canada . . . Scherbak only bruised . . . Blades shock Wheaties

F Lukáš Vantuch (Calgary, Lethbridge, 2005-07) has been loaned by Liberec to Hradec Králové (both Czech Republic, Extraliga) for the rest of this season. He had been an injury replacement with Landshut (Germany, DEL2) earlier this season, earning three assists in six games. He was released on Oct. 21. . . .
D Ty Wishart (Prince George, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Mora (Sweden, Allsvenskan). This season, with the Evansville Icemen (ECHL), he had one goal and one assist in 14 games. He was a teammate with the NY Islanders and Bridgeport (AHL) with Mora head coach Jeremy Colliton (Prince Albert, 2001-05).

The Moose Jaw Warriors will retire No. 28 in honour of F Ryan Smyth (1992-95) on Feb. 6. A second-round selection by the Warriors in the 1991 bantam draft, he totalled 224 points, 110 of them goals, in 188 regular-season games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors also have retired numbers worn by Kelly Buchberger (24), Mike Keane (25) and Theo Fleury (9). . . . According to a news release, “His best season was 1993-94, in 72 games he had 50 goals and 105 points. He is one of 10 players in Warriors history to score 50 goals in a season, and one of 13 players to record 100 or more points in a season.” . . . The Edmonton Oilers selected Smyth with the sixth pick of the NHL’s 1994 draft. He played 1,270 NHL games, with the Oilers, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings. He also is known as Captain Canada for having played 90 games for various national teams. According to the news release, Smyth “is the only player in hockey history to win gold at the Olympics, World Cup, World Championships, World Juniors, and Spengler Cup.” . . .
Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that Everett Silvertips F Nikita Scherbak is day-to-day with a "deep thigh bruise." Scherback was taken from the ice in Kent, Wash., on a stretcher on Saturday night, during a game in which Everett beat the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-2 in a shootout. . . . Scherbak has 28 points, including 11 goals, in 19 games, but he won't play tonight against the visiting Kamloops Blazers.
F Marcus Messier, 20, has joined the AJHL's Drumheller Dragons, and has three points, including two goals, in three games going into Tuesday action. Messier left the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 8, citing "personal family matters." He was placed on WHL waivers on Nov. 13. . . . Tip of the fedora to Tyler King, the radio voice of the AJHL's Fort McMurray Oil Barons, for the info.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet has split his weekly 30 Thoughts into two pieces this time. . . . He opens right here with a terrific piece on memories of Pat Quinn and Victor Tikhonov. . . . Friedman follows up with his 30 Thoughts right here.
Purely for your reading enjoyment, right here is a piece written by Jef Lund for Rolling Stone. The headline says it all: The 15 Worst Owners in Sports. . . . Note that this one comes with a language warning.


F Carter Folk of the Lethbridge Hurricanes drew a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for an incident in a game against the host Kootenay Ice on Friday night. D Dylan Overdyk was injured on the play and is out indefinitely. . . .
F Matthew Campese of the Kamloops Blazers was suspended for two games for a knee-on-knee hit on F Chase Witala of the Prince George Cougars on Friday night. Witala left the game and didn’t return, nor did he play Saturday in Vancouver. He is shown on the injury report as day-to-day. . . .
F Aaron Macklin of the Prince George Cougars and F Dakota Odgers of the Vancouver Giants scrapped off the opening faceoff in Vancouver on Saturday. . . Macklin drew a two-game suspension for his second such fight of the season; Odgers got a one-game suspension. . . . Vancouver drew a $250 fine for the fight, while Prince George was hit with a $500 fine. . . .
F Chase Lang of the Calgary Hitmen drew a one-game suspension after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a Sunday game in Red Deer. . . .
The Edmonton Oil Kings have been fined $250 for a warmup violation in Brandon on Saturday night.
Yes, the WHL’s Christmas shopping fund is rounding nicely into shape.

The Kelowna Rockets, who played on the weekend with 16 skaters, two under the maximum, have added F Jordan Bortsmayer and F Kole Lind, at least for the short term. . . . Both player for the midget AAA Saskatchewan Contacts. . . . Bortsmayer was a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, while Lind went in the fourth round. Lind has 34 points, including 21 goals, in 20 games; Bortsmayer has nine assists in 20 games. . . .
F David Soltes of the Prince George Cougars will play for his native Slovakia at the World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . Soltes has 11 points, including eight goals, in 20 games in his sophomore season. Last season, a knee injury limited him to only 14 games with the Cougars. . . . He is scheduled to leave the Cougars on Dec. 11. . . .


In Brandon, F Brett Stovin scored at 1:35 of OT to give the Saskatoon Blades a 5-4 victory over the Wheat Kings. . . . Stovin, who was foiled by G Jordan Papirny on a first-period penalty shot, has four goals this season. . . . The Blades took a 4-2 third-period lead on goals by F Nikita Soshnin, his second, at 13:52, and D Ryan Coghlan, his first, at 15:38. . . . The Blades traded F Cory Millette to the Prince Albert Raiders last week at least in part to free up playing time for Soshnin, who has goals in two straight games. . . . Brandon F Tim McGauled forced OT with his 12th goal at 19:50. . . Brandon F Reid Duke had a goal, his seventh, and two assists. . . . Saskatoon G Trevor Martin stopped 40 shots, while Nik Amundrud was dressed as the backup. . . . Brandon was 1-for-2 on the PP; the Blades' PP unit didn't get even one opportunity. . . . The Wheat Kings (19-5-2) had won their previous two games, while the Blades (7-16-1) came in 0-3-1 in their previous four. . . . The teams will meet again Friday, this time in Saskatoon. . . . Before then, though, the Blades will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight. . . .

In Edmonton, the Prince Albert Raiders scored three second-period goals en route to a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . The Raiders have won five straight regular-season games in Edmonton. . . . F Jayden Hart, with his 13th, D Sawyer Lange (6) and F Simon Stransky (3) scored for the visitors as they erased a 1-0 deficit and took a 3-2 lead into the third period. . . . F Matteo Gennaro, with his third, gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead at 16:12 of the third period. . . . Edmonton F Lane Bauer scored his ninth at 18:39. . . . Edmonton D Ashton Sautner tied a career high with his eighth goal of the season, running his point streak to seven games in the process. . . . F Reid Gardner had two assists for the Raiders, who got 23 saves from G Rylan Parenteau. He won for the sixth time in seven starts as the Raiders (12-13-0) ran their winning streak to four. The Raiders are 5-4-0 under head coach Marc Habscheid. . . . G Patrick Dea turned aside 36 shots for the Oil Kings, as Tristan Jarry (ill) sat out for a second straight game. . . . “We were a train wreck in our own end," Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton said on the team's website. “Our D-zone, it was maybe the softest we’ve been in our own end all (season). If our guys choose to forget this one, then they’re missing the boat. They need to remember this because we were brutal in our own end.” . . . Edmonton had been 5-0-1 in its previous six home games. . . . The Oil Kings (12-10-4) now have lost three in a row (1-1-1). . . . The Oil Kings are at home to the Swift Current Broncos tonight; the Raiders travel to Calgary to play the Hitmen. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored three times on the PP and twice while shorthanded as they stung the Vancouver Giants, 6-1. . . . The Giants' Alberta road swing got off to an inauspicious start when Tigers D Kyle Becker scored shorthanded at 2:22 of the first period. . . . Becker added a second shorthanded goal at 18:01 of the first period. . . . He's got six goals this season. . . . The home side was 3-for-6 on the PP. . . . Tigers F Matt Bradley scored his sixth goal and added three assists, while D Tyler Lewington also had three assists. . . . Vancouver starter Payton Lee surrendered three goals before leaving at 7:25 of the first period. . . . The Tigers (17-6-2) had lost their past two games. . . . The Giants (9-16-0) have lost four straight. . . . Medicine Hat G Marek Langhamer turned aside 24 shots in posting his 50th career regular-season victory. . . . F Matt Bellerive scored Vancouver's goal, his 10th, at 18:33 of the third period. . . . Prior to the game, the Tigers honoured the memory of the late Pat Quinn, who was one of the Giants' owners, with a moment of silence. “That was a touch of class,” Giants head coach Troy Ward told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News. “I wouldn’t expect anything less out of this organization. I think the whole hockey world has a touch of class. It’s a wonderful business to be in at a very sad time
for our organization and hockey in general.” . . . The Giants meet the Hurricanes in Lethbridge tonight. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks scored the game's last three goals and beat the Victoria Royal, 4-2. . . . Portland D Blake Heinrich tied the game 2-2 with his second goal of the season at 6:54 of the second period. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his second goal of the game, and 15th of the season, at 19:10 of the second for a 3-2 lead. . . . F Dominic Turgeon added insurance with his seventh oal at 16:54 of the third. . . . Portland F Nic Petan had two assists, while Turgeon also had an assist. . . . Victoria F Greg Chase scored his first goal for the Royals since coming over from the Calgary Hitmen in a trade last week. . . . Portland G Adin Hill stopped 36 shots, including all 16 he faced in the third period. . . . Victoria G Jayden Sittler, making his third straight start, turned aside 32 shots. . . . Portland (12-12-3) has won three in a row. . . . The Royals (14-12-2), who are to face the Chiefs in Spokane tonight, had won their previous two starts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hockey weeps and remembers . . . Oil Kings lose a coach . . . Two WHL draft picks opt for NCAA

In a treasured photo from the Hicketts family album, here's the late Pat Quinn
with brothers, Matt, left, and Joe, after the latter, now a defenceman
with the Victoria Royals, had been named Hockey Now's B.C. minor hockey
player of the year for 2010-11.

(Photo courtesy Lee-Gaye Hicketts)

F Curtis Huppe (Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Tri-City, 1995-2000) has been released by the Guildford Flames (England, Premier). He had two goals and an assist in three games.

What a tough day for hockey!
First came news of the death in Moscow of Soviet/Russian hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov, the man who guided the then-USSR team through the Summit Series in 1972.
Tikhonov, 84, died after a long illness.
That was followed by the news that Pat Quinn, one of the most respected people in all of hockey, had died in Vancouver after an illness. He was 71.
The hockey world also lost Murray Oliver, who died Sunday of a heart attack. Oliver, who lived in Edina, Minn., was 77. Oliver played, and played well, for three of the NHL’s Original Six franchises.
Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail remembers Pat Quinn right here.
Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun has his own thoughts on Pat Quinn right here.
Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun reminisces about the Big Irishman right here.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News was a young reporter with the Toronto Star and his beat was the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were coached by Pat Quinn. Campbell remembers that and more right here.
Most times standing in front of the players’ bench, Viktor Tikhonov coached teams to three Olympic gold medals and eight World championship titles between 1979 and 1992. . . . He also was the Soviet team’s coach during the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. . . . The IIHF’s website has more right here.
Dmitry Chesnokov, over at Puck Daddy, has a look right here at the life and legacy of Viktor Tikhonov.
On the ice, Tikhonov’s grandson, Viktor Jr., had two goals and an assist for SKA in a KHL game on Monday. But his SKA side dropped a 5-3 decision to his grandfather’s team, CSKA Moscow. There’s more on the game right here.
The Minneapolis StarTribune has more on Murray Oliver right here.
On Monday evening, Dave Hodge of TSN flipped his pencil into the air and tweeted: “Jan. 7, 1980. MIN 7 PHIL 1. Flyers' 35-game unbeaten streak ends. PHIL head coach was Pat Quinn. MIN ass't was Murray Oliver. May both RIP.”
Have you heard about the 41-year-old Swede who was the only person in the Philadelphia concert hall for a show by Bob Dylan on Sunday afternoon? Check out that story right here.
Earlier this month, a couple of OHL players were suspended after getting tangled up in a situation on Tinder, one of those social media things. Chris Dilks of has a story right here that involves NCAA hockey players and Tinder. Privacy on the Internet? Uhh, no!
The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers fired goaltending coach Frederic Chabot on Monday, replacing him with Dustin Schwartz, who had been the goaltending coach for the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Of course, the Oilers own the Oil Kings.
Dr. Nigel Painter, who is listed in the WHL Guide as the Prince Albert Raiders’ team physician, won’t be practising medicine for at least a year. The College of Physicians and Surgeons has taken away his licence for having sex with a patient. There’s more right here.
F Colton Kehler, who was a seventh-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft, has committed to attend Clarkson University and play for the Golden Knights. Kehler, 17, is from Port Coquitlam, B.C. He presently is with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen.
F Baron Thompson, a 15-year-old from Lakeville, Minn., has committed to the U of Maine and the Black Bears. A third-round pick of the Victoria Royals in the 2014 bantam draft, he is playing for the Omaha AAA Lancers U16 team this season.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Raiders win third in row . . . Hitmen get split with Rebels . . . Ice hands Warriors a line in third period

F Jakub Klepiš (Portland, 2001-02) has signed a contract for the rest of the season with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He was released by Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL) on Thursday by mutual agreement. This season, he had six goals and five assists in 21 games with Färjestad.

F Nikita Scherbak of the Everett Silvertips was fitted for a neck brace and taken from the ice on a stretcher during the second period of a 3-2 shootout victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday night. . . . Scherback was released from hospital later Saturday but was on crutches at the time. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has an update right here.
Tom Lynn is a former sports writer who now is an agent with Veritas Hockey. In between, he spent nine seasons in the front office of the Minnesota Wild, starting when it was an NHL expansion franchise. Now he has written a book -- How to Bake an NHL Franchise From Scratch, the First Era of the Minnesota Wild. . . . Michael Russo of the Minneapolis StarTribune has a piece right here on what promises to be a good read.


In Lethbridge, the Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . Hurricanes F Jamal Watson, who also had two assists, gave his side a 3-2 lead with his 10th goal at 6:05 of the third period. . . . Raiders F Gage Quinney tied it, with his second of the game and third of the season, just 19 seconds later. . . . D Josh Morrissey of the Raiders scored his sixth goal, breaking the 3-3 tie at 14:46. . . . F Reid Gardiner, who had a goal and two assists, added insurance with his 13th goal at 18:51. He’s got six goals and three assists over his last four games. . . . Morrissey also had two assists. . . . Raiders G Rylan Parenteau stopped 32 shots. . . . The Hurricanes (5-15-4) have lost nine straight games (0-6-3). . . . The Raiders (11-13-0) are on a three-game winning streak. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen scored the game’s last five goals and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 6-2. . . . F Kenton Helgesen tied the score 2-2 at 10:59 of the second period and then broke the tie at 13:30. Helgesen, who also had an assist, has seven goals this season. . . . F Adam Tambellini, F Jake Virtanen and D Travis Sanheim each had a goal and two assists for Calgary (13-9-3), which moved into a tie with Red Deer for second place in the Central Division. . . . The line of Helgesen, Tambellini and Virtanen combined for nine points. . . . F Tyler Sandhu had a goal and an assist for Red Deer. . . . The Hitmen lost F Chase Lang to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 2:36 of the second period. . . . The Rebels (13-10-3) had won two in a row, including a 4-0 victory over the visiting Hitmen on Saturday. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice struck for six third-period goals as it beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 7-3. . . . The Warriors took a 3-1 lead into the third period, but the Ice tied it on goals by F Luke Philp, his 10th, on a PP, at 3:39 and F Levi Cable at 4:02. . . . Cable then gave the Ice lead, with his ninth goal, at 9:22. . . . Ice F Jon Martin, who was playing in his 200th regular-season game, had a goal, his third, and three assists in the third period as he tied a franchise record for most points in a period. . . . Cable now has at least one goal in three straight games. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart had three assists as he ran his point streak to eight games. He's got 19 points, 15 of them assists, in that span. . . . F Jaedon Descheneau added two goals, giving him 14, and an assist for the Ice. He’s got goals in four straight. . . . The Ice also got a goal and two assists from Matt Alfaro, who has four goals. . . . The line of Alfaro, Cable and Martin had 10 points in the third period. . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk had a goal, his third, and an assist, while F Brayden Point had two assists for the Warriors (10-12-3). . . . G Brody Wilms made his first career start for Moose Jaw, stopping 33 shots, 26 of them through two periods. . . . The Ice (11-14-0) has won three in a row and eight of nine. . . . The Warriors were without D Tyler Brown. According to Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald, Brown tweeted after a 5-1 victory in Lethbridge on Saturday that he had suffered a broken hand. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . .

In Spokane, F Kailer Yamamoto scored 14 seconds into OT to give the Chiefs a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Yamamoto has six goals this season. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 13:59 of the second period when F Liam Stewart scored his 10th goal. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Cole Ully got his 12th at 18:19 of the second. . . . Kamloops G Connor Ingram, making his fourth straight start, stopped 39 shots. . . . Spokane G Garret Hughson made 18 saves. . . . The Chiefs were 0-for-6 on the PP; the Blazers’ PP unit never got on the ice. . . . The game was delayed for about 15 minutes in the third period as the arena staff replaced a pane of glass. It was broken when Spokane D Evan Fiala checked Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen into it. . . . The Chiefs (12-7-3) have won three in a row. They won three games in as many nights over the weekend, each by a 2-1 count. . . . The Blazers (11-10-5) have points in four straight (2-0-2).

After news got out that Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson had filed for bankruptcy, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen quipped: “I can't believe the Florida Panthers outlasted him.” . . . “Cavs star LeBron James turned the ball over on the game’s final possession Wednesday night in a two-point loss to the Spurs,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “During a one-hour postgame interview on ESPN, he blamed it on the indecision.” . . .

After the NFL fined Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $100,000 for not speaking with the media, Perry reported: “To the surprise of absolutely no one, Lynch had no comment.” . . . If you're like me, you're wondering how much the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to pay Mike Babcock to be their head coach next season. Will he salute the fans when he signs with the Leafs? . . .

Should we be surprised that Mike Benevides didn’t work out as the head coach of the CFL’s B.C. Lions? After all, it has to be awfully hard to replace a legend and yet still have that legend looking over your shoulder. . . . There will be a big push in the Big Smoke to have Dave Dickenson, right now the Calgary Stampeders’ offensive co-ordinator, come in as the Lions’ next head coach. But ask yourself this: Is that the place for a man with nothing in the way of head-coaching experience? . . . I think it’s more likely that Wally Buono, the legend himself, is the Lions’ next head coach. . . . Or the Lions can do what NHL teams do, which is reach into TSN crew of analysts and find a new head coach. . . .

You likely are aware that the Miami Marlins have signed slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year contract worth US$325 million. But are you aware that he will be paid $68,449 for each day of that contract? . . . How much will you make today? . . . Hey, just asking! . . . Jay Jaffe of points out: “The $325 million amount is a staggering sum of money, about $15 million shy of the combined amount of the Marlins’ last six Opening Day payrolls, or more than double the team’s $155 million contribution to build Marlins Park, which opened in 2012.” . . .

“In Minneapolis, Minnesota, a drunk college student dressed as a zombie Santa broke into a house, vomited and passed out,” reports Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald. “I'd like to see the Hallmark Channel make a Christmas movie about this.” . . . Dickson, again: “If the moon landing took place today, it’d be shown on tape delay after an episode of So You Think You Can Dance.” . . . After the NFL moved Sunday’s game between the New York Jets and the Bills from Buffalo to Monday in Detroit, Dickson pointed out: “This is the first time anyone's ever gone to Detroit to be safe.” . . .

“Gene Keady, former Purdue men’s basketball coach, confessed that for years he paid a hairdresser $600 per week to dye his hair, add extensions and whip the whole mess into a comb-over,” notes Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That’s like Quasimodo getting silicone injections to plump his hump.” . . . Buffalo Bills cornerback Leodis McKelvin guaranteed a victory prior to last week’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Of course, the Dolphins won, 22-9, and McKelvin came out of it with a broken ankle. Greg Cote of the Miami Herald then wrote: “ ‘I work fast,’ Karma said. ‘You’re welcome.’ ” . . .

“Tiger Woods,” reports Janice Hough, aka the Left Coast Sports Babe, “is lashing out at a parody interview titled ‘My (Fake) Interview with Tiger’ in Golf Digest, saying the piece was ‘below the belt.’ Two things: Tiger should know about ‘below the belt,’ and is Golf Digest giving him a cut of the extra magazine sales?” . . . Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg pointed out: “Normally the only people allowed below Tiger’s belt are Waffle House waitresses.” . . . One more from Hough, after Thursday night’s NFL game: “Derek Carr praising Jesus and God after the Oakland Raiders’ win . . . and God is thinking ‘Ah, you’re now 1 and 10. Don’t blame anything about this season on me.’ ” . . .

Headline at RGIII’s final throw of the day involved his teammates and a bus. . . . “Romanian basketball prospect Robert Bobroczky is just 13 years old but already stands 7 feet 4,” writes RJ Currie of “When he sticks his tongue out he looks like a zipper.” . . . One more from Currie: “Floyd Mayweather’s dad says his son will fight Manny Pacquiao sooner or later. Did anyone else just think of Angelo Mosca swinging his cane at Joe Kapp?”

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at and Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

In time for Christmas . . . The Book Shelf: Part 3 of 4

The Book Shelf: Part 3 of 4

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

One Summer: America, 1927 -- My goodness, but this is an entertaining book. Author Bill Bryson puts a microscope on the United States in 1927, a year that featured, among other personalities, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Henry Ford, Calvin Coolidge, Al Capone and on and on. Bryson is able to transport the reader back to that year -- there’s a flag-pole sitter and an executioner and prohibition -- and you get a real sense for the excitement that was all over America like an invasion of locusts. This is one of the best books I have read in recent years. (Kindle)

Orr: My Story -- Former NHL defenceman Bobby Orr, now a player agent, tells his story. It’s really straight forward, with no surprises and no dirt of any kind. He does take some shots at his former agent, Alan Eagleson, but other than that it’s a real soft-shoe. Perhaps the most interesting part is near the end where Orr spends time discussing what he calls “the state of the game.” (Viking, hard cover, 290 pages, Cdn$32.00)

The Power of One -- An extraordinary story of the troubles of a nation (South Africa) that is wrapped around the maturing of a youngster known simply as Peekay. His dream is to become the welterweight boxing champion of the world, but the path is anything but straight and narrow. Author Bryce Courtenay weaves a wonderful story through terrific characters in a novel that is based during the Second World War. This one was recommended to me by Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Jim Hiller, who is an avid reader. (Kindle)

Runnin’ Rebel: Shark Tales of ‘Extra Benefits,’ Frank Sinatra, and Winning It All -- This book, written with Dan Wetzel, a prolific author who is a columnist for Yahoo Sports, is Jerry Tarkanian at his story-telling best. Tarkanian (aka Tark the Shark), who came to fame as the head coach of college basketball’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, tells all kinds of tales, most of them unkind to the NCAA. He takes the towel out of his mouth long enough to point fingers at almost everyone, too, including UCLA and the great John Wooden. It was released in January 2013. (Kindle)

Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History" - The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers -- Mike Shropshire was with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1973 when he was assigned to cover the Texas Rangers. They then were managed by Whitey Herzog; later would come Billy Martin. They are only two of the characters in this book, which should come with a colourful language warning. Shropshire does a fine job of detailing for the reader the trials and tribulations of covering a major league team that wasn't very good. He also proves to have a strong liver, perhaps not quite as strong as Martin's, but up there just the same. (Kindle)

Showtime: One Team, One Season, One Step from the NHL -- The OHL's Peterborough Petes gave Ed Arnold, a former managing editor at the Peterborough Examiner, unfiltered access to all avenues of their operation during the 2012-13 season. This book is the result of what he witnessed. How did it go? Well, the general manager (Dave Reid) was fired early in the season. The head coach (Mike Pelino) didn't see Christmas. If you would like a good look at how a community-owned major junior hockey team operates, this book provides it. (Kindle)

Slim and None: My Wild Ride from the WHA to the NHL and all the way to Hollywood -- Howard Baldwin has seen a lot, and been through a lot, in hockey and the movie business, and this is his story, written with help from Steve Milton of the Hamilton Spectator. Baldwin was involved in the ownership of the Hartford Whalers, in the WHA and the NHL, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. That means he was in the meetings that led to the NHL adopting, at a price, four of the WHA's teams, including the Whalers. He has been involved in the making of a bunch of movies, including Ray, the story of Ray Charles. That means he's been in the good seats for the Academy Awards ceremony. So there are a lot of stories and, yes, he names names. But, in the end, this is a light read without a whole lot of depth, kind of like a bun without meat. It touches on this, that and the other thing, but moves on without really digging into any one subject. (Kindle)

A Soldier of the Great War -- Some writers have love affairs with the language; some don’t. Mark Helprin, the author of this wonderful book, first published in 1991, has an intimate relationship with words. This is the story of an aging gentleman who has been through the First World War in a way that is virtually beyond description. He tells his story and a colourful and compelling one it is, all told in such a beautiful way that the reader really doesn’t want it to end. (Kindle)

Sycamore Row -- Another thriller from the keyboard of John Grisham, this one brings back attorney Jake Brigance for the first time since A Time to Kill, a book that was published in 1989. Yes, Brigance ends up being pitted against lots of big-city lawyers. No, there aren’t any real surprises. But that doesn’t take away from this book’s readability. (Kindle)

Crazy night in 'Toontown . . . Brandon best of Kings . . . Winterhawks sweep Rockets

There were 30,715 fans in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Saturday to watch the Crunch beat the Utica Comets 2-1 in an AHL game. That is the largest crowd ever to watch an indoor hockey game in North America. The previous record of 28,138 was set in 1996 when the Philadelphia Flyers played the Tampa Bay Lightning in the ThunderDome in St. Petersburg, Fla. . . . Former Portland Winterhawks assistant GM/assistant coach Travis Green is the Comets' head coach. They are the AHL affiliate of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks. . . . The Comets are 12-4-2 and hold a three-point lead over the Adirondack Flames atop the North Division.
The Adirondack Flames beat the Rochester Americans 2-1 on Saturday night. The Flames, the Calgary Flames' AHL affiliate, now have won eight straight games. Former Kelowna Rockets head coach Ryan Huska is in his first season running Adirondack's bench. Adirondack is 11-6-1.


WHL team logoIn Saskatoon, F Coda Gordon scored at 2:56 of OT to give the Swift Current Broncos an 8-7 victory over the Blades. . . . With 15 goals, it obviously was something of a bizarre evening. It also was Pucks 'N Paws Night, so there were lots of dogs in the house, and the game included about a 20-minute delay in the third period because of a hole in the ice. . . . Saskatoon F Nikita Soshnin had forced OT with his first WHL goal at 18:04 of the third period. . . . The Broncos led this one 3-0 in the first period, only to have the Blades scored the next three goals. . . . Swift Current went on to lead 5-3, 5-4, 6-4 and 6-5. . . . Saskatoon F Austin Adamson tied it at 13:19 of the third, with Broncos F Andreas Schumacher giving his guys a 7-6 lead at 16:51. . . . Schumacher finished with two goals, giving him five, and added two assists. . . . Broncos D Brent Lernout recorded his first WHL three-goal game. Lernout, a third-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL's 2014 draft, went into last night with three goals in 26 games. . . . Lernout played the first 20 games of his WHL career with the Blades. He went into last night with 12 goals in his previous 139 regular-season games with the Broncos. . . . According to the Broncos, Eric Doyle was the last Swift Current defenceman to score three times in one game. He did it Nov. 18, 2007, against the Blades. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin scored his eighth goal and added three assists, while D Dillon Heatherington also had three assists. . . . The Blades got two goals from F Josh Uhrich, who has four, and three assists from each of D Amil Krupic and F Nick Zajac. . . . Gawdin has 22 points in 27 games this season, after finishing last season with 22 points in 66 games. . . . Saskatoon G Nik Amundrud, who had missed seven games with an undisclosed injury, stopped two of five shots and left at 10:38 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon D Ryan Coghlan returned after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury. . . . The Broncos are 14-9-4. . . . The Blades (6-16-1) have lost four straight. . . .

In Brandon, F Tim McGauley scored at 1:46 of OT to give the Wheat Kings a 5-4 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . One night earlier, the Wheat Kings (19-5-1) beat the Oil Kings, 7-4. . . . McGauley finished with two goals, giving him 11, and an assist. HE also had three points in Friday‘s victory. . . . Brandon overcame a 4-2 third-period deficit when F Jesse Gabrielle scored at 1:36 and F Jayce Hawryluk tied it at 15:18. . . . Gabrielle and Hawryluk each has 13 goals. . . . Brandon F Nolan Patrick, who had two goals on Friday, added a goal, his seventh, and an assist in this one. . . . F Lane Bauer had two goals, giving him eight, and an assist for the Oil Kings (12-10-3). . . . Edmonton F Brett Pollock ran his point streak to seven games with one assist. . . . This was the third time in four games that the Oil Kings went to OT. They went 1-0-2 in those games. . . . Edmonton F Cole Benson scored his fifth goal of the season. He has 14 points in 25 games. Last season, he finished with 13 points in 59 games. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun has a game story right here. . . .

In Lethbridge, G Justin Paulic stopped 26 shots to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-1 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors (10-11-3) are 1-1-1 in their last three outings. . . . The Hurricanes (5-14-4) have lost eight in a row (0-5-3). . . . Moose Jaw G Zach Sawchenko wasn't dressed for the Warriors. He turned from an injury-forced absence on Friday night but left after one period having apparently re-injured himself. . . . F Tanner Jeannot, F Kolten Olynek and F Brayden Point each had two assists for the Warriors, who broke open a scoreless game with three goals in 5:55 in the second period. . . . F Jaimen Yakubowski, who like Olynek once played for the Hurricanes, got the game's first goal, his fourth. . . . Warriors F Tanner Eberle scored his 12th goal, while D Austin Adam got his first. . . . F Carter Folk was among Lethbridge's scratches. He has been suspended under supplemental discipline for something that happened during Friday's game in Cranbrook. . . . The Hurricanes entertain the Prince Albert Raiders late this afternoon. . . . The Warriors are in Cranbrook tonight to meet the Kootenay Ice. . . .

In Red Deer, G Rylan Toth posted his first WHL shutout as the Rebels beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Toth, an 18-year-old from Saskatoon, finished with 23 saves. . . . Red Deer F Scott Feser scored his eighth goal and added three assists. . . . F Wyatt Johnson helped out with his 12th goal and F Evan Polei notched his 11th. . . . The Rebels broke a scoreless tie with three goals in 7:12 in the second half of the second period. . . . Red Deer (13-9-3) had won two straight. . . . The Hitmen (12-9-3) were 5-0-2 in their previous seven games. . . . The same two teams meet this evening in Calgary. . . .

In Medicine Hat, G Wyatt Hoflin turned aside 48 shots as the Kootenay Ice beat the Tigers, 3-0. . . . Hoflin has one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . As WHL Facts pointed out on Twitter, that is the most saves by a goaltender in a shutout this season. . . . The Tigers held a 20-10 edge in shots in the first period and 21-6 in the third. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau scored the game's first goal, on a PP, at 13:49 of the first period. . . . He's got 12 goals. . . . Ice F Sam Reinhart drew an assist on that goal to run his point streak to seven games. . . . The Ice (10-14-0) has won two in a row, while the Tigers (16-6-2) have dropped two straight. . . . The Ice is at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight. . . .

In Vancouver, F Zach Pochiro broke a 3-3 tie at 18:48 of the third period to give the Prince George Cougars a 4-3 victory over the Giants. . . . Pochiro scored his first two goals of the season in this one. . . . According to a story on the Cougars’ website, written by radio voice Dan O’Connor, the winner came after “a Giants clearing attempt took a weird bounce off of an official and bounced out in front of the Giants goal. The first player to arrive at the loose puck was Zach Pochiro who snuck a shot past (G Cody) Porter.” . . . The Cougars held 2-0 and 3-1 leads before the Giants tied it on third-period goals by F Carter Popoff, his 13th, at 3:48, and F Matt Bellerive, his second of the game and ninth of the season, at 15:34. . . . Cougars F Aaron Macklin and Vancouver F Dakota Odgers were ejected after fighting 12 seconds into the first period. . . . Prince George G Tavin Grant, who is from Burnaby and had family in the crowd, stopped 19 shots for his second WHL victory. . . . The Cougars were without F Chase Witala, who suffered a leg injury on a knee-on-knee hit by Kamloops Blazers F Matthew Campese on Friday night. Campese was hit with one of those 'tbd' suspensions on Saturday. . . . The Cougars are 13-13-0, while the Giants, who have lost three in a row, are 9-15-0. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province wonders right here just where the Giants’ season is headed.

In Victoria, G Jayden Sittler stopped 33 shots as the Royals blanked the Regina Pats, 5-0. . . . Sittler has two straight victories and his first career shutout. . . . D Travis Brown scored twice for the Royals, giving him nine goals. . . . Brown got the game's first goal, via the PP, at 9:08 of the first period. . . . The Pats are 1-1-0 on their B.C. Division trek. . . . Regina (13-10-1) had won its previous five games. . . . The Royals (14-11-2) have won two straight. . . . G Jordan Hollett, a first-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, made his WHL debut for Regina with 21 saves. Hollett, 15, is from Langley, B.C. . . . Victoria F Austin Carroll scored his 17th goal. . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Carter Cochrane scored the only goal of a five-round shootout as the Everett Silvertips got past the host Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . Cochrane, who is pointless in 12 games this season, also scored a shootout goal during a 15-round victory over the Kamloops Blazers last weekend. . . . Everett F Graham Millar forced OT with a PP goal at 17:20 of the third period. He has eight goals. . . . F Patrick Bajkov of Everett scored the game's first goal at 14:02 of the first period. . . . Seattle F Keegan Kolesar tied it on a PP at 6:12 of the second. He's got seven goals in 23 games this season, after scoring two in 60 games last season. . . . Seattle F Justin Hickman gave his side a 2-1 lead with his seventh goal 17 seconds into the third. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 31 shots through OT. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun made 29 saves. . . . The Silvertips (15-4-3) snapped a two-game losing skid. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-11-4) have lost four in a row. . . . "I just think we've forgotten how to win," Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk told reporters after the game. . . . Everett and Seattle each has gone to OT eight times already this season. . . . The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the second period after Everett D Nikita Scherbak went down after a hit from Kolesar. No penalty was issued on the play. Scherback was placed in a neck brace and removed from the ice on a stretcher. Late last night, the Silvertips tweeted that Scherbak has “movement in all his extremities and his head/neck are okay. Undergoing tests for a potential back injury.” . . . Prior to the game, the Silvertips contributed $250 to the WHL's Christmas shopping fund, the result of a warmup violation in Victoria on Friday night. . . . The Thunderbirds honoured the 1981-82 Seattle Breakers prior to the game, including head coach Jack Sangster and former player Mitch Wilson. The latter is battling ALS and there is a GoFundMe page working on his behalf. That page is right here. . . .

In Kelowna, the Portland Winterhawks scored the game's first three goals and went on to a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . The Winterhawks, who beat Kelowna 4-3 in OT on Friday, won three of four games with the Rockets this season. They won't meet again unless it's in the playoffs. . . . F Rourke Chartier scored twice for Kelowna, upping his WHL-leading total to 26. His first goal, shorthanded at 13:00 of the third, cut Portland's lead to 3-2. . . . Portland F Miles Koules got his eighth, on a PP, just 37 seconds later. . . . Chartier got his second goal at 19:25. . . . Chartier also had an assist, while F Nick Merkley drew two assists. . . . Chartier and Merkley are tied for the WHL scoring lead, each with 45 points. . . . F Chase De Leo got his 15th goal for Portland and F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 13th. . . . Winterhawks G Aden Hill stopped 34 shots, six more than Kelowna's Jackson Whistle. . . . The Winterhawks (11-12-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Rockets (21-2-3) were 11-0-3 in their last 14 outings. . . . Kelowna, with seven players injured, was playing its fourth game in five nights. . . . F Paul Bittner was among Portland's scratches after he suffered a leg injury in the second period of Friday's game. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Calder Brooks broke a 1-1 tie at 2:31 of the second period and the Spokane Chiefs went on to beat the Tri-City Americans, 2-1. . . . F Beau McCue gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 3:09 of the first period on a PP. He's got 10 goals. . . . Spokane F Riley Whittingham tied it with his fifth goal at 2:22 of the second. . . . Brooks got his eighth just nine seconds later. . . . The Chiefs held a 57-39 edge in shots. Spokane G Garret Hughson stopped 38 shots, while Tri-City's Eric Comrie turned aside 55. . . . The Chiefs (11-7-3) have won two in a row. They are at home to the Kamloops Blazers tonight. . . . The Americans (14-10-0) had won their previous two. They also had won four in a row at home.

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.

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