Monday, May 22, 2017

Otters bury Sea Dogs on record-setting night ... Strome sets points record ... Tulsa time's up for Christie


D Shaone Morrisonn (Kamloops, 1999-2002) has signed a one-year extension with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL). He had two assists in 11 games there this season. Morrisonn started the season with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, KHL), scoring twice and adding four assists in 33 games. He was traded to Admiral on Dec. 25 for cash considerations. . . .
F Igor Bacek (Tri-City, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract with the Hannover Indians (Germany, Oberliga). This season, with Halle (Germany, Oberliga), he had 20 goals and 31 assists in 44 games. He led his team in assists and points.
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The OHL-champion Erie Otters spun a few records on Monday as they drubbed the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs, 12-5, at the Memorial Cup tournament in Windsor, Ont. . . . The Otters improved to 2-0, while the Sea Dogs fell to 0-2. . . . On Tuesday, the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds (0-2) are scheduled to play the Sea Dogs. The winner moves into a semifinal game; the loser is eliminated. . . . On Wednesday, the Otters will meet the host Windsor Spitfires (2-0). The winner moves into Sunday’s final; the loser will play in the semifinal game. . . . There won’t be a tiebreaker game. . . .
Last night, Erie held period leads of 5-2 and 4-1, outshooting the Sea Dogs 17-4 and 16-8 in the process. . . . The Otters got four goals and three assists from F Dylan Strome, with F Taylor Raddysh adding two goals and four assists. . . . D Darren Raddysh scored two goals and had two helpers, with F Anthony Cirelli and F Alex DeBrincat each scoring once and adding three assists. . . . F Ivan Lodnia and F Kyle Maksimovich also scored for the Otters. . . . F Cedric Pare scored twice for Saint John, which got singletons from F Julien Gauthier, F Spencer Smallman and F Mathieu Joseph. . . . G Tony Timpano stopped 18 shots for Erie. . . . Saint John starter Callum Booth surrendered five goals on 14 shots in 16:27. Alex D’Orio came on in relief and stopped 18 of 25 shots in 43:33. . . . Erie was 5-7 on the PP; Saint John was 0-3. . . . 
Strome set a single-game record with seven points. That broke a record that had been shared by three players — F Joe Contini of the Hamilton Fincups, in an 8-4 victory over the New Westminster Bruins on May 12, 1976, in Montreal; F Guy Rouleau of the Hull Olympiques, who did it twice, in a 7-5 victory over the Portland Winterhawks on May 10, 1986, and six days later in a 9-3 victory over the Kamloops Blazers in Portland; and F Mike Mathers of the Blazers, who did it in an 8-3 victory over the host Seattle Thunderbirds on May 16, 1992. Rouleau had three goals and three assists against Portland, and two goals and four assists against Kamloops. Contini and Mathers each had three goals and three assists. . . . 
Strome scored four goals, one off the single-game record that was set by F Bruce Boudreau — yes, that Bruce Boudreau — of the Toronto Marlboros in a 10-4 victory over the Sherbrooke Castors on May 9, 1975, in Kitchener, Ont. . . . 
Erie now holds the single-game record for most goals, a mark that had been shared by the Quebec Remparts and Regina Pats. Quebec beat the St. Catharines Blackhawks, 11-3, on May 10, 1974, in Calgary. The Pats dumped the Cornwall Royals, 11-2, on May 8, 1980, in Regina. . . . Erie and Saint John also set a single-game record with the 17 combined goals. The previous record? The host Kitchener Rangers beat Kamloops, 9-7, on May 13, 1984. . . . OHL teams now have won 12 straight Memorial Cup games. . . . Announced attendance: 5,114.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun has a game story right here. He also spoke with D Ethan Bear of the Seattle Thunderbirds, who is trying to play through a hand injury.
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The host Cobourg, Ont., Cougars won the RBC Cup as national junior A champions on Sunday, beating the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits, 3-2, in overtime. . . . The Cougars forced OT when Ryan Casselman scored with 1:07 left in the third period. . . . Nick Minerva of New Brunswick, N.J., won it all at 8:21 of OT. . . . According to Tyler King, the radio voice of the Bandits, they were 72-6-6 this season. . . . Cobourg had advanced to the final with a 3-1 semifinal victory over the BCHL-champion Penticton Vees on Saturday.
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Coaching

Jason Christie won’t be back for a third season as head coach with the ECHL’s Tulsa Oilers. The team announced Monday that Christie “has decided not to return.” . . . The Oilers were 64-67-9-4 in two seasons under Christie, finishing ninth in the Western Conference in 2015-16 and 11th this season. . . . Christie, 48, holds the ECHL record for most career coaching victories (547). He also has been head coach of the Peoria Rivermen, Utah Grizzlies, and Ontario Reign. . . . A native of Gibbons, Alta., Christie played four seasons (1986-90) with the Saskatoon Blades.
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Mondays With Murray: The 500: Gentlemen, Start Your Coffins!


Introducing the new Jim Murray collection book — The LA Rams: Home Again; A History of LA's Team from the Voice of the City.
Is now is available for purchase by clicking right here.
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MONDAYS WITH MURRAY:
THE 500: 'Gentlemen, Start Your Coffins!'
In 1966, Jim Murray wrote four words that would live forever in the annals of sports history. Those four words also would have him condemned by the Mayor of Indianapolis, banned from the city and scowled at by the open wheel racing community.  
Those four words were . . . GENTLEMEN, START YOUR COFFINS! . . . and the rest is racing history.
  ENJOY! 
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SUNDAY, MAY 29, 1966, SPORTS
Copyright 1966/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY
  
JIM MURRAY

THE 500: 'Gentlemen, Start Your Coffins!'

On Monday, Memorial Day, 33 of the fastest car drivers in the world will be roaring around Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But what you are watching is not to be construed as a race. It is, instead, just a test drive of a lot of new 1966 models. It says so right in their publicity.
Indy, in short is just a proving ground for a lot of stock 1966 Lola Fords, and we take you now to the Speedway where the announcer is explaining the new rules to the crowd.
      "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 50th annual Memorial Day Safety Contest, the world's fastest traffic jam. This year, in order to more nearly approximate road conditions on our nation's highways and test performance under authentic hazards, we have brought about several changes in the field:
"The driver in Car No. 4 — the Schenley Special — will be drunk.  The driver in Car No. 5 will just have had a fight with his wife. The driver in Car No. 7 will be color blind, the driver in Car No. 11 will have an IQ of 12 or exactly 490 points below his horsepower. The driver in Car No. 0 will have his arm around a girl and 19 traffic citations for reckless driving. He will be called upon to light her cigarette at 195-miles-per-hour.
"Car No. Blank will have no brakes. We are keeping the number secret because we want it to come as a complete surprise to the driver. Car No. 13 will have 14 teenagers and 9 surfboards in it and will have bald tires and a burned-out clutch. It will, however, have a souped-up engine, too, and the teenagers will be instructed to throw pop bottles into the path of oncoming cars at stated intervals. They will also have the radio on too loud to hear sirens. Car No. 70 will have two little old ladies from Pasadena.
"Now, ordinarily, for tests like these, automotive research uses articulated dummies to study crash effects, but today instead of articulated dummies we're using race drivers. Gentlemen, start your coffins."
We take you now to the pits, where Floorboard Finnegan is pulling in for his first consultation with Fender Slapper, the head of sales and design:
Fender: "How'd she go, Floorboard, options work OK?
Floorboard: "Well, the stereo sticks. The Sextet From Lucia' turned into a trio. But, listen, Boss, we're going to have to recall all the stock Lola Fords on the highway. The door sticks."
Fender: "Tut, tut. Never mind the incidentals. How were the ash trays? How was the mileage?"
Floorboard: "Excellent, I get 143 feet, to the gallon."
Fender: "And the brakes?"
Floorboard: "On, fine. At 195 m.p.h., you got a stopping distance of 21½ miles. Unless, of course, you're on a hill when it's 41½ miles. If you're going to Chicago, you better start stopping about at Hammond, Ind. But, Boss, do you think you should have the gas pedal and the brake on the same pedal?"
Fender: "We're advertising it as 'Putting the thrill back in driving.' Where's Leadfoot in our new Ocelot Sports Schmorts Special?"
Floorboard: "Burned on the backstretch."
Fender (slapping forehead): "Oy! How can we use that in the ad campaign?"
Floorboard (helpfully): "Well, you could say, 'Our new Ocelot burns faster 2-to-1 than our nearest competitor.'"
Fender: "Never mind. Headlights O.K.?"
Floorboard: "For spotting airplanes. The only time they focus on the ground is when you're cartwheeling."
Fender: "How about the automatic transmission?"
Floorboard: "Well, it's okay, except I never did get as far as 'L' in the alphabet in school. I have to guess between 'P' and 'R.' I'm the first guy to take the parade lap backward. Also, the clock on the dashboard is an hour slow."
Fender: "Well, the color. Do you care for the color — charcoal green?" 
Floorboard (shuddering): "please don't mention that color around a racetrack, Boss."
Fender: "Green?"
Floorboard: "No. Charcoal."
Fender: "Well, Floorboard, out you go. Check the glove compartment and the bass on the radio this time. Does it work?"
Floorboard: "Oh, fine, Boss. I keep the ball game on. (Firing up.) Hey, fellas, which one of these letters stands for 'Drive'?"

Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times.

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116
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What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 
  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation's efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.
Like us on Facebook, and visit our newly refreshed JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org 


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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doing some scattershooting ... Seattle's nightmare in Windsor continues ... Spitfires thrash WHL champs

Scattershoot


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I hope you caught at least the OT period in the IIHF World Championship game between Sweden and Canada from Cologne, Germany, on Sunday. The OT may have been the best hockey I have seen all of this season. There may not have been any goals, but there was a whole lot of action. It was hockey played the way it is meant to be played. It was wonderful.
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As for a tournament of such stature being decided by a shootout, let’s just say that in my mind Canada and Sweden shared the gold medal.
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RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com notes: “The wife of NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is pregnant. Currently Cromartie's offspring total 13 — or a dozen to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”
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Every year around this time, I mention a pet peeve of mine, and this year is no different: Some things shouldn’t have a price tag on them, and the Memorial Cup is one of them. To have sold naming rights to the Memorial Cup is just wrong.
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The host Windsor Spitfires whipped the Seattle Thunderbirds 7-1 at the Memorial Cup on Sunday, in front of a crowd announced at 5,237. Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun points out that “should be embarrassing for Memorial Cup organizers. The WFCU Centre can hold 6,500 for hockey, but one end of the building had rows of empty seats. All due respect to the players participating, but ticket prices — singles are being sold for $75 for games not involving the host Spits and $90 when they are playing — are too high for major junior hockey.”
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In an interesting move, the Arizona Diamondbacks have come up with a promotion that allows fans to watch all 25 June and July home games for $50. By my math that’s $2 a game.
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Bench coach Rob Thomson managed the New York Yankees on Friday as they lost 5-4 to the host Tampa Bay Rays. Manager Joe Girardi was attending daughter Serena’s high school graduation. This was Thomson’s fourth stint as a fill-in manager with the Yankees. Thomson is from Sarnia, Ont., and is the first Canadian to manage an MLB game since George Gibson with the 1934 Pittsburgh Pirates. Gibson was from London, Ont.
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Can the Toronto Blue Jays ever be Canada’s team when they make themselves so easy to dislike?
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Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: “Last week, the Jays solidified their grip as being the most disliked team in baseball. I wish people would quit saying Jose Bautista is an emotional player. He’s a jerk.”
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A note from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan has filed divorce papers in Rhode Island, but jurisdiction figures to be a heated issue. Her soon-to-be ex wants the case heard in California, while she’s insisting on a French judge.”
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NBA star LeBron James apparently has threatened to sue a brewery in Cleveland for using a photo of him holding one of their beers without permission. Noted Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Someone should remind King James that he never obtained legal permission from the people who make that Bible.”
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On the subject of the NBA, do you think the league has a problem with its competitive balance? Aside from Sunday’s victory by the Boston Celtics over the Cleveland Cavaliers, that is.
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F John Lammers (Lethbridge, Everett, 2001-06) has signed a one-year extension with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, in 55 games, he had 22 goals and 36 assists. He led his team in scoring and was fifth in the league scoring race. . . . 
F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) has signed a one-year extension with Epinal (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had 19 goals and 12 assists in 43 games. He led Epinal in goals and was second on the team in points. . . . 
F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) has signed a one-year extension with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had 19 goals and eight assists in 52 games. . . . 
D Juraj Valach (Tri-City, Vancouver, Regina, Red Deer, 2006-08 has signed a one-year extension with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had five goals and 13 assists in 51 games. . . .
F Tyler Mosienko (Kelowna, 2000-05) has signed a one-year contract with Epinal (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite), he had a goal and four assists in six games, and he had three goals and 11 assists in 32 games with Frederikshavn (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .
F Konstantin Pushkaryov (Calgary, 2004-05) has signed a one-year two-way extension with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). This season, he had three goals and nine assists in 32 games. . . . 
F Dylan Walchuk (Spokane, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract with Odense (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). This season, he had eight goals and 14 assists in 28 games with the University of Calgary (CIS). . . .
D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) has signed a one-year contract with Odense (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). This season, he had a goal and three assists in 34 games with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL).
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The host Windsor Spitfires exploded for three goals in a record-tying 38 seconds and went on to beat the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-1, at the Memorial Cup on Sunday. . . . The Spitfires improved to 2-0 in the four-team competition, with the Thunderbirds slipping to 0-2. . . . The victory assures the Spitfires of at least a spot in the tournament’s semifinal game. . . . 
The Thunderbirds were done in by horrid puck management. They were in possession of the puck in their zone on each of the first three goals, only to turn it over. Only on the play that led to the first goal was Windsor’s forecheck a real factor. . . . The Spitfires tied a tournament record for fastest three goals. They now share that record with the New Westminster Bruins, who did it in 1978 against the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs. . . . The Bruins got second-period goals from F Scott McLeod (6:03), F Ken Barry (6:21) and McLeod again (6:41) en route to a 6-3 victory on May 11, 1978 in Sudbury, Ont. The Bruins actually scored four times in 52 seconds. . . . 
On Sunday, Windsor scored those three goals on six shots, sending Seattle G Carl Stankowski to the bench in the process. Stankowski had played through all 20 of his club’s WHL playoff games without being hooked. . . . When Stankowski left, G Rylan Toth, 21, who last played on March 11, entered the game. He left that March 11 game following the first period with an undisclosed injury and hadn’t even dressed for a game until Saturday when he was on the bench as Seattle lost 4-2 to the OHL-champion Erie Otters. . . . 
F Graham Knott got Windsor’s first goal, at 4:48 of the first period. . . . F Julius Nattinen made it 2-0 just 21 seconds later. . . . F Logan Brown upped the lead to 3-0 at 5:26. . . . At that point, Seattle was being outshot, 6-0. . . . The Thunderbirds got on the scoreboard at 13:34 of the second period on a goal from F Keegan Kolesar. . . . Windsor responded with the game’s last four goals. . . . Nattinen, on a PP, restored the three-goal lead, at 18:24. . . . Knott, on another PP, added his second of the game, 33 seconds into the third period. . . . F Jeremiah Addison made it 6-1 at 3:48. He’s got two goals in the tournament. . . . Windsor F Jeremy Bracco completed the scoring with his second goal of the tournament, at 13:07. . . . Knott added an assist to his pair of goals, while Bracco had two helpers. . . .
G Michael DePietro blocked 24 shots for Windsor. . . . Stankowski gave up three goals on six shots, with Toth surrendering four on 22. . . . Windsor was 2-6 on the PP; Seattle was 0-4. . . . Announced attendance: 5,237. The facility holds 6,500. . . . OHL teams now have won 11 straight Memorial Cup games. The last time an OHL team lost in the tournament was in the 2014 final when the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Guelph Storm, 6-3. . . . On Monday, Erie (1-0) meets the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs (0-1), at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET). . . . The Thunderbirds (0-2) are scheduled to play the Sea Dogs on Tuesday.
Tim Pigulski of 710 ESPN Seattle had a piece right here on the goaltending decision facing Thunderbirds head coach Steve Konowalchuk before Tuesday . . . 
Andy Eide of 710 ESPN Seattle has a game story right here.
If you click right here, Tbird Tidbits explains the situation in which the Thunderbirds now find themselves.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun has a game story right here in which he points out that the Thunderbirds have played 94 games this season and this was the worst loss they have suffered.
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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Otters bite Thunderbirds at Memorial Cup ... Stankowski solid in goal ... Spitfires next for Seattle


The OHL-champion Erie Otters opened the Memorial Cup with a 4-2 victory over the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds on Saturday in Windsor, Ont., in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would seem to indicate. . . . G Carl Stankowski was Seattle’s best player, finishing with 31 saves and giving his side a chance to win a game in which Erie really was the better team. . . . In the first two periods, Erie outshot Seattle, 12-8 and 17-6. . . . Still, the teams were tied 2-2 going into the third period. . . . Erie F Alex DeBrincat opened the scoring, on a PP, at 5:40 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it at 9:01 as F Scott Eansor scored. Eansor, a left-hand shot, beat G Troy Timpano off the rush from the right faceoff dot. . . . Erie went back out front at 17:59 as D Jordan Sambrook walked out of a corner, took the puck to the net and stuffed it past Stankowski. . . . At that point, Erie had a 16-4 edge in second-period shots. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it with 52.6 seconds left to play as D Austin Strand moved in from a point and scored over Timpano’s catching mitt. . . . Erie F Dylan Strome broke the tie at 1:36 of the third period, as he scored off the rush. He drove to the net, eluded the checking of F Keegan Kolesar and somehow backhanded a pass from F Taylor Raddysh past Stankowski. . . . F Christian Girhiny iced it with an empty-netter at 18:41. . . . Timpano finished with 18 saves. . . . Erie was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . Announced attendance: 5,259, and there were a lot of empty seats. . . . G Rylan Toth, 20, was in uniform for Seattle for the first time since March 11. Toth, who led all WHL goaltenders in regular-season victories (36), played the first period against the Portland Winterhawks on March 11, stopped all 11 shots he faced and then was removed for what Taking Note was told at the time was precautionary reasons. He hasn’t played since then. . . . G Matt Berlin, who was on the bench for all 20 of Seattle’s WHL playoff games, was scratched to make room in the lineup for Toth. . . . F Haydn Hopkins, 20, was among Erie’s scratches. He has played 53 regular-season WHL games, split among the Saskatoon Blades, Prince George Cougars and Vancouver Giants. He had three goals and seven assists in those games. Hopkins, who is from Victoria, had a goal and three assists in 31 games with Erie last season. This season, he was pointless in four games, before adding two goals and an assist in 10 playoff games. . . . F Landon Quinney, who turned 19 on April 27, is on the Saint John Sea Dogs’ roster but hasn’t played since undergoing an appendectomy late in the regular season. He had a goal and seven assists in 35 regular-season games. Last season, he had three goals and 13 assists in 69 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Thunderbirds (0-1) are back at it today (Sunday) when they meet the host Spitfires (1-0) at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET). Windsor opened the tournament on Friday with a 3-2 victory over the QMJHL-champion Sea Dogs.
Andy Eide of 710 ESPN Seattle has a game story right here.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun was there, too, and filed this story right here.
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Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, stopped by the Memorial Cup on Saturday. This right here is worth a watch/listen.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Host Spitfires open with victory ... Hurricanes need assistant coach ... Giants sign draft pick


F Jordan Draper (Red Deer, 2007-08) has signed a one-year contract with Nice (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he led Strasbourg (France, Ligue Magnus) in scoring, with 35 points, including 11 goals, in 43 games. . . . 
F Tyler Fiddler (Calgary, 2007-11) has signed a one-year contract with SønderjyskE Vojens (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). This season, with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had 17 goals and 27 assists in 45 games.
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The host Windsor Spitfires opened the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament with a 3-2 victory over the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday night. The Spitfires hadn’t played in 44 days after having been eliminated in the first round of the OHL playoffs. . . . Last night, the Spitfires opened up a 3-0 lead and then hung on as the Sea Dogs scored two goals in the game’s last four minutes. . . . F Jeremiah Addison opened the scoring at 15:53 of the first period, on a PP. . . . F Jeremy Bracco upped it to 2-0 at 18:17 of the second period, and F Aaron Luchuk made it 3-0 at 4:48 of the third period. . . . Saint John made it interesting with late goals from F Nathan Noel, on a PP, at 16:50, and D Thomas Chabot, at 17:14. . . . G Michael DiPietro of Windsor and G Callum Booth of Saint John each stopped 20 shots. . . . The Spitfires were 1-4 on the PP; the Sea Dogs were 1-5. . . . Announced attendance: 5,926. . . . The WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds play their first game today (Saturday) when they meet the OHL-champion Erie Otters. Game time is noon PT (3 p.m. ET).
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Mike Craig won't be returning to the
Lethbridge Hurricanes.

(Photo: lethbridgehurricanes.com)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes revealed Friday that assistant coach Mike Craig won’t be back for a fifth season. According to the team, Craig “will pursue other opportunities.” . . . Craig, 45, had been with the Hurricanes since August 2013, working alongside head coaches Drake Berehowsky, Peter Anholt and Brent Kisio. . . . From the Hurricanes’ news release: “During his tenure with the Hurricanes, Craig was a key member in helping the franchise build towards success. After a 12-win campaign in his first (season), Craig remained and was a big part of helping the ‘Canes improve every (season) including guiding the Hurricanes to back-to-back 40-win seasons and helping them to the Eastern Conference (final) in 2016-2017.” . . . In each of the past two seasons, Craig was responsible for the Lethbridge defencemen.
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The Vancouver Giants have signed F Justin Sourdif to a WHL contract after selecting him third overall in the 2017 bantam draft. From Surrey, B.C., Sourdif played for the Delta Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team this season, putting up 32 goals and 34 assists in 29 games.
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Americans introduce captain, new logo ... Hurricanes captain gets AHL deal ... Ex-P.A. captain to coach in AHL


D Richie Regehr (Kelowna, Portland, 1998-2004) has signed a one-year contract with Klagenfurt (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Red Bull Munich (Germany, DEL), he had three goals and 13 assists in 44 games. . . .
D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a one-year extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had three assists in 19 games.
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The Tri-City Americans unveiled their 30th anniversary logo on Thursday evening, while also announcing that F Michael Rasmussen is the 29th team captain in the team’s history. . . . Rasmussen, who will be a first-round selection in the 2017 NHL draft, had 32 goals and 23 assists in 50 games this season. His season ended prematurely when he suffered a broken scaphoid in his left wrist. In his two seasons with the Americans, Rasmussen has 50 goals and 48 assists in 114 games. . . . The Americans will be celebrating 30 seasons in the Tri-Cities — Kennewick, Pasco and Richland — in 2017-18. It’s worth noting, though, that the Americans actually are one of the WHL’s original franchises. They started out as the Calgary Buffaloes in 1966-67, the WHL’s first season, and were the Calgary Centennials from 1967-77. After that, they were the Billings Bighorns (1977-82), Nanaimo Islanders (1982-83) and New Westminster Bruins (1983-88).
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F Tyler Wong, who played out his eligibility with the Lethbridge Hurricanes this season, has signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Wong played five seasons with the Hurricanes, putting up 298 points, including 143 goals. From Cochrane, Alta., he was the Hurricanes’ captain for the past two seasons. This season, he totalled 109 points, tying for the WHL lead with 41 goals, in 69 games.
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If you enjoy stopping off here and would care to make a donation to the cause, please feel free to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
If you have some information you would like to share or just a general comment, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching Game

Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. The 32-year-old Colliton, who is from Blackie, Alta., played four seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders (2001-05), the last two as team captain. He spent the past four seasons as the head coach of Mora IK in Sweden (HockeyAllsvenskan). In Rockford, Colliton replaces Ted Dent, who was fired following the end of this season.
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Paul McFarland of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs has been named the head coach of the U-18 team that will represent Canada at this summer’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament. McFarland also was the team’s head coach a year ago. His assistant coaches will be Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Daniel Jacob of the QMJHL’s Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. . . . The tournament will be held in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czech Republic, in August. . . . The 2018 tournament is scheduled to be held in Edmonton. . . . Meanwhile, Dave Struch, the Regina Pats’ assistant GM/assistant coach, has been named head coach of Team Canada Black that will play at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C., Nov. 5-11. . . . Struch’s assistant coaches will be Spencer Carbery (OHL’s Saginaw Spirit) and Louis Robitaille (QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres). . . . Luke Pierce, the head coach of the Kootenay Ice, will work as an assistant on Team Canada Red. Gilles Bouchard (QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies) is the head coach, with B.J. Adams (OHL’s Erie Otters) the other assistant. . . . Ryan Oulahen of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds will be the head coach of Team Canada White. His assistants will be Brett Gibson (Queen’s University) and Eric Landry (QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques).
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ex-WHL coach off to Slovakia ... Hitmen coach talking with Swiss team? ... Blades sign three picks


F Brad Ross (Portland, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2). This season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), Ross had four assists in six games. His season ended prematurely due to a hand injury. Heilbronner’s head coach is Gerhard Unterluggauer (Brandon, 1995-97). . . .
F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) has signed a one-year extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, in 49 games, he had 10 goals and 22 assists.
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Former Kamloops Blazers head coach Dave Hunchak will
coach in Slovakia next season.

(Photo: Hugo Yuen/Kamloops Daily News)
It took more than three years, but former WHL coach Dave Hunchak is back in the game.
Hunchak has been named associate coach with Banská Bystrica, which won the Slovak Extraliga this season. Hunchak, who got a two-year contract, will work alongside head coach Vladimir Országh.
Hunchak, 43, coached in the WHL for 10 seasons, with the Swift Current Broncos, Moose Jaw Warriors and Kamloops Blazers. He was the head coach in Moose Jaw for four seasons (2007-11) and spent two-plus seasons in Kamloops.
Hunchak was the Blazers’ head coach when he left the team while it was in Spokane in January 2014. More than a year later he spoke with Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail for a piece headlined: Hockey world steps up mental health support. But is it enough?
That story is right here.
Banská Bystrica was looking to replace Richard Zednik, who had left its coaching staff, and chose to get in touch with Hunchak.
“During the interviews . . . many names fell,“ Julius Koval, Banská Bystrica’s sports manager, said on the team’s website. “But finally, on the basis of recommendations, like Jason Bast or Ty Wishart, we decided to reach Dave.”
Bast and Wishart played for Hunchak in Moose Jaw. Bast played in Banská Bystrica in 2015-16, while Wishart just completed his first season there.
Hunchak will leave for training camp in mid-July.
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The Calgary Hitmen are looking for a new general manager, having moved Mike Moore up to vice-president and alternate governor on Tuesday.
Might they also be in the market for a head coach before too long?
Mark French, their 46-year-old head coach, is said to be in the running for the head-coaching job with the Fribourg-Gotteron Dragons of Switzerland’s National League A.
Earlier this month, the Swiss newspaper La Liberte reported that French was the front-runner to replace Larry Huras, and that French was likely to meet with team president Michel Volet in the near future.
French has completed three seasons as Calgary’s head coach. He received what the team said was a “multi-year” contract extension on June 20.
Before signing with Calgary, he was the head coach the AHL’s Hershey Bears for four seasons and with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL for one season.
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The Saskatoon Blades had two first-round selections in the 2017 WHL bantam draft and signed both of them on Wednesday. . . . D Aidan De La Gorgendiere, the fifth overall selection, is from Langley, B.C. De La Gorgendiere played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 26 points, including five goals, in 30 games with the bantam prep team and added two goals and two assists in four games with the Elite 15s. His parents grew up in Saskatoon so he has a lot of family there. . . . The Blades also signed F Kyle Crnkovic of Chestermere, Alta., who was the 10th overall pick. He had 79 points, 40 of them goals, in 30 games with the Pursuit of Excellence bantam prep team. . . . The Blades also announced the signing of F Braden Plaschewsky, who was taken in the second round with a pick acquired from the Red Deer Rebels for F Mason McCarty, 20. Plaschewsky, from Calgary, had 72 points, including 30 goals, in 35 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons.
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F Tim Vanstone has made a commitment to the U of Calgary where he will play for the Dinos. Vanstone, from Swift Current, played out his junior eligibility this season. He was the Raiders’ captain for the past two seasons. This season, he had 30 points, including 12 goals, in 68 games. In 299 career regular-season games, all with the Raiders, he had 36 goals and 58 assists. The Raiders selected him in the third round of the 2011 bantam draft.
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D Josh Mahura of the Regina Pats has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. From St. Albert, Alta., Mahura was a third-round pick by the Ducks in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . Mahura had two goals and six assists in 51 games as a 16-year-old with the Red Deer Rebels. He missed all but two games of the 2015-16 regular season due to a knee injury, but came back to play in 17 playoff games, picking up two goals and two assists. He was dealt to the Pats this season -- he had nine goals and 24 assists in 39 games with Red Deer, and eight goals and 12 assists in 34 games with Regina. But he really caught fire in the playoffs, putting up eight goals and 13 assists in 23 games as the Pats got six games into the championship final before losing to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
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The Vancouver Giants have signed D Tanner Brown, who was a second-round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. From Kelowna, Brown had seven goals and 22 assists in 26 games with the Pursuit of Excellence’s bantam prep team this season.
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Ryan McGill of the Owen Sound Attack and Kris Knoblauch of the Erie Otters were named the OHL’s first- and second-team all-star coaches on Wednesday. Both are former WHL players and coaches. . . . McGill played for the Lethbridge Broncos, Swift Current Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers (1985-89) and was a coach with the Edmonton/Kootenay Ice (1996-2002, 2012-15). . . . Knoblauch played for the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton/Kootenay and the Lethbridge Hurricanes (1996-99). As a coach, he spent one season (2006-07) with the Prince Albert Raiders and five (2007-12) with Kootenay. . . . Knoblauch guided his Otters to the OHL championship and they are in Windsor, preparing for the Memorial Cup tournament that begins on Friday. Two of the other three head coaches also have WHL ties. Steve Konowalchuk, who is in his sixth season with the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds, played two seasons (1990-92) with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Rocky Thompson, in season No. 2 as the head coach of the host Windsor Spitfires, played four-plus seasons (1993-97) with the Medicine Hat Tigers, finishing up with 22 games with the Swift Current Broncos. He began his coaching season with three seasons (2007-10) as an assistant with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
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If you are interested in Part 2 of Lucas Aykroyd’s interview with Dave King, it’s right here. These days, King is working as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship. . . . BTW, King jogs every morning. In fact, he has jogged every morning for almost 30 years without missing a day.
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Coaching

Jesse Dorrans no longer is the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. The team revealed Wednesday morning that Dorrans “has resigned due to personal reasons.” . . . Dorrans spent one season with the Thunder, going 17-39-4 to finish sixth in the eight-team Viterra North Division. In the playoffs, the Thunder was swept from a best-of-five first-round series by the Spruce Grove Saints.

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