Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rebels add two to roster . . . 2019 WJC to Vancouver/Victoria . . . Check out Lynn's book

F Bud Holloway (Seattle, 2003-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Skellefteå (Sweden, SHL). He was released by CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) on Nov. 18 after recording three goals and six assists in 12 games. . . . Holloway has played three seasons (2011-14) for Skellefteå. He was the SHL’s leading scorer with 71 points, including 51 assists, in 55 games, and won the league’s MVP award in 2012-13.
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The Red Deer Rebels have added F Matt Campese and D Jacob Herauf to their roster.
Campese, who will turn 19 on Dec. 10, was released by the Kamloops Blazers early this season and has been with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. He has 17 points, including six goals, in 15 games with
the Warriors. A third-round pick of the Victoria Royals in the 2012 WHL bantam draft, he has 10 goals and six assists in 95 career regular-season games — 16 with the Royals and 79 with Kamloops. He is the son of former WHL goaltender/coach/general manager Bruno Campese, who now scouts for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
Herauf, 16, has been with the midget AAA Sherwood Park, Alta., Kings. The Rebels selected him with the 16th overall pick of the 2015 bantam draft. He already has played nine games with the Rebels this season, recording one assist.
Why the additions? Perhaps because Red Deer GM/head coach Brent Sutter is looking for more out of his roster.
When Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com asked Sutter about his club’s play after a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday, the response was: “Truthfully? I’m not a very happy camper right now. I wasn’t happy at all with the way we played the second period. We took some dumb penalties. We do self-inflicted things that hurt us and we don’t stick to what allows us to be a good team.
“We played well in the first period and did some good things in the third. When we keep the game simple, play straight lines, do things right and have a good transition where we’re getting pucks back up the ice, we play well and we’ve proven it at different times this (season).”
The Rebels’ inconsistent play has been bothering Sutter for some time now. It would seem he is going to try and fix it by bringing in competition for the players on his roster.
The addition of Campese also provides some depth should the Rebels lost F Michael Spacek and/or F Adam Musil to the Czech Republic’s national junior team.
The Rebels (13-11-4) got into the weekend in second place in the Central Division. They are 4-4-2 in their previous 10 games. They also are 13 points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers (21-5-1), but just three ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes (12-11-3), who have won five in a row.
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Hockey Canada and the CHL announced on Thursday afternoon that a bid from Vancouver and Victoria to play host to the 2019 World Junior Championship has been selected.
Included in the bid are the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, along with Sport Hosting Vancouver, Sport Host Victoria, Tourism Victoria, the Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals, and BC Hockey.
The Vancouver/Victoria bid won out over others from Calgary/Edmonton, Saskatoon/Winnipeg and London/Windsor.
The tournament last was played in B.C. in 2006 when there were games in Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver. Attendance totalled 325,138 for that event. The 2019 tournament will be played in Vancouver and Victoria. Whichever pool includes Canada will play out of Rogers Place in Vancouver; the other pool will play in the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The Vancouver/Victoria organizing committee will be co-chaired by Ron Toigo, the managing director of Shato Holdings and the majority owner of the Giants, and Barry Petrachenko, the CEO of BC Hockey.
The 2017 tournament opens on Boxing Day and will be played in Toronto and Montreal. Those cities also played host in 2015, while last year’s tournament was held in Helsinki, Finland. The 2018 tournament is to be played in Buffalo.
The awarding of the 2019 tournament to Vancouver/Victoria means that the tournament will have been played in North America four times in a five-year stretch.
This also will signal to smaller markets — once and for all — that they need not waste their time or money getting involved in the bidding process. It’s all about the guarantee and having a guarantor in place to cover losses if that guarantee isn’t met.
The decision to award the 2019 event to Vancouver/Victoria is “another rejection for London and Windsor — and all smaller junior hockey markets who still hold increasingly diminishing hopes they’ll ever get to stage a world junior hockey championship,” writes Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press. . . .That piece is right here.
The 2021 WJC also is to be played in Canada, and you can bet everything you own that it will go to Calgary and Edmonton.
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The Kelowna Rockets will have two of their players in the 2017 World Junior Championship. F Calvin Thukauf is to join Team Switzerland in Oshawa as it prepares for the tournament that opens Boxing Day in Toronto and Montreal. F Tomas Soustal will join Czech Republic in Montreal. Both players are scheduled to leave Kelowna on Dec. 12. . . . Team Russia released its preliminary roster on Thursday and it included one WHLer — D Sergey Zborovskiy of the Regina Pats. He is one of 12 defencemen on the preliminary roster. The Russians will hold a pre-tournament camp in Kingston, Ont. Zborovskiy is to leave Regina on Dec. 18.
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G Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips has posted three straight shutouts, meaning he is one shy of the WHL record that has been held by Chris Worthy of the Flin Flon Bombers for almost 50 years. Worthy put up four in a row from Dec. 29, 1967, through Jan. 13, 1968. . . . Hart has gone 187 minutes 1 second without allowing a goal. Worthy holds that record, too, at 265:13. . . . Hart’s next test comes tonight, assuming that he is Everett’s starter, when the Silvertips play host to the Medicine Hat Tigers. This game matches the WHL’s highest-scoring team, the Tigers, against the stingiest, the Silvertips. . . . The Tigers (21-5-1) have won 10 in a row and lead the overall standings by one point over the Silvertips (19-3-4), who have won four straight.
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As you no doubt are aware, the NHL will have a new franchise in play next season — the Vegas Golden Knights. Their front office is full of men with ties to the WHL, including Kelly McCrimmon, Bob Lowes, Vaughn Karpan, Erin Ginnell, Bruno Campese, Murray Craven and Jim McKenzie. . . . If you are interested in what goes into putting an NHL expansion team together and getting it on the ice, get a copy of Tom Lynn’s book How to Bake an NHL Franchise from Scratch: The First Era of the Minnesota Wild. . . . It’s an entertaining and informative look at one of the NHL’s most-recent expansion franchises. . . . Lynn was an executive with the Wild; he now is an agent with Veritas Hockey.
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If you’ve got a comment, some information you would like to pass along, or if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit the bottom of this post and go right ahead.
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JUST NOTES:

D Cam Reagan, 19, who was released by the Prince Albert Raiders on Monday has signed to play with his hometown AJHL team, the Sherwood Park Crusaders. . . . He had two assists in 18 games with the Raiders. In 117 regular-season WHL games, 99 of those with the Kamloops Blazers, he put up 10 assists. . . . 
The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders have acquired the rights to F Jesse Zaharichuk, 19, from the Drumheller Dragons for future considerations. Zaharichuk, who is from Sherwood Park, had 17 points, including eight goals, in 17 games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He was assigned to Drumheller early in November, but he hadn’t yet played there. . . .
The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits have signed D Kord Pankewicz, 20, who was placed on waivers by the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes earlier this week. He had a goal and eight assists in 24 games with Lethbridge this season. Pankewicz is from Drayton Valley, Alta. . . .
The Portland Winterhawks have dropped F Ty Kolle, 16, from their roster and he is returning to the Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Kolle had three assists in 13 games with Portland. From Kamloops, he was a fourth-round pick by Portland in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Saskatoon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kootenay vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Kelowna at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Calgary at Swift Current, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Brandon vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
TBG: Teddy Bear Game.

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Three points for a regulation victory? Yes, please . . . and a blog flashback

Has the time come for the NHL to award three points to a team that wins a regular-season game in regulation time? Pierre LeBrun of espn.com says it has. He says it’s time for the NHL to go to a 3-2-1 points system, something that was discussed at the league level more than 10 years ago. However, it doesn’t sound like the idea will get much, if any, traction with NHL execs. Brian Burke, for example, says he would “rather put a sharp stick in my eye.” . . . LeBrun’s piece is right here.
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Three points for a regulation victory — and doing away with loser points — is something that has long been discussed in this space. For the longest time, Dan Russell, when he was the host of the Vancouver radio show Sports Talk, and I often talked of the need for hockey to stop rewarding losers.
What follows appeared on this blog on Nov. 13, 2008.
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The hockey game is in overtime. A defenceman has the puck in the left corner of his zone. In trying to clear the zone, he throws the puck into the middle of the ice. An opposing forward corrals it, skates in and scores the winning goal.
In the dressing room after the game, the head coach of the losing team berates the defenceman for what was a critical error.
“What’s the big deal, coach?” responds the player. “We still got a point.”
Yes, indeed, the team lost the game in overtime but still was rewarded with a point.
And therein lies the rub — of the ‘major’ sports, hockey is the only one that rewards failure.
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Obviously, this has bastardized hockey statistics to the point of ridiculousness. For example, a player scores the game-winning goal in a shootout but statistics don’t credit him with a goal. A goaltender stops 10 shooters in the shootout but his save percentage doesn’t reflect it.
The standings show one team with a 6-9-0-5 record. But hasn’t that team really won six games and lost 14?
Never mind that the shootout takes what coaches preach is a “team game” and turns it into an individual sport.
And we won’t even get into coaching records. It used to be that a head coach’s record was measured in wins, losses and ties. These days, if a coach has been around long enough, you need five categories — wins, losses, ties, overtime losses and shootout losses — to chart his career. And how dumb is that? Go ahead, you try and figure out Don Hay’s actual winning percentage as a WHL head coach.
Geez, remember when a loss was a loss was a loss?
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Bill Motiuk is a hockey fan. And like a lot of us — hello there, Dan Russell — he despises the present system of awarding two points for a regulation-time victory and three points — two to the winner, one to the loser — of anything that goes beyond that. Loser points really are the scourge of hockey, aren't they?
So Motiuk put on his thinking cap and came up with a system that he says is “based on the business principle that the longer it takes you to get the job done, the more it will cost you.”
When I first looked at his idea, I thought, ‘Ah, what’s the big deal?’ But the more I thought about it and the more I re-read it and the more I absorbed it, the more it grew on me. And now I’m sold.
But in order to be sold on this, you have to go along with this premise:
Some games are worth three points, some are worth two and some are worth one. At first, I wasn’t enthused about that part, but the more I thought about it, well . . .
To begin with, this system puts a three-point value on a regulation-time victory. The winner gets three points; the loser doesn’t get a thing. “To get the three points,” Motiuk says, “you must win in regulation time.”
OK, but what if the game goes into overtime?
An overtime victory is worth two points. Again, the loser doesn’t get anything. “Being tied at the end of regulation deserves nothing,” he explains, “because it wasn’t a tie game and overtime only signified that the end of the first stage did not produce a winner. The winner in overtime only gets two points (as opposed to three) because he didn’t get the job done in regulation time.”
OK, but what if the game goes to a shootout?
The winner of the shootout would receive one point. The loser, again, wouldn’t get a thing.
“The eventual winner ends up forfeiting two points he could have obtained, again for not getting the job done in regulation time,” Motiuk reasons. “At the end of the night, the loser gets nothing because we should not be rewarding losers and there are no longer any tie games under the current system.”
The CFL has long gotten raked over the coals in some corners for awarding a single point on some missed field-goal attempts. But the NHL, the WHL and many other leagues also reward failure by giving points to teams that lose in overtime or a shootout.
“We only have tie segments,” Motiuk points out. “We do not give points for ties at the end of the first and second periods. So why give a point for a tie at the end of the third period? Why reward a team with a point when they lose in overtime? Ditto in the shootout.”
And that, folks, is my favourite part of all this and the thing that really validates it. If you are going to play overtime and if you are going to have shootouts, why give anything to teams for being tied at the end of the third period? As Motiuk points out, teams don't get anything for being tied at the end of the first and second periods.
The way he has it figured, this “would change the whole dynamic of the game.”
“The intensity of the game would be predicated by the three points available before the end of the third period,” he says.
Under this system, should teams be tied near the end of the third period they would be pulling out all stops in an effort to score. After all, score and win and you get three points; go to overtime and you will get two, one or zero points.

Hey, from where I sit, it makes sense. And it certainly is better than the system now in place. Which is why it doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance.

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Pats make Smart deal . . . Hitmen make two moves . . . Hart, Ingram on fire


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The Regina Pats have acquired D Jonathan Smart, 17, from the Kelowna Rockets in exchange for D James Hilsendager, 19, and F Erik Gardiner, 17.
Smart, the 22nd overall selection in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, has three goals in 14 assists in 68
games with the Rockets over two seasons. He is the son of former WHL F Jason Smart and the grandson of long-time scout Russ Smart.
This season, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Smart, who is from Kelowna, has one goal and six assists in 24 games. He is eligible for the NHL’s 2017 draft and is rated as a potential fourth- to sixth-round selection.
Hilsendager, from Lloydminster, Alta., has one goal and 17 assists in 135 career regular-season games. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder was a ninth round pick by Regina in the 2012 bantam draft. This season, he has three assists in 18 games.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Gardiner, a second-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, is playing in his hometown with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He has 14 points, including 10 goals, in 14 games. In four games with the Pats — two each in 2014-15 and this season — he has one assist. He is the younger brother of former Prince Albert Raiders F Reid Gardiner.
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The Calgary Hitmen have acquired D Brady Reagan, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Reagan, from Calgary, has nine goals and 28 assists in 184 career regular-season games. . . . He was a second-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2012 bantam draft. He played 61 games over three seasons with Regina before being traded to Lethbridge during the 2014-15 season. This season, Reagan had a goal and four assists in 18 games with the Hurricanes. He was suspended by the Hurricanes on Oct. 28 for “violating team rules.” Reagan returned to the lineup on Nov. 16 after sitting for six games.
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The Calgary Hitmen have placed F Taylor Sanheim, 20, on waivers. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder is from Elkhorn, Man. He has two goals and five assists in 18 games this season. In 132 career regular-season games, all with Calgary, he put up 51 points, including 12 goals. . . . The move leaves the Hitmen with two 20-year-olds — F Tyler Mrkonjic and D Micheal Zipp, who is the team’s captain. . . . On Monday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes waived D Kord Pankewicz, 20, leaving them with F Tyler Wong, their captain, and F Ryley Lindgren as the 20s. The Hurricanes then added D Shaun Dosanjh, 20, off waivers from the Kamloops Blazers.
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F Radovan Bondra will be leaving the Vancouver Giants on Dec. 16 to play for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Bondra has 17 goals and 10 assists in 26 games, after totalling 30 points, 15 of them goals, in 58 games as a freshman last season. The Chicago Blackhawks selected Bondra, 19, in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft.
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D Vladislav Yeryomenko of the Calgary Hitmen has been named to Team Belarus for the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I, Group A) that is scheduled for Dec. 11-17 in Bremerhaven, Germany. Also in that event will be teams from Austria, France, Kazakhstan and Norway. . . . Yeryomenko, 17, has one goal and three assists in 19 games with the Hitmen. He will be in Calgary’s lineup for two weekend road games — against the Swift Current Broncos on Friday and Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday — before leaving on Sunday.
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If you’ve got a comment, some information you would like to pass along, or if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit the bottom of this post and go right ahead.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:


At Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 20 shots in posting his third straight shutout, all on home ice, as the
CARTER HART
Silvertips beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-0. . . . Hart was one of three goaltenders named to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp roster on Tuesday. . . . Hart has four shutouts this season and 14 in his career. He blanked the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-0, on Nov. 23 and beat the Prince George Cougars, 3-0, on Saturday. He has made 83 saves in his three blank jobs. . . . Hart leads the WHL in shutouts (4), GAA (1.59) and save percentage (.939). He also owns the franchise record for longest shutout streak. The previous record (178:14) was held by David Reekie (2006-07). . . . F Bryce Kindopp scored twice for Everett, giving him five. He got the eventual winner at 8:24 of the first period. . . . D Kevin Davis had two assists, with F Eetu Tuulola adding a goal, his sixth, and two assists. . . . F Bradly Goethals scored his second goal, on a PP, in three games. . . . Ice G Payton Lee stopped 39 shots. . . . Everett was 2-5 on  the PP; Kootenay was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips (19-3-4) have won four in a row. They are back within a point of the Medicine Hat Tigers (21-5-1), who lead the overall standings and have won 10 in a row. The Tigers are scheduled to play in Everett on Friday night. . . . The Ice (5-17-6) has lost four straight. . . . Announced attendance: 2,716.
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At Kamloops, G Connor Ingram made 52 saves and F Deven Sideroff scored the OT winner as the
CONNOR INGRAM
Blazers beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-3. . . . Ingram stopped 17, 19 and 16 shots by period. The lone period in which the Blazers held an edge in shots was in OT when they had the only three shots on goal. . . . Ingram was one of three goaltenders invited to the Canadian national junior team’s selection camps on Tuesday. . . . “That was one of the best goaltending efforts I’ve seen since I’ve been in the league,” Kamloops head coach Don Hay said. Hay was coaching in his 1,244th regular-season WHL game. He won his 690th game last night. . . . F Deven Sideroff won the game at 1:03 of OT, scoring his 14th goal on a PP. . . . F Rudolfs Balcers gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead with his 16th goal, just 17 seconds into the first period. . . . Seattle took a 2-1 lead on goals from D Ethan Bear (8), at 19:42 of the first period, and F Mathew Barzal (2), at 7:50 of the second. . . . Sideroff tied it while shorthanded at 19:07. . . . F Spencer Bast gave the Blazers a 3-2 lead at 2:00 of the third period. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it three minutes later when F Ryan Gropp, who is from Kamloops, scored on a PP. He’s got six goals. . . . F Garrett Pilon had three assists for Kamloops. . . . Barzal and Gropp added an assist each. . . . Seattle G Matt Berlin stopped 17 shots in losing for the first time in four decisions. With starter Rylan Toth nicked up, Berlin made his third straight start. . . . Kamloops was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 1-5. . . . The Blazers (15-12-1) had lost their previous two games. . . . The Thunderbirds (13-9-3) are 2-0-1 in their last three. . . . Kamloops F Matt Revel played in his 300th regular-season game. He played the first 104 of those with the Saskatoon Blades. In 300 career games, he has 167 points, including 68 goals. . . . Announced attendance: 3,184, the seventh-smallest crowd in the history of the Sandman Centre, which opened in the fall of 1992.

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At Lethbridge, F Giorgio Estephan scored twice and set up another goal as the Hurricanes skated to a 5-
GIORGIO ESTEPHAN
1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The home team scored the game’s first four goals, with D Calen Addison opening the scoring with his fourth goal at 6:10 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Wong (17) upped the lead to 2-0 at 13:13 of the second period and Estephan, who has 12 goals, added insurance at 15:26 and again 25 seconds into the third period. . . . Addison and F Ryley Lindgren each had a goal and an assist for Lethbridge. . . . The Hurricanes got 24 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Prince Albert G Ian Scott stopped 36 shots. . . . The Hurricanes were 1-4 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-3. . . . F Kolby Johnson, who moved to Prince Albert from Prince George in the deal that had D Brendan Guhle go to the Cougars, was a scratch for a third straight game. . . . The Hurricanes (12-11-3) have won five in a row. . . . The Raiders (5-20-1) have lost nine straight games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,869.
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At Red Deer, F Adam Musil’s second goal of the game, this one in OT, gave the Rebels a 4-3 victory over
ADAM MUSIL
the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Rebels overcame a 3-1 deficit by counting the game’s last three goals. . . . Musil’s eighth goal of the season won it at 3:41 of OT. . . . Red Deer D Colton Bobyk was credited with the game’s first goal, at 14:27 of the first period, but it was later changed to Musil. . . . The Blades scored the next three goals. . . . F Wyatt Sloboshan (4) tied the score at 15:23 of the first period. D Jackson Caller gave the visitors the lead with his first WHL goal, at 10:05 of the second period. F Gage Ramsay made it 3-1 with his third goal, on a PP, at 5:40 of the third. . . . Red Deer F Evan Polei (10) started the comeback at 5:57. . . . F Austin Pratt (8) tied the score at 9:39. . . . The Rebels got two assists from each of D Josh Mahura and F Michael Spacek. . . . G Lasse Petersen stopped 21 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Blades got 31 saves from G Brock Hamm. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . The post-game scoring change allowed Bobyk to run his assist streak to 11 games. . . . The Rebels now are 13-11-4. . . . The Blades (10-17-1) have lost two straight. . . . Announced attendance: 4,008.
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COLE KEHLER
At Spokane, the Portland Winterhawks rode two early PP goals to a 2-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Cody Glass scored his 14th goal at 3:31 of the first period and F Ryan Hughes (11) made it 2-0 at 6:38. . . . Spokane F Keanu Yamamoto got his ninth goal at 17:55 of the third period with G Jayden Sittler on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . G Cole Kehler, who was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers during the offseason, turned aside 34 shots for Portland as he improved his numbers to 12-7-0, 2.76, .916. He has won six straight starts. The Winterhawks gave up a conditional eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft for Kehler, who turns 19 on Dec. 17. . . . The Chiefs got 38 saves from Sittler. . . . Portland was 2-3 on the PP; Spokane was 0-2. . . . The Winterhawks (14-12-1) have at least a point in seven straight games (6-0-1). . . . Spokane (10-10-5) has lost two in a row. . . . The Chiefs, who are without F Kailer Yamamoto, their best player, dressed only 17 skaters, one under the maximum. That included just 10 forwards. . . . Announced attendance: 3,193.
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At Kennewick, Wash., the Kelowna Rockets struck for the game’s first three goals and went on to a 4-1
COLE LIND
victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . D Nolan Foote (4) got things started at 10:01 of the first period, with F Jordan Borstmayer (3) upping it to 2-0 at 16:20. . . . F Kole Lind made it 3-0 with his 14th goal at 13:02 of the second period. He has goals in five straight games and eight of nine. His 14th goal came in his 26th game; last season, he finished with 14 goals in 70 games. . . . F Vladislav Lukin’s 13th goal got Tri-City on the scoreboard at 8:25 of the third period. . . . Kelowna F Tomas Soustal (12) closed out the scoring at 17:46. . . . Soustal and Lind added an assist each to their goals. . . . Kelowna G Michael Herringer stopped 20 shots. . . . The Americans got 41 saves from Rylan Parenteau. . . . The Rockets were 0-2 on the PP; the Americans were 0-3. . . . F Jake Kryski was back in Kelowna’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . The Rockets (15-11-0) have won two straight. . . . The Americans are 16-10-2. . . . Announced attendance: 2,385.
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At Victoria, F Zach Russell’s second goal of the season broke a 3-3 tie at 16”32 of the third period and
ZACH RUSSELL
gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 4-3 victory over the Royals. . . . Russell, a 17-year-old from Calgary, was traded by the Royals to the Wheat Kings for a sixth-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, on Nov. 10. . . . The Wheat Kings held 2-0 and 3-1 leads in this one. . . . F Reid Duke (16) and F Tanner Kaspick (11) scored 27 seconds apart late in the first period for that 2-0 lead. . . . F Matt Phillips, who scored all three Victoria goals, cut into the deficit at 17:25, just 21 seconds after Kaspick had scored on a PP. . . . F Ty Lewis gave Brandon a 3-1 lead with his 15th goal, at 11:24 of the second period. . . . Phillips completed his third career hat trick with goals at 2:02 and 13:45 of the third period. . . . Duke also had two assists, while Lewis and Kaspick each had one. . . . Victoria got two assists from each of F Ryan Peckford and F Dante Hannoun. . . . Brandon G Jordan Papirny blocked 29 shots, as did Victoria’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . Brandon was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 1-7. . . . The Wheat Kings (13-9-2) had lost their previous two games. This was Game 1 of a seven-game road trip for Brandon. . . . Injured F Nolan Patrick didn’t make the trip west with his teammates. . . . The Royals (14-12-2) have lost three in a row. They are without veteran F Tyler Soy, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 4,073.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Saskatoon at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kootenay vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
Kelowna at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Calgary at Swift Current, 7 p.m. (TBG)
Portland vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Brandon vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.
TBG: Teddy Bear Game.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Canada names selection camp roster . . . 'Canes change 20s . . . Tigers perfect 10!


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D Jace Coyle (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2007-11) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). This season, he had two goals and two assists in 14 games with the Quad City Mallards (ECHL). Coyle played with Sheffield last season. . . .
F Eric Johansson (Tri-City, 1997-2002) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, he had one assist in four games with the Herning Blue Fox (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) before being released by mutual agreement on Friday.
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There are 12 WHLers on the national junior team selection camp roster that Hockey Canada unveiled Tuesday.
That roster features 32 players — three goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 19 forwards.
The selection camp is to run in Blainville, Que., Dec. 10-14, with the 2017 World Junior Championship set for Toronto and Montreal, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. A year ago, in Finland, Canada didn’t advance past the quarterfinals.
The WHLers on Canada’s selection camp roster are G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips; G Connor Ingram, Kamloops Blazers; D Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen; D Kale Clague, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Noah Juulsen, Everett; F Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds; F Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets; F Brett Howden, Moose Jaw Warriors; F Nick Merkley, Kelowna; F Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings; and F Sam Steel and F Austin Wagner, Regina Pats.
The Canadian roster includes five returnees from a year ago: Barzal; D Thomas Chabot, Saint John Sea Dogs; F Julien Gauthier, Val-d’Or Foreurs; F Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw Spirit; and F Dylan Strome, Erie Otters.
The selection camp will include three exhibition games — against a team of Canadian university starts on Dec. 12 and 13, and against the Czech Republic on Dec. 14.
The goaltending competition will be as interesting as anything in the selection camp. Team Canada will keep two of the three. Ingram has a 2.19 GAA and .932 save percentage, while Hart is at 1.67, .937, and Michael McNiven of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack is 2.29, .920.
There are nine players on the Canadian roster from each of the OHL and QMJHL, and two from NCAA schools. D Dante Fabbro of Boston University and F Tyson Jost of North Dakota both played with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.
Fabbro’s WHL rights belong to Seattle, which selected him eighth overall in the 2013 bantam draft.
Jost’s WHL rights belong to Regina, the Pats having acquired them from the Everett Silvertips, who took him seventh overall in that 2013 bantam draft. With the Pats the odds-on favourite to be the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, you are free to wonder if Steel and Wagner, the two Regina players on the selection camp roster, will be whispering in Jost’s ear.
Team Canada will play in Group B, along with Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and Team USA. Canada will open the tournament against Russia on Boxing Day in Toronto.
Group A comprises Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Three of the WHL players on the roster — Patrick, Bean and Steel — are injured.
Patrick, the consensus No. 1 pick for the NHL’s 2017 draft, has played in only six games and hasn’t played since Oct. 11. He is listed as being out week-to-week on the WHL’s Nov. 29 roster report. Patrick, who has been bothered by the after-effects of July surgery for a sports hernia, told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun on Monday that “I think my injury is turning a corner.” If Patrick, or any other injured player, doesn’t take part in the camp, he won’t be on the final roster.
Bean, a first-round pick (13th overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL’s 2016 draft, has two assists in three games this season. He hasn’t played since suffering a hand injury on Oct. 14, but is expected to return at some point this weekend.
Steel, the WHL’s leading scorer, has missed the Pats’ last two games with a shoulder injury. He was injured in the second period of a 5-2 loss to the Cougars in Prince George on Nov. 22 and sat out Regina’s next two games. He went into this week with 41 points, tops in the WHL.
Meanwhile, two other players — Dube and Howden — have just returned from the injury list.
Dube has seven points, including six assists, in six games since coming back from a knee injury suffered while in camp with the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
Howden has played in two games since returning from a hip injury that cost him a month. He has two goals and four assists in those two games, giving him 20 points, including 11 goals, in 13 games this season.
JUST NOTES: There are a number of tournament-eligible players in the NHL and Team Canada is free to add to its roster until Dec. 19. . . . Among the WHLers who may have been close to being selected: D Connor Hobbs, Regina; D Brendan Guhle and F Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars; F Tyler Soy, Victoria Royals; F Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants; and D Ethan Bear, Seattle. . . . D Cal Foote of Kelowna, who is from Englewood, Colo., has declared for Canada but was ruled ineligible under the IIHF’s residency rules. Foote, whose father is former NHL D Adam Foote, is in his second WHL season. . . . Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, reports that freshman F Rudolfs Balcers has been named to the Latvian national junior team. He has 28 points, including 15 goals, in 27 games with the Blazers.
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Peter Anholt, the general manager of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, continued to shake up things with a team that he obviously feels is under-achieving.
Earlier this month, Anholt dealt F Brayden Burke, the team’s leading scorer, to the Moose Jaw Warriors. On Tuesday, Anholt placed D Kord Pankewicz on 20-year-old waivers, and filled that roster spot with D Shaun Dosanjh.
Dosanjh began this season with the Prince George Cougars, before being claimed off waivers by the Kamloops Blazers when they lost D Dallas Valentine, 20, to an elbow injury. Valentine returned from a 19-game absence on Friday, so the Blazers placed Dosanjh on waivers.
The Hurricanes had acquired Pankewicz from the Brandon Wheat Kings in September 2014. This season, he has a goal and eight assists in 24 games. In 155 regular-season games with Lethbridge, he put up 97 points, including 85 assists. Including his 88 games with Brandon, Pankewicz has 112 points, 99 of them assists. Brandon selected him 11th overall in the 2011 bantam draft.
Dosanjh was a third-round pick by the Vancouver Giants in that 2011 bantam draft. This season, he has a goal and three assists in 18 games. In 142 career regular-season games, Dosanjh has three goals and seven assists.
The Hurricanes (11-11-3) have won four straight games. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, but are just one point behind the third-place Edmonton Oil Kings in the Central Division.
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Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his weekly 30 Thoughts essay on Tuesday and, as usual, it is highly readable. In this instance, he takes a look at the changes with the Florida Panthers. . . . And if you look hard enough you might even find my name in there somewhere. It’s still a great read and it’s right here.
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If you’ve got a comment, some information you would like to pass along, or if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit the bottom of this post and go right ahead.
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Coaching
The ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals have fired head coach Rod Aldoff and brought in Robbie Ftorek, a former NHL head coach, as the replacement. . . . The Admirals were 2-11-4 at the time of the change. . . . Aldoff, who is from Lethbridge, was hired in June to replace Eric Veilleux, now an assistant coach with the AHL;’s San Antonio Rampage. Aldoff had guided the Pensacola Ice Flyers to last season’s SPHL title. . . . Ftorek, 64, last coached in 2013-14 when he was an assistant coach with the AHL’s Abbotsford, B.C., Heat.
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JUST NOTES:

The Kootenay Ice won’t have D Troy Murray in the lineup tonight when they meet the Silvertips in Everett tonight. Murray drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Edmonton F Artyom Baltruk in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Oil Kings on Sunday. Baltruk is shown on this week’s roster report as being out TBD with an upper-body injury.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:


At Medicine Hat, F Zach Fischer had a goal and two assists to help the Tigers to a 4-1 victory over the
ZACH FISCHER
Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Tigers (21-5-1) have won 10 in a row and now lead the overall standings by three points over the Everett Silvertips and Prince George Cougars. . . . The Tigers are scheduled to play in Everett on Friday. . . . The Raiders (5-19-1) have lost eight straight and have the 22-team league’s poorest record. . . . F Chad Butcher (12) got the Tigers started at 9:28 of the first period. . . . Fischer, who has 17 goals, added to the lead at 10:54 of the second period. . . . F Cole Fonstad (5) got Prince Albert’s goal at 12:04. . . . The Tigers put it away on goals from F John Dahlstrom (13) at 17:17 of the second and F Steve Owre (7) at 9:02 of the third. . . . D Clayton Kirichenko and D David Quenneville each had two assists for Medicine Hat, while Butcher and Owre each had one. . . . G Nick Schneider stopped 28 shots in posting his 12th straight victory. He leads the WHL with 19 of them. . . . The Raiders got 32 stops from Ian Scott. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-5. . . . F Matt Bradley, one of the Tigers’ five 30-point men, was among the scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,167.

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At Langley, B.C., F Brad Morrison’s goal at 1:58 of OT gave the Prince George Cougars a 4-3 victory
BRAD MORRISON
over the Vancouver Giants. . . . D Brendan Guhle had tied the game, with his fifth goal, at 19:18 of the third period. Morrison, who has 10 goals, got the lone assist on Guhle’s goal. . . . F Jansen Harkins had given the visitors a 1-0 lead, with his sixth goal, at 10:27 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning (10) tied it at 16:33. . . . The Cougars went back out front on F Jesse Gabrielle’s 13th goal, at 18:17, with Harkins getting the assist. . . . The Giants took the lead with second-period goals from D Matt Barberis (4), at 2:34, on a PP, and F Radovan Bondra (17), at 16:28. . . . Bondra and Ronning each had an assist for Vancouver. . . . Gabrielle also added an assist to his goal. . . . G Ty Edmonds stopped 19 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Giants got 42 stops from G Ryan Kubic. . . . Vancouver was 1-6 on the PP; Prince George was 0-5. . . . The Cougars (19-6-2) had lost their previous two games. They are three points behind the WHL-leading Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Giants (10-16-2) have lost six straight (0-4-2). . . . Announced attendance: 2,870.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Kootenay at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Kelowna vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Brandon at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Concussion forum set for Ottawa . . . Where are CHL power-brokers? . . . Hlinka tourney on move




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D Jesse Dudas (Lethbridge, Prince George, Swift Current, Regina, 2003-09) has been released by TPS Turku (Liiga, Finland) due to injury. According to a TPS news release, "Dudas' upper body injury is worse than expected . . . season is over." He was injured in the only game in which he played. That was a Sept. 2 Champions League game against Liberec (Czech Republic) on Sept. 2. He scored one goal. . . .
F Dominik Volek (Regina, Red Deer, Vancouver, 2011-14) has returned to Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) from loan to České Budějovice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). He was pointless in four games. He had been loaned out for one month on Nov. 16. . . .
F David Vrbata (Calgary, 2000-01) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Benátky and Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). This season, he had five goals and six assists in 12 games with Neumarkt/Egna (Italy, Alps HL) before being released by mutual agreement on Nov. 3.
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Concussion ReportSo . . . it has come to this!
“With the NHL and CFL dragging their feet on the issue of concussions,” writes Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail, “and no action on the government's part after the Prime Minister brought up the topic with cabinet ministers a year ago, the governor-general has decided to go it alone.
“David Johnston will hold a one-day forum titled ‘We Can Do Better’ at Rideau Hall to address rising public concern over the long-lasting effects of sport concussions.”
The conference is scheduled for Dec. 6 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
This meeting has been talked about for at least five years, and it finally will take place, thanks to Gov. Gen. Johnston, who played hockey and football at Harvard University. Before going on to Harvard, he suffered three concussions as a 16-year-old hockey player in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., so has some experience with brain injuries.
He is adamant that he is not at all interested in removing physical play from sports.
"First," he tells MacGregor, "I love sport myself, so I come at it with a passion. I love competitive sports and played in three sports at the competitive level. Secondly, we're not talking here so much about expertise in the game, whether it be hockey, football or baseball. We're talking about promotion of healthy living for our children. And healthy living includes physical activity. One of the finest forms of physical activity is sport, especially competitive sport.
"So how do we as a society organize ourselves so that our kids can play and play well and be safe? And when we speak of professional sport, I think that applies as well. If we are going to ask people to perform in this form of entertainment, we want to be sure that there is an understanding of risk and to mitigate those risks as best we can."
There has yet to be any indication that any representatives from major junior hockey — the CHL, OHL, QMJHL or WHL — will be involved. That, of course, is too bad, because the time has long since passed for these leagues to place an outright ban on fighting.
Dr. Charles Tator of the Canadian Concussion Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, who is an expert on brain injuries, will be involved with the conference.
"All parents, players, coaches and sports administrators have to wake up to the fact that you only get one brain,” Dr. Tator told MacGregor, “and it needs to be carefully protected, especially in kids and adolescents. We have to put more brain power and resources into preventing concussions and properly managing those that will still occur. So thank you Prime Minister and Governor-General for waving the red flag!"
MacGregor’s complete story is right here and should be widely read.
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The Hockey News has published its annual Money and Power issue — the cover is dated Dec. 5. Included is a feature on the “100 people of power and influence” in the game of hockey.
Interestingly, the people involved in major junior hockey — there are 60 teams in the Canadian Hockey League, which governs the OHL, QMJHL and WHL — hardly rate a mention.
In fact, the only person in the top 100 who is actively involved in the CHL is David Branch, who doubles as the CHL president and OHL commissioner. Branch stayed steady at No. 22 from last year to this.
I was able to find 10 others on the list with at least a tie to the WHL, but there was nary a mention of either Ron Robison, the league’s commissioner, or Bruce Hamilton, the chairman of the board of governors who runs the Kelowna Rockets.
The Hockey News refers to Branch as “the most progressive executive in the game,” but there are no other power-brokers in the top 100 who are active in the OHL, QMJHL or WHL.
Here are the 10 with ties to the WHL:
8. G Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens played for the Tri-City Americans (2003-07).
11. Murray Edwards is a co-owner of the Calgary Flames, who own the Calgary Hitmen.
18. Dave Andrews is the president of the AHL and former coach of the Victoria Cougars (1982-84) before they moved to Prince George.
31. Ken Holland is the Detroit Red Wings’ executive vice-president of hockey operations and general manager; he tended goal for the Medicine Hat Tigers (1974-76).
37. Tom Renney, the president and CEO of Hockey Canada, is a former head coach of the Kamloops Blazers (1990-92).
50. Dale Purinton, a defenceman and enforcer with the Tacoma Rockets, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1994-97), is, as The Hockey News puts it, at “the forefront of players’ concussion lawsuit against the NHL.”
61. Mike Babock is the head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs; he played in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades (1980-81) and Kelowna Wings (1982-83) and coached in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1991-93) and Spokane Chiefs (1994-2000).
72. Ken Hitchcock, the head coach of the St. Louis Blues, spent six seasons (1984-90) has head coach of the Kamloops Blazers.
85. Brian Burke, the president of hockey operations with the Calgary Flames, has in the past owned a piece of two WHL teams — the Tri-City Americans and Chilliwack Bruins.
98. Ray Ferraro, a former NHL player who now is a hockey analyst with TSN, played with the Portland Winterhawks (1982-83) and Brandon Wheat Kings (1983-84), setting the WHL’s single-season goal record (108) with the Wheaties.
That’s all, folks.
What makes the lack of major junior pooh-bahs on the list concerning is that this is a crucial time for the game at that level. There is a move afoot at the professional level to make first-round NHL draft picks eligible to play in the AHL as 19-year-olds. For example, that would have allowed the New York Islanders to put F Mathew Barzal in the AHL this season, rather than return him to the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Those discussions are on-going, along with talk of perhaps altering the draft-eligible age.
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John Paddock, the general manager and head coach of the Regina Pats, is trying to put on a happy face, but a decision by the CHL will play into the plans of a host team to prepare for the 2018 Memorial Cup. The Pats and two OHL teams — the Hamilton Bulldogs and Oshawa Generals — are the finalists but the decision isn't to be announced until February, well after the Jan. 10 trade deadline. In comparison, the Red Deer Rebels, learned in October 2014 that they had been selected to play host to the 2016 tournament. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has two stories on this subject right here.
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The Prince Albert Raiders have dropped D Cam Reagan, 19, from their roster. He is expected to join the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. . . . Reagan, from Sherwood Park, Alta., had two assists in 18 games with the Raiders. He was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers on Sept. 26, in exchange for a seventh-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . He was selected by Kamloops in the fourth round of the 2012 bantam draft. In 117 regular-season WHL games, 99 of them with Kamloops, Reagan has 10 assists.
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The NHL’s Florida Panthers kicked head coach Gerard Gallant to the curb on Sunday, in Raleigh, N.C., leaving him standing on it while he waited for a cab. The Panthers, who had a pretty good season in 2015-16, have moved out a lot of good hockey people in the past few months. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News writes: “If there’s anyone out there who can figure out exactly what the game plan is with the Florida Panthers these days, feel free to let us know.” . . . That piece is right here.
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If you’ve got a comment, some information you would like to pass along, or if you just want to say hello, feel free to contact me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit the bottom of this post and go right ahead.
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JUST NOTES:

The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, a tournament that is owned by the Czech Ice Hockey Association and the Slovakian Ice Hockey Federation, will be played in Edmonton in 2018, 2020 and 2022. This tournament is played annually in August and features the best under-18 players from eight countries. Dates of the 2018 tournament haven’t yet been announced. The Hockey Canada news release is right here. . . . 
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Hockey Canada is scheduled to announce the roster for the national junior team’s selection camp this morning. It is expected that 30 players, plus or minus a couple, will be invited to the camp that is scheduled for Blainville, Que., Dec. 11-14. . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings finished the trek to Victoria on Monday and, if you’re wondering, F Nolan Patrick didn’t make the trip. He hasn’t played since Oct. 11 as he deals with a situation that is related to sports hernia surgery he underwent in July. . . .
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According to Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province, F Johnny Wesley of the Vancouver Giants didn’t practise on Monday afternoon, which makes him “doubtful” for tonight’s game against the visiting Prince George Cougars. . . .
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F Eli Zummack, 16, will be staying “indefinitely” on the roster of the Spokane Chiefs, according to the team. Zummack, from Kelowna, has been with the Chiefs since Nov. 23. He had been playing with the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. He has two points in five games with the Chiefs. . . . 
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The Kootenay Ice has recalled D Bobby Russell, 16, from the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. Russell was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. He is pointless in one earlier game with the Ice, and has 13 points, three of them goals, in 16 games with the Hawks. . . . The Ice also has returned F Eli Lieffers, 16, to the major midget Saskatoon Contacts. Lieffers, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, had one goal in four games with the Ice. Before reporting to Kootenay, had had 13 points, two of them goals, in 16 games with the Contacts. 
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MONDAY’S GAMES:

No Games Scheduled.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Prince Albert at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Prince George vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

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