Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday . . .

A note of great importance today from the Seattle Thunderbirds:
“We are writing to you today because we need your assistance to save the life of a female hockey player. Mandi Schwartz, a 22-year-old member of the Yale women's ice hockey team, has recently been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia for the second time. She is currently on her way from her hometown in Saskatchewan to Seattle, and within the next 30-45 days she will need to have a stem cell transplant to survive. A donor who is a perfect match has yet to be found.”
For more on Mandi and the drive to find a donor, please visit the Thunderbirds’ website and take a look at this right here.
Early Friday, I heard from Pat Ansell, a former WHL goaltender (Regina, 1976-78), who went on to an NCAA school after his WHL career was done.
He had read the mention here yesterday of Troy Murray and Kelly McCrimmon, two others who played in the WHL and then moved on to NCAA schools.
“You can add me to the list as I played for four years at Lake Superior State University following my years in Regina,” Ansell writes. “We were able to sign what was termed a ‘school boy contract’ which essentially had any clauses referencing money crossed out within the WHL contract. The contract was signed by Mr. Chynoweth and allowed us to be eligible for NCAA play.”
The late Ed Chynoweth was the WHL commissioner at the time.
Ansell now lives and works on B.C.’s Lower Mainland where he is the head coach of the B.C. major midget league’s Fraser Valley Bruins.
If you follow sports at all, you will be aware that there is a massive shift taking place in college athletics in the U.S.
Right now, the headlines involve the moving of football teams from one conference to another, and, believe it or not, it’s all about power and dollars. Gee, that’s a shock, isn’t it?
Anyway . . . the amount of money that is involved in big-time college football in the U.S. is unfathomable. What also is amazing is that the players — who provide the entertainment that sells tickets and results in these monolothic television contracts — don’t get paid.
So why doesn’t the NCAA drop the hypocritical attitude and start paying its players? And then NCAA hockey teams would be able to recruit players who have been in the WHL.
All of which would get rid of all this mud-slinging that has been going on.
But, of course, if the NCAA is to pay its football and hockey players, it will have to pay everyone, including female swimmers and volleyball players. That’s because of Title IX — the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act — which reads, in part: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Ahh, it all would be too simple if all that went away, wouldn’t it?
Jarrod Skalde will be back for a third season as the director of hockey operations and head coach of the Bloomington PrairieThunder. . . . The PrairieThunder will play in the 17-team Centreal league next season. The Central and International leagues have merged.
F Cam Cunning (Kamloops, Vancouver, Red Deer, 2002-2006) has signed a one-year deal with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Cunning, an eighth-round pick by the Flames in the 2003 NHL draft, had 38 points in 69 games with the Flames’ AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat, last season. . . . The 25-year-old Cunning has 97 points, and 251 penalty minutes, in 290 career AHL regular-season games.
The Vancouver Giants have named Stuart Ballantyne as their chief operating officer, effective Monday. Most recently, he was the general manager of Molson’s Hockey House during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. . . . Ballantyne also was the general manager of the 2006 world junior chamionship — it was played in Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna — and the 2007 MasterCard Memorial Cup that was played in Vancouver. . . . The Giants are preparing for their 10th anniversary season and majority owner Ron Toigo said in a press release that “we plan on making this entire 10th anniversary season a major event.” . . . That press release also revealed that the Giant’s home-opener will be played on Sept. 24 with the Chilliwack Bruins providing the opposition.
In Cedar Park, Texas, F Alexandre Giroux’s OT goal gave the Hershey Bears a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars on Friday night to take a 3-2 lead in the AHL’s best-of-seven final. . . . The series resumes Monday in Hershey, which is where Game7 would be played on Wednesday, if it’s needed. . . . The home team has yet to win in this series. . . . The Stars won the first two games in Hershey; the Bears won the next three in Cedar Park. . . . F Aaron Gagnon (Seattle, 2001-07) opened the scoring with a first-period PP goal for the Stars. . . . Hershey tied it midway in the second period. . . . Giroux scored his 14th goal of the playoffs at 13:28 of OT. . . . D Karl Alzner (Calgary, 2003-08) drew one of the assists on the winner.


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