Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday . . .

F Kyle Wanvig (Edmonton/Kootenay, Red Deer, 1997-2001) signed a one-year contract with the Augsburger Panther (Germany DEL). He had 13 goals and 25 assists in 63 games for Portland Pirates (AHL) last season. . . .
F Justin Cox (Prince George, 1997-2001) signed a one-year contract with Heilbronner Falken (Germany 2.Bundesliga). He had four goals and 11 assists in 40 games for Oskarshamn (Sweden Allsvenskan) last season. . . .
F Byron Ritchie (Lethbridge, 1993-97) signed a one-year contract with MoDo Örnsköldsvik (Sweden Elitserien). He had three goals and two assists in 12 games for Dynamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL) last season. Ritchie suffered an injury in October and missed the rest of the season.
Marshall Johnston is an old friend and one of the really, really great guys in hockey. If you surf over to right here you’ll find a neat story from the Grand Forks Herald about how Johnston figured in the Chicago Blackhawks’ decision to draft Dustin Byfuglien.
Add Les Grauer to the list of ex-WHL players who went on to play NCAA hockey. I’m told that Grauer, who played for the Regina Pats (1972-75), still holds some scoring records for the U of Wisconsin from his four seasons with the Badgers under the legendary Bob Johnson. Grauer went on to play a bit of pro hockey in Europe. An emailer informs: “He now runs the rink in Kent, Wash., where the Thunderbirds practise and hold training camp — the Kent Valley Ice Center.”
Mike Stapleton has signed on with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and will work as an assistant coach with their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Last month, the Ducks signed Mark Holick away from the Kootenay Ice to serve as the Crunch’s head coach. Holick is the reigning WHL coach of the year. . . . Stapleton, 44, spent the last four years in the OHL, on the coaching staffs of the Erie Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. His contract in the Soo wasn’t renewed after last season.
People who follow the NCAA football scene closely have been doing a lot of talking and a whole lot of speculating about what things might look like once the dust has settled from all of the movement that we are seeing.
A U of Washington fan from the Seattle area mentioned here that “Seattle sports talk radio has been talking about the possibility of 64 teams forming four 16-team Super Conferences and dropping out of the NCAA.”
As he added: “This could have a negative effect on basketball. Hockey, baseball, etc., are really zippo to the NCAA. The 'really' big money is in football. Yes, even much more than the NCAA basketball tournament.”
This isn’t the first person who has said basically this same thing. The football moves are all about money and firming up the power base. Should the big football schools pull together and leave the NCAA, it would be interesting to see what would happen.
Football brings in more money than you can imagine and there are a lot of university athletic departments riding on football’s coattails. Without that money, well, a lot of smaller sports don’t even want to think about that.
The U of Washington fan added another interesting note pertaining to former USC head coach Pete Carroll, who now is preparing for his first season running the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
“The Pete Carroll situation is no big deal to Seahawks fans,” he wrote. “It is just that USC got caught. The assumption by most fans is that it happens everywhere. Washington has had its problems.”
Ahh, yes, it’s the old NASCAR theory — if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying.
Or . . . it’s only cheating if you get caught.
Just for kicks, here is a look at the WHL teams and the number of regular-season victories for each over the last three seasons:
Calgary 158
Tri-City 148
Vancouver 147
Spokane 144
Brandon 140
Saskatoon 124
Kelowna 120
Medicine Hat 120
Swift Current 120
Everett 112
Kootenay 110
Regina 101
Lethbridge 100
Seattle 96
Kamloops 92
Moose Jaw 89
Prince Albert 89
Red Deer 82
Chilliwack 80
Portland 74
Edmonton 67
Prince George 57
The 2009-10 hockey season officially came to an end Monday night Hershey, Pa.
That is where the host Bears posted a 4-0 victory over the Texas Stars and won the AHL championship in six games. The Stars won the first two games of the series, both in Hershey, and the Bears then won three in a row on the road to set up Monday’s clincher. . . . D Karl Alzner (Calgary, 2003-08) scored the Bears’ second goal.
Paige Maul is the first player from Missoula, Montana, to be selected in the WHL’s bantam draft. The Medicine Hat Tigers selected him in the ninth round of the 2010 draft. Meet him right here.
The Saskatoon Blades have signed G Adam Todd to a WHL contract. Todd, from Courtenay, B.C., was a fourth-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft. He played last season for the midget AAA Pursuit of Excellent team in Kelowna. . . . The Blades are scheduled to open training camp in Martensville, Sask., on Aug. 25.

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