I thought it would be a piece of cake.
The assignment was to visit each WHL team’s website and make a note of when rookies report, when main camp opens, when the intrasquad game will be held, etc.
Well . . . so much for that idea.
I gave up after about 30 minutes. Cakes have been made in less time than that.
It’s embarrassing how many teams don’t have clear and concise information pertaining to training camp on their websites. That information should be right at the top of the home page, shouldn't it?
One team has information posted but doesn’t mention where it is holding camp.
If it means anything to the WHL and its teams, this blog is closing in on two million page views -- that’s 2,000,000 -- since its inception just over three years ago. There are people out there who are eager for this kind of information.
I realize that Peter King of Sports Illustrated gets almost that many hits a week on his Monday Morning Quarterback site during the NFL season. But I’m thinking that if this little old site of mine can draw almost 2,000,000 page views in three years, well, there must be at least a bit of WHL-related interest out there.
The other WHL teams could take learn a real lesson from the Tri-City Americans who make their training camp schedule and rosters -- yes, the training camp rosters -- available for public consumption. The schedule and rookie camp rosters were available last week. Want a look at the roster? It’s right here.
Anyway, sorry that I can’t provide startup dates and other info for all teams’ training camps. But, hey, I tried.
By the way, the Spokane Chiefs open today with veterans reporting. A few other teams have players reporting Thursday, but some won’t get rolling until late next week.
The Portland Winterhawks have taken over operation of the Valley Ice Arena in Beaverton, Ore., and have begun renovations aimed at modernizing the facility. “Upon completion,” according to a news release, “the facility will be known as the Winterhawks Skating Center.” . . . Renovations should be completed in October, “with a public grand opening to be held upon completion.” . . . According to the news release: “The Winterhawks will make significant improvements to the arena: rebuilding the ice, installing new boards and lighting and purchasing new nets. In addition, the team will be renovating the lobby, locker rooms, offices, bathrooms and concession stand, while also improving lighting and ambience throughout the arena. The Winterhawks have also hired Tom Barnes to serve as general manager of the facility.” . . . This will also provide the Winterhawks with a practice facility.
The Tri-City Americans have added Brent Bilodeau (Seattle, Swift Current, 1989-93) to their coaching staff as an assistant to head coach Jim Hiller. Also on staff is associate coach Scott Beattie. Bilodeau was a first-round pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 1991 draft. He enjoyed a 17-year professional playing career. He spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers before taking over as head coach of the CHL’s Wichita Thunder. He was replaced there early last season. "I've known Brent for many years, both as a player with Seattle and as a coach,” Tri-City GM Bob Tory said in a news release. “He interviewed with us before taking the Las Vegas job and I was impressed with his character, passion and knowledge of the game. I decided that this would be a good time to expand our coaching staff."
The Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent) will honour one of the WHL’s all-time great players -- Glen Goodall -- when they play their home-opener against the Portland Winterhawks on Sept. 25. Goodall and his family will be in attendance at the ShoWare Centre in Kent. . . . Goodall holds the WHL record for most regular-season games played (399) and most goals scored (262). He is fifth in assists (311) and second in points (573). . . . Goodall, now 40, played six full seasons in Seattle -- one with the Breakers and five with the Thunderbirds. He played regularly as a 14-year-old, but didn’t play in the WHL as a 20-year-old. . . . He has played the last 16 seasons in Germany, the last 10 with Ingolstadt ERC of the DEL.
Note that the Seattle Thunderbirds (of Kent) have changed the date of a home game. The game that was to have been played in the ShoWare Centre on Nov. 3 has been moved to Nov. 2. The Red Deer Rebels will provide the opposition. The ShoWare Centre requested the move in order to accommodate another event on Nov. 3.
Brad Shaw, the athletic therapist with the Kootenay Ice, is off to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Shaw had been with the Ice for three seasons. . . . That means that the Ice, which already has hired a new head coach and two assistants, now is looking for another replacement. . . . Rob Snitzer, the Griffin’s medical therapist since 1996, left the team Friday and has gone into another line of work. . . . The Griffins also have lost their assistant equipment manager. Jake Visser, who had been with the team in various roles for 10 years, has joined the U.S. National U-18 team.
The Spokane Chiefs open camp Tuesday when veterans report and they expect to have three 20-year-olds on hand -- G James Reid, F Tyler Johnson and F Levko Koper. . . . One player who won’t be there is D Jared Cowen. He was the Ottawa Senators’ first-round pick in the NHL’s 2009 draft and has signed. Still, he’s only 19 so has to play with the Senators or be returned to the Chiefs. . . . Spokane also has both of its European players on hand. Czech F Marek Kalus, 17, will join sophomore F Dominik Uher, who also is from Czech Republic.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have welcomed three more people to their Hall of Fame. Theo Fleury and Scott Thomas -- that would be Dr. Scott Thomas -- walked through the doors on the weekend. . . . Fleury is the greatest of all the Warriors and holds the franchise records for goals, assists and points. . . . Thomas, a rock-solid defenceman, used his WHL education money and now is a chiropractor. . . . The Warriors also inducted their booster club into their Hall of fame. Hey, why not? The boosters have raised almost $1 million to benefit the Warriors over the last 25 years. . . . Hats off to Shirley Wagner, Jerry Folk, Fred Huber and Donny Kulcsar, who have been with the booster club since its inception.
Brian Pellerin (Prince Albert, 1987-91) has been signed as an assistant coach with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage is affiliated with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. He will work alongside head coach Ray Edwards and assistant coach Jeff Truitt. Pellerin, 40, had been head coach of the Central league’s Amarillo Gorillas since January 2009. Pellerin spent four seasons (2004-08) as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks.
D Chris de la Lande has told the Everett Silvertips that he won’t return for his 20-year-old season. Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reports that de la Lande told GM Doug Soetaert that he plans on staying at home in Winnipeg and either going to school or working for his father. De la Lande played three seasons in Everett. . . . The Silvertips now have lost two 20-year-old defencemen as veteran Curtis Kulchar also chose not to return. He will attend the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. . . . Everett now has three 20-year-olds on its roster -- D Radko Gudas, F Clayton Cumiskey and G Thomas Heemskerk. However, Gudas and Heemskerk have signed pro contracts and may not return.