Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday . . .

Bob Tory, the general manager of the Tri-City Americans, was released from hospital Wednesday following a three-day stay. Tory was hospitalized Sunday and subsequently was treated for high blood pressure. “They are working with medications and all should be normal BP wise within one month,” noted a source familiar with the situation. “That’s some very good news. . . . He’ll be fine.”
Tory was hospitalized Sunday, after which he was found to have what he said was “very high blood pressure.”
Although he didn’t have a stroke, nor were any heart issues discovered, he spent three days in intensive care.
Now, he said, he needs “to take better care of myself.”
And therein is something that has long been something of an unreported problem in hockey.
There are a lot of men out there who spend an awful lot of time on the road scouting teams and players at all levels of hockey from bantam to the NHL. While the eating and exercise habits are much better in a lot of instances than they used to be, you can bet that there is a lot of fast food, along with arena burgers and fries, being devoured.
You can bet that coffee goes down by the gallon as scouts travel from one city to another and another, from a game one night to another one the next night and another the night after that.
And these days there isn’t an offseason, what with all the summer camps that are held in Canada and the U.S. A lot of these general managers, directors of player personnel, scouts, etc., have to get to the next camp just in case . . .
What happened to Bob Tory should serve as a shot across the bow for a lot of men. Tory is a lucky man, though, because it could have been a lot worse.
The big, big news in major junior hockey on Wednesday was the decision by D Mark Tinordi to join the OHL’s London Knights. Tinordi, taken 22nd overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL’s 2010 draft, had been ticketed for Notre Dame where he was to play for the Fighting Irish. He played last season with the U.S. U-18 team; in fact, he was the team captain. . . . His father, Mark, is a former NHL defenceman who played in the WHL (Lethbridge, Calgary, 1982-87).
Earlier, F Louis Leblanc left Harvard after one season in order to sign with the Canadiens. He was the 18th overall selection in the 2009 NHL draft. Leblanc will play for the QMJHL’s Montreal Juniors. He had a team-high 23 points in 31 games with the Crimson last season.
In another move, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed F Jerry D’Amigo, who was the ECAC rookie of the year at RPI after picking up 34 points in 35 games with the Red Hawks. He was a sixth-round pick by the Leafs in the NHL’s 2009 draft.
According to, 17 players have left NCAA schools to sign with NHL teams since April 1. That doesn’t include players like Tinordi, who joined CHL teams without ever taking a class.
The Kootenay Ice has hired Todd Johnson and Jerry Bancks as the assistant coaches who will work alongside freshman head coach Kris Knoblauch. . . . Johnson and Bancks each signed a two-year contract. In each case, the club holds the option on a third season. . . . Johnson, 38, played three seasons in the WHL (Moose Jaw, Kamloops, Red Deer, 1990-93). He won a Memorial Cup with the 1992-93 Blazers and was the first captain of the Rebels. He went on to spend five seasons at the U of Calgary before going on to play in Germany. He has been in Kelowna, at the Pursuit of Excellence, for the last six years. He has coached the academy’s midget AAA team for the last four years. . . . Bancks, 55, also is a former WHL player (Lethbridge, Calgary, 1974-76) who spent five years at the U of Calgary. He recently retired after a 30-year teaching career, although he will continue to teach at the School District 6 Sports School in Kimberley, B.C., where he also has worked as an assistant coach with the junior B Dynamiters.
D Dean Arsene (Regina, Edmonton, Kootenay, 1996-2001) has signed a two-way deal with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues. Arsene, 30, was in the Edmonton Oilers organization last season, playing 56 games with the AHL’s Springfield Falcons and 13 games with Edmonton. Prior to last season, he had spent six straight winters with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, where he won Calder Cups in 2006 and 2009.
The Everett Silvertips lost a potential 20-year-old this week with word that D Curtis Kulchar is chosen to go to school. Kulchar was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers last season and had six points in 32 games with Everett. He also played with the Regina Pats and Vancouver Giants. . . . Kulchar is from Martensville, Sask., so perhaps is headed to the U of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. . . . Kulchar’s departure leaves Everett with four 20-year-old candidates -- G Thomas Heemskerk, who has signed with the San Jose Sharks, F Clayton Cumiskey, D Radko Gudas, who has signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and D Chris de la Lande. You can look for Heemskerk and Gudas to open the season in the minor leagues, so the Silvertips may begin with two 20s on their roster.
Larry Skinner (Winnipeg, 1974-75) has signed on with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s as an assistant coach. He joins fellow assistant coach Bobby Brooks, a former Gatineau Olympiques assistant, on head coach Chris Byrne’s staff. . . . Skinner and Brooks were assistant coaches with the junior A Nepean Raiders last season. . . . Skinner had 95 points in 70 games with the Winnipeg Clubs in 1974-75. He played for the 67’s the next season, finishing with 115 points in 59 games. He played 47 NHL games, all with the Colorado Rockies, and spent time in the minors and in Europe.
And, finally, if you haven’t already, scoot on over to Small Thoughts At Large and check out Alan Caldwell’s annual mileage chart. Every summer, following the release of the WHL schedule, Caldwell charts each team’s impending mileage.
It comes as no surprise that the most-travelled teams, in order, will be Prince George, Brandon, Kootenay and Edmonton. And it perhaps isn’t a surprise that Chilliwack has the easiest travel schedule. What is surprising, however . . . actually, it’s shocking . . . is the spread between Chilliwack and the team with the next-easiest travel schedule.
Check it out over there on the left.

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