Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday . . .

F Aki Kangasmäki (Chilliwack, 2006-07) has been assigned on loan to Hokki Kajaani (Finland Mestis) by Lukko Rauma (Finland SM-Liiga). The loan agreement is indefinite and Kangasmäki can be recalled at any time. He had nine goals and three assists in 13 games with Hokki and 19 goals and 20 assists in 32 games with Lukko A-Juniors (Finland A-Junior SM-Liiga) last season.
OK, let the rumours begin.
The Kootenay Ice has issued a press release revealing that season-ticket sales “are the lowest since the Cranbrook Recreation Complex opened in October 2000.”
How low are they?
The Ice says it has sold 1,726 season tickets, down 307 from last season’s final total. Prior to this, the lowest totals were 1,946 (2003-04).
The highest total was 2,429, in 2002-03.
“Obviously,” Jeff Chynoweth, the club’s president and general manager, said in the release, “we are very concerned with the decrease in season-ticket sales for the upcoming year. Season-ticket holders are the lifeline of every organization and to see this big of a decrease is alarming.
“When we signed the new 15-year lease agreement (in January 2009), we reduced our season-ticket prices to the lowest levels since the club relocated to Cranbrook in 1998. For the upcoming season the new HST is included in all ticket sales. Early bird season tickets were subject to the HST, but our organization absorbed the cost instead of raising the price. All other tickets (regular-season, flex paks, walk-ups) are now increased to account for the HST.
“Despite our consistent record on the ice during the past 10 years in the Rec Plex our average attendance continues to decline at a rapid rate, but the one constant until this season has always been a very strong season-ticket base. With the home-opener less than three weeks away, we need to have a real push with our season-ticket numbers to reach the levels we expect.”
Last season, according to, the Ice averagedd 2,807 fans per game, a decrease of 263 a game. That was down 8.6 per cent from 2008-09.
It seems that every season there is chatter that the Kootenay franchise is on thin ice in Cranbrook. This comes despite the fact that the Ice has won at least 35 games in six straight seasons and at least 42 in five of those six seasons.
Hello, Victoria . . .
The owners of the Tri-City Americans have extended Bob Tory’s contract through May 2015. Tory is the club’s governor and general manager. He also is part of the ownership group, along with former players Stu Barnes and Olaf Kolzig, and alternate governor Dennis Loman. . . . Tory is into his 10th season with the Americans and has twice been the WHL’s executive of the year.
The Swift Current Broncos have re-assigned D Tanner Clark and D Nathan Zimbaluk, both of whom are 17. Clark returns to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, while Zimbaluk will play for either the midget AAA Tisdale Trojans, with whom he played last season, or the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins.
Kevin Prendergast, a former assistant GM and vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL‘s Edmonton Oilers, is the new head scout with Hockey Canada. He spent seven seasons with NHL Central Scouting and was with the Oilers for 20 seasons before they dropped him over the summer. He will be the main bird dog for Canada’s national junior team, as well as the under-18 and under-17 programs. . . . He takes over from Al Murray, who left to join the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning as director of amateur scouting. Murray was with Hockey Canada for three years.
The Red Deer Rebels have dropped D Nick Bell, 20, from their roster. He had 13 points in 32 games last season. . . . The Rebels now have six 20-year-olds on their roster — D Colin Archer, G Kraymer Barnstable, F Brett Ferguson and D Brad Haber are with the Rebels, while F Willie Coetzee (Detroit Red Wings) and G Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota Wild) are in NHL camps. . . . All WHL teams have to be down to a maximum of three 20-year-olds by Oct. 14. . . . Interestingly, Bell got to play his final game with the Rebels in his hometown of Innisfail, Alta. He had a goal and an assist in a 4-3 exhibition victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.
The Central league’s Texas Brahmas have signed D Steven Later (Saskatoon, Prince George, Brandon, 2002-05). He had 25 points in 33 games with the Central league’s Corpus Christi IceRays last season. In 237 pro games, he has 950 penalty minutes.
G Liam (Sonny) Liston, who has been bothered by a hamstring problem, was back on the ice with the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday. He didn’t take part in a full practice but at least he’s skating again. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun reports that Wheat Kings D Darren Bestland didn’t skate. He’s got a sore neck after a hit in a Saturday game but doesn’t have a concussion. . . . Meanwhile, F Paul Ciarelli is out with a shoulder injury suffered in a Friday game.
F Brayden Schenn of the Brandon Wheat Kings remains in Los Angeles but has yet to receive medical clearance to return to the ice. He suffered some kind of knee injury with the Wheat Kings last week and flew to Los Angeles late in the week. An MRI didn’t show any structural damage. “This is just kinda shooting on the goalies, not doing a whole lot, just kinda take it easy,” Schenn told “Just wanted to see how it feels and I still gotta get cleared by the doctor before I do anything too crazy.” . . . It’s possible that Schenn will skip all of the Kings’ rookie camp and not skate until main camp opens Saturday.
Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that Warriors D Dallas Ehrhardt suffered an injury to his right knee injury Sunday while with the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects team in Penticton, B.C. “I talked with Edmonton (Monday),” Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak told Gourlie. “It’s a strained knee and they’re not sure of the extent of the injury yet.” Ehrhardt, 18, is expected to fly to Edmonton with the Oilers prospects on Wednesday, after which he’ll have an MRI. Erhardt missed a chunk of last season with a torn MCL in his right knee. That injury occurred while he was with the Brandon Wheat Kings, before he was dealt to the Warriors.
The Vancouver Giants have released F Clarke Breitkreuz, 17, and shipped out D Blake Orban, 16, and F Scott Cooke, 16. Breitkreuz was a free agent, while the other two were 2009 bantam draft picks. . . . The end result is that the Giants are down to 29 players, including F Anthony Ast, a first-round pick in the 2010 bantam draft. It also includes three injured veterans — F Nathan Burns (knee), D Zach Hodder (shoulder) and F Connor Redmond (shoulder) — and F Craig Cunningham, 20, who still may end up in the Boston Bruins’ organization. . . . The Giants conclude their exhibition schedule in Ladner, B.C., against the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. . . . Steve Ewen of the Province, who has a good look at the roster at The Dub Hub, notes that D Brent Henke, 20, who was released by the Giants last week, now is with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Ewen also reports that F R.J. Reed suffered a rib injury on the weekend and may be out for a week.
D Tyson Barrie of the Kelowna Rockets will remain in Kelowna at least for now, meaning his hamstring injury will keep him from attending training camp with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Barrie was a third-round pick by the Avs in the NHL’s 2009 draft. . . . Barrie suffered a partially torn hamstring in a scrimmage and, according to head coach Ryan Huska, will remain in Kelowna to rehab the injury. . . . Huska, who was on Dan Russell’s SportsTalk show on Vancouver radio station CKNW on Monday night, also said that C Shane McColgan will be having his tonsils removed. McColgan, who has had tonsil problems since last season, returned home to Manhattan Beach, Calif., last week. . . . Barrie, the WHL’s top defenceman last season, and McColgan were the Rockets’ top two scorers last season.
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