Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday . . .

Carlos Sosa, a well-known lawyer and player agent who works out of the Seattle area, wasn’t on a recruiting trip when he was in Lethbridge watching the Hurricanes’ training camp a few weeks ago.
He was there because his son, Daniel, was in the camp. Daniel, a defenceman, had been selected by the Hurricanes in the 11th round of the WHL’s 2010 bantam draft.
“I wasn’t there looking for clients,” Sosa says. “I was watching their scrimmages and noticed this goalie was playing pretty well . . . but it was a scrimmage.”
He later learned that the goaltender he was watching was Brandon Anderson, an 18-year-old out of Langley, B.C., who was preparing for his second season in Lethbridge.
“I knew who he was; I might have seen him play once,” Sosa says.
Anderson, as it turned out, hadn’t been selected in the 2010 NHL draft but late in August had accepted a free-agent tryout deal with the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
“I was told he didn’t have representation and that he was going to Washington’s camp,” Sosa says. “I had a brief chat with him there; he had just gotten the tryout around Aug. 20.”
They spoke briefly in Lethbridge and Sosa gave a business card to Anderson. Sosa later wrote a letter “about what we do” to Anderson.
And so it was that Sosa ended up signing on to represent Anderson as he trundled off to Washington’s camp. Anderson came back earlier this week . . . with a contract in his hip pocket.
“He goes to the camp and three or four days into the camp they want to sign him,” Sosa says. “It’s a great story.”
He’s right. It is a great story.
Here’s an undrafted goaltender who, between Aug. 20 and Sept. 20, went from being the No. 1 goaltender with the Hurricanes to signing a three-year NHL contract.
“Especially for a goaltender . . . it’s so hard for guys to get spots,” Sosa said.
As for Sosa, well, as he says: “For me, it was awesome . . . but I just stumbled into it.”
Last season, Anderson went 12-19-1-1 with a 3.49 GAA and a .892 save percentage. He was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft.
Daniel Sosa, meanwhile, is at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., where he is expected to play for the midget AAA Hounds.
The Hurricanes are carrying 25 players. They had three players in NHL camps and all have returned, although F Brody Sutter (Florida) has a shoulder injury. Also back are G Brandon Anderson (Washington) and F Cam Braes (San Jose). . . . Lethbridge opens the season Friday in Calgary against the Hitmen.
Mark Miller, who won the WHL’s Marketing/Public Relations Award in 1993-94 while with the Portland Winterhawks, has died. His body was found Saturday morning in the bathroom of his home in Monte Rio, Calif. He apparently died of a heart attack. . . . “I have never worked with anyone who had a more profound economic impact on a business than him,” Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, the former radio voice and public relations guru with the Winterhawks, told me in an email. “In the early 1990s, he was incredible for the ’Hawks when the team was also very marketable. Those were quite the days for hockey in Portland, and Mark was instrumental in developing a ticketing system that was very convenient for the fans. It was in the years right before the Rose Garden opened in 1995 that the Hawks were often turning away as many as 3,000 on Saturday nights because the 10,000 plus Memorial Coliseum was full to the rafters. He also worked with me in maximizing selling sponsorships. He was rightfully recognized at the league level for marketing excellence in those days. Overall, we worked together from 1985 (he started with the Hawks to help organize the 1986 Memorial Cup in Portland) through about 2000, as I recall.”
F Nino Niederreiter of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year contract with the NHL’s New York Islanders. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft. It is anticipated that Niederretier, 18, will at least start the season with the Islanders. If he is able to stay among the club’s top six forwards, he will stay there all season. . . . F Ryan Johansen of the Winterhawks, who was taken fourth overall, signed earlier with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It is anticipated that Johansen, 18, will be returned to Portland, perhaps as early as next week. But, in the meantime, he is scheduled to make his NHL debut Wednesday night against the visiting Washington Capitals. Johansen is expected to start the night on a line with Rick Nash and R.J. Umberger, which is pretty good company for an 18-year-old rookie to be keeping. . . . D Austin Madaisky of the Kamloops Blazers is one of eight defencemen listed on the Columbus lineup for Wednesday’s game. He told me Tuesday night he expects to take the warmup but doesn’t expect to play in the game.
F Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who won the WHL’s scoring championship in 2008-09 while with the Vancouver Giants, will miss up to four weeks with a broken finger. That injury pretty much ends his training camp with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Pierro-Zabotel had 41 points in 49 games with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers last season. He also got into nine games with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Kelowna Rockets’ roster is at 27 after three moves were made Tuesday. . . . The Rockets assigned F Tyrell Goulbourne to the midget AAA CAC Canadians in Edmonton. He was a fifth-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. . . . The Rockets also released two veteran forwards -- Codey Ito, who turns 19 on Nov. 11, and Sean Aschim, who turns 18 on Dec. 30. . . . If the Rockets aren’t able to move Ito and Aschim within the WHL, it’s expected both players will join SJHL teams. . . . Ito had seven points in 62 games last season, his first in the WHL. Aschim had six points in 26 games with the Prince Albert Raiders and zero points in 21 games with Kelowna.
G Brandon Glover, 18, left the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday and asked for a trade. The Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that Glover, who was preparing for his second season in Moose Jaw, has returned to his home in Victoria. . . . Last season, Glover, a sixth-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft, had a 3.40 GAA and a .890 save percentage while backing up Jeff Bosch. . . . On Friday, the Warriors acquired G Thomas Heemskerk, 20, from the Everett Silvertips and then dealt Bosch to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Warriors now are left with two goaltenders -- Heemskerk and freshman Brandon Stone, 17, who played last season with the major midget Fraser Valley Bruins in B.C.
The Everett Silvertips will open the season with two goaltenders -- veteran Kent Simpson and Luke Siemens, 18 -- after reassigning Andy Desautels, 16, to the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . The Silvertips have released D Jeff Regier, 19. Regier is expected to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. . . . The moves left Everett with 25 players on its roster. . . . D Rasmus Rissanen, 19, is expected back from the camp of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes before the weekend.
F Jeff Nelson (Prince Albert, 1988-92) sat out last season but now has signed with the Central League’s Evansville IceMen. Nelson, 37, had 58 points with the Central league’s Mississippi RiverKings in 2008-09, but didn’t play last season. There’s more on Nelson’s signing right here. . . . Nelson still holds the WHL record for longest single-season point-scoring streak. In 1990-91, he put up 108 points in a 56-game streak.
Among the players returning to the WHL from NHL camps on Tuesday: G Calvin Pickard, to Seattle from Colorado; D Troy Rutkowski, to Portland from Colorado; D Sebastian Owuya, to Medicine Hat from Atlanta; F Byron Froese, to Red Deer from Chicago; G Kent Simpson, to Everett from Chicago; F Steele Boomer, to Kootenay from Chicago; F Mark Stone, to Brandon from Ottawa; F Garrett Mitchell, to Regina from Washington.
The OHL has decided to do away with its annual all-star game. That story is right here. . . . Now if the CHL would only dump the series with the touring Russian side that isn’t the national junior team.
Ryan Walter (Kamloops Chiefs, Seattle Breakers, 1974-78) has been named head coach of the women’s hockey team that will represent Canada at the 4 Nations Cup in St. John’s and Clarenville, Nfld., Nov. 9-13. Hockey Canada made the announcement on Tuesday. The tournament features Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland. Walter, 52, most recently was an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
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