Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I was able to spend some time in the archives here at the Kamloops Daily News on Monday night.
And here’s the lowdown on Don Hay’s 500 WHL coaching victories . . .
If you missed it, Hay’s Vancouver Giants beat the visiting Chilliwack Bruins 2-1 on Saturday night and the WHL trumpeted that it was Hay’s 500th victory as a WHL head coach.
Hay spent three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, who won 144 games over that stretch.
He was with the Tri-City Americans for two seasons, winning another 67 games.
And he now is in his seventh season with the Giants, with whom he has put up 287 victories.
Add them up and you get 498 victories.
In 1991-92, while Hay was an assistant in Kamloops, head coach Tom Renney was an assistant coach with the Canadian national junior team at the World Junior Championship. The Blazers, with Hay as the interim coach, won six games.
That makes it 504.
Except that Hay was the Canadian junior team’s head coach at the 1995 World Junior tournament. While he was away, the Blazers, under interim head coach Ed Dempsey, won four games.
Do the math and you get 500 victories.
Except that Hay was an assistant coach in 1987-88 when head coach Ken Hitchcock left the Blazers to serve as an assistant on Canada’s national junior team.
While Hitchcock was gone, the Blazers won three games.
Which would push Hay’s total to 503 victories. Except that stories in The Daily News at the time indicated that Hay and Don Moores, the club’s other assistant coach at the time, served as co-coaches.
So let’s just put Hay’s total at 500 and leave it there.
(By the way, I can find only one game that Hay has missed with a suspension. He missed a 3-2 loss to the Silvertips in Everett in 2009-10 after he was suspended for one game because the Giants had been in three line brawls to that point in the season. To the best of his recollection, he has received two game misconducts as a WHL head coach, one during his first season as the Blazers’ head coach and the other during an exhibition game prior to the 2009-10 season.)
Tonight in Vancouver, prior to meeting the Blazers, the Giants and the WHL will honour Hay.
As well they should.
Hay doesn’t much care about numbers, although he did admit to me Tuesday that 500 victories means a lot to him, but one thing stands out above all the rest.
He has been a WHL head coach through 11 full seasons. And his teams have won at least 40 games in nine of those seasons.
It also is worth noting that Hay got to 500 victories in 824 games. There are three men above him on the all-time victory list.
It took Ken Hodge 1,411 games to garner 742 victories. Ernie McLean won 548 of 1,067 games. The late Pat Ginnell won 518 games in 963 appearances.
At this rate, should Hay coach for 1,411 games, as did Hodge, he would put up 856 victories.
Hay will turn 57 on Feb. 13. To get to 1,411 games he would have to coach at least another eight seasons.
What do you think, Don? Are you up to it?
Wondering about the latest on the WHL and a potential franchise for Victoria? Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist has a story in Tuesday's paper, and it doesn't appear that much has changed. That piece is right here.
The QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs were planning to hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss game on Sunday.
However, they announced Monday that they have canceled the toss over fears that the stuffed toys might be infested with bedbugs.
Team president Wayne Long said in a news release that the team wasn’t able to find any charities “throughout the region, across Canada, and even abroad” who were willing to accept the stuffed toys.
The Kamloops Blazers have scheduled their annual Teddy Bear Toss for Friday when the Swift Current Broncos are to visit Interior Savings Centre.
I don't know how much impact this might have in the WHL, but Tim O’Donovan, the Blazers’ media and communications co-ordinator, said last night that their toss will go on as scheduled.
The Vancouver Giants and Kamloops Blazers will play in Whitehorse on Feb. 12. And the Whitehorse Daily Star reports that it only took one hour 45 minutes “for Whitehorse hockey fans to gobble up the 1,000 tickets available” for the game that is to be played at Takhini Arena as part of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.
The Daily Star’s story is right here.
USA Hockey is to name the selection camp roster for its national junior team today.
Early Monday afternoon, Kevin Allen of USA TODAY reported:
“The USA's chances of successfully defending its World Junior Championships gold medal later this month in Buffalo have been improved by the decision of three NHL teams to allow one or more of their prospects to play in the tournament.
“The preliminary U.S. roster to be announced Tuesday in Buffalo at 11 a.m. will include pro players Jerry D'Amigo (Toronto), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim) and Jeremy Morin and Nick Leddy (both of Chicago). Palmieri, Morin and Leddy have all played games in the NHL and AHL this season, while D'Amigo has played 26 games in the AHL.”
CH-CH-CHING! . . . The WHL has fined the Chilliwack Bruins and Vancouver Giants for a fight that took place off the opening faceoff as the teams met Saturday at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver. Each team was fined $250 after Chilliwack D Curt Gogol and Vancouver F Brett Lyon fought eight seconds into the game. . . . As well, Gogol and Lyon each was suspended for one game. Lyon won’t play tonight against the visiting Kamloops Blazers; he played for the Blazers before being dealt to the Giants. Gogol will sit out the Bruins’ game today against the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Don’t forget that game is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., as the Bruins run a promotion involving school children.
The Everett Silvertips, who meet the Pats in Regina tonight, stopped in at the home of D Ryan Murray for some Prairie home cooking on Monday night. Murray is from White City, which is a few slapshots east of Regina on the TransCanada Highway. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.
D Mark Pysyk of the Edmonton Oil Kings is the WHL’s player of the week. He had six points, including four assits, in two games as the Oil Kings went 2-0-0. It is the first time in the franchise’s three-plus seasons that it has had a player earn this honour. It is interesting that it should be Pysyk, because he was the Oil King’s first draft pick, taken third overall in 2007. . . . Pysyk has 14 points in 23 games. Last season, he finished with 24 points in 48 games. . . . Darcy Kuemper of the Red Deer Rebels is the WHL’s nominee as CHL goaltender of the week. He was 2-0-0, 1.00, .967 for the week. . . . The Oil Kings meet the Hitmen in Calgary on Tuesday, which will be Pysyk’s last game with Edmonton for a while. He leaves later in the week for the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp. . . . The Kootenay Ice opens a four-game road swing against the Raiders in Prince Albert on Wednesday. F Eric Benoit (knee) has been cleared to return, but D Hayden Rintoul (knee) may not play until after the Christmas break. . . . There will be an interesting matchup in Portland this weekend as the Prince George Cougars visit for Friday and Saturday games with the Winterhawks. Portland’s lineup includes F Ryan Johansen (Columbus Blue Jackets) and F Nino Niederreiter (New York Islanders), the fourth and fifth picks in the 2010 NHL draft, while Prince George has F Brett Connolly (Tampa Bay Lightning), the sixth pick. . . . The Winterhawks also boast F Sven Bartschi, who leads all WHL rookies with 42 points. Cougars D Martin Marincin is No. 2, with 32 points. Marincin also leads all WHL defencemen in points. He has one more than teammate Sena Acolatse.
As I tour around the Internet, reading this and checking out that, I am always watchful for pieces I like to call “good reads.” Some of them, I feel, are worth suggesting to you because they might go down well with the morning coffee. . . .  I hadn’t thought too much about this until a regular to this blog, someone who has the thrill of living in the foothills near the Rocky Mountains, told me he always looks forward to the “good reads.”
Today, then, I bring you Michael Wilbon’s final column for the Washington Post. You may know Wilbon as a co-host on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption. Before he was that, he was a Post columnist . . . for more than 20 years.
His final column is right here. Enjoy!

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