A few notes after some time away from here . . .
When last seen on this site, Greg Pankewicz, an assistant coach with the Central league’s Colorado Eagles, was disrobing at the bench in protest over what he perceived as rotten officiating. . . . The league responded by suspending him for the balance of the regular season. . . . There’s more right here.
The Prince George Cougars and the local Memorial Cup committee issued a plea to that city’s hockey fans on Wednesday night. The committee is prepared to bid to be the host city for the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament, but attendance at Cougars` games hasn’t been much of a positive advertisement to this point in the season. And the fans didn’t do the cause any favours when only 1,771 fans showed up to watch the Portland Winterhawks edge the Cougars 6-5 that same night. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more right here.
The Saskatoon Blades have wrapped up the East Division pennant. After not winning a division title since 1993-94, the Blades have won two in the last three seasons. . . . The Blades beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings 7-4 on Wednesday, and the Wheaties are back in Saskatoon tonight. . . . The Blades go into this one with 47 victories. A Saskatoon team hasn’t won 50 in a season since 1982-83 when it won 52. That season, the Blades were led by F Roger Kortko, who put up 161 points. . . .
Saskatoon F Brayden Schenn had five points Wednesday and I’m wondering just how much we will hear his name on Monday, which just happens to be the NHL trade deadline. Schenn has 39 points in 16 games with the Blades. His NHL rights belong to the Los Angeles Kings, who selected him with the fifth overall selection in the 2009 draft. If the Kings are interested in buying at the deadline, you wonder if they might end up sacrificing Schenn or if his recent play has made him untouchable. It’s believed that the Kings have some interest in Edmonton F Ales Hemsky and you’ve got think that Schenn would be a good fit with the fleet of young forwards the Oilers have put together. . . . Schenn, by the way, now has 301 points in 213 regular-season WHL games. . . .
The WHL will holds its awards luncheon on May 4 and the 2011 bantam draft on May 5. Both are scheduled for Calgary. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have promoted Rob MacLachlan. Formerly their director of scouting and player development, MacLachlan now is assistant director of hockey operations. He has been with the organization for nine seasons, six as director of scouting and player development. . . . Interestingly, the WHL’s 2010-11 Guide shows Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak as wearing two hats, the other being assistant director of hockey operations. Although their website shows Hunchak as strictly the head coach. . . . Alan Millar is in his first season as director of hockey ops. . . .
Former WHL G Chad Mercier (Regina, 1992-97) is the GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs, and he has been named that league’s coach of the year. What that means is that you can expect to hear Mercier’s name mentioned in every coaching rumour involving what offseason openings might occur in the WHL. . . . You also can expect to hear the name of Rob Daum, who has WHL coaching experience. And considering Daum’s record when he was the head coach at the U of Alberta, you have to wonder why he isn’t back in the game. . . . Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports that the Giants may get C James Henry, their captain, back from a knee injury tonight as they play host to the Chilliwack Bruins. That story is right here. . . .
D Colton Jobke is eligible to return to the Kelowna Rocket’s lineup tonight as they meet the Rebels in Red Deer. He hasn’t played since Feb. 11. That’s when he incurred a major for interference in a game against the visiting Chillwack Bruins and ended up with a seven-game suspension. Chilliwack F Tim Traber came out of that play with a broken leg and won’t play again this season. . . . The Bruins will get back D Brandon Manning, who is their captain, for their game in Vancouver. Manning has served a seven-game suspension that came out of a Feb. 4 game in Kamloops. He was hit with a boarding major for a hit on Kamloops D Austin Madaisky, who came out of it with a broken C-7 vertebrae and won’t play again this season. . . .
Former WHL G Kyle Moir (Swift Current, 2002-06) has signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with the ECHL‘s Utah Grizzlies. Moir, 24, played four seasons at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., after graduating from the Broncos. He was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2007 draft. . . . The Grizzlies also got F Ryley Grantham on assignment from the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. Grantham (Moose Jaw, Kelowna, 2006-09) was a sixth-round pick by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2008 draft. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun reports that D Brodie Melnychuk (broken leg) and D Spencer Galbraith (shoulder) skated with the Wheat Kings on Thursday and might play this weekend. Brandon is in Saskatoon tonight and at home to the Regina Pats on Saturday. . . . Cory Wolfe of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that Blades F Marek Viedensky (groin) and F Brent Benson (knee) also may return this weekend.