|Brendan Ranford (19) of the Kamloops Blazers, here taking down Brendan|
Gallagher of the Vancouver Giants in an early-season game, will be
hearing from the WHL office on Monday.
(Photo by Keith Anderson/Kamloops Daily News)
By GREGG DRINNANLeft-winger Brendan Ranford of the Kamloops Blazers can expect to hear from Richard Doerksen today.
Daily News Sports Editor
Daily News Sports Editor
Doerksen, the WHL's vice-president, hockey, is charged with handing out discipline on behalf of the league.
Ranford, an 18-year-old from Edmonton, was suspended indefinitely on Saturday morning after he was given a game misconduct for physical abuse of an official during Friday's 5-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets.
At 9:10 of the second period, Ranford was being escorted to the penalty box to serve a slashing penalty when he cross-checked linesman Kris Hartley across the chest.
Immediately after the game, Ranford was contrite and told The Daily News that he wanted to apologize to Hartley.
“It wasn't the right thing and I regret doing it,” he said. “In the heat of the game sometimes things happen like that . . . after thinking about it, it wasn't the right thing, for sure.”
Doerksen said he will speak with Ranford today “and then from there we'll finalize it.”
Kevin Muench, the WHL's director, officiating, is to speak with Hartley to get his part of the story.
The Blazers, who lost 1-0 in a shootout to the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday to extend their losing streak to six games, aren't scheduled to play again until Friday, when the Prince George Cougars are at the Interior Savings Centre. The Blazers conclude their regular season the next night in Prince George.
Doerksen, who has been with the WHL since the late 1970s, wasn't in his office Sunday so didn't have access to archival material. But he couldn't immediately recall the last time he had to deal with a player having struck an on-ice official with a stick.
“Fortunately, we don't have many of those,” said Doerksen. “Any time there is contact with an official, it's serious.
“There's no doubt about that. The way that play developed there was really no need for it whatsoever . . .“
This is the second time this season that a Kamloops player has become physically involved with a linesman.
Centre Chase Schaber, the Blazers captain, drew a three-game suspension following a Nov. 20 game in Portland. In that game, which the Winterhawks won 6-4, players from both teams became involved following the end of the second period.
“It was more during the context of that altercation,” Doerksen said. “All the players were on the ice, and the linesman was trying to restrain him.“
Doerksen said that was more a case of a linesman “trying to keep (Schaber) from being involved.”
The incident involving Ranford, Doerksen said, “was just (a linesman) escorting the player to the penalty box.”
Doerksen also said the fact that the Blazers now have had two players physically involved with on-ice officials wouldn't factor in whatever decision he reaches on Ranford.
“These were two very unique situations . . . different situations,” he said. “It's not that they happened a week (apart). One was a lot earlier in the season.”
Ranford came out of that Portland situation with a one-game suspension, which is the only time he has been disciplined by the WHL during his three-season career.
Meanwhile, with Ranford missing his first game, the Blazers lost again Saturday despite goaltender Jeff Bosch stopping 40 shots and earning his third shutout of the season.
Forward Geordie Wudrick and defenceman Tyson Barrie scored for the Rockets in the shootout, while only forward Thomas Frazee was able to score for the Blazers.
It was the first time in franchise history that the Blazers have lost 1-0 in a shootout. The closest they have come previously was Nov. 29, 2003, when goaltender Jeff Glass and the host Kootenay Ice posted a 1-0 overtime victory.
While the Blazers, who are ninth in the 10-team Western Conference, went into the weekend fighting with the Cougars for the eighth and final playoff spot, they now find themselves chasing the Everett Silvertips.
The Cougars won Friday and again Saturday to move ahead of Everett, which is two points ahead of the Blazers.
While Kamloops only has the two games remaining, Everett will close out the season by playing four road games in five nights — in Kennewick, Wash., Portland, Chilliwack and Vancouver.
JUST NOTES: Bosch made his 22nd straight start on Saturday. . . . Kelowna G Adam Brown stopped 33 shots, recording his third shutout of the season and his 84th career regular-season victory, breaking Kelly Guard's franchise record. . . . Kamloops F J.C. Lipon, who left Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans with what he feared was a separated shoulder, was back in the lineup after missing just one game. . . . The Rockets won the season series 6-3-0; the Blazers were 3-5-1. Kelowna had a 37-21 edge in goals scored.
Taking Note on Twitter