Tuesday, March 22, 2011

F Garrett Festerling (Portland, Regina, 2003-07) signed a one-year contract extension with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany DEL). He had four goals and 15 assists in 50 games for the Freezers this season.
The WHL has suspended F Evan Bloodoff of the Kelowna Rockets, but the name of Brandon Wheat Kings F Shayne Wiebe doesn’t appear on the list of disciplined players.
Wiebe took a major penalty for boarding during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday night. But he won’t be suspended. His penalty was reviewed by the WHL office and it was decided that a suspension wasn’t warranted.
Bloodoff, meanwhile, was hit with a major penalty for a hit on Vancouver Giants D Joel Rogers on Saturday night in Kelowna. Rogers, who recently returned from a concussion, left the ice on a stretcher and was taken to hospital. Rogers is a 20-year-old and it seems doubtful that he’ll return this season.
Bloodoff is shown on the WHL website as having been suspended “tbd” -- to be determined.
Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier described Bloodoff’s hit as a “leaping, high hit.”
On Sunday, Bloodoff told Potenteau: “Whatever the league decides, I’ll be fine with. It’s out of my hands. It was a spur of the moment thing and I’m glad he’s alright.”
Bloodoff told Potenteau that he recognizes that “it’s still all on the player.”
He continued: “You have that last second to decide to hit the brakes . . . I dunno . . . it seems like there’s nothing I could have done there.”
Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports that the Vancouver Giants have some serious injury problems as they prepare to open a first-round series against the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., on Friday. That story is right here.
According to Pap, the Giants have picked up three more concussions over the last few days, to D Joel Rogers, F Michael Burns and F Anthony Ast, who had been recalled from the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians.
Three more concussions means the WHL has seen at least 100 concussion/head injuries this season.
Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail spoke with Dave Adolph, the head coach of the U of Saskatchewan Huskies hockey team, about the concussion problem. Adolph is the father of Kelowna Rockets F Max Adolph, who has been plagued by concussion woes this season. That piece is right here.

The Saskatoon Blades are hopeful that they’ll have their top offensive unit back together for Game 1 of their first-round series with the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday.
F Jake Trask, who sat out the Blades’ last two games after being hit from the blindside by Moose Jaw Warriors F Brett Lyon on March 16, just might be ready to go Saturday.
Trask, who was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers early in the season for a sixth-round bantam draft, pick, scored a career-high 30 goals. He has 20 goals in his last 25 games.
Cory Wolfe of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that Trask will go back onto a line with Brayden Schenn and Curtis Hamilton. That allows Josh Nicholls to rejoin Marek Viedensky and Darian Dziurzynski, with Matej Stransky, Brent Benson and Chris Collins reuniting.
D Brenden Dillon of the Seattle Thunderbirds will finish the season with the Texas Stars, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Dillon, 20, signed a three-year NHL deal with Dallas on March 1. Dillon, Seattle’s captain, spent four season with the Thunderbirds.
The Regina Pats have had five players leave for the pro ranks. F Garrett Mitchell, who signed with the NHL’s Washington Capitals on the weekend, joined the AHL’s Hershey Bears.
Four other players signed amateur tryout deals. D Brandon Davidson will finish up with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, while F Jordan Weal is with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs, and F Shayne Neigum and D Art Bidlevskii have joined the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Davidson was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2010 draft, while Weal went to the Los Angeles Kings in the third round of that same draft.
Groups in Kamloops, Ottawa and St. John’s, Nfld., have submitted official bids in hopes of playing host to the 2013 IIHF world women’s championship.
The City of City of Kamloops, Ottawa Senators Sports and Entertainment, and Destination St. John’s/Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador submitted bids to Hockey Canada by the deadline and will make formal presentations in Calgary on April 6.
Originally, the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association also expressed interest. The VIAHA has since withdrawn, while the OWHA joined forces with Ottawa Senators Sports and Entertainment.
Ken Campbell, a senior writer with The Hockey News, has an interesting take on the situation involving Max Domi and the apparent decision by he and his family to skip the OHL and move to the USHL in time for next season. Campbell’s piece is right here.

If you haven’t seen the Rimouski Oceanic’s answer to the defensive trap being played by the Montreal Juniors in a QMJHL game last week, check it out right here.
This comes courtesy of Neate Sager over at Yahoo! Sports and, as he mentions, this serves as some kind of a reminder that, above all else, major junior hockey teams are in the entertainment business.
JUST NOTES: F Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders is the WHL’s player of the week. He had seven points, including five assists, in three games last week. . . . Deven Dubyk of the Medicine Hat Tigers is the WHL’s nominee as goaltender of the week. He recorded his first two career shutouts as he blanked the Calgary Hitmen in back-to-back games. . . . D Stefan Elliott of the Saskatoon Blades has signed a three-year deal with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Elliott, who had 81 points, including 31 goals, in 71 games, led the WHL in plus-minus, at plus-62. He was the 49th overall selection in the 2009 NHL draft. Elliott turned 20 on Jan. 30. . . . According to capgeek.com, Elliott gets an AHL salary of US$67,500, with NHL salaries of $790,000, $840,000, and $900,000. His signing bonus is $270,000, payable over three years. . . .
Mike Vandekamp, a former head coach with the Prince George Cougars, has left the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm after four seasons and signed on as director of hockey operations and head coach with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers have offered long-time head coach Bill Bestwick a position in their front office. Bestwick had a year left on his contract when he was removed by the Clippers’ new ownership group. . . . Blaine Bablitz, an assistant under Vandekamp, has taken over as GM and head coach of the Storm. . . . The BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters also have undergone a coaching change. Jim Ingram stepped down as GM and head coach on Friday, and the Smokies immediately signed assistant Bill Birks to a two-year deal as GM/head coach. . . .
The WHL holds its bantam draft lottery on Wednesday (11 a.m., Calgary time), with the six non-playoff teams taking part. This will establish the order of selection for the first six picks of the first round only. (Rounds 2 through 7 will be done by inverse order of the regular-season standings.) The most a team is allowed to advance is two spots, while the Hitmen are guaranteed at least the second pick. The Lethbridge Hurricanes are guaranteed two of the draft’s top five selections. They own Regina’s first pick, thanks to a deal that had F Carter Ashton go to the Pats last season.
A couple of interesting notes from Graham Kendrick, the Portland Winterhawks’ director of media and public relations. . . .
2. Winterhawks fans have been coming out on droves in recent weeks, including two sellouts of 10,947 over the team
Craig Cunningham has achieved an incredibly rare feat: hes won a division title in all five of his seasons in the WHL. He won four straight B.C. Division titles as a member of the Vancouver Giants from 2007-10, and now owns a U.S. Division title with the Winterhawks. One of his former Giants teammates, Lance Bouma, was part of five straight division winners with the Giants from 2006-10, but as a 15-year-old call-up in 2005-06 he played just five games. Its believed that Cunningham is the first player in modern WHL history to win five straight division titles while playing the majority of his teams games.s final four games. The Winterhawks averaged 9,597 fans per game in March, and have averaged 8,382 fans since the start of February. Overall the Winterhawks averaged 5,594 fans per game this season, a 26 per cent increase over last season.

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