The rumour has been out there for three weeks or more.
“There will be an announcement,” according to the rumour, “that the WHL is returning to Victoria. And the announcement will be made on Feb. 28.”
I thought the rumour died with February, but an NHL scout asked me about it on Wednesday night.
Seeing as it’s now March 4, and there hasn’t been an announcement, it’s safe to say the rumour is dead. At least for now.
Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times-Colonist was at an ECHL game in his city on Wednesday. Here’s a note from his story:
ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna, in town recently, addressed the increasing speculation Victoria may soon announce a jump to the junior Western Hockey League. “These (WHL) rumours have been there since Day 1 of Victoria joining the ECHL and are nothing new and we hear it on an annual basis,” said McKenna, who has astutely positioned the ECHL as the main development league in pro hockey below the AHL.
As anticipated, Regina Pats head coach Curtis Hunt has been fined by the WHL for comments he made following a 5-3 loss to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Tuesday night.
If you missed it, here’s what Hunt told the Regina Leader-Post:
"It's really hard to compete against two teams. The Moose Jaw Warriors are a good hockey team and I thought our guys worked hard. We just couldn't overcome the striped team tonight."
For that, Hunt was fined $500.
Chase Martin has pads and will travel.
On Tuesday, Martin was the backup goaltender for the Tri-City Americans in a 6-5 loss to the visiting Portland Winterhawks. He was there in support of Chris Driedger, who has been starting while Drew Owsley recovers from a knee injury.
But now it seems that Martin, 18, is off to join the Medicine Hat Tigers, who lost backup Deven Dubyk to a shoulder injury during a 7-3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday.
The Tigers had Dawson MacAuley, 16, backing up Tyler Bunz in a 4-2 victory over the Rebels in Red Deer on Tuesday, but he has gone back to the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.
Martin played his minor hockey in Medicine Hat. He’s available for spot duty now because his Cowichan Valley Capitals didn’t qualify for the BCHL playoffs.
Darren Steinke in the Medicine Hat News reports that Martin will be with the Tigers for two games through the weekend.
As well, F Cole Grbavac, who is having a solid season, suffered a head injury on Tuesday and is listed as questionable for the weekend.
Of course, the Tigers also have lost F Tyler Pitlick for up to eight weeks with a broken ankle.
If Grbavac is diagnosed with a concussion, he would become the fifth Tigers’ skater to be sidelined with that injury. Steinke reports that D Matthew Konan and D Jace Coyle are day-to-day, while D Scott Ramsay is week-to-week and F Sam Dezman remains out indefinitely.
The Everett Silvertips might have F Landon Ferraro back in the lineup tonight when they meet the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. He had hernia surgery in January and returned to practice earlier this week. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald says that F Josh Birkholz, who has been out with a head injury, also might return tonight.