Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There would seem to be ominous news for fans of the Chilliwack Bruins in a Chilliwack Times story written by Tyler Olsen that appeared Tuesday.
In that story, Olsen writes that “owners of the Western Hockey League franchise are considering multiple offers to buy the club, Bruins president Darryl Porter told the Times.”
That, of course, is something that has been public knowledge since last week.
But in the next paragraph Porter tells Olsen that, even though season-ticket holders have been wondering where the renewal forms are, “they're not going to be coming right away because the owners have decided to look into these inquiries."
Olsen’s complete story is right here.
One WHL governor questioned the strategy of waiting to send out season-ticket renewals, noting that it should have been done a month ago, even if the franchise may well be on the move.
“What happens if the franchise doesn’t move?” wondered the governor. “How do you sell season-tickets then?”
Unless, of course, a deal has been cut and is to be announced at season’s end.
Someone has set up a Facebook page titled Bring Back the WHL to Victoria. If you’re interested, it’s right here.
If you missed it, Rich Preston, the GM and head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, drew a one-game suspension and a $750 fine for his water bottle-, clipboard- and Gatorade jug-tossing display on Saturday night in Kelowna.
You would have to hope that the manner in which Preston carried this out, with a great degree of calmness seldom, if ever, seen in these situations, saved him a game and at least $250.
It was Preston’s second brush with the long arm of the WHL law this season. He was fined $500 for a game misconduct he incurred during a Nov. 20 game with the visiting Saskatoon Blades.
Preston will miss a visit to Lethbridge by the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight.
The last WHL coach to be suspended?
Marc Habscheid of the Chilliwack Bruins and Don Hay of the Vancouver Giants sat out a game for a line brawl during an exhibition game prior to this season.
The last WHL coach to be suspended for a regular-season game?
Hay got hit with a one-game sentence in January of last season after the Giants were involved in their third line brawl of the season during a game in Prince George.
There also was an interesting note about the Preston outburst on Regan Bartel’s blog. Bartel, of course, is the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, so had a great seat for the show.
If you have seen the video, you will understand what Bartel is writing:
“I understand the camera crew in the building are getting a bad wrap for the video coverage of Preston's outburst. During the altercation, the camera crew often move away from the Hurricanes bench and show pictures of the goaltenders, the Rockets bench and even the crowd. I am told the video crew has a long document that they must adhere too when 'shooting the game' and when incidents like this occur. I don't have all the details of those guidelines, but not to embarrass the opposition team is roughly part of those requirements. If the camera/video crew had free reign, can you imagine what type of damage they could do with additional graphics?”
So there you have it. Now you know why you were watching a laughing goaltender while Preston was putting on the best coaching show seen in the WHL this season.
C Tyler Johnson of the Spokane Chiefs signed a three-year deal with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning upon his return from a two-game swing to Prince George on the weekend. Johnson, 20, was a free agent. . . . According to cap, the contract calls for him to be paid $67,500 in the AHL, with NHL salaries of $690,000, $740,000 and $840,000. . . . The signing bonus is $270,000, paid over three years.
F Wacey Hamilton, 20, of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed a three-year NHL deal with the Ottawa Senators. Hamilton was in camp last fall with the Colorado Avalanche but never signed. . . . Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen reports that at least 10 other NHL teams were in the hunt for Hamilton. That story is right here.
If you’re into collecting jerseys, you should know that the Swift Current Broncos are auctioning off their 2010-11 game-worn retro third jerseys. They wore them in Saturday games this season.
According to a release from the Broncos:
“Bidding will start at $50 and additional bids will be accepted in $10 increments. Fans may bid online right here, over the phone at 306-773-1509 or at any home games leading up to and during the March 19 game with the Prince Albert Raiders.”
Dylan Bumbarger, who blogs mostly about the Portland Winterhawks, checked out some numbers supplied by the Winterhawks’ front office and takes issue with some of them.
There’s more right here.
Five brothers playing on the same hockey team? That’s the case in the Whitemud Hockey League in Saskatchewan where the Hunter brothers — Brock, Dusty, J.J., Luke and Ty — all play for the Shaunavon Badgers. There’s more right here from the Shaunavon Standard.
The WHL lost a friend on Feb. 7 when Louise Kruger died at the Lethbridge Regional Hospital at the age of 68. Fanner, as she was known to anyone who had the good fortune to come into contact with her, and her late husband, Scoof, watched three sons — Darren, Scott and Trevor — play in the WHL, all with the Swift Current Broncos. Scott, of course, died in the accident that involved the Broncos’ bus. . . . Fanner also was a sister to Lorne Frey, who now is the Kelowna Rockets’ assistant GM, director of player personnel and head scout. . . . If you are so inclined, donations may be made to the Swift Current Broncos Hockey Association Memorial Fund, Box 2345, Swift Current SK, S9H 4X6.
JUST NOTES: G Jim Watt (Spokane, Saskatoon, 2002-06) has signed with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors. He had been with the U of Windsor Lancers, who were eliminated from the playoffs late in February. Watt, 24, is from Edmonton. . . . The Vancouver Giants are home to the Chilliwack Bruins tonight, but are likely to be missing six or seven regulars. F Spencer Bennett (hand), D Darren Bestland (back), F Teal Burns (shoulder), F Brendan Gallagher (head), D Tyler Hart (shoulder), F Connor Redmond (shoulder) and D Joel Rogers (concussion) all are on the limp. Of that bunch, only Bestland is possible for tonight. . . . Vancouver has brought in D Dalton Olsen, 17, from the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles, whose season is over. Olsen, from Calgary, is the younger brother of D Dylan Olsen, who played for Canada’s national junior team in Buffalo and now is with the AHL‘s Rockford IceHogs. . . . The Giants also have added D Blake Orban, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. He was with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . .
Also tonight, the Brandon Wheat Kings are expecting a big crowd as they entertain F Brayden Schenn and the Saskatoon Blades, while the Regina Pats hope to keep their playoff push moving forward as they visit the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . .
In Prince George on Tuesday night, Red Deer G Darcy Kuemper earned his 12th shutout of the season as the Rebels beat the Cougars, 7-0. . . . Kuemper is one shutout shy of tying the WHL’s single season record that is shared by Bryan Bridges (Seattle, 2004-05) and Kelly Guard (Kelowna, 2003-04). . . . The Cougars have been blanked five times this season. . . . Red Deer F Byron Froese scored four times, giving him 40 goals this season. He had a career-high 29 last season with the Everett Silvertips. Froese is the first Rebels skater to get to 40 since F Matt Ellison scored 40 times in 2002-03. . . . Red Deer F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and three helpers. . . . The victory allowed the Rebels to stay three points ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers in the race for the Central Division pennant, which brings with it the Eastern Conference’s second seed. . . . Prince George has lost four in a row. . . .
The Tigers were beating the visiting Calgary Hitmen 6-2. . . . F Linden Vey had two goals for the Tigers, while F Emerson Etem had one. . . . Vey has 44 goals and a WHL-leading 112 points, six more than Spokane F Tyler Johnson. . . . Etem has 42 goals, 10 of them over his last 11 games. . . . The loss officially eliminated the Hitmen from the playoffs. The Hitmen, the WHL’s defending champions, had a run of 13 straight playoff appearances come to an end. . . .
In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Attendance was 2,282. . . . Ice D Brayden McNabb scored his 20th goal and added two assists. . . . F Cody Eakin and F Matt Fraser also had a goal and two assists each for the Ice. . . . Kootenay is fourth in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Medicine Hat. . . .
In Spokane, the Chiefs unleashed 50 shots as they opened a five-game homestand by beating the Everett Silvertips, 4-2. . . . Spokane won the season series 7-1-0 and gave up just 10 goals in the process. . . . Everett G Luke Siemens, starting in place of the injured Kent Simpson (ankle), stopped 46 shots. . . . The Chiefs were ahead 3-0 before Everett got goals from F Tyler Maxwell, his 40th, and F Manraj Hayer, his third. . . . Everett scored on the game’s only power play. Referees Sean Raphael and Shane Warschaw handed out only one minor penalty, that to Spokane F Darren Kramer for instigating. Kramer was involved in his WHL-leading 44th fight. He has 11 points, including six goals, and 290 penalty minutes in 62 games. Kramer, who joined the Chiefs early in October from the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm, also has representation. He has signed with Carlos Sosa and Darcy Tucker of Turning Point Sports Management. . . . F Jake Doty of the Seattle Thunderbirds is a distant second, with 24 fighting majors, while F Ryan Hanes of the Kamloops Blazers has 21. . . . The Chiefs, who have won five in a row, are one point behind the Western Conference- and U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks. Each team has six games remaining, including a season-ending meeting in Portland on March 20. . . . The Silvertips, who have lost five in a row, are tied for sixth with the Chilliwack Bruins, three points ahead of the Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers. . . .
In Kamloops, F Justin Feser, playing his 200th regular-season game, scored with 55.4 seconds left in the third period to give the Tri-City Americans a 5-4 victory over the Blazers. . . . Tri-City D Zach Yuen had two goals and an assist, and was plus-4. . . . It was Yuen’s first WHL two-goal game. . . . Kamloops lost F J.C. Lipon with a suspected separated shoulder in the first period. . . . The Americans are eight points behind Spokane so appear headed for a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference. . . . The victory was No. 40 for Tri-City which has won at least that many each of the last five seasons. . . . The Blazers, who have lost four in a row, remain tied with Prince George for the conference’s last playoff spot. Kamloops has four games remaining; the Cougars have five left. . . . They close out the season with a home-and-home set, playing in Kamloops on March 19 and in Prince George on March 20. . . . If they are tied for the last playoff spot at that point, they would play a sudden-death game in the home of the team with the most regular-season victories. At present, each team has 29 victories. The second tiebreaker is the record in games between the teams; the Cougars are 5-1-0 against the Blazers this season.


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