Friday, April 1, 2011

Thursday . . .

 Jim Mullin of Vancouver radio station CKNW tweeted late Thursday afternoon:
“Minority owner Moray Keith confirms to #CKNW that the Chilliwack Bruins have been sold to Victoria's RG Properties.”
Earlier, Eric Welsh of the Chilliwack Progress posted a piece right here on the impending departure of the Bruins to Victoria. And there are some interesting comments here from Clint Hames, a former Chilliwack mayor.
Meanwhile, Tyler Olsen of the Chilliwack Times also talked with Hames.
Here is part of what Olsen wrote:
Hames, who was instrumental in bringing the club to the Fraser Valley five years ago, had contacted WHL commissioner Ron Robison and several of the Bruins' owners to try to get to the bottom of rumours about the team's exit.
"I was told by (Bruins co-owner) Brian Burke that (Keith and Bond's) offer would not be considered and that the only offer they are considering is an offer from Victoria," Hames told Postmedia News.
Porter, however, claims the owners were carefully wading through multiple offers to buy the club. Porter also had told fans that the owners were doing what they could to keep the club where it is.
Robison has also said that moving a team is the last resort and that the league preferred to keep the Bruins in Chilliwack. He has refused any further comment on the issue.
A league spokesperson said the WHL will only comment "when there is news to report."
Obviously, there is a whole lot more going on between the WHL, RG Properties and who knows who else involving franchises on Vancouver Island.
But it doesn’t make any sense at all to have just one team on the Island, so we have questions, questions . . . we have questions:
1. With one team on its way to Vancouver Island, how long before a second one — expansion or otherwise — lands in Nanaimo?
2. Kelly Hrudey, who has ties to the WHL office as president of the WHL Alumni Association, became part-owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers earlier this year. Does Hrudey’s sudden involvement mean anything in terms of a WHL franchise landing there?
3. Mike Vandekamp left the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm in March to take over the Clippers’ coaching reins. Let’s assume that Vandekamp, who did a turn as a WHL head coach with the Prince George Cougars a while back, aspires to coach in the WHL or at an even higher level. That brings us to this question: Why does a junior A coach leave one job for a similar position at that particular time of year? Or does Vandekamp know something that we don’t know about the WHL and Nanaimo?
4. Darren Parker, who had been running an independent league baseball franchise in Victoria until it folded over the winter, signed on with the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings on Wednesday. He is the club’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing. He also is the son of Russ Parker, who owns the WHL’s Regina Pats. Why does Darren Parker, whose baseball team folded a few months ago, suddenly surface in the front office of an ECHL team that is owned by RG Properties which is in the process of purchasing a WHL franchise?
Oh, what a tangled web is being weaved.
By the way, Philip Wolf of the Nanaimo Daily News chimes is on the goings-on with the Clippers right here. He says his “bovine excrement detector” has been going off.
F Eric Johansson (Tri-City, 1998-2002) signed a one-year (plus option) contract extension with Szekesfehervar (Hungary, plays in Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had 20 goals and 27 assists in 38 games this season. . . .
F Owen Fussey (Calgary, Moose Jaw, 1999-2003) signed a one-year contract extension with the Coventry Blaze (UK Elite). He had 24 goals and 15 assists in 34 games. Fussey had his season cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in December.
The ugly side of the Internet has reared its face once again.
It is amazing what big ones some people have as they sit in momma’s basement and do stupid things with the aid of a computer and in the cloak of anonymity that is provided by the Internet.
This time it has struck in Saskatoon where the Blades were doing damage control Thursday thanks to comments that were made by a Brayden Schenn impostor on a Facebook page. Police have launched an investigation. There’s more right here from the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.
Cory Wolfe, who covers the Blades for the StarPhoenix, blogged about the Schenn situation. Wolfe’s piece is right here.
Merle Haggard sings about White Line Fever. No one, at least not yet, is singing of 50/50 fever. However, Kevin Mitchell of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix takes a look at what went on at last weekend’s Saskatoon Blades’ home playoff games. That story is right here. And having witnessed 50/50 fever at the Memorial Cup in Brandon last spring, I can tell you it’s an amazing thing.
Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, is in Buenos Aires this weekend. No, he’s not scouting. He’s there for the wedding of part-owner Michael Buble and Luisana Lopilato. . . . Toigo took time to chat with Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun about this season and what’s ahead for his WHL team. . . . That story is right here.
And if you’re into wedding photos, here you go. . . . Buble and Lopilato were married in a civil ceremony in Buenos Aires on Thursday and there are some photos right here.
JUST NOTES: Ryan Barrett is the new GM/head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks, having moved up from assistant coach to take over from Don Phelps, who, it seems, has been there since before ice was invented. Mark Astley and Craig Mohr will work as assistant coaches. . . . Adam Brown of the Kelowna Rockets is the WHL’s goaltender of the month for March. He was 6-2-0, 1.61, .944 for the month. . . . F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Red Deer Rebels is the player of the month, after putting up 19 points in eight games. . . . D Corey Fienhage of the Kamloops Blazers will be joining the AHL’s Portland Pirates. He was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2008 draft. Fienhage, 20, joined the Blazers after playing 39 games over the previous two seasons with the U of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. . . . The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have signed Dave Dupas to a three-year contract as head coach. He took over in November after GM/head coach Ed Dempsey was fired. The Spruce Kings also promoted assistant GM Mike Hawes to GM, although he will work at it on a part-time basis.
In Winnipeg, centre Linden Vey scored at 19:35 of the third period to give the Medicine Hat Tigers a 5-4 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Medicine Hat on Saturday. . . . The Wheat Kings led 3-0 at 12:47 of the first period after F Matt MacKay scored his third goal of the series, this one via the PP. . . . Brandon led 4-1 at 17:45 of the first after F Shayne Wiebe got his third goal, also on the PP. . . . Medicine Hat F Kale Kessy scored at 18:13 of the first period. . . . The Tigers then counted three times in the third. . . . Vey, who led the WHL in scoring in the regular season, finished with two goals and two assists, while F Emerson Etem had a goal and two helpers. . . . Brandon held a 17-7 edge in first-period shots, but the Tigers outshot the Wheaties 31-12 over the last 40 minutes. . . . Attendance was 6,003. . . . The Wheat Kings are playing first-round home games in the MTS Centre in Winnipeg because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair is in Westman Place in Brandon. . . . Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun was at the game last night. His story is right here. . . .
In Prince Albert, the Raiders came up with a gritty effort for the second game in a row and beat the Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Saskatoon on Saturday. . . . Saskatoon won the first two games at home, outscoring the Raiders 13-3 in the process. . . . The Blades finished with the WHL’s best record, their 115 points leaving them 48 ahead of the eighth-place Raiders in the Eastern Conference. . . . The Blades scored first, getting a PP goal from F Curtis Hamilton at 2:32 of the first period, but the Raiders got the next three, the first two from F Todd Fiddler. . . . F T.J. Constant gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead in the third period with his first WHL point. Constant was added to the Raiders’ roster from the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . Attendance was 3,111. . . . D Duncan Siemens left the Blades’ bench in the second period and didn’t return. He is believed to have a leg injury . . .
In Edmonton, F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist as the Rebels beat the Oil Kings 5-1 to win the series, 4-0. . . . Nugent-Hopkins, who will be an early pick in June’s NHL draft, had nine points over the four games. . . . F Brett Ferguson scored twice for Red Deer, the second into an empty net. . . . Edmonton’s lone goal came from F Curtis Lazar, the second overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft. It was his first WHL score. . . . Attendance was 5,938. . . . Red Deer scratched F Adam Kambeitz and D Aaron Borejko, both for undisclosed reasons. . . .
In Spokane, the Chiefs scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Chilliwack Bruins, 4-2. . . . The Bruins closed to within 3-2 on F Roman Horak’s goal at 3:06 of the third but weren’t able to equalize. . . . Chilliwack F Ryan Howse left the game after the first period and didn’t return. . . . The Chiefs were without F Tyler Johnson, the WHL’s second-leading scorer. . . . The Bruins were without D Tyler Stahl, who got tossed from Game 3 with an elbowing major that knocked Johnson out of the game. Stahl is serving one of those tbd suspensions. . . . The Chiefs also were without F Anthony Bardaro, who drew a tbd sentence under supplemental discipline for a hit in overtime in Game 3. Bardaro wasn’t penalized on the play, but the Bruins asked the WHL to review the play. . . .
In Everett, F Sven Bartschi had a goal and two assists as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Silvertips 6-2 to sweep the first-round series. . . . F Jari Erricson gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 5:22 of the first period, but Portland answered with five straight goals. . . . Attendance was 2,420. . . . Everett F Landon Ferraro was tossed with a cross-checking major as the second period ended. . . . This was the first time Portland has swept a playoff opponent since 1998 when it ousted the Brandon Wheat Kings in the championship final. . . . The Winterhawks had played 13 rounds since then. . . .
Three of the four Western Conference series ended in sweeps, leaving the Kelowna Rockets, Portland and the Tri-City Americans awaiting a winner in the Spokane-Chilliwack series. . . . Remember that teams are reseeded by regular-season points, so if Spokane wins, the second round will feature Portland vs. Kelowna and Spokane vs. Tri-City. . . . If the Bruins come back from a 3-1 deficit, it’ll be Portland against Chilliwack and Kelowna against Tri-City.
Two minors:
Prince Albert D Harrison Ruopp
Chilliwack F Curt Gogol
It was Opening Day on Thursday. Yes, we’re talking baseball.
So . . . here’s your good read for the day. Yes, it’s a year old, but it’s by Peter Gammons and it involves baseball and the blues and it doesn’t get any better than that. So take a look right here.

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