Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday . . .

It was the day after the Bruins left Chilliwack.
Both Chilliwack papers chimed in with some fine coverage and links are below.
But we also learned that a Vancouver radio personality got caught up in all of this Chilliwack-to-Victoria stuff.
Jim Mullin, who managed the sports department at CKNW in Vancouver, no longer is with the radio station.
If you’ve been following the Chilliwack-to-Victoria story, you will recall that Moray Keith, one of the Bruins’ minority owners, confirmed to Mullin that the sale had occurred.
Mullin also was on the receiving end of a letter from Brian Burke, who was one of the Bruins’ majority owners. And it was in that letter that Burke stated the WHL was working to place another existing franchise in Chilliwack.
That letter from Burke, which came via lawyers, also expressed concern with some commentary from Mullin on the Chilliwack-to-Victoria story.
Mullin told me Wednesday night that he no longer was with CKNW.
Someone on Twitter asked Mullin if it had “anything to do with what went on with Burke and the (Bruins) in the last few weeks?”
Mullin’s response was straight and to the point: “It had everything to (do) with it.”
Eric Welsh of the Chilliwack Progress spoke with Moray Keith, one of the Bruins’ two minority owners who had a finger or two pointed at him.
Part of what Keith said, in response to his being blamed for lease problems:
“The percentage used by the league is between 10 and 12 per cent of the gate revenues. The gate last year was $1.1 million. We were asking for $100,000 for the first three years and back to 12 per cent or a minimum $125,000. You can’t convince me a $2.5 million grossing business is going out of business over $125,000.”
That story is right here.
Welsh also talked with WHL commissioner Ron Robison. In early March, Robison, when asked if the Bruins would be in Chilliwack for 2011-12, had told the Progress: “It is certainly our intent and we haven’t considered anything different at this point.”
Welsh asked Robison about that and some other things and that story is right here.
Welsh also found time for a session with Darryl Porter, the Bruins’ governor and one of the franchise’s majority owners. Welsh starts with:
“Darryl Porter says the last two months have been the most difficult time in his life.”
The rest of that story is right here.
Over at the Chilliwack Times, Tyler Olsen takes a crack at rounding up everything in chronological order by talking to the participants. That piece is right here.
Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist spoke with Marc Habscheid, who spent the last two seasons as the GM and head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins. No one is talking about whether Habscheid will make the move to Victoria, but he talks here about what kind of team Victoria is getting.
That story is right here.
The national media in Canada is starting to pay some attention to the Victoria Salmon Kings. Allan Maki of The Globe and Mail has written a piece after talking to Mark Morrison, the Salmon Kings’ general manager and head coach. With all the twists to this story, it’s somehow fitting that Morrison played in the WHL for the Victoria Cougars. Maki’s column is right here.
Dylan Bumbarger, who blogs on all things Winterhawkish and more, writes that Darryl Porter and Brian Burke once looked into purchasing the WHL franchise in Portland.
Read all about it right here.
It would seem rather apparent that Chilliwack won’t be home to a WHL franchise for the 2011-12 season. But what about 2012-13?
Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings, may have tossed the Wheaties into the mix at his blog, Luber’s Lounge, the link for which is over there on the right.
Here’s part of what he wrote:
“Haven't heard the Wheat Kings mentioned yet, but it's worthwhile to note Brandon's lease with the Keystone Centre runs out at the end of (2011-2012), and the general feeling is the Wheat Kings won't be getting quite as favourable a lease as they did when the last one was signed in February of 1997.”
The Victoria WHL franchise is asking fans to vote on their preference as the team’s new nickname. Neate Sager, over at Yahoo! Sports, wonders if it isn’t going to be Tide. This is an interesting piece, involving the registering of names and domain names, and is worth a look. It’s right here.
There was an interesting twist to the Victoria Salmon Kings’ 3-2 overtime victory over the visiting Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday night. That gave the Salmon Kings a 3-0 lead in the ECHL second-round playoff series. . . . The winner, 11 seconds into OT, came from F Josh Aspenlind, who, a Bruins fan informed me today via email, was Chilliwack’s first captain and also the “first inductee to our wall of honour.” . . . Game 4 in that series goes tonight in Victoria.
 The Portland Winterhawks have signed G Brendan Burke, the 49th overall pick in the 2010 bantam draft. He is the son of former NHL G Sean Burke. Brendan played this season with the Phoenix Junior Coyotes of the Midwest Elite Hockey League, going 9-10-3, 3.39, .862. He helped his team to the championship game in the Rocky Mountain District tournament, featuring some of the top midget AAA teams from the western United States. In the tournament, he was 2-1, 1.97, .930, with one shutout. Burke attended a tryout camp for the Under-17 U.S. National Development Team, but chose to sign with the Winterhawks. . . .
F Carter Ashton of the Tri-City Americans has joined the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. Ashton, who turned 20 on April 1, was the 29th overall selection in the NHL’s 2009 draft and has signed with Tampa Bay. He had 71 points and 106 penalty minutes in 62 games this season, split between the Regina Pats and the Americans. He also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship. Ashton played 11 games with the Admirals last season, scoring one goal. The Admirals are 2-2 with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in an East Division semifinal that resumes tonight. . . .

The gang at reports that F Curtis Hamilton of the Saskatoon Blades, who has signed with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, has a deal that calls for the same AHL salary (US$67,500) in each of three seasons, NHL salaries of $715,000, $790,000 and $900,000. He got a $270,000 signing bonus, payable over three years. . . . also reports that Regina Pats F Jordan Weal, who signed with the Los Angeles Kings, is down for AHL salaries of $67,500, $65,000 and $62,500, with NHL salaries of $615,000, $640,000 and $665,000. He also got the $270,000 signing bonus payable over three yers. . . . Hamilton was a second-round pick of the Oilers in the NHL’s 2010 draft, while the Kings took Weal in the third round of the 2010 draft. . . . The Oilers also signed F Cameron Abney, 19, to a three-year deal. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Abney, who turns 20 on May 23, was a third-round selection in the 2009 NHL draft. He had 20 points and 72 penalty minutes in 60 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings this season. . . . The Minnesota Wild has signed F Brett Bulmer of the Kelowna Rockets to a three-year deal. Bulmer had 49 points, including 18 goals, and 109 penalty minutes in 57 games with the Rockets this season. He was a second-round pick in the 2010 NHL draft. . . .

F Bernhard Keil, who played this season with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, has returned to the Straubing Tigers. The Tigers, who play in the DEL, announced Thursday morning that they have signed Keil, 19, to a one-year deal with a club option for a second season. Keil played two seasons ago for a junior team in Mannheim and was expected to join the Tigers. However, the Blazers selected him in the CHL import draft and he spent the season in Kamloops. He had eight points, including five goals, in 46 games with the Blazers, who had told him he wouldn’t be coming back for a second season. . . . Keith Cassidy if the new GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. He coached five seasons in the MJHL and was at the helm of the U of Manitoba Bisons for one season. Cassidy wasn’t involved in coaching last season. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors were honoured as that city’s business of the year at the Moose Jaw and District Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Excellence Awrds gala on Wednesday. The Warriors also walked off with the Marketing award. The legendary Rob Carnie of CHAB Radio was the host for the evening. . . .

There is some U of Alberta news as two WHL coaches who played for the Golden Bears prepare to meet up tonight in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final. Shaun Clouston, the head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, played under the legendary Clare Drake in the mid-1980s before going on to spend three seasons with the Portlad Winterhawks. . . . Kris Knoblauch, the head coach of the Kootenay Ice, played five seasons with the Golden Bears ater completing his WHL career. Knoblauch played under head coach Rob Daum while at the U of A. . . . The Tigers and Ice open the conference final tonight in Medicine Hat. . . . Interestingly, both Clouston and Knoblauch are in their first seasons as head coach. Clouston, of course, spent six seasons as assistant or associate coach under Willie Desjardins, who joined the staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars last summer. Knoblauch, 32, was an assistant coach for one season with the Prince Albert Raiders and two with the Ice before taking over from Mark Holick, who left for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. . . . The Golden Bears, meanwhile, may be in the market for a new head coach after Eric Thurston told his players a week ago that he was resigning and then was placed on leave by the university yesterday. Assistant coach Stan Marple has been named acting head coach. There are some unanswered questions here, for sure. Evan Daum, who covers the U of A scene like a blanket, has more right here. Thurston was on the Kamloops Blazers’ shortlist in the summer of 2008, but he withdrew his name before a hire was made. In the end, the job went to Barry Smith.
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