THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Daryl Boyle (Brandon, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). He had one goal and four assists in five games with the Alaska Aces (ECHL) and one goal and four assists in 26 games with the Peoria Rivermen (AHL) last season. . . .
F Gasper Kopitar (Portland, 2009-11) signed a tryout contract with Södertälje J20 (Sweden, J20 SuperElit). He had one goal in two games with the Winterhawks and 12 goals and 12 assists in 55 games with Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) last season. . . .
F Casper Carning (Vancouver, 2010-11) signed a one-year contract with Kungälv (Sweden, Division 1). He had two assists in six games with the GIants, 14 goals and 29 assists in 31 games with Frölunda J20 Gothenburg (Sweden, J20 SuperElit), no points in eight games with Frölunda Gothenburg (Sweden, Elitserien), and one goal and one assist in two games on loan with Kungälv last season. . . .
D Brent Sopel (Saskatoon, Swift Current, 1993-97) signed a two-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and five assists in 71 games with the Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens last season. . . .
D Harlan Pratt (Seattle, Red Deer, Prince Albert, Regina, Portland, 1994-99) signed a one-year contract with Szekesfehervar (Hungary, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had five assists in 40 games for Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan) last season. . . .
G Todd Ford (Swift Current, Prince George, Vancouver, 2000-04) signed a one-year contract with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had a 2.94 GAA and a .886 save percentage in 13 games with the Hershey Bears (AHL) and a 2.74 GAA and a .901 save percentage in 22 games with the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) last season.
Former WHL scoring champion Brian Varga is the new GM of the Medicine Hat Minor Hockey Association. Varga, 50, played four WHL seasons (1978-82), the first three with the Regina Pats and the last one with the Medicine Hat Tigers. He won the 1981-82 scoring title, with 187 points. And, although his name is missing from the WHL Guide recap on 1981-82, he actually finished sixth that season, with 156 points. . . . Varga is a long-time Medicine Hat minor hockey coach and volunteer. "When they decided a long time ago to have a GM within minor hockey,” Varga told Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News, “I thought that maybe some day I could do that job. It has been on my mind for quite a while. . . . It is something where maybe I can give back to the community again too by being in that role."
Chris Peters over at the United States of Hockey has taken a good look at the beating that NCAA hockey has taken over the last little while. If you missed it, a number of high-profile players who had committed to one school or another have de-committed and now are headed to OHL teams. What does it all mean? Check out Peters’ piece right here.
THE COACHING GAME:
From the department of horrible timing comes news that the Mississippi RiverKings, who moved from the Central League to the Southern Professional league over the summer, fired head coach Paul Gardner on Thursday. He had taken over from Kevin Kaminski early in the 2010-11 season. "I was told that because of moving to the SPHL, they were going in a different direction," Gardner told Chris Van Tuyl of the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "Very shocked. The hardest thing about it is having to tell the kids, and the kids haven't stopped crying. That's the difficult part of the whole thing." . . . As for finding work in the coaching game at this late date, Gardner said: "I think that would be difficult. The majority of the coaches are hired now. I emailed my agent and that's exactly what he said, 'Why did they wait until now?' " . . .
Steve Chapman, the president of the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators, has revealed that his search for a head coach is down to a shortlist that contains three names -- Leigh Mendelson, Steve Weeks and John Wroblewski. . . . Mendelson is a former Spokane Chiefs assistant coach. Last season, he was on staff with the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies. . . . The Gladiators need a head coach to replace Jeff Pyle, now head coach of the AHL’s Texas Stars.
Various reports — and I think TSN’s Farhan Lalji was first with it — have former NHLer Ryan Walter to be named president of the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat on Tuesday.
This is a rather interesting move.
Walter, you may recall, was dismissed as an assistant coach by the Vancouver Canucks after the 2009-10 season. He spent two seasons on the coaching staff. The Heat, which plays in Canucks’ territory in what is generically known as the Lower Mainland, is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
The Flames have signed F Ben Walter, Ryan’s son, to a two-year contract and chances are he will start the season with the Heat.
Cam Tucker of the Abbotsford Times has more right here on the Heat, including a bit of news on the deficit the team ran last season, which the city and taxpayers have to cover.
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