Friday, July 15, 2011

F Sean Selmser (Moose Jaw, Red Deer, 1991-95) signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Nationalliga). He had 16 goals and 25 assists in 58 games for the Coventry Blaze (UK Elite) last season. . . .
D Mark Isherwood (Medicine Hat, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with Cortina (Italy, Serie A). He had 15 goals and 20 assists in 70 games for the ECHL-champion Alaska Aces last season. Isherwood was also named to the ECHL All-Rookie team. . . .
D Vladimir Mihalik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Lev Poprad (Slovakia, KHL). He had one goal and eight assists in 66 games with the Norfolk Admirals (AHL) last season.
Peter Loubardias hasn’t had time to change the message on his voice mail, which indicates that he is employed by Rogers Sportsnet.
Unfortunately, that no longer is true.
Loubardias, who knows as much, if not more, about major junior hockey than anyone else in this country, lost his job Wednesday.
Loubardias, 43, told Vicki Hall of the Calgary Herald that he is “devastated. Heartbroken. Hurt.”
Major junior hockey has no greater friend — or fan — than Loubardias, who was Sportsnet’s play-by-play voice at the Memorial Cup. He also called the play of Calgary Flames’ games for three seasons.
But you can bet that not getting to call games at the Memorial Cup has cut him to the bone.
"I have treasured the opportunity to cover eight Memorial Cups," he told Hall. "That's hard for me to even talk about. I have been so lucky to be involved with the national broadcast of that tournament.
"To think next year in Shawinigan that's going to be somebody else, that one really hurts. That one really stings."
Hall’s complete story is right here.
What is rather strange about the Loubardias story is that Bruce Dowbiggin, who keeps an eye on the sports media for The Globe and Media, wrote Wednesday that there is a “shortage of available sports TV talent.”
Scott Woodgate, Rogers’ vice-president of news and information, told Dowbiggin: “There are all these rumours of an implosion at Sportsnet. I don’t know where they’re coming from. We’re building our team at the moment. We haven’t got enough people to do all the things we want to do.”
You figure it out!
Back in the day, I spent a couple of WHL seasons working alongside Loubardias on broadcasts of Regina Pats’ games.
I don’t know what amazed me more — his photographic memory (I don’t know that he ever misidentified a player, and he knew every player on both teams) or his love for the game of junior hockey.
I would suggest that the number of hockey games he saw over the course of any one season rivalled the total witnessed by any NHL scout.
F Brendan Ranford of the Kamloops Blazers acknowledges that he fought weight and conditioning problems in the second half of last season. There’s more on his story right here.
The Blazers will open 2011-12 by playing four straight home games. Ranford will miss the first three of those as he completes a WHL-issued suspension. You may recall that he drew a six-game suspension after cross-checking linesman Kris Hartley in a late-season game.
F Max Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Reinhart had 79 points, including 34 goals, in 71 games with the WHL-champion Ice last season. He had 27 points, 15 of them goals, in 19 playoff games. He was Calgary’s first selection in the 2010 NHL draft — the Flames didn’t have a first- or second-round pick, and took him in the third round (64th overall). . . . He is one of three brothers expected to play in the WHL in 2011-12. . . . Griffin, a defenceman, is heading into his second season with the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Sam, a forward, will join Max with the Ice.
F Craig Cunningham, who played out his WHL eligibility last season, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Boston Bruins. They selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 NHL draft. He played more than four seasons with the Vancouver Giants before he was traded to the Portland Winterhawks in December. . . . Cunningham finished his WHL career with 264 points in 330 regular-season games. Over his last four seasons, he played in 67, 72, 72 and 71 games.
D Josh Hanson of the Portland Winterhawks is the lone WHL player (and one of three CHLers) to have been selected to play for the U.S. U-18 team at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia, from Aug. 8-13. . . . He had three points in 43 games with Portland last season. . . . Canada’s selection camp runs July 30 through Aug. 2.
The yet-to-be nicknamed AHL team in St. John’s, Nfld., has named Keith McCambridge (Swift Current, Kamloops, 1991-95) as its head coach. McCambridge was an assistant coach with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose for the last two seasons. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as head coach of the ECHL’s Anchorage Aces. . . . With the relocation of the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the Moose has moved to St. John’s, Nfld. The Moose will be the AHL affiliate to the Jets.
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