Friday, August 5, 2011

Drew Owsley (left) and Ty Rimmer will be changing uniforms.
(Photos courtesy Try-City Americans)
F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) signed a tryout contract with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had 43 goals and 16 assists in 71 games for the Kelowna Rockets last season. The tryout contract runs through Sept.  30.
The Tri-City Americans dealt at least in part with their 20-year-old situation and the Prince George Cougars landed a starting goaltender in a Thursday trade.
The Americans sent G Drew Owsley, 20, and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft to the Cougars for G Ty Rimmer, 19, and two draft picks — a third-rounder in 2012 and a fifth-rounder in 2013.
Rimmer was a 14th-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2007 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Cougars in October and proceeded to go 17-20-2, 3.29, .899 in what was his freshman WHL season.
Rimmer shared playing time in Prince George with James Priestner last season. Priestner, 20, was released by the Cougars at some point following the season.
Owsley, who was listed by the Americans in September 2007, played in 122 regular-season games with the Americans, going 76-33-4, with a 2.68 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Owsley is third on Tri-City’s career list in regular-season victories, GAA and shutouts, second in save percentage and sixth in games and minutes played. He holds the franchise career records for playoff games played, minutes played, victories, save percentage and shutouts.
The Americans now appear ready to open the season with Rimmer and the highly touted Eric Comrie, 16, as their goaltenders.
Owsley’s departure leaves the Americans still with five 20-year-olds on the roster — F Adam Hughesman, F Brendan Shinnimin, F Mason Wilgosh, D Matt MacKenzie and D Brock Sutherland.
In Prince George, Owsley joins F Spencer Asuchak and D Cody Carlson as the 20-year-olds.
A snippet from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, who was at the Canadian junior team’s development camp in Edmonton on Thursday:
Prince George Cougars winger Brett Connolly, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first-round pick in 2010, suffered the first injury of the week. Connolly, who played on last year’s national team, was taken hard into the boards by local prospect Duncan Siemens and hurt his leg.
“Talking to the doctor, it doesn’t look as bad as first thought. Just a bad bruise. Hopefully he’ll recover to play on the weekend,” said Hay, who laughed when asked if it was a leg problem. “Lower-body injury.” Siemens, one of the WHL’s toughest customers, got his stick in a bit before Connolly hit the boards. “Yeah, yeah, it was a penalty. He (Siemens) plays that way and has to, to be effective.”
Matty’s complete story — and there’s some good Tyler Bunz stuff here — is right here.
Over the last few WHL seasons, it is fair to say that D Tyler Schmidt has been one of the league’s most under-rated players.
Schmidt, who played out his eligibility last season, his fifth with the Tri-City Americans, put up 19, 14, 41, 38 and 53 points from 2006-07 through last season. He also picked up 72, 129, 164, 119 and 159 penalty minutes.
At 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, he is an honest defenceman. Plays the same at home and on the road.
He has committed to attend the U of Manitoba and play for the Bisons, but now comes word that he also has agreed to an ATO with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
The Bisons are heading overseas later this month for games in Italy, Austria and Germany.
Upon the Bisons’ return from Europe, Schmidt will go to camp with the Oilers.
As of the close of business Wednesday, the Brandon Wheat Kings had sold 2,320 season tickets. Last season, they sold more than 3,100 and averaged about 4,300 fans per home game. According to a news release, an adult season ticket sells for $350 plus GST. That, the news release reads, “equates to a single-game ticket price of just over $10, which is still easily the most affordable ticket price in the WHL.” . . . The Calgary Hitmen have added veteran scout Ray Payne to their staff. He will work as their travelling scout, replacing Dan Bonar, who moved up to head scout after Brad Whelen left for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Payne has worked with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals. He also has worked with Hockey Canada. . . .
F Richard Vanderhoek, who was selected by the Kamloops Blazers in the sixth round of the 2006 bantam draft, has been traded by the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles to the Westside Warriors. Vanderhoek, 20, had 71 points in 55 games with the Eagles last season. He also played one game with the Vancouver Giants. In exchange, the Eagles received D Matt Cronin, 19, who has committed to Merrimack College for 2012-13. . . . D Nathan Deck (Vancouver, Prince Albert, 2005-11) has signed with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. He played out his junior eligibility with the Raiders last season, picking up 18 points in 60 games. The previous season, he put up 37 points in 72 games.
The AHL’s Portland Pirates have added John Slaney to their coaching staff. The Pirates are the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. Slaney, 39, ended his playing career after spending last season with Plzen HC in the Czech Republic. . . . He will work alongside head coach Ray Edwards. . . .
Luke Strand has been added to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat as an assistant coach. Abbotsford head coach Troy Ward worked with Strand for two seasons (2007-09) with the Houston Aeros. . . . Cail MacLean also is on the Heat’s staff as an assistant coach, with Jordan Sigalet as the goaltending coach. . . . For the last two seasons, Strand was head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . The Heat is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . .
Former NHL D Jay Wells has signed on as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Wells takes over from Dave Bell, who now is the head coach of the Central league’s Quad City Mallards. . . . Wells will work alongside GM/head coach Dale Hawerchuk in Barrie. The two were teammates with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres. . . .
Jason Brooks, a former head coach with the OHL’s Guelph Storm, has signed on as an assistant coach with that league’s Niagara IceDogs. He replaces Mike Van Ryn, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Houston Aeros. . . . Brooks will work with head coach Marty Williamson and assistant Billy Burke with the IceDogs. . . .
Vicky Sunohara, a seven-time world champion and three-time Olympian with Canada’s national team, is the new head coach of the U of Toronto Varsity Blues’ women’s hockey team. Sunohara, 41, has been working as the director of women’s hockey at The Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ont. With the Varsity Blues, she replaces Karen Hughes, who had been the coach for 18 seasons.
There was a flash from the past in my inbox on Thursday morning -- an email (actually, two of them) from Dennis Ulmer, a proud father from Regina. It turns out both of his boys have signed on to play again in Europe.
Jason, 32, has signed a one-year deal with Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg of the German DEL. He already has played 348 DEL games, with 312 points, including 226 assists. He also played with Kassel and Hanover, before moving to Wolfsburg four years ago.
Meanwhile, his brother, Jeff, 34, has left the Swedish Elite Series (SEL) to sign a one-year deal with the DEG Metro Stars of the DEL. (The Metro Stars also signed F Ben Gordon, who played last season in the ECHL and AHL.)
In 2009-10, Jeff was the DEL’s leading scorer, picking up 74 points in 56 games with the Frankfurt Lions. He split last season with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (KHL) and Link√∂pings HC (SEL).
Gordon, 26, signed a one-year deal after playing last season with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. He also saw time with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.
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