Friday, September 9, 2011

Ryan Pilon and Reid Duke signed with the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Thursday.
Both players were early first-round picks in the 2011 WHL bantam draft.

(Photo courtesy of Lethbridge Hurricanes)
G Garrett Zemlak (Saskatoon, Prince Albert, 2006-10) signed a one-year contract with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). He had a 3.48 GAA and a .877 save percentage in 26 games with the Kalamazoo Wings, Stockton Thunder, Elmira Jackals and Gwinnett Gladiators (all ECHL) last season. Zemlak also played one game with the Binghamton Senators (AHL), giving up four goals on 28 shots. The UK Elite regular season begins Saturday.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes had two of the top five selections in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. And they now have signed both of those players.
They took D Ryan Pilon with the third overall selection and grabbed F Reid Duke two picks later.
Pilon, from Duck Lake, Sask., had 45 points in 20 games with the bantam AA Warman Wildcats of the Centre Four Hockey League.
Duke, from Calgary, put up 64 points, including 28 goals, in 30 games with the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Major Bantam league.
The WHL’s Office of Discipline has been rather busy as it attempts to deliver its message in the preseason.
Here is a look at what has transpired since the exhibition season opened:
F Caleb Belter, Prince George Cougars, two games for checking to the head major and game misconduct, in game against Calgary Hitmen in Edmonton tournament on Monday.
F Dexter Bricker, Red Deer Rebels, three games for charging major and game misconduct in game against the Swift Current Broncos on Monday.
F Jesse Mychan, Everett Silvertips, two games for checking to the head major and game misconduct against the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday in the Everett tournament.
D Dallas Ehrhardt, Moose Jaw Warriors, three games for cross-checking major and game misconduct in game against the host Regina Pats on Sept. 2.
F Mike Aviani, Spokane Chiefs, four games for a boarding major and game misconduct in a game against the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Everett tournament on Sept. 2.
Meanwhile, the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals have the dubious honour of paying the season’s first fines. Each team was fined $250 for a fight between F Mitchell Chapman of the Rockets and F Curt Gogol of the Royals at the start of the second period in Kelowna on Friday. . . . Chapman and Gogol each drew a one-game suspension.
JUST NOTES: G Deven Dubyk, 20, has left the Medicine Hat Tigers and joined the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who are to be the host team for the 2012 RBC Cup. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors will be without D Morgan Rielly, 17, for a bit after he underwent an emergency appendectomy on Sept. 1. He was released from hospital on Sunday and already is back in the gym. He is hoping to play in the season-opener on Sept. 22. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald also reports that the Warriors are down to two goaltenders — veteran Brandon Stone, 18, and Spencer Tremblay, a 16-year-old freshman from Winnipeg. . . . Jason Berger has signed on as equipment manager with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. He spentthe last four years as the Seattle Thunderbirds’ equipment manager.
Alarm bells have to be going off in Swift Current where Broncos’ season-ticket sales are lagging well behind last season’s, when the final total was 1,707. That is scary news for the franchise that operates in the smallest community in all of the CHL. The Southwest Booster has more right here.
F Brayden Cuthbert of the Moose Jaw Warriors is out indefinitely and, in fact, has returned to his home in Brandon. He continues to suffer from post-concussion syndrome after being injured in January. Alan Miller, the Warriors’ director of hockey operations, told Goulie that they don’t expect Cuthbert back before Christmas, if at all.
As for Cuthbert, here’s what he had to say to Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun:
“I was feeling pretty good throughout the second half of the summer and it was looking like I was going to hopefully be able to make a run into maybe October, start of November and be able to play then, so I came back (to Moose Jaw) early for camp with the rest of the guys and we started practising.
“The first skate I had, I felt pretty good for 45 minutes or so and then I got a little fuzzy so I just went off the ice, trying not to take anything too seriously. But when I woke up the next morning, my head was just pounding. Throughout the next eight to nine days, I just followed up with headaches and I realized I wasn’t anywhere near to where I have to be if I want to play in the league.”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has written a story about fighting in hockey. In it, he talks with Steve Konowalchuk, the new head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds. And three cheers to Konwalchuk for pointing out that fighting “is part of the game, but there's a lot more to being tough than just fighting.”
That column is right here.
Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, who has done such a terrific job of covering the death of Derek Boogaard, has written another great piece, this one looking at Boogaard and his problems with addictions. You’ll find it right here.
Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail writes elegantly of the crash of the plane carrying Lokomotiv Yaroslavl on Wednesday and of hockey’s horrible summer. That piece is right here.
Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press talked with Kelly McCrimmon, the owner and general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings, about his relationship with his brother, Brad. Lawless also touched bases with Brian Propp and Ray Allison, both of whom played with McCrimmon on powerful Wheat Kings teams in the late 1970s. Those stories are right here.
Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province talked with Glen Hanlon, who now is an assistant coach with the Vancouver Giants. Hanlon has a lot of coaching experience in Europe and has some interesting, and positive, things to say about the KHL. Willes’s column is right here.
Slava Malamud writes for Sport-Express, a Russian daily newspaper, and is based in North America. James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail spoke with him about Wednesday’s tragedy and the interview is right here. It is especially insightful in terms of explaining just how big this story is in Russia and especially in Yaroslav, where, according to Malamud, hockey actually is bigger than soccer.
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