Friday, December 2, 2011

The Lethbridge Hurricanes helped out with Operation Christmas Child on Thursday.
(Photos courtesy Lethbridge Hurricanes)
The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who have won a couple in a row and have vacated the Eastern Conference basement, got December off to a festive start.
On Thursday, according to a news release, Cam Braes, Damien Ketlo, Brody Sutter, Landon Oslanski, Brady Ramsay, Spencer Galbraith, Tyler Kizuik, Graham Hood, Nick Buonassisi, Juraj Bezuch, Liam Liston, Phil Tot and Albin Blomqvist lent a helping hand to Richard and Lisa Henry and Rev. Brian Palsky at University Drive Alliance Church for Operation Christmas Child. The church . . . is the regional collection centre for Southern Alberta and in total 6,746 shoe boxes were collected from Lethbridge and surrounding area for the global Christmas exchange program.
“The program encourages churches, children and adults to pack shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items and school supplies to be given to thousands of children living in impoverished areas all over the world. In the coming days, the shoe boxes will be sent to Calgary and then distributed around the world.”
Operation Christmas Child is a terrific program and is attracting attention from more and more sports teams. In Kamloops, for example, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack women’s soccer team has helped out for a number of years now and players were wrapping boxes just last week.
F Jonas Knutsen of the Prince Albert Raiders will play for Norway at the IIHF U-20 World championshp (Division 1, Group A) in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Dec. 11-17. Also in the tournament are Germany, Slovenia, Belarus, Austria and Great Britain. . . . Knutsen, who has nine points and 36 penalty minutes, will leave Monday. . . .
F Marek Tvrdon of the Vancouver Giants, who is the WHL’s highest-scoring freshman, will play for Slovakia in the World Junior Championship. Shoulder woes limited Tvrdon to 12 games last season, so he is considered a rookie. He has 35 points, 14 of them goals, in 28 games this season. Last season, he had 11 points in those 12 games. . . .
A source tells me that three WHL teams are involved in discussions on a transaction that, if it comes to pass, will cause some big-time buzz. I’m not one to speculate on what players might be involved — and there are trade talks going on all the time — but trust me when I tell you this one would give people something to talk about for a while. . . .
Saw this on the WHL website in the wee hours of today: “Brendan Gallagher and the Kamloops Blazers host Alex Forsberg and the Prince George Cougars for a B.C. Division match-up on Friday night.” . . . The Vancouver Giants and the Blazers have been known to make the odd trade, but I don’t think Gallagher is headed to Kamloops any time soon. . . . I’m sure the writer meant Brendan Ranford, and I’ve been there before. Just ask Matt Needham of the Blazers how many times I have referred to him as Mike.
Congratulations to old friend Andy Murray on his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
Murray, now the head coach of the Western Michigan Broncos, will go into the Builder’s category. Also going into the Hall of Fame will be Raimo Helminen, a six-time Olympian for Finland, Russian star Pavel Bure, defenceman Phil Housley of the U.S., and Czech star Milan Novy.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for May 20 in Helsinki.
How long have I known Murray? Since he was an aspiring quarterback with the Brandon University Bobcats football team. Oh, what a team that was. Right, Garry Davidson?
The QMJHL has revealed its social media policy. If you’re interested, you are able to check it out on the QMJHL website.
But here is the part that deals with disciplinary measures . . .
“The following are examples of conduct through social media and networking mediums that are considered violations of this policy and which may be subject to disciplinary action by the QMJHL, at the discretion of the Commissioner:
“- Statements which are critical of League personnel, its programs, employees, on-ice or off-ice officials, players, members, owners or operations staff, sponsors or any other actors.
“- Divulging confidential information that may include, but is not limited to the following: trade talk or other player movement, medical history (injuries or other), game plans or strategies and any other information that is deemed confidential.
“- Sharing or divulging photos, videos or comments which promote negative influences or criminal behaviour, including but not limited to: drug use, alcohol abuse, public intoxication, sexual exploitation, etc.
“- Online activity that contradicts the current policies of the QMJHL.
“- Inappropriate, derogatory, racist or sexist comments of any kind that contradict the policies outlined by the QMJHL on these matters.”
Good luck to the QMJHL in enforcing this thing. I might suggest that the QMJHL is going to need to hire a full-time babysitter.
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the WHL had the same policy in place, say, one night this week. Let’s say it was Tuesday night, when every player in the WHL who wasn’t involved in a game was watching the Victoria’s Secret fashion (?) show on TV. (Those who were playing that night likely recorded the show.) And most of those viewers, if not all of them, were Tweeting about it.
And let’s just say that the rules called for the league to suspend the players for the remarks. That being the case, the WHL would have had to postpone a few games this weekend due to a shortage of players.
But having said that, some of the WHL’s players have been blessed with great wit!
And judging by some of the tweets I saw, a whole lot of them fell in love on Tuesday night.
In Edmonton last night, D Mark Pysyk drew three assists to lead the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Oil Kings ran their winning streak to five, while ending Calgary’s at four. . . . F Tyler Maxwell scored twice for Edmonton. He has six points, including four goals, in four games since being acquired from the Everett Silvertips. He is plus-8 in those four games. . . . The victory lifted Edmonton into a tie for second in the Eastern Conference, with the Saskatoon Blades and Moose Jaw Warriors. They are four points in back of the Kootenay Ice.
D Martin Gernat, Edmonton
Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun writes today that Wheat Kings F Mike Ferland and Vancouver Giants D Wes Vannieuwenhuizen drew ‘tbd’ suspensions for their roles in a game-ending schmozzle Wednesday in Brandon.
The stuff hit the fan as teams were leaving their benches at game’s end.
Here’s what Henderson wrote:
The melee broke out as the teams left their benches at the end of the game. Wheat Kings Eric Roy and Darian Dziurzynski and Giants David Musil and Jordan Martinook were also assessed fighting majors and game misconducts.
Western Hockey League vice-president of hockey Richard Doerksen said Ferland and Vannieuwenhuizen were punished because they were on the bench to end the game, and not legally on the ice.
“Neither was on the ice,” Doerksen said. “Of the other (penalized) players, all had been on the ice.”
The league revoked the game misconducts for Roy, Dziurzynski, Musil and Martinook, while Dziurzynski and Martinook also had their majors turned into double minors for roughing.
Decisions on the length of the suspensions and team fines should be made today.
With fighting majors turned into double minors, that means it wasn’t a multi-fight situation, which means there likely won’t be fines issued. That means we were guilty of premature ch-ch-ching the other day.
On the subject of ch-ch-ching, to the five people who have taken time to make donations this week, thank you. . . . If you’re a regular here, feel free to click on the DONATE button and help the cause. Thanks in advance!
Laura Robinson, who wrote the book Crossing the Line: Violence and Sexual Assault in Canada’s National Sport, has written a scathing essay about hazing and sexual abuse in football and hockey.
Football in the United States and hockey in Canada have much to answer for, she writes.
And she is correct. Because if you think the hazing incident that involved the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives is a one-off, you have your head buried in the sand.
Robinson also brings up an interesting point regarding a Hockey Canada rule that may well have been ignored in the Neepawa situation.
Robinson’s essay is right here.
Wondering how the coaching thing came down with the Anaheim Ducks? Check out Jon Rosen’s take on it all right here. If you want a thorough look at it, this one is for you.
For today’s good read, we take you to and writer Stu Hackel. He chatted with Scotty Bowman, who has some interesting comments on the state of the game today and the recent spate of coaching changes in the NHL. That piece is right here.
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