Wednesday, January 4, 2012

As you make your way through today, please take a moment to think about Jack Jablonski, the 16-year-old hockey player with Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School in Minneapolis, who was badly injured in a Friday game. Tim Leighton of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press writes that Jablonski “remains in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center. He is immobilized with a halo and unable to move his legs.”
Leighton’s complete story is right here. If you don’t read anything else today, read this.
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A regular reader here who also is a big, big WHL fan sent me a link to a terrific column by Jack Blatherwick, a columnist at Let’sPlayHockey.com.
Included in Blatherwick’s column – it is headlined Stop the charade: Fighting in hockey is not part of the game – is a paragraph that really resonates:
“I'm not writing to dispute the theory that ‘fighting fire with fire’ is the only way to extinguish flames – that violence reduces violence. I write because we adults in hockey (fans, coaches, league commissioners) are contributing to a far worse problem for young athletes who trust us.”
Blatherwick also makes an excellent point about how the fighting issue, entangled as it is with the talk of concussions and CTE, could well turn into a recruiting issue.
Blatherwick’s entire column is right here.
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Tyler Olsen of Chilliwack Times joins the chorus in calling for a ban on fighting in hockey. He presents his case right here.
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If you are a hockey fan, you have to admire the skill level and the skating ability of the Russian national junior team. And if you are a hockey fan who was following along on Twitter on Tuesday night, well, was that hilarious or what?
One thought I had while watching the game, and it is the only tournament game I have seen, is that our players seem to be more robotic than they used to be, while the Russians kids were playing with all kinds of excitement and emotion. Remember when it used to be the other way around?
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JUST NOTES:
The Edmonton Oil Kings have added F Henrik Samuelsson, who turns 18 on Feb. 7, to their roster. Samuelsson, who was born in Scottsdale, Ariz., and is the son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, has been playing for Modo in Sweden, having suited up with the U-18, U-20 and senior teams. A potential power forward-type of player, he is expected to arrive in Edmonton this week. . . . Samuelsson is eligible for the NHL’s 2012 draft. . . .
F Shayne Neigum (Medicine Hat, Edmonton, Chilliwack, Kamloops, Regina, 2006-11) has left the ECHL’s Ontario Reign and joined the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. Neigum, 21, had four assists and 36 penalty minutes in 19 games with the Reign. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that F Kevin King (Kootenay, 2006-11), who had been with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals, and F Spencer Edwards (Red Deer, Seattle, Moose Jaw, 2006-2011), who was with the Central league’s Allen Americans, have joined the U of Calgary Dinos. . . .
F Mark Stone of the Brandon Wheat Kings has been named the winner of the Brandon Sun’s prestigious H.L. (Krug) Crawford Memorial Award. The annual award is emblematic of sporting excellence in southwestern Manitoba. Stone finished third in the WHL scoring race last sason, with 106 points. He was leading the league in scoring early in December when he left to join the Canadian national junior team. . . . Stone is the 13th member of the Wheat Kings to win the medal, the others being Brayden Schenn, Mark Derlago, Eric Fehr, Jordin Tootoo, Cory Cyrenne, Marty Murray, Trevor Kidd, Ray Ferraro, Dunc McCallum, Glen Hanlon, Ron Chipperfield and Juha Widing. . . .
The Red Deer Rebels have added F Marc Mackenzie, 18, to their roster. MacKenzie, a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder from Sherwood Park, Alta., who played minor hockey in Kelowna, had been with the Kelowna-based Okanagan College Coyotes of the B.C. Intercollegiate league. . . . He had eight points and 51 penalty minutes in 11 games with the Coyotes. . . . If you’re a Rebels fan, there’s more on Mackenzie right here.
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TUESDAY’S GAMES:
In Victoria, the Calgary Hitmen got three goals from F Chase Clayton and two goals and two assists from F Jimmy Bubnick as they dumped the Royals, 9-4. . . . Clayton, who scored three goals in 55 games last season, went into the game with two goals and came out with five. . . . Bubnick, 20, has 16 goals. . . . Calgary D Josh Thrower, the 23rd overall selection in the 2011 bantam draft, made his WHL debut. He had an assist and was plus-2. Thrower is from North Vancouver. . . . F Logan Nelson, a freshman from Rogers, Minn., had three goals. Nelson, 18, has 17 goals. He now has 39 points in 39 games. . . . Calgary now is 20-6-3 and in eight place in the 12-team Eastern Conference, just five points out of fourth. . . . The Hitmen finished last season with just 20 victories (20-47-5). . . . It was the sixth time this season that Victoria has allowed at least eight goals. In its last three games, Victoria has been outscored 22-13 and is 0-3. . . . The Royals now have lost seven in a row. . . . Calgary was 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Victoria F Kevin Sundher ran his point streak to nine games with an assist and also had the fifth fight of his WHL career, this one in the third period with F Brady Brassart. . . .

In Portland, F Taylor Peters scored at 3:08 of OT to give the Winterhawks a 4-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Portland F Dillon Wagner forced OT with his third goal at 11:534 of the third period. . . . Peters, who scored on a breakaway, has eight goals. . . . The Winterhawks have won 13 straight games on home ice, three shy of the franchise that was set from Oct. 1–Dec. 11, 1993. . . . Portland is 16-2-1 on home ice this season. . . . Portland had a 49-29 edge in shots. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie was held to one assist. He leads the CHL in goals (37) and the WHL in points (69). . . . Portland G Mac Carruth has 69 career regular-season victories. He is fifth on the franchise list, behind Darrell May Sr. (105), Brent Belecki (79), Scott Langkow (71) and Lanny Ramage (69). . . . One other interesting note from Graham Kendrick’s notes: “Winterhawks public address announcer Sean Norris will be appearing on Monday's episode of Jeopardy, airing at 7 p.m. on KATU. Norris was in Los Angeles in October to tape the episode.” . . . Bob Bell for $500, Alex. . . . Sorry, Scooter, couldn’t resist!
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A few more words about Taylor Peters. . . . It turns out that he has a blog (Blades of Glory) that is right here. . . . And his Jan. 2 entry explains how he and his billets’ son climbed into kayaks in the dark of night and may have saved the lives of two kayakers who had capsized. . . . This is great stuff! . . . Oh, and Peters can write a bit, too!
Portland freelance writer Scott Sepich has more on the Peters story right here.
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Hockey Canada and the CHL have started the Ed Chynoweth Internship Program, aimed at alumni of the CHL and the national men’s and women’s programs who are pursuing careers in sports administration, communications, marketing or development.
According to a news release, “Internships will be awarded annually to up to five outstanding college or university students who have completed or are working toward an undergraduate or graduate degree in a sports-related field.”
For more information, check out the WHL website or visit hockeycanada.com.

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