Tuesday, January 17, 2012

F Mike Wirll (Brandon, Prince Albert, Prince George, Lethbridge, 1997-2003) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Braehead Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). He had two assists in six games for the Carstairs Redhawks (Alberta, Chinook Senior) this season. . . .
G Todd Ford (Swift Current, Prince George, Vancouver, 2000-04) was released at his request for personal reasons by the Heilbronner Falken (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had a 2.76 GAA in 31 games for the Falcons this season. Ford went out in style, getting the shutout in Heilbronn's 4-0 victory over Ravensburg on Sunday evening. . . .
F Jakub Sindel (Brandon, 2004-05) agreed to extend his tryout contract with Kärpät Oulu (Finland, SM-Liiga) for another week, which includes three games. It was set to expire Sunday. He has three assists in eight games with Kärpät. Earlier this season, Sindel had two assists in five games with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A) before breaking his jaw, and one goal in 21 games with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Sindel has some roots in Finland. He has played in Finland two of the past three seasons and he spent five years as a child in Finland while his father, G Jaromir Sindel, played in SM-Liiga.
The Kootenay Ice left Cranbrook on Monday, headed for Regina and a Wednesday night engagement with the Pats.
As of late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, the Ice was sitting in the parking lot of a grocery store in Sparwood, B.C., waiting for Highway 3 to reopen.
Such is life in the WHL.
“Exactly,” tweeted Ice G Mackenzie Skapski. “Anything can happen. They are obstacles you have to overcome.”
Three players from the UBC Thunderbirds, each with ties to the WHL, will join assistant coach Tyler Kuntz and assorted other UBC hockey alumni in the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
That ride will take them from Vancouver to Seattle on June 16 and 17.
Each of the riders is hoping to raise $2,500 for the cause.
F Scott Wasden (Medicine Hat, Kamloops, 2004-09), F Justin McCrae (Saskatoon, Spokane, 2003-09) and F Wyatt Hamilton, whose brother Wacey played in the WHL, will take part in the ride.
Wasden and Hamilton are in their third years at UBC and both are in the Sauder School of Business. McCrae also is in his third year; he is enrolled in kinesiology. When he done his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend law school.
If you are interested in more info on the Thunderbirds, who are coached by old friend Milan Dragicevic, check out Kuntz’s blog right here.
Brent Stecker of the Wenatchee World reports that USA Hockey has blocked a proposed move by the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild to the BCHL. Stecker’s story is right here.
Ryan Johansen could still be with the Portland Winterhawks. Instead, he is with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, who are hoping he will become the franchise centre they have long needed..
Corey Masisak of NHL.com has more right here.
In Spokane, F Seth Swenson scored twice as the Seattle Thunderbirds stunned the Chiefs, 3-2. . . . Seattle ended a seven-game losing streak. . . . Swenson was in the penalty  box when F Justin Hickman scored shorthanded at 14:36 of the third period, breaking a 2-2 tie. . . . Swenson, who has three goals this season, had tied the game at 11:35 of the third. . . . Swenson was acquired a week ago from the Portland Winterhawks in a deal that had F Marcel Noebels and two first-round bantam draft picks to the other way. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard stopped 31 shots, 10 more than Spokane’s Mac Engel. . . .  The season series now is 1-1 with six games remaining. . . .

In Portland, the Winterhawks set a franchise record as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-1. . . . This was the Winterhawks’ 17th straight victory on home ice, erasing the record set in 1993-94. . . . Portland F Oliver Gabriel enjoyed the first three-goal game of his career, In fact, he broke a 1-1 tie with the game’s next three goals. . . . The Winterhawks won their 30th game of the season. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie scored his WHL-leading 40th goal of the season. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth leads the WHL with 28 victories. He has won nine straight starts. . . . Tri-City leads the season series, 5-1-0. . . . Portland had F Sven Baertschi back in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 16. He picked up a concussion while playing for Switzerland at the World Junior Championship. He had one assist in his first game back. He was back with Rattie and they had Cam Reid at centre. . . . The Americans were without F Brendan Shinnimin, who served a one-game suspension for an accumulation of embellishment penalties. . . . You don’t get suspended for an accumulation of charging penalties or high-sticking penalties or tripping penalties or interference penalties. But you get suspended for too many embellishment penalties? What is wrong with this picture? . . . The Americans will play their fifth game in seven days when they are at home tonight to the Seattle Thunderbirds, who have lost 19 in a row at the Toyota Center. . . . The Americans have won their last 13 home games.
D Tyler Wotherspoon, Portland.

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