Rick Brodsky, the owner of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, appeared on CKNW’s SportsTalk with Dan Russell on Thursday night. The three-hour talk show is based in Vancouver.
Brodsky, who has been involved at the ownership level in three cities and also did a lengthy stint as chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, displayed an honesty that really was a breath of fresh air in this day of upper- and lower-body injuries.
He told Russell that the Cougars’ problems in Prince George are, to a large degree, self-inflicted because the team hasn’t been the team management has wanted it to be. He also pointed out that the sinking lumber-based in that city economy has been a major factor in the dropoff in attendance.
Brodsky also admitted to Russell that he talked with Chilliwack interests last spring after the Bruins were sold and in the process of relocating to Victoria.
Furthermore, Brodsky said that the Cougars are solidly in Prince George and that he has absolutely zero interest in selling the franchise. But, he told Russell, he would look into any situation that might arise should there be anything viable out there.
Without that, Brodsky said, the Cougars are rolling up their sleeves and working hard.
Brodsky also talked about Winnipeg, Fort McMurray, Nanaimo . . . from his and the league’s perspective.
As mentioned, this was an interesting interview simply because Brodsky didn’t try to duck and run from any of Russell’s questions.
You are able to listen to the interview right here. It’s in Hour 3 of the Thursday, Jan. 19 program.
Goodness knows there are enough stories out there about concussions and hazing and headshots and fighting and all the rest.
So how about one about how three players from the Prince Albert Raiders — Shane Danyluk, Josh Morrissey and Carson Perreaux — saved the life of a six-week-old puppy?
Hey, nothing like a warm-puppy story to warm the cockles of your heart on a cold January day.
The complete story is right here.
WHL players have taken part in 1,004 fights to this point in the season. At the end of the 2010-11 regular season, there had been 1,713 scraps.
What this means is that fighting in the WHL is down marginally, from 2.16 fights per game last season to 2.02 this time around.
In last season’s 70 playoff games, there were 45 fights, an average of 0.64 per game.
Darren Kramer of the Spokane Chiefs led the WHL with 46 bouts last season and is the leader again this season, with 18.
The Chiefs will hold a bobblehead night in his honour on Saturday. Not only will the doll’s head bobble, but so will the gloves.
This is progress?
F Josh Nicholls is expected to return to the Saskatoon Blades’ lineup tonight as they play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. Nicholls had 35 points, including 20 goals, in 30 games when he left a Dec. 3 game with a knee injury. Nicholls missed 16 games. . . . He has spent a few games helping the coaches run the Blades’ bench. On Thursday, Nicholls tweeted: “I have decided to step down from my duties as Assistant Coach with the Blades. I will remain with the team in another capacity #reggiedunlop” . . . Nicholls is expected to go right back onto the Blades’ top offensive line, alongside Matej Stransky and Brent Benson. . . . Meanwhile, G Andrey Makarov (concussion) has returned to practice but isn’t expected to play until next week. . . . Alex Moodie, 16, is expected to start for the Blades tonight and perhaps again Saturday against the visiting Victoria Royals. He has made 11 appearances since Dec. 29. . . .
The Regina Pats may have D Brandon Underwood back in the lineup tonight when they meet the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. Underwood has missed 18 games with a fracture ankle. He was injured Dec. 4 when he blocked a shot in a game against the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . .
An interesting tidbit from Dave (Crash) Cameron of the Edmonton Sun, on the Oil Kings line that has Tyler Maxwell with Michael St. Croix and Dylan Wruck: “Since acquiring Maxwell from the Everett Silvertips, the line combo of the Californian with St. Croix and Wruck wracked up 104 points in the 21 games together. Maxwell had 30 points (13G, 17A), Wruck 35 (13G, 22A) and St. Croix 39 (15G, 24A).”
F Rocco Grimaldi, a second-round selection by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s 2011 draft, has been shut down by the U of North Dakota hockey team. Grimaldi, who is to turn 19 on Feb. 8, is to have surgery to repair damage to a knee. Grimaldi’s WHL rights belong to the Portland Winterhawks.
The Grand Forks Herald has more on Grimaldi right here.
D Dougie Hamilton of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs has been suspended for 10 games for a check to the head of F Michael MacDonald of the Sudbury Wolves on Jan. 13. MacDonald came out of it with a concussion. Hamilton, who has 50 points in 34 games, was taken ninth overall by the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s 2011 entry draft. He played for the Canadian junior team at the recently completed World Junior Championship. . . . He will be eligible to return to the lineup on Feb. 12. . . .
Meanwhile, the QMJHL has suspended D Alex Filiatrault of the Val d'Or Foreurs for seven games after a knee-on-knee hit on F Anthony Duclair of the Quebec Remparts on Saturday. Filiatrault ended up with an automatic one-game suspension and the league added six more on Thursday. Duclair is expected to sit for more than a week with a bruised knee.
By the way, Patrick Roy, the Remparts’ GM and head coach, drew a $2,500 fine for referring to the on-ice officials as a “disgrace” after a Jan. 4 loss to the Victoriaville Tigres. Roy now has been fined three times this season for a total of $7,000.
Meanwhile, the Moose Jaw Warriors await word from the WHL office as to the length of suspension to D Dylan McIlrath, who took out Victoria Royals D Jesse Zgraggen with an elbow to the head on Wednesday night.
“I know my thought process coming in wasn’t to hit him up high,” McIlrath told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald on Thursday. “I wanted to ride him into the boards and make a routine hip check, like I’ve done so many times before,” McIlrath said. “It was just a bang-bang play. It’s unfortunate.
“I saw him on the ice. Obviously, I didn’t want to see anyone to get injured. I felt bad right after it happened. He went down pretty hard. It’s tough to see.”
McIlrath is a repeat offender, having sat out three games after a charging major he incurred on Nov. 23 for a hit on F Trevor Cheek of the Calgary Hitmen.
Prior to this season, McIlrath, a first-round selection by the New York Rangers in the 2010 NHL draft, had never been suspended.
There was some tremendously interesting news out of the BCHL on Thursday after the board of governors held its semi-annual meeting in Richmond.
For starters, the governors voted to trim the number of regular-season games from 60 to 56.
That will cut down on the number of mid-week games, allowing teams to schedule the bulk of their games on Friday and Saturday nights.
The BCHL also will hold a massive showcase event on Sept. 7-9 in which each team will play twice. Those games will count as regular-season games, with the season beginning in earnest on Sept. 14. It will end on March 10, 2013.
What that means is that each team, with the exception of the team that plays host to the showcase, will play 27 home games.
For more, including a new conference alignment and more, check right here.
David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail is reporting that “the results of an RCMP investigation into Len Barrie’s financial dealings with his former Bear Mountain golf resort and real-estate development” near Victoria have been turned over to the B.C. Attorney General’s office.
That story is right here.
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