Wednesday, February 29, 2012

D Tomas Kudelka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Vitkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has three goals and 16 assists in 52 games for Vitkovice this season.
Shelley Lowes, the wife of longtime hockey coach/scout Bob Lowes, has undergone surgery in Regina after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Lowes family is doing a remarkable thing through all of this — maintaining a blog titled: We can . . . with love!
Here is a note Shelley left for her family before surgery:
“To my beautiful family.
“Please take a deep breath and help each other out...even if you are not asked to help.
“Please remember to say ‘I love you’ and give a doesn't cost a thing.
“Please remember I love you....have a great lunch today, work out....stay busy, stay together, stay strong!
“Thank you — for you, your prayers — your strength!
“Can't wait to see you.
“Love Mom xoxo”
You should check this out right here and please feel free to send along some thoughts and best wishes.
Ryan Gibbons, a WHL linesman who played for the Seattle Thunderbirds, wore a GoPro camera on his helmet during the Celebrity All-Star game that was part of Hockey Challenge 2012 in Kent, Wash., on Saturday. If you haven’t seen the footage yet, it’s right here.
Gibbons also worked the Thunderbirds’ game that night. . . . His linesmen’s jersey was part of the Challenge auction and it went for $750. He autographed it after the game.
The Thunderbirds and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska (RMHC) have since announced that the 14th annual Hockey Challenge, which was held Saturday and Sunday, raised more than $190,000, bringing the 14-year total to more than $4.2 million.
Whatever happened to Mick McGeough, who perhaps was the last of the WHL referees to express his personality while he worked? He was the supervising official when the Vancouver Canucks played the Phoenix Coyotes in the desert last night. . . .
The Edmonton Journal reports that Medicine Hat Tigers G Tyler Bunz, who turned 20 on Feb. 11, will face a drunk driving trial on March 5 in St. Albert, Alta. According to the newspaper, Bunz “is charged with one count of impaired driving and one count of driving with a blood-alcohol level over .08.” . . . Bunz, who is from St. Albert, was charged on May 28. . . . His NHL rights belong to the Edmonton Oilers. . . .
The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who play the Raiders in Prince Albert tonight, have lost F Brady Ramsay and his 23 goals to an undisclosed injury. They have brought in Tyler Wong and Harrison Harper. . . . Wong, taken in the fifth round of the 2011 bantam draft, had 32 points in 26 games with the midget AAA UFA Bisons, while Harper had 10 points in 28 games with the junior B Airdrie Thunder. Harper was a 12th round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. . . .
The WHL and the Prince Albert Raiders are mourning the death of Ruth (Grams) Pollock, who passed away Tuesday morning. She was 90. Pollock billeted players for 20 straight seasons, starting with grandson Troy Hjertaas in 1988-89. According to a Raiders new release, “Over two decades, Grams billeted many players, including Donovan Hextall, Richard Seeley, Derek Paget, David Van Drunen, Milan Kraft, Shane Willis, Dane Byers Rejean Beauchemin, Aki Seitsonen, Shane Hnidy, Mike McGhan, Ryan White, David Aime, Mike Small, Greg Watson, Jordan Kochan and Brandon Herrod. Her billeting duties came full circle in 2008, when she billeted her grandson Zach Sim.” . . . She received the WHL Distinguished Services Award in 2008. . . . Funeral arrangements are pending. . . .
A tweet from Ryan Button (@buttsy78): “RIP Grams, truly a legend in the community of PA. #thebest”
A source has told me that the Portland Winterhawks received two second-round bantam draft picks from Everett as compensation for the Silvertips decision to sign Garry Davidson as general manager. Davidson has been Portland’s director of player personnel. . . . That would be one pick in 2012 and another in 2013. . . .
The Regina Pats have added D Nathan Zimbaluk, 18, who started the season in the Queen City but was sent to the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs in January. . . . With Zimbaluk in camp, the Pats no longer have D Colby Williams, 16, with them. He spent the season with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . .
BCHL commissioner John Grisdale and a member of that league’s expansion committee will be in Wenatchee, Wash., this weekend looking at the NAHL’s Wild as a potential entry. The Wild would like to get into the BCHL as soon as next season; the BCHL has said it is looking at 2013-14. . . . The Wild is home to the Fresno Monsters on Saturday.
The SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers have re-signed general manager Don Chesney and head coach Trent Cassan to two-year contracts. . . .
Former U of North Dakota star Tony Hrkac won’t return for a sixth season as head coach of the hockey program at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon, Wis. . . . Hrkac went 10-109-10 as the first head coach in the program’s history.
In Moose Jaw, F Sam Fioretti scored twice to help the Warriors to a 5-1 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Fioretti, who has 19 goals, opened the scoring at 11:41 of the first and then broke a 1-1 tie at 4:23 of the second. . . . F Quinton Howden had a goal and two assists for the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw lost F Kenton Miller toa checking-to-the-head major at 13:55 of the first period. . . . The Rebels had captain Adam Kambeitz back after a 13-game absence, but they dressed just 16 skaters, two under the maximum. D Aaron Borejko, D Kayle Doetzel, F Joel Hamilton, F Colten Mayor, F Cory Millette and D Justin Weller all are out with injuries, as is G Patrik Bartosak. . . . With the victory, the Warriors clinched a playoff spot, the second Eastern Conference team to do so. . . . The Warriors were without F Cody Beach, who has been suspended for two games for “accumulation of embellishment penalties.” Earlier, he was suspended one game for the same thing. . . . Beach gets three games for making a fool of himself; other players get one-game suspensions for incurring kneeing and cross-checking majors, infractions that presumably put other players at risk. You figure it out. . . . The Warriors are atop the East Division, 11 points ahead of the Saskatoon Blades, who have nine games left. . . . The Rebels are 10 points out of the playoffs with 10 games remaining. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., the Brendan Shinnimin train slowed, but just a bit, as he drew two assists in the Tri-City Americans’ 3-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Shinnimin, whose 10-game goal-scoring streak was snapped, finished February with 43 points in 14 games. That included 23 goals. . . . He now has 117 points and an 11-point lead atop the WHL scoring race. . . . Tri-City F Patrick Holland had a goal, his 24th, and an assist, lifting him to 97 points. . . . Holland leads the WHL with 73 assists. The last WHLer with 80 assists in a season was Portland F Todd Robinson (1996-97). . . . F Justin Feser got his 32nd goal for the Americans, giving them a 3-0 lead in the first period. . . . F Connor Sanvido scored for Seattle, his fifth of the season. Sanvido, Seatte’s first selection, 14th overall, in the 2009 bantam draft, was playing in his first game since Feb. 6 after having been sent home to think about things. . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Cason Machacek, who drew an eight-game suspension after his stick came into contact with linesman Zach Brooks in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans. Machacek has been suspended four times this season for a total of 15 games. . . . Seattle also was without F Branden Troock, who drew a one-game sentence for a cross-checking major in that same game. . . . The Americans remain on top of the WHL’s overall standings and the Western Conference. . . . They are a point ahead of the Portland Winterhawks and three ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. Portland will visit the Americans on Friday and the teams will meet at the Rose Garden in Portland on Sunday. . . . Seattle holds the Western Conference’s last playoff spot, one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Thunderbirds are to play in Everett on Friday. . . .

In Portland, F Oliver Gabriel scored twice to lead the Winterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Gabriel got the game’s first goal, at 1:35 of the second period, and then gave his side a 3-1 lead at 3:30 of the third. He’s got 16 goals. . . . Portland F Sven Baertschi had a goal, his 26th broke a 1-1 tie ta 3:14 of the third, and two assists. He is a point shy of maintaining his two-point-a-game clip — he has 87 in 44. . . . Last season, Baertschi finished with 85 points in 66 games. . . . Portland F Marcel Noebels got his 20th goal, while F Ty Rattie had two assists. . . . Portland had a 47-26 edge in shots, including 22-5 in the third period. . . . Portland G Mac Carruth won his WHL-leading 39th game. With nine games remaining, Carruth can’t get to the WHL single-game record that is held by Glen Hanlon, now an assistant coach with the Vancouver Giants. Hanlon won 49  games with the 1976-77 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Blazers have lost their last two games, the seventh time this season they have lost two in a row. They have yet to lose three in a row. Kamloops plays the Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Kamloops F Brendan Ranford, who had his 13-game point streak halted, left in the third period with an apparent leg injury. . . . Kamloops F Jordan DePape, who hasn’t played since Oct. 10 because of a shoulder injury that needed surgery, skated in the pregame warmup before being scratched. He may play against the Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . While they trail Tri-City and Portland in the overall standings, Kamloops remains the Western Conference’s second seed because it leads the B.C. Division. . . . Portland has won 10 of 11 and 24 of 29. . . .

In Prince George, F Hunter Shinkaruk scored twice to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Cougars. . . . Shinkaruk has 42 goals. . . . Tigers F Emerson Etem, who leads the league with 53 goals, didn’t score but did draw three assists. . . . Cougars G Drew Owsley stopped 41 shots; Medicine Hat’s Tiger Bunz stopped 19. . . . Shinkaruk gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead at 14:53 of the second. . . . F Caleb Belter got the Cougars to within one at 14:09 of the third. . . . The same teams play again tonight in Prince George. . . . The Cougars have lost five straight and are four points out of a playoff spot. . . .

In Victoria, the Spokane penalty-killers went 6-for-6 as the Chiefs doubled the Royals, 4-2. . . . Spokane F Blake Gal broke a 2-2 tie at 16:40 of the third period. He’s got 13 goals. . . . D Corbin Baldwin put it away with an empty-netter at 18:54. . . . Chiefs D Brendan Kichton had one assist and was plus-3. . . . Victoria G Jared Rathjen, making his fourth straight start, stopped 29 shots, three more than Spokane’s Mac Engel. . . . The Chiefs had lost their previous two games. They are fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Vancouver Giants with a game in hand. These two teams will meet in the first round, so all that’s left to decide is home-ice advantage. . . . The Royals have won three in a row. They are seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Seattle and three ahead of Everett.
F Kenton Miller, Moose Jaw (major).
For what it’s worth, The New York Times played that story on fighting in hockey that was linked to here yesterday on its front page. It was below the fold but it was front page news.
Jeff Z. Klein of The Times spent some time recently in the Saskatoon area and filed this story that focuses on fighting in hockey.
Todd Holt was a real pepper-pot when he played for the Swift Current Broncos. He wasn’t very big, but he was a talker and a sniper with the ability to bring fans out of their seats. Who knew then of the torture he was experiencing? Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has a close-up look at the life Holt has led since then. If you read anything today, make sure this is it.
The Kamloops Blazers played the Giants in Vancouver on Friday night. There was a skirmish at 18:03 of the third period, after which the two referees gave misconducts to all 10 skaters who were on the ice, including Vancouver D Kiefer McNaughton. Both play-by-play men, Dan Elliott of the Giants and Jon Keen of the Blazers, confirmed that McNaughton took another shift before the game ended. Mr. Commissioner, if McNaughton was given a misconduct, how was that possible?

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