Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stop the presses! Stop the presses!!
That party to honour the WHL’s Mr. 3,000? Put it on hold. At least for a few days.
The Medicine Hat News reports that Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, won’t be broadcasting his 3,000th game tonight with the Kootenay Ice in town.
That, according to The News, will be No. 2,998.
Which means that Ridley will call No. 3,000 on Saturday night when the Tigers are in Lethbridge. (No. 2,999 will come on Friday when the Tigers meet the Ice in Cranbrook.)
No matter. They are going to go ahead and salute the play-calling bus driver tonight, as well they should.
Besides, as pointed out here the other day, when you throw in playoff and Memorial Cup games, Ridley long ago went past 3,000.
I don’t know the process involved in nominating someone for the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. But should someone who is involved in that process happen to read this, I would suggest that Bob Ridley would be a worthy recipient.
According to the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award page on Facebook, the award is “presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame to members of the radio and television industry who make outstanding contributions to their profession and the game of ice hockey during their broadcasting career. The award winners are selected by the NHL Broadcasters' Association.”
I would suggest that Ridley more than meets that criteria.
Failing that, he should be nominated for the Bus Drivers’ Hall of Fame.
Peter Maher, the radio voice of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, recently called his 3,000th game. So he knows what that is all about.
But he can’t comprehend what Bob Ridley has done and continues to do.
"It's a real tribute to his stamina and his abilities to be able to travel as much as they do and broadcast all those games," Maher, who is a Foster Hewitt Memorial Award winner, told Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald.
"And driving the bus on top of all that? I can't comprehend doing what he's done.
"Pretty incredible."
Odland’s complete story is right here.
The Portland Winterhawks have welcomed back Dean (Scooter) Vrooman as their director of corporate sponsorships. Vrooman was the radio voice of the Winterhawks for 25 seasons (1982-2007) before leaving the organization during its dog days prior the franchise being purchased by Bill Gallacher. Since then, Vrooman had been working with First Independent Bank in Vancouver, Wash. According to a news release, “In his new role, Vrooman will work with Rich Franklin and Garrett McFall to develop strong corporate partnerships for the organization.” . . . Vrooman is expected to make the occasional appearance on radio broadcasts; after all, his son, Todd, is the club play-by-play voice and broadcast communications manager.
Medicine Hat Tigers G Tyler Bunz has had his impaired driving case move to Morinville, Alta., and put over to March 22. Bunz, whose NHL rights belong to the Edmonton Oilers, was to have been in court Monday in St. Albert, Alta., after being charged there in May 2011. Bunz, 21, was a fifth-round selection by the Oilers in the NHL’s 2010 draft.
F Jordan Messier of the Tri-City Americans has been suspended for three games under supplemental discipline. He wasn’t penalized for whatever happened during a Saturday game against the Silvertips in Everett. Sometime after the game, the Silvertips requested supplemental discipline from the WHL office. . . . Messier began his suspension by sitting out Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland.
The Everett Silvertips have signed D Michael Zipp to a WHL contract. Zipp, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, is in Everett working out with the team . . . A native of Edmonton, Zipp played for the midget AAA Canadian Athletic Club team. He had eight assists and 32 penalty minutes in 34 games.
The 2013 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be played at the Halifax Metro Centre, home of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, on January 16.
From Elliotte Friedman’s highly popular weekly notes package, 30 Thoughts:
27. The Ontario Hockey League is going to have some kind of additional fighting penalty next season, but elimination of fisticuffs isn't going to happen. "I'm 99 per cent in favour of abolishing it, but I'm worried about 'the rat' taking over junior hockey," said one GM. Said another: "I don't hate fighting, I hate the bull (bleep) that comes with it." He's referring to staged fights, players taunting via social media and guys who can't do anything else.
28, The other thing they want to eliminate is fisticuffs after clean hits. Limiting the number of fighting majors a player can get during the season should cut down those kinds of brawls. Let's say the maximum is 10. Fight number 11 gets two games. Fight number 12 is four, and so on. You'd probably cut down on a lot of that.
29. Will the OHL do this on its own? Yes, if necessary. The WHL has little interest and the QMJHL is a tossup.
Friedman’s complete piece is right here.
The Brandon Wheat Kings have added D Colton Waltz, 16, to their roster. He spent the season with the AJHL's Bonnyville Pontiacs. A third-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft, Waltz had 12 points, three of them goals, in 41 games with the Pontiacs. In five playoff games, he had a goal and an assist.
According to the WHL’s weekly roster report, the Portland Winterhawks have added F Dominic Turgeon to their roster. The son of former NHLer Pierre Turgeon, Dominic was a third-round selection in the 2011 bantam draft and has signed a WHL contract. He is out of the Colorado Thunderbirds’ program.
According to that same roster report, the Brandon Wheat Kings are without veteran G Brandon Anderson. The reason he is out is shown as “personal.” No further details are available although, as I understand it, Anderson is expected back within 10 days. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun reports that the Wheat Kings, who meet the Pats in Regina tonight, had F Tyrel Seaman (concussion) back at practice on Tuesday. Seaman was hurt Nov. 25, came back for one game after Christmas and hasn’t played since then. . . . Brandon F Kevin Sundher (concussion) has played one game since Feb. 14 and didn’t practise yesterday.
In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees whipped the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters 10-0 on Tuesday for their 41st consecutive victory. That broke the Canadian junior record that had been shared by the Sudbury Wolves (1989-90) and the now-defunct Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats (1999-2000). . . . The victory also was the Vees’ 53rd of the season and that’s a BCHL record. . . . As the hockey gods would have it, last night’s victory came on the 57th anniversary of the biggest victory in Penticton hockey history. On the afternoon of March 6, 1955, the Vees beat Russia 5-0 in Krefeld, Germany, to win the world amateur championship.
D Mike Hellyer (Prince Albert, 2003-07) has signed with the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. Hellyer, a 25-year-old from Brandon, has spent the last four seasons with the U of Manitoba Bisons, whose season ended last weekend. Hellyer had 18 points in 26 games with the Bisons this season. In four seasons there, he had 82 points in 110 games.
The Saskatoon Blades are scheduled to get their captain back tonight. D Duncan Siemens, who has missed 13 games with a concussion, should be in the lineup tonight as the Blades meet the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Siemens was injured on Feb. 4 on a hit from Medicine Hat Tigers F Brendan Hurley, who later drew a six-game suspension. . . . The Blades, who have lost four in a row and eight of 10, won just four of 13 games with Siemens sidelined.
F Taylor Peters of the Portland Winterhawks, who knows his way around a keyboard, has seen the movie Goon and he offers up a player’s view right here.
In Swift Current, F Adam Rossignol broke a 3-3 tie at 15:10 of the third period as the Broncos beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-3. . . . Rossignol, 18, played the first 39 games of this season with the Ice, before being traded to the Broncos. . . . He has eight goals this season, two in 28 games with Swift Current. . . . F Christian Magnus had two goals, giving him nine, and an assist and also was plus-4 for the Broncos. Magnus’s second goal gave the Broncos a 3-2 lead at 19:38 of the second. . . .. F Joe Antilla, with his 13th, tied it for the Ice at 12:04 of the third. . . . Broncos G Jon Groenheyde, named the CHL’s goaltender of the week earlier in the day, stopped 32 shots, two more than the Ice’s Nathan Lieuwen. . . . The Ice is fifth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Calgary and just one up on Regina. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Phil Tot snapped a 1-1 tie at 11:19 of the third period to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 decision over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Lethbridge G Damien Ketlo turned aside 37 shots, 22 more than Moose Jaw’s Luke Siemens. . . . Tot has 14 goals this season. . . . F Russ Maxwell gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 19:28 of the second. . . . Moose Jaw F Cody Beach equalized at 4:04 of the third. . . . The result prevented Moose Jaw from clinching first place in the East Division. . . . The Warriors hold a 12-point lead over second-place Regina in the division. . . . Moose Jaw is six points behind the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings. Each team has six games remaining. They are scheduled to meet tonight in Edmonton. . . .

In Red Deer, the Calgary Hitmen escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . F Brady Brassart scored his 22nd goal at 9:53 of the second period to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. . . . F Chase Clayton stretched the lead with his 12th at 17::32 of the third. . . . D Mathew Dumba got his 19th at 19:55 of the third. . . . Calgary G Brandon Glover stopped 33 shots, seven fewer than Red Deer’s Deven Dubyk. . . . The Hitmen, who won for the 40th time this season, are fourth in the Eastern Conference and now are five points clear of Kootenay and just two behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Rebels are eight points out of the conference’s final playoff spot but have just six games left. . . . Red Deer got F Cory Millette back from injury but are still missing seven regular contributors. . . .

In Prince George, the Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Cougars, 3-1. . . . F Austin Daae got the Cougars on the board with his second goal at 3:27 of the second. . . . The Thunderbirds then got second-period goals from D Brad Deagle, his third, and F Luke Lockhart, his 13th. . . . F Connor Sanvido finished it off with his seventh at 11:01 of the third. . . . Seattle G Calvin Pickard stopped 21 shots. . . . G Drew Owsley of the Cougars turned aside 23 shots. . . . Prince George F Alex Forsberg reteurned after an 11-game absence with an injury. . . . Cougars D Cody Carlson will play in his 300th game as the teams meet again tonight. . . . The Thunderbirds are ninth in the Western Conference, just one point behind Everett, which holds down the last playoff spot. . . . The loss hurts the Cougars’ chances. They are 10th, five points out of a playoff spot with six games remaining.
Eastern Conference:
Moose Jaw at Edmonton: The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet. The Oil Kings have won five in a row.
Kootenay at Medicine Hat: The Ice is fifth, one point ahead of Regina. The Tigers are third, two points ahead of Calgary.
Saskatoon at Prince Albert: The Blades, who have lost four in a row and eight of 10, are one point ahead of Brandon.
Brandon at Regina: The Wheat Kings were in Regina on Saturday when the Pats erased a 4-0 deficit with the game’s last six goals. Brandon is eighth, three points behind Regina and one in back of Saskatoon. Regina F Jordan Weal has 109 points, the most by a Pats skater since Ronald Petrovicky put up 113 in 1997-98.
Western Conference:
Portland at Kamloops: The Winterhawks lead the overall standings by one point over Edmonton and Tri-City, and three on Kamloops, which has clinched the B.C. Division title.
Tri-City at Vancouver: The Americans are coming off a 4-3 victory in Portland on Sunday. The Giants are tied with Spokane for fourth; they will meet in the first round but don’t yet know who has home-ice advantage.,
Kelowna at Spokane: The Rockets took two from Kamloops on the weekend and know they will finish sixth. The Chiefs are 3-0-1 in their last four.
Victoria at Everett: The Royals, who are starting a four-game road trip with this one, are seventh, one point ahead of the Silvertips.
Seattle at Prince George: The Thunderbirds beat the Cougars 3-1 last night. Seattle is ninth, one point behind Everett and four up on Prince George.

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