THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Jared Aulin (Kamloops, 1997-2002) signed a two-year contract extension with Örebro (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Aulin finished third in Allsvenskan scoring with 25 goals and 33 assists in 49 games this season. . . .
F Derek Ryan (Spokane, 2003-07) and D Harlan Pratt (Seattle, Red Deer, Prince Albert, Regina, Portland, 1994-99) each signed one-year contract extensions with Alba Volan Szekesfehervar (Hungary, Austria Erste Bank Liga). Ryan had 25 goals and 24 assists in 50 games, good enough for ninth place in the league scoring race, while Pratt had five goals and 14 assists in 48 games. Club director Gabor Ocskay: "Derek Ryan and Harland Pratt were the pillars of this year's team, and a similar role is expected in the 2012-13 season. We are delighted to have signed them." . . .
F Kirill Starkov (Red Deer, 2006-2007) signed a one-year contract with Oskarshamn (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had three goals and 12 assists in 39 games with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan) and four goals and five assists in six games with SønderjyskE Vojens (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga) this season.
Shawn Mullin, the radio voice of the Swift Current Broncos, reports that a move is afoot to erect a monument alongside the Trans-Canada Highway that would be in memory of the four players who died there on Dec. 30, 1986 when the WHL team’s bus crashed while en route to Regina. There is more right here.
So how were things in Chilliwack after the Bruins left town and the BCHL’s Chiefs moved into Prospera Centre. Well, they say they had 1,100 season-ticket holders and averaged 2,000 sold tickets per game. That’s enough for president Glen Ringdal to say the season with an unqualified success. Tyler Olsen of the Chilliwack Times has more right here.
The Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs open their second-round series on Friday in Kennewick, Wash. That game won’t be televised but the next three games definitely will be. The teams have announced that their flagship stations, KVEW/KXLY and KHQ/SWX, will carry Game 2 from Kennewick on Saturday and Games 3 and 4 from Spokane on Wednesday, April 11, and Friday, April 13. Kevin Uretsky will call the play with Kevin Sawyer handling the analysis. KVEW-TV’s My Network in the Tri-City area has the option on Games 5, 6 and 7, as well.
Columnist John Blanchette of the Spokane Spokesman-Review takes a look at the move that put Eric Williams in as the Spokane Chiefs’ starter after two games of these playoffs. That piece is right here.
The Prince George Cougars have signed D Sam Ruopp, who was a fourth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. Ruopp, from Zehner, Sask., is the younger brother of Prince Albert Raiders D Harrison Ruopp. . . . Sam played this season with the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians, picking up 10 assists in 41 games.
F Tyler Johnson of the Norfolk Admirals is the AHL’s player of the month for March. He had a league-high 22 points, 11 of them goals, and was plus-13 in 12 games. Johnson, in his first AHL season, is a product of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. . . . If you aren’t aware, the Admirals have won their last 23 games. That’s right . . . 23 straight games. . . . Johnson signed as a free agent with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports that Vern Kneeshaw died Sunday at the age of 90. Kneeshaw was a goaltender with the 1948-49 Spokane Flyers, who won the U.S. national senior amateur championship. . . . Kneeshaw also was an off-ice official with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . According to the newspaper, “A memorial service for Kneeshaw will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. at the First Assembly of God church in Spokane.”
THE COACHING GAME:
Former Everett Silvertips associate head coach coach Jay Varady has signed on for two more seasons with Les Ducs d’Angers of France’s Ligue Magnus. In his first season, Varady guided Les Ducs to an 18-8 record, second only to the rival Les Dragons de Rouen. . . . Angers won two playoff series, taking out Caen 3-0 and Briancon 3-1, before losing in four games (3-1) to Rouen.
PLAYOFF ODDS AND ENDS:
The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans are about to go head-to-head for the sixth time, and the second time in as many years. The Chiefs won a second-round series in six games last season. . . . The teams staged one of the great series in WHL history in the spring of 2008 when the Chiefs won in seven games, five of which went into OT. And three of those went to double OT. . . . These teams are no strangers to extra time. A year ago, the last three games of that six-game series needed OT. In fact, 11 of the last 16 playoff games between these teams have gone to OT. So if you’re going to Friday’s opener, you best tell the babysitter that you’ll be late getting home. . . .
In Brandon, the Wheat Kings are into the second round for the eighth time in 11 seasons. This time, they’ll meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in a series that opens Friday in the Alberta capital. Amazingly, this will be the first playoff meeting – at least in a best-of series – between these teams. Brandon and Edmonton were in the league from 1967 through 1976, after which the Oil Kings relocated to Portland. They never once met in the playoffs during that time. . . . Brandon and Edmonton did play in one of those round-robin series in 1978-79. The Flin Flon Bombers moved to Edmonton for that season and the Oil Kings were eliminated after a first-round round-robin series in which Brandon (7-1) and Saskatoon (3-5) advanced and Edmonton was eliminated. (That’s right it was a double home-and-home round-robin!). . . . By the next season, the Oil Kings were the Great Falls Americans, who lasted 28 games before folding. . . .
F Ryan Harrison of the Everett Silvertips took a charging major and game misconduct in Game 4 of their series loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans on March 28. His suspension now has been set at four games, so he will miss the first four games of next season, assuming he is back in the WHL. . . . Harrison, an NHL free agent, is finishing up the season with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, who are affiliated with the Colorado Avalanche. . . . Shaw-TV announced Tuesday that its series of choice in the second round will feature the Moose Jaw Warriors and Medicine Hat Tigers. That series opens Friday at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
And now for something completely different . . .
Taliah Aquilini and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Franceso, are well on their way to a divorce. Francesco, of course, owns the Vancouver Canucks. Taliah says that Canucks fans needn’t worry about any of this harming their beloved team. That story is right here. . . . Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen it already, there is something right here about a couple of hockey players’ girlfriends having some kind of scrap. . . . Only in Vancouver, you say. You may be right. . . .
There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.