Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Tuesday night tweet from Tyler King, the radio voice of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons:
“Mayor Melissa Blake says they could have qualified bidders and shovels in the ground for a downtown arena as early as this year.”
All of which is rather interesting because there are hockey people who aren’t anywhere near the Alberta city who would love to put a WHL franchise there.
However, the WHL office has said it’s not interested.
You have to wonder how long the WHL can ignore Fort McMurray.
Consider a couple of paragraphs from a piece by Fabrice Taylor, a financial journalist and analyst, that I spotted on the Winnipeg Free Press’ website:
“The average household income in Fort Mac is about $180,000. The average house price is almost $750,000. The majority of the population is under 40. The unemployment rate is about four per cent. The population in the region is 104,000, has doubled in the past decade and will grow by double-digits for years.”
Fort McMurray is located 452 kilometres north of Edmonton.
The MJHL and a group that is calling itself Virden Hockey Ventures Inc. will hold a news conference in the south-western Manitoba community this morning. The group is expected to announce the purchase and relocation of the Winnipeg Saints.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, it is expected that Troy Leslie, who was the head coach of the midget AAA Southwest Cougars, who play out of Souris, Man., will be named the Virden team’s head coach. He is expected to bring some of his coaching staff with him. Assistants with the Cougars were Brett Braybrook, Chad Leslie, Brad Vandenberghe and Bob Caldwell. The Cougars announced Monday that the coaching staff wouldn’t be returning.
The departure of the Saints will leave the Winnipeg Blues as the only junior A franchise left in the Manitoba capital.
The NAHL’s Alexandria, Minn., Blizzard is moving to Brookings, S.D., where it will continue to be know as the Blizzard and play in a 2,000-seat facility. . . . Roman Augustoviz, over at the The Roman Empire blog, reports that the 28-team NAHL set an attendance record this season, drawing 1,128,098 fans, an average of 1,342 fans per game. . . . The Wenatchee Wild was third in attendance, averaging 3,028 for each of its 30 home games.
There’s more right here.
Yesterday, you will recall, a list appeared here showing the five goaltenders who have scored goals in the WHL.
It turns out that one of those goaltenders didn’t even start the game in which he scored.
It turns out that Jeff Calvert was on the bench when the Tacoma Rockets began play against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Dec. 29, 1992.
Considering that his family lived in Moose Jaw and that there wasn’t an Internet back in the day, well, he apparently wasn’t very happy because his folks would be listening to Rob Carnie’s call of the game on CHAB but he wouldn’t be in the game.
Todd MacDonald was in goal for the Rockets when the game began, but it wasn’t long before Tacoma was down 3-0.
So, at 9:30 of the first period, out went MacDonald and in came Calvert and away went the Rockets.
“We ended up getting even and then getting the go-ahead goal,” recalls former Tacoma defenceman Dallas Thompson, now the GM of the Prince George Cougars. “The Moose Jaw goalie was pulled and history was made.”
Thompson remembers Carnie providing Calvert’s father, Bob, with a tape of the broadcast.
As Thompson puts it: “Pretty sure it was not emailed to his iPod.”
It could be, too, that as Thompson notes: “I would bet he was the only goalie in history to score in a game he never started.”
The Rockets, who trailed 4-0 at one point, won the game 6-4. It was their 17th straight victory on home ice, a streak that would reach 23.
By the way, Calvert also had an assist in that game.
Think about this for a second . . . he was a scrap away from a Gordie Howe hat trick, and how many goaltenders have one of those to their credit?
Thanks to the reader who passed along a link to a Prime Sports Northwest video that shows G Olaf Kolzig of the Tri-City Americans scoring a goal against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Kolzig, it turns out, also had an assist in that game. So he, too, was a fight away from a Gordie Howe hat trick.
It was Nov. 29, 1989, and Kolzig was the first WHL goaltender to score a goal.
That link is right here and it's a good one. Enjoy!
The Vancouver Giants have signed F Taylor Vickerman, 16, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft. Vickerman, who is from Kennewick, Wash., played minor midget with the Cleveland Barons this season. He had 41 points in 61 games.

The Western Conference final resumes tonight in Portland with the Winterhawks holding a 2-0 series lead over the Tri-City Americans. The first two games both went to OT. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the Edmonton Oil Kings ran their winning streak to 22 straight as they beat the Warriors, 3-2. . . . Edmonton leads the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final, 3-0, with Game 4 in Moose Jaw tonight. . . . The Oil Kings have won 11 consecutive playoff games as they attempt to sweep their third straight series tonight. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit, the CHL’s goaltender of the week for each of the previous two weeks, stopped 30 shots in running his winning streak to 20 games. . . . In the playoffs, Brossoit is 11-0, 1.45, .949. . . . The game was 1-1 going into the second period when Edmonton F Curtis Lazar scored his seventh goal of the these playoffs, on the PP, at 1:44. . . . F Michael St. Croix added insurance at 5:48 of the third. . . . F James Henry got Moose Jaw to withing one at 15:33 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw G Luke Siemens stopped 20 shots. . . . Among the faces in the crowd — Brian Burke and Steve Yzerman.
Ray Easterling, 62, committed suicide last week. The former Atlanta Falcons safety was among more than 1,000 players involved in lawsuits against the NFL over the way the league has handled concussion-related injuries.
“He had been feeling more and more pain. He felt like his brain was falling off. He was losing control,” his wife, Mary Ann, told “He couldn’t remember things from five minutes ago. It was frightening, especially somebody who had all the plays memorized as a player when he stepped on the field.”
There is more right here.
As well, there was another lawsuit filed against the NFL on Tuesday, this one including a number of former Dallas Cowboys. The NFL now is facing more than 50 such lawsuits that include more than 1,200 former players.
There is more right here on the latest lawsuit.

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