Thursday, May 24, 2012

Former WHLer David Rutherford with the Kelly Cup that he
and his Florida Everblades teammates won on Wednesday night.
D Filip Novak (Regina, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract extension with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and nine assists in 39 games for the KHL champions this season. . . .
D Tomas Slovak (Kelowna, 2001-03) signed a one-year contract with Plzen (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had one goal and one assist in 31 games for Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL) and was pointless in one game on assignment to Gomel (Belarus, Open League) this season. . . .
F Milan Kytnar (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2007-10) signed a three-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had one goal and two assists in 13 games with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL), seven goals and five assists in 17 games with the Stockton Thunder (ECHL), was pointless in one game with the Edmonton Oilers (NHL), and had no goals and three assists in 16 games with HPK Hämeenlinna (Finland, SM-Liiga). . . .
F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2009-12) signed a one-year plus option contract with Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had 27 goals and 30 assists in 65 games with Victoria this season.
On a day when the NFL’s Denver Broncos acquired FB Chris Gronkowski from the Indianapolis Colts, it was only fitting that the Calgary Hitmen should trade away F Rob Trzonkowski.
Trzonkowski, an 18-year-old from Calgary, was sent to the Kamloops Blazers for a fourth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Trzonkowski has 16 points and 200 penalty minutes in 111 regular-season games. He was an eighth-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft.
As for Gronkowski, he was acquired for CB Cassius Vaughn. Gronkowski is one of three brothers in the NFL at the moment. Trzonkowski is the only member of his family in the WHL.
Bliss Littler is the new director of hockey operations and head coach of the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild. Littler is a veteran coach who has 577 career victories at the junior A Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels in the U.S. He has been coaching for more than 19 years. Most recently, he has been the GM and head coach of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. In Wenatchee, Littler replaces John Becanic, who resigned last month. . . .
The owners of the NAHL’s Johnstown Tomahawks have signed Jason Spence as the team’s head coach. He is an assistant coach with the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors. . . . Spence
played and worked for the ECHL’s Johnstown Chiefs from 2005-10. . . . The owners, according to a news release, named the “new team the Johnstown Tomahawks and unveiled a new team logo and name design that honors the storied history of the Johnstown Chiefs and its home arena made famous in the classic hockey film Slapshot.” . . . The Tomahawks will play out of the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown. . . . From the news release: “The team logo and name's color scheme of red, white and blue was created as a tribute to the American war veterans honored and commemorated throughout the War Memorial Arena for their sacrifices and service to our country. The "Tomahawks" nickname was chosen to symbolize the new team's fighting spirit, exciting style of play and good sportsmanship the team and its fans expect from their young players.” . . . Sportsmanship? That means this team won’t include a  future Denis Lemieux. . . . “You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free.” . . . Presumably there will be any bounties placed on the opposing Tim McCrackens of the world, either. . . . Hmmm! Wonder how many games the Hanson brothers will attend. . . .
Luke Richardson has been named head coach of the Binghamton Senators, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Richardson, a former NHL defenceman, has been an assistant coach with Ottawa for the last three seasons. With Binghamton, he replaces Kurt Kleinendorst, who announced May 8 that he was leaving the organization with expiration of his two-year contract next month. Under Kleinendorst, the B-Sens won the AHL’s 2011 championship. . . .
The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers have signed Jason Read and David Robinson as assistant coaches to work alongside GM/head coach Jason Williamson. . . . Read worked this season with the midget AAA Calgary Royals. . . . Robinson is a former WHL player (Chilliwack, 2007-10) who returned to Vernon to play for the Vipers in 2010-11. He was the team captain as it reached the RBC Cup final. Robinson played this season at the U of Calgary with the Dinos. . . .
The AHL’s Hershey Bears announced Wednesday that head coach Mark French and assistant coach Troy Mann will return for another season. The Bears are affiliated with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. . . .
The ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays have signed head coach Spencer Carberry, 30, to a two-year extension. . . . Carberry is from Victoria and just completed his first season as head coach, after spending a season as assistant coach. He took over from Cail MacLean, who moved to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat as an assistant coach.
The price of rent goes up . . . the price of tickets go up. Such is life in Brandon.
The Wheat Kings and the Keystone Centre announced the signing of a five-year lease agreement that will have the team continue to play in Westman Communications Group Place. The parties had been working on the five-year extension to a 10-year lease, with the extension due to expire on May 31.
"We are pleased to come to this agreement with the Wheat Kings," Neil Thomson, the Keystone Centre’s general manager, said in a news release. "It does mean a significant increase in the revenue for the facility since the last agreement in 1997."
Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner and GM, added: "It is true that we are paying much higher rent in our new agreement. However, in our minds we traded that with various factors. One of our goals in these negotiations was to protect our customers from additional fees. The Keystone Centre was looking for more revenue in the deal and spoke at length about increasing agency fees, implementing a new facility fee and even paid parking.
"In our minds, we felt that this would not work out for our fan base. So as a result, those costs were absorbed by us in the framework of this new agreement."
It is expected that the increased rent will help pay for improvements in lighting, seating and sound in the arena.
The Wheat Kings also announced their season-ticket prices, with adult tickets having risen $75 to $425. (Purchase by June 15 and save $25.)
That “equates to a single-game ticket price of just over $12 . . . which represents a saving of close to $8 (based on box office regular admission prices),” reads a news release. “To help illustrate the savings, if one was to purchase tickets for 36 individual games, the price (including agency fees) would be $720. That means, fans will have paid for their season tickets by the 22nd game of the year.”
The Wheat Kings also have gone back to offering Senior season tickets, at $375. Youth tickets (18-and-under) are going for $200.
"Our season ticket base is very important to us," McCrimmon said. "Under terms of our new lease, we will be paying in excess of four times the cost of the previous one and, while this is a positive development for the Keystone, it does significantly increase our cost of doing business."
This season, the Wheat Kings averaged about 4,100 fans per game, with about 3,000 of those being season-ticket holders.
F Brandon MacLean scored at 4:54 of OT to give the host Florida Everblades a 3-2 victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers and the ECHL’s Kelly Cup title. . . . Florida won the series, 4-1, to earn its first championship in its 14-season history. . . . The Everblades’ roster included former WHLer David Rutherford, who lost five teeth to a high-stick in Game 1,
The Red Deer Rebels and Westerner Park are adding 100 feet of digital LED ribbon signage to the fascia of the newly created lower suite level. According to a news release, “This signage is identical to that found ringing the lower bowl of both the Scotiabank Saddledome and Rexall Place.” . . . Gotta wonder if Cam Moon, the longtime radio voice of the Rebels, will have Major League Baseball scores on the ribbon in season?
G Mark Segal, who played in 36 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2009-10 and 55 the next season, has decided to end his competitive hockey career. Segal spent this season with the McGill Redmen, who won the school’s first CIS championship since its hockey program began in 1877. . . . Segal got into 11 games with McGill, going 9-2, .924, 2.27. . . . Segal, who is from Vancouver, has chosen to move to the U of Victoria but doesn’t plan on playing hockey, unless it’s of the intramural variety.
The Prince George Cougars have signed F Brett Roulston, a native of Whitehorse, Yukon, who turns 18 on Oct. 15. . . . Roulston played this season with the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George. He had 36 points, including 16 goals, in 35 games. . . . He has been on the Cougars’ list since March. At one time he was on the Kamloops Blazers’ list, but a recurring back problem caused him to miss the 2010-11 season.

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