Friday, May 25, 2012

Södertälje (Sweden, Allsvenskan) announced that D Jason Strudwick (Kamloops, 1993-1995) has informed the team he has retired from hockey. Strudwick had three goals and six assists in 29 games this season for Södertälje. . . .
F Todd Dutiaume (Brandon, 1991-94) signed a one-year contract extension as player/head coach of Fife Flyers (England, UK Elite). He had four goals and nine assists in 44 games for the Flyers this
season, their first in the UK Elite league. . . . Dutiaume just completed an especially horrible season — his wife, Kelly, 38, who was eight months pregnant with twins, died in late February after suffering a heart attack.
After the piece that appeared here this week on the retirement of Kelowna Rockets F Max Adolph due to post-concussion syndrome, a former WHL coach sent along an interesting email.
“Sad story but one that is being repeated far too often and don't get reported — unless YOU hear about them!
“Coincidentally, I was in a car accident in mid-April and suffered whiplash/concussion. I was stopped behind a van and and was rear-ended . . . driving me into the van ahead. . . .
“I am feeling lots better, but still going to physio and massage 3-4 times/week for 1.5-2 hours per time to improve my neck mobility. . . .
“I haven't been concussed since I finished playing in the mid-1980s. I had a few doozies and lots more minor bell ringers. Time tends to make one forget how you feel at the time — maybe it is a side effect of the concussions?
“All I know is it sure sucks sitting in a dark room . . . music, voices, loud sounds, certain lights, etc., set me off into brutal headaches (and I never get headaches!), dizziness, nausea! I couldn't even count to 10.
“Pretty sure the WHL would have considered me as having 'an upper body injury!'
“So as passionate as I was prior about fighting, stupid penalties (checking to the head) and the overall declining/complete absence of respect (behaviour reinforced by no penalties or mere slaps on the wrist and hidden as 'upper body injuries' by the WHL) . . . now I am really pissed! Nothing like experiencing a concussion (in an environment where I won't feel pressured to get back; like a young, impressionable kid trying to climb the ladder) to add further passion to my mandate.”
Drew Wilson, the veteran radio voice of the Prince Albert Raiders, filed an interesting piece to earlier this week.
“The Prince Albert Raiders,” he writes, “could soon have substantial financial backing from a $1.5 million line of credit. The money is being offered by successful businessman and team Vice President Gord Broda.”
Wilson’s complete story is right here.
Broda is the president of Broda Construction. He also is the father of Joel Broda, who scored more than a few WHL goals with the Tri-City Americans, Moose Jaw Warriors and Calgary Hitmen (2004-10). Joel played this season with the AHL’s Houston Aeros.Anyway . . . Raiders president Dale McFee has told Wilson that the franchise will remain under its community ownership structure. McFee also said that the Raiders, who missed the playoffs this season, may break even on the season.
But when a community-owned and -operated team needs a $1.5-million line of credit as an insurance policy, alarm bells have to go off. After all, there isn’t any kind of expense cap in the WHL and, at least in some organizations, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to spend less money.
As time goes on, then, it is going to be really interesting to see how the small-market teams like the Raiders and Swift Current Broncos are able to survive.
Revenue-sharing anyone?
A shoutout to Jason Berger, a former equipment manager with the Seattle Thunderbirds who now fills that role with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. They won the Kelly Cup on Wednesday night. . . .
The OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are no more. The franchise, which changed hands earlier this month, now is known as the Mississauga Steelheads. Landmark Sport Group, under Elliott Kerr, held a name-the-team contest and Steelheads came up a winner. According to a news release, the new nickname is “in reference to the steelhead trout that inhabit the Credit River,” . . . There were more than 1,400 entries, with Hurricanes the runner-up. . . . Logo and colours are to be released later this summer. . . .
The Winnipeg Jets have decided not to sign D Kendall McFaull, the captain of the Moose Jaw Warriors. McFaull, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, was selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. The Thrashers, of course, moved to Winnipeg prior to this season. The Jets had until June 1 to sign McFaull. He now will go back into the NHL draft. . . .
The Prince George Cougars have signed F Zach Pochiro, 18, a Las Vegas native who played this season with the NAHL’s Wichita Falls Wildcats. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Pochiro had 34 points, including 18 goals, and 154 penalty minutes in 52 games with the Wildcats. Interestingly, Cougars owner Rick Brodsky is the majority owner of the Wildcats. Pochiro is the first player to have played for the Wildcats to sign with the Cougars. . . . In 2010-11, Pochiro had 34 points in 31 games with the midget Los Angeles Jr. Kings. . . .
F Chris Wilkie, the son of former WHL D David Wilkie (Seattle, Kamloops, Regina, 1990-94), has committed to the U of North Dakota. Chris was a fourth-round selection by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft.
The USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints are in the market for an assistant coach after Bobby Kinsella, who also worked as director of scouting, signed on with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens as an amateur scout working out of Chicago. . . .
The University of Alberta Golden Bears are getting closer to hiring a head coach to replace interim coach Gord Marple, who now is the program’s general manager and assistant coach. . . . On Thursday, the selection committee interviewed Gord Thibodeau, the veteran GM and head coach of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. . . . There has been speculation that Kris Knoblauch, like Thibodeau a former Golden Bears player, is in the mix but I have been told that is not the case. In fact, with interviews being conducted this week, Knoblauch apparently is visiting family in Saskatchewan. . . . Knoblauch, who just completed his second season as the Ice’s head coach, has a year left on his contract and I was told last night that president/GM Jeff Chynoweth has given him a one-year extension.

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