Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Two fans of the Red Deer Rebels
get married in Mexico.
THE MacBETH REPORT:F Max Brandl (Prince Albert, Portland, 2007-09) signed a one-year contract extension with the Landshut Cannibals (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had 11 goals and 19 assists in 47 games for the 2.Bundesliga champion Cannibals. . . .
D Ivan Barenka (Everett, 2003-05) signed a one-year contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). He had five goals and 16 assists in 47 games for Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL), where he was an alternate captain for Spartak this season. . . .
F Tyler Maxwell (Everett, Edmonton, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had 37 goals and 34 assists in 66 games split between Everett and Edmonton this season. Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has the story right here.
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The photo at the top of today’s entry was tweeted by Kasla Millar (@kayla_millar), along with this: “My husband and I got married in Mexico and look what we brought with us! #rebelpride”
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The U of Alberta has hired Ian Herbers as its latest hockey coach.
Herbers (Kelowna, Spokane, Lethbridge, Swift Current, 1984-88) is a former U of A player. He takes over from Stan Marple, who now is the program’s general manager. Marple coached one season after replacing Eric Thurston (Victoria, 1981-84).
Herbers has been coaching for nine seasons, the last three with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. He took over as head coach early this season when Kirk Muller signed on as head coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.
It was a desire to have the U of A position that ultimately cost Kris Knoblauch his head-coaching position with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.
Knoblauch completed two season’s as the Ice’s head coach and, in fact, won the WHL’s 2011 championship in Cranbrook. When the U of A posted its head-coaching position, Marple contacted Knoblauch, who expressed an interest but had one year remaining on his contract with the Ice.
Chynoweth provided Knoblauch with a one-week window to explore the situation, but then was led to believe that Knoblauch would fulfil the terms of his contract. Chynoweth later gave Knoblauch a one-year extension, taking him through 2013-14.
It is worth noting that despite the fact Knoblauch was under contract, no one from the U of A contacted Chynoweth to ask for permission to speak with Knoblauch. (I am told that one U of A player has apologized to Chynoweth, via email, for the way all of this was handled.)
However, when Chynoweth learned Friday that Knoblauch was on the U of A’s shortlist and, in fact, was scheduled to be interviewed, he terminated his head coach’s contract.
(Evan Daum of the Edmonton Journal has more right here on how the U of A search for a head coach turned into something of a gong show.
(Robin Brownlee, over at oilersnation.com, says the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test. That’s right here.)
At this point in time, there are two WHL teams without head coaches — the Ice and Brandon Wheat Kings, whose owner, Kelly McCrimmon, fired Cory Clouston earlier this month.
Clouston, of course, is a former Kootenay head coach, but don’t expect him to re-surface with the Ice.
And while you’re at it, you can scratch Dean Chynoweth, Jeff’s brother, off the list, too. Dean is available, having been fired from his position as assistant coach by the New York Islanders when their season ended. Yeah, that was all his fault, just like the Calgary Flames’ woes last season were Ryan McGill’s fault. The Flames, you’ll recall, dropped McGill as an assistant coach after the 2010-11 season.
McGill, of course, is another former Ice coach. He was out of hockey this season. Might he be interested in a return to Cranbrook? Likely not, but never say never.
The Wheat Kings, meanwhile, aren’t likely to hire a head coach unless Clouston finds work elsewhere. He had a year left on his contract, meaning the Wheat Kings are on the hook for that unless he signs on with another organization.
The leading candidate in Brandon, at least at this moment, has to be McCrimmon. He was head coach for seven seasons prior to hiring Clouston, and the team posted 298 regular-season victories with him behind the bench.
Anyway, just for fun, here’s a look at some potential candidates for head-coaching positions — they are presented in no particular order, other than the first one who will at the top of most lists like this:
DAVE HUNCHAK: Presently the associate coach with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Has been WHL coach for eight seasons, four as head guy in Moose Jaw. . . . .Gets lots of credit for amazing turnaround in Kamloops this season. . . . Believed to have window in contract from sometime in June into August that would allow him to move. . . . Won’t move just to become head coach. Has been there and done that. . . . Might be more interested in a position like the Milwaukee head-coaching vacancy than a move within the WHL.
JASON BECKER: Assistant coach with the Prince George Cougars since 2009. . . . Played in WHL (Saskatoon, Red Deer, Kamloops, Swift Current, 1990-94). Also played in CIS, WCHL and in Europe. . . . Was a defenceman. . . . Earlier this month was named head coach Team Pacific for the U17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . Eager, energetic, enthusiastic.
GLEN HANLON: Has coaching experience in the NHL and in Europe. . . . Former Brandon Wheat Kings goaltender just finished his first season as an assistant with the Vancouver Giants. . . . For family reasons, he isn’t likely to leave B.C.’s Lower Mainland. . . . Should Vancouver head coach Don Hay leave — let’s just say he signs on as an assistant coach under Ken Hitchcock with the St. Louis Blues — Hanlon would be the leading candidate to take over the Giants.
STEVE HAMILTON: Assistant coach with Edmonton Oil Kings for two seasons now. . . . Was GM and head coach of AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints for four seasons before joining Oil Kings. . . . Saints went 52-4-4 to win AJHL title in 2009-10. . . . A real up-and-coming candidate.
DAVE LOWRY: Was head coach of Calgary Hitmen for one season (2008-09), going 59-9-4. . . . Promptly moved up to the parent Calgary Flames where he spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach before being dumped after this season.
JON KLEMM: Former WHL and pro defenceman has been an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs for three seasons. . . . Played 773 regular-season NHL games. . . . He’s from Cranbrook.
CHAD MERCIER: General manager and head coach of AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs since April 2006. . . . Former WHL goaltender with WHL coaching experience with the Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades. . . . One of these summers his phone is going to ring.
MALCOLM CAMERON: Just complete his first season as an assistant coach under Pat Conacher with the Regina Pats. . . . Was head coach for nine seasons in ECHL, United league and Central league before signing with Regina. . . . Wants to be a head coach again. . . . Gets high marks from Conacher.
DARREN KRUGER: Former WHL defenceman joined the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff in January 2006. . . . Veteran assistant coach may be ready to take the giant step.
DEAN BROCKMAN: General manager and head coach of SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . Won four titles in six seasons. . . . Has been with the Broncos for 11 seasons. . . . Would he leave the farm?
GORD THIBODEAU: General manager and head coach of AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. . . . Has been with the Oil Barons since 2003-04. . . . Applied for head coaching job at U of Alberta. That position was attractive as he is from Edmonton, his family lives there and he played for the Golden Bears. . . . Perhaps he isn’t prepared to move anywhere other than Edmonton.
MIKE VANDENBERGHE: Former WHL defenceman (Moose Jaw, Brandon, Medicine Hat, 1987-92). . . . Has worked on coaching staffs with Brandon and Moose Jaw. Presently assistant coach with the Warriors. . . . Also has coached at the CIS and junior A levels. . . . Has all the qualifications. . . . But would he leave his home in Regina Beach, Sask., where you can bet that he’s been into Butler’s for fish and chips?
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THE COACHING GAME:
Jomar Cruz has stepped aside as head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, a franchise that is based in The Pas. Cruz, a goaltender, played in the WHL with Brandon, Tri-City and Portland (1997-2000). He had been with the Blizzard since 2006.
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The Chicago Blackhawks made it official Tuesday. They have signed two WHL goaltenders – Kent Simpson of the Everett Silvertips and Mac Carruth of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Simpson was a second-round selection in the 2010 NHL draft, while the Blackhawks took Carruth in the seventh round. . . . Had the players not been signed by Friday, they would have been made available in the 2012 draft. . . . Both players are 20 years of age, meaning they are eligible to play one more season in the WHL. But they also are eligible to play professionally so could end up anywhere in Chicago’s organization.
Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts at Large, has been keeping track of who from the 2010 draft has signed and who hasn’t.
It appears that the Edmonton Oilers are working to sign D Brandon Davidson, who completed his eligibility with the Regina Pats this season, but will let Kootenay Ice F Drew Czerwonka re-enter the draft. Both were sixth-round selections in the 2010 draft.
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Barclay Parneta, Tri-City’s prospect
development coach and head scout,
welcomes Parker Wotherspoon
to the Americans.
The Tri-City Americans have signed D Parker Wotherspoon to a WHL contract. He was Tri-City’s first-round selection, 21st overall, in the 2012 bantam draft. A native of Surrey, B.C., Wotherspoon had 54 points in 55 games with the bantam AAA Cloverdale Colts this season. . . . Wotherspoon is likely to play for the major midget Valley West Hawks nexdt season. . . . He is the younger brother of Portland Winterhawks D Tyler Wotherspoon.
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An interesting note from James Shewaga, the sports editor of the Brandon Sun:
“For the first time in 19 years, organizers of the Source for Sports AAA Hockey Challenge have suspended a player indefinitely from their spring and summer hockey tournaments.
Tournament director Darryl Wolski handed the suspension to a 15-year-old player from Winnipeg for reportedly slashing a referee with his stick during the championship final of the 1997 age group division on Sunday at Westman Place. The player in question, who was selected in this year’s Western Hockey League bantam draft, was being escorted off the ice following his ejection from the game.”

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