Wednesday, June 13, 2012

F Simon Ferguson (Lethbridge, Kelowna, 1999-2004) signed a one-year contract with Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had 18 goals and 33 assists in 40 games for Esbjerg (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga) last season, good for second place in league scoring. . . .
D Jeff May (Prince Albert, Lethbridge, 2002-08) and D Jonathan Harty (Everett, 2004-08) each signed one-year contracts with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). May had seven goals and 20 assists in 50 games for the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), while Harty had seven goals and 20 assists in 26 games with the University of New Brunswick (CIS) and was pointless in three games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL) last season. Angers is coached by former Everett associate head coach Jay Varady.
You will be aware that former WHLers like Darryl Sutter, Jarret Stoll, Dwight King and Colin Fraser helped the Los Angeles Kings to the Stanley Cup title.
But how about the other ex-WHLers who were involved?
So here’s a tip of the cap to . . .
Ron Hextall (Brandon, 1981-84), the Kings’ assistant GM. He has been with L.A. for six seasons now.
Bill Ranford (New Westminster, 1983-96), the Kings' goaltending coach.
Kim Dillabaugh, the Kelowna Rockets’ goaltending coach who is the Kings’ goaltender development coach.
Darren Granger, who has completed six seasons as the Kings’ equipment manager. He spent five seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Rob Laird (Regina, 1972-74) is the Kings’ senior pro scout. He has been with the Kings for 18 years, the last 16 as a pro scout.
Brent McEwen, a former GM of the Saskatoon Blades, has been the Kings’ Western Canada amateur scout since 2004.
Craig West, the radio voice of the Tri-City Americans, was crying in his beer on Tuesday.
Actually, he wasn’t; at least, I don’t think he was.
But he did send along a note from the Pacific Northwest Inlander on the closing of the Viking Tavern in Spokane.
The tavern is located across from the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and was a favourite stop for folks before and after Chiefs games.
There is more right here.

A memorial service for Bruce McDonald, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ radio analyst who died on June 6, will be held Friday, noon, at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Wash. The service is open to the public.
A note from a Thunderbirds’ news release:
“A memorial fund has been set up in Bruce’s name. Fans wishing to contribute should make out checks to “Bruce McDonald Memorial Trust Fund” and send them to the Seattle Thunderbirds Offices at 625 James, Kent WA 98032. Fans can also send their donations to: Bruce McDonald Memorial Trust Fund, CPO Box 634, Fall City, WA 98024.”
McDonald, who suffered from cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair, had been diagnosed with leukemia in April. He was 41.
The St. Louis Blues have opted not to pick up the option on the contract of Jared Bednar, the head coach of the Peoria Rivermen, the NHL team’s AHL affiliate. Bednar went 81-63-12 in two seasons with the Rivermen.
Graham Thomas is the new head coach of the University of British Columbia’s varsity women's hockey program. Thomas, from Calgary, takes over from Jen Rawson, who resigned after last season, citing personal reasons. Thomas has been with the women’s team at Syracuse U, as associate coach and recruiting co-ordinator, since 2008-09. . . .
Fran Gow, a veteran of the AJHL wars, has signed a three-year contract to remain as GM/head coach of the Drayton Valley Thunder. Gow is a veteran of 19 years in the AJHL. He has been with the Thunder since 2007. . . . Gow immediately announced that Mike Mueller be staying put as associate coach.
The Vancouver Giants have signed F Jakob Stukel to a WHL contract. Stukel, who is from Surrey, was the 37th overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft. He had 62 points in 20 games with a bantam team in Cloverdale last season. . . . The Giants now have signed three of their 2012 draft picks.
The BCHL held its annual meeting last weekend in Richmond, B.C. Josh Aldrich of the Nanaimo Daily News reports right here on the goings-on, including a new playoff format and taking rosters from 21 players to 22.
Craig Forsythe of the Philadelphia Flyers Examiner blog is reporting that D Ricard Blidstrand has signed with VIK Vasteras, a team in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan, the country’s second-highest league. . . . Blidstrand was selected by the Flyers in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL draft but never signed with Philadelphia. Blidstrand played with the Regina Pats in 2010-11. They dealt him to the Prince George Cougars at the January trade deadline last season. . . . Blidstrand turned 20 on April 20, but wasn’t expected back in the WHL as he would have been a two-spotter -- a 20-year-old import.
For today’s good read, check out this piece by Bob Klapisch, a columnist at It’s the latest on longtime baseball exec Jim Duquette and his daughter, Lindsey. You may recall that the Duquettes were mentioned here a few days ago, on the eve of surgery during which Jim donated a kidney to his daughter. This is a wonderful, wonderful story.

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