Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A humorous text exchange with a WHL coach on Tuesday morning after he had seen the photo from inside the Whitney Forum that was posted here . . .
COACH: Just read your blog this a.m. Flin Flon was a tough place to play. Had a chuckle to myself this morning. Some good memories.
ME: Long bus rides to Flin Flon for some players!
COACH: And coaches! I did both.
Marty Aalto of Port Orchard, Wash., with a note on the toughest rink debate:
“What about Queen's Park in New West? I only went there once in the Big Bad Bruins era but it scared the heck out of me. . . .  It's tough for anyone to really appreciate the Bruins of the mid-’70s if you weren't actually there to see it.”
F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a try-out contract with Berounsti Medvedi (Czech Republic, 1.Liga). Meidl had no points in seven games with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1.Liga) and two goals in seven games with Prostejov (Czech Republic, 2.Liga) last season. . . .
D Jordan Henry (Moose Jaw, Red Deer, 2003-07) signed a three-week try-out contract with Södertälje (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had two goals and nine assists in 68 games with the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) and the Chicago Wolves (AHL) last season.
Troy Mick, a former WHL player and coach, has stepped aside as head coach of the BCHL’s Salmon Arm SilverBacks. He will stay on as the club’s general manager and will retain his status as a minority owner.
“This was a very tough decision but the right one for the players and the franchise,” Mick said in a statement issued by the club. “I needed to be a full-time coach for the players and I could not fulfil those commitments as my other duties were always getting in the way.”
The new head coach is Scott Robinson, a former Salmon Arm assistant coach and a two-time BCHL coach of the year.
Robinson, a native of Salmon Arm, spent the last two seasons as head coach of the NAHL’s Dawson Creek Rage. The franchise folded after last season.
The SilverBacks, who are 0-2 after the opening weekend of regular-season play, hold their home-opener Friday against the Vernon Vipers.
Ryan Hanes is a defenceman trying to crack the roster of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. No, Ryan Hanes used to play with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazesrs and now is a forward with the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. . . . Yes, there are two Ryan Hanes, and both are 20 years of age. . . . Josh Brown of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record has more right here.
Ron Robison, the commissioner of the WHL, has told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post that the WHL’s 20-year-old rule isn’t about to change.
Harder writes:
“That’s the official word from WHL commissioner Ron Robison, who said Tuesday the league won’t increase its three-player overage limit to accommodate the potential for an influx of talent from an NHL work stoppage.”
Robison also told Harder that the league won’t change its approach to import players.
Pats head coach Pat Conacher had told Harder he would like to see teams given five 20-year-old/import slots to use as they see fit.
“There has not been any discussion at this point in time,” Robison told Harder. “We’re continuing on with the same ratios of three overage players and two import players. We’re comfortable overall in where we are in that regard. The whole thing is subject to change from time to time. But we’re happy with the complement the way it is right now.”
What this means is that the WHL continues to see its role as a developmental league first and an entertainment vehicle second.
Harder’s complete story is right here.
D Mitchell Wheaton, 17, is to return to the Kelowna Rockets this week after having committed to the WHL team. The 6-foot-5 Wheaton was a 10th-round selection in the 2010 bantam draft. He opened camp with the Rockets, but then returned to the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. . . . Last season, he had 14 points and 62 penalty minutes in 45 games with the Saints.
The Portland Winterhawks appear to be down to four goaltenders now that Jarrod Schamerhorn, a 17-year-old from Kelowna, has been assigned to the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.
Schamerhorn, who has signed with the Winterhawks, played last season with the major midget Kootenay Ice.
That leaves the Winterhawks with returnees Mac Carruth,, 20, and Brendan Burke, 17, along with Cam Lanigan, 20, and Brendan Jensen, 19. Carruth, however, has signed with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and is expected to start the season in their organization.
D Ryan Murray, who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the second pick of the 2012 NHL draft, will begin making his way to Everett today.
Murray, 18, is the captain of the Everett Silvertips and, without an NHL labour dispute, would have been given a good shot to make the Blue Jackets’ roster.
Instead, it would seem that he will start the season in the WHL.
But what happens if top prospects start their season in major junior and then there is a settlement between the NHL and the NHLPA?
Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch takes a look right here.
The AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons swung a deal Tuesday that landed them F Danny Gayle, 20, who was released earlier by the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Gayle had 39 points in 61 games with the Hitmen last season but lost out in the 20-year-old numbers game. . . . The Oil Barons sent F Jessey Touchette, an 18-year-old from Fort McMurray, to the Lloydminster Bobcats for Gayle’s rights.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have their roster at 29 players after assigning G Keelan Williams, 16, to the midget AAA Calgary Rangers; D Nathyn Mortlock, 16, and F Alex Mowbray, 16, also were assigned. Mortlock played last season with the midget AAA UFA Bisons who play out of Strathmore, Alta., while Mowbray was with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . The Tigers are carrying three goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 16 forwards. That includes Czech G Marek Langhamer, 18, who arrived in Medicine Hat late last week. He was a seventh-round selection by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2012 NHL draft. . . . The other goaltenders on the roster are Kenny Cameron and Dawson MacAuley. Cameron, 19, got into 14 games with the Tigers last season, while MacAuley, 18, played in one.
The ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors have offered an amateur tryout deal to RW Justin Bieber.
"Very rarely do you see this combination of skill and toughness," said Condors head coach Matt O'Dette in a press release. “We share a common Canadian heritage since we both hail from Ontario. I've scouted some video of him online skating with my hometown team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I think he could provide some elusive speed up front for us. Plus, he's a right-handed shot which we've been looking to add.”
The Bakersfield Californian has more right here.
Bieber is 18 years of age, which makes you wonder why a junior team hasn’t offered him a contract and guaranteed him a spot on the roster. Sheesh, the guy has 17 million Twitter followers so you have to think having him on the roster would be worth an immediate boost to attendance. It might not do much for beer sales, though.
And, sheesh, just imagine Bieber Bobblehead Night!

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