Friday, September 14, 2012

F Carsen Germyn (Kelowna, Red Deer, 1998-2003) signed a two-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). He had 14 goals and 25 assists in 49 games for the Tigers last season. This contract extension is in addition to the one-year extension Germyn signed in April. He now is under contract with Straubing through the 2014-15 season. . . .
F Jakub Sindel (Brandon, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract with Fassa (Italy, Serie A). Sindel played 46 games with four clubs in three leagues last season. He started with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A) (five games, two assists, one broken jaw), moved to Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) (21 games, one goal), then made his way to Finland, playing 11 games with Kärpät Oulu (SM-Liiga) (three assists) and nine games with Ässät Pori (SM-Liiga) (no points). . . .
D Jakub Cutta (Swift Current, 1998-2000) signed a contract through Nov. 4 with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had two goals and five assists in 33 games with Mlada Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga) last season. . . .
F Bandon Campos (Everett, Chilliwack, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with The Hague (Netherlands, Eredivisie). Campos had 14 goals and 34 assists in 60 games with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (CHL) last season. . . .
F Jordan Knackstedt (Red Deer, Moose Jaw, 2004-08) signed a one-year contract with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had 18 goals and 35 assists in 42 games with Bolzano (Italy, Serie A) last season, leading the team in scoring and to the Italian championship. . . .
F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Neman Grodno (Belarus, Ekstraliga). He had 10 goals and six assists in 39 games with Lev Poprad (Slovakia, KHL) and one goal and one assist in 11 games while on loan to Kosice (Slovakia, Extraliga).
You wonder if it’s the canary in the WHL’s coal mine.
James Shewaga, the sports editor of the Brandon Sun, has a column in today’s newspaper that looks at the Wheat Kings’ season-ticket numbers to this point.
As he wrote the piece on Thursday, the Wheat Kings had sold 2,284 season tickets. Last season, they had 2,973 season-ticket holders. Do the math and you realize that they are down 689.
Kelly McCrimmon, the Wheat Kings’ owner and general manager, told Shewaga that “at this point, I’m not concerned.”
McCrimmon also said that if they don’t get to 3,000 season tickets, “I would be very disappointed.”
And he should be disappointed because the Wheat Kings have iced a competitive product for a number of years now, and this season promises to be no different.
Later in the column, a quote from McCrimmon practically jumped off the computer screen.
“The reality in the Western Hockey League,” McCrimmon told Shewaga, “is expenses are growing at a much higher rate than our revenues, and that’s a fact.”
Think about that for a moment.
If you’re in business and your expenses are out-pacing your revenues, you are in a spot of trouble. And if you aren’t able to turn the tide, you soon are out of business.
While there are WHL teams out there that are believed to be making a goodly pile of money, there are others that aren’t.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have lost more than $1 million over the last two seasons, including $602,000 in 2011-12.
The Swift Current Broncos have lost in the neighbourhood of $800,000 on their hockey operation in each of the last two seasons. For 2010-11, that number was $882,587. However, off-ice fund-raising, along with corporate sponsorship and suites, left the deficit at $197,226.
For 2009-10, the loss suffered by the hockey operation was $820,688. However, again, money from such things as corporate sponsorships, suites and the World Junior Championship cut the overall deficit to $58,927.
How long will those teams be able to continue to work as hard as they do just to survive?
Or will the WHL have to implement some form of revenue sharing just to enable some of its franchises to survive?
There was some movement on the WHL’s 20-year-old front on Thursday.
The Kelowna Rockets added two 20s to their lineup, acquiring F Dylen McKinlay from the Kootenay Ice and claiming J.T. Burnett off waivers from the Everett Silvertips.
The Rockets gave up a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft for McKinlay.
McKinlay had 39 points, including 15 goals, and 37 penalty minutes in 66 games with the Ice last season. Before that, he played three seasons with Chilliwack Bruins.
Barnett was dealt by the Kamloops Blazers to Everett early last season, but got into only 20 regular-season games with the Silvertips thanks to a knee injury. He had 12 points in those 20 games and later returned in the playoffs.
The Rockets went into the day with one 20-year-old on their roster — D Mitchell Chapman — and finished with three.
When all was said and done, the Ice was left with four 20-year-olds — F Drew Czerwonka, D Joey Leach, F Brock Montgomery and F Elgin Pearce.
Everett’s roster features three 20s — F Cody Fowlie, F Ryan Harrison and D Landon Oslanski, the latter having been claimed off waivers from the Lethbridge Hurricanes last month. Harrison is back skating after being out with mononucleosis. He will miss the first four games of the regular season with a supension left over from last season.
The Victoria Royals have dealt D Kade Pilton, 18, to the Regina Pats for F Demico Hannoun, 17, and a conditional third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Pilton had 13 points and 52 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Royals last season. The 6-foot-5, 186-pounder was a second-round pick in the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Pilton was selected by the Chilliwack Bruins in the second round of the 2009 bantam draft. Regina head coach Pat Conacher was an assistant coach with the Bruins in 2010-11 so has some familiarity with Pilton. . . . Hannoun played last season with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, putting up 26 points in 49 games. Regina selected him in the ninth round of the 2010 bantam draft.
JUST NOTES: The Medicine Hat Tigers have assigned F Rhyse Dieno, 19, to the SJHL’s La Ronge IceWolves. He had 11 points in 50 games with the Tigers last season. . . . F Kohl Baum of the Everett Silvertips, who had off-season shoulder surgery, is expected to see some game action this weekend. . . . D Mathew Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels has a walking boot on one foot after suffering a sprained ankle in practice this week. The Rebels expect him to be ready to start the season next weekend. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will hold out as many as six players from games this weekend. F Ryan Graham (back), F Shane McGolgan (knee), G Alex Moodie (hamstring) and D Dalton Thrower (groin) won’t play, while F Matej Stransky (foot) and F Lukas Sutter (shoulder) also are hurting. . . .
D Christos Zinis, an eighth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft, has signed with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Zinis, from Broomfield, Colo., played last season with the major bantam Colorado Thunderbirds. News of his signing was tweeted by Turning Point Sports Management. . . . It turns out that the Red Deer Rebels surrendered a fifth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft for F Wyatt Johnson, 17, who had been in camp with the Vancouver Giants. . . . F Colton Sissons of the Kelowna Rockets has signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Sissons, 19, was a second-round pick by the Predators in the NHL’s 2012 draft. He had 41 points, including 26 goals, in 58 games with the Rockets last season. . . . F Connor Rankin of the Tri-City Americans is expected to sit out this weekend after taking a stick to the mouth last weekend. He lost one tooth and ended up needing caps on three others.
F Tyler Redenbach, who won the WHL’s 2003-04 scoring title while with the Swift Current Broncos, got his SM-liiga season off to quite a start Thursday as he helped HIFK to a 7-3 victory over Jokerit. Redenbach drew four assists in the victory, with linemate Ville Peltonen scoring three times and adding an assist.
Ken Dryden has worked in the NHL as a player and a front-office guy. In the latter role, as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dryden was involved in high-level meetings during which he would have watched NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in action. Today’s Globe and Mail contains this piece, written by Dryden, that pretty much sums up the state of the NHL today.

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