Charles Thomas (Stompin' Tom) Connors, OC
(February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013
(February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013
Gee, wasn’t the start of last night’s NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs exciting!
There was Toronto F Frazer McLaren, one of the toughest hombres in the WHL during his days with the Portland Winterhawks and Moose Jaw Warriors (2003-08) fighting Ottawa F David Dziurzynski, who obviously was overmatched.
The teams had been playing for 26 seconds.
Dziurzynski, it’s safe to say, will be on the shelf for a while. After going down like a fallen tree, he had to be helped to the dressing room. Shortly after, the Senators announced that he has a concussion.
Following the game, Ottawa F Zack Smith, a product of the Swift Current Broncos (2004-08), told reporters that McLaren “was asking (Dziurzynski) to fight as soon as we got on the ice. That's what McLaren does."
The WHL has suspended Victoria Royals head coach Dave Lowry and two of his players — D Keegan Kanzig and F Tim Traber — for their roles in shenanigans in the third period of a 6-0 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, I received a missive from someone who had read about the goings-on and took issue with (a) my use of a couple of words, and (b) a few other things. . . .
“In reading your article . . . I am confused by the terms ‘goofy’ – ‘It was at 3:22 of the third period when things began to get goofy‘ – and ‘silliness’ – ‘There was more silliness as the period progressed’.
“In between goofy and silliness, I read about a player face down, with another player on top of him, pulling his sweater hard enough that ‘he choked me out’ according to the face down player. The Kamloops goalie stated ‘He was right out’.
“My impression of events from your article, is that the Kamloops player lost consciousness due to the actions of a Victoria player. I was not there, so correct me if I am wrong, however, I find that action neither goofy nor silly. It is violence. If you did that on a sidewalk, you would likely be charged with assault. If you did that at school, you would likely be suspended.
“Why is it acceptable on the ice? Why are violent actions minimized in the newspaper? The offending player should be tossed for multiple games, if not permanently. I find it ridiculous that adults cheer when young kids (which is really what WHL players are) fight so violently.
“I was also very disappointed to hear about it as it was happening, as my sister was there, taking her 10-year-old son, with his team, to the game as part of Minor Hockey Night. My son was also there with his team. My sister was not impressed by the number of people cheering at the fights. I sadly thought ‘Wow – what a great example for our kids.’ I'm not sure how many kids were there to see it, but I'd guess quite a few.
“People get annoyed when the younger kids play rough, and expect the refs to deal with it, yet where do they think kids learn this? We need to call it what it is and get fighting out of the game PERIOD.
“My son has been in hockey longer than he has been in school, and learned many very important life skills from it so I am reluctant to say that I hate hockey, but I can see how people would get that opinion.”
D Scott Ramsay played four seasons (2007-11) in the WHL, splitting time with the Chilliwack Bruins, Seattle Thunderbirds and Medicine Hat Tigers, before his career came to an end because of post-concussion syndrome.
It is downright chilling to hear the 21-year-old Ramsay talk about how he battled depression before getting his life back on track.
He admits that he tried all kinds of medication. “You name it . . . we had a drawerful,” he says.
He also talks about how his mother told him that she would have kicked him out of the family home had she not been aware of his struggles, and that she said he had become a terrible person.
The interview is part of the Bell Let’s Talk program and it’s right here. It is three minutes in duration and really is worth a listen.
These days, Ramsay attends the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. He is studying to become a registered nurse and, if all goes well, he will graduate in 2015.
(A stick tap to DK for this one.)
D Joel Edmundson of the Kamloops Blazers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.
He is the third WHLer to sign an entry-level deal with an NHL team this week. Earlier, F Taylor Peters of the Portland Winterhawks signed with the Dallas Stars and F Josh Nicholls of the Saskatoon Blades got a deal done with the New York Rangers.
Edmundson, 19, was a second-round selection, 46th overall, in the NHL’s 2011 draft.
From Brandon, Edmundson was a sixth-round pick by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL’s 2008 bantam draft. He played two-plus seasons with the Warriors before being dealt to the Blazers. In exchange for Edmundson, the Blazers surrendered defenceman Tyler Bell, 18, centre Jayden Halbgewachs, who plays for the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians and had been Kamloops’ first-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft, and a first-round selection in the 2015 bantam draft.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Edmundson has 17 points in 32 games with the Blazers, after earning eight points in 29 games with Moose Jaw. In his WHL career, he has 68 points in 188 games.
While contract details aren’t yet available for Edmundson’s deal, capgeek.com has the numbers on Peters and Nicholls.
Peters, 20, signed as an undrafted free agent. He signed for NHL salaries of US$792,500, $842,500 and $925,000. His AHL salary would be $70,000 in each of three seasons. He also got a signing bonus of $277,500, payable in three instalments of $92,500.
Nicholls, 20, was a seventh-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL’s 2010 draft. He never signed with the Leafs, and the Rangers got him as a free agent. Nicholls signed for NHL salaries of US$667,500, $717,500 and $742,500. His AHL salary would be $70,000 for each season. And he got the same signing bonus as did Peters – three annual payments of $92,500.
It is signing season for former WHL players, too, with two Manitoba Bisons headed to the ECHL’s Florida Everblades.
F Ty Dittmer, 25, is joining the Everblades, as is G Jesse Decker, 26.
Dittmer, from Brandon, played three-plus seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings (2004-08) and then played four seasons (2009-13) the Bisons.
Deckert, from Winnipeg, playing in the WHL with the Regina Pats, Tri-City Americans and Prince Albert Raiders (2002-07) before going on to spend four seasons (2009-13) with the Bisons.
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune takes a look right here at the Portland Winterhawks as they head into the last few games of the regular season.
Eggers ends his piece like this:
“It may be that the Hawks are a team of destiny after losing general manager/coach Mike Johnston early in the season as part of league sanctions, the severity of which have never been fully explained.
“It would be nice for the title to come to Portland, if only for the opportunity to see Ron Robison present the championship trophy following the final game.
“The commissioner is looking ahead to that possibility with more than a bit of apprehension, don’t you think?”
The Tri-City Americans have added F Tyler Fraser, 15, to their roster. Fraser, a third-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft, played this season with the midget A-1 Cloverdale, B.C., Colts.
The Kootenay Ice have added F Hudson Elynuik, who was a third-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. He plays for midget AAA Northwest Calgary Athletic Association Flames. He is the son of former WHL F Pat Elynuik and a brother to Campbell, who also played in the league.
As expected, the Saskatoon Blades have added D Kyle Schmidt, who turned 20 on Jan. 20, to their roster. He played 16 games with the Blades earlier in the season, then was assigned to the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, whose season has ended. Schmidt played 65 games with the Calgary Hitmen in 2010-11 and got into 61 with the Blades in 2011-12, so provides the Memorial Cup hosts with some experienced depth on the back end as the playoffs approach. . . . Meanwhile, the Blades are saying the F Michael Ferland, 20, is doubtful for their next game, Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. Ferland left in the first period of Tuesday’s 9-5 loss to the Calgary Hitmen with an undisclosed injury.
There was an Alberta midget AAA playoff game last night that was decided after 143 minutes and 20 seconds. Yes, they played into the fifth OT period before the Southside Athletic Club beat Sherwood Park, 1-0. . . . F Jake Debrusk scored the goal and G Jordan Papirny earned the shutout with 62 saves. . . . Game 5 in the best-of-five series will be played Friday.
The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
In Swift Current, G Justin Paulic turned aside 37 shots as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Broncos, 2-1. . . . With Daniel Wapple (concussion) still out, Paulic was making his 21st consecutive start. Paulic, who has gone the distance in each of those starts, is 19-22-8. . . . G Zach Sawchenko, 15, has joined the Warriors for the remainder of the season and was on the bench last night. He played for the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos, whose season is over. . . . Moose Jaw F Brayden Point’s 19th goal, at 14:03 of the first period, gave his side a 2-0 lead and the Warriors went on to victory. . . . F Sam Fioretti drew two assists for the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw F Miles Warkentine (knee) was back from a four-game absence. . . . The Broncos remain tied for sixth in the Eastern Conference. They and the Medicine Hat Tigers are three points ahead of the Kootenay Ice. . . .
In Prince Albert, F Elliott Peterson scored the game’s last two goals as the Calgary Hitmen edged the Raiders, 4-3. . . . Peterson, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, has four goals in 34 games. He also had an assist last night. He now has 11 points. . . . Raiders F Mark McNeill, with one goal in his previous 15 games, got No. 22 in the second period to give his guys a 3-1 lead. . . . Calgary F Cody Sylvester pulled the Hitmen to within one at 12:00 of the second on a power play. . . . Sylvester also had an assist, giving him nine points in slightly more than 24 hours. . . . A scoring adjustment was made sometime after Calgary’s 9-5 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon on Tuesday and Sylvester ended up with a goal and six assists. Yes, they added an assist to his totals. . . . Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 38 shots. . . . F Leon Draisaitl, a freshman from Germany, scored his 20th goal of the season for Prince Albert. . . . The Raiders have lost three in a row, but they clinched a playoff spot when the Lethbridge Hurricanes lost. . . . Prince Albert’s loss allowed the idle Saskatoon Blades to clinch first place in the East Division. The Blades will go into the playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, meaning they will play the No. 7 seed. . . . The Raiders are fifth in the conference and now trail Red Deer by six points. . . .
In Regina, F Michael St. Croix rang up his seventh career hat trick, leading the Oil Kings to a 6-3 victory over the Pats. . . . The Oil Kings scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third period, as they overcame a 3-2 deficit. . . . St. Croix scored two of those goals — he’s got 36 — and also had an assist. He scored eight goals in four games against Regina this season. . . . The Oil Kings have won four in a row. . . . Edmonton F T.J. Foster had a goal, his 27th, and two assists, while F Trevor Cheek drew three assists. . . . Edmonton had a 38-14 shot advantage. . . . Edmonton lost D David Musil to a clipping major for a hit on Regina F Dyson Stevenson at 1:04 of the second period. . . . Regina D Colton Jobke returned from injury. He hadn’t played since Jan. 19. . . . However, Regina D Colby Williams left with a suspected concussion after taking a hit from D Stephen Shmoorkoff. . . . The Oil Kings lead the Eastern Conference with 99 points, eight fewer than the Portland Winterhawks, who lead the overall standings. . . .
In Lethbridge, G Patrik Bartosak stopped 39 shots as the Red Deer Rebels dumped the Hurricanes, 4-0. . . . Bartosak has five shutouts this season and six in his career. This season, he has an incredible .936 save percentage. . . . F Turner Elson scored the game’s first two goals, one on the power play and the other shorthanded. . . . Lethbridge hasn’t scored even one goal in its last three home games. . . . Hurricanes captain Graham Hood played in his 300th regular-season game, and he left early with a boarding major for a hit on D Devan Fafard at 3:54 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes are six points out of a playoff spot with six games remaining. . . . Red Deer, which has won four in a row, is fourth in the Eastern Conference, six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . .
In Spokane, the Seattle Thunderbirds overcame a 2-0 deficit and beat the Chiefs, 4-2. . . . Seattle D Shea Theodore scored his 17th goal at 6:36 of the third period, on the PP, to tie the game. . . . Seattle F Connor Sanvido got his 14th, while shorthanded, at 8:01. . . . Seattle F Riley Sheen then added his13th into an empty net. . . . Seattle F Luke Lockhart had two assists. . . . The Chiefs had their five-game winning streak snapped. . . . Spokane D Tyler King returned to the lineup after being out since Jan. 25 with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle G Brandon Glover stopped 27 shots. That included a penalty shot by D Brenden Kichton at 16:20 of the third period with Seattle leading 3-2. . . . Seattle moved into sole possession of seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . . Each team has five games left. . . . The Chiefs are fifth, one point behind the Tri-City Americans. . . .
In Kelowna, F Rourke Chartier scored in the sixth round of the circus to give the Rockets a 4-3 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Austin Carroll gave the Royals a 3-2 lead at 18:45 of the third perid, only to have D Madison Bowey get his second of the game, and 12th of the season, 27 seconds later to force OT. . . . With head coach Dave Lowry having been suspended by the WHL for goings-on in Kamloops the previous night, assistant Enio Sacilotto served as head coach for the first time. He is a veteran coach, having spent a long time coaching in Europe. . . . The Rockets were without F Myles Bell, their leading scorer. Bell, who suffered a leg injury in a 3-0 loss in Kamloops on Sunday, took the pregame warmup last night and then departed. . . . Due to injuries, illness and suspensions, the Royals, who are two games into a stretch of five games in six nights, dressed seven defencemen and nine forwards. . . . Victoria scratched nine skaters last night, including D Keegan Kanzig and F Tim Traber, who were suspended by the WHL for their actions in Kamloops on Tuesday night. As well, the Royals scratched F Logan Nelson, saying he was ill. He left the game in Kamloops at 19:10 of the third period and appeared to be favouring his left leg. . . . The Royals had D Chaz Reddekopp, the 13th overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft, make his WHL debut last night. Reddekopp plays for the midget AAA team at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna. . . . Victoria also used F Matthew Campese, the 49th selection in that draft, for a second straight game. . . . Victoria F Alex Gogolev, the team’s leading scorer, missed his 14th straight game. . . . The B.C. Division-leading Rockets, who won seven of eight from Victoria this season, now hold a three-point lead on Kamloops and Kelowna has a game in hand. They’ll play Friday in Kamloops and Saturday in Kelowna. . . . The Royals appear headed to a sixth-place finish in the Western Conference.
F Levi Bews, Swift Current
From Tri-City Americans F Malte Stromwall (@stroms15): “Finally in tri after the nightmare roadtrip!”
The Americans road the bus to Prince George on Sunday, played a Monday-Tuesday doubleheader, and headed for home immediately after dropping a 3-0 decision in the second game. Tri-City had won the opener, 6-3.
From Edmonton Oil Kings F Curtis Lazar (@CurtisLazar95): “Just realized I forgot to roll up the rim on the coffee I drank today . . . #amateur #hopeless #imadud”
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