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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Major League Baseball season is soon to start, which means it won’t be long before we are once again treated to Vin Scully calling the play of games involving the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lyle Spencer of mlb.com chatted with Scully the other day and has a great read right here. It includes an anecdote about the time Scully and Jackie Robinson donned ice skates.
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Thanks to those folks who responded to my query of yesterday. It turns out that Matt Fonteyne is Val Fonteyne’s grandson. . . . Matt, a forward, signed with the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday. . . . Val played 820 NHL games and garnered only 26 penalty minutes. He also played 149 games in the WHA, compiling all of four penalty minutes. . . . He had 229 points in the NHL and 61 in the WHA. . . . Val was a star with the Seattle Americans and Totems of the professional Western Hockey League in the mid-1950s before going on to play in the NHL. . . . Oh, how I remember those photos — black-and-white, of course — in The Hockey News, back in the days of the Original Six when a young fan was on a first-name basis with every player on every roster.
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The Swift Current Broncos have added F Dakota Odgers, G Travis Child and D Zack Gonek to their roster. . . . Odgers, from Spy Hill, Sask., is a son of former WHLer/NHLer Jeff Odgers. Dakota had 47 points in 38 games with the midget AAA Yorkton Harvest. He was a second-round selection in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Gonek, from St. Albert, Alta., played for the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders. He was the 13th overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft. . . . Child, from Killam, Alta., went 5-4-10, 4.82, .893 with the midget AAA Camrose Vikings. He was a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft.
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NHLI don't know that it has been officially announced, but judging from Twitter on Wednesday, the NHL’s Ottawa Senators have signed Portland Winterhawks D Troy Rutkowski, 20, to a three-year, entry-level contract. Rutkowski was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL’s 2010 draft, but never signed a contract. This season, he has 61 points, including 20 goals, in 69 games.
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The Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans will meet in the first round of the WHL playoffs, but they don’t yet know who will have home-ice advantage. But because of the arena scheduling situation in Spokane, the series will begin with Games 1 and 2 in Spokane on March 22 and 23. . . . The series then will move to Kennewick, Wash., for Games 3 and 4 and, if necessary, 5 on March 26, 28 and 30. . . . A sixth game would be played in Spokane on April 2. The site of Game 7, set for April 3, will depend on which team finishes fourth in the Western Conference. . . . The arena in Spokane will be home to one of the NCAA women’s basketball regional tournaments, with games on March 30 and April 1. . . . The Chiefs hold a two-point lead over the Americans with each team having three games remaining. They will play each other in Spokane on Friday and in Kennewick on Saturday. On Sunday, the Americans wrap it up in Everett, while the Chiefs are to play in Portland. . . . Should the Chiefs and Americans end up tied for fourth, the first tiebreaker is victories. At the moment, Spokane has the edge, 42-40.
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Sorry, fans of the Portland Winterhawks.
You aren’t going to be given the opportunity to applaud WHL commissioner Ron Robison on Sunday as your favourite hockey team is presented with the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions.
The presentation will take place prior to the Winterhawks’ final regular-season game, against the Spokane Chiefs.
However, it won’t be the commissioner doing the presenting. Instead, it will be Richard Doersken, who is the WHL’s vice-president, hockey. Doerksen will do the honours following the presentation of the team’s individual awards.
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With the CIS championship to be held this weekend in Saskatoon, individual awards were handed out on Wednesday.
Former Kelowna Rockets F Lucas Bloodoff, who has played three seasons for the Saint Mary’s U Huskies, has been named the CIS player of the year. Bloodoff, who played four seasons (2006-10) with the Rockets, led the Atlantic conference in scoring, with 38 points, including 20 goals.
Former WHL G Kurtis Mucha (Portland, Kamloops, 2005-10) was named the CIS’s goaltender of the year. In his third season with the U of Alberta Golden Bears, who are the championship tournament’s top seed, Mucha led the CIS in GAA (1.30) and save percentage (.936), while going 13-2. He also became the first goaltender in Canada West history to be credited with scoring a goal. Late in the season, he put together a string of five straight shutouts as part of a shutout streak that lasted 335 minutes 6 seconds.
F Jordan Hickmott, a product of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings (2006-11), was named the most sportsmanlike player. He led the Golden Bears in goals (15) and points (35), while taking just two minor penalties in 28 regular-season games.
The All-Canadian first team included Mucha, Bloodoff and U of Manitoba F Blair Macaulay (Saskatoon, Tri-City, 2005-09).
On the second team: D Jesse Craige, Alberta (Lethbridge, Chilliwack, 2006-10); Andrew Clark, Acadia (Brandon, 2005-09); and Kyle Bortis, Saskatchewan (Swift Current, Calgary, 2005-09).
The all-rookie team included D Neil Manning, UBC (Vancouver, 2007-12); D Lane Werbowski, Toronto (Tri-City, Edmonton, 2007-10); and F James Henry, Manitoba (Vancouver, Moose Jaw, 2007-12).
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The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Red Deer (4) vs Prince Albert (5)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Spokane (4) vs. Tri-City (5)
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:
In Brandon, G Corbin Boes stopped 25 shots to help the Wheat Kings to a 4-1 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Wheat Kings had lost four in a row at home. . . . The Raiders have lost six straight. . . . F Marek Kalus had two assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings had F Jesse Gabrielle, a 15-year-old from the Minnesota high school ranks, in the lineup for the first time. . . . Brandon was without F Jayce Hawryluk, who suffered an undisclosed injury in practice on Tuesday. . . . The Raiders remain fifth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. Each team has two games remaining. . . . The Raiders go home-and-home with the Saskatoon Blades; the Broncos will do the same with the Regina Pats. . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last two goals and beat the Kootenay Ice, 4-2. . . . F Graham Hood, who was honoured before the game for having played in 300 regular-season games, broke a 2-2 tie with his 11th goal at 4:23 of the third period.. . . D Lenny Hackman added insurance at 7:51. That was his first WHL goal. It came in the 70th game of his freshman season. . . . The Ice had beaten the visiting Hurricanes 3-1 on Tuesday, eliminating Lethbridge from the playoff picture. . . . Lethbridge G Christopher Tai stopped 27 shots as starter Ty Rimmer as given a rare night off. It was Tai’s 11th appearance this season. . . . Kootenay G Wyatt Hoflin, who last started on Jan. 30, turned aside 34 shots. . . . The Ice scratched F Brock Montgomery with an undisclosed injury, and lost D Tanner Muth to an undisclosed injury during the first period. . . . The loss means the Ice will finish seventh or eighth in the Eastern Conference, meaning a first-round engagement with Edmonton or Saskatoon.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
D Harrison Ruopp, Prince Albert

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None

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