Friday, March 1, 2013

With the Vancouver Giants in Kamloops on Wednesday night to play the Blazers, it provided an opportunity to sit down and chat with Bill Wilms.
If you have listened to the Giants on radio or watched WHL games on TV, chances are that you are familiar with Wilms’ dulcet tones.
If you are a fan of the Giants, you will be aware that they have gone through radio play-by-play voices this season as though they are a dime a dozen.
“Let’s see,” Wilms says, and then he rhymes of the names of the five men he has worked with on Giants radio broadcasts this season.
It began with Alex Grebenyuk, who disappeared from the Giants’ front office – he was the director of broadcasting and media relations, and was to have done road games on the radio – early in the season. Since then, Wilms has worked alongside Blake Price, Morley Scott, Eddie Gregory – “For one game in Kelowna,” Wilms says – and Jeff Paterson.
Wilms also has done TV games this season, sharing air time with Dan Russell and Peter Loubardias.
During his career in WHL broadcast booths, Wilms says he has worked with 28 play-by-play men.
If you harbour aspirations of working with Wilms, perhaps calling Kamloops Blazers’ games would be a good start. That’s because Wilms says he’s worked games with Kelly Moore, Paterson, Kirk Fraser and Jon Keen, all of whom have done Blazers games.
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Paul Buker of The Oregonian takes a look back at the Edmonton Oil Kings’ 4-3 victory over the host Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday night. Buker wonders if the Winterhawks have the size to deal with the Oil Kings or the Saskatoon Blades if they were to meet up in the WHL’s championship final.
That piece is right here.
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Meanwhile, Evan Daum of the Edmonton Journal spoke with Oil Kings head coach Derek Laxdal on Thursday and has a look back at the same game right here. . . . Daum also adds a note on Edmonton F Henrik Samuelsson having drawn a two-game suspension for the spearing major he took on Wednesday night. That means he won’t play tonight as the Oil Kings close out their U.S. Division swing in Everett.
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F Justin Feser of the Tri-City Americans is about to break a WHL record that has stood since March 17, 1992. Feser is scheduled to play in his 312th consecutive game tonight when the Americans play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds. Annie Fowler of the Tri-City Herald looks at Feser and his record right here. She has even spoken with former WHL D Dwayne Newman, whose record is about to fall.

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When last we saw him, Chris Rumble, the son of Seattle Thunderbirds assistant coach Darren Rumble, was battling leukemia and making an awesome video in Seattle Children’s Hospital. Click right here and you’ll find an update on Chris, who is back skating and doing a whole lot more. In fact, he’s playing NCAA Division 1 hockey. You really should check out this report from CNN.
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The Saskatoon Blades will be chasing their 18th straight victory tonight when they play host to the Brandon Wheat Kings. They also will be looking to land the 600th coaching victory of head coach Lorne Molleken’s WHL career. . . . Only Ken Hodge, who spent 22 years with the Edmonton Oil Kings/Portland Winterhawks, has won more games as a WHL coach. Hodge left with 742 victories and he remains the only coach in WHL history to have won at least 600 games. . . . “I don’t pay much attention to that,” Molleken told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “It just tells you how old I am.” . . . You can bet that, despite what he says, this means something to Molleken, 56. Chances are that this will be his final season behind the bench, that sometime after the Memorial Cup ends he will turn the coaching reins over to associate coach David Struch and settle into the general manager’s office. . . . And you can bet that at some point late in tonight’s game, should the Blades appear headed to victory, Molleken’s countenance will sport at least a semblance of a smile. That’s because he will be thinking of the late Muzz MacPherson, who had as much to do with Molleken’s career in hockey as anyone. MacPherson also was responsible for putting a lot of smiles on Molleken’s face.
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Adam Proteau of The Hockey News notes that there some quality NHL players who have suffered concussions this seasons, and he wonders right here whether the league is doing enough to get brain injuries out of the game.
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At least two WHL officials have been selected to officiate at the CIS University Cup national championship in Saskatoon later this month. BC Hockey announced Thursday that Jeff Ingram of Langley, B.C., and Sean Raphael of Victoria, both of whom regularly work as referees in WHL games, will handle some of the games in Saskatoon, March 14-17.
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The matchups, if the WHL playoffs opened today:
EASTERN CONFERENCE
Edmonton (1) vs. Kootenay (8)
Saskatoon (2) vs. Swift Current (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Medicine Hat (6)
Prince Albert (4) vs Red Deer (5)

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Portland (1) vs. Everett (8)
Kelowna (2) vs. Seattle (7)
Kamloops (3) vs. Victoria (6)
Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (5)
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THURSDAY’S GAME:
In Kelowna, F Dylen McKinlay scored twice to lead the Rockets to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . McKinlay, who also had an assist, now has 23 goals this season. He has six shorthanded scores, including one last night. . . . F Myles Bell added his 35th goal for Kelowna, with F Tyson Baillie getting his 23rd into an empty net late in the third period. . . . Kelowna G Jordon Cooke stopped 17 shots, losing his shutout when F Seth Swenson notched his 16th goal at 7:20 of the third. . . . The Rockets are 26-5-0 at home. . . . Seattle lost D Jesse Forsberg following a collision with Kelowna F Rourke Chartier in the second period. According to Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier: “Forsberg took a stick to the head and immediately fell to the ice. He was briefly motionless, but eventually wobbled his way to Seattle’s bench.” Forsberg went to the dressing room and didn’t return. . . . The victory allowed the Rockets to stretch their B.C. Divison lead to seven points over the Kamloops Blazers. Each team has eight games remaining, and they will meet three times next week.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None
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From Tri-City Americans F Jesse Mychan (@jmychan28): “Can’t wait to head to Prince George Sunday! #SaidNoOne #Ever #SeriouslyNever”


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