THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Dustin Friesen (Swift Current, 2000-04) signed a one-year contract extension with Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, 2.Bundesliga). He had 12 goals and 20 assists in 47 games for the Pinguins this season. . . .
Linköping (Sweden, Elitserien) announced that it won’t offer contracts for next season to F Robin Figren (Calgary, Edmonton, 2006-08) and F Lee Goren (Saskatoon, 1995-96). Figren had nine goals and four assists in 55 games and Goren had two goals and four assists in 24 games for Linköping this season. Goren started the season with Pelicans Lahti (Finland, SM-Liiga), getting four goals and eight assists in 13 games before joining Linköping.
There is a move afoot to build a downtown arena in Fort McMurray, Alta.
MyMcMurray.com has listed the names “of the four companies that have been shortlisted to build Fort McMurray’s proposed downtown arena.”
According to MyMcMurray.com, “One of those companies, Global Entertainment Corporation and Western Asset Management made a joint submission — it specifically says it could immediately negotiate the establishment of a WHL team in Fort McMurray.”
Global Entertainment has an operating subsidiary in International Coliseums Company (ICC). Its president is Rick Kozuback, a former WHL coach (Tri-City Americans, 1989-91).
According to its website, ICC “develops first class multi-purpose event centers for mid-sized cities.”
Also from ICC’s website: “Since 2003, ICC has developed 10 Event Centers; no other entity has done more than 1 in that time frame.”
According to MyMcMurray.com, Global has said the window to acquire an existing WHL franchise “will close soon if there are delays in starting the project.”
“What we do know is that there is an immediate opportunity to negotiate for a WHL franchise,” reads part of its submission, according to MyMcMurray.com.
All of this is most interesting indeed, if only because at least one WHL owner, within the last few years, looked into moving his franchise to Fort McMurray.
This owner went so far as to begin putting together a private partnership — one that included at least two prominent hockey people — that would have financed the building of an arena.
This owner has told me that the WHL office quickly informed him that the league, citing geographic reasons, wasn’t the least bit interested in having a franchise in Fort McMurray.
Fort McMurray is a 440-kilometre (274-mile) drive from Edmonton.
UPDATE: In the wee hours of this morning, Tyler King, the radio voice of the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, tweeted: “A defining moment in Fort McMurray’s history as (city) council approves expropriation for a downtown arena.”
“Three days have been set aside in June to deal with six charges against Tom Gaglardi and his father, Robert, and one charge against the Gaglardi family business, Northland Properties Corporation,” writes Dale Bass of Kamloops This Week. "The charges stem from an incident last year on lakefront property
Tom Gaglardi owns in Savona, where the Crown alleges the pair and their
company contravened federal legislation by 'first clearing and then
filling land, actions that resulted in the harmful alternation,
disruption or destruction of fish habitat, the foreshore of Kamloops
Tom Gaglardi owns the NHL’s Dallas Stars and is the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.
That story is right here.
F Hunter Shinkaruk of the Medicine Hat Tigers “is officially at his wits end about the officials,” writes Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News. . . . That story is right here. . . .
According to a source, Calgary Hitmen D Kenton Helgesen has undergone surgery to repair a broken finger that was injured in the first-round series against the Swift Current Broncos. He apparently won’t play again this season unless the Hitmen reach the Memorial Cup.
THE COACHING GAME:
Tim Whitehead no longer is the head coach of the U of Maine Black Bears. The school announced Tuesday that Whitehead had been fired after 12 years as head coach. He had one year left on his contract, at $190,000. Maine was 11-19-8 overall this season, including 7-12-8 in Hockey East. The Black Bears were swept from a best-of-three quarterfinal by UMass Lowell. . . . Whitehead took over the Black Bears in 2001 after the death of Shawn Walsh. . . . Larry Mahoney of the Bangor Daily News has more right here.
The WHL’s playoff situation:
Edmonton (1) vs. Medicine Hat (7)
(Edmonton leads, 3-0; Game 4, tonight, in Medicine Hat)
Calgary (3) vs. Red Deer (4)
(Calgary leads, 3-1; Game 5, Thursday, in Calgary)
Portland (1) vs. Spokane (4)
(Portland leads 3-0; Game 4, tonight, in Spokane)
Kelowna (2) vs. Kamloops (3)
(Kamloops leads 3-0; Game 4, tonight, in Kamloops; all games on Shaw TV)
In Red Deer, F Cody Sylvester scored at 5:10 of OT to give the Calgary Hitmen a 3-2 victory over the Rebels. . . . Sylvester, Calgary’s captain, has four goals in these playoffs. . . . “We call him Captain Clutch in the dressing room,” Calgary G Chris Driedger told reporters, “and he definitely lived up to his name.” . . . Calgary F Jake Virtanen scored the game’s first goal and drew an assist on the winner. . . . The Hitmen have scored first in eight of their nine playoff games. . . . F Brooks Macek gave Calgary a 2-0 lead at 13:00 of the first. . . . Red Deer tied it on second-period PP goals by F Dominik Volek and F Conner Bleackley. . . . This was the fourth straight road game in which Calgary went to OT. . . . Driedger stopped 37 shots, nine more than Red Deer’s Patrik Bartosak. . . . Red Deer F Matt Bellerive has completed his two-game suspension for a kneeing major in Game 2. . . .
In Medicine Hat, F Henrik Samuelsson gave the Edmonton Oil Kings an early 2-0 lead and they went on to beat the Tigers, 9-2. . . . Samuelsson scored at 1:39 and 12:25 of the first, the latter on the PP. . . . D Martin Gernat added another PP goal, just 2:10 later, and Edmonton was never caught. . . . F Michael St. Croix and Gernat had two goals each. . . . D Cody Corbett added a goal and two assists for the Oil Kings, who have outscored their opponents 40-7 in eight games. . . . Edmonton D David Musil who turned 20 on Tuesday, had two assists and was plus-4. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit stopped 25 shots. In these playoffs, he is 7-1, 0.85, .966. He has three shutouts in eight games. . . . Edmonton was 3-for-7 on the PP. . . . Last season, the Tigers swept the Saskatoon Blades from the first round and then were swept by the Moose Jaw Warriors. This season, the Tigers swept the Blades again, and now are down 0-3 to the Oil Kings. . . .
In Kamloops, F JC Lipon scored at 3:43 of OT to give the Blazers a 5-4 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The teams combined for five goals in the first period and three in the second before playing a scoreless third. . . . Lipon, who leads all scorers with 19 points, is the only WHL player with at least a point in each of his team’s playoff games. . . . F Dylan Willick scored twice and added an assist for Kamloops. . . . Blazers F Brendan Ranford had a goal and an assist, giving him six points in the three games of this series. . . . F JT Barnett, who hadn’t played since Game 1 of the first round, had two goals for Kelowna. . . . Rockets F Nick Merkley, 15, had two assists in a strong outing. . . . Kamloops G Cole Cheveldave stopped 33 shots. . . . Blazers F Kale Kessy scored his ninth goal of these playoffs. . . . Kelowna F Ryan Olsen, a 32-goal man in the regular season, got his first goal in 10 playoff games. . . . The Blazers hadn’t won an OT game at home since April 6, 1996 when Jarome Iginla scored on the PP at 13:23 for a 4-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Between then and now, the Blazers had lost seven straight OT decisions on home ice. . . . Kelowna F Tyson Baillie sat out Game 2 of a two-game suspension. The Rockets’ leading playoff scorer is eligible to return for Game 4 tonight. . . .He was suspended for a hit on Kamloops F Colin Smith in Game 1. Smith (suspected concussion) and F Tim Bozon (hand) are both missing from the Blazers’ lineup. . . .
In Spokane, G Mac Carruth stopped 25 shots as the Portland Winterhawks beat the Chiefs, 3-1. . . . Carruth has a WHL-record 40 playoff victories. . . . Portland F Ty Rattie scored his WHL-leading 10th goal at 19:13 of the first. . . . F Nic Petan made it 2-0 at 8:01 of the second. . . . Spokane F Blake Gal scored at 16:24 of the second, on a PP. . . . Portland F Taylor Leier iced it with an empty-netter at 19:45 of the third. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 33 shots. . . . Paul Buker of The Oregonian was there and his story is right here.
CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT (15):
CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT (5):
From Regan Bartel (@Reganrant), the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets: “Ok, now I know where I sit in the pecking order. @DanRussellCKNW gets premium parking at ISC. I’m asked to park three blocks away. #bigdog”
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