Thursday, May 23, 2013

F Codey Burki (Brandon, 2002-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Lausanne (Switzerland, NL A). Burki, who holds dual Canadian-Swiss citizenship, had 12 goals and 17 assists in 39 games this season. Lausanne won the NL B Championship and promotion to NL A for next season. . . .
D Vladimir Mihalik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) signed a two-year contract extension with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had two goals in 15 games with Slovan this season.
A little of this and some of that . . .
1. The line of the night goes to Les Lazaruk, the veteran play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades. It was the middle of the second period when Lazaruk commented that the fans were really into the game “complaining about everything.” . . . Pause . . . Then he added: “I’d swear it was Moose Jaw.”
2. Bob Wilkie, who won a Memorial Cup in Saskatoon the last time the tournament was played in Saskatoon, is the new director of player development and scouting for the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. Wilkie, who is from Calgary, was a defenceman with the Swift Current Broncos when they beat the Blades in the final of the 1989 tournament.
3. There will be a lot of talk about the hit by Saskatoon D Dalton Thrower on Portland F Taylor Leier in the first period. . . . If you haven’t seen it, it’s right here.
4. At this point of the Memorial Cup, all disciplinary situations are handled by the NHL’s Hockey Operations department. The people there will be taking a whole lot of looks at Thrower’s hit and will make a decision (suspend or not) early today. . . . Meanwhile, I would be surprised if Leier, who was awfully woozy as he left the ice, plays again in this tournament.
5. The Winterhawks filled Leier’s spot on their second line, alongside Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand, with Paul Bittner, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder from Crookston, Minn. And he was a factor in Portland’s second goal, De Leo’s score that put the Winterhawks up 2-1 at 4:08 of the third period. . . . This really spotlights Portland’s depth. Don’t forget that the Winterhawks lost three of their top four scorers from last season (F Sven Baertschi, F Brad Ross and D Joe Morrow) and really didn’t miss a beat.
6. I’m thinking that Portland F Brendan Leipsic was kind of busy in the second intermission, because that’s when word broke on Twitter that he had signed with the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Must have faxed the contract in from the Winterhawks’ dressing quarters. . . . He then came out and scored his first goal of the tournament at 6:27 of the third period, and that one proved to be the winner. . . . (Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports reported later that Leipsic actually signed on Sunday.)
7. Attendance was 9,239, so cue the groans. . . . The London Knights, the host team for the 2014 tournament, have announced that ticket packages will sell for between $600 and $680. They play in the 9,100-seat Budweiser Gardens. If they are able to create a demand for tickets, they’ll sell out. The Blades, who play in the 15,195-seat Credit Union Centre, aren’t able to create a demand for tickets.
8. After Portland F Ty Rattie scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the third period, WHL Facts (@WHLFacts) tweeted: “450 — If you count up his reg season, playoff, & MC points.. You'll see that @pdxwinterhawks Ty Rattie just recorded the 450th of his career.”
9. The Blades meet the London Knights in the tiebreaker game tonight, with the winner moving on to play the Winterhawks in the semifinal game on Friday. . . . The Halifax Mooseheads are into Sunday’s final.
10. Driving home from work on Wednesday night, I noticed two gas stations charging $1.41.9 for a litre of regular gasoline. That’s up seven cents a litre from earlier in the day and 30 cents from February.
The Vancouver Giants have placed D Tyler Nanne, 17, on their protected list and are working hard in an attempt to land the grandson of former Minnesota North Stars icon Lou Nanne. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has more right here.
Well, Wenatchee, Wash., wasn’t without the NAHL for long. Just a few days after the Wild announced that it was relocating to Hidalgo, Texas, the Fresno Monsters have revealed that they will be moving to Wenatchee. . . . One of the reasons the Wild left was an inability to reach a lease agreement with the Town Toyota Center; the Monsters apparently had no such problem. . . . Michelle McNiel of the Wenatchee World reports that the NAHL board of governors is to meet today and Friday, and approval for the move is expected to be granted.
Geoff Grimwood is return for a second season as the head coach of the B.C. Major Midget League’s South Island Royals, who play out of Victoria. The Royals were 11-22-7 last season. . . . Grimwood also is an part-time assistant coach with the WHL’s Victoria Royals. . . . Rob Milliken has signed on as an associate coach alongside Grimwood. Milliken coached the major midget team from 2005-10.

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