THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Kevin Saurette (Regina, 1997-99) signed a one-year contract extension with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland, UK Elite). Saurette started the season with Kaufbeuren (Germany, 2. Bundesliga), where he had 10 goals and 16 assists in 25 games. He then signed with the Giants just before Christmas and had 14 goals and 18 assists in 28 games. You can read about it right here. . . .
F Konstantin Pushkaryov (Calgary, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract extension with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). He had four goals and six assists in 28 games with Barys this season.
A little of this and some of that . . .
1. The Saskatoon Blades’ season came to an end last night with a 6-1 loss to the London Knights in the tiebreaker game at the Memorial Cup. The Knights will play the Portland Winterhawks in the semifinal game tonight, with the winner meeting the Halifax Mooseheads in the final on Sunday. . . .
2. The Blades’ season was one to remember, but surely for a lot of the wrong reasons. After beating the host Edmonton Oil Kings 3-2 in a shootout on March 12, the Blades finished with one victory in their last 10 games.
3. With the Blades loss, we are left to wonder if we have witnessed the final game of Lorne Molleken’s WHL coaching career. Only Ken Hodge (742) has more WHL regular-season coaching victories than Molleken (603).
4. If Molleken does choose to step aside as head coach — he would, the theory goes, stay on as general manager — who replaces him? Three names you are certain to hear: David Struch, the Blades’ associate coach; Dean Brockman, who just finished his 12th season as head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos (he also is the GM); and Chad Mercier, who resigned as the general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs following the season
5. The moment that Saskatoon D Dalton Thrower raised his left arm, he was done. It was Wednesday night and Thrower was trying to stop an outside-in move by Portland F Taylor Leier. Thrower’s arm made contact with Leier’s head and now neither skater will play again in this Memorial Cup. . . . Thrower, who served a two-game suspension in October for a headshot in a game in Lethbridge, was suspended for the remainder of the Memorial Cup by NHL Hockey Operations (yes, that’s National Hockey League Hockey Operations), which handles disciplinary matters at this stage of the tournament. . . . With Thrower out, the Blades inserted D Kyle Schmidt, 19, into the lineup.
6. Thrower wasn’t penalized on the play, meaning you are free to wonder what it was the four on-ice officials were watching at the time.
7. Also Thursday morning, Portland head coach Travis Green told the media that Leier won’t play Friday and isn’t expected to play again in the tournament, which means he won’t play in Sunday’s final should the Winterhawks get there. Leier obviously has a brain injury after taking a hit to the head and then having his head strike the ice when he went down.
8. Kevin Mitchell, the sports editor of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, has spoken with Jack Brodsky, the Blades’ owner and governor, about the attendance at the Memorial Cup. That story is right here. . . .
“Grumblings have been heard about ticket prices,” Mitchell writes, “which for Wednesday's game between the Blades and Portland Winterhawks ranged from $66.25 (including service charges) to $113.75 in the lower bowl. Most upper-bowl tickets were $66.25, though $37.50 tickets could be had at the back of the arena.”
Brodsky told Mitchell: "I think ticket prices are where they should be. This is the national championship; this is the top teams in Canada playing. If you compare it to some of the NHL exhibition games we have in Saskatoon and the quality of hockey there . . . our prices aren't as high as some of those are. I think we're priced right."
Sorry, Jack, but you are asking some working stiff to pay $37.50 to sit in the Bob Uecker seats to watch a junior hockey game. That’s too much, never mind having to pay more than $100 for one ticket in the lower bowl.
We’re talking junior hockey, a sport whose fan demographic — families and seniors — isn’t rolling in that kind of dough.
Some WHL teams encountered problems selling playoff tickets when the prices got to the neighbourhood of $30 a pop, especially with games on live television.
When you’re talking $100 a ticket, well, that’s a lot of Netflix.
(If you’re a Saskatoon hockey fan who didn’t buy Memorial Cup tickets, either a package or singles, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know your opinion.)
9. I was told Thursday that the deal involving the sale of the BCHL’s Salmon Arms has been completed. “The i’s are dotted, the t’s crossed,” someone with knowledge of the situation told me. “It’s done.” . . . The ownership group, which includes Troy Mick, is to be announced next week. Mick will be the club’s general manager and head coach. . . . Randy and Terry Williams had owned the franchise for six seasons. Mick, who already owned a piece of the franchise, also will serve as the president.
THE COACHING GAME:
Jay Varady is the new general manager and head coach of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, effective immediately. Varady spent the last two seasons in France as head coach of the Les Ducs d'Angers for the last two seasons. . . . Varady is a former associate and assistant coach with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. . . . He also was the video coach with the U.S. team that won the world junior champonship in 2010. . . .
Dale Hladun has resigned as head coach of the junior B Princeton Posse of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Hladun had one season left on a three-year contract. . . . Shortly after posting that on Twitter on Thursday, George Elliott (@PosseWebcrew) followed with: “More resignations from Princeton Posse executive expected in the next few days.” . . . Elliott also tweeted: “In his letter of resignation, Head Coach Dale Hladun claims to be owed $15,000 by the Princeton Posse.” . . . One more tweet from Elliott: “There are a lot of rumours flying around about the Posse. Remember, there are two sides of the story. Be sure to seek the information.” . . .
The Colorado Avalanche has cut a deal with Patrick Roy, who will be the NHL team’s head coach and vice-president of hockey operations. He had been co-owner, general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. . . .
Benoit Desrosiers has joined the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix as an assistant coach. Desrosiers, 24, spent this season as an assistant coach with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
From Portland Winterhawks F Taylor Peters (@thepistolpete25): “Congrats to @Jnicks20 on a great dub career”
@Jnicks20 is the Twitter handle for Saskatoon Blades F Josh Nicholls.
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