Saturday, June 15, 2013
1. It seems I am not the only person to be at least a bit concerned with the WHL's penchant for secrecy. . . . Small Thoughts At Large has a bone to pick with the WHL and it has to do with more apparent secrecy by the league and its teams. The last straw was the trade made Thursday by the Red Deer Rebels and Saskatoon Blades. It was announced as one player having been swapped for another player and two bantam draft picks. But it turns out that really wasn’t the case. Or was it? . . . Check out Small Thoughts At Large over there on the right.
2. The Tri-City Americans have named the Toyota Center locker-room used by the on-ice officials in honour of Alfred (Fred) Vallee, a long-time goal judge who died on June 6 at the age of 71. Vallee had been a goal judge since the Americans’ first game in 1988. . . . It is moves like this that keep the Americans at the top of the class.
3. Todd Harkins is the Prince George Cougars’ new head scout and director of player personnel. . . . Harkins, a former NHLer, replaces Wade Klippenstein, who resigned prior to the 2013 bantam draft citing philosophical differences with management. . . . Harkins is the father of F Jansen Harkins, who was taken second overall in the 2012 bantam draft by the Cougars. . . . Todd Harkins has scouted for the Cougars in the Vancouver area and worked a few games as an assistant coach last season while Jason Becker was with Team Pacific at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . As head coach of the Vancouver-Northwest Giants, Harkins won two B.C. Major Midget Hockey League championships. . . . The Cougars also announced that, according to a news release, “Western-area scout Ron Gunville and Pacific-area scout Bob Simmonds will have expanded roles as scouting directors in their respective territories."
4. F Taylor Makin, who played three WHL seasons (Prince George, Vancouver, 2009-12), has committed to attend Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., and play for the Axemen. . . . Makin played out his junior eligibility this season with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits, putting up 50 points in 50 regular-season games and then helping them win the RBC Cup as national champions.
5. It seems that Alain Vigneault, who was deposed as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks following the season, is going to be the next head coach of the New York Rangers. . . . He withdrew from consideration for that post with the Dallas Stars on Friday. . . . Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported late last night that Vigneault has the “inside track” on the head-coaching position with the New York Rangers and that a contract “offer may be forthcoming.” . . . Katie Strang of ESPNNewYork.com reports right here that the Rangers “have zeroed in on” Vigneault.
6. “Does every truck commercial claim to be ‘Truck of the year’?” wonders Prince Albert Raiders D Josh Morrissey in a Friday night tweet. . . . Ain’t that the truth!
7. The AHL final, with the Calder Cup on the line, isn’t over. The Syracuse Crunch scored a 3-2 victory over host Grand Rapids on Friday night, leaving the Griffins with a 3-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. . . . Game 5 is scheduled for tonight in Grand Rapids.
8. The Vancouver Canucks have cut a deal to operate their AHL affiliate in Utica, N.Y., as the Comets. . . . Chris Creamer at sportslogos.net has more right here, including a look at logos and sweaters. . . . The Canucks AHL affiliate had been the Chicago Wolves. However, Vancouver purchased the Peoria Rivermen franchise from the St. Louis Blues and has moved it to Utica. . . . That will kill, at least for now, the rumours of the Canucks taking their AHL farm team to Abbotsford, B.C., which is home to the Heat, a franchise hooked up with the Calgary Flames.
9. A body was recovered Friday from the Daugava River in Riga, Latvia, and, while a positive identification isn’t expected until early next week, it seems it most likely is that of Kristians Pelss, the former Edmonton Oil Kings forward who went missing this week. Bruce McCurdy of the Edmonton Journal has more right here.
10. Scott Winkler, the 23-year-old Dallas Stars prospect who was found dead at his family’s home in Norway on Wednesday, was the son of Rod Winkler, a former Brandon University Bobcats hockey player. . . . Rod, who is from Milestone, Sask., played for the Bobcats under head coach Andy Murray and then went on to play in Norway.
On Friday morning, Rod posted this message on this story by Joe Paisley that appeared on the Colorado Spring Gazette’s website:
“My family would like to thank everyone for their very kind thoughts. Seeing all the messages from Scott’s team mates, friends and the players he played against truly shows what a great and wonderful hockey world we live in.
“Scott we love you with all our hearts!
“Rod, Anne Karin and Karina Winkler”
THE COACHING GAME:
The OHL’s Sarnia Sting has promoted associate coach Trevor Letowski into the position as head coach. . . . Letowski, 36, signed a three-year contract. He replaces Jacques Beaulieu, who was fired late last month. . . . Letowski is a former Sting player who had a nine-season NHL career. . . . Beaulieu had been general manager and head coach. The team is operating without a GM now, preferring to do it by committee, at least for now. . . . Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports has more right here.
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