THE MacBETH REPORT:
D Brent Henley (Saskatoon, Swift Current, Prince George, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). He had three goals and 12 assists in 59 games with the Fort Wayne Komets and Florida Everblades (both ECHL) and had no points in five games on loan to the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) last season.
The WHL is poised to reveal its exhibition schedule today and then to unveil its regular-season schedule on Wednesday.
The exhibition schedule will open Aug. 27 with the Moose Jaw Warriors visiting the Broncos in Swift Current for a rookies game.
The Everett Silvertips tournament, which also is to include the Seattle Thunderbirds, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs, Portland Winterhawks and Victoria Royals, is scheduled to run from Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.
The Edmonton Oil Kings tournament is to be held Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, with the Red Deer Rebels, Prince George Cougars, Medicine Hat Tigers, Calgary Hitmen and Swift Current also in attendance.
The following weekend, Sept. 5-8, Portland, Spokane, Seattle, Everett and the Kootenay Ice will join the host Tri-City Americans at their annual tournament in Kennewick, Wash.
As well, Kootenay, Calgary and the Lethbridge Hurricanes will play three games in Crowsnest Pass, Alta., Sept. 13-15.
Calgary and Lethbridge are to play a game in Taber, Alta., on Sept. 5. Also taking their shows on the road will be Edmonton and Red Deer (Lacombe, Sept. 13), Medicine Hat and Red Deer (Stettler, Sept. 14), and Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades (Warman, Sept. 14).
The final exhibition games are scheduled for Sept. 15.
Some notes on the regular-season schedule:
It is scheduled to begin on Sept. 19 with Swift Current visiting the Regina Pats, whose head coach, Malcolm Cameron, will be making his debut.
There will be eight games the following night, with the defending-champion Portland Winterhawks holding their home-opener in the Rose Garden against the Prince George Cougars.
The Medicine Hat Tigers, whose home arena had four feet of water in it on Monday, are to play their home-opener, against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, on Sept. 21.
The Calgary Hitmen, the Saddledome devastated by floodwaters on the weekend, are to play their home-opener on Sept. 28 against the Red Deer Rebels.
Prince Albert fans will get their first look at new head coach Cory Clouston on Sept. 21 when the Saskatoon Blades are the visitors. The Raiders are to play in Saskatoon on Sept. 20.
Drake Berehowsky, the new head coach in Lethbridge, makes his debut on Sept. 20 against visiting Medicine Hat.
Dave Hunchak, who moved up from associate coach to take over as head coach in Kamloops, gets his first regular-season taste on Sept. 20 against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. Of course, Hunchak was the head coach for four seasons in Moose Jaw before coming to Kamloops two years ago, so it’s not like it will be a new experience to him.
And you know that it will be noisy in Everett on Sept. 21 as the Silvertips, with Kevin Constantine having returned to their bench, play host to Prince George.
Meanwhile, the WHL schedule goes black from Nov. 24 through Nov. 28, with the Grey Cup in Regina on the Sunday and the Subway Super Series in Red Deer and Lethbridge on Nov. 27 and 28, respectively.
It goes black for nine days over Christmas, with no games scheduled from Dec. 18-26, inclusive. Play resumes with 10 games on Dec. 27.
Six teams have scheduled New Year’s Eve home games — Brandon is at Edmonton, Victoria at Everett, Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, Kelowna at Portland, Kamloops at Seattle, and Spokane at Tri-City.
There will be three afternoon games on New Year’s Day — Lethbride at Regina, Swift Current at Saskatoon, and Everett at Victoria.
Victoria and Everett will open their Dec. 31 game at 6:05 p.m., then hustle to Vancouver Island for a 3:05 p.m. start on Jan. 1.
On Jan. 14, Medicine Hat will play in Lethbridge, while Seattle is in Spokane. The CHL Top Prospects game is the following night in Calgary.
There aren’t any games scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2).
The regular season is to conclude on March 16, with the playoffs to begin on March 21. Should a tiebreaker be needed to decide one of the conference’s final playoff spots, it would be played on March 18.
The Prince Albert Raiders have named Ron Gunville their new assistant director of player personnel, replacing the recently retired Ray Dudra. . . . The Raiders also added two scouts to their staff — Doug Padget of Saskatoon and Dwaine Hutton of Calgary. . . . Gunville, who played 38 games with the Raiders in the late 1980s, had been on the staff of the Prince George Cougars. In fact, when the Cougars named Todd Harkins their head scout and director of player personnel on June 14, general manager Dallas Thompson also announced that “Gunville and Pacific-area scout Bob Simmonds will have expanded roles as scouting directors in their respective territories.”
The Oklahoma City Barons, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, have signed D Joey Leach to an ATO. Leach played four seasons with the Kootenay Ice, completing his eligibility this season. He was a third-round selection by the Calgary Flames in the 2010 NHL draft, but they never signed him. He actually finished this season with the Barons, getting into one regular-season game.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Salmon Arm SilverBacks have added Kevin Kraus (Kamloops, Tri-City, 2006-08) as an assistant coach. He also will serve as the club’s strength-and-conditioning coach. Kraus, from Garden Grove, Calif., spent the past two seasons as general manager and head coach of the junior B Revelstoke Grizzlies of the Kootenay International junior league.
Matt Erhart has joined the Vancouver Giants as an assistant coach under head coach Don Hay. Erhart replaces Glen Hanlon, who now is the head coach of the Belarusian national team. . . . Erhart spent the last three seasons as head coach of the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, who won the league championship this season.
With Erhart gone, the Eagles named team president Peter Schaefer (Brandon, 1994-97) the new general manager and head coach. Schaefer is coming off his first season as an assistant coach with the Eagles.
Brad Lukowich (Kamloops, 1993-96) has signed on as an assistant coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The announcement came two weeks after Drake Berehowsky was named the club’s new head coach. . . . Lukowich, who is from Kamloops, is a two-time Stanley Cup champ who ended his playing career after the 2012-13 season.
The NHL’s Minnesota Wild has moved its AHL affiliate from Houston to Des Moines, Iowa. But, as Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register has pointed out, the team doesn’t have a coaching staff. John Torchetti, the Houston Aero’s head coach for the past two seasons, now is the head coach of the KHL’s CSKA Moscow. As well, assistant coaches Sebastien Laplante and Mike Van Ryn won’t be back. . . . Emmert’s report is right here.
From former WHL D Brandon Underwood (@BUND3RWOOD): “Officially registered for classes today at UBC. For the first time in my life I'm actually excited for school. #LearningIsFun”
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