Friday, August 23, 2013

Warriors' Jackson retires, cites post-concussion syndrome

F Bernhard Keil (Kamloops, 2010-11) has been assigned on loan by the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) to Kaufbeuren (Germany, DEL2). He had two assists in 40 games with Straubing and one goal and three assists in nine games on loan to Regensburg (Germany, Oberliga) last season. . . .
F Trent Whitfield (Spokane, 1993-98) signed a one-year contract with Bolzano (Italy, Austria Erste Bank Liga). He had six goals and six assists in 48 games for the Providence Bruins (AHL). Whitfield was captain of the Bruins last season. . . .
F Tomas Polak (Red Deer, 2007-09) had his tryout contract with Landshut (Germany, DEL2) terminated due to injury. Polak suffered a broken wrist in his second exhibition game with Landshut on Monday. The injury will force him out of action for two to three months. Last season, Polak had one goal in one game with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga), three assists in 11 games on loan to Most (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and two assists in 27 games on loan to Berounsti Medvedi (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).
After 168 regular-season games over four WHL seasons, D Reid Jackson has retired.
“With the number of concussions I've had over my WHL career, my family and I decided it was time to stop,” he told me Thursday night in a lengthy conversation via Facebook.
“I haven't been able to work out at full capacity since last October and my memory isn't as good as it used to be.”
Under normal circumstances, Jackson, who is from Weyburn, Sask., and whose father, Les, is the assistant GM of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, would be preparing for his 20-year-old season.
However, Reid is suffering from post-concussion syndrome.
Asked how many concussions he incurred during his WHL career, Jackson replied: “I would say anywhere between five and eight in my four seasons.”
Jackson began his WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, playing 50 games in 2009-10. Early in the 2011-12 season, he was dealt to the Prince George Cougars. On May 3, 2012, the Cougars traded him to the Moose Jaw Warriors.
He played only 12 games with Moose Jaw, shutting it down after an Oct. 24 game against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Jackson said he has tried working in construction but had some “episodes” and now has decided to go to school.
“I did have episodes where I would have to stop and take a break from being light-headed or dizzy,” he said, adding that he “just recently took a few weeks off to recover and decided to get out of a physical labour career and go to school.”
Jackson also had issues with depression, something “my doctor and I believe has stemmed from the injuries.”
While he fights this latest battle, Jackson said he keeps in contact with his agent, Jason Taylor, and that he regularly hears from the Warriors.
The Warriors, he said, call to “see how things are going” and suggesting that if he ever needs anything to let them know.
Interestingly, Jackson and Brent Benson, another WHLer who has had to quit hockey due to post-concussion syndrome, are the best of friends.
“We have been since childhood,” Jackson noted.
As Jackson attempts to resume something of a ‘normal’ lifestyle, he said that he is able to watch TV and to read without experiencing any issues.
“Living an every day lifestyle is pretty normal,” he said, “but there isn't any chance of any more contact sports.”
Jackson was a defenceman who played a gritty game. Now having been forced into retirement, he said one of the keys to dealing with brain injuries rests with players who have been injured.
“I don't think they can be avoided,” he said. “I think the players with concussions need to be more honest with their symptoms so the chances of them getting another are less and they won't suffer the long-term effects.
“I think hockey should stay as a rough sport. I think they just need to teach kids to protect themselves at a young age, rather than punish kids for playing the game the way it is meant to be played.”
Wade Klippenstein has signed on as the Brandon Wheat Kings’ new director of scouting. He takes over from Al Macpherson, who stepped down as director of player personnel earlier this summer after being with the club since 1986. . . . Klippenstein, 43, was born in Boissevain, which is about six slapshots south of Brandon, and raised in Dauphin, which is that far north of Brandon. He spent the last six seasons with the Prince George Cougars. For the last four seasons, he was assistant general manager and director of player personnel. Klippenstein left the Cougars just before the 2013 bantam draft; neither he nor the Cougars have explained the obvious falling out. . . . Klippenstein also is the head scout for Team Pacific, which will play in the U-17 World Hockey Challenge.
F Tanner Eberle of the Moose Jaw Warriors will go to camp with the Montreal Canadiens’ prospects, Sept. 5-9. “I was pretty excited,” the undrafted Eberle, 19, told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’ve kind of stuck in the shadows until I got my chance and hopefully I can break out. Getting to go to a camp is a big deal for me and that’s something I’ve wanted to do since I got to the WHL.” . . . Eberle had 36 points in 65 games last season.
Gourlie reports that two other Warriors — D Morgan Rielly (Toronto) and D Travis Brown (Chicago) — also will go to NHL camps.
WHL team logoGreg Meachem, the sports editor at the Red Deer Advocate, reports that the Red Deer Rebels will have players going to NHL camps — D Mathew Dumba, Minnesota; G Patrik Bartosak, Los Angeles; F Rhyse Dieno, Minnesota; D Kayle Doetzel, Nashville, and F Lukas Sutter, Winnipeg. . . . Dumba, Bartosak and Sutter are NHL draft picks, while Dieno and Doetzel are free-agent invitees.
F Logan Nelson, 20, of the Victoria Royals will play for the Buffalo Sabres’ prospects in the annual tournament at Traverse City, Mich., Sept. 5-9. Nelson was a fifth-round selection by the Sabres in the 2012 NHL draft. . . . Royals F Ben Walker, 20, also will play in that tournament. He is a free-agent invitee to the Minnesota Wild’s camp. . . . Victoria D Keegan Kanzig, a third-round pick by Calgary in the 2013 draft, will play for the Flames at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C., Sept. 5-9. . . . Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Time Colonist also reports that F Steven Hodges was to attend the Florida Panthers’ prospects camp but that he may have to sit this one out because “of an injury that might require minor surgery.” He was a third-round selection by Florida in 2012.

F Eetu Selanne, 15, will be in camp with the Calgary Hitmen rookies today. Yes, he is Teemu’s son. Eetu was born in Coto de Caza, Calif. . . . F Brayden Cuthbert, 19, who last played in the WHL in 2010-11, is in camp with the Saskatoon Blades. Cuthbert played 39 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2010-11 before his season was ended by a brain injury. He last played on Jan. 22, 2011. Cuthbert didn’t play in 2011-12, and spent last season with the MJHL’s Neepawa Natives. . . . G Spencer Tremblay, 19, who got into one game with the Red Deer Rebels last season after playing 20 for the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2011-12, is in camp with the Saskatoon Blades, as is F Daniel Wray, 18, who had one assist in 31 games with the Seattle Thunderbirds last season. . . .
F Daniel Nachbaur, the son of Spokane Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur, is in camp with the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. Daniel will turn 18 on Sept. 30. . . . The Centennials opened the BCHL preseason last night with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Salmon Arm SilverBacks. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that F Taylor Vickerman, 17, hasn’t reported to the Vancouver Giants “and scuttlebutt around the league is that the sophomore left winger would prefer a trade closer to his Kennewick, Wash., home.”
Richard Sandomir of The New York Times has an interesting piece right here.
He writes: “ESPN on Thursday ended its official association with ‘Frontline,’ the public television public affairs series, on a two-part documentary about concussions in the N.F.L. that is scheduled to be televised in October. After 15 months on the venture, ESPN chose to strip its name, logo and credit from the films, ‘League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.’ ”
And now for some really good news. . . .
The Los Angeles Dodgers are expected to announce today that the legendary Vin Scully will be back calling the play in 2014. Scully, 85, will be calling baseball for a 65th season in 2014.
The Los Angeles Times has more right here.

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