Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giants owner issues news release

This news release issued on Saturday needs no further comment:
VANCOUVER, BC — Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo has issued the following statement regarding Giants players Brett Kulak and Jackson Houck:
Due to an incident that took place on August 18 at a Tsawwassen house party, both players will be in court on November 20th to have these matters dealt with.
We cannot comment on the charges or the likely outcome at this time, and hopefully this will all be behind us after that court date.
What we can say is that our players are held to a higher standard and, for the most part, live up to that.
This is the first instance that we have had a player have to go to court and that is unfortunate.
Both Jackson and Brett have been, and are, exceptional people.
They have been good students, and have put in many hours of community service hours through school visits and the Read to Succeed program, Odd Squad with Chris Graham of the Vancouver Police, and hospital visits with the Giants' Christmas program.
Both these players have been, and are, very good citizens and have been good members of our community.
It is unfortunate that one negative incident gets the attention instead of all the good things that have been done.
They are both prepared to deal with whatever the court decides.
Please appreciate and understand that the players and anyone from the Vancouver Giants organization cannot comment on any of these legal matters.
There isn't much doubt that the biggest challenge facing minor hockey in Canada is the cost of playing the game.
A friend with five-year-old twins found that out this autumn as the boys were equipped and registered to play in an initiation 'Fun Hockey' program.
Here's a look at what it cost to get started:
Skates were $89 each.
Equipment was $138.50 each.
Registration was $205 each.
They owned helmets, otherwise the cost would have been even more. As it was, he said they spent $964 total.
The friend added that had he and his wife registered their boys in the initiation program operated by their city's minor hockey association, the registration fee would have been $620 each and he estimated it would have ended up costing $1,795 in total.
"Next year," he figures, "we would have the hockey gear costs except for new elbow pads, helmets and skates and we are still looking at $1,400. Hopefully, all of their gear fits but I know the elbow pads won't."
On the same subject, James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail takes a look at minor hockey and the costs right here. Should my friend's two boys end up playing rep hockey, he had better hope he wins a lottery in order to pay their way.
Congratulations to Brian Coates and Tom Thompson, two men with ties to the WHL, both of whom are among the 2014 class of inductees to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame. . . . Coates (Brandon, 1971-72) is from Roland, Man., while Thompson was the last general manager of the Winnipeg Warriors, before the WHL franchise picked up and moved to Moose Jaw in 1984.
From the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame news release:
"Brian Coates . . . was an outstanding batter, fielder, pitcher, competitor, and leader by example, for the great Carman Goldeyes Junior and Senior dynasties of the 1970s and '80s. When not pitching, Brian played 1st or 3rd base and was always one of their top performers. He was a feared batter for both average and power and often a league leader in several offensive categories. In his career, Brian played on many all-star teams highlighted by winning the Western Canada Senior Championship in Nanaimo, B.C., with the the Redboine all-stars in 1978. Brian also enjoyed a successful professional hockey career after being drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1972."
"From 1972 to 1991, Tom (Thompson) was a driving force on the Winnipeg and Manitoba baseball scene. He began his coaching career with the Issac Brock Royals and achieved immediate success by capturing Manitoba Bantam titles in 1973 and ’74 and Provincial Midget titles in 1975 and '76. Tom was one of the founding members of the reformed Manitoba Junior Baseball League in 1977. He became owner, operator, and coach of the South End Chiefs for 10 years and his teams were highly competitive and annually one of the top teams in the league. In 1981, Tom coached Team Manitoba at the Canada Summer Games. In 1987, Tom took over the Elmwood Giants Junior Team and in his first year at the helm captured the MJBL crown and the Western Canada Junior championship and then added another MJBL title in 1990. Over the years, Tom also served on the MBA executive as Competition and Development Chair and served in similar capacities with the Winnipeg Minor Baseball Association."
G Spencer Tremblay, 19, who has had stints with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats, now is with the BCHL's Chilliwack Chiefs. They have acquired the Winnipegger from the MJHL's Waywayseecappo Wolverines for future considerations.
In Swift Current, the Broncos ran their winning streak to seven games with a 6-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Swift Current took control with four goals before the game was 15 minutes old. . . . Broncos F Colby Cave had two goals and an assist, while D Julius Honka drew three assists. . . . Swift Current G Eetu Laurikainen made 40 saves. . . .

In Saskatoon, F Torrin White scored at 3:59 of OT to give the Moose Jaw Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Blades. . . . Still, the Blades went 2-0-1 in playing three games in three nights in three different cities. . . . The Warriors had lost five straight. . . . White, who has six goals, finished with two goals and an assist. . . . Saskatoon D Ryan Coghlan forced OT with a PP goal at 12:44 of the third period as the Blades erased a 3-1 deficit. . . . Moose Jaw F Josh Uhrich, who scored his first goal of the season Friday, added another one in this game. Uhrich, 17, also added an assist as he doubled his point total. He's got four in 21 games. Last season, as a freshman, he had four points, one of them a goal, in 58 games. . . . Saskatoon F Nikita Scherbak had his point streak snapped at 13 games. . . .

In Lethbridge, the Red Deer Rebels scored three PP goals and beat the Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Rebels finished a six-game road swing at 3-3. . . . The Hurricanes, now 2-16-3, have lost nine in a row. . . . Red Deer D Haydn Fleury had three assists. . . . F Rhyse Dieno gave the visitors a 4-1 lead with his seventh goal, on the PP, at 10:50 of the second. . . . The Hurricanes got late second-period goals from F Jamal Watson and F Brady Ramsay, but couldn't beat G Patrick Bartosak in the third period. . . .

In Calgary, F Curtis Valk scored the only goal of the shootout as the Medicine Hat Tigers beat the Hitmen, 3-2. . . . Medicine Hat G Daniel Wapple stopped 36 shots through OT and added three more in the skills competition. . . . Calgary D Kenton Helgesen scored with 10.3 seconds left in the third period to tie it 2-2. . . . Calgary has lost three straight. . . . Medicine Hat F Hunter Shinkaruk scored in his second game back from a hip injury. He hadn't played since Oct. 23. He has 11 points, five of them goals, in nine games. . . . Shinkaruk also scored an 'own' goal, beating Wapple through the five-hole early in the first period. “I hadn’t been back in the lineup for awhile,” a joking Shinkaruk told Scott Fisher of the Calgary Sun. “I thought I might as well get my first goal and work on it from there.” In explaining what happened, Shinkaruk added: “I saw it there and I panicked. I tried to take it to the corner and I guess I picked (Wapple’s) five-hole pretty good. It was a little bit of a tough skate back to the bench, but luckily enough, I got another one (at the other end) to even it out.” . . .

In Kelowna, G Jordon Cooke stopped 25 shots to help the Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . With the victory, their seventh straight, the Rockets (14-2-2) moved into a tie with the Portland Winterhawks (14-4-2) atop the overall standings. . . . Cooke has two shutouts this season and seven in his career. . . . WHL Facts (@WHLFacts) notes that, going back to last season, Cooke is 16-0-2 in his last 18 regular-season starts. . . . The Oil Kings had put up three shutouts in a row going into this one. . . . The shutout streak ended at 257 minutes 44 seconds when F Justin Kirkland scored his fourth goal, via the PP, at 9:34 of the second period. . . . The Oil Kings, who were 0-for-8 on the PP, had a four-game winning streak ended as they finished 6-2-0 in a road swing. They were playing their fifth game in seven nights. . . .

In Kent, Wash., the Regina Pats began a U.S. Division tour with a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds, who now have lost four in a row. . . . Regina held a 54-31 edge in shots. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk scored twice for Regina, which has won three straight. He got the Pats' first two goals, at which point he had figured in six straight Regina scores. . . . Regina F Braden Christoffer broke a 2-2 tie at 8:50 of the third period and F Boston Leier made it 4-2 at 11:18 on the PP. . . . Regina D Connor Gay had a career-high three assists. . . . Seattle D Ethan Bear, 16, didn't play after leaving the previous night's game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Pats arrived in Kent on Friday and watched the first two periods of the Thunderbirds' 5-3 loss to the Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle F Justin Hickman took a boarding major and game misconduct at 3:03 of the third period for a hit on Regina D Tye Hand. . . . Hand, who needed help leaving the ice and didn't return, was playing his fifth game since returning from a suspected brain injury. . . .

In Cranbrook, G Wyatt Hoflin stopped 23 shots to help the Kootenay Ice to a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Hoflin is shouldering the load with G Mackenzie Skapski injured. . . . F Austin Vetterl's fourth goal, a PP snipe at 18:49 of the second period, gave the home side a 3-1 lead and stood up as the winner. . . . Spokane F Mitch Holmberg became the first WHLer to 50 points as he notched his 23rd goal and an assist. He leads the WHL in goals, assists (28) and points (51). . . . F Mike Aviani, the other half of Spokane's Daily Double, got his 18th goal. . . . Spokane F Dominic Zwerger, who I don't believe returned to Friday night's game after getting into a fight with F Brady Ramsay of the host Lethbridge Hurricanes just nine seconds into the first period, was scratched. Zwerger, 17, is a freshman from Austria. That was the first fight of his WHL career and came in his 13th game. His only other penalty this season? A headshot major in his first game. . . . The Ice scratched F Jaeden Descheneau, its second-leading scorer. The move was a coach's decision. . . .

In Vancouver, the Giants scored the game's last four goals and beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-1. . . . D Brett Kulak scored twice for the Vancouver. . . . D Dmitry Osipov, the first selection in the CHL's 2013 import draft, scored his first WHL goal in the second period and it stood up as the winner. . . . Kulak has nine goals this season. . . . The Cougars have lost seven in a row. . . .

In Portland, F Brandon Magee scored 31 seconds into OT was the Victoria Royals beat the Winterhawks, 3-2. . . . That was Magee's second goal of the game. . . . The Royals ventured into the U.S. Division and won twice in two nights. They beat the host Seattle Thunderbirds 5-3 on Friday night. . . . Victoria G Coleman Vollrath turned aside 41 shots. . . . Magee has five goals this season. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 16th goal as he ran his point streak to 14 games, the longest in the WHL at the moment. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Brian Williams scored a PP goal 18 seconds in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Silvertips. . . . Williams, who has 16 goals, scored twice and set up another. . . . Everett F Josh Winquist scored his 15th goal at 4:58 of the third period, on a PP, to force OT. . . . Tri-City F Ty Comrie and F Phil Tot, both of whom sat out Friday's game, were back for this one. . . . The Silvertips had won three in a row.

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