Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Getting caught up on transactions from the past few days. . . .
G Jeff Glass (Kootenay, 2002-05) was acquired by CSKA Moscow for monetary compensation from Spartak Moscow (both Russia, KHL). In 37 games, he had a 2.32 GAA and .919 save percentage. . . .
G Rastislav Stana (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 1998-2000) was released by CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) by mutual agreement. In 24 games, he was 2.41, .908. . . .
Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) announced the signing of F Eric Hunter (Prince George, 2002-07) for the rest of this season; the deal includes a club option for next season. Hunter was with Herlev (Denmark, AL-Bank Liga) this season. In 15 games, he had 13 points, including seven goals, before exercising an out clause last week. . . .
F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) has been traded by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk to Salavat Yulaev Ufa (both Russia, KHL) for “monetary compensation." In 38 games with Neftekhimik this season, he had 10 points, five of them goals. . . .
F Sebastian Svendsen (Vancouver, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, 2009-2012) has signed a contract through 2014-2015 with Herlev after being released by Aalborg (both Denmark, AL-Bank Liga). He wanted more ice time. In 26 games with Aalborg this season, he had two goals. . . .
F Jeremy Colliton (Prince Albert, 2001-05) has announced his retirement due to post-concussion syndrome via Mora (Sweden, Allsvenskan). With Mora this season, Colliton, the team’s captain, had three assists in three games. He has been suffering from post-concussion syndrome for the past four months. . . .
D Stefan Ulmer (Spokane, 2007-10) signed contract extension through 2016-17 with Lugano (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he has 15 points, six of them goals, in 36 games.

A daily newspaper closes its doors and coaches begin to disappear.
The Kamloops Daily News published for the last time on Saturday.
Early that morning, the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers announced they were making a coaching change, with Guy Charron coming out of a short-lived retirement to take over from Dave Hunchak.
Of course, the coaching change actually had been made Thursday, when Hunchak left the Blazers while they were in Spokane. Associate coach Mark Ferner ran the bench during a 6-3 loss to the Chiefs on Friday night.
On Tuesday, Thompson Rivers University, which is based in Kamloops, fired Keith Lundgren, the head coach of the WolfPack women’s volleyball team. Chad Grimm, an assistant coach with the WolfPack men’s team, takes over on an interim basis.
The Blazers had a 10-28-5 record when Hunchak was replaced.
The WolfPack, which plays in CIS’s Canada West conference, was 0-14 when the axe fell on Lundgren. He had an 11-63 all-time record.
Now I’m not suggesting that the disappearance of a city’s only daily newspaper might figure in a decision on when to make a coaching change, but . . .
So . . . you’re wondering how unemployment is going.
Well, for starters, I had to check a calendar in order to figure out Tuesday’s date. When I first got out of bed, I wasn’t even sure it was Tuesday. (BTW, the Wednesday schedule includes a stint with the vacuum cleaner.)
I also can tell you that not having to meet a deadline six days a week is going to be a huge adjustment. In the daily newspaper business, you live by deadlines. In Kamloops, five days a week that deadline was 11 p.m.; on Wednesday’s it was 10 p.m. You didn’t miss a deadline because missed deadlines cost money. In almost 14 years here, I can’t ever recall missing a deadline.
Meanwhile, thanks to all of you for all of the emails, tweets, texts and shoutouts. I never could have imagined so much support and, believe me, it all means a lot at a time like this.
Thanks, too, to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada for what he wrote right here and to Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald for his kind words right here.
Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, is in a Kamloops courtroom this week. He and his father, Bob, along with Northland Properties Corporation, are facing two charges of harmful alteration of a fish habitat. . . . Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week reports right here on Day 1 of the trial.
Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has an interesting piece right here, suggesting that the Vancouver Giants, with attendance declining, need to find a new home.
Perhaps some WHL teams are going to have to follow the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, who announced this week BCHLthat they are going to special season-ticket prices for next season, which will be their 25th.
From a Chiefs news release:
“To recognize and honour our loyal fans the club announced that season-tickets for the celebration 2014-15 season will be slashed, in some cases by more than 50 per cent. Adult prices will tumble from $388 this year to $199 next year. Seniors can secure their seats for just $189 and all child and youth prices will drop to $99 — down from $230.
“The new prices are available only until April 1 at which time they will rise to a level that is still at least 25 per cent lower than 2013-14.”
This follows the Penticton Vees, who in July announced a major restructuring of season-ticket prices, with BCHLsome available for as little as $149.
There is a story right here detailing the Vees’ plan. What is interesting is that, according to the story, the Vees had sold only nine children’s season-tickets the previous season and “probably 50” over the past five season.
All of this brings back memories of the Medicine Hat Tigers who, if memory serves correct, sold $199 season-tickets after a number of seasons of poor on-ice performance. One thing led to another and the Tigers now sell out The Arena (4,006) for every game.
Cal Swenson, who played for the MJHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and the WCJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers (1966-68), died on Jan. 1. He was 65. A memorial service was held in Stony Plain, Alta., on Jan. 8.
An obituary can be found right here.
And right here is a brief story that appeared in the Amarillo, Texas, Globe-News.
Condolences to former Brandon Wheat Kings forward Steve Patrick Jr. and family on the death of his father, Steve. Steve, who died Saturday at the age of 85, played 11 years with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and is a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. He also was a former Manitoba MLA. Arrangements are being handled by wojciksfuneralchapel.com.

Vancouver head coach Don Hay will be after the 600th victory of his WHL coaching career on Friday when the Giants visit the Kamloops Blazers. Somehow that is only fitting because the first 144 of those victories came as head coach of the Blazers. Hay, who is from Kamloops and was a firefighter there before getting into coaching on a full-time basis, spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Blazers before moving up to the head job. . . . When Hay reaches that milestone, he will be only the third coach in WHL history to get there, and he soon will move into the No. 2 slot, ahead of the retired Lorne Molleken (603). The top spot on the list belongs to Ken Hodge (742). . . . After Hay, the next coach to 600 is likely to be Don Nachbaur of the Spokane Chiefs. After losing 1-0 in OT to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds last night, Nachbaur is at 584. . . .
 D Mathew Dumba has arrived in Portland and is preparing for his debut with the Winterhawks. Acquired last month from the Red Deer Rebels while he was with the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, Dumba has been resting after playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship. While there he ended up with a virus that really zapped his energy level. You can bet that Mike Johnstone, the Winterhawks’ GM and head coach, won’t use Dumba unless he’s healthy. . . . The Winterhawks are at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday. . . .
By the way, the Winterhawks have signed D Blake Heinrich, who was selected by the Washington Capitals in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2013 draft. Heinrich, 18, is with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers and won’t show up in the WHL until their season is over. . . . At the time of the signing, he had 14 points, six of them goals, in 31 games. Last season, he put up 20 points, including three goals, in 42 games with Sioux City. . . . Heinrich, from Cambridge, Minn., was taken by the Winterhawks in the 12th round of the 2012 WHL bantam draft while playing for Hill-Murray High School. . . . At one point, Heinrich had committed to the U of Minnesota-Duluth. . . . Why do I get the feeling the Winterhawks won’t miss a beat despite the punishment meted out to them in November 2012? . . .
D Carter Cochrane of Kamloops has signed with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. Cochrane is a late-1996 who was never taken in the WHL’s bantam draft. He has 34 points, 12 of them goals, in 42 games with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. In fact, he leads the Chiefs in points and is second in goals and assists. . . . Cochrane was in camp with the Silvertips as a listed player in 2012, but didn’t attend prior to this season. He will join the Silvertips once the Chiefs’ season has concluded. . . .
The Kelowna Rockets should have F Marek Tvrdon, 20, in their lineup on Friday when they meet the Royals in Victoria. Tvrdon, acquired from the Vancouver Giants last week, has joined the Rockets from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye and has been skating with his new teammates.
In Lethbridge, F Curtis Valk broke a 1-1 tie at 5:29 of the second period as the Medicine Hat Tigers got past the Hurricanes, 2-1. . . . Valk has 20 goals this season. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford also scored his 20th goal, pulling his mates into a 1-1 tie at 5:12 of the second, via the PP. . . . D Macoy Erkamps had given the home boys a 1-0 lead at 19:57 of the first, also on the PP. . . . The Tigers held a 42-14 edge in shots. . . .

In Spokane, F Ryan Gropp scored at 4:16 of OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 1-0 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Gropp, who is from Kamloops, has 11 goals and 10 assists in 32 games since leaving the BCHL’s Penticton Vees for the Thunderbirds. . . . Seattle is 3-0-0 in its last three games, each of which has been decided in extra time. . . . G Taran Kozun, acquired last week from Kamloops, made his Seattle debut and earned the shutout with 28 saves. . . . It was his first shutout this season and the third of his career. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 22 shots. . . . Kozun came over for D Austin Douglas, G Justin Myles and a fourth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Chiefs held a 4-1 edge in OT shots. . . . Seattle is 5-0-0 against the Chiefs this season. . . . Seattle (26-14-5) moved in sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference, two points ahead of the idle Everett Silvertips. . . . The Chiefs (26-14-4) moved into fifth, one point ahead of the Silvertips.

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