Thursday, February 27, 2014

Outdoor game for Portland?; long arm of law looking for Gaetz

F Kris Beech (Calgary, 1996-2001) has been loaned to the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) by the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL) for the rest of this season. With Straubing, Beech had 24 points, including eight goals, in 36 games. . . .
D Kenton Smith (Calgary, 1995-2000) has returned to the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite) for the rest of the season. Smith left Clan a month ago to be with his family in Cardiff. This season, in 33 games, he has 11 points, three of them goals.

F Tyler Benson, the first overall selection in the 2013 WHL bantam draft, is expected to play for the Vancouver Giants against the Rockets in Kelowna tonight. Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that Benson is expected to join the Giants on a full-time basis next week. . . . Benson, who is pointless in three games with the Giants, has been playing for the Kelowna-based Pursuit Of Excellence under-18 prep team. He put up 91 points, including 35 goals, in 46 games. That team’s season ends this weekend, freeing Benson up to join the Giants. . . .
Ewen also reports Giants F Dominik Volek didn’t practise Thursday because of an undisclosed injury. D Dalton Thrower (ankle) has yet to return to the ice. According to Ewen, “both are unlikely for Friday in Kelowna.“
Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, was in Kennewick, Wash., on Wednesday night. Here’s a note from his blog:
“In talking to Annie Fowler, the beat writer for the Americans, it was confirmed that the Tri-City Herald Best of the West Poll has met its end. The poll, which allowed players, coaches/management and media to vote on several categories has been a staple for the last 25 years and has always been an interesting conversation piece. The process is time consuming and receiving ballots from teams was always a chore.” . . .
WHL team logoF Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice takes a 21-game point streak into Saskatoon for a game with the Blades tonight. He has 47 points, 18 of them goals, in the streak that has tied F Mike Comrie for the franchise record. . . . Reinhart also is riding a 14-game assist streak. . . . Both streaks are the longest in the WHL this season.
Prince George is at home for Friday-Saturday doubleheader with the Victoria Royals, and Cougars F Troy Bourke is closing in on the club’s career point record. Bourke has 229 points in 270 regular season games; the record is held by F Eric Hunter (2002-07), who put up 233 points in 323 games. . . . Note that this doesn’t include the Victoria Cougars. . . . Prince George F Todd Fiddler goes into the weekend on a 16-game point streak. He has 30 points, 15 of them goals, over that stretch.
Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune brings word that the Portland Timbers and Portland Winterhawks have chatted about the possibility of a playing an outdoor WHL game at Providence Park, the home of the MLS team that could seat 20,000 for such a contest. . . . Eggers has more on that right here. . . . There have been two outdoor games played featuring WHL teams. In Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Kootenay Ice 11-2 before 7,075 fans in Avista Stadium on Jan. 15,2011. The Regina Pats beat the host Calgary Hitmen 3-2 in a game played at McMahon Stadium before 20,888 fans on Feb. 21, 2011. (If you are so inclined, there is a list right here of every outdoor game played since Oct. 6, 2001, and there have been more than 100 of them. So much for the novelty!)
Eggers also writes about Winterhawks GM/head coach Mike Johnston’s niece, Rebecca, who was a major contributor to the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team. Oh, and Eggers also confirms that Winterhawks G Brendan Burke has been out with mononucleosis.
Meanwhile, in The Oregonian, Molly Blue talks with Burke, and updates his status. That report is right here.
The long arm of the law is reaching out in an attempt to locate Link Gaetz. The former WHL defenceman (New Westminster, Spokane, 1986-88) has failed to appear in a Kamloops court room, nor has he been in touch with his lawyer. The result is that an arrest warrant has been issued for Gaetz. There’s more right here from Kamloops This Week.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Red Deer (8)
Regina (2) vs. Brandon (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Kootenay (5)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Everett (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
FRIDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Lethbridge at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Kamloops at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
No games scheduled.

From Geoff Baker (@gbakermariners) of the Seattle Times: “Just returned from Seattle delegation trip to Vancouver for (Wednesday) night's #Canucks game. Interesting time. Lots of #NHL optimism brewing.”
The story that Baker filed is right here.
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