The world of minor hockey is full of ugly stories, like the one that was mentioned here yesterday involving an incident during a tournament in Winnipeg.
Well, right here is a story that starts out ugly but, by the end, will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your face.
The story is told in a letter to the editor that appeared in the Prince George Citizen. The game in question was part of the 43rd annual Vernon Coca-Cola Invitational pee wee tournament.
The player who showed such courage and intelligence, who stood up to be counted and set such a fine example, is Matthew Marotta of the Prince George Viking Construction peewee Tier 1 Cougars. His parents have to be extremely proud. As of right now, Matthew is on my all-time all-star team. All leagues. All sports. All time. Period.
I also would suggest that he is Prince George’s minor hockey player of the year, if there is such an award. In fact, here’s a nomination for Matthew as Prince George’s citizen of the year.
The Kelowna Rockets, who lead the WHL’s overall standings, put a three-game winning streak on the line tonight as they play host to the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Rockets are without F Tyson Baillie, who has an undisclosed injury. Baillie, 18, has 55 points, including 22 goals, in 56 games. In his third season, he has a career-high 33 assists. He is four goals and one point from career highs set last season. . . . The Rockets are hoping that D Jesse Lees, who hasn’t played since Jan. 31, will return this weekend when they play a doubleheader in Prince George. Injuries have limited Lees, 18, to 37 games this season.
The Red Deer Rebels have lost F Lukas Sutter, 20, for the remainder of this season. According to the Rebels, he is in need of reconstructive shoulder surgery. He had 23 points, 10 of them goals, in 45 games. In 265 career regular-season games, Sutter put up 126 points, including 55 goals. . . . The Winnipeg Jets selected Sutter in the second round of the NHL’s 2012 draft. He is the son of former NHLer/WHLer Rich Sutter.
G Patrik Bartosak of the Red Deer Rebels stopped 29 shots during a 7-1 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Sunday. That allowed Bartosak, a 19-year-old from Koprivnice, Czech Republic, to set a franchise record for most saves in a single season. He now has made 1,739 saves this season; the previous record of 1,727 was held by Shane Bendera (1999-2000).
The Vancouver Giants are in Alberta this week, starting tonight against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. D Dalton Thrower (ankle) has missed 11 games and won’t play tonight. However, Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province reports that Giants general manager Scott Bonner expects Thrower, the team captain, to return before the end of the regular season. . . . The Giants have added D Matt Barberis, a first-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft, to their roster. Barberis, from Surrey, plays for the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League. He turned 16 on Jan. 19.
D Colton Waltz of the Brandon Wheat Kings drew a TBD suspension under supplemental discipline for an unpenalized hit on F Dryden Hunt in the first period of Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Pats in Regina. Hunt left the game in the first period and didn’t return. Hunt, who has a history of brain injuries, is shown on the WHL injury report as being out indefinitely with an “upper body“ injury. . . . F Carter Amson of the Lethbridge also drew a TBD suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct in a 12-0 loss to the Oil Kings in Edmonton on Monday. . . . Meanwhile, D Macoy Erkamps of the Hurricanes got a one-game sentence for a kneeing major and game misconduct he incurred during Saturday’s 8-1 loss to the visiting Calgary Hitmen. He served that suspension on the weekend. . . . F Jessey Astles of the Tri-City Americans got hit with a seven-game sentence for a headshot major and game misconduct he took during Saturday’s 7-0 loss to the host Spokane Chiefs. In its reasons for discipline, the WHL stated: “The player targeted the opponent’s head . . . The player jumped to make the hit . . . The player is a repeat offender . . . The opponent was not injured on the play.” . . . Astles’ suspension equals the longest handed down by the WHL office this season. On Dec. 17, Portland Winterhawks F Brendan Leipsic got a seven-game suspension after taking a match penalty during a Dec. 14 game against the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.
The CHL and Sportsnet have signed a 12-year “partnership extension” that runs through 2025-26 and covers CHL regular-season and playoff games, as well as the MasterCard Memorial Cup “in Canada.”
The exact phrasing is that Sportsnet continues “its tradition as the exclusive broadcaster of the CHL and MasterCard Memorial Cup in Canada.”
Does that mean that is the exclusive broadcaster of those events when they are held in Canada? Or does it mean that it is the exclusive Canadian broadcaster?
More from the news release:
“The new agreement, which begins with the 2014-15 season, features a comprehensive suite of multimedia rights including television, online and mobile, delivering more than 50 CHL games each year, including CHL playoff games and the Memorial Cup.”
Don’t forget that Sportsnet also begins a 12-year deal with the NHL next season, and also is the regional broadcaster of the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks.
The total of 50 games includes playoff and Memorial Cup games. It may also include Subway Super Series games and the Top Prospects game.
As Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: “CHL and Sportsnet announce 12-yr extension, beginning 2014-15 . . . With all the NHL games, hope CHL doesn't get buried.”
WEDNESDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Victoria at Brandon, 7 p.m.
Calgary at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Regina at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Prince Albert at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
In Portland, the Winterhawks ran their franchise-record winning streak to 17 games as they beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-1. . . . Prince George F Todd Fiddler got the game’s first goal, at 6:49 of the first period, via the PP, but the visitors never scored again. That was Fiddler’s 40th goal this season. . . . Portland got a goal, his 41st, and two assists from F Oliver Bjorkstrand. He tied the game on a PP at 19:49 of the first. . . . D Derrick Pouliot, who scored twice, gave the Winter hawks a 2-1 lead at 19:56 of the second, also on a PP. He’s got 17 goals. . . . Portland F Nic Petan had two assists. He has at least one assist in 13 straight games, the longest such streak in the WHL this season. . . . Petan leads the WHL in points (102), two more than F Mitch Holmberg of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Bjorkstrand is third, with 91 points. . . . Portland F Dominic Turgeon picked up an assist, giving him a seven-game point streak. He’s got 12 points in those seven games. . . . With G Brendan Burke (ill) still out, Corbin Boes started again for Portland and came up with 30 saves. . . . Portland was 3-for-7 on the PP; Prince George was 1-for-6. . . . It’s worth noting that Portland F Adam De Champlain is shown on the WHL injury report as being out four to six weeks, after having been listed as day-to-day. . . . Portland will go for 18 in a row on Friday when it plays host to the Kamloops Blazers. . . .
From WHL Facts (@WHLFacts): “70x2 - @pdxwinterhawks Nic Petan has become the first WHLer to have back-to-back 70-assist seasons since Todd Robinson in 1996-97 & 1997-98.”
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