Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tim Bozon's mother says 'merci' to Blades

Early Saturday, Helene Bozon, Tim’s mother, tweeted: “Not enough words to say MERCI @blades hockey”
That was in response to the huge card (pictured above) that the Saskatoon Blades had on hand at their Friday night game for fans to sign.
Other teams, including the Kamloops Blazers, Kootenay Ice and Portland Winterhawks, also are preparing ‘Get Well’ cards for Tim.
Marc Dumont at reported this on Saturday morning:
“Prospect Tim Bozon's battle with meningitis continues to be an difficult fight, as doctors in Saskatoon have decided to
place him in an artificial coma to help slow down the progression of the disease.
“His critical condition has progressively worsened ever since it was announced he contracted the sickness a little over a week ago.”
Bozon, a forward with the Kootenay Ice, has been in Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon since Sunday. His parents, Helene and Philippe, arrived from Switzerland on Sunday.
Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, told QMI Agency that Bozon was put into a medically induced coma on Thursday.
With F Tim Bozon fighting meningitis in a Saskatoon hospital, these are not easy times for the Kootenay Ice.
However, congrats to everyone associated with the franchise, but especially to Jeff Chynoweth, the franchise’s majority owner, president and general manager. (If you are wondering, Chynoweth has been in Saskatoon, alongside Helene and Philippe Bozon, since Thursday.)
A Friday night victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers means the Ice will appear in the playoffs for a 16th straight season.
That, folks, is something!
The Ice was born as the Edmonton Ice and didn’t make the playoffs in either of its two seasons in the Edmonton capital. The franchise relocated to Cranbrook for the 1998-99 season and has made the playoffs each season since then. During that time, it has won three WHL championships and one Memorial Cup.
If you’re wondering about the WHL’s other franchises, here’s a look at each one and its longest stretch of qualifying for the playoffs:
Swift Current Broncos -- 31 (1974-2004; 18 in Swift Current; as Lethbridge Broncos, 1975-86)
Kamloops Blazers -- 24 (1982-2005; first two seasons as Kamloops Jr. Oilers)
Kootenay Ice -- 16 (1999-2014)
Kelowna Rockets -- 15 (1992-2006; first four seasons as Tacoma Rockets)
Medicine Hat Tigers -- 15 (1983-97)
Seattle Thunderbirds -- 14 (1990-2003)
Calgary Hitmen -- 13 (1998-10)
Brandon Wheat Kings -- 12 (2001-12)
Everett Silvertips -- 11 (2004-13; have made playoffs in each season of existence)
Saskatoon Blades -- 11 (1967-77)
Moose Jaw Warriors -- 10 (1997-2006)
Red Deer Rebels -- 10 (1996-2005)
Tri-City Americans -- 10 (2004-13; will be 11 if they qualify this season)
Vancouver Giants -- 10 (2003-12)
Portland Winterhawks 9 (1976-84; first season as Edmonton Oil Kings)
Prince Albert Raiders -- 9 (1984-92)
Prince George Cougars -- 9 (1975-83; all as Victoria Cougars)
Regina Pats -- 9 (1980-88)
Spokane Chiefs -- 9 (1990-98)
Lethbridge Hurricanes -- 7 (1979-85; all as Calgary Wranglers)
Victoria Royals -- 5 (2010-14)
Edmonton Oil Kings -- 4 (2011-14)
Here’s a hockey-baseball note. . . . Regina’s Dustin Molleken, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound right-hander, is in camp with the Milwaukee Brewers. On Friday, he worked a scoreless ninth inning in a 6-2 loss to the San Diego Padres. He struck out one, without giving up a hit or a walk. . . . He is the son of Doug Molleken, a longtime WHL scout who now is the Saskatoon Blades’ director of player personnel. That means, of course, that Dustin is the nephew of Blades general manager Lorne Molleken.
There are two days of the year when I really, really miss Saskatchewan, a province in which I spent 17 years. Today, as we ‘spring forward’ and I walk around our home and reset all the clocks, is one of them. And that will tell you that the day we ‘fall back’ is the other one.
So don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour . . . unless you live in Saskatchewan or any other place that has sensibly ignored that movement.
And I know that I will forget to reset either my watch or the clock in our car.
The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League are looking for a general manager and head coach after visiting Splitsville with Dale Hladun after one season. . . . Fernie went 24-22-0-6 this season, finishing third in the Eddie Mountain Division. The Ghostriders then lost a best-of-five first-round series in four games to the Kimberley Dynamiters.
Eastern Conference
Edmonton (1) vs. Red Deer (8)
Regina (2) vs. Prince Albert (7)
Calgary (3) vs. Swift Current (6)
Medicine Hat (4) vs. Kootenay (5)
(NOTE: Prince Albert, Red Deer and Brandon are tied for eighth, each with 71 points. Prince Albert has four games remaining; the other two have three games left.)
Western Conference
Kelowna (1) vs. Tri-City (8)
Portland (2) vs. Vancouver (7)
Victoria (3) vs. Everett (6)
Seattle (4) vs. Spokane (5)
SUNDAY’S WHL GAME (all times local):
Vancouver at Seattle, 5:05 p.m.
MONDAY’s WHL GAMES (all times local):
No games scheduled.
TUESDAY’S WHL GAMES (all times local):
Saskatoon at Brandon, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Portland, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
In Saskatoon, D Colby Harmsworth scored the winning goal as the Calgary Hitmen got past the Blades, 2-1. . . . Harmsworth, 18, is from Saskatoon and played his midget AAA hockey there with the Contacts. He has four goals in 67 games this season, after going scoreless in 46 games as a freshman last season. . . . D Alex Roach scored his 11th goal for Calgary. . . . D Jordan Thomson scored his first goal with the Blades. It came on the PP, ending a 0-for-25 spell. That goal cut Calgary‘s lead to 2-1 but that was as close as the Blades would get. . . . Calgary G Chris Driedger stopped 43 shots. . . . The Blades have lost eight straight games and 10 in a row at home. . . . D Ayrton Nikkel was among Saskatoon’s scratches. He left Friday’s 6-1 loss to the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Hitmen, with five players out, dressed 17 skaters, one under the maximum. F Cal Babych, F Radel Fazleev, F Linden Penner, F Connor Rankin and F Mike Winther all are out with undisclosed injuries. . . . Calgary was playing its fourth game in five nights. . . . The Hitmen (45-17-7) are tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings (47-18-3) atop the Eastern Conference. But the Oilers have two more victories and also hold a game in hand. . . . The Blades (16-47-5) are 11th in the conference. . . .

In Cranbrook, F Jaedon Descheneau had a goal and two assists as the Kootenay Ice beat the Regina Pats, 3-1. . . . Descheneau set up the game’s first two goals, both on the PP. . . . D Jagger Dirk scored his 10th goal at 3:23 of the first period and F Luke Philp got his 28th at 11:33 of the third. . . . F Sam Reinhart assisted on both goals, as well. . . . Descheneau scored his 42nd goal into an empty net at 19:07. . . . F Morgan Klimchuk scored for Regina at 16:55 of the third, giving him 29. . . . Ice G Mackenzie Skapski stopped 27 shots, one fewer than Regina’s Dawson MacAuley. . . . The Ice won the season series 3-1-0. . . . During the game, the Ice lost D Landon Cross and D Landon Peel to injuries. Cross was injured during a second-period fight with Regina D Jesse Zgraggen. . . . Prior to the game, Phil Andrews, the radio voice of the Pats, tweeted: “Kyle Burroughs and Colby Williams will both miss tonight's game against the Kootenay Ice after taking high hits (Friday) in Lethbridge.” . . . The Ice (39-25-4), with back-to-back victories, is fifth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Pats (38-25-6) lead the East Division by three points over Swift Current. The team finishing first in the East Division will be the conference’s No. 2 seed when the playoffs open. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Jay Merkley and F Graham Black each scored twice as the Swift Current Broncos dumped the Hurricanes, 5-3. . . . Merkley has 30 goals; Black has 33. . . . Black tied the game 2-2 at 3:38 of the second period and then broke the tie at 15:33. . . . Swift Current scored all five of its goals in the second period, with the last three coming in a span of 1:33. . . . D Julius Honka had three assists for the Broncos, while F Coda Gordon scored his 25th goal and added two helpers. . . . The Hurricanes, who have lost 11 in a row, got a goal, his 14th, and an assist from F Brady Ramsay. . . . G Stuart Skinner, the 17th overall selection in the 2013 bantam draft, has joined the Hurricanes and was on their bench and made his WHL debut by playing the third period. He stopped all 11 shots he faced. He spent the season with the midget AAA Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club Athletics, going 13-5-0, 2.74, .916. The Athletics’ season is over so he was free to join the Hurricanes. . . . The Broncos swept the season series, 4-0. . . . Swift Current (35-25-9) is sixth in the Eastern Confernce, three points behind the Kootenay Ice, and has clinched a playoff spot. . . . The Hurricanes (12-52-5) have three games remaining in the franchise’s most abysmal season. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Sam Fioretti scored 26 seconds into the game and the Warriors went on to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . It was the Warriors’ third straight victory. . . . Fioretti scored twice, giving him 19 goals, as did F Jack Rodewald, who has 25. . . . F Curtis Lazar scored his 39th for the Oil Kings. It came at 3:47 of the third with his side trailing 3-0. . . . F Brayden Point and F Tanner Eberle each had two assists for Moose Jaw. . . . Edmonton was playing its 500th regular-season game since it entered the WHL as an expansion franchise. . . . Warriors G Justin Paulic stopped 31 shots. . . . Edmonton F Mads Eller was among Edmonton’s scratches. He left Friday’s game with Brandon after absorbing a hit from Wheat Kings F Jayce Hawryluk. He was ejected with a charging major and has received a ‘tbd’ suspension. . . . The Warriors (20-40-9) are 10th in the Eastern Conference. . . . The Oil Kings (47-18-3) are tied atop the conference with the Calgary Hitmen, but Edmonton has two more victories and that’s the first tiebreaker. . . . 

In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored two third-period goals 13 seconds apart and beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . F Calder Brooks broke a 1-1 tie with his 14th goal at 15:42 and F Leon Draisaitl got his 35th at 15:55. . . . Draisaitl, who is eligible for the 2014 NHL draft, has 41 points, including 16 goals, over his past 21 games. . . . F Collin Valcourt drew two assists for the Raiders. . . . Brandon F Rihards Bukarts scored the game’s first and last goals, giving him 27. . . . Raiders G Nick McBride, who has started five of his side’s last six goals, stopped 22 shots, 12 fewer than Brandon’s Jordan Papirny. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Jens Meilleur and F Peter Quenneville, both of whom are injured, and F Jayce Hawryluk, who drew a ‘tbd’ suspension after being ejected from a game on Friday night. . . . Also missing from Brandon’s lineup was owner/GM/head coach Kelly McCrimmon, who was ill. . . . The Raiders (33-30-5), who have won four in a row, are tied with the Red Deer Rebels and Brandon Wheat Kings for seventh in the Eastern Conference. One of those teams won’t make it. . . . Brandon (31-29-9) has lost four in a row. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Curtis Valk scored three goals and added an assist to lead the Tigers to a 5-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Valk broke a 2-2 with his second goal, his 43rd of the season, 54 seconds into the second period, on a PP. . . . He had No. 44 into an empty net at 18:47 of the third. . . . F Wyatt Johnson scored his 13th goal and added two assists for the Rebels. . . . Red Deer G Patrik Bartosak stopped 40 shots, in the process becoming, according to WHL Facts (@WHLFacts) the first goaltender in franchise history to make more than 2,000 saves in one season. . . . The Tigers (42-23-4) are fourth in the Eastern Conference and likely to finish there. . . . The Rebels (33-31-5) are tied with Prince Albert and Brandon for the conference’s last two playoff spots. . . .

In Portland, F Brendan Leipsic snapped a 1-1 tie at 7:36 of the second period and the Winterhawks went on to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . This was a first-round playoff preview. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 45th goal and added an assist, while F Chase De Leo got his 39th goal. . . . Portland G Adin Hill, a 17-year-old from Calgary, made his second WHL start, and his third appearance, stopping 28 shots as he ran his record to 3-0-0. Corbin Boes, 20, was injured in Friday’s 7-3 victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds and couldn’t go. Brendan Burke, 18, who has been out with mononucleosis and last played on Feb. 10, was on the bench. . . . The Winterhawks (50-13-5) have won 50 games for a second straight season and the third time in four seasons. . . . Vancouver (31-27-10) is seventh in the Western Conference. . . .

In Prince George, F Mitch Holmberg scored three times and added an assist as the Spokane Chiefs bounced the Cougars, 8-0. . . . Holmberg leads the WHL with 60 goals, the first WHL player to get there since F Layne Ulmer had 63 for the 2000-01 Swift Current Broncos. . . . Holmberg’s four points left him with a WHL-leading 113, five more than Portland Winterhawks F Nic Petan. . . . Spokane F Mike Aviani scored his 35th goal and added three assists, while F Keanu Yamamoto had three assists. . . . Spokane G Eric Williams stopped 28 shots for his fourth shutout this season and the 10th of his career. Williams, 20, is 31-17-4 this season and 96-74-14 in his career. . . . The Chiefs were 3-for-8 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs (38-24-6) are fifth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds and one ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Cougars (26-36-8) are four points out of the conference’s last playoff spot with two games remaining. . . .

In Kelowna, G Jordon Cooke stopped 20 shots to help the Rockets to a 7-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . This may have been a first-round playoff preview. . . . Cooke, who is 38-6-4, has four shutouts this season and nine in his career. . . . Kelowna F Nick Merkley got the game’s first goal, his 23rd, at 9:23 of the first period on a PP. . . . Kelowna was 4-for-4 on the PP. . . . Tri-City G Evan Sarthou turned aside 39 shots. . . . The Rockets (54-10-4), who lead the overall standings, have won 27 home games and 27 on the road. . . . The Americans (28-32-8) are eighth in the Western Conference, two points ahead of Prince George. . . .

In Kent, Wash., Everett F Josh Winquist set a single-season franchise record for goals as the Silvertips beat the host Thunderbirds, 5-2. . . . Winquist scored his 43rd goal into an empty net at 18:15 of the third, breaking the record of 42 that had been set by Shane Harper in 2009-10. . . . Winquist broke a 1-1 tie at 13:02 of the second period with his 42nd goal and F Dawson Leedahl gave the visitors a two-goal lead with his seventh at 16:12 on the PP. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz was stellar, making 31 saves. . . . F Zane Jones, a trade deadline acquisition, scored his first goal for Everett. He was playing his fourth game since returning to the lineup. He had been out since Jan. 18. . . . The Silvertips (36-23-9), who have won six in a row, are sixth in the Western Conference, one point behind Spokane. Each team has four games remaining. . . . Seattle (39-22-6) is fourth in the conference, two points ahead of Spokane. . . .

In Victoria, the Royals scored three times in the game’s first 6:05 and then hung on to beat the Kamloops Blazers, 3-2. . . . F Taylor Crunk scoed his eighth goal of the season nine seconds into the opening period. . . . D Brett Cote got his sixth at 4:09, via the PP, and freshman F Tyler Soy scored his 13th at 6:05. . . . Kamloops F Matt Needham got his side on the board with his 11th goal at 5:54 of the third and F Matt Revel added his 15th, via the PP, at 15:55. . . . The game drew 7,006 fans, giving the Royals their second straight sellout. They beat the Blazers 5-1 on Friday in front of 7,006 fans. . . . The Royals went 7-1-0 against Kamloops this season. . . . Soy, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft, has eight points, including six goals, in eight games against Kamloops this season. He also scored twice in a preseason game. . . . Victoria has 47 victories and 98 points with four games remaining. In their eighth season, five in Chilliwack as the Bruins (remember them?) and three in Victoria, the franchise has yet to reach 50 victories or 100 points. . . . An interesting stat from the Royals: With D Joe Hicketts in the lineup, Victoria’s defence corps has produced 26 per cent of its offence. Hicketts missed 36 games earlier in the season; with him gone, that number was 18. . . . The Royals (47-17-4) will finish third in the Western Conference. . . . The Blazers (13-51-5) will set a Kamloops franchise record for fewest victories.

From Aaron Matthies (@Matthies2): “I’m a @WHLpats season tix holder,and cheering for the pats (Saturday night), but we are all on the same team when we #PrayforBozon!”

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