Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wheat Kings big winners in draft lottery

As of Wednesday morning, Kootenay Ice F Tim Bozon was listed in stable condition at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
According to a news release issued by the Saskatoon Health Region at the request of his family, Bozon, who has been hospitalized since March 1 with Neisseria meningitis, has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and onto one of the hospital’s wards.
“Last week,” according to the news released, “Tim Bozon’s condition was changed to critical but stable and improving. Over the weekend, his condition continued to improve and he was moved out of (ICU) and into one of the hospital wards. His physicians have listed his condition as stable.”
According to Helene and Philippe Bozon, Tim’s parents, “Tim is awake, moving around in his bed, trying to feed himself and trying to speak.”
Bozon, a third-year WHLer, was acquired by the Ice from the Kamloops Blazers early this season. He was in Saskatoon with the Ice when he took ill. He was diagnosed with meningitis and placed in a medically induced coma as doctors worked to slow the meningitis.
His parents arrived from their home in Switzerland and have been with their son throughout his ordeal.
“Since arriving in Saskatoon,” the news release reads, “the family has received a lot of support from the hockey community, friends and even strangers. Anonymous gifts from restaurant vouchers (and) fruit baskets to a box containing blankets and other bedding has been brought to the hospital. The Bozons are once again asking the media to share their thanks for these gifts.”
With their son facing a long period of recovery, the Bozon family is facing extensive medical- and rehabilitation-related expenses. With that in mind, a trust fund (the Tim Bozon Trust) has been established to assist them.
You are able to make a donation at any BMO Bank of Montreal branch in Western Canada.
Should you live outside of that area, please mail donations to:
Western Hockey League
c/o Tim Bozon
Father David Bauer Arena
2424 University Drive NW
Calgary AB
T2N 3Y9
F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) had his club option picked up by Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga) for next season. This season, Vlach had seven points, four of them goals, in 36 games with Liberec. While on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had six points, including three goals, in nine games.
On May 3, 2012, the Brandon Wheat Kings dealt F Brenden Walker and a conditional second-round pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft to the Saskatoon Blades for second-round picks in 2012 and 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014.
The Wheat Kings also obtained the right to swap first-round picks with Saskatoon in the 2014 draft.
Well, guess what happened on Wednesday?
Yes, the WHL held its draft lottery at its Calgary office and the Wheat Kings, who are a playoff team so weren’t eligible to take part, emerged as the big winners.
Each of the six non-playoff teams took part, with no team allowed to move up more than two spots. Except that the Wheat Kings moved up from 10th as they now own the first overall selection.
Saskatoon won the lottery, thus moving from third to first. The Wheat Kings, of course, will swap picks with the Blades, giving Brandon the first overall pick for the first time in franchise history.
A year ago, Brandon picked fourth and sixth in the first round, taking F Nolan Patrick and D Kale Clague, both of whom are projected as solider WHLers.
In the 2014 draft, the Lethbridge Hurricanes will pick second, followed, in order, by the Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince George Cougars and Red Deer Rebels.
The draft is scheduled for Calgary on May 1.
As for Brenden Walker, he captained the Blades last season when they were the host team for the Memorial Cup. In 72 games, the native of St. Anne, Man., put up 76 points, including 33 goals.
This season, Walker, now 21, is with the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators.
Brandon used the 2012 second-round selection it acquired from Saskatoon to take D Tanner Browne, who was included in the package that was sent to the Lethbridge Hurricanes this season for D Ryan Pilon. Browne, from Kelowna, played this season with the major midget Okanagan Rockets.
The Wheat Kings used the second-round selection in the 2013 draft to take F Tanner Kaspick, a Brandon native who played for the midget AAA Wheat Kings.
The conditional second-round pick that went to Saskatoon would go to the Blades only if Walker wasn’t back in the WHL as a 20-year-old. He was, meaning the Blades didn’t get that selection.
For some reason, the WHL chose to ignore the Wheat Kings during Wednesday’s bantam draft lottery.
The Wheat Kings own the Saskatoon Blades’ first-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, but the WHL didn’t make any mention of it.
The WHL’s post-lottery news release read: “A Saskatoon Blades ball was drawn, meaning Saskatoon moves up two spots in the first round of the draft, and will select first overall.”
Further down in that news release, there is a list showing the order of selection in the first round. That list shows Saskatoon with the No. 1 pick.
During the videocast, Richard Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, held up the winning ball and said: ”As you can see, a ball from the Saskatoon Blades has been drawn. Saskatoon has the first pick in the 2014 WHL bantam draft.”
That, of course, isn’t the case. Brandon has the first pick.
In this day and age of instant communication, the hockey world immediately was atwitter with the fact that the Wheat Kings would be picking first in the May 1 draft. It really is unfortunate that the WHL didn’t add a few minutes to its videocast and explain that Brandon does, indeed, hold the first selection and also explain how that came to pass.
And, at the same time, why not extend the videocast by a few minutes and have someone, or even a panel, there to talk about some of the prospects and what fans might look for in the buildup to draft day?
While the Wheat Kings have never picked first overall, they have held the second selection on three occasions. In fact, they picked second in three consecutive drafts, taking F Colin Cloutier (1991), D Wade Redden (1992) and F Darren Van Oene (1993).
And don’t think for a moment that the Blades will pick 10th with the selection they got in the flip with Brandon.
The Blades traded a 2014 first-round selection to the Vancouver Giants for F Nathan Burns. Thus, the Giants will be selecting 10th in the first round.
In that Nov. 2, 2012, exchange, the Giants gave up Burns for F Travis McEvoy, a third-round pick in 2013 and a first-round selection in 2014.
Burns, 20, now is with the Swift Current Broncos, having been involved in a trade on Jan. 1, 2014. That deal didn’t include a first-round pick.

Red Deer F Aspen Sterzer suffered a separated shoulder during the Rebels’ 5-3 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in Tuesday’s tiebreaker. Had the Rebels won that game and advanced into the playoffs, Sterzer wouldn’t have been able to play. . . .
F Anthony Ast of the Medicine Hat Tigers underwent an appendectomy on Monday and isn’t expected to play in any first-round games against the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News has more right here. . . .
Some people were wondering whether Calgary Hitmen F Jake Virtanen had injured a hand during a third-period scrap with D Rinat Valiev of the Kootenay Ice on Saturday. . . . Virtanen says he’s fine. . . . "It was just the heat of the moment," he told Laurence Heinen of the Calgary Herald. "There were a lot of tweets to me, people asking me about my hand. It's fine. There's nothing wrong with it. During the moment, it was just kind of a stinger." . . .
A court case involving Tom Gaglardi, the majority owner of the Kamloops Blazers, will resume in Kamloops on April 14. Gaglardi, his father Bob, and their company, Northland Properties Corp., face two counts each of harmful alteration of a fish habitat. . . . There’s more right here. . . .
The St. Louis Blues have signed Prince George Cougars F Zach Pochiro, who turned 20 on March 6, to a three-year entry-level contract. Pochiro, who is from Las Vegas, had 66 points, including 27 goals, in 63 games this season. He was a fourth-round selection by the Blues in the 2013 NHL draft. . . .
F Troy Bourke, the captain of the Prince George Cougars, has signed an ATO with the Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Bourke, 19, was selected by the Avalanche in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft. . . .
Prince George F Todd Fiddler, who got to the 50-goal plateau in the Cougars’ final game of the regular season, has signed an ATO with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles. Fiddler, 20, has completed his major junior eligibility.

THE FIRST ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)

Season series: Edmonton, 2-1-1; Prince Albert, 2-2-0.
Saturday: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 1:30 p.m.
Sunday: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Tuesday: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Edmonton at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Prince Albert at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Edmonton: F Brandon Baddock, 3-5 weeks; D Blake Orban, indefinite.
Prince Albert: D Graeme Craig, indefinite.

REGINA (2) vs. BRANDON (7)
Season series: Brandon, 5-3-0; Regina, 3-3-2.
Saturday: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Regina at Brandon, 7 p.m.
Friday, March 28: Regina at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Regina vs. Brandon, site TBA, 7 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Brandon: None.
Regina: D Kyle Burroughs, day-to-day; D Tye Hand, indefinite; G Daniel Wapple, indefinite; D Colby Williams, day-to-day; F Dyson Stevenson, day-to-day.

Season series: Calgary, 4-4-0; Kootenay, 4-2-2.
Thursday: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Monday: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
x-Thursday, March 27: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Calgary at Kootenay, 7 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Kootenay at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Calgary: F Cal Babych, day-to-day; F Radel Fazleev, day-to-day; F Connor Rankin, day-to-day.
Kootenay: F Tim Bozon, indefinite; F Ryan Chynoweth, indefinite; D Landon Cross, 1 week; D Tanner Faith, 3-5 months; D Landon Peel, 1 week.

Season series: Medicine Hat, 2-2-0; Swift Current, 2-2-0.
Friday: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat: F Anthony Ast, indefinite; F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
Swift Current: None.

KELOWNA (1) vs. TRI-CITY (8)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-4-0; Tri-City, 0-3-1.
Saturday: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Tri-City at Kelowna, 5:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
x-Friday, March 28: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Kelowna at Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
(NOTE: Tri-City plays home games in Kennewick, Wash.)
Kelowna: F Tyson Baillie, 1-2 weeks; D Jesse Lees, indefinite.
Tri-City: F Phil Tot, day-to-day; F Taylor Vickerman, indefinite.

Season series: Portland, 4-0-0; Vancouver, 0-3-1.
Friday: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Portland at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Portland at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
x-Friday, March 28: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, March 30: Portland at Vancouver, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 1: Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.
Portland: F Adam de Champlain, day-to-day.
Vancouver: F Tyler Benson, indefinite; G Jared Rathjen, day-to-day; F Jakob Stukel, indefinite; D Dalton Thrower, indefinite; F Cain Franson, day-to-day.

Season series: Victoria, 1-3-0; Spokane, 3-1-0.
Saturday: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Spokane at Victoria, 5:05 p.m.
Wednesday: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 27: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
x-Monday, March 30: Victoria at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria: None.
Spokane: F Jacob Cardiff, day-to-day; D Colton Bobyk, week-to-week; F Adam Hascic, day-to-day; F Blair Oneschuk, week-to-week.

Season series: Seattle, 5-4-1; Everett, 5-4-1.
Saturday: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Seattle at Everett, 4:05 p.m.
Tuesday: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 28: Seattle at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
x-Saturday, March 29: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
x-Monday, March 31: Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
x-Wednesday, April 2: Everett at Seattle, 7:05 p.m.
(NOTE: Seattle plays home games in Kent, Wash.)
Seattle: F Connor Honey, indefinite.
Everett: F Kohl Baum, indefinite.

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