As expected, the WHL’s board of governors approved the transfer of ownership of the Prince George Cougars and Regina Pats on Wednesday in Calgary.
Long-time owner Rick Brodsky has sold the Cougars to EDGEPRO Sports and Entertainment Ltd. The new ownership group is led by Prince George businessman Greg Pocock and also includes Raymond Fortier, Ernest Ouellet and John Pateman, along with NHL defencemen Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis, both of whom are former Cougars players.
Later, Hartley Miller at hqprincegeorge.com reported that Pocock had confirmed that general manager Dallas Thompson wouldn’t be retained, while head coach Mark Holick, with two years left on his contract, will return for a second full season. Thompson and Todd Harkins, the Cougars’ director of player personnel, will handle the team’s bantam draft moves today.
Brodsky purchased the franchise in 1992, when it was the Victoria Cougars, and moved it north for the 1994-95 season.
Meanwhile, Diane and Russ Parker have sold the Pats to Queen City Sports and Entertainment Group Ltd. The Parkers owned the Pats for 19 seasons. QCSEC is headed up by Anthony Marquart, and also includes Jason Drummond, Todd Lumbard, and Gavin and Shaun Semple.
Marquart will be the Pats’ governor, a role previously filled by Chad Lang, the senior vice-president and general manager, while Lumbard, a former Brandon Wheat Kings and Pats goaltender, will be the president.
The Pats’ new owners aren’t anticipating any changes within the front office or coaching staff.
“We want to keep everyone in our organization in the same role,” Lumbard told Greg Harder of The Leader-Post. “We have some of our own ideas that we want to implement of course, but the plan is to go in and work together with the group we have, try to improve, give them as much support as we can, engage the community and rely on some of our ownership group to utilize their resources in the community.
“We want to put every resource we can into building this hockey team into the best on-ice product we can and also really work hard on the game experience for our fans and make the arena a fun place to be.”
Harder also reported, as he did earlier, that the Pats’ new owners are negotiating with former captain Mike Sillinger, who is likely to join the organization in hockey operations. He presently is with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as director of player development.
While the WHL’s board of governors has approved both transfers, neither sale has closed. Both deals should be officially done nearer to the end of this month.
The Pats’ new owners will meet the media in Regina on Monday. The Cougars’ new owners have scheduled a news conference for May 13 at the CN Centre in Prince George.
1. Rick Williams, who played in the WHL with the Saskatoon Blades and Victoria Cougars, is losing his fight with dementia. His father, Clarence, calls it a struggle “worse than death.” . . . Rick Williams is 60 years of age. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has that story right here.
2. The WHL held its awards luncheon in Calgary on Wednesday. A list of award winners can be found on the WHL’s website (whl.ca). . . . The bantam draft is to be held today. For coverage, visit Alan Caldwell’s blog -- Small Thoughts At Large. There is a link over there on the right.
3. What does it say that Mike Johnston, the general manager, head coach and chief architect of the Portland Winterhawks, has never been saluted as the WHL’s coach of the year or executive of the year? The Winterhawks are into the WHL championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup for a fourth straight season, all of them under Johnston.
4. What does it say that Derek Laxdal, the head coach of the Edmonton Oil Kings, has yet to be named coach of the year? The Oil Kings are into the championship final for a third straight season. (Bob Green, the Oil Kings’ former GM, was named executive of the year for 2011-12 and 2012-13.)
5. John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal has written a solid column on Mike Johnston, who doesn’t keep any secrets when asked about Portland’s success. That piece is right here.
6. Mike Pelino, who worked as an assistant coach with the Spokane Chiefs for two seasons (1998-2000), is celebrating a Gagarin Cup championship today. Pelino is an assistant coach under Mike Keenan with the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk. They won the KHL title on Wednesday, beating Lev Prague 7-4 in Game 7 of the championship series. . . . There is more right here.
7. On Sunday, TSN wasn’t able to free up room on either of its channels to show an NHL playoff game from start to finish. Last night, to make up for Sunday, TSN had the Minnesota at Colorado game on both of its channels at the same time.
8. Was Twitter amazing last night, or what? Three Game 7s in the Stanley Cup race and then Rob Ford’s world went bananas. . . . If you live in Toronto, you have to vote for Ford again because those of us who don’t live there want to see this soap opera through to its conclusion. How does it end?
9. I really don’t know what We The North means, but, with apologies to the Vancouver Canucks . . . We Are All Raptors.
10. Late last night, TSN’s Farhan Lalji tweeted that the Canucks will fired head coach John Tortorella today. That being the case, I would suggest Todd McLellan would be a good fit there.
11. Looking for a good read? Click right here and read all about Bill Simmons of ESPN/Grantland. It’s a piece from Rolling Stone that was written by Rob Tannenbaum.
THE COACHING GAME:
The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs have signed Kyle Adams as associate coach. He will work alongside head coach Jason Tatarnic. . . . Adams has spent the last five seasons on the coaching staff of the junior A Woodstock Slammers in Ontario. He spent three of those seasons as an associate coach on Tatarnic’s staff.
THE FOURTH ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
WHL final, for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
(x - if necessary)
(All games televised live by Shaw)
(All games televised by Root Sports -- Game 2 live, others on delayed basis)
PORTLAND (2, West) vs. Edmonton (1, East)
Season series: Portland, 0-0-1; Edmonton, 1-0-0.
Saturday: Edmonton at Portland, 7 p.m. (Moda Center)
Sunday: Edmonton at Portland, 5 p.m. (Moda Center)
Tuesday: Portland at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Portland at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Friday, May 9: Edmonton at Portland, 7 p.m. (Moda Center)
x-Sunday, May 11: Portland at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
x-Monday, May 12: Edmonton at Portland, 7 p.m. (Moda Center)
No game scheduled.
From Taylor Roseveare (@PoTaylourHead), who was a ticket executive with the Saskatoon Blades: “Want to thank the @bladeshockey for an amazing 3 years. What a ride # newdirection #standuporganization”
From Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC): “It was a very painful day at CBC. All the best to a lot of talented people...this was not about your performance, which was always elite.”
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