Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Victoria fined 10 grand; WHL interested in Lower Mainland . . . again!

D James Bettauer (Prince Albert, Medicine Hat, 2010-12) has signed a one-year deal with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Hamburg Freezers (Germany, DEL), Bettauer had seven points, including three goals, in 50 games. . . .
F Vaclav Varada (Tacoma/Kelowna, 1994-96) has announced his retirement. This season with Trinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine points, four of them goals, in 36 games. Varada was a player-assistant coach this season; next season he will be strictly an assistant coach for Trinec.
The Victoria Royals and two of their players have paid the price for some silliness that occurred during Game 5 of their second-round playoff series with the Portland Winterhawks on Friday night.
The Royals were fined $10,000 for, according to the WHL, “actions by club deemed detrimental to the league.”
F Brandon Magee, who turned 20 on Jan. 23, was given a 12-game suspension after he took a match penalty for attempt to injure. According to the WHL, “It is the second match penalty for the player this season. There were separate cross-checks to the heads of two opponents during incident.”
If you haven’t seen the video, Magee cross-checked Portland F Nic Petan on the back of the head and then cross-checked an onrushing Brendan Leipsic in the face area.
Victoria F Steven Hodges, who turned 20 on May 5, got five games after taking a game misconduct in the same game. According to the WHL, “He threw two separate punches at an unsuspecting opponent during altercation.”
Portland won the game, which was televised by Shaw, 5-1 and took the series, 4-1. Hodges was tossed at the end of the second period. Magee’s match penalty occurred at 15:10 of the third period.
(Unfortunately, the WHL has yet to take advantage of the media that is available to it by posting video of such incidents, along with having a league official explain the reasoning behind the disciplinary decisions. The NHL and the OHL, to name two leagues, provide such information; it’s time for the WHL to do it, too.)
Meanwhile, F Richard Nejezchleb of the Brandon Wheat Kings drew a two-game suspension for a clipping major and game misconduct in Game 5 against the host Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday. Nejezchleb, a Czech, will be a 20-year-old next season, so, as a two-spotter is unlikely to return to the WHL.
Ryan McGill, the head coach of the Kootenay Ice, was touched for $500 after he was hit with a game misconduct following Game 6 against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Monday night. Darren Steinke of the Medicine Hat News reports that McGill was “shouting at the officials."
The Tigers won that game 2-1 to even the second-round series, 3-3. They will decide the issue tonight in Medicine Hat.
AHLThe WHL, having failed once on the Lower Mainland of B.C., is interested in setting up shop there again, now that the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, are leaving the area.
WHL commissioner Ron Robison told Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun that “the market is of interest to us and now that it appears to be available, we will certainly put it on our radar screen.
“At this point, we don’t have any franchises that are considering relocation and there is no expansion coming in the foreseeable future. In our view, we’ve expanded sort of beyond our ideal number of 20-22 teams. So the only way we could be there is through relocation.
“We do believe the Fraser Valley would support a WHL franchise, but we just felt that the impact of having both Abbotsford and Chilliwack sharing, to some extent, the Fraser Valley market, it was difficult to operate under those circumstances.”
The Chilliwack Bruins operated for five seasons before the franchise was sold and relocated to Victoria, where it has operated as the Royals for three seasons.
Brian Burke, the Flames’ president of hockey operations, was a part-owner of the Bruins.
At a Tuesday news conference announcing the Heat’s departure, Bruce Banman, Abbotsford’s mayor, said that the city would be interested in attracting a WHL team as the facility’s anchor tenant.
Pap’s story is right here.

Elliotte Friedman’s weekly 30 Thoughts is right here. Yes, it’s always worth reading. No, it doesn’t include anything on his future after Hockey Night in Canada.
The Chicago Wolves, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, have signed F Zach Pochiro to a PTO. Pochiro played out his junior eligibility with the Prince George Cougars this season, putting up 66 points, including 27 goals, in 63 games. . . . He then joined the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings with who he picked up two assists in nine games. . . . He was a fourth-round selection by the Blues in the NHL’s 2013 draft.
G Chris Driedger, who completed his junior eligibility this season with the Calgary Htimen, has joined the AHL’s Binghamton Senators on an ATO. Driedger, a third-round pick by the parent Ottawa Senators in the 2012 NHL draft, was 28-14-7, 2.64, .918 with the Hitmen this season. . . . After the Hitmen were eliminated from the playoffs, he joined the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals. He got into four games there, going 1-2-0, 3.92, .893.
The NHL’s Dallas Stars have signed F Branden Troock of the Seattle Thunderbirds to a three-year, entry-level contract. Troock was a fifth-round selection in the NHL’s 2012 draft. . . . Troock has battled injuries during his WHL career. He had 28 points, including 14 goals, in 58 games in 2011-12, then was limited to 19 games -- he had 11 points -- in 2012-13. This season, in 58 games, he put up 58 points, including 24 goals. . . . Troock, from Edmonton, turned 20 on March 20.
The OUA’s Windsor Lancers have received a commitment from F Daulton Siwak (Red Deer, Prince George, 2008-13). Siwak, 20, has used up his junior eligibility. He played this season with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings and the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves.
F Mitch Holmberg, who won the WHL scoring title this season with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, who have placed him on their playoff roster. . . . After the Chiefs’ season ended, Holmberg joined the Oklahoma City Barons, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, who own the Condors.
The junior B Kelowna Chiefs, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, have named Jason Tansem as their new head coach. Tansem was an assistant coach with the Chiefs. . . . Grant Sheridan remains as the Chiefs’ general manager, while former head coach Ken Andrusiak is assistant GM and video coach. . . . The Chiefs just finished their fourth season in Kelowna after making the move from Chase, B.C., over the summer of 2010.
When you talk about the greatest defenceman in WHL history, Barry Beck has to be in the conversation. He played for the New Westminster Bruins (1974-77) and they won the WHL championship in each of his three seasons. . . . So where is Beck these days? He’s coaching in Hong Kong. . . . Daniel Gerber has more right here.

THE SECOND ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton wins, 4-1)
Season series: Edmonton, 3-1-0; Brandon, 1-2-1.
Thursday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 5 (5,899)
Saturday: Brandon 0 at Edmonton 3 (7,115)
Tuesday: Edmonton 5 at Brandon 2 (3,522)
Wednesday: Edmonton 2 at Brandon 5 (3,246)
Friday: Brandon 1 at Edmonton 5 (6,356)
WHL Playoffs
(Series tied, 3-3)
Season series: Medicine Hat, 3-3-0; Kootenay, 3-3-0.
Saturday: Kootenay 4 at Medicine Hat 2 (3,750)
Sunday: Kootenay 2 at Medicine Hat 5 (3,755)
Wednesday: Medicine Hat 1 at Kootenay 3 (2,461)
Thursday: Medicine Hat 4 at Kootenay 7 (2,578)
Saturday: Kootenay 2 at Medicine Hat 9 (3,624)
Monday: Medicine Hat 2 at Kootenay 1 (2,732)
Wednesday: Kootenay at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
(NOTE: Kootenay plays home games in Cranbrook, B.C.)
Medicine Hat: F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
Kootenay: F Tim Bozon, indefinite; F Ryan Chynoweth, indefinite; D Landon Cross, day-to-day; D Tanner Faith, 3-5 months.
(Kelowna wins, 4-0)
Season series: Kelowna, 2-1-1; Seattle, 2-1-1.
Thursday: Seattle 2 at Kelowna 6 (4,581)
Saturday: Seattle 3 at Kelowna 6 (5,675)
Tuesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 4 (5,029)
Wednesday: Kelowna 5 at Seattle 2 (2,219)
(Portland wins, 4-1)
Season series: Portland, 1-1-2; Victoria, 3-1-0.
Friday: Victoria 2 at Portland 8 (6,152)
Saturday: Victoria 3 at Portland 6 (10,947)
Monday: Portland 1 at Victoria 2 (6,505)
Tuesday: Portland 4 at Victoria 3 (6,745)
Thursday: Victoria 1 at Portland 5 (8,083)
THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-0-0; Portland, 0-4-0.
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7:30 p.m. (Sportsnet)
Saturday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 23: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
x-Friday, April 25: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday, April 27: Kelowna at Portland, 5 p.m.
x-Tuesday, April 29: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.
Season series: Edmonton, 5-0-1; Medicine Hat, 1-5-0.
Season series: Edmonton, 4-2-0; Kootenay, 2-2-2.
Friday: Medicine Hat/Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Sunday: Medicine Hat/Kootenay at Edmonton, 4 p.m.
Other dates TBA.
Edmonton: D Blake Orban, day-to-day.

From Bob Ridley (@BobRidley_CHAT), the Medicine Hat Tigers’ legendary radio voice and bus driver: “Tigers had bus egged by idiot Kootenay ice fans (Monday) nite. Not classy at all.”
From Ron Jones (@hockeydraft411): “What the hell happened to Burke's hair? I don't feel so bad balding after that. #eaglefromthemuppets”

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