Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Winterhawks win in OT; Tigers back in series; another WHL franchise sold

Clare Drake, the legendary U of Alberta hockey
coach, and Golden Bears goaltender Kurtis Mucha,
with the CIS's championship trophy.

Swiss-NLAD Jesse Zgraggen (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Regina, 2010-14) has signed a two-year contract with Ambri-Piotta (Switzerland, NL A). This season, he had eight points, including one goal, in 16 games with Calgary, and added 29 points, four of them goals, in 54 games with Regina. . . . Zgraggen, who turned 21 on Sunday, has dual Canadian-Swiss citizenship. He had a tryout with Ambri-Piotta in August 2012.
It isn’t that long ago when you wouldn’t have pictured the WHL without the ownership involvement of the Brodsky and Parker families.
But as the 2013-14 season winds down that is exactly what is happening.
As this season began, Jack Brodsky and siblings Bob and Debbie sold the Saskatoon Blades to Edmonton-based auto dealer Mike Priestner and his son, Colin. The Brodskys had owned the Blades -- lock, stock and barrel -- since 1980.
Earlier this month, Rick Brodsky sold the Prince George Cougars to a local group headed up by businessman Greg Pocock and including NHL defencemen Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis. Both are former Cougars players. Brodsky was involved in the ownership of the Blades, along with his two brothers and sisters, until he purchased the Victoria Cougars in 1992.
The Prince George sale awaits approval from the WHL’s board of governors, something that is expected early next month.
On Tuesday, reports indicated that Calgarians Diane and Russ Parker have sold the Regina Pats to a group that is said to include local businessmen Gary Drummond, Todd Lumbard, a former Brandon Wheat Kings and Pats goaltender (1980-83), Anthony Marquart and Shaun Semple. The Parkers had owned the Pats since June 21, 1995, when they purchased the franchise from local businessmen Huddy Bell, Morley Gusway, Bill Hicke, Ted Knight and Jack Nicolle.
Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post reported that “Marquart is the president of Regina-based Royalty Developments, which is involved in a variety of major projects — including the 16-storey Brandt Place office building that is to be located on Rose Street. Royalty Developments also owns Regina's Wingate by Wyndham hotel.”
Lumbard played two seasons with the Wheat Kings, before closing out his WHL career with the Pats in 1982-83. His late father, Jack, owned the Brockie Donovan Funeral Home in Brandon, a business that Todd owned from 1995 to 2004. He now is the president of Regina’s Speers Funeral and Cremation Services.
More from Vanstone:
“Sale rumours have hovered over the franchise for most of (Russ) Parker's tenure. The speculation intensified after the 2012-13 season, when the Saskatoon Blades — who had been owned by the Brodsky family since 1976 — were sold to Edmonton businessman Mike Priestner for a reported $9 million.
“The conjecture persisted throughout the 2013-14 season, especially in light of attendance totals that the Pats' brass deemed disappointing. Parker acknowledged during the season that he had been involved in talks regarding a possible sale. . . .”
“The Pats averaged 3,956 spectators per regular-season home game in 2013-14. That was the third-lowest average attendance under the Parker regime, behind 3,203 (1995-96) and 3,898 (1997-98). Under the Parkers, the average peaked at a franchise-record 5,095 in 2007-08.”
Vanstone’s complete story is right here.

1. Masai Ujiri, the general manager of the Toronto Raptors, has been fined US$25,000 by the NBA for his use of an obscenity while addressing fans prior to Game 1 of a playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets. Ujiri yelled “Fuck Brooklyn” while working to gets fans excited prior to Game 1 in Toronto.

2. If you aren’t keeping track . . .
(a) Using an obscenity in such a fashion in the NBA: $25,000.
(b) An NHL head coach grabbing his crotch to show displeasure with officiating: $25,000.
(c) An NHL player using his stick to spear an opponent in the crotch: $5,000.
Do you see anything wrong with that picture, even if (c) is dictated by a CBA?

3. Early in last night’s NBA playoff game between the visiting Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors, Ed Tait (@WFPEdTait) of the Winnipeg Free Press tweeted: “Nobody asked me, but @Matt_Devlin and @jackarmstrong04 are as fun and energetic a play-by-play team as there is on TV right now. #Raptors.” . . . He's right.

4. The Raptors won that game, 100-95, to tie the series at 1-1. . . . Toronto won despite turning the ball over on 20 occasions. How did the Raptors win considering all the turnovers? Perhaps because the Nets missed eight free throws (New Jersey was 20-for-28 from the line).

5. I meant to post the above photo earlier this week. It shows Clare Drake, one of hockey’s greatest coaches, with goaltender Kurtis Mucha, the former WHLer who helped the U of Alberta Golden Bears to the CIS championship. . . . Mucha (@tooka31) tweeted the photo, along with: “Such an honour to have Clare Drake celebrate our national championship. #legend #thank you #gobears.” . . . It’s terrific that Drake is included in the Golden Bears’ celebrations.

6. BTW, Clare Drake isn't in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He should be.

The Regina Pats have signed Greg Mayer, their athletic therapist and equipment, to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. From a Pats’ news release: “Mayer is the longest-serving member of the Pats hockey operations staff, joining the Blue and White in 2004. With 17 years of experience in the WHL, he is fourth among those in his position for time in the league.”
F Graham Black of the Swift Current Broncos has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils, who selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2012 draft. . . . Black, who is from Regina, had 97 points, including 34 goals, in 69 games this season as he played out his junior eligibility. . . . He joined the Albany Devils, New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, when the Broncos’ season ended.
D Dillon Simpson has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, who selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2011 draft. Simpson, the son of former NHLer Craig Simpson, played four seasons at the U of North Dakota. Now 21, Simpson was an eighth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2008 bantam draft.
Team Canada lost 3-2 in a shootout to Russia at the IIHF U-18 world championship in Imatra, Finland, on Tuesday. Still, Canada finished atop Pool A with a 3-0-1 record and now will play Switzerland in a quarterfinal on Thursday in Imatra. That game, which will be available on TSN, is to begin at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
Canada will be without F Brayden Point of the Moose Jaw Warriors for the remainder of the tournament. He was injured in the first period when he was on the receiving end of a hit by Russian F Danil Vovchenko in the first period. Vovchenko was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct.
Hockey Canada announced that Point, who was playing on both special teams and centring Canada’s No. line, would be held out of the remainder of the tournament for precautionary reasons.
Point had one assist in three-plus games.
Maxim Tretiak, the grandson of Vladislav Tretiak, the great Russian goaltender, started in goal for the Russians. He stopped 25 shots, but was replaced by Alexander Trushkov for the shootout. The Russians won the shootout, 2-0.
Ernie Sutherland, a part of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers organization since 1982, has announced his retirement. Sutherland was an assistant coach with the Flyers this season. Over the years, he has been the team’s head coach (1983-86), assistant coach, director of player personnel, assistant general manager and trainer. He also has managed the team’s Peak Performance Hockey School.
The second game of the Subway Super Series will be played in Brandon on Nov. 11. When the schedule was announced earlier this month, the second date had yet to filled with a host city. The series opener, featuring Team WHL against a Russian side, will be played in Saskatoon on Nov. 10.
D Mark Drohan, who turns 16 on April 30, has signed with the AJHL’s Fort MacMurray Oil Barons. Drohan, from Calgary, played for the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes this season. The Tri-City Americans selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.
Frank Maida, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International junior league, has resigned, as has team president Russell Stocks. Maida leaves his position after three seasons; Stocks spent one season as vice-president and four as president. . . . The Leafs, who were 109-53-3-11 under Maida, were the host team for the recently completed Cyclone Taylor Cup, the Western Canadian junior B championship, that was won by the Beaver Valley Nitehawks. . . . There is more right here.

THE THIRD ROUND (best-of-seven; all times local):
(x - if necessary)
(Edmonton leads, 2-1)
Season series: Edmonton, 5-0-1; Medicine Hat, 1-5-0.
(All games on Shaw TV)
Friday: Medicine Hat 3 at Edmonton 8 (7,694)
Sunday: Medicine Hat 1 at Edmonton 3 (5,763)
Tuesday: Edmonton 1 at Medicine Hat 2 (3,189)
Wednesday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
x-Monday: Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7 p.m.
x-Tuesday: Medicine Hat at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Edmonton: D Blake Orban, day-to-day.
Medicine Hat: F Anthony Ast, day-to-day; F Gavin Broadhead, day-to-day; F Hunter Shinkaruk, indefinite.
(Portland leads, 2-1)
Season series: Kelowna, 4-0-0; Portland, 0-4-0.
Friday: Portland 4 at Kelowna 5 (6,218)
Saturday: Portland 5 at Kelowna 3 (6,341)
Tuesday: Kelowna 3 at Portland 4 (OT) (9,259)
Wednesday: Kelowna at Portland (Moda Center), 7 p.m.
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
x-Sunday: Kelowna at Portland, 2 p.m.
x-Tuesday: Portland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
Kelowna: F Myles Bell, week-to-week.
Portland: None.

In Medicine Hat, G Marek Langhamer stopped 43 shots to lead the Tigers to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton leads the Western Conference final 2-1 with Game 4 in Medicine Hat tonight. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry stopped 19 shots. . . . The Tigers are 7-1 at home in these playoffs. . . . Edmonton F Curtis Lazar opened the scoring for the third straight game, this time at 5:14 of the first period. He’s got seven goals in these playoffs. He also has 47 career playoff points and that’s a franchise record. He also holds the records for most playoff games played (58) and most career playoff goals (25). . . . Medicine Hat D Tommy Vannelli tied the game with his second goal at 6:25 of the first period, and F Chad Labelle broke the tie with his fourth goal at 17:22 of the second. Labelle’s goal originally was credited to D Dylan Bredo, but was changed after the game. . . . Edmonton was 0-for-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-for-2. . . . The Oil Kings spent the final 1:06 on the PP after Bredo was sent off for delay of game -- he cleared the puck over the glass from the defensive zone -- but weren’t able to equalize. D Cody Corbett came close when he rang a shot off a post. . . . “I felt like we did pretty good today,” Oil Kings F Mads Eller said on the team’s website. “Give credit to (Tigers goalie Marek) Langhamer. He played amazing today for them and we just couldn’t beat him.” . . . After the game, Darren Steinke (@MHND_Steinke) tweeted: “Attendance at The Arena tonight was 3,189 – the lowest for an #MHTigers playoff game in their run of 12 straight playoff appearances.”

In Portland, the Winterhawks fired 65 shots at Kelowna G Jordon Cooke, but needed two late third-period goal and another in OT to beat the Rockets, 4-3. . . . The Winterhawks lead the Western Conference final 2-1 with Game 4 in Portland tonight. . . . Portland F Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice, his second goal, a PP effort at 17:01 of the third period, cutting Kelowna’s lead to 3-2. That goal came with a 6-on-4 advantage as Portland G Corbin Boes was on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Portland F Brendan Leipsic forced OT when he scored his 10th goal at 18:42. . . . The Winterhawks won it on F Taylor Leier’s fifth goal at 10:00 of extra time. . . . Kelowna D Ryley Stadel got the game’s first goal, his third, at 2:22 of the first period. . . . Bjorkstrand tied it at 6:26 of the second. . . . Kelowna D Colten Martin scored his first goal of this season -- it came in his 84th game -- just 13 seconds later. Martin, who turned 20 on March 15, is from Arlington, Texas, and is the unsung hero of the Kelowna defence. In the last two seasons, he has played in 143 of a possible 144 regular-season games. He has 43 points, two of them goals, and is plus-108, including plus-61 this season. . . . Martin now has three goals in 27 playoff games, one in each of his three seasons. . . . Kelowna F Ryan Olsen got his fourth goal at 14:50 of the third to give his side a 3-1 lead. . . . Rockets G Jordon Cooke turned aside 61 shots, including 21 in the second period and 18 in the third. . . . After all the speculation, the Winterhawks gave the start to Boes, meaning Brendan Burke was on the bench to start a game for the first time in these playoffs. Boes stopped 30 shots, including key OT stops on F Nick Merkley and F Marek Tvrdon. . . . At one point in the third period, Portland freelancer Scott Sepich (@SSepich) tweeted: “Under 9 minutes left in the 3rd, Kelowna still up 2-1. Shots are 53-24 for Portland (plus 5 posts). . . . Portland has a 144-96 edge in shots in the three games, including 118-60  in the last two games. . . . The Rockets scratched F Kris Schmidli and put F Dillon Dube, a 15-year-old from Cochrane, Alta., in the lineup for the first time. He was the 21st overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Dube ended up plus-1 after his first WHL shift, too. . . . Bjorkstrand now leads the WHL playoffs in goals (14) and points (24), all accomplished in 12 games. Including the regular season, he has 133 points, 64 of them goals, in 81 games. . . . Portland F Nic Petan had two assists. . . . Portland D Derrick Pouliot had one assist, giving a WHL-high 17. . . . Pouliot and Leipsic ran their point streaks to 12 games. . . . Portland was 1-for-6 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-for-2. . . . The Rockets continue to be without F Myles Bell, who was their leading scorer in the regular-season. He hasn’t played since March 26 due to a leg injury.

From Terry Jones (@sunterryjones) of the Edmonton Sun: “So I climbed up to same exact seat I covered the 1973 playoff games in Medicine Hat. Booted out. Media no longer in press box. End of rink.”
More from Jones: “I will no longer complain about Detroit Red Wings press box in The Joe. At least it IS a press box.”
From former NHL referee Paul Stewart (@PaulStewart22): “What suspension would I give Cooke if it were my call: 50 games. He's forfeited his right to play this game.”
From Helene Elliott (@helenenothelen) of the Los Angeles Times: “Playoff paranoia reaches new heights: teams not doing line rushes in morning skate or warmups, so opposing coach doesn't see lineup.”

There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.

  © Design byThirteen Letter

Back to TOP