Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Giants get their coach . . . Guess who's back with Hurricanes?

It has been quite a while since Taking Note has included a poll. But there is one here today.
With three WHL franchises having indicated they are likely to bid on the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament, I thought it would be fun to see how readers of this blog feel about the subject.
So . . . there’s a poll over there on the right. Please take a moment and make your choice.
Thank you.

F Jens Meilleur (Brandon, 2010-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). He has dual Canadian-German citizenship. Last season, with Brandon (WHL), he had 26 points, including 11 goals, in 67 games.
Trilight Entertainment, which purchased an option on Sudden Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos, is still hoping to do some of the filming in the southwestern Saskatchewan city.
Shayne Putzlocher, a producer with Trilight Entertainment, was in Swift Current on Tuesday “doing some preliminary scouting and meetings,” he said via email. “(We are) still trying to do what we can to shoot some of this movie in Swift.”
The book, which was published in November 2012, takes a look at how the Broncos dealt with the aftermath of a bus accident in which four players died and how the team went on to win the 1989 Memorial Cup championship. (If you haven’t read it yet, you may order it over there on the right.)
To date, Trilight Entertainment has received funding from Telefilm Canada and the Alberta Media Fund, and a first draft script is being written.

1. And then there were two. . . . The Vancouver Giants will introduce a new head coach this morning, leaving only the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats as WHL teams without head coaches. . . . The Warriors are looking to replace Mike Stothers, now the head coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs. The Pats’ new owners created a vacancy when they fired Malcolm Cameron last month. . . . One rumour that just won’t go away has Lorne Molleken and David Struch signing in Regina as head coach and assistant coach. Molleken was the Pats’ head coach in 2000-01 when they were the host team for the Memorial Cup. Most recently, he was the general manager of the Saskatoon Blades, but he was dropped after last season. Struch, Molleken’s long-time assistant coach in Saskatoon, spent last season as the Blades’ head coach and was fired following the season. . . . Meanwhile, Cameron has expressed an interest in the Warriors’ vacancy. . . . Hey, wouldn’t it make things interesting if Molleken and Struch do end up in Regina and Cameron surfaces as the Warriors’ head coach? . . . Now that would add some heat to some rivalries!

2. The Vancouver Giants have signed Troy Ward as their head coach and are scheduled to introduce him at a news conference this morning. Ward will replace Don Hay, who left to return to his hometown of Kamloops and work as the Blazers’ head coach. The Giants have been looking for a new coach since May 1. . . . Ward, a 52-year-old native of St. Paul, Minn., spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. His contract wasn’t renewed following last season. . . . Ward also spent part of a season (34 games in 2005-06) as head coach of the Victoria Salmon Kings, a now-defunct ECHL franchise. . . . Ward, a coach since 1990-91, hasn’t coached junior hockey since 1993-95 when he was the head coach of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. He spent three seasons (2002-05) on the coaching staff at the U of Wisconsin.

3. The Abbotsford Heat, of course, have relocated to Glens Falls, N.Y., where they now are the Adirondack Flames. The parent Calgary Flames reached into Kelowna and signed Rockets head coach Ryan Huska to replace Troy Ward as the head coach of their AHL affiliate. . . . Calgary has yet to sign any assistant coaches for Adirondack and a source told me Tuesday night that Mark Ferner will be joining the AHL team’s staff. Ferner, 48, spent last season as the associate coach with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . He and Huska, 39, both played junior in Kamloops.

4. The Prince George Cougars did the expected on Tuesday, naming Todd Harkins as their new general manager. . . . Harkins, 45, had been head scout and director of player personnel at the time of an ownership change earlier this summer. When former GM Dallas Thompson wasn’t kept on, Harkins stepped in as interim GM. . . . According to team president Greg Pocock, “We took the time needed to make sure that we got the best person for the job. We had 17 candidates, talked to eight, interviewed five and hired the best one -- Todd Harkins.” . . . Harkins is a former Miami University player who went on to play in the NHL, with the Calgary Flames and Hartford Whalers. He retired in 2001 after a four-year stretch in Germany. . . . Later, he worked as the hockey director at the North Shore Winter Club. He also coached the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants to back-to-back provincial titles in 2011 and 2012. . . . Harkins also is the answer to a trivia question: “Who played Russian forward Valeri Kharlamov in the movie Miracle? . . . Harkins’ son Jansen is heading into his second season with the Cougars. Jansen was the second overall pick in the 2012 WHL bantam draft. . . . Harkins’ contract is for four years, with an option for a fifth season. . . . The Cougars are expected to name a new director of player personnel in the not too distant future.

5. The Cougars also gave head coach Mark Holick a contract extension. Holick had expressed an interest in the general manager’s position, but it’s believed that he was told as early as April that the new owners, EDGEPRO Sports, preferred to split the general manager and coaching duties. . . . Holick, 45, is preparing for his second full season as the Cougars’ head coach. He replaced Dean Clark in January 2013. Holick, who had two years left on his contract, received a two-year extension and now is signed through 2017-18. . . . Holick’s family spent last season at their home in Penticton, but wife Janet is planning on moving to Prince George this summer. . . . A former WHL player (Saskatoon, New Westminster, 1984-88), Holick was the head coach of the Kootenay Ice for three seasons (2007-10). . . . The Cougars have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and haven’t been out of the playoffs since reaching the Western Conference final in the spring of 2007.

6. The Lethbridge Hurricanes have added Bryan Maxwell to their coaching staff. He will work as an assistant, alongside head coach Drake Berehowsky and fellow assistant Mike Craig. . . . Maxwell, 58, is a veteran WHL coach, having worked in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Spokane, but he has been out of the game for a while. . . . He was the WHL’s coach of the year with the Spokane Chiefs for 1991-92. . . . Maxwell was the head coach of the 1986-87 Medicine Hat Tigers, who won the Memorial Cup. . . . He then spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, before taking over as head coach of the Chiefs, a job he held for five seasons. . . . He took over as the Hurricanes’ head coach in 1995-96 and also held the job from 1997-2001 and for 34 games in 2002-03. . . . He sat out the 1996-97 season with a suspension following a post-game altercation involving referee Brent Reiber on March 23, 1996.

7. Ed Habetler, one of the founding fathers of the Prince Albert Raiders, died on the weekend. Habetler, 78, had been battling cancer for some time. . . . According to a Raiders’ news release: “Habetler was on the original board of directors of the hockey club established in 1972 by the Northern Hockey Development Association. . . . Habetler (and) his wife Violet have had season tickets with the hockey club for each of the 43 seasons in club history.” . . . A funeral mass is scheduled for Thursday, 10 a.m., in St. Roman’s Catholic Church in Prince Albert. . . . Almost four years ago, the Prince Albert Daily Herald profiled Habetler right here.

AHL8. The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs have named Gord Dineen as head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. . . . Dineen takes over from Steve Spott, who has moved up to the Maple Leafs as an assistant coach. . . . Dineen, 51, has been a Marlies’ assistant coach for five seasons. . . . The Leafs also promoted Marlies assistant coach Derek King to associate coach. King, 47, also has been with the Marlies for five seasons.

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