Friday, July 11, 2014

Hrbas changing teams . . . Three Hells Angels convicted in beating death of former WHLer

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Cardiff Devils (Wales, UK Elite). Last season, with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL), he had 18 points, including 11 goals, in 55 games. He was pointless in three games while on loan to the Portland Pirates. . . .
G Tyler Weiman (Tri-City, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract with Landshut (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Nuremburg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL), he was 2.79 and .913 in 37 games.
Marek Hrbas is changing teams.
Hrbas, who played defence with the Edmonton Oil Kings and Kamloops Blazers (2010-13), is preparing for his second season with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga.
No, he’s not changing hockey teams; this is about basketball.
On Friday, having just returned to Prague following a vacation in Turkey, Hrbas learned that NBA star LeBron James had left the Miami Heat in order to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
No one who isn’t family has been a bigger fan of LeBron and the Heat than the 21-year-old Hrbas. Sheesh, his Facebook page is headed up by a banner photo of Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron celebrating a playoff victory. There also are a number of Heat-related photos on Hrbas’ Facebook page. I can tell you from experience that he loves to talk basketball.
All the Heat stuff, however, became history with LeBron’s announcement, at least to Hrbas.
“I think it's great,” the seemingly always-smiling Hrbas told me in a Facebook exchange. “He deserves respect for that and, of course, I will be a Cleveland fan now.”
When it was suggested that LeBron’s move will cost Hrbas some money, he replied: “I know! Haha gotta buy new bobblehead, jersey, hats, everything.”

1. Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post has written a really good piece on F Miles Koules of the Medicine Hat Tigers, who has been in the Washington Capitals’ development camp. That story is right here. You have to love a story that begins with: “The son of Hollywood and hockey. . . .”

2. The Prince George Cougars have scheduled a “major” news conference for Tuesday, 10 a.m., outside their CN Centre dressing room. . . . Perhaps they will announce the signing of a general manager to replace Dallas Thompson, who wasn’t renewed following the ownership change. Since then, Todd Harkins, the director of player personnel, has been the interim GM. The betting is that the word ‘interim’ will disappear from Harkins’ job description.

3. D Tanner Mort’s WHL career came crashing to an end on Oct. 12, 2012. Mort, then a defenceman with the Spokane Chiefs, suffered a concussion/neck injury during a game in Kamloops. . . . On Friday night, as Bruce Bourquin of the Coeur d’Alene Press reports right here, Mort got to play on the same ice surface as the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull and assorted others. . . . Bourquin also writes of Mort’s struggles with the reality that his injury had ended his dream of playing professionally. . . . Stick tap to SpokaneChiefsFanPage (@gochiefsgoblog) for this one.

4. The Detroit Red Wings have been searching for an assistant coach, having lost former Spokane Chiefs head coach Bill Peters to the Carolina Hurricanes, where he now is head coach. . . . Now comes word that former Kamloops Blazers head coach Tom Renney, another assistant under head coach Mike Babcock, may be the next president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. . . . Ansar Khan of has that story right here.

5. So . . . do major junior hockey players really need a union? Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo! Canada Sports tries to answer that question right here. . . . Read this piece, and read between the lines, and you get the feeling that this latest attempt to organize these players is doomed to failure, just like the last one.

6. “Applause and cheers broke out in B.C. Supreme Court Friday when three Hells Angels associates were convicted of manslaughter in the vicious fatal beating of a Kelowna dad,” writes Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun. “Justice Mark McEwan found brothers Matthew and Daniel McRae, as well as their pal Anson Schell, guilty for their roles in the brutal attack that left Dain Phillips dead in June 2011.” . . . Phillips played 82 regular-season and 21 playoff games in the WHL (1978-80), splitting them between the Lethbridge Broncos and Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Bolan’s complete story is right here.

7. Yes, LeBron James announced Friday morning that he’s going home to Cleveland and the Cavaliers. The best piece I’ve seen on the situation was written by Bill Simmons at Grantland and it’s right here.

8. Sports Illustrated scooped the world with the LeBron James story on Friday morning. But, Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, wonders right here if it really was journalism or was it the James Gang doing public relations? This really is food for thought. (Read this and you also will find out just how that letter/essay that was purportedly written by James really came to be.)

9. More than 40 years ago, a young sports writer from the Brandon Sun would spend the odd early morning at CKX radio chatting up an all-night DJ, who was an aspiring sportscaster. . . . Bob Irving now is into his 40th year of calling the play of Winnipeg Blue Bombers games. It’s not unreasonable to call him the Vin Scully of Canadian football play-callers. Yes, Irving is that good. . . . “My philosophy is simple, you describe what you see,” he told Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette, who profiles Irving right here. “If it reflects badly on the home team, that’s too bad. You describe what you see. When the Bombers are getting beat 42-3, I’ve said on the air, more than once, this is getting hard to watch.” . . . Interestingly, when I was at the Brandon Sun in 1972, I worked alongside Bruce Penton, who covered the Wheat Kings at the time; he and Irving are close friends. Today, Penton’s son, Kirk, covers the Blue Bombers for the Winnipeg Sun.
Jody Hull, the head coach of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes, has been named head coach of Canada’s U-18 team that will play at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament next month. . . . Hull takes over from Derek Laxdal, the former Edmonton Oil Kings head coach who left to join the AHL’s Texas Stars as head coach. . . . Hockey Canada also added Martin Raymond, the head coach of the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, as an assistant coach. . . . The other assistant coach is Eric Veilleux, the head coach of the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . Team Canada’s selection camp is scheduled for Calgary, Aug. 2-5, with the tournament running Aug. 11-16 in Piestany, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czech Republic.
Jarrod Skalde is the new head coach of the Norfolk Admirals, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Skalde and Trent Yawney shared the position last season, but the latter has moved up and now is an assistant coach with the Ducks. . . . Skalde was a head coach for five seasons in the ECHL, winning the coach-of-the-year award in 2012-13 in his third season with the Cincinnati Cyclones. Skalde, 43, is from Niagara Falls, Ont. . . . Marty Wilford has been retained for a fourth season as an assistant coach.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have added Peter Horachek and Steve Spott to their coaching staff as assistants alongside head coach Randy Carlyle. . . . Horachek was the head coach of the Florida Panthers, while Spott was head coach of the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate. The Marlies now are in the market for a head coach.

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