Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Winterhawks get assistant coach . . . or do they?

SMOKE ON THE WATER: Somewhere through all the smoke over the South
Thompson River near Kamloops stands Mount Martin. Yes, it's been smokin' hot
in Kamloops for the past few days.

D Rory Rawlyk (Medicine Hat, Vancouver, Prince Albert, Red Deer, 2000-03) has signed a one-year contract with the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 40 points, including 32 assists, in 43 games. He was named to the Elite League’s second all-star team. . . . Rawlyk’s season was cut short by a freak training accident in which he suffered a broken nose, fractured cheekbone and cracked eye socket, which required surgery. . . .
F Eric Johansson (Tri-City, 1997-2002) has signed a one-year extension with Ritten/Renon (Italy, Serie A). Last season, Johansson had 50 points, 14 of them goals, in 38 games with the Italian champions. He led the team in assists and points.
D Garnet Exelby (Saskatoon, Regina, 1998-2001) has signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, as the captain of the Norfolk Admirals (AHL), he had 18 points, all of them assists, in 72 games.
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
When you hear that, you think of that great movie Cool Hand Luke.
Well, we ran into a communication problem on Wednesday.
Under the headline ‘Charlottetown native to be an (sic) WHL assistant’, a website that goes by reported that “Brad MacKenzie of Charlottetown and the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League have agreed to terms that will see MacKenzie become an assistant coach with the team.”
MacKenzie is quoted in the story as saying: “It is what I want to do. It is a good first step with a terrific organization.”
I tweeted out a link to the 10-paragraph story that didn’t carry a byline.
Moments later, I got an email from a Winterhawks’ official.
“I think there was a miscommunication with the writer of the article,” the official wrote. “He is not an assistant coach, but from what I understand will be an intern or assistant of some sort working with the staff.
“Not sure exactly what his title will be but he won't be our new assistant coach.”
The story is right here.
The Winterhawks are looking for an assistant coach to replace Karl Taylor, who left Portland to become an assistant coach with the AHL’s Texas Stars.
The Winterhawks introduced Jamie Kompon as their new GM/head coach last week. He replaces Mike Johnston, now head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.
Kyle Gustafson, the club’s other assistant coach, is back and is preparing for his 11th season with the Winterhawks.

1. The Vancouver Giants are scheduled to introduce Troy Ward as their head coach this morning. (Yesterday, in this space, I erred in writing that the news conference was to be held Wednesday morning.) . . . Ward spent the last three seasons as the head coach of the Abbotsford Heat, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Calgary Flames. In Vancouver, he will replace Don Hay, the Giants’ head coach for the past 10 seasons. Hay now is head coach of the Kamloops Blazers.

2. The Moose Jaw Warriors also will be introducing a new head coach today. They have been looking to fill the void created when Mike Stothers signed on as head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the AHL farm team of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . There has been speculation that Malcolm Cameron, who was fired last month by the new owners of the Regina Pats, is the No. 1 candidate in Moose Jaw. Cameron guided the Pats to the East Division’s regular-season pennant last season. . . . This is a big day for the Warriors as the organization’s annual meeting is scheduled for tonight at the Heritage Inn.

3. It’s safe to say that the Lethbridge Hurricanes raised some eyebrows on Tuesday with the announcement that they were adding Bryan Maxwell to their coaching staff, as an assistant under head coach Drake Berehowsky. . . . Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald has more on Maxwell right here, including what he’s been doing the last couple of years and how he hopes to help the Hurricanes.

4. The Edmonton Oilers have added Rocky Thompson to their coaching staff. During games, he will serve as their eye in the sky. . . . Thompson, 36, has been an assistant coach with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons for the past four seasons. . . . A former WHL defenceman (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, 1993-97), Thompson also worked as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings (2007-10).

5. No matter where Yvon Barrette roams -- he’s in Prince Albert for a celebrity golf tournament -- he gets the question: “Who own the Chiefs?” . . . Yes, you know the movie. . . . Andrew Schopp of the Prince Albert Daily Herald has more right here.

6. F Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who won the WHL scoring title in 2008-09 while with the Vancouver Giants, has signed on with the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators. . . . Pierro-Zabotel, 25, started last season with the Lausitzer Foxes in Germany (DEL2). He joined the Gladiators in January and put up 28 points, including seven goals, in 36 games. . . . In 2008-09, he had 115 points, including 36 goals, in 72 games with the Giants.

7. Arland Bruce III has filed a concussion-related lawsuit against the CFL that is believed to be the first of its kind filed in Canada. This lawsuit was filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. . . . There is more right here.

8. The big story after Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game involved NL starter Adam Wainwright. Did he, or did he not, groove a fastball for AL shortstop Derek Jeter? And, if he did, does it matter? . . . Richard Justice of has more right here.

9. Don’t forget to vote in the Memorial Cup poll over there on the right. Just click on where you think the 2016 tournament should be played.

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