Friday, August 22, 2014

Hurricanes keeping busy . . . Tigers lose assistant GM to NHL

D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) has signed a one-year contract with the Nikkō Icebucks (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2), he had six goals and 11 assists in 27 games. He also played for Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2), picking up 14 points, including two goals, in 24 games. . . .
F Justin Keller (Kelowna, 2003-06) has signed a one-year contract with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 14 goals and 15 assists in 50 games.


THE DEAL: The Lethbridge Hurricanes get G Zac Robidoux, 18, from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a third-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2017. The latter is conditional on Robidoux playing in the WHL in 2016-17. He is the son of Florent Robidoux, who played two seasons (1978-80) with the Portland Winterhawks.
THE SKINNY: The Hurricanes lost G Justin Myles, who retired Friday due to problems associated with a brain injury suffered last season. Thus, they need some depth at that position. . . . Robidoux, from Morden, Man., is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. He played last season with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers, finishing with a slash line of 17-9-0/2.19/.924 in 27 appearances. With the Tigers, he was 2-1-0/2.27/891 in three games. He was a sixth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2011 bantam draft.
THE ANALYSIS: The Hurricanes used six goaltenders last season as they stumbled to a WHL-worst 12-55-5. Taking a look at Robidoux can’t hurt because it’s too early for Stuart Skinner, 16, the 17th pick in the 2013 bantam draft, to be the go-to guy. . . . The deal would seem to signal the Tigers’ contentment with a goaltending tandem of Nick Schneider, 17, and Jared Rathjen, 20. Schneider was acquired last season from the Regina Pats; Rathjen came over this summer from the Vancouver Giants.

All eyes were on the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday, and they didn’t disappoint.
They didn’t trade D Macoy Erkamps, but they did place F Reid Duke on the suspended list, announced that G Justin Myles has retired, and acquired G Zac Robidoux from the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Erkamps, 19, didn’t show up for camp on Thursday and has requested a trade. The native of Delta, B.C., has played three seasons with the Hurricanes.
Duke, 18, was one of Lethbridge’s better players last season, his second with the Hurricanes after being the fifth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft. (D Ryan Pilon, selected by Lethbridge with the third pick in that draft, asked for a trade last season and ended up with the Brandon Wheat Kings.)
Duke put up 40 points, including 15 goals, in 62 games. In 131 career regular-season games, he has 25 goals and 45 assists.
General manager Brad Robson said Thursday that Duke would be placed on the suspended list if he wasn’t in camp by Friday, at 2 p.m. Duke now is on that suspended list.
Myles, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Jan. 5 when he was with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Since then, he has been traded to the Kamloops Blazers and the Hurricanes.
Robson told Pat Siedlecki of Lethbridge radio station CJOC that doctors advised Myles not to play due to concussions. The conditional draft pick that went to Kamloops in the trade has reverted to Lethbridge.
Mitch Wilson was a tough hockey player, witness 436 penalty minutes with the WHL’s Seattle Breakers in 1981-82. Now he’s taking on ALS, as documented right here by Mike Morreale of . . . Wilson, a Calgary native, has been sailing the seas for the last 20 years, most recently as a tugboat captain. He played two seasons (1980-82) with the Breakers; he piled up 253 penalty minutes in his first season. . . . In 124 regular-season games, he had 66 points, including 26 goals. He went on to play professionally into the mid-1990s, and got into 26 NHL games, scoring twice, earning three assists, and picking up 104 penalty minutes.
G Christopher Tai, who turns 19 on Dec. 1, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets. A native of Delta, B.C., Tai played last season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (eight games), Medicine Hat Tiger (1) and Brandon Wheat Kings (1). In 2012-13, he got into 12 games with the Hurricanes. . . . In 22 regular-season games, he is 5-6-0, 4.54, .867. . . . In Kelowna, it’s anticipated that veteran Jackson Whistle will open as the starter, after backing up Jordon Cooke last season. Cooke has used up his junior eligibility.
The Kamloops Blazers revealed Friday morning that F Carson Bolduc, 18, has decided not to report to training camp. . . . According to a news release, he is evaluating his hockey career. . . . “Carson informed us prior to training camp that he did not want to compete at the level necessary to play in the WHL,” general manager Craig Bonner said in that news release. . . . Bolduc, from Salmon Arm, had 20 points, eight of them goals, in 121 career regular-season games. He was acquired last season from the Prince George Cougars and had 11 points, including three goals, in 44 games with the Blazers. . . . The Cougars selected him in the third round of the 2011 bantam draft.
The Kamloops Blazers have three sets of twins in their rookie camp. Andrew and Lucas Palladino, from Sturgeon County, Alta., both are forwards, as are Michael and Ryan Van Unen, who are from Kamloops. Benson and Jordan Thorpe are from Saskatoon. Benson is a right winger, while Jordan is a defenceman. All are 15 years of age. . . . Kamloops has D Clint Colebourn of North Vancouver and F Phillip Knies of Phoenix on its main camp roster. Both were 2013 bantam draft picks, Colebourn in the seventh round and Knies in the fourth, but both were injured an unable to attend camp a year ago. . . . F Tyler Ward of Kamloops turned 15 on Tuesday, but had to pull out of the Blazers’ camp with an injury. The 5-foot-6, 130-pound Ward was an 11th-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
Dan Olsen is the new head coach of the Calgary-based SAIT Trojans. Olsen is a former player and assistant coach with the Trojans. . . . He is SAIT’s first new hockey coach in 27 years. Olsen, 53, takes over from Ken Babey, the former head coach and athletic director who resigned from both positions in June. . . . Olsen was Babey’s assistant coach for five seasons (1991-95). . . . Most recently, Olsen has been the head coach of the Calgary Buffalo Hockey Association’s minor midget Triple A Rangers.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Noah Gregor, 16, who was acquired last season from the Victoria Royals. The Royals picked up Gregor and two third-round bantam draft picks, in 2014 and 2016, for D Travis Brown, 19. . . . The Warriors traded that 2016 pick last week when they acquired F Jaimen Yakubowski, 20, from the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Last season, Gregor played for the midget AAA Leduc Oil Kings. In his freshman season, he led the league in scoring, with 51 points, including 21 goals, in 35 games. . . . Victoria had selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that Gregor will take it slow over the weekend, thanks to “a minor back and hip flexor injury.” . . . Gourlie also reports that the Warriors didn’t invite F Brandon Del Grosso, 18, to camp. He was limited to one game last season after suffering a brain injury on Oct. 10. . . .
D Liam Schioler, 16, is taking part in the Regina Pats’ rookie camp. Schioler, from Winnipeg, was a second-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. He plans on returning to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn., for a second season. . . . The NHL’s Calgary Flames have added Brad McEwen to their scouting staff. He had been working with the Medicine Hat Tigers as their head scout and assistant general manager. McEwen will begin work for the Flames on Sept. 1. A veteran of Western Canadian hockey arenas, he had been the Tigers’ head scout since 2007. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors will donate all proceeds from Sunday’s intrasquad game to the Journey to Hope in memory of Ethan Williams. A fifth-round draft pick by the Warriors in 2012, Williams committed suicide last month in his hometown of Winnipeg. He was to have attended this training camp.

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