Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two more veterans leave WHL . . . Ex-WHLer forced to stop playing

Jerrid Sauer has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers' coaching staff.
(Photo: Medicine Hat Tigers)
It may not be a problem, but it would seem to be a trend.
First, there was D Reid Gow, 20. Then, D Cole Wedman, 20, followed suit. On Sunday, it was D Jeremy McIntosh's turn.
And now F Geordie Maguire and F Aspen Sterzer have moved on.
Gow and McIntosh, 19, both cited a loss of passion in deciding not to return to the Spokane Chiefs. Wedman, who had been dealt by Spokane to Moose Jaw over the summer, has informed the Warriors that he won't report, choosing instead to attend the U of Alberta.
Now you can add Maguire and Sterzer to the list.
Maguire, 19, isn’t in camp with the Swift Current Broncos and apparently will be heading to school.
From Winnipeg, he began his WHL career in 2012-13, picking up nine points, including four goals, in 65 games with the Wheat Kings. The Everett Silvertips had selected Maguire in the fifth round of the 2010 bantam draft, then dealt him to Brandon for G Brandon Anderson, 20, and a fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft.
At the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft, the Wheat Kings dealt Maguire to Regina, along with a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, in exchange for "draft day considerations."
At the 2013-14 trade deadline, the Pats traded Maguire to the Broncos for a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Maguire, who led the Manitoba midget AAA league in scoring in 2011-12, had 14 points, seven of them goals, in 27 games with Regina, and one goal in eight games with the Broncos.
Sterzer, meanwhile, has chosen not to report to the Red Deer Rebels for his 20-year-old season.
Greg Meachem, the Red Deer Advocate's sports editor, reports that Sterzer has told Brent Sutter, the Rebels' GM/head coach, that the passion is gone and that he plans on going to school.
“We’ll stay patient with it and see what happens," Sutter told Meachem, "but during my conversation with him he said he just didn’t feel he has the passion to play any more. He made that commitment to his family, to his mom and dad, that if he wasn’t at the pro level after his 19-year-old year that he would go to school.”
Sterzer played 174 regular-season WHL games, 144 of those with the Kamloops Blazers. He missed a lot of the 2012-13 season with health issues, including a brain injury. The Blazers traded him to the Rebels last season, giving up F Matt Bellerive and a third-round 2014 bantam pick. Sterzer had 21 points, 12 of them goals, in 30 games with Red Deer. Between the two teams, he had 53 points, including 29 goals, in 70 games.
“For us, it was disappointing. It caught us off guard,” Sutter added. “We didn’t expect it after our year-end exit meetings. He kept in contact with our coaches through the summer and was doing the conditioning stuff that was required of him.
“Then all of a sudden he changed his mind.”
Without Sterzer, the Rebels have three 20-year-olds on their roster -- D Brett Cote, who was acquired from the Victoria Royals for a second-round 2014 draft pick on May 1, D Devan Fafard and F Brooks Maxwell.
Albin Blomqvist turned 21 on Jan. 8, so no longer is eligible to play in the WHL.
Not that he would be able to were he 20 years of age, because he has become another victim of brain injuries.
Blomqvist, from Osby, Sweden, played two seasons (2011-13) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. In his first season, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games; the next season, he had three assists in 31 games.
Last season, he was limited to one game with Osby IK, a Division 2 club in Sweden.
As Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News reports, Blomqvist has had to retire, and he has written a letter to
“It’s a tough read and brings up a lot of important issues for the hockey world,” Kennedy writes right here.
Kennedy continues: “Translated into English, Blomqvist rails against a culture that pushes dreams more than reality. With his hockey career over and no chance at playing in the NHL, the defenceman also has come to the realization that his singular focus and lack of education may not have been the best idea.”
Blomqvist‘s brother, Axel, plays for the Victoria Royals and has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.
The OHL announced Wednesday that it has made more moves aimed at getting fighting out of the game.
What follows is from the OHL news release:
“The OHL will be augmenting the current staged fight rule whereby players receive an automatic game misconduct for a fight occurring immediately following the drop of the puck at the commencement of a period or game. Such rule has been expanded so as to include a fight that occurs immediately following any faceoff during the game. Should a staged fight occur, the player(s) involved shall each receive a game misconduct in addition to the major penalty and any other penalties assessed.
“If a player receives a third game misconduct during the season for a combination of any five-minute major and game misconduct penalties for checking to the head, checking from behind, boarding, kneeing and clipping, for which suspensions have not previously been applied, he shall receive an automatic one-game suspension. For each subsequent game misconduct, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“If a player receives a third minor penalty for instigating during the season, he shall receive an automatic one-game suspension. For each subsequent instigating minor penalty, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“The number of fighting majors that a player can receive in a game before a game misconduct is assessed shall be reduced from three to two.
“If a player receives a fourth minor penalty during the regular season in any one of the following categories, ie., checking from behind, checking to the head, kneeing, clipping or boarding, he shall receive a one-game suspension. For each subsequent minor penalty in any of the particular categories, the suspension shall be increased accordingly.
“Each OHL team shall have a threshold of three major penalties for fighting during each game. A disciplinary fine shall be assessed for each team exceeding such threshold.”
Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada has more on the OHL changes right here.

Alan Caldwell, over at Small Thoughts At Large, is in pre-training camp form in a big way. The other day, he took a look at the team-by-team 20-year-old situation. . . . Now he’s working on training camps, starting with rosters as they become available, and opening dates. Check it out right here; there also is a link over there on the right.
F Jake Mykitiuk, who played two seasons (2011-13) with the Prince George Cougars, is going to camp with the Tri-City Americans. He had 21 points, including seven goals, in 126 games with the Cougars. Last season, the 5-foot-7, 160-pound Mykitiuk, who turns 19 on Nov. 21, split last season between the AJHL's Sherwood Park Crusaders and Spruce Grove Saints. He totalled 38 points, 16 of them goals, in 39 AJHL games.
WHLF Austin Calladine, who turns 19 on Dec. 21, is in camp with the Swift Current Broncos. A second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2010 bantam draft, he has a goal and two assists in 37 regular-season games, 33 with the Hitmen in 2012-13. The Hitmen dealt him to the Saskatoon Blades for a conditional 2015 eighth-round bantam draft pick on Sept. 26. The Saskatoon native was pointless in three games with the Blades, then put up 34 points, 17 of them goals, in 46 games with the SJHL's Flin Flon Bombers.
BCHLF Shane Danyluk won’t be back with the Prince Albert Raiders for a fifth season. Danyluk, 20, cleared WHL waivers on Wednesday. He expressed a desire to play in the BCHL for his hometown Salmon Arm SilverBacks. Danyluk was a second-round selection in the 2009 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had 24 points, including seven goals, in 71 games. In 248 regular-season games, he put up 77 points, 25 of them goals. . . . Danyluk’s departure leaves the Raiders with five 20-year-olds on their roster -- F Calder Brooks, F Dakota Conroy, F Jayden Hart, D Sawyer Lange and F Carson Perreaux.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have added Jerrid Sauer, 26, to their coaching staff. He will work as an assistant coach, alongside GM/head coach Shaun Clouston and assistant coach Joe Frazer. . . . Sauer, from Medicine Hat, played in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos (2002-06) and the Tigers (2005-08). He then went on to the U of Calgary. . . . On the Tigers’ staff, he will replace Darren Kruger, who now is senior director, player development. . . . Sauer played for the Tigers in 2006-07 when they won the WHL championship.
The Everett Silvertips go into the season under a bit more pressure than some other teams. That's because ownership has guaranteed its season-ticket holders at least a fourth-place finish in the 10-team Western Conference.
In February 2013, the Silvertips guaranteed season-ticket holders that they would finish at least sixth in the 10-team Western Conference or they would cough up $100 towards 2014-15 season tickets. Everett didn't have to pay up after finishing fourth.
At the same time, Everett management guaranteed at least a fourth-place finish in the conference in 2014-15. If the Silvertips don't get that high, season-ticket holders who renewed early will get a $100 credit towards 2015-16 tickets.
Veteran F Trent Lofthouse, who turns 20 on Nov. 17, is in camp with the Portland Winterhawks. He also has played with the Everett Silvertips, Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants. Last season, he started with Victoria, playing 11 games, and finished with the Giants. In 148 regular-season games, he has 38 points, including 25 goals. . . . As of now, Lofthouse is scrapping with F Adam De Champlain, F Trace Elson and D Josh Hanson for Portland’s three 20-year-old spots.
CHLThe Central Hockey League’s Denver Cutthroats have suspended operations effective immediately. The franchise now is looking for additional investors and hopes to operate again in 2015-16. For now, all players who had signed with Denver are free agents.
The Central league also appears to have lost the Arizona Sundogs, and this could be permanent.
Brandon-based player agent Darryl Wolski tweeted Wednesday evening that the Sundogs “have ceased operations . . . players have been notified.”
CHLThat being the case, any players who have signed with the Sundogs now will be free agents.
Without Denver and Arizona, the Central league is down to seven teams. Shed a tear for F T.J. Fox. He played last season for the Cutthroats. On Friday, he signed with the Sundogs.

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