Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Warriors, Thunderbirds make deal . . . Struch signs with Pats

A sendoff to Robin Williams, from Mark Knight, an editorial cartoonist
with the Melbourne (Australia) Herald Sun. Knight posted it on his
Twitter account (@Knightcartoons).

If you haven’t already seen it, Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press spent some time Tuesday with the family of Ethan Williams, a young hockey player who committed suicide on July 29.
MacIntyre’s story is right here.
The Williams family wanted their son’s story to be out there in the hopes that it might help prevent such tragedies in the future.
Ethan, who would have been 17 on Aug. 22, was a fifth-round selection by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. He played last season with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. He was to have attended the Warriors’ training camp later this month.
One thing the family told McIntyre is that Ethan had had eight diagnosed concussions during his career. Understandably, Ethan’s family wonders whether those injuries can be connected to his depression.
Sheryl Ubelacker of The Canadian Press writes: “Teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion have a significantly higher risk of attempting suicide, being bullied and seeking help for mental-health issues from crisis help lines, a study has found.”
Ubelacker’s story, which was written in April, is right here.
As research into brain injuries progresses, there are more and more such studies and stories out there.
Unfortunately, the issues of concussion- and mental health-awareness aren’t going to go away.
The death of actor/comedian Robin Williams on Tuesday has shone a light of unprecedented brightness on mental illness. The reaction on social media has been nothing short of amazing, and is likely to provide one more push that will help remove the stigma that rides on the shoulder of someone with such an illness.
Meanwhile, Shannon Sampert, the Free Press’ politics and perspectives editor, writes right here about suicide and the media’s responsibilities in reporting it.

One day after losing D Cole Wedman as a 20-year-old, the Moose Jaw Warriors acquired F Jaimen Yakubowski, 20, from the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The Warriors also got a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, while surrendering a 2016 third-round selection.
Yakubowski had 19 points, nine of them goals, in 47 games with the Thunderbirds last season. He was acquired on Oct. 24, along with F Sam McKechnie from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Carter Folk, F Riley Sheen and a third-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.
Yakubowski, a native of Dalmeny, Sask., was used in more of a checking role in Seattle, so the Warriors are hoping he can recapture his scoring touch from 2012-13 when he had 50 points, 32 of them goals, in 66 games with Lethbridge. In 145 games with the Hurricanes, he had 79 points, including 49 goals. (Dalmeny is a few slapshots north of Saskatoon.)
The Warriors now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, all of them forwards. The others are Scott Cooke, Tanner Eberle and Jack Rodewald.
The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, still have six 20-year-olds on their roster -- G Taran Kozun, D Adam Henry, D Evan Wardley, F Justin Hickman, F Connor Honey and McKechnie.
Seattle GM Russ Farwell isn’t likely to take six 20-year-olds to camp next week, so don’t be surprised if there is another move or two in the next few days.
The Moose Jaw Warriors will add F Reed Low and D Scott Schoneck into the Conexus Warriors and Legends Hall of Fame as players this season, while the late Doug Hetherington will be inducted as a builder. . . . Low, from Moose Jaw, played two seasons (1995-97) with the Warriors, putting up 46 points and 449 penalty minutes in 123 games. He later played 256 NHL games, 250 of them with the St. Louis Blues, who selected him in the seventh round of the 1996 draft. He is retired and lives in St. Louis, where he works for Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers. Low also coaches minor hockey and conducts private lessons. . . . Schoneck, from Abbey, Sask., spent five seasons with the Warriors (1995-2000), putting up 209 points, including 53 goals, in 283 regular-season games. He is the Warriors’ all-time leading point-getter among defencemen. He later spent five years at the U of Saskatchewan, where he played for the Huskies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in business economics. He now is a national account manager in Western Canada for PepsiCo Foods Canada. . . . Hetherington was on the Warriors’ board of directors (2004-11), serving as alternate governor. He also was an original member of the Multiplex Builders Group. He died on Jan. 16, 2011. . . . The Hall of Fame weekend is scheduled for Nov. 28 and 29, with the induction ceremony on Friday and the Hall of Fame game, versus the Saskatoon Blades, on Saturday.
The Saskatoon Blades have signed G Dorrin Luding, the 66th overall selection in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. Luding, from North Vancouver, played last season at North Shore Winter Club, going 34-3-1 with 18 shutouts. He finished with a 0.966 GAA and a .934 save percentage in 38 games. He helped NSWC win the Western Canadian bantam championship. . . . The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Luding is expected to play this season with the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George.
F Derek Hulak (Regina, Saskatoon, 2006-10) finished up last season with the Texas Stars, who won the Calder Cup as AHL champions. It was his turn with the trophy on Wednesday and he had it in his hometown of Saskatoon. Yes, he took it by Credit Union Centre, where he had played with the Blades, and Rutherford Rink, where he played with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies. But he also took it to one other special place. Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a wonderful story right here.
With the summer collegiate baseball regular season having wrapped up, it’s worth noting that the Victoria HarbourCats, in just their second season of existence, have made their way into the top 50 of Baseball Business’ annual Summer Collegiate average attendance rankings. . . . The Madison Mallards (Northwoods League) are No. 1, at 6,139, followed by the LaCrosse Loggers (Northwoods), at 3,150, and the Elmira Pioneers (Perfect Game League), at 3,020. The Okotoks Dawgs (Western Major Baseball League) moved up one spot to No. 4, at 2,827. . . . The HarbourCats are No. 28, at 1,576, having led the West Coast League in attendance. Jim Swanson, the former sports editor of the Prince George Citizen, is the HarbourCats’ general manager. . . . Victoria drew 42,563 fans to 27 home games. . . . The HarbourCats finished 25-29, a three-game improvement over last season, but didn’t make the playoffs. . . . The top 50 is right here.
Ask someone about the best TV show ever and you will get any number of answers. Ask me and the answer will be The Wire.
Click right here and you will be taken to a piece by David Simon, who hadn’t yet
created The Wire when he had an encounter with Robin Williams.
Yes, there are all kinds of pieces out there right now describing meetings with Williams. But without this encounter in a Baltimore morgue, The Wire may never have happened.
The Regina Pats announced Wednesday that they have signed Dave Struch as an assistant coach to work alongside John Paddock, the club’s new senior vice-president of hockey operations and head coach. . . . Struch spent the last eight seasons with the Saskatoon Blades, seven as an assistant coach and last season as head coach. The Blades went through an ownership change as the 2013-14 season began and Struch wasn’t re-signed after the season ended. . . . Contract details weren’t announced, but Taking Note has been told that Struch got a four-year deal.
AJHLMike Brodeur has signed on with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons as their video and goaltending coach. . . . Brodeur, 31, is from Calgary. He played 41 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2003-04, before going on to a pro career that ended after the 2012-13 season. . . . In Fort McMurray, he will work alongside GM/head coach Curtis Hunt, who was the Warriors’ head coach in 2003-04 so is quite familiar with Brodeur. . . . The Oil Barons open camp on Aug. 15.

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