Tuesday, February 10, 2015

No WHL in Washington? . . . Remembering Ryan Donaldson . . . Thunderbirds edge Rockets

A WHL without any franchises in the state of Washington?
It could happen.
That was the message delivered by representatives of the WHL’s four Washington-based franchises to a State House Committee on Labor in the state capital of Olympia on Tuesday.
The committee is addressing the nonemployee status of athletes in amateur sports. The bill in front of the committee would exempt athletes playing in amateur leagues from laws mandating they be paid the minimum wage.
According to a report filed by king5.com, Russ Farwell, the president and general manager, of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Gary Gelinas, the president of the Everett Silvertips, told the committee that “if the state does not change the definition, they could be forced to move the franchises out of state because it would not be able to continue to have 16- and 17-year-old players on the roster.”
The Chiefs were represented by Greg Sloan, their chief financial officer, while Bob Tory, the governor and general manager, was there on behalf of the Americans.
King5.com reports that all four representatives “spoke in favour” of the bill.
Farwell told the committee that “our players are 100 percent amateurs.” . . . The king5.com story is right here.
There is a video report right here.

It is just more than a year since Ryan Donaldson’s death and his sister, Kirsten, is determined that he won’t be forgotten. But it’s more than that. She is starting the Ryan Donaldson Memorial Tournament in his memory. But it’s still more than that. . . . I don’t know if the medical community has determined a direct link between suicide and concussions, but common sense tells you the possibility is there and that it’s strong. Kirsten told 604now.com that she wants “to raise the money so that we can have an account for any athlete that gets a concussion and can’t afford the secondary test, or needs to go to a specialist and can’t afford to go.” . . . The complete story is right here. . . . Ryan, who was 17 when he died, had been a fifth-round selection by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft.

The Victoria Royals are getting into the Hockey Hooky business. They have designated Tuesday’s game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors as their inaugural Hockey Hooky Day. Game time will be 12:05 p.m. . . . It will be Victoria’s first weekday matinee game. . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors play the first of seven straight road games tonight in Lethbridge. The Warriors are out of their building while the Canadian women’s curling championship is decided. . . . Moose Jaw F Jesse Shynkaruk will complete a three-game suspension tonight. The Warriors are hoping F Jaimen Yakubowski 20, will be back after a three-game injury-related absence. . . .
F Conner Bleackley of the Red Deer Rebels isn’t likely to play in either of the club’s two home games this weekend, Friday against Lethbridge and Saturday against Prince George. . . . Bleackley, the Rebels’ captain, suffered an undisclosed injury in a Saturday game in Vancouver. . . . “I would say he’s questionable, at best, for the weekend,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ GM/head coach, told Greg Meachem of the Red Deer Advocate.“He’s still pretty sore and it’s just a matter of taking it day-by-day, but I don’t think he’s be available for the next two games.” . . .
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet takes a look at the Evander Kane situation right here. It’s all-encompassing and well worth a read.

“Former NHL star Robert (Butch) Goring and well-known veterans Sergio Momesso, Manny Legace, Brian Savage and Todd Warriner are among a group of 29 retired players who Monday joined concussion litigation against the NHL for failing to protect its players from the effects of traumatic head injuries,” Ada Proteau of The Hockey News reported on Monday. “The new group of 29 players included their names in a U.S District Court lawsuit filed in Minnesota Monday. Although they aren’t represented by lead counsel in the original lawsuit, they are now linking up to accuse the NHL of not doing enough to take appropriate care of their health and cognitive abilities and are seeking unspecified damages as well as a jury trial. The list also includes recognizable names including Todd Elik, Greg Adams and Todd Harvey.” . . . Proteau’s complete report is right here.
Another concussion-related lawsuit has been filed in the U.S., this one naming Pop Warner football. Edwin Rios of Mother Jones writes: “On Thursday, Debra Pyka, the mother of Joseph Chernach, a 25-year-old Wisconsin man who committed suicide in 2012, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Pop Warner, claiming that cognitive damage from his three years in organized youth football was responsible for his death. The lawsuit claims Chernach suffered from postconcussion syndrome and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease most often associated with former NFL players, as a result of "numerous" concussions he sustained starting when he was 11.” . . . There’s more right here.


In Swift Current, G Rylan Parenteau stopped 35 shots to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 2-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . Parenteau stopped 29 of 30 shots over the last two periods. . . . He lost his shutout bid when F Colby Cave scored his 22nd goal with 0.4 of a second left on the clock. . . . F Sean Montgomery scored his fourth goal of the season at 10:48 of the second period and D Mackenze Stewart got his third at 7:33 of the third. . . . The Raiders (22-31-2) had lost four straight (0-3-1). They are nine points out of a playoff spot with 17 games remaining. . . . The Broncos (25-24-5), who are third in the East Division, had won their previous two games. . . .

In Saskatoon, the Spokane Chiefs scored three times in the first 3:08 of the game and went on to a 6-3 victory over the Chiefs. . . . F Adam Helewka scored his 29th goal just 22 seconds into the game to get the visitors started. He later added an assist. . . . F Jacob Cardiff added his third at 1:07 and F Jackson Playfair got his ninth at 3:08. . . . F Liam Stewart had two goals for Spokane, giving him 19, while F Kailer Yamamoto ended a 10-game goalless drought with his 17th goal and two assists. . . . F Wyatt Sloboshan had two assists for the Blades, while D Brycen Martin got his sixth goal and also had an assist. . . . The Chiefs (26-23-4) are 2-1-0 on a six-game swing through the East Division that continues tonight in Prince Albert. Spokane holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . The Blades (15-35-3) have lost four in a row. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has a game story right here. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers scored the only two goals of a shootout and beat the Regina Pats, 5-4. . . . Tigers F Markus Eisenschmid forced OT when he scored his second goal of the game and 17th of the season with 15.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . F Dryden Hunt and F Cole Sanford scored the shootout goals. . . . F Austin Wagner’s 18th goal, at 1:01 of the third period, gave the Pats a 3-1 lead. . . . The Tigers tied it on goals from Eisenschmid, at 6:53, and D Kyle Burroughs, on a PP, at 8:32. Burroughs has six goals. . . . Regina F Braden Christoffer gave his side the lead with his 17th goal at 9:52. . . . Hunt had two assists. . . . F Pavel Padakin scored twice for the Pats, giving him 19. . . . Regina G Daniel Wapple stopped 45 shots through OT, 18 more than Medicine Hat’s Marek Langhamer. . . . The Tigers (36-15-3) had lost four in a row (0-3-1). They now lead the Central Division by eight points over the Calgary Hitmen, who have won eight straight. . . . The Pats (30-17-7), who are a comfortable second in the East Division, have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . .

In Kent, Wash., D Jerret Smith’s PP goal at 16:26 of the third period gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Smith has six goals this season. . . . F Nick Merkley gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead with his 17th goal at 9:14 of the second period. . . . F Mathew Barzal pulled Seattle even with his 10th goal at 10:22 of the third. . . . Barzal also drew an assist on the winner. . . . Seattle G Taran Kozun stopped 32 shots, seven more than Kelowna’s Michael Herringer, who suffered his first loss in six decisions. . . . According to the Thunderbirds, there were 42 NHL scouts at the game. . . . The Thunderbirds were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-for-6. . . . Kelowna played its second game without F Tyson Baillie, who took a shot to the head in Kamloops on Saturday. The Rockets also are missing G Jackson Whistle (appendectomy). . . . Kelowna F Tomas Soustal didn’t play. He drew a ‘tbd’ suspension for a charging major and game misconduct he incurred on Monday against Prince George. . . . Seattle improved to 28-20-6 and closed to within four points of second-place Portland in the U. S. Division. Seattle holds a game in hand. . . . The Rockets (42-9-4) had points in each of their previous nine games (8-0-1).


(all times local)
Spokane at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

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