Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Rimmer undergoes cancer surgery . . . Donaldson family remembers Ryan . . . Hitmen streak hits nine








F Štěpán Novotný (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2008-11) has signed for the rest of this season with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). Novotný started this season with Žilina but moved to Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga) in December. In 33 games with Žilina, he has 10 goals and seven assists. He had three goals in 13 games with Nitra.
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Further down, under Tweet of the Day, you will find four tweets from G Ty Rimmer (Brandon, Prince George, Tri-City, Lethbridge, 2009-13). Rimmer, 22, is the latest young hockey player to have been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Among the former WHL players who have been faced with this disease are Cody Smuk, Brandon Davidson and Dylan Tait.
Rimmer has had surgery and all signs point to his making a complete recovery.
In his tweets, he encourages young men to get checked out and to be quick to see a doctor if anything irregular is noticed.
Let’s not forget that Cole Hamblin, a former WHLer, lost his battle with a rare form of cancer, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, early in November.
Please allow me to point out the importance of early diagnosis. I have twice been treated for basal cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer. The first time, the dermatologist told me that if you were to get skin cancer, this was the one to get. That diagnosis involved a spot on one forearm.
The second time we dealt with spots on both hands that I had written off as nothing more than dry skin.
I now am more careful than ever before in terms of exposure to the elements, meaning I put on sun screen even on the cloudy days.
I also had a colon cancer test come back “mildly positive,” as my family doctor explained to me, late last fall. That led to a colonoscopy early in January. Thankfully, it didn’t find anything.
With the prevalence of cancers today, I would ask anyone with any suspicions to see a doctor. Early diagnosis is of the utmost importance.
Just ask Ty Rimmer.
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Want to get a look at the new arena in Medicine Hat — the Medicine Hat Regional Event Centre (aka The House that Bob Built)? It looks to be shaping up quite nicely. . . . Click right here and take a look at a video from CHAT-TV. (Tip of the hat to Kim Johnston for providing the link.)
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Jackson Caller, 15, who was a seventh-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Caller, from Kamloops, plays for the midget prep team at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna. He has 13 points, including three goals, in 29 games. The academy shows him at 6-foot-1 and 167 pounds. . . .
Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald reported Wednesday that F Logan Aasman, 19, is back skating with the Everett Silvertips. Aasman, who has been out since Nov. 30 because of a concussion, had been at home in Medicine Hat recovering. He returned to Everett last week and is practising in a no-contact jersey. If all goes well, Aasman might return to the Silvertips’ lineup around month’s end. . . . Aasman had eight points, two of them goals, in 25 games when he was injured. In 108 career games, he has 26 points, including seven goals. . . .
The Brandon Wheat Kings, who are one point out of first-place overall, are showing D Kale Clague as being out week-to-week. Clague returned from a wrist injury last week but was injured Sunday, in his third game back. . . . Brandon F John Quenneville (suspected concussion) practised Wednesday, while F Jayce Hawryluk (undisclosed injury) remains out, as is D Ivan Provorov (undisclosed injury) and G Alex Moodie (suspected concussion). . . .
F Quinn Benjafield of the Kamloops Blazers ended up with a four-game suspension for a headshot major and game misconduct he took Saturday against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. He hit F Tyson Baillie, who is listed by the Rockets as being out week-to-week. Benjafield has sat out one game so far. . . . The Blazers and Tri-City Americans each were fined $250 for warmup violations prior to Monday afternoon’s game in Kamloops. Tri-City D Riley Hillis came out of that with a one-game suspension for a game misconduct he incurred. Interestingly, there isn’t anything on the online game sheet that indicates that Hillis was ejected. He served the suspension last night as the Americans played in Everett. . . .
D Alec Capstick of Langley, B.C., has committed to the U of Notre Dame where he will play hockey for the Irish. . . . Capstick, who will turn 16 on Feb, 18, was selected by the Saskatoon Blades in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. . . . He is playing at Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . .
The Vancouver Giants are another WHL team to have gotten Hockey Hooky fever. They’ll play host to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Wednesday with the game starting at noon. The Warriors also will play a Hockey Hooky game in Victoria on Tuesday. That game is to start at 12:05 p.m.
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The Donaldson family — mother Dana, father Doug and sister Kirsten — are determined that the life of their son and brother, Ryan, won’t have been for naught.
They are convinced that concussions suffered while playing hockey led to his suicide last February at the age of 17.
Gary Ahuja of the Langley Times has an extensive piece right here on the Donaldson family.
“Concussions and even simple brain shaking cause changes in the brain that cause the sufferer to lose control over their impulses,” Dana told Ahuja. “Basically, they make impulsive decisions. That is what Ryan did, he made an impulsive life-ending decision.
“That was not him and all his many friends need to know it was the brain injury that caused his death.
“Anyone who knew him knows he was full of life and positive.”
The family’s goal is to make sure no one else goes through what they have experienced in the past year.
“One of the biggest things for us is that we have come to realize with concussions, if we could go back, we would change exactly how we dealt with Ryan,” Doug said.
“Once a player has had one concussion, they know what the questions are and how they are going to answer them so they can get back in the game,” he said.
“With the baseline test, you can take that away from a player.”
The Donaldsons are organizing the inaugural Ryan Donaldson Memorial Tournament. Individual players will register for the tournament, teams will be selected via a draft and fun will be had by all.
Proceeds will be used to provide access to baseline testing to any players who want it. There also are plans to set up a trust fund that will be used to aid families who are dealing with concussions.
It is worth noting, too, that the Donaldsons donated their son’s organs as they took him off life support.
“We figured he was such a giving kid, this is what he would have wanted to do,” Dana told Ahuja.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:

In Prince Albert, G Nick McBride stopped 24 shots to lead the Raiders to a 3-0 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . It was McBride’s second shutout of the season and second of his career. It was his first victory in 12 decisions, too. . . . Raiders F Tim Vanstone scored his eighth goal at 2:56 of the second period and it stood up as the winner. . . . The Raiders struck for three goals in 4:07, with F Colton Heffley getting his fifth at 6:41 and F Matteo Gennaro getting No. 9 at 7:03. . . . Chiefs G Garret Hughson stopped 27 shots. . . . F Craig Leverton had two assists. . . . Eleven of the 16 minor penalties called in the game were for roughing. . . . Each team was 0-for-4 on the PP. . . . Vanstone left in the second period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. . . . The Raiders (23-31-2) have won two in a row. They have 16 games remaining and are seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Spokane (26-24-4), which has been shutout in five of its last 11 games, is 2-2-0 on its six-game East Division trip. The Chiefs, who are in Brandon on Friday, hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com has a game story right here. . . .

In Cranbrook, the Kootenay Ice scored five second-period goals and went on to beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Ice F Levi Cable, who was playing his 250th game, got the game’s first goal, his 24th, just 59 seconds into the first period. . . . Ice F Jaedon Descheneau picked up his 150th career assist on Cable’s goal. . . . Tigers F Cole Sanford scored his WHL-leading 44th goal on a PP at 2:54 of the second. He’s riding a 12-game point streak. . . . Ice D Rinat Valiev broke the tie with his eighth goal at 11:07 and the Ice added four more before the period ended. . . . Cable and Valiev each had two assists, as did F Luke Philp. . . . Ice F Tim Bozon scored his 22nd goal and added his 150th career assist. . . . Descheneau added his 25th goal, while F Sam Reinhart got No. 13. . . . With head coach Ryan McGill ill and unavailable, assistant coach Jay Henderson ran the Kootenay bench. . . . The Ice had D Tanner Faith back on their bench, but he was in the role of an assistant coach. He is recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery. . . . The Tigers were without D Ty Stanton (ill), but had D Tyler Lewington, their captain, back from a one-game suspension. . . . The Ice (28-26-1) had lost its previous three games. It owns the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point up on Edmonton. . . . The Tigers (36-16-3) lead the Central Division by six points over Calgary. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has a game story right here. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Jamal Watson scored twice and set up another to lead the Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Watson has 20 goals. . . . The Hurricanes erased a 2-1 deficit with three straight goals. . . . F Jack Rodewald gave Moose Jaw a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at 2:08 of the second. He’s got 25 goals. . . . Lethbridge F Mike Winther tied it with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 14:53. . . . F Johnny Wesley got his third goal at 18:30, on another PP, and Watson upped the lead to 4-2 at 2:48 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw F Jiri Smejkal, who had two assists, cut the deficit to one with his ninth goal at 12:57. . . . The Hurricanes iced it with a pair of shorthanded empty-netters, from Watson and D Andrew Nielsen, his seventh. Nielsen also had two assists. . . . Smejkal has 23 points in 54 games, with six of the points coming in two games against the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge G Stuart Skinner turned aside 38 shots, 16 more than Moose Jaw’s Zach Sawchenko. . . . D Reid Zalitach played his first game for the Warriors since Nov. 1. He had left the club for personal reasons. . . . The Hurricanes now are 16-32-6. . . . The Warriors (21-29-4), who are nine points out of a playoff spot with 18 games to play, have lost two in a row. This was the first of seven straight road games as the Canadian women’s curling championship has taken over their home arena. . . .

In Calgary, the Hitmen ran their winning streak to nine games with a 4-3 five-round shootout victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . F Brad Morrison scored for the Cougars in the first round of the shootout, with F Adam Tambellini countering for the Hitmen in the second round. . . . F Connor Rankin won it in the fifth round. . . . Cougars G Ty Edmonds stopped 49 shots through OT. . . . Morrison forced OT with his 20th goal at 12:00 of the third period. . . . The Hitmen led 2-0 in the second period, only to have the Cougars tie it on D Tate Olson’s fifth goal, on a PP, at 1:20 of the third. . . . F Jake Virtanen shot Calgary back into the lead with his 15th goal at 11:13. . . . Tambellini had two assists, while D Travis Sanheim scored his 11th goal and added an assist. . . . Calgary F Kenton Helgesen, the team captain, scored his 18th goal of the season in what was his 250th career game. . . . Morrison also had an assist, while F Zach Pochiro got his 10th goal and added an assist. . . . Calgary G Brendan Burke stopped 19 shots. . . . The Hitmen (32-17-5) are second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . The Cougars (21-32-4) are 0-1-2 in their last three games. They are fifth in the B.C. Division, but just three points behind third-place Vancouver. . . .

In Vancouver, F Carter Popoff scored twice to help the Giants to a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Edmonton F Lane Bauer scored his 18th goal at 9:42 of the first period. . . . The Giants scored the game’s last three goals. . . . Popoff tied it at 7:33 of the second period and F Vladimir Bobylev got his third just 44 seconds later. . . . Popoff, who has 22 goals, iced it with an empty-netter at 19:34 of the third. . . . Vancouver G Cody Porter stopped 31 shots. . . . Giants G Payton Lee, who has been out with a hand injury, was on the bench backing up Porter. . . . Edmonton G Tristan Jarry blocked 21 shots. He played in his 148th career game to set a franchise record. He had shared the mark with Laurent Brossoit. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson had two assists. . . . Vancouver D Arvin Atwal was eligible to return from a WHL suspension, but he was a healthy scratch. . . . Vancouver (23-29-3) has won two in a row and has moved into third place in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of idle Kamloops. The Giants have a game in hand. . . . Edmonton (25-26-6) has lost two straight; it went 1-3-0 on a trip into the B.C. Division, scoring only six goals in the process. The Oil Kings hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province has a game story right here. . . .

In Everett, the Tri-City Americans erased 2-0 and 3-2 deficits as they beat the Silvertips 4-3 in a shootout. . . . F Vladislav Lukin scored the lone goal of the three-round shootout. Lukin, a freshman from Ufa, Russia, isn’t believed to be related to former Kamloops Blazers captain Jaret Lukin. . . . This really was a wild one. . . . Everett led 2-0 after one period — on goals from F Patrick Bajkov, his 20th, and Remi Laurencelle, his 15th — and took that lead into the third. . . . The Americans tied it on D Brendan O’Reilly’s first goal, at 7:23 of the third, and F Lucas Nickles’ 20th just 12 seconds later. . . . F Nikita Scherbak put Everett back out front with his 23rd goal at 12:05. . . . Tri-City pulled even on F Beau McCue’s 21st goal at 14:28. . . . D Brandon Carlo had two assists for the Americans. . . . Everett G Austin Lotz stopped 26 shots through OT, three more than Tri-City’s Eric Comrie. . . . F Parker Bowles was among the Americans’ scratches. Bowles, who leads the Americans in assists and points, left a 3-0 loss in Kamloops on Sunday with an apparent injury to his left arm or shoulder. . . . The Americans also scratched D Riley Hillis (suspended), D Tyler Morrison (undisclosed injury) and D Dylan Coghlan (undisclosed injury). Tri-City F Braden Purtill moved back to defence for this one. . . . The Americans (26-26-3) are fifth in the U.S. Division, but are in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Everett (34-16-5) leads the U.S. Division by seven points over idle Portland. . . . Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has a game story right here.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES

No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

(all times local)
Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.
Spokane at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Saskatoon at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Lethbridge at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, 7 p.m.
Prince George at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Tri-City at Portland, 7 p.m.
Seattle at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
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