Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Change in Raiders' office . . . Attempt to save team is over . . . Montador had CTE


Remember when hockey cards were the thing?
It really wasn’t that long ago, like in the 1990s and for a while after the turn of the century.
But the real feeding frenzy was in the 1990s. In fact, while I was the Regina Leader-Post’s sports editor, I came to know one person who paid off his mortgage
through hockey cards. He built up a supply — at one time, he had more than one million cards in his basement — and spent many weekends a year at card shows in southern and central Saskatchewan.
For most collectors, though, it isn’t about paying off a mortgage. Early on in He Shoots, He Saves: The Story of Hockey’s Collectible Treasures, author Jon Waldman quotes Hersh Borenstein, president of the Toronto-based memorabilia company Frozen Pond:
“More than anything it’s the pursuit . . . it’s not about the value.”
You will be aware of that if you have ever been a collector of anything. Yes, it’s about the chase.
In this book, Waldman goes back in time to the beginning of hockey-based collectibles. He also looks at everything from autographs — what to get autographed; what not to get autographed — to game-worn jerseys to programs and tickets and everything in between.
Still, cards are at the heart of hockey collectibles. Early on, Waldman provides a timeline of the history of hockey cards that shows just how crazy the industry was as it built to a peak and then came down the other side.
In chronicling the collectible industry, Waldman also provides something of a history of professional hockey, especially at the NHL level. He offers up a team-by-team look, including expansion and defunct franchises, always pointing out unique collectibles.
Should you give this book a look, it will bring back a million memories. It may even cause you to go on the hunt in your own home. Perhaps you have an H.M. Cowan painted tile or two hanging around somewhere. It could be that you had no idea what they were, other than small paintings of former players like, say, Harry Howell and Tom Johnson. Maybe you will find them, go on the Internet and find out that they are worth more than a few dollars.
But you won’t even attempt to sell them. No. Because it isn’t about the money, is it?
(He Shoots, He Saves: The Story of Hockey’s Collectible Treasures; ECW Press, 274 pages, soft cover, $19.95)

F Eric Johansson (Tri-City, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with Riessersee (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Ritten/Renon (Italy, Serie A), he had 25 goals and 19 assists in 37 games. He led the team in goals and points while it won the Italian championship. . . .
D Jace Coyle (Spokane, Medicine Hat, 2007-11) signed a one-year contract with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). He had two goals and 17 assists in 36 games with Aalborg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) this season. . . .
F Marcin Kolusz (Vancouver, 2003-04) signed a two-year extension with Tychy (Poland, PHL). He had 40 points, including 16 goals, in 42 games this season. His club won the Poland championship. Kolusz captained Poland at the World Championship Division 1A, where he was named to the all-star team and named best player on his team.


No Game Scheduled.

The Kelowna Rockets get their first chance to win this season’s WHL championship when they meet the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings tonight. The Rockets hold a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . The Rockets have won their last six games, beating the Portland Winterhawks three straight to close out the Western Conference final and now having opened the league final with three victories. . . . Wondering why the teams didn’t play on back-to-back nights when the series headed to Kelowna? Diana Krall was playing Prospera Place last night.

Bruce Vance is leaving the Prince Albert Raiders after 14 years with the WHL franchise. Vance, who has been involved in the WHL for 21 years, is leaving the Raiders to work as the City of Prince Albert’s marketing and sponsorship co-ordinator. Vance joined the Raiders as director of marketing, and has been the Raiders’ business manager for the past four years. . . . Michael Scissons will replace Vance as the Raiders’ business manager, effective June 1. Scissons has been with the Saskatoon Blades through 12 seasons, most recently as their vice-president of business operations.
The attempt at resuscitating the men’s hockey program at Thompson River University in Kamloops is dead. Trevor Bast of Victoria, who had been attempting to revive a program that was discontinued by TRU prior to this season, tells Taking Note that “I have stopped working towards reviving TRU hockey.” . . . With the TRU athletic department having said it no longer was interested in a hockey program, Bast approached the TRU Students’ Union in an attempt to form a link there. However, the TRUSU didn’t get back to him. At the same time, a deadline imposed by the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League went by, so Bast feels he has no choice but to walk away. . . . Don Schulz, the head coach of the WolfPack when the program collapsed, is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, who play in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.
The junior B Kimberley Dynamiters, champions of the Kootenay International Junior League, have changed the responsibilities of assistant coach Mike Reid and general manager Dave Smith. . . . Reid will take over as GM/director of player personnel, with Smith move to assistant GM-hockey operations. . . . “We’ve just taken the workload and divided it into two,” team president Chad Koran explained to Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “It’s a pretty demanding and time-consuming job. We’re just trying to divide it between the two guys and lighten the load for the both of them.” . . . Head coach Jerry Bancks is set for another season, with Reid, Jeff Keiver and Todd White all back on staff, too. . . . Rocca's story is right here.
Does the NFL really concern itself more with deflated footballs and artificially inflated players? In light of Tom Brady’s suspension and Deflategate, Jere Longman of The New York Times examines the NFL and a history of deceit in sports right here.


The Prince Albert Raiders have re-signed associate coach Dave Manson and assistant coach Kelly Guard. Contract terms weren’t released. They will work under head coach Marc Habscheid, who signed a four-year contract earlier this spring. . . . The Raiders have yet to reveal whether they will retain general manager Bruno Campese, whose contract is soon to expire. . . . Manson, who is from Prince Albert, will be entering his 11th season on the Raiders’ coaching staff. He also is a former Raiders defenceman (1983-86). . . . Guard, who also is from Prince Albert, is preparing for his fourth season with the Raiders. He started as the team’s goaltending coach, then was promoted to assistant coach prior to this season. . . . Both men have been part of Memorial Cup championship teams, Manson with the 1984-85 Raiders and Guard with the 2003-04 Kelowna Rockets.
Former NHLer Jeremy Roenick, who now is in the broadcast business, said Tuesday that Travis Green, the former Portland Winterhawks assistant GM/assistant coach, should be considered for the head-coaching vacancy with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . . "He is a no-nonsense coach and I think a coach that's ready for the National Hockey League and that's waited for a National Hockey League job," Roenick said Tuesday on Comcast SportsNet's Breakfast on Broad. "He turned down an assistant job in Pittsburgh last year because of his craving to be a head coach. If there's a young guy out there that's ready for that jump, I think Travis Green would be that guy.” . . . Green now is the head coach of the Utica Comets, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . There’s more right here on Roenick and Green. . . . The Comets hold a 2-1 lead over the Oklahoma City Barons in a second-round series with Game 4 tonight in Oklahoma City.

D Mackenze Stewart of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Stewart, who turns 20 on Aug. 10, is from Calgary. The Canucks selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2014 draft. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Stewart had 11 points, five of them goals, with the Raiders this season. . . . The Canucks apparently plan on turning Stewart into a left winger. . . .
The best baseball book you’ve never read? In a piece written for Rolling Stone, Dan Epstein makes a case for Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud. That is the story of former Major League first baseman Joe Pepitone, and it was on bookshelves before Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. The good news is that Joe, You Could Made Us Proud is being reissued. . . . Epstein’s piece is right here.

“The family of Steve Montador is planning to launch a lawsuit against the NHL in the wake of news the late defenceman suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, widely known as CTE,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN. “The Krembil Neuroscience Centre’s Canadian Sports Concussion Project announced results on Tuesday of autopsies conducted on Montador, former CFL player John Forzani, and an anonymous donor. CTE was detected in the brains of Montador and the anonymous donor, but not Forzani, a former lineman with the Stampeders.” . . . Montador, who was 35 when he died in February. As a hockey player, he had a long history of concussions. . . . Westhead’s piece is right here.

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