Thursday, May 28, 2015

Memorial Cup semifinal set . . . Remparts coach pays price for rant . . . Pats shuffle their deck

SELD Shaun Heshka (Everett, 2003-06) signed a one-year contract with MODO Örnsköldsvik (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL), he had one goal and five assists in 22 games. He was traded to Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL) on Oct. 31, and had 13 points, including two goals, in 35 games there. . . .

SELF Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13) signed a one-year contract with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan). This season, with Växjö (Sweden, SHL), he had two goals in 21 games. He also had one goal and one assist in 21 games with Lulea (Sweden, SHL). On loan to Asplöven Haparanda (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had one goal in four games, and he had three goals in 12 games with HV71 Jönköping (Sweden, SHL). . . .

EIHL-UKDarrell Hay (Tri-City, 1996-2000) has signed a one-year contract as a full-time assistant coach with the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). This season, with Sheffield, the defenceman had six goals and 19 assists in 65 games. . . . Hay, the son of Kamloops Blazers head coach Don Hay, remains registered as an active player for Sheffield for next season.

It’ll be the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets and the host Quebec Remparts in the Memorial Cup semifinal tonight in Quebec City. . . . The winner will meet the OHL-champion Oshawa Generals in Sunday’s final. . . . The Remparts advanced with a 5-2 victory over the QMJHL-champion Rimouski Oceanic before only 6,533 fans on Thursday night. . . . Attendance through seven games is 59,669, an average of 8,524. . . . I seem to recall attendance, or the perceived lack of same, being something of a story when the tournament was held in Saskatoon in 2013. That tournament featured nine games and drew 82,503 fans, an average of 9,167. . . . There should be more than 10,000 fans in Quebec City tonight. . . . This was the 17th time these two teams have met this season; the Oceanic finished with a 10-5-2 edge. Rimouski also went into
the tiebreaker having won its last six games against the Remparts at the Pepsi Colisée. . . . The Oceanic had posted a 4-0 victory over the Remparts in a round-robin game on Wednesday. After that game, Quebec head coach Philippe Boucher ripped the officiating — both referees were from the QMJHL. On Thursday, Boucher was fined $10,000. . . . The Kelowna Rockets were fined $500 after someone from their organization was critical of the officiating following a 4-3 tournament-opening loss to the Remparts. . . . Presumably, the difference is that Boucher performed his surgery in public, while the Kelowna official did it in private to CHL officials. . . . Adam Proteau of The Hockey News has more on Boucher and his rant right here. . . . After last night’s game, Boucher told reporters: “"I told my daughter there's no vacation this summer.” . . . Last night’s referees were Brett Iverson of the WHL and the OHL’s Mike Cairns. . . . Quebec F Jerome Verrier scored twice, his first goals in 15 games, while F Anthony Duclair and F Marc-Olivier Roy scored their first goals in nine games. . . . Verrier and Duclair had both left Wednesday’s game with injuries. . . . F Jeremy Lepine pulled Rimouski into a 2-2 tie at 16:07 of the second period. . . . However, Quebec F Adam Erne scored 47 seconds later and Verrier made it 4-2 at 19:19. . . . Roy iced it with his goal at 11:31 of the third. . . . Quebec G Zach Fucale, who didn’t finished one night earlier, stopped 30 shots, four more than Rimouski’s Philippe Desrosiers. . . . The Remparts were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Oceanic was 1-for-3. . . . This is the final hockey event to be held in the Pepsi Colisée, and you can bet the Remparts are using that for motivation.

Here is the Memorial Cup schedule (all games on Sportsnet; all times Eastern):
Friday, May 22: Kelowna 3 vs. Quebec 4 (9,497)
Saturday, May 23: Rimouski 3 vs. Oshawa 4 (8,409)
Sunday, May 24: Quebec 4 vs. Oshawa 5 (OT) (10,970)
Monday, May 25: Rimouski 3 vs. Kelowna 7 (6,981)
Tuesday, May 26: Oshawa 2 vs. Kelowna 1 (7,002)
Wednesday, May 27: Quebec 0 vs. Rimouski 4 (10,277)
Thursday, May 28 (tiebreaker): Quebec 5 vs. Rimouski 2 (6,533)
Friday (semifinal): Kelowna vs. Quebec, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday (championship): Oshawa vs. Kelowna/Quebec winner, 7 p.m.

The Regina Pats did a bit of shuffling in their front office on Thursday. . . . John Paddock now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, while assistant coach Dave Struch has added assistant GM to his duties. . . . Gord Pritchard, the director of corporate affairs, now is the assistant to the general manager. . . . The Pats also have extended the contracts of goaltender coach Rob Muntain, athletic therapist Greg Mayer and equipment manager Gord Cochran. . . . As well, they announced that assistant coach Darrin McKechnie won’t be returning. According to a news release, McKechnie, “an Inspector with the Regina Police Service (RPS), recently received a promotion.” . . . The Pats now are looking to add an assistant coach to their staff.
Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that Struch’s promotion is all part of the Pats’ succession plan.
From Harder’s story:
“There’s no question that we think Dave is our next head coach,” offered Pats president Todd Lumbard. “John has indicated that potentially his coaching days may be coming to an end, not right away, but at some point (in the not-too-distant future). Dave is the logical successor. If the timing can work out, that would be our plan for sure. John would move fully into the GM’s role and Dave would become our head coach. It’s not written in stone but that’s something we have talked about.”
Harder added: “The tentative plan is for the 60-year-old Paddock to remain behind the bench for the duration of his four-year contract, which he signed last summer to become the team’s head coach and senior vice-president of hockey operations. He absorbed the general manager’s title on Thursday as part of a minor shuffling of the hockey operations department, highlighted by Struch accepting a larger role.”
Harder also reported: “Although Struch was already under contract for the next three seasons, the Pats felt compelled to make a pre-emptive strike in order to keep him. He was regarded as a potential candidate for WHL head-coaching vacancies with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kootenay Ice and Vancouver Giants.
All three clubs are believed to have asked the Pats for permission to speak to him. According to sources, he was a leading candidate for the job in Lethbridge before pulling himself out of the running to stay in Regina.”
Bruce Vance worked his last day with the Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday. He spent seven years with
the Lethbridge Hurricanes and 14 with the Raiders. He now is moving on to work for the City of Prince Albert.
In honour of his leaving the Raiders, we have this note from Liane Sadlemyer Vance:
I am posting this for Carrie Georgeson, Eryn Georgeson-Tait, Kim Pagé who have expressed sadness on this day that Bruce Vance is leaving the Prince Albert Raiders. I have known Bruce for almost 30 years and his nicknames and sayings get in your head and won't go away (just ask his children)!! So here are the top 10 Bruce Vance(isms) for you ladies to give you a laugh. And remember when you catch yourself saying them over and over again, you have Bruce to thank (please note these are Bruce Vance Raider(isms), he makes up new sets depending on his environment.
10. ARGOOOOOOOSSSS!!!! (This would be yelled at random times, not necessarily when the Argos are playing)
9. Corksoaker!
8. 4,5, 6!!
7. Meow (this is more of a sound as opposed to a saying)
6. Smile and nod...
5. It's a great day for hockey
4. NUGGET what are you doing????
2. Let's do this, it's our time
1. Win or lose..........


SJHLGeoff Grimwood, who had been working with the Victoria Royals, is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. . . . Grimwood spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Royals. He also oversaw the major midget South Island Royals for parts of three seasons. . . . Before that, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings for two seasons. . . . He replaces Rockie Zinger, whose contract wasn’t renewed.
If your organization is making a change or has vacancies that you are trying to fill, email Taking Note at, and I’ll let the hockey crowd that follows this blog know all about it.

AHLIn the AHL, the visiting Utica Comets scored a 4-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins last night, to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal. F Sven Baertschi scored Utica’s first three goals. . . . Baertschi, who was acquired by the parent Vancouver Canucks from the Calgary Flames during the season, scored three second-period goals in a span of 8:36. . . . Utica F Jake Virtanen, who played this season with the Calgary Hitmen, drew an assist on Baertschi’s third goal. That was Virtanen’s first professional point. . . . Attendance was 5,122. . . . The Comets and Griffins will play again tonight and Sunday in Grand Rapids. . . .
NHLF Radel Fazleev of the Calgary Hitmen has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. Fazleev, 19, was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2014 draft. . . . A native of Kazan, Russia, he had 51 points, including 18 goals, in 71 games this season, his second with the Hitmen. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings revealed earlier in the week that they have sold more than 1,200 season-tickets with two weeks left before their early bird deadline. A year ago, with two weeks to the deadline, the Wheat Kings said they had sold 1,100 season-tickets. A year ago, when the deadline arrived in June, that total was at 1,600. . . . The Wheat Kings, who lost in the WHL’s championship final earlier this month, are expected to contend again next season.

“Rowan Stringer’s fatal head injury on a high school rugby field could have been prevented if those around her had some basic knowledge of concussion management, an internationally renowned concussion expert told an inquest Thursday into the teenager’s death,” writes Chris Cobb of the Ottawa Citizen. “Despite the proliferation of publicly available information about concussions and concussion management, Toronto neurologist Charles Tator said, it is a major concern that none of it appears to have reached Rowan, her peers, coaches or teachers.” . . . Stringer, 17, died in May 2013, four days after being injured. . . . The inquest in Ottawa has been ongoing and the jury is expected to bring back recommendations next week. . . . Cobb’s story is right here.
These are interesting days with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, with Klay Thompson appearing to have suffered a concussion on Wednesday night, just a couple of nights after Steph Curry, the league’s MVP, took a hard fall and landed on his head. . . . Jesus Gomez of has more right here.

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