Monday, May 25, 2015

Rockets back in the game . . . James facing another charge . . . Former enforcer pleads guilty








F Toni Rajala (Brandon, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Luleå (Sweden, SHL). This season, with Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia, KHL), he had three goals and nine assists in 21 games. In 31 games with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL), he had 27 points, including 14 goals. . . .

KHLThe KHL ‘Junior Fair’ or entry draft was held on Saturday, and two players with WHL connections were selected. . . . F Jordan Weal (Regina, 2007-12) went in the third round (69th overall) to Sochi. This season, with the Manchester Monarchs (AHL), he had 20 goals and 49 assists in 73 games. Weal was third in the AHL scoring race and was named a second-team all-star. . . . G Patrik Bartosak (Red Deer, 2011-13) was taken in the fifth round (125th overall) by Dynamo Minsk. This season, with Manchester, he was 2.23 and .919 in 28 games. . . . The KHL draft is open to Russian players age 17 and non-Russian players ages 17-23 who don’t have any contractual ties to any KHL or other Russian club.
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F Nick Merkley scored on Kelowna’s first shot of the game last night and the Rockets went on to a 7-3 victory over the Rimouski Oceanic in the fourth game of the Memorial Cup in Quebec City. . . . Attendance was 6,981. . . . The Rockets are 1-1; the Oceanic is 0-2. . . . The Oshawa Generals are 2-0, while the host Quebec Remparts are 1-1. . . . The Rockets will play the Generals tonight. Should Oshawa win, it will get a bye into Sunday’s final. . . . The Oceanic is scheduled to play the Remparts on Wednesday. A victory by Kelowna tonight and Rimouski on Wednesday would put the Rockets into the final. . . . From Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada: “The Oceanic, which gave up six or more goals for only the third time since Jan. 1, must defeat Quebec on Wednesday in order to advance to a tiebreaker game. Coach-GM Serge Beausoleil's team is 5-0 against the Remparts at the Colisée since both teams finalized their rosters at the QMJHL trade deadline.” . . . Last night, Merkley scored twice and added an assist, getting both goals after kicking the puck from a skate to his stick. . . . The Rockets led 3-0 before the first period was 15 minutes old, and took a 3-2 lead into the second period. . . . Rimousk’s chances at victory ended when the Rockets scored the only three goals of the second period. . . . Kelowna also got two goals and an assist from F Leon Draisaitl, who is riding a 10-game point streak, while D Madison Bowey had a goal and two helpers, and F Gage Quinney scored twice. . . . F Cole Linaker was terrific for Kelowna. He only had one assist, but was 12-for-21 on faceoffs and had a solid defensive night. . . . Draisaitl and Rimouski F Frederik Gauthier, touted as two of the top centres, struggled at the dots. Draisaitl was 11-for-25; Gauthier was 12-for-29. . . . Rimouski opened with Louis-Philip Guindon in goal, but he left after Kelowna took a 5-2 lead. He stopped 17 shots. Philippe Desrosier came on to stop 12 of 14 shots. . . . Kelowna G Jackson Whistle turned aside 28 shots. . . . Rimouski was 2-for-6 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-for-5. . . . Draisaitl’s second goal, the last one of the game, came while the Rockets were shorthanded.
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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: Oshawa vs. Kelowna, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Quebec vs. Rimouski, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday: Tiebreaker, if necessary, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Semifinal, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday: Championship game, 7 p.m.
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Graham James is facing yet another sexual assault-related charge.
It was revealed Monday that the 63-year-old James, who coached in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors (1984-85), Swift Current Broncos (1986-94) and Calgary Hitmen (1995-96), has been charged with one count of repeated sexual assaults.
Lawyer Robert Skinner of Regina represented James by phone with Swift Current provincial court on
GRAHAM JAMES
Monday. James has waived a preliminary hearing, electing to be tried by judge alone in Court of Queen’s Bench. His next appearance is scheduled for June 19.
On Monday, the judge in Swift Current issued a publication ban in order to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
According to the RCMP, a former Broncos player came forward with a complaint on Sept. 27, 2013. The complainant has said the alleged assaults took place in 1991 and 1992.
James is in prison, although prosecutors have not said where. He is in the final weeks of a sentence he received in 2012 for sexual assaults on former NHL/WHL star Theo Fleury, while he was with the Warriors, and his cousin, Todd Holt, when he was with the Broncos. In that case, James originally was sentenced to two years, but that was increased to five years on appeal.
As news of the latest charges hit social media, Fleury tweeted:
“By the time a pedophile gets caught he has over 120 victims, not surprised by the news of Graham James.
"For all of you asking if I'm ok, I appreciate it and it just gives me more conviction to keep fighting. I have a great life #epidemic.”
Prior to the Fleury/Holt-related sentence, James served 3 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, while he was with the Broncos, and two other players.
You may recall that the National Parole Board gave James a pardon in 2007, something that resulted in a huge outpouring of outrage and, later, a tightening of the rules regarding such situations.
Kennedy told the Calgary Sun on Monday that he was aware of the latest charge against James, adding that he wasn’t “at all surprised.”
“When the police did the investigation in my case,” Kennedy told 660News, a Calgary radio station, “they figured there was anywhere from 75 to 100 other victims.
“I go back to thinking about how important it is for the individual, that we focus on them as they came forward and I know that there’s going to be some struggles as they go through the process.
“Graham James is hopefully not getting out of jail anytime soon.”
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“A former National Hockey League enforcer has pleaded guilty to a string of criminal charges dating back to last year,” writes Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week. “Rudy Poeschek was in Kamloops provincial court on Monday, where he entered guilty pleas to four counts — three allegations of driving while prohibited and one count of assault. He will be sentenced on July 2.” . . . Petruk’s complete story is right here.
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THE COACHING GAME:

QMJHLBradley Flynn has joined the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan as an assistant coach under head coach Mario Pouliot. . . . Flynn, the son of Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Danny Flynn, will work with fellow assistant Jean-François Grégoire. . . . Bradley Flynn had been an assistant coach with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays. . . . The Titan also has added Nathan Dunnett as its goaltending coach. He played in the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Most recently, he has been with the Maritime Hockey League’s Miramichi Timberwolves.
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OHLThe OHL’s Peterborough Petes are expected to announce today that they have added Jake Grimes to their coaching staff as an assistant under head coach Jody Hull. . . . Grimes spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach with the Belleville Bulls. The Belleville franchise has been sold and the Bulls now are the Hamilton Bulldogs.
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The four-team 2016 Cyclone Taylor Cup will be held in Victoria, April 7-10. The Cyclone Taylor Cup is the B.C. junior B championship. The Victoria Cougars of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League will be the host team. The tournament also includes the champions from the VIJHL, Kootenay International and Pacific junior leagues. . . . The VIJHL’s Campbell River Storm won the tournament this year in Mission.
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Trent Yawney, once a WHL defenceman (Saskatoon, 1981-85), is an assistant coach with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks these days and is playing an important role in their playoff run. Eric Duhatschek of The Globe and Mail explains it all right here. . . . Brad Lauer, a former WHL player and coach, also is on the Ducks’ coaching staff.
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Mike O’Brien, who was a colleague when we both worked at the Regina Leader-Post, lost his battle with cancer on Monday. He was a special person. If you haven’t read the feature that Jana Pruden wrote about him recently, that story is right here.
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