Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hurricanes' new coach is . . . Robison reacts to Lethbridge vote . . . Ex-Seattle goalie to coach Ravens

The Lethbridge Hurricanes will introduce a new head coach on Thursday afternoon and social media speculation has it that the new man is Brent Kisio. . . . Kisio has spent the past eight seasons with the Calgary Hitmen, moving from video coach/assistant coach to associate coach. . . . The son of former Hitmen head coach Kelly Kisio, Brent played four seasons at the U of Nebraska-Omaha, graduating with a degree in criminology. . . . He has been Calgary’s associate coach for three seasons. . . .
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes and assistant coach Bryan Maxwell mutually decided to go their separate ways on Tuesday. Maxwell, a veteran WHL coach, is a former Hurricanes general manager and head coach (1995-03) who returned as an assistant last summer.
The fallout and reaction continues from the Hurricanes shareholders’ meeting that took place in Lethbridge on Monday evening.
At that meeting, attendees voted 68 per cent in favour of moving forward with the process to sell the franchise. However, that wasn’t enough as the Hurricanes’ constitution calls for a 75 per cent majority in order to go ahead. Thus, the franchise will remain in the hands of the community.
Interestingly, Mike Moore, the general manager and vice-president of business operations of the rival Calgary Hitmen, attended the meeting. It seems the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who own the Hitmen, own 86 shares in the Hurricanes.
All of which leads to this question: What are the optics of one WHL team, a privately owned team at that, owning shares in a community-owned rival?
The Hitmen, of course, are owned by the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Did the Flames own a piece of the Hurricanes when they purchased the Hitmen in 1997? If they did, why weren’t the Flames forced to divest themselves of those shares at that time?
Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, addressed that issue in an interview with Pat Siedlecki, the news director at CJOC in Lethbridge:
“It’s a historical matter that has not been resolved and we will certainly be addressing that . . . the reality is that the Flames do have shares that were acquired many years ago and remain in a position to exercise those rights under the shareholder agreement. Consequently, they were eligible and had the right to attend the meeting.”
Asked if it was a conflict, Robison replied:
“It is certainly under private ownership, but it remains for interpretation under community ownership. Our view is that the matter needs to be addressed and will be addressed in the near future with both the Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Calgary Hitmen.”
Meanwhile, Robison told Siedlecki that the WHL has to “respect the excision of the shareholders.”
Robison added that there was an obvious sign that “the majority wish to go that direction, but at the end of the day the constitution stands with respect to 75 per cent as a requirement. . . . Consequently, the community ownership will continue in Lethbridge and we intend to get fully behind the community ownership and the board to support them to the full extent.”
Robison, who early in May had recommended to shareholders that they sell the franchise to private interests, did admit to being surprised by Monday’s decision.
“I guess I would be a little bit, only because I think there was a strong movement in that direction,” he stated. “Now we need to move on to do what we need to do to support and strengthen the community ownership.”
Asked if the franchise might still be privatized down the road, Robison said: “The only way that would occur is if the club could no longer meet its financial obligations, and we are hopeful that’s not going to be the case. We have to show every confidence in the board and their ability to turn things around. . . . We are going to watch very carefully and ensure that the business plan is realistic.”
The complete interview is right here. It runs five minutes 42 seconds.
Despite the fact that F Connor McDavid and his Erie Otters weren’t in the Memorial Cup tournament, the championship game, between the Oshawa Generals and Kelowna Rockets, did quite well in terms of TV viewership. In fact, it drew the second largest Memorial Cup audience in Sportsnet history -- an average viewership of 759,000. . . . Chris Zelkovich of Yahoo! Sports Canada has more right here.
Tom Gaglardi, the owner of the NHL’s Dallas Stars and the majority owner of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers, wasn’t in court Tuesday as the Crown’s appeal of an earlier judgment was heard. . . . The Crown has asked that fines against Gaglardi and his company, Northland Properties, be doubled after both were convicted of damaging salmon habitat. . . . Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week has that story right here.
Don't forget to check out our poll over there on the right, and take a stab at picking the next head coach of the Vancouver Giants.


Danny Lorenz, a former WHL goaltender, has signed on as the head coach of the Seattle Ravens, who are preparing for their first season in the seven-team Northern Pacific Hockey League. . . . Lorenz, 45, played four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1986-90) before going on to a 14-season pro career. . . . Of late, he has been the hockey director at the Kent Valley Hockey Association. . . . The NPHL is a junior league with teams playing a 42-game regular season. The other teams are the Cheney Icehawks, Eugene Generals, West Sound Warriors, Wenatchee Wolves, Bellingham Blazers and Tri-City Outlaws.

The Regina Pats have signed D Dawson Barteaux, who was the 14th overall selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Barteaux, from Foxwarren, Man., played this season with the Yellowhead Chiefs, who play in the Winnipeg bantam AAA league. He had 27 points, including seven goals, in 31 games. . . . Barteaux was one of 34 prospects to attend the Pats’ spring camp last weekend.
The Kamloops Blazers have signed F James Shepard, who was their first selection in the 2015 bantam draft. He was the 22nd player selected, taken with the first pick of the second round. . . . The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Shepard, who is from West Vancouver, had 111 points, including 32 goals, in 61 games with the North Shore Winter Club’s bantam AAA team that won the Western Canadian bantam championship. . . . It is expected that Shepard will play with the major midget Vancouver-Northwest Giants in 2015-16. . . . The Blazers now have signed their first two picks from the 2015 bantam draft. D Devan Harrison of Dysart, Sask., who was taken three picks after Shepard, signed on May 13.
In the AHL, a couple of former WHL coaches have guided their teams into the Calder Cup final. . . . Travis Green and his Utica Comets scored a 2-0 victory over the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins last night to win the Western Conference final, 4-2. . . . The Comets (Vancouver Canucks) will meet Mike Stothers and his Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings) in the final. The series will follow a 2-3-2 format with Games 1 and 2 in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The teams had the AHL’s top two regular-season records. . . . The Comets are in their second AHL season. The Monarchs are moving to Ontario, Calif., after this season. . . . The two teams have never played against each other. . . . Last night, F Cory Conacher scored at 3:16 of the second period and F Alexandre Grenier added an empty-netter at 18:46 of the third. . . . Utica G Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots. . . . Attendance was 3,835.
F Spencer Asuchak and F Dyson Stevenson, both former WHLers, each had a goal and an assist last night as the host Allen Americans scored a 5-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 2 of the ECHL’s championship final. . . . The series, using a 3-3-1 format, is tied 1-1 with Game 3 in Allen tonight. . . . Stevenson scored his second playoff goal at 6:05 of the first period to open the scoring. Asuchak’s 11th playoff goal, at 4:43 of the third, gave Allen a 4-1 lead. . . . Attendance was 3,804. . . . Asuchak, from Kamloops, played with the Tri-City Americans and Prince George Cougars (2008-12). . . . Stevenson, from Shaunavon, Sask., played for the Regina Pats (2010-13).

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