Friday, July 31, 2015

Might sanctions hit at 2016 WJC? . . . Hitmen add experienced scouts . . . Silvertips lose their voice








F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) was traded by Salevat Yulaev Ufa to Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (both Russia, KHL) for 2016 second- and third-round picks in the KHL Junior Draft. Last season, with Salevat Yulaev, he had 10 goals and eight assists in 59 games.
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The 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is scheduled for Helsinki, Finland, where games are to be played in two arenas, including Hartwall Arena.
Team USA and Canada are to play their round-robin games in an older arena that is owned by the city of Helsinki. The playoff round is to be played in Hartwall Arena.
But what if the U.S. government stepped in and told Team USA that it couldn’t play there? What if teams from European Union (EU) countries weren’t allowed to play there? What then?
Why would that happen?
Well . . . follow along here . . .
The MacBeth Report informs us that on Thursday the U.S. government added Roman Rotenberg, Kai Pannanen, Långvik Capital, Airfix Aviation, and two companies operated by Pannanen to its embargo list.
Rotenberg holds Finnish and Russian passports.
Pannanen is a Finnish citizen who is a member of the board of directors of the Jokerit hockey team.
Långvik Capital is owned by Arkady and Boris Rottenberg. Roman Rottenberg is Boris’s son and Arkady’s nephew.
Arkady Rottenberg owns the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow and is a childhood friend and judo partner of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Boris Rotenberg owns the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow soccer team. He also is a childhood friend and judo partner of Putin.
Airfix Aviation is owned by Gennady Timchenko, who owns the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg franchise and is the chairman of the KHL’s board. He holds Russian, Finnish and Armenian citizenship.
Which brings us to Arena Events OY, which owns Hartwall Arena and a majority interest, perhaps even 100 per cent, in Jokerit, which is to play in the KHL in 2015-16.
Arena Events purchased Jokerit and Hartwall Arena in 2012. At that time, Arena Events was owned by Långvik Capital and Timchenko. However, Timchenko, and Arkady and Boris Rotenberg soon found themselves on the U.S. sanctions list, so the ownership picture changed, with Roman Rotenberg becoming the owner of Långvik Capital.
The Finnish government asked the U.S. government about the inclusion of two Finnish citizens and four Finnish companies on the sanctions list. According to Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat, the U.S. told Finland “the list was expanded to include people and practices who support already-blacklisted magnates Gennadi Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg.”
Marko Lempinen, a columnist with Ilta-Sanomat, speculated that should Jokerit get added to the list the team might fold.
After all, EU companies aren’t allowed to do business with companies or individuals on the EU sanctions list.
Lempinen also wondered in print when Timchenko and Arkady Rotenberg will decide that such problems associated with Jokerit and Hartwall Arena aren’t worth the bother any longer. As Lempinen mused, they are billionaires and wouldn’t be harmed economically by folding Jokerit and letting Hartwall sit unoccupied for a year or two.
Which brings us back to the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The tournament opens Dec. 26, 2015, with Russia meeting Czech Republic in Hartwall Arena.
As mentioned, the playoff round is to be held in Hartwall Arena. Let’s assume that Team USA qualifies for the playoff round.
If Jokerit and Hartwall Arena are on the embargo list, can Team USA play any games in the facility?
In fact, if Roman Rotenberg is added to the EU sanctions list, along with Långvik Capital, can teams from any EU countries play in Hartwall Arena without violating the sanctions?
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Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, didn’t do anything Friday to quell the rumours of a possible move.
The Giants play in Pacific Coliseum where, he told Greg Douglas, who writes a Saturday column for the Vancouver Sun, that “the rent we’re paying is the highest in the league. It’s not working.”
There has been speculation that the City of Surrey is prepared to offer up some land if a developer wants to build an arena. That led to rumours that the Giants might be on the move.
“I keep hearing that a new arena in South Surrey is in the planning stages,” Toigo told Douglas. “But so far it’s just been a lot of talk.”
Douglas pointed out that the Giants’ attendance has fallen from 8,717 in 2008-09 to about 5,800 last season.
“Am I concerned about it? Absolutely,” Toigo told Douglas. “We’re starting to lose money. . . . The Coliseum is tired and needs capital funding but doesn’t get a subsidy from any level of government.”
Stay tuned. This story likely is far from over.
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The Calgary Hitmen have added two former WHL general managers to their scouting staff. Roy Stasiuk has been named Prairie scouting director, while Dallas Thompson will work as B.C. scouting director. . . . The Hitmen also announced the retirement of Ray Payne, who was their travelling scout. He will continue to scout for the Hitmen on a part-time basis in the Vancouver area. . . . Stasiuk, from Edmonton, was on the Toronto Maple Leafs’ scouting staff for the past six seasons. He has worked in the WHL with Prince Albert, Red Deer, Edmonton, Kootenay and Lethbridge. He had a stint as general manager in Lethbridge, after working as assistant GM/director of player personnel with Kootenay. . . . Thompson worked for 10 years as the general manager of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Dan Bonar remains Calgary’s director, player personnel and oversees the scouting staff.
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The Everett Silvertips have lost Travis Huntington, their play-by-play voice. He is leaving the organization for personal reasons. . . . “The decision to leave was a very difficult one motivated by a desire to be closer to family and friends in Colorado,” Huntington said in a news release, “but I will greatly miss being a member of this team and the friends I’ve made.” . . . Huntington, 32, was the director of broadcasting and public relations for four seasons. . . . He is from Platteville, Colo.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Meanwhile, at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton . . .


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