Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tigers sign North Dakota commit . . . Blades have company . . . Ast heads to Germany

F Carter Ashton (Lethbridge, Regina, Tri-City, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in seven games with the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL), had four goals and four assists in 12 games with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), and had three goals and 11 assists in 29 games with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL). . . .
F Stanislav Gron (Seattle, Kootenay, 1997-99) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Phoenix (England, Premier). Last season, with Cortina (Italy, Serie A), he led his team with 44 points, including 20 goals, in 30 games.

The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Max Gerlach, a 17-year-old from Flower Mound, Texas, who had committed to North Dakota. Of course, in signing with the Tigers he gives up his NCAA eligibility. He had 42 points in 21 games with the U-16 Colorado Thunderbirds last season. Gerlach was a sixth-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Gerlach is about 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, so should fit in well with the Tigers’ offensive game plan, which has been centred on smallish, speedy forwards. . . . The Tigers also signed F Tyler Preziuso, 16, who was a third-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, with the South Island Royals of the B.C. Major Midget League, he put up 40 points in 40 games.
The WHL’s Saskatoon Blades have company in the SaskTel Centre, what with the National Lacrosse League’s Edmonton Rush having relocated and morphed into the Saskatchewan Rush.
The much-rumoured move was made official Tuesday at a news conference at Saskatoon’s Delta Bessborough Hotel. Rush owner Bruce Urban was on hand, along with the NLL’s championship trophy.
The two teams’ schedules will overlap, for sure. The 2015 NLL regular-season schedule ran from Jan. 2 through May 2, with the playoffs concluding June 5.
Colin Priestner, the Blades’ managing partner, moved to Saskatoon from Edmonton when his father, Mike, purchased the Blades almost two years ago. Colin told Taking Note he is looking forward to working with the Rush.
“We don’t have any ties to them from Edmonton,” he told TN, “but we’re always open to anything that could benefit our fans. I’m sure we will find time to have a conversation with them at some point when they are up and running, to see if there’s anything we could potentially do together.”
The U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, under head coach Spiros Anastas, added three more players to their 2015 recruiting class on Tuesday. D Evan Wardley, F Zane Jones and F Mitch Makin all have committed to the Pronghorns, bringing the number of newcomers on the roster to 15. . . . Wardley, from Vulcan, Alta., played four seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, putting up nine goals and 31 assists in 208 games. He finished the season by playing nine games, six of them in the playoffs, with the ECHL‘s Wheeling Nailers. . . . Jones, from Olds, Alta., played four seasons in the WHL, having stints with the Victoria Royals, Calgary Hitmen, Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Vancouver Giants. In 260 games, he scored 77 goals and added 72 assists. . . . Makin, 21, from Lethbridge, played three seasons with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs, finishing with 42 goals and 58 assists in 141 games. . . . Wardley, Jones and Makin all have used up their junior eligibility.
Dickson Liong (@DLLiong) tweeted Tuesday afternoon that F Anthony Ast “will play in Germany next season. The team that he has signed with will make an official announcement soon.” . . . Ast, 20, is from Richmond, B.C. He was a first-round selection, 19th overall, by the Vancouver Giants in the 2010 bantam draft. His WHL career was hampered by illness and injury. He played 109 games with the Giants over four seasons (2010-14), scoring 15 goals and adding 26 assists. He was dealt to the Medicine Hat Tigers and played 27 games with them in 2013-14 and 21 last season, picking up 16 goals and seven assists.
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Coaching Game

The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers have announced that Gerry Fleming will be the head coach of their AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. The franchise has relocated from Oklahoma City where it was the Barons. . . . Fleming, a 48-year-old native of Montreal, had been an assistant coach with Oklahoma City until being promoted to head coach when Todd Nelson moved up to the Oilers to replaced the fired Dallas Eakins as interim head coach.
The ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers and the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, have signed Eric Veilleux as their head coach. Veilleux, 43, was an assistant coach with the Admirals last season when they were in the AHL. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons in the QMJHL. He guided the host Shawinigan Cataractes to the 2012 Memorial Cup title. He then worked as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for two seasons.

Last night, in mentioning WHL commissioner’s July 14 visit with the guys at The Pipeline Show, I meant to include a link to the interview. A day late, here it is right here.
The Vancouver Giants have signed D Kaleb Bulych, who was a second-round selection in the 2015 WHL bantam draft. Bulych is from Yorkton, Sask. Last season, he had 33 points, including 13 goals, in 31 games with the bantam AA Yorkton UCT Terriers.
F Trent Lofthouse (Everett, Victoria, Vancouver, 2011-14) has decided to attend the U of Regina and play for the Cougars. Lofthouse, from Surrey, B.C., played out his junior eligibility last season with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons.

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