Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winterhawks make it official . . . Down to five for 2018 WJC . . . Veteran WHL coach heads east

Veteran WHL coach Ryan McGill is headed to the OHL.

F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) signed a one-year contract with the Nippon Paper Cranes Kushiro (Japan, Aisa HL). Last season, with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 11 goals and 22 assists in 36 games. . . .
F Kyle Beach (Everett, Lethbridge, Spokane, 2005-10) signed a one-year extension with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 53 regular-season games, he had 12 goals and 13 assists. In 13 playoff games, he scored a league-high 10 goals and added three assists as his club won the championship. . . .
D Jesse Craige (Lethbridge, Chilliwack, 2004-10) signed a one-year contract with the Nippon Paper Cranes Kushiro (Japan, Aisa HL). Last season, with the University of Alberta (CIS), he had five goals and 14 assists in 26 games. He was an alternate captain and was named the CIS defence man of the year. He also was named a first-team All-Canadian.

The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Jack Dougherty, 19, who was a second-round selection by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2014 draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Predators on Friday. . . . Dougherty was a freshman with the U of Wisconsin Badgers last season, putting up two goals and seven assists in 33 games. . . . Before heading to Portland, Dougherty will take part in USA Hockey’s national junior team evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. It runs from Saturday through Aug. 8. . . . Portland will have four players at that camp, veteran forwards Paul Bittner and Dominic Turgeon and freshman D Caleb Jones being the others. . . . Dougherty, from St. Paul, joins Bittner, D Nick Heid, D Blake Heinrich and F Keegan Iverson as fellow Minnesotans on the Winterhawks’ roster.
The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Tampa. USA Hockey announced Tuesday that those cities are the finalists to play host to the tournament. . . . Detroit, which has billed itself as Hockeytown USA, didn’t make the cut, although it was one of at least 12 cities that had expressed an interest. . . . The list will be shortened even more over the next two months, with the host city to be selected before year’s end. . . . The fact that five major cities are left in the running tells you just how big this tournament has become in North America. As Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said yesterday: "Next to the Olympics, I think that’s the biggest hockey event there is out there.” . . . The 2016 tournament is to be held in Helsinki, Finland, while the 2017 event is scheduled for Montreal and Toronto. . . . Chris Peters of cbssports.com takes a really good look at the picture right here.
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Coaching Game

OHLRyan McGill, a veteran WHL head coach, is on his way to the OHL, having signed a two-year contract as head coach of the Owen Sound Attack. . . . He replaces Greg Ireland, who resigned earlier this month and now is the head coach of Adler Mannheim in Germany. . . . McGill, 46, spent the past three seasons as head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. His contract wasn’t renewed at season’s end. He is the second coach to move from the Ice to the OHL, following Kris Knoblauch, who has coached the Erie Otters for two-plus seasons. . . . “To get a head coach of Ryan’s calibre, in the time frame we were working under is unbelievable,” Attack general manager Dale DeGray said in a news release. “Ryan brings with him a wealth of experience and success, both at the professional and junior levels. He’s a competitor who knows how to win. Our organization is extremely lucky to have him.” DeGray also likes McGill’s familiarity with small-market franchises. “Ryan played in Swift Current, coached in Kootenay and now being the head coach of the Owen Sound Attack means that he has been a part of three of the smaller markets in the Canadian Hockey League,” DeGray added. “Performing in a small-market in front of a very loyal fan base will be nothing new to him and something he is comfortable with. The man knows how to win.” . . . The Attack also signed Derek King, 48, to a two-year deal as assistant coach. He spent the past six seasons on the coaching staff of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman, who now is doing some writing for Yahoo! Sports Canada, has more right here.

Here’s hoping that Charlie’s birthday cake was one huge Nanaimo bar.
The Vancouver Giants are preparing for their 15th season in the WHL. On Tuesday, they released a 15th-anniversary patch that will adorn each sweater in the 2015-16 season. It will be worn on the upper left chest area and also will be visible on the ice at Pacific Coliseum.

The gang at bgsuhockey.com has put together an interesting bit of work detailing salaries and bonuses, etc., of hockey coaches in the WCHA. If you want to give it a look -- hello, WHL coaches -- it’s right here.

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