Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New site great news for WHL fans . . . Beijing businessman buys BCHL franchise

The hockey community really is close-knit. Just ask me. Almost three years after my wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant, hockey people — scouts, fans, coaches, players, owners, general managers, player agents et all — regularly ask me about her.
A while ago, I had occasion to speak with Willie Desjardins, the head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver
Canucks. His first words? “How is your wife?”
On Wednesday, I received a text from Travis Green, the head coach of the AHL’s Utica Comets. He wondered how things were going.
Mark Holick, Mark Ferner, Cam Hope, Bruno Campese, Colin Priestner, Craig Demetrick, Glen Hanlon, Bob Tory, Dan De Palma, Dave Lowry, Vaughn Karpan, Bob Lowes and on and on . . .
Everyone asks about Dorothy, and I make certain that every single greeting gets passed along. Oh, if you could only see the smile every time I let her know that someone has asked about her.
Well, she is doing really well, well enough that she now is preparing to take part in her third straight Kidney Walk. The Kamloops walk is scheduled for Sept. 25.
If you would like to support her, as many of you have done in the past, please click right here and make a donation. All the money goes to the Kidney Foundation, an organization that has done so much for us and one that Dorothy is proud to support.
Over the previous two walks, you have helped Dorothy raise more than $5,000.
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If you are a follower of the WHL, this one’s for you. . . . Paul Figler and the gang at WHL Stats have graduated to something bigger and better. They are calling it DubNetwork.ca. . . . Figler writes: “We’ve decided to bring in an editor and some writers so that you can get information that goes beyond what the league provides. There will be interviews, editorials, scouting reports and more.” . . . It is in its infancy, but it’s right here and here’s hoping that there are great things ahead.
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Hockey Canada has added D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors to the roster of the team that will play in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup that opens Monday in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia. . . . Brook, 17, is from Roblin, Man. He will replace D Jacob Paquette of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, who is injured. . . . Brook’s addition means the WHL has six players on Canada’s 22-man roster, the others being G Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders), D Jonathan Smart (Kelowna Rockets), F Jordy Bellerive (Lethbridge Hurricanes), F Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings) and F Michael Rasmussen (Tri-City Americans). . . . Canada, which has won this tournament each of the past eight years, is in Group B with Russia, Slovakia and Sweden. Canada will meet Czech Republic in a tuneup on Saturday. Canada begins tournament play on Monday against Slovakia.
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F Carson Dimoff revealed via Twitter on Wednesday that he has committed to St. Lawrence U, where he will play for the Saints. . . . Dimoff, 17, is from Scottsdale, Ariz. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder played last season in Salzburg, Austria. He had 25 points, including 12 goals, with Salzburg’s U-18 team and four goals and an assist with a U-20 side. . . . Dimoff was a seventh-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the 2014 bantam draft.
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And now for something completely different. . . . Ray Zhang, a businessman who is from Beijing, has purchased the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals. . . . Here’s Zhang, from a news release: “This transaction is the first time someone from China has purchased an overseas hockey franchise. It will open the door for hockey families in China to learn about Canadian hockey firsthand. This link to Canadian hockey will prove valuable to encourage all of our young hockey players in China.” . . . According to Kent Rothbauer of the Cowichan Valley Citizen: “Zhang purchased the majority share of the team from former owner Cory Wanner, the Saskatchewan oilfield tradesman who bought into the club in 2013. Zhang's family plans to relocate to Duncan.” . . . Rothbauer’s story is right here.
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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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Coaching
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, have added three new faces to head coach Clark Donatelli’s staff. . . . J.D. Forrest and Chris Taylor have signed on as assistant coaches, while Madison Nikkel is the new video coach. . . . Jay Leach, the associate coach last season, and video coach Sean Andrake have moved on to other organizations. . . . Last season, Forrest, 35, coached with Red Bull Salzburg in Austria. He also has coached in the U.S. National Team Development Program. . . . Taylor, 44, spent the previous four seasons on the staff of the AHL’s Rochester Americans. . . . Nikkel has been working with the Boston College Eagles for the past four years.
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Ryan Ward has joined the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds as an assistant coach. He will work with head coach Drew Bannister and associate coach Joe Cirella. Ward spent the past two seasons as a video coach with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. . . . He also worked four seasons as video co-ordinator with the NHL’s New York Islanders.
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Keith McCambridge has joined the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers, as an assistant coach. . . . McCambridge, 42, spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps (2011-15) and Manitoba Moose (2015-16). . . . McCambridge, who is from Thompson, Man., played four seasons (1991-95) in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos and Thompson Blazers. He helped the Blazers win the 1995 Memorial Cup.
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