Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One WHL team wants to host 2018 Memorial Cup . . . Silvertips sign two imports

Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported Tuesday that the Regina Pats “will inform the WHL office later this week of their intention to bid for the Canadian Hockey League’s showcase event, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018.”
The CHL has gone away from its regular rotation to allow teams from all three major junior leagues to bid on being the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament. The Pats are the oldest junior team in the world — they will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2017-18.
“It’s an opportunity we couldn’t turn away from,” Anthony Marquart, one of the Pats’ owners, told Harder.
The Pats are named after the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
“We’re the world’s oldest major-junior hockey franchise and intuitively it makes sense that we host the Memorial Cup that year, especially when the Memorial Cup was named after those brave soldiers that fought and died for our country in World War I.”
(No, the Memorial Cup isn’t named in honour of MasterCard; it just seems that way sometimes. But that’s a story for another day.)
Once the Pats inform the WHL of their interest, it will mean two bidders have come forward, the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s being the other. The OHL’s Oshawa Generals also have expressed an interest. Teams have until Sept. 1 to declare their interest, with each of the three leagues to submit a maximum of two bids to the CHL by Nov. 15.
The CHL has said that it will release a shortlist by Nov. 30, with the host city to be announced early in February.
The Pats last were the host team in 2001 when they added temporary seats to what was then the Agridome, bringing capacity to around 7,000. The arena now is known as the Brandt Centre and has 6,200 seats. Obviously, temporary seating would have to be added again. That would be just one of the improvements that would have to be made to the 40-year-old facility should the Pats’ bid be successful.
Hey, with ice-making technology being what it is today, perhaps they could play the 2018 tournament in Regina’s new football stadium. It will seat 33,000 for football but is to be expandable to 40,000 for special events.
Hey, why not?
Harder’s complete story is right here.
The Everett Silvertips have signed their two 2016 CHL import draft selections — Finnish F Eetu Tuulola and Slovakian F Mario Mucka. . . . Tuulola, 18, was a sixth-round selection by the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s 2016 draft. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder took part in the Flames’ development camp last month. Last season, he had nine goals and five assists in 29 games with HPK’s U-20 team in the SM-liiga. He also played for the Finnish team that won the IIHF U-18 World championship in April in Grand Forks, N.D. . . . Mucka, who will turn 18 on Nov. 10, played for the U-18 Nitra team last season, putting up 20 goals and 24 assists in 30 games. . . . Last season, Everett used Russian F Jan Khomenko and Austrian F Dario Winkler as its import, but neither will be returning for another go-round.
Former WHL G Drew Owsley (Tri-City, Prince George, 2008-12) has signed with the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder. Owsley, 25, played the past four seasons with the X-Men at St. Francis Xavier U in Antigonish, N.S. Last season, he was 16-8-0, 2.54, .914, helping the X-Men to the CIS final.
The Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, are no more. The franchise announced Tuesday that it has changed its name to the Cleveland Monsters. . . . "This brand refresh has been in the works for several seasons and we are thrilled to make the Cleveland Monsters a reality at long last," Mike Ostrowski, the Monsters’ SVP/COO of franchise operations, explained on the team's website. "In the wake of the Monsters' Calder Cup Championship and the Cavs' NBA title, and heading into the Monsters' 10th anniversary season, we feel now is the perfect time for our organization to honor our great city and proudly become in title what this team has always been in spirit, the Cleveland Monsters." . . . Of course, that also means new-look uniforms which, no doubt, will be on sale soon if they aren’t already.

USA Hockey has named the 2016 inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame — U.S. Olympian and former NHL F Craig Janney, Bill Belisle, who coached for 41 seasons at Mount St. Charles Academy in Rhode Island, and the 1996 U.S. World Cup of Hockey championship team. . . . The U.S. beat Canada, 2-1, in the best-of-three final, after Canada posted a 4-3 OT victory in Game 1. . . . The Team USA roster included F Steve Konowalchuk, who then was with the Washington Capitals and now is the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Konowalchuk also played two seasons (1990-92) with the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Two other ex-WHLers played for Team USA -- F Adam Deadmarsh (Portland, 1991-95) and F Mike Modano (Prince Albert, 1986-89). . . . A date and place for the induction ceremony have yet to be announced.
Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
Shawn Belle has moved to the Edmonton-based NAIT Ooks as an assistant coach, alongside head coach Tim Fragle. Belle had been an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders, while also instructing at Edmonton’s Vimy Ridge Academy. . . . Belle, 31, played in the WHL (Regina Pats, Tri-City Americans, 2000-05) before going on to a pro career that ended after the 2014-15 season. He played the last four seasons in Europe. . . . Fragle is about to begin his first season at NAIT after spending seven seasons as Sherwood Park’s head coach. NAIT won the ACAC championship last season under head coach Mike Gabinet, who now is an associate coach at the U of Nebraska/Omaha.

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