Sunday, August 7, 2016

Who is next head coach of Wheat Kings? . . . Regina Pats mourn death of a friend


1. Were I a betting man, I would put a bob or two on David Anning as the next head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings. An assistant coach in Brandon for four seasons, Anning ran the bench when Kelly McCrimmon was with Team Canada at the 2016 World Junior Championship.

2. The Kamloops Blazers are going to need a third goaltender at the ready because Connor Ingram is firmly in the picture with Canada’s national junior team. He made two appearances with Canada at a summer camp in Plymouth, Mich. He stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first half of a 2-1 OT loss to Finland on Wednesday. On Saturday, he started against the U.S., and gave up three goals in a 5-1 loss. But he played a whole lot better than that — and he looked good doing it — as the U.S. dominated the Canadians. At one point in the first part of the second period, the Americans had 16 straight shots.

3. BTW, Canada went 0-3 in Plymouth. It scored one goal in each of its games. It was 0-for-12 on the PP. Hey, I’m just sayin’ . . .

4. I didn’t watch a lot of hockey from Plymouth, but the one thing I took away from what I did see is that Team USA is big and strong and fast up front. Team Canada, for one, will be young on the back end and is going to have to find a way to deal with those American forwards.

5. The sooner the Frog Lake Indian Band gets a shovel in the ground for its project near Lloydminster, Alta., the better for all concerned.

6. Why am I excited for the start of another WHL season? The No. 1 reason is a chance to watch Victoria Royals forward Matt Phillips in his sophomore season. He may be the most exciting player to come into the WHL since Theo Fleury.

7. When the Brandon Wheat Kings name a head coach, it will mean that seven WHL teams will have turned over that position since the end of last season. I don’t know what it means but only one of those teams — the Saskatoon Blades — promoted an assistant coach to the head job. If the Wheat Kings go with David Anning that would make two.

8. Will this be the last season for the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook? That may depend on the Frog Lake people and that shovel.

9. Does John Paddock have two seasons left as the head coach of the Regina Pats? If the Pats were to be named the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, it would be perfect for him to guide them through that season and then turn the reins over to Dave Struch and focus on being the general manager.

10. Weren’t the Olympics easier to watch on TV when everything was on one channel?
Gary Renner, a long-time off-ice official with the Regina Pats, has died. He passed away Friday in Regina at the age of 70. One of hockey’s good guys, Renner worked in the penalty box at Pats’ games for a long time. . . . A memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday. . . . There is more information right here. . . . The Pats honoured Renner as a ‘Builder’ on March 12, 2014. He had been a volunteer with them for 44 years.
The Victoria HarbourCats set a West Coast League record on Sunday as they beat the visiting Yakima Valley Pippins, 11-4, for their 40th victory of the season. The victory, on the final day of the regular season, broke the record for most victories in a season that had been held by the 2011 Wenatchee AppleSox. . . . Jim Swanson, a former sports editor at the Prince George Citizen who covered the Cougars and the WHL for a number of years, is Victoria’s managing partner and runs baseball operations. . . . The HarbourCats finished with a 40-14 record. . . . The game drew 2,506 fans to Royal Athletic Park, allowing the HarbourCats to set a WCL single-season attendance record of 60,466. . . . Victoria opens a best-of-three first-round playoff series against the Bellingham Bells on Tuesday. Games 2 and 3, if needed, are scheduled for Victoria on Wednesday and Thursday.
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