Thursday, September 1, 2016

Big signing day in WHL, especially for Pats . . . Wheaties, Royals swing deal . . . Victoria signs assistant coach

F Marcel Hossa (Portland, 1998-2001) had signed a one-year contract with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had eight goals and eight assists in 20 games. He also had one assist in two games with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). . . . Hossa's contract with Trenčín includes an out clause should he get an offer from outside Slovakia.
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The Regina Pats enjoyed quite a day on Thursday as they signed F Bryan Lockner and F Nick Henry, both of whom were believed to be leaning towards taking the NCAA route. . . . The 6-foot-0, 190-
Nick Henry is welcomed to the Regina Pats by John Paddock,
the WHL teams' general manager and head coach.

(Regina Pats photo)
pound Henry, from Portage la Prairie, Man., was the MJHL’s rookie of the year with his hometown Portage Terriers last season. He put up 61 points, including 26 goals, in 50 games, then added 18 points, 10 of them goals, in 17 playoff games. . . . Henry, 17, was acquired from the Everett Silvertips, who took him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft. With his having signed, Everett will get a second-round pick in the 2017 draft and a 2016 sixth-round selection. . . . Henry had verbally committed to attend Western Michigan U. . . . Henry, who scored Regina’s lone goal in a 6-1 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncons on Thursday, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post that being closer to home was definitely a factor. “I’m extremely excited about it,” Henry said. “That was a big factor in this decision. Hockey-wise, I think this is my best place to be right now, with the players I’m going to play with and the coaching here in Regina. I talked to lots and lots of people who have played in the Western League, played NCAA. Really, I didn’t have a wrong way to go but for the time being this is the right place for me.” . . . Lockner, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder from Windsor, Colo., was a third-round pick by the Pats in the 2015 bantam draft. A shoulder injury limited him to four games last season with the Colorado Thunderbirds of the Tier One Elite League. Lockner, 16, had two assists in four playoff games. . . . “I’m excited with my decision,” Lockner told Harder. “I’ve been thinking about it pretty much this whole summer — either go here or go to college. I feel like this is the best route for me. Obviously the coaching staff is one of the best coaching staffs around. They have great ownership and Regina is a good city. They’re an older team this year so they’re going to try to make it to the finals. That’s a plus for me, playing with older guys and learning from them.”
The Pats also signed F Braydon Buziak, 18, and D Owen Williams, who will turn 16 on Sept. 26. . . . Buziak, 6-foot-0 and 205 pounds, is from North Battleford, Sask. He had 19 points, including six goals, with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars last season. He is a listed player. . . . Williams, from Delta, B.C., put up 17 points, 15 of them assists, in 42 games with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds last season. He was a ninth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft.
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Grant Armstrong, who is in his first days as the general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings, spent the past four seasons in the Victoria Royals’ front office. So perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the teams swapped five players and some bantam draft picks on Thursday. . . . The Wheat Kings acquired D Jordan Wharrie and two brothers — F Tyler and F Baron Thompson — a 10th-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft and a third-rounder in 2018. . . . The Royals acquired two unsigned prospects — F Jeremy Klessens and G Brendan Benoit — along with a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, a seventh-rounder in 2018 and a conditional pick in 2019. . . . Wharrie, 19, is from Port Moody, B.C. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder was a fifth-round pick by the Everett Silvertips in the 2012 bantam draft. Last season, in 34 games with the Royals, he had one goal and one assist. In 91 career games, he has three goals and three assists. . . . The Thompsons are from Lakeville, Minn. The 19-yet-old Tyler, 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds, had two goals and an assist in eight games with the Royals last season. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Baron, 17, had two goals and two assists in 26 games with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints last season. The Royals selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft, but has committed to attend the U of Maine. . . . According to the Wheat Kings, all three players are expected in Brandon this weekend. . . . The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Klessens, from Red Deer, had eight goals and 13 assists in 49 games with the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys last season. The 17-year-old was a fourth-round pick by the Wheat Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. The 5-foot-10 145-pound Benoit, a 16-year-old from Winnipeg, was 23-0-1, 2.03, .910 with the midget AAA Eastman Selects last season. Brandon picked him in the 10th round of the 2015 bantam draft. 
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The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Michael Farren, a 16-year-old list player who is from Richmond, B.C. Last season, the 5-foot-10 160-pounder had 48 points, including 15 goals, in 40 games with the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League.
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The Lethbridge Hurricanes signed four players — D Alex Cotton, F Shawn Harke, F Evan Ladouceur and G Adam Swan. . . . Cotton, 15, was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. From Langley, the 5-foot-11, 150-pounder played last season at the Yale Hockey Academy, putting up three goals and five assists in 25 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Harke, 16, is from Leduc, Alta. Harke, 6-foot-0 and 190 pounds, was a seventh-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the OHA-Edmonton prep team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League, scoring six goals and adding 13 assists in 30 games. . . . Ladouceur, 15, was a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder had 13 goals and 12 assists in 32 games with the bantam AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers last season. . . . Swan, 16, was an 11th-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is from Ashern, Man. He was 5-14-0, 5.45, .873 with the Interlake Lightning, a midget AAA team.
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The Tri-City Americans have signed D Colten Gerlib, 17, to a WHL contract. Gerlib, from Kamloops, played last season for the Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League. He had 25 points, including seven goals, in 45 games. . . . The Americans listed him in January after the Mac’s tournament in Calgary.
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The Vancouver Giants have signed F Hunor Torzsok, 16, to a WHL contract. From Cloverdale, B.C., Torzsok played last season with the Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is a listed player. He had 30 points, including 10 goals, in 33 games. 
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The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Tylor Ludwar and F Scott Mahovlich. . . . Ludwar, from Regina, had 16 points, including seven goals, in 40 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians last season. The Blazers placed him on their list in November 2014. . . . Mahovlich, from Abbotsford, B.C., had nine points, three of them goals, in 33 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s midget prep team. The Blazers listed him in January 2015.
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The Kootenay Ice has signed D Bobby Russell, 16, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. From Langley, B.C., the 5-foot-10, 155-pounder had 15 points, 13 of them assists, in 29 games with the B.C. Major Midget League’s Valley West Hawks last season.
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The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Scott Atkinson, a fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, and Belarusian F Artyom Baltruk, who was picked in the CHL’s 2016 import draft. . . . Atkinson, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, had 14 points, including five goals, with the Greater Vancouver Canadians of the B.C. Major Midget League last season. . . . Baltruk, 17, had 12 points, including five goals, in 28 games with Dinamo-Raubichi of the Belarus2 league last season.
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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 Victoria Royals have signed Dan Price, 41, as an assistant coach. Price, from St. Albert, Alta., has spent the past two seasons with the U of Toronto Varsity Blues. He was the team’s assistant coach in 2014-15, and was assistant coach and manager of athletic recruitment last season. . . . Price has WHL experience, having coached with the Tir-City Americans (2012-14) and Chilliwack Bruins (2006-09). . . . The Royals needed an assistant coach after moving Enio Sacilotto from behind the bench into the position of director of prospect development and scout. That came about after Grant Armstrong, their assistant GM, player personnel.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES:

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-3 in a game played in Regina. F Ryan Bowen and F Brett Howden each had a goal and an assist for Moose Jaw. Saskatoon F Josh Paterson also had a goal and an assist, the goal breaking a 3-3 tie at 19:19 of the third period. F Matthew Mosher also had a goal and an assist for the Blades. . . . In the other game in Regina, F Glenn Gawdin scored the game’s first two goals and the Swift Current Broncos went on to a 6-1 victory over the Pats. Gawdin finished with three goals, while D Artyom Minulin drew three assists, and F Aleksi Heponiemi had two goals and two assists.

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