Graham James uses his middle name "Michael" now. "Michael James" is Graham James. He can change his name, but not who he really is.— Greg Gilhooly (@GregGilhooly) September 15, 2016
One day after the Swift Current Broncos celebrated the organization’s decision to support Safe Places Initiative, a program that aims to reduce potential risks to children and youth, their former general manager and head coach was granted full parole.
Graham James was serving a seven-year sentence for the sexual assault of players he was coaching. He had been on day parole in the Montreal area.
Sheldon Kennedy, one of James’s victims, now advocates on behalf of young people and has been a big part of the Broncos’ and the City of Swift Current’s involvement with Safe Places Initiative.
Having James on parole with various restrictions gave Kennedy a sense of deja vu.
“In my case a number of years ago, Graham got out and made all these promises,” Kennedy told Calgary radio station 660 NEWS. “He had all these conditions on full parole, but we found Graham teaching youth hockey in Spain.
“We’ll never get decisions that are supportive of the impact of his crime until we start understanding the severity and the lifelong impact this crime has on children and into adulthood.”
Full Parole for Pedophile #GrahamJames— Sheldon Kennedy (@ShelKenn) September 15, 2016
MY THOUGHTS ARE WITH HIS VICTIMS THAT STRUGGLE EVERYDAY...and all VICTIMS pic.twitter.com/GHLrPIcpae
Theo Fleury, another former WHL player who was abused by James, chose not to do any interviews on Thursday from Vernon, B.C., where he was speaking to high school students. But he issued a news release in which he referred to Canada as “Disneyland for pedophiles.”
That news release is right here.
CBC News has more on the story right here.
The Edmonton Oil Kings have sold out their first game at Rogers Place, the new facility that they will share with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. The Oil Kings will entertain the Red Deer Rebels on Sept. 24 before the first sellout (18,102) in the modern history of the franchise. . . . That will set a new franchise single-game attendance record. The previous record (16,651) dates to a March 10, 2012 game against the Rebels. The Oil Kings won that one, 7-4. . . . The WHL’s single-game regular-season attendance record for a game played indoors (19,305) was set on March 16, 2008, as the host Calgary Hitmen beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-1. . . . On Feb. 21, 2011, the Regina Pats beat the host Hitmen, 3-2, in front of 20,888 fans at McMahon Stadium, the home of the CFL’s Calgary Flames.
The WHL announced Thursday that its teams are sending 140 players to NHL training camps.
All of those players are eligible to return for another WHL season, although a number of them aren’t expected back.
In fact, there likely are around 20 players on the WHL list, most of them 2014 NHL draft picks, who aren’t expected to return for their 20-year-old season.
At least one player on the WHL list, F Evan Polei of the Red Deer Rebels, is injured and won’t be attending an NHL camp. He had accepted a free-agent invitation from the St. Louis Blues.
Still, no matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of players leaving WHL teams for NHL camps.
And now the waiting game begins. The WHL’s regular season is to open on Sept. 23 and a number of those players likely won’t be back in time to take part.
The World Cup of Hockey hits high gear this weekend and, because of it, NHL main camps will open a few days later than normal. NHL teams may also hold over a few major junior players if for no other reason than to fill out rosters.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, for example, has its top two goaltenders — Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy — playing in the WCoH. Does that mean that G Connor Ingram of the Kamloops Blazers, a third-round pick in the NHL’s 2016 draft, will end up in main camp?
The Blazers will be watching closely, while other WHL teams also are in the same position with other players.
The mystery has been solved.
On Wednesday, F Tanner Nagel, 18, tweeted a farewell to Portland and the Winterhawks, while mentioning that he was looking forward to joining the Lethbridge Hurricanes. However, everyone went to bed without seeing an announcement from either team.
Well, late Thursday morning, it was revealed that the Hurricanes had acquired Nagel for the rights to G Shane Farkas, who is to turn 17 on Dec. 1.
Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt told Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald that “it’s a depth deal for us,”
“We never felt that Farkas was going to play for us,” Anholt said. “We had another deal we had done for Farkas, but when (Portland) threw out the option of taking Nagel we thought we’ll add some depth and see what comes of it.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Nagel was a Portland list player. A native of Mossbank, Sask., he had one goal in 38 games with the Winterhawks last season. In 23 games with the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars, he had six goals and an assist.
Farkas, from Penticton, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by Lethbridge in the 2014 bantam draft. The 6-foot-2, 155-pounder played last season at the Okanagan Hockey Academy and now is with the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors.
Later Thursday, West Kelowna announced the acquisition of G Xavier Burghardt, 19, from the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for future considerations. Burghardt, from Medicine Hat, played last season with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons.
Burghardt’s arrival leaves the Warriors with four goaltenders on their roster, including Jordan Wilde, who is an AP (affiliated player). Burghardt also joins Farkas and Keelan Williams, 20, on the roster. Williams, who is injured, got into 11 games with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice in 2014-15 and two games last season. He also played in 22 regular-season and three playoff games with the Warriors last season.
The Warriors, under GM/head coach Rylan Ferster, are the defending Royal Bank Cup champions.
Prince Albert and Seattle swapped 19-year-old wingers on Thursday, with Nic Holowko going to the Raiders for Layne Bensmiller and an undisclosed conditional pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Holowko, from Burnaby, B.C., had nine points, five of them goals, with Seattle in 2014-15 and added 20 points, including six goals, in 72 games last season. . . . The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bensmiller, from Red Deer, had 11 points, including six goals, in 34 games with the Calgary Hitmen in 2014-15, then added 24 points, eight of them goals, in 44 games last season before being dealt to the Raiders. With P.A., he had three goals and three assists in 30 games.
F Nolan Patrick was the first player off the ice at the Brandon Wheat Kings’ practice on Thursday. Still, it was his first full practice since he underwent sports hernia surgery in Winnipeg in mid-July. Patrick is the consensus No. 1 pick for the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Wheat Kings open the regular season on Sept. 23 against the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . With eight players at pro camps, F Rod Southam injured and D Nolan Foote out with mononucleosis, the Kelowna Rockets are expected to dress just 14 skaters for an exhibition game tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix reports that F Cam Hebig of the Saskatoon Blades, who has had concussion issues, is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Hebig, 19, had 69 points, including 26 goals, in 59 games last season, his third with the Blades.
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The Edmonton Oil Kings have added former NHLer Fernando Pisani to their coaching staff as their development coach. Pisani spent the past three seasons on staff with the U of Alberta Golden Bears. . . . The Oil Kings also re-signed head coach Steve Hamilton and assistant coach Ryan Marsh. Contract terms were released. . . . David Pelletier is Edmonton’s skating coach, with Dustin Schwartz the goaltending coach, Kurtis Mucha the goaltender development coach, and Jory Stuparyk and Michael Chan the video coaches.
At Prince Albert, F Tim Vanstone had a goal and four assists to lead the Raiders to a 6-3 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw (3-3-0) held a 42-23 shot advantage, including 19-6 in the third period. . . . F Parker Kelly added two goals and an assist for the Raiders (2-2-0), with F Sean Montgomery getting a goal and an assist, and D Loch Morrison drawing two assists. . . . Kelly’s first goal, at 8:22 of the second period, broke a 2-2 tie. His second goal, at 13:59 of the third, gave the Raiders a 5-2 edge. . . .
At Crowsnest Pass, Alta., F Ryley Lindgren scored two goals and set up another to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 5-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hurricanes (2-3-0) took a 2-0 lead, only to have the Ice (0-3-1) tie it early in the second period. . . . F Colton Kroeker scored a PP goal to give Lethbridge a 3-2 lead. That goal stood up as the winner.