Monday, September 12, 2016

Hurricanes add more speed . . . Giants getting bigger . . . Special game for Pats, Wheaties . . .

D Kirill Vorobyev (Portland, 2012-13) has signed a one-year contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). Last season, with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had three assists in 28 games. He also had two goals and six assists in 16 games with Zvezda Chekov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) and one assist in two games with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow (Russia, MHL Junior). . . . 
D Joel Kwiatkowski (Tacoma/Kelowna, Prince George, 1994-98) has announced his retirement as a player to become an assistant coach with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). Last season, with MoDo Örnsköldsvik (Sweden, SHL), he had two goals and three assists in 42 games.
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These are interesting times in Lethbridge where Hurricanes general manager Peter Anholt, the WHL’s reigning executive of the year, is sacrificing size and grit for speed and offensive flair.
It began on Aug. 22 when he acquired F Jesse Zaharichuk, 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, from the Kootenay Ice for F Barrett Sheen, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds.
It continued on Monday as Anholt picked up D Brennan Menell, while moving out D Darian Skeoch and F Carter Folk.
The Hurricanes got the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Menell, 19, from the Vancouver Giants for Skeoch, 19,
who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.
Lethbridge sent Folk, 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, to the Victoria Royals for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft.
In the deal with Vancouver, the Hurricanes gained a puck-moving defenceman who can run their power play, while giving up size and grit off the back end. The Hurricanes had room for a player such as Menell with D Andrew Nielsen, who turns 20 on Nov. 13, expected to play in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Nielsen had 70 points, including 52 assists, in 71 games with Lethbridge last season.
Menell, who had 74 points, including 65 assists, in 126 games with the Giants had left Vancouver and asked to be traded. He also left the Giants during the 2015-16 season but later returned to the fold. He finished last season with 53 points, including 46 assists, in 69 games.
Menell, from Woodbury, Minn., was reported to have been in Fargo, N.D., on the weekend, talking to the Force of the USHL. After being told of the trade early Monday morning, he drove to Lethbridge, arriving there Monday afternoon. He is to skate in the Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp later this month.
Skeoch, from New Liskeard, Ont., had seven points in 59 games with the Hurricanes last season. They added him after the cleared OHL waivers. He is scheduled to attend the Anaheim Ducks’ prospects camp.

Anholt made the Folk deal in settling on the roster's three 20-year-olds, at least for now.
The Hurricanes had acquired Folk, F Riley Sheen and a 2015 third-round draft pick from the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Jaimen Yakubowski and F Sam McKechnie on Oct. 24, 2013.
“It’s a hard, hard day today,” Anholt said in a news release. “The thing about Carter is he came here in a trade from Seattle for some players who didn’t want to play here and he was a big reason for the turnaround here. We’re sending Carter to a real good organization, so that makes it a little bit easier.”
In 171 games with the Hurricanes, Folk had 61 points, including 26 goals. The Regina native brought a strong physical presence to the Lethbridge forward ranks. Last season, he had 10 goals and 21 assists, both career highs, in 66 games. He also was an alternate captain for the past two seasons.
Folk likely will have to sit out a game or two once he arrives in Victoria as he is under one of those TBD suspensions, thanks to a headshot major and game misconduct he incurred during a game against the Swift Current Broncos on Friday.
Moving Folk leaves the Hurricanes with three 20-year-olds — F Tyler Wong, F Ryley Lindgren and D Kord Pankewicz.
The Royals, meanwhile, also have three 20s, with Folk joining F Jack Walker and D Ryan Gagnon.
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The Kamloops Blazers have signed F Travis Walton, 17, to a WHL contract. Walton, from Abbotsford, joined the Blazers on Saturday and scored that night in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. Last season, he had 26 points, 17 of them goals, in 23 games with the midget prep team at the Yale Hockey Academy. . . . Walton, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, had gone to camp with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs before deciding to join the Blazers. He had been on Kamloops’ protected list for two years.
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More than 21 years after the Ochapowace First Nation’s attempt to purchase the Regina Pats was rejected, the WHL team will play a game there. The Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings are to meet at the Chief Denton George Memorial Multiplex on Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. . . . According to a Pats’ news release, “The teams will play a modified format of two 20-minute periods of 3-on-3 hockey. Normal rules and timing will apply.” . . . Before the game, some Pats will “do a Project 1st Goal presentation to students from the Ochapowace area.” This is a “partnership between the WHL and RCMP where players receive training to give presentations regarding illegal drug use and making healthy life choices.” . . . Later, the players from both teams will be treated to a feast put on by the community. . . . In June 1995, the Ochapowace First Nation tried to buy the Pats from a group of Regina businessmen. However, on June 16, the WHL’s board of governors voted 16-1 to reject the $1.7-million sale. The WHL ended up buying the franchise and ultimately sold it to Diane and Russ Parker of Calgary.
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F Brandon Ralph, 20, is expected to join the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Ralph is from Fort McMurray. . . . In 169 WHL games, split between the Edmonton Oil Kings and Everett Silvertips, he has 18 goals and 11 assists. He was with the Oil Kings when they won the 2014 Memorial Cup. . . . The Silvertips released him late last week and he has cleared WHL waivers. . . . The Oil Barons open at home on Friday against the Grande Prairie Storm.
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A Czech referee working a U-16 game who was struck in the head by a slapshot has died of his injuries. Paval Lainka, 24, died in hospital on Saturday. . . . There’s more right here from scoutingtherefs.com.
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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
Patrick Conway, who does such a good job keeping tabs on the Russian hockey front, posted a piece on his blog on Monday that was headlined: Hired to be fired. . . . It detailed coaching changes in the KHL to this point in the season; yes, there have been some even though the season began just last month. . . . As often seems to happen, not long after Conway posted his piece, another team made a coaching change. Conway rewrote and reposted, and it’s all right here.
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SUNDAY’S GAME:

In Vancouver, the Victoria Royals scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Giants, 4-1. The game was played at the Ladner Leisure Centre. . . . F Tyler Soy had a goal and an assist for Victoria (4-1-0). . . . F Ty Ronning gave the Giants (0-3-1) a 1-0 lead with a PP goal just 34 seconds into the second period. . . . Soy tied it at 15:10 and F Eric Florchuk put Victoria out front with a PP goal at 9:28 of the third. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson, who missed most of last season, sat out the game’s last eight minutes. GM Glen Hanlon said it was precautionary. Benson is to join the Edmonton Oilers’ prospects team later this week in Penticton for the YoungStars Classic.
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