Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hurricanes asking for grant . . . Cougars sign interim assistant coach . . . Oil Kings, Raiders deal



F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) has signed a one-year contract with Val Pusteria (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with the Nippon Paper Cranes Kushiro (Japan, Asia HL), he had seven goals and 34 assists in 48 games. Rabbit had signed a one-year contract with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga) in May, but took advantage of an exit clause to sign with Val Pusteria.
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The Lethbridge Hurricanes’ share of $25 million in renovation costs for the Enmax Centre is $2.5 million. To date, the team has paid $330,000 of that. Melissa Villeneuve of the Lethbridge Herald reports that under the team’s lease with the city “the organization needs to pay $167,000 per year for the next 13 years” in order to pay off that debt. . . . Villeneuve also reports that the Hurricanes have applied for a provincial grant of as much as $600,000 that would help accelerate those payments. . . . That story is right here.
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Shawn Chambers, who played 13 NHL seasons and won two Stanley Cups, has joined the Prince George Cougars as an interim assistant coach. Chambers was at the bench with head coach Richard Matvichuk as the Cougars played the host Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash., on Wednesday night. Chambers, from Sterling Heights, Mich., and Matvichuk were teammates with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Chambers played one season (1986-87) with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Prince George associate coach Steve O’Rourke isn’t with the Cougars for now as he tends to a health-related matter. The Cougars also have yet to replace assistant coach Michael Hengen, who left the team late last month.
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The Edmonton Oil Kings have acquired F Trey Fix-Wolansky from the Prince Albert Raiders and signed him to a WHL contract. In exchange, the Oil Kings gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. Edmonton had acquired that pick from the Kamloops Blazers on Tuesday, in exchange for G Carter Phair. . . . Fix-Wolansky, 17, is from Edmonton. He had 31 points, including 16 goals, in 51 games with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints last season.
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The Prince Albert Raiders released veteran F Cal Babych on Wednesday. Babych, 19, is from North Vancouver. Last season, he had 14 points, including five goals, in 56 games with the Raiders. He had six points, including three goals, in 41 games with the Calgary Hitmen in 2013-14. In 2014-15, he had three assists in one game with the Hitmen and 12 points, five of them goals, in 51 games with the Prince George Cougars. The Hitmen selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 bantam draft.
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The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Luke Gallagher, a Spokane native who was an eighth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. The 5-foot-7, 145-pound Gallagher, 16, had 19 points, including four goals, with the Calgary-based Edge 15s in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League last season. Gallagher is expected to spend 2016-17 with the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior League.
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Over at sportsnet.ca, Neate Sager asks some interesting questions pertaining to the health of Brandon Wheat Kings F Nolan Patrick, who underwent summer surgery to repair a sport hernia that he incurred during last season’s playoff run. “Without knowing the cause of Patrick’s problem, it is worth wondering whether the conventional wisdom about how a young player can survive an 80- to 100-game grind is lacking,” Sager writes. “After all, the hockey industry isn’t about to start shortening schedules any time soon.” . . . That piece is right here.
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There isn’t a league anywhere that features the kinds of trades that sometimes take place in the OHL. On Wednesday, the Mississauga Steelheads dealt F Kirill Nizhnikov, 16, who was the seventh overall pick in the OHL’s 2016 draft, to the Barrie Colts for a whole bunch of draft picks. From the Steelheads’ news release: In the exchange, Mississauga got Guelph’s second-round pick in 2017, Flint’s fourth-round selection in 2017, Windsor’s third-round pick in 2019, Barrie’s third-round selections in 2019 and 2020, Barrie’s second-round pick in 2023, conditional third-round selections in 2021 and 2022, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2021 and a conditional fifth-round selection in 2021. In addition to the acquired draft picks, Mississauga is also set to receive a compensatory first-round selection” in the OHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Seriously. That trade really happened. . . . Nizhnikov is from Moscow, Russia, but for CHL purposes is a non-import because he has played in North America. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder had 47 points, 31 of them goals, in 34 games with the bantam AAA Mississauga Rebels in 2014-15. Last season, he had 37 points, 23 of them goals, in 27 games with the minor midget AAA Toronto Jr. Canadiens. . . . He is eligible for the NHL’s 2018 draft.
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F Devin Setoguchi played four seasons (2003-07) in the WHL, the first three with the Saskatoon Blades and the last one with the Prince George Cougars. In the spring of 2007, he almost singlehandedly carried the Cougars past the Kamloops Blazers in a first-round playoff series. Now he’s fighting to keep his career alive. Setoguchi, now 29, played last season in Switzerland and later this month will join the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings on a tryout basis. He spoke with writer David Pollak about all that he has been through, including his battle with alcoholism. Setoguchi really opened up and that story is right here.
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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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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:

In Kennewick, Wash., F Hudson Elynuik’s second goal of the game, 30 seconds into OT, gave the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. Spokane F Pavel Kousel had forced OT at 18:08 of the third period. F Keanu Yamamoto had two assists for the Chiefs, while Elynuik had one. Everett G Carter Hart, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game on Tuesday night, stopped 28 shots in going the distance. . . . F Carson Focht’s second PP goal of the game, at 16:25 of the third period, broke a 3-3 tie as the Tri-City Americans beat the Prince George Cougars, 5-3, F Jordan Topping had a goal and two assists for the Americans. F Kody McDonald scored twice for the Cougars, while F Jesse Gabrielle had two assists and F Jansen Harkins had a goal and an assist. The last 3:10 of the second period was tacked on to the start of the third after a pane of glass behind the Americans’ net was broken.
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