Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Paper questions Tigers' attendance figures . . . Rebels, Chiefs swap goalies . . . Cougars dynamite on road

The Canalta Centre, the second-year home of the Medicine Hat Tigers, lost $440,000 — that’s $80,000 more than expected — in its first year of operation, reports Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News. . . . There are a couple of interesting notes in his story. . . . For starters, Jeff Dunham, a comedian and ventriloquist, drew the centre’s only sellout during its first year when a crowd of 6,124 showed up on March 18. . . . Gallant also reported that while figures compiled by the WHL indicate that the Tigers’ average attendance for 36 regular-season home games was 4,247, “a study by the News suggests that number was closer to 3,100 — about half the capacity of the one-year-old $75-million arena and one-quarter less than the number of seats in the Medicine Hat Arena.” . . . According to a report presented to a city committee, the total attendance including major events during the facility’s first 12 months of operation was 165,400. According to the report, 16 non-hockey events drew about 51,300 folks. Do the math and it shows that 114,100 fans attended Tigers’ games, an average of 3,083 per game. The WHL’s figures have the Tigers’ regular-season attendance total at 152,912. . . . Gallant’s complete story is right here.
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The WHL is working towards digitizing statistics from the first 30 years of its existence. At the moment, you can only find on-line information from games played after 1996.
“There has been so much change in technology and just managing the new
website and the social media platforms,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, told Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun. “There are
reasons why we haven’t got to it, but we will get to it. We have to get
it completed and get it completed soon.”
Bergson dug up some numbers showing that when the QMJHL did it in 2005 “it took 24 people more than 12,000 hours over three years to
snap pictures of 10,000 scoresheets and then input the data.”
According to Bergson, one of the challenges faces by the WHL “is locating all of the scoresheets, which are scattered across Western Canada and the northwestern U.S. after 50 years.”
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The Red Deer Rebels and Spokane Chiefs were involved in an exchange of goaltenders on Wednesday. The Rebels acquired Tyson Verhelst, 19, and a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft for G Dawson Weatherill, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2018 draft. . . . Verhelst played two seasons with Spokane but the Chiefs revealed prior to training camp that he had chosen to quit hockey. As a result, the Chiefs acquired G Jayden Sittler, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . It came out last week that Verhelst, who is from Kemnay, Man., was on the Chiefs’ suspended list and that they were trying to trade him. . . . In 81 games with the Chiefs, he was 34-33-5, 3.31, .889. Last season, he was 23-22-5, 3.16, .892. . . . Verhelst was a third-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . Earlier, the Rebels dealt G Rylan Toth, 20, to the Seattle Thunderbirds, indicating at that point that were prepared to go with Trevor Martin, 20, and Riley Lamb, 18, as their goaltenders. . . . The Rebels play this weekend in Moose Jaw, Brandon and Regina. Verhelst will skate in Red Deer over the weekend and then practise with his new teammates next week before seeing game action. . . . Weatherill, from Red Deer, was a second-round selection in 2014. He was 1-1-0, 3.69, .881 in five appearances with the Rebels last season, but hadn’t seen any action this season. . . . In Spokane, he will join Sittler, who also is from Red Deer, and Matt Berlin, an 18-year-old from Edmonton.
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Among the WHL players returned by NHL teams on Wednesday:
Everett Silvertips — F Eetu Tuulola, Calgary Flames.
Kamloops Blazers — G Connor Ingram, Tampa Bay Lightning; F Deven Sideroff, Anaheim Ducks.
Kelowna Rockets — F Dillon Dube, Calgary Flames; F Calvin Thurkauf, Columbus Blue Jackets.
Moose Jaw Warriors — F Brett Howden, Tampa Bay Lightning.
Prince Albert Raiders — G Rylan Parenteau, Vancouver Canucks.
Prince George Cougars — D Sam Ruopp, Columbus Blue Jackets.
Red Deer Rebels — D Josh Mahura, Anaheim Ducks; F Adam Musil, St. Louis Blues.
Saskatoon Blades — D Libor Hajek, Tampa Bay Lightning.
Swift Current Broncos — Max Lajoie, Ottawa Senators; F Lane Pederson, Arizona Coyotes.
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With G Rylan Parenteau, who is to turn 20 on Nov. 16, on his way back from the camp of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, the Prince Albert Raiders’ roster now includes four 20-year-old players. Parenteau joins F Austin Glover, F Tim Vanstone and F Kolten Olynek. That number will swell to five if F Reid Gardiner is returned by the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Parenteau is one of three goaltenders on the roster, joining sophomore Ian Scott, 17, and newcomer Curtis Meger, 18.
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The Prince George Cougars learned Wednesday that D Sam Ruopp, 20, is on his way back from the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. His arrival will leave Prince George with four 20-year-olds, the others being F Colby McAuley, D Shaun Dosanjh and G Ty Edmonds. . . . Edmonds also is one of three goaltenders on the roster, along with Nick McBride, 19, and Tavin Grant, 18.
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The Calgary Hitmen, meanwhile, placed D Scott Allan on waivers earlier in the week. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder from Denver cleared and now will rejoin the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Allan has played in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Seattle Thunderbirds and Medicine Hat Tigers. In 93 games, he has a goal and three assists. . . . The Hitmen are left with three 20s — F Tyler Mrkonjic, F Taylor Sanheim and D Micheal Zipp.
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The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning have returned G Connor Ingram, 19, to the Kamloops Blazers. He will join his teammates in Victoria where the Blazers will play the Royals in a Friday-Saturday doubleheader. . . . Ingram was 34-15-9, 2.61, .922 with the Blazers last season and now is in the running to be on the roster of Canada’s national junior team. . . . The Blazers have been going with Dylan Ferguson, who backed up Ingram last season, and Carter Phair, who was acquiredfrom the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sept. 6. Ferguson has been nursing a tender ankle left over from the first period of a 5-1 loss to the host Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.
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JUST NOTES:

F Keegan Kolesar of the Seattle Thunderbirds will be out for at least six weeks. Aaron Portzline, who covers the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets for the Columbus Dispatch, tweeted Wednesday that Kolesar has had “surgery for a supraumbilical hernia. . . . That is a hernia in the area of the navel. . . . Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen told Aportzline that the hernia didn’t have anything to do with hockey, that it developed on its own. . . . Last season, Kolesar, a 19-year-old Winnipegger, had 30 goals and 31 assists in 64 games with Seattle last season. At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, he also brings size to the Thunderbirds’ forward ranks. . . .
G Brandon Kegler, 19, is back with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The native of Leduc, Alta., was released earlier by the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Kegler was 3.09, .910 in 22 games with Salmon Arm last season. . . . To make room for Kegler, the Silverbacks dealt G Mike Botiz to the Surrey Eagles for future considerations. . . . 
F Andrew Shaw of the Montreal Canadiens will be on the phone with the NHL’s department of safety today (Thursday) after he drilled D Connor Hobbs of the Washington Capitals into the end boards from behind in a Tuesday exhibition game. Hobbs, who is likely to be returned to the Regina Pats at some point this week, was left face down on the ice. However, he apparently wasn’t injured and returned to the game. . . . 
The Portland Winterhawks are without a director of player personnel with the news that Eric Doyle has left for a scouting position with the NHL’s New York Rangers. Doyle had been Portland’s director of player personnel since 2014. He is a former WHL defenceman, having played five seasons with the Everett Silvertips, Swift Current Broncos and Portland. He moved to Portland as a 20-year-old in 2009-10. . . . 
An interesting note from Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald, from the Silvertips’ Tuesday practice: “Everett practised a new drill for the first time. It involved kicking pucks toward the net (from outside the crease). A new WHL rule states that any goal that deflects off a skate from outside the (crease) is a goal — regardless of whether or not there was a ‘kicking motion.’ No surprise that Kevin Constantine’s squad is looking to use any rule change to its advantage.” . . . 
F Owen Hardy of the Vancouver Giants suffered an undisclosed injury during Tuesday’s 7-6 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars and apparently won’t play in weekend games. Hardy, 17, was a second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He had five goals and four assists in 45 games last season. This season, he is pointless in three games.
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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 GAME:




At Kelowna, G Ty Edmonds stopped 32 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 2-1 victory over the Rockets. . . . The Cougars have opened the season with four straight victories, all on the road. . . . The two head coaches — Richard Matvichuk of the Cougars and Jason Smith of the Rockets — are in their first WHL seasons after combining to play in 1,804 regular-season and 191 playoff games in the NHL. . . . F Jared Bethune gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead with his fourth goal of the season just 56 seconds into the game. . . . Kelowna F Tomas Soustal tied it at 13:53 of the second period, while shorthanded. . . . F Yan Khomenko’s first goal broke the tie at 18:14 of the second period. Bethune picked up the lone assist. . . . G Michael Herringer turned aside 24 shots for the Rockets (1-2-0). . . . The Cougars were 0-5 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-3. . . . The teams now head north for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,341.
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THURSDAY'S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.

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