Monday, December 19, 2016

Nanaimo closing in on new arena? . . . Pats pleased with first half . . . Parker goes fishing

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM TAKING NOTE

The streets were a mess on Monday, and there were two accidents in downtown Kamloops. Slow down and enjoy the holiday season, folks. . . . To mellow things out a bit, right here is Celtic Woman with . . . Do You Hear What I Hear?
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F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had a goal and three assists in 27 games with Frýdek-Místek (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).
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Could the WHL have a team in Nanaimo, B.C., when the 2017-18 season begins?
There are still a number of stumbling blocks, including a possible referendum on a new arena, but the return of Nanaimo to the WHL may be closer today than at any time since the Islanders completed their only season (1982-83) in the city.
Kendall Hanson of CHEK-TV on Vancouver Island reported Monday that city staff has asked city council for direction on entering “into negotiations with the Western Hockey League and (a) WHL team leading to a memorandum of understanding in contemplation of (the) location of (a) WHL team in the city of Nanaimo beginning with the next WHL season — this even though the proposed Events Centre couldn’t be built before September of 2019.”
According to Hanson, Councillor Bill Bestwick said: “What we do know is that a team is available and what we do know is that Frank Crane Arena is 45 years old and what we do know is that if we wait five or 10 or 15 more years there might not be a team available and assuredly the event centre would cost $5-, $10-, $15-, $20-million more.”
While Nanaimo continues to talk about building an $86-million entertainment centre a decision whether to go ahead hasn’t been made. Discussions on exactly that were ongoing at a council meeting on Monday night.
Should the city choose to proceed with the project, the next step would be to hold a referendum. Hanson reported that while organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Improvement Association and Port Authority are in favour, there is opposition, starting with the Protection Island Neighbourhood Association.
Should the project get the go-ahead at some point in the not-too-distant future, it would mean a WHL team in Nanaimo would have to spend at least two seasons in the Frank Crane Arena, a facility that seats around 2,400 and is home to the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers.
The obvious candidate, of course, is the Kootenay Ice, a franchise that is owned by the Chynoweth family and has been for sale since 2012.
This season, after 19 home dates, the Ice is averaging 1,672 fans per game based on announced attendances. That is the poorest average attendance in the 22-team WHL. It also is a decrease of 285 from last season.
You have to wonder if the franchise might be better off drawing 2,400 fans in Nanaimo — assuming, that is, that it would be able to attract that many fans — than watching its fan base disappear in Cranbrook.
Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s governor, president and general manager, told Taking Note last night that he has “not spoken to anyone from Nanaimo.”
“But,” he added, “with everyone knowing our franchise is for sale, I am sure we will get lumped (in with) any potential new city or building.”
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The Regina Pats have never won 50 games in a WHL regular season. So they definitely have something to shoot for after getting to the Christmas break with a 22-3-6 record.
While they are fourth in the overall standings, four points being Prince George, the Pats hold five games in hand on the Cougars. Regina is three points behind the second-place Everett Silvertips, with the Pats holding two games in hand. The Medicine Hat Tigers are third, one point ahead of Regina, which holds five games in hand.
“If you would have told us when we started camp that on Dec. 17 we’d have three regulation losses, we would have probably said you had too much to drink,” John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post in a story that is right here. “In saying that, there are some factors to it. To start with, we took advantage of all the (early) home games but we’ve also gone out and played pretty good on the road. We rode that wave.”
Obviously, the Pats are going to have a busy second half, having played only 31 games going into the break.
The 1978-79 Brandon Wheat Kings hold the single-season record for fewest losses (5). They finished that season at 58-5-9, with the 9 representing ties.
That season, the Wheat Kings went into an 18-day Christmas break with a 26-1-5 record. It is rather doubtful that the Pats can play their final 41 games without losing more than twice, although some might say that Regina actually has lost nine games to date.
Anyway . . . when that Brandon team broke for Christmas, it already had three players — linemates — with at least 40 points. Left-winger Brian Propp had 99 points, including 46 goals, in 31 games. Right-winger Ray Allison had 85 points, 31 of them goals, in 28 games. Centre Laurie Boschman was at 80 points, including 36 goals, in 32 games. Propp and Allison were running 1-2 in the scoring race.
It is interesting that the Wheat Kings had an 18-day break that season. Propp, Allison and D Brad McCrimmon joined the New Westminster Bruins during the break and played in the World Junior Championship in Sweden. Boschman, G Rick Knickle, D Mike Perovich and D Tim Lockridge played in the Labatt Cup, a junior tournament that was held in various Ontario cities.
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Team Canada dumped Finland 5-0 in a Monday night exhibition game between two national junior teams at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Both teams are preparing for the 2017 World Junior Championship that is scheduled to begin in Toronto and Montreal on Dec. 26. . . . Canada got two goals from each of F Tyson Jost (North Dakota) and F Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters), with F Mathew Barzal (Seattle Thunderbirds) adding one. Goaltender Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips) earned the shutout with 25 saves. . . . Next up for Canada is an exhibition game against Czech Republic in Ottawa on Wednesday. Canada also will play Switzerland, in Toronto on Friday.
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D Slava Demin, 16, of the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild has committed to the U of Denver where he will play for the Pioneers. Demin, from Cypress, Calif., was a sixth-round selection by the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. He has 16 points, including four goals, in 30 games with the Wild.
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Brent Parker has hung up the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign. The former president, governor and general manager of the Regina Pats announced Monday that he has “taken a sales and marketing position with Rodgers Fishing Lodge in Eliza Inlet on the beautiful West Coast of Vancouver Island.” . . . According to Parker, the lodge is “one of the oldest and most established lodges in B.C., and provide a luxury fishing experience for small groups or large corporate parties.” . . . So if you are wanting to fish for salmon, halibut or tuna, you may want to think about sending Parker an email at brentparker@sasktel.net for some info. . . . Sounds like a good spot for a meeting of the WHL board of governors and/or general managers.
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Two stepsons of Brent Stark, the owner and president of the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide involving their father in Spruce Grove, Alta., on Monday. The bodies of the boys, ages 11 and 13, were found when Stark and their mother, Tracy, arrived to pick them up and take them to Whitecourt for holidays. . . . “We both showed up to the home and a coward of a father took his life and his two boys’ lives,” Stark told Andrea Ross of CBC News. . . . There’s more right here.
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MAILBAG:

L C (not sure if that’s his/her real name) writes:
“Great blog Greg (sic), but I'm getting tired of seeing all the Lefty bashing / tweets of soon to be President Trump. If you have to insist on getting political, maybe include some sweet heart Justin Trudeau bashing to even it out. I'm starting to think this is a CBC / Left Wing Media affiliated blog.”
(Editor’s note: L C, I am wondering if you’re related to the late L.C. Greenwood? What a fine footballer he was. . . . Just want you to know that I am neither a left wing, nor a right wing. I’m a centre.)
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DEC. 19-26:


No Games Scheduled.

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