Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nanaimo council calls for referendum on complex . . . Ducks mightier with Steel . . . Cunningham real miracle


When it comes to music, I rarely (never!) disagree with my good wife, who plays piano by ear, and when it comes to one of my favourite Christmas songs — Little Drummer Boy — she says this version right here is among the best. It’s Jennifer Nettles and Idina Menzel with . . . Little Drummer Boy. 
And, as a bonus, right here is the late, great Johnny Cash with his version of . . . Little Drummer Boy.

F Denis Tolpeko (Seattle, Regina, 2003-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Sochi (Russia, KHL). He had two goals and five assists in 31 games. . . .
F Fredrik Pettersson (Calgary, 2005-07) has been released by Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL). He had five goals and seven assists in 24 games.

The taxpayers of Nanaimo will be going to the polls, perhaps as early as February, after city council voted 8-1 late Monday night to hold a referendum on whether to go ahead with the construction of a sports and entertainment complex.
Having already spent almost $500,000 on Phases 1 and 2, city council now will spend the money
necessary to hold a referendum.
The complex, which will seat more than 6,400 for hockey, is expected to come in at around $86.6 million.
Tamara Cunningham of the Nanaimo News Bulletin reported that council also “agreed . . . to move ahead on next steps, which includes hiring advisors and an event centre management firm, and directing staff to prepare for an electoral approval process.”
According to Cunningham, “Council unanimously agreed to have staff prepare for an elector approval process for the centre, and decided 8-1 to move ahead with a series of steps on the centre, including negotiate with the Western Hockey League, continue public engagement and hire advisors, architect firm, project manager and professional events centre management firm.”
Of course, the only WHL franchise that is known to be available at this time is the Kootenay Ice. That franchise, owned by the Chynoweth family, plays out of Cranbrook, B.C., and has been for sale since 2012.
Should a referendum be held early enough in 2017 and should it pass, don’t be surprised if the Ice is sold and lands in Nanaimo in time for next season. The team would play in the 2,400-seat Frank Crane Arena, home to the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, for at least two seasons.
Cunningham’s story is right here.
The Anaheim Ducks have signed F Sam Steel of the Regina Pats to a three-year, entry-level NHL
contract. The Ducks selected Steel, who went into the Christmas break atop the WHL’s scoring derby, in the first round, 30th overall, of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . Earlier in December, Steel attended the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp in Boisbriand, Que. He didn’t make the team and his release was seen as quite a surprise by many observers. Steel, who is from Sherwood Park, Alta., returned to the Pats and recorded six points in two games to move to the top of the scoring table, with 54 points, one more than teammate Adam Brooks and forwards Chad Butcher and Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . According to capfriendly.com, Steel’s contract calls for an NHL salary of US$925,000 each season, with annual signing bonuses of $92,500. Steel’s AHL salary would be $70,000 each season. The contract doesn’t include any performance bonuses.
You may recall that the Boston Bruins signed F Jesse Gabrielle, 19, of the Prince George Cougars to a three-year, entry-level deal last week. The Bruins selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL draft. . . . According to capfriendly.com, Gabrielle’s NHL salary would be US$742,500, $742,500 and $817,500, with a $92,500 signing bonus payable each season. Gabrielle’s contract also includes performance bonuses totalling $182,500, $182,500 and $107,500. . . . His AHL salary would be $70,000 in each of the three seasons. 
F Craig Cunningham, the captain of the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, is expected to be released from a Tucson hospital in time for Christmas. Cunningham has been in hospital since suffering a cardiac event and collapsing prior to a home game on Nov. 19. Cunningham played in the WHL with the Vancouver Giants and Portland Winterhawks. He is expected to address the media today in Tucson. . . . Bob McKenzie of TSN has spoken with Cunningham and his mother, Heather, and has more on this medical miracle right here.
Canada will be the defending champion when the Spengler Cup begins play in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday. Canada, under general manager Sean Burke and head coach Luke Richardson, will open against Dinamo Minsk. The championship game will be played on Dec. 31. . . . Also in the tournament: Avtomobilist Yekaterinberg, HC Luongo and Mountfield HK. . . . There’s a Hockey Canada news release that includes a roster right here.


DEC. 19-26:

No Games Scheduled.

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