Friday, December 30, 2016

Swift Current does it up right ... T-Birds, Rebels swap defencemen ... Two WHLers get NHL deals


A lot of emotion was on display Friday morning as a memorial was unveiled in honour of four players who were killed when the Swift Current Broncos’ bus crashed while en route to Regina for a game with the Pats on Dec. 30, 1986.
The monument features the smiling faces of Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka and Brent Ruff.
Family members were present for the unveiling, as were this season’s Broncos, some survivors of the crash and various dignitaries.
“Every Christmas it seems like, it’s ‘there,’ ” Don Mantyka, Chris’s father, told Candace Woodside of the Southwest Booster. “As much as you want to spend Christmas with your family . . . it’s that presence still there. It’s an anniversary each and every year. It doesn’t go away. You think that sometimes it’s supposed to live its life out, but it doesn’t . . . the 20th anniversary was up, now the 30th . . . and it keeps coming up. And I appreciate it because the boys haven’t been forgotten.
“With Bill (Lee), the tremendous job he's done, you can’t even explain, from our point of view, what it means, what this man has done. It’s tremendous.”
Lee, who is from Swift Current, was the push behind getting the memorial built.
Woodside’s story is right here.
F Jesse Schultz (Tri-City, Prince Albert, Kelowna, 1999-2003) has been released by the Sheffield Steelers (England, UK Elite). He had eight goals and 11 assists in 23 games. . . . 
D Brett Festerling (Tri-City, Vancouver, 2001-07) has signed a three-year extension with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he has a goal and 10 assists in 31 games.
With some time on his hands over Christmas week, The MacBeth Report did some research and came up with this:
“Elliotte Friedman's research shows that since 2005-06, only six NHL teams four or more points out of the playoffs on Nov. 1 have gone on to make the playoffs. I have always wondered if it would apply to the WHL. After wading through the schedules on the WHL website . . .
“Beginning with the 2005-06 WHL season (11 seasons), only eight teams that were four or more points out of a playoff spot on the morning of Nov. 1 actually made the playoffs. The most recent was last season. The Edmonton Oil Kings made the playoffs after being four points out on Nov. 1 and they needed a victory in a one-game tiebreaker to do it.
“There was one season (2006-07) when the 16 teams in a playoff spot on Nov. 1 all made the playoffs.
“On average, slightly more than two teams (2.2 average) out of a playoff spot by any margin on the morning of Nov. 1 finish in the playoffs at the end of a season.
“This season, on the morning of Nov. 1, three teams in the Eastern Conference (Edmonton, Kootenay Ice, Prince Albert Raiders) and one team in the Western Conference (Seattle Thunderbirds) were four or more points out of a playoff spot. Right now, Edmonton is in the first wild-card spot in the East and Seattle is in possession of the second wild-card in the West.”
The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired D Austin Strand, 19, and a sixth-round selection in the 2019
bantam draft from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for D Brandon Schuldaus, 18.
Schuldaus didn’t return to the Thunderbirds after the Christmas break and requested a trade.
Strand, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, has a goal and four assists in 38 games with Red Deer this season. In 163 career games, he recorded seven goals and 34 assists. From Calgary, he was a third-round pick by the Rebels in the 2012 bantam draft.
Schuldaus, a native of Houston, Texas, who now calls Calgary home, had two goals and three assists in 33 games with Seattle this season. In 90 games over two seasons, he had four goals and seven assists. He was a fifth-round pick by the Thunderbirds in the 2013 bantam draft. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Schuldaus played bantam in Airdrie, Alta., and midget at Shattuck St. Mary’s.
Schuldaus was in Calgary when he was informed of the trade, so was able to get to Red Deer in time to play last night against the visiting Kootenay Ice.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed F Calvin Thurkauf to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. Thurkauf is playing in the World Junior Championship at the moment; he is captain of Switzerland’s national junior team, although he sat out Thursday’s 5-4 shootout victory over Denmark in Montreal thanks to a one-game suspension for slew-footing an opponent. . . . From Zug, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Thurkauf was a seventh-round pick in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . With the Rockets, he has 31 points, 17 of them goals, in 28 games. Last season, as a freshman, he put up 45 points, including 18 goals, in 61 games.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 6-foot-0, 200-pound Benson, who is from Edmonton, was a second-round selection in the 2016 NHL draft. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 30 assists in 31 games with the Giants. He lost a lot of the 2015-16 season to health issues, finishing with 28 points, including nine goals, in 30 games. In 130 career regular-season games, he has 33 goals and 80 assists. . . . The Giants selected him with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft.
D Bryan Allbee has joined the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. Allbee, 19, is from Prince George. He was released earlier in the week by the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . He had three assists in 33 games with Seattle this season. He also has played in the WHL with the Kootenay Ice. In 146 career regular-season games, the 6-foot-0, 180-pounder has 11 goals and 17 assists.

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