Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CHL, teams file financials with court . . . Toigo into B.C. Hall . . . Outhouse with back-to-back shutouts

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL). He was released last week released from a tryout contract with Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic, Extraliga) that was signed on Jan. 10. He didn’t appear in a game for Mladá Boleslav. Earlier this season, he had two goals and nine assists in 22 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was released on Dec. 31.

The CHL, along with 22 WHL teams and 20 from the OHL have obeyed a court order and turned over tax and financial statements dating back to 2011 as a potential class-action lawsuit continues to make its way through the courts. Rick Westhead of TSN reports that “the CHL has asked a judge to seal those records, which will be used to establish the profitability of teams and major junior leagues.” . . . There now are “at least 351 current and former players” involved in the lawsuit that asks that major junior players be paid at least minimum wage. . . . What’s next? Arguments over the sealing of the financial records are to be heard in Calgary on Jan. 24. . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.
Major junior operators have stated that if they were to pay minimum wage to players, some of their franchises would be forced out of business. If that’s the case, why not simply make all the tax and financial information available? That’s what Ken Campbell of The Hockey News wonders right here.
They call it ‘Welcome to the World’ and it’s one of the best annual promotions in major junior hockey.
For a second straight season, the Saskatoon Blades are staging a ‘Welcome to the World’ promotion, with this one set for Jan. 22 as they play host to the Swift Current Broncos at 2 p.m.
The Blades and Ecologik, with help from the Open Door Society, will welcome newcomers to Canada to the game and will help turn it into a real experience.
From a Blades news release:
“Prior to the game, they will go through a ‘Hockey 101’ to learn all things about hockey. Then they will take in the Blades and Swift Current Broncos game, and afterwards they will all hit the ice with the Blades and try it out for themselves for the first time. There also will also be a citizenship ceremony taking place for 20 newcomers. This will mark the first time a junior hockey team has staged a citizenship ceremony in Western Canada.”
Last season, there were 400 newcomers on hand to take part in the event.
The Blades and Ecologik will take care of tickets and transportation for the newcomers. Bob Behari, Ecologik’s founder, arrived in Canada from India in 1977.
John Diefenbaker was the prime minister of Canada when he rose in the House of Commons in Ottawa on April 29, 1966 and said: “I mention the historic nature of Prince Albert. I am not here for the purpose of advertising my constituency, but we are the only constituency in Canada that has ever been represented by three Prime Ministers.”
With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, the Raiders will wear commemorative sweaters bearing the likenesses of Diefenbaker, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King during a game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Jan. 27.
The backs of the sweaters are the really neat part, as they contain quotes from each of those men.
Diefenbaker: “I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I think wrong and free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”
Mackenzie King: “A true man does not only stand up for himself, he stands up for those that do not have the ability to.”
Laurier: “We do not anticipate, and we do not want, that any individuals should forget the land of their origins or their ancestors. Let them look to the past, but let them also look to the future; let them look to the land of their ancestors, but let them look also to the land of their children.”
From a Raiders news release:
“The jerseys will be available through silent auction, beginning Wednesday, January 18 at 10 a.m. CT. Bids open at $250, but a jersey can be bought outright for $450. Online bidding will continue until 5 p.m. CT on Jan. 27. Any jerseys left unsold will be available through silent auction during the game. The winners will be declared five minutes into the third period.”
Mark Cheyne, the owner of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors, is in talks with the junior A league’s board of governors as he hopes to get the OK to move his franchise to North Delta, B.C., where it would play out of the Sungod Arena.
The governors’ two-day meetings wrap up today (Wednesday) in Richmond, B.C.
What makes Cheyne’s request so interesting is that the Warriors are the defending national champions.
“It’s about a chance to break even there because we just can’t break even here, you know,” Cheyne told Tom Zillich of Surrey Now. “It’s just a better move financially. With the Rockets here and everything, it’s just a case of (people) don’t support it here as well as they need to, that’s for sure, even with a national championship, a really good team last (season). I was told all along, for 10 years, that once we get over that hump, win the division, win something, things will change here drastically, but that’s just not the case.”
The Lower Mainland already is home to three other BCHL franchises -- the Coquitlam Express, Langley Rivermen and Surrey Eagles.
BCHL commissioner John Grisdale told Zillich before the meetings that “there may or may not be a decision on that. The league will look where it’s at, where its existing franchises are, to see what’s best for the league. We have 17 franchises, and we have to consider what’s best for them.”
It’s believed that the governors also would be talking about the possibility of a WHL franchise landing in Nanaimo in time for next season. Nanaimo has been home to a BCHL franchise, the Clippers, since 1972.
The future of a new $86.6-million arena in Nanaimo will hinge on the outcome of a referendum that is likely to be held on March 11.
On Monday, Nanaimo city council approved a $130,000 budget for a referendum that it recommended be held on March 11.
Tamara Cunningham of the Nanaimo News Bulletin reports that the next steps are “for council to give the initial readings of a loan authorization bylaw, set the question for the vote, and for the chief election officer to formally give the election date.”
Cunningham’s story is right here.
Ron Toigo, the majority owner and president of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, is among those who will be inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame on July 28 in Penticton.
Thomas Gradin and Tony Tanti, a pair of former Vancouver Canucks forwards, also will be inducted, while Dave Nonis, a former Canucks general manager, Brad Lazarowich, a one-time WHL on-ice official who went on to a lengthy career as an NHL linesman, and John Shannon of Rogers Sportsnet will join Toigo in the builders’ category.
Toigo was first involved in the WHL as the owner of the Tri-City Americans, a franchise he sold in 2000 when he purchased the Giants as an expansion franchise. He has been instrumental in bringing numerous events to Vancouver, including two World Junior Championships and a Memorial Cup tournament.
Also being inducted will be the Powell River Regals, who captured the 1997 Allan Cup title as Canada’s senior men’s champions.
Former WHL star Joe Sakic will be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame on May 21 in Cologne, Germany. That is the final day of the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
During his playing career, Sakic helped Team Canada win the 1988 World Junior Championship, 1994 World championship and 2002 Winter Olympic Games. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Sakic, 47, played two seasons (1986-88) with the Swift Current Broncos. He was the Eastern Division’s most valuable player in 1986-87 and the league’s MVP for 1987-88. In 139 regular-season games, Sakic put up 293 points, including 138 goals.
Sakic now is the executive vice-president of hockey operations and general manager with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.


Ryan Flaherty of Global TV in Saskatoon reports that Blades F Mason McCarty has “had a setback in his rehab” and will be out 3-4 more weeks. . . . McCarty last played on Nov. 25. He has 23 points, including 14 goals, in 26 games. . . . 
The Kootenay Ice has brought in F Peyton Krebs, who will turn 16 on Jan. 26, from the midget AAA UBA Bisons. From Okotoks, Alta., Krebs has 29 points, including 12 goals, in 23 games with the Bisons. He was the first-overall pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. He has two assists in three earlier games with Kootenay. . . . 
The Ice has named D Cale Fleury as team captain. F Vince Loschiavo, F Austin Wellsby and D Kurtis Rutledge are the alternate captains. The Ice played the first half of the season without a captain. 



At Kamloops, G Connor Ingram made his first start for the Blazers since Dec. 4 and they beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1. . . . Ingram stopped 24 shots, losing his shutout bid at 11:24 of the third period when F
Thomas Foster (12) scored on a PP. . . . Ingram spent the better part of a month with Canada’s national junior team and then got to spent a few days relaxing at his family’s home in Imperial, Sask. In his absence, G Dylan Ferguson made 15 straight starts. . . . F Garrett Pilon gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead with his 10th goal, at 9:50 of the first period. . . . D Joe Gatenby’s sixth goal, on a PP, 45 seconds into the second period would prove to be the winner. That was Gatenby's sixth goal in 45 games with Kamloops. He played his first 174 games with the Kelowna Rockets and have five goals. . . . F Deven Sideroff added his 26th goal, on another PP, at 1:31 of the third period, and F Rudolfs Balzers got his 24th goal at 10:09. . . . F Lane Bauer had two assists for Kamloops, with Pilon, Gatenby and Sideroff adding one apiece. . . . The Warriors got 32 saves from G Zach Sawchenko. . . . Kamloops was 2-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-3. . . . It was the 705th regular-season victory of Don Hay’s WHL head-coaching career. . . . With Ingram back, the Blazers returned G Max Palaga to the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . Kamloops (27-16-3) has won two in a row and is second in the B.C. Division, two points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets, who are at home to the Warriors tonight. . . . Moose Jaw (26-12-7) has lost two in a row and is 1-2-0 on a B.C. Division swing. The Warriors are second in the East Division, a point ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Announced attendance: 3,295.
At Prince George, the Cougars erased a 3-1 third-period deficit and beat the Portland Winterhawks, 4-3. . . . The teams are scheduled to meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . F Radovan Bondra got the
comeback started just 22 seconds into the third period with his 22nd goal. . . . F Kody McDonald tied the score with No. 10 at 9:15. . . . F Brad Morrison (18) broke the tie at 11:45. . . . F Jansen Harkins had given the home team a 1-0 lead with his 13th goal, at 9:07 of the first period. . . . Portland scored the next three goals. . . . F Ryan Hughes ran his goal streak to four games with No. 17, at 13:21 of the first. . . . F Skyler McKenzie got his 29th, shorthanded, at 4:03 of the second. . . . F Alex Overhardt made it 3-1 with a PP goal at 6:37. He’s got seven goals. . . . Harkins and McDonald added an assist. . . . D Henri Jokiharju had two assists for Portland. . . . G Ty Edmonds stopped 33 shots for the Cougars. . . . G Shane Farkas, making his first WHL start for the Winterhawks, made 34 saves. . . . Portland was 1-2 on the PP; Prince George was 0-3. . . . D Sam Ruopp and F Jesse Gabrielle were among the Cougars’ scratches. Ruopp has an undisclosed injury. Gabrielle sat out Game 1 of a three-game suspension. That was for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he incurred at the final buzzer of a game in Calgary on Jan. 14. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Keegan Iverson, their 20-year-old captain, who was hurt on Friday in a game against the visiting Spokane Chiefs and didn’t play Saturday in the rematch. Iverson isn’t on this four-game road trip. . . . Portland also scratched D Shaun Dosanjh, their other active 20-year-old. . . . Portland had F Ty Westgard in their lineup. Westgard, who turned 19 on Jan. 1, has been playing with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. The Winterhawks acquired his rights from the Victoria Royals earlier this season. . . . The Cougars (32-12-2) have won four in a row. They are back atop the overall standings, one point ahead of the Regina Pats, who do hold five games in hand. . . . The Winterhawks (22-20-1) have lost two straight. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 2,555.

At Kent, Wash., Seattle’s big line accounted for six points as the Thunderbirds beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-1. . . . Seattle F Ryan Gropp, playing on a line with Mathew Barzal and Keegan Kolesar, had two
assists, giving him 200 career points. He has 93 goals and 107 assists in 228 games. . . . Barzal (4) scored the game’s first goal, at 12:42 of the first period. . . . Everett F Matt Fonteyne tied it with his 14th goal, on a PP, at 15:59. . . . Kolesar’s eighth goal, at 12:28 of the second period, would prove to be the winner. . . . Seattle F Alexander True put his 13th goal into an empty net at 19:29 of the third period. . . . Barzal and Kolesar each had an assist. . . . G Rylan Toth turned aside 23 shots for the Thunderbirds. . . . The Silvertips got 30 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . Everett was 1-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . The Silvertips were playing their fourth game (3-0-1) in five nights and their fifth in seven. They now get two days off before going into a three-game weekend. When that’s over, they will have played eight games in 12 days. . . . The Thunderbirds had beaten the host Silvertips, 4-3 in OT, on Saturday night. . . . Everett was without F Devon Skoleski, who didn’t finish Monday’s 5-4 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets. . . . Linesmen Zach Brooks left in first period with an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle (24-14-5) has won six straight and is a comfortable third in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Tri-City Americans and seven ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett (28-6-8) had points in each of its previous five games (3-0-2). The Silvertips are third in the overall standings, one point behind the Regina Pats and two in arrears of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Announced attendance: 5,019.
At Langley, B.C., G Griffen Outhouse stopped 25 shots to lead the Victoria Royals to a 3-0 victory over
the Vancouver Giants. . . . Outhouse has four shutouts this season and eight in his two-season career. He has posted back-to-back shutouts, stopping 61 combined shots, since giving up seven goals in a 9-2 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Friday. . . . D Ryan Gagnon gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 6:35 of the first period and that was the only goal Outhouse would need to post his 24th victory this season. . . . The Royals got insurance from F Tyler Soy (19), at 4:32 of the second period, and F Matt Phillips (29), on a PP, at 11:45 of the third. . . . Vancouver G Ryan Kubic stopped 39 shots. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . These teams will meet again later this month when they clash on Jan. 27, 28 and 29. The first of those is scheduled for Langley, with the last two in Victoria. . . . Including this game, eight of Victoria’s final 27 games will be against Vancouver. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson missed his seventh straight game with an undisclosed injury. . . . Victoria (24-18-4) has won two in a row. The Royals are fourth in the B.C. Division, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. Victoria is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Vancouver (16-26-3) has suffered six straight losses and is 10 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Announced attendance: 3,675.


WEDNESDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Red Deer at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Prince Albert vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Portland at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

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