Thursday, February 23, 2017

AHS connects Tigers to mumps cases . . . Aces falling from ECHL deck . . . Another lengthy OHL suspension

Tommi Virkkunen (Kamloops, Victoria, 1989-90) has been named the new CEO of Kärpät Oulu (Finland, Liiga), effective May 1. Virkkunen has been chairman of Kärpät's board the past seven years and an executive VP for Finnish company Ahlsell Oy for 10 years.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has said that the nine confirmed cases of mumps in the province’s South Zone all are connected to the Medicine Hat Tigers. This is the first such outbreak in the province in 10 years.
AHS believes the Tigers came in contact with the viral infection during a game against the visiting
Brandon Wheat Kings on Jan. 28, as they were starting to fight the illness.
Dr. Vivien Suttorp, the South Zone Medical Officer of Health, told Matt Nemeth of CHAT News Today in Medicine Hat that people who have come in contact with mumps may be symptom-free for as long as 25 days before feeling ill.
Dr. Suttorp told Nemeth: “Before developing symptoms of swollen glands, headaches, feeling unwell, individuals may have already shared the wealth of this virus with others.”
As Nemeth noted, the Tigers have played 10 other teams since they met the Wheat Kings.
In fact, chances are that all of the WHL’s 22 teams have come in contact with one of the teams involved in one way or another, with the Everett Silvertips having completed a recent six-game swing through the East Division.
Meanwhile, it seems the Swift Current Broncos also had to deal with mumps, meaning it has been in at least three WHL dressing rooms.
“They had a situation occur in Swift Current (recently) and it happened in Brandon,” Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, told rdnewsNOW on Thursday. “Then Medicine Hat happened to go and play Brandon and now they’re dealing with it to some degree.”
Dr. Digby Horne, the AHS Central Zone’s Medical Officer of Health, told rdnewsNOW that there aren’t any cases in that zone.
The Rebels, like other teams, are taking precautions in the hopes of avoiding an outbreak.
“Just manage and control (things),” Sutter said, “make sure we’re dealing with it the right way. Everybody is informed, from the medical side of it, on what we have to do as far as the (WHL) teams. Hopefully, Medicine Hat will get through this and it won’t carry on to another team.”
The Tigers could get some relief tonight (Friday) as they play the host Calgary Hitmen tonight.
Besides having to sit players and one coach because of mumps, they also have been without two top defencemen as David Quenneville and Ty Schultz have been recovering from broken legs suffered while blocking shots. Quenneville, who has missed 21 games, has received medical clearance to return and could be in the lineup against the Hitmen. Schultz, however, still is listed as week-to-week on the WHL roster report.
F Ryan Chyzowski is feeling better and could play in Calgary, while assistant coach Joe Frazer also has returned to the team. D Kristians Rubins and D Jordan Henderson are day-to-day, while F James Hamblin isn’t likely to play.
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ECHLThe ECHL’s Alaska Aces, who play out of Anchorage, will suspend operations after this season. 
According to Terry Parks, the ownership group’s managing partner, the franchise has lost more money in 2016-17 than in the previous two seasons combined. He said attendance is down 1,500 per game from two seasons ago. . . . From an Aces news release: “Parks says as a result of the economic downturn, sponsorships are down $600,000, season-ticket sales are down $262,000 and attendance is down about 1,500 spectators per game from just a couple seasons ago.” . . . Also from the news release: “With thousands of job losses in Alaska and more likely to come, Parks says, the team expects this downward trend to continue.” . . . The Aces are completing their 15th season in Anchorage.
The Regina Pats beat the host Saskatoon Blades, 4-1, on Wednesday night, with F Adam Brooks scoring once and being credited with an assist. Brooks won the WHL scoring title last season, with 120 points. That assist gave Brooks 100 points, at least for the moment. . . . However, a post-game scoring change took the assist away from Brooks, leaving him at 99 points. He gets another opportunity to get to 100 tonight (Friday) against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.
Mike Fraser scouts for the Brandon Wheat Kings and also writes a weekly column for the Brandon-based Westman Journal. This week, he writes about how “listening to a fan or parent yell and mock a 14-year-old kid is hard to digest and let go.” . . . That piece is right here.
OHLMike Kelly, the general manager of the Guelph Storm, will leave the OHL team when his contract expires at the end of this season. . . . “Mike has informed us that he and his wife, Denise, will be relocating to the Niagara region to be closer to their children and grandchildren,” Storm president Rick Hoyle said in a news release. “We respect Mike’s decision to prioritize his family.” . . . Kelly joined the Storm for the 1991-92 season and was the GM for six seasons, before signing on as the amateur scouting co-ordinator with the NHL’s Calgary Flames in 1997. He returned to the Storm in November 2010 for a second go-round as GM. . . . From the Storm’s news release: “During his 13 seasons with the club, he led the Storm to three division titles, three OHL regular-season titles, three appearances in the OHL championship series and the franchise’s last OHL championship in 2013-14.” He was the OHL’s executive of the year for 1994-95.
The OHL has suspended F Max Jones of the London Knights for 10 games after he took a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on F Jonah Gadjovich of the Owen Sound Attack on Feb. 17. Jones will be eligible to return on March 14. . . . Jones was selected by the Anaheim Ducks in the first round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. He has 32 points, including 14 goals, in 29 games this season, one that has been interrupted twice by injuries. . . . Jones is a repeat offender, having been hit with a 12-game suspension for a blindside during a first-round playoff game last season. . . . The latest suspension comes a day after the OHL hit F Christiano DiGiacinto of the Windsor Spitfires with a 10-game suspension after he incurred a headshot major and game misconduct. 
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No Games Scheduled.

FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Portland at Everett, 7:35 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Brandon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Regina, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Seattle vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Victoria vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

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