Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hirsch shines light on OCD . . . Tigers to retire No. 9 . . . Silvertips back on top of U.S. Division


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F David Stieler (Swift Current, 2006-08) has signed a one-year extension with the Augsburger Panther (Germany, DEL). He has four goals and 14 assists in 45 games. . . .
F Jakub Langhammer (Spokane, 2002-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Liptovský Mikuláš (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with the Manchester Phoenix (England, Premier), he had four goals and five assists in 16 games. He was released on Oct. 31. . . .
F Curtis Hamilton (Saskatoon, 2006-11) has been assigned on loan by SaiPa Lappeenranta to TPS Turku (both Finland, Liiga) for the rest of this season. He had 14 goals and 13 assists in 43 games with SaiPa. . . .
F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had a goal and three assists in nine games. He had been loaned to Dukla from Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of season on Jan. 3. He had a goal and three assists in 17 games with Dukla.
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I have never spoken with Corey Hirsch. I was going to stop and introduce myself one day, but I didn’t. It was during a Kamloops Blazers training camp session and his son was one of the players on the ice. Corey seemed quite intent on watching so I let the moment go.
Now I wish I hadn’t.
If you haven’t see what Corey wrote on The Players’ Tribune, you should. It’s right here.
Here’s a taste . . . 
“Then one day, I just couldn’t take it anymore. In my messed up brain, anything was better than being alone 24/7 with my dark thoughts. I decided to end my life. I went up to the top of the cliff in Kamloops and thought, I’m checking out. Let’s see how fast this car can go.
“I am here today because of a vision that popped into my head at 140 miles an hour. I wish I could say that it was a warm and happy thought that stopped me. But it was actually just this:
“What if I don’t die?”
Take time to read what he has written. Pay particular attention to the headline before you dig into it.
Take the time to re-read the message at the end, because he is correct — there are people in hockey right now who are in a dark place. If you are one of those people, it’s not over.
Corey Hirsch is proof of that.
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Being the owner of a sports franchise in any city should mean more than simply icing or fielding a team. It should mean, but doesn’t always seem to, having a love affair with that city and its citizens. That certainly was the case with Mike Ilitch, the owner of Detroit’s Red Wings and Tigers, who died on Friday. I don’t know that I have read a more revealing story about Ilitch than this one right here, which deals with the fact the Ilitch quietly paid Rosa Parks’ rent for 10 or 11 years. Yes, that Rosa Parks.
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The Medicine Hat Tigers will retire the No. 9 worn by the late Tom Lysiak when he skated to back-to-back WHL scoring championships in 1971-72 and 1972-73. He is the only Medicine Hat skater to accomplish that feat, and only the fourth player in WHL history. . . . Lysiak, who died of leukaemia on May 30, also won the playoff scoring race in the spring of 1973, as the Tigers won the WHL title and then went on to capture a Memorial Cup championship. . . . The Tigers will hang No. 9 from the rafters on Feb. 25 as they meet the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . That will be the second number retired by the Tigers. They earlier gave that honour to Lanny McDonald’s No. 8. . . . It also will mean a new number for F Zach Fischer, who has been wearing No. 9. He will switch to No. 39 that evening.
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If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that organ donorship is big in these parts. Today, then, I have become a big fan of Eugene Melnyk, who owns the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. . . . Almost two years have gone by since Melnyk underwent a partial liver transplant that saved his life. On Wednesday, Melnyk sat in front of a news conference and announced that the Organ Project is a reality. The first thing on the agenda is organ donor awareness. As Melnyk said: “It’s two minutes out of your whole life. Just sit down (to register) and you will do the greatest things for people like me, who have sat in that line for months, not knowing if I’m going to be living or dying. It makes all the difference.” . . . As someone who has lived it, I can tell you that the feeling of not knowing touches family members, too. . . . Please read this story right here and at least think about it.
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When he isn’t writing, Mike Fraser is a scout for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. In his latest fun with words, it’s more Tales from the Arena, and it’s apparent that he had a tough weekend — he was in the Okanagan when the weather was horrid and when he did go to a game at home he had too much Nickelback. . . . That’s right here.
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If you have some information you would like to share or just a general comment, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAMES:

At Edmonton, F Colton Kehler’s OT goal gave the Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Oil Kings have won two straight games after having lost 16 in a row. . . . Kehler’s 15th goal of the season
COLTON KEHLER
came at 1:18 of OT after the host team had erased a 2-0 deficit. . . . The Ice took that lead on second-period PP goals from F Reed Morison (2), at 1:07, and F Vince Loschiavo (22), at 4:11. . . . F Davis Koch’s 17th goal allowed Edmonton to get within a goal at 19:49 of the second period. . . . The Oil Kings tied it when F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored his 16th goal at 16:43 of the third period. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 29 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . The Ice got 30 saves from G Payton Lee. . . . Kootenay was 2-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-5. . . . Due to a suspension and injuries, the Oil Kings went the distance with five defenceman and two of those are affiliate players Jayden Platz and Matthew Robertson. . . . “I thought 5-on-5 we did a pretty good job eliminating their opportunities,” Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton said in a piece on the team’s website. “That’s a lot to ask. I think Conner McDonald played like 45 minutes today. It just seemed like every time I looked up he was still out there. That’s a lot of minutes. He came from a situation in Kamloops where he was playing 5 or 6 spot minutes and he has really embraced that. All those guys did a great job.” . . . The Oil Kings (20-33-4) have won two straight. They are nine points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Ice (12-35-10) have lost seven in a row (0-5-2) and have slipped into the WHL basement. . . . It was the eighth season in a row in which the Oil Kings played host to a Hockey Hooky game with a start time of 11:30 a.m. . . . Announced attendance: 12,663.
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At Medicine Hat, the Tigers held the Victoria Royals to 17 shots, just two in the first period, en route to a
GARY HADEN
3-1 victory. . . . Medicine Hat, which clinched a playoff spot with the victory, took a 1-0 lead when F Gary Haden scored his sixth goal at 6:54 of the second period. . . . F Matt Bradley’s 27th goal increased the lead to 2-0 at 3:04 of the third period. . . . The Royals cut the deficit in half when F Matt Phillips got his 40th goal this season, at 11:50 of the third period . . . The Tigers iced it with an empty-netter from F Steve Owre, his 20th goal, at 18:57. . . . Medicine Hat got 16 saves from G Michael Bullion. . . . G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 30 for Victoria. . . . Medicine Hat was 0-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-4. . . . The Tigers remain without D David Quenneville and D Ty Schultz, both out with broken legs incurred while blocking shots. Quenneville, however, is nearing a return. . . . The Royals are without F Tyler Soy and F Ryan Peckford, both of whom are injured and didn’t make the trip to Alberta, and F Jared Dmytriw, who is serving a three-game suspension. . . . Medicine Hat (41-16-1) has won five in a row. The lead the Central Division by eight  points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Victoria (31-23-4) has lost two straight. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the B.C. Division, four points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 3,031.
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At Prince Albert, F Parker Kelly snapped a 3-3 tie at 6:32 of the third period and the Raiders went on to
PARKER KELLY
post a 5-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Kelly’s 12th goal turned out to be the game-winner. . . . F Simon Stransky added insurance with his 16th goal, an empty-netter, at 19:25. . . . Brandon had taken a 1-0 lead when F Ty Lewis got No. 26 just 46 seconds into the first period. . . . F Curtis Miske (14) pulled the Raiders even, on a PP, at 13:33. . . . The Wheat Kings went back out front when F Nolan Patrick (13) scored at 19:01. . . . Prince Albert got that one right back as F Tim Vanstone got his 10th goal at 19:33. . . . The Raiders moved out front at 9:23 of the second period when F Sean Montgomery scored his 12th goal, a shorthanded effort. . . . D James Shearer’s seventh goal, on a PP, at 18:02 of the second got Brandon into a 3-3 tie. . . . Vanstone, Stransky and Parker added an assist each. . . . Patrick also had one assist. . . . The Raiders got 22 saves from G Nic Sanders. . . . At the other end, Logan Thompson stopped 30 shots. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . D Kale Clague, who played in Brandon’s 3-1 loss to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Tuesday night, was among the Wheat Kings’ scratches. . . . The Raiders (15-38-5) have won two in a row. They vacated the WHL cellar with this victory and now are one points ahead of the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Wheat Kings (27-22-8) have lost three in a row (0-2-1). They are fourth in the East Division, five points behind the Swift Current Broncos. Brandon is in possession of the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Announced attendance: 1,869.
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At Saskatoon, F Riley Sutter scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give the Everett Silvertips a 2-1
RILEY SUTTER
victory over the Blades. . . . F Jesse Shynkaruk scored for the Blades in the first round, with F Orrin Centazzo replying for Everett in Round 2. . . . F Kirby Dach gave the Blades a 1-0 lead at 10:50 of the first period. Dach, who turned 16 on Jan. 21, had three goals and an assist in seven games. Since joining the Blades on a full-time basis last week, he has three goals in as many games. . . . Everett pulled even when F Dominic Zwerger counted No. 23 at 14:04 of the second period. . . . G Carter Hart blocked 30 shots for Everett, two more than Saskatoon’s Brock Hamm. . . . Saskatoon was 0-1 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . F Markson Bechtold returned to the Blades’ lineup for the first time since Dec. 27. . . . The Silvertips (34-12-10) have won three in a row. They moved back into first place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the idle Seattle Thunderbirds. Everett holds one game in hand. . . . The Blades (23-26-7) have points in four straight (3-0-1). They are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points up on the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon completed a stretch where it played 13 of 14 games at home. It went 8-4-1 in those 13 games. . . . While Everett’s roster includes six players from Manitoba, there aren’t any from Saskatchewan. . . . Announced attendance: 2,935.
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At Swift Current, G Jordan Hollett recorded the shutout and F Nick Henry had two goals as the Regina Pats beat the Broncos, 2-0. . . . Hollett, a first-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, made is 13th start and
JORDAN HOLLETT
improved to 12-0-1 as he posted his first WHL shutout. . . . Hollett, who is from Langley, B.C., made 28 saves, including 13 in the second period. . . . Henry, who has 28 goals in his freshman season, opened the scoring with a PP goal at 7:55 of the second period. . . . Henry made it 2-0 at 16:06. . . . The Pats are 4-0-0 in the season series; Henry has four goals and four assists. . . . F Sam Steel, who leads the WHL in scoring, had two assists. He now has 102 points. . . . The Broncos got 43 stops from G Jordan Papirny. He kept the Broncos in it early — Regina held a 16-1 edge in shots at the regulated timeout in the first period. . . . Regina was 1-5 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-3. . . . Regina F Adam Brooks played in his 300th regular-season game. He didn’t pick up any points, leaving him with 299 points, including 107 goals. . . . The Broncos remain without F Lane Pederson. They also were missing F Conner Chaulk (ill). . . . The Pats (41-7-7) are atop the overall standings, six points ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina leads the East Division by 15 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The Broncos (29-18-9) had points in each of their previous five games (4-0-1). They are third in the East Division, seven points behind Moose Jaw. . . . 
Announced attendance: 2,150.
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At Kennewick, Wash., F Brett Leason scored two goals and added an assist to help the Tri-City Americans to an 8-4 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Americans built up a 6-0 second-period
BRETT LEASON
lead and took it from there. . . . Leason, the son of former U of Regina Rams quarterback Darryl Leason, has five goals this season. Brett, from Calgary, was a third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He has five goals and nine assists in 55 games as a freshman. Three of the goals have come in his last three games. . . . The Americans led 6-0 before the second period was six minutes old. . . . The Rebels scored the game’s next four goals, before Tri-City got two more in the second half of the third period. . . . Leason scored shorthanded for a 3-0 lead at 11:01 of the first period. His second goal, at 2:23 of the second period, proved to be the winner. He also assisted on the game’s last goal, a shorthanded score by F Nolan Yarmeko (6). . . . F Morgan Geekie (31), D Juuso Välimäki (7), F Jordan Topping (18), D Dylan Coghlan (11) and F Parker AuCoin (19) also scored for the winners. . . . The Rebels got goals from F Brandon Hagel (22), F Akash Bains (7), D Jared Freadrich (5) and F Matthew Campese (2). . . . The Americans got three assists from D Parker Wotherspoon and one each from Välimäki, Geekie and AuCoin. . . . F Michael Spacek and D Jacob Herauf had two assists each for the Rebels, with Hagel and Bains getting one apiece. . . . Tri-City G Rylan Parenteau stopped 27 shots in winning for the 21st time this season. . . . The Americans scored on their first shot of the game. Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, had ripped into his charges after a 4-1 loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Tuesday night. He responded to Tri-City’s early goal by changing goaltenders. . . . G Riley Lamb finished up by allowing seven goals on 33 shots in 58:42. . . . The Americans were 2-6 on the PP; the Rebels were 2-4. . . . The Americans were without F Michael Rasmussen, a 32-goal man, for a fifth straight game. He now hasn’t played since Feb. 1. On Feb. 9, head coach Mike Williamson said: “With Michael, we have monitored it day by day, and thought there was a chance for the weekend, but we are going to err on the side of caution and keep him out Friday and possibly Saturday. These games are huge and important for us, but long-term health is the most important thing.” . . . Tri-City (33-23-3) has won two in a row. The Americans are third in the U.S. Division, four points ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Red Deer (23-26-9) has lost six straight (0-5-1). The Rebels are third in the Central Division, five points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Announced attendance: 2,493.
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THURSDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.
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FRIDAY’S GAMES (all times local):

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

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