Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sale of Ice will mark end of an era . . . Source: Robison wants it done by month's end


The Kootenay Ice dropped a 4-1 decision to the host Calgary Hitmen on Saturday night in a game that may have marked the end of an era.
If, as is being speculated, the Ice franchise is about to be sold that game may have been the last one played by a team that could boast of having the Chynoweth name on its masthead.
Should the sale occur, that game also will have signalled the end of the Chynoweth era in the WHL,
Jeff Chynoweth (left) and his father, Ed.
(Photo: chl.ca)
something that stretches back to 1970.
That is something that shouldn’t be ignored, because there hasn’t been a bigger name in WHL history and, indeed, in the history of junior hockey.
It all began with Ed Chynoweth, a native of Dodsland, Sask., who left a Saskatoon hotel and joined the Blades as assistant general manager in 1970.
By the 1972-73 season, Chynoweth was in the WHL office — it was the WCHL then — as assistant to the executive secretary, which is the title that Thomas K. Fisher carried.
Chynoweth was named the league’s president at its annual meeting in June 1973, an position in which he would continue through 1978-79. He spent 1979-80 as a part-owner and the general manager of the Calgary Wranglers. However, he returned to the WHL office after that season and ruled the roost through 1995-96.
At that point, he was granted an expansion franchise, the Edmonton Ice, that played two seasons in the Alberta capital before moving to Cranbrook, B.C., and morphing into the Kootenay Ice.
He was the Ice’s president and governor, and also served as the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors (1996-98, 2004-08). He was the chairman of the board when he died, at 66, on April 22, 2008.
Under Chynoweth, the Ice won the 2002 Memorial Cup, a trophy he had presented to his son, Dean, in
Ed Chynoweth got to present his son, Dean,
with the Memorial Cup.
(Photo: Hockey Hall of Fame)
1988, when Dean, a rugged defenceman, was the captain of the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Dean played three seasons (1985-88) with the Tigers and later would return to the WHL for four seasons (2000-04) has head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds. He would on from there and work for five seasons (2004-09) as general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos.
Jeff is the Ice’s governor, president and general manager. He has been part of the WHL since 1986 and also has worked with the Spokane Chiefs (1986-87), Medicine Hat Tigers (1987-88), Brandon Wheat Kings (1988-89), Lethbridge Hurricanes (1989-91) and Red Deer Rebels (1991-95), before moving into the Ice’s front office in October 1995.
And, of course, there is Linda, the matriarch, who was married to Ed for 45 years. She has been there for all of it, from the day Ed joined the Blades’ organization through what will have been the family’s final days with the Ice. You can bet she has been a sounding board for more WHL-related decisions than any person in junior hockey history.
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A source familiar with the Kootenay Ice situation has told Taking Note that Ron Robison, the WHL
commissioner, “is hoping to get things done with the Cranbrook group before the end of (March).”
That group, which includes former Ice F Colin Sinclair, made an offer to purchase the Ice in February. However, the group was informed that its offer wouldn’t be considered pending a March 11 referendum in Nanaimo, a Vancouver Island city in which the WHL badly wants to have a franchise. However, that referendum was soundly defeated, meaning the City isn’t able to borrow $80 million to build an events centre that was to include an arena.
Our source indicated that the Cranbrook group “pulled its previous offer earlier in the week after Nanaimo voters rejected building a new arena complex. That offer price-matched the Nanaimo offer, with the only difference being there would be no offer of a (general manager’s) job to the current owner/GM.”
That, of course, is in reference to Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s governor, president and general manager.
The source added that, with the referendum in the rearview mirror, the Cranbrook group now is “prepared to continue but at a different price point.”
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OHLThe OHL’s Erie Otters are the first team in Canadian Hockey League history to win at least 50 games in four consecutive seasons. On Saturday, the Otters beat the visiting Guelph Storm, 5-2, improving their record to 50-15-3. Starting in 2013-14, the Otters won 52, 50 52 and 50 regular-season games. . . . The Otters’ head coach in each of those seasons has been Kris Knoblauch, a native of Imperial, Sask., who played in the WHL with the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Ice, Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes (1995-99). . . . He also has coached with the Prince Albert Raiders (2006-07) and Kootenay (2007-12). He was the Ice’s head coach for two seasons (2010-12). . . . The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets (2012-15), Edmonton Oil Kings (2011-14) and Kamloops Blazers (1989-92), and the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs (2009-12) all had three-season runs. . . . The Otters have captured their third straight Midwest Division title with the victory and have clinched the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as the OHL’s regular-season champions for a second consecutive season.

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