Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Giants sign veteran trainer ... Brandon d-man tears Achilles ... T-Birds sign first pick


The Vancouver Giants have hired Mike Burnstein, a former NHL trainer, to fill the athletic trainer’s role in their organization. . . . Burnstein worked for the Vancouver Canucks for 20 years, a span covering almost 1,600 games, from 1995-2015. He was fired by the Canucks two years ago. He also has worked for Hockey Canada (four World Hockey Championships, the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the 2015 Spengler Cup). Last fall, he was the athletic trainer for Team Europe at the World Cup of Hockey. . . . With the Giants, Burnstein replaces Nick Murray, who spent six seasons there. He now is the head athletic therapist at Douglas College in New Westminster, B.C.
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There doesn’t seem much doubt but that F Klim Kostin is one of the most dynamic players available in next weekend’s NHL draft. The 6-foot-0, 207-pound Kostin played last season with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow, although his season was shortened by shoulder surgery in January. . . . A year ago, the WHL’s Kootenay Ice selected him with the first pick in the CHL’s import draft. Obviously, he never reported to the Ice, which has finished with the WHL’s poorest record each of the past two seasons. . . . This season, because he will be drafted out of Russia, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, the AHL or the CHL, or he could choose to return to Russia. However, he told Joe Yerdon of NHL.com that he is not interested in playing for the Ice. . . . Through an interpreter, he told Yerdon: “I’d like to play for] a team that has some older players that are very strong players, those that can teach me a little bit more and I can benefit from their wisdom and skill.” . . . That story is right here.
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D James Shearer of the Brandon Wheat Kings has torn his right Achilles tendon and will be out until at least some time in October. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reports that Shearer, who is entering his 20-year-old season, was injured on May 31 during an off-season workout. “I heard a pop, kind of like a chip bag being popped open and I couldn’t really put any pressure on it," Shearer told Bergson. "I immediately grabbed the back of my Achilles and was half standing and half crouching. As soon as I heard it, people had told me what it sounded like, so I knew what had happened and knew my fate at that point.” . . . Shearer has since had surgery and now has his right foot in a walking boot and is using crutches. . . . He is one of four 20s on Brandon’s roster, along with G Logan Thompson, D Kade Jensen and F Neyer Nell. . . . Bergson’s complete story is right here.
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The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Payton Mount, who was the 19th overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Victoria, he had 30 goals and 37 assists in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team last season. . . . The WHL’s 22 teams now have signed all but six of the first-round picks from the 2017 bantam draft.
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The Kamloops Blazers have signed G Dylan Garand, who was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The Blazers didn’t have a second-round pick, so Garand was their second selection, following F Josh Pillar, who signed on Monday. . . . Garand, from Victoria, is expected to play in 2017-18 with the Delta Hockey Academy midget prep team. Last season, he was 13-0-0, 1.15, .959 with Delta’s bantam prep Green team.
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F Tyler Sandhu, who captained the Tri-City Americans last season, will attend UBC and play for the Thunderbirds in 2017-18. Sandhu, from Richmond, B.C., played out his junior eligibility last season. . . . In 318 career WHL games, he had 90 goals and 138 assists. He also played with the Everett Silvertips and Red Deer Rebels. Last season, with the Americans, he had single-season highs of 23 goals and 60 assists in 72 games.
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The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s, who are preparing for their 50th anniversary season, have hired James Boyd as their new general manager and André Tourigny as vice-president of hockey operations and head coach. . . . Boyd spent last season as the GM of the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, who reached the league’s championship series. He was with the Steelheads for six seasons, the first five as GM and head coach. . . . Tourigny was the head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads last season and leaves despite having four years left on his contract. He wanted to be closer to family in Ottawa. Prior to that, he was GM/head coach of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies from 2002-13. He also worked as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in 2015-16 after spending two seasons in the same role with the Colorado Avalanche. . . . Boyd and Tourigny take over from Jeff Brown, who resigned as GM/head coach on April 25.
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Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his 30 Thoughts piece over the weekend and, as usual, it is highly readable. Well down into the column, Friedman writes about John Spoltore, who was a smallish forward who really new his way around the offensive end of the ice.
Spoltore really made a name for himself with the ECHL’s Louisiana IceGators, where he became a real fan favourite. But he did get a moment in the AHL’s sun when he helped the Providence Bruins win an AHL title in 1999. The Bruins’ head coach was Peter Laviolette, now the head coach of the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
Spoltore was diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2010 and died shortly afterwards.
Former WHLer Louis Dumont played with Spoltore on the IceGators and later was the team’s general manager.
Dumont told Taking Note that “the owner of the IceGators for the last six seasons bought the team because of his friendship with John and his love of the IceGators. The company name of the IceGators was JS Hockey Ventures DBA Louisiana IceGators. The JS being the initials of Spoltore.  Spotty's hockey IQ, vision and ability to execute was high NHL quality.”
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