Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Isn't it time to stop hockey's merry-go-round? ... Everett writer looks at 'Tips and NHL ... Hossa to sit out season

Oji Eagles Tomakomai (Japan, Asia HL) have announced that assistant coach Aaron Keller (Kamloops, 1992-96) has “retired.” Keller played 17 seasons in Japan, five with Sapporo and 12 with Oji. He also was on the Japanese national team for nine years. Keller was an assistant coach for Oji and the national team in 2014-15, took off 2015-16 off, then returned to Oji last season. . . . 
F Edgars Kulda (Edmonton, 2012-15) has signed a one-year extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and six assists in 39 games. . . .
F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, with Björklöven Umeå (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had seven goals and 11 assists in 29 games. . . . 
F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon, 2004-08) has signed a one-year extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 43 games, he had eight goals and six assists.

In 2015-16, at the age of 17, F Nolan Patrick played in 105 games. That included 21 WHL playoff games. In the last few of those games, he tried to play through an injury that turned out to be a sports hernia.
That 105-game total included three games at a U-18 camp, four at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, two in the Canada-Russia series and three at the Memorial Cup. Yes, those 105 games included a whole lot of high-intensity hockey.
Think about it for a moment — 105 games at 17 years of age.
In 2016-17, after undergoing surgery in July and missing training camp, he returned in time for opening night, but spent most of the season battling injuries — it turned out he had a second sports hernia — and
played in only 33 games, none in the playoffs.
Patrick, now 18, was one of nearly 200 players invited by Hockey Canada on Tuesday to a summer camp. He will be in Plymouth, Mich., late next month at the camp for national junior team prospects where they will play a series of games against Finland, Sweden and the U.S.
Oh yes, let’s not forget that Patrick is expected to be the first or second selection in the first round of the NHL draft on Friday. (He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.) The team that picks him no doubt will hold a prospects camp of some sort in the next two or three weeks.
He won’t turn 19 until Sept. 19.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look at F Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks, another player who will be an early selection on Friday.
Glass, 18, played in 69 regular-season and 11 playoff games in 2016-17, his second WHL season. Those 11 playoff games included six against the Prince George Cougars in a series that was played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, which meant lots and lots and lots of bus travel.
Glass’ WHL season ended on April 14. Almost immediately, he was on a plane to Slovakia where he joined Team Canada in time to play three games at the IIHF U-18 world championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves.
Then it was back to Canada — he’s from Winnipeg — where he had to prepare for the NHL combine that
was held in Buffalo, May 28 through June 3. All told, there were 104 players on hand for that event.
After the combine, it was time to get ready for the draft that is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Chicago.
In the two or three weeks following the draft, many of the NHL teams hold camps for all of their selections.
After that, Glass will head to Plymouth for Hockey Canada’s summer camp that is to run from July 29 through Aug. 5.
Presumably there will be a few days off before it’s time to get to Portland for the start of training camp in late August.
As one fan wrote in a note to Taking Note: “Does anybody else besides me think this is utter and complete madness?”
The fan continued: “When does Glass get to be a kid? . . . When does his body get to recover? . . . You can't tell me that playing and training for hockey nearly all year round is good for you.
“Does anybody care — truly care — about the stress, mentally and physically, that this type of campaign puts on a player like Cody Glass?”
At the same time, the off-season for a bunch of under-18 players ends in late July when they gather in Calgary for a five-day selection camp. The survivors leave on Aug. 2 for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament that is scheduled to be held in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia.
When Team Canada arrives back home, it will be almost time for the players to head for their club teams and the opening of training camps.
Seriously, it all has become something of a merry-go-round that never stops. If adults aren’t going to get these teenagers off that crazy ride, who will?
Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has taken an in-depth look at the Everett Silvertips and their place in the world of developing players. How have they done when stack up against other WHL teams when it comes to developing NHL players? . . . Patterson writes: “The Silvertips are heading into their 15th season of existence, a success story that’s seen the team hang seven banners and turn itself into one of the pillars of the community. But something is missing. For everything Everett has accomplished, the Tips are still waiting to establish a firm foothold in the NHL.” . . . Why is that? Patterson tries to answer that question right here. . . .
In looking at the Silvertips’ situation, Patterson also put together a number of charts through which you are able to see how many NHL players have been developed by each WHL team in recent years. . . . This chart right here deals with ex-WHLers who played in the NHL last season and from where they came. . . .
This chart right here features NHL draft picks from WHL teams since 2006. . . .
This chart right here shows former Everett players who have made it to the NHL.
F Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks hasn’t announced his retirement, but the NHL team revealed Wednesday that he won’t play in 2017-18. . . . “Over the course of the last few years,” Hossa said in a news release, “under the supervision of the Blackhawks medical staff, I have been privately undergoing treatment for a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder. Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 season. While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice.” . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has a good piece right here on what this means to Chicago’s salary cap situation, and whether Hossa, who played one season (1997-98) with the Portland Winterhawks, is a shoo-in as a hall of famer.
There isn’t an doubt in my mind but that we will be waving farewell to a handful of Western Canadian junior hockey teams over the next few years. There simply are too many teams that are staring into the abyss these days, and something is going to have to give. . . . Stefanie Davis of Yorkton This Week has taken a look at the Yorkton Terriers and a couple of other SJHL teams and the picture isn’t pretty. Davis reports that the Terriers’ season-ticket sales have dropped by 33 per cent, with revenue going from more than $145,000 to $95,000 over the past two seasons. If you ever wondered what it costs to run a junior team, Davis has a lot more figures right here.
Meanwhile, the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, who were talking relocation not that long ago, have approached city council and asked for a grant to help the team through a rough spot until it is able to access gaming monies. Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin has more right here.
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David Killip has signed on as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Kelowna native had been the director of player development with the Western Michigan Broncos for one season after being an assistant coach there in 2015-16. . . . He played for the Silverbacks for three seasons (2008-11) and was the team captain in his final season. . . . He played four seasons at Western Michigan, which is coached by former Silverbacks owner Andy Murray. . . . With Salmon Arm, Killip replaces Darrell Hay, who left last month after one season in the role.

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