Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The night the coaches (almost) scrapped ... What a rivalry Pats-Warriors had ... Ex-WHLer interim coach with Ravens


F Dustin Boyd (Moose Jaw, 2002-06) has signed a two-year contract with Dynamo Moscow (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had eight goals and six assists in 30 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL). . . . 
F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands, Germany Oberliga). Last season, with the U of Calgary Dinos (Canada West), he had three goals and nine assists in 12 games. . . . 
F Milan Kytnár (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2007-10) has signed a one-year contract with Zvolen (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga), he finished with 11 goals and 18 assists in 43 games. . . . 
F Anthony Bardaro (Spokane, Prince Albert, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with Asiago (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with the U of British Columbia Thunderbirds (Canada West), he had 14 goals and 16 assists in 28 games. He led the T-Birds in goals, assists and points, and was fourth in the Canada West scoring race.
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My favourite WHL-related photo showed up on Twitter on Wednesday.
Ahh, yes, those were the days.
It was a Friday night — Nov. 18, 1994 — and the Moose Jaw Warriors were visiting the Regina Pats in what was then the Agridome.
Late in the game, Moose Jaw head coach Al Tuer and his Regina counterpart, Norm Johnston, took off their jackets, climbed up on the back of the players’ boxes and threatened to make like Hulk Hogan and Bret (Hitman) Hart.
The late Roy Antal was The Leader-Post photographer assigned to the game and he just happened to be between the benches when the fun began. Not only did he get this photo, but he also managed to get his left hand in the picture — that’s it at the bottom right.
Shortly after I tweeted to point out that the photo, autographed by both would-be pugilists, hangs in my home, Mick Kartusch, who carries a famous Saskatchewan hockey name, responded: “I remember that night vividly … those Friday night Pats/Warriors games back in the day were gems. . . . Theo’s meltdowns, O’Connor’s ceremonial face-off win, Keane vs. Savard, ’84 bench clearer. Never a dull moment at the dome.”
Which took me back to Feb. 5, 2009, and something that I posted right here below that same photo . . .
There just aren’t fun nights like this in the WHL anymore.
The date was Nov. 18, 1994. It was a Friday night. The Moose Jaw Warriors were visiting the Regina Pats in what was then known as the Agridome. It was a time before corporations purchased naming rights to whatever was for sale. It was a time when hockey games frequently — well, certainly more often than now — included some kind of action that would leave the fans buzzing when they left the arena.
The Pats would win this game, 5-2, but as the fans headed for home the talk centred on two things: 1. Wasn’t that something?, and, 2. How do we get tickets for tomorrow night in Moose Jaw?
This was the night that Al Tuer, the head coach of the Warriors, and Norm Johnston, the Pats’ head coach, scaled the glass behind their teams’ benches and made like they were trying to get at each other. Vince McMahon would have loved it.
Roy Antal, a photographer with the Regina Leader-Post, was in the box between the team’s benches when all heck broke out.
Tuer laughs about it these days. He now scouts for the NHL’s Calgary Flames out of Vernon, B.C.
“There was a line brawl,” Tuer said the other night, “and we ended up with one more guy on the ice than they did. Go figure.”
Tuer laughed.
“Norm called me the next morning,” Tuer added. “He said we should go for a beer.”
Both head coaches drew one-game — yes, one-game! — suspensions.
The next night, the teams met in Moose Jaw and the Warriors won, 5-2. Former NHLer Bill Hicke, then one of the Pats’ owners, coached the Pats; Warriors assistant coach Len Nielsen ran the Moose Jaw bench.
Attendance in Moose Jaw was 3,317. The fire marshal may have been on vacation. The WHL’s 1994-95 Guide lists capacity of the Crushed Can at 3,269 – 2,969 seats and 310 standing.
“Yeah, the rink in Moose Jaw was kind of full that night,” Tuer said.
Of course, he and Johnston weren’t able to attend.
And, no, they never did get together for that beer.
While Tuer scouts for the Flames, Johnston, a school teacher, is head coach of the midget AAA Regina Pats Canadians. He also is involved in mentoring coaches with Hockey Regina. And one of Johnston’s best friends is Graham Tuer, Al’s father.
Yes, the hockey world is a small one. It’s just not as much fun for some of us as it used to be.
(The above photo was taken by Roy Antal of the Regina Leader-Post. I have had it autographed and tried to copy it for use here. I'm not a photographer and that is my flash bouncing back that you see in the middle of it. Hey, I'm a writer . . .)
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UPDATE: Al Tuer now is the head pro scout with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Norm Johnston is preparing for his first full season as the head coach of the Battlefords Stars of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
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Shaun Van Allen was named the interim head coach of the Carleton U Ravens on Wednesday, after head coach Marty Johnston left to join the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as an assistant coach. . . . The 49-year-old Van Allen, from Calgary, has been an assistant coach at Carleton for seven seasons. He played two seasons (1985-87) with the Saskatoon Blades before going on to a pro career that included 794 NHL games. . . . With the Moose, Johnston will work alongside head coach Pascal Vincent, assistant coach Eric Dubois, developmental goaltending coach Rick St. Croix and video coach Richard Bue. Johnston, 38, had been the Ravens’ head coach for seven seasons.
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The U of Alaska-Fairbanks has promoted Lance West from assistant coach to head coach. He replaces Dallas Ferguson, who left after nine seasons as head coach of the Nanooks to join the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen as their head coach. . . . West was on Ferguson’s staff for the entire nine-season run. . . . College Hockey News has more on West’s promotion right here.
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