Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hitmen trim two 20-year-olds ... Rasmussen joins Team Canada's camp ... Ex-Royals coach stays in NHL

The last rays of a setting sun bounce off a cloud over
the Monte Lake fire on Thursday night.
We woke up to a whole lot of smoke on Thursday, but it apparently was coming from the Elephant Hill fire, which is the one that has caused so much damage in the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area, and not the Monte Lake fire that started late Wednesday afternoon. However, by late afternoon on Thursday most of the smoke had moved away from our area, leaving behind a beautiful evening. . . . However, there was quite a bit of air traffic between Kamloops and Monte Lake at the same time, so they obviously aren't out of the woods there just yet. . . . With high winds and high temps forecast -- we've been around 35 and are headed for at least 37 in a day or two -- the summer of fire doesn't appear to be anywhere near its end.


F Taylor Stefishen (Prince George, 2010-11) has signed a one-year contract with the Edinburgh Capitals (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 12 goals and 23 assists in 44 games with Dijon (France, Ligue Magnus). He led his team in assists and points.


The Calgary Hitmen are left with four 20-year-olds on their roster after G Cody Porter and D Jaydan Gordon cleared waivers. . . . That leaves the Hitmen with G Nick Schneider, F Jakob Stukel, F Matteo Gennaro and D Brady Reagan as the four remaining 20s on their roster. Each WHL team will have to declare a maximum of three 20s shortly after the new season begins. . . . Porter, from North Vancouver, was 14-16-3, 3.46, .888 in 34 appearances with the Hitmen last season. In 117 regular-season appearances, 42 with the Vancouver Giants and 75 with Calgary — he is 52-42-9, 3.30, .887. . . . Gordon, from Cochrane, Alta., had two goals and six assists in 70 games last season. He played his first two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos. In 172 career games, he has three goals and 13 assists. . . . Porter’s departure leaves Schneider as Calgary’s undisputed No. 1 goaltender. At the moment, veteran Kyle Dumba, 19, would appear to be No. 2 on the depth chart. Chance are, however, that the Hitmen won’t want to go into the season with a 19-year-old in a backup role. . . . Schneider, who was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers this summer, has signed an entry-level contract as a free agent with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, whose parent company also owns the Hitmen.
F Michael Rasmussen has been added to Team Canada’s roster for the World Junior Showcase that is scheduled to begin today (Friday) in Plymouth, Mich. . . . Rasmussen, from the Tri-City Americans, had last season cut short by a broken scaphoid in his left wrist. His addition to the roster would seem to indicate that he now is healthy. . . . Rasmussen was added after F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants was forced to opt out. He apparently hasn’t yet fully recovered from sports hernia surgery in the spring. . . . F Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who has had at least two surgical procedures due to sports hernias, also isn’t able to take part. . . . Also unable to take part are F Gabe Vilardi of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires and F Adam Mascherin of the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers.
Meanwhile, G Carl Stankowski, who backstopped the Seattle Thunderbirds to their first WHL championship last season, was scratched from Hockey Canada’s U-18 selection camp in Calgary due to an undisclosed injury. His spot was filled by Kevin Mandolese of the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. . . . Team Canada, under head coach Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, will leave next week for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Bratislava, Slovakia. The tournament opens on Aug. 7.
F Kolten Olynek, who played out his junior eligibility last season, has decided to attend the U of Western Ontario and play for the Mustangs in 2017-18. Olynek, who is from Saskatoon, was a second-round selection by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. . . . He split last season between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades. During his career, he also played with the Hurricanes, Moose Jaw Warriors and Spokane Chiefs. . . . In 253 regular-season games, he had 32 goals and 45 assists.
D Austin Adam, who played four seasons in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Moose Jaw Warriors, is transferring to Simon Fraser U after spending one season at the U of Western Ontario. . . . The 6-foot-6 Adam, 22, is from Surrey, B.C. He had a goal and two assists in 28 games with the Mustangs last season. . . . SFU plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League.
Mike Fraser, a veteran WHL scout who now works for the Brandon Wheat Kings, also has been writing a column for the Brandon-based Westman Journal. Those columns have mostly revolved around the world of WHL scouts and there adventures. However, there has been a change at the Journal and Fraser has chosen to end his column-writing career, at least for now. His last column is right here.
Really . . . I mean, really . . . how are we doing in Kamloops in this summer of flames? Well, it seems that old friend Jack Knox of the Victoria Times Colonist paid us a recent visit and he quite liked what he saw, except for the fact that his volunteer services weren’t needed, that is. . . . His last column is right here.
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John Urschel sometimes was referred to as the smartest man in football. Urschel, 26, was in line to be the Baltimore Ravens’ starting centre in the upcoming season, that was before he surprised coaches, teammates and observers by announcing his retirement on Thursday. That decision came two days after researchers released the results of a study in which CTE was found in the brains of 110 of 111 deceased football players. . . . There’s more on Urschel’s decision right here.


Ben Cooper, a former WHL assistant coach, has signed on with the NHL’s Florida Panthers as their video coach. Cooper, 40, spent the past three seasons as the Vancouver Canucks’ video coach. Prior to that, he worked two seasons (2011-13) with the WHL’s Victoria Royals. . . . He also has experience with Hockey Canada, and was on the coaching staff of Canadian teams that won gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the 2009 World Junior Championship.


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