Thursday, August 28, 2014

We're back and we're catching up . . .

Allow me to do some catching up after spending a few days in the Rocky Mountains, where the Internet connection was so slow that it gave me dial-up nightmares . . .

F Kris Hogg (Kamloops, Lethbridge, 2002-07) signed a one-year contract with the Tilburg Trappers (Netherlands, Eredivisie). Last season, with the Utah Grizzlies (ECHL), he had 12 goals and 10 assists in 55 games. . . .
F Vitali Karamnov (Everett, 2007-08) has been assigned to Yermak Angarsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) by Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one assist in 49 games with Sibir. Karamnov is in the last year of a two-year contract with Sibir.

Mark Lamb and the Swift Current Broncos have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension. Lamb was entering the last year of a three-year deal. . . . According to a news release, “That year has been expunged in favour of this new contract.” That means he is signed through 2016-17. . . . Lamb spent seven seasons as an NHL assistant coach, one with the Edmonton Oilers and six with the Dallas Stars, before signing with the Broncos. He has been the GM/head coach since the summer of 2009. . . . The Broncos are 164-165-31 in five seasons under Lamb, including 38-25-9 last season when they finished fifth in the 12-team Eastern Conference. They have make the playoffs in three of his five seasons, but haven’t been able to get out of the first round. Last spring, they lost in six games to the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Lamb, one of the WHL’s straightest shooters, has brought stability to the Broncos organization. This season, led by a strong defence, they should be one of the conference’s top four teams.
The Kootenay Ice was short two veteran defencemen when training camp began earlier this week in Cranbrook. Landon Cross and Landon Peel, a pair of 20-year-olds, didn’t show up on Monday. . . . Cross, who was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers last season, had concussion issues. From Brandon, he has decided he would rather finish his junior career in the MJHL and hopes to play for the Steinbach Pistons. . . . “As a parent, not as a general manager, I was concerned about him and what he was going through,” Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s president and general manager, told Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Cross informed Chynoweth of his decision on June 9. . . . Peel, from Virden, Man., had been expected in camp. “He told me at the end of (last season) he was definitely coming back and wanted to compete for one of the 20-year-old spots,” Chynoweth said. “He caught us a little bit off-guard.” . . . Peel wants to play for the MJHL’s Portage Terriers, who will host the RBC Cup tournament next spring. . . . For now, Cross and Peel are on the Ice’s suspended list. . . . Rocca’s story is right here. . . . The defections leave the Ice with two 20-year-olds on its roster -- F Levi Cable and F Austin Vetterl.
Rudy Poeschek (Kamloops, 1983-87) is “facing assault and driving charges after an alleged incident in Kamloops” on July 5. Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week has more right here.
---The Victoria Royals have promoted Jeff Harris and Grant Armstrong to assistant GM positions. . . . Harris, formerly the director of hockey operations and communications, now is AGM, hockey operations and communications. He spent four seasons with the now-defunct Victoria Salmon Kings of the ECHL, as AGM and director of media and community relations, before joining the Royals for their first season in Victoria. . . . Armstrong, the Royals’ director of player personnel for two seasons, now is AGM, player personnel. Armstrong joined the Royals in 2012 after working for four seasons as the Portland Winterhawks’ head scout.
The Victoria Royals have signed D Scott Walford, the 18th overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. He will play this season at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. Walford, from Coquitlam, B.C., played with the OHA bantam prep team last season, putting up 48 points, including 12 goals, in 56 games. . . . The Royals also signed 1997-born G Evan Smith, who is from Parker, Colo. Smith played last season with the Pikes Peak Miners U18 team in the North American Prospects Hockey League. The 6-foot-5 Smith went 1.95/.921 in 13 appearances. The Royals had placed him on their protected list in July 2012. . . . The Royals also signed F Ryan Peckford, a second-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. From Stony Plain, Alta., Peckford played last season for the Parkland Athletic Club Saints of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. He had 60 points, 28 of them goals, in 33 games. . . . D Brayden Pachal, a second-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, also signed with the Royals. From Estevan, Sask., he had 27 points, including 14 goals, in 31 games with the bantam AA Estevan Bruins last season. . . . Victoria also signed Slovakian F Kristian Ferletak, its first-round selection in the CHL‘s 2014 import draft. From Trstena, he played last season with the Slovakian U-18 team, putting up 32 points, including nine goals, in 44 games. At the IIHF World U-18 championship, he had two goals and an assist in five games.
The Kamloops Blazers have signed F Jesse Zaharichuk, 17, to a WHL contract. From Sherwood Park, Alta., the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Zaharichuk was placed on the Blazers’ protected list in September 2012. Last season, with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons, he had 14 points, four of them goals, in 48 games. He added nine points, five of them goals, in 15 playoff games. . . . He likely will see some playing time tonight against the visiting Vancouver Giants or Saturday against the Rockets in Kelowna.
The Everett Silvertips have signed D Jantzen Leslie, the 15th overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, he captained the bantam AAA Lloydminster Heat, which won the provincial championship. He had 40 points, 15 of the goals, in 30 regular-season games. In 12 playoff games, he added two goals and 10 assists. . . . The Silvertips also have signed F Bryce Kindopp, a teammate of Leslie’s who was a third-round pick by Everett.
WHLThe Swift Current Broncos signed five players -- F Tyler Adams, 17; D Jaydan Gordon; D Matthew Parsons, 16; F Owen Seidel, 16; and D Colby Sissons, 16. . . . Adams, from Regina, had 50 points, 13 of them goals, in 58 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians last season. . . . The 1997-born Gordon, from Cochrane, Alta., had 35 points, including 31 assists, in 36 games with the midget AA Bow Valley Timberwolves last season. He is the younger brother of Broncos F Coda Gordon. . . . Parsons, from Middle Lake, Sask., was a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He had a goal and 11 assists in 54 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos last season. . . . Seidel, from Richmond, B.C., was a seventh-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He had 36 points, 10 of them goals, in 40 games with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians last season. . . . Sissons, from Edmonton, had 31 points, including nine goals, in 37 games with the minor midget AAA Edmonton-South Side Athletic Club Bulldogs last season.
The Prince Albert Raiders have signed three players -- F Parker Kelly, F Sean Montgomery and D Curtis Roach. . . . Kelly, from Camrose, Alta., was a seventh-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft. Last season, he had 58 points, including 35 goals, in 31 games with the Camrose Red Wings of the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. . . . Montgomery, from Calgary, was taken in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft. He had 37 points, 19 of them goals, in 35 games with the Calgary Royals of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. . . . Roach,
from Saskatoon, will turn 17 on Oct. 22. He was invited to the Raiders’ camp and ended up with a spot on their protected list. He had 28 points, including 26 assists, in 44 games with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts last season. . . . The Raiders also have signed F Simon Stransky, a 2014 CHL import draft selection from Czech Republic. He is the younger brother of former Saskatoon Blades F Matej Stransky, who is under contract to the NHL’s Dallas Stars. Simon will turn 17 on Dec. 21.
The Tri-City Americans have signed three players from the 2013 bantam draft -- D Mark Drohan, a third-round pick; F Jordan Roy, who was a fifth-round selection; and G Nicholas Sanders, who was taken in the sixth round. . . . Drohan, from Calgary, had 17 points, six of them goals, with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes last season. . . . From Kimberley, B.C., Roy will turn 16 on Sept. 9. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had six points, two of them goals, in 26 games with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes last season. . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was 3.65/.890 in 39 games with the minor midget Calgary Rangers last season.
The Regina Pats have signed four players -- D James Hilsendager, D Ryan Krushen, D Brady Pouteau and F Kyle Westeringh. . . . Hilsendager, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a ninth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder played last season for the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Midget Hockey League, putting up 14 points, three of them goals, in 33 games. . . . Krushen, a list player from Sherwood Park, Alta., had 16 points, four of them goals, in 37 games with the Sherwood Park Squires of the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League last season. . . . The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Pouteau, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, is from Oak Bluff, Man. He played last season with the Pembina Valley Hawks of the Manitoba Midget Hockey League, earning 14 points, including four goals, in 40 games. . . . Westeringh, an 18-year-old list player from Rosedale, B.C., had 19 points, including 10 goals, in 55 games with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs last season.
The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed five players -- F Wyatt Bear, D Reece Harsch, F Nick Holowko, F Luke Osterman and F Mackenzie Wight. . . . Bear, from Hodgson, Man., was a fifth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He had 51 points, 18 of them goals, in 33 games with the bantam Interlake Lightning last season. . . . Harsch, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was an eight-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He had 14 points, two of them goals, for a bantam team in Grande Prairie last season. . . . Holowko, from Burnaby, B.C., was added to Seattle’s list after its 2012 camp. He had two goals and nine assists in 33 games with the junior B Delta, B.C., Ice Hawks last season. . . . Osterman, from Stillwater, Minn., was an eighth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He had 13 points, six of them goals, with a team from Omaha, Neb., that played in the NAPH16 League last season. . . . Seattle has seven of its 10 selections from the 2012 draft under contract. . . . Wight, from Burnaby, B.C., was a seventh-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft. He played for the bantam A1-T1 team at Burnaby Winter Club last season.
The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Cody Glass, a Winnipegger who was the 19th overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. He had 77 points, 31 of them goals, in 32 games with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks. He added 17 points in 11 playoff games.

The Lethbrige Hurricanes have signed D Connor Rokosh and F Ryan Vandervlis, both of whom are on the club’s preseason roster. . . . The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Rokosh was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. From Edmonton, he played last season for the minor midget Edmonton South Side Athletic Club Bulldogs, putting up 16 points in 36 games. . . . The 1998-born Vandervlis, from Red Deer, has been on the Hurricanes’ protected list since October. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder captained the minor midget Red Deer Chiefs last season, earning 26 points, including 14 goals, in 37 games.

According to the Twitter account of G Tavin Grant, he has signed with the Prince George Cougars. Grant, 16, is from Burnaby. He played last season with the major midget Northwest Vancouver Giants. . . . F Sam Steel, the second overall pick in the 2013 bantam draft, had two goals and two assists Thursday as the Regina Pats opened their exhibition tournament with a 9-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Pats, who had an older roster, held a 65-27 edge in shots on goal. The tournament is being played in the 1,000-seat Co-operators Centre. . . . It seems the WHL has ordered its referees to give a misconduct to any player who doesn’t have his mouth guard fully in his mouth. . . . D Michael Mylchreest, a 19-year-old from Gilroy, Calif., is in camp with the Brandon Wheat Kings. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder played two seasons (2011-13) with the Prince George Cougars. Last season, he played for the NAHL's Springfield Jr. Blues, putting up 12 points in 56 games. . . .
The Vancouver Giants have signed F Gage Ramsay, who turns 16 on Oct. 15. A 5-foot-8, 160-pounder from Saskatoon, he was a third-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . According to a Twitter report, the Giants also have signed D Brennan Menell, 17, from Woodbury, Minn. He had 27 points, including 10 goals, in 25 games with the U16 Chicago Young Americans last season. . . . A note from Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “Brandon Kegler and Nathan Alalouf, two goaltenders who spent time as the Blades’ backup last season, are on the ice with the Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans, respectively, at training camp. Both were removed from Saskatoon’s protected list in the off-season.” . . .
The Moose Jaw Warriors signed D Colin Paradis, a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He broke his collarbone last season, thus was limited to 30 games with the minor midget Sherwood Park, Alta., Squires. . . . F Aspen Sterzer, 20, who didn’t show up for the Red Deer Rebels’ training camp, has chosen to attend the U of Calgary and play for the Dinos.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Last weekend, the gang at Deadspin noted that a game between the Oakland A’s and the host Atlanta Braves was delayed by a “naked idiot on the field.” To which Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted: “Why do we assume he’s an idiot? Might be MIT grad getting healthy dose of sun.” . . . Ostler was in attendance last Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers players their first game in their new park, Levi’s Stadium. He pointed out that there is a “cobbler station” in the press box, with “your choice of peach or mixed-berry, with ice cream and caramel drizzle . . . I was disappointed in the folks at the cobbler station. They said they couldn't fix my shoe.” . . . You should know that Ostler is working on his bucket list. Last week, he writes, “I crossed off ‘driving-range balls’ and ‘KFC.’ ” . . .

Because I know that you wanted to know, one beer at Levi’s Stadium will set you back $10.25. . . . I seem to recall buying a dozen and getting change back from a 10 spot the last time I was in Bellingham, Wash. . . . “Tennis player Maria Kirilenko called off her wedding to NHL star Alex Ovechkin,” writes RJ Currie of “Probably just as well; Ovie disappears when he gets close to a ring.” . . . One more from Currie: “Hanso won the California canine surfing competition in the large dog category. I’m guessing he’s a boarder collie.” . . . Headline from Pure-hearted Little League World Series players playing simply for love of ESPN’s bottom line. . . .

If Johnny Football is going to make a habit of flipping the bird to the opposing team’s bench, he won’t finish the NFL season. Heck, he might not even start it. . . . Here’s money in the bank from contributor Bill Littlejohn: “Little League World Series player Blake Money has a brother named Cash — as in Cash Money. I hear Cash never takes check swings." . . . Littlejohn, again: “With one gesture to the opposing sidelines, Johnny Manziel is no longer Johnny Football. He’s more like Ilie Tennis.” . . .

"Philadelphia pitcher A.J. Burnett says he is thinking of retiring after the season," notes Janice Hough (aka The Left Coast Sports Babe). "As opposed to the rest of the Phillies, who called it quits before the All-Star break." . . . Sports Illustrated put Mo’Ne Davis on its cover and her Philadelphia team lost two straight games and was eliminated from the Little League World Series. . . . Obviously, the SI cover jinx doesn’t discriminate by age. . . . Here’s Brad Dickson, in the Omaha World-Herald: “A NASCAR fan shaved the American flag into his chest hair. A San Antonio Spurs fan had the likenesses of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard cut into his hair. And, still, my barber can’t get my sideburns even?” . . .

On Wednesday night, with the Los Angeles Angels playing the host Boston Red Sox, ESPN’s Dan Shulman tweeted that announcers Dave O’Brien and Aaron Boone were having a good discussion on “speeding up the game. (Boston pitcher Clay) Buchholz giving them plenty of time between pitches to discuss.” . . . MLB’s biggest problem these days is the speed of play. It is completely out of hand. There is no way a nine-inning game should even approach four hours. . . . The other major problem faced by new commissioner Rob Manfred when he succeeds Bud (Light) Selig? The beards. Baseball is home to some of the ugliest beards in the history of the universe. . . . In Oakland this week, Selig said the slow pace “drives me crazy.” Just not crazy enough to do something about it. . . .

When Mark Cohon leaves as commissioner of the CFL will his legacy be the horrid helmets and uniforms that have been unveiled in recent days? . . . When you see the mess the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to wear, you are left to wonder if there were any other designs in the contest. . . . The University of the Fraser Valley, which is based in Abbotsford, dumped athletic director Rocky Olfert last week. He had been the AD since June 2012. Continuity and stability? Not at UFV. Al Tuchscherer, the head coach of the women’s basketball team since 2002, has seen six athletic directors come and go. That number is seven if you count one who was there on an interim basis. . . . Why did Rocky get his ticket punched? No one’s talking. . . .

In a recent conversation with the Chicago Sun-Times, former NFL player and head coach Mike Ditka offered up this: “There’s no excuse for domestic violence. None. If you have a problem, go outside and walk around the block. If that doesn’t work, keep walking.” . . . As usual, Iron Mike is right. . . . Earlier this month, the Detroit Tigers honoured Miguel Cabrera with a bobblehead night. They handed out 10,000 of the precious little things, each of them with Cabrera’s likeness holding a pair of National League MVP awards. . . . Oh well, at least they didn’t call him Melky. . . . For the record, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants are the last two NL MVPs.

Frank McCrystal, the head coach of the U of Regina Rams football team, announced this week that he will retire following this season. Back in the day, when he played and coached for the junior Rams, he helped forge one of the great rivalries in Canadian sporting history, that between the Rams and the Saskatoon Hilltops. In fact, I would bet that he still has to wear a disguise when he’s in Saskatoon. . . . McCrystal, 60, was with the junior Rams for 25 years -- five as a player, five as an assistant coach and 15 as head coach. He is into his 16th season as head coach of the U of R Rams. . . . “His departure,” wrote Ian Hamilton of the Regina Leader-Post, “will leave a void in a program that hasn't seen a coaching change since Pierre Trudeau was Canada's prime minister.” . . . It often is hard to follow a legend, but McCrystal did just fine after taking over from Gord Currie. . . . If there is such a thing, McCrystal should be a first-ballot Canadian Sports Hall of Famer.

(Gregg Drinnan is a former sports editor of the Regina Leader-Post and the late Kamloops Daily News. He is at and Keeping Score appears here on weekends, except when it doesn’t.)

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Dorothy's Team has great Kidney Walk

It took two volunteers to check the numbers when Dorothy registered
for the 2014 Kidney Walk on Sunday.

Dorothy had lots of support, with (left to right) our son, Todd, good
friend Jenn Rensch, Todd's girlfriend Joanna Kwan, good friends
Ron and Sue Burt and Della Robinson, Max Hunter (in stroller),
Tanya Hunter, Larry Read (behind Tanya) and Mark Hunter
all on hand before Sunday's walk.

Dorothy and Jenn Rensch, with Todd attempting a photo bomb,
just before Sunday's walk got started.

Dorothy and good friend Sue Burt making good time on the
return trip to Riverside Park. That's the Red Bridge in the
The 2014 Kidney Walk, Kamloops edition, is over and it was quite a success story.
Especially for my wife, Dorothy.
How did she handle it? Well, she walked the 2.5-km, then went for a bite of lunch and then went shopping. So I’m thinking she handled it pretty well.
Dorothy underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23. She was recovering quite well, when an infection somehow was able to set up shop in her system. By early December, she wasn’t able to walk unaided.
So to see her walking so easily with all of the other people on Sunday was really something. In fact, we parked in downtown Kamloops and walked to Riverside Park, so by the time you add in that walk and the return trip, she will have walked close to four kilometres.
And, as she set out, she said: “I’m definitely walking for all those people who showed support through donations.” With all of you walking with her, Dorothy’s Team had to have been the largest one there!
In another Canadian city, good friends and family members went for a walk at the same time as we did. Joan, as she's know in these parts, gave up a kidney through the Live Donor Paired Exchange program so that Dorothy could get one. She and her family couldn't be with us, but wanted to show support, so they walked late Sunday morning, too.
As the walk started in Kamloops, you had shown your support with donations totalling $3,100, and there is more on the way.
All of this has turned out to be more than we could have expected. A week ago, when we set up her donations page, the first goal we set was $300.
So . . . thank you all so much for your support. It really is appreciated.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ex-coach: Depression, anxiety among factors in players leaving

It happens every August as WHL teams get their training camps rolling.
Some veteran players don’t show up. For one reason or another, they decide to move on to other things.
A lot of these players would be going into their 20-year-old seasons. Are they tired of the grind? Are they concerned about getting caught up in the 20-year-old game and its uncertainties, with each team being allowed to keep only three of them?
Some of the departing players are younger, perhaps feeling the impact of injuries or not wanting to be away from home anymore.
One former WHL coach wonders if this is just a sign of the times.
“Kids in general today do not have the same character required by people who have been in the game for 20-plus years,” he said. “Players have changed; managers, owners, coaches have not.
“The idea of ‘earning’ something seems to have gone by the wayside. Once a player gets drafted, it’s expected by the player, parents and agent for the ‘team’ to make him a player. (That is) unfortunate, but very true.”
This former coach also pointed a finger at the rigours of being a major junior hockey player.
These days, hockey at this level offers little in the way of down time. As a result, he said, “Players are getting worn out by pushing themselves in the off-season. Whatever happened to playing another sport?”
He suggests that hockey’s push to being a year-round sport has taken a lot of the “fun” out of the game.
“It’s a game,” he said. “But we do not treat it like a game. It’s all or nothing. TSN thrives on the business and compete part of the game. Rogers will do the same. It’s big business in the CHL.”
The former coach also touched on a couple of things that don’t get a whole lot of play in the hockey world.
“Depression and anxiety play a huge part in all of this,” he said. “The stress and pressure for a player to reach his ‘potential’ is a lot of times insurmountable. When you have been the best from 10-15 (years of age) in a small pool, expectations become unrealistic. Jump in the big pool, and the sharks eat you.”
It all adds up to a lot of burnout and pressure, he said, adding that “I would easily say that 75 per cent of players in the entire pool of players fall because of unrealistic expectations.”
Another former WHL coach wonders if some players who leave before their 20-year-old seasons would stay if they had no-trade clauses.
“The 20-year-olds don’t want to be suitcases and would like to play but not get traded,” he suggested. “As you have seen over the years, there is that the glut of 20-year-olds at the start of the season and players get moved or dropped to junior A. The kids are smarter now and don't like it.
“If the WHL wants to change this, then they need to open up the 20-year-olds to five or maybe even seven, and then they won’t quit.”
The ex-coach also is of the opinion that such a move would only help the WHL’s product.
“It would give better value to the $20,” he reasoned. “I also think that this would help the NHL coaches coming to the WHL as they won’t have to do skills and progression drills . . . just systems.”
From time-to-time, there has been talk among WHL officials about increasing the 20-year-old roster limit. However, it won’t happen without support from the OHL and QMJHL and, to date, that support hasn’t been there.

G Brett Zarowny didn’t report to training camp with the Prince George Cougars. Zarowny, 19, was a third-round bantam draft pick in 2010. From Edson, Alta., Zarowny played two seasons with the Cougars. He was 9-19-0/3.74/.886 in 2012-13; last season, he went 3-10-2/4.23/.885. . . . A groin injury suffered in late November limited Zarowny to 17 games last season. . . . Cougars head coach Mark Holick told Taking Note that Zarowny “has decided to go to school.”
With Zarowny gone, it would appear that the top two goaltenders on the Cougars’ depth chart would be Ty Edmonds, 18, and Adam Beukeboom, 20, with Matt Kustra, 17, perhaps third. Edmonds got into 55 games last season, going 19-19-6/3.85/.887. With Zarowny hurt, Beukeboom came on to play in 14 games, going 5-8-0/4.25/.887. Kustra was an eight-round bantam draft pick in 2012.
The Cougars’ roster shows four 1994-born players, the others being F Chance Braid, F Jari Erricson and D Wil Tomchuk.
Holick told Taking Note that Erricson is in camp and has been cleared to participate. Erricson had one assist in four games last season before suffering a season-ending brain injury during a fight with F Jessey Astles of the Tri-City Americans on Sept. 22.
In 192 career games, the first 129 with the Everett Silvertips, Erricson, who is from Prince George, has 62 points, including 26 goals.
There is more good news in Prince George as F David Soltes, a 19-year-old Slovakian, is on the training camp roster. He had his freshman season ended by a knee injury after just 15 games. He had four goals and one assist in those 15 games.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed Russian F Pavel Skumatov, 17, who was their second-round selection in the CHL’s 2014 import draft. He is from Mescherskoye. The 6-foot-0, 165-pounder played for Vityazi Chekhov in the U20 MHL last season. He was one of the youngest players on his team and had two assists in 26 games.
Stay home, or hand over big bucks and go to the game. Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle has that argument with himself right here.

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Still time to join Dorothy's Team!

Dorothy has had enough of training and is ready to walk!
The 2014 Kidney Walk is almost upon us.
It takes place Sunday morning at Riverside Park in Kamloops, and we will be there. Registration is at 10 a.m., with the two runs -- 5- and 10-km -- and the 2.5-km walk to begin at 11.
You should know that Dorothy is coached up and ready to go. Her compete level has never been better. We're looking for nothing less than 110 per cent from her.
She also has been fundraising on behalf of the Kidney Foundation, and if you would like to be part of her team just click right here and go to ‘Sponsor a Participant.’
Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, is excited about all the support she has received and is thankful that she is able to give something back to the Kidney Foundation.
Folks like you already have donated $2,700 on her behalf, something that thrills and amazes her.

There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping by here, why not consider donating to the cause? Just click HERE. . . and thank you very much.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hurricanes keeping busy . . . Tigers lose assistant GM to NHL

D Mitch Versteeg (Lethbridge, 2006-09) has signed a one-year contract with the NikkĊ Icebucks (Japan, Asia HL). Last season, with Heilbronner Falken (Germany, DEL2), he had six goals and 11 assists in 27 games. He also played for Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2), picking up 14 points, including two goals, in 24 games. . . .
F Justin Keller (Kelowna, 2003-06) has signed a one-year contract with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with the Vienna Capitals (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 14 goals and 15 assists in 50 games.


THE DEAL: The Lethbridge Hurricanes get G Zac Robidoux, 18, from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a third-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2017. The latter is conditional on Robidoux playing in the WHL in 2016-17. He is the son of Florent Robidoux, who played two seasons (1978-80) with the Portland Winterhawks.
THE SKINNY: The Hurricanes lost G Justin Myles, who retired Friday due to problems associated with a brain injury suffered last season. Thus, they need some depth at that position. . . . Robidoux, from Morden, Man., is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds. He played last season with the MJHL’s Portage Terriers, finishing with a slash line of 17-9-0/2.19/.924 in 27 appearances. With the Tigers, he was 2-1-0/2.27/891 in three games. He was a sixth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2011 bantam draft.
THE ANALYSIS: The Hurricanes used six goaltenders last season as they stumbled to a WHL-worst 12-55-5. Taking a look at Robidoux can’t hurt because it’s too early for Stuart Skinner, 16, the 17th pick in the 2013 bantam draft, to be the go-to guy. . . . The deal would seem to signal the Tigers’ contentment with a goaltending tandem of Nick Schneider, 17, and Jared Rathjen, 20. Schneider was acquired last season from the Regina Pats; Rathjen came over this summer from the Vancouver Giants.

All eyes were on the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday, and they didn’t disappoint.
They didn’t trade D Macoy Erkamps, but they did place F Reid Duke on the suspended list, announced that G Justin Myles has retired, and acquired G Zac Robidoux from the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Erkamps, 19, didn’t show up for camp on Thursday and has requested a trade. The native of Delta, B.C., has played three seasons with the Hurricanes.
Duke, 18, was one of Lethbridge’s better players last season, his second with the Hurricanes after being the fifth overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft. (D Ryan Pilon, selected by Lethbridge with the third pick in that draft, asked for a trade last season and ended up with the Brandon Wheat Kings.)
Duke put up 40 points, including 15 goals, in 62 games. In 131 career regular-season games, he has 25 goals and 45 assists.
General manager Brad Robson said Thursday that Duke would be placed on the suspended list if he wasn’t in camp by Friday, at 2 p.m. Duke now is on that suspended list.
Myles, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Jan. 5 when he was with the Seattle Thunderbirds. Since then, he has been traded to the Kamloops Blazers and the Hurricanes.
Robson told Pat Siedlecki of Lethbridge radio station CJOC that doctors advised Myles not to play due to concussions. The conditional draft pick that went to Kamloops in the trade has reverted to Lethbridge.
Mitch Wilson was a tough hockey player, witness 436 penalty minutes with the WHL’s Seattle Breakers in 1981-82. Now he’s taking on ALS, as documented right here by Mike Morreale of . . . Wilson, a Calgary native, has been sailing the seas for the last 20 years, most recently as a tugboat captain. He played two seasons (1980-82) with the Breakers; he piled up 253 penalty minutes in his first season. . . . In 124 regular-season games, he had 66 points, including 26 goals. He went on to play professionally into the mid-1990s, and got into 26 NHL games, scoring twice, earning three assists, and picking up 104 penalty minutes.
G Christopher Tai, who turns 19 on Dec. 1, is in camp with the Kelowna Rockets. A native of Delta, B.C., Tai played last season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (eight games), Medicine Hat Tiger (1) and Brandon Wheat Kings (1). In 2012-13, he got into 12 games with the Hurricanes. . . . In 22 regular-season games, he is 5-6-0, 4.54, .867. . . . In Kelowna, it’s anticipated that veteran Jackson Whistle will open as the starter, after backing up Jordon Cooke last season. Cooke has used up his junior eligibility.
The Kamloops Blazers revealed Friday morning that F Carson Bolduc, 18, has decided not to report to training camp. . . . According to a news release, he is evaluating his hockey career. . . . “Carson informed us prior to training camp that he did not want to compete at the level necessary to play in the WHL,” general manager Craig Bonner said in that news release. . . . Bolduc, from Salmon Arm, had 20 points, eight of them goals, in 121 career regular-season games. He was acquired last season from the Prince George Cougars and had 11 points, including three goals, in 44 games with the Blazers. . . . The Cougars selected him in the third round of the 2011 bantam draft.
The Kamloops Blazers have three sets of twins in their rookie camp. Andrew and Lucas Palladino, from Sturgeon County, Alta., both are forwards, as are Michael and Ryan Van Unen, who are from Kamloops. Benson and Jordan Thorpe are from Saskatoon. Benson is a right winger, while Jordan is a defenceman. All are 15 years of age. . . . Kamloops has D Clint Colebourn of North Vancouver and F Phillip Knies of Phoenix on its main camp roster. Both were 2013 bantam draft picks, Colebourn in the seventh round and Knies in the fourth, but both were injured an unable to attend camp a year ago. . . . F Tyler Ward of Kamloops turned 15 on Tuesday, but had to pull out of the Blazers’ camp with an injury. The 5-foot-6, 130-pound Ward was an 11th-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
Dan Olsen is the new head coach of the Calgary-based SAIT Trojans. Olsen is a former player and assistant coach with the Trojans. . . . He is SAIT’s first new hockey coach in 27 years. Olsen, 53, takes over from Ken Babey, the former head coach and athletic director who resigned from both positions in June. . . . Olsen was Babey’s assistant coach for five seasons (1991-95). . . . Most recently, Olsen has been the head coach of the Calgary Buffalo Hockey Association’s minor midget Triple A Rangers.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Noah Gregor, 16, who was acquired last season from the Victoria Royals. The Royals picked up Gregor and two third-round bantam draft picks, in 2014 and 2016, for D Travis Brown, 19. . . . The Warriors traded that 2016 pick last week when they acquired F Jaimen Yakubowski, 20, from the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Last season, Gregor played for the midget AAA Leduc Oil Kings. In his freshman season, he led the league in scoring, with 51 points, including 21 goals, in 35 games. . . . Victoria had selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft. . . . Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald reports that Gregor will take it slow over the weekend, thanks to “a minor back and hip flexor injury.” . . . Gourlie also reports that the Warriors didn’t invite F Brandon Del Grosso, 18, to camp. He was limited to one game last season after suffering a brain injury on Oct. 10. . . .
D Liam Schioler, 16, is taking part in the Regina Pats’ rookie camp. Schioler, from Winnipeg, was a second-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. He plans on returning to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn., for a second season. . . . The NHL’s Calgary Flames have added Brad McEwen to their scouting staff. He had been working with the Medicine Hat Tigers as their head scout and assistant general manager. McEwen will begin work for the Flames on Sept. 1. A veteran of Western Canadian hockey arenas, he had been the Tigers’ head scout since 2007. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors will donate all proceeds from Sunday’s intrasquad game to the Journey to Hope in memory of Ethan Williams. A fifth-round draft pick by the Warriors in 2012, Williams committed suicide last month in his hometown of Winnipeg. He was to have attended this training camp.

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