Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Name change in Kamloops . . . AIK gives its blessing to Kylington . . . Blades, Royals cut a deal








F Luke Walker (Portland, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 51 games, he had 19 goals and 12 assists. He led the team in goals and was second in points. . . .
F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract with Piešťany (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had six goals and six assists in 47 games.
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The arena that is home to the Kamloops Blazers will have its name changed to The Sandman Centre, effective Sept. 1. The Blazers, the Sandman Hotel Group (SHG) and the City of Kamloops have announced a 10-year deal on the naming rights.
For the past 10 years, the arena has been known as Interior Savings Centre. The Interior Savings Credit Union paid $120,000 per year for the naming rights.
The arena is owned by the city, but financial terms of the deal with SHG weren’t revealed.
Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner and the owner of the NHL‘s Dallas Stars, is president of Northland Properties Corp., which owns SHG. Gaglardi also is chief executive officer of SHG.
Interior Savings Credit Union (ISCU) had hoped to keep the rights and, in fact, entered a bid with that in mind. However, Interior Savings was told a few days ago that the rights were going to SHG.
“We were keenly interested in continuing on,” Gene Creelman, ISCU’s senior vice-president, member of community engagement, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week. “There is a process the city follows. We had submitted a good proposal.”
SHG has two properties in Kamloops, the newest having opened across from the Interior Savings Centre in 2014.
“If you look at it from a management or a business perspective, we understand what’s needed there, if one reads between the lines,” Creelman told Hastings.
The arena also has been known as Riverside Coliseum and Sport Mart Place since opening in 1992.
Hastings’ story is right here.
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The chances of Swedish D Oliver Kylington playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings improved on Wednesday when AIK said it wouldn’t stand in the way of him playing in North America. . . . Kylington was selected by the Calgary Flames in the second round of last month’s NHL draft. The Wheat Kings later selected him in the CHL import draft. . . . Kylington, who is from Stockholm, had signed a two-year contract with AIK, a Swedish professional team. . . . On its website, AIK general manager Anders Gozzi said: “We do not stop Oliver from the opportunity he has been given.” . . . Kylington is quoted as saying: “I went into this season with a full focus on helping AIK (in the) coming season. I really believe in the venture to which the club is now doing and I wanted to be a part of it.” . . . Kylington, 18, will attend the Flames’ rookie camp and then, presumably, main camp. Because he was drafted out of Europe, he could play for the Flames, their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, or the Wheat Kings in 2015-16.
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The Everett Silvertips have signed to two players they selected in the CHL’s 2015 import draft -- D Alexander Scherbakov and F Yan Khomenko. . . . Both are 1998-born Russians, although Scherbakov is a late birthday. . . . The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Scherbakov, from Moscow, had five goals and eight assists in 30 games with the U-17 CSKA Moscow side last season. . .  The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Khomenko, from St. Petersburg, had 30 points, 20 of them goals, in 33 games with the U-17 Dynamo Moscow side.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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THE TRADE WIRE:

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired D Bryton Sayers, 19, from the Victoria Royals for a conditional fifth-round selection in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. Sayers, from Prince Albert, split last season between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Victoria. . . . In 2013-14, he had 11 points, including four goals, with Lethbridge. Last season, he had 10 points, two of them goals, in 38 games with the Hurricanes, and a goal and an assist in 20 games with Victoria. . . . The Royals had acquired Sayers from Lethbridge on Jan. 10, in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . In 2012-13, he was the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s defenceman of the year while with the Prince Albert Mintos.
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Coaching

BroncosThe Swift Current Broncos have signed Ryan Smith as their new associate coach. Smith, from Winnipeg, replaces Josh Dixon, who resigned on July 8 and now is director of player development for CAA Sports. . . . Before signing with Humboldt, Smith was the general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers for five seasons. . . . “He’s done a lot of coaching,” Mark Lamb, the Broncos‘ GM and head coach, said in a news release. “Ryan has been a coach and GM in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Ryan was short-listed last year when we were filling this position and is ready for this challenge.” . . . Smith spent last season as the general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who now are looking for a GM/head coach. . . . Smith went to Humboldt after Dean Brockman left to join the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach.
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Randy Cunneyworth has been named head coach of the Rochester Americans, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. . . . This is Cunneyworth’s second stint as head coach of the Americans. He put up a 306-273-61 record from 2000-08. . . . Cunneyworth had been working as Buffalo‘s development coach. . . . He also played 377 games over parts of seven seasons with the Americans.
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Garth Mitchell is returning as head coach of the midget AAA Yellowhead Chiefs, who play out of Shoal Lake, Man. Mitchell, who earlier was the Chiefs’ head coach for eight seasons, was an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals for the past three seasons.
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The NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls introduced Matt Nicholson as their new head coach on Wednesday. He takes over from Jon Rogger, who now is an assistant coach with the Bloomington Thunder. . . . Nicholson has been an assistant coach at Robert Morris U for the past six seasons.
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The Tri-City Americans have signed F Brett Leason, who was a third-round pick in the WHL`s 2014 bantam draft. From Calgary, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder had 83 points, 43 of them goals, in 30 games with the Calgary Stampeders of the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League last season.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winterhawks make it official . . . Down to five for 2018 WJC . . . Veteran WHL coach heads east

Veteran WHL coach Ryan McGill is headed to the OHL.








F Wacey Rabbit (Saskatoon, Vancouver, 2001-07) signed a one-year contract with the Nippon Paper Cranes Kushiro (Japan, Aisa HL). Last season, with Lørenskog (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 11 goals and 22 assists in 36 games. . . .
F Kyle Beach (Everett, Lethbridge, Spokane, 2005-10) signed a one-year extension with Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 53 regular-season games, he had 12 goals and 13 assists. In 13 playoff games, he scored a league-high 10 goals and added three assists as his club won the championship. . . .
D Jesse Craige (Lethbridge, Chilliwack, 2004-10) signed a one-year contract with the Nippon Paper Cranes Kushiro (Japan, Aisa HL). Last season, with the University of Alberta (CIS), he had five goals and 14 assists in 26 games. He was an alternate captain and was named the CIS defence man of the year. He also was named a first-team All-Canadian.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Jack Dougherty, 19, who was a second-round selection by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2014 draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Predators on Friday. . . . Dougherty was a freshman with the U of Wisconsin Badgers last season, putting up two goals and seven assists in 33 games. . . . Before heading to Portland, Dougherty will take part in USA Hockey’s national junior team evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. It runs from Saturday through Aug. 8. . . . Portland will have four players at that camp, veteran forwards Paul Bittner and Dominic Turgeon and freshman D Caleb Jones being the others. . . . Dougherty, from St. Paul, joins Bittner, D Nick Heid, D Blake Heinrich and F Keegan Iverson as fellow Minnesotans on the Winterhawks’ roster.
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The 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held in Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburgh, St. Louis or Tampa. USA Hockey announced Tuesday that those cities are the finalists to play host to the tournament. . . . Detroit, which has billed itself as Hockeytown USA, didn’t make the cut, although it was one of at least 12 cities that had expressed an interest. . . . The list will be shortened even more over the next two months, with the host city to be selected before year’s end. . . . The fact that five major cities are left in the running tells you just how big this tournament has become in North America. As Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said yesterday: "Next to the Olympics, I think that’s the biggest hockey event there is out there.” . . . The 2016 tournament is to be held in Helsinki, Finland, while the 2017 event is scheduled for Montreal and Toronto. . . . Chris Peters of cbssports.com takes a really good look at the picture right here.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching Game

OHLRyan McGill, a veteran WHL head coach, is on his way to the OHL, having signed a two-year contract as head coach of the Owen Sound Attack. . . . He replaces Greg Ireland, who resigned earlier this month and now is the head coach of Adler Mannheim in Germany. . . . McGill, 46, spent the past three seasons as head coach of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. His contract wasn’t renewed at season’s end. He is the second coach to move from the Ice to the OHL, following Kris Knoblauch, who has coached the Erie Otters for two-plus seasons. . . . “To get a head coach of Ryan’s calibre, in the time frame we were working under is unbelievable,” Attack general manager Dale DeGray said in a news release. “Ryan brings with him a wealth of experience and success, both at the professional and junior levels. He’s a competitor who knows how to win. Our organization is extremely lucky to have him.” DeGray also likes McGill’s familiarity with small-market franchises. “Ryan played in Swift Current, coached in Kootenay and now being the head coach of the Owen Sound Attack means that he has been a part of three of the smaller markets in the Canadian Hockey League,” DeGray added. “Performing in a small-market in front of a very loyal fan base will be nothing new to him and something he is comfortable with. The man knows how to win.” . . . The Attack also signed Derek King, 48, to a two-year deal as assistant coach. He spent the past six seasons on the coaching staff of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman, who now is doing some writing for Yahoo! Sports Canada, has more right here.
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Here’s hoping that Charlie’s birthday cake was one huge Nanaimo bar.
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The Vancouver Giants are preparing for their 15th season in the WHL. On Tuesday, they released a 15th-anniversary patch that will adorn each sweater in the 2015-16 season. It will be worn on the upper left chest area and also will be visible on the ice at Pacific Coliseum.
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The gang at bgsuhockey.com has put together an interesting bit of work detailing salaries and bonuses, etc., of hockey coaches in the WCHA. If you want to give it a look -- hello, WHL coaches -- it’s right here.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Strat-O-Matic memories . . . Winterhawks sign two key forwards . . . Raiders D-man gets NHL deal

I have heard from an amazing number of people since Friday night when word got out that the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame had honoured me with its Bernie Pascall Media Award.
Friends and acquaintances have contacted me via Twitter, email, Facebook, text and the good old-fashioned telephone.
Two people I heard from on Monday brought back some terrific memories.
It began when Les Lazaruk, a long-time friend who is the veteran — that means old! — radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades tweeted this:

Les then followed that with:

Darrell Davis, with whom I shared more than a few good times while we both were at the Regina Leader-Post, chimed in with:
If you aren’t familiar, Strato refers to Strat-O-Matic baseball. Back in the day, a bunch of us, including Bill O’Donovan, now the news anchor at CFJC-TV in Kamloops, were involved in a Strat-O-Matic league that was, well, let’s just say it was interesting.
How intense was it? I remember driving home one night on Regina’s Ring Road — I lived in the east end and had been playing in the south end — after betting my butt kicked. If you haven’t played Strat-O-Matic, it involves dice and player cards. Well, on this night I decided it was time to teach the dice a lesson. So I stopped alongside a farmer’s field and threw them as far as I could. (A 1-5 meant home run with my best guys and I don't think I rolled enough of them on that night.)
I hadn’t thought of that night for a long, long time . . . before hearing from Les and Darrell. Yes, I chuckled at the memory.
However, I also remember the season in which I won the championship, my Top Cats beating John Chaput’s Zoo 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth. The championship-winning blow — the Top Cats won the best-of-seven final in six games — was a sacrifice fly by Fred Lynn that scored Alan Trammell, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
You can bet the memory of that night kept me warm all that winter.
I was going through some storage containers in our shed on Saturday when I came upon the Game 6 scoresheet. Yes, I kept it. Unfortunately, I have no idea what year that was.
All I know is that, although Les and Darrell may not agree, it was a very good year.
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F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) signed a one-year contract with MAC Budapest (Hungary, MOL Liga). Last season, with Briançon (France, Ligue Magnus), he had 12 goals and 10 assists in 26 games. . . .
KHLD Juraj Valach (Tri-City, Vancouver, Regina, Red Deer, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). He had been on a tryout with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, KHL). Last season, with Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had six goals and seven assists in 43 games. . . .

Czech-ELH
F Jakub Klepiš (Portland, 2001-02) signed a one-year extension with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 21 games with Färjestad Karlstad (Sweden, SHL) and 21 points, including seven goals, in 17 games with Třinec. . . .


KHLF Edgars Kulda (Edmonton, 2012-15) signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL) after a successful tryout. Last season, with the Edmonton Oil Kings, he had 13 goals and 17 assists in 47 games. On Thursday, he played in a 3-1 exhibition game victory over Lada Togliatti. He was on the first line with Lauris Dārziņš (Kelowna, 2004-06) and ex-NJ Devils C Tim Sestito.
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The Portland Winterhawks have signed both of their 2015 CHL import draft selections. . . . Both players — Latvian Rodrigo Abols and Swede Carl Ericson — are forwards. . . . Abols, 19, had 38 points, 20 of them goals, in 35 games last season with HK Riga of the Molodezhnaya Hockey League. He also got into 15 games with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, putting up a goal and four assists. He also played for Latvia at the IIHF World championship. . . . Ericson, 19, had 42 points, including 16 goals, in 43 games with Leksand’s U-20 side. He also got into 11 games with the Leksand team in the SHL, a Swedish pro league. . . . The Winterhawks may lose their top three scorers from last season — Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nic Petan and Chase De Leo — which means Abols and Ericson will be looked to for some offence. The Winterhawks will be wanting both to be in their top six forwards.
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Meanwhile, Vojtech Budik tweeted on Monday afternoon: “Next season I will play for @PARaidersHockey.” . . . Budik, a 17-year-old defenceman, is from Czech Republic. He was selected by the Raiders in the CHL’s 2015 import draft. . . . Last season, he had 12 points, including three goals, in 12 games with the Czech U-18 team, and added five assists in 19 games with the Czech U-20 side.
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If you are a Brandon Wheat Kings fan living in Manitoba, you are able to purchase a specialty license plate that salutes your favourite team. Brian Smiley, a spokesman with Manitoba Public Insurance, has told Brandon radio station CKLQ that almost 800 Manitoba motorists have purchased the plates, which go for $70 apiece. . . . CKLQ reports that “part of the proceeds from Wheat Kings plates go towards supporting the Brandon Humane Society.”
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching

Dale DeGray, the general manager of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, has yet to hire a head coach, but he is OHLdown to a short list of three candidates. . . . DeGray is looking to replace Greg Ireland, who resigned earlier this month and now is the head coach of Adler Mannheim in Germany. . . . DeGray told Bill Walker of the Owen Sound Sun Times that he heard from more than 60 applicants. . . . DeGray hopes to have a coach in place before Aug. 6. He is managing Canada’s U-18 team that leaves then for Europe and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament. . . . DeGray also told Walker that “I don't hire friends . . . I would prefer to keep friendships than to have to fire a coach and lose a friend. There are lots of qualified guys out there.” . . . Walker’s complete story is right here.
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The Buffalo Sabres have signed D Brendan Guhle of the Prince Albert Raiders to a three-year entry-level contract. The Sabres selected Gulhe, who turns 18 on Wednesday, in the second round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. . . . Guhle had 32 points, 27 of them assists, in 72 games with the Raiders last season. He has 42 points, including five goals, in 123 games over two seasons with Prince Albert. He is from Sherwood Park, Alta.
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Sunday, July 26, 2015

An alligator in the dugout . . . WHL players turning cheerleaders? . . . Shark survives encounter with surfer







The Toronto Maple Leafs stunned the hockey world Thursday when they announced they had signed Lou Lamoriello to a three-year deal as their general manager. It couldn’t have been that much of a story, though, as the Toronto Sun only did 10 pages on the Leafs in Friday’s paper. . . . Lamoriello never met a media person with whom he wanted to deal. The Maple Leafs are owned by media conglomerates Bell and Rogers, so, like, what could go wrong? . . . There are reports that retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and gal pal Hannah Davis — she of the commercials with the talking horse — went Dutch on a pizza while in Italy. Which caused RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com to ask:“What kind of people report on these things? The pizzarazzi?” . . .
“Tiger Woods said he still has his sights on Nicklaus’ record 18 majors,” Currie writes. “It was so inspiring, I mailed another marriage proposal to Anne Hathaway.” . . . One more from Currie: “Ex-Blackhawks defenceman Johnny Oduya has signed with the Dallas Stars — a two-year, US$7.5-million deal. Which is a fine-how-do-you-Oduya.” . . . TC Chong, who blogs out of Richmond, B.C., writes: “Sen. Lindsay Graham posted a video on YouTube of him destroying his cell phone with a bat, chainsaw and golf club after Donald Trump gave out his number. Hope he wasn’t driving at the time.” . . .
“Santa Claus threw a terrible first pitch at a recent Tigers game,” reports Bill Littlejohn, our South Lake Tahoe, Calif., correspondent. “The good news for him is that it wasn't in Philadelphia.” . . . Littlejohn also reports that “an alligator was found in the dugout prior to a minor league game between the Daytona Tortugas and Charlotte Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte, Fla. Animal control reportedly tranquilized the gator and returned him to his natural habitat at the local golf course.” . . . One more from Littlejohn: “In Cooperstown, Reggie Jackson reportedly got into a heated confrontation with a fan who was in line for a second autograph. Reggie reportedly told him, 'Just one straw per drink!’ ” . . .
Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times isn’t too hyped for the release of Creed, the seventh instalment in the Rocky movie series. “Not that Rocky Balboa is showing his age or anything in Creed,” Perry writes, “but the eye of the Tiger now has cataracts.” . . . Forward Josh Smith signed with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers the other day, getting only the veterans’ minimum. “At the end of the day, you know, I do have a family,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “So it is going to be a little harder on me this year. But I’m going to push through it, you know.” . . . Smith, who has made about US$91 million in his career, and his family will have to get by on $6.9 million for 2015-16. . . .
You may recall earlier this year when Washington legislators voted that the state’s four WHL teams don’t have to pay minimum wage to their players. Well, the state of California is enacting legislation under which professional sports teams must pay at least minimum wage to their cheerleaders. . . . A number of WHL players are said to be considering career changes. . . . Take the worst thing you have ever seen on TV and then multiply that by 10. What do you get? Those horrid attack ads paid for by Stephen Harper and his friends. . . . Never mind Justin Trudeau; those ads just aren’t ready for anything but the garbage. . . .
Taking note of the drought situation in Vancouver, comic Torben Rolfsen points out: “We are at Stage 3 water restrictions in Vancouver (no lawn watering). Stage 4 is no showers in strip joints.” . . . Rolfsen also wondered: “Has PETA complained about that surfer punching the shark yet?” . . . Headline at SportsPickle.com: Shark just grateful to be uninjured after terrifying encounter with surfer. . . .
Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald has a question: “Do we really need the ‘heat index?’ Isn't it bad enough knowing that it's 100 degrees without being told it ‘feels like’ 112?” . . . Dickson, again: “President Obama just became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. He hasn't seen that many inmates since he welcomed the national-champion Florida State football team to the White House.” . . . “In Idaho,” writes Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, “a cyclist stopped to defecate in a ravine and decided it would be a good idea to light his toilet paper on fire afterwards rather than littering with it. And he accidentally started a 73-acre wildfire. Talk about a dumb shit.”

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

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.
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