THE MacBETH REPORT:
F Jakub Sindel (Brandon, 2004-05) signed a one-year contract extension with Fassa (Italy, Serie A). He had 23 goals and 33 assists in 42 games last season. . . .
F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) signed a two-year contract with Malmö (Sweden, Allsvenskan). He had three goals and three assists in 40 games with MoDo Örnsköldsvik (Sweden, Elitserien) last season.
As expected, the WHL’s board of governors voted unanimously Wednesday in Calgary to allow the Brodsky family to sell the Saskatoon Blades to Mike Priestner, an Edmonton-based auto dealer. The sale is expected to close this week.
Following the vote, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, allowed himself to say a few words and then the cone of silence was put back in place. No one, including former owner Jack Brodsky, Priestner or Steve Hogle, the Blades’ new president, was permitted to speak before a news conference that is scheduled for today in Saskatoon.
Hogle, who had been the vice-president of hockey communications for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, takes over as the Blades’ president and alternate governor, while Colin Priestner, Mike’s son, will relocate to Saskatoon and will be the managing partner
The Blades are the only franchise to have played in every season of the WHL’s history, which began with the 1966-67 season. The Brodsky family has been involved in the Blades’ ownership since 1976.
All of which begs the question: There was no chance that Brodsky’s request to transfer ownership would be rejected, so why was this board of governors’ meeting held in Calgary? Why wasn’t it held in Saskatoon?
Had it been held in Saskatoon, the governors all could have attended a news conference and shown their respect for the Brodskys, and especially for Jack, who has been an active governor for a long time. The entire day could have been turned into a real testimonial for a long-time member of the fraternity, and one who just played an integral role in driving up the value of all franchises.
Priestner is reported to have paid more than $9 million for the Blades.
The way that the WHL has handled this story has become all too familiar, and that’s too bad. By trying to control the message, the WHL has missed a golden opportunity to gain some positive publicity.
Instead of once again dragging out the cone of silence, at the very least there should have been a conference call, allowing the national media to have access to all those involved.
Instead, the WHL worked to bury the story on Wednesday, when this was news. A day later, the news cycle has turned over and the sale of a franchise that occured on Wednesday is already old news.
F Lukas Walter, 20, has joined the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. Walter had five points in 117 regular-season games with the Tri-City Americans over the last two seasons. He was released by the Americans over the summer and went to camp with the Portland Winterhawks, who released him late last month. . . . Walter, who is from Langley, B.C., is with the Sea Dogs on a tryout basis.
The Moose Jaw Warriors announced Wednesday that Russian F Alexander Chirva, 17, has been cleared to play. According to the Warriors, Chirva “has received his visa and will be in Moose Jaw Thursday evening. Chirva is expected to skate with his teammates for the first time Saturday, 2:30 p.m., in Caronport.” . . . The Warriors selected Chirva in the 2013 CHL import draft.
G Tristan Jarry of the Edmonton Oil Kings has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Jarry, 18, was selected in the second round of the NHL’s 2013 draft. He was the Penguins’ first selection. . . . Last season, with the Oil Kings, Jarry was 18-7-0, 1.61, .936. He also put up six shutouts. . . . Jarry will be the Oil Kings’ starting goaltender this season.
The Regina Pats and Saskatchewan Roughriders announced Wednesday that they have “entered into a partnership” that will cover the remainder of this CFL season and the approaching WHL regular season. According to a news release: “Fans of the Pats and Riders have the opportunity to join the ‘Sea of Green’ at Pats home games in 2013-14 with a special green section in the Brandt Centre.” . . . Players from the Roughriders will be making appearances in the Sea of Green. . . . The partnership will include a special price ($250) on Pats season-tickets for Roughriders season-ticket holders. . . . Pats season-ticket holders “will be provided with a special Ticketmaster code for discounted ticket specials to the final five Riders home games.”
The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Dawson Davidson to a WHL contract. Davidson, from Moosomin, Sask., was a third-round selection in the 2013 bantam draft. He will play this season with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals, the host team for the Telus Cup, the national midget championship tournament. . . . Last season, he had 49 points in 25 games with the bantam AA Melville Millionaires.
Brian Wiebe, who covers the BCHL like a blanket, tweeted last night that Surrey Eagles “D Tommy Stipancik (94) has retired due to an undisclosed injury.” . . . Stipancik, from Vancouver, was selected by the Saskatoon Blades in the third round of the 2010 bantam draft. However, brain injuries — he had four in three years — would limit him to 10 games in 2011-12 and 34 games in 2011-12. In fact, over the last four seasons, he played only 96 games in major midget, the BCHL and the WHL. . . . The Blades released him on Sept. 4, 2012.
Former Tri-City Americans G Olaf Kolzig, who now owns a chunk of the WHL franchise, has taken over as the goaltender coach for the NHL’s Washington Capitals. . . . Tim Leone of pennlive.com has that story right here.
F Morgan Klimchuk of the Regina Pats won’t be taking part in the Calgary Flames’ training camp. The NHL team reported Thursday that Klimchuk, the 28th overall selection in the 2013 draft, “suffered an abdominal wall strain injury during a recent pre-season game with the Regina Pats . . . and will be unable to participate in training camp with the Flames. Klimchuk will rehab his injury in Calgary with Flames’ personnel. He is expected to miss 2-4 weeks.”
The Calgary Flames also announced that they have suspended F Ryan Howse “for failing to report to training camp. The club will have no further comment at this time.” . . . Howse (Chilliwack, 2006-11) was a third-round selection by the Flames in the NHL’s 2009 draft. He put up 217 points, including 140 goals, in 262 games with the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?).
D Julius Honka of the Swift Current Broncos has become quite a story in the WHL’s exhibition season. From Jyvaskyla, Finland, Honka, 17, was selected by the Broncos in the CHL’s 2013 import draft. . . . Last night, Honka scored in his fourth straight exhibition game — he has five goals — as the Broncos beat the visiting visiting Saskatoon Blades, 9-4. . . . Last season, Honka had four goals and 11 assists in 42 games with the JYP U-20 side.
The Tri-City Americans have signed D Kurtis Rutledge, an eight-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft. Rutledge, from Calgary, had seven points in 15 games with the Calgary Flames of the Alberta Midget Hockey League last season.
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