Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Silvertips lose import to HPK ... Ferguson cancels fishing trip ... Royals sign assistant coach


F Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with Litvínov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL), he had 11 goals and 21 assists in 30 games. He also had a goal and three assists in six games with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). . . .
G Kevin Nastiuk (Medicine Hat, 2001-05) has signed a one-year contract with the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite). Last season, with Dresden (Germany, DEL2), he was 16-6-0, 1.99, .938 with one shutout in 25 games. He led the league in GAA and save percentage. . . . Nastiuk will attend Coventry University Business School while playing for the Blaze. . . .
F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) has signed a one-year contract with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, with Lustenau (Austria, Alps HL), he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 38 games. He led his team in goals and points. . . .
D Vladimír Mihalik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) has signed a one-year extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had two goals and nine assists in 52 games.
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The WHL released its 2017-18 regular-season schedule on Tuesday. Check your favourite team’s website for more info.
As usual, there are some quirks . . . 
For example, the Portland Winterhawks will play four straight games against the Kelowna Rockets in a span of eight days (Oct. 14-21). Those are the only times the teams, who are projected as two of the
Western Conference’s top clubs, will play each other during the regular season. . . . They’ll play in Portland on Oct. 14 and 15, before heading for Kelowna and games on Oct. 20 and 21. In between, the Rockets will stop in Kennewick, Wash., for a single with the Tri-City Americans on Oct. 17.
Later, the Winterhawks and Kamloops Blazers will play three of their four games on consecutive nights (Jan. 26-28). They will play in Kamloops on Friday and Saturday nights, then head for Portland and a Sunday game.
That nifty bit of scheduling brought this response from a Portland follower:
“I give up — it is so evident that common sense left the scheduling process years ago. . . . As far as the three-game set against the Blazers . . . does the league know this is hockey and not baseball where three-game series are common? . . . It’s obvious that the league doesn’t care two cents about their customer base . . . and more importantly doesn’t care two cents about the quality of play that those customers are going to be watching.”
The Regina Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, are looking at two eight-game road swings, one from Nov. 18 through Dec. 6 when the Canadian Western Agribition takes over the Brandt Centre in late November, and the other from Feb. 19 through March 8 when the Canadian men’s curling championship is in the house. The Pats will play three games in three days on two occasions, which is nine fewer than the Everett Silvertips.
The Silvertips’ schedule calls for them to play three games in three nights on 11 occasions. That includes three in January, three in February and one in March.
One fan from the Pacific Northwest tells me that Everett will play three games in three nights in three different cities on three occasions, while the Seattle Thunderbirds, the reigning champions, do that four times.
“That produces bad hockey,” the fan wrote. “It’s not good for the players or the fans.”
Keep in mind that three games in three nights actually means three games in fewer than 48 hours.
The Saskatoon Blades will open the season with four straight home games — in 15 days. Les Lazaruk, the veteran radio voice of the Blades, tweeted that the only other time Saskatoon played its first four games at home was 1972. The Blades will open on Sept. 22 against the Swift Current Broncos, but then won’t play again until Sept. 29 when they entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers.
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F Eetu Tuulola won’t be back for a second season with the Everett Silvertips. Instead, he will be playing for HPK in his native Finland.
Last season, as an 18-year-old freshman, Tuulola had 18 goals and 13 assists in 62 games while on loan
EETU TUULOLA
to the Silvertips from HPK with whom he had signed a three-year contract.
The Calgary Flames selected Tuulola in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. The Flames have yet to sign Tuulola, but because they drafted him out of Europe — and not off a CHL team’s roster — they hold his rights for four seasons.
With two seasons left on that HPK contract, Tuulola will return to Finland and play there. For him to remain in Everett, the Flames would have had to buy out the deal with HPK and then sign him. With Calgary choosing not to do that, HPK has brought him home.
This means that the Silvertips will select two players in today’s CHL import draft. F Dominic Zwerger, their other import last season, has played out his junior eligibility.
The draft is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. PT, with the OHL’s Barrie Colts making the first selection. They are expected to take Russian F Andrei Svechnikov, who is seen by observers as a possible No. 1 selection in the NHL’s 2018 draft.
From Barnaul, Russia, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Svechnikov had 29 goals and 29 assists in 48 games with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks last season.
The Kootenay Ice, the first WHL team on the board, hold the third selection.
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Here are a few more WHL players who are in NHL development camps as undrafted free agents:
D Jonathan Smart, 18, of the Regina Pats has been invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ camp, as has F Ethan McIndoe of the Spokane Chiefs. McIndoe will turn 18 on July 22.
D Aaron Irving, who completed his junior eligibility with the Everett Silvertips last season, is with the Vancouver Canucks. He was selected by the Nashville Predators in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL draft but went unsigned.
F Giorgio Estephan of the Lethbridge Hurricanes will skate with the Minnesota Wild. Estephan, 20, was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft. The Sabres didn’t sign him, then he went undrafted last weekend.
D Nolan Kneen, 18, of the Kamloops Blazers was invited to camp by the Florida Panthers.
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So much for the fishing trip! Instead of going fishing with his family, G Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers found himself in Las Vegas on Tuesday. That’s because the NHL’s expansion Las Vegas franchise picked him up from the Dallas Stars in a trade on Monday and now he’s at the Golden Knights’ development camp. . . . There’s more right here.
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The Vancouver Giants have signed G Todd Scott to a WHL contract. Scott, 17, was a 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. From Albertville, Minn., he played last season with the NAHL’s Coulee Region Chill and the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. He was 3.56, .904 in 15 appearances with the Chill, and 2.51, .903 in seven games with the Musketeers. He also was 2.00, .912 in three games with the U-16 Omaha AAA Lancers. . . . The Giants finished last season with two goaltenders on their roster — Ryan Kubic, now 19, and David Tendeck, who won’t turn 18 until Nov. 25. Also on their depth chart: Trent Miner, 16, of Souris, Man., who was a first-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft; and Jacob Wassermann, 17, of Humboldt, Sask., who was taken in the eighth round of the 2015 bantam draft.
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Trevor Redden is the new play-by-play man for the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Redden had been the business manager and radio voice of the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats. . . . Drew Wilson, the team’s radio voice on CKBI, moved to Saskatoon following last season and now is part of the sports department of the Saskatoon Media Group, which is headed up by Les Lazaruk, who does the Saskatoon Blades’ games.
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There was a time when F Kyle Beach may have been the most-despised player in the WHL. Beach played for the Everett Silvertips, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Spokane Chiefs. He could score and scrap and stick and all of that stuff. Oh, he was disliked. The complete package was enough for the Chicago Blackhawks to select him 11th overall in the 2008 NHL draft. Now playing in Austria, Beach has yet to get into even one NHL game. With last weekend’s draft in Chicago, David Haugh spoke with Beach filed this piece right here to the Chicago Tribune.
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A tip of the cap to Bobby Pillote of Awful Announcing for this piece on the silliness of ranking drafts immediately after they are held. . . . He writes: “Draft grades are also almost entirely meaningless; a single set of draft grades is about as likely to predict the future as Stephen A. Smith is likely to correctly pick the winner of the NBA Finals.” . . . He also provides a number of NBA- and NFL-related examples. No, he doesn’t mention the NHL, but the tweet above is self-explanatory.
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If you’re a regular here, and even if you aren’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching Game


The Victoria Royals have signed J.F. Best, 33, as an assistant coach. Last season, the Ottawa native was an assistant coach with the CCHL’s Kanata Lasers and their U-18 AAA affiliate. . . . On the Royals’ staff, he will fill the vacancy created when Dan Price moved up to head coach after Dave Lowry signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. . . . Best has worked in performance analysis with the Danish Ice Hockey Federation since 2015, including at the 2017 World Junior Championship in Montreal and Toronto, and at the 2017 Worlds in Cologne and Paris. . . . He spent one season (2015-16) as director of performance analysis with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s. In 2013-14, he was on staff with the Tri-City Americans as performance analyst and hockey operations assistant.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks revealed Tuesday that Ben Cooper, their video assistant coach, no longer is with the team. Cooper is a former Royals assistant coach.
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Rod Aldoff has left the Pensacola Ice Flyers after a second stint as the SPHL team’s head coach. Aldoff, who is from Lethbridge, began last season as the head coach of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, but was fired on Nov. 29 after a 2-11-4 start. He was hired to coach the Ice Flyers on Feb. 14 -- there were 20 games left in the regular season -- after Kevin Hasselberg was fired. The Ice Flyers went on to lose out in the second round of the playoffs. . . . Through all of this, Aldoff has been under contract to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. . . . Earlier in his coaching career, Aldoff guided the Ice Flyers to a pair of SPHL titles.
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Pats' Henry needs surgery ... Lots of WHLers at NHL camps ... Ex-WHL coach off to South Korea


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The Regina Pats aren’t likely to have sophomore F Nick Henry available for much, if any, of the first half of the 2017-18 season. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported Monday that Henry “requires off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum.” . . . John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Harder: “They’re talking four months, maybe a bit longer.” . . . The Colorado Avalanche picked Henry in the fourth round of last weekend’s NHL draft. He is attending the Avs’ development camp in Denver and is expected to have surgery once he returns to Regina. . . . The Pats will be the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup and Henry is one of their top six forwards. . . . Harder’s story is right here.
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G Dylan Ferguson’s time as a member of the Dallas Stars organization came to an end on Monday, two days after it began.
Ferguson, 19, is preparing for his third season with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers.
On Saturday, the Stars selected Ferguson in the seventh round, 194th overall, of the NHL draft. 
On Monday, Ferguson was dealt to the Vegas Golden Knights, along with a second-round pick in the 2020 draft, in exchange for D Marc Methot. Vegas had claimed Methot from the Ottawa Senators in last week’s expansion draft.
Methot had 12 assists in 68 games last season, playing most of the time alongside Erik Karlsson. Methot, 32, has two years left on his contract at US$4.9 million per season.
Vegas already owns nine selections in the 2020 NHL draft, to go with 11 in 2019.
Here’s what I wrote about Ferguson after the Stars selected him:
Ferguson, from Lantzville, B.C., spent the past two seasons backing up Connor Ingram with the Blazers. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Ferguson got into only 16 games in 2015-16, going 4-10-0, 4.13, .875. Last season, he played in 31 games and was 16-10-2, 2.74, .922. . . . Ferguson played most of those 2016-17 games in December and early January, while Ingram was with Canada’s national junior team. Ferguson lit it up, too — he was 9-4-1 while Ingram was away — resulting in a lot of scouts showing up in Kamloops after Christmas when they knew he would be starting. . . . With Ingram, 20, expected to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization in 2017-18, Ferguson, who turns 19 on Sept. 20, should be the Blazers’ starter. . . . Don’t forget, too, that Tom Gaglardi, the Stars’ owner, also is the majority owner of the Blazers.
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A number of NHL teams have opened, or are about to open, development camps. A few WHL players who are undrafted free agents will attend these camps.
The Ottawa Senators will have four free agents from WHL teams in attendance. That includes F Matteo Gennaro of the Calgary Hitmen, who was a seventh-round selection by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2015 NHL draft but wasn’t signed. Gennaro is preparing for this 20-year-old season. . . . Also joining the Ottawa group will be F Parker Kelly, 18, of the Prince Albert Raiders, F Jordan Topping of the Tri-City Americans, who will turn 20 on July 20, and D Brayden Pachal of the Raiders, who is to turn 18 on Aug. 23.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights will have F Jayden Halbgewachs, 20, of the Moose Jaw Warriors, D Keoni Texeira, 20, of the Portland Winterhawks, and D Dylan Coghlan, 19, of the Tri-City Americans in their camp. Also there will be F Patrick Bajkov, who turns 20 on Nov. 27, of the Everett Silvertips, D Will Warm, 18, of the Edmonton Oil Kings, G Griffen Outhouse, 19, of the Victoria Royals, and G Logan Thompson, 20, of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Tyler Wong, who played out his eligibility with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season, also will join the Golden Knights’ camp, as will D Dmitry Osipov, who finished his junior days last season with the Wheat Kings.
Portland F Ryan Hughes, who will be 18 on July 27, is going to skate with the Nashville Predators, as will Winterhawks F Alex Overhardt, 20. Portland G Cole Kehler, 20, is going to camp with the Winnipeg Jets.
F Isaac Johnson, who signed with Tri-City on June 1, has been invited to camp by the Detroit Red Wings. Johnson, 18, played last season with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers, scoring 14 goals and adding 14 assists in 47 games.
F Tanner Jeannot, 20, of the Warriors will skate with the Washington Capitals.
F Vince Loschiavo, 19, of the Kootenay Ice and F Nick Chyzowski, 20, of the Kamloops Blazers will be with the Dallas Stars.
F Luc Smith, 19, of the Blazers will be in camp with the New York Rangers.
The Arizona Coyotes’ camp will include F Max Gerlach, 19, of the Medicine Hat Tigers and F Lane Pederson, who turns 20 on Aug. 4. Also with the Coyotes will be D Ryan Gagnon, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Victoria Royals, and F Tyler Coulter, who did the same with the Brandon Wheat Kings.
F Sami Moilanen, 18, of the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds has been invited to the Colorado Avalanche’s development camp, as has F Ty Lewis, 19, of the Wheat Kings.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won back-to-back Stanley Cups, will have two free-agent WHLers in camp with them — F Jordy Bellerive, 18, of the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Seattle F Nolan Volcan, 18.
D Dylan Plouffe, 18, of the Vancouver Giants will skate with the Florida Panthers.
Seattle F Scott Eansor, who played out his junior eligibility last season, has been invited to the New York Islanders’ camp.
Portland F Evan Weinger, 20, and D Clayton Kirichenko, a 20-year-old last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers, are expected to skate with the Los Angeles Kings. Weinger is from El Segundo, Calif., and played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings before heading to Portland.
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The Everett Silvertips have signed assistant coach Mitch Love to a contract extension, adding the title of assistant to the general manager to his portfolio. The length of the extension wasn’t released, but Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald reported that it is for two years. Love is preparing for his ninth season with the Silvertips and his seventh on the coaching staff. He will continue to handle the team’s defencemen and its billeting program. 
According to a news release Love, 33, also will be the “organization co-ordinator between the Silvertips players and the education program, and work with projects designed to strengthen the Silvertips outreach and growth within Snohomish County, the Pacific Northwest, and its alumni.”
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Four players were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. Dave Andreychuk, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi and Teemu Selanne will be inducted in November. Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has a piece right here in which he wonders of it’s the Hall of Fame or the Hall of Really Good.
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If you are a follower of major junior hockey, the name Glenn Gumbley may ring a bell. Yes,  Gumbley, who is from Montreal, was involved in an attempt to form the CHLPA, a players association for major junior players. . . . On Sunday night, the CHLPA’s Twitter account included this: “In the last few years, I have made several defamatory statements against the QMJHL and its Commissioner, Gilles Courteau, in which I stated that they were linked to crime, fraud, corruption, exploitation of children, tax evasion, perjury, manipulation and criminality. . . . These statements have been removed from all sites and social media under my control and I apologize to the QMJHL and its Commissioner, Gilles Courteau.” . . . It turns out that, as TVA Sports reported Monday, Gumbley “has been found guilty of defamatory allegations by the Quebec Superior Court” through a judgment by Judge David R. Collier, J.S.C. . . . The verdict, which is final also orders Gumbley to Courteau $10,000 in punitive and moral damages and the QMJHL $5,000 in punitive damages.
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If you’re a regular here, and even if you aren’t, feel free to make a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

The Red Deer Rebels have added Brett Anderson to their coaching staff, replacing Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, who left the team to join the USHL’s Fargo Force as associate head coach. . . . Lamoureux spent one season with the Rebels. . . . Anderson was director and head coach of the Ontario Hockey Academy in Cornwall, Ont., last season. A native of Sedgewick, Alta., he has a diploma in kinesiology from Red Deer College and a degree from the U of Alberta. He also has coached at the U of Saskatchewan, U of Alberta and Red Deer College, as well as in Europe.
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Kevin Constantine is adding another country to his coaching travelogue. Constantine has signed on as head coach of the Asia League Ice Hockey’s Daemyung Killer Whales, who play out of Seoul, South Korea. . . . Constantine, 58, has NHL coaching experience with the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks. He spent the past four seasons as the head coach of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. They finished atop the U.S. Division last season, but his contract wasn’t renewed. . . . Last season, the Killer Whalers, then with Benedict Chi Young Song as head coach, finished eighth in the nine-team league.
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It was mentioned in this space the other day that Craig Woodcroft’s contract as head coach of the KHL’s Dynamo Minsk had been terminated. He had signed a three-year deal there in April 2016. . . . On Sunday, the Genève-Servette HC announced that it had signed Woodcroft to a three-year deal as head coach. Genève-Servette HC, a Geneva-based team, plays in the Swiss NL A. . . . Woodcroft would take over from Chris McSorley, who stepped aside as head coach after last season but remains as general manager. Former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis is on Genève-Servette’s board, as is Lorne Henning, a former NHL/WHL player and a former NHL coach. At one time, Henning as an assistant GM under Gillis with the Canucks.
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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Doing some scattershooting ... Hunchak a Hall of Famer ... Gulutzan keys up Coaches Conference

Scattershoot

Prior to the first round of the NHL draft in Chicago on Friday, the NHL sequestered eight potential early selections and their families in a ‘green’ room, rather than have them in the stands with the commoners. It was a disaster. Russian F Klim Kostin and his family were left all alone for a long while before the St. Louis Blues took him with the last pick of the first round, 31st overall. . . . Here’s hoping the ‘green’ room was simply a one-and-done experiment.
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After LaVar Ball, the king of hype, said his son, Lonzo, would get the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA playoffs in his first season with them, Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, wondered: “So is he buying them tickets?” . . . Upon hearing reports than Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors won’t exercise a US$28-million option and take $24 million instead, all aimed at allowing the team to keep Andre Iguodola, Hough asked: “How will he feed his family?”
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It always amazes me how anyone thinks they can pick the winners and losers from the NHL draft less than 24 hours after it concludes. Let’s check back in four or five years. OK?
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Headline at TheKicker.com: Umps go to video replay to see if they’re slowing game down too much.
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Judging by the empty seats at home-openers in Vancouver and Toronto this weekend, at least a couple of CFL teams have some work ahead of them to get bums back in the pews.
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About 24 hours before F Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings was taken second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL draft, Bauer Hockey announced that it had signed him as an “official partner.” That means that Patrick will use Bauer gear in 2017-18. It’s worth noting that Bauer also suppled WHL skaters with equipment, so there won’t be a conflict should Philly return Patrick for another season of major junior.
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BTW, F Nico Hischier of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, who was taken first overall by the New Jersey Devils, has signed with CCM.
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After the U.S. Open golf tournament earlier this month, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando, Fla., Sentinel noted: “Erin Hills isn’t just playing easy, it’s more forgiving than the Tallahassee Police Department.”
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A tip of the cap to head coach Ryan McGill and his Owen Sound Attack for leading the CHL’s 60 teams by having six players selected in the weekend’s NHL draft. Yes, that’s a franchise record. . . . McGill, of course, is a former WHL player and coach. He also is the OHL’s reigning coach of the year.
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Donald Trump, the U.S. president, “has made travel more difficult to Americans,” notes Richmond, B.C., blogger TC Chong. “It will remain that way until a new Havana Trump Hotel and Golf Course opens.”
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The best response from a player to a question during the NHL draft came from Swedish D Erik Brannstrom, who was selected 15th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights. He admitted to never having been to Las Vegas, but added: “I’ve seen The Hangover. I’ve seen all three.”
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Charles P. Thacker, a pioneer in early personal computing, died last week at age 74,” reports RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Out of habit, doctors tried rebooting him.”
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Dave Hunchak, a former WHL coach, was among the inductees when the SJHL held its 2017 Hall of Fame induction dinner in Kindersley on Saturday evening.
It was a homecoming of sorts for Hunchak, 43, who was an assistant coach with the Klippers (1997-
DAVE HUNCHAK
2000) and the general manager and head coach for four seasons (2000-04). Under Hunchak, who is from Warman, Sask., the Klippers won SJHL championships in 2002 and 2004. In his playing days, he spent time with the Saskatoon Titans, who later morphed into the Klippers.
In the WHL, Hunchak spent three seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos, four seasons (2007-11) as the head coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, and two-plus seasons on the Kamloops Blazers’ staff. He leaves next month for his first season as an assistant coach with HC Banska Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga.
Hunchak was inducted in the coach category, joining builder Terry Shea, a long-time Klippers executive; players Troy Schwab, Derek Dorsett and Chris Winkler, all from the Klippers; Kindersley native Devin Edgerton (Humboldt Broncos) and Greg Paslawski, a Kindersley native who played for the SJHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.
The 2003-04 Klippers, who reached the RBC Cup final with Hunchak as head coach, also were inducted.
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The CHL import draft is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. PT. It is held via telephone. . . . The Kootenay Ice is scheduled to be the first WHL team to make a selection. That will be the third-overall pick, behind the OHL’s Barrie Colts and the QMJHL’s Moncton Screaming Eagles. . . . The order of selection is right here.
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Glen Gulutzan, the head coach of the NHL’s Calgary Flames, is just one of the keynote speakers line up for The Coaches Conference that is scheduled to be held in Vancouver, July 14 and 15. . . . Gulutzan is preparing for his second season as the Flames’ head coach. . . . Also on tap as presenters are Mike Snee, the executive director at College Hockey Inc.; Jim Paek, the head coach of the South Korean national team; Craig Cunningham, who is heading into his first season as a pro scout with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes; and Ray Ferraro, the highly popular analyst with TSN. . . . Snee has been CHI’s executive director since Aug. 28, 2012; he also is on USA Hockey’s board of directors and USA Hockey’s junior council. . . . Paek also is the director of hockey for the Korea Ice Hockey Association. South Korea will play host to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. . . . Cunningham had his playing career cut short last season when he suffered an on-ice cardiac event prior to an AHL game. He was the captain of the Tucson Roadrunners. . . . For more info on the conference, click right here.
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Some NHL teams have developing camps starting today (Monday). I’m not tracking invitees but stumbled on three undrafted WHLers with invitations — G Cole Kehler (Portland Winterhawks) will skate with the Winnipeg Jets; F Tanner Jeannot (Moose Jaw Warriors) will join the Washington Capitals; and F Jayden Halbgewachs, a 50-goal scorer with the Warriors last season, will be with the Vegas Golden Knights. . . . If you know of more invitees, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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F Brian King of the Everett Silvertips was the valedictorian recently as Everett High School held its graduation ceremony. Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald has a good piece right here on King, what he said and his off-ice accomplishments, including a 4.0 GPA, to this point.
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If you’re a regular here, and even you aren’t, feel free to contribute to the feeding of the Drinnan family by making a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Scattershooting about NHL draft ... McGrew, Ferguson intriguing picks ... Emotional week for Patrick

Scattershoot

SCATTERSHOOTING ON NHL DRAFT:

The NHL draft’s first round was held on Friday night in Chicago. Once again it was a gaudy celebration of middle-aged white men parading across the stage and shaking hands with Gary Bettman, the NHL’s commish, on the way.
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The star of Sportsnet’s first-round coverage had to be Sam Cosentino. He isn’t on Twitter, but that doesn’t stop him from knowing his stuff when it comes to draft-eligible hockey players.
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The goofiest thing of draft week may have occurred early on when Colin Campbell, the NHL’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, told reporters the league had taken an in-depth look at four playoff games and discovered 60 to 110 uncalled slashes per game. . . . You were watching the playoffs and you saw that; I was watching the playoffs and I saw that. So why did the NHL have to study video to see it?
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The NHL has a rulebook in which slashing is declared illegal. So how could that many go uncalled in one game? Hey, that’s a lot of uncalled hacking and whacking. . . . It was TSN’s Gord Miller who tweeted: “Take out the rulebook and call it.” … Gee, what a crazy idea.
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The Portland Winterhawks had four players selected off their roster during the draft. Two went in the first round, with F Cody Glass going to the Vegas Golden Knights sixth overall and D Henri Jokiharju to the Chicago Blackhawks with the 29th pick. As well, D Brendan De Jong was taken by the Caroling Hurricanes in the sixth round (166th) and F Skyler McKenzie went to the Winnipeg Jets in the seventh round (198th). . . . Meanwhile, four players whose WHL rights belong to the Winterhawks also were drafted. . . . F Ryan Poehling of Lakeville, Minn., was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, 25th overall. Poehling, 18, was a freshman at St. Cloud State last season, putting up seven goals and six assists in 35 games. He is a Portland list player. . . . With the very next pick, the Dallas Stars took G Jake Oettinger, a good friend of Poehling’s who also is from Lakeville. Oettinger, who is to turn 19 on Dec. 18, has completed his freshman season at Boston U. The Winterhawks selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . F Scott Reedy of Prior Lake, Minn., was picked by the San Jose Sharks in the fourth round, 102nd overall. Reedy, 18, played last season with the U.S. National U-18 team and is committed to the U of Minnesota for 2017-18. Portland picked him in the fourth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . F Cole Guttman of Northridge, Calif., was taken in the sixth round, 180th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Guttman, 18, played last season with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints and will be the team captain in 2017-18. He has committed to St. Cloud State for 2018-19. The Winterhawks selected him in the eighth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . All of this is worth mentioning because F Kieffer Bellows, 19, has decided to leave Boston U after one season and join the Winterhawks, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2013 bantam draft. The New York Islanders took Bellows in the first round, 19th overall, of the NHL’s 2016 draft.
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One of the draft’s more intriguing selections came in the sixth round when the San Jose Sharks took F Jake McGrew of the Spokane Chiefs with the 159th pick. McGrew, an 18-year-old from Orange, Calif., didn’t play at all last season after suffering a knee injury. An eighth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2014 WHL bantam draft, McGrew had a goal and two assists in six exhibition games when he was hurt in practice. . . . In 2015-16, he put up 29 goals and 18 assists in 32 games with the U-16 Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
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Another intriguing move came in the seventh round when the Dallas Stars took G Dylan Ferguson of the
DYLAN FERGUSON
Kamloops Blazers with the 194th overall pick. Ferguson, from Lantzville, B.C., spent the past two seasons backing up Connor Ingram with the Blazers. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Ferguson got into only 16 games in 2015-16, going 4-10-0, 4.13, .875. Last season, he played in 31 games and was 16-10-2, 2.74, .922. . . . Ferguson played most of those 2016-17 games in December and early January, while Ingram was with Canada’s national junior team. Ferguson lit it up, too — he was 9-4-1 while Ingram was away — resulting in a lot of scouts showing up in Kamloops after Christmas when they knew he would be starting. . . . With Ingram, 20, expected to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization in 2017-18, Ferguson, who turns 19 on Sept. 20, should be the Blazers’ starter. . . . Don’t forget, too, that Tom Gaglardi, the Stars’ owner, also is the majority owner of the Blazers.
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The WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds had one player selected on Saturday and another traded. . . . D Jarret Tyszka, 18, was taken by the Montreal Canadiens in the fifth round, 149th overall. He will play
KEEGAN KOLESAR
his third season in Seattle in 2017-18. . . . Meanwhile, veteran F Keegan Kolesar was acquired by the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday. They gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a second-round selection, No. 45, in return. Originally, that pick had belonged to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Golden Knights got it from Tampa Bay for agreeing to take D Jason Garrison off the Lightning’s roster in the expansion drafat. . . . Columbus promptly took French F Alexandre Texier. . . . The Blue Jackets had taken Kolesar in the third round of the 2015 NHL draft. . . . The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Kolesar, now 20, is from Brandon. He had 26 goals and 34 assists in 54 games last season, then was the leading scorer in the WHL playoffs with 31 points, including 12 goals, in 19 games. . . . Kolesar signed with the Blue Jackets on Dec. 20, 2015. He is expected to begin the season with the Knights’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.
"I left Winnipeg for Columbus at 7 (a.m.) because we have development camp this weekend," Kolesar told Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press on Saturday afternoon. "I land in Chicago and they call me and tell me I just got traded to Vegas. I'm in Columbus in a hotel room right now and I've gotta leave tomorrow or the next day for camp in Vegas. So, it's been a whirlwind, not even 24 hours for me.” . . . That story is right here.
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The NHL’s 31 teams combined to select 89 players off the rosters of the 60 CHL teams — 42 from the OHL, 33 from the WHL and 14 from the QMJHL. . . . The number of players selected from WHL teams, starting in 2017 and going back to 2007: 33, 34, 35, 37, 33, 32, 33, 43, 31, 37, 37. . . .
All told, 17 of the WHL’s 22 teams had at least one player selected. . . . The Portland Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans each had four players go, while the Brandon Wheat Kings, Medicine Hat Tigers and Spokane Chiefs were at three. . . . The Swift Current Broncos, Regina Pats, Kootenay Ice and Kelowna Rockets each had two players taken, with one player being drafted from each of the Moose Jaw Warriors, Lethbridge Hurricanes, Red Deer Rebels, Prince Albert Raiders, Victoria Royals, Prince George Cougars, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kamloops Blazers. . . . Shut out of this draft were the Calgary Hitmen, Edmonton Oil Kings, Everett Silvertips, Saskatoon Blades and Vancouver Giants.
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And, finally, condolences to Nolan Patrick and his family on the death of their grandmother and mother, June. Nolan, a forward with the Brandon Wheat Kings, was the second overall pick in the draft, taken by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. He had a big week, too, including throwing out the ceremonial pitch prior to a Wednesday game at Wrigley Field. You can bet that he did it all with a heavy heart, his grandmother having died on June 16 in Winnipeg. She was the mother of Nolan's father, Steven, and uncle, James, who is the Kootenay Ice's head coach. . . . A complete obituary is right here.
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F Dustin Sylvester (Kootenay, 2004-10) has signed a one-year extension with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had 14 goals and 22 assists in 46 games. . . . 
F Tomáš Netík (Medicine Hat, 2000-01) has signed a one-year contract with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 20 games, and two goals in nine games with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). . . .
F John Dahlström (Medicine Hat, 2016-17) has signed a two-year contract with Almtuna Uppsala (Sweden, Allsvenskan). Last season, with the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), he had 30 goals and 29 assists in 63 games.
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Next up: The CHL import draft is scheduled for Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. PT. It is held via telephone. . . . The Kootenay Ice is scheduled to be the first WHL team to make a selection. That will be the third-overall pick, behind the OHL’s Barrie Colts and the QMJHL’s Moncton Screaming Eagles. . . . The order of selection is right here.
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The Red Deer Rebels have signed F Jace Isley, who was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Isley, who won’t turn 15 until July 14, is from Grande Prairie, Alta. Last season, he had a goal and 14 assists in 23 games with a bantam prep team at OHA Edmonton.
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F Harrison Blaisdell, 16, has committed to play for the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs in 2017-18. Two seasons ago, he had 20 goals and 34 assists in 25 games with a bantam prep team at the Yale academy in Abbotsford, B.C. Last season, with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, he put up 20 goals and 21 assists in 40 regular-season games. . . . Blaisdell, who already has committed to attend North Dakota for 2020-21, is the son of former Regina Pats F Mike Blaisdell, who was a 71-goal man in his only full WHL season. He played one season (1978-79) at the U of Wisconsin, then joined the Pats early in 1979-80. . . . Harrison was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the second round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.
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The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have acquired F Luke Gingras, 19, and futures from the Vernon Vipers for F Jordan Sandhu, 18. . . . Sandhu, from Richmond, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. Sandhu has played two seasons with the Bulldogs. He has committed to Arizona State for 2018-19. . . . Gingras, 19, played 114 games with the Saskatoon Blades over the past three seasons, scoring six goals and adding seven assists. The Blades dropped him from their protected list during the 2017 bantam draft. . . . He was a fourth-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Gingras started last season with the Blades and finished up with the Vipers.
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The BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings have acquired F Shawn Kennedy, 18, from the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians for G Tavin Grant, 19, and futures. . . . Grant played 18 games with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars in 2014-15 and got into one game with them last season. . . . Interestingly, when G Nick McBride, 20, revealed in May that he was leaving the Cougars in order to go to school and with G Ty Edmonds, 20, moving on to the U of Lethbridge, general manager Todd Harkins said told the Prince George Citizen: “I’m not too worried about it because we’ve got young goalies and we have Tavin Grant.” . . . Also on the Cougars’ depth chart is Taylor Gauthier of Calgary, who was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft.
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I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

Bob Woods is back with Bruce Boudreau. The Minnesota Wild announced Saturday that Woods, who has a long history with Boudreau, its head coach, has signed on as an assistant coach. Woods, 49, was an assistant coach with Buffalo last season, but lost his job as the Sabres went through another regime change. . . . Woods spent two seasons (2014-16) as the GM/head coach of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades. . . . This will be the fourth time Woods will have worked as an assistant coach alongside Boudreau. They were together with the Anaheim Ducks (2012-14), Washington Capitals (2000-12) and the AHL’s Hershey Bears (2005-07). . . . Woods also played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings (1987-89).
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The KHL season has yet to start, but that didn’t keep Dynamo Minsk from relieving head coach Craig Woodcroft of his duties. According to a release from the team, Woodcroft’s contract “was terminated by agreement of the parties.” . . . Dynamo CEO Anatoly Kurilets said the team was willing to move forward with Woodcroft as head coach, but that Woodcroft “wished for the termination of the contract, (so) we agreed . . . without paying severance pay.” . . . Woodcroft, 47, had signed a three-year contract in April 2016. . . . Assistant coaches Rob Davison and Ron Pascoe and trainer Christian Scarfagen also left Dynamo Minsk. Their departures were revealed three days before Woodcroft’s termination was announced.

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Los Angeles draft pick has opportunity to make difference ... Anderson-Dolan ready to be leader in LGBTQ community


One of the 217 selections made in the two-day NHL draft that wrapped up Saturday in Chicago has a chance to have a bigger impact than all the rest combined. The Los Angeles Kings used a second-round
(Photo: @LAKings)
pick, 41st overall, to take F Jaret Anderson-Dolan of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs.
Anderson-Dolan, or JAD as he’s come to be known in this Twitter-ruled world, is from Calgary, where his home life was put together by two mothers — Fran and Nancy.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Anderson-Dolan is a terrific WHL player. The puck follows him around and he makes things happen. He followed a 14-goal, 26-point freshman season by putting up 39 goals and 37 assists in 72 games last season.
He has an impeccable work ethic and is mature beyond his 18 years.
He has said repeatedly that he is quite prepared to get involved with the LGBTQ movement. Last season, for a Feb. 26 game against the visiting Kelowna Rockets, he used Pride Tape on a stick for a game. It was all part of a program known as Hockey is for Everyone. His teammates quickly followed suit for the warmup and some, including JAD, kept the tape on for the game.
He was featured in a number of stories from the draft. Here’s what he told Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com about living in a two-mother household:
(PHOTO: @spokanechiefs)
“For me, growing up it was really normal. Obviously, I don’t know any other way of growing up. Even though people may say obviously it’s a little bit different, but for me it’s completely normal. For me it kind of gives you a little bit of perspective, just how much the world is changing. I think it’s come a long way in the past couple years, so it’s really cool to be in this situation and have a voice in the community that way.”
He provided Rosen with some insight into his youth, with this:
“Growing up, Nancy, she has her own business with food addiction treatment, so I was raised in a house where we eat well and eat organic food and things like that, so for me, it’s just kind of a habit, just talking about things you can do to get an advantage of your opponent. If I’m disciplined with that, then maybe it’ll give me a little bit of an advantage. I was raised in a house where we eat right, so it’s pretty easy for me.”
He also is a leader, witness his wearing an ‘A’ with the Chiefs and being named captain of Canada’s team at the U-18 worlds.
“It meant a lot,” he told Rosen. “Just to represent Canada is a huge honor. Being named captain was a huge honor, and it was something that was really exciting. I think you learn from your parents. Fran was a leader on almost every hockey team she played for, so I think just being raised right, a lot of credit to my parents. For me, I just try to lead by example.”

With Anderson-Dolan opening up a world of new marketing opportunities for hockey, it will be interesting to see how the WHL handles this situation.
In May, Josh Horton, then with the Spokane Spokesman-Review, wrote a feature on Anderson-Dolan that included this:
“When Anderson-Dolan was going through the WHL bantam draft process, some teams told him and his family they would not take him because of his two mothers.
“Anderson-Dolan, with the talent to be picked in the top five of the draft, slipped all the way to No. 14 to Spokane.”
Anderson-Dolan told Horton:
“I can’t change people’s opinions. If that’s how they feel about it, I’d honestly rather not be in that organization if they’re going to be like that. I’d rather be in an organization with the Chiefs where they support it completely.
“Maybe that ended up with me falling in the draft a little bit, but I don’t really care, honestly.”
What do the Kings think?
Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times tweeted this quote, from Mark Yannetti, the Kings’ director of amateur scouting: “If anyone has a problem, they should screw themselves and find another job. . . . He has two loving, wonderful parents.”
(It may be only a coincidence that in the week leading up to the draft, Los Angeles added former Chiefs head coach Don Nachbaur to its coaching staff as an assistant.)
Interestingly, while all sorts of radio, TV, newspaper and Internet-based reporters were writing about Anderson-Dolan’s home life, a pre-draft feature that was posted on the WHL’s website (whl.ca) on June 19 doesn’t mention it, his mothers or the role his prepared to play away from the arena.
No matter, though, because as JAD told Horton:
“I’m proud of my moms. I’m proud of my uncles, my aunties, everyone I know that is openly gay. I have no shame about it, and neither do they.”
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Meanwhile, in Saskatoon, the Blades, including president Steve Hogle, spent Saturday showing support for that city’s LGBTQ community.




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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Doing some scattershooting ... Dahlstrom returns to Sweden ... Nachbaur off to NHL

Scattershoot

The Vancouver Canucks fired John Tortorella and now he’s the NHL’s coach of the year. The Canucks fired Mike Sullivan and now he’s the head coach of back-to-back Stanley Cup winners. I’m thinking things look good for Willie Desjardins.
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Does anyone know what’s going on with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes? That’s what I thought.
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Hey, Alberta and B.C., you should get rid of those highway signs that encourage drivers to stay right and allow others to pass. Why? Because it seems there are a lot of drivers out there who can’t read.
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With the news that Floyd Mayweather will scrap with Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on Aug. 26, Vancouver comic Torben Rolfsen pointed out: “It will also be P.T. Barnum Bobblehead Night.”
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Jeff Pearlman, a well-known author, has penned a book on the USFL, which, of course, involved Donald Trump. Notes Pearlman: “One thing I can say with authority: Donald Trump is the biggest liar I’ve ever written about. Zero integrity.”
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From Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express: “Buck Martinez is a decent broadcaster when he is sitting beside Dan Shulman.” . . . I caught some of the Toronto Blue Jays game on Thursday afternoon and noted that analyst Pat Tabler has dropped any pretence of independence and now sprinkles “we” into  his chattering.
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Greg Cote, in the Miami Herald: “Want the exact definition of ‘your football career is over’? Comeback-attempting Vince Young got cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.”
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You take a look at the roster of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and you realize that US$500 million doesn’t buy much these days.
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Did you chuckle the other day when NHL commish Gary Bettman said the NHL isn’t ready for another expansion just yet? Hey, wave US$500 million in front of Bettman’s face and you’ll have a franchise lickety-split.
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Headline at SportsPickle.com: Kevin Durant silences all the critics who said he could never help a 73-9 team win a championship. . . . Headline at TheKicker.com: Durant to spend offseason travelling around booing Rihanna’s concerts.
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Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “With another NBA season coming to an end, commissioner Adam Silver gets to return to his other job: Holding the pitchfork in American Gothic.”
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F John Dahlstrom, 20, won’t be returning to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a second season. He has
signed a two-year contract with Almtuna in his native Sweden. Almtuna plays in the Allsvenskan, which is one level below the SHL. . . . Dahlstrom, a seventh-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL’s 2015 draft, had 30 goals and 29 assists in 63 games with the Tigers last season. . . . He will attend a Chicago prospects camp next month. . . . Had Dahlstrom returned to the Tigers, he would have been a two-spotter — a 20-year-old import. Latvian D Kristians Rubins, the Tigers’ other import last season, also is a two-spotter. . . . Including Rubins, Medicine Hat still has seven 20s on its roster, the others being G Michael Bullion, D Jordan Henderson, D Ty Schultz, D Brad Forrest, F Zach Fischer and F Mark Rassell.
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The Swift Current Broncos have revealed that as of Thursday morning they had sold 1,493 season-ticket packages, “including 137 new season-ticket holders.” . . . The Broncos have stated that their goal is 1,700 before the start of the 2017-18 WHL season. . . . The Broncos have a number of prizes up for grabs, all tied into season-ticket sales, and one fan will receive a season-ticket for life if the goal of 1,700 is reached.
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D Shaun Dosanjh, who played with four different WHL teams last season, will attend York U and play for the Lions in 2017-18. Dosanjh, now 21, is from Richmond, B.C. He began his WHL career with the Vancouver Giants, and finished it up last season with stints with the Prince George Cougars, Kamloops Blazers, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Portland Winterhawks. . . . In 173 regular-season games, he put up four goals and 10 assists. . . . Dosanjh was a third-round pick by the Giants in the WHL’s 2011 bantam draft. . . . Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) reports that the Lions also have landed G Keelan Williams, 21, of Calgary. He played 13 games with the Kootenay Ice over two seasons (2014-16). Last season, he was with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles.
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The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Trevor Thurston to a WHL contract. Thurston, from Delta, B.C., was a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, Thurston had nine goals and 11 assists in 20 games with a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, where he will play again in 2017-18. . . . Trevor is the son of Brent Thurston, who played for the Victoria Cougars and Spokane Chiefs (1988-92). . . . The Blazers now have signed their top three picks from the 2017 bantam draft.
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If you’re a regular here, and even you aren’t, feel free to contribute to the feeding of the Drinnan family by making a donation to the cause. You are able to do so by clicking on the DONATE button and going from there.
BTW, if you want to contact me with some information or just feel like commenting on something, you may email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).
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Coaching

Travis Green has accomplished his goal of becoming a head coach in the NHL. But Green, who is preparing for his first season as the Vancouver Canucks’ head coach, knows that the work is just beginning. Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has spoken with Green and they talked about that and a whole lot more. It’s all right here.
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NHLDon Nachbaur, the third-winningest coach in WHL regular-season history, has joined the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings as an assistant coach. Nachbaur spent the previous seven seasons as the head coach of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, but they parted company after the 2016-17 season despite there being one year left on his contract. . . . Nachbaur, who also coached the Seattle Thunderbirds (1994-2000) and Tri-City Americans (2003-09), has 692 regular-season victories, behind only Ken Hodge (742) and Don Hay (720). . . . Nachbaur and Stevens have a history, having played together with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Hershey Bears and coached together with the AHL‘s Philadelphia Phantoms (2000-02). . . . In Los Angeles, Nachbaur joins head coach John Stevens, who was promoted on April 24, and assistant coach Dave Lowry, who joined the Kings after being the head coach of the WHL’s Victoria Royals.
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NHLStu Barnes, a former WHL/NHL player who owns a piece of the Tri-City Americans, has been added to the Dallas Stars’ coaching staff. Barnes, 46, spent the previous two seasons on the coaching staff at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C. In 2016-17, he was the head coach of the one of the academy’s midget prep teams. . . . Barnes also was an assistant coach in Dallas from 2008-12. . . . He played 16 seasons in the NHL after spending three seasons (1987-90) in the WHL with the New Westminster Bruins and the Americans. . . . In Dallas, he will work alongside head coach Ken Hitchcock. The Stars also have added Rick Wilson to their coaching staff as an assistant. Wilson, a career assistant, was with the St. Louis Blues last season. Wilson spent 15 seasons (1993-2004, 2005-09) on the Stars’ staff. He is a former assistant coach and head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders (1980-88).
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Trevor Letowski, the new head coach of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, has been named an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team. With Team Canada, he replaces Kris Knoblauch, the former head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters, who now is an assistant with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. In Windsor, Letowski took over from Rocky Thompson, who now is head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Dominique Ducharme of the QMJHL’s Drummondiville Voltigeurs is back as Canada’s head coach, with Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors returning as the other assistant coach.
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The 2019 RBC Cup will be held in Brooks, Alta., May 11-19. The AJHL’s Brooks Bandits will be the host team. This will be the seventh time the event has been held in Alberta. It was in Lloydminster in 2016. The Bandits, who won the RBC Cup in 2013, are the AJHL’s defending champions. The 2018 RBC Cup is scheduled to be played in Chilliwack, B.C. . . . 

Tickets for the seventh annual Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C., will go on sale on July 7. The six-game preseason tournament will run from Sept. 8-11, featuring teams of prospects from the host Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

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