Monday, May 15, 2017

Silvertips have their coach ... Hitmen looking for new GM ... Giants need assistant coach


F Josh Holden (Regina, 1994-98) has signed a one-year extension with Zug (Switzerland, NL A). This season, Holden, the team captain, had 14 goals and 25 assists in 49 games. . . . Next season will be Holden’s 10th with Zub. According to Zug's website, Holden is eligible to apply for Swiss citizenship this year. . . .
F Josh Green (Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Portland, 1993-98) announced via his Twitter account that he has retired. “Walking away on my terms,” he wrote. . . . This season with KooKoo Kouvola (Finland, Liiga), he had 11 goals and six assists in 38 games. He was the team captain.
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With their arch-rivals, the Seattle Thunderbirds, flying high over Western Canada, bringing home the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Monday afternoon, the Everett Silvertips announced that they have a new head coach.
As expected, the Silvertips have brought in Dennis Williams, a 37-year-old native of Stratford, Ont., to replace Kevin Constantine, whose contract wasn’t renewed following this season.
Williams becomes the fifth head coach in the franchise’s history, which began with the 2003-04 season.
DENNIS WILLIAMS
Constantine has done two four-year stints as head coach, winning 326 regular-season and 45 playoff games in the process.
This season, Everett went 44-16-12 — for the second 100-point season in its history — and finished atop the Western Conference and the U.S. Division. The Silvertips also were the WHL’s best defensive club, allowing only 169 goals in 72 games. In the playoffs, they took a first-round series from the Victoria Royals in six games, then got swept by the Thunderbirds.
Everett management is hopeful that Williams can inject a little more run-and-gun into the Silvertips’ game.
From a Silvertips’ news release:
“Williams has 11 years of head-coaching experience across junior and college levels, carrying a lifetime winning percentage of .673 over the past seven seasons as head coach with Bloomington of the United States Hockey League and Amarillo of the North American Hockey League. After guiding Bloomington to a 29-24-7 record and fifth place in the Eastern Conference in their expansion season of 2014-15, he led the Thunder in 2015-16 to a 36-18-6 record, an appearance in the Eastern Conference final, and a victory shy of reaching the league’s Clark Cup final.”
Williams has been the USHL-Bloomington, Ill., Thunder’s general manager of hockey operations and head coach for three seasons. Before that, he was the director of hockey operations and head coach of the NAHL’s Amarillo, Texas, Bulls.
CSH International, Inc., the sports property division of The Monarch Corporation, owns the Silvertips, Thunder and Bulls. The Monarch Corporation is a private investment company that is headquartered in Medicine Hat and is headed up by Bill Yuill.
Taking Note was told last week that Williams had two years left on his contract with Bloomington.
The Silvertips’ news release didn’t mention either assistant coach Mitch Love or goaltender coach Shane Clifford. Brennan Sonne, the team’s other assistant coach this season, has left the club and signed on as head coach of Angers, a professional team in France.
The Silvertips’ news release on Williams is right here.
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The Calgary Hitmen are in the market for a general manager after they announced on Monday that their hockey operations are being restructured.
MIKE MOORE
The Hitmen are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, the parent of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
On Monday, Mike Moore, the WHL franchise’s vice-president of business operations and general manager since 2013, was named vice-president and alternate governor.
According to a news release, Moore’s “new role will see a continued focus on business operations while also acting as an advisor and providing support to the general manager.”
Moore has been involved in the WHL since 1997. He spent one season (1997-98) as Calgary’s assistant general manager, before moving to Kamloops as the Blazers’ GM (1998-2004). He was the Medicine Hat Tigers’ GM for one season (2004-05), before spending three seasons as director of athletics at the Calgary-based Edge School.
Moore returned to the Hitmen for 2008-09, as director of business operations, later adding assistant GM to his responsibilities, then being name GM and vice-president of business operations in 2013.
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Teams in the WHL each play 72 regular-season games as they strive to earn home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
Right?
But is home-ice advantage worth anything when the real season starts?
Well, the final figures are in and it seems that there isn’t much of an advantage, if any.
Hartley Miller is the sports director at 94.3 The Goat in Prince George and also provides analysis on broadcasts of the Cougars’ home games.
What follows is from numbers he compiled . . .
In the first round of the WHL playoffs, the home team was 22-22.
That figure was 13-10 in the second round, 6-6 in the third round, and 3-3 in the championship final.
Add it all up and the home team was 44-41 in the 2017 playoffs.
Four series went seven games. In Round 1, the home team was 1-1 in Game 7s and 1-1 in Round 2.
As Miller notes, “In the conference finals, the Regina Pats ended the series in Lethbridge and the Seattle Thunderbirds did the same in Kelowna.” As well, the Thunderbirds ended the championship final in Regina on Sunday night.
“In other words,” Miller notes, “the location of the game seems to mean less and less the bigger the series.”
Miller also took a look at the NHL playoffs, including Monday’s game.
In the opening round, the home team was 19-23. In the second round, it was 15-11.
Including Monday, the home team is 2-2 in the third round.
To this point, then, the home team is 36-36 in the NHL playoffs.
Advantage? Not really.
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F Matt Revel, who played out his junior eligibility this season, has decided to attend UBC and play for the Thunderbirds. A native of Abbotsford, B.C., Revel split his final season between the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks, totalling nine goals and 12 assists in 42 games. He missed a chunk of the season after suffering a collarbone injury. While recovering from that, the Blazers placed him on 20-year-old waivers and he was claimed by Portland. In 314 career WHL games, he had 71 goals and 101 assists. He played the first 104 of those regular-season games with the Saskatoon Blades.
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The Tri-City Americans have signed D Tom Cadieux, who was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, the Saskatoon native had eight goals and 13 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Sask. Cadieux, who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 11, also had a goal and an assist in four games with the midget AAA Hounds.
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A lot of snow has gone into the Zamboni since Dave King was the head coach of the WHL’s Billings Bighorns. These days, the man who is one of the godfathers of Canadian hockey coaches is in Paris as an assistant coach with Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship. Lucas Aykroyd sat down with King and what resulted is a two-parter. Part 1 is right here. Enjoy!
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Coaching

Tyler Kuntz won’t be returning to the Vancouver Giants for a third season as an assistant coach. The Giants revealed Monday that they have “parted ways” with Kuntz. He spent two seasons with them, working with head coaches Lorne Molleken (2015-16) and Jason McKee (2016-17). Before joining the Giants, McKee was the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds.
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The SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears announced on Monday that head coach Mike Craigen’s contract won’t be renewed. Craigen was 206-151-35 in seven regular seasons with the Ice Bears. In the playoffs, he was 16-15. When the Ice Bears won the 2014-15 championship, Craigen became the first person in SPHL history to win championships as a player (2006, 2008) and coach.
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George Burnett, preparing for his first season as the general manager and head coach of the OHL’s Guelph Storm, said Monday that assistant coaches Todd Harvey and Luca Caputi will be back as assistant coaches, with Matt Smith returning as goaltending coach. . . . As well, Phil Golding has been named the Storm’s assistant general manager. He has been with the organization since 2007, working in the business operations department.
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Alex Evin has signed on with the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings as their associate coach. Evin, 30, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Before that, he spent three seasons with Selkirk College of the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League, one as head coach and two as an assistant coach. With the Spruce Kings, Evin will be working alongside head coach Adam Maglio.

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