Broncos sign assistant coaches . . . Warriors have imports in fold . . . Hitmen add ex-talking head to front office

MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) requested and was granted his release for personal reasons by the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He had signed a one-year contract in June. . . . Kovář, on the Hawks’ website: “I was really looking forward to playing for the Hawks next season and moving to the Altrincham area to continue my work as (a) personal trainer. Unfortunately, due to a family illness, I will now be staying in Kazakhstan for the foreseeable future.” . . . Kovář played for Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya Liga) last season, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games. He had played the previous four seasons in England.


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The Swift Current Broncos have announced the hiring of two assistant coaches — SCBroncosBrandin Cote and Scott Dutertre. . . . Cote, who is from Swift Current, was the associate coach at Red Deer College last season. Prior to that, he spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders and two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs. He played five seasons (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dutertre, from Dinsmore, Sask., has been an assistant coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies, both men’s and women’s teams, for four seasons. He also is the national skating and skills coach for Ice Hockey Australia. . . . Cote and Dutertre fill the voids created by the departures of Ryan Smith, who now is with the Medicine Hat Tigers, and Jamie Heward, who has joined the Vancouver Giants.


Bil La Forge, who is into his first year as the general manager of the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds, has more than a bit of hockey in his background. And, yes, he paid his dues before signing on as the Thunderbirds’ GM. . . . Jason Gregor of oilersnation.com has more right here in a good read on La Forge and the road he travelled to get to where he is today.



The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed their two selections from the 2018 CHL import MooseJawWarriorsdraft — Daniil Stepanov and Yegor Buyalsky, both 17-year-old forwards from Belarus. . . . Stepanov had three goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the U-18 Team Belarus. . . . Buyalsky had 19 goals and 29 assists in 49 games with the U-17 Team Belarus. He played at the 2018 Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up five goals and an assist in six games. . . . Both players already are in Moose Jaw as they prepare for the opening of training camp on Aug. 22. . . . The Warriors finished last season with two import defenceman — Oleg Sosunov and Dmitri Zaitsev. Neither is expected back as a 20-year-old. Sosunov will play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization; Zaitsev signed with Melallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.


Rob Kerr has been named assistant general manager, business operations by the Calgary Hitmen. He takes over from Melissa Blades, who now is manager, business operations with lacrosse’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . Both organizations are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which also owns the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Kerr spent the past 15 years at Sportsnet and for 12 of those was an on-air host at Calgary radio station Sportsnet 960—The Fan.


Alex Dixon is the Seattle Thunderbirds’ new equipment manager, replacing Trevor Heinzerling, who left to sign on the assistant equipment manager with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Dixon spent last season as the equipment manager with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. . . . Prior to that, he was with the USA National Team Development Program for two seasons and, before that, spent two seasons with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.


Todd Harkins has joined the West Van Hockey Academy as the director of program development and head coach of the bantam varsity side. Harkins spent the previous six seasons with the Prince George Cougars, the last four as general manager. Prior to that, he was the hockey director at the North Shore Winter Club for 12 years. . . . At the same time, the West Van academy revealed that Yashar Farmanara is leaving “operational and ownership rules” in order to pursue “interests outside of hockey.” A co-founder of the academy, he coached the Elite 15 team for the past two seasons. . . . Farmanara split five WHL seasons (2003-08) among the Seattle Thunderbirds, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers.


We in the Kamloops area have been well aware of F Jermaine Loewen of the Blazers and his startlingly good story for a few years now. But now that he has been selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL draft, more people are being introduced to Loewen, a 20-year-old power forward with the perpetual smile. Jeff Miller of nhl.com has a piece on Loewen right here.


Mitch Topinka has signed on as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Last season, he was on staff with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Doug Hedley, who was the general manager and head coach with the Blizzard last season, now fills both those roles with the Kings. . . . Topinka, who is from Whitewood, Sask., also scouted for the Blizzard while coaching a junior B team in Regina. . . . According to a Kings’ news release, Topinka was a stick boy with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks when Hedley was coaching there “in the early 2000s.”


The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Jered Neufeld as an assistant coach. He spent the past two seasons as coach/assistant general manager with the Esterhazy Flyers of the Triangle Hockey League. . . . Neufeld also spent time on the coaching staff of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s Red Deer Vipers. . . . Neufeld now is the general manager of Legacy Ford Fernie.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday: No welcome back Carter . . . Kamloops adds a scout . . . DD Train is rolling now


Scattershooting

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: “Former NFL running back Ricky Williams, who once took a break from smoking weed to swear to me that he was done smoking weed, is selling his own line of weed products, ‘Real Wellness by Ricky Williams.’  I hope it’s better than the line of baloney he used to sell.”


On the subject of weed and footballers, you don’t suppose the Saskatchewan Roughriders released Duron Carter because he had become too much of a distraction, do you? That being the case, the move should have been made weeks, if not months, ago.

Carter received an absolute discharge on June 21 in Winnipeg after pleading guilty to possession of marijuana-laced cookies — they also featured chocolate chips — following his arrest at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport on Nov. 25 in November.

He also has pleaded not guilty to another possession charge, this one stemming from an arrest at Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport on Feb. 1. That case is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 3.

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For any football fans expecting an honest explanation from the brass as to why the Roughriders dumped Carter, well, forget it. Chris Jones is the top dog there — actually, he is the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator — and the team’s playbook carries the title ‘My Way or the Highway.’ Jones also isn’t alone in footballdom in operating under a cone of silence. I mean, are you still expecting New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to explain why he didn’t use defensive back Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl LII?

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If you’re interested in an overview of the situation involving the Roughriders and Carter, Ian Hamilton, the senior reporter at riderville.com, has a good look right here.


The Kamloops Blazers have added Jason Pashelka to their scouting staff. Pashelka, from Kamloops1Calgary, spent 11 seasons scouting with the Portland Winterhawks, so has a connection to Matt Bardsley, the Blazers’ new general manager. Bardsley had been in the Winterhawks’ organization since 1999 before signing on with the Blazers. . . . Pashelka spent the past two seasons scouting southern Alberta for the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Earlier, the Blazers lost scout Mark Blair, who left after 11 seasons with them. He since has joined the scouting staff in Moose Jaw.


“Estaban Loaiza, who made over $40 million as a Major League pitcher, faces life in prison for attempting to sell $500,000 in cocaine near a San Diego school,” tweets comedy writer Alex Kaseberg. “Experts say this is the stupidest thing attempted since IHOP changed its name to International House of Burgers.”

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Kaseberg, again: “In Florida, a police helicopter filmed a fleeing woman who stole a car being herded by cows toward the police. Authorities do not consider this a full-blown Florida incident as she was not carrying an alligator under her arm at the time.”


The Kamloops Broncos dropped a 42-0 decision to the Vancouver Island Raiders in a junior football game played in Nanaimo on Saturday night. Judging from the above tweet, the Broncos had some issues with their punting game.


The Las Vegas Aces, a team in the WNBA, spent 24 hours en route to Washington, D.C., for a recent game with the Mystics. When they didn’t arrive in Washington until five hours before the scheduled game time, they chose not to play “for health and safety reasons.” . . . Seriously. . . . Under similar circumstances, how many junior hockey games wouldn’t get played over the course of a season? . . . The WNBA later forfeited that game to the Mystics.



“The Dallas Cowboys welcomed Randy Gregory to camp after he had been suspended by the NFL for a year due to substance abuse violations,” notes Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon. “This is merely the latest in a series of suspensions for the same reason. A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Jones said without any modifiers that if one of the Cowboys did not stand on the sidelines for the national anthem, that player would not play for the Cowboys. So, a serial drug abuser is OK, but . . .”


Brian Elder is the new head scout for the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. Elder, who played three seasons (1994-97 ) tending goal with the Brandon Wheat Kings, lives and teaches school in Souris, Man. He spent the previous four seasons as a scout with the Oil Capitals. . . . Jamie Hodson, the Oil Capitals’ director of business and hockey operations, also is a former Wheat Kings goaltender (1997-2001).


The DD Train has started to roll. Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. This year, on Sept. 23, she will take part in her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation, you may do so right here. As of last night, she was among the top-10 fundraisers in B.C. Yes, we are rather proud of her in these parts.


“Give Trump credit,” writes Janice Hough (leftcoastsportsbabe.com). “Before this year, almost nobody cared what the SCORES were for preseason football, let alone what players were doing during the anthem.”

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Hough, again: “The San Francisco 49ers now say there isn’t anything they can do about the intense sun and heat faced by fans on the east side of Levi’s Stadium. But they will lower the price of bottled water from $6 to $2 so fans can stay hydrated. That’s the NFL equivalent of ‘thoughts and prayers’.”


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Leafs’ training camp under way . . . Hawgy’s back in NHL . . . Portland booster club prexy on road to recovery


MacBeth

D Renat Mamashev (Moose Jaw, 2000-01) announced his retirement. Last season, he had two goals and one assist in 18 games with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (Russia, KHL); two goals and 11 assists in nine games with Sarov (Russia, Vysshaya Liga); and one goal and three assists in 19 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL). In an interview, Mamashev said he plans to move with his family to New York City and enrol in Columbia University’s Sports Management Program. . . .

D Travis Ehrhardt (Moose Jaw, Portland, 2004-09) signed a one-year contract with the Glasgow Clan (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had six goals and 12 assists in 37 games with KRS Heilongjiang Harbin (China, Russia Vysshaya Liga).


ThisThat

Forget the Summer Showcase and the Hlinka Gretzy Cup, because they fall under the category of ‘summer hockey’ and really don’t count.

No, as you can see by the above tweet, the 2018-19 hockey season, at least on this side of the pond, got started on Friday when the junior B Nelson Leafs, who play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, opened their training camps.

Could that be why fans were chanting ‘Go Leafs Go’ during the Toronto Blue Jays’ game on Friday night?


Chase Souto played four seasons (2010-14) with the Kamloops Blazers when concussions Kamloops1ended his playing career before his 20-year-old season. Souto, 23 now, is from Yorba Linda, Calif. He joined the Blazers after playing for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings U-16 and U-18 teams. Now he is an assistant general manager with the Jr. Kings program. . . . Chad Klassen of CFJC-TV in Kamloops reports that Souto has been added to the Blazers’ scouting staff. . . . “I’m going to be working with our midget team . . .,” Souto told Klassen. “I see a lot of the kids from Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Minnesota a little bit, too, so just help out the team and see if we can get some American blood back up here.” . . .

Klassen also reported that Greg Hawgood, a former Blazers defenceman (1983-88) who did a stint as the team’s head coach (2007-08), has signed on with the Chicago Blackhawks as a part-time amateur scout. Hawgood, who is from Edmonton, turned 50 on Friday. He lives in Kamloops, where he works at the Kamloops Regional Correction Centre. . . .Hawgood had seasons of 119, 123 and 133 points with the Blazers, then went on to a pro career that included 474 regular-season games in the NHL.

Klassen’s complete story is right here.


Nick Marek, who had been working with the NAHL’s Lone Star Brahmas, is joining the PortlandPortland Winterhawks as broadcast and media relations manager, meaning that he will, among other things, handle play-by-play duties. The Brahmas revealed the move in a news release on Friday. . . . Marek, 26, had been the Brahmas’ director of communications and broadcasting. He joined the Brahmas prior to the 2014-15 season. . . . In Portland, Marek will fill the spot vacated by Evan Richardson, who left after one season in order to return to his home in Toronto.



The Portland Winterhawks are scheduled to open training camp on Aug. 21 and Stuart PortlandKemp, the president of the team’s booster club, is adamant that he will be there. Should that happen, there won’t be any doubt about who is the toughest person in the building. . . . Kemp, 51, suffered two strokes this summer — on April 30 and May 8 — and has been working to rehabilitate with the opening of training camp as a target. . . . Kemp is a native of Port Moody, B.C. . . . Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune wrote about Kemp this week, pointing out that Kemp once was a pro wrestler and spent time on the Canadian circuit. Kemp wrestled as the Illegitimate Son of Bob Brown — no, not that Bob Brown; Bulldog Bob Brown. . . . According to Danzer, Kemp “estimates he won a half-dozen times and lost at least 800 bouts.” . . . Danzer’s story is right here. It should be required reading for all WHL fans because folks like the Kemps — Stuart and his wife, Cathy — truly are the Most Valuable People in junior hockey.

Friends also have a GoFundMe page rolling, and you are able to find it right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


Mark Hunter is back in the OHL, and has returned to his job as general manager of the LondonLondon Knights. Rob Simpson, who had been the GM, now is the associate general manager. . . . Hunter is a co-owner and vice-president of the organization. . . . After 14 seasons as general manager, he left the Knights in 2014 to take on the role of director of player personnel with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, who promoted him to assistant general manager prior to the 2016-17 season. . . . He left the Maple Leafs earlier this season after he was bypassed when Kyle Dubas, who also had been an AGM, was named general manager. . . . With Hunter no longer scouting for an NHL team, I, for one, will miss our press box chats.


Nicholas and Joshua Filoso have purchased the junior A Smiths Falls Bears of the CCHL and the Westport Rideaus of the CCHL2 from Chris Cassell. He had owned the Bears for 12 years, and purchased the Redeaus in 2015. . . . This is a really interesting story because Nicholas is 23 years of age and Joshua is 21. They are from Ottawa and are involved in family-run businesses there and in Calgary. . . . Jonathan Brodie of the Brockville Recorder and Times has the whole story right here.

It’s worth noting that the Bears were part of one of the most-exciting playoff series in hockey history. They met up with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers in the 1974 Centennial Cup’s best-of-seven final. The Steelers, under head coach George Dorman, won the national junior A title when F Gord Kaluzniak scored with about two minutes left in Game 7 for a 1-0 victory. The entire series was played in the Nepean Sportsplex in Ottawa.


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Broncos sign director of scouting . . . Blades add pair of scouts . . . MJHL’s winningest coach steps aside


MacBeth

F Brett Bulmer (Kelowna, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 23 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with the Florida Everblades (ECHL).


ThisThat

Chad Leslie, who had been scouting in Manitoba for the Saskatoon Blades, will be joining the Swift Current Broncos as their director of scouting. . . . A source familiar with the SCBroncossituation told Taking Note that the Broncos are expected to announce Leslie’s hiring as training camp opens. . . . Leslie, 40, spent three seasons with the Blades. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals, first as assistant GM/assistant coach, then as assistant GM/director of player personnel. He spent the previous three seasons (2009-12) with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, working as assistant coach, then head coach and finally as a scout. Of late, he also has been scouting for the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. . . . With the Broncos, he will be working with Dean Brockman, the team’s new general manager/head coach, and Gary Aubin, who has been hired as the director of player personnel.

Taking Note also has been told that Craig Anderson of Brandon has joined the Broncos’ scouting staff. Anderson also works as the assistant GM and head scout with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. He also has scouted with the Edmonton Oil Kings.


The Saskatoon Blades officially added Brian Leavold and Derek Serraglio to their Saskatoonscouting staff on Thursday. Both men will scout for the Blades in B.C. . . . Leavold, who is retired from the North Vancouver Fire Department, spent the better part of 20 years with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Serraglio, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., works for BMO Private Banking. He has remained active in minor hockey since retiring as a player. He is preparing for his first season as a WHL scout. . . . At the same time, the Blades announced that Kerry Gladson, who lives in White Rock, B.C., has left the organization after four seasons as a scout.


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How were things in our neck of the woods on Thursday? . . . Well, the above photo shows that things were a little warm and a bit smoky. The thermometer on our deck only goes up to 50 C, but the needle was past that at 4:45 p.m. . . . This is the view looking east along the South Thompson River. There is a mountain — Mount Martin — somewhere through the smoke. . . . The smoke and smokin’ hot temperatures are supposed to move out after one more day. We hope!


The Prince George Cougars have signed Czech F Matej Toman, who was the fifth overall PrinceGeorgeselection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . Toman, 17, played last season in his hometown, for HC Ceske Budejovice. With the U-18 team, he had three goals and 12 assists in 11 regular-season games, and six goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. He also played 25 games with the U-20 team, recording eight goals and six assists. With the men’s team, he had two goals and an assist in 15 games. Toman is playing with the Czech team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Cougars’ second import player is F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who will return for a second WHL season. He is from Minsk, Belarus.


D Daniel Bukac, 19, has agreed to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs after spending the past two seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings dropped the Czech native prior to the CHL’s 2018 import draft, and the IceDogs selected him in the second round. . . . The 6-foot-4 Bukac was selected by the Boston Bruins in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . In 111 regular-season games with Brandon, he had two goals and 23 assists.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


D John Miner played 217 regular-season games (1982-85 ) with the Regina Pats. An offensive defenceman, he could really shoot a puck and excelled on the power play. You might recall that Wayne Gretzky was part of a trade in which Miner ended up going from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. That was 30 years ago. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski has more on Miner right here. . . . A tip of the fedora to Brad Hornung for the link.


Ken Pearson, the winningest regular-season coach in MJHL history, has stepped aside as Winklerhead coach of the Winkler Flyers, but he will stay on as general manager. Pearson has been the Flyers’ GM/head coach for the previous seven seasons. . . . Steve Mullin, an assistant coach with Pearson for six seasons, has taken over as head coach. . . . Mullin played two seasons (2000-02) with the Flyers, then spent four seasons at the U of Maine. In 2009-10, he was the head coach of the midget AAA Pembina Valley Hawks, who won a Manitoba midget championship. . . . Pearson has coached in the MJHL for 16 seasons, going 519-295-62-14. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers is second on the victory list, with 487.


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OHL player draws suspension after positive test . . . Get your Hitmen record book here . . . OHL champs have new coach


MacBeth

F Justin Kelly (Prince Albert, Spokane, Saskatoon, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with Deggendorf (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had four goals and 11 assists in 23 games with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). Then, in the playoffs, he added eight goals and 15 assists in 16 games for the DEL2 champions, leading the league in assists and points.


ThisThat

F Danial Singer, who was involved in a trade on Tuesday, has been suspended by the OHL for eight games after failing a drug test during the OHL playoffs last spring. Singer, ohl19, tested positive for an undisclosed prohibited substance and, as called for by the CHL Drug Education Anti-Doping Program, will sit for eight games. He will miss the first eight games of the upcoming regular season. . . . On Tuesday, the Erie Otters acquired Singer and a fifth-round selection in the OHL draft, from the Niagara IceDogs for F Ivan Lodnia, who had requested a trade. . . . Last season, Singer, who is from St. Catharines, Ont., had 26 goals and 22 assists in 67 games with the IceDogs. . . . Lodnia, 18, was Erie’s first-round pick in the 2015 OHL draft. Last season, he had 22 goals and 37 assists in 62 games. . . . Dave Brown, the Otters’ general manager, told Victor Fernandes of goerie.com that he was aware of the positive drug test before making the trade for Singer. If’s unfortunate, Brown said, that the positive test became public knowledge. “Whoever let it out had a complete disregard for not only the player but his family and the policy that’s in place in the CHL,” Brown said. “The purpose of our policy is to avoid situations like this. What’s happened here is an error in judgment has become blown out of proportion.” . . . That complete story is right here.


This is a thing of beauty, and I have to think that Jeff Chynoweth, the general manager of the Calgary Hitmen, had something to do with it. It is the Official Calgary Hitmen Record Book/Media Guide and it is all-inclusive, even including a section showing who has worn which numbers in the team’s 23-year history. . . . Chynoweth always has had a love affair with numbers and has long understood the value of statistics and their place in hockey’s history. . . . Well done!


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


Dave Matsos has been promoted from associate coach to head coach of the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. Matsos, 44, has worked in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves and Windsor Spitfires. He was in Sudbury for four seasons, and spent the last two-plus of those as head coach. He was an assistant coach in Windsor for three seasons. . . . Matsos also has coached in England, where he led the Sheffield Steelers to three straight titles (2006-09). . . . In Hamilton, Matsos takes over from John Gruden, who now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . The Bulldogs also have promoted Vince Laise, 35, from assistant coach to associate coach. He is going into his third season in Hamilton, after working as an assistant coach with the Erie Otters for three seasons.


Mike Bavis has signed on as head coach of the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Bavis, who spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach at Boston U, replaces Mark Dennehy, who left without coaching in even one game. He signed in May but left earlier this month to take over as head coach of the Binghamton Devils, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. . . . Bavis left BU after 2012-13, following the retirement of head coach Jack Parker. Bavis, 48, went on to coach with the AHL’s Springfield Indians and at Babson College, an NCAA Division 3 school.


What if your favourite hockey team had its home arena shut down and had to relocate to another arena about 2,700 km away? Well, that’s what has happened to Avangard Omsk Oblast of the KHL. Rather serious structural problems have been found in the team’s home arena, so it will be starting the approaching season in a 6,000-seat arena near Moscow. . . . Patrick Conway has more on this story right here.


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Hitmen get goalie from T-birds . . . Seattle playoff hero off to Calgary . . . Rockets sign Finnish defender


MacBeth

F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with Csíkszereda (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 32 games. He led his team in goals, assists and points, and was third in the league’s points race.


ThisThat

The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded G Carl Stankowski, who shone as they won the 2016-17 WHL championship but then didn’t play in 2017-18, to the Calgary Hitmen.

In return for Stankowski, an 18-year-old who played minor hockey in Calgary, and a Seattleconditional fourth-round selection, year undisclosed, in the WHL’s bantam draft, the Thunderbirds acquired D Mike Koster, 17, an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

“Carl’s medical needs have become very significant and we felt that being close to his home in Calgary would allow his family to more closely monitor his needs,” Seattle GM Bil La Forge said in a news release.

Stankowski, then in his 16-year-old season, took over from injured starter Rylan Toth late in the 2016-17 regular season and sparkled as Seattle won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. CalgaryStankowski, a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft, was 3-0-0, 2.18, .910 in seven regular-season appearances, then went 16-4, 2.50, .911 in the playoffs. However, hip problems and health issues kept Stankowski from playing last season.

Andy Side of 710 ESPN Seattle detailed Stankowski’s issues in a February story that is right here. . . .

Koster, from Chaska, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2020-21. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 21 games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He also captained the Chaska High Team, and put up 14 goals and 41 assists in 25 games. Koster is playing for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this week.

“Koster is an elite defenseman who is NCAA committed,” La Forge said. “We feel that we will provide him with a very viable option going forward. We look forward to opening the lines of communication with him.”

In Seattle, the trade means that G Liam Hughes, 19, is alone atop the depth chart. Last season, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was 16-12-6, 3.15, .909. It is likely that Cole Schwebius, 17, and Eric Ward, 17, will battle for the No. 2 spot. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft; Ward is a list player from Edmonton.

In Calgary, the Hitmen, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, are looking to replace Nick Schneider, who completed his eligibility by making 61 appearances.

The Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 20, who was limited by injuries to four games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. Interestingly, Sanders, like Stankowski, has had hip-related problems. Also in the hunt will be Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30. A fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft, he got into 19 games with Calgary last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890).


There wasn’t anything on the Kelowna Rockets’ website as of Tuesday night, but if Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, says they have signed Finnish D Lassi Thomson, well, that’s good enough for me. . . . Thomson will turn 18 on Sept. 24. . . . He is from Tampere. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 49 games with Ives U-20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga. He also played six games with the Ives U-18 team, putting up four goals and three assists. On top of that, he played 20 games with the U-18 national team, scoring three goals and adding seven assists. . . . The Rockets selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft.



The Calgary Hitmen are looking for an athletic therapist with the news that Kyle Vouriot has signed on with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning trainer. . . . The Winnipeg-based Moose is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Vouriot, who is from Winnipeg, was with the Hitmen for three seasons.


Spiros Anastas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . With the Stingrays, Anastas, 33, takes over from Ryan Warsofsky, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. . . . The Stingrays are coming of the best regular season (48-16-7-1) in franchise history. . . . Anastas was 36-68-8 with the Pronghorns. The school’s athletic department announced his departure on Friday, and now is searching for a replacement.


Matt Thomas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas, a 42-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spent 11 seasons (2002-13) coaching in the ECHL, with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder. . . . From a news release: “He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL’s sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.” . . . Thomas spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. . . . In Cincinnati, Thomas replaces Matt Macdonald, who left after four seasons to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


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Mondays With Murray: A Peek at 1984

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 1978, SPORTS

Copyright 1978/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

Jim Murray

A Peek at 1984

   They changed the phone system and numbers at The Los Angeles Times for the first time since the days of the crank telephone the other day. It’s all in the name of automation, but you’ll pardon all of us ink-stained wretches if it makes us a little nervous. I mean, today the phones, tomorrow the staff. 1984 is a little nearer. Big Brother is coming. If they automate the phones, when will they automate the stories? What will become of Hildy Johnson? Will Grantland Rice be made out of tin in the future? Damon Runyon a data bank? Richard Harding Davis just a lot of circuitry with a passport?

  A computer programmed to crank out sports stories is just a couple of transistors away. mondaysmurray2Of course, it will have to be programmed. First, if they listen to us, it will have to learn a few basics. Such as the questions:

  “What kind of a pitch did he hit?” Which must be asked of a pitcher who has just lost a World Series in the bottom of the 12th, 1-0. The computer must be programmed to duck as it asks it. Otherwise, the paper is stuck with the biggest hunk of scrap metal this side of the stretch at Indy.

  The computer will have to learn to enter the dressing room of a fighter who has just been carried in with (1) a broken nose, (2) broken ribs, (3) black eyes, (4) dented Adam’s apple that will make him sound like a ransom call the rest of his life, (5) hemorrhages on both arms, (6) blood trickling out of one ear, (7) teeth trickling out of his mouth. It will have to ask: “Did he hurt you at any time, Bat?” If the fellow is still conscious, or at least alive, teach your computer to lean down and ask, “Would you like to fight him again?””

  Your computer will have to learn to be resourceful. Look for the pithy quote even when you don’t get it from the athlete. If a golfer shoots 80 and says, “I kept hitting it into sand traps,” you quote him for the headline, “ ‘Needed Camel, Not a Caddy’ Says One-Putt Of His 80.” The quote will make all the anthologies, and within a week, One-Putt will think he actually said it.

  When you go into the locker room with a guy who just went 0 for 5 and struck out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and he says, “Get outta here, you four-eyed hunk of tin before I take a can opener and make you look like a totalled Toyota!” you make a few subtle changes. “Your headline: ‘Feeling So Strong it Frightens Me,’ Says Slugger, Despite 0 for 5.”

  Your story quotes the guy, “ ‘Tomorrow we turn these guys into pumpkins. Hope he throws me that knuckler one more time. He’ll be eating it for a week.’ ”

  Stories without quotes will be even easier. Just keep a stock of standing headlines. “Rams Blow Super Bowl to Minnesota Again” is good any December. Even the story accompanying will just need blanks to be filled in: “The Los Angeles Rams blew their chances for the Super Bowl again this year when the Minnesota Vikings defeated them because of (choose one) a blocked field goal, intercepted pass, rainstorm, sunshine, heavy overcast, superior coaching, or all six.”

  And with baseball, remember that the fans like figures, and give them to them: “The Los Angeles Dodgers drew their 4 millionth fan, sold their 16 millionth hot dog, tapped their 5 millionth barrel of beer, sold their 3 millionth bobble-head doll and had their 2,709th straight overflowing parking lot yesterday. The message board saluted the 2 millionth septuagenarian couple from Nepal, welcomes the 150,000th Rotary club, and announced that next Saturday will be ‘Mafia Night,’ with everyone carrying a violin case or horse’s head to be admitted free.”

  Basketball will be no problem. Keep this standing story: The (leave blank name of franchise) today signed All-American center Tom (Treetop) Tarheeler, the all-time Atlantic Coast Conference scorer with 1,000 points a game, to a multiyear, no-cut contract believed to call for Rhode Island, downtown Dallas, parts of Wilshire Boulevard and the mineral rights to the Gulf of Mexico.

  “The deal also includes his parole officer, the judge who validated the three previous contracts he put his ‘X’ on and the playground director who taught him not to bite people on court.”

  Auto racing? Easy. Just remember death is a mar in auto racing. As in, “Leadfoot Lonergan won the 57th running of the Fireball 500 today in a race marred by the death of …” You just have to fill in the number of drivers and/or spectators.

  In bullfighting, remember death is not a mar, it’s a must. If the bull doesn’t die, well, he gets bad notices.

  Don’t worry about statistics. Just feed your machine a daily diet of bubble-gum cards and it will know more sports trivia than a Boston cop.

  After a year or so on the beat, though, your machine will begin to act strange. It will keep its hat on in the office. It will begin to drink. It will begin to speak of the home team as “we.” It will get sick of people asking, “What’s wrong with the Rams?” It will start to complain about box lunches, the Ram offense, and the amount of space it gets for its story. Its mate may start to hope the home team doesn’t make the playoffs so it can stay home for Christmas for a change.

  And then will come the day when it will start to write about a mark being set for right-handed, half-Portuguese, half-Italian third basemen, about the “Z-outs” run by the tight ends, and it will start storing up non-winning fractions in dual meets — and you’ll know it’s the beginning of the end.

  When it starts to write, “Outlined against a blue-grey October sky . . .” or “Give me a handy guy like Sande,” then you’ll know it’s time to go to the graduating class of Princeton and wait for the first kid out of English Lit. and say, “Do you know who Ty Cobb was?” And if he says, “Who?” grab him. You’ll know you have yourself the perfect computer for the year 2000.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116

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What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org