Scattershooting: WHL to the ‘Peg? Where are The Hat’s fans? Team of the Century?


Scattershooting from Burnaby, B.C., where I didn’t get arrested (because I didn’t protest) but I did fill up our car at $1.55.9 a litre. . . .

According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Kootenay Ice, in its first season under new ownership, showed an increase of 688 fans per game (2,442 versus 1,754) in 2017-18. That allowed the Ice to move up from 22nd to 21st in the 22-team league’s attendance ranking.

What it didn’t do was stop the rumours that the Ice’s owners — Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell — ultimately will move the franchise to Winnipeg. The problem, of course, is that there isn’t a facility there that would be suitable as a home arena. The solution? Speculation is that Fettes will spearhead the building of a new arena, in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.

From the department of books: If you haven’t read Beartown, please treat yourself. It is about hockey and living and a team and families and oh, so much more. It is devastatingly good. That is all. (Tip of the Taking Note cap to friend Casey O’Brien for recommending it.) . . . Seriously, I can’t get over just how great it is.

Headline at Cleveland Cavalier assistant coach to take leave of absence to look into chest pain and insomnia. Head coach LeBron James unavailable for comment.

It was on Dec. 5, 2008 when the Portland Winterhawks announced that they had signed Garry Davidson as their director of player personnel. At the time, you may recall, the Winterhawks didn’t have a lot of friends in the WHL. On top of that, perhaps no one in the hockey world was despised by WHL people as much as Davidson. He had been in the BCHL since 1991, so had been recruiting against WHL teams for a long time. That’s why it was so refreshing to see that the WHL has moved past all of that, something that became evident on Wednesday when Davidson, now in his sixth season as the general manager of the Everett Silvertips, was named the Western Conference’s executive of the year.

The greatest mystery in the the WHL these days is this: Where are the hockey fans of Medicine Hat? The Tigers used to draw 4,006 fans per game to the Medicine Hat Arena. Now they have a new arena in which they have played three seasons. They have finished atop the Central Division each of the past two seasons. In 2015-16, the average announced attendance was 4,248. Last season, that number was 3,586; this season it was 3,295. That’s a decrease of 953 over two seasons. Yikes!

Then the playoffs arrived and the attendance in Medicine Hat dropped even further. The announced attendance on Friday was 3,050, as the Tigers opened with a 7-2 thrashing of the Brandon Wheat Kings. On Sunday, the Tigers posted a 7-3 victory before an announced crowd of 2,943. . . . After Sunday’s game Sean Rooney of the Medicine Hat News tweeted: “This is the worst-attendance Tigers playoff game since a crowd of 1,590 saw them swept by Swift Current on March 24, 1997.” . . . Hey, that was 20 years ago. Yikes, again!

From the department of adults scheduling for teenagers: The Prince George Spruce Kings forced Game 7 of a BCHL playoff series by beating the host Surrey Eagles, 3-1, on Saturday night. They played Game 7 in Prince George on Sunday night. Seriously. According to Google, it’s a 760-km bus ride. . . . BTW, the Spruce Kings, with a 38-14 edge in shots, won Game 7, 4-0.

Next up for the Spruce Kings will be the Powell River Kings. Google informs us that those communities are separated by 891 kilometres. No word yet on whether Games 6 and 7 will be scheduled for back-to-back nights in different cities.

If you haven’t seen the CHL’s Team of the Century page and all that goes with it, you should check it out. There is a lot of history here in a project that features a story on every Memorial Cup championship — all 99 of them. There are great stories, great photos and lots of anecdotes. You also will be able to vote for the Team of the Century and, yes, there are prizes. . . . It’s all right here.

“Professional bowling, an ESPN staple since the network’s founding in 1979, is moving to Fox for a ‘multi-year, multi-platform’ deal beginning in 2019,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Things got so quiet around the ESPN studios when the news was announced that you could’ve heard . . . nah, too easy.”

F Ty Rattie has been a scorer at every level at which he has played, whether it was bantam, the WHL or the AHL. But in 35 NHL games — 30 with the St. Louis Blues and five with the Carolina Hurricanes — he had managed only four goals and six assists. Now he’s getting a chance with the Edmonton Oilers, who have him playing on their top line, alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. All Rattie has done is put up four goals and three assists in eight games with Edmonton. It will be interesting to see if he gets the same chance next season.

A porn star goes on 60 Minutes, history’s greatest TV newsmagazine, and talks openly of her fling with the man who now is the POTUS, and it’s just another day in paradise. Hey, is this a great time to be alive, or what?


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