Cougars sign Smith as associate coach. . . . Royals add to hockey ops. . . . Study: Pro-junior deal hinders some players


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D Zach Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and one assist in 35 games. . . .

D William Wrenn (Portland, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 46 games with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had one goal and nine assists. . . .

F Mads Eller (Edmonton, 2013-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Rødovre Mighty Bulls (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, in 24 games, he had 11 goals and eight assists. He was tied for second on the team in goals.


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Jason Smith is back in the WHL, less than a year after being fired as the head coach of PrinceGeorgethe Kelowna Rockets. On Tuesday, Smith was named the Prince George Cougars’ associate coach. . . . The Cougars announced on July 4 that Mark Lamb, their general manager, also would be the head coach. At the time, Lamb stressed the importance of hiring a solid associate coach, who would run the team while Lamb was tied up with his other duties. . . . “I am thrilled that we could bring on Jason,” Lamb said in a news release. “He checks off every box of what we were looking for in an associate coach.” . . . Lamb and Smith, 45, have some history together. Lamb was an assistant coach and Smith a defenceman on the 2001-02 Edmonton Oilers. . . . Smith spent two-plus seasons as the Rockets’ head coach before being fired on Oct. 22 with the club at 4-10-0. In his two full seasons as head coach, the Rockets were 45-22-5 and 43-22-7. . . . From Calgary, Smith played two seasons (1991-93) with the Regina Pats before going on to a pro career during which he split 1,008 regular-season NHL games between the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators. . . . He spent two seasons with Ottawa as a scout and development consultant, then was an assistant coach for two seasons.


Ed Fowler is the Victoria Royals’ new director of player personnel. Fowler, who is from VictoriaRoyalsVancouver, has been on the Royals’ scouting staff for six years, most recently as senior regional scout (west). According to a news release, he will be “responsible for the co-ordination of the Royals’ scouting staff, assisting in the development of the team’s 50-man Player Protected List and the recruitment of prospects.” . . . The Royals also have a new athletic therapist — J.T. Ward. He joins the Royals after working with Pacific FC, Victoria’s pro soccer team Ward, who is from Prince Rupert, B.C., also has worked with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs.


Using information from NHL drafts from 2005 to 2014, Prashanth Iyer of Hockey Graphs has put together a study of young players and their long-term development. What he discovered, according to Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston, is that the pro-junior agreement between the NHL and NHLPA “is putting major junior draftees behind their peers in terms of long-term development, suppressing their hopes of NHL stardom.” . . . Basically, what that means is that because 18- and 19-year-old Europeans are allowed to play professionally, they get a leg up on their careers, while a major junior player, selected in the NHL draft at 18 or 19, isn’t able to join a pro team until his 20-year-old season. . . . Johnston’s complete piece is right here.


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