On May 24, I posted this on Taking Note:
The U of Windsor Lancers men’s hockey team is going to spend some time in Merritt, B.C., in August. They will be involved in a hockey academy while there, and they also will play a couple of exhibition games. The big news — really big news — is that they are going to spend time working with First Nations communities who continue on the road to recovery from wildfires and floods that hit them hard in 2021. . . . The Lancers will be helping to erect five emergency homes, a project that should take five days if all goes according to plan. . . . “We’re always looking for opportunities for our student athletes to learn and grow at the rink and away from the rink,” head coach Kevin Hamlin said, “and this just seemed to be a great fit given all the craziness that’s happened and come to light out west.” . . . There’s more on this story from AM800 News right here.
The New Westminster Bruins raised single-game ticket prices prior to the 1985-86 season . . .
The Seattle Thunderbirds have acquired F Kyle Crnkovic, 20, the WHL’s fifth-leading scorer last season, from the Saskatoon Blades for F Conner Roulette, 19, and a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2026 draft. . . . Crnkovic, a first-round pick by the Blades in the WHL’s 2017 draft, had 94 points, including 39 goals, in 68 games last season. In 210 games over four-plus seasons with Saskatoon, he put up 81 goals and 140 assists. He is from Chestermere, Alta. . . . Seattle now has two 20-year-olds on its roster, the other being F Jared Davidson, who finished last season with 42 goals and 47 assists in 64 games. . . . Seattle selected Roulette, who is from Winnipeg, in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. In 131 games with the Thunderbirds, he had 117 points, including 49 goals. Last season, he put up 24 goals and 42 assists in 65 games. He added 18 points, five of them goals, in 25 playoff games as Seattle reached the WHL final. . . . The Dallas Stars picked Roulette in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . The Blades, who open training camp on Thursday, have yet to post a training camp roster on their website. But I believe they now have two 20-year-olds with them — F Josh Pillar and D Aidan De La Gorgendiere. Moving Crnkovic, then, would perhaps indicate that another deal/acquisition is imminent.
G Chase Coward won’t be on the Red Deer Rebels’ roster when the new season gets rolling. Coward, 19, got into 35 games last season, but medical issues now have him on the sideline. . . . “Chase underwent testing this summer and discovered a congenital defect to his lower body,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner, president and general manager, said in a news release. “At this time, Chase has decided he will not attend training camp or be a part of the Rebels’ roster to start the season, and we support him as he navigates through the process.” . . . In 41 regular-season games, 35 of them last season, the Swift Current native was 24-11-3, 2.62, .904. . . . Last season, Coward was 22-10-2, 2.51, .906. . . . As WHL observer Alan Caldwell tweeted: “This leaves the Rebels with no experienced goaltenders since they traded Coward’s 21-22 batterymate Connor Ungar to Moose Jaw in the spring.” . . . Perhaps the Rebels would be interested in one of two veteran OHL goaltenders, both of them 20 years of age, who have been waived. Tucker Tynan was dropped by the Soo Grehyounds, while the Peterborough Petes have dropped Tye Austin. . . . G Kyle Kelsey, 18, who was acquired from the Warriors in the Ungar deal, may get a look. However, the Rebels, who open camp on Thursday, have yet to post a training camp roster.
The MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport) reports that two former WHLers — Brandon Davidson and Tyler Wong — signed contracts with Kunlun Red Star Beijing of the KHL this week. Davidson, who played last season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, signed a two-year deal, while Wong signed a four-year extension after putting up 14 goals and 14 assists in 48 games last season. He has played the past three seasons with Kunlun Red Star. . . . Davidson, 31, played three seasons (2009-12) with the Regina Pats. Wong, 26, spent five seasons (2012-17) with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The interesting thing about these signings is that Kunlun Red Star will be playing out of Mytishchi, Russia, for a second straight season because of COVID-19 restrictions for foreigners entering China. According to The MacBeth Report, “Mytishchi is an outer northern suburb of Moscow.” . . . Am I the only one who finds it interesting that Canadian players are signing contracts to play in Russia while that country is making war on Ukraine?
THE COACHING GAME:
The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder announced late Monday that Jeff Shantz, its general manager and head coach, was leaving to join the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes as a development coach. . . . From a news release: “Sean Brown has assumed all head coach and general manager duties for the Thunder, and has begun our search for Jeff’s replacement.” . . . Brown was named associate GM and associate coach on July 18. . . . Shantz was introduced as the GM/head coach on July 13 after a five-year run as a coach at the Edge School in Calgary. Shantz, 48, played three seasons (1990-93) with the Regina Pats before going on to play 642 regular-season NHL games. He finished his pro career by playing eight seasons in Europe. . . .
The BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters have signed Tim Fragle, their general manager and head coach, to a contract extension that runs through the 2024-25 season. . . . Fragile is preparing for his third season with the Smoke Eaters with whom he spent two seasons (1997-99) as a player. . . .
The AHL’s Calgary Wranglers have added former WHL players Mackenzie Skapski and Daniel Johnston to head coach Mitch Love’s staff. . . . Skapski, a former goaltender, will serve as development goaltending coach; Johnston will be the video coach and also work in team services. . . . They will work alongside assistant coaches Don Nachbaur and Joe Cirella. . . . Skapski, 28, played three seasons (2011-14) with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice. In a five-season pro career, he got into two NHL games with the New York Rangers, going 2-0-0, 0.50, .978 with one shutout. . . . Johnston, 29, played four full seasons (2009-13) and parts of two others in the WHL, starting with the Portland Winterhawks and finishing with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. He spent the past two seasons on the Brandon Wheat Kings’ coaching staff. . . .
Former NHL D Ladislav Smid will be a guest coach when the Edmonton Oil Kings, the WHL’s defending champions, open training camp this week. Smid, from Frydiant, Czech Republic, has retired after a 17-season pro career, the last five with Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech Extraliga. He spent 11 seasons in the NHL, playing with the Edmonton Oilers, who own the Oil Kings, and the Calgary Flames. . . . The Oil Kings also revealed that Kirt Hill, who is preparing for his fifth season as president of hockey operations and general manager, has signed a multi-year contract extension, but the exact length wasn’t provided. . . . The Oil Kings also revealed that Luke Pierce, who moved from assistant coach to head coach after Brad Lauer left for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, also has signed a multi-year extension. Again, the exact length wasn’t provided. . . . There is more on the Oil Kings’ hockey operations staff right here.
THINKING OUT LOUD — A reminder to those folks who cover junior hockey: There isn’t any such thing as an overage player; he is a 20-year-old player. Were he overage, he wouldn’t be eligible to play. . . . And while we’re at it, there aren’t any assistant captains; there are alternate captains. . . . If you are a fan of the Oakland A’s or Washington Nationals, I feel for you. Consider that after Tuesday’s games, they had combined for 92 victories. The Los Angeles Dodgers, meanwhile, had won 90 games. . . . Hey, WHL, you’ve got teams opening training camps this week and there still are rosters that aren’t available. Believe it or not, there really are fans and other observers who are interested in these things. . . . Hey, WHL, perhaps you could create a full-time, high-salaried position for Alan Caldwell. You know, Minister of Statistics, Rosters, Draft Picks and Information, or something like that. If you’re interested, Caldwell is posting rosters right here as he is able to locate them. He also will be updating them as camps progress. I checked the spreadsheets there Tuesday night and got a message telling me that “some tools might be unavailable due to heavy traffic.” Yes, WHL, people really are interested in this stuff.
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