Robison: Ice announcement ‘very soon’ . . . Blades sign L.A. prospect . . . Ex-WHLer draws more jail time


MacBeth

D Ben Betker (Portland, Everett, 2011-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Detva (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had one goal and four assists in 15 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). . . .

F Jonas Johansson (Kamloops, 2002-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with HA74 Sävsjö (Sweden, Division 2). He didn’t play last season. In 2016-17, he had eight goals and 21 assists in 33 games with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL). . . .

F Konstantin Pushkaryov (Calgary, 2004-05) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kurbads Riga (Latvia, Optibet Liga). Last season, he had seven goals and nine assists in 47 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), and seven goals and two assists in 12 games with Nomad Astana (Kazakhstan, Championship).


ThisThat

On the ninth day of our annual Christmas countdown, I’ve got a pair of tunes for you (because I didn’t post on the eighth day). Both of these feature Michael Bublé, who brings a WHL flavour because he owns a piece of the Vancouver Giants.

If you click right here you’ll find him and Blake Shelton, with the Christmas version of Home.

And if you click right here, you’ll find him with Bing Crosby performing White Christmas.


According to Ron Robison, the WHL’s commissioner, there will be an announcement “very soon” pertaining to the future of the Kootenay Ice, a franchise that plays out of Cranbrook, B.C.

The Ice is in its 21st season in Cranbrook. This is the franchise’s second season under the Kootenaynewownership of Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased it from the Chynoweth family. Fettes and Cockell are Winnipeggers and there has been speculation most of this season that they will relocate the franchise to the Manitoba capital once this season is done.

To date, there has been little in the way of comment from the WHL office or from the Ice owners.

Robison made an appearance with Dean Millard on Edmonton’s TSN radio outlet (1260) on Wednesday and talked about various things related to the WHL.

Here is Robison’s response to a question about the Ice situation:

We’re going through a process and I think that we’ve been very patient first of all with the Kootenay market . . . previously with the Chynoweth ownership which had some difficulty . . . it’s been well-publicized over the years and I think the new ownership has come in and done exactly what we wanted them to do and that was commit to that market and to make every effort to get things turned around.

“But we’ll be going through an exercise here as we’ve indicated and we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is. But we gotta be very conscious that there’s been some great support in Kootenay over the years and the ownership have done what they can do to try and get things turned around.”

Robison didn’t sound at all comfortable in talking about the Ice and there weren’t any follow-up questions.

The complete interview is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Spencer Shugrue, 15, to a WHL contract. Shugrue Saskatoonwas a ninth-round selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. . . . He has dual American-Canadian citizenship and presently lives with his family in Los Angeles, where he plays for the U-16 Jr. Kings of the T1EHL. In 17 games, he has three assists. . . . Last season, he was at the Delta Hockey Academy, where he had one goal and 11 assists in 28 games with a bantam prep team.


Barkley Swenson, a former WHL player, has been sentenced in Prince Albert Provincial Court to four months in jail on charges of possession of stolen property and breach of court conditions. According to Charlene Tebbutt of panow.com, “Swenson is to serve the four-month term on top of a 15-month sentence that he received in November in Melfort on charges of assault and uttering threats.” . . . Swenson, now 44, played 150 games in the WHL — 80 with the Prince Albert Raiders and 70 with the Tacoma Rockets — over four seasons (1990-94). . . . Tebbutt’s story is right here.


Feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and help the cause. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


Tweetoftheday

Wilson heads up Victoria’s 2020 Memorial Cup bid . . . Ex-WHLer has court date in Prince Albert . . . Fire threatens eagles’ nest


MacBeth

F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-2010) signed a two-year contract with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga). . . .

D Mark Louis (Brandon, Red Deer, 2003-08) signed a one-year contract extension with the Cardiff Devils (Wales, UK Elite). Last season, he had two assists in 30 games. Louis is spending this summer in Cardiff completing his MBA. . . .

F Sami Sandell (Brandon, 2004-06) signed a a tryout contract with Davos (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga), he had 16 goals and 32 assists in 53 games. An alternate captain, he led the team in assists and points. . . .

F Rihards Bukarts (Brandon, Portland, 2013-16) signed a one-year contract with the Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany, DEL). Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 17 games with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga); one goal in 14 games with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL); and one assists in two games with the Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL).



ThisThat

The wheels are in motion in Victoria as the Royals prepare to bid on being the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . The Royals announced this week that businessman John VictoriaRoyalsWilson will chair the bid committee, with Darren Parker, who is the Royals’ senior vice president of sales and marketing, the vice chair. . . . Wilson, a Victoria native, is the president and CEO of The Wilson’s Group, which, according to a Royals’ news release, “serves as Vancouver Island’s largest charter transportation company, and has been in operation since 1962.” . . . He is involved in the ownership groups for the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies and the junior B Peninsula Panthers. He also is part of the group that owns baseball’s Victoria HarbourCats, the perennial leaders in attendance in the West Coast League. . . . Parker, meanwhile, has been with the Royals since the franchise relocated from Chilliwack over the summer of 2011. . . . The Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes also have said they will involved in the bidding for the 2020 Memorial Cup. Organizations and cities will present their bids at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. The host city is scheduled to be revealed at the end of that meeting.


There is an interesting sidebar involved with the fire that broke on Shuswap Road in Kamloops on Thursday. A tree that was near the fire on Thursday has a bald eagle’s nest on its top. Right now, that nest is home to a pair of chicks. . . . Firefighters were able to keep the flames away from it on Thursday. On Friday evening, with high winds having arrived as was forecast, the fire blew back and, as you can see from the below tweet, Kamloops firefighters were again working to save the tree, the next and the chicks.


Barkley Swenson, who played 150 regular-season WHL games over four seasons (1990-94), will be back in a Prince Albert court room on Aug. 2 after being charged with possession of stolen property, obstructing a peace officer, attempting to evade police, dangerous driving and being unlawfully at large while on an undertaking. . . . Swenson, 44, was in court on Thursday, according to Charlene Tebbutt of panow.com, represented himself and was released on bail. . . . Swenson was arrested following an incident on June 24. . . . He played 80 regular-season WHL games with the Prince Albert Raiders and 70 with the Tacoma Rockets. In all, he had 35 goals, 50 assists and 251 penalty minutes. . . . Tebbutt’s story is right here. . . . An earlier story from panow.com is right here.



Tyson Ramsey has signed on as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals. . . . Ramsey, who is from Brandon, spent the past seven seasons with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings, three as an assistant coach and the last four as head coach. . . . Last season, he also was the head coach of the bantam AAA Westman Wildcats female team. . . . He has scouted for the Moose Jaw Warriors for the past three seasons. . . . With the Oil Capitals, Ramsey will work alongside GM/head coach Troy Leslie.


Tweetoftheday