Will Red Wings return Rasmussen to Americans? . . . Swift Current adds defenceman . . . Designer of WHL logo dies at 58

MacBeth

F Colton Gillies (Saskatoon, 2004-08) has signed a one-year contract with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, he was pointless in six games with Dinamo. He was injured (shoulder) in early October 2017 and was out for the rest of the season. . . .

F Jesse Mychan (Everett, Tri-City, 2011-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Esbjerg (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after obtaining his release from Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). He had two assists in five games with Nitra this season. . . .

F Kaspars Saulietis (Kelowna, Regina, 2006-08) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with HK MOGO Riga (Latvia, Optibet Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and seven assists in 25 games with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga).


ThisThat

Could F Michael Rasmussen soon be on his way back to the Tri-City Americans?

Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA, tri-cityRasmussen, 19, has to play with the Red Wings or the Americans. Detroit selected him ninth overall in the 2017 NHL draft.

Rasmussen, from Vancouver, opened the season with the Red Wings, and was a scratch for the first time on Monday as Detroit, which is 0-4-2, lost 7-3 to the Canadiens in Montreal.

In five games, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen has one assist while averaging 12 minutes 34 seconds of playing time, including 2:05 per game on the PP.

Of course, the Red Wings have some time to make a decision because they won’t burn the first year of his three-year contract unless he plays a 10th game.

Last season, with the Americans, he had 59 points, including 31 goals, in 47 games. Then, in 14 playoff games, he added 16 goals and 17 assists.

In 161 regular-season games, all with Tri-City, he has 157 points, 81 of them goals.


The Swift Current Broncos, who open a tour of the B.C. Division tonight, have added D SCBroncosAustin Herron to their roster. Herron, 17, could be in the lineup tonight when the Broncos meet the Vancouver Giants. . . . This season, the native of Abbotsford, B.C., had one goal in eight games with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. Last season, he had one goal and five assists in 38 games with the major midget Okanagan Rockets, who play out of Kelowna. . . . He was selected by the Moose Jaw Warriors in the third round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed D Mike Ladyman to a WHL contract. Ladyman, from SpokaneChiefsWinnipeg, has been on the Chiefs’ protected list since November. The 17-year-old has one goal and eight assists in eight games with the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. Last season, he had two goals and 21 assists in 60 games with the Blues. . . . Ladyman is expected to be in the Chiefs’ lineup tonight when they meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . The Regina Pats selected Ladyman in the fifth round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft.


There seems to be a he-said, he-said situation ongoing in Medicine Hat, where the one Tigers Logo Officialthing not in doubt is that veteran F Gary Haden has asked for a trade. . . . On Sunday, Haden told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News, via text: “I asked for a trade on Thursday morning and was told to go home Thursday afternoon.” . . . On Monday, McCracken tweeted: “Tigers HC Shaun Clouston says Haden requested a trade then left on his own. The team is in no immediate rush to make a deal.” . . . Clouston is the long-time general manager and head coach in Medicine Hat. . . . Haden, 19, is from Airdrie, Alta. He has 25 goals and 28 assists in 115 career regular-season games with the Tigers. Last season, he had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games. This season, he recorded a goal and two assists in nine games.


Keith Flynn, the owner/operator of Flynnagain Productions, died in hospital in whlKitchener, Ont., on Oct. 9. He was 58. . . . Flynn designed the WHL logo, along with numerous others. . . . This is from his Linked In site: “The company began in April 1997 with our first client, the Cincinnati Cyclones of the IHL. Over time, our company has created designs spanning North America with clients ranging from Roger Clemens to John Daly, Microsoft to the AHL. Our league logos include the WHL, IFL, SPHL, PASL, PBL and IHL as well as Baseball Canada’s logo. This last year Flynnagain Productions created designs for MTV’s Rob Dydek, the Raptor’s DNBA affiliate, Erie Bayhawks and the NHL Calgary Flames.” . . . Chris Creamer of sportslogos.net has more right here, including a look at some of the logos that were Flynn’s work.


The BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans have started their season with three straight victories, the latest a 4-1 victory over Simon Fraser U on Saturday night. . . . Interestingly, the Spartans won’t play again until Oct. 19 and 20 when they visit the Hamline University Pipers, a Division III team that plays out of St. Paul, Minn., and the U of Minnesota Gophers, a Top 10 team in Division I. . . . The Spartans are the BCIHL’s reigning champions, so the game with the Gophers will be an interesting test. . . . This season, the Gophers are 2-0-1, having tied (1-1) and beaten (7-4) the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and then dropped the USA U-18 side, 7-1.


Brandon West, who has been a BCHL head coach for four years, has joined the Penticton Vees as an assistant coach. West, with a career head-coaching record of 91-77-12-16 in the BCHL, was with the Surrey Eagles last season when they got into the second round of the playoffs. . . . West, who is from Kelowna, will work alongside Fred Harbinson, the president, general manager and head coach, and fellow assistant coaches Jason Becker and Matt Fraser.


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Broncos sign 2016 first-rounder … Honour for Ice’s new logo … Ex-WHL coach out in Nanaimo shakeup

MacBeth

F Kris Foucault (Swift Current, Kootenay, Calgary, 2006-11) has signed a one-year extension with the Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). In 32 games, he has 16 goals and 13 assists, and he leads the team in goals and points. He is tied for third in the league in goals. . . .

F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has been released by Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL) by mutual agreement due to a shoulder injury suffered on Dec. 16. He had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games. He is expected to return to Prague for treatment. . . .

F Peter Quenneville (Brandon, 2013-15) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He played for Aalborg last season, putting up 30 goals and 19 assists in 45 games. He led the league in goals and was fourth in the points race. . . . This season, with Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had two goals and an assist in 12 games, and he had three goals and an assist in nine games with SaiPa Lappeenranta (Finland, Liiga). He was released from a tryout contract with SaiPa on Dec. 12.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . . SOME OF THAT . . .

The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Jacson Alexander, 16, who was one of their two first-round selections in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Alexander, from Victoria, was taken with the 16th overall pick.

Alexander, who will turn 17 on Feb. 1, was in his first season with the BCHL’s Victoria SCBroncosGrizzlies — he put up three goals and seven assists in 29 games — but will join the Broncos after Christmas.

He committed to the U of Denver on Dec. 7, 2016, for the 2019-20 season, while playing for the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School prep team in the CSSHL.

This season, the 5-foot-10 Alexander also played for Hockey Canada’s Team Black at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge last month in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. He had one assist in five games.

Alexander could make his WHL debut on Dec. 27 when the Broncos return to play against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

Alexander’s arrival will give the Broncos seven defencemen and may take some of the pressure off Manny Viveiros, the director of player personnel and head coach, with the trade deadline approaching on Jan. 10. Observers were watching closely to see if Viveiros would go to the marketplace to land a seventh defenceman, something that may not be necessary now.

BTW, in that 2016 bantam draft, the Broncos used the fourth overall selection to take F Logan Barlage, who was playing for the bantam AA Humboldt, Sask., Broncos. This season, the 6-foot-4 Barlage, a freshman, has a goal and six assists in 30 games with the Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have the WHL rights to the only unsigned first-round selection from the 2017 bantam draft. They took D Joel Sexsmith of Edmonton with the ninth overall pick. He now is playing at the Edge School in Calgary.

Meanwhile, F Massimo Rizzo now is the lone first-round selection from the 2016 bantam draft not to have committed to the WHL.

The Kamloops Blazers selected Rizzo with the 15th overall pick, but he chose to sign with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.

From Burnaby, B.C., Rizzo has six goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the Vees this season. He had a goal and three assists in five games as a teammate of Alexander’s on Team Black at the U-17 WHC.

Rizzo has yet to make an NCAA commitment, nor has he told the Blazers that he definitely won’t sign with them at some point.


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When it comes to sports logos, Chris Creamer is the man. You are able to find him at sportslogos.net, or on Twitter at @sportslogosnet.

On Friday, he announced the 2017 Creamer Award winners for best new sports logos.

KootenaynewThe 14-person judging panel considered logos that “made their in-game debut in 2017.”

The WHL’s Kootenay Ice placed third in the Primary Logo of the Year Award, behind baseball’s Memphis Redbirds and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.

Of the Ice’s new logo, which is pictured on the left, Creamer wrote: “Love the hidden ICE in this logo, designed by Bill Frederick’s team at Fanbrandz, who gave this junior hockey team the identity update it so desperately needed. Well done!”

The top 50 in that category and whole lot more, including a mention of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ 50th anniversary logo, can be found right here.


Less than a week after staging a father/son trip with his BCHL team, Mike Vandekamp is out of work.

Wes Mussio, a Vancouver-based lawyer who is the majority owner of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, revealed on Thursday, at 11:43 p.m., via Twitter that he had fired Vandekamp, the team’s general manager and head coach, “due to irreconcilable differences with the management team.”

Vandekamp’s contract would have expired at season’s end.

Late Friday night, the Clippers’ website continued to list Dustin Donaghy as the team’s

Clippers
On Nov. 10, Penny and Wes Mussio (second and third from left) were introduced as the new majority owners of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Darren Naylor (left) was named director of hockey operations, while team president David LeNeveu (fourth from left) retained five per cent. Mike Vandekamp (far right), then the general manager and head coach, was fired Thursday night and replaced by Naylor. (Photo: Greg Sakaki/Nanaimo News Bulletin)

head coach. However, a BCHL insider told Taking Note that Donaghy had been “fired by the Clippers.” Donaghy, from Cranbrook, played three seasons in the WHL (Spokane, Lethbridge, 2007-10).

Darren Naylor, who was part of that management team as the director of hockey operations, is the new GM and head coach.

Mussio and his wife, Penny, purchased 95 per cent of the Clippers last month and installed Naylor as director of hockey ops. Naylor also has been working as GM/head coach of the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, who are 26-2-1 in the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Mussio had been the majority owner of the Ice Hawks but is believed to have sold his shares when he purchased the Clippers.

On Friday, Mussio told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo News Bulletin that he and Naylor were tired of butting heads with Vandekamp. (Sakaki’s complete story is right here.)

“The previous owner gave Mike a carte-blanche ability to do anything he wants and I wanted some input and I wanted Darren Naylor to have some input and sadly that didn’t seem like something Mr. Vandekamp was prepared to accept,” Mussio told Sakaki.

Mussio added: “We brought in a few key players and they were hit with resistance and we also tried to bring on some (affiliate players) and that was hit with resistance. So in order to move forward to the next (season), we need to have a look at players and recruit. Without any support from the coach, it’s pretty hard to do.”

Mussio also told Sakaki that Vandekamp had been given until Dec. 22 to commit to the new situation.

“He didn’t think it was in his personality . . . to do so, so that the end of it,” Mussio said.

Vandekamp, who has yet to comment, is a veteran junior coach who was in his seventh season with the Clippers. This season, the Clippers are 18-13-3-2 (that’s two ties), leaving them one point behind the Powell River Kings (18-10-3-3), who lead the BCHL’s Island Division.

The Clippers’ next game is Dec. 29 when they are scheduled to visit Powell River.

Vandekamp’s resume includes a season and a half as head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. In the BCHL, he also has worked with the Merritt Centennials and Vernon Vipers. He joined the Clippers after four seasons with the AJHL’s Grand Prairie Storm.

As for the father/son trip . . . the Clippers beat the Trail Smoke Eaters, 7-2, on Friday, then got past the Penticton Vees, 4-2, on Saturday. Nanaimo ended the trip by dropping a 4-2 decision to the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

Dominic Abassi is the news director for Island Radio and @NanaimoNewsNOW.


It was rather interesting on Friday when F Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who has missed his NHL team’s past six games, discussed with reporters why he has been out of the lineup.

Matthews practised for the first time in almost two weeks and later talked about having symptoms of a concussion after colliding with Toronto D Morgan Reilly during a game against the host Pittsburgh Penguins on Dec. 9.

While Matthews didn’t go into great detail on the symptoms, he did say that he “went MapleLeafsthrough all that return to play, and all the protocols and everything and obviously, you know, they take it pretty seriously and they deemed me out so I went through all that stuff and I feel great now.”

Toronto next is scheduled to play today (Saturday) in New York against the Rangers, but it’s not yet known if Matthews will play.

Matthews’ conversation with reporters on Friday just may be another sign that NHL teams are loosening up when it comes to detailing injuries.

A couple of weeks ago, head coach Ken Hitchcock of the Dallas Stars explained why he no longer plays the “upper-body or lower-body” game.

“I think we collectively hate playing that game,” said Hitchcock, who posted his 800th victory as an NHL head coach on Thursday. “What I mean by that is we say upper-body, then you go on the phone, and then you look up things or you go to the doctors, find out what part of the upper body . . . We try to make your work easier, quite frankly, and so we just don’t like going through the dance.

“It’s easy to tell you what it is and let’s move forward. It’s just the whole game. It’s an injury and within two hours after we tell you it’s upper-body you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you? And the players don’t go out and say: ‘He has a broken left pinkie and we’re going to go after that pinkie.’ Nobody thinks like that.

“Our feeling is just tell them what the injury is and move it forward and let’s stop the dance.”

But, then again, it could be that the Toronto braintrust wasn’t at all pleased with the way Matthews handled things on Friday. David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail takes a look at the situation right here.


Scoreboard

Dec. 18-Dec. 26:

No Games Scheduled.


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