F Nick Buonassisi (Prince George, Lethbridge, Brandon, 2007-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Hannover Indians (Germany, Oberliga Nord). Last season, in 25 games with Pergine (Italy, Italian League), he had 13 goals and 21 assists. He was tied for the team lead in goals, and led the team in assists and points. . . .
D Corbin Baldwin (Spokane, 2008-12) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 60 games.
Nick Drazenovic no longer is with the Prince George Cougars. He had been their director of player development for the past two-plus seasons. . . . Drazenovic, 32, is from Prince George and was a highly popular player through his four-plus seasons (2002-07) with the Cougars. In 281 regular-season games, he put up 77 goals and 137 assists. He added nine goals and 10 assists in 24 playoff games. . . . A sixth-round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL’s 2005 draft, Drazenovic went on to play nine seasons of pro hockey, including 12 regular-season NHL games — three with St. Louis, eight with the Columbus Blue Jackets and one with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Injuries forced his retirement after the 2015-16 season. . . . Todd Harkins, then the Cougars’ general manager, hired Drazenovic on Feb. 17, 2017. . . . Drazenovic wasn’t mentioned on Tuesday when the Cougars announced the hiring of Jason Smith as associate coach. In fact, Drazenovic’s head shot and bio were on the Cougars’ website on Tuesday but had been deleted by Wednesday afternoon. . . . When contacted by Taking Note, Drazenovic said: “I love Prince George. I love the Cougars. I love the players. I love the fans. It’s sad.” . . . Drazenovic also told Taking Note that he is staying in Prince George and will be starting a business venture — Northern Elite Hockey — that will “support the north in hockey development.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings will have a new scoreclock, complete with video screens, in Westoba Place when they open the WHL’s regular season against the Winnipeg Ice on Sept. 20. . . . The Keystone Centre is installing the new score clock because the previous one, installed prior to the facility playing host to the 2010 Memorial Cup, has, according to a news release, “reached the end of its useful life.” . . . That news release is right here.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed D Logan McCutcheon to a WHL contract. McCutcheon was a third-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. From Saskatoon, he had 13 goals and 46 assists in 31 regular-season games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Maniacs last season.
So excited to be joining the @BramptonBeast family! We’re finally coming home! So thankful for my family and my amazing wife, Lindsay! She’s been an all-star through 4 cross-continent moves! pic.twitter.com/3KP8lJRu0D
Spiros Anastas is the new director of hockey operations and head coach of the Brampton Beast, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Anastas takes over from Colin Chaulk, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Belleville Senators. . . . Anastas spent four seasons as the head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, before working as the director of hockey operations and head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays last season.
There has never been a subscription fee for this blog, but if you enjoy stopping here, why not consider donating to the cause? All that’s involved is clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and following the instructions. Thank you very much.
The BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers have signed Darren Naylor, their director of hockey operations, general manager and head coach, to a “long-term deal,” according to the team’s Facebook page. Naylor has been the Clippers’ head coach since Dec. 22, 2017. He replaced Mike Vandekamp, who was fired shortly after the franchise underwent a change of ownership. Vandekamp was in his seventh season in Nanaimo at the time. . . . Vandekamp now is the general manager/head coach of the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Hey @EricTrump maybe dont use a picture of my kid for your political propaganda. Also, I dont think you know what Pee-Wee hockey is, cuz this ain't it https://t.co/iPqdi9RxpT
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 Grizzlies — 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.
If you enter your email address over there on the right you will be notified each time I post something new on this site.
I haven’t yet been able to get a DONATE button posted here. But if you care to help the cause, please visit the old site (takingnote.ca), click on the DONATE button and do it there. Thank you.
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.
The 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.
Always wanted to have a father/son road trip with one of my teams. Managed to pull it off this weekend. Trail, Penticton, and Merritt….tons of fun for all the Dads and the players. pic.twitter.com/O6sRGr3mv3
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
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.
I’ve long felt any issues the Clippers had were off-ice, related to an apparent disconnect with the community. Firing a man whose family was connected to the community on social media 3 days before Christmas is “fixing” a problem that didn’t exist and exacerbating one that did
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 through 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.