The Green Bay Committee, which had been working to drum up support for the Kootenay Ice with the hopes of keeping the WHL franchise in Cranbrook, has ceased operations.
In fact, it has informed its members to “cease all of your sales initiatives.”
In an email to members that also went to “Ice supporters,” the committee requested that they “make sure (to) return all funding sheets to sponsors (and any cheques or cash).”
The committee reached this decision following a meeting earlier Tuesday.
“It is truly unfortunate that the new Ice ownership has decided not to actively engage in our committee’s initiatives,” the committee said in the email.
Ice owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, who purchased the franchise from the Chynoweth family prior to the 2017-18 season, had been invited to Green Bay Committee meetings, but had refused to attend.
The committee began working this season amid speculation that the Ice will move to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 season. The Winnipeg Free Press reported on Oct. 20 that it was told by sources that the relocated team will play in a 1,400-seat arena on the U of Manitoba campus while it awaits construction of a 5,000-seat arena in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.
In an email sent to Cockell, the Ice’s president and general manager, the committee wrote:
“Obviously, we were greatly concerned about this article. We were hoping that you and Greg would deny this story and that you would remain actively engaged in our sales initiative.
“On October 22, 2018, you advised us that you would not be attending our scheduled Town Hall Meeting. You further advised us that you and Greg would not be involved in our sales initiatives and that you would be monitoring the situation.
“We were surprised and disappointed with your position; however, we decided to carry on with our Campaign and other initiatives to increase attendance. We expected that you and Greg would join us, especially given the fact that we were at an early stage in Season 2 of your new ownership. For the past month, there has been considerable engagement between our Committee and the community.”
Taking Note has been told that the committee had raised around $50,000, money that now will be returned from whence it came.
In the email to Cockell, the committee also wrote:
“We have made considerable progress . . . However, the absence of active engagement by you and Greg with our committee has become a major issue in our community. We believe that this failure has become the biggest obstacle in our ability to achieve a highly successful sales campaign and to create an effective steering committee. As a result, we are terminating our Green Bay Committee effective immediately.
“However, we will consider re-activating our committee if you provide us with a real commitment that you and Greg are prepared to immediately join us and work with us, as partners; and have no plans to move ‘Our ICE’ from Cranbrook.”
The letter to Cockell is signed by committee members Allan Rella, Are Tironese and John Hudak.
The email to Cockell as well as the one to committee members and club supporters also was sent to Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, and to members of the WHL’s board of governors.
In 2016-17, the last season under the ownership of the Chynoweth family, the Ice average an announced attendance of 1,754 for 36 games. In 2017-18, the first season under Fettes and Cockell, the average was 2,442.
This season, through 12 games and amid speculation of a potential move, the average is 2,244. The Ice beat the visiting Regina Pats on Tuesday night before 1,965 fans, the smallest crowd this season.
“I refuse to be Chilliwacked,” Hudak told Taking Note, in reference to the Chilliwack Bruins, who, despite a number of denials, left for Victoria following the 2010-11 season. “But I have talked to some people . . . in hockey circles . . . and other sources. These guys are gone.”
Hudak, however, said that he will continue to work towards having a WHL franchise in his city, even if Fettes and Cockell move their franchise.
“I love my city,” Hudak said.
The Green Bay Committee, which worked with the Ice management team last season to get people to games who wouldn’t under ordinary circumstances have that opportunity, was named in honour of Green Bay, Wisc., “the little city,” Hudak said, “that can support an NFL team.”
Hudak only hopes that his city is given the opportunity to prove it can support a WHL team.
The Kootenay Ice has dropped another veteran player from its roster.
F Nick Bowman’s name doesn’t appear in the WHL’s weekly roster report, which was released on Tuesday. But his name wasn’t on the lineup sheet for the Ice’s game against the Pats in Regina on Tuesday night; the Ice dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen. Bowman’s name also has disappeared from the Ice’s roster on the WHL’s website.
While most WHL teams like to carry 23 players, the Kootenay roster includes only 20 — 11 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.
The Ice acquired Bowman and a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft from the Moose Jaw Warriors on Oct. 22, giving up twins Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn in the exchange. The Taphorns, 18, are from Yorkton, Sask.
Bowman, 18, had two goals in 10 games with the Ice, after earning one assist in 10 games with the Warriors. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was a sixth-round pick by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 bantam draft. In 137 career regular-season games, he has 15 goals and 14 assists.
Keenan Taphorn has four goals and an assist in seven games with Moose Jaw, while Kaeden has one assist in three games. He recently returned to the lineup after being out with an undisclosed injury.
In the past couple of weeks, the Ice also lost veteran 19-year-olds Sam Huston and Brendan Semchuk. The Ice has stated that it has suspended Huston, a defenceman, but hasn’t said anything more than that. Huston apparently left the team after being dropped to the third defensive pairing.
The team has said that Semchuk left in order to “pursue his educational goals.”
The Regina Pats have added F Sebastian Streu to their roster. He’s from Germany but also has Canadian citizenship, so doesn’t count as an import. . . . Streu, who will turn 19 on Nov. 22, had nine goals and three assists in 54 games with the Kootenay Ice last season. . . . This season, he had five goals and two assists in 10 games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers when the Pats came calling. . . . Streu was in Regina’s lineup on Tuesday night and scored a goal as the Pats lost, 5-2, to the host Kootenay Ice.
Chris Selley of the National Post has chimed in with his opinion of whether major junior hockey players are student-athletes or employees, and you are able to read all about it right here.
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TUESDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:
G Brodan Salmond stopped 32 shots to help the host Moose Jaw Warriors to a 7-0 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Moose jaw (8-5-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Americans (11-6-0) are 8-3-0 over their past 11 games. . . . This was Game 8 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans. They now are 6-2-0, including 1-2-0 in the East Division. . . . Salmond, 20, posted his fourth career shutout, but his first with the Warriors. He made 56 appearances with the Kelowna Rockets over the previous three seasons. . . . The Warriors got a goal and three assists from F Tristin Langan, and a goal and two assists from each of D Josh Brook, F Brayden Tracey. . . . Langan has 13 goals, while Brook has six and Tracey five. . . . The Warriors led 3-0 and 6-0 at the period breaks. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brendan Kwiatkowski playing after he had been out since Sept. 22. . . . The Warriors remain without F Justin Almeida, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Game 1 of the CIBC Canada Russia Series in Kamloops on Nov. 5. . . . Moose Jaw head coach Tim Hunter, who also is the head coach of Canada’s national junior team, missed this one as he was at the CIBC Canada Russia game in Sherbrooke, Que. However, the Warriors had associate coach Mark O’Leary back after his stint at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. . . . Kelly Buchberger, in his first season as the Americans’ head coach, is in the Warriors’ Hall of Fame. From Langenburg, Sask., he played two seasons (1983-85) in Moose Jaw before going on to a pro career. In 111 games with the Warriors, he put up 36 points, including 26 goals, and 253 penalty minutes.
In Saskatoon, the Blades gave up nine power-play opportunities, lost 46 of 80 face-offs and were outshot 39-37, but still managed to score a 4-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Blades (13-7-2) have won three in a row. . . . The Tigers (9-9-3) have lost three straight (0-2-1). . . . F Ryan Chyzowski scored twice for the Tigers, giving them a 1-0 lead on a PP, at 8:58 of the first period, and cutting their deficit to 3-2 at 19:38 of the third period. He’s got seven goals. . . . In between those goals, F Max Gerlach (14), F Kyle Crnkovic (1) and D Chase Wouters (3) scored for the Blades. . . . Gerlach’s goal, coming against his former team, gave him 200 career regular-season points in 232 games. . . . Crnkovic’s goal was his first in the WHL. He was the 10th overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Kirby Dach (12) added insurance for the Blades, with an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third. . . . Saskatoon got 37 saves from G Nolan Maier, who now is 11-5-1, 2.79, .912. . . . Medicine Hat F James Hamblin had a nine-game assist streak and a 10-game point streak snapped.
D Zac Patrick broke a 1-1 tie at 2:03 of the second period and the Kootenay Ice went on to beat the Regina Pats, 5-2, in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Ice (7-12-3) had lost their previous five games. . . . The Pats (7-13-0) had won three in a row. This was the first of six straight road games for Regina. . . . Patrick’s goal was his first in the WHL. He didn’t score in 42 games last season; this was his 11th game this season. . . . D Dallas Hines (3) upped the Ice’s lead to 3-1 just 17 seconds after Patrick scored. . . . F Austin Pratt (10) pulled Regina to within a goal at 2:53, but the Ice put it away with third period goals from F Cole Muir (5) and F Cameron Hausinger (6), on a PP. . . . F Sebastian Streu, who spent last season with the Ice, scored in his first game with the Pats. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 38 shots to earn the victory. . . . Regina G Max Paddock left at 8:05 of the first period after suffering a cut in a collision with Ice F Peyton Krebs. Paddock, who had stopped three of four shots, was replaced by Dean McNabb, who surrendered four goals on 29 shots. . . . D Makai Mitchell, 16, who is from Fort Collins, Colo., made his debut with the Pats. A list player, Mitchell had one goal and one assist in 11 games with the U-16 Rocky Mountain Roughriders of the NAPHL. He is expected to play two more games with the Pats before returning home. . . . The Ice lost D Jordan Chudley to a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Regina F Duncan Pierce at 3:28 of the third period. . . . Regina lost F Logan Nijhoff to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 11:24 of the third period, after a hit on Ice D Martin Bodak.
The Spokane Chiefs erased a 2-0 deficit in the third period and went on to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, in OT, in Kent, Wash. . . . Spokane (10-7-3) has won two straight. . . . Seattle (7-8-3) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . F Payton Mount, back after a five-game absence, gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead with his first WHL goal, at 3:36 of the first period. Seattle selected him with the 17th overall pick of the 2017 bantam draft. Mount had one assist in six games with the Thunderbirds last season; this season, he has a goal and five assists in 12 games. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (2) upped Seattle’s lead to 2-0 at 3:05 of the second period. . . . F Ethan McIndoe (6) got Spokane on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 7:05 of the third period, and D Ty Smith (3) tied it at 16:50. Smith also had two assists. . . . F Luke Toporowski (7), who had an assist on Smith’s goal, won the game at 3:58 of OT. . . . The Chiefs got 37 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Seattle F Dillon Hamaliuk wasn’t successful on a penalty shot at 16:38 of the second period.