Habscheid leaves Raiders for team in Austria . . . Exits with 582 regular-season victories, two WHL titles . . . Will see some familiar faces in ICE Hockey League

Habby
Marc Habscheid, who coached the Prince Albert Raiders to the WHL’s 2018-19 championship, will coach in Austria in 2022-23. (Photo: raiderhockey.com)

It really is hard to imagine the WHL without Marc Habscheid. But that’s what the league and its fans are faced with after the Prince Albert Raiders announced on Thursday that Habscheid has resigned as head coach effective immediately.

Habscheid, 59, is to become the first head coach in the history of the Bemer PioneersPioneers Vorarlberg of the ICE Hockey League. The Pioneers play out of Feldkirch, Austria.

Dylan Stanley, a former WHL player, is on the Pioneers’ staff as an assistant coach.

Habscheid last played in 1995-96 with the DEL’s Augsburger Panther, with whom he put up 46 points in 48 games.

He began his coaching career the next season, signing on with the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs as general manager and head coach.

One year later, he began a two-season stint as head coach the Kamloops Blazers. That was followed by five seasons with the Kelowna Rockets, a couple of seasons with the Canadian national team program, and one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

He returned to the WHL as the GM/head coach of the Chilliwack Bruins (remember them?) and made the move to Victoria with that franchise as it became the Royals.

For the past seven-plus seasons, he has been the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, where he put the cherry on top of the sundae by winning the WHL championship in 2019.

That was Habscheid’s second WHL title; he also won in 2003 with the Rockets, who went on to win the Memorial Cup on home ice.

Habscheid leaves the WHL with 582 regular-season victories, trailing only Don Hay (750), Ken Hodge (742), Don Nachbaur (692) and Lorne Molleken (626).

Habscheid is fifth on the all-time list of regular-season games coached (1,166) and seventh with 76 playoff victories.

“I am at a point in my career where I am looking for a new challenge and one has presented itself,” Habscheid said in a message to Raiders’ fans. “I am accepting the head coach position with a team in Europe.”

He is scheduled to make his debut behind the Pioneers’ bench on Aug. 19 in the first of six exhibition game, this one against the visiting Freiburg Wolves, a German team that plays in the DEL-2.

Habscheid and the Pioneers are to play their first regular-season game on Sept. 16 against HCB Südtirol Alperiathe, aka the Bolzano Foxes, of head coach Glen Hanlon.

Among the other head coaches Habscheid will encounter in the ICE Hockey League are Kevin Constantine, with Hydro Fehérvár AV19, and Rob Daum of EC iDM Wärmepumpen VSV.

Ben Cooper, who was an assistant coach under Habscheid in Victoria, is an assistant coach with the Red Bull Salzburg.


Royals

We learned on Wednesday that 10 of the 26 players on the Kansas City Royals’ roster wouldn’t be travelling to Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays because they aren’t vaccinated. On Thursday, before the Royals opened the series with a 3-1 victory, we found out that three coaches also couldn’t travel for the same reason — pitching coach Cal Eldred, assistant hitting coach Keoni De Renee and Parker Morin, a strategist and bullpen catcher.

OF Whit Merrifield, one of the anti-vaxxers, showed his true character when he said that he might get vaccinated were he traded to a playoff team that might have to travel to Toronto.

Here’s Stephanie Apstein, a senior writer with si.com: “He is not a winning player. None of these scientists in baseball pants are. (This is a uniquely American breed of stupidity: Foreign-born players had to contend with U.S. entry requirements to play the season, so almost all of them are vaccinated.) Professional athletes have more resources than nearly anyone on earth, yet some of them cannot muster the energy to do enough research to come to the conclusion that every expert has: Vaccines are safe and effective. They give us our best shot at tamping down a pandemic that has already killed a million Americans and reshaped the lives of millions more. And players who refuse to get those vaccines — in addition to contributing to the extension of that pandemic — run the risk of fracturing their clubhouses and extinguishing their teams’ playoff hopes.”

Apstein’s piece is right here.

And a few words on the Royals from Sam McDowell, a columnist with the Kansas City Star:

“For more than a year now, the Royals’ medical and training staff, led by Nick Kenney, and front office have encouraged players to receive a vaccine that health experts have deemed both safe and effective in preventing serious illness. While nodding along to their injury and rehab advice, some Royals players have turned a cold shoulder to that health-preservation education, a contradiction that defies logic.”

McDowell’s column is right here.


Voodoo


Gregor Chisholm, a baseball columnist with the Toronto Star, is tired of unvaccinated MLB players pointing fingers at Canada:

“What these players and so many reporters in the U.S. can’t seem to get through their thick skulls is that their country has a similar mandate. Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s uncertain status for the upcoming U.S. Open is one example, there are countless others through professional sports that are conveniently overlooked when this topic comes up.

“Across MLB, this is almost an exclusively American problem. The Jays weren’t the only team with players who needed to be vaccinated to compete this year. Every non-American citizen in the league who left the U.S. during the off-season had to go through the same process before reporting to spring training.”

Chisholm’s column is right here.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, wrote about issues facing Major League Baseball on Thursday. Here’s part of what he wrote, and he is exactly right:

“The pace of play problem is clear and so are potential cures. The pitch clock used in minor league games works; if you do not believe that, please take yourself to a minor league game and try not to focus on the lower level of talent on display but focus on the action presented to you. The game is faster and more entertaining; pitchers do not get the ball back from the catcher and then take a stroll around the mound pondering the origins of the universe; batters do not step out of the batter’s box on every pitch to adjust their gloves even if they took the previous pitch. The games move; there is action; it is far more dynamic than a game in MLB.”

His complete piece is right here.


Cakes


The Canadian Professional League’s Winnipeg-based Valour FC was to have visited Atlético Ottawa on Sunday. However, the soccer game has been postponed until July 20 “due to league COVID protocols, based on advice from medical experts,” Valour FC said in a Thursday tweet.


THE COACHING GAME:

Nick Prkusic has signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. Prkusic, 25, played three seasons (2014-17) with Brooks and is a former team captain. The Bandits reached the AJHL final three times and won twice with him in their lineup. He went on to play at Robert Morris U, and was the team captain his last two seasons there. . . . He has been coaching at the Prairie Hockey Academy in Caronport, Sask., where he was head coach of the U-17 men’s team. . . . In Brooks, he will work alongside Ryan Papaioannou, the general manager and head coach, assistant coach Taylor Makin, skills coach Kevin Yellowaga and goaltender coach Keven Sajinovic. . . .


Wine


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


NoTats

Ex-WHL goaltender making saves in Ukraine . . . Raiders’ reign gets chilled in Winnipeg . . . Wild and crazy night in Langley

Michael Garnett played two seasons in the WHL, starting with the Red Deer Rebels in 2000-01. He was traded to his hometown Saskatoon Blades during that season, then got into 67 games with the Blades in 2001-02. . . . His pro career included 24 games with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers before he went to the KHL and and ultimately finished up with two seasons with the Nottingham Panthers of the Elite Ice Hockey League. . . . So where is Garnett today? Well, the 39-year-old Saskatoon native and his wife, Rebecca, have spent the past month at the border between Poland and Ukraine working with refugees. . . . Check out their story in the tweet posted below.


Sleep


Allow me to take time to commend Dennis Williams and Michael Dyck, the head coaches of the Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants, respectively, for going WHLold school in a playoff game on Wednesday night. . . . It almost was like back in the day when coaches provided some entertainment value and gave folks something to talk about, and often resulted in this question: “Were they just trying to sell tickets?” Ahh, those were the days, when coaches would climb on partitions and try to get at each other, or they would meet under the stands and engage in, yes, fisticuffs. . . .

Williams and Dyck are embroiled in a best-of-seven first-round WHL playoff series that has, at times, gotten a bit heated, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. . . . As Steve Ewen of Postmedia wrote on Thursday, “The benches at the Langley Events Centre are side-by-side and Everett coach Dennis Williams came toward the partition that separates them and began yelling at the Vancouver group, and presumably counterpart Michael Dyck, during a stoppage in play with one minute left and the Silvertips leading 6-2 in Game 3 on Wednesday . . .” . . . Two Vancouver players — D Tom Cadieux and F Matthew Edwards — had been ejected and would miss Friday’s Game 4 with one-game suspensions. . . . When things quieted down and the teams lined up for a face-off with 60 seconds left, Williams chose to call a timeout. . . . Ewen reported that “prompted Dyck to start yelling at the Everett bench.” . . .

Ewen wrote: “Neither Dyck nor Williams was willing to get into particulars after Wednesday’s game about what was said. Dyck admitted he was upset by the timeout, saying it was something that he wouldn’t do at that stage of the game with the score 6-2. Williams admitted he ‘didn’t like’ the Edwards hit on (D Ty) Gibson.” . . . Williams also said that it all was “heat-of-the-moment” stuff. . . . The interesting thing here is that Dyck and Williams have coached together with the Canadian team that played in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and again with Canada’s national junior team. They didn’t let that stand between them adding some colour to the proceedings. . . . And things didn’t cool off  a whole lot last night as the Giants skated to an 11-6 victory in a wild and crazy Game 4.


Waffles


FRIDAY IN THE WHL:

Only two teams in WHL history have been the defending champions for three PrinceAlbertseasons or more in a row. The New Westminster Bruins actually ruled for four straight seasons (1974-78), something that involved four consecutive championships. The Raiders’ reign was a bit quirkier; they won the Ed Chynoweth Cup on May 13, 2019, then COVID got in the way so there weren’t any playoffs in 2020 or 2021. That, of course, meant that the WHL hasn’t had another champion since 2019, so the Raiders were the defending champions when this playoff run began. . . . Unfortunately for them, their three-year reign ended on Friday night in Winnipeg as they lost, 8-2, to the Ice, which won the series, 4-1. . . . Here’s a brief look at last night’s goings-on . . .

Western Conference

In Langley, B.C., the No. 8 Vancouver Giants got two goals and four assists from VancouverF Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, as they skated to a wild 11-6 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for tonight in Everett. They’ll be back in Langley for Game 6 on Monday. . . . Vancouver took a 6-4 lead into the third period, only to have Everett tie it on goals from F Jacob Wright (5), his third of the game, at 0:12, and D Olen Zellweger (2), at 2:49. . . . The Giants responded with the game’s last five goals — Ostapchuk (2), at 5:55, F Colton Langkow (2), at 5:40, F Fabian Lysell (3), at 9:27, D Evan Toth (1), at 14:14, and F Kyle Bochek (1), at 19:46. . . . Everett held a 3-1 lead at 11:16 of the first period, but the Giants scored the next three goals, taking a 4-3 lead when D Alex Cotton scored at 5:00 of the second. . . . F Hunter Campbell (3) tied it at 9:48, with the Giants taking a 6-4 lead on Cotton’s second goal of the game, at 13:32, and Lysell, at 15:47. . . . Cotton also had two assists, for a four-point outing. . . . D Connor Horning had three assists for the winners. . . . Wright also had an assist, giving him four points. . . . Each team had 30 shots. . . . Vancouver was 4-for-7 on the PP; Everett was 2-for-6. . . . Everett F Jackson Berezowski, a 46-goal man, was scratched again. An undisclosed injury has kept him out of the first five games of this series. . . .

In Spokane, F Logan Stankoven scored three times to lead the No. 2 Kamloops KamloopsBlazers to a 3-0 victory over the No. 7 Chiefs. . . . The Blazers swept the series, outscoring the Chiefs, 23-3, in the process. . . . G Dylan Garand blocked 20 shots as he put up his second clean sheet of the series. . . . Kamloops outshot Spokane, 45-20. . . . Stankoven scored at 3:12 of the first period, 18:17 of the second and 5:59 of the third. . . . He finished the four games with 13 points, including seven goals. . . . F Luke Toporowski, acquired by the Blazers from the Chiefs during the season, had two assists.  He put up five goals and five assists in the series. . . . The series opened with three games in Kamloops because the Chiefs’ facility wasn’t available thanks to a concert by Sir Paul McCartney on Thursday night. Had the series continued, Games 5 and 6 also would have been played in Spokane . . . The Chiefs scratched G Mason Beaupit with an undisclosed injury. They got 42 stops from G Cooper Michaluk. . . .

In Kent, Wash., F Matt Rempe, who was scratched from Game 4, scored twice, Seattleincluding the OT winner, as the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds beat the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-3. . . . The Thunderbirds won the series, 4-1. . . . The WHL’s online scoresheet has Kelowna F Nolan Flamand scoring the game’s first goal, at 5:09 of the second period. But Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ longtime play-by-play voice, says it was F Max Graham. So who are you going to believe — the scoresheet or the voice? I’m going with Bartel. . . . Seattle took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Jared Davidson (3), at 9:47 of the second period, Rempe, at 7:24 of the third, and F Jordan Gustafson (2), at 10:19. . . . The Rockets tied it on goals 10 seconds apart from D Jake Lee (1), at 12:24, and F Gabriel Szturc (2), at 12:34. . . . Rempe won it with his third goal of the series at 1:20 of OT. . . . The Thunderbirds held a 44-21 edge in shots.

——

Eastern Conference

In Winnipeg, the No. 1 Ice scored four times in the first period en route to an 8-2 WinnipegIcevictory over the No. 8 Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice, which outscored the Raiders, 27-9, won the series, 4-1, and will open the second round at home on Friday against either the No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors or No. 6 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Winnipeg held a 13-1 edge in shots in the first period, and 35-13 through 60 minutes. . . . F Zach Benson (5), who also had an assist, and F Connor McClennon (4) each scored twice for the Ice, with F Mikey Milne (5) also scoring once. . . . F Jack Finley (1) had a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice had F Matt Savoie back in the lineup, and he scored once and added an assist. He missed three games with an apparent leg injury after being hurt in Game 1. . . .

In Red Deer, F Kai Uchacz scored twice as the No. 3 Rebels beat the No. 6 RedDeerBrandon Wheat Kings, 3-1. . . . The Rebels hold a 3-2 lead in the series, with Game 6 scheduled for Sunday in Brandon. . . . Uchacz gave his guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, just 47 seconds into the game. . . . F Jhett Larson (1) made it 2-0 at 12:32 of the first period. . . . Brandon got to within a goal at 6:28 of the third when D Vincent Iorio (1) scored. . . . Uchacz provided insurance with his second goal of the game and series at 13:03. . . . G Chase Coward earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . This now is the lone Eastern Conference series remaining alive, as the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings and No. 4 Moose Jaw Warriors all have advanced to the second round. . . . Should Red Deer win this series, the second round will have Winnipeg meet Moose Jaw and Edmonton play Red Deer. A Brandon victory in seven games would mean Winnipeg gets the Wheat Kings with Edmonton drawing Moose Jaw. . . .

In Moose Jaw, the No. 4 Warriors got out to an early 2-0 lead and were never MooseJaw2headed as they doubled the No. 5 Saskatoon Blades, 6-3. . . . The Warriors swept the series. . . . F Jagger Firkus (3) scored twice and added an assist for the Warriors, giving them a 1-0 lead at 5:55 of the first period and making it 3-1 at 8:52 of the second. . . . F Josh Pillar (3) kept the Blades close with two goals, getting his side to within one twice, at 2-1 and 3-2. . . . F Thomas Tien (1) restored Moose Jaw’s two-goal lead at 5:26 of the third period, only to have F Trevor Wong (1) pull Saskatoon close again, at 12:47. . . . The Warriors iced it when F Atley Calvert (2) scored at 16:22, then F Robert Baco (1) got the empty-netter at 18:09. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (1) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors.


Apple


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Garin Bjorklund of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals. Bjorklund, 19, was selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. He has been with the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, since signing an amateur tryout agreement with them on April 20. . . .

The QMJHL’s Charlottetown Islanders and the host Moncton Wildcats were tied 2-2 when the Friday night game went to a shootout. It took 19 rounds before the Islanders won, 3-2. The 38 shooters combined to score five goals. F Xavier Simoneau, the second shooter in the 19th round, won it.


You may think it’s over but it isn’t. Far from it. . . . Valour FC was to have played its Canadiap Premier League home-opener in Winnipeg on Sunday, but that won’t happen. The match has been postponed, according to a news release, “due to league COVID protocols, based on advice from medical experts.” . . . Valour has had at least three players and two coaches test positive. . . . The scheduled opponent, the Hamilton-based Forge FC, was to have flown into Winnipeg today.


Dog


My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Monopoly

%d bloggers like this: