Category Archives: Hockey

WHL Announces Rule Changes

The Western Hockey League announced today, at a media conference in Regina, a series of rule changes that have been implemented for the League’s 50th Season this year at a media conference in Regina. The rule changes include the adoption of the three-on-three overtime format.

Most of the rule changes have also been adopted by the National Hockey League and have been tested throughout the pre-season schedule.

Overtime Format
Similar to the NHL, the WHL will adopt a three-on-three overtime format during the regular season. If two teams are tied following regulation time, a two minute break will be followed by five minutes of overtime where teams will be permitted to use only three skaters and a goaltender each when at even strength. As in previous years, if two teams remain tied after the five minute overtime period, a shootout will be used to determine the winner.

WHL Announces Anniversary Plans

The Western Hockey League concluded its Annual General Meeting today in Vancouver, highlighted by the announcement of a series of plans and special events associated with the WHL’s upcoming 50th anniversary season. The WHL was established in the 1966-67 season.

The WHL’s 50th anniversary season will officially open on Thursday, September 24th in Moose Jaw, SK when the Warriors host the Regina Pats. The East Division is considered the birthplace of the WHL and Moose Jaw is the home of the first ever WHL championship team. The Moose Jaw Canucks became the first League champions when they defeated the Regina Pats to close the WHL’s inaugural season of 1966-67.

“We are excited to celebrate the rich history of our League next season,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “We have been fortunate to have many talented players, excellent teams and exceptional people in the WHL since 1966, and we truly look forward to honouring these individuals and sharing the story of our League throughout our 50th anniversary season.”

The WHL also announced that a commemorative 50th anniversary season book will be published which will detail the history of the League as well as its Clubs, builders, players and key members. The book will be released in September.

SJHL AGM: Franchises Now In Good Shape

The 2014-15 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season was officially closed and the 2015-16 campaign was opened when the annual general meeting of league governors, coaches and general managers was held on the weekend in Nipawin.

SJHL president Bill Chow says the weekend of meetings was productive as a number of items were dealt with including the first-ever bantam draft.

“For it being the first one I thought it went really well,” acknowledged Chow. “All of the teams came in well prepared which is a tribute to them.”

“The thought process (of the draft) is that it puts emphasis on Saskatchewan kids and shows their importance to the league,” added Chow. “I think the players, and their parents, now know they are important to the organization (that drafted them).”

Once the draft was completed Chow said it was business as usual with the league schedule being hammered out. Teams still have to firm up their home dates when they return to their respective centres, but the regular season is set to begin on the Sept. 18-19 weekend.

Normally the annual Showcase kicks off the campaign, but due to the September long weekend being so late this year the league has opted to host the event Oct. 4-7, once again in Warman.

This year’s Showcase will have a bit of a twist to it as it will begin with a pair of games featuring Midget AAA players in various age groups followed by all 12 SJHL teams playing two games each for a total of 14 games overall during the four days.

Last year’s Showcase was a resounding success and Chow feels that this year will attract even more attention as scouts from various post-secondary schools and higher-level hockey leagues will have ample opportunity to see what the league has for talent.

Other items that were discussed on the weekend were team and league finances, particularly those of the Weyburn Red Wings and Kindersley Klippers. Chow said that the Red Wings at one point had incurred a $175,000 debt, but have taken a big chunk out of that and that plans are in place to knock it down even further.

As for the Klippers, hosting the World Junior “A” Challenge in December allowed that franchise to take care of its financial situation and will be stronger as it moves forward.

The economic impact of the SJHL in the province is huge and Chow estimates that upwards of $20 million can be attributed to the operation of the league and its 12 franchises. This information is important because it is hoped that more sponsorship can be attracted to help offset costs and make all of the franchises viable entities.

On the ice it was decided that their will be no rule changes to be implemented, but Chow said, as is the case every year, there is always plenty of concern for player safety.

“Everybody competes on the ice, but off the ice they find a way to work together and make things work for everyone,” noted Chow.

Nothing specific will be implemented, but on-going monitoring of dangerous situations will be crucial to maintain player safety. The SJHL has been fortunate not to have had any serious incidents and with good planning and preparedness it is hoped that trend continues.

In addition to Chow returning for a fifth season as lea

SJHL Holds First Ever Draft: 15 SMHA Players Selected

The SJHL held their first ever bantam draft yesterday. The Yorkton Terriers selected Pilot Butte Storm forward, Austen Flaman with the first overall selection.

Through the six round player dispersal a total of 15 players from the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association were selected including former Flyers Zone Alumnus, Matthew Smith who was selected fifth overall by the Humboldt Broncos.

Other SMHA players drafted include:

Eli Lieffers (Aces); 14th; LaRonge Ice Wolves

Former SMHA Skater Wins CHL Award

Kelowna Rockets forward Rourke Chartier claimed the title of CCM Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year at the 2015 CHL Awards on Saturday.

Chartier finished tied for 14th in WHL scoring with 48 goals and 34 assists for 82 points while recording just 18 minutes in penalties in 58 games played this season. The 19-year-old from Saskatoon, SK, was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks.  Finalists for the award included Kyle Farrell of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, and Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters.

Chartier is in his third season with Kelowna. In 188 career regular season games, the forward has amassed 170 points (85g-85a) and 34 minutes in penalties.

This is the second consecutive year that a WHL player has won the award after Sam Reinhart claimed the honour in 2014. The awards were presented as part of the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup festivities at Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.
2015 CHL Awards – WHL Finalists

Jack Link’s Top Prospect of the Year:

Klippers Get New Hockey Ops Pilot!

After several weeks of vacancy, the Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers are pleased to announce the Head Coach & General Manager position has been filled. The Klippers would like to welcome Coach Geoff Grimwood to the organization.

“I am very excited by the opportunity to join the Kindersley Klippers and join the community of Kindersley,” said Grimwood, “I feel we have a really great opportunity to build on the previous success of the team, and feel we have the pieces in place to continue to get better as a team.

“I am looking forward to reaching out to all of our returning players,” Grimwood continued, “Next season really starts today, and we are going to be an extremely hard working hockey club. I would like to once more thank Garnet Gramlich and the Klippers Board for this opportunity, and look forward to becoming part of the community in Kindersley.”

Grimwood comes to the Klippers after serving as an Assistant Coach with the Victoria Royals of the Western Hockey League (WHL) during the 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 seasons. During that time he also oversaw the South Island Royals Major Midget Program of the British Columbia Major Midget League (BCMML) for parts of parts of 3 seasons.

Former Blades Coach Promoted In Queen City

(PHOTO COURTESY: Steve Hiscock)

The Regina Pats have reorganized the team’s hockey operations division.  While his role has not changed, John Paddock has added General Manager (GM) to his title along with Senior VP of Hockey Operations and Head Coach.

Assistant Coach Dave Struch’s role is expanding to include being the team’s new Assistant General Manager.  Further, Gord Pritchard, currently the Director of Corporate Affairs will now be the Assistant to the GM.

“When Dave and I started working together it became pretty clear early on that we had similar ideas and philosophies about what makes an organization successful,” said Head Coach John Paddock.  “As the season went on, our communication and trust grew which made elevating Dave’s role with the team a no-brainer.”

Other moves include extending the contract of Goaltender Coach Rob Muntain.  In addition, the Pats are pleased to announce the contract extensions for the team’s Athletic Therapist Greg Mayer and Equipment Manager Gord Cochran.

WHL Wins U-S Court Decision

Representatives from all four Washington State-based Western Hockey League (WHL) Member Clubs (Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs, and Tri-City Americans) and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison were in attendance today in Olympia to witness the signing of Senate Bill 5893 by Governor of Washington Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5893 further clarifies the status of WHL players as amateur athletes and non-employees. The signing of the Bill by Governor Inslee is the final approval required for the legislation to become law in the State of Washington. Previously approved by the bipartisan Senate and House of Representatives, the Bill concerned the status of amateur athletes and, now law, ensures WHL players will not be treated or defined as employees in the State of Washington.

“On behalf of our Washington-based Member Clubs and the amateur hockey players who play, or aspire to play, in the top development league in North America, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to the Governor as well as the Senate and House of Representatives,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “This legislation not only confirms the status of WHL players as amateur athletes but will allow our four Washington-based Clubs to continue offering world class development and education opportunities, as they have been doing in the State for close to 40 years.

Raiders Looking For GM

The Prince Albert Raiders and General Manager Bruno Campese have mutually agreed to part ways, deciding not to exercise the option on his contract, following eight seasons with the organization.

“Bruno has worked tirelessly to ensure our program is one that players and staff want to be part of. Considerable progress has been made in many areas and we are in a good place to move to another chapter,” said Raiders President Dale McFee. “We feel good about our bantam draft, the long term deals with our coaches, and the new approach to business.

“Bruno will be hard to replace, but we will start the process immediately, Bruno is still under contract to ensure all upcoming events are managed in the best interests of the club until a replacement can be found.”

Campese joined the Raiders as head coach for the 2007-08 season and added the general manager title to his responsibilities later that season. In 2011, Campese handed over the coaching reigns, choosing to focus on his role as general manager. In eight years with the organization, Campese’s Raiders won 244 games and reached the playoffs on three occasions. Under his watch, seven Raiders were selected in the NHL Entry Draft, including first round picks Mark McNeil, Josh Morrissey, and Leon Draisaitl.

“I would like to thank the Prince Albert Raiders organization, members of the board, staff, billets, players, and parents for their support and loyalty these past eight seasons.  I would also like to thank our fans, business community, and our volunteers for their incredible passion and support.  Living and working in Prince Albert has been a great experience and our family has made many lifelong friends,” explained Campese.

Rockets Soar To Title: Former Raider MVP

PHOTO CREDIT (Marissa Baecker)

The Kelowna Rockets claimed the Ed Chynoweth Cup on Wednesday night to become the 49th WHL Champions after earning a 3-0 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Rockets defeated the WHL Eastern Conference Champion Wheat Kings in the 2015 WHL Championship Series, presented by Rogers, in four games.

The win marks the fourth time in franchise history that Kelowna has won the WHL Championship Series (2003, 2005, 2009, 2015). The Rockets will now represent the WHL at the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City, QC which begins next Friday. This will be the fifth appearance for Kelowna at the MasterCard Memorial Cup as the Club hosted and won the event in 2004.

Leon Draisaitl broke a scoreless tie early in the third period with a shorthanded marker before Rourke Chartier gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead just 19 seconds later on the same penalty kill. Nick Merkley rounded out the scoring for Kelowna while goaltender Jackson Whistle made 19 saves for his fourth shutout of the 2015 WHL Playoffs.