Category Archives: Hockey

Raiders Retain Coaches

The Prince Albert Raiders are pleased to announce they have re-signed associate coach Dave Manson and assistant coach Kelly Guard.

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Manson returns for his 11th season as a coach with the Raiders. Manson began his coaching career with his former junior club in 2002 when he signed on as an assistant coach. Manson would spend seven seasons in the position before shifting over to the Prince Albert Minors of the Saskatchewan Major Midget League for two years. Manson rejoined the Raiders in 2011 and was promoted to associate coach prior to the 2012-13 campaign.

Part of Raiders folklore, Manson is one of the franchise’s most popular and recognizable alumni. From 1983-86, Manson played 218 games with Prince Albert, scoring 24 goals and 72 assists for 96 points, while racking up 666 penalty minutes. He also dressed in 38 post-season games in his WHL career and was part of the Raiders’ Memorial Cup win in 1985. Manson was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, 11th overall in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first year with the Blackhawks in 1986 and would go on to play 16 seasons in the NHL and 1103 games.

Guard, a Prince Albert native, is set to begin his fourth season with the Raiders. After wrapping up his professional career as a goaltender in Italy, Guard made the transition to the coaching ranks in 2012 when he joined the Raiders as the team’s goaltending coach. Last September, Prince Albert promoted Guard, naming him a full-time assistant coach.

Guard’s playing career saw him spend two seasons in the Western Hockey League where he was a Western Conference All-Star with the Kelowna Rockets from 2002-2004 under current Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid. During his rookie season, he finished with a league-best 1.93 goals-against average and backstopped the Rockets to the WHL Championship. In 2014, Kelowna hosted and won the Memorial Cup, with Guard being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. After junior,

Blades – Raiders Make Front Office Trade

(Photo Courtesy Saskatoon Blades)

In a unique move off the ice, the Saskatoon Blades announced their Vice President of Business Operations, Mike Scissons, is heading north to sign on with the Prince Albert Raiders in the position of Business Manager.

“The Raiders approached us to request permission to talk to Mike. They had an unexpected vacancy and we thought, while we would miss Mike’s experience and creativity, we wouldn’t want to stand in the way of him advancing his career,” says Blades President Steve Hogle.

“While the two teams are rivals on the ice, we work closely together off the ice and the health of all WHL organizations is of paramount importance,” adds Blades Managing Partner Colin Priestner. “We will miss Mike’s talents but we know he’ll be a great asset to the Raiders.”

“It was an incredibly hard decision to make in leaving the Blades organization,” says Mike. “I have enjoyed every moment working for the Blades for the last twelve years under the direction of both the Brodsky and Priestner families. I wish the organization and the fans nothing but the best in the future. I look forward to joining the Raiders staff and helping them continue to build their business and enhance their already strong community partnerships.”

Blades Add A Dozen At Bantam Draft And Veteran

The Blades brass left the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft in Calgary with nothing but smiles after adding 12 new members to the Saskatoon Blades family. 4 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 1 goalie made up the twelve picks for the Bridge City bunch.

Blades HC and GM Bob Woods was extremely pleased with the draft.

“We got a lot of picks that we were hoping to get in good spots. Anytime you can do that you’re pretty pleased.”

“Our first four picks were guys who were in our top 18 so we look at that as getting four 1st round picks.”

The picks went as follows:

1st (12) – Jonny Tychonick: D – Calgary Flames (AMBHL)

Blades Pick A Pair In First Round Of Draft

The first round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft has concluded from the Deerfoot Inn in Calgary this morning.

This year, players born in 2000 from eligible provinces and American states were able to be selected as WHL Clubs looked to add key pieces to their future.

After acquiring the Saskatoon Blades’ first round pick in a trade and subsequently winning the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft Lottery to retain the number one selection, the Spokane Chiefs chose defenceman Ty Smith from Lloydminster, AB first overall.

2015 WHL Bantam Draft Results – First Round

#1 – Spokane Chiefs (from Saskatoon)
Name: Ty Smith Position: Defence Hometown: Lloydminster, AB
Previous Team: Delta Academy Bantam Prep (CSSHL)
Stats: 16 GP – 9G – 19A – 28PTS – 14 PIMS

#2 – Lethbridge Hurricanes
Name: Calen Addison Position: Defence Hometown: Brandon, MB
Previous Team: Brandon Wheat Kings Bantam AAA
Stats: 31 GP – 45G – 31A – 76PTS – 46 PIMS

WHL Hands Out Hardware

(Photo Credit: WHL/Brad Watson)

The Western Hockey League held the annual WHL Awards today in Calgary, AB to honour the top performances from the 2014-15 WHL Regular Season.

WHL Player of the Year – Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Oliver Bjorkstrand – Portland Winterhawks

A 1995-born forward from Herning, Denmark, Bjorkstrand enjoyed an explosive season for the Winterhawks to help the Club post a record of 43-23-2-4. This past year, it took Bjorkstrand 58 regular season games to amass 63 goals and 55 assists for 118 points to go along with a plus-60 rating.

Bjorkstrand’s 118 points ranked first in WHL regular season scoring while his 63 goals and plus-60 rating also led all players. Bjorkstrand led the League in shorthanded goals with eight while his 10 game-winning goals were tied for top spot. Bjorkstrand finished with 13 more goals than his nearest competitor, and is the third WHL player since the 2000-01 season to reach the 60-goal plateau. The 6’0, 168 lb forward set a franchise record with a 12-game goal streak from January 30th-March 6th. Bjorkstrand also recorded 36 multiple-point games and 16 multiple-goal games, including five hat tricks.

Drafted by Portland 26th overall in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, Bjorkstrand has played 193 career regular season games for the Winterhawks and has totaled 290 points (144g-156a) with a plus-142 rating. Bjorkstrand was selected in the third round, 89th overall, by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2013 NHL Draft.

RUNNER UP: Tim McGauley – Brandon Wheat Kings
WHL Rookie of the Year – Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy
WINNER: Nolan Patrick – Brandon Wheat Kings

Patrick enjoyed a successful rookie season for the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2014-15. The 16-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba was seventh in team scoring and finished third among all WHL rookies in scoring with 56 points (30g-26a) in 55 games. Patrick’s 30 goals were first among WHL first-year players and were seven more than his nearest competitor. The Wheat Kings’ first round pick, fourth overall, in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, Patrick proved to be valuable to the overall success of the Wheat Kings’ offence as he recorded multiple-point outings in 16 games this season. Patrick is eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft.

WHL Lightens Punishment On Winterhawks

Ron Robison, Commissioner of the Western Hockey League, announced today that the Portland Winterhawks’ first round selection in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft has been reinstated by the League. The selection was part of the sanctions imposed by the WHL in November of 2012 due to recruitment violations.

“It was important to the League that Portland demonstrate full compliance with WHL Regulations and, as a result of their compliance, the 2017 first round draft choice has been reinstated,” stated WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “I am not only satisfied the Winterhawks have been fully compliant but they are also committed to continue serving as good partners in the WHL.”

WHL Names Award Nominees: Former Blade Up For Player Of The Year

The Western Hockey League is pleased to announce that Tim McGauley (Brandon Wheat Kings) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (Portland Winterhawks) have been selected as the Eastern and Western Conference nominees, respectively, for the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy as the 2014-15 WHL Player of the Year.

The finalists and eventual winner are determined through a voting process which includes general managers, coaches, and media representatives from each WHL Club. The winner will be crowned at the 2015 WHL Awards Luncheon, which will be held in Calgary on Wednesday, May 6th.

A product of Wilcox, SK, McGauley enjoyed a career campaign for the Wheat Kings this year, helping Brandon to a 53-11-4-4 record and the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s top regular season team. The 19-year-old scored 42 goals and 63 assists for 105 points along with a plus-43 rating while playing in all 72 games.

McGauley’s 105 points ranked third in WHL scoring while his 63 assists placed him fourth amongst all players. In addition, McGauley’s plus-43 rating led all Wheat Kings skaters this season while he also notched eight game-winning goals and three shorthanded goals. McGauley’s impressive season included a 24-game point streak in which he totalled 53 points (17g-36a) from January 16th-March 13th. McGauley also produced 34 multiple-point games and notched two overtime winners this year.

Selected by Brandon in the first round, 20th overall, of the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, McGauley has played 225 career regular season games for the Wheat Kings and amassed 210 points (80g-130a) with a plus-27 rating. McGauley is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft.

Habby Happy In Prince Albert

The Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League are pleased to announce that they have extended the contract of Head Coach Marc Habscheid for a four year term through the 2018-19 season. Habscheid became the Raiders 14th Head Coach November 1st, 2014 on a contract to complete the 2014-15 season.

“The Prince Albert Raider Hockey Club is pleased to have Marc signed with the organization long-term”, said General Manager Bruno Campese. “Marc connected very well with our players, fan base and corporate sponsors since joining us in November, and understands our community very well. We are happy with the long term of the deal as it establishes stability in our Head Coaching position through the next four seasons.”

“I very much enjoyed my first 5 months in Prince Albert”, said Habscheid. “The community and organization was very welcoming.  I am very pleased to continue that relationship over the next 4 years.”

Blades Sign Prospect Paterson

PHOTO COURTESY (Steve Hiscock/Saskatoon Blades)

The Saskatoon Blades are extremely proud to announce the signing of Josh Paterson, the teams top pick from the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

“This is a huge day for our organization,” said Colin Priestner, Blades Managing Partner. “Josh is a highly skilled, big centreman who thinks the game very well. He makes players around him better. We’re just so excited to have him as a cornerstone addition to our franchise.”

The Blades chose Paterson 25th overall in the 2014 Bantam Draft. Already 6’2 and 180 pounds at only 16 years of age, the Blades believe the sky is the limit for the centre from Edmonton.

“We think he plays a Joe Thornton or Ryan Johansen style of game,” added Dan Tencer, Director of Scouting, Western Region. “Being a gifted student he actually finished high school two years early, and had plenty of suitors and options. We’re thrilled he chose Saskatoon as the place to develop his game.”

“I’m really excited to be going forward on this path and join the organization,” said Paterson after signing his contract. “I really like the way the team is shaping up this year, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Josh was drafted out of South Side Athletic Club in Edmonton where he led the entire Alberta Bantam AAA League in scoring with 97 points in 33 games. Paterson most recently played with the SSAC Athletics Midget AAA team in the AMHL, where he had 9 goals and 19 points in 32 games. He was also a member of Team Alberta at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, finishing with 6 points in 6 games helping, his team to a Silver medal.

“Josh will be a big part of our rebuild going forward,” said Head Coach and GM Bob Woods from the WHL USA Combine in Anaheim. “He’s the type of kid you want to add to your team – he thinks the game very well, and he’s got the Blade Factor we look for, just a great kid on and off the ice. It’s huge for us going into the draft to have another big 1999 player secured. Signing him was one of our top priorities this year as a club.”

Kindersley Clips Coach

The Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers have announced that Head Coach and General Manager Rockie Zinger will not have his contract renewed for the 2015-2016 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.

The Klippers wished Zinger well in his future endeavours, and are now seeking applicants for the vacant position.

Zinger took over the position in the 2010-11 season, as the team advanced to the SJHL semi finals where they were swept by the Yorkton Terriers. The team then entered a rebuild stage, bottoming out in 2011-12 with 11 points and finishing at the bottom of the SJHL standings.

In 2012-13, the team improved from 11 wins to 22 wins, moving from 12th place to 8th place and returning to the playoffs after a one year absence, but the Klippers lost out to the Estevan Bruins 3-1 in the first round.

It was another leap forward in 2013-14, improving from 22 wins to 34 wins, and climbing from 8th place to 3rd in the league. Despite a strong regular season, the Klippers would not escape the first round of the 2014 playoffs as they dropped four straight games to Melville, with each game being decided by one goal.