Category Archives: Hockey

WHL Round 2 Preview And Picks!

After correctly picking six of the eight first round WHL play-off match-ups. Here is a preview of round two complete with my prognostications.

Round 2 of the 2015 WHL Playoffs opens on Friday as eight WHL Clubs continue their quest to become the 49th WHL Champions and earn a spot at the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City, QC.

In the WHL’s Eastern Conference, the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy-winning Brandon Wheat Kings are in Round 2 after defeating the defending MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings in five games. The Eastern Conference champions will now face the Regina Pats who are coming off a four-game sweep of the Swift Current Broncos

The Calgary Hitmen edged out the Kootenay ICE in a competitive seven-game series and now match-up with the Medicine Hat Tigers, who eliminated the Red Deer Rebels in five games.

In the WHL’s Western Conference, the Western Conference Champion Kelowna Rockets eliminated the Tri-City Americans in four straight games. The Rockets will now meet a familiar B.C. Division rival in the Victoria Royals, who handed the Prince George Cougars a series defeat in five games.

Meanwhile, the Portland Winterhawks defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games to advance to Round 2. The Winterhawks now face an Everett Silvertips squad whose stingy defensive game saw them win the U.S. Division title and beat the Spokane Chiefs in a six-game Round 1 series.

All four Round 2 WHL Playoff series will be divisional contests.

2015 WHL Playoffs, Eastern Conference – Round 2

BRANDON WHEAT KINGS vs REGINA PATS

Blades Win But Lose Lottery

The WHL Bantam Draft Lottery was held today at the WHL Office in Calgary to determine the order of the first six selections in the first round of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.

The WHL Bantam Draft Lottery involved the six non-playoff teams (Spokane (from Saskatoon), Lethbridge, Vancouver, Moose Jaw (from Kamloops), Prince Albert and Moose Jaw) from the 2014-15 season.  A team could only move up a maximum of two positions in the Bantam Draft.

The Lottery selection process was performed by Katelyn Dawson from KPMG. The 2015 WHL Bantam Draft will be held in Calgary, AB, on Thursday, May 7, 2015.

A Spokane Chiefs ball was drawn, meaning the order of the first round of the draft remains unchanged and the Chiefs will pick first overall. The Lethbridge Hurricanes will have the second selection, the Vancouver Giants will select third, the Moose Jaw Warriors have the fourth selection, the Prince Albert Raiders will select fifth, and the Moose Jaw Warriors will also have the sixth overall selection.

The order of the second round and all other rounds will be the inverse order of final 2014-15 WHL regular season standings.

Players eligible for the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft will be 2000-born players who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

2015 WHL BANTAM DRAFT 1st ROUND ORDER OF SELECTION
Following is the order of selection for the 1st round of the WHL Bantam Draft:

#  CLUB                                   TRADED TO
1. Saskatoon Blades                 Spokane

WHL Announces Award Nominees And All-Stars

The Western Hockey League announced today the Eastern and Western Conference all-star teams and 2015 WHL Awards finalists at a media conference in Calgary. The winners of these awards along with the WHL Player of the Year will be announced at the 2015 WHL Awards in Calgary on Wednesday, May 6, 2015.

The WHL Eastern and Western Conference All-Star Teams are as follows:

WHL EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAMS

FIRST ALL-STAR TEAM
Goaltender – Tristan Jarry (Delta, BC), Edmonton Oil Kings
Defenceman – Ivan Provorov (Yaroslavl, Russia), Brandon Wheat Kings
Defenceman – Travis Sanheim (Elkhorn, MB), Calgary Hitmen
Forward – Trevor Cox (Surrey, BC), Medicine Hat Tigers
Forward – Tim McGauley (Wilcox, SK), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Brayden Point (Calgary, AB), Moose Jaw Warriors

Royal Announcement For Hockey Canada Plus A Wheat King

Hockey Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Hockey League and Hockey Canada Program of Excellence management group, announced Monday that Dave Lowry (Ottawa, Ont./Victoria, WHL) will serve as the head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2015-16 season, while Kelly McCrimmon (Plenty, Sask./Brandon, WHL) will be the head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team.

Dominique Ducharme (Joliette, Que./Halifax, QMJHL), Martin Raymond (Pierrefonds, Que./Drummondville, QMJHL) and D.J. Smith (Windsor, Ont./Oshawa, OHL) will serve as assistant coaches for Canada’s National Junior Team, while Sheldon Keefe (Brampton, Ont./Sault Ste. Marie, OHL) and Darren Rumble (Barrie, Ont./Moncton, QMJHL) join McCrimmon behind the bench with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team.

Both coaching staffs were selected by Canada’s National Junior Team policy committee and the Program of Excellence management group, alongside Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations and national teams, and Tom Renney, Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer.

Canada’s National Junior Team

Dave Lowry, 50, won a gold medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team

Blades Hand Out Hardware AND BIG BUCKS

PHOTO COURTESY Steve Hiscock/Saskatoon Blades Hockey Club

The Saskatoon Blades regular season home schedule came to a close with a 3-1 loss to the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

The game was the final game at Sasktel Centre for graduating captain Brett Stovin and fellow 20-year old Sam McKechnie.

In ceremonies before and after the game the Blades handed out their annual awards. The winners were;

Fans of the Year – Alex McLellan and Jared Durston

Cameco Community Minded Award – Brett Stovin

Scholastic Player of the Year – Wyatt Sloboshan

ICR – Hardest Hitter – Josh Uhrich

96.3 Cruz FM Top Scorer – Brett Stovin

Mark Caddy Remax Plus/Minus – Garrett Armour

Old Dutch Most Gentlemanly Player – Larry Mack

Inland Steel 3 Stars – Nik Amundrud

Merlin Ford Lincoln Top Defensive Forward – Sam McKechnie

92.9 The Bull Rookie Of the Year – Wyatt Sloboshan

RoxDar Defenseman Of the Year – Brycen Martin

Rawlco Radio MVP – Brett Stovin

In addition to the fun on the ice fans had a chance to participate in a 50/50 jackpot that started the night at $51,000. AND

Kindersley Could Be Klipped From The SJHL

The Kindersley Klippers have joined the Weyburn Red Wings announcing that they may not be able to ice a team for the 2015-2016 SJHL season.

The club decided to make their financial plight public in an attempt to involve the community and gauge the interest of the area in maintaining their junior hockey franchise.

President Garnet Gramlich spoke with the community paper and announced that the team is $150,000 in debt and cannot continue to operate in a deficit situation. The team’s budget for 2014-2015 was between $500,000 and $600,000 and according to Gramlich in order for the team to achieve financial stability they need to sell 400-500 season tickets annually, however, that number currently stands at 200.

In the off-season, the club reached out to the community and was able to secure $70,000 in new corporate sponsorships. However, the prior debt incurred by the club did not allow that money to be applied to this season’s operating costs.

When asked when the team started to see their numbers go into the red

Hulak Honoured At Kinsmen Dinner

At the 55th annual Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Dinner the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon recognized this year’s athlete of the year and Bill Hunter Team of the Year award winner. Saskatoon media, in conjunction with the Kinsmen Club, selected Texas Stars forward Derek Hulak as this year’s athlete of the year. Hulak posted 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists) in 28 games during his final campaign with the U of S Huskies in 2013-14 and led the Huskies to the 2014 University Cup Final before losing to the University of Alberta. Despite the loss, Hulak concluded the season as a CIS First-Team All-Star and University Cup Tournament MVP. Won Canada West MVP, finalist for BLG award, U of S male athlete of the year, Won Calder Cup with Texas has 8 points in 21 games this year. Runners up for the award were Saskatoon Hilltops running back Wayndel Lewis who was named the CJFL offensive player of the year after leading the PFC in rushing with 1,063 yards and 9 touchdowns. UNLV offensive lineman Brett Boyko was the other runner up he is the top ranked prospect for the CFL draft recently finished his senior season with the NCAA’s UNLV Rebels and was invited to the NFL combine where some experts have him picked as a mid round selection for the NFL draft.

Blades Recall Duo

The Saskatoon Blades have called up forward Brayden Uhrich and defenceman Mackenzie Dwyer.

The 1997 born Uhrich is the younger brother of Blades forward Josh Uhrich, and has played one game earlier this season with the Blades. He provides a gritty, energetic style and is not afraid to play a physical game.

The 1997 born Dwyer is a product of Winnipeg, and plays for the Portage Terriers of the MJHL.

NHL Returning To ToonTown

The newly named Sasktel Centre will welcome the NHL for the first time in 2015!

The Edmonton Oilers will host the Minnesota Wild September 26th at the facility.

Ticket prices will range from $47.25 to $99.75 for the pre-season contest. Tickets will be made available to Saskatoon Blades season ticket holders first before being offered as part of a pre-sale package that will include tickets for the Blades home opener.

SK Hockey Hall Of Fame Announces Class of 2015

The Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame introduced their class of 2015 this afternoon at Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon.

This year’s inductees are:

Players Category

Wendel Clark

A man who really needs no introduction to hockey fans, Wendel Clark is arguably the most popular player to ever wear a Saskatoon Blades jersey. After two dominant years with the Blades, Clark was chosen 1st overall in the 1985 NHL Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, and would go on to a 15 year career in the NHL. All of the things Saskatchewan fans appreciate in hockey – toughness, character and heart – those are what made Wendel into the Saskatchewan hockey legend he is today.