Category Archives: WHL

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 Cut Another Deal

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired 1996 born winger Mitch Skapski from the Victoria Royals. Victoria will also send Saskatoon their 2015 5th round draft pick. Victoria will acquire Saskatoon’s 2016 5th round draft pick.

“We’re excited to bring Mitch to Saskatoon,” said Head Coach and General Manager Bob Woods. “We’ve got some openings with the departures of Ryan Coghlan and Landon Welykholowa, and we’re looking forward to having Mitch join us.”

The 18 year old Skapski hails from Abbotsford, BC. He has 1 goal, 3 assists and 12 PIM in 34 games played with the Royals this season.

Blades Deal First Round Pick: WHL Nixes Deal Bringing Martin To Toontown

The Saskatoon Blades have acquired 1996 born defenceman Brycen Martin and a conditional 2017 5th round draft pick from the Swift Current Broncos.

“This is a real big trade for the Saskatoon Blades,” said Head Coach and GM Bob Woods. “Brycen is a big presence on the blue line, great attributes, obviously a high NHL pick, we’re just really excited to have him here.”

The Broncos will receive 1996 born defenceman Jordan Thomson, and a 2016 1st round pick draft pick (Red Deer.)

“We’re very proud of Jordan, the work he put in with us. He’s a great kid, and we’re so happy he was a part of our organization. We certainly wish him the best with the Broncos.”

Blades Not Done Dealing: Henry Headed Back West

Photo Courtesy: Steve Hiscock

The Saskatoon Blades have traded 20 year old blueliner Adam Henry to the Portland Winterhawks for a 2017 2nd round pick.

“We said with any of our older players, if we trade them, we want it to be to a winning team if we have the chance,” said Colin Priestner, Blades Managing Partner. “Adam is great on the powerplay, and to trade him to a team that gives him the opportunity for a deep playoff run is great.”

The Blades also acquire a valuable draft pick in the swap.

Leon Is Gone From P-A

The Prince Albert Raiders have traded the rights of Leon Draisaitl to the Kelowna Rockets for a 1st round pick in 2015, 4th round pick in 2016, a conditional 4th round pick in 2016 or 2017, 18 year-old forward Kris Schmidli and 18-year old defenseman Dalton Yorke.

“Under the circumstances we are very pleased to announce that we have acquired draft assets and two players that will help our team through the rest of the season and in the future.” Bruno Campese, Raider General Manager.

Kris Schmidli, from Zurich, Switzerland, is a 5’10, 182 pound left-handed forward. Last season he tallied 35 points on 9 goals and 26 assists. “Schmidli’s skating and skill fits in well with how we want to play. He also has the ability to play in different situations,” Campese noted.

Kris Schmidli’s Stats

Blades/Rebels Play Let’s Make A Deal: The Sequel

PHOTO COURTESY: Steve Hiscock

The Saskatoon Blades would like to announce the trade of goaltender Trevor Martin to the Red Deer Rebels for defenceman Kolton Dixon.

The 18 year old Martin had a record of 3-10-2-0 with the Blades this season, with a GAA of 4.16 and a SV% of .886.

19 year old Dixon is a physical presence on the blueline, standing 6’4 and weighing 190 pounds. He’s played 36 games with Red Deer this season, and has 1 goal, 2 assists and 36 penalty minutes. Last season in 64 games, he had 6 points and 128 penalty minutes.

“This is a good trade for both teams,” said Head Coach and General Manager Bob Woods. “Marty is a good goalie, and Red Deer had interest in him. We get back a big guy for our blueline, which is an area of need, and Dixon will have a real good chance to earn a 20 year old spot on our team next season.”

Pats Get Toontown Defenceman

Regina Pats Head Coach and Senior VP of Hockey Operations John Paddock announced today the team has acquired defenceman Connor Hobbs (’97), a 2nd Round pick in 2016 and a 3rd Round pick in 2015 in exchange for defenceman Kyle Burroughs and forward Dryden Hunt.

Hobbs (6’1”, 187 lbs) was the Prince Albert Raiders’ 4th Round selection (67th Overall) in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft before being acquired by Medicine Hat.  Last season with the Saskatoon Blazers, Hobbs registered 23 points (11G, 12A) in 33 games.  The Saskatoon, SK native made his WHL debut with the Tigers last season, playing ten games while tallying a goal and two assists.  Hobbs caught the eye of Hockey Canada and earned an invite to play for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this summer.  Hobbs posted two assists in five games as Canada went on to win Gold.  In 2014-15 the 17 year old has a goal and an assist in 12 games for the Tigers.  NHL Central Scouting has Hobbs listed as a ‘C’ skater (4th-6th Round) for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

“Connor is an outstanding 17 year old as one of the seven defenceman to play for Canada at the Ivan Hlinka tournament this summer,” commented John Paddock.  “His future is very bright in the WHL and he should be playing in this league.  He was the best defenceman at the World Junior-A Challenge in Kindersley and we’re excited to acquire a player of his caliber to join our core of young talent.”

SJHL Makes Major Recruitment Change:

January 1st not only meant that teams in the SJHL could flip the calendar at the mid-point of their season.
It also meant that hockey operations need to begin preparations for their first ever bantam draft.

In a president’s message loaded to the league’s website President Bill Chow unveiled the plans for the league’s first ever player draft. The six round draft will be held at the SJHL’s AGM in June. It appears as though local player rights will be maintained through the draft process, however, players from outside of team boundaries or over the age of 15 that are not listed are eligible for selection.

At first glance this seems like a very good tool for the league to use in recruiting, retaining and equally distributing provincial talent.

Upon further review this in my mind is going to ramp up the intensity of player recruitment with players and their families having to decide even earlier if they are wishing to pursue major junior or an American College scholarship through Junior ‘A’. So scouts, and teams will need to have a very good indication of the intent of potential recruits prior to selecting them in the draft.

Another WHL Star On The Move

Regina Pats Head Coach and Senior VP of Hockey Operations John Paddock announced today the team has acquired forward Jesse Gabrielle (’97) from the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for forward Morgan Klimchuk (’95).

A top prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Gabrielle joins the Pats in the midst of a breakout season.  The 6’0”, 214 lbs forward features 25 points (13G, and 12A) to go with 69 penalty minutes in 33 games with Brandon this season.  Last season, Gabrielle posted 26 points (12G, 14A) and 68 penalty minutes in 49 games.  In the 2014 playoffs, the Moosomin, SK product put up 6 points (3G, 3A) in nine games.  In November, the gritty forward was listed as a ‘B’ skater (2nd/3rd round candidate) by Central Scouting for the upcoming NHL Draft.  Internationally, Gabrielle was a member of Team West in last year’s World U17 Hockey Challenge where he had a goal, an assist and 16 penalty minutes in five games played.