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F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has signed a one-year extension with Sterzing/Vititeno (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, he had eight goals and nine assists in nine games there. He started the season with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga), putting up two goals and nine assists in 22 games. He first signed with Sterzing/Vititeno on Jan. 17. . . .
F Eric Johansson (Tri-City, 1997-2002) has signed a one-year contract with Pustertal/Val Pusteria Brunico (Italy, Alps HL). Last season, with Herning (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had one assist in four games, and also had six goals and 14 assists in 19 games with Amiens (France, Ligue Magnus). . . .
F Cam Braes (Lethbridge, Moose Jaw, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, with the U of New Brunswick (Atlantic University Sport), he had 15 goals and 27 assists in 27 games. He also was pointless in one game with the Stockton Heat (AHL). . . .
F Jaedon Descheneau (Kootenay, 2011-16) signed a one-year contract with Thurgau (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had six goals and nine assists in 38 games with the Bakersfield Condors (AHL), and nine goals and 10 assists in 26 games with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).
Each of the four teams that appeared in the 2017 Memorial Cup will have a new head coach when the 2017-18 hockey season gets here.
Danny Flynn, the head coach of the QMJHL-champion Saint John Sea Dogs, is the last of the four to make a move. Flynn, 59, resigned on Friday, saying in a news release that “I feel it’s a good time for me to move on. It was incredible to be involved in two great seasons.” According to that release, Flynn left “to pursue other opportunities.”
Flynn, a veteran coach, was in Saint John for two seasons. Last season, the Sea Dogs were 48-14-6 in the regular season.
Flynn has worked in the NHL, as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. He also spent six seasons with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats, winning a championship in 2010.
Earlier in the offseason, Rocky Thompson left the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, who won the 2017 Memorial Cup as the host team, to sign as head coach of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves; Steve Konowalchuk of the WHL-champion Seattle Thunderbirds signed on with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks as an assistant coach; and Kris Knoblauch left the OHL-champion Erie Otters and signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
The Kootenay Ice has signed D Martin Bodak, a Slovakian who was selected in the CHL’s 2017 import draft. Bodak, who will turn 19 on Nov. 28, played in Sweden last season, putting up seven goals and 15 assists in 22 games with Tappara’s U-20 team in the junior A SM-Liiga. He was pointless in four games with Tappara’s senior team, and had one goal in five games with Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. . . . According to the Ice, Bodak presently is in camp with Slovakian’s national junior team.
The MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers have a GoFundMe page on the go in an attempt to save the franchise. . . . The introduction reads, in part: “Over the past number of years the financial dynamics of running a Junior A hockeyteam have changed dramatically, creating financial challenges for the organization. Your one-time contribution will help the team retire outstanding payables, and keep the team viable in the City of Selkirk for the foreseeable future.” . . . As of late Friday afternoon, the page, which has a goal of $80,000, had raised $7,500 from just two donors. . . . The page is right here.
D Tyler Kleven has decided to attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. Kleven, 15, is from Fargo, N.D., and played for the bantam Fargo Freeze last season. The Portland Winterhawks selected him in the 10th round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . According to Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald: “By the time (Kleven) concluded his impressive performance at the USA Hockey Select 15s this month in upstate New York, the defenseman from Fargo had offers from all across the college hockey land: North Dakota, Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, Wisconsin, Boston University, Michigan, Notre Dame, Denver, Omaha, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.” . . . Schlossman’s story is right here.
The BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild has acquired D Matthew Holzer, 18, from the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlies for D Logan Milliken, 20, and future considerations. . . . Holzer, from St. Albert, Alta., played two seasons in Olds, putting up 13 points, two of them goals, in 94 games. Last season, he had four assists in 37 games. . . . Holzer was a third-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.
As a sports fan, you will be aware that the world is riddle with cliches. In his weekly column, Hartley Miller of myprincegeorgenow.com takes a look at the situation. That column is right here and it’s, uhh, kinda funny.
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Another junior hockey season is almost upon us, which means a lot of young men are limbering up their vocal cords as they prepare for another winter of calling games on radio.
Dr. Gordon Hunter, a professor emeritus in the faculty of management at the U of Lethbridge, has compiled the stories of 49 of these play-by-play voices and turned it into a book that is titled Hockey Talk: Stories Behind the Voice.
This is an oral history, meaning interviews that have been transcribed on paper, and not a book that features 49 original essays.
Included are various men who call games in the three major junior leagues — OHL, QMJHL and WHL — as well as junior A leagues from Ontario through to B.C.
Each of the chosen voices tells his story, and each of them really does have his own story, and none is better than that of Dominic Hennig, the voice of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. Early in his career, the owner of the NAHL’s Santa Fe Roadrunners would fly him south on a weekly basis to call games. When he started, he was 14 years of age.
As with so many of the broadcasters whose stories are included here, Hennig’s story shows the importance of being in the right place at the right time. Whether that is because of hard work or good fortune, well, you will have to be the judge.
If you’re a WHL follower, you’ll read the stories of Phil Andrews (Regina Pats), Regan Bartel (Kelowna Rockets), Dustin Forbes (Lethbridge Hurricanes), James Gallo (Moose Jaw Warriors), Corey Graham (Edmonton Oil Kings), Jon Keen (Kamloops Blazers), Les Lazaruk (Saskatoon Blades), Marlon Martens (Victoria Royals), Cam Moon (Red Deer Rebels), Shawn Mullin (Swift Current Broncos), Dan O’Connor (Prince George Cougars) and Craig West (Tri-City Americans). Also included is Bruce Luebke, the former long-time voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
After reading all of these stories, two things stand out. Most, if not all, of these play-by-play voices had a dream and they pursued it. They wanted to call hockey games, but maybe had to do some football, curling or baseball, as well as sell advertising or maybe be the host of a music show along the way. There also were a lot of job interviews on the road to the broadcast booth, many of them resulting in rejection.
But if you want it badly enough, as West’s chapter is titled, dreams and goals do come true.
It’s worth noting that this book isn’t meant to be devoured in a couple of sittings, or even over a week or two. It wasn’t tightly edited so it’s wordy, and if you read a few chapters at one time, they can start to read the same.
So if you get a copy of this book, take your time with it. Read it over an entire hockey season.
(NOTES: According to a notation on the front cover, “all royalties from this book will be given to Kid Sport Canada. . . . The book is available from the U of Lethbridge Bookstore — email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit uleth.ca/bookstore.)