Congratulations to Travis Gawryletz on his first @NHL game! Originally from Trail & an alumni of the @BCHLSmokeEaters, he started officiating during the 2016-17 season in Kelowna. As an @BCHockey_Source official he skated in the @KIJHL @bchllive & @TheWHL https://t.co/xAiY2DQi0m pic.twitter.com/wboeaL1Mes
— BC Hockey Officials (@BCHockey_Refs) November 8, 2017
Neither the WHL nor the Tri-City Americans is threatening to leave Kennewick, Wash., but if improvements aren’t made to the Toyota Center, well . . .
Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald reported Thursday night that the Americans are “revisiting” their future.
This comes after voters in Kennewick voted against a two-tenths of a percent sales tax increase — two cents on a $10 purchase — that would have been used to, among other things, upgrade the Toyota Center.
This was the second time that voters have rejected such a proposal, but this time the defeat was far more resounding than it was a year ago.
The WHL has demanded that improvements to the arena, including new boards, be made by September 2019.
“WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said the league’s new requirements must be in place by the start of the 2019-20 season. He characterized the requirements as non negotiable.
“The league wants an action plan. Failing that, it will consider other options.”
Culverwell quoted Robison as saying: “Let’s hope we can find a solution. We certainly want to keep them there. That’s our objective.”
Bob Tory, who owns part of the franchise and is the general manager, told Culverwell:
“If you look around the WHL, our facility is not just the worst facility in the U.S. Division, but it’s probably at the very bottom of the league as far as the quality of the amenities.”
Culverwell’s story is right here.
In another story, Corey Pearson, the manager of the Three Rivers complex that includes the Toyota Center, told Culverwell that he fears the future of the WHL franchise in the city could be in jeopardy.
“We thought we had a project people wanted,” Pearson said. “Obviously, it’s something that people don’t want.”
As for the Americans’ future, Culverwell wrote:
“The Americans lease expires in 2020 but includes terms that let the team negotiate a lower payment or even early termination if the coliseum doesn’t meet league specifications before then.
“Pearson said the Toyota Center falls short on lighting, back of house amenities such as locker rooms, and it lacks an overhead screen for instant replays and league commercials.”
She quoted Pearson as saying: “I don’t want to push the alarm bell and say the team is going to leave. But teams do move. The good news is they have support here. They have a good base.”
The Americans have been in Kennewick since 1988, having relocated from New Westminster after the 1987-88 season. The franchise originated as the Calgary Buffaloes (1966-67), then became the Calgary Centennials (1967-77), Billings Bighorns (1977-82) and the Nanaimo Islanders (1982-83.) It was in New Westminster as the Bruins for five seasons (1983-88).
That earlier Culverwell story is right here.
The OHL’s Ottawa 67’s and the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques will meet in an outdoor game in Ottawa on Dec. 17. The game will be played at The Stadium at TD Place, which is the home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. . . . This game is made possible because the NHL will play an outdoor game there between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 16, meaning the boards, ice, etc., all will be made available for the junior game. . . . From a news release: “Tickets for the . . . outdoor game will be priced at $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating. Those prices include all taxes, surcharges and free transportation to the game on OC Transpo in Ottawa and STO in Gatineau.” . . . OHL teams have been involved in two other games, both at Comerica Park in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2013. The Windsor Spitfires met the Saginaw Spirit and the London Knights played the Plymouth Whalers as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival in Detroit. The first game drew 25,749 fans to set OHL and CHL single-game attendance records. The second game broke both records, at 26,384. . . . The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to play outdoors at Regina’s 33,350-seat Mosaic Stadium on Feb. 18.
Here’s a note from Stanks’ Sermon, the blog that belongs to Darren Steinke:
“These days at age 73, Bob Ridley is still the only play-by-play voice in the history of the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers. He gave up driving the team bus about three years back, but he is still going as strong as ever calling games on the radio, as the Tigers play through their 48th season of existence.
“On Friday when the Tigers (10-6) travel to Calgary to take on the Hitmen (6-10-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Ridley will call his 3,800th game as the Tigers’ play-by-play voice. His total of 3,799 games called to date includes 3,379 of the Tigers 3,380 regular season contests, one standings tiebreaker game, all 399 contests the Tigers have played in the WHL playoffs and all 20 contests the team has played in the Memorial Cup tournament.
“If someone called an average of 80 games between the regular season and playoffs each season for 47 seasons, that person would still fall short of the total number of games Ridley has called.
“It is extremely likely no one in the Canadian media industry will ever come close to Ridley’s still growing games called total as the play-by-play voice of one team.”
Stanks’ Sermon is right here.
F Nick Henry is expected to be back in the Regina Pats’ lineup tonight for the first time this season. The Pats are to entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . The 18-year-old Henry, who had off-season shoulder surgery, has missed 19 games. Last season, as a freshman, Henry put up 35 goals and 46 assists in 72 games. He was selected by the Colorado Avalanche with the 94th pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft.
The Warriors may be without F Brett Howden, who suffered an undisclosed injury during Team WHL’s 7-0 victory over a touring Russian side in Moose Jaw on Monday. Howden didn’t practise with the Warriors on Thursday.
According to a tweet from Marc Smith (@MarcSmith18), Warriors head coach Tim Hunter said that Howden is “day-to-day” and will be re-evaluated before tonight’s game.”
Regina D Josh Mahura, who played for Team WHL on Monday but sat out Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Russians in Swift Current with an undisclosed injury, is expected to be in the Pats’ lineup tonight.
Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun reported via Twitter on Thursday that two of the Brandon Wheat Kings’ injured players appear close to returning to the lineup for the first time this season. . . . D Daniel Bukac skated Thursday “for the first time since having off-season surgery.” Last season, Bukac, who is from Czech Republic, had two goals and 15 assists in 72 games. After his freshman season, the Boston Bruins selected Bukac, 18, in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Meanwhile, D James Shearer, 20, “is no longer skating in a red non-contact jersey . . . suggesting his return is near.” Shearer had off-season surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon. . . . Shearer’s return would leave the Wheat Kings with four 20-year-olds, the others being G Logan Thompson, D Kade Jensen and F Evan Weinger, who was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 10. Weinger has one goal and one assist in 10 games with Brandon. . . . After Shearer’s return to active duty, the Wheat Kings will have a week to get down the maximum of three 20s. . . . They are scheduled to play host to the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday night.
There are 5 reporters in the press box in Owen Sound for Canada vs. Russia and 3 of them are from @TheAthleticTO
— Sunaya Sapurji (@sunayas) November 10, 2017
At Owen Sound, Ont., Russia scored five goals on 18 shots and beat Team OHL, 5-2, in Game 3 of the annual CIBC Canada-Russia series. . . . The Russians lost the opener, 7-0, to Team WHL on Monday in Moose Jaw, then beat the WHLers, 4-3, in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . The series resumes in Sudbury on Monday. . . . Last night, the winners got 35 stops from G Alexey Melnichuk. . . . F Artyom Manukyan and F Alexey Polodyan each scored twice for Russian, with D Dmitri Samorukov adding a singleton. . . . Team OHL got its goals from F Taylor Raddysh, on a first-period penalty shot, and F Adam Mascherin, on a PP. . . . Russia held periods leads of 2-1 and 4-2. . . . Announced attendance: 3,116.
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Congratulations to former owners Wes and Penny Mussio with acquisition of BCHL Nanaimo Clippers! pic.twitter.com/4G9Rfu12EP
— Delta Ice Hawks (@deltaicehawks) November 9, 2017
Wes Mussio and his wife, Penny, have purchased the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. Mussio, managing partner of the Vancouver law firm Mussio Goodman, had owned the junior B Delta Ice Hawks, but a Pacific Junior Hockey League rule forbidding ownership in a competing league meant he had to sell. Mussio has told Greg Sakaki of the Nanaimo Bulletin that Darren Naylor, Delta’s GM and head coach, will become the Clippers’ director of hockey operations, with Mike Vandekamp staying on as GM/head coach. . . . Sakaki’s story is right here. . . .
The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have acquired D Jordan Henderson, 20, from the Merritt Centennials for future considerations. Henderson has seven goals and 29 assists in 158 WHL games, split among the Spokane Chiefs, Saskatoon Blades and Medicine Hat Tigers. He started this season in camp with the Kootenay Ice but was released before the regular season started. . . .
F Jackson Keane, 20, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. The son of former NHL/WHL player Mike Keane, Jackson is in his first season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, after spending two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers. . . . Keane was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft.
F Brendan Budy, 17, has signed a letter of intent to attend the U of Denver and play for the Pioneers, starting in 2019-20. He is in his second season with the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and is the team captain. . . . From Langley, Body was a fourth-round selection by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. . . .
F Tanner Kaspick of the Brandon Wheat Kings won’t play Saturday against the visiting Saskatoon Blades after being suspended for one game by the WHL. Kaspick took a headshot major and game misconduct on Tuesday in Team WHL’s 4-3 loss to a touring Russian side during the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Swift Current. . . . Russian D Alex Alexeyev, who was hit by Kaspick, wasn’t injured. Alexeyev plays for the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels.
No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY (all times local):
Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Prince Albert vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Spokane at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Red Deer at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Everett at Prince George, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Vancouver at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Tri-City vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.
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