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Thursday, December 6, 2012

The WHL’s board of governors held a conference call on Tuesday.
In light of all that transpired last week in terms of WHL vs. Portland Winterhawks, yes, there was some discussion of the situation.
How much isn’t known, at least not by those who weren’t on the call, but you can safely guess it wasn’t much.
The Winterhawks, of course, were whacked last week for what the WHL has said were multiple violations of rules involving player benefits. The WHL has allowed that none of the violations involved recruiting violations of enhanced education packages.
In the end, the Winterhawks were fined $200,000 — a number that may now be as high as $275,000 after they apparently were disciplined for issuing a couple of news releases last week in which they explained their role in these violations. Mike Johnston, their general manager and head coach, was suspended through the end of the Memorial Cup, and they lost a number of draft picks.
Shortly after all of this came to light, the Winterhawks revealed that they were pondering an appeal. However, the WHL’s rules and regulations apparently don’t make any mention of an appeals process. Still, the Winterhawks had hoped they would at least get to make their case to the WHL’s board of governors.
Well, the BoG held that conference call and . . .
I have been told by a source familiar with the goings-on that the “WHL refused to even hear the appeal . . . let alone reconsider the facts.”
Paul Buker of The Oregonian later reported, via Twitter, that Winterhawks president Doug Piper chose not to comment on the conference call, while Graham Kendrick, the director of media and public relations, said the “best we can say now is due to the fact there is no formal appeal process we are in discussions.”
The next move, then, would appear to be up to the Winterhawks.
I am told that the WHL, after that conference call, sent out an email that changes what apparently had been an open-ended Christmas gift policy. I don’t know any of the details but am guessing there now is an expense cap on that policy.
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Which brings us to the can of worms being opened by the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club.
It seems that these folks are about to embark on a fund-raising effort with the dough to be turned into plane tickets for the parents of Winterhawks players.
Consider these two paragraphs from Oregon Live, where Samantha Meese, a community blogger, writes about the Winterhawks:
“I encourage other fans to join me in donating to the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club for the express purpose of financially supporting air travel for the families of our players. You may do this at any time and simply earmark the funds accordingly. I plan to get the party started this Friday, and I hope others will join me. The Booster Club has the donation form online and in hard copy form at their table — they can also answer any questions you may have.
“Here's a thought for you: The Teddy Bear Toss is pretty much sold out at this point. Imagine if all of us gave just one dollar that night to this effort: We'd have collected nearly $11,000 in one night; I figure that should be enough to transport a few families in need to the Rose City, don't you think? And the best part is there is nothing — not one rule or law — stopping us from doing what is right. Because it is a charitable donation to the Booster Club, it is free and clear of WHL rules and regulations. Oh, and it's a great tax write off for 2012 if you donate before the year is over.”
The complete blog entry is right here.
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Beth Slovic of The Oregonian has a piece right here about the sanctions against the Winterhawks having caused some uncertainty in Portland about the future of the scheduled redevelopment of Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Bill Gallacher, the Winterhawks’ owner, has been talking of putting up $10 million for the project. But now it seems there are questions.
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To add even more intrigue to the Portland situation, there has been speculation the last couple of days that perhaps F Quentin Shore is soon to leave the U of Denver Pioneers and join the Winterhawks.
It is that time of season when there will be a few players leaving NCAA schools for the major junior ranks. Only time will tell if Shore is one of those.
Early Wednesday, Paul Buker of The Oregonian tweeted: “No comment from Portland today on speculation U Denver F Quentin Shore is leaving school to play for Hawks.”
Later, Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News tweeted: “Quentin Shore not leaving Denver just yet — controversy surrounding Portland a factor.”
Shore, an 18-year-old from Denver who is a Portland list player, has seven points in 14 games with the Pioneers. He played the last two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program.
Shore’s parents, Sarah and David, both attended Denver. Two of his brothers also have played hockey there.
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The Prince George Cougars lost their captain on Wednesday when F Brock Hirsche, 20, announced his retirement. He had undergone his second major shoulder surgery in two years on Tuesday. . . . "It's tough when you've got to walk away from the game you love, it sucks, it really does," the Lethbridge native told Sheri Lamb of the Prince George Citizen. "I guess being able to brace for it for the last couple of weeks has helped me a little bit. Those first few nights when I found out there was a pretty good chance I wouldn't play again I honestly didn't sleep at all so as tough as it is today, it's not as bad because I've been expecting it for a while." . . . The Cougars have named D Dan Gibb as their captain, with Troy Bourke, Dallas Ehrhardt and Ryan Hanes as the alternates. . . . Hirsche worked as an assistant when he was injured last season and has done the same last season. He said he will decide over Christmas whether to return to the team in that role.
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D Ryan Pulock should be back in the Brandon Wheat Kings’ lineup on Friday night when they play host to the Spokane Chiefs. Pulock has missed six games since being struck in the face with a puck. He will be wearing a full visor when he returns. . . . Rob Henderson of the Brandon Sun reports that F Jens Meilleur , who has sat out eight games with an undisclosed injury, didn’t skate on Wednesday. He had taken part in a full practice on Tuesday.
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F Matthew Barzal, taken by the Seattle Thunderbirds with the first pick of the 2012 bantam draft, had one assist last night as his Coquitlam Express beat the host Chilliwack Express, 3-2. That was Barzal’s fifth BCHL game; he has two assists. . . . Barzal has 50 points, 17 of them goals, in 17 games with the major midget Vancouver—North East Chiefs. . . . Barzal has yet to commit to the Thunderbirds as he keeps his options open.
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WEDNESDAY’S GAME:
In Kelowna, the Rockets scored four third-period goals and beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-5. . . . The Rockets have won 11 in a row at home. . . . Swift Current F Adam Lowry scored three of the game’s first goals, giving him 14 this season. His second goal came on a penalty shot. . . . He also had one assist. . . . F Cody Fowlie had a goal and two assists for the Rockets, all in the third period. . . . The Rockets gave up two shorthanded goals in a game for the second time this season. . . . The Broncos had F Glenn Gawdin in the lineup. Gawdin, 15, was the fifth overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft. He is coming off an eight-point weekend as his Greater Vancouver Canadians swept the Prince George-based Cariboo Cougars 9-6 and 5-3 in B.C. Major Midget League play. . . . Gawdin has 25 points in 18 games with the Canadians. . . . Swift Current also had F Daniel Dale back from a two-game suspension. . . . However, the Broncos were without F Josh Derko (ankle) and F Levi Bews (knee), both of whom were injured Tuesday in Kamloops. As well, F Chance Lund (ill) sat this one out. . . . D Brett Lernout, acquired Monday from the Saskatoon Blades, made his Swift Current debut. . . . The Broncos may have lost D Reece Scarlett last night as radio voice Shawn Mullin reports that he didn’t play in the last 10 minutes of the third period. . . .

In Lethbridge, F Giorgio Estephan, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft, scored his first WHL goal in his first game to help the Hurricanes to a 6-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Estephan, who is from Edmonton, scored his club’s sixth goal on a PP. . . . F Sam Mckechnie had two goals for Lethbridge, giving him 14, while F Russell Maxwell got his 15th. . . . F Curtis Lazar scored twice for Edmonton, giving him back-to-back two-goal games after a goal-less November. . . . Edmonton G Laurent Brossoit, who will attend the Canadian national junior team’s selection camp next week in Calgary, got the hook at 10:28 of the second period after being beaten four times on 20 shots. . . .

In Saskatoon, Spokane F Todd Fiddler moved into the WHL goal-scoring lead as his Chiefs beat the Blades, 4-1. . . . Fiddler, who has goals in five straight games, has 23 on the season, one more than Kamloops F JC Lipon. . . . The Blades (13-14-1) are 3-7-0 at home this season, including a 1-4 record against visiting U.S. Division teams. . . . The Chiefs are 4-0-0 on their East Division swing. They are the last of the U.S. Divisions to make the tour. The Tri-City Americans went 5-0-1 on their swing, while the Portland Winterhawks were 4-1-1, the Everett Silvertips 4-2-0 and the  Seattle Thunderbirds 2-4-0. . . .

In Regina, the Red Deer Rebels spoiled the Pats’ party with a 5-1 victory. . . . The Pats saluted former star F Jordan Eberle by retiring his number (7). . . . Red Deer is 8-0-0 under Brent Sutter, the owner, president and interim head coach. . . . F Rhyse Dieno had two goals and two assists for the Rebels, who held a 49-20 edge in shots. . . . Dieno has 11 points, including four goals, in eight games since joining the Rebels from the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves. . . . The game drew a season-high crowd of 5,858. . . . Regina F Trent Ouellette (knee) returned after missing 15 games. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reports that the Pats also got back F Emil Sylvegard (hand) and D/F Kade Pilton (virus), “but the team added D Luke Fenske (wrist) to its injured list.” . . . The game’s start was delayed by 30 minutes due to the Eberle celebration. Red Deer D Matt Dumba, who will be going to the Canadian junior team’s selection camp next week, told Harder that he was thinking about Eberle’s accomplishments while taking it all in. “That’s basically all I was thinking about when I was sitting on the bench,” Dumba said. “Just remembering all the goals he scored with Team Canada and what an experience he must have had. I was picturing maybe the possible future for me but I know I still have a ton of hard work in front of me.” . . .

In Victoria, F Cain Franson scored twice to help the Vancouver Giants to a 7-2 victory over the Royals. . . . The Giants had lost their last seven games. . . . Vancouver D Blake Orban had two assists and was plus-4, while F Kale Kessy, who had a goal, also was plus-4.
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CHECKING-FROM-BEHIND COUNT:
None.

CHECKING-TO-THE-HEAD COUNT:
None.
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From Oregonian sports writer Paul Buker (@Pnbuker): “If you've followed along and know the league, Hawks seeking relief from BOG is akin to Auburn asking for help from Alabama #rigged jury”
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From Seattle Thunderbirds D Jesse Forsberg (@forsmasterrex): “@bigsexytweet10 sad to see you hang them up, one of the best ppl iv met in the game and one of the best friends I have #loveyou #gursh”
Forsberg played with F Brock Hirsche, who retired Wednesday, in Prince George.
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From G Drew Owsley (@D_Owsley30), who played in Prince George last season: “Sad to hear one of the most genuine guys I’ve ever played with @bigsexytweet10 had to hang em up. Definitely has a bright future #loveu”

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