Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Broncos get new look; Morrissey shines for IceCaps

The Swift Current Broncos unveiled a new look for 2014-15 on
Tuesday. Colby Cave (left) and Justin Spagrud (right) of the Broncos
join Monty Reich of sponsor South West Terminal Ltd. to show off the new look.

(Photo: Swift Current Broncos)







G Ville Kolppanen (Lethbridge, 2009-10) has signed a two-year contract with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, with Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga), he was 2.18 and .927 in 48 games. That save percentage was the fourth-best in the league.
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1. On June 14, 1994, as the New York Rangers celebrated a Stanley Cup championship down below, two men stood up in the stands and held up a sign: NOW I CAN DIE IN PEACE. . . . With the Rangers back in the Stanley Cup final that opens Wednesday night, Steve Politi of the New Jersey Star-Ledger has the story of those two men and the past 20 years. . . . It’s right here and it’s great stuff.

WHL2. Almost two years of planning came to fruition on Tuesday when the Swift Current Broncos unveiled a new look for the 2014-15 season. From a news release: “The Broncos have brought back the blue and green colours and updated the fan favourite horseshoe logo. A new shoulder crest was also created to represent the Southwest’s agriculture routes with wheat sheaves and incorporating the City of Swift Current logo. . . .
“Brandon Wiebe, a graphic designer and former Swift Current resident, gave the logo and jersey (their) refreshed feel.”

3. Two teams in the same WHL division, the East, have introduced blue-themed promotions for 2014-15. . . . On Monday, as they introduced Bob Woods as their new GM/head coach, the Saskatoon Blades launched A Whole New Blue. . . . On Tuesday, the Swift Current Broncos, in unveiling their new look, launched Branded Blue. . . . The Regina Pats also have blue in their colour scheme, so one supposes the next move is up to them.

4. It’s early June and the Stanley Cup has yet to be awarded. The AHL and ECHL playoffs also are in progress. . . . But if you care about the IIHF World Junior Championship, well, the schedule for the 2015 tournament with games in Toronto and Montreal has been released. There is more right here. . . . If you happen to win a lottery between now and then, and if you’re not married with children, you may be able to afford tickets. Jason Kay of The Hockey News (@JKTHN) tweeted: “A 19-game ticket pkg at ACC in Toronto, where medal round will be played, will run you between $636 and $2301.”

4. You can’t blame Kevin Muench, the WHL’s veteran director of officiating, if he’s sporting a bit of a smile these days. After all, three former WHL on-ice officials have been selected to work the Stanley Cup final. . . . Referee Brad Watson of Regina will be in his eighth final and his third in a row. Earlier, he worked five of six finals, a stretch that ended with the 2008 series. . . . Watson worked his 1,000th regular-season NHL game on Jan. 21 in Denver. . . . Steve Kozari of Penticton, who has been paired with Watson since the second round of these playoffs, is making is championship series debut. He and Watson are to officiate Game 1. . . . Shane Heyer, a linesman from Summerland, B.C., will be working his fourth final and second in a row. . . . All three came up through the WHL. . . . Also selected are referees Dan O’Halloran of Essex, Ont., and Wes McCauley of Toronto, who is the son of the late John McCauley, who also was an NHL referee, and linesmen Derek Amell of Port Colborne, Ont., Scott Driscoll of Montreal and Brad Kovachik of Woodstock, Ont.
“It is impressive how hard these guys have worked to reach the NHL’s biggest stage . . . they are doing the WHL proud,” Muench told me via email on Tuesday. “It was also great to see 2 more WHL alumni and current NHL referees, Brad Meier and Kelly Sutherland, in the gold medal game at the Sochi Olympics.”

5. The Everett Silvertips have signed F Addison Runey, 17, to a WHL contract. Runey, from McKinney, a suburb of Dallas, was listed by the Silvertips late last season. He joined the Silvertips in the spring and practised with them during the playoffs. . . . “We’ve made it a point of emphasis recently to have a stronger presence recruiting U.S.-born players,” Everett GM Garry Davidson said in a news released, “and Addison is the first of what we hope will be many American prospects to become part of our organization.” . . . Runey played last season with the Dallas Stars Elite U16 team, putting up 44 points, 21 of them goals, in 41 games.

6. The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, the 14th overall pick in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. From Calgary, Anderson-Dolan had 126 points, including 79 goals, in 59 games with the bantam AAA Calgary EDGE Mountaineers last season.

7. The U of Manitoba Bisons have added D Rene Hunter and F Chad Robinson, both of whom played last season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, to their roster. . . . Hunter, from Ebb and Flow, Man., spent four seasons with the Wheat Kings, recording 68 points, including 10 goals, in 247 regular-season games. . . . Robinson, from Minnedosa, Man., spent two seasons with the Red Deer Rebels before being acquired by Brandon. He earned 109 points, 29 of them goals, in 260 regular-season WHL games.

8. F Evan Richardson won’t be joining the Victoria Royals. Instead, he is transferring to the U of Connecticut. It was revealed earlier in the week that Richardson, the 15th overall selection in the 2009 WHL bantam draft, was leaving Boston College after getting into only four games during his freshman season. . . . Will Moran, the radio voice of the UConn Huskies, reports that Richardson will be playing for head coach Mike Cavanaugh, who was an associated coach at BC and recruited him to the Eagles. . . . In the WHL, Richardson was drafted by the Swift Current Broncos, who later dealt his rights to the Royals. From Nanaimo, B.C., Richardson is preparing for his 20-year-old season.

AHL9. D Josh Morrissey, who played the last three seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders, was the game’s third star Tuesday night as the St. John’s IceCaps dumped the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 5-0, to win the AHL’s Eastern Conference final in six games. . . . Morrissey had one assist, giving him eight points, including two goals, in 15 playoff games. He had one assist in eight games as he finished up the AHL regular season with St. John’s. . . . Morrissey, from Calgary, was selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft. He turned 19 on March 28, meaning he will have to play with the Jets or the Raiders next season. . . . In Game 7, the IceCaps got two assists from D Brenden Kichton (Spokane, 2008-13), a goal and an assist from F Jason Jaffary (Kootenay, Swift Current, 1998-2002) and a goal from F Adam Lowry (Swift Current, 2009-13).

AHL10. In the AHL’s Western Conference final, the host Texas Stars scored the game’s last six goals and beat the Toronto Marlies, 6-2, in Game 7. . . . F Justin Dowling (Swift Current, 2006-11) had a goal and two assists for the Stars, while F Matej Stransky (Saskatoon, 2010-13) added a goal and D Derek Meech (Red Deer, 2000-04) had one assist. . . . Toronto F Frazer McLaren (Portland, Moose Jaw, 2003-08) had opened the scoring. . . . The AHL final opens Sunday in Cedar Park, Texas.

11. Dan Marino, the ex-quarterback who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has withdrawn his name from the list of plaintiffs in a concussion-related lawsuit that was filed against the NFL last week. The MMQB has more right here.
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THE COACHING GAME:
The BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies announced Tuesday that general manager Brad Knight also will handle the head coaching duties in 2014-15. The move came as head coach Craig Didmon revealed that he will be taking a year off for personal reasons. . . . Didmon replaced Bill Bestwick as head coach in December. Knight was hired as GM in April.
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Glenn Detulleo, the head coach of the SPHL’s Huntsville Havoc, has signed a five-year contract extension that runs through 2018-19. Detulleo was headed into the option season of his original contract.
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Kris MacDonald has been hired to work as an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. MacDonald, who played for the Titan in 2005-06, spent last season working with a midget AAA team at the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask.
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