Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Calkins, Cahill get SJHL weekly honours

The Klippers were all over the SJHL This Week released this morning, and then some.

Johnny Calkins and Sean Cahill were named player and goaltender of the week, respectively. Congrats to both. They have each been a crucial part of the team's recent success. Yorkton's Blaine Tendler was the d-man of the week.

The Klippers are also third in the league power rankings, a place they have not been for a while.

You can read the whole thing on the league site, but here are the parts focusing on the Klippers:

The SJHL has reached the Christmas break with the La Ronge Ice Wolves and Yorkton Terriers leading their respective conferences. However, as the league breaks until December 30, the story is the Kindersley Klippers. The team relieved Larry Wintoneak of his coaching duties December 13, and since Rockie Zinger took over, the team has done nothing but rack up win after win. Kindersley goes into the break on a six game winning streak with four of those wins coming since Zinger took over head coaching duties. The streak has the Klippers in 2nd in the Sherwood Conference—three up on Weyburn and four ahead of the 4th place Estevan Bruins.

SHERWOOD PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Johnny Calkins (Kindersley)

The Klippers have turned their game around over the past couple of weeks. One of the reasons whdy is the play of Johnny Calkins. The 1990 born forward from Kyle, SK has scored six goals in his last five games—all Klipper victories. He goes into the Christmas break leading the Klippers in scoring with 55 points which is tied for 5th in the league.

SHERWOOD GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK – Sean Cahill (Kindersley)

The Klippers have gone through many goaltenders this year as they try and replace Josh Thorimbert. They may have finally found one in Cahill. The 20 year old from Calgary was in goal for three of Kindersley’s four victories this past week and is 6-1 since arriving from the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

POWER RANKINGS

1. Yorkton Terriers – The Terriers continue to show that they have what it takes to get back to the SJHL final and perhaps the RBC Cup. It will be interesting to see if Yorkton has anything up their sleeve when the January 10 deadline hits as they are already a very good hockey team.

2. La Ronge Ice Wolves – The line of Carre, Lindensmith and Eggum continues on as one of the best lines in all of Canadian Junior “A” hockey. Carre goes into the break riding an 18 game point scoring streak.

3. Kindersley Klippers – When Larry Wintoneak was let go, the players said there are no more excuses now. They don’t have to apologize to anyone for the way they are playing at this moment as they are playing their best hockey of the year

Monday, December 20, 2010

Klippers get honourable mention in national top 20

Not that I put much stock in these rankings, but the Klippers' red hot play of late is getting them attention outside the SJHL as they have received an honourable mention in the latest CJHL Top 20.


1. (1) Powell River Kings (BCHL)
2. (2) Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
3. (4) Newmarket Hurricanes (OJHL)
4. (5) Wellington Dukes (OJHL)
5. (3) Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL)
6. (6) Cornwall Colts (CJHL)
7. (7) Woodstock Slammers (MHL)
8. (11) Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)
9. (8) Burlington Cougars (OJHL)
10. (14) Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL)
11. (12) Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)
12. (9) Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL)
13. (13) Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL)
14. (17) Portage Terriers (MJHL)
15. (NR) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
16. (15) Vernon Vipers (BCHL)
17. (18) Selkirk Steelers (MJHL)
18. (HM) La Ronge Ice Wolves (SJHL)
19. (19) Wisconsin Wilderness (SIJHL)
20. (HM) Le College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)

Honorable mention goes to the Kindersley Klippers (SJHL), Dryden Ice Dogs (SIJHL), Soo Eagles (NOJHL), Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL), and the Weeks Crushers (MHL).

Klippers win final game before Christmas

The Klippers are heading home tomorrow on a high after winning their sixth straight game tonight, a 5-4 victory over the Flin Flon Bombers.

Jordon Hoffman, Jesse Mysiorek, Riley Down (his first of the year), Johnny Calkins and Sanfred King scored for the Klippers. Andrew Johnston and Ryan Fox replied with two each for Flin Flon.

The Klippers (20-15-2) are now tied for third place in the SJHL, behind only Yorkton and La Ronge.

A scout from St. Scholastica, a Div. III school in Duluth, Minn., was at the game tonight to see John Sonntag and Johnny Calkins.

I'll have more in the morning, but for now, here are the post-game reactions.

Rockie Zinger

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Taylor Wasden

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John Sonntag


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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Klippers drop a bomb on Flin Flon for fifth straight win

The Klippers were in a pretty festive mood after tonight's game and it wasn't just because of Christmas.

Five different players scored in a 5-1 victory over the Flin Flon Bombers in the first of a two-game set this weekend. Kindersley has now won five in a row.

The goals came from Cody Lund, Jesse Mysiorek, Johnny Calkins, Andrew Dommett and Sanfred King. The Klippers dominated the Bombers on the forecheck in the first period, led 2-0 after two and really blossomed in the third.

Don't look now, but the Klippers (19-15-2) are now in sole possession of second place for the first time in quite a while. Weyburn is one back and Estevan is two back, both with a game in hand. Yorkton had their nine-game winning streak snapped tonight and they are 12 points ahead of the Klippers, with an extra game played.

Bump of the game: Jesse Mysiorek
Three Stars: 1. Braeden Adamyk, 2. Johnny Calkins, 3. Jesse Mysiorek
Honourable mentions to Sean Flanagan and Sanfred King. Both guys were very impressive tonight. It was one of those nights when it's really hard to pick these because so many guys played really well.

Both teams will do it all over again tomorrow at 6.

Interviews:

Tanner Kissick's line with Down and Wasden was terrific tonight. He was under heavy scrutiny during this interview...

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Rockie Zinger talks about how important the strong forecheck and traffic in front were tonight, the contributions from all lines and tomorrow's game.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday grab bag

A few items to mention heading into the weekend...

Earlier this week it looked like Kindersley's Shayne Neigum - traded from Kamloops to Regina on Tuesday - could be joining the Klippers.

Neigum wanted to play the rest of the year in Kindersley instead of reporting to the Pats, but they more or less forced him to report by refusing to release his rights. He had to report or start his post-secondary education.

Shayne would have been a great addition to the Klippers, especially considering he's already friends with most of the guys on the team.

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Don't forget the Truck Lotto draw will be made during Saturday's game. It's not too late to buy your ticket.

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Team Canada's roster for the Spengler Cup has been announced and three players from the region are on the team.

Kindersley's Joel Kwiatkowski, who played parts of seven seasons with Ottawa, Washington, Florida, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, is on the team for the second time. The 33-year-old defenceman is in his third season playing in Europe and is currently with Bern in Switzerland. Joel was kind enough to do an interview with me two years ago when he played for Cherepovets Severstal (KHL) and it was an eye-opener to say the least.

Kerrobert's Curtis Murphy, also a defenceman, is headed to the Spengler for at least the second time (that I know of, anyway). Murphy, 35, only played one NHL game (with Minnesota in 2002-03), but he dominated in the AHL with back-to-back defenceman of the year honours and three all-star nods. Murphy is currently in his fourth season with Langnau in Switzerland.

Finally, most NHL fans will remember Unity's Curtis Brown from his days in Buffalo and San Jose. He was a key cog for the Sabres for years and piled up 736 NHL games before heading to Europe in 2008. The 34-year-old forward is in his second year with Swiss team Biel.

Congrats to all three players. They should have just called it Team West Central Saskatchewan.

I don't always get a chance to watch much of the Spengler Cup, but I love going through the rosters each year and remembering players from 10 years ago. It's like a trip down memory lane for the hardcore hockey fan. Really, how else would you remember names like Micki Dupont, Domenic Pittis and J.P. Vigier?

The other teams this year are HC Davos (the host, as always), Dynamo Moscow, ERC Ingolstadt and Energie Karlovy Vary. I have a friend from Karlovy Vary and he wouldn't shut up when the Czechs won the worlds this year, so I hope someone snuffs them out.

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Here's a story that disgusted me this week. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association suspended a coach for the rest of the season because he pulled his team off the ice after an opponent called a black player on his team a n----r.

So, the moral of the story:
Racial slur = three games
Standing up against the racial slur = five months

The most ridiculous part? The OMHA said it considers the slur and the forfeit as "completely separate infractions."

Cause and effect, people. Or better yet, how about some common sense?

Have a great weekend and see you at the WCEC.

Interviews from the road wins

A little late on getting these up, but as promised, here are the player interviews from the wins in North Battleford and Gull Lake this week.

Justin McDonald was stellar against Notre Dame in his first start since Oct. 22. We did the whole Ottawa Senators bike interview routine, just without a cameraman...

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Johnny Calkins was dominant in the win over the Stars Tuesday. He talks about the play of his line that night and the first game under Rockie Zinger.


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Andrew Dommett talks about his performance in North Battleford and has some harsh words for the Stars and their coach's antics late in the game. He also proves, once again, that he absolutely cannot multi-task during an interview.

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Ryan Benn on his goal Tuesday, the sideshow late in the game and his feeling that this winning streak will "take" compared with past momentum swings for the Klippers.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Klippers win fourth straight in Gull Lake

For the first time this season, the Klippers have won four straight games, including back-to-back road victories.

Sean Flanagan scored the winner on a perfectly placed shot from the top of the left circle with under five minutes to go as the Klippers edged Notre Dame 3-1 in a neutral site game at Gull Lake.

It was a tight game all the way through, with Justin McDonald, making his first start since Oct. 22, going toe to toe with Hounds netminder Russell Abbott.

Notre Dame's Trevor Cameron opened the scoring at 16:29 of the first. After some heavy pressure by the Klippers in the Hounds' zone, Cameron and David Lerner broke out the other way.

It stayed that way until nearly 12 minutes into the second when Johnny Calkins again scored a power play goal on a quick, accurate shot from the half-boards.

Both teams failed to convert on golden opportunities to take the lead, with the Klippers whiffing on a two-minute 5-on-3 in the second, and Notre Dame not converting on back-to-back power plays early in the third.

Finally, Flanagan finished off a play that began with hard work from Andrew Dommett. He busted his chops to get through a pair of Hounds inside the blueline, then dished it over to the slot for a wide open Calkins... who fanned on it. The puck went into the corner and Braeden Adamyk made a great pass out to Flanagan, who had at least five steamboats to get the shot off.

Adsy didn't hesitate to remind us after the game that he got robbed of the apple on the scoresheet... but he did add the empty-netter with four seconds left.

Time to get to bed, but I will give major kudos to Justin McDonald. He has not started in nearly two months, never complained, kept working hard and preparing for that eventual next shot. It paid off tonight. He may have only made 19 stops, but several were big ones that held his team in the game at critical times. Mac got the green helmet tonight and he deserved it.

Tomorrow, I'll put up an interview with Justin about tonight's game as well as several from the Battlefords game Tuesday.

One last thing, our broadcast setup was....err, interesting to say the least. I am thankful we didn't get dinged by a puck or two. And Keith, if yer reading this (and I know you are) thanks for the gloves, they saved my hands from frostbite.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Off to Gull Lake!

Not enough time here for a full preview of tonight's game, but I'm excited for it. This will be my first trip to Gull Lake. I'm wondering what the rink will be like.

The Klippers defeated Notre Dame 5-2 last week with pink jerseys. Let's see if they can do it again without the pink.

It may have gotten lost in everything that has transpired the last few days, but the Klippers are on a three-game winning streak. From talking to a few players last night, it seems the guys are confident about their direction and they're putting the coaching change behind them. As Rockie mentioned after we got back to Kindersley, the guys would love nothing more than to reel off a few wins going into the Christmas break.

Tonight's game will feature perhaps the two most underrated defencemen in the SJHL, in my opinion. James Howden and Johnathan Sonntag do not get nearly the attention they deserve. Both guys are big, strong vets who can wipe you out with a big hit, play well positionally and be an impact player in the offensive zone. Sonntag had a big game in North Battleford (aside from a goal that was scored when he was in the box) and I look for more of the same from him tonight.

Justin McDonald has not started a game since Oct. 22. Do not be surprised if he gets the call tonight. I have no info at this time as to who will start, but he really needs to get a game in before Christmas and with a big two-game set against Flin Flon this weekend, this could be the night.

It looks like Gull Lake is on Sasktel's 3G network, so I should be able to send out updates via twitter tonight.

Dommett, Calkins lead Klippers over Stars

Well, this one sure was entertaining but maybe not for the reasons you'd expect.

First, to address the officiating tonight. It was all over the arena and it's all over the web, how lopsided the penalties were tonight. Al Smith handed out 10 power plays to the Klippers and two to the North Stars.

Were there a couple calls missed on Kindersley? Yes. Not many. When the penalties are that one-sided, normally you see a make-up call or two, and that didn't happen tonight. As for the Stars' penalties, each one that I saw was legit.

And here's the thing. The Battlefords North Stars were very much in this game late in the third period. They lost their composure as a result of the penalties and their coach's behaviour. The penalties they took in the last few minutes were no one's fault but their own.

What set off the powderkeg with four minutes left was Blake Tatchell failing to score on a breakaway with Jesse Mysiorek coming at him from behind. Let's make one thing clear, Tatchell was NOT hauled down as some are claiming. Did Mysiorek interfere with him? You could make an argument. He was poking around his legs trying to knock the puck off his stick from behind. Did it slow him up? Maybe, but he still got a good scoring chance. Maybe it should have been a penalty, but it was not a blatant case of interference.

After the breakaway, the puck came down the other end of the ice.

And then Ken Pearson lost his mind.

I saw the first water bottle and thought it had come from the stands. Then another one, and I look down and Pearson is livid. Next came an entire rack of sticks. Then a medicine cabinet, which shattered and left pills all over the ice. Then fans began to throw various objects on the ice.

On the one hand, it's hard to blame Pearson because of the penalty situation and the pressure his team is under to win. On the other hand, you can't expect your team to keep their cool if you don't do the same, especially late in a game that they absolutely still had a chance to win.

In any event, it was Rockie Zinger's first win as the Klippers' interim head coach. He started the game with the same lines that Larry had been going with lately, but switched back to the regular lines early in the game and each of them clicked again, most notably the Calkins unit.

Andrew Dommett scored a hat trick, his first of the year, and Johnny Calkins was unbelievable with a goal and three assists, controlling the tempo of the game, leading the rush and doing a bang-up job in his own end as well. As impressive as Dommer was, you easily could have handed the first star to Johnny as well. These boys were motivated tonight, no question.

Ryan Benn scored the other goal, a one-timer off a pass from D. Jay McGrath early in the third.

It started badly for the Klippers when Tim Rollins squeezed the puck between Sean Cahill's pads at the side of the net just 14 seconds in. But Dommett responded at 11:51 when he took a pass in the high slot and buried it low glove side.

Kyle Hall scored twice in the first 16 minutes of the second to put the Stars up 3-1, but Dommett fired back again on a play that started with hard work and ended with a fluke. The captain somehow held in a booming clearing attempt, beat his man along the boards and sent a quick pass across the front, looking for Braeden Adamyk. It went off a Battlefords skate and past Graham Hildebrand.

Hildebrand was nailed for unsportsmanlike at the end of the second period and Calkins scored on the PP, 34 seconds into the third. It was the same play he scored on against Notre Dame Thursday as he set up along the right half-boards, took a pass from the point and wired it short side. Less than two minutes later, Benn tied the game on a great shot.

Dommett rounded out the hatty and made it 5-3 at the 8:54 mark on yet another power play. Then all the madness started. With the way the Stars were running around late in the game, I figured they were done, but Tatchell did score a shorty with under two minutes left to make sure it went down to the buzzer.

The shots were 39-35 for the Klippers.

I watched the game with some of John Sonntag's family, and he had a heck of a game.

Here is what Rockie Zinger had to say about his first SJHL victory as a head coach. I talked to a few of the boys after the game... but it's late, and I'm really tired. I'll try to get the other interviews (Dommett, Calkins, Benn) up tomorrow, but I'm heading to Gull Lake too so there may not be time.


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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A little more clarity

I still have not heard back from Larry, and this story definitely isn't over yet, but after speaking with Terry Shea and a few other people this morning, it has become clear to me that this decision was based entirely on players being unhappy.

"It had nothing to do with the record. I want to make that clear," Terry told me this morning.

All kinds of rumours are flying around, but I've heard one from a pretty solid source about action taken by a few discontented players. I will expand on that if and when I can get it confirmed.


This is the story running in The Clarion tomorrow.

Wintoneak gets the axe
Assistant Zinger named interim coach

The Kindersley Klippers’ board of directors dropped a bombshell on local fans and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League on Sunday night.

Fifth-year head coach and director of hockey operations Larry Wintoneak was asked to resign and assistant Rockie Zinger was handed the interim tag for both roles.

The Klippers have not met expectations during the first half of the regular season, but team governor Terry Shea hinted that the board’s decision was related to discontent in the locker room.

“It had nothing to do with the record. I want to make that clear,” Shea said Tuesday.

Several players gave indications on Monday that all was not well in the Klipper room and that many were not having fun under Wintoneak and his old-school, sometimes abrasive style of coaching.

Asked if some players had tuned out their coach, forward D. Jay McGrath said some of his teammates weren’t enjoying the game anymore.

“I can see that. People quitting and people not having fun on the road trips. In general, people not having fun and not showing up to the rink with a smile on their face, people afraid to make a mistake.

“I respected him, I didn’t have anything against him, but some guys didn’t fit with him and didn’t like playing for him,” said McGrath, who added that some players would not accept Wintoneak’s “rules.”

Winger Braeden Adamyk said that while he had no issues with his coach, the situation had gone downhill.

“Maybe the respect level wasn’t there anymore,” he commented. “I think everybody was somewhat in shock because I don’t think anybody thought it would happen. A few guys had a little bit of relief on their faces (at practice Monday). Spirits are definitely up today.”

Forward Justin Gerwing was one of several who said they had heard rumblings of a change behind the bench, but he expected that assessment to wait until after Christmas, at least.

“I didn’t see it coming this quick. I heard talk about it, but I thought it wasn’t going to happen.”

Several players had left the team during this season, the latest being winger Tanner Exner in early December, and that was believed to be one of the board’s concerns.

Klippers president Rod Perkins declined to comment on the matter.

Wintoneak had signed a two-year contract extension over the off-season, and the team, already coming off a poor fiscal year, is now on the hook for the remaining year and a half on that deal.

“The financial thing was one of the issues ... but it was time for him to move on and seek other things,” said Shea. “As a board, we felt it was best for the club.”

Zinger, who now takes over the reins at age 29, said he always aspired to become a Junior A head coach, but never like this.

“I was blindsided,” said the Dodsland native. “You sign a coach to a two-year contract and I never would have thought in a million years that this would be.

“It’s been a roller coaster 24 hours for myself, and I imagine for the boys, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s been like for Larry.”

Wintoneak could not be reached for comment on Monday or on Tuesday morning.

The coach was cut loose shortly after the team’s Christmas party on Sunday and Zinger was taking in the Red Lions game later that night when he was offered the interim job for the rest of the season.

Zinger said he doesn’t believe Wintoneak lost control of his team.

“I don’t think that he lost the room. That’s his team in there. Those are guys that he recruited, he brought in.

“I think where it comes from is the expectations were so high right off the start of the year and whoever placed those expectations and developed those, it’s a little bit unfair. We’re one game above .500. We’re not in a bad situation.”

Adamyk said with the Klippers expected to do so well this year, some players got complacent.

“At the beginning of the year, we thought it would come too easy for us. Me and a lot of guys in that room thought you didn’t have to work. That’s not the case in this league,” he commented.

“I feel bad because we should have been a better team for him. It just sucks how things worked out.”

The new bench boss said he will put a priority on making the game enjoyable for the players.

“If they’re not having fun coming to the rink, you’re not going to get much out of them. Every one of them has my respect until they do something to lose it,” said Zinger. “I’m going to work them hard and try to push buttons and make them better hockey players and hopefully get the most out of them.

“All I know is it’s my job now to maximize the potential of the talent we have in that dressing room.”

He added that the team’s system and style of play will not change, but “maybe it’s just a little different tone and different delivery of that message to get through and be a fresh start for those guys.”

Zinger said his immediate focus is on getting through the team’s four games this week and then taking the Christmas break to reflect, assess his team and decide whether anything needs to be done before the Jan. 10 trade deadline.

“There was no preparation for this. It kind of caught me off guard and now you’re doing what you can to get through,” he commented.

McGrath said he and his teammates will play hard for their new coach and they believe in what he’s selling.

“Rockie’s a good guy, a good coach, good with the community. I’m comfortable around him because I’ve known him since I was a little kid.

“We’re all going to listen to him and we’ll respect him, and if we do that, we could go a long way this year.”

Despite the parting of the ways, many expressed their respect and appreciation for what Wintoneak did in his time in Kindersley.

“I do know what Larry Wintoneak did for this community and for this team,” said Zinger. “People might forget that when he came in here, there was a big mess to clean up. He did a fantastic job with that. His legacy that will be left here is something he can be proud of.”

Gerwing, who cracked the team ahead of several other rookies this season, added: “I respect him completely. He taught me a lot. I thought he was a good coach, but what can I say, it’s not my decision.”

“I consider him a friend of mine,” said Adamyk. “You never want to see a friend get fired or lose a job they care about and love, but I guess it is a business.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Zinger, Gerwing audio & my reaction

As promised earlier, here are the interviews with Rockie Zinger and Justin Gerwing from this afternoon. The other interviews (with Adamyk and McGrath) were done over the phone, but you can read some of their comments in the posts below.

Would have had this up earlier tonight, but I had curling. The world doesn't stop when crazy stuff goes down. The good news, we won 9-2.

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Also, here is the interview I did with Dan O'Connor on the Sports Fix tonight.

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It has been a long, somewhat emotional day and now I have a little time to relax and give my own thoughts on this whole thing.

When Rod Perkins called me this morning and said he had a "news scoop" I certainly did not expect it to be Larry Wintoneak getting the axe. You can say what you want about Larry's coaching style and the team's fortunes this year, but the news caught me completely off guard.

I felt Larry had mellowed a bit in recent times, but at his core, as a coach, he has not changed. There have always been players who could not handle the way he runs his team. There has always been the odd player leaving, and that happens with other Junior A teams too. Larry Wintoneak can be a polarizing figure to his players. Some guys love playing for him, and others can't stand it.

In the time I have been here, Rod Perkins and the rest of the board have expressed nothing but support and admiration for Larry and the way he runs his ship.

But in past years, Larry has gotten results with this team, despite the odd off-ice spat. This year, the team has not lived up to very high expectations so far, and perhaps that combined with the departure of a few players was enough for the board.

Did he lose the room? I've gotten a few no's from players, but also some interesting comments that seem to back up the suggestion that everything wasn't rosy in the room. Players have told me about the sense of relief, even some happiness at practice today. That maybe the respect factor was no longer there. That some players just weren't having fun and felt like Larry was on their case all the time.

It seems so odd to think that only a few months ago, Larry had just signed an extension and been named head coach for Canada West at the WJAC. There was so much optimism, and now he is out the door before Christmas.

On to my personal experience with Larry.

It took a while for us to warm up to each other. Larry can be intimidating for anyone meeting him for the first time, let alone a 22-year-old rookie reporter who had just moved across the country. Once we got to know each other a little better, I can honestly say that dealing with Larry Wintoneak was a pleasure. Sure, he is gruff at times and we had moments when we didn't see eye to eye, but he always made time for me and he was always frank during our interviews.

Dealing with the media didn't seem like it was just a chore for him. We always chatted before and after an interview talking about what was new, the weather, him asking how things were back home in PEI, about my parents. We had many a great conversation about the Island after he was there for the 2009 WJAC. He took an interest in how I was doing in Kindersley and I appreciated that. We would often talk about Walker and the rest of his children, and how they were doing.

Each time they came back from a road trip, I'd interview him over a coffee at Tim's, which of course made it better.

I had the odd parent ask me what it was like dealing with Larry, and tell me they didn't envy me for it. To be honest, it was never that tough. You treat him with respect and you get it back. Sure, sometimes I didn't look forward to interviewing him after a bad game, but he never refused to talk, even after being ousted from the playoffs, and I was grateful for that.

Larry taught me a lot over the past two-plus years and helped me to grow as a sports reporter. I wish him all the best wherever he winds up next, and I'm sure he will land on his feet somewhere.

McGrath chimes in on Wintoneak's dismissal

Had a chance to talk with D. Jay McGrath not long ago about the Klippers relieving Larry Wintoneak of his duties.

I will expand on all of the reaction as well as audio later today when I have a chance, but for now I'll pass on snippets of what I've been told.

D. Jay said he respected Larry and had no problem with him, but that some players didn't get along with him and "didn't like playing for him."

When I asked him if some players had tuned out the coach, he replied:

"Yeah, I can see that, (with) people quitting and people not having fun on the road trips. In general, people not having fun and not showing up to the rink with a smile on their face, people afraid to make a mistake."

He added that some players wouldn't accept his "rules" and that he'd heard some talk, but did not expect Wintoneak to be cut loose.

McGrath also said that a coach can only do so much and the players have to pick it up.

"It's us. We have to start playing better. Some guys will probably get more comfortable in the room and not have to worry about someone being on their case all the time. It could be a good thing or a bad thing. We'll have to wait and see."

Meanwhile, I've gotten calls from several newsy-type folks around the province regarding today's developments. I think this decision by the Klipper board has caught a lot of people off guard.

Larry Wintoneak out as head coach

Larry Wintoneak is no longer the head coach of the Kindersley Klippers.

Rockie Zinger has been named interim coach.

Update

Klippers president Rod Perkins had no comment on the reasoning for the move this morning, but from what I've pieced together, Larry was asked by the board to resign last night. Rockie said he thought it was strange that board members were not at the dinner yesterday at the curling club, but didn't think anything of it. Later, a few minutes into the Red Lions game last night (Rockie and a few Klippers were there), he was called into the office and offered the interim head coach/DHO role.

I will have interviews with Rockie, Braeden Adamyk and Justin Gerwing up later today. For now, here is some of what I've found out.

- players were informed when they showed up for practice today
- Zinger and Adamyk both say they don't think Larry lost the room
- Adamyk did make some interesting comments, such as "Maybe the respect level wasn't there, but he definitely didn't lose it" and "A few guys had a little bit of relief on their faces. Spirits are definitely up today."
-Gerwing said he "heard talk about it, but I thought it wasn't going to happen ... this quick"
-Zinger said it's a bittersweet time for him. He wanted to be a Jr A head coach at some point, but "I didn't want it to happen this way"
-Adamyk said he counts Wintoneak as a friend, thought he gave players opportunities they might not have gotten elsewhere, and said "I feel bad because we should have been a better team for him"

If I'm able to reach Larry today, I will let you guys know ASAP what he has to say.

I will be on the Sports Fix with Dan O'Connor tonight to discuss the coaching change and what it means for the Klippers. It starts at 8 and you can listen here.

At some point when this all dies down, I'll post my personal thoughts on Wintoneak being cut loose.

For now, I will say I'm shocked that the board chose to do this half a season after he signed a two-year extension, especially considering they were already in debt due to the fire.

Another BCHL addition, this time up front

As expected, the Klippers have added another forward to bring their number up to 14 after the departure of Tanner Exner.

Ryan Elliot is an 18-year-old forward who last played with the Powell River Kings of the BCHL, where he had one goal in 21 games so far this season.

Elliot arrived in town yesterday, just in time for the annual Christmas party. The Stonewall, Man., native should give the Klippers some added depth should injuries strike, although I would not bet on him getting into many games while everyone is healthy.

Elliot had been dealt to the Winnipeg South Blues about two weeks ago after Powell River brought in Justin Bardarson from Melfort.

I was planning to get this up last night, but after the Christmas party I headed to a Red Lions game and was pretty tired out afterward.

*********************************

Speaking of the Christmas party, it was a pretty good time. My bowling team got saddled with Wasden, Benn and Rogers but we tried to make the most of it. We had a great meal at the curling club after bowling.

A few tidbits...

  • D Jay McGrath is a quitter
  • Taylor Wasden is surprisingly good at bowling
  • Casey Rogers proved that Americans have to do everything by force (I am surprised he didn't do any actual damage)
  • D Jay McGrath is a quitter
  • Ryan Benn and Jesse Mysiorek, like me, are big Michael Vick fans
  • Bowling was pretty good to stickboy Ryley Kennedy. He did pretty well on our team, and then he took home a turkey when he won the turkey bowling contest at the Red Lions game
  • D Jay McGrath is a quitter
**********************************

On the topic of Michael Vick, he and the Eagles put me in great position in my playoff match-up this week. I was down 12 points heading into last night, but thanks mostly to Vick and David Akers (and despite Jeremy Maclin doing absolutely nothing), I'm up 32 now heading into the Monday nighter.

I have Adrian Peterson tonight and the other guy has Joe Flacco, so I'm pretty sure I can hang on and move into the semis.

And speaking of football, did you hear about the roof collapse at the Metrodome? Fox left a camera inside trained on the roof overnight, in case this happened. Just spectacular footage. The Vikings and Giants are now playing tonight at Ford Field in Detroit. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Big third period helps Klippers win on Pink Jersey Night

The first two periods were a bit of a snorefest, but the Klippers turned it on in the third to pull out a 5-2 victory over the Notre Dame Hounds in pink. Johnny Calkins scored twice along with singles from Andrew Dommett, Jordon Hoffman and Jesse Mysiorek.

Trevor Milner opened the scoring for the Hounds barely two minutes in after a bit of a puckhandling gaffe by Sean Cahill. Dommett tied it at 11:45 on the power play when he slipped a rebound past the right pad of Russell Abbott.

About three minutes later, with the Klippers playing keepaway on a delayed Hounds penalty, Calkins banged in a rebound in the crease to put his team ahead 2-1. But Notre Dame tied it with just 8.5 seconds left when James Howden's PP point shot was tipped by Todd Christian.

I felt the Klippers were lucky to get out of the first period tied. Their forecheck was virtually non-existent, they failed to get pucks in deep and had some turnovers. Cahill made some good saves in the first.

The second period? Four shots each. Nothing to report from that 20-minute snoozer.

Hoffman put the Klips ahead 3-2 at 2:17 of the third. He forced Abbott to make a big save on a 1-on-1 and the rebound skittered into the right corner. Hoffman got to it and fired from a really bad angle, but he was quick enough that the puck went in before Abbott had gotten up.

With about six minutes left, the Klippers were handed almost a full-length 5-on-3 and they took advantage quickly. Calkins, stationed at the right half-boards, took a pass from the point and one-timed it low short side to give his team some insurance. Then, with three minutes left, Jesse Mysiorek tapped in a loose puck sitting in the slot on a scramble in front.

The Klippers had two PP goals tonight and another one that was scored on a lengthy delayed penalty. That's good news for a team whose power play has not been setting the world on fire.

Taylor Duzan left the game after the first period. He took a hit late and was sent to the penalty box later on the same shift. He did not return after that. He hurt his ankle, but it doesn't sound serious.

Ryan Benn sat out tonight because he was feeling sick. It was good to see Tanner Kissick get in tonight. He had some dangerous chances.

Back to Russell Abbott for a sec. He was clearly frustrated with his team (maybe himself, but he made some phenomenal saves, especially in the third). After the Klippers' fifth goal, he smashed his stick over the net. At the end of the game, he threw each piece of his gear at the bench, one by one, as he skated off. He was livid. And as I mentioned on twitter, I can't blame him. He made some beautiful stops, especially with the glove, only to have his team get nothing done at the other end, and leave him hanging in their own end.

***************************************

Early returns suggest the Klippers along with their jersey sponsors raised about $7,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society tonight. I don't know whose jersey brought in the most in the silent auction, but I know Dommett and Duzan's jerseys were very high toward the end. It's great to see the Klippers and the local community able to contribute to such a worthy cause as breast cancer research.

And I must say, the pink jerseys looked very, very good this year. Last year's sweaters were kind of dull with a plain, black Klippers logo. These ones were snazzy.

Interviews

Johnny Calkins had a four-point night a day before his 20th birthday. After being named first star he got to open some birthday gifts with his family in the lobby.

video

Andrew Dommett chipped in two points tonight, including the Klippers' first goal. It was his first goal at the West Central Events Centre since the fire on January 8, as hard as that is to believe. 

This interview was going just fine until it was sabotaged by a certain dad who will go unnamed... but it was Ken Calkins.

video


Larry Wintoneak discusses the lulls early in the game and increased tempo in the third, Sean Cahill's WCEC debut, the departure of Tanner Exner and Pink Jersey Night.

video

New poster for Sonny Days Snow Removal?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pearce Gourley in Nipawin

I had heard about this a few days ago but completely forgot about it until now.

Former Klippers winger Pearce Gourley is now back in the SJHL with the Nipawin Hawks. I am not sure exactly when the Hawks picked him up, but it was a few days before Dec. 1. He has played in two games for them so far.

Pearce played seven games for the Swan Valley Stampeders and it apparently wasn't working out for him. Nipawin is a young team looking to the future so I'm sure he will get some good minutes for the Hawks.

Meanwhile, Beau Taylor is still in Swan and it sounds like he's loving it there. He has five points in seven games for them so far. Great to see him doing well.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Exner goes home

As mentioned by Brenden on his blog yesterday, it is true that Tanner Exner has left the Kindersley Klippers.

From what I have been told, Exner informed Larry Wintoneak of his decision on Sunday night.

It seems there are personal issues involved, but I will not get into that here.

Exner had been pencilled in beside Sanfred King right from the start of training camp, but he struggled early in the year and eventually was dropped to the fourth line.

He had started to turn it around on the scoresheet recently, including three points in four road games last week.

Exner was acquired along with Lance Tabin for Travis Eggum midway through last season. Eggum, who wanted more ice time, is now third in the SJHL scoring race. With the departure of Exner, that deal isn't looking so hot now. That said, I don't believe Eggum would have gotten the opportunity here that he now has in La Ronge. This is a deep squad.

Exner's time in Kindersley will be remembered more than anything for that dramatic goal he scored last year with four seconds left in Game 6 in Yorkton, sending that series to a Game 7 in Eston. It was the definition of clutch, and it gave the team new life after some heartbreaking losses earlier in the series.

All of a sudden the Klippers are down to 13 forwards, along with seven defencemen and two goalies. Perhaps a little more trimming than Larry would have liked. I would not be surprised to see another '91 or '92 bottom-six forward brought in soon.

I spoke with Larry Monday afternoon about the road trip and the showcase, as well as the release of goaltender Alex Peck. I will try to get that up tonight, but it is a busy night for me so we'll see.

Friday, December 3, 2010

SJHL Showcase opens today

The annual SJHL Showcase opens today in Weyburn, and I wish I could be there. But it's just too far to go when there are other events to cover here at home.

I went to last year's Showcase in North Battleford and it was a blast. It's a pretty unique experience to see three or four games in a day, especially with some teams you don't see very often. Watching, say, Flin Flon and Melfort go at it at 11 a.m. is awesome, because you just don't see that.

Add in the fact that the place is packed with scouts from the NCAA, CIS and NHL, and it's a very cool experience.

As Andrew Dommett said, the scouts do come and watch you at other times in the year, but you can't tell me his four goals against the Stars last year didn't have Lake State drooling.

Josh Thorimbert had many scouts watching him at last year's Showcase, including Colorado College, and he helped the Klippers to a win over Melville while there.

The Klippers play the Stars today at 5 p.m. and Flin Flon tomorrow at 11 a.m.

I'm sure Weyburn will do a great job with this. Some people aren't big fans of their arena, but I enjoy it.

Speaking of the Stars, they traded Shayne Morrissey to the OPJHL in a late move that probably surprised a lot of people. The skilled 18-year-old from Newfoundland had been thought of as a huge part of their team this year.

In another late-breaking move, La Ronge traded Richard Cameron to Notre Dame, and he'll face his old team this weekend.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brett Penner to Flin Flon

Well, Brett Penner's time in Quesnel didn't last long. That is, if he even made it out there.

The former Klipper's rights were traded to Flin Flon today for futures. Penner, 18, left the Klippers in October and was just traded to Quesnel last Thursday for Sean Cahill.

There were quite a few other deals in the SJHL today, and the Melfort Mustangs were very busy. In their biggest deal, Melfort brought in bruising defenceman Scott Brkich from rival Nipawin for 17-year-old forwards Dustin Skilliter and Tyson Dallman.

They acquired forwards Jordan Bauer ('91) from Canmore, Devin Balness ('92) from Brooks, and Spencer Mault ('92) from Grande Prairie. They also traded 20-year-old forward Cole Gibson to Estevan for 15-year-old defenceman Mason Logan, and dealt forward Justin Bardarson ('90) to Powell River for futures.

Meanwhile, Flin Flon traded defenceman Patrick Sitko ('90) to Oakville for futures. One would think there could be something coming back next year in this case. The Bombers also got defenceman James McNulty from Okotoks in a deal that completes the recent trade of Matt Maleschuk.

Notre Dame sent 20-year-old forward Austin Lauder back to his hometown in a deal with the Winnipeg South Blues.

Battlefords swapped forwards, sending Daniel Franks ('91) to Thunder Bay for Mitch Galbraith ('90).

Finally, Estevan brought in blueliner Matt Szpak ('91) from Fort Mac.

No word on any Klipper movement at this time.

Of course, if you haven't heard, the Klippers won a big four-point game in Estevan 4-2 tonight. Goals came from Adamyk (2), Duzan and King. Klippers are now one point behind the Bruins with two extra games played. Second through fifth in the Sherwood is incredibly tight.

Duzan, Rogers named runners-up for monthly awards

I'm not sure if congratulations is the right word, but kudos to Taylor Duzan and Casey Rogers for putting themselves in consideration for the SJHL players of the month for November.

Duzan, Doug Lindensmith and Brayden Metz were the runners-up for the player of the month honour, which went to former Klipper Travis Eggum. Eggum had 30 points in just 12 games and now leads the SJ in goals with 27.

On the back end, Battlefords' Cris Neurauter was named the defenceman of the month. Rogers, Tanner Korchinski and Byron Sorensen were also considered.

I think it's a tremendous accomplishment for Casey considering he only got here halfway through the month.


For him to come in and make the adjustment from the NAHL, deep in the heart of Texas (OK I'm sorry) and to be noticed around the league so quickly, is very impressive.

Congrats to Casey and also to Duzy who had a hell of a month on the scoresheet.

Now if they could just win on the road.

Wintoneak on Cahill, trade front, weekend losses, etc.

I said I'd get this up last night, but I worked like a madman over a 24-hour stretch and didn't have time to get to it. Anyway, this is the chat I had with Larry Wintoneak on Monday afternoon. He talks about the Sean Cahill trade, the need to ship out a 20-year-old, the disappointing weekend losses and the status of Jordon Hoffman, among other things.

We had a discussion about the proper pronunciation of Cahill in PEI compared to the west, before starting the interview...

If the video won't load for you, you can watch it here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Klipper captain chooses Lake Superior State

From Wednesday's Clarion:

He weighed the pros and cons for nearly a year, and now Andrew Dommett has made his choice.

The Klippers’ captain announced Monday that he has committed to Lake Superior State University for the next step in his career.

LSSU and Ferris State, both in Michigan, had been vying for his services since his breakout performance at the SJHL Showcase last season in North Battleford.

Dommett, 20, flew down to see both campuses over the summer and eventually based his decision on his comfort level.

“What it boiled down to is where I felt comfortable,” said the Major native.

“I talked to my mom and dad about it. They can’t make the decision for me, but they want me to be comfortable and go somewhere for four years where I’m not going to be homesick.”

He said two of the biggest selling points for Lake State, as it is known, were the small town feel of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and his dealings with head coach Jim Roque.

“It’s a small town just like Kindersley, I thought it would be an easy transfer from a small town like Major,” he said.

“And their coach, I really liked him. He has a great knowledge of the game and he’s a great person ... the whole organization won me over, from the coaching to the school to the facility, everything was just great.”

Dommett also spoke to several former LSSU players, including ex-Klipper star Troy Schwab and 2009-10 assistant coach Trevor Weisgerber.

He said Schwab talked to him honestly about his experience and pointed out the flaws of each school, rather than persuading him to go to his own alma mater.

“I have to give him credit for putting in the time with me,” said Dommett.

He added that Weisgerber helped him out with the paperwork and making sure he got what he wanted out of the scholarship.

He said several other schools had some interest, including a few Division 3 colleges, but it was always between Lake State and Ferris State.

“It’s the biggest decision of my life so far, so hopefully I don’t regret it,” said Dommett.
“The offer Lake State gave me was incredible. I’d be kind of dumb not to take it.”

Roque told Dommett he will be given a chance to fill the shoes of Will Acton, the team’s top left winger, who is not returning next year. The coach told him they were very similar players.

“Jim’s such an honest guy. He told me straight up, with the amount of money they’re putting into me to come down, they don’t want me sitting in the stands.”

Despite scoring six goals in two games at last year’s showcase, Dommett urged other players not to put any more effort into that weekend than their other games.

“That’s one thing people get wrong. They try extra hard at the showcase. Schools are going to come watch you no matter what. They’re going to come on those Wednesday nights because they want to see how you play then.”

Edmonton firm awarded tender for first phase of multi-use building

This will appear in Wednesday's Clarion:

Edmonton firm awarded tender for first phase of multi-use building
Expected to break ground on $12.2 million project in February

Kindersley's new arena is one step closer to reality.

The tender for phase one of the planned multi-use facility, which includes the arena and lobby, was awarded last Tuesday to Clark Builders of Edmonton.

Of the six companies initially selected for interviewing, Clark and Stuart Olson Dominion were the two finalists.

"Both firms worked very hard, both are very capable," said Milt Walker of Walker Projects. "We had a process that involved evaluation of each proposal and meetings including representatives of the building committee and the town of Kindersley. In the final analysis, Clark won out; just a little bit better price and a little bit more features."

Clark Builders pegged the cost of phase one at $12.2 million. The final design is now in the works, but the conceptual design submitted with the proposal calls for a seating capacity of 400, all on one side of the arena, along with standing room.

Walker described the delivery of structural steel as the "critical path item" and that will not likely take place until February. As such, he expects "some mobilization" of resources in January but figures the ground breaking will come in early February. Materials could be ordered by December.

"They want to be able to have the steel arrive as soon as the foundations are finished, and so there’s requirements for some design and there’s no point in starting to do the foundations ahead of the critical path schedule," Walker explained.

He said the target is to finish the arena sometime in December 2011 and have it open the following month. He described it as "an extremely aggressive schedule."


Brian Robinson, vice president of business development at Clark Builders, said his firm has done several recreational facilities in recent years, including the North Central Community Recreation Centre at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, and a massive multi-use recreation centre in Lac La Biche, Alta.

Although most of the company's $500 million worth of work each year is done in the Edmonton area and the Northwest Territories, it is looking to expand eastward.

"We’re actively looking at doing a number of different arena projects and getting into the Saskatchewan market," Robinson said Monday. "It’s a project we feel we’re very good at doing. The design-build is one of our fortes. We have an opportunity to design it economically and work with a team of professionals. It was a good fit in terms of where we want to go."

Clark Builders has been in business for 36 years.

Kindersley mayor Wayne Foster said he is excited about the schematic designs and looks forward to seeing more detailed drawings.

"It’s an amazing-looking facility. We can’t wait until we get the renderings. That’ll probably be in January," said Foster. "We have some conceptual drawings now that are just stunning. It’s such an enhancement to that area of our town."

BBB Architects has been working on the design of the entire facility in Toronto, and Walker said the specific designs for phase one will fit into that.

He added that he was impressed by the ability of the building committee members - all 26 of them - to put their heads together and agree on what they wanted to see. Not only that, the motion was passed unanimously.

"That’s pretty darn good when you get arts and culture and sports and minor sports and the Klippers and Red Lions and the whole group to agree on something. We were very, very pleased with that," he commented.

Robinson has been involved throughout the selection process and he said he feels at ease dealing with officials from the town, the building committee and Walker Projects.

"I feel absolutely comfortable with the process and the people I’ve been involved with, particularly with (town administrator) Sherry (Magnuson) and (councillor) Tom (Geiger), and certainly the Walker people have been very fair and explained very clearly what it is they were looking for," Robinson replied.

"I think we’re really excited about it and we were able to develop a plan and a concept that excited the people we were presenting to. We brought a high-quality building and a very stylish type of building that will certainly add to the landscape of Kindersley."

More fundraising will be required to complete the multi-million dollar phase, on top of insurance money. Plans are already being made by the building committee.

"That fundraising component is a necessary evil, unfortunately," said Foster. "We’ve had a great response already without really going out and promoting and looking for funding. There’s going to be all types of opportunities to participate in funding."

Beyond the arena and lobby, the entire multi-use facility is expected to cost in the range of $35 million. Funding from the provincial and federal governments will be required to make that happen, Foster acknowledged.

"We’re waiting to hear if they’re going to come up with any more stimulus programs or green programs, those kind of things. We’ll certainly be knocking at their doors looking for funding," said the mayor.

Walker said those discussions are already underway and he also expects help from other sources, given the outpouring of support that came from the North American hockey community in the weeks immediately after the fire in January.

"When they lost their arena, all of Canada in the hockey community certainly came to the forefront in terms of support," said Walker. "Politicians are always supportive of things that are supported by a large amount of people, so we’re confident we can successfully make our case."

One group that will most certainly be happy with the new arena is the Kindersley Sledge Hockey Club. The facility will be specially designed to accommodate the sport, with everything from removable benches to see-through panels in the boards. The benches will also be installed flush with the ice surface so that players can get on and off the ice easily.

"I can hardly wait to see the first sledge hockey game," said Walker. "I'm really excited for that. That's such a heart-warming story to see."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dommett commits to Lake Superior State; goalie could move today

According to Brenden Ullrich, Klippers captain Andrew Dommett has committed to Lake Superior State University next year.

Congratulations to Andrew. He had interest from several NCAA schools beginning early last season and had flydowns to Lake State and Ferris State over the summer. It was only a matter of time until he chose where he would spend the next chapter in his hockey career. I'm sure it's a relief for him to have that over with and to be able to focus just on the Klippers now.

Lake Superior State is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, just over the Canadian border. Many SJHLers have played there over the years, including former Klippers star and 2004-05 SJHL MVP Troy Schwab.

************************************

I talked to Larry Wintoneak not long ago and he is working the phones looking to move a netminder today. He more or less said that the guys know a 20-year-old goalie is going to be moved, and while he wouldn't say outright that it's Alex Peck, that is more than likely what will happen.

I'm going to be working overtime tonight but I'll try to get that interview up later in the evening.

Roster trimming on the way

It's a hectic day for me but I do have a few seconds for a quick blog post. I talked briefly with Larry Wintoneak earlier this afternoon and he said he's in the middle of figuring out how to trim the roster.

Keep in mind, the Klippers now have 10 20-year-olds with the acquisition of Sean Cahill. Only nine can be dressed in a Junior A game (you'll notice Cody Lund was scratched Friday and Alex Peck wasn't on the game sheet Saturday). With two 20-year-old goalies, you'd have to think Peck's days are numbered, but you never know.

Speaking of Cahill, I know that in some cases, if a guy plays a game after his 21st birthday he loses a year of NCAA eligibility. But it seems that may only be true if the player hasn't committed to a school at the time. Cahill's birthday is March 15, and if this rule applies to him, he would not be able to play after that without losing a year. I've been told it doesn't apply to him, but I'll clarify this when I talk to Larry later today.

How 'bout them Riders? Too bad, so sad. The last two Grey Cups make me happy I was only cheering for the Riders because I hate Montreal.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Klippers acquire another goalie; not done yet

UPDATE: The Klippers have acquired yet another goaltender, Sean Cahill, who played for the Okotoks Oilers last season. It looks like he was dealt to the Brooks Bandits in the off-season but there are no records of him having played this year.

Cahill is a 20-year-old Calgary native. What this means for Alex Peck is anyone's guess.

Nickel will go to the Fernie Ghostriders of the KIJHL to try to crack that squad.

When asked if this development was related to a Brett Penner trade, Larry Wintoneak said "We hope so." It sounds like he isn't done.

Sorry for the second blog post on this, but Google won't let me sign into the blog, so I had to post this via email.

More info on Sean Cahill:

He went 22-8-3, 2.66, .911 with two shutouts in 36 games for Okotoks last year. He was traded to Brooks Bandits in the off-season but it appears he did not report. Just 10 days ago, his rights were dealt to the Quesnel Millionaires of the BCHL for two forwards. I have been told he did not report there and so his rights became available.

Cahill, who played for Rockie Zinger in Okotoks, was one of three runner-ups for last year's AJHL top goalie award. He already has a scholarship to Alaska-Fairbanks.

Sounds like an accomplished netminder.

UPDATE #2: Just heard from Dusty Nickel and thought I'd share his comments about his brief time in Kindersley.

"I really enjoyed my time with the Klippers," he said. "I had a lot of fun and it was one of my best hockey experiences and I wish it would have lasted longer."

He said he is not heading to Fernie right away, but has talked to the coach there and will keep his options open as for his next move.