Latest Headlines

Canada gets Russia in semifinal

Connolly leaving Cougars?
By Gregg Drinnan
August 12, 2015 10:06 P.M.


F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) has been released by Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after an unsuccessful tryout. He had one goal in three exhibition games. . . .
F Peter Mueller (Everett, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Malmö (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had 10 goals and seven assists in 34 games with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A). . . .
D Ivan Baranka (Everett, 2003-05) signed a one-year contract with Rögle Ängelholm (Sweden, SHL). Last season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had four goals and eight assists in 45 games.
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The playoff round is set at the U-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament after the round-robin portion wrapped up in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Breclav, Czech Republic, on Wednesday. . . . On Friday, Canada (3-0), which is the seven-time defending champion, and Russia (2-1) will meet in one semifinal, with Finland (3-0) facing Sweden (2-1) in the other. Meanwhile, Czech Republic (1-2) will play the U.S. (1-2), for fifth place, with Slovakia (0-3) and Switzerland (0-3) meeting in the seventh-place game. . . . On Wednesday, F Tyler Benson of the Vancouver Giants had a goal and three assists to help Team Canada to a 9-2 victory over Switzerland. . . . F Tyson Jost of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees had three goals for Canada, with D Kale Clague of the Brandon Wheat Kings, F Nolan Patrick of Brandon, F Sam Steel of the Regina Pats, D Samuel Girard of the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes and D Josh Mahura of the Red Deer Rebels also scoring. . . . G Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips stopped 13 shots, including a third-period penalty shot, as he improved to 2-0 in the tournament. . . . In the other Pool A game yesterday, Sweden beat Czech Republic, 2-0. In Pool B, F Kailer Yamomoto of the Spokane Chiefs had a goal and two assists as the U.S. beat Slovakia, 7-3, and Finland blanked Russia, 3-0.
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D Josh Connolly has chosen to attend UBC and play for the Thunderbirds, rather than return to Prince George and play his 20-year-old season with the Cougars. Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Kamloops Blazers, tweeted the news on Wednesday. . . . The Cougars acquired Connolly, and sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft, from the Blazers for D Marc McNulty, and a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft, on Jan. 7. . . . You might recall that the Blazers had traded Connolly to Swift Current, but he refused to report to the Broncos. The Blazers then turned around and dealt him to the Cougars. . . . Connolly, who is from Prince George, had 20 points, including eight goals, in 24 games with the Cougars. In 188 career regular-season games, he had 105 points, 25 of them goals. . . . Interestingly, when I contacted Prince George head coach Mark Holick last night and asked “who are your 20-year-olds right now,” he responded by listing Connolly, D Joe Carvalho, F Aaron Macklin and F Chase Witala.
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NHLD Eric Roy, who played out his eligibility with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2014-15, has signed an ATO with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Roy was a fifth-round selection by the Flames in the 2013 NHL draft, but he never did sign with them. He played 322 regular-season and 42 playoff games with Brandon. In regular-season play, he finished with 200 points, 48 of them goals.
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With the WHL soon to begin its 50th anniversary season, the gang over at sportsnet.ca has undertaken a project in which the top 25 teams of all-time are being ranked. The first five (21-25) went up at sportsnet.ca on Wednesday, under the byline of Andy Eide, who covers the Seattle Thunderbirds for 710 ESPN Seattle. . . . Projects such as these are done in an attempt to stir debate, which they often do. All I will say about a project ranking WHL teams is that it’s impossible to do one that is all-inclusive because of the NHL’s decision to implement the 18-year-old draft in the summer of 1979. . . . Teams that played in the WHL prior to that, including the poor ones, would dominate any of today’s teams. Yes, dominate. . . . Yesterday’s Sportsnet piece includes the 1977-78 New Westminster Bruins, 1973-74 Regina Pats and 1968-69 Flin Flon Bombers. In a best-of-seven playoff series, either one of those teams, each of which won a championship, would dismantle post-1979 teams with ease. . . . The first Sportsnet piece is right here.
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Randy Moller (Billings, Lethbridge, 1979-82) won’t be the Florida Panthers’ radio play-by-play voice when the new NHL season opens. Instead, he is moving over to TV with Fox Sports Florida. He will join play-by-play man Steve Goldstein and analyst Denis Potvin on the TV crew, replacing Bill Lindsay (Tri-City, 1989-92). . . . On the TV side, Moller, who flew solo in the radio booth for six seasons, will be the host of pre- and post-game shows, and also will do some in-game analysis. Moller is preparing for his 18th season on Florida’s on-air crew. . . . The Panthers now are looking for a new radio play-by-play voice.
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The Major League Baseball schedule on Tuesday night featured 15 games. For the first time in history, all the home teams won on a 15-game night. ESPN.com has more right here on what was an interesting night.
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Got a tip or some information you feel could be useful to me, feel free to email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.
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Coaching Game
Cody Nelson, 21, has signed on with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings as an assistant coach. He will work with GM/head coach Marlin Murray. Nelson, from Brandon, was the Kings’ captain last season.
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