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Harrison knows all about Blazers

Kamloops in Prince George for doubleheader
By Gregg Drinnan
November 26, 2015 8:01 P.M.
Luke Harrison, the newest member of the Prince George Cougars, poses for a new headshot. (Photo: Prince George Cougars)

The Kamloops Blazers will be taking part in the latest chapter of the Luke Harrison Farewell Tour tonight (Friday) in Prince George.
Harrison, who began this WHL season with the Blazers, practised on Thursday with the Cougars, the fourth team with which he has played this season.
The Blazers and Cougars will play in Prince George tonight and Saturday.
With each WHL team allowed to have a maximum of three 20-year-olds on its roster, Harrison lost out in Kamloops when the Blazers chose to keep forwards Matt Needham and Gage Quinney, and defenceman Ryan Rehill.
Harrison’s next stop was with the Spokane Chiefs. But he lost out there, too, when forward Adam Helewka, a 44-goal scorer last season, came back from the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.
And so it was on to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who were down a 20-year-old because forward Tim McGauley, last season’s Eastern Conference player of the year, was out with a shoulder injury. Well, McGauley came back last week and . . . guess what?
Yes, Harrison, who is from West Kelowna, was on the move again, this time to Prince George.
"It's been tough traveling,” Harrison told Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen, “but I've been liking it here so far. The guys are great, the coaching staff is awesome, I can't say enough good things.
“There's a strong (1997-born) group here, lots of skilled forwards on the first two lines and I feel I can provide a strong, gritty game and leadership out there. I like to use my speed and take pucks to the net and play the body. I've been playing in the league since I was 16 and have a lot of experience and I'm happy to be in P.G.”
He had two goals in six games with Brandon and two in seven games with Spokane, after going pointless in four games with Kamloops. He actually began his WHL career in 2010-11 when he got into two games with the Chilliwack Chiefs. He was with the Victoria Royals for the next two seasons; they traded him to the Blazers during 2013-14.
Add it all up and he has 34 points, 21 of them goals, in 196 career regular-season games split between six teams.
So . . . what does Harrison expect to see from the Blazers?
"They're a fast team,” he told Clarke, “they move the puck well, and they have a lot of talented players like Collin Shirley, who can put the puck in the net. But I feel with the home record P.G. has we can jump on them quickly.
“We kind of play a similar style of systems. I know each one of them, they're good buddies, and it will be fun to battle hard against them.”
The Cougars are 8-3-0 at the CN Centre where they have won five in a row; the Blazers are 2-4-1 on the road.
The Blazers (10-8-3) are 7-0-3 in their last 10 outings. They are 3-0-0 against the Cougars, having beaten them three times in Kamloops, outscoring them 20-4 in the process. Kamloops is fourth in the B.C. Division, two points behind the Cougars (12-9-1), who are 6-3-1 in their previous 10 games.
“We're both going to be well-rested,” Cougars head coach Mark Holick told Clarke. “They haven't had a game this week and we haven't had a game this week, and we're not worried about what has happened, we've been going pretty good since (the last loss in Kamloops).
"They're coming up here and they're going to be confident for sure. (Blazers head coach Don Hay) has done a good job and they work hard and compete. (Goalie Connor) Ingram has been outstanding for them and gives them a chance every night and we'll see him both nights and we have to have our A-game ready."
JUST NOTES: Harrison skated on a line with Kody McDonald and Brad Morrison at Thursday’s practice. . . . Both games will be televised by Shaw. Meanwhile, Sportsnet will have the Kelowna Rockets in Victoria against the Royals on Friday. . . . The Blazers are expected to start G Connor Ingram on Friday, while the Cougars counter with Nick McBride. G Ty Edmonds, who has been out with a hamstring issue, is expected to back up McBride. . . . F Jordan Ross, 19, won’t be in the Cougars’ lineup. He has returned home to Kronau, Sask., as the Cougars try to trade him. Ross had five points, including one goal, in 25 games with the Cougars last season. This season, he has one goal in 13 games. . . . The Blazers will be back home on Tuesday against the Kootenay Ice. The Portland Winterhawks are here on Dec. 4 (Food Bank Night) and the Medicine Hat Tigers on Dec. 5 (Teddy Bear Toss). After that, the Blazers won’t play at home until Dec. 27.
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There’s more WHL news with Taking Note at TheCoachesSite.com. While you’re there, feel free to download a copy of A Coaching Life, an eBook comprising stories about eight prominent coaches.

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