Matthews cleared to play in Switzerland

Kamloops boys playing for national lacrosse title
By Gregg Drinnan
August 7, 2015 9:43 P.M.

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F C.J. Stretch (Kamloops, 2005-10) signed a one-year contract with Starbulls Rosenheim (Germany, DEL2). Last season, with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL), he had seven goals and 20 assists in 45 games. He also played 22 games with the Oklahoma City Barons (AHL), putting up three goals and seven assists.
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One day after Auston Matthews said a decision on where he will play in 2015-16 would made sometime after Saturday, Switzerland’s ZSC Lions ended the saga. . . . The Lions — former NHLer Marc Crawford is their head coach — announced Friday that Matthews has signed a one-year contract and that he will be eligible to play in Switzerland on Sept. 18. That is one day after his 18th birthday, after which he will be eligible to live there on a residence permit. . . . According to the website watson.ch, the Lions and Matthews were able to get authorization for him to play “under a bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the United States for ‘young professionals.” . . . He won’t be allowed to play until after his 18th birthday, too, meaning he could make his debut on Sept. 18 against Fribourg-Gotteron. Because of the residence situation, he will miss the Lions’ first four games of the season and the opening round of the Champions Hockey League. . . . Matthews, who is projected as a potential No. 1 selection in the NHL’s 2016 draft, is from Scottsdale, Ariz. His WHL rights belong to the Everett Silvertips. . . . It had been known for a while now that he had signed with Zurich, but his agents were working to clear the legal roadblocks that may have prevented his playing in Switzerland. . . . Chris Peters of cbssports.com has a good look at all of this right here.
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A couple of months ago I wrote something in this space about two young Kamloops lacrosse players who had earned spots on Team B.C., and would play at the peewee box lacrosse nationals in Whitby, Ont. . . . Well, G Brendan Hunchak, the son of former Moose Jaw Warriors and Kamloops Blazers head coach Dave Hunchak, and Connor Barrett will play for gold and the E.G. Dopp Trophy when they meet Team Ontario today. The tournament is for players ages 11 and 12. . . . If you missed the earlier piece, Barrett has a sports background, too. His mother, Eryn Bulmer Barrett, was a world-class diver and spent 11 years on Canada’s national team. She is a two-time Olympian. Recently, she was in Vancouver doing some work as Kate Upton’s stunt double during the filming of The Layover, a film that is scheduled for release in 2016.
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Portland freelancer Scott Sepich has written a terrific piece for The Oregonian looking back at how Russian F Sergei Fedorov ended up with the Detroit Red Wings. The evening began in Portland with a hockey game. That story is right here and it’s as good as anything you will read this weekend. Trust me on this one.
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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
UBC is expected to announce Monday that Adam Shell, 34, is the new head coach of the Thunderbirds men’s hockey team. Shell, who had been the head coach at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ont., will replace Tyler Kuntz, who left after one season to join the Vancouver Giants as an assistant coach. . . . A source told Taking Note on Friday that UBC’s players received an email on Friday, inviting them to come and meet the new coach on Monday. . . . Shell, from Thornhill, Ont., spent five seasons at RMC as head coach of the Paladins. Before that, he was an assistant coach at McGill U in Montreal.
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The ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads have named Neil Graham as their newest head coach and director of hockey operations. Graham, 30, replaces Brad Ralph, 34, who signed this week as head coach of the WHL‘s Kelowna Rockets. Graham, the youngest head coach in the ECHL, had been an assistant coach for the past two seasons under Ralph. In 2012-13, Graham, who is from Calgary, was a player-coach with the Steelheads.
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