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NHL teams returning players to WHL

Rockets faced with goaltending, 20-year-old decisions
By Gregg Drinnan
September 20, 2015 9:51 P.M.
Jake Kryski of the Kamloops Blazers and Riley Mohr of the Prince George Cougars clash in a Saturday exhibition game. Mohr is on his way to the SJHL's Notre Dame Hounds. (Brett Cullen Photography)


D Layne Viveiros (Portland, 2011-15) was assigned on loan by Red Bull Salzburg (Austria, Erste Bank Liga) to Zell am See (Austria, Inter-National-League). He was pointless in one game with Salzburg this season.
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Contrary to what you may have read here yesterday, F Ryan Hughes is still on the Portland Winterhawks’ roster. Hughes, a 16-year-old from Edmonton, is a list player who has signed with Portland. A computer glitch resulted in his name being erased from the Portland roster on Saturday, but that has since been repaired.
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A number of players were returned by NHL teams to the WHL on the weekend. . . . D Tate Olson (Vancouver Canucks) is back with the Prince George Cougars. . . . D Parker Wotherspoon (New York Islanders) is headed back to the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Americans also got F Max James and F Austyn Playfair back from the Arizona Coyotes, who also returned G Aden Hill to the Portland Winterhawks. . . . G Evan Smith (Nashville Predators) is rejoining the Victoria Royals. . . . The Predators also have returned D Jack Dougherty to Portland. . . . The Edmonton Oilers have sent D Ethan Bear back to the Seattle Thunderbirds, D Caleb Jones to Portland and F Cole Sanford to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
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The Arizona Coyotes have returned F Nick Merkley to the Kelowna Rockets, but he is coming back with a collarbone injury that is expected to keep him out of the opening weekend of the regular season. Merkley, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft, was injured a week ago in a rookie game against the Los Angeles Kings. . . . The Rockets open the season at home to the Kamloops Blazers on Friday. The teams meet again the following night in Kamloops.
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The Kelowna Rockets are faced with some tough decisions after getting F Tyson Baillie, 20, back from the NHL’s Calgary Flames. Baillie’s return leaves the Rockets with four 20-year-olds on their roster — Baillie, F Cole Linaker, F Gage Quinney and G Jackson Whistle. . . . At the same time, Whistle is one of three goaltenders in camp, joining Michael Herringer, 19, and Jake Morrissey, 18. . . . Whistler has returned to the Rockets from the camp of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . . Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ general manager, told Larry Fisher of the Kelowna Daily Courier that they will be down to two goaltenders at some this week. . . . Fisher’s story is right here.
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The Prince George Cougars’ roster is at 27 after they dropped D Riley Mohr, an 18-year-old from Regina, and D Peter Kope, 16, from Edmonton on Sunday. . . . Mohr is expected to join the SJHL’s Notre Dame Hounds, while Kope will play for the midget AAA CAC Canadians in Edmonton. . . . Mohr, a free-agent invitee to camp, signed with the Cougars. He had two assists in four exhibition games. . . . Kope, a fifth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, also has signed with the Cougars. He had one assist in three exhibition games. . . . The Cougars are carrying two goaltenders, eight defencemen and 17 forwards.
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The Calgary Hitmen got F Pavel Karnaukhov back from the camp of the NHL’s Calgary Flames on Sunday, while dropping F Tristen Nielsen and F Murphy Stratton from their roster. . . . Nielsen, 15, is from Fort St. John, B.C. He was a first-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. He will return for a third season at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . Stratton, who turns 16 on Oct. 3, was taken in the eighth-round of the 2014 bantam draft. He will play in the Los Angeles Junior Kings organization. . . . The Hitmen roster now is at 28, including seven players who remain at NHL camps — G Brendan Burke (Anaheim), F Radel Fazleev (Philadelphia), D Keegan Kanzig (Calgary), F Chase Lang (Minnesota), D Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia), D Ben Thomas (Tampa Bay) and F Jake Virtanen (Vancouver).   
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Troy Bodie, who was a key part of some winning times with the Kelowna Rockets, has ended his playing career and now is a pro scout with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. . . . Bodie, 30, is from Portage la Prairie, Man. . . . He won a Memorial Cup with the Rockets when they were the host team in 2004. He also played on the Rockets as they won the 2003 and 2005 WHL championships. In 250 regular-season games with Kelowna, he had 129 points, including 64 goals. . . . He went on to play 159 NHL games, with nine goals, 12 assists and 172 penalty minutes.
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KHLHere’s a taste of Patrick Conway’s weekly update on the KHL:
“Speaking of Spartak, the team was warned this week by the KHL for over-reporting attendance figures.  Of particular interest was the Sept. 14 game against Dinamo Minsk, for which Spartak reported 7,727 attendees in the 8,500-seat Luzhniki Minor Arena. Neutral observers claimed that the number, in fact, was smaller. Spartak blamed the problem on a new ticketing system, and the KHL has announced that it will perform its own counts at future Spartak games, with fines and such possible if the numbers still do not balance (the 7,727 figure remains the official one for the game against Dinamo).” . . . Conway’s update is always a good read and the latest one is right here.
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The death of former WHL/NHL enforcer Todd Ewen has been reported as a suicide. . . . Ewen, who died Saturday, was 49. His death was first reported by the St. Louis Blues on their Twitter account. . . . There is more on this story right here.
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F Drew Warkentine, 16, has left the Kootenay Ice, choosing to return him to Prince Albert to focus on his education. He was a fifth-round selection by the Ice in the 2013 bantam draft. Last season, he had 36 goals and 30 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Tisdale, Sask., Trojans. . . . The Ice’s roster is at 28 players, including three goaltenders and 11 defencemen. . . .
The Regina Pats have released F Eric Krienke, 19. He is expected to return to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Krienke, from Calgary, was a ninth-round pick by the Kamloops Blazers in the 2011 bantam draft. He had three goals and four assists in 53 games with the Blazers. Last season, he had 29 points, including 15 goals, in 41 games with Okotoks.

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