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WHL announces 50th anniversay plans

Ex-Kamloops enforcer gets jail time
By Gregg Drinnan
September 14, 2015 10:55 P.M.
When the Prince Albert Raiders open the season, they will honour an SJHL dynasty.


F Patrik Polívka (Victoria, 2012-14) was assigned on loan by Plze? (Czech Republic, Extraliga) to Šumperk (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Plze?, he was 4.00/.840 in one game. With Havlí?k?v Brod (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he was 3.03 and .904 in two games. With Klatovy (Czech Republic, 2. Liga), he was 3.54 in 12 games.
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The Regina Pats held a bobblehead night in honour of former goaltender Ed Staniowski on Jan. 24, 2014. Yes, Staniowski was able to get his hands on one of them.
“I have one . . . I do,” a chuckling Staniowski told Taking Note the other day. “There was a time when you got invited to pro camp and wanted to make the team. Then, getting a hockey card meant you had really arrived.
“Now it’s the bobblehead. You have to have a bobblehead.”
Staniowski backstopped the Pats to the 1974 Memorial Cup title, then went on to a 10-year professional career that ended after the 1984-85 season. In today’s game, Staniowski would be perhaps the NHL’s smallest goaltender.
“On a good day,” he said, “I was 5-foot-10. The equipment (today) has allowed them to play the game completely different. They are on their knees before a guy crosses the blue line. You couldn’t do that when I played because you’d get hurt.”
He also has noticed hockey’s move to analytics.
“So much of the game now is becoming like baseball . . . statistics,” he said. “A right-hand shooter shooting from the left side 52.9 per cent of the time has got an advantage over a shooter from . . . some of the statistics I’m hearing from the pro game boggle my mind.”
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At a news conference in Regina on Monday, the WHL announced some highlights of what will be it’s 50th season.
The regular season opens in Moose Jaw on Sept. 24 with the Warriors playing host to the Regina Pats. In 1967, the Pats and Moose Jaw Canucks played in the league’s first championship final. The Canucks won the series in five games.
Ryan Smyth, who played with the Warriors, and Clark Gillies, a former Pats star, will be in Moose Jaw that night. The game will be televised by Shaw.
The WHL also announced:
* Each WHL team will play host to a special night in honour of the WHL’s 50th season.
* Beginning Sept. 29, two of the league’s 49 championship teams will be profiled weekly as a part of Championship Tuesdays at whl.ca and on the WHL’s social media channels. At the same time, Throwback Thursdays will highlight photos, videos and fun facts from the league’s previous 49 seasons.
* In early October, fans will have the opportunity to help select the top 50 WHL players of all-time in conjunction with a panel of WHL historians. From a list of the top 125 WHL players of all-time as selected by the panel, fans will be able to vote online at whl.ca. Beginning in January, the WHL will count down and release the top 50 players of all-time.
* The WHL also has produced a commemorative book that chronicles the league’s history, teams and key figures in celebration of its 50th season. The book will be available in October.
The WHL also will be home to the Subway Series with an all-star team meeting a touring Russian side in Kelowna on Nov. 9 and in Kamloops on Nov. 10; the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver on Jan. 28; Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada in Kamloops on Feb. 6; and the Memorial Cup in Red Deer, May 19-29.
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The WHL has announced a handful of rule changes that will come into play in 2015-16. Those changes include the move to 3-on-3 overtime. That was hardly a secret because it is being used in the exhibition schedule. But the WHL’s news release, which is right here, explains what happens if there are penalties in OT. . . . Oh, and the horrid trapezoid behind the goals has been enlarged. Too bad they didn’t just get rid of it.
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When the Prince Albert Raiders play their home-opener on Sept. 26 against the Saskatoon Blades, they will wear retro sweaters as they salute the team that won eight SJHL titles and four national junior A championships from 1971-82. From a news release: ‘The jersey features ‘Raiders’, written in varsity-style block lettering with the player’s number on the front. The jersey’s primary colour is cream, giving it a vintage look, along with the club’s traditional forest green and gold.” . . . The Raiders also will honour former G Kenton Rein for his scholastic achievements. Rein, who played in 74 games with the Raiders, now is a Calgary-based lawyer.
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The Prince Albert Raiders are down to three goaltenders after they dropped Curtis Meger, 17, from their roster. He is expected to join the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians, where he helped them win a league championship last season. . . . Meger has signed with the Raiders. . . . Their roster now includes two veteran goaltenders, in Nick McBride, 18, and Rylan Parenteau, who turns 19 on Nov. 16, and freshman Ian Scott, a 16-year-old from Calgary. Scott was the ninth overall selection in the 2014 bantam draft. . . . McBride is in the Los Angeles Kings’ rookie camp.
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Rudy Poeschek, a former Kamloops Jr. Oilers/Blazers enforcer, was sentenced to 45 days in jail on Monday after being convicted of an assault charge and three counts of driving while prohibited. Poeschek, who is from Kamloops, played one season with the Jr. Oilers and three with the Blazers (1983-87) before going on to a professional career that included 364 NHL games. . . . Poeschek will be allowed to serve his jail sentence on weekends. . . . Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week has more right here.

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Rick Knickle, who spent three seasons (1977-80) as a goaltender with the Brandon Wheat Kings, has signed on as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. In 1978-79, when the Wheat Kings lost only five regular-season games, Knickle was 26-3-8 with a 3.16 GAA. . . . Knickle has spent almost 20 years as an NHL scout, working with the Arizona Coyotes and, before that, the Nashville Predators. . . .
And so it begins. . . . Some NHL rookie camps are over and players are on their way back to their WHL teams. For starters, F Scott Eansor has been released by the Toronto Maple Leafs and will rejoin the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . .
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Concussion Report

“For the first time since the NHL’s new concussion protocol was instituted in 2011, the league will place independent ‘spotters’ in all 30 arenas for the upcoming season,” Frank Seravalli, TSN’s senior hockey reporter, writes. “The purpose of the ‘concussion spotters’ is to determine players who might require further evaluation for concussion after an obvious hit to the head or display of apparent symptoms. Concussions spotters have operated anonymously for years, paid for by teams, but their work has come under scrutiny since obviously impacted players are not consistently sent to the locker room to be examined by a physician.” . . . Seravalli’s complete story is right here.
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