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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

4 WHL Clubs in CHL Top 10

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the twentieth edition of the BMO CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2015-16 season.  The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts. 
BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 20
Rank:Team:Last Week Rank:Number of Weeks Ranked:
1Erie Otters (41-7-1-0)120
2Val-d'Or Foreurs (40-9-2-1)211
3Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (39-8-3-1)319
4Kitchener Rangers (36-9-5-0)416
5London Knights (36-11-2-1)520
6Victoria Royals (36-15-2-3)-4
7Kelowna Rockets (37-15-3-0)614
8Lethbridge Hurricanes (37-16-0-0)710
9Shawinigan Cataractes (33-14-4-0)816
10Brandon Wheat Kings (34-16-2-2)910
 Honourable Mention:  
 Saint John Sea Dogs (32-14-4-0)102
 Red Deer Rebels (34-16-1-2)-11
 Gatineau Olympiques (34-15-2-1)-9
Paul Krotz
Director, Communications
Canadian / Ontario Hockey League

VIGR Lifestyles Wednesday Thriller

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Happy Wednesday Everybody!

- As always lets start with the Regina Pats. What an incredible weekend at the Brandt Centre. The team was dominant in a 5-1 win over Medicine Hat on Friday night. It was a massive game with the Tigers just 5 points back in the Eastern Conference standings heading in. The Pats had their foot on the gas from the start and didn't look back. Adam Brooks had another night to remember with 4 assists and Tyler Brown did the rest making 41 saves.

On Saturday, well, what a game. The Prince George Cougars were in town and it was the best game of the year in my opinion. From the animosity on the ice, the comeback and the atmosphere in the building... again what a game. The Pats won 5-3 thanks to a late goal from Rykr Cole and then Cole Sanford sealed it with an empty netter, his second goal of the contest and third point. The game got off to a dirty start, after every whistle the Pats were getting abused and Austin Wagner was forced to leave the game after taking a slash on the wrist from Sam Ruopp. However the Pats didn't back down, battled back from a two goal deficit in the second for the win. Tyler Brown was absolutely fantastic and his two saves on Jesse Gabrielle going post to post will challenge for the WHL plays of the week. A performance to remember and for the first time this year the Pats won on back to back nights.

- It's amazing what a two win weekend can do for a team. The outlook is so positive, especially with the Moose Jaw Warriors well within striking distance, just 5 points ahead and the Pats have two games in hand. The Warriors will host the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. Moose Jaw lost captain Brayden Point to injury again on Friday and he did not suit up Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels. I have not heard the extent of the injury but Point has not been the same player since before his first injury this season. Dryden Hunt however has been unbelievable. Was named the WHL's player of the month last week and is two points back of the Regina Pats Adam brooks for the WHL scoring lead.

- Speaking of injuries. Some startling rumours coming out of Kelowna as it pertains to their starting goaltender Jackson Whistle. The talk around the rink this weekend was that Whistle could be done for the year with a hip injury. What a loss that would be for the defending champion Rockets. However Michael Herringer has filled in admirably in Whistle's absence.

- As for the Pats injuries, things are looking a lot brighter for Fridays game against Prince Albert. The Pats will get defenceman Connor Hobbs as well as forwards Adam Berg and Aaron Macklin back into the lineup. Hobbs missed the last 7, Berg the last 5 and Macklin the last 4, all with upper-body injuries. Austin Wagner meanwhile is day to day and the team will see how his wrist progresses this week. Luckily for him it is not broken and if he does miss time it won't be long term.

- Back to the Pats. forward Jared McAmmond had quite a weekend. First he got back into the lineup on Friday after missing time with an upper-body injury. Then on Saturday he celebrated his 19th birthday by scoring a big goal in his 100th career game against the Prince George Cougars. Great to see for the Grande Chache product who has been so good and worked so hard this season.

- I want to recognize the play of the Swift Current Broncos today. A lot of people probably counted the Broncos out after trading away forward Jake DeBrusk and goaltender Landon Bow ahead of the deadline. However, the Broncos are the hottest team outside the playoffs right now having won 7 of their last 10 and sit 9 points out. They are the closest team to Edmonton and Regina who both have 53 points on the year. Head Coach and GM Mark Lamb deserves a lot of credit for bringing in guys who can play in the trades. Lane Pedersen has provided scoring after coming over from Red Deer and forward Jamal Watson and goaltender Taz Burman have been great since coming from Seattle. They are going to continue to push for a post season berth with 20 games left.

- Big congrats to Ron Robison on the 5 year extension as the WHL's commissioner. A great guy that has been so good for the league and major junior hockey in Canada! Not a surprise the board of governors wanted to keep him around.

- Sidney Crosby is back to being Sidney Crosby. Watched the Penguins take on the Ducks on Monday and my goodness he looks like the best player in the world again. Crosby scored an absolute beauty as a part of a two goal performance on Monday and has goals in 7 straight. The Penguins look like a contender again after the coaching change.

- Super Bowl 50 was ok. It wasn't the most exciting game but the Denver defence was fun to watch. Obviously they were the deciding factor in the win. Congrats to Peyton Manning! He didn't have to carry the team but I would be surprised if he doesn't ride off into the sunset as a champion. A heck of a way to go out. As for the criticism on the Panthers Cam Newton... Give the guy a break. Yes he was less than accommodating in his post game interview but go lose a Super Bowl and then you can give him a hard time for not taking it in stride.

- I have nothing to say on CFL Free Agency except that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to be over the salary cap already. Every time I opened Twitter on Tuesday they had signed a new player and the money totals are not low.

- Tonight's Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30 includes my guests assistant coach Brad Herauf and forwards Cole Sanford and Jared McAmmond.

That's all I have for today, have a great week!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Regina Pats and getting healthy

After four games playing short a player, the Regina Pats are getting some relief on the injury front.

Defenceman Connor Hobbs will return to the lineup on Friday against the Prince Albert Raiders. As will forwards Adam Berg and Aaron Macklin.

Hobbs missed the last 7 games with an upper body injury. Berg has missed the last 5 and Macklin the last 4, also with upper body ailments. Hobbs says he can't wait to get back out there. "Super, super excited. I'm feeling good, ready to go, been skating for a couple days now and just can't wait to help the team."

While the injuries have not been ideal for the Pats, they came at a good time in terms of the schedule. The Pats have only played two games a week for the last three weeks and so the number of games missed was limited for all three guys who will return this weekend. Hobbs says he's grateful for the lighter schedule. "It would be a little more difficult if we were playing a bunch and having to watch games. it's tough to watch up in the stands, you are so close to the guys and you want to be out there. I'm glad that it was a lighter schedule and I'm excited to get back out there."

Assistant Coach and Assistant GM Dave Struch says Austin Wagner is up in the air for the weekend after taking a slash on the wrist from Sam Ruopp of the Prince George Cougars on Saturday. "As it sits right now we will have three new guys in the lineup... Wagner is still day to day so that will be the situation for the weekend."

Struch says it's wait and see with Wagner going forward.  "It's just a bruise right now, we will see how he is after treatment today. We will go into tomorrow and see if he can skate and handle the puck at the same time. We know he can skate, we've seen that quite often." Struch laughed. "When you look at it, we are very fortunate that it's not a break and we can move forward."

The Pats are in Prince Albert on Friday taking on the Raiders at 7 o'clock on 620 CKRM.

Ron Robison extended as WHL Commissioner

Calgary, AB – Western Hockey League (WHL) Chairman of the Board Bruce Hamilton announced today that the WHL Board of Governors have agreed to a new five-year contract extension with WHL Commissioner Ron Robison.
Robison, who joined the WHL prior to the 2000-01 season, is currently in his 16th season as Commissioner and CEO of the WHL. The new contract will extend Robison through the 2020-21 season.
“The WHL Governors voted unanimously to extend Ron Robison’s contract,” commented WHL Chairman of the Board Bruce Hamilton. “We continue to be pleased with the job Ron is doing and believe it is in the best interest of the League to secure him to another long-term contract. In the years to come, Ron’s leadership will be important as the WHL continues to be a world leader in both hockey development and our player experience.”
Under Robison’s leadership since 2000-01, the WHL has experienced unprecedented growth. The WHL, with 22 member clubs throughout Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, is a leading supplier to the NHL, Canada’s National hockey teams and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) hockey programs. The WHL has also continued to expand its broadcast partnerships which has provided more exposure for the League and its member clubs than ever before. Most recently, the WHL has strengthened its player experience under Robison with expanded support services under the WHL Players First program and also awarded a record number of WHL Scholarships to its graduates in 2015-16.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be entrusted by the Board of Governors to continue serving as WHL Commissioner,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “In our 50th Season, the WHL continues to grow and serve as a world leader in the hockey industry and I look forward to playing a key leadership role in the seasons ahead.”

Courtesy WHL PR

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pats McAmmond has Weekend to Remember

Photo credit: Keith Hersmiller Photography
"It was a weekend I won't soon forget that's for sure."

You couldn't have scripted it any better for Regina Pats forward Jared McAmmond. The Grande Cache Alberta product started off the weekend by getting back into the lineup against the Medicine Hat Tigers. He had missed the previous two games with an upper body injury. Then on Saturday McAmmond played his 100th career WHL game, on his 19th birthday and scored a massive goal as a part of the Pats 5-3 comeback win over the Prince George Cougars.

McAmmond says it was quite a night. "We knew Gabes (Jesse Gabrielle) was on their team. We have history with him and whatever he does he does." McAmmond chuckled. "But I think from all the games I have played in between last year and this year I think that would be the most fun game I've played in. Not only because I scored a goal, not only because it was rough and tough, it was just the experience. The crowd was really into it which was really goo. The only other game I can think of is game 3 against Brandon at home (last year) and we won 3-2. I think that was my other favorite game I've been in."

It's been an interesting season for McAmmond. While the stats don't jump off the page at you, (2 goals and 1 assist) he has been one of the most consistent players on the Pats roster this year. Assistant Coach and Assistant GM Dave Struch has nothing but praise for Jared and what he has brought in his second year in the league. "It's a credit to him. he is a real hard working kid on and off the ice. He is a coaches dream because he does everything that is asked of him, again on and off the ice. It's a credit to him and real happy for him. It provides more depth for us, he is a little bit older, he has some of the experience. We've talked about the stats not being there for him but he's always in a position to have some success and that's all we look for in our guys."

McAmmond's tieing goal on Saturday came 8 seconds after Cole Sanford scored on the powerplay to get Regina to within a goal late in the second period. The WHL record for the fastest 2 goals is 2 seconds. It happened on October 3rd 1998 when the Calgary Hitmen scored at 19:40 and 19:42 of the third period against the Red Deer Rebels.

The Regina Pats are back in action on Friday when they visit the Prince Albert Raiders at 7 o'clock on 620 CKRM.

Wheat Kings Provorov named WHL Player of the Week

Calgary, AB - The Western Hockey League announced today that Brandon Wheat Kingsdefenceman Ivan Provorov has been named the WHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 7th, 2016. 

Provorov recorded nine points (2g-7a) to go along with a plus-6 rating in three games to lead Brandon to a perfect record of 3-0-0-0 for the week.  

On Tuesday, February 2nd against the Moose Jaw Warriors, Provorov recorded three points (1g-2a) and a plus-3 rating as Brandon knocked off Moose Jaw by a score of 6-2. On Friday, February 5thagainst the Prince George Cougars, Provorov was a play-maker on the ice as he tallied a career-high five assists to lead the Wheat Kings to a convincing 8-3 victory. Provorov was named the game’s first star for his performance. The following night, Provorov buried his 12th goal of the season to help lead the Wheat Kings to their third straight victory as they took down the Medicine Hat Tigers by a score of 6-2.

The 19-year-old Yaroslavl, RUS native has collected 50 points (12g-38a) in 43 games this season to sit third overall in scoring amongst WHL defencemen. The 6-0, 200 lb defenceman is in his second WHL campaign with Brandon and has amassed 111 points (27g-84a) in 103 career WHL regular season contests. Provorov was selected seventh overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015 NHL Draft.

The WHL has also nominated Taz Burman of the Swift Current Broncos for the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week award. Burman, a 1997-born netminder from Vancouver, BC posted a record of 2-0-0-1 with a 0.97 goals against average and a .971 save percentage. On Tuesday, February 2nd, Burman turned aside 28 saves to propel the Swift Current Broncos to a 2-1 victory on the road against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Burman was named the game’s second star for his efforts. On Friday, February 5th, Burman stopped 32 of 33 shots in another stellar performance but the Broncos dropped a 2-1 decision to the Prince Albert Raiders in a shootout. The following night, Burman earned first star honours as he turned aside 39 shots to lift the Broncos to a 4-1 victory against the Saskatoon Blades. Currently in his third WHL campaign, Burman has posted a 24-17-1-2 record in 63 career WHL regular season appearances.

WHL Player of the Week
Sept. 24 – Sept. 27: Alex Forsberg, Victoria Royals
Sept. 28 – Oct. 4: Reid Gardiner, Prince Albert Raiders
Oct. 5 – Oct. 11: Brayden Point, Moose Jaw Warriors
Oct. 12 – Oct. 18: Jon Martin, Swift Current Broncos
Oct. 19 – Oct. 25: Jesse Gabrielle, Prince George Cougars
Oct. 26 – Nov. 1: Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds
Nov. 2 – Nov. 8: Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets
Nov. 9 – Nov. 15: Jackson Houck, Calgary Hitmen
Nov. 16 – Nov. 22: Tyson Baillie, Kelowna Rockets
Nov. 23 – Nov. 29: Justin Gutierrez, Lethbridge Hurricanes
Nov. 30 – Dec. 6: Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants
Dec. 7 – Dec. 13: Rihards Bukarts, Portland Winterhawks
Dec. 14 – Dec. 20: Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Adam Brooks, Regina Pats
Jan. 4 – Jan. 10: Adam Helewka, Spokane Chiefs
Jan. 11 – Jan. 17: Reid Gardiner, Prince Albert Raiders
Jan. 18 – Jan. 24: Giorgio Estephan, Lethbridge Hurricanes
Jan. 25 – Jan. 31: Chase Witala, Prince George Cougars
Feb. 1 – Feb. 7: Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings

Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week (WHL Nominee)
Sept. 24 – Sept. 27: Landon Bow, Swift Current Broncos
Sept. 28 – Oct. 4: Coleman Vollrath, Victoria Royals
Oct. 5 – Oct. 11: Coleman Vollrath, Victoria Royals
Oct. 12 – Oct 18: Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raider
Oct. 19 – Oct. 25: Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks
Oct. 26 – Nov. 1: Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks
Nov. 2 – Nov. 8: Landon Bow, Swift Current Broncos
Nov. 9 – Nov. 15: Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips
Nov. 16 – Nov. 22: Declan Hobbs, Kootenay ICE
Nov. 23 – Nov. 29: Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips
Nov. 30 – Dec. 6: Ty Edmonds, Prince George Cougars
Dec. 7 – Dec. 13: Connor Ingram, Kamloops Blazers
Dec. 14 – Dec. 20: Nick Schneider, Medicine Hat Tigers
Dec. 28 – Jan. 3: Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips
Jan. 4 – Jan. 10: Landon Bow, Seattle Thunderbirds
Jan. 11 – Jan. 17: Zach Sawchenko, Moose Jaw Warriors
Jan. 18 – Jan. 24: Jordan Papirny, Brandon Wheat Kings
Jan. 25 – Jan. 31: Coleman Vollrath, Victoria Royals
Feb. 1 – Feb. 7: Taz Burman, Swift Current Broncos

Saturday, February 6, 2016


The Regina Pats hosted the Prince George Cougars in the lone meeting of the season between the two clubs on Saturday night. The Pats were coming off a strong 5-1 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, Adam Brooks led the way with a 4 assist night to take back the WHL scoring lead and Tyler Brown made 41 saves for his 10th victory in goal. Meanwhile the Cougars lost 8-3 in Brandon on Friday to bring their record to 2-2-1-0 heading into their final game of their East Division road trip. Jesse Gabrielle made his return to Regina on Friday after being traded to the Cougars in the off-season for forward Lane Zablocki. Here are the lineups for the contest with the starters highlighted.






Pats scratches - Williams, Berg, Macklin and Hobbs. 
Cougars scratches - Zorko, Lakusta, Boyd, Anderson, Martin and Curtis. 

In the first period the Cougars got off to a good start but Tyler Brown was sharp and kept the game scoreless. The Cougars had two powerplays in the period which the Pats killed off. Prince George eventually got the games first goal at 17:50. Jesse Gabrielle just squeaked a shot by Tyler Brown short side for his 34th from Brogen O'Brien and it was 1-0. That was the score after 1 with the Cougars leading on the shot clock 16-9. Austin Wagner left the game in the first after taking a slash on the wrist.

In the second the Pats went to a 5 on 3 powereplay and got the game even Sam Steel tried to center but it went off of Tate Olson and in for his 19th with assists to Adam Brooks and Cole Sanford at 5:31 and it was 1-1. The Tigers took the lead back on a powerplay of their own. Chase Witala stickhandled beautifully around Tyler Brown and buried his 33rd at 9:11 to make it 2-1. Then at 14:48 Justin Almeida ripped a shot off the post and in for his 2nd of the year to give the COugars the 3-1 lead. However the Pats powerplay responded at 18:04 when Cole Sanford snapped a shot into the top corner form the left circle for his 25th with assists to Sam Steel and Adam Brooks and it was 3-2. Off the ensuing faceoff the Pats tied it, Jared McAmmond beat Mcbride short side form the elft circle for his secopnd with assists to Jake Leschyshyn and Chase Harrison at 18:12 and it was 3-3. Two goals, 8 seconds apart for the Pats and it was 3-3 after 2 periods. The Pats outshot the Cougars 17-12 in the period but trailed 28-26 overall.

In the third the Pats killed off three penalties and got a massive save from Tyler Brown on Jesse Gabrielle to keep the game tied. After their third penalty kill the Pats took the lead. Rykr Cole buried a rebound for his 7th with assists to Sean Richards and Adam Brooks at 16:32 and it was 4-3. The Pats added an empty netter from Cole Sanford at 18:20 to make it 5-3. An unassisted marker. The game slowed down after that with a ton of penalties but the Pats ended up taking the two points. The Pats outshot the Cougars 10-8 in the period and were tied 36-36.

The Pate powerplay was 2 for 9 in the game and the penalty kill was 8 for 9.

The third star of the game went to the Pats Cole Sanford who had two goals and an assist. The second star to Jesse Gabrielle who had a goal and an assist for the Cougars and the first star to the Pats Sam Steel who also had a goal and an assist. 

The Pats are off until Friday when they will visit the Prince Albert Raiders at 7 o'clock at the Brandt Centre. 

Scoring Summary

1st Period

Cougars 4v4 Goal at 17:50. Jesse Gabrielle (34) from Brogan O'Brien. 

2nd Period

Pats 5v3 PP Goal at 5:31. Sam Steel (19) from Adam Brooks and Cole Sanford.

Cougars PP Goal at 9:11. Chase Witala (33) from Jansen Harkins and Jesse Gabrielle.

Cougars Goal at 14:48. Justin Almeida (2) from Kolby Johnson.

Pats PP Goal at 18:04. Cole Sanford (25) from Sam Steel and Adam Brooks.

Pats Goal at 18:12. Jared McAmmond (2) from Chase Harrison and Jake Leschyshyn. 

3rd Period

Pats Goal at 16:32. Rykr Cole (7) from Sean Richards and Adam Brooks.

Pats EN Goal at 18:20. Cole Sanford (26) unassisted.

Here are the radio highlights:

Post game interview with goaltending coach Rob Muntain:

Post game interview with defenceman Chase Harrison: