Thursday, May 8, 2014

Things that make me go hmm....

Cougars GM Dallas Thompson joining us in 2010
  • Exciting times in the WHL. The Regina Pats held a press conference earlier this week to introduce their new ownership group and the Prince George Cougars have a press conference 'party' planned for next Tuesday. It is a chance to meet the new owners and get a glimpse of WHL commissioner Ron Robison, who makes a rare visit for positive reasons. Sounds like exciting times in PG as new ownership attempts to repair hurt feelings with its fans and more importantly the business community. A free barbecue and the shaking of hands won't exactly heal broken hearts in 'Cougar Country', but it sure is a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see how many fans come out to meet and greet the new ownership that includes NHL'ers Eric Brewer and Dan Hamhuis. 
  • I hope the best for the new ownership in Prince George. Would I rather have the team located in nearby Abbotsford or Nanaimo? For travel reasons yes, but if the fans come back and the CN Centre becomes a fun place to visit, I can't see why the pain won't lessen when opposing teams make the long journey to the Western Conference's most northern outpost. 
  • If Dallas Thompson is no longer the GM of the Cougars, it makes me wonder where he will end up? Thompson has been in hockey all of his life. It is what he knows best. I can't see him staying in Prince George. Maybe a scouting gig is his next step? Thompson has been with the Cougars for 11 seasons, including time as an assistant coach. If you go to the Cougars website, his name has been wiped clean. Even his house in Prince George is up for sale. 
  • Shane McColgan is undergoing surgery this week. The former Kelowna Rockets/Portland Winterhawks/Penticton Vees forward was going under the knife to repair a thumb he hurt in training last summer. I will be interested to see where McColgan ends up playing next season. Europe possibly? 
  • Home cook'n never tasted so good in the WHL championship series. The home team has won all four games in the best of seven between the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Portland Winterhawks. Amazing to think both of these teams are flawless on home ice in the playoffs. The Oil Kings are 10 and 0 while the Winterhawks are 9 and 0 in front of the home town crowd. Two of the next three games are at the Moda Center in Portland.
  • Dan Lambert is leaving the Kelowna Rockets. Let me rephrase that. Lambert will be leaving the team in late October as he coaches one of three Canadian teams at the revamped Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. The nine day tournament still features the best Canadian born players in the 16 year-old age group, but Canada will have three teams competing instead of each player representing their region which has been the case since 1986. You won't see Team West, Team Pacific nor Team Ontario anymore. Three Canadian teams (red, black and white) will compete against other countries like Finland, the USA and Russia. Lambert is no stranger to Hockey Canada after coaching Team West at last year's tournament in Nova Scotia. 
  • Rockets' rookies Joe Gatenby and Nick Merkley were members of Team Pacific which won a silver medal at the Under 17's. That tourney took place December 29th to January 4th in Cape Breton. The event has moved to late October so it doesn't get lost with all the hype surrounding the World Junior Hockey Championships during the Christmas break. The change makes sense and allows the Under 17's to play on a bigger media stage.
  • Nice to see Travis Moen getting some TV time during the NHL playoffs. Along with teammate Dale Weisse, these two hard working prairie boys are making a big contribution to the Canadiens success.
  • I have to admit that watching the Montreal Canadiens penalty killing unit is awfully impressive when you see two of the five skaters on the ice having connections with the Kelowna Rockets. Travis Moen won't score you many goals, nor will defensive defenceman Josh Gorges, but those guys are valuable at this time of the year.
  • How good is Lars Eller? I don't have a chance to see the Canadiens much on TV during the regular season but his compete is outstanding. The Canadiens are getting a deal paying him 1.5  million dollars. The 25 year-old, surprisingly, scored just 12 goals this season. 
  • I love the organ music at the Bell Centre in Montreal. That old school sound brings back memories when I used to watch games on TV from the Montreal Forum.
  • Nice work Okanagan Sun. The junior football team in Kelowna has revamped its logo for the 2014 season. I like the new look with the 'O' being prominent on the teams' helmets. The old logo, which has been with the team since its inception in 1981 will remains, but the new look should be a hit with the players and its fans. Heck, its a hit with me. Get me some gear!
  • Hard to believe that the Okanagan Midget Rockets have a summer camp coming up later this month. Didn't they just wrap up their season a few weeks ago after competing at the Telus Cup? No rest for the defending BC Major Midget Hockey League champions, who will have major holes to fill. BC Major Midget Hockey League Champions!!  Doesn't that sound nice?    
  • I wonder how many offers/phone calls Jordon Cooke is getting these days from Canadian universities for his services? It is a hard time for the 20 year-old, who is probably contemplating playing pro but doesn't necessarily want to shut the door on four years of tuition and books. Decisions. Decision!
  • Ryan Olsen is still up practicing with the St. Johns IceCaps. The Kelowna Rockets forward isn't getting any playing time but is watching the team he will undoubtedly play for next season in the second round of the AHL playoffs. Alumnus Mitch Callahan is also competing in the AHL playoffs for the Grand Rapids Griffins.   

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