Monday, 20 June 2011

Monday Morning Ramblings

After a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of Brandon, I'm back at work today with some random thoughts from the last three days.

- Nice to see Brandon Wheat Kings' right-winger Mark Stone getting some recognition on the national stage after scoring an invite to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp. Stone finished in a tie for third-place in the WHL scoring race with 106 points last season but hadn't really been on the Hockey Canada radar the past couple of season because there's always been some concern about his skating but the World Junior Tournament is in Calgary and Edmonton next year so it'll be on the North American ice surface.

- You have to wonder what Jordan Weal did to Hockey Canada. The Regina Pats' star forward has scored 268 points in three WHL seasons including 96 a year ago but was still left off the roster for the Summer Development Camp, and doesn't seem to be getting a sniff from the Hockey Canada folks.

- Speaking of the Pats, they announced late last week that Curtis Hunt would not return as head coach next season and that Todd Ripplinger would not have his contract renewed as the team's Director of Scouting. It seems like odd timing considering the Pats missed the playoffs and their season was finished March 19 but I'm willing to give GM Chad Lang the benefit of the doubt on this one. Re-shaping an entire organization takes patience, time and some due diligence.

- Regina's head coaching vacancy leaves three openings for bench bosses -- the Pats, Moose Jaw and Everett. Seattle filled their empty post last week by hiring former NHLer Steve Konowalchuk.

- The Western Hockey League's AGM wrapped up last Wednesday in Calgary with the announcement of the seven-point plan to help curb head hits. Speaking strictly from a media standpoint, it would have been a nice touch by the league to either make Commissioner Ron Robison available via conference call to comment on the plan, or at least produce some type of in-house Q & A with the Commish and post on their website. The WHL has really started to produce some good in-house video features and branch out a little more with webcasting, including 'live' streams post-game during the WHL Championship series but, IMO, missed the boat on this one.

- The Red Deer Rebels have a new $3.5 million project to expand the Exman Centrium by 1,000 seats and add 14 more luxury suites. It means the team will have more seats to sell, the question is will there actually be people in those seats. The Rebels always sell a lot of tickets, particularly to companies, but they don't necessary get used.

- Victoria's WHL team will make what is being called an important announcement Monday morning regarding the team’s identity. It's expected they'll officially announce the team's new nickname, which will be the Royals if the information that leaked ten days ago is current.

- The NHL Draft is this Friday and Saturday in St. Paul, Minnesota. I'll have more on that later this week.

- Medicine Hat Tigers continue to voice their support for the proposed Regional Event Centre in their city. The Tigers are very excited and optimistic about the prospect of relocating into a modern facility that will greatly enhance the game experience for Tigers' fans. Medicine Hat City Council will has an historic vote tonight on the construction of the new facility. The new building is expected to accommodate 6,500 seats for hockey with a capacity of 7,100 for full-house events including ice-level seating.

- Latest season ticket count released by the Brandon Wheat Kings showed 2,119 sold as of last Friday morning. The club sold over 3,100 season tickets a year ago.

- The WHL Eastern Conference scheduling meeting is taking place today. It's expected the Wheat Kings will release their tentative 2011-2012 schedule late today or tomorrow.

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