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Leader-Post article (WHL releases schedule, coaching changes announced)

June 25 2009 at 6:59 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

Response to Vancouver Province article (Position will play big role)

WHL releases schedule, coaching changes announced

Leader-Post staff

June 23, 2009

REGINA — The WHL released its exhibition schedule for the 2009-2010 season on Tuesday.

The first game of the preseason is Aug. 27 when the Saskatoon Blades visit the Prince Albert Raiders. The Regina Pats are slated to open their exhibition slate the next night at a tournament in Edmonton against the host Oil Kings. Regina also takes on the Medicine Hat Tigers (Aug. 29) and Swift Current Broncos (Aug. 30) in Edmonton.

The Pats then visit Brandon on Sept. 4 and — in their preseason home-opener — play host to the Wheat Kings on Sept. 9. The Saskatoon Blades pay a visit to the Brandt Centre on Sept. 12.

The Pats wrap up their exhibition slate on Sept. 13 in Prince Albert before opening the regular season on Sept. 18 in Saskatoon. Regina's home-opener is the next night versus the Wheat Kings.

* * *

The Everett Silvertips have their head coach. The Calgary Hitmen are looking for a new one.

The Silvertips named former NHL bench boss Craig Hartsburg their new head coach on Tuesday while the Hitmen announced that Dave Lowry is joining the NHL's Calgary Flames as an assistant to newly christened head coach Brent Sutter.

Hartsburg had previously served as a head coach with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Ottawa Senators, who fired him in January — midway through his first season with the club. By joining the WHL coaching ranks, Hartsburg will be reunited with his top assistant from Ottawa, Curtis Hunt, who agreed last month to return to his former post as the head coach of the Pats.

Hunt previously worked under Hartsburg at the 2007 and 2008 world junior hockey championships, guiding Canada to back-to-back gold medals. Hartsburg has also served as a head coach in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Lowry guided the Hitmen to the best record in the WHL last season (59-9-3-1) in his first season as the team's head coach. He had previously served as an assistant under head coach/GM Kelly Kisio.

Also joining the Flames as an assistant is Ryan McGill, a former Kootenay Ice bench boss who had been the head coach of Calgary's AHL affiliate.

Meanwhile, the WHL-champion Kelowna Rockets announced Tuesday that head coach Ryan Huska has signed a two-year contract extension running through the 2011-2012 season.

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