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Copied from Giants' website (MR 400!!!)

November 3 2008 at 7:48 AM
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N. W. Bruin  (Login NW_Bruin_GM)

MR 400!!!
Don Hay collects career win 400 as Giants beat Wheaties 4-3

Don Hay behind the bench for win 400 (Chris Relke Photo)

November 1/08
Dave Sheldon – Vancouver Giants

Vancouver BC – Don Hay collects career win 400 as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3.

The Giants and Wheat Kings put on a good show for the 7536 fans at the Pacific Coliseum. After a scoreless first period, the Giants opened up the second with the same intensity. Jonathon Blum was able to spot Craig Cunningham behind the Brandon defence. Cunningham skated in on Brandon goalie Andrew Hayes and beat the net minder with a forehand to backhand deke to open the scoring at 50 seconds. For Cunningham, it was his sixth goal of the season and extended his WHL leading goal scoring streak to five games.

Minutes later, with the Giants applying tremendous pressure, Evander Kane was able to convert a Mike Berube rebound to double the Giants lead. For Kane, it was his team leading 11th goal of the season and also extended his WHL point streak to a league leading 15 games. The Giants would outshoot the Wheat Kings 20-4 in the period and take a 2-0 lead to the final period.

In period three, the Giants would take advantage of a Wheat Kings miscue. Wheaties goalie Andrew Hayes was attempting to advance the puck up ice when he put it instead on the stick of Mike Piluso. Piluso made no mistake, lifting his shot high blocker side on Hayes to make the score 3-0.

After a Colby Robak goal to bring the Wheat Kings to within two, Evander Kane was able to create an opportunity on the rush to extend the lead to 4-1. Kane from the left wing rifled a slap shot at Hayes, with a big rebound kicked out right to line mate Casey Pierro-Zabotel. Casey would make Hayes pay, slamming home the rebound to make it 4-1. Mark Stone and Andrew Clark would add late goals to make things interesting, but the Giants would hang on to win 4-3 and extend their streak of being unbeaten in regulation to 15 games, (12-0-0-3).

Tyson Sexsmith would pick up the win for Vancouver, seeing his record improve to 8-0-0-2. Hayes would fall to 6-4.

For Coach Hay, he becomes the 9th coach to reach 400 wins in his WHL career. The Giants are now 12-0-0-3 on the season and move to 27 points on the season, four points clear of Spokane Chiefs for first in the WHL's Western Conference.

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Vancouver Province article (Making Hay: Happy 400th)

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November 3 2008, 7:53 AM 

Making Hay: Happy 400th

Giants 4 Wheat Kings 3. Players step up against physical Brandon

Steve Ewen, The Province

Published: Sunday, November 02, 2008

On a night when Don Hay hit a coaching longevity milestone, it was fitting that his team showed a little of its old-school fight.

In undoubtedly their most physical game of the season, the Vancouver Giants outlasted the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3 at the Pacific Coliseum Saturday to secure Hay his 400th career win as a WHL head coach.

The Giants were known for their rough and rugged style in their 2006 and '07 Memorial Cup appearances. This year's group, smaller and more skilled, doesn't play the body as much. They have certainly raced out of the gate, moving to 12-0-0-3 last night, but there were questions about whether they could handle a tough, tenacious team.

Consider them answered in the affirmative for now.

"It was a heckuva game," said Hay. "I thought our guys played really hard and did a really good job checking. They're a big strong team. They compete really hard. And we competed hard. We didn't back down.

"That was a 60-minute effort. We battled to get the win. It's nice to come out with the win and get this over with and move on."

Hay wasn't keen on talking about the 400 wins before it happened. He was slightly more inclined to last night. Then again, he was going to have trouble ducking it, especially when he came out for the postgame scrum with a hard hat on. The Giants players usually award it to their hardest-working teammate of the game.

"We all kind of knew before the game that if we got the win, he was getting the hard hat," said Giants sniper Evander Kane.

There may have been just as many eyes on Kane as there were on Hay last night at the Coliseum. Both he and Brandon centre Brayden Schenn are projected first-round picks in next summer's NHL entry draft. There are some suggestions they could both go in the top-10. And with more than 30 scouts on hand last night, that's a hard point to argue.

"You're always going to get up for those games, going against another guy who is supposed to go high in the draft," said Kane, who has a point in all 15 games after bagging a goal last night.

Brandon (10-6-1-0) was winding up a five-game trip last night that saw them travel 3,200 kilometres. They're a big, strong team, evidenced by the fact they led the WHL in fighting majors going into last night with 28. (Vancouver was tied for 15th with 13.) And they didn't have any quit in them either, scoring three times in the final 14 minutes to make things far too interesting for the crowd of 7,538, not to mention Hay.

Still, he was all smiles after the game: "They're more physical than us, but I thought our guys didn't shy away or back away and to go into this areas that you need to to score was really important."

Vancouver's other goals came from Craig Cunningham, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Mike Piluso. Brandon goals came from Colby Robak, Mark Stone and Andrew Clark.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

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Vancouver Sun article (Giants coach joins elite 400-win club)

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November 3 2008, 8:01 AM 

Giants coach joins elite 400-win club

Ian Walker, Vancouver Sun

Published: Monday, November 03, 2008

Don Hay wasn't born a head coach. In fact, he almost never became one at all.

A full-time firefighter -- with a wife, son and twin daughters at home -- the decision to quit one team to lead another wasn't an easy one for the Kamloops native. The fire hall was his second home. Just as importantly, the job paid well, he had security, a pension and other benefits. It was a lot to give up to be the head coach of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers.

"There was a lot of uncertainty in coaching at the time -- still is," said Hay, who had served as an assistant under Ken Hitchcock and Tom Renney for six years before being offered the job. "I had confidence in myself that I'd do well, but where that would lead, I wasn't too sure."

Let history show Hay made the right choice. The now-head coach of the Vancouver Giants became the most recent member of junior hockey's elite 400-win club on Saturday. He's only the ninth coach in league history to reach the milestone, accomplishing the feat in just 666 games. One night earlier, and it would have begged the question if the former fireman had struck a deal with devil when he switched careers all those years ago?

It's not true of course. But Hay did have a backup plan. He arranged to take a leave of absence rather than quit fighting fires outright.

"My first real game as head coach, and I still remember thinking before the game 'Am I ready for this?'" recalled Hay, one day after Vancouver's 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Pacific Coliseum. "We were opening up the new Riverside Coliseum the same night and the team had invited back all the Blazers' old-timers. Anyway, Portland comes in to town and we get beat bad, like 6-3 or something and I'm sitting in the coach's room after the game and I'm thinking, 'I left the fire department for this?' It was such an empty feeling. But the next night we won in Tacoma and it all made sense."

The Giants' victory was Hay's 187th since taking over the Vancouver bench in 2004-05. Before that, he guided the Blazers to 146 wins over three seasons and the Tri-City Americans to 67 wins in two years. He has won three Memorial Cups as a head coach -- two with the Blazers and most recently with the Giants in 2007 -- world junior gold and has his fingerprints all over the NHL. Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan, and Milan Lucic are just a handful of players he's coached over his 10-year junior career.

Now, about the choice he made all those years ago?

"It's funny, I think about the fire department after every loss," he said, laughing. "But never after a win."


© The Vancouver Sun 2008

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