Vancouver Province article (Yo, MacKenzie, you're hired as the apprentice)October 30 2009 at 8:49 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
Yo, MacKenzie, you're hired as the apprentice
Big draft year after seasons as understudy
By Steve Ewen, The Province
October 30, 2009
Calgary Hitmen defenceman Matt MacKenzie has apprenticed alongside some celebrities, at least of the junior hockey variety.
The New Westminster native played in the same rearguard corps in midget hockey as Stefan Elliott, the Saskatoon Blades star who was a second-round pick last summer of the Colorado Avalanche.
MacKenzie started his WHL career two years ago and tutored under Karl Alzner, a 2007 first-round pick of the Washington Capitals. Last year, he played behind the likes of Paul Postma, an 84-point man with the Hitmen.
This year, he's getting a chance at being a front-line blueliner and he's making it work. He's been one of the steady contributors on a Calgary team that was the top-ranked squad in the national poll released this week.
"How much has my role changed? Quite a bit," said MacKenzie, whose club visits the Vancouver Giants tonight and travels to meet the Chilliwack Bruins on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m., 89.5 The Hawk).
"Last year, it was mostly 5-on-5 and against other teams' third lines. This year, you're counted on to make something happen on the power play, you're on the penalty-kill and you're playing against other teams' top guys usually."
This all comes at an ideal time for the 6-foot-2, 195-pound MacKenzie, considering it's his NHL draft year. It's hard to gauge the interest level this early, but MacKenzie is in the stable of heavy-hitter agent Don Meehan. He deals mostly with Meehan lieutenants Craig Oster and Jason Taylor.
"I try not to think about it that much," said MacKenzie, who has one goal and 15 points in 16 games after counting 12 points in 49 games last season, "but it is a big year."
It will be interesting to see who he gets matched up with when Calgary (12-4-0-0) faces Vancouver (10-3-1-2). Giants coach Don Hay, a noted line-juggler, has been toying with taking Craig Cunningham off the top unit and having Milan Kytnar centre Lance Bouma and Brendan Gallagher.
- - -
Calgary Hitmen vs. Vancouver Giants
7:30 p.m., Pacific Coliseum
Radio: AM 650
© Copyright (c) The Province
|N. W. Bruin|
Edmonton Journal article (Raedeke, Pysyk make Team WHL)No score for this post
|October 30 2009, 8:55 AM |
Raedeke, Pysyk make Team WHL
Canwest News Service
October 30, 2009
Forward Brent Raedeke and defenceman Mark Pysyk will represent the Edmonton Oil Kings on Team WHL in the next month's Subway Super Series.
The pair will join the WHL's best player against Russia in the final two games of the series--in Victoria on Nov. 25 and in Kelowna Nov. 26.
Team Russia will make its way across Canada from Nov. 16-26 to play six games against all-star teams from the Canadian Hockey League.
"It's an excellent opportunity for our guys and they have worked hard to get where they are," Oil Kings head coach Steve Pleau said in a statement. "They deserve a shot to represent their country and it also gives them a chance to gauge themselves at that level."
Pysyk, who is looking forward to getting more international experience, is eligible for the 2010 NHL entry draft and is projected as a possible top 10 pick. Raedeke, 19, who recently signed a pro contract with the Detroit Red Wings, will get his first chance to play in an international event of this magnitude.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
|N. W. Bruin|
Leader-Post article (Pats history told in new book)No score for this post
|October 30 2009, 9:04 AM |
Pats history told in new book
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
October 30, 2009
Former Leader-Post sports reporter Darrell Davis and former Regina Pats employee Ron Johnston co-wrote Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats.Photograph by: Roy Antal, Leader-Post, Leader-PostJamie Heward couldn't help but feel like a Pup again.
Heward joined several fellow alumni in turning back the clock Thursday to celebrate the launch of Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats, a book which chronicles the rich history of Canada's oldest major-junior club.
"It was overdue as far as getting an awareness out there of what the history of the franchise is all about," offered the former NHLer, who played for the Pats from 1987 to 1991. "Most people don't know a lot about the Regina Pats' history ... and how it has evolved into such a prestigious franchise in Canada. This is a good way for people to flip back and see guys like Billy Hicke. I've got a cousin in there, Ron Snell, and Larry Wright. All these guys built the foundation for this team a long, long time ago."
Heward is part of that history, best known as a member of the 'Pup Line' along with Mike Sillinger and Frank Kovacs. The trio was together again in honour of Thursday's launch, reliving some of the old stories that were captured in vivid detail by former Leader-Post sports writer Darrell Davis, who collaborated on the book with co-author/researcher Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston, a local hockey historian and ex-Pats statistician who was the driving force behind the project.
"I went away and played pro hockey for years and people would always ask where you're from," noted Heward. "I'd say Regina and right away they would associate it with the Regina Pats. When you go into the Pats dressing room, you see all the names on the wall of people that have been in Stanley Cup finals. You take a look at all the players that have come through this organization and all the things that have happened over the last four or five decades, it's pretty impressive that three young snot-nosed kids from Regina ended up in the book. It's fun having people say, 'I remember you; you were from the Pup Line.' It makes me proud that three Regina guys who dreamed about playing for the Pats when we were younger ended up not only playing but playing on the same line and have still carried a friendship through our lives to this day."
Heward's esteem for the Pats was echoed by his fellow alumni. In fact, none were more proud to be in attendance than the senior members of the group, John Hudson and Orville Off, who played for the Pats from 1952 to '54.
"The Pats' history is fantastic," said Off. "They had a real mystique in the city."
Hudson agreed, noting that the franchise has a way of creating a bond amongst those who've been associated with it.
In his mind, once a Pat, always a Pat.
"I absolutely believe that," said Hudson. "You can feel it in this room today but you can also see it around the city. We have friends that we knew back in our day from playing with the Pats.
"The Pats are a part of my life -- always have been," he added. "The Pats got me a college education. I came back and I coached the Pats a little bit at one point, I became the president. I've had a lifetime of memories with all the history and stories. From back in Orv's and my day, it was just kind of understood that you never thought about doing anything but playing for the Pats."
Jordan Eberle can relate.
The 19-year-old WHL star grew up with the same aspirations while playing his minor hockey in Regina. In fact, Eberle found it surreal that his name would be included in the book -- and therefore be a part of the Pats' enduring legacy.
"You look at some of the generations that were here today, like the Pup Line," he marvelled. "You go through the book and you don't realize how much history there is and how you're just kind of a blip in a huge thing. It's an awesome book. It's special to be a part of something like this."
Junior Hockey's Royal Franchise: The Regina Pats is available at The Neutral Zone (Pats store), Costco, Walmart and major book stores throughout Regina.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post
|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Busy Blades ready to log some ice time)No score for this post
|October 30 2009, 9:12 AM |
Busy Blades ready to log some ice time
By Cory Wolfe, The StarPhoenix
October 30, 2009 10:27 AM
The Saskatoon Blades celebrated Halloween early with a Thursday afternoon costume party at Credit Union Centre.
Charles Inglis showed up for practice in diver's attire, his flippers loudly smacking the concrete floor.
Curtis Hamilton went back in time to become a 1970s disco king.
And Stefan Elliott resembled a rotund tourist in Bermuda shorts.
The Blades' dress code returns to normal tonight and they'll be sporting hockey uniforms for seven of the next nine nights. First up is this evening's date with the Edmonton Oil Kings (7-8-0-2), who posted a 4-2 victory during their last visit Sept. 25.
"That's a lot of games in a short amount of time," conceded Hamilton. "We just have to make sure that we play 60 minutes every night and then get some rest and also make sure that we're eating well. Taking care of ourselves is going to be really important."
The Blades (10-3-0-2) sit atop the WHL's East Division, but they'll have their mettle tested during the upcoming stretch. Fortunately, the team is relatively healthy. The only player out of the lineup is winger Randy McNaught, who has three games remaining on his five-game suspension for an elbowing infraction last week in Swift Current.
"The team is playing well and playing with confidence," said Blades coach-GM Lorne Molleken. "Everybody has stepped up and contributed.
"We've got some bumps and bruises, but if we can get through this stretch we'll get some time to focus on issues such as team play and also do some video."
Even though teaching time will be limited for the foreseeable future, the Blades seem to have taken recent lessons to heart. They've unleashed a formidable forecheck of late and they've also been tough to play against in their own zone. Furthermore, steady play from goaltenders Adam Morrison and Steven Stanford has helped Saskatoon establish the league's best goals-against average, at 2.24.
"We've had stretches where we haven't played as much, so the practice time was there," said defenceman Teigan Zahn. "Now it's all about focusing on the games that we have. Yeah, practices aren't going to be there but we have to be able to realize if we're doing something wrong in a game and fix it."
Following tonight's game, the Blades play seven straight games against East Division opponents. They are two points up on Moose Jaw (10-5-0-0) and Brandon (9-6-0-2). Swift Current (9-6-0-1) is three points back of the Blades.
"With the teams that we're playing, we can prove that we're the top team in the league and that we want to separate ourselves from the Moose Jaws and the Swift Currents that are chasing us right now," said Zahn.
"It's going to be a good test and we're looking forward to it."
BLADE BITS: Hamilton and Elliott have been named to Team WHL's roster for the Subway Super Series against Russia. They'll play the Nov. 26 game in Hamilton's hometown of Kelowna, B.C. Elliott hails from North Vancouver. "It speaks volumes for their commitment and their character," said Molleken. "They've both participated in different Hockey Canada events and it's a real privilege for them to be selected. They both deserve this opportunity and it's part of the process in maybe getting invited to world juniors." Medicine Hat Tigers head coach Willie Desjardins is the Team WHL benchboss for the series and he'll also call the shots for Team Canada at the world junior tournament, which begins Dec. 26 in Saskatoon and Regina.
- - -
The Saskatoon Blades face a grueling stretch of seven games in nine nights:
- Tonight: Home vs. Edmonton
- Saturday: At Moose Jaw
- Sunday: At Swift Current
- Tuesday: Home vs. Moose Jaw
- Wednesday: Home vs. Swift Current
- Nov. 6: At Regina
- Nov. 7: Home vs. Prince Albert
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
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