Vancouver Province article (PNE workers vote in favour of a strike)September 15 2011 at 6:57 AM
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|N. W. Bruin (Login NW_Bruin_GM)|
PNE workers vote in favour of a strike
By Andy Ivens, The Province
September 15, 2011 3:04 AM
The PNE's unionized workers have voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike to back their demands for job security and higher wages.
Members of CUPE Local 1004 have been without a contract since Jan. 1. Some of the workers make less than $10 per hour, CUPE 1004 business agent Steve Varty said on Wednesday.
"The [strike vote] result reflects the frustration that a deal has not been reached," said Varty.
"This is the first time in 25 years an agreement was not signed before the fair."
Varty said contract negotiations broke down three weeks ago, but the two sides have agreed to resume talking next week.
"We're going down to the labour board next week for three days and try to get some help, with a mediator," he said. "Hopefully, all that works out."
Although the annual fair is over for another year, the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League are set to open their 2011-12 season on Friday Sept. 23 at the Pacific Coliseum, a PNE facility staffed by CUPE members.
"If there is a strike, it could affect the Giants," Varty told The Province.
Other PNE events this fall include the final Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game at Empire Field Sept. 24, a Pearl Jam concert at the Pacific Coliseum Sept. 25 and Fright Nights, a Halloween festival in the last two weeks of October.
© Copyright (c) The Province
|N. W. Bruin|
Vancouver Sun article (Hanlon finds happiness teaching 'pure' hockey)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:19 AM |
Hanlon finds happiness teaching 'pure' hockey
Ex-Canuck goalie, pro coach thrilled to help grow the Giants and spend more time with family
By Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
September 15, 2011 3:03 AM
Glen Hanlon (left) is the new assistant coach to the Vancouver Giants' Don Hay (right). Hanlon, a former Washington Capitals head coach, is coming off a tough stint coaching in Slovakia.
Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG, Vancouver Sun
Less than a month into his dramatic career change, Glen Hanlon has discovered the biggest difference between coaching men at the professional level and coaching teenagers making $40 a week in the Western Hockey League.
Believe it or not, it's passing the puck.
"Passing skills," explained Hanlon, the Vancouver Giants new assistant coach. "I mean, they can stand still and make a pass but being able to receive a pass and give a pass at full speed, the completion rate through your whole group, top to bottom, is not as high as a team of professionals. The skating speed of the players is actually not that much different, it's the ability to make and receive a pass."
Hanlon, 54, has never coached kids before. He began with the Canucks as a goalie consultant after finishing his playing career in 1991. He then moved through the ranks as a Canuck assistant, an American Hockey League head coach in the Washington Capitals' system, head coach of the Caps, followed by head coaching stints in Finland, Belarus and Slovakia.
He was living a vagabond life and moving his family around until his son Jackson, now nine, refused another move to Slovakia. So Jackson and Hanlon's wife Keri remained behind in their Point Roberts home last year while Hanlon commuted to and from Slovakia throughout the season. It didn't go well.
After the Slovakians fired him in the spring, Hanlon pledged to become a better father (his words) and took the Giants' job to stay closer to home.
"When I wasn't around, it was painful," Hanlon said at the Giants' training facility in Ladner. "When you start going away for two months at a time, the dynamic of your family relationship changes. This is the first time Jackson is going to the same school two years in a row. We have dinner together every night. It's been a really, really great situation for us."
Meanwhile on the ice, Hanlon is also discovering what he calls the "purest form" of coaching. Junior players are far from a finished product so there is a lot of teaching happening and, even better, a lot of listening.
"Players' acceptance in doing the things we do here wouldn't be accepted at the NHL level," Hanlon noted. "You're really taking the players and instilling work ethic and battle skills and individual development and this is where a lot of the intangibles are built in. My experience is if the NHL did what we do here, they would be so much better prepared. So that's another big change."
And there are others. Like being compelled to play someone who's under a lucrative long-term contract despite the fact another player is out-performing him.
"At the NHL level, there are so many discussions on 'well, if you tell this player that, is it going to be OK?' " Hanlon said. "Here you can do what's right and there are no 'ifs, ands or buts.' It's about who plays to make your team better. You make those decisions and you structure your practices for that and, to me, it's been a lot of fun - and refreshing. It's the way it should be."
G-NOTES: The Giants will conclude their pre-season slate this weekend with a game Friday in Everett and home date Saturday in Ladner against the Kelowna Rockets.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
|N. W. Bruin|
Victoria Times Colonist article (Hodges' time to shine for Royals)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:23 AM |
Hodges' time to shine for Royals
By Cleve Dheensaw, timescolonist.com
September 15, 2011 6:01 AM
Seventeen-year-old Steven Hodges brings plenty of offensive prowess to this season’s Royals lineup.
Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist
When you are a Western Hockey League club’s first-round pick in the bantam draft, as Steven Hodges was when taken ninth overall by the Chilliwack Bruins in 2009, you will be given every opportunity to stick with the team in your first full season of eligibility at age 16.
The rest is up to you. The rinks are littered with broken dreams, but Hodges, now of the Victoria Royals, made the most his rookie chance last season when the WHL franchise was located in Chilliwack.
The five-foot-11, 165-pound forward showed enough for GM and head coach Marc Habscheid to keep him around for 58 regular-season games and three playoff tilts in which he accounted for a total of five goals and 11 points.
Hodges played for Team Pacific in the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with last season’s other notable 16-year-old Bruins forward Brandon Magee.
“In my first year in the league, I was playing a role and getting used to things,” said Hodges, as the Royals prepared for Friday’s exhibition game against the Kelowna Rockets, the fifth and final game of the preseason and the only one to be played at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.
“I’ll be expected to take more of a leadership role this season and produce more on the ice.”
This is Hodges’ NHL draft season and he’s not considered a blue-chipper, which doesn’t bother him one bit.
“The NHL draft is not my main focus for the year. I don’t worry about the [draft] rankings. I focus just on the team. This is not a team of superstars. All three lines have depth. And all work hard. What happens about other stuff, happens. I’ll see where it leads me. A future in hockey is my goal. I believe I have skating and passing ability.”
The move from Chilliwack means a transfer of schools, and Hodges will take his Grade 12 year at Vic High. But these are sacrifices players make when they decide on the WHL.
“I look at it as a fresh start in Victoria. The city is first-class,” said Hodges.
The Delta-raised Hodges considers himself fortunate that he still gets to play in B.C. near his home.
The Royals have two forwards away at NHL rookie camps — third-round draft pick Kevin Sundher with the Buffalo Sabres and free-agent signing Curt Gogol with the San Jose Sharks. Forward Brendan Persley and defencemen Zach Habscheid and Tyler Stahl are out with injuries or ailments.
That leaves 23 skaters and three goaltenders for coach Marc Habscheid to choose from for Friday’s contest against Kelowna, after which cutdowns loom.
Admission for the exhibition contest is $5.
Victoria opens the regular season Sept. 23 against the Vancouver Giants at the PNE Pacific Coliseum before raising the curtain at home the following night at the Memorial Centre against the Giants.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
|N. W. Bruin|
Victoria Times Colonist article (Meet Royals at open house)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:28 AM |
Meet Royals at open house
WHL team holding garage sale and free BBQ to launch the season
Times Colonist September 15, 2011 4:06 AM
Saturday, Sept. 17 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena
The Victoria Royals remind fans that the team is holding a garage sale, open house and barbecue this Saturday, Sept. 17 at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
All proceeds from the garage sale will be donated to Kidsport, helping to provide children between the ages of five and 18 access to sport opportunities and experiences in both team and individual sports "So All Kids Can Play." "The open house will be a lot of fun for everyone looking to get to know our team and be a part of the return of WHL hockey to Victoria," senior vice-president of sales and marketing Darren Parker said.
"This event is a great way for our fans to interact with members of our organization and help sup-port a great cause with KidSport."
"KidSport Victoria is delighted to be entering a partnership with the Victoria Royals," KidSport general manager Patti Hunter said. "Over the past 10 years KidSport has funded over 650 kids and invested $131,250 to put children who can't afford the registration fees into hockey. To have the Royals help us with some of the funding going forward is a real benefit to the whole community." The garage sale will feature an assortment of items, ranging from new and lightly used hockey equipment to a variety of Victoria Salmon Kings merchandise.
With only a few days left before the start of the 2011-12 WHL regular season, season ticket holders are also invited to pick up their season ticket packages, as well as meet the Royals' players and coaching staff.
© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
|N. W. Bruin|
Leader-Post article (Pats blank Brandon)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:31 AM |
Pats blank Brandon
By Greg Harder, Leader-Post
September 15, 2011
Dryden Hunt of the Regina Pats, left, takes out Ayrton Nikkel of the Brandon Wheat Kings during Wednesday's game at the Brandt Centre.
Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser, Leader-Post, Leader-Post
Matt Hewitt is off to quite a start.
In his first game as the Regina Pats' undisputed No. 1 goalie, Hewitt calmly stopped all 27 shots he faced en route to a 4-0 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in WHL pre-season action at the Brandt Centre. The 19-year-old netminder solidified the starter's job on Sunday when veteran Damien Ketlo was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
On Wednesday, Hewitt responded with his first WHL shutout.
"That's the best way to get it started," Hewitt said with a smile. "I'm pretty much just setting the tone for the rest of the season. I felt in control of the game. That's how I want to play as the No. 1 for this team for the rest of the year."
He'll get no complaints from head coach Pat Conacher, who has been pleased with Hewitt from Day 1.
"Matty has been like that all training camp," said Conacher. "He has been solid, he has a great work ethic. I've said this before, he has a great rapport with the guys in the room. It doesn't matter if we're doing off-ice training or in practice or whatever it is, the guys really support and have a bond with Matty. That definitely helps when you're a goaltender."
Stopping the puck doesn't hurt, either.
Hewitt did just that in the early going Wednesday as he turned aside a 2-on-1 chance for Alessio Bertaggia, then made a ridiculous glove save on Jason Swyripa. Hewitt also had to be sharp in making a pair of stops off his own teammates after the puck was redirected towards the net by the guys in white.
"He made some pointblankers there, (on) special teams too," noted Conacher. "Goaltenders are your best penalty killers and he was there for us. He did a great job but it's everybody. We did a good job as far as puck pursuit, we did a good job coming back in our zone, having five guys back, not as many turnovers in the neutral zone. The guys are doing a good job keeping it on the boards. And I thought that was probably the most engaged I've seen our hockey team as far as being in the physical battles."
The Pats were rewarded late in the first courtesy of some fine work by the emerging line of Morgan Klimchuk, Dominik Volek and Dyson Stevenson. Volek, a promising rookie import, was the playmaker on both occasions, setting up goals by Stevenson and Klimchuk.
Jack Rodewald made it 3-0 early in the second when he took a great lead pass from Lane Scheidl and buried the breakaway chance on goalie Liam Liston. It was Rodewald's team-leading fifth goal of the pre-season.
Andrew Rieder put the game away with 5: 22 left in the third, shovelling home a rebound after parking himself in front of Liston.
"We probably should have had two, three goals in that first period," said Wheat Kings head coach Cory Clouston. "They capitalized on our mistakes late in the first period and the same thing in the second. If we could have scored on a couple of our opportunities early in the first or in the second it could have been a different game. They got momentum from that and they worked very hard in the third and didn't give us anything."
That was good news for Conacher, who has watched the Pats start well in previous games before letting their foot off the gas.
"To win hockey games consistently you always have to have a 60-minute effort," he added. "We talked about it from Day 1. In the exhibition games that we played, we played well in fits and spurts but tonight I felt really good about how the guys came out from the drop of the puck right to the end."
EXTRAS: Brandon outshot Regina 27-26, including 17-11 in the third . . . Wheat Kings D Brodie Melnychuk, a 20-year-old Balgonie product, is out indefinitely with a broken wrist ... The Pats (3-2 in the pre-season) and Wheat Kings (0-3) close out their respective exhibition schedules on Friday in Brandon. Regina opens the regular season next Friday at the Brandt Centre against the Swift Current Broncos.
© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post
|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Molleken backs league's strategy on head shots)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:35 AM |
Molleken backs league's strategy on head shots
By Daniel Nugent-bowman, The StarPhoenix
September 15, 2011 8:52 AM
Saskatoon Blades coach/GM Lorne Molleken, file photo
Photograph by: Greg Pender, The StarPhoenix
As the WHL continues its crackdown against plays that have a high probability of causing head injuries, Lorne Molleken is fully on board of the league's new direction.
After returning from a league-wide seminar in Calgary on Tuesday, the Saskatoon Blades head coach and general manager thinks the WHL is trying its best to make the game safer and will now be preaching the directive to his players.
"I thought it was very productive and a lot of the things we talked about (Tuesday) will be implemented into our practice plans because we're trying to help our players protect themselves or be more aware in more situations," he said.
"I think the education process, educating the players to check a little differently, and to have respect for the opponent is the big thing."
The league has adopted a seven-point plan, with its most notable change being "the adoption of a checking to the head penalty for lateral and blind side hits to an unsuspecting opponent in open ice where the head is targeted or is the principle point of contact," said a WHL release.
The plan also calls for more severe suspensions for repeat offenders, tightening the standard on late hits, as well as charging and interference penalties "to address players building up significant speed and hitting the opponent along the boards with excessive force."
The league has also adopted a new embellishment rule and will introduce automatic suspensions for players who receive multiple penalties for checking to the head, checking from behind, embellishment and kneeing.
And, as was announced earlier in the summer, players must wear soft cap elbow and shoulder pads rather than plastic.
For returning Blades defenceman Tommy Stipancik, that's all players wishing to improve their safety can ask for.
Stipancik missed all but 12 games last season after having to sit out for a full year because of two concussions he sustained while playing midget hockey.
While the recovery period painful - "It was almost like a green flash that comes across my eyes," he said of the early stages - sitting out was equally tough.
But, thanks to the changes, the 17-year-old feels the chance for injury has decreased.
"Hockey is a contact sport so the league is doing as much as a league can do to prevent it," said Stipancik.
"I feel like I'm coming along good. I feel like I'm not worried about concussions. I'm just worried about playing the game."
Defenceman Connor Cox, who suffered a concussion at the end of last season, agrees. While the league can improve its guidelines, Cox said it's incumbent on the players to make the necessary changes however.
"There's respect between players," he said. "During the games, things get heated and guys get mad at other guys. Players need to learn to control their emotions a little more so there won't be as many cheap shots or hits to the head. But a lot of it is just the heat of the game."
According to a report in the Vancouver Sun on Tuesday, the WHL had 100 reported concussions last season. While Molleken wasn't sure about the accuracy of the figures, he knows head injury have been a problem - one that the league is trying to rectify.
"Concussions are a big concern and obviously there's a checking to the head penalty this year," Molleken said.
"In our league, it's been pretty decent but when you watch at the lower levels, some of our scouts have said, at the midget triple-A games or bantam games the numbers (of hits to the head) have been real, real high," Molleken added.
"It just goes to show how serious we are about protecting our players and making sure that they're well educated in all areas. It's something that our league takes very, very seriously and works extremely hard at each and every day to be better."
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
|N. W. Bruin|
StarPhoenix article (Defence in the spotlight)No score for this post
|September 15 2011, 7:36 AM |
Defence in the spotlight
By Daniel Nugent-Bowman, The StarPhoenix
September 15, 2011 8:52 AM
When defenceman Connor Cox walked into the Moose Jaw Warriors' locker-room as a rookie three years ago, he remembers looking up to stalwarts like Ryan Stanton and eventual World Junior standout Travis Hamonic.
Now, as the oldest player on the Saskatoon Blades' blue line, the 19-year-old is trying to impart some of the wisdom he once learned to the younger defensive mates.
"I try to teach them some of the same things they taught me," said Cox. "You have to work for your opportunities and work for your ice time and you need to take advantage of your opportunities."
With the Blades down to four regular defencemen heading into Friday's road game and Saturday preseason finale against Cox's old team - he was acquired by the Blades last November for a 2011 second-round bantam pick - the 5-foot-11, 185-pound blue-liner will have quite the opportunity to hone his leadership skills both on and off the ice.
As Duncan Siemens and Darren Dietz remain at their respective NHL rookie camps in Colorado and Montreal, respectively, Cox and Dalton Thrower are the only full-time members of last year's team presently in Saskatoon.
Tommy Stipancik, who missed all but 12 games last season while recovering from multiple concussions, and Devan Fafard, who played triple-A in Yorkton a year ago, are the other two.
Along with the coaching staff, Cox is trying to ease them into WHL life.
"We're just trying to help them with work ethic and little routines each day to make sure they're not getting lazy off the ice so they're prepared on the ice," he said. "It's a long season and a lot of these guys have never played in a long season before. We're trying to prepare them for that so they don't fall off the wagon as the season gets longer."
Cox recorded six goals and 23 points between the two WHL clubs last season. With Stefan Elliott - who led all WHL rearguards with 31 goals and 81 points last year - off to play in the Colorado Avalanche system, Cox will be counted on to play a more offensive system.
That will start on Friday night because of the shortage of bodies on defence.
Blades Head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken said left-winger Alex Elliott will play some defensive minutes and that a forward will likely see power play time on the point - likely beside Cox.
"We've got a pretty solid group here" said Molleken.
"You never want to start the season with six defencemen - fear of injury and you never know what can come up. It's something that we'll continue to look at and shore that area up in the next little while.
"Young (Kyle) Haas played defence coming up but we've really liked what he's done here at left wing.
"He could fall back at any time."
Haas, 17, who played triple-A in Calgary last season, has two goals in three pre-season games.
But because he'll likely continue to play upfront, that means more time for Cox to show his stuff defensively - and show off his leadership skills too.
"We'd definitely like to win these two games and head into the season on a good note," he said. "Teamwise I think we're going to worry more about executing our systems and building chemistry together so that, by the time the season comes, we're in a good spot."
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix
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