Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Randoms

Let's call it a bit of a brain dump on this Monday afternoon....



- Today is the anniversary of the "Golden Goal". A year ago today Sidney Crosby scored the OT winner vs the U.S. at the Vancouver Olympics and everyone will always remember where they were for the moment in hockey history. I'll never forget it...I was with friends in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic watching the game at The Hard Rock Cafe with about 250 other Canadians and about 50 Americans.


- I'm typing up watching the final moments of "NHL Trade Center" on TSN as they cover the deadline. It looks like a bust. A lack of moves has the panel on their blackberrys playing bubble breaker and trying to look busy. James Duthie is a pro. I like the fact he's making fun about the lack of things to talk about. He's one of the best.


- It's not often you run into another WHL team on the road on your travels. It was a rare occasion in Medicine Hat as the Blazers pulled into the same hotel the Kelowna Rockets were staying at following their game vs the Tigers Wednesday night. I got a chance to have breakfast with Rockets voice and former Swift Current radio colleague Regan Bartel. It was at that time he told me about his now infamous interview with Kootenay Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth. It looks like Jeff's words are getting some play.



- Speaking of Medicine Hat....that was some kind of ending Friday night. I can't tell you how many times I've seen the script unfolding the way it was in that building. The visiting team down 5-1 in the third period dying a slow death and the clock moving at a snail's pace. The Blazers mounting the four-goal comeback in the final 10 minutes literally blew my mind. It was a nice change from the ordinary in the Arena. The reaction on the Blazer bench on the tying goal was priceless.

- Stop the presses! Depth defenseman Chris Campoli has just been traded to Chicago for a conditional draft pick. Breaking news at NHL Trade Center....riveting stuff.


- Blazer F Ryan Hanes had a good game in Kootenay Saturday. The ultimate team guy scored once and added an assist and was named the 3rd star. A team filled with players like Ryan Hanes may not win many games but it would sure be a fun group to be around.

He has to rank up there with some of the best characters I've been around in this league. I often ask him after the game what he was saying to a certain player on the ice or in warmups. There was some gold exchanged on the ice in Kootenay Saturday. Hanes told me one of the players from the Ice told him "to mix in the odd salad" referring to his diet when going back and forth with some verbal jabs. If we ever have a "mic'd up" feature on the broadcast, I'd attach a permanent mic to Hanes and let him carry the show. Hanes is an unsung hero for this hockey club is many ways.


- The Blazers took a step forward in the team aspect the last 10 days on the road. It's a tighter group than when they pulled out of the ISC parking lot nearly two weeks ago.

- The Blazers are doing a much tamer "NHL 94 celebration" these days. It seems to be catching on. I was watching the Chilliwack/PG webcast last night and the Cougars Taylor Thompson did the celebration following a goal he scored in the 2nd period.



- Two guys I'll always have time for? James Martin and Cody Eakin(pictured left) These two are having a blast playing together again.


This pic pretty much says it all.....







- It was a first for me Saturday night. I interviewed a head coach I've actually played against in competitive hockey. Kris Knoblauch of the Kootenay Ice is a former Imperial/Simpson Flyer which played in the same league as my hometown's minor/hockey team the Lanigan Pirates. We are both 32. He was a bigger bodied forward with a good shot back in the day. He wasn't overly physical but we always knew when he was on the ice.


- In the spirit of last night's Oscars here's a list of candidates for Blazer player of the month for February. And the nominees are......

1)Dylan Willick - brings it every night. Scored some clutch goals in the month
2) Thomas Frazee - 10 points on the Central division swing. A big month
3) Colin Smith - followed up a great January with another solid month.
4) Jeff Bosch - played every minute of every game in the month going 7-3-1. Won both shootouts he was in.
5) Corey Fienhage - has stepped up big time with the absence of three key d-men

The winner will be announced Wednesday prior to the Blazers/Rockets game at ISC

- D Brady Gaudet took a step forward in his development on the central swing. He was forced into playing big minutes in all situations and played well. The 16 year-old is on his way to becoming a premiere d-man in this league.

- Jordan DePape has filled in admirably on the back-end with the lack of bodies as well. His contributions on the five-game swing shouldn't be overlooked.


- Looks like I'm going to check out some Junior "A' playoffs this week. Salmon Arm plays down the road in Merritt in round one of the BCHL playoffs. Salmon Arm, coached by former Bronco assistant coach Tim Kehler, has jumped out to a 2-0 series lead. if you missed the news from last week, here's the latest on Kehler.

Merritt is also where former SC Bronco Athletic Therapist Paul Ayotte started and former Director of Media Relations Keegan Goodrich once toiled.

- Speaking of the BCHL, the Penticton Vees bus hit the ditch last night according to Brian Wiebe's blog. Everyone is OK. It's stuff like this that keeps me awake on those long trips through the mountains.

- Reminder... Blazer Hockey Talk is set for tomorrow night from the Ramada Rooftop Lounge. Email your questions to blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com. You can listen online at http://www.radionl.com/ from 5:30-6:30pm. I'll co-host along with Rick. Guests include Craig Bonner, Guy Charron and G Jeff Bosch.

Jon

Blazer Hockey Talk

Our 4th and final installment of Blazer Hockey Talk is set for Tuesday evening beginning at 5:30pm at the Ramada Rooftop Lounge on Columbia Street.

We hit the Radio NL airwaves for an hour before joining the Canucks broadcast. We will try to jam a lot into the hour including a recap of the recent Central division road swing, and a preview of what will be a sold out ISC for Wednesday's game against the Kelowna Rockets.

Guests include General Manager Craig Bonner, Head Coach Guy Charron and goaltender Jeff Bosch.

Join myself and Rick "the Bear" Wile beginning at 5:30pm. Email your questions to blazerhockeytalk@hotmail.com . You can give us a call as well at 250-374-5345.

Jon

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blazers Home

The Blazers pulled back into the ISC parking lot just before 5AM this morning after concluding their Central division road swing with an 8-5 win over the Kootenay Ice.

A complete team effort by the club again as they ride the momentum of some previous results. The Blazers won despite dressing only 16 skaters. F Chase Souto left the game in the 2nd with injury and did not return.

What a swing for the club, hopefully this team is peaking at the right time and they can carry this play and good vibes into March.

There could be help on the way as the Blazers host the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday. D Josh Caron will be back in the line-up after serving his three game suspension. Captain Chase Schaber and Brandon Underwood could also potentially play, but the Blazers have at least bought themselves some time to make sure both are 100% before getting back into the line-up.

I'll try to have more on the swing later today or Monday........

Jon

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Medicine Hat Audio Highlights

video

Audio compilation courtesy Shawn Pooley of Radio NL who pieced it together earlier today. Thanks Shawn.

Medicine Hat Miracle

That will go down as one of the craziest endings to a hockey game in recent memory…

Personally, it would rank right up with anything I’ve been associated with in eight seasons calling WHL play-by-play. Judging from Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron's reaction it must be near the top of his list too.

After scoring on the 1st shift of the game just 31 seconds in, the Blazers didn’t have a lot going for them as they eventually fell behind 5-1 in the third period. If Kellan Tochkin’s goal 3:23 into the third period wasn’t a back-breaker to make it 4-1 then Emerson Etem’s goal to make 5-1 at 9:20 surely was…or was it?

The Blazers struck on a PP of their own at 10:22 on a great effort by Colin Smith who went wide before pulling the puck through the crease and tucking it home to make it 5-2.

Smith was up to it again at 15:58 when he dangled a Tiger d-man one-on-one and finished up high on G Tyler Bunz cutting it to 5-3 with four minutes to play. A pretty way to cap the hat-trick for Smith who had the Blazer goal back in the first shift of the game.

A Scott McKay double-minor for high sticking on F Chase Souto with two-and-a-half minutes to play followed shortly by a delay of game penalty to the Tigers D Sebastian Owuya gave the Blazers at least a chance to make it interesting.

With the goalie pulled for a 6-on-3 advantage, Dylan Willck tucked a rebound up high under the bar to get it to 5-4 with 55 seconds on the clock. Still 6-on-3, Willick did it again, same spot and on the rebound with 20 seconds remaining. 5-5.

It was pandemonium on the Blazer bench. I haven’t seen a reaction like that all season. Even some Guy Charron fist pumps for good measure…

The Blazers started OT still on the powerplay – over a minute remaining on the McKay double-minor. Colin Smith looked like he had the game-winner on his stick in the crease but was tackled and hauled down by Wacey Hamilton for yet another Blazer PP. This time the powerplay couldn’t produce a goal as the Tigers re-grouped to kill it off and get back to even strength for the first time in over five minutes of play.
A Linden Vey break-away was stopped cold by G Jeff Bosch – the Tigers only shot in overtime.

With five seconds to play F Brendan Ranford got in behind the Tigers defense for a last second clear-cut break-away. Ranford would only find the post as time expired.

The shootout was almost anti-climatic. In what’s becoming a routine, Colin Smith scored in the shootout’s 2nd round. Jeff Bosch closed the door stopping Tyler Pitlick in the third round as the Blazer bench poured off and raced to mob their goaltender.

Guy Charron could only smile and chuckle during our post-game show. He’s seen a lot of hockey and knows this was a comeback you rarely see.

The Blazers have now been to OT in five straight games – winning four of five in the process and jumping ahead of Prince George for 7th in the Western Conference standings.

I’m going to try and post some audio highlights later today….

A wild night in Medicine Hat…a self-destruct for the Tigers and a Blazer comeback that’ll be remembered for a long time.


--------

- Thomas Frazee finished the night with four assists. Colin Smith and Dylan Willick combined for five goals - both netted their 20th of the season in the win.

- The Blazers played two under the limit dressing only 16 skaters for the game in Medicine Hat. In the 2nd period, F Dalibor Bortnak blocked a shot with his hand/wrist and did not return. He will likely be a game-time decision for the game vs the Kootenay Ice.

- The Blazers PK is 23/24 through four games of the Central division swing. The PP is 9/24 on the trip.

- So long Alberta, the Blazers will miss you. The Blazers went 7-1-1 in Alberta this season.

- The team arrived in Cranbrook just after 4:30AM after a blustery trip in from Medicine Hat. It's the first time the Blazers have played in Cranbrook vs the Ice since December of 2008, a span of nearly 27 months. For many of the Blazers, it will be the first time they've played at the Cranbrook Rec Plex.

Time to shut'er down.... more later before tonight's face-off,

Jon

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Practice at the Arena


Hangin' In the 'Hat

The Blazers will spend the next two days in Medicine Hat - the furthest east they'll travel all season long. It's a match-up with the Medicine Hat Tigers tomorrow night.

It was another crucial two points for the Blazers last night albeit it came the hard way. Up 3-0 in the 2nd and 4-1 early in the third period, the Blazers kept the door wide open thanks to some costly mistakes leading to a pair of short-handed goals by the Hurricanes that sent the game to overtime tied 4-4.

Jordan DePape ended OT just 1:30 in after converting on a 2-on-1 with Brendan Ranford. It's a win, but it's a bit reserved following a third period letdown.

The club has now picked up five out of a possible six points on the swing as they head into an extremely tough weekend with games against Medicine Hat and Kootenay before wrapping up the 10 day Central division swing.

Here's a few random thoughts...

- Blazer F Colin Smith is fine after taking a hard hit from the Hurricanes Max Ross. The hit drew a major for interference but it's one of those hits that in my opinion is part of hockey and has been for a long time.

It came on the break-out with a lead pass from a defenseman to a forward looking back to receive it...a suicide pass as it's referred to. Ross stepped up to make the hit, and it's part of the game. There was possibly a blow to the head on contact, but for the most part it's a hit you're encouraged to do in the game. I doubt there will be a suspension.

- 15 year-old Cole Ully (pronounced YOU-lee) didn't look out of place on a line with Brendan Ranford and Dylan Willick. Ully had a couple of scoring chances but didn't capitalize. A strong debut for the 2nd round bantam pick out of Calgary.

- The Blazers and Kelowna Rockets shared the same hotel space in Medicine Hat overnight. The Rockets stayed in Medicine Hat after edging the Tigers 3-2 in a shootout. The Rockets are skating as we speak while the Blazers jump on the ice afterwards. Kelowna will continue on to Calgary today before playing in Red Deer tomorrow night.

The Blazers will spend the night in Medicine Hat before playing the Tigers tomorrow night in the 2nd meeting of the season.

Jon

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kehler Named BCHL Coach of the Year


Former Swift Current Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler has won the Joe Tenant Memorial Trophy for the Interior Conference Coach of the Year.


In his first season with Salmon Arm, Kehler guided the Silverbacks to a 38-19-2-1 record and third spot in the Interior Conference.


Kehler and the Silverbacks play Merritt in the opening round of playoffs.


Blazers Set for 'Canes


This is going to be pretty sweet....

Tickets can be purchased at Earls, or from the Blazer office in person or over the phone (250-828-1144) . Limited tickets are available. Come party with the cup for a great cause!




The Blazers skated today at the Enmax Center for an afternoon practice. The club is in a good mood and should be well rested after three days off on the road. In fact they are chomping at the bit to get back at it.


As for the line-up for Wednesday's game vs the Hurricanes, as mentioned below you can add 15 year-old Cole Ully into the mix. The 2nd round bantam pick from this past summer will give the Blazers a full roster.

Jordan DePape will be moved to the back-end with three regulars out in Austin Madaisky (neck), Brandon Underwood (knee) and Josh Caron (suspended).

Underwood is close to joining the team but likely will be targeted for a return in the next Blazers home game, March 2nd vs Kelowna. That is the same game Caron will be eligible to return.

As for Caron's suspension, I spoke with the big guy today.

"Unfortunately I caught him (Cowen) in a bad spot. He went into the boards pretty hard. It wasn't my intention to do that. I saw him after the game and said sorry. I just hope for the best for him."

The game vs the 'Canes is an intriguing match-up. The Blazers are three points in a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Hurricanes are three points out in the East. Both teams have picked up points in their last three games. The Blazers at (2-0-1) and the Hurricanes at (2-0-1).

Expect Jeff Bosch to get the call in goal. It would be his 14th straight start.

I'll have more tomorrow....

Jon

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ully Joins Blazers

Press Release:

The Kamloops Blazers will have Cole Ully, their 2010 2nd round WHL Bantam pick, in the line-up tomorrow night as the Blazers are in Lethbridge to play the Hurricanes.

The 5’11” 155lb forward was selected by the Blazers with the 30th overall pick last April after he had 34 goals and 64 points in 32 games with the Bantam AAA Calgary Bronks.

This season, the Calgary native is playing for the Midget AAA Calgary Flames of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. Ully has 17 goals, 17 assists for 34 points in 32 games which puts him second in team scoring. He was recently selected to play in the Alberta Midget AAA All-Star game and scored the winning goal for Team South as they defeated Team North 5-4 on January 23rd.



Ully also recently won a Bronze Medal with Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax last Friday. He finished the tournament with 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 points in 6 games.

Next Home Game


Monday, February 21, 2011

The Last Two Days.....

It's been a couple of good days off for the Blazers as they look ahead to Wednesday's game in Lethbridge vs the Hurricanes. It'll be another crucial game in the race for the playoffs featuring two teams fighting for their lives.

I think I've calmed down a little following what was in my opinion the most poorly officiated game of the season Saturday night in Red Deer. I don't often blog about my disdain about how games are refereed but Saturday's game was beyond the level of acceptability. Both teams I'm sure would agree.

I won't get into specifics as the game is over and both teams have moved on but I will cite one example...

The Rebels first goal was reviewed upstairs after it appeared that F Andrej Kudrna deflected it in with his glove on a shot from D Aaron Borejko. After review, they deemed Kurdna did not make contact with the puck with his glove and called it a goal - Borejko's 2nd of the season. Fair enough. Move on right?

In the intermission, the off ice official comes up to me and says " there's been a scoring change... credit the first goal to Kudrna it went off his glove." Isn't that what they were reviewing all along?? Now they were saying Kudrna did in fact deflect it with his glove and to change the goal to his. You have to be kidding.

That was the kind of night it was.....

Anyways, the Blazers spent yesterday and last night at Circle Square Ranch near Halkirk, AB. It's a spot they visit regularly to take in some team building activities and get away for a night.

There's some ranch pics below.

Today the club held a practice in Castor, AB. A town of about 850 people.


Castor Rink
Brendan Ranford and Dylan Willick at Castor.

Blazer bus parked just outside the rink


Blazer alumni Shane Doan and Darcy Tucker played their minor hockey out of Castor. Shane is the third from the left in the back row in this Atom team photo.


Darcy Tucker with the "A" on his sweater in the front row. Shane Doan is at the end of the front row. The bantam Castor Crusaders.


Back at Circle Square Ranch... the guys did some rock climbing this morning. Cam Lanigan scales the wall in the gym.


Chase Souto makes the climb while Colin Smith and JC Lipon look on.



The horses out back. It was too cold to go horseback riding. A lot of the guys were disappointed. Wind chills up to -40 put a damper on outdoor fun. Trust me, we took some pics out here and quickly bailed for the indoors.

Games room downstairs. Brendan Ranford and Chase Schaber team up.


The guys watched the outdoor classic on the big screen in the dining hall.


Some team building games upon arrival.

The ranch is run by Tom and Laurie Weppler. They are formally of Morse, SK ( 50km east of Swift Current) and were longtime Bronco fans. They've been running the ranch now since 2008.

With all activities and things to do available, the guys (of course) chose a spirited game of floor hockey. Our team prevailed in the best-of-seven thanks to stellar goaltending from Dylan Willick who out-dueled his counterpart Scott Ferguson in the other end. Some key shot blocks from Jeff Bosch on the back-end and even the radio guy added some offense.

It was a short stay, but it was a good time.
-------
The Blazers are still awaiting word on D Josh Caron who has been suspended indefinitely by the WHL for his hit on Josh Cowen of the Red Deer Rebels Saturday. Cowen has apparently suffered a broken wrist. The hit was initially assessed as a minor penalty but was changed after Rebels Coach Jesse Wallin had a chat with the officials. They changed it to a major and Caron was tossed from the game. The length of the suspension should be known soon but Caron won't play Wednesday in Lethbridge.

It sounds like F Jordan DePape will be moved to defense for the game and for the time being.

The Blazers are also expecting 15 year-old Cole Ully to join the team for the Lethbridge game. The forward is fresh off a bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax playing for Team Alberta.
Ully, a 2nd round pick of the Blazers from this past summer is said to be a skilled forward. He recently committed to the Blazers organization.

That's all I got... I'll try to post again tomorrow.

Jon

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rebels Tonight

The Blazers look to continue their Alberta run tonight in Red Deer against the Rebels at the Enmax Centrium. The province of Alberta has been great to the Blazers this season. They now sport a 6-1 record here after last night's overtime win in Edmonton.

The Rebels are coming off a 2-1 OT win on home ice last night over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. It was their 40th win to improve their record to a very impressive 40-14-2-4. To say the task won't be easy tonight would be a massive understatement.

It's the 2nd meeting of the season between the clubs. Back in October, Jeff Bosch made 39 saves and Brendan Ranford scored a late PP goal to lift the Blazers to a 1-0 win. The penalty kill also killed off 10 Rebel PP's.

--------

Blazer captain Chase Schaber skated lightly today and told me he's feeling good. There's still no timetable for his return although he's progressing. The Blazers didn't use their ice today at Red Deer so I joined Schaber for a bit of a light skate around. It's fun to get out there once in awhile and fire the puck around. Chase also made sure "Rocky" made it down to the rink. See below.




JC Lipon and the German Rottweiler Rocky in the morning
Logan McVeigh keeps his distance just a little

------
Although the coaching staff wasn't pleased with the effort, the Blazers found a way to win last night in Edmonton. Jeff Bosch was solid in goal - especially in the third in a 3-3 game. Thomas Frazee's overtime winner was his 2nd of the game.

It allowed The Blazers to beat their former teammate in John Groenheyde who got off to a bit of shaky start but settled in and played well. He would finish the night with 31 stops.

The Oil Kings didn't care about getting the game to OT. They wanted the regulation win and came at the Blazers in the final period outshooting them 21-7. While the Blazers seemed content to chip pucks and get them in deep, the Oil Kings carried the puck more and looked to push the pace. Their defenseman were also very active in the attack

---------

It looked like we were going to see a heavyweight bout between Josh Caron and Cam Abney in the 2nd period. Caron tried to get Abney to go and finally persuaded him. The linesman stepped in right away because of the tape on Abney's hands. You could tell though Abney wasn't willing. He may be injured. It appeared to be the reason he declined at first.

Abney didn't play another shift after that.

A couple scraps did take place. The Blazers Ryan Hanes finished 2nd in a bout with Klarc Wilson in the first period. JC Lipon made short work of the Oil Kings Dylan Wruck in the third. Wruck is their leading point getter and I don't think he fights often. Lipon continues to drop everyone that comes his way.

---------
We're on the air at 6pm PT with our pre-game show, play-by-play at 6:30pm from the Enmax Centrium. Talk to you then.,...

Jon

Friday, February 18, 2011

Central Swing Begins Tonight...

Greetings from Red Deer as the Blazers begin a crucial Central division swing tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings. The Blazers will be on the road for 10 days, playing five games in the process before returning home.


They will base out of Red Deer for the first two games of this swing before heading south. Here's some random tidbits as the Blazers begin the road trip:



- It's pretty much a no-brainer as to who the Edmonton Oil Kings will start in goal tonight. Former Blazer G Jon Groenheyde has to be amped up to face his former club after an early season deal moved him from the Blazers to the Oil Kings. He has established himself as the #1 goaltender in Edmonton. He's 13-9-1-2 with a 3.01 GAA and an .899 save % since the deal. We will talk to him tonight during our pre-game show to get his thoughts.


As for the Blazers? You have to think it will be Jeff Bosch in goal. He's played very well lately and the schedule is in the Blazers favor on this swing. Although I'm sure Cam Lanigan would love the opportunity to face his former club.


- The Blazers in the Whitehorse Hockey Day in Canada game and the WHL Outdoor game? Truth is, initially the Blazers were penciled in to play the Hitmen in Calgary in Family Day Monday matinee match-up.


That all changed when the Blazers were pegged for the Whitehorse game and the WHL learned of an outdoor game potential on the heels of the NHL's Heritage Classic. So, the move was made to bring in Regina instead. The Blazers made a schedule adjustment to compensate. That would also account for the Blazers having three straight days off on the road between games on this swing. They will play in Red Deer Saturday night and then not play until Wednesday in Lethbridge. When they first laid out the plans, the Blazers would've played Calgary Monday afternoon.




- The Blazers will try to make good use of the three off-days. They will practice in the small Alberta town of Castor and have a small reception/autograph session. They will also head out to the Doan family ranch (Circle-Square Ranch) for a day/night of fun.




- Happy Birthday Dalibor Bortnak. The Slovak celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday and was serenaded by his teammates at a Red Deer restaurant last night.


- We've put in a request for Chase Schaber's family dog "Rocky" the German Rottweiler to pay a visit at the rink tomorrow. Rocky came down to the rink on the Blazers three-game Alberta swing in October. Perhaps it was a good luck charm as the Blazers went three-for-three with wins in Red Deer, Edmonton and Calgary. At any event, ol' Rocky will make it down before the team departs for Edmonton.
- D Brandon Underwood is coming along better than expected with his knee injury. Initially thought to be lost for the remainder of the regular season, Underwood is said to be making great progress. He skated yesterday back in Kamloops as the team departed for Alberta. There is no timetable for his return but you have to think he'll be back sooner rather than later.


- Have you ever heard of this? There was a letter in my hotel room warning of a scam that was going around. The letter states guests of hotels in the area are receiving calls purported to be from the police, fire marshall or head of maintenance for the hotel. Guests are then instructed by the caller to activate the sprinkler system in their room in order to prevent or deal with a major emergency like a gas leak. In fact, I've heard that in some cases the caller tells the hotel guest the refrigerator MUST be thrown out the window immediately.
Apparently, people are buying it the story.


- It's cold! The Blazers left Kamloops with a temperature of 5C. They arrived to -25C in Red Deer and -30 overnight. I've missed a few things about the prairies but -30 isn't one of them.

- We're on the air at 5:30PM Pacific Time from Rexall Place with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7pm.


Jon


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stanley Cup Coming March 2nd

When the Blazers host their next home game (March 2nd vs Kelowna), the Stanley Cup will be the honoured guest.

The Cup will highlight Aboriginals Night as the Blazers battle the Rockets in what's sure to be a key game for playoff positioning.

Fans in attendance will get an opportunity to get their picture taken with Lord Stanley for a donation . It will also be the special guest of an after-party hosted at Earls Restaurant.

Proceeds from event will go to 10 year-old Mitch Harlock and his family. Mitch has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Neuroblastoma.
The game is expected to be a sell-out. There are also limited tickets available for the Earl's after-party.
The Blazers are hoping to have a great night while raising much needed funs for the Harlock family.
-----------

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Press Release

Press Release:

BLAZERS HONOUR OUTSTANDING STUDENT ATHLETES

The Kamloops Blazers Hockey Club is pleased to honour Colin Smith, Logan McVeigh, Dylan Willick and Jordan DePape for outstanding academic awards during the first semester at Valleyview Secondary School and Thompson Rivers University.

Blazers’ forward Colin Smith had an outstanding first semester of Grade 12 with a 93% average, while 16-year-old Logan McVeigh has been honoured as the most improved student with a 74% average in Grade 11.

Dylan Willick has been given the outstanding academic award for Thompson Rivers University finishing with an 85% course average. As well, 18-year-old Jordan DePape is the most improved student finishing with an 81% average.

The Kamloops Blazers are proud of their student athletes and would like to commend all the players for their outstanding work ethic in the first semester.


Tuesday

photo credit http://www.archbould.com/

Some more pics that capture the game and Takhini Arena leading up to and during Saturday's game in Whitehorse.











-------
It's back to reality tonight as the Blazers host the Tri-City Americans tonight at ISC. Here's a few thoughts.

- The Americans are almost unbeatable at home (21-3-0-1) but on the road they've just a little above average (14-12-2-0). After winning twice and losing once in a three-in-three weekend, the Americans play their 4th game in 5 nights.

- The Ams are without starting goaltender Drew Owlsey who is back in Kennewick trying to recover from a knee injury. 16 year-old Chris Dreidger has been handling the duties instead.

- Blazer D Brandon Underwood remains out but is progressing from his knee injury quite well. If you ask him, he's just a few weeks away from getting back into the line-up. It'll be up to the Blazers medical staff but good news nonetheless.

- The Blazers will practice Thursday morning before departing for Red Deer. They will begin a five game Central division swing in Edmonton Friday night.












Monday, February 14, 2011

Thank You Whitehorse

The two day adventure to Hockey Day in Canada in Whitehorse came to an end Sunday morning when the 737 charter jet touched down in Kamloops just after 10am.

Despite falling 3-2 to Vancouver, the experience was priceless for the Blazers as they joined the Yukon capital for their day in the hockey spotlight.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, the hospitality and the people were great to us and I'm sure the Vancouver Giants as well.

Over the next few days, the Blazer website will feature some videos from the experience. Be sure to check them out. Or, join the Blazers facebook page to take a look.

The WHL also put together an awesome video compilation of CBC's coverage. Click here to watch it.

Thanks for the invite, we had a blast.

Jon

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Pics

Blazers salute the sold-out crowd post-game
Handshakes

warm-ups

post-meal at Boston Pizza

awesome fans


Getting ready to leave for the rink


Saturday, February 12, 2011

More From Hockey Day...

Sunrise over downtown Whitehorse at 9:15am

We stopped in at the Canada Games Center. Here's one of two Olympic sized ice surfaces as one of several hockey clinics takes place.

The Master. Ron MacLean at work outside the Canada Games Center




Kamloops native Tim Kucharuk who works for Rush FM in Whitehorse in the newsroom. There's a few Blazer jerseys up here. Tim got into radio to do hockey play-by-play. He told me wanted to be the next "Kelly Moore"



Guy Charron signs some autographs after the hockey clinic

Souvenir game ticket for today's game.

Our pre-game show hits the airwaves at 3:30pm at Radio NL 610 AM. It's also online at www.radionl.com and at www.cbcsports.ca and www.whl.ca

Guests over the broadcast will include former NHL coach Pat Quinn, Hockey Night in Canada's Ron Maclean, former NHL great Wendel Clark, both head coaches for today's game Guy Charron and Don Hay. Blazer players Bernhard Keil, Brendan Ranford and Thomas Frazee, WHL Commissioner Ron Robison, Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi and whoever else we can wrangle up at Takhini Arena.

Those watching the Leafs/Canadiens game tonight on CBC will be see highlights from the Blazers/Giants game. Coaches Corner will also be broadcast live during the 1st period of our game.

Should be a lot of fun... join us if you can.

Jon

Friday, February 11, 2011

Whitehorse all that and more...

Very safe to say Whitehorse has exceeded everyone's expectations. Being in the city for about 12 hours so far has been a great experience.

The entire city of 25,000 is on board and you can see Hockey Day in Canada pride everywhere you look. Organizers and the city of Whitehorse should be very proud of their efforts leading up to the big day.

I can tell you the Blazers organization - players, coaches and staff have been treated great. The entire experience has been memorable leading up to today's game vs the Vancouver Giants at Takhini Arena. Pre-game show at 3:30pm on Radio NL, whl.ca and at cbc.ca.

---------

I knew it was going to be a good experience when I boarded the charter jet in Kamloops only to find I was sitting beside former NHL coach Pat Quinn along with WHL Director of Communications Cory Flett for the two hour plus flight.

I had a real good chat with Pat on the way up - the flight could have been six hours for all I was concerned. We talked about all sorts of things including his take on the media in Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton. The people that he liked, and disliked while coaching in some the bigger media hot spots in the game.

Pat reminisced about the gold medal in Salt Lake in 2002 and the "biggest disappointment in his coaching career" in Torino, Italy at the 2006 Olympics.

That was a neat experience to say the least.

---

To see the New Brunswick bantam team aboard the flight was special. These kids are definitely fired up to take part in today's festivities as they take on the local Whitehorse bantam Mustangs.

We were greeted at the airport by cheers from the local people and the Mustang bantam team. There was a news conference at the airport hosted by the CBC. It was a very well put together event hosted by Scott Oake.

For many of the Blazers, I think this was the moment it set in.

"We weren't really thinking about too much leading up. But, we got here and everyone's attitude completely changed when we landed," said Blazer F Thomas Frazee.

"We are so happy to be here. The city has been so great to us so far and we can't wait to get it started,"

Frazee admits the airport greeting was a nice touch.

"When we got off the plane... we didn't expect to get a round of applause from everyone. From that point on we were so excited to be here.

--------

The Blazers hotel is also the host hotel for much of the CBC and special guests. Trevor Linden, Ken Dryden and several others have been spotted by the guys around the hotel. The CBC's Don Cherry is just a floor up from the team.

Everything has been first class all the way. The Blazers now have to shift focus to winning today's game vs the Giants.

--------

Blazers Assistant Coach Scott Ferguson poses with one of the many volunteers helping to pull this event together.
----------
<br>
Got this email earlier. The Blazer parents are definitely plugged in to the events in Whitehorse:

"I am speaking on behalf of all the Blazer moms when I say we really appreciate having the chance to see the pictures so we can feel like we've got to experience it with the boys too!

Good luck to the team tomorrow! We'll be listening in as always!

Take care!
Melissa Willick "
-------

I had a chance to set up the broadcast with the CBC folks here this afternoon. It's a floating start time for the 4pm face-off based on their timeline of events and Coaches Corner in the 1st intermission.

We are likely looking at a 4:09-4:13pm ceremonial face-off from the rink. Hopefully we can track down some guests and have some fun during our live broadcast.
Looking forward to a big day ahead....

From Whitehorse, Yukon, enjoy the day.
<>
Jon

More Pics From Whitehorse

Blazers sign autographs for young fans after the practice






Ryan Hanes models the Hockey Day in Canada scarf that everyone received upon arrival



Makeshift broadcast location for tomorrow's game.




Blazer fans in Whitehorse. They have a sister who lives in Kamloops and have been to games at ISC. They say there will be a big Blazer cheering squad tomorrow.






Blazer Captain Chase Schaber watches the skate. I'm sure he wishes he could be out there. He'll be on the bench as an Assistant Coach for the game.



Thomas Frazee chats with some of the kids who found their way down to the player benches




Blazer center ice stretch


This rink is going to be crazy tomorrow for the game. They say they've never had 1500 fans in here before. To the left of the net is the CBC studio where Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will host Coaches' Corner during the Leafs/Canadiens game.



myself, WHL Director of Communications Cory Flett, Voice of the Giants/Director of Media Relations Dan Elliott






G Jeff Bosch stands beside the Blazer good luck banner just behind the team bench



Sundown. The view from behind the rink
--------
It's been a great few hours up here so far. Lots of stories to share already. I don't have the time now, as we are off for a team supper. More later.......
Jon