Friday, September 30, 2011

Blazers Have Big Night Planned.

News Release:

Mark Recchi, Vintage jerseys TRU Night all set:

The Kamloops Blazers will be hosting TRU Night  when the Blazers host the Vancouver Giants tonight. The game entertainment will be geared to TRU students who are able to purchase tickets for only $10!

TRU students will be eligible for some great prizes throughout the game. Paul Filek will be playing a post-game concert in the Parkside Lounge which is included in the ticket. The ticket to the game also includes FREE cover into the Commodore Grand Café and Lounge, and Cactus Jacks Saloon Night Club.

The hockey club will also be unveiling their new vintage jersey on Friday night. The team will wear the jersey throughout the 2011-12 hockey season.

There will also be a ceremonial puck drop with Kamloops legend and Blazers co-owner Mark Recchi prior to the game. Recchi’s NHL career, which spanned 22-seasons, culminated this past June with his third Stanley Cup Championship with the Boston Bruins. A limited edition picture will be handed out at the front doors for the first 4000 people to enter the building.

The hockey club will also be honouring long-time volunteer and off-ice official, Fred Nicoloson, who passed away this past April. The Blazers will also have a moment of silence to honour long-time Billet Coordinator, Doris Rubel, who passed away yesterday.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reaction to the passing of Doris Rubel

Radio NL's Rick "the Bear" Wile gathering some reaction to the passing of longtime billet coordinator Doris Rubel today. She was 75.

Former General Manager Bob Brown

Bob brown by keen941

Former Head Coach Ken Hitchcok:

Hitchcock by keen941

From the Radio NL archives, here's Doris Rubel last year after her election into the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame:

Doris by keen941

Sad News Today...


News Release:

 The Kamloops Blazers announce with heavy hearts the passing of long-time billet coordinator, Doris Rubel. Doris passed away this morning with family by her side.

Doris was a billet in Kamloops for well over 40 years, making a significant impact on the lives of many young hockey players who have come through Kamloops. In Kamloops alone her service originates to the 1960’s in which she worked with the Craft Kings, Braves, Rockets, Chiefs, Jr. Oilers and the Blazers. She not only was busy caring for her own family, but coordinating the overall effort of finding a roof for every other player on every junior hockey team in Kamloops.

In 2004, Doris was awarded the first ever WHL Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented annually to recognize a person who has made an extraordinary contribution over extended period of time at the WHL level. Her contributions also are extended outside of the city of Kamloops. She has helped teams such as the Vancouver Giants, and the Chilliwack Bruins start their successful billet programs

Doris’ contribution to the Kamloops sports scene is immeasurable. The impact she has left on many young and aspiring hockey players is incredible. In 2005, Doris was selected as a Kamloops Blazers legend. In 2010, she was selected to the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame for her long-time contributions to the Kamloops hockey scene.

“The passing of Doris is extremely difficult to hear,” says General Manager, Craig Bonner. “Doris has impacted myself personally, and the hundreds of young junior hockey players that have played in Kamloops. She was a remarkable person, and will be dearly missed by the organization and every junior hockey player who has been through Kamloops.”

Doris continued her role as the Kamloops Blazers Billet Coordinator up until her passing. The legacy and impact she has left will always be remembered. Funeral services have yet to be determined.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Concussions Under the WHL Microscope

As promised earlier...I sat down with Blazers Trainer Colin "Toledo" Robinson regarding the WHL's Seven Point Plan to reduce head blows and concussions.

He's on a committee responsible for tracking concussions this season in order to compile data to better understand what they're dealing with, and then take the necessary steps in prevention.

I asked Colin about the committee that has been put together:

T1 by keen941

And it's a thorough collection of data...

T2 by keen941

As for what they plan on finding out? He hopes they can answer some questions.

T3 by keen941

I asked him about the new equipment the players are using such as soft cap shoulder and elbow pads.

T4 by keen941

Toledo explains it as a CHL wide effort:

T5 by keen941

He stresses they hope to get answers but concussions can be very hard to put your finger on and eliminate.

T6 by keen941

The Latest

Blazer F Logan McVeigh is back practicing full-contact again will likely get into the line-up Friday night vs Vancouver  giving the Blazers a full compliment of forwards.  It also means Bronson Maschmeyer will go back to defense after taking a turn up front for the season opener.

Blazer captain Chase Schaber spoke about the week of practice leading up to the weekend after opening the season with a 1-0 loss on home ice to Prince George.  He says they can't wait to get back at it.

F JT Barnett was back on the ice after a slight knee injury. It's the first time skating since hurting the knee back with New Jersey during a pre-season game.

As promised, later tonight, more with Blazer trainer Colin "Toledo" Robinson on the Seven Point Plan unveiled by the WHL to help reduce head blows and concussions.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coach Charron Ready to Begin Season

The Blazers held their final practice before tomorrow night's season opener at ISC against the Prince George Cougars. Here's some notes:

-Colin Smith was skating on the wing of the top line alongside Chase Schaber and Jordan DePape.  Smith is taking Brendan Ranford's spot with Ranford still to serve a three-game suspension. 

- After having some success as a unit vs PG last weekend to conclude the pre-season, Matt Needham will center import Tim Bozon and JC Lipon.  The three combined for nine points in their last game.

-20 year-old defenseman Bronson Maschmeyer will play up-front tomorrow night.  More on that below. 

- There was word F JT Barnett suffered an injury today with the New Jersey Devils.  There's no word on the severity of it but Barnett's tweet today didn't sound very good.  The Blazers confirmed he's being evaluated by the Devils training staff.

F Logan McVeigh is practicing with the team but likely won't play tomorrow night as he battles through a concussion.

I spoke with Guy following practice to get his thoughts...

Guy on being ready to drop the puck:

Guy-ready by keen941

On starting Cam Lanigan in goal to begin the season:

Guy-lanigan by keen941

On Bronson Maschmeyer playing forward:

Guy-maschupfront by keen941

On the importance of the season opener:

Guy-morethanagame by keen941

On being ready for the season as a coaching staff:

Guy-wrap by keen941

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Just a quick update... nothing here hasn't been reported on twitter  @JonKeenNLSports already...

- The Blazers are just awaiting the return of JT Barnett from New Jersey with the re-assignment of both D Austin Madaisky from Columbus and D Josh Caron from Minnesota. Barnett is expected back before Saturday's game against the Prince George Cougars.

- D Josh Caron suffered a wrist injury in Minnesota. No word yet whether he'll play in the season opener or not.

- Despite reports to the contrary, it appears F Chase Souto will be ready to go for the season opener. He's coming off a concussion.

- I had a good chat with Blazer trainer Colin "Toledo" Robinson the other day regarding the WHL's Seven Point Plan to reduce head blows and concussions. That will be featured in an upcoming blog.

- Cam Lanigan will start in goal Saturday night but admitted he hasn't done enough to solidify himself as the number one guy. "I don't think what I've done yet in may career has set myself up to be comfortable (as starter)I don't think I deserve it."

- Chase Schaber will again don the "C" this season. However the assistant captains remain up in the air. Head Coach Guy Charron says he's interviewed nine players for a potential leadership role.

- The Blazers will open up the season in their traditional road "blue" jerseys Saturday night.

- The five BC division broadcasters joined Dan Russell for CKNW's Sports Talk last night. Kelowna Rockets play-caller Regan Bartel picked the Blazers to win the BC division this season. The consensus amongst the group though was a 3rd-4th place in the division showing.

- I tweeted earlier about the Kelowna Rockets trade with Regina today featuring Myles Bell to the Rockets for Colton Jobke plus a 2nd & 5th round pick. Personally I think the Rockets paid a big price. I received a tweet in response from former Blazer and Pats defenseman Shayne Neigum which read "not really ( a big price) you have no idea how good Beller is"

If I've learned one thing it's to trust the opinion's of people who have played for or against a certain player.

Bell is expected to play for the Rockets in the opening weekend.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BC Division Preview


B.C. Division

Kamloops Blazers
General Manager: Craig Bonner
Head Coach: Guy Charron

2011 pre-season: 2-2-0-1, 5pts

2010-11 Record: 29-37-3-3, 64pts (5th in B.C. Div., 9th in Western Conf.) GF: 219 GA: 285

2010-11 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 19.5% (T-11th); PK: 76.4% (20th)

2011 Playoffs: Did not qualify

2010-11 Top Scorers:
Brendan Ranford 68gp-33g-53a-86pts
Thomas Frazee 70gp-31g-41a-72pts
Colin Smith 72gp-21g-29a-50pts

Up Front: Philadelphia Flyers prospect Brendan Ranford heads up the Blazers attack after leading the team in scoring last season. The talented 19-year-old has the tools to be among the top scorers in the WHL again this season. Joining Ranford is 20-year-old Chase Schaber, who plays a solid defensive game and put up nearly a point per game last season. 18-year-old Colin Smith and 19-year-olds Dylan Willick and Jordan DePape will also play big roles in the Blazers’ offense this season. 17-year-old Swiss forward Tim Bozon showed good offensive ability during pre-season, and could be a valuable asset this season. Look for rookie Matt Needham to be a contributor as well after posting seven points in 13 games as a 15-year-old last year.

On The Blue Line: 20-year-old veteran Bronson Maschmeyer heads up a Blazers’ defense corps that will look to improve upon what was the 20th-ranked goals-against last season. Also back is 19-year-old Austin Madaisky, who should log big minutes for the team this year after recovering from a broken neck, suffered last season. The Blazers acquired 18-year-old Czech puck-mover Marek Hrbas from Edmonton to help their transition game and the power play. Sophomore Brady Gaudet will look for more responsibility after adjusting to the WHL as a 16-year-old last year. 20-year-old Josh Caron could return to the team as well, but could also play in the AHL.

Goaltending: 19-year-old Cam Lanigan looks to take over the starting job this season after coming to the Blazers in a trade with Edmonton last year. The Calgary, AB, product has 90 games of WHL experience under his belt and should provide a solid veteran presence in the Blazers’ net. Rookies Taran Kozun and Cole Cheveldave are battling for the back-up role.

Player to Watch: Matt Needham

Though he may be just 16 years old, Matt Needham has already proven he can play and be a contributor at the WHL level. The Blazers’ first-round Bantam Draft pick in 2010, Needham scored three goals and seven points in 13 games with the team last season. A smaller player, Needham boasts tremendous offensive skills and a feisty, competitive demeanor. The son of former Blazer standout Mike Needham, Matt is a player who always seems to step up when his team needs a goal. Watch for Needham to make an impact in his first full WHL campaign.

Kelowna Rockets
General Manager: Bruce Hamilton
Head Coach: Ryan Huska
2011 pre-season: 6-0-0-0, 12pts
2010-11 Record: 43-28-0-1, 87pts (1st in B.C. Div., 2nd in Western Conf.) GF: 240 GA: 201
2010-11 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 19.3 (T-11th); PK: 84.1% (3rd)
2011 Playoffs: Lost in six games to Portland in second round

2010-11 Top Scorers:
Shane McColgan 67gp-21g-45a-66pts
Geordie Wudrick 71gp-43g-16a-59pts
Tyson Barrie 54gp-11g-47a-58pts

Up Front: The Rockets return an arsenal of solid offensive options this season, led by 18-year-old New York Rangers prospect Shane McColgan. Though not the biggest player on the ice, McColgan doesn’t back down from a challenge, and competes as hard as any player in the League. Expect McColgan to be among the WHL’s top scorers at season’s end. Also back are veterans Cody Chikie and Brett Bulmer, who both should see an increase in their offensive output. Talented sophomores Colton Scissons and Zach Franko impressed with their offensive games last year. Both could see big jumps in their point totals on what should be a powerful offense in Kelowna this season.

On The Blue Line: The Rockets return five defensemen from last year’s squad that finished with the second-best goals-against in the Western Conference. Veterans Kevin Smith and Mitchell Chapman are back to provide the team with plenty of experience and a good blend of offense and defense. MacKenzie Johnston and Damon Severson will look for bigger responsibility this season while rookies Madison Bowey and Jesse Lees have shown great potential as 16-year-olds. Bowey is an offensive talent who could eventually help replace the departure of Tyson Barrie.

Goaltending: With 20-year-old Adam Brown and 18-year-old Jordon Cooke both returning, the Rockets own one of the best goaltending tandems in the WHL. Brown has already proved his worth as a starter in the WHL, having already accumulated 85 wins to go with a sparkling 2.57 GAA and a .911 save percentage over 148 career games. Cooke impressed with his play as a rookie last season, and will definitely push Brown for playing time this season.

Player to Watch: Colton Scissons

Acquired from Saskatoon during the 2009-10 season, Scissons made his WHL debut as a 17-year-old rookie last year, scoring 17 goals and 41 assists with a solid +15 rating. A competitive and well-rounded player, Scissons plays an excellent two-way game, making him a valued contributor at both ends of the ice. The North Vancouver, B.C., product should be able to increase his offensive output this year. He should also garner plenty of attention from NHL scouts as he readies for his NHL draft-eligible season.

Prince George Cougars
General Manager: Dallas Thompson
Head Coach: Dean Clark
2011 pre-season: 1-3-1-0, 3pts
2010-11 Record: 33-35-2-2, 70pts (4th in B.C. Div., 7th in Western Conf.) GF: 258 GA: 265
2010-11 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 18.4 (15th); PK: 82.7 (5th)
2011 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Kelowna in first round

2010-11 Top Scorers:
Brett Connolly 59gp-46g-27a-73pts
Taylor Stefishen 68gp-24g-43a-67pts
Sena Acolatse 67gp-15g-48a-63pts

Up Front: Brett Connolly heads up a Cougars offense that finished fourth in the Western Conference in goals last season. The 19-year-old from Prince George, B.C., scored an impressive 46 goals in just 59 games last season, and is a legitimate threat to hit the 50-goal mark this season. Connolly, however, could stick with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, which would greatly hamper the Cougars’ offence. 19-year-old Charles Inglis scored 32 goals last season for the Cougars, and will figure heavily into the Cougars’ attack this year. Also returning is 17-year-old Troy Bourke, who turned heads with 19 goals and 42 points to go with his team-leading +15 rating as a rookie last year. Alex Forsberg, the first overall pick from the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, will make his full-time debut this season.

On The Blue Line: Though they lose high-scoring veteran Sena Acolatse from the mix, the Cougars still return a strong group of defenders for this season. Towering Slovakian Martin Marincin could return to head up the blue line in Prince George. The 19-year-old put up 14 goals and 56 points in 67 games for the Cougars last season. But, he could remain in the Edmonton Oilers’ system as well. Guaranteed back are veterans Jesse Forsberg, Daniel Gibb, Cody Carlson and sophomores Shane Pilling and Josh Smith. Now in his third WHL season, Forsberg should be able to step up and shoulder a heavier workload. Expect youngsters Linden Springer and Joseph Carvalho to push for roster spots as well.

Goaltending: The acquisition of Drew Owsley from the Tri-City Americans gives the Cougars a bona fide No. 1 netminder who can give them a chance to win every night. Owsley, a product of Lethbridge, AB, posted 76 wins, a 2.68 GAA and a .911 save percentage in 122 career games with the Ams, and has extensive playoff experience. The Cougars have several options for the back-up role, including Bantam Draft selections Brett Zarowny and Devon Fordyce. Tyler Santos is also in the mix for the back-up job.

Player to Watch: Troy Bourke

The Cougars’ second-round pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Bourke emerged as one of the team’s better offensive players as a 16-year-old rookie last year. The Onoway, AB, native scored 19 goals and 42 points and led the team in plus/minus. He also starred for Team Pacific at the 2011 World Under-17 Challenge, helping the team to a Bronze medal. His offensive skills are already apparent, but it is Bourke’s two-way ability and hockey sense that will have plenty of scouts keeping a close eye on him in his NHL draft-eligible season.

Vancouver Giants
General Manager: Scott Bonner
Head Coach: Don Hay
2011 pre-season: 3-0-2-1, 9pts
2010-11 Record: 35-32-1-4, 75pts (2nd in B.C. Div., 5th in Western Conf.) GF: 236 GA: 251
2010-11 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 19.2% (13th); PK: 78.4% (16th)
2011 Playoffs: Lost in four games to Tri-City in first round

2010-11 Top Scorers:
Brendan Gallagher 66gp-44g-47a-91pts
Spencer Bennett 72gp-37-33a-70pts
Neil Manning 72gp-15g-36a-51pts

Up Front: 19-year-old Brendan Gallagher heads up a Giants attack looking to improve upon what was the WHL’s 14th ranked offense last season. The diminutive Gallagher, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, was among the WHL’s top scorers last year and could very well find himself near the top of the list again this season. Slovakian forward Marek Tvrdon should be able to provide plenty of offense after missing almost all of last season with an injury, while veteran James Henry will also be counted on to carry a heavy offensive load. Sophomores Dalton Sward, Teal Burns and Cain Franson have the skill to step into secondary scoring roles. Jordan Martinook will look to improve on the 11 goals and 28 points he produced as a rookie last season.

On The Blue Line: The Giants could return up to six regulars from last year’s defense corps. Veterans Neil Manning, Wes Vannhieuwenhuizen and David Musil head up the Giants’ blue line, and will all be looking to cut down the team’s goals-against after having allowed the most goals in a season since the 2003-04 campaign. Manning has racked up 141 points in 251 career games, and should continue to provide plenty of offense from the back end. Musil and Vannieuwenhuizen are imposing figures who will need to make life difficult on opposing forwards. 18-year-olds Zach Hodder and Luke Fenske are also back, but will be pushed by several of the talented, young defensemen in the Giants’ system.

Goaltending: 18-year-old Brendan Jensen is ready to assume the starting job with the Giants after backing up Mark Segal the past two seasons. Jensen has 36 games of WHL experience on his resume, and will be given the opportunity to show he can handle a heavy workload in net. 16-year-old Jackson Whistle, the Giants’ fourth-round pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, will take on the back-up role after turning in a string of solid performances during the pre-season.

Player to Watch: Marek Tvrdon

Giants’ fans got a small taste of what Marek Tvrdon can bring to the table when he appeared in 12 games in 2010-11, scoring six goals and 11 points. Unfortunately, a season-ending shoulder injury kept the 6’2”, 208-lb winger from making a real impact for the Giants. Yet, even though he was limited to just 12 games, the Detroit Red Wings thought highly enough of him to select him in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A big-bodied forward with great hands, puck skills and the ability to protect the puck in traffic, Tvrdon is a menace in front of the opposition net. The Nitra, Slovakia, product has a heavy shot and the ability to get shots off quickly in traffic. Expect Tvrdon to be a key performer for the Giants now that he is once again healthy.

Victoria Royals
General Manager / Head Coach: Marc Habscheid
2011 pre-season: 1-4-0-0, 2pts
2010-11 Record: 33-31-4-4, 74pts (3rd in B.C. Div., 6th in Western Conf.) GF: 227 GA: 255
2010-11 Power Play / Penalty Killing ranking: PP: 21.8% (T-6th); PK: 79.2% (13th)
2011 Playoffs: Lost in five games to Spokane in first round

2010-11 Top Scorers:
Ryan Howse 70gp-51g-32a-83pts
Roman Horak 64gp-26g-52a-78pts
Kevin Sundher 70gp-24g-52a-76pts

Up Front: The Royals lose three of their top five scorers from last year, including 51-goal man Ryan Howse. Replacing the offense created by Howse, Roman Horak and defenseman Brandon Manning won’t be easy. Fortunately, the Royals return 19-year-old Kevin Sundher and 20-year-old Robin Soudek to carry the offensive load. Both topped the 20-goal mark last year. 19-year-old Jamie Crooks will be expected to improve upon the 19 goals and 38 points he recorded last season and carry more responsibility this season. Sophomore Brandon Magee is coming off a terrific season as a 16-year-old last year. He and fellow 17-year-old Steven Hodges should be able to contribute more to the attack this season.

On The Blue Line: The Royals will see six WHL-experienced rearguards return this season. 20-year-old Hayden Rintoul was acquired in the off-season from the defending WHL champion Kootenay Ice. Rintoul is a strong two-way presence who can help generate offense from the back end and bolster the power play. 18-year-old Jesse Pauls has some offensive flair to his game, having generated 19 points in 34 games over the last two seasons. Veterans Tyler Stahl and Zach Habscheid add plenty of size and physical presence to the Royals’ defense corps. Rookies Kade Pilton and Keegan Kanzig will look to earn spots in the lineup this year as both have promising futures with the Club.

Goaltending: With the graduation of Lucas Gore, the job of No. 1 netminder in Victoria is open. 20-year-old Braden Gamble served as Gore’s back-up for the last two seasons, and is an option for taking on the top job this season. The Royals acquired 19-year-old Keith Hamilton from Portland to vie for the starting job as well. Hamilton posted 17 wins and a .914 save percentage in 28 games for Portland last season. 17-year-old Jared Rathjen is also in the mix for a spot in the goaltending tandem.

Player to Watch: Brandon Magee

The Royals’ fourth-round pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, Magee turned in a valiant effort as a 16-year-old rookie last year, scoring 12 goals and 29 points with a team-leading +15 rating in 65 games. A hard-working, competitive forward who knows how to get under the skin of opponents, Magee also has the ability to score and create offense. Though not a very big player, Magee plays hard and doesn’t shy away from the tough areas on the ice. Taking on a bigger role this season, expect Magee to continue to impress with his no-quit attitude.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Update

Several Blazers have been returned from NHL camps...

Both Colin Smith and Chase Schaber are headed back from Edmonton after impressing the Oiler brass with their camp invite.

Brendan Ranford will be returning from Philadelphia today.  Jordan DePape is back from Winnipeg Jets camp after his invite.

The team also expects to have JT Barnett back from New Jersey and Austin Madaisky from Columbus before Saturday's season opener.

That leaves Josh Caron as the only question mark at this point.  The signed 20 year-old suffered a wrist injury during Minnesota Wild camp.  Hopefully I'll get an update on his status shortly.


I think the biggest question heading into the first game of the season is who gets the start in goal opening night?

Indications are pointing towards Cam Lanigan as the opening night starter.  He's played well in pre-season and hasn't given a reason why he shouldn't get the ball to open up the campaign.

He's come in with the right attitude and has done everything asked of him.

Cole Cheveldave and to some extent Taran Kozun will be waiting in the wings looking for an opportunity at some point.


Not sure on the injury status of three forwards heading into the weekend.  It's safe to say Ryan Hanes (charley horse), Logan McVeigh (concussion) and Chase Souto (concussion) are all day-to-day with a full week of practice leading up to the first game of the season.


The Blazers hosted their season ticket pick-up yesterday at ISC.  Several players and Head Coach Guy Charron were on hand to talk with season ticket holders on the concourse.


The Blazers will be featured on Shaw TV four times this season.  Three home broadcasts and once on the road.  The first Shaw game involving the Blazers will be October 7th at ISC vs the Spokane Chiefs.


We're on the air live Saturday afternoon on Radio NL from ISC at about 5:20pm with our special season kick-off show.  Rick "The Bear" Wile will anchor coverage leading into our 6:30pm pre-game show. 

We are still finalizing some of our guests leading up to face-off Saturday night. 

Face-off shortly after 7pm following pre-game introductions.

There will be a one-minute moment of silence before face-off to honour former WHL'ers Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak and Brad MacCrimmon - all of which passed this off-season.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Coming....

The countdown is on to Saturday night at Interior Savings Center...

091511 Kamloops Blazers Home Opener Image by keen941

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gaglardi & The Stars / Blazers in PG

- Blazer majority owner Tom Gaglardi is now 60-75 days away from completing the purchase of the Dallas Stars following a court approved bankruptcy auction. You can read about it here.

Radio NL news reached Tom earlier today..."no comment at this time," was the familiar response as he waits for the developments to unfold through the court proceeding.

- The Blazers can almost take a big van to Prince George rather than their team bus as they conclude the pre-season. The Blazers will dress eight forwards - two of them being regular defensemen Bronson Maschmeyer and Brady Gaudet. Seven players remain away at NHL camps (Schaber, Smith, Ranford, DePape, Caron, Madaisky & Barnett). Logan McVeigh, Chase Souto & Ryan Hanes remain out with injury.

The Blazers will start Taran Kozun in goal. Cole Cheveldave will back-up.

- The Blazers will host their season ticket pickup Sunday from 12-2pm on the concourse of ISC.

- Blazer trainer Colin Robinson is helping out with the new "Seven Point Plan" to reduce concussions and head blows. He along with Saskatoon Blades Athletic Therapist Steve "Hilti" Hildebrand are spearheading a system to track concussions across the league this season. Every concussion will be logged online and include all the who,what,when,where, how information. It should be interesting to see what kind of data they come up with.

Is there a rink in the league that is concussion prone? Are their certain teams more susceptible to them? Are the referee's penalizing the plays leading to them?

It's believed the majority of concussions are the result of a blindside hit... a hit where a player is defenseless. I would tend to agree with that.

There's also a thought that 2% of concussions come as the result of fighting. Will data collected this season back that up or not?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chase Schaber & Colin Smith Interviews From Penticton

Thanks to CJOB's Kelly Moore who is covering the Winnipeg Jets' angles from the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton. He spoke to Blazer forwards Chase Schaber and Colin Smith last night following Edmonton's 2-0 win over Winnipeg.

Schaber scored the game's first and laid a huge hit on Jets 1st round pick Mark Scheifele.

Schaber by keen941

Colin Smith will play again tonight against Calgary...

Colin smith by keen941

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blazers Cancel Pre-Season Game with PG

Bones by keen941

The Kamloops Blazers have cancelled their pre-season match-up with the Prince George Cougars tomorrow night due to a lack of players available. By my count, the team is down to seven forwards before call-ups.

With six forwards at NHL camps and injuries to Ryan Hanes & Logan McVeigh the Blazers decided to cancel the contest set for Interior Savings Center...

GM Craig Bonner spoke about the move today from Calgary:

Blazers Sign Rehill / Recall D Thomson

News Release:

The Kamloops Blazers have signed 16-year-old defenseman Ryan Rehill to a WHL education contract. The team has also recalled 15-year-old defenseman Jordan Thomson and Rehill for the final two exhibition games versus the Prince George Cougars.

“We are pleased that Ryan has signed on with us,” commented Director of Player Personnel, Matt Recchi. “He is a big, physical defenseman that had a real strong training camp. We look forward to monitoring his development this season.”

Rehill, who stands at 6’2” and 208lbs, was originally the Blazers 6th round draft pick in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft. Thomson was selected by the Blazers in the 1st round, 4th overall in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. In one exhibition game, Thomson recorded an assist in a 4-2 Blazers victory.

The Blazers will continue to be without Josh Caron, Austin Madaisky, Dylan Willick, Jordan DePape, Chase Schaber, Colin Smith, Brendan Ranford and JT Barnett through the weekend. All eight players are away at NHL training camps.

The Kamloops Blazers roster now sits at 29 players, including 15 forwards, 11 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Update / Blazers Seek Anthem Singers

- It's Blazers vs Blazers today in Traverse City, Michigan as the prospects tournament continues. F Dylan Willick and D Josh Caron will suit up for Minnesota against D Austin Madaisky and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

- F Jordan DePape will play for the Winnipeg Jets prospects tonight at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton against the San Jose Sharks. DePape and the Jets then play the Edmonton Oiler prospects tomorrow. Colin Smith had two assists for Edmonton in their 7-2 win over Vancouver. Chase Schaber did not play for Edmonton in the game.

- The Blazers may be looking for a few extra bodies for Wednesday's game at home against the Prince George Cougars. With eight players at NHL camps, and a couple injuries, there's word the team will be recalling a couple players for the game and perhaps the return match-up in Prince George as well. The team is expected to make an announcement tomorrow.

- The Blazers will be holding open auditions for anthem singers on tomorrow night starting at 7pm at the Interior Savings Centre penalty box area. All ages are welcome to attend. For more information please call Ashley at the Kamloops Blazers office at 250-828-1144 or


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Update / Traverse City Update

- The Blazers were down to seven forwards for half the game in Kelowna last night for multiple reasons in a 5-4 shootout loss. Heading into the game with just three lines, Ryan Hanes left the game and didn't return after suffering a leg injury on a hit from Mitchell Chapman. Chase Souto was given a game misconduct after a fight with the Rockets Tyrell Goulbourne. Brendan Ranford, Jordan DePape, Chase Schaber, Dylan Willick and Colin Smith are all off to NHL camps/tournaments and Logan Mcveigh remains sidelined with injury.

- You factor all of it in and you wonder what kind of line-up the Blazers will have Wednesday when they host the Prince George Cougars. They will also losr JT Barnett who is off to New Jersey Devil camp. You hope the Blazers would be healthy and energized to start the season but right now that's looking doubtful.

- There is no doubt WHL Education contracts are a factor when you have players play in the pre-season. Just one exhibition game can make a player ineligible for NCAA scholarships and just one game also means the WHL club team is responsible for a year of post-secondary education for that player. It can really tie the hands of WHL teams in the pre-season when they look to ice a roster for pre-season action.

- The game itself was entertaining. The Blazers trailed 3-1 in the 2nd period before three straight goals from Tyler Hansen, JC Lipon, and Matt Needham. The Blazer 4-3 lead lasted only 15 seconds as Colton Heffley tied it up just 15 seconds later in the third period.

- The Rockets first two shooters Tyson Baille and Filip Vasko scored in the shootout while both the Blazers Tim Bozon and Matt Needham were denied giving the Rockets a 5-4 shootout win.

- Cam Lanigan was strong in goal for the Blazers who were outshot 42-30 in the contest.


- Both F Dylan Willick and D Josh Caron didn't factor into a Minnesota Wild 6-3 opening loss to Buffalo at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Former Blazer Corey Fienhage had an assist for Buffalo in the win.

- Austin Madaisky didn't play in the Columbus Blue Jackets first game at the tournament vs Detroit. Columbus won 7-3.

- Colin Smith and Chase Schaber will see their first NHL action tonight when the Oiler rookies take on the Vancouver Canuck rookies in Penticton at the Young Stars Tournament.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Latest

- The Blazers had two more players depart for NHL camps today as Chase Schaber and Colin Smith - both bound for Edmonton. They undergo fitness testing with the team tomorrow and will eventually head down to Penticton with the Oilers prospects to play in the Young Stars tournament.

Five of the eight Blazers headed to camps have now left (Dylan Willick, Josh Caron - Minnesota, Austin Madaisky - Columbus). Jordan DePape leaves tomorrow for Winnipeg. Brendan Ranford leaves for Philadelphia Saturday and JT Barnett takes off for New Jersey Monday.

- Blazer 16 year-old Matt Needham will see his first pre-season game action tomorrow night when the Blazers host the Kelowna Rockets to kick-off the exhibition home-and-home series. Needham missed all of training camp with an elbow injury but was back in full-practice this week.

- The Kelowna Rockets will join the Blazers in being short staffed this weekend. They also have eight players headed for NHL camps. D Mitchell Chapman will also miss tomorrow's game due to a one-game suspension picked up for a fight vs Victoria's Curt Gogol last weekend.

I believe both teams have agreed to a level playing field and will be dressing the same amount of players for the weekend set.

- At first I wasn't sure how the coaching dynamic with Head Coach Guy Charron and Associate Coach Dave Hunchak would work but I'm liking what I'm seeing and hearing so far.

Guy has allowed Dave to come in and share ideas, thoughts and a game plan to which Guy has whole-heartily endorsed. There's no ego getting in the way here. Guy understands the knowledge and experience Hunchak brings to the table with his time in the league. He's allowing an equal voice between the two and it can only stand to benefit the Blazers. It's like having two head coaches on the bench this season. So far, so good.

- Kamloops was not immune to the news of yesterday's plane crash in Russia as the names of those dead began emerging.

As tweeted about yesterday, Guy Charron coached Karel Ruchunek in Grand Rapids of the IHL back in the 1999-2000 season. When I was passing on some of the names to Guy over the phone yesterday you could hear the surprise in his voice when I got to his name. As said time and time again, the hockey world is very small.

- Two names grabbed my attention - Danill Sobchenko and Yuri Urychev. I remember the Russian roster from Radio NL's broadcast of the Subway Super Series last November between Team Russia and Team WHL at Interior Savings Center. Those two were key parts of the Russian team. Sobchenko scored in the game, and then went on to score in the shootout in a 7-6 Russian come-from-behind victory.

- Of course the death of Brad McCrimmon was the big story. I was introduced to Brad at the NHL draft in Ottawa by Dean Chynoweth several years ago. The Chynoweth family and the McCrimmons go back many years. It's a devastating loss to the WHL community.

Brad's brother Kelly McCrimmon (GM/Owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings) talked about his brother's death here.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Blazers Cut Roster to 27

The Kamloops Blazers reassigned 17-year-old forward Dallas Calvin to the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL. Calvin was pointless in two WHL preseason games this past weekend.

The Kamloops Blazers roster now sits at 27 players, including 15 forwards, 9 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders.

The Blazers re-assigned 15 year-old D Jordan Thomson earlier this weekend.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Blazers Lose 6-3 in Ladner to the Giants

I wasn't in Ladner tonight but the Giants went 5/11 on the powerplay in a 6-3 win in a game hosted out of their practice facility.

The Blazers trailed 2-1 and 3-2 after the 1st and 2nd period.

Austin Madaisky had a PP and a SH goal. Chase Souto scored on the PP in the third.

Goaltenders Cole Cheveldave and Taran Kozun split the game in goal. Both gave up three goals apiece.

The online scoresheet is here.

I'd expect a write-up online at


Friday, September 02, 2011

Blazers Double Royals 4-2

Not a bad game tonight at the Sportcenter... The Blazers drew 11 powerplay opportunities and stayed fairly discipline in the process taking just five penalties.

The Blazers used the PP to score three goals - including two back-to-back 65 seconds apart in the first period to take the lead.

A few players that caught my eye on the Blazers included D Josh Connolly, D Marek Hrbas, and F Tim Bozon. Captain Chase Schaber was physical and scored the Blazers only even strength goal on the night.

The Royals have some good young talent coming up. I was impressed with some of their new younger faces.

All-in-all the game had good pace. The Sportscenter is a pretty good pre-season venue with the building nearly full..

Here's the write-up from the Blazers website :

The Kamloops Blazers kicked off the preseason with a 4-2 win at the McArthur Island Sports Centre over the Victoria Royals Friday night. It was a game dominated by special teams as the Blazers opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 powerplay with JT Barnett ripping a shot past goaltender Jared Rathjen for a 1-0 lead. A minute and five seconds later, the Blazers made it 2-0 on the powerplay, as Colin Smith snuck a shot through Rathjen and 15-year-old Jordan Thomson picked up an assist on the goal.

The Blazers took a 2-0 into the second period, but the Royals cut into the lead only 37 seconds into the period. Robin Soudek snapped a shot over Cam Lanigan’s shoulder, and the Royals made it 2-1. Halfway through the frame both teams switched goaltenders with the Blazers putting in Cole Cheveldave and the Royals turning to Braden Gamble.

In the third period, Chase Schaber scored an even strength marker at 11:29 and it looked like the Blazers were destined to victory. The Royals fought back though as Kade Pilton blasted a shot past Cheveldave on the powerplay cutting the score to 3-2. Chase Souto sealed the game with a powerplay goal just over a minute later and the Blazers went on to win 4-2.

Cam Lanigan stopped 16 shots while Cole Cheveldave turned 11 shots aside in the victory. There were tons of powerplays in this affair as the Blazers finished 3-for-11 and the Royals were 1-for-5.

The Blazers next preseason action goes tomorrow night as they visit the Vancouver Giants in Ladner.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Blazers Vs Royals

- Expect a mix of rookies and veterans as the Blazers get ready to open up the pre-season schedule at home against the Victoria Royals (7pm, Sports Center - Mac Island)

- The teams had a bitter rivalry at times last season when the Royals were the Chilliwack Bruins. Both coaches used Radio NL airwaves to express their opinions of one another. Don't expect any of that to carry least not tonight anyways. These game, as always are more about evaluation than they are about wins and losses. Make no mistake though, wins can build confidence - even if it is the pre-season.

- The Blazers have 26 of their 29 bodies available for tonight's game. Jordan DePape, JC Lipon, and Matt Needham will skip the game due to injury. Needham was back on the practice ice yesterday after missing all of training camp with an elbow injury related to an off-ice ATV accident. He's been working out off-ice and I don't expect missing camp will set him back all that much.

- I'd expect 15 year-old first-rounder Jordan Thomson to make his Blazer debut. The Wawanesa, MB native has been in Kamloops now for awhile. He was skating with the veterans even before rookie camp began a week ago.

- Not sure what the goaltending plan will be. The Blazers will dress two of the three goaltenders remaining on their roster. No word if they plan to give a goaltender a full-game or split it midway.

- The Blazers have eight players off to NHL camps next week. Colin Smith - EDM, Chase Schaber - EDM, Dylan Willick - MIN, Josh Caron - MIN, Brendan Ranford - PHI, Austin Madaisky - CBJ, Jordan DePape - WPG, JT Barnett - NJ. Some of the players will begin leaving September 8th.

- I'd like to see the Blazers turn the intensity up a notch in what is the first opportunity to play against someone other than themselves since last season. After what was a virtual no-hitter of a Blue-White game, I hope to see the pace pick up.

- This is our first look at what will be a very different looking team than last year's edition in Chilliwack. No more Lucas Gore in goal. The Kamloops native played out his eligibility last season after a strong final year as an over-ager. Gone are defensemen Brandon Manning (graduation) and Mitch Topping (traded to Tri-City). Up front, the Royals lose the dynamic duo of Ryan Howse and Roman Horak. They also dealt Dylan McKinley to the Kootenay Ice for defenseman over-age defenseman Hayden Rintoul. Expect them to be lead offensively by the smooth skating Kevin Sundher and the potential return of 20 year-old/import Robin Soudek.

- The Royals also have a new broadcaster. Marlon Martens comes back into the league from Lethbridge after being out of WHL broadcasting for a couple seasons. Randy Merkley didn't make the trip to the island with the team and is re-locating with his wife to Calgary.

- I'd also expect an excited Joey Hicketts to make his WHL debut for the Royals. The Kamloops native and former Jardine Blazer was the Royals first pick in this summer's bantam draft - 12th overall. I remember talking to Royals Director of Scouting Garry Pochipinski minutes after they selected Hicketts in the first round. He told me Hicketts was #1 on their list and were thrilled to see him still available at #12. Hicketts officially signed his WHL Player Agreement yesterday.

- There is no broadcast on Radio NL for this game. Our first broadcast will be the season opener - September 24th vs the Prince George Cougars. Rick "The Bear" Wile will serve as my primary color commentator once again while Radio NL's Jeremy Bosch will handle some games and will be doing end-of-period interviews from ice level with members of the Blazers and the opposition coaching staff.