Four Hawks Head to Canada Camps

Hockey Canada will be hosting two camps in the coming week, one for the U18 prospects for the Ivan Hlinka tournament coming up in mid-August, and the other is the U20 development camp marking the first step toward playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo just after Christmas.

Ty Rattie will be taking part in the U18 camp starting tomorrow in Calgary.  If he is selected, he will immediately board a plane for central Europe for the tournament which runs from August 9-14 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Brett Ponich, Ryan Johansen and Brad Ross will all be taking part at the U20 camp being held in St. Johns, Newfoundland, starting August 4th.  The prospects are split into two squads, but all three Hawks will be on the Red squad for the camp.  After the camp ends, the players seasons will be evaluated through the beginning of December when Hockey Canada will select those players that will attend the final camp while trying to earn a spot on the roster.

Best of luck to all four Hawks!

2010/2011 Tentative Schedule Released

Can you feel it, hockey fans?

The 2010/2011 WHL Regular Season is approaching and the Portland Winterhawks today announced their tentative schedule for the upcoming season.  While it isn’t final yet (should be by August 10) and the building schedule isn’t known yet (MC vs. RG), it is a starting point to figure out where we’ll be spending our fall and winter (and hopefully deep into spring) evenings.

Some interesting notes:

Let’s Play Two: On five different occasions the Hawks will play back-to-back nights in the same town against teams, something that had usually only been done in Prince George due to the remoteness of the location.

October 8 & 9 in Spokane.

October 29 & 30 vs. Kelowna at home.

December 10 & 11 at home vs. Prince George.

February 22 & 23 in Prince George.

March 11 & 12 in Everett.

Also, the Hawks play back-to-back in Spokane on Saturday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 8.  Wonder if that will be one bus trip or two?

Trifecta Weekends: Four three-in-three’s this year for Portland:

November 26-28 — Chilliwack (road), Tri City (road), Medicine Hat (home)

January 21-23 — Everett (road), Seattle (home), Spokane (home)

March 4-6 — Seattle (home), Vancouver (road), Chilliwack (road)

March 18-20 — Everett (home), Seattle (road), Spokane (home)

The first one is the toughest with the fairly long bus ride between CWK and Kennewick…the rest aren’t that bad.

Home and Home’s: Just two…and none involving Seattle, which is a bit different than in years past…

Tuesday, 9/28 (the new home opener) vs. Vancouver and then the next night in Vancouver, 9/29.

Tuesday, 12/28 at home vs. Tri City and then the next night in Tri on 12/29.

By Day:

Sunday — 7 games (6 home/1 away)

Monday — 1 game (0 home/1 away – meaning no Presidents Day matinee)

Tuesday — 8 games (4 home/4 away)

Wednesday — 14 games (7 home/7 away)

Thursday — 0 games

Friday — 19 games (10 home/9 away)

Saturday — 23 games (9 home/14 away)

By Month:

September — 3 games (1 home/2 away)

October — 12 games (7 home/5 away)

November — 14 games (6 home/8 away)

December — 11 games (7 home/4 away)

January — 12 games (7 home/5 away)

February — 10 games (4 home/6 away)

March — 10 games (4 home/6 away)

Training camp starts in about four weeks…can’t wait…

Petan Signs, Bardsley Promoted

A couple of news reports from the Portland Winterhawks early this week…

The first is that the Hawks have signed their First Round, #16 overall, selection in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, Nic Petan, to a WHL Education Agreement.

Petan, a center, played 57 games with the North Shore Winter Club AAA bantam team of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association last season, and posted 76 goals and 63 assists for 139 points. Petan, the team captain, was named as a first team all-star at the 2010 Western Canadian Bantam Championships, leading his team to a fourth place finish.

There is an interview with Petan over at the Hawks site, you can read it by clicking here.

Petan won’t be available for full-time duty with the Hawks until the 2011-12 season as he will be in his 15 year old season coming up, most likely with the Greater Vancouver Canadians in the B.C. Major Midget League, but he can play up to five regular season games prior to his Midget season ending and then he can join the team once his season ends.

Petan will be at the Hawks training camp later in August and should see time in the preseason tournaments in Everett and Tri City.

The second piece of news was the announcement of the Winterhawks promoting Matt Bardsley to the position of Director of Hockey Operations.

Bardsley joined the Winterhawks in 1999 as a scout before moving into the front office. He spent the last two seasons as advance scout, evaluating other teams’ rosters and list players and assisting General Manager/Head Coach Mike Johnston with trade discussions and player evaluations.

He will retain those duties in his new position, and take an increased role in all aspects of hockey operations, including overseeing the organization’s recruiting program.

Congratulations to both Nic and Matt!

One Addition…

One addition to yesterday’s post, I failed to mention that 94 born d-man Josh Hanson is also signed with Portland, so the Hawks have five of their drafted players from the 2009 bantam draft signed with Hanson, Derrick Pouliot, Taylor Leier, Brendan Leipsic and Adam Smith.

Checking In…

Well, it’s been a bit since my last post…been fairly busy with travel lately as I was in Kennewick for couple days for business, then Albany for a swim meet and now I’m typing this from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas awaiting my flight back to Portland.  The Vegas trip has been a work one, with a day side road trip to Prescott, AZ, and it is bloody hot down here.  The temp gauge in the rental car today hit 120′.  I’m ready for Portland weather again…

For the Winterhawks, the draft buzz has died down a bit with a number of players attending prospect camps and showing themselves quite well.   The two highest draft picks both got good reviews with Ryan Johansen in Columbus and Nino Niederreiter on Long Island.  Some Islander fans are already writing Nino into the opening night line-up while others want to be patient and have him come back to Portland.  I am agreeing with latter, albeit selfishly.  Johansen could surprise as well in September and the Hawks faithful will be waiting anxiously during pro camps for those two to be returned to Portland.

The Hawks did announce today the signing of two drafted players from the 1994 age group in Brendan Leipsic and Adam Smith.  The two 16 year olds will compete for roster spots at the training camp at the end of August and the two are quite different players.  Leipsic is a small, shifty, and maybe a bit agitating that had a very strong camp last year in Portland and has all the makings of a future fan favorite as the small, feisty players all seem to get that recognition.   Smith is larger body who plays very physical and is in the power forward mold.   With the two signings, the Hawks have four of their drafted players from the 2009 draft signed, including Derrick Pouliot and Taylor Leier.  With all the Hawks going to NHL camps in September, all four players should get a real good look from the coaching staff prior to opening night.

Also, the Hawks acquired the rights to California born Rocco Grimaldi from the Vancouver Giants.  Grimaldi has said his intentions are to go to North Dakota University in 2011, but the Hawks will do everything they can to recruit him to Portland.  The Hawks have had success in the recent past getting some NCAA bound players in Portland and the Winterhawks stock may be at an all-time high right now, so the time to go after these players is now.  It will be interesting to see if Grimaldi is at camp in August.

Lastly, I wanted to send out best wishes to Kirk Fraser, the long-time voice of the Kamloops Blazers, who is stepping aside from that role to work for Shaw TV in Kamloops.  The Cap’n is a true pro and with all of the high-scoring battles the Blazers and Hawks have had in the past couple of years, it make for some interesting broadcast booth conversations.  I’ll miss those talks and I hope to see him at the ISC in Kamloops this season.

With Fraser stepping aside, there are now four open broadcast positions in the WHL – Kamloops, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver – so, there will be some new voices to hear in the 2010-11 season for those with the WHL Livestream package.  Wasn’t long ago, I was the new guy in the fraternity…I’ll do my best to help the new guys, just like the boys in the booth helped me in my first year.

That’s it for now…

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