By Ryan McCracken on October 1, 2016.
Medicine Hat News
The Brandon Wheat Kings had their home opener marred by fog last Saturday at the Keystone Centre.
A contest between the Wheat Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors grinded to a halt 14:23 into the second period due to heavy fog on the playing surface. The event â€” reminiscent of the 2007 fog bowl between the Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants in Game 7 of the WHL final â€” came in Brandon’s first game in decades without long-time manager Kelly McCrimmon behind the wheel.
Westman Place, which houses the Keystone Centre, has two banks of dehumidifiers, exhaust fans and heaters in place but the rink doesn’t have air conditioning, which would have reduced the humidity in the building, according to a report by Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun.
Bergson added Wheaties goaltender Jordan Papirny said he was watching the screens on the score clock when the action went into the far end because he couldn’t see the puck.”
The WHL has decided to reschedule the final 25:37 of the game later in the season when the Warriors return to the Keystone Centre.
Spokane showcases top pick
The Spokane Chiefs are hoping for an added boost this season in the form of 2015 first overall bantam draft pick Ty Smith.
The 16-year-old defenceman wasted no time finding the scoresheet with his new franchise, connecting for a pair of assists in Spokane’s season opening 8-3 loss to the Tri-City Americans.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound left-handed shot is coming off 23 points in 28 games with the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s Lloydminster Bobcats AAA squad last season.
Smith and the Chiefs will host the Tigers on Feb. 3 at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
Trade wheels keep turning
The Chiefs have been busy off the ice in September as well, shopping 19-year-old goaltender Tyson Verhelst and right winger Dominic Zwerger following their season-opening routing at the hands of the Americans.
Zwerger will now suit up as a member of the Everett Silvertips after being shipped off in exchange for a third round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, while Verhelst was sent to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for a fifth round pick in 2018 and 17-year-old goaltender Dawson Weatherill. The Chiefs also sent a third round pick in 2017 to Red Deer.
The Rebels were also active in the market earlier this week, swapping 1998-born forward Taden Rattie for a sixth round pick in 2017 before sending defenceman Zach Wytinck to Brandon for a seventh round pick in 2019. The Rebels also added adding winger Dawson Martin from the Calgary Hitmen on Thursday in exchange for a sixth round pick in 2016.
Mr. Hockey honoured
A pair of WHL franchises took a moment before dropping the puck on the 2016-17 season to honour the impact “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe’s life and career left in both Vancouver and Saskatoon.
The Giants and Blades both paid tribute to Mr. Hockey, with Vancouver lifting Howe’s No. 9 to the rafters at the Pacific Coliseum three months after the loss of the team’s co-owner, and one of the game’s all-time greats.
Over in Saskatachewan, 61 members of the Howe family converged at the SaskTel Centre to inter the ashes of Mr. Hockey, as well as his wife Colleen, at No. 9’s stature in front of the arena.
Sasaktoon Blades president Steve Hogle told CBC that Howe’s son, Marty, said one of Mr. Hockey’s final wishes was to have his ashes, and Colleen’s, placed at his statue at the SaskTel Centre.