The WHL season is now just a few weeks away and teams have been busy, shoring up rosters, extending coaching contracts and preparing for training camp and pre-season action. One team is also celebrating a milestone anniversary.
The Everett Silvertips are marking their tenth year of existence by hosting their first-ever "Alumni Weekend" August 10 and 11. A number of former players will return to Everett for a weekend of festivities, including Leland Irving, Torrie Wheat, Zack Dailey, and Taylor Ellington. Fans can rub elbows with former players at a golf outing and banquet. Registration deadline was July 16, but it's worth it to call and see whether there are still any openings. Click here for more info. (BTW, the team will unveil its new logo and redesigned uniform at the alumni dinner)
Speaking of former Silvertips, one of the team's most popular players will remain behind the bench for two more years. The 'Tips gave former D-man/Captain/Assistant Coach Mitch Love a two-year contract extension. He was a highly respected player and continues to be a fan favorite as a coach. You can read more about his deal by clicking here.
The 'Tips' other Assistant Coach is lending his talents to Team USA (again). Chris Hartsburg is spending his summer vacation helping coach USA's Under 17 team, which will compete in the Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic next week. This isn't the first time that Team USA has tapped Hartsburg, proving that he's got some good coaching chops (from dad Craig?). Click here to read more about Chris' summer plans.
Once again, the Silvertips will host a Pre-Season Classic tournament at Comcast Arena. This year's event takes place Friday, August 31 - Monday, September 3 and includes US Division rivals Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland Winterhawks, Spokane Chiefs and Tri City Americans. The 'Tips are offering some sweet ticket deals. Here's the info.
Everett will open the 2012-13 season at home on Saturday, September 22 against the Prince George Cougars. The puck drops at 7:05. Get your tickets here. Click here for the team's full schedule.
To follow all of the Silvertips action, check out their website. Or follow them on Twitter: @WHLSilvertips - or like their Facebook Page. And make sure you're reading Nick Patterson's stories and blogs at the Everett Herald. Click here to check him out. Here's his twitter handle: @NickHPatterson
Now, to the Seattle Thunderbirds!
Second year defenseman Shea Theodore has just been named to Team Canada's U-18 team, which will compete in the 2012 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic from August 13-18. Shea is one of nine WHL players named to Team Canada. Here are the rest:
Eric Comrie - G (Tri City Americans)
Madison Bowey - D (Kelowna Rockets)
Kayle Doetzel - D (Red Deer Rebels)
Josh Morrissey - D (Prince Albert Raiders)
Morgan Klimchuk - C (Regina Pats)
Curtis Lazar - C (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Nic Petan - C (Portland Winterhawks)
Sam Reinhart - C (Kootenay Ice)
Click here to see the complete roster.
Shea had a productive rookie year with the T-Birds, scoring 4 goals and 31 assists for 35 points. Read more about him here.
The T-Birds traded center Colin Jacobs to Prince George, in exchange for defenseman Jesse Forsberg (plus a 5th & 7th round selection in the 2013 Bantam Draft). Forsberg is 19 and judging by some of the things I've read about him, will either be a tough guy or a... tough... guy.
Seattle picked up two players in the CHL Import Draft: LW Alexander Delnov from Russia (played last year with Mystischi Atlanty in the Russian Junior League) and C Roberts Lipsbergs from Latvia (played last year with HK Riga of the Russian Junior League). Here's more info about both players.
The T-Birds will kick off the regular season with a "home and home" type scenario with the Portland Winterhawks. The teams will face off in Portland on Friday, September 21, then journey to ShoWare Center in Kent the following night. Click here for more information on this and the rest of the T-Birds 2012-2013 season.
Check out the T-Birds' website to follow the team. You can also follow them on Twitter: @SeattleTBirds (follow @TBirdsGameDay for play-by-play tweets). Find them on Facebook.
This year, former T-Birds Media Intern Tim Pigulski and seasoned hockey writer Andy Eide will cover the team and the WHL for My Northwest/710 ESPN. Read their stuff here. Follow them on Twitter: @AndyEide & @TPigulski