Saturday, 29 September 2012

Red Deer at Calgary

THE MATCH-UP:  Two teams heading in opposite directions to start the Western Hockey League season square off tonight at Scotiabank Saddledome as the unbeaten Calgary Hitmen (3-0) host the winless Red Deer Rebels (0-3).  Game time is 7:00 p.m. with fans reminded its Student Night.  The Hitmen are offering all students a special $2.00 ticket (plus GST and SFPFF).  Present a valid student I.D. at the Scotiabank Saddledome box office to take advantage of this limited time offer and the opportunity to enter to win an iPad.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 6:00 p.m. with a one hour pre-game show.

COMING IN:  Calgary is coming off last night's 4-1 win up in Edmonton over the CHL's #2 ranked Oil Kings.  The Rebels also played last night giving up a 3-0 first period lead in a 5-4 home ice loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers.

MILESTONES:  Both Pavlo Padakin and Carson Samoridny scored their first career goals in the WHL last night in the win in Edmonton.

SEASON SERIES:  Tonight is the second of six regular season meetings between the two clubs.
-September 21 in RD: Hitmen 3 Rebels 2.  Cody Sylvester scored twice for Calgary.
                                                       INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on goal: Cal 34 RD 27  Powerplays: Cal 3-4 RD 0-5
Over the last five seasons Calgary is a combined 18-6-0-1 against the Rebels.  The two teams will tangle again Saturday, October 13th in Calgary.

SPECIAL, SPECIAL TEAMS:  A key factor behind Calgary's 3-0 record has been the play of their special teams.  Their penalty kill is a perfect 15-15 while the powerplay is tied for third best in the WHL operating at 33.3% (4-12).

STREAKIN':  Brooks Macek (1g 4a) and Brady Brassart (2g 2a) are both on three game point streaks for Calgary while Greg Chase (1g 1a) and Jaynen Rissling (2a) have points in back-to-back games.  Joel Hamilton (4a) and Marc McCoy (1g 1a) have points in back-to-back games for Red Deer.

DIVERSE ATTACK:  Calgary's 12 goals this season have been scored by eight different players while 13 Hitmen have at least a single point. 

CREASE WORK:  Ottawa Senators prospect Chris Driedger has been stellar in the Hitmen net holding the third best goals against average in the WHL at 1.33 while his .938 save percentage is ranked fourth.

SEASON TRENDS:  The Hitmen have taken a lead to the third period in all three games...Calgary has fired at least 30 shots in every game...The Hitmen have won the special teams battle in each contest.

CENTRAL DIVISION DIET:  Tonight's game against Red Deer is Calgary's fourth straight against a Central Division rival.  The streak is snapped next weekend when they welcome Prince Albert on Friday night.  But it's then back to three games in a row against their own division facing Edmonton twice and Red Deer.

TOP SCORERS:  Cody Sylvester ( 3g 2a) and Brooks Macek ( 1g 4a) are tied for the Hitmen team lead in scoring with five points each.  Joel Hamilton (4a) tops the Rebels with four points.

BACK OFF SUSPENSION:  Red Deer Rebels defenceman Matthew Dumba returns to the line-up tonight after serving a two game WHL imposed suspension.  The Minnesota Wild first round pick was given the ban after receiving a checking to the head major and g.m. versus Calgary on September 21st for his hit on Joey Kornelsen.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Calgary 4 Edmonton 1

Edmonton, AB - The Calgary Hitmen improved to 3-0 on the young Western Hockey League season with a 4-1 win on the road in Edmonton against the defending champion Oil Kings Friday night.

The Hitmen got goals from four different players while Chris Driedger made 34 saves to pick up the win.

Pavlo Padakin, with his first career goal in the WHL, scored the lone marker of the first period to give Calgary the lead.

Greg Chase then extended the Hitmen lead to 2-0 early in the second period before TJ Foster pulled the Oil Kings to within one before the end of the middle frame.

Brady Brassart restored Calgary’s two goal lead early in the third period while Carson Samoridny put the game away scoring his first career WHL goal into an empty net.

Edmonton outshot Calgary 35-34.  The Hitmen went 1-5 on the powerplay while killing all five Edmonton

The Hitmen are back in action tomorrow night when they host Minnesota Wild first round pick Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels.  Game time is 7:00 p.m. at Scotiabank Saddledome. 

Tomorrow is Student Night with the Hitmen offering all students a special $2.00 ticket (plus GST and SFPFF).  Present a valid student I.D. at the Scotiabank Saddledome box office to take advantage of this limited time offer and the opportunity to enter to win an iPad. 

For more information on Student Night, call Customer Service at 403-777-4646 or visit

Calgary Hitmen 4 at Edmonton Oil Kings 1
Friday, September 28, 2012 - Rexall Place - Edmonton, AB

Calgary 1 1 2 - 4
Edmonton 0 1 0 - 1

1st Period
1, Calgary, Padakin 1   5:42.
Penalties-Brassart Cal (cross checking), 0:40; Rissling Cal (roughing), 15:36; Baddock Edm (roughing), 15:36; Foster Edm (interference), 19:14.

2nd Period
2, Calgary, Chase 1 (Macek, Rissling), 4:47 (PP).
3, Edmonton, Foster 2 (St. Croix), 17:13.
Penalties-Brassart Cal (roughing, roughing), 0:35; Ewanyk Edm (roughing), 0:35; Geertsen Edm (roughing), 0:35; Irving Edm (elbowing), 3:00; Henry Cal (roughing), 6:33; Humphries Cal (roughing), 14:41; Moroz Edm (roughing, roughing), 14:41; Sautner Edm (cross checking), 18:03.

3rd Period
4, Calgary, Brassart 2 (Roach, Macek), 0:28.
5, Calgary, Samoridny 1   18:10 (EN).
Penalties-Irving Edm (holding), 4:42; Humphries Cal (holding), 10:43; Virtanen Cal (charging), 18:30; Clayton Cal (hooking), 18:49.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 11-11-12-34. Edmonton 9-15-11-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 1 / 5; Edmonton 0 / 5.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 3-0-0-0 (35 shots-34 saves). Edmonton, Brossoit 2-1-0-0 (33 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Jonathan Spurgeon (7), Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Dustin Zelenak (83), Darren Spurgeon (61).

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Calgary at Edmonton

THE MATCH-UP:  The Calgary Hitmen travel up the QE2 to the provincial capital where they face the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday night at Rexall Place.  Husky Hitmen Hockey on Sportsnet 960 The Fan hits the air at 7pm.  It’s the battle of the unbeaten with the Hitmen 2-0 and the Oil Kings 3-0.  Both teams are also nationally ranked in the Canadian Hockey League with the Hitmen at #10 and the defending Western Hockey League Champion Oil Kings at #2.

                                                   Photo Credit:  Brad Watson

COMING IN:  Calgary hasn’t played since Saturday’s 5-1 home ice win over the Kootenay Ice while Edmonton fired 60 shots Wednesday night in Lethbridge en route to a 3-0 victory.

LEADING THE WAY:  Cody Sylvester has points in back-to-back games to start the season and leads the Hitmen in scoring with five points (3g 2a).  Brady Brassart , Zane Jones and Brooks Macek are all next with three points apiece.  Three games in Edmonton’s offensive leader is Micharl St. Croix with five points (3g 2a) while Curtis Lazar, Henrik Samuelsson and Stephane Legault are all next with four.

SEASON SERIES:  Friday is the first of six regular season meetings between the two clubs.  Last season Edmonton took five of the six meetings outscoring Calgary by a combined 30-14.
- Dec. 1 in EDM: Oil Kings 6 Hitmen 1.  Mark Pysyk led the Oil Kings with three assists.
- Dec. 6 in EDM: Oil Kings 6 Hitmen 2.  Griffen Reinhart had one goal and two assists for Edmonton.
- Dec. 17 in EDM: Oil Kings 2 Hitmen 1.  Cody Corbett had two assists for the Oil Kings who out shot Calgary 33-22.
- Jan. 15 in CAL: Hitmen 4 Oil Kings 3.  Cody Sylvester had three points (1g, 2a) for Calgary.
- Feb. 8 in CAL: Oil Kings 9 Hitmen 5.  T.J. Foster and Tyler Maxwell each recorded a hat-trick for Edmonton.
-Feb. 24 in CAL: Oil Kings 4 Hitmen 1.  Laurent Brossoit made 20 saves in the win for Edmonton while Michael St. Croix had two assists.
                                                          INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 156  EDM 168     Power Plays: CAL 3-27 (11.1%)  EDM 7-24 (29.2%)

KOSTERMAN'S CORNER:  Hitmen 19-year-old defenceman Peter Kosterman leads the team in plus-minus at +4.  Kosterman was the clubs first round bantam pick, 19th overall, in the 2008 WHL Bantam Draft.

HENRY'S NEW HOME:  The Hitmen acquired 18-year-old defenceman Darian Henry from the Everett Silvertips in an off season deal that saw fellow 18-year-old Hitmen prospect Luke Gordon go the other way.  Henry, from Strathmore, Alberta, celebrated his first career WHL goal on Saturday's win over Kootenay.  Two games into the season he has two points (1g 1a) and is +2.

LEADERSHIP GROUP:  On Thursday the Hitmen announced 20-year-old Cody Sylvester will wear the captains "C" for the second straight season.  Fellow overagers Spencer Humphries and Brooks Macek have been named alternates.

CENTRAL DIVISION DIET:  Tonight's game in Edmonton is the third straight Central Division opponent for the Hitmen in as many games.  The first four games of the season for Calgary are against teams from their own division with seven of their first eight games against teams from the Central Division.

GETTING TO KNOW EDMONTON:  Including tonight, three of Calgary's next five games are against the Oil Kings.  October 7th in Calgary and October 12th in Edmonton are their next meetings.  Following this steady stretch of one another the Hitmen and Oil Kings won't meet again until December 7th in Edmonton.

NHL PROSPECTS:  Calgary: Chris Driedger (3rd Round, Ottawa 2012); Kenton Helgesen (7th Round, Anaheim 2012); Jaynen Rissling (7th Round, Washington 2012); Alex Roach (Free Agent singed a Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011); Victor Rask (2nd Round, 2011, Carolina 2011).  Edmonton: Keegan Lowe- Carolina Hurricanes (3rd Round, 2011), Travis Ewanyk- Edmonton Oilers (3rd Round, 2011), Michael St. Croix- New York Rangers (4th Round, 2011), Martin Gernat- Oilers (5th Round, 2011), Laurent Brossoit- Calgary Flames (6th Round, 2011), Griffin Reinhart- New York Islanders (1st Round, 2012), Henrik Samuelsson- Phoenix Coyotes (1st Round, 2012), Mitch Moroz- Edmonton Oilers (2nd Round, 2012)

INJURY REPORT:  Calgary: #19, Calder Brooks, F, upper body, week-to-week, #5 Spencer Humphries, D, lower body, day-to-day, #2 Josh Thrower, D, upper body, day-to-day, Edmonton: #28, Martin Gernat, D, upper body, TBD, #11, Dylan Wruck, F, upper body, week-to-week

UP NEXT:  The Hitmen are back at Scotiabank Saddledome Saturday night to host Minnesota Wild first round pick Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels.  Game time is 7:00 p.m.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan starts at 6:00 p.m. with a one hour pre-game show. 

Cody Sylvester keeps the "C"

From the Hitmen Office:

Calgary, AB - The Calgary Hitmen Hockey Club announced today their three overage players, Brooks Macek, Cody Sylvester and Spencer Humphries will return as the team’s leadership core for the 2012-13 Western Hockey League season.  Sylvester, who enters his fifth campaign with Calgary, becomes the third player in franchise history to wear the ‘C’ in back-to-back seasons.  Macek and Humphries will each wear an ‘A’ for the second consecutive year.

Sylvester, a Vernon, British Columbia, native also proves to be a community leader by founding the Chance To Play program, a fundraising initiative in support of local minor hockey.  At each Hitmen home game throughout the season, Chance To Play t-shirts will be sold for $20 at the Booster Club table located on the Scotiabank Saddledome concourse.  Net proceeds will provide the opportunity for local youth to participate in sport. 

“I’ve had the opportunity to play hockey all my life and now I am raising funds for kids who would not normally have the chance to play so they too can follow their dreams like I did,” said Sylvester.  “The money collected through the sale of these t-shirts will go towards Calgary Minor Hockey and young kids in the city who have supported me and the team by cheering every game.” 

The 5-11, 191-pound captain has played 247 WHL games with the Hitmen over the last four seasons accumulating 56 goals and 83 assists for 139 points.  Sylvester has found success early this year, tallying three goals and two assists over two games played.

“Calgary has been very good to me,” Sylvester added.  “Over the past five years I’ve had the chance to play with one of the best organizations in the WHL and now I want to do something to give back to the people and the city of Calgary who have treated me exceptionally well during my time as a Hitmen.”

Brooks Macek, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, recorded 14 goals and added 24 assists for 38 points along with 19 penalty minutes over 54 games with Calgary last season.  The Hitmen acquired the 6-foot, 194-pound right winger from the Tri-City Americans in January 2010 in a deal that also saw blueliner Spencer Humphries head to Calgary.  During the 2012 post-season, the Manitoba talent suited up for five playoff contests where he notched one goal and added two assists.   

Humphries, a Tsawwassen, British Columbia product set career highs in goals (8), assists (20), points (38) and penalty minutes (107) as a member of the Hitmen in 2011-12.  Over five WHL seasons, the 6-2, 208-pound defenceman has recorded 55 points, including 12 goals, while amassing 209 penalty minutes over 125 games played in Calgary (2012-2010) and for Tri-City (2008-2010).

Calgary visits the Edmonton Oil Kings tomorrow evening at Rexall Place, before starting a three-game home stand Saturday, September 29th against the Red Deer Rebels, with puck drop at 7 p.m.

This Saturday is Student Night and the Hitmen are offering all students a special $2.00 ticket (plus GST and SFPFF).  Present a valid student I.D. at the Scotiabank Saddledome box office to take advantage of this limited time offer and the opportunity to enter to win an iPad. 

For more information on Student Night, call Customer Service at 403-777-4646 or visit

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hitmen solve overage issue

The Calgary Hitmen have solved their overage issue getting down to the Western Hockey League maximum of three by trading 20-year-old forward Trevor Cheek to the Vancouver Giants in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft and fifth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

Cheek, entering his third season in the WHL, was Calgary's Rookie of the Year in the 2010-11 season followed up by taking home the Booster Club Fan Favourite Award last season. 

During his time with the Hitmen, Cheek appeared in 125 regular season games collecting 33 goals and 75 points.  He also had four points (3g 1a) in five playoff games.  He'll definitely be a huge boost to the Giants and will be missed in Calgary.

The trade leaves the club with overagers Cody Sylvester, Brooks Macek and Spencer Humphries.

There's no question coming to this decision was a difficult one for GM Kelly Kisio with four quality players and people and only three spots, but Cheek will be a good fit in Vancouver getting the opportunity to play his final WHL season closer to home in Vancouver, Washington.

One of my favourite Cheek moments was a goal he scored in Medicine Hat last season beating Tyler Bunz high glove side on a shot so hard it went through the mesh.  Good luck in Van City Trevor!

Monday, 24 September 2012

An interview with GM Kelly Kisio

Hitmen General Manager Kelly Kisio has been a fixture with the franchise with this his 15th campaign with the club.  During that time the team has won a pair of WHL titles in 1999 and 2010 and has been a model of consistency.  Ken Thrower and I had a chance on the weekend to catch up with Kelly to get his thoughts on the new season.

You can listen to the interview here.

Calgary 5 Kootenay 1

The Calgary Hitmen will get a lot of practice ice this week with their next game not until Friday when they visit the defending WHL Champion Oil Kings in Edmonton.  One night later they return to the 'Dome to host Red Deer.

The Hitmen are 2-0 after the opening weekend grabbing a pair of wins including a 5-1 triumph over the visiting Kootenay Ice in the Adrenaline Source for Sports home opener Saturday night.

Zane Jones, who's uncle is Lanny MacDonald, scored twice in the win.  Cody Sylvester, Brooks Macek and Darian Henry added singles.  For Henry it was his first goal in the Western Hockey League.

Kootenay Ice 1 at Calgary Hitmen 5
Saturday, September 22, 2012 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Kootenay 0 1 0 - 1
Calgary 1 1 3 - 5

1st Period
1, Calgary, Jones 1 (Brassart, Rissling), 18:31.
Penalties-Roach Cal (holding), 0:39.

2nd Period
2, Calgary, Sylvester 3 (Chase, Cheek), 3:37.
3, Kootenay, Philp 1 (Leach), 16:17.
Penalties-Montgomery Ktn (interference), 1:26; Padakin Cal (tripping), 6:27; Muth Ktn (roughing), 8:40; Chase Cal (roughing), 8:40; Simpson Ktn (roughing), 10:18; Sylvester Cal (roughing), 10:18; Samoridny Cal (high sticking), 11:44; Martin Ktn (high sticking), 19:53.

3rd Period
4, Calgary, Henry 1 (Sylvester, Kornelsen), 2:41.
5, Calgary, Jones 2 (Macek, Harmsworth), 13:14.
6, Calgary, Macek 1 (Henry), 18:43.
Penalties-Benoit Ktn (tripping), 4:36; Henry Cal (holding), 8:21; Cable Ktn (major-fighting), 10:56; Helgesen Cal (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct), 10:56.

Shots on Goal-Kootenay 14-7-7-28. Calgary 8-15-8-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Kootenay 0 / 5; Calgary 0 / 3.
Goalies-Kootenay, Skapski 0-2-0-0 (31 shots-26 saves). Calgary, Driedger 2-0-0-0 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Tyler Adair (58), Kevin Webinger (6).
Linesmen-Michael Roberts (87), Scott Sharun (103).

Friday, 21 September 2012

Calgary 3 Red Deer 2

Red Deer, AB - The Calgary Hitmen opened their 18th season in the Western Hockey League Friday night with a 3-2 win on the road in Red Deer over the Rebels.

Overage forward Cody Sylvester had a hand in all three Hitmen goals scoring twice and setting up another.  Brady Brassart also scored for Calgary while adding an assist.

Special team played a huge role in the contest as the Hitmen went 3-4 on the powerplay while killing all five Rebels chances.

Colton Mayor and Turner Elson both scored for Red Deer who opened the scoring before giving up three straight goals.

Calgary outshot the Rebels 34-27.  Ottawa Senators prospect Chris Driedger made 25 saves to pick up the win.

The Hitmen are back in action tomorrow night (Saturday, September 22) when they host the Kootenay Ice at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Game time is 7 p.m. for the Adrenalin Source For Sports Home Opener.

Single game day tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office.  Order online at or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.  For more information on tickets, including Name Your Game Flex Packages and season tickets, call Customer Service at 403-777-4646 or visit

Calgary Hitmen 3 at Red Deer Rebels 2
Friday, September 21, 2012 - Enmax Centrium - Red Deer, AB

Calgary 1 2 0 - 3
Red Deer 1 0 1 - 2

1st Period
1, Red Deer, Mayor 1 (Elson), 6:54.
2, Calgary, Sylvester 1 (Brassart, Padakin), 19:31 (PP).
Penalties-Virtanen Cal (kneeing), 9:34; Henry Cal (instigator, major-fighting, 10-minute misconduct), 15:51; Dumba R.d (major - checking to the head, major-fighting, game misconduct), 15:51.

2nd Period
3, Calgary, Sylvester 2 (Macek, Clayton), 0:39 (PP).
4, Calgary, Brassart 1 (Sylvester, Jones), 6:44 (PP).
Penalties-Elson R.d (tripping), 5:55; Kornelsen Cal (hooking), 10:29; Brassart Cal (embellishment), 17:10; Inglis R.d (holding), 17:10.

3rd Period
5, Red Deer, Elson 1   19:13.
Penalties-Virtanen Cal (interference), 6:39; Helgesen Cal (holding), 12:01; Roach Cal (closing hand on puck), 19:55.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 19-10-5-34. Red Deer 11-7-9-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 3 / 4 Red Deer 0 / 5.
Goalies-Calgary, Driedger 1-0-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves). Red Deer, Bartosak 0-1-0-0 (34 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Jonathan Spurgeon (7), Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Cody Huseby (88).

Hitmen open WHL season tonight in Red Deer

The Calgary Hitmen open their 18th Western Hockey League season tonight on the road in Red Deer against the Rebels.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at 7pm with a 30 minute pre-game show.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:  After missing the playoffs in 2011, the Hitmen roared back last season to finish third overall in the Eastern Conference with a record of 44-25-2-1, good for 91 points.  (Home: 22-13-0-1, Road: 22-12-2-0).  However they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Brandon Wheat Kings in five games.  Meanwhile after finishing second in the conference in 2010-11, Red Deer missed the playoffs last season finishing ninth with a record of 32-34-1-5, good for 70 points.  (Home: 16-17-1-2, Road 16-17-0-3).

OPENING NIGHT: Lifetime in season openers the Hitmen have 9 wins, 4 losses, 3 overtime losses and 1 tie.  Last season the Hitmen also started the campaign on the road, falling 5-1 in Cranbrook to the Kootenay Ice.

VS. RED DEER: Tonight is the first of six meetings between the two clubs.  Two seasons ago Red Deer won five of the six meetings, but last season it was Calgary's turn to take five of six.  Here is a look back at Calgary's 2011-12 dominance over their Central Division rivals.
   - Oct. 7 in Calgary: Rebels 4 Hitmen 2.  Rebels goalie Patrik Bartosak made 32 saves.
   - Jan. 17 in Red Deer: Hitmen 5 Rebels 1.  Alex Gogolev scored two goals and set up two others.
   - Jan. 22 in Calgary: Hitmen 4 Rebels 2.  Chris Driedger made 41 saves for Calgary.
   - Feb. 4 in Red Deer: Hitmen 6 Rebels 2.  Calgary scored four first period goals.  Jimmy Bubnick posted five points (2g, 3a).
   - Mar. 6 in Red Deer: Hitmen 3 Rebels 2.  Brandon Glover made 33 saves for Calgary.
   - Mar. 11 in Calgary: Hitmen 5 Rebels 2.  Brady Brassart scored twice.
                                                     INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 199 RD 174      Power Plays: CAL 2-21 (9.5%)  RD 5-26 (19.2%)

THE ROSTER:  The Hitmen have 26 players on the roster, including four overage 20 year-olds.  Teams are only allowed to dress a maximum of three per game.  The numbers break down as follows; 4-20's (Macek, Humphries, Cheek, Sylvester), 6-19's (Kornelsen, Brassart, Rask, Kosterman, Roach, Rissling), 8-18's (Clayton, Padakin, Brooks, Samoridny, Jones, Helgesen, Henry, Driedger), 5-17's (Calladine, Chase, Peterson, Harmsworth, Shields), 3-16's (Lang, Virtanen, Thrower).

RETURNING PLAYERS:  The Hitmen have 15 returning players from last years team including four of their top six scorers (#2 Cody Sylvester 68pts, #3 Victor Rask 63pts, #4 Brady Brassart 59pts, #6 Trevor Cheek 49pts)

THE IMPORTS:  The Hitmen selected 18-year-old Pavlo Padakin (RW) from Ukraine 50th overall in the 2012 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.  Padakin played Junior A last season with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs collecting 33 points (15g 18a) in 51 games.  During the pre-season he had one goal in five contests.  Victor Rask returns to start the season with the Hitmen after Calgary took him 3rd overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft.  Rask, a signed pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, will attend their AHL affiliates Training Camp with the Charlotte Checkers beginning September 29th leaving his return status to Calgary up in the air for now.

PRE-SEASON:  Calgary went 4-2 while Red Deer was 0-5-1-0.  Brooks Macek led all Hitmen with seven points (3g 4a) while Trace Elson topped the Rebels with three (2g 1a).

DID YOU KNOW?  Not only does Hitmen defenceman Jaynen Rissling begin a new season tonight but he'll do so on his 19th birthday.

HOME OPENER: The Adrenalin Source for Sports Home Opener is Saturday, September 22nd against the Kootenay Ice.  Game time is 7:00 pm at Scotiabank Saddledome.  Radio Broadcast on Sportsnet 960 The Fan begins at 6:00pm with a 60 minute pre-game show.  Fans will also have a chance at the home opener to buy a piece of franchise history.  The club will hold its annual game worn jersey auction.  All black jerseys from the 2010-11 season are up for bid.  Net proceeds go to the Hitmen Education Fund which supports post secondary study for alumni players.  The silent auction will take place on the Saddledome concourse by section 226.  All bids will close when the puck drops at the start the third period.  Winners also receive a letter of authenticity.

HITMEN HOCKEY SHOW:  Sportsnet 960 The Fan will be live on location on Saturday, September 22nd at Adrenaline Source for Sports (9309 Macleod Trail) for three hours of Hitmen hockey talk from Noon til 3 in advance of the Adrenalin Source for Sports Home Opener. 

RULE CHANGES:  For the upcoming season, the WHL Playing Rule changes include:

1. Adoption of a staged fighting rule.  Should a fight occur following a face-off during a game, it will be considered a staged fight.  Should a stage fight occur during a pre-season, regular season or playoff game, the players involved shall each receive an automatic game misconduct in addition to the major penalty.  Should one player clearly initiate or instigate the fight, only that player will receive the game misconduct in addition to a minor penalty  for instigating the fight.  Should the linesmen intervene and prevent the fight from starting, the players involved will each receive misconduct penalties.

2. A delay of game penalty will be assessed any time a player places his hand over the puck while it is on the ice in order to conceal it from an opponent or to prevent an opponent from playing the puck.

3. A delay of game penalty will be assessed to any player taking a face-off who uses his hand to direct the puck in any direction.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back from holidays....eve of season opener


Sorry the blog has gone dark for the last week, but I needed a recharge (Saskatchewan farming) before the start of what looks to be a very intriguing season for the Calgary Hitmen.

As the Hitmen prepare to open the 2012-13 season they do so with 26 players on their roster (16 forwards, 8 defencemen and 2 goalies).  Of the 26, 15 are returning players.

The challenge for many a broadcaster, public address announcer and fan is how to pronounce the new faces.

Here here it is for the ones that many not sound as they look;

Austin Calladine (I know this one surprised me when I spoke to him at practice today.  It's CAL-a-dean)
Brady Brassart (BRASS-art)
Chris Driedger (DREE-gur)
Kenton Helgesen (HELL-guh-sin)
Brooks Macek (MAY-sick)
Pavlo Padakin (Puh-DACK-in)
Jaynen Rissling (RIZZ-ling)
Jake Virtanen (Ver-TAN-in)

I know over the years some have been pronounced wrong.  Two come to recent memory.  One was Karl Alzner who I was told was AL'S-ner when I first arrived in Calgary then later learned was ALL's-ner.  They second was Jay Bouwmeester of the then Medicine Hat Tigers.  I remember asking him how to say his last name that many told me was BOW-meester.  Jay corrected it to BOW-mister, or if you like BOW-MR.  Many in the NHL still say BOW-meester.  I now always ask the player himself.

Oh and in case you thought I was just being lazy, here is a farm picture I took from my time in Saskatchewan.  I'll have more on the Hitmen-Rebels opener tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Hitmen beat Red Deer, and release 20-year-old Danny Gayle

The Calgary Hitmen improved their pre-season record to 4-0 Friday night with a 4-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels at WinSport Canada’s Markin MacPhail Centre.  Trevor Cheek had a hand in all four goals scoring once and setting up three.  Brooks Macek also had a strong night with three points (1g 2a).

Click here to listen to a post game interview with Brooks Macek

                                          Chris Driedger made 26 saves in the win

                                      Colby Harmsworth sets up a Hitmen break-out

Here is the complete scoring summary:

Red Deer Rebels 2 at Calgary Hitmen 4

Friday, September 7, 2012 - Winsport (COP) - Calgary, AB

Red Deer 2 0 0 - 2
Calgary 2 2 0 - 4

1st Period
1, Calgary, Cheek 1 (Macek, Rask), 4:11.
2, Red Deer, Millette 1 (Hamilton, Elson), 13:39 (PP).
3, Red Deer, Elson 2 (Hak, Bittner), 16:51.
4, Calgary, Peterson 1 (Macek, Cheek), 18:20.
Penalties-Cheek Cal (roughing), 1:29; Kambeitz R.d (charging), 10:00; Brassart Cal (interference), 11:56; Virtanen Cal (interference), 14:47.

2nd Period
5, Calgary, Macek 3 (Fluter, Cheek), 4:49.
6, Calgary, Virtanen 1 (Cheek, Peterson), 15:47.
Penalties-Calladine Cal (roughing), 5:07; Bleackley R.d (slashing), 7:42; Doetzel R.d (holding), 9:23; Rask Cal (embellishment), 9:23; Virtanen Cal (charging), 11:02; Thiel R.d (interference), 12:53; Thiel R.d (charging, major-fighting), 16:06; Roach Cal (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct), 16:06; served by Rask Cal (too many men), 17:54.

3rd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Bleackley R.d (tripping), 1:57; Padakin Cal (cross checking), 2:35; Rask Cal (roughing), 6:47; Kambeitz R.d (high sticking), 8:15; Bricker R.d (interference), 10:55; Henry Cal (holding), 12:59; Bricker R.d (10-minute misconduct), 16:01; Elson R.d (10-minute misconduct), 16:01; Fafard R.d (cross checking, 10-minute misconduct), 16:01; Brassart Cal (slashing), 16:01; Clayton Cal (10-minute misconduct), 16:01; Henry Cal (roughing), 16:01.

Shots on Goal-Red Deer 9-9-10-28. Calgary 14-11-6-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Red Deer 1 / 9; Calgary 0 / 7.
Goalies-Red Deer, Pouliot 0-2-0-0 (21 shots-18 saves); Naherniak 0-1-0-0 (10 shots-9 saves). Calgary, Driedger 2-0-0-0 (28 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Kevin Weinberger.
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53).

HIT SCENE:  The battle for the three 20-year-old spots is down to five player after the club released forward Danny Gayle.  Gayle, had a career high 15 goals and 39 points last season.  The move also leaves the club with 29 players on their pre-season roster.  I would expect to see at least four more players moved out before the start of the regular season September 21st.   

Calgary will now get a week of practice before closing out their pre-season schedule next weekend with a pair of games in the Crowsnest Pass.  Saturday they face Lethbridge before taking on Kootenay on Sunday. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lubin traded, Hitmen improve to 3-0 and roster down to 30

The Calgary Hitmen have been busy since opening the pre-season last weekend with a pair of wins at the sixth annual Edmonton Oil Kings Pre-Season Invitational.

The club has traded 18-year-old defenceman Keaton Lubin to the Regina Pats in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.  Lubin played just 14 games for the Hitmen last season battling through injury and ultimately a decision to play in the AJHL with his hometown Okotoks Oilers.  It's safe to say with an abundance of blue-liners on the roster something had to give and Lubin should get a great opportunity with the Pats to become an everyday WHL defenceman.

                                               Keaton Lubin is now a Regina Pat

The Hitmen continued their strong pre-season start Wednesday night in Taber by scoring twice in each period en-route to a 6-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  Two players had especially strong performances.  20-year-old Alex Gogolev, who had 25 goals in his rookie season a year ago, had a five point performance with two goals and three assists.  Meanwhile 16-year-old rookie goalie Mack Shields, who won the back-up job to Chris Driedger out of training camp, made 38 saves to earn his second pre-season win in as many tries.  I know it's only pre-season but the youngsters numbers are staggering (2-0 1.00GAA .968%).

Here is the complete game summary which included a penalty filled third period:

Calgary Hitmen 6 at Lethbridge Hurricanes 1

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - Taber, AB

Calgary 2 2 2 - 6
Lethbridge 1 0 0 - 1

1st Period
1, Lethbridge, Olynek 1 (Blomqvist), 5:00. 2,
Calgary, Padakin 1   9:05.
3, Calgary, Brassart 1 (Gogolev, Macek), 10:45 (PP).
Penalties-Lang Cal (holding), 6:50; Duke Let (checking from behind), 9:46; Humphries Cal (boarding), 14:43; Henry Cal (slashing), 19:26.

2nd Period
4, Calgary, Macek 2 (Gogolev, Samoridny), 11:23 (PP).
5, Calgary, Gogolev 1 (Kornelsen, Humphries), 13:31.
Penalties-Henry Cal (interference), 1:52; Kornelsen Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 7:34; Harper Let (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 7:34; Blomqvist Let (holding), 10:52; Pilon Let (boarding), 13:55; Virtanen Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:01; Harper Let (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:01; Humphries Cal (roughing), 17:34; Blomqvist Let (slashing, roughing), 17:34.

3rd Period
6, Calgary, Brassart 2 (Macek, Gogolev), 13:16 (PP).
7, Calgary, Gogolev 2 (Clayton), 19:13.
Penalties-Humphries Cal (cross checking), 1:10; Kornelsen Cal (tripping), 3:55; Calladine Cal (roughing), 9:22; Duke Let (roughing), 9:22; Watson Let (roughing), 9:22; Humphries Cal (slashing), 9:45; Henry Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 12:20; Galbraith Let (major-fighting, game misconduct), 12:20; Humphries Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 12:57; Virtanen Cal (roughing), 12:57; Hood Let (cross checking, roughing), 12:57; Wong Let (major-fighting, game misconduct), 12:57; Thrower Cal (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct), 14:15; Watson Let (charging, major-fighting, game misconduct), 14:15; Helgesen Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 15:39; Hood Let (major-fighting, game misconduct), 15:39.

Shots on Goal-Calgary 5-20-7-32. Lethbridge 14-9-16-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Calgary 3 / 5; Lethbridge 0 / 7.
Goalies-Calgary, Shields 2-0-0-0 (39 shots-38 saves). Lethbridge, Kovacs 0-1-0-0 (17 shots-15 saves); Tai 0-0-0-0 (15 shots-11 saves).
Referees-Colin Stefanyk (14).
Linesmen-Matt Schoenroth (21).

I should also mention the Hitmen pre-season roster has been trimmed from 36 players to 30.  The six players out are 15-year-old's Terrell Draude and Brennan Riddle along with Mark Logan, Braden Oleksyn, Travis Sanheim and Keaton Lubin (traded).

Fans in Calgary get their only chance to see the Hitmen in the pre-season Friday night at WinSport Canada’s Markin MacPhail Centre, 145 Canada Olympic Road SW.  Calgary takes on the Red Deer Rebels in a 7:00 p.m. start.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Admission is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children and students.  Tickets are only available at the door.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Hitmen improve to 2-0 in pre-season

The Calgary Hitmen picked up their second win in as many days Sunday afternoon posting a 5-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos in St. Albert, Alberta.

The win caps Calgary's weekend at the sixth annual Edmonton Oil Kings Pre-Season Invitational.

Mack Shields, a 16 year-old rookie goalie from Saskatoon, made 23 saves in his first career WHL pre-season start.

Ryley Bennefield led the Hitmen scoring attack with a pair of goals.  Bennefield played three games for the Portland Winterhawks last season.

Jaynen Rissling, Austin Calladine and Brooks Macek also scored for Calgary while Brady Brassart chipped in three assists.

Carson Samoridny, who had a pair of goals in Saturday's victory over Medicine Hat picked up an assist for his third point of the pre-season.

The Hitmen will now return to the practice ice in Calgary before their next pre-season game Wednesday night in Taber against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.  Game time is 7:00 p.m.

Swift Current Broncos 1 at Calgary Hitmen 5

Sunday, September 2, 2012 Servus Credit Union Place - St. Albert, AB

Swift Current 0 0 1 - 1
Calgary 2 0 3 - 5

1st Period
1, Calgary, Rissling 1 (Brassart, Peterson), 1:35.
2, Calgary, Bennefield 1 (Samoridny, Oleksyn), 14:49.
Penalties-Clayton Cal (boarding), 4:33; Cave S.c (hooking), 8:17.

2nd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Nedomlel S.c (roughing), 1:46; Roach Cal (holding), 7:06; Smith S.c (major-fighting, game misconduct), 14:31; Rissling Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 14:31; Virtanen Cal (slashing), 16:24; Mackay S.c (major-fighting, game misconduct), 19:49; Thrower Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 19:49.

3rd Period
3, Calgary, Calladine 1 (Brassart), 5:03.
4, Calgary, Bennefield 2 (Fluter, Roach), 12:36.
5, Swift Current, Heatherington 1 (Martin, Magnus), 13:36 (PP).
6, Calgary, Macek 1 (Brassart), 13:44.
Penalties-Calladine Cal (hooking), 1:11; Martin S.c (slashing), 5:29; Virtanen Cal (boarding), 13:29; Gonek S.c (tripping), 17:15.

Shots on Goal-Swift Current 9-8-7-24. Calgary 7-4-10-21.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 1 / 5; Calgary 0 / 4.
Goalies-Swift Current, Bow 0-2-0-0 (21 shots-16 saves). Calgary, Shields 1-0-0-0 (24 shots-23 saves).
Referees-Colin Watt (72).
Linesmen-Chris Carlson (92).

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hitmen open the pre-season with a win

The 2012 WHL pre-season schedule began for Calgary Hitmen Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Chris Driedger, an off season draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, made 34 saves including 20 in the third period.

Carson Samoridny had a pairr of goals to lead the scoring attack.  Both came in the third period snapping a 1-1 tie.  Samoridny is hoping to crack the Hitmen line-up as an 18-year-old after playing 33 games last season for the Everett Silvertips.

Travis Sanheim also scored for Calgary while Greg Chase chipped in a pair of assists.

Medicine Hat Tigers 1 at Calgary Hitmen 3

Saturday, September 1, 2012
Servus Credit Union Place - St. Albert, AB

Medicine Hat 1 0 0 - 1
Calgary 0 1 2 - 3

1st Period
1, Medicine Hat, Becker 1 (Owre), 4:53.
Penalties-Koules M.h (cross checking), 2:24; Gayle Cal (tripping), 10:57; Humphries Cal (tripping), 15:41; Hunker M.h (checking from behind), 17:59; Becker M.h (roughing), 20:00; Gayle Cal (hooking), 20:00.

2nd Period
2, Calgary, Sanheim 1 (Gayle, Fluter), 12:46.
Penalties-Samoridny Cal (hooking), 1:45; Koules M.h (slashing), 7:14; Kornelsen Cal (major - checking to the head, game misconduct), 14:39.

3rd Period
3, Calgary, Samoridny 1 (Gogolev, Chase), 1:08.
4, Calgary, Samoridny 2 (Chase, Humphries), 7:34 (PP).
Penalties-Hunker M.h (major-fighting, game misconduct), 5:34; Virtanen Cal (major-fighting, game misconduct), 5:34; Broadhead M.h (holding), 6:34; Lang Cal (high sticking), 16:15; Wozniak M.h (major-fighting, game misconduct), 19:57; Chase Cal (instigator, major-fighting, game misconduct, game misconduct), 19:57.

Shots on Goal-Medicine Hat 5-10-20-35. Calgary 7-7-10-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Medicine Hat 0 / 6; Calgary 1 / 4.
Goalies-Medicine Hat, MacAuley 0-0-0-0 (11 shots-11 saves); Robidoux 0-1-0-0 (13 shots-10 saves). Calgary, Driedger 1-0-0-0 (35 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Jon Stephenson (38).
Linesmen- , Derek Flad (102).

Calgary Hitmen pre-season roster

The Calgary Hitmen open their pre-season schedule this afternoon at the Edmonton pre-season tournament.

Following training camp last weekend, 36 players remain on the roster. 

Elliott Peterson LW L 5'10 170 Jul. 20, 1995 Saskatoon, SK 
Alex Gogolev LW L 5'10 157 May. 18, 1992 Moscow, RU
Brooks Macek RW R 5'11 182 May. 15, 1992 Winnipeg, MB
Joe Kornelsen C L 6'1 190 Jan. 9, 1993 Abbotsford, BC
Dylan Fluter C R 5'9. 186 Feb. 1, 1994 Saskatoon, SK
Chase Clayton C L 5'10 169 May. 11, 1994 Abbotsford, BC
Cody Sylvester C L 5'11 180 Apr. 13, 1992 Kelowna, BC
Carson Samoridny RW R 6'3 205 Jun. 24, 1994 St. Albert, AB
Mark Logan LW L 5'11 186 Apr. 14, 1995 Calgary, AB 
Jake Virtanen LW R 6'1 180 Aug. 17, 1996 Abbotsford, BC
Calder Brooks LW L 5'10 172 Aug. 26, 1994 Emerald Park, SK
Danny Gayle LW L 5'10 175 Mar. 22, 1992 Calgary, AB
Victor Rask C L 6'1 192 Mar. 1, 1993 Leksand, SWE
Terrell Draude C L 6'2. 198 Mar. 21, 1997 Warman, SK 
Ryley Bennefield LW L 5'11 172 Mar. 30, 1994 Wetaskiwin, AB
Pavlo Padakin RW R 6'1. 183 Jun. 8, 1994 Kiev, UA 
Greg Chase C R 6'0 182 Jan. 1, 1995 Sherwood Park, AB
Chase Lang RW R 6'0 170 Sep. 13, 1996 Nanaimo, B.C 
Brady Brassart RW R 6'1 180 Jun. 15, 1993 Vernon, B.C
Braden Oleksyn LW L 5'10 175 Feb. 22, 1996 Saskatoon, SK 
Trevor Cheek LW L 6'2 205 Dec. 29, 1992 Vancouver, WA
Austin Calladine LW L 5'10 182 Dec. 21, 1995 Saskatoon, SK  

Colby Harmsworth D L 5'10 174 May. 31, 1995 
Kenton Helgesen D L 6'3 185 Mar. 19, 1994 Fairview, AB
Peter Kosterman D L 6'4 204 Feb. 6, 1993 Calgary, AB
Spencer Humphries D R 6'2. 212 Apr. 30, 1992 Delta, BC
Keaton Lubin D L 6'0 192 Feb. 15, 1994 Okotoks, AB
Alex Roach D L 6'4 220 Apr. 19, 1993 Quensel, BC
Brennan Riddle D L 6'1. 170 Jul. 27, 1997 Balgonie, SK 
Travis Sanheim D L 6'1. 160 Mar. 29, 1996 Elkhorn, MB 
Jaynen Rissling D L 6'4 222 Sep. 21, 1993 Edmonton, AB
Darian Henry D R 6'4 165 Aug. 5, 1994 Strathmore, AB
Josh Thrower D R 6'0 190 Mar. 17, 1996 Squamish, BC
Ben Thomas D R 6'2 165 May. 18, 1996 Calgary, AB  

Mack Shields G L 6'3 175 Feb. 13, 1995 Saskatoon, SK 
Chris Driedger G L 6'2. 186 May. 18, 1994 Winnipeg, MB