Thursday, 11 July 2013

Virtanen catches NHL eye

NHL Central Scouting has released it's futures watch for the 2014 Entry Draft and Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen is on the list.

Virtanen who was the first overall pick in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft by the Hitmen picked up 34 points (16g 18a) in 62 games during his rookie season in Calgary.

Here is the complete list of the WHLers to make the "watch list"

Arwin AtwalVancouverD
Tyson BaillieKelownaC
Conner BleackleyRed DeerC
Chase DeLeoPortlandC
Leon DraisaitlPrince AlbertC
Tanner FaithKootenayD
Hayden FleuryRed DeerD
Jayce HawrylukBrandonC
Joe HickettsVictoriaD
Brycen MartinSwift CurrentD
Sam ReinhartKootenayC
Tyler SandhuEverettC
Dominic TurgeonPortlandC
Jake VirtanenCalgaryLW

Hitmen take scoring forward with CHL Import Draft pick

With Pavlo Padakin expected to return to this fall, the Calgary Hitmen had only one pick in the 2013 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

They used it to select 17-year-old Russian forward Radel Fazleyev (faz-LAY-ev) 52nd overall.

Fazleyev played for Russia at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge finishing the tournament with seven points (3g 4a) in six games, tied for 15th overall in scoring with a handful of players including Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen.

Hitmen forward Chase taken by Oilers

The 2013 NHL Entry Draft saw only one member of the Calgary Hitmen selected with 17-year-old forward Greg Chase taken by the Edmonton Oilers.

His name was called in the seventh and final round, 188th overall.

Chase is from the Edmonton area so you might say it's a perfect fit.  The Sherwood Park News produced this draft day story.

By Shane Jones, Sherwood Park News

Four former teammates on the Sherwood Park Midget AAA Kings saw their names go up on the board during the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — although it was a close call for a couple.

Defenceman Mason Geertsen, who was ranked 59th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting heading into the draft, was the top Park player taken when he was selected early in the fourth round by the Colorado Avalanche. Geertsen, who was selected 93rd overall, spent most of the season with the Vancouver Giants after being traded by the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Next up on the big board was defenceman Mitchell Wheaton, who was taken in the fifth round (139th) by the Detroit Red Wings. Wheaton, who played for Kelowna, was ranked 69th in North America heading into the draft.

It was a much longer wait for two other Park prospects.

It wasn’t until the seventh-and-final round that Park forward Greg Chase (ranked 153rd) was chosen 188th overall.

Chase admitted that the wait was agonizing, but was every bit worth it, especially as the team that selected him was his childhood favourite Edmonton Oilers.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking,” said the member of the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. “You don’t know what to expect. Any team can take you at any time. I certainly didn’t think it was going to be Edmonton. That was pretty cool. It’s an awesome franchise with great people in the organization. As a hockey player you grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL and getting drafted. It is a very cool experience and something to be proud of.”

Chase’s father Kyle, the governor of the Sherwood Park Crusaders and former co-host of the morning show on TEAM 1260 radio, was also feeling the pressure as the draft ticked on and his son’s name hadn’t been called.

“There were so many emotions,” he said. “It’s exciting, but it is a nervous day. It ended up being a happy day. It just hits you how all of those early morning practices and hockey schools, and the price he has paid to get where he is today... I am a very proud dad.”

Kyle was also thrilled that it was the hometown Oilers who believed his son was worth latching on to.

“It doesn’t get any better than seeing him get picked by his favourite team and his hometown team,” Kyle said. “It’s exciting for him to be a part of that organization. They are a team that is on a rebuild and hopefully gives him a chance, which is all you can ask for. Somebody said to me the other say that he now has a chip and a chair. He’s at the table and he’s in the poker game.”

Chase, who is known as a bit of a pest to play against, said he still has plenty to work on before he would be considered for an NHL spot.

“With the skill and talent that Edmonton has, not only on their team now, but in their system, I think I have to be a player who can play a second or third line role,” he said.

“One who is a little grittier and who adds some aggression to the lineup. I think that is exactly what this team needs and that’s what they have been saying. If I can bring that, it would be awesome. One player I try to model myself after is Brad Marchand. I think any team would love to have a player like that.”

Chase comes by his hockey and pest pedigree naturally as the nephew of Kelly Chase, who recorded 2,017 penalty minutes in 458 career NHL games.

As long as Chase had to wait, it was an even harder ordeal for the final member of the Kings quartet.
Defenceman Tyler Lewington, ranked 66th, slipped all the way to the eighth-to-last selection before being chosen 204th overall by the Washington Capitals.

“It was definitely a long day and a long process, but it was definitely exciting when my name finally got called,” said Lewington, who played for the Medicine Hat Tigers this season.

“When you go that late you start to get worried, but I tried to stay positive at that stage and hoped for the best. I was really excited when it happened. I watched it on TV with my family and it was an exciting time for all of us. It’s just an honour to be picked.”

Lewington was scheduled to leave this weekend to attend the Caps’ rookie camp.

Still connected

Chase said it was great to see all four of the Kings players who were ranked high enough to be considered blue chip prospects get selected in the draft.

“It’s pretty cool to see those guys get picked, and it’s great to see so many go from the Park, period,” he said.
“I know everyone in Sherwood Park is very supportive and it is great to see the community recognized as a good growing ground for hockey players. Hopefully it motivates more Park players to try and continue how well it has gone in recent years at the draft here.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings billet their players in Sherwood Park with many of them attending high school at Salisbury and two members of the team who fell into that category were early selections.
Forward Curtis Lazar was chosen 17th overall by the Ottawa Senators, while goaltender Tristan Jarry was taken in the second round (44th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Calgary Hitmen 2013-14 Regular Season Schedule

The Calgary Hitmen have released their 72 game Western Hockey League regular season schedule for the 2013-14 season.

The club will open the campaign on the road Friday, September 20th in Edmonton against the Oil Kings.  The Hitmen enjoy more than a week off before hosting the Red Deer Rebels in their home opener on Saturday, September 28th at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Here is the complete schedule, with all game times listed in the home team time zone.

SEPTEMBER (2 Games: 1 Road, 1 Home)
Friday, September 20, 2013 Calgary @ Edmonton 7:00 PM
Saturday, September 28, 2013 Red Deer @ Calgary 7:00 PM

OCTOBER (14 Games: 9 Road, 5 Home)
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 Calgary @ Lethbridge 7:00 PM
Friday, October 4, 2013 Kootenay @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 5, 2013 Calgary @ Kootenay 7:00 PM
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Calgary @ Medicine Hat 7:00 PM
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Calgary @ Swift Current 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 12, 2013 Prince Albert @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Sunday, October 13, 2013 Spokane @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2013 Saskatoon @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 19, 2013 Calgary @ Red Deer 7:00 PM
Sunday, October 20, 2013 Lethbridge @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Calgary @ Kelowna 7:05 PM
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Calgary @ Vancouver 7:00 PM
Friday, October 25, 2013 Calgary @ Prince George 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 26, 2013 Calgary @ Prince George 7:00 PM

NOVEMBER (9 Games: 2 Road, 7 Home)
Sunday, November 3, 2013 Edmonton @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Calgary @ Kootenay 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 9, 2013 Medicine Hat @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Monday, November 11, 2013 Kootenay @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013 Swift Current @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 17, 2013 Moose Jaw @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Thursday, November 21, 2013 Prince George @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 23, 2013 Everett @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Friday, November 29, 2013 Calgary @ Swift Current 7:00 PM

DECEMBER (12 Games: 3 Road, 9 Home)
Sunday, December 1, 2013 Medicine Hat @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 Red Deer @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 7, 2013 Lethbridge @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 8, 2013 Portland @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Calgary @ Medicine Hat 7:00 PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Calgary @ Lethbridge 7:00 PM
Friday, December 13, 2013 Medicine Hat @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 15, 2013 Swift Current @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Regina @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Friday, December 27, 2013 Calgary @ Red Deer 7:00 PM
Saturday, December 28, 2013 Edmonton @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Monday, December 30, 2013 Kootenay @ Calgary 7:00 PM

JANUARY (14 Games: 6 Road, 8 Home)
Thursday, January 2, 2014 Brandon @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, January 4, 2014 Moose Jaw @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Sunday, January 5, 2014 Seattle @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 Calgary @ Prince Albert 7:00 PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Calgary @ Saskatoon 7:05 PM
Friday, January 10, 2014 Calgary @ Regina 7:00 PM
Sunday, January 12, 2014 Kelowna @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Friday, January 17, 2014 Calgary @ Red Deer 7:00 PM
Saturday, January 18, 2014 Calgary @ Medicine Hat 7:30 PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 Regina @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, January 25, 2014 Calgary @ Edmonton 7:00 PM
Sunday, January 26, 2014 Edmonton @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 Tri-City @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Friday, January 30, 2014 Brandon @ Calgary 7:00 PM

FEBRUARY (13 Games: 9 Road, 4 Home)
Saturday, February 1, 2014 Calgary @ Kootenay 7:00 PM
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 Calgary @ Victoria 7:05 PM
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 Calgary @ Victoria 7:05 PM
Friday, February 7, 2014 Calgary @ Vancouver 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 8, 2014 Calgary @ Kamloops 7:00 PM
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 Prince Albert @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Friday, February 14, 2014 Saskatoon @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Saturday, February 15, 2014 Calgary @ Lethbridge 7:00 PM
Monday, February 17, 2014 Red Deer @ Calgary 4:00 PM
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Calgary @ Moose Jaw 7:00 PM
Friday, February 21, 2014 Calgary @ Brandon 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 22, 2014 Calgary @ Regina  7:00 PM

Friday, February 28, 2014 Kamloops @ Calgary 7:00 PM

MARCH (8 Games: 6 Road, 2 Home)
Saturday, March 1, 2014 Calgary @ Edmonton 2:00 PM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Calgary @ Brandon 7:00 PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Calgary @ Moose Jaw 7:00 PM
Friday, March 7, 2014 Calgary @ Prince Albert 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 8, 2014 Calgary @ Saskatoon 7:05 PM
Tuesday, March 11, Lethbridge @ Calgary 7:00 PM
Friday, March 14 Calgary @ Kootenay 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 15 Kootenay @ Calgary 7:00 PM