Sunday, 20 April 2014

Helgesen signs with Anaheim


The Ducks have signed defenseman Kenton Helgesen to a three-year entry-level contract. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Helgesen, 20 (3/19/94), scored 13-72=85 points with a +60 rating and 246 penalty minutes (PIM) in 199 career games with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The 6-2, 186-pound defensemen has also appeared in 14 career WHL Playoff games, earning 1-2=3 points with six PIM.

                                             Photo Credit:  Brad Watson - Hitmen

Selected by Anaheim in the seventh round (187th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Helgesen collected 10-41=51 points with a +31 rating and 67 PIM in 71 games with the Hitmen this season. He set WHL career highs in all offensive categories in 2013-14, including goals, assists, points, power-play goals (4) and plus/minus.

Among team leaders, Helgesen ranked second in plus/minus and third in assists, while leading Calgary defensemen in scoring and assists, and co-leading in goals.

The Grand Prairie, Alberta native also appeared in six WHL Playoff games this spring, earning 1-1=2 points with four PIM.

Rissling's NHL rights traded to Nashville


Defenseman Jaynen Rissling was acquired by the Nashville Predators on Saturday in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

Washington receives Nashville’s seventh-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

                                                Photo Credit:  Brad Watson - Hitmen

Rissling, 20, completed his fifth season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, with 37 points (eight goals) and 105 penalty minutes in 54 games while serving as captain.

In 273 WHL games from 2009-14, the 6-4, 204-pound native of Edmonton has 117 points and 465 penalty minutes. The Hitmen won the WHL championship and participate in the Memorial Cup in 2010.

He was a seventh-round pick (No. 197) by Washington in the 2012 draft.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hitmen Thomas, Sanheim and Virtanen named to Canada's U-18 Team

From Hockey Canada:

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), announced Wednesday the 23-player roster for Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team for the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, taking place April 17-27 in Lappeenranta and Imatra, Finland.

The roster includes three goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards.  Among the group is three Calgary Hitmen (Travis Sanheim, Ben Thomas and Jake Virtanen).

Click here to see the full roster

The players, born in 1996 and 1997, were selected by Hockey Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, in consultation with head coach Kevin Dineen (Toronto, Ont.) and assistant coaches Trevor Letowski (Thunder Bay, Ont./Sarnia, OHL) and Gord Murphy (Willowdale, Ont.). Jankowski evaluated the players during the 2013-14 season, following them along with numerous other candidates during league play, as well as during the 2013 and 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenges.

The roster includes 12 players from the Western Hockey League, six from the Ontario Hockey League and five from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In total, 20 players (two goaltenders, five defencemen and 10 forwards) competed at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, one in 2012, 18 in 2013 and two in 2014.

The roster also includes 13 players (Daniel Audette, Julio Billia, Clark Bishop, Alexandre Carrier, Haydn Fleury, Jayce Hawryluk, Joe Hicketts, Jared McCann, Mason McDonald, Roland McKeown, Ryan Pilon, Brayden Point and Jake Virtanen) who helped Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team win the gold medal at the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia last summer

                                           Photo Credit:  Brad Watson - Hitmen

Canada is a three-time gold medallist at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship, winning in 2003, 2008 and 2013.

The 2014 IIHF Hockey U18 World Championship opens for Canada on April 17 when it faces Sweden. Canada will also face Germany, Slovakia and Russia in the preliminary round.

TSN/RDS, the official broadcasters of Hockey Canada, will broadcast Canada’s final preliminary round game against Russia on April 22, as well as both semifinals on April 26 and both medal games on April 27. Check your local listings for game times in your area.

Hitmen will have a new head coach in their 20th anniversary season

From the Hitmen Office:

CALGARY, AB - Calgary Hitmen General Manager and Vice President of Business Operations Mike Moore today announced that the team will not be exercising the option year for Head Coach Mike Williamson.  The organization will immediately begin a search to identify a new head coach for the 2014-15 Western Hockey League season.  Williamson spent five seasons as head coach of the Hitmen.

“Under Mike’s leadership, the Calgary Hitmen were a team that challenged for the top position in our conference,” said Moore. “It was a difficult decision for us today but we believe that a change is necessary in order for our team to reach the next level of success. We would like to thank Mike for his contributions to the Hitmen organization. He is an exceptional person and we wish him the very best as he moves forward in his career.”

Associate Coach Brent Kisio, Assistant Coach Joel Otto and Goaltending Coach Darcy Wakaluk will remain with the team.

Here are some thoughts from some of his former players on twitter:

-Best of luck to Mike Williamson. One of the best coaches I've played for. Led us to Championship and Mem Cup appearance

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Hitmen Alumnus makes it rain underwear

We have all heard of the Teddy Bear Toss in hockey.  How about Undie Sunday?

The first ever happened this past weekend in the East Coast Hockey League and the man who trigger the goal was none other than former Calgary Hitmen sniper Joel Broda.

Click here to watch it

Broda played parts of two seasons with the Hitmen (2008-09 and 2009-10) scoring a total of 56 goals while collecting 112 regular season points.

Hitmen gone Wild

Special thanks to Donna McMillan, mom of former Hitmen forward Carson, who sent this picture along.

Do you recognize all these faces?

If you said left to right Hitmen Alumni Carson McMillan, Kris Foucault and Brady Brassart you would be right.  All together in the AHL with the Iowa Wild.

Brassart scored his first pro goal in just his fifth career game on Saturday night against Rockford.  It was also Brassart's first point with ironically McMillan picking up the lone assist.

McMillan has 27 points (12g-15a), Foucault  22 (11g-11a) as the Wild prepare to close out the regular season this week.

Hitmen unveil 20th anniversary jersey

From the Hitmen Office:

The Calgary Hitmen Hockey Club will proudly enter its 20th Western Hockey League season in 2014-15.  In celebration of this milestone, the franchise is excited to introduce a 20th anniversary jersey that honours the team’s inaugural season and pays tribute to the club’s namesake and one of the original owners, Bret “Hitman” Hart.  The limited edition throwback jersey, black with grey and pink, includes two shoulder patches; one that features Hart’s famous words, ‘The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be’, while the opposite shoulder is dressed with the historic Hitmen starburst logo.

In appreciation for the continued support the Calgary Hitmen receive from the community, the purchase or renewal of select 2014-15 season ticket packages will include a complimentary premium 20th anniversary jersey. Starting today, fans can also pre-order the commemorative jersey at 10 per cent off the retail price.  The special pre-order offer ends August 31, 2014. The jersey is expected to arrive in all FanAttic locations in September.

The 20th anniversary jersey will make its on-ice debut during the 2014-15 Calgary Hitmen Home Opener at the Scotiabank Saddledome and will be worn on many occasions throughout the season.

Chris Driedger signs with Ottawa

Release from Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Senators (@Senators) announced today that the club has signed goaltender Chris Driedger to a three-year entry-level contract.

Driedger, 19, was the Senators’ third-round selection (76th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, which was held in Pittsburgh. He recently completed his fourth season of major junior hockey with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, ranking fifth among league goaltenders in save percentage (.918) and tying for seventh in wins (28).

                                           Photo Credit:  Brad Watson - Hitmen

The 6-3, 200-pound netminder has earned a record of 94-46-15 including eight shutout victories over 170 career WHL contests with the Hitmen and Tri-City Americans. On Jan. 31, he became only the sixth goaltender in WHL history to be credited with a goal when scored one of Calgary’s two markers in an eventual 5-2 loss to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C.

A Winnipeg native, Driedger surpassed current Los Angeles Kings’ goaltender Martin Jones to become the Hitmen’s all-time saves leader when he made his 3,375th stop for the club in Calgary’s 7-4 home win over Brandon on Feb. 1.

Hitmen season ends with Game 6 loss

The 2013-14 season for the Calgary Hitmen is over.

The Hitmen were eliminated from the WHL post season with a 5-3 loss to the Kootenay Ice in Game 6 giving the Ice a 4-2 series victory.

Jaedon Descheneau led the way for the Ice with four points (3g-1a) while Sam Reinhart had three.  The duo of Descheneau and Reinhart proved to be unstoppable in the series for Calgary with both players picking up 17 points in only six games.

After a scoreless first period the Ice took control in the second period building a 3-0 lead.  Calgary eventually got to within a goal in the final three minutes of the third period but Descheneau completed his hat-trick scoring into an empty net.

Before the game Ice forward Tim Bozon, who is still recovering from a bout with meningitis, dropped the puck in an emotional ceremonial face-off.  In a classy move all Hitmen players came off the bench to shake his hand.

                                                Photo Credit:  Chris Pullen - Ice

Calgary Hitmen 3 at Kootenay Ice 5
Saturday, March 29, 2014 - Western Financial Place - Cranbrook, BC

Calgary 0 0 3 - 3
Kootenay 0 2 3 - 5

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Alfaro Ktn (high sticking), 1:20; Vetterl Ktn (tripping), 14:42; served by Welykholowa Cal (too many men), 17:47.

2nd Period
1, Kootenay, Descheneau 5 (Franko, Reinhart), 1:43.
2, Kootenay, Franko 5 (Dirk, Descheneau), 10:00.
Penalties-Zipp Cal (roughing), 3:01; Martin Ktn (roughing), 3:01; Martin Ktn (checking to the head), 5:39; Peterson Cal (interference), 10:14; Vetterl Ktn (delay of game), 17:21.

3rd Period
3, Kootenay, Vetterl 1 (Philp, Valiev), 1:44.
4, Calgary, Brassart 3 (Chase, Roach), 4:28.
5, Kootenay, Descheneau 6 (Dirk, Reinhart), 11:02 (PP).
6, Calgary, Tambellini 5 (Brassart), 16:22.
7, Calgary, Fazleev 3   17:34.
8, Kootenay, Descheneau 7 (Reinhart, Valiev), 19:23 (EN).
Penalties-Roach Cal (slashing), 10:53; Rissling Cal (holding), 12:21; Virtanen Cal (checking to the head), 13:28; Rissling Cal (cross checking, roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Vetterl Ktn (roughing), 20:00.

Shots on Goal
Calgary 15-13-11-39. Kootenay 13-12-14-39.

Power Play Opportunities
Calgary 0 / 4; Kootenay 1 / 6.

Calgary, Driedger 2-3-0-0 (38 shots-34 saves). Kootenay, Hoflin 4-1-0-0 (39 shots-36 saves).


Referees-Brett Montsion (54), Pat Smith (12).
Linesmen-Cody Huseby (88), Chris Carlson (92).

Ice take a 3-2 series lead

The Kootenay Ice built a leads of 3-1, 5-2 and 6-3 then held on for a 6-5 victory in Game 5 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

The win gives the Ice a 3-2 series lead heading back to Cranbrook with a chance to win the series Saturday night.

Sam Reinhart turned in a first star performance with five points (1g-4a) while Jaedon Descheneau scored twice and set up another for Kootenay who has now won back-to-back games in the series.

The game served up a controversial end to the second period when Kootenay's sixth goal appeared to enter the net after time had expired.  The replay of the goal from the overhead camera angle shown on the scoreboard indicated the period had ended before Descheneau's shot had gone in.  However the goal stood and the WHL released the following statement after the game.

“The video evidence in the Video Goal Judge booth clearly showed the puck had crossed the line with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock. The Video Goal Judge booth is considered the official time clock when reviewing goals and is the same system utilized by the NHL.”

Ironically that controversial goal went on to become the game winner.

                                            Photo Credit:  Brad Watson - Hitmen

Kootenay Ice 6 at Calgary Hitmen 5
Thursday, March 27, 2014 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB

Kootenay 2 4 0 - 6
Calgary 1 2 2 - 5

1st Period
1, Calgary, Tambellini 3 (Chase, Rissling), 2:04 (PP).
2, Kootenay, Descheneau 3 (Franko, Reinhart), 5:56 (PP).
3, Kootenay, Reinhart 5   19:15.
Penalties-Cross Ktn (tripping), 1:46; Thomas Cal (hooking), 5:39; Helgesen Cal (charging), 12:10; McPhee Ktn (boarding), 14:47.

2nd Period
4, Kootenay, Cable 2 (Descheneau, Reinhart), 0:55.
5, Calgary, Peterson 1 (Lang, Thomas), 2:44.
6, Kootenay, Alfaro 1 (Franko, Vetterl), 5:18.
7, Kootenay, Philp 4 (Murray, Reinhart), 6:23.
8, Calgary, Helgesen 1 (Brassart, Chase), 18:28 (PP).
9, Kootenay, Descheneau 4 (Reinhart, Cable), 19:59.
Penalties-Rissling Cal (elbowing), 3:09; Dirk Ktn (hooking), 11:52; Dirk Ktn (interference), 16:41.

3rd Period
10, Calgary, Chase 4 (Helgesen, Brassart), 12:50.
11, Calgary, Tambellini 4 (Virtanen, Fazleev), 18:46.
Penalties-Rissling Cal (checking from behind), 2:46; Vetterl Ktn (tripping), 6:10; Philp Ktn (major-fighting), 17:06; Lang Cal (major-fighting), 17:06.

Shots on Goal
Kootenay 10-7-7-24. Calgary 5-9-17-31.

Power Play Opportunities
Kootenay 1 / 4; Calgary 2 / 5.

Kootenay, Hoflin 4-1-0-0 (31 shots-26 saves). Calgary, Driedger 2-3-0-0 (14 shots-10 saves); Shields 0-1-0-0 (10 shots-8 saves).


Referees-Tyler Adair (58), Matt Kirk (4).
Linesmen-Chris Carlson (92), Sean Donnelly (109).