ice hawks host 2022 cyclone taylor cup - 27 october 2021
Photo Credit PCJHL
Story by Steve Erickson
On a personal level I have been involved with the PJHL, formerly the WCJHL dating back to 1978 and have seen various changes over time with the championship won by the Richmond Rebels in the 78-79 season.
All of which have been for the better in a manner in which to grow not just the game, but also develop players, coaches as well as some officials who have advanced to the pro level of the game.
Years back the league had a team called the Northwest Americans who were coached by Don Chipka who ran a remarkable program that saw the league under the guidance of Tom Shaw.
Since then the league has undergone various changes all working under exceptional individuals, many of whom have since passed away.
All have left a legacy that has seen the league grow, develop and has also seen the league have a name change from the West Coach Junior Hockey League to the present day Pacific Junior Hockey League.
In the 71-72 season the WCJHL operated eight clubs, namely Chilliwack Jets, Coquitlam Comets, Maple Ridge Monarchs, Nor-Wes Caps, Surrey Stampeders, Vancouver Junior Canucks and the White Rock Rangers.
The early years saw the Nor-Wes Caps win four championship in the first seven seasons, but the 70ties saw some teams become members of the Junior A league called BCJHL
The first seven seasons in the 1980s saw North Shore Flames and the Northwest Americans win seven league titles between both clubs.
The Delta Ice Hawks won their first title in the 2000-01 season after defeating the Po Coq Buckaroos in the five game series but lost to the Abbotsford Pilots in four games.
The only year that Abby failed to make the final saw the Aldergrove Kodiaks win their first title defeating the Delta Ice Hawks.
The Richmond Sockeyes won their second title in three years in 2012-13 defeating Aldergrove in four games but the following season saw the Kodiaks defeat the Sockeyes claiming their second overall title, in seven games.
As championship seasons continue to grow we are pleased to mention that the Delta Ice Hawks will be hosting the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup at the Ladner Leisure Centre April 7-10, 2022 that has the clubs compete in a six game round-robin series.
Depending on final stats up to Saturday evening, Sunday has two final games, with the first being the Bronze game followed by the Gold Medal final.
The tournament consists of four teams, three from the other Junior B Leagues plus the host club Delta Ice Hawks in addition to the Kootenay Junior Hockey League (KJHL), Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) and the PJHL as the host league.
In a recent conversation with Eduard Epshtein Owner/President of the Delta Ice Hawks he mentioned “The Ice Hawks are honoured to be hosting this season’s Cyclone Taylor Cup and welcome the teams and families from around the province to Delta.”
He continued “We look forward to making the provincial championship tournament a memory to last a lifetime for players and fans, while showcasing the great facilities, accommodations, and businesses that Delta has to offer.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Delta Ice Hawks were selected to host the 2021 Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Once the event was cancelled, the team immediately indicated their interest in hosting the event in the future. After consultation with BC Hockey and the three leagues involved in the tournament, the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup was again awarded to the Ice Hawks.
PJHL Commissioner Trevor Alto mentioned “Hockey everywhere was affected by the pandemic and we had two seasons cut short and lost two Cyclone Taylor Cups. It was disappointing for everyone, but particularly for the Ice Hawks. However, this did not deter their organization or their desire to host this tournament. They were unwavering in their willingness to pick up where they left off and to host a first-class event in our new environment.”
Delta Mayor George Harvie mentioned “We are extremely pleased to see the Delta Ice Hawks selected to host the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup at the Ladner Leisure Centre.”
He continued “This is a great opportunity to showcase the Ice Hawks, our local hockey community, and this vibrant city. We look forward to welcoming visitors, players, coaches, and officials to Delta – I’ll be cheering for the Ice Hawks from the stands!”
This championship was last held in 2019 played at the Rod Brind’amour Arena in Campbell River hosted by the Campbell River Storm.
Make plans and book your tickets early so as not to be disappointed for an event you won’t want to miss.
We’ll keep you posted on the date when they will go on sale.
Ready for excitement - get Kraken - 23 OCTober 2021
Photo Credit - Kraken/NHL Home Page
Story by Steve Erickson
It clearly doesn’t seem too ironic that the home opener for the Seattle Kraken would be against their rival’s from north of the 49th. Namely the Vancouver Canucks at the Climate Pledge Arena.
The facility which is new and state of the art came at a price tag of $1.15 billion, but strange as it seems they play under what was the KeyArena and being the original Seattle Center Coliseum.
The facility’s inaugural hockey game was an exhibition match up in the former pro Western Hockey League between the Seattle Totems and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While we know that the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967, they were the three-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Toronto Maple Leafs September 30th, 1964.
Interestingly enough the Seattle Totems dropped their first exhibition game by a 7-1 margin to the Leafs that saw NHL stars such as Bob Baun, Johnny Bower, George Armstrong, Dave Keon, Andy Bathgate, Frank Mahovlich and Terry Sawchuk suit up.
Dave Eskenazi, a Pacific Northwest sports aficionado and memorabilia collector, attended the Coliseum when he was young, enjoying every minute of the game while taking in the atmosphere.
The area known as Seattle Center sits on 74 acres which for the most part was built for the 1962 World’s Fair , while the world famous Space Needle is a tower that stands 605 feet high, which is easily recognizable from some distance.
I’m told that the Totems hosted three additional exhibition games at the same complex, managing to defeat the Black Hawks (in those days the name had two words) by a narrow margin of 5-4 (October 5/67 and the Leafs October 2nd, 1968.
They dropped a game 12-4 to the LA Kings October 5th, 1969in the three games came to the LA Kings in addition to hosting the Soviet Union in an exhibition match-up January 5th, 1975.
Unknown to the hockey world at that time was Russian Superstar “tender” Vladislav Tretiak which was something new for the hockey world to witness, even prior to the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
In a move as if to compete with their newest rival league the World Hockey Association (WHA) the City or Seattle was awarded an expansion club which was slated to begin play in the 76-77 season.
The former Totems were given two seasons to begin to prepare for the NHL, but the only thing missing was a league to play in as strange as it sounds which forced them (NHL) to stop any expansion in Seattle.
A league not known to many was the Western Canada Hockey League that had the Kamloops Chiefs relocate to Seattle in 77 and promptly changed their name to the Seattle Breakers.
The following season the WCHL changed their name to the Western Hockey League that also saw a name change for the Breakers to become the Thunderbirds in 1985.
Thus hockey continues to grow and the groundbreaking was made official December 5th, 2018 which has the 44-million pound roof standing on pillars while removing 680,000 cubic yards.
The newly build 740,000 came close to doubling the size of the old roof that allows the facility to have a capacity of 17,100 fans.
So for fans either in the lower mainland or in Seattle and the surrounding area, this is more than just exciting – it’s simply stupendous!!!!
GIANTS' LEADERSHIP group - 20 October 2021
Photo Credit D. Laird Allan/Sportswave
Story by Steve Erickson
The Vancouver Giants held their first press conference dating back to July 2019 and in conversation with those in attendance it was an event that was long overdue and welcomed by everyone in attendance.
The event was held at Tsawwassen Springs for them to show their ongoing support with their sponsors as well as their community partners while also promoting their upcoming 2021-2021 promotions and events full schedule.
In attendance were invited media members, Dale Saip, Peter Toigo, Lewis Bublé, Head Coach Michael Dyck, Bill Wilms as well as various players who arrived after their morning practice in Ladner.
Head Coach Michael Dyck.
The event began with Dan O’Connor, media relations and play by play person who welcomed everyone indicating the event’s outline of the day.
In a manner of welcoming everyone back to the LEC the Giants are pulling out all stops offering various events for those attending games while being entertained with a celebration of interaction as well as prizes.
Giants Sr. VP Dale Saip mentioned “We’re very grateful to our sponsors and community partners for how patient and how willing they have been to work with us to create both traditional and new promotions for the 2021-2022 WHL season.”
With Halloween around the corner they will offer up a “Trick or Treat” night where fans are asked to dress up for the start of the Halloween weekend.
The Giants are also offering up support of their “Community Hero’s” nights where they will show their support to front line workers such as the ones who kept stores open, teachers, mechanics and others who continued to work during the strangest times.
On all six nights the Giants will be wearing the commemorative jerseys that are dedicated to the community heroes.
Country night will be November 13th, while White Spot Legends Night will take place November 20th followed up by the one that draws a huge crowd, namely the Teddy Bear Toss December 10th.
December 18th, the Giants and C&D Logistics are teaming up for a Holiday Food Drive while December 19th marks the first Save-On-Foods Family Sunday, where fans will be encouraged to stay for a post-game skate.
Moving to the new year will see them host a Matinee “Family Day” game February 21st with the face-off set for 2 pm followed by an “Outdoors Night” on March 18th while the regular season wraps up April 3rd for their Chevrolet Fan Appreciation Night.
Once all the business was concluded they introduced their 2021-2022 leadership group.
Giants captain Justin Sourdif led the event along with alternate captains Tanner Brown and Zack Ostapchuk. Other Giant players attending were fellow veterans Payton Mount, Cade McNelly, Adam Hall, Connor Horning and Ty Thorpe who were open for media scrums from various media persons.
On a somber note the Giants mentioned that they will be wearing a commemorative patch with the initials EJ in honour the matriarch of the Toigo family and the Giants family. Mrs. Toigo recently passed.
On an interesting note the patch with the writing is in her own handwriting.
As an official for over half a century I have seen many changes take place not just in hockey but all sports, some for the better, others not so much.
Sport changes as does society where we have to be politically correct; while at the same time being far more respectful toward each other, which has a long, long way to go as far as respect goes.
Words are said when tempers often flare and once said, it’s hard to take any words back by saying they were taken out of context, which is a way for some to come up with an excuse.
Like it or not, as all sports change, so does each part of the game from office staff to players as well as the officials selected to officiate in any sport.
We have seen changes in the NFL, NBA as well as hockey, but now one change which will have many talking will be the addition to women officiating hockey in the AHL.
I am hearing that the league has selected 10 women who are on the roster to officiate games this season, which is not only a huge move but also one to go down in history.
The first will have Katie Guay become the first Woman to referee a game that has Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins playing Lehigh Valley Phantoms on October 16th.
When she takes to the ice she will be under so much scrutiny from everyone that it will be on every sports broadcast from Vancouver to Florida and around the world.
Over the past few years it’s been known that Stephen Walkom the NHL director of officiating has had his sights set to expand recruiting so that the league can maintain a talented pool of officials.
Over the past while its been a manner in which to expand the officiating world making it a level playing field opening it up to not just women, but also past players.
So for those who have set their sights on a career in the officiating world, you might want to re-think your goals.
We have heard from some that retired players were at a camp where they were taught how to drop the puck, where to stand and how to make their signals, which to many is as far off-side as you can get.
In a recent interview AHL president Scott Howson said “It’s time, we’re a development league, so it’s time to give these women a chance and let them advance their careers. I think it’s great for our fans to see it. The example that these women are setting for young women all over the world is that sports is wide open for everybody, really at all positions.”
Further to this Walkom mentioned in an interview “We think that it’s important for the game of hockey to attract like-minded people that are great athletes to pursue officiating.”
He continued “It’s great that these women will really be the trailblazers to step into professional men’s hockey and we think that there’s many women out there playing hockey that hopefully, when they stop playing, will consider giving back and I hope this inspires people to want to try it and recognize there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”
We are hearing that the 10 officials all have experience officiating all levels, which includes the Olympics and World Championships, in men’s and women’s college hockey also noting that all have participated in the NHL Officiating Association Mentorship program.
With the program in place the NHL worked with USA Hockey and Hockey Canada who have identified 48 women to participate across North America with weekly Zoom sessions led by current and retired NHL officials.
As one might expect they focused on situations that covered topics such as communication with coaches and players, pregame prep and dealing with adversity in games.
Walkom mentioned “The 10 women calling games in the AHL this season will be “scouted a lot, like any official in the American Hockey League.”
Reportedly at this time there is no development timeline for an AHL official to be promoted to the NHL, but officials can get called up after one or two seasons, five or six seasons, or never. The NHL chooses its officials based on ability.
While all have worked at various levels questions still arise, mainly the ability to skate with the players, break up fights and/or altercations?
We can tell you that in conversation with some high level players and coaches for Canada’s National Women’s team they all mention one thing.
That is that while the game has grown for the Women as far as playing, the officials simply can not skate at the same level as the players, which is so true.
Those selected are listed below are listed as AHL referee’s
Kelly Cooke, Samantha Hiller, Jacqueline Zee Howard, Elizabeth Mantha, Amanda Tassoni and Laura White.
While Alexandra Clarke, Kendall Hanley and Kirsten Welsh will debut as lines persons – not linesman
The other question that has arose from some individuals was “If Women can officiate men’s games, why do the higher level of Women’s hockey only want Women officiating.
Many say – “It’s a double standard”
Regardless, we wish them all the best in their officiating career as they move forward.
Because the game disqualifications carry a one-game suspension, each team was able to dress only six forwards and four defensemen for Saturday’s rematch, which went into overtime and ended in a shootout. Bemidji State won the shootout 1-0 after taking a 2-2 tie into the extra period.
Three local indigenous elders held three ceremonial face-offs
The Vancouver Giants returned to the Langley Events dating back to playing in the 2919 WHL playoffs following the absence of 588 days playing in front of 2,628 fans with a video tribute on the jumbotron.
The first game in 19 months featured a fast paced match-up with Cougars Taylor Gauthier and Giants Japer Vikman playing solidly in the blue paint.
The opening was spoiled for the home fans at 11:15 as PG’s Carter MacAdams opened the scoring close off a Mitch Kohner pass from behind the net and the second assist going to Fischer O’Brien.
Vancouver scored the equalizer at 16:23 as Adam Hall (2) was set up from Justin Sourdif and Mazden Leslie only to be followed by one from Sourdif on the PP with assists going to Thorpe and Mount putting the G-men up 2-1 after one.
Crashing The Net
Ty Thorpe gave the Giants a late goal at 18:41 after he deflected a point shot from Mazden Leslie after a face-off win in the attacking zone taking a 3-1 lead to the room after 20 minutes with Vancouver outshooting PG by a 14-9 margin.
PG came out with more of a jump in the early part of the second pulling them within one after a three-way passing play at 1:15 as Heidt and Armstrong set up Gronick for his second of the season.
The Cougars continued to press that saw Thornton evened the score after his long shot deflected off Giants D-man going past Vikman at 7:25 to the delight of those listening in from PG.
Fort St. John’s rookie Ethen Semenuk (16) got his first WHL goal at 12:31 giving the Giants their second lead of the game after a shot from Maxden Leslie with the Giants leading in the shot department 14-9 in the second.
After a two-on one rush Justin Lies got the insurance goal at 14:42 following a two-on-one breakout with Thorpe and Ostapchuk putting the Giants up 5-3.
The Cougars continued to push back, but it wasn’t until 19:20 that Cougars Hooker deflected a pass from Ethan Samson for his second of the season as PG outshot the Giants 13-12 in the third.
Vancouver 6 – Prince George 4
Shots: 36 – 35
Prince George Goalkeepers Jesper Vikman: 32/36
Vancouver and Taylor Gauthier: of the Cougars 29/35 saves
special teams Vancouver Power Play 1-3 and the Cougars 0-5
1. Justin Sourdif
2. Adam Hall
3rd Mazden Leslie
Next Giants home game is Saturday October 16th when the play host to the Kamloops Blazers.
Justin Sourdif and Adam Hall have both posted back-to-back multi-point games for the Vancouver Giants.
In two games so far this season, Hall (3G, 1A) and Sourdif (2G, 3A) have combined for nine points.
The 2005-born defenceman recorded the first three assists of his WHL career.
Prior to tonight, Mazden Leslie had six career goals in 18 games, but can now add three helpers to that total.
Ty Thorpe recorded the first three-point game of his WHL career Friday against PG.
The Vancouver Giants penalty kill is a perfect 10/10 to start the year.
Zack Ostapchuk recorded one assist, a +2 rating and three shots in his 2021-2022 season debut with the Giants
NHL linesman ryan gibbons injured - 06 october 2021
Photo Credit WHL
Story by Steve Erickson
For anyone that has officiated any sport we all understand that injuries can and will happen and it’s a matter of time when one of us is either taken out of a game or simply has to leave on our own.
Sports are played at a fast pace with the players often being unsure where we are in relation to the play and at times we simply have nowhere to go.
The off-season allows us to not just stay in shape, but get back into shape given all we have been through with Covid-19 but the better, more seasoned officials understand the importance of conditioning.
You can be in the best possible shape and quite possibly your best season and all of a sudden and out of the blue you can get a leg injury, incur a strain or worse yet get “run over” by one of the players.
That for the most part is the worst as we often never see the player coming at us and for the most part it’s not intentional, but rather an accident or an accidental hit that puts our career on hold.
Many of us have suffered or experienced a setback at one point in our career and some of us try to work through the injury only causing it to become more severe.
Regardless of the sport we officiate we are forced to make twists and turns that often consist of fast paced movements where we have to accelerate fast as well as have the agility to move quickly.
Early in a pre-season game it was Vancouver’s Ryan Gibbons (linesman) who collided with Arizona forward Liam O’Brien in the pre-game warmup in a game that featured the Coyotes and Kings.
Both ran into each other after the national anthem when O’Brien was skating past Gibbons to get into position that appeared to see Gibbons hit in the head being on the ice for several minutes while trainers attended to him.
He was eventually removed on a gurney and according to the Kings’ TV broadcast team, he (Gibbons) was taken to California Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Later it was reported that he had been diagnosed with a concussion and discharged from the hospital.
We’ll keep you posted on his condition and wish Ryan all the best in a speedy recovery.
He worked his first game October 8th, 2015 as an NHL linesman in 416 games in the regular season and 33 games in the playoffs.
The game was officiated by a three-man crew of referees Jake Brenk and Brandon Schrader with linesman Ryan Galloway.