Goaltenders are notoriously quirky people, but Brandon Wheat King rookie netminder Jordan Papirny has altered that image somewhat with a very sentimental logo painted on the back of his mask. “Play for Fundy” is what the 17-year-old got put on his mask after it was clear he had made the Wheat Kings. Papirny wanted the motto prominently displayed to remember a 16-year-old teammate, Kyle Fundytus, who was killed in 2011 when he took a puck to the throat while playing for the Southside Athletic Club’s Midget AA team in Edmonton. Papirny also has the SSAC crest with Fundytus’s No. 11 on his mask in addition to the Wheat King logo on the front…Still with goaltenders, another incident recently occurred to offset the stereotype of puckstoppers when following a game in Moose Jaw, both netminders were selected as game stars. There is nothing strange about that, but what was interesting was Vancouver Giant netminder Payton Lee waited along the boards after he was called back on the ice so that he could congratulate Warrior goalie Zach Sawchenko for his performance. Lee, a veteran at 17 years of age, wanted to pat the 15-year-old Sawchenko on the back for his performance in leading Moose Jaw to a 2-1 win. Pretty class move indeed.
When netminder Bolton Pouliot was traded from the Red Deer Rebels to the Kamloops Blazers this fall he couldn’t get to the interior of British Columbia fast enough. Playing for the Blazers was an exciting opportunity, but he was also going to be reunited with his future brother-in-law Aspen Sterzer. The 19-year-old Pouliot has been engaged to Sterzer’s sister Sierra for more than a year and both enjoy each other’s company as they have known each other since being teammates with a bantam team in Calgary several years ago…Red Deer defenseman Kirk Bear had a busy summer as he was part of the reality show “Hit the Ice,” an aboriginal hockey program that featured former Prince Albert Minto Adam Osczevski and Prince Albert product Taryn Phaneuf last year. Bear, who was the captain of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League’s Notre Dame Argos last year, wasn’t sure where he was going to be playing this year as he was guaranteed a spot with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melville Millionaires, but ended up cracking the line-up in Red Deer.
Being a 20-year-old in the WHL isn’t easy as each team is allowed to keep just three overage players each season. When Moose Jaw acquired defenseman Jesse Forsberg from Seattle last week that gave the Warriors four overage players meaning one was going to have to be moved. Former Prince Albert defenseman Zach Hodder made the decision easy for the team as he informed the Warriors the day after the trade that he was heading home to Delta, B.C., to ponder his hockey future. Hodder had been acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers in September, but had already been scratched from the line-up a couple of times…The Regina Pats had to scramble to fill a vacant goaltending position when Teagan Sacher suddenly left the team to begin studies at the University of Winnipeg. Sacher, who played with the Pats last year, was initially penned in as the No. 1 netminder, but an injury forced him to the sidelines and in his absence Prince Albert’s Dawson MacAuley took the lead role between the pipes for the Pats. Regina has since acquired 20-year-old Mac Engel from the Prince George Cougars to help with the netminding duties.
When the Saskatoon Blades got off to their 0-5-0-0 start it equalled the franchise mark for poorest start set back in 1965-66. Since then, however, the Blades have become one of the hottest teams in the league winning five and losing another in overtime in their last six outings…The U.S.-based teams are splitting their road trips through the Central Division into two one-week sessions this year rather than the prolonged two-week journey that has been the norm in past years. The first team to make the trek over the mountains did rather well as the Everett Silvertips went 3-0-0-1…When future NHL Hall of Famer Chris Chelios was in Moose Jaw a couple weeks ago to help that city celebrate the sport of hockey and in particular the old Canucks teams for which he played with, a good story in the Times-Herald had some interesting facts about how Chelios ended up in Moose Jaw. After having been cut by three junior teams in Ontario, Chelios was back home in San Diego playing hockey in a “beer and pizza league” when he ran into a former Moose Jaw player who was training with a university team on the beach at La Jolla Shores. The former player, Bobby Parker, had been at the university camp with Chelios before the latter was released and he suggested that Chelios call the Moose Jaw coach for an opportunity to come to Saskatchewan and play. As they say the rest is history as Chelios would go on to play in over 1650 NHL games and win three Stanley Cups.
One final note worth mentioning is the promotion being put on by the Bank of Montreal. An Ultimate Fan Contest is currently underway with 42 of the 60 Canadian Hockey League teams participating and on Nov. 15 the Prince Albert fans will have a chance to show their pride in the Raiders. All that has to be done is fans are encouraged to wear their team colours and show their pride in their team and one lucky fan will be selected as the BMO Ultimate Fan. That person’s name will then be put in a draw with the other team winners and one fan from each league – the WHL, Ontario Junior Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – will be given a trip to London, Ont., in May for the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup. Entrants have to be over the age of 13 so get ready to get wild and crazy in mid-November.
Information for the WHL Notebook is gathered from submissions provided by the WHL Writer’s Group.