WHL Notebook: Pilon at home in Duck Lake awaiting trade from Hurricanes

Dave Leaderhouse
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There is something amiss in Lethbridge this year as Ryan Pilon becomes the third player to leave the team and request a trade. The Duck Lake product has three goals and four assists in 17 games this year after picking up 28 points in 57 contests as a 16-year-old rookie last season. Jaimen Yakubowski and Sam McKechnie, the Hurricanes top two goal scorers last year, had left the team last month before being packaged together in a trade that saw them move off to Seattle. Pilon, who was the third pick overall in the 2011 bantam draft, should draw plenty of interest, but the price might be fairly high as he is expected to generate some interest in the upcoming NHL draft. The Hurricanes have a 2-13-1-2 record this year under new head coach Drake Berehowsky…The Moose Jaw Warriors have found a taker in the Todd Fiddler saga as the 20-year-old winger has been sent to the Prince George Cougars for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. Fiddler, who had 10 points in 14 games with the Warriors after being acquired in an off-season deal with the Spokane Chiefs where he had 77 points last year, will finish his junior career with his fifth team as he has also had stops in Medicine Hat and Prince Albert. When the Warriors and Fiddler parted ways last week it was reported that Moose Jaw was exploring the possibility of filing tampering charges as they thought a Junior “A” team had been in contact with Fiddler. Those charges have since been put to rest as he remains in the WHL.

When Jack Brodsky sold the Saskatoon Blades prior to the start of the current season the attention then switched to the Regina Pats as to when that club might change ownership. There was good reason for the speculation as former general manager and president Brent Parker stepped down this summer after spending 18 seasons with the team. The owner of the Pats, Brent’s father Russ, was in Regina last weekend and still says there is no reason to expect a sale, but an ownership group headed by former Pats players Mike Sillinger, Jamie Heward and Nevin Markwart are apparently interested in buying the team. The $9 million price tag that the Blades fetched from Edmonton businessman Mike Priestner might have the Parkers thinking of selling the team too. The Parker family has owned the team since 1995.

Watching the Prince Albert Raider-Regina Pats game last Friday one had to think that overage goaltender Mac Engel’s time in the Queen City might be a short one. Engel, who was acquired from Prince George on the overage deadline in mid-October, got involved in a fracas alongside the Regina net late in the game and then refused to leave the ice quietly as teammates tried to usher him to the dressing room. Regina responded quickly by releasing him later that weekend when they acquired overage defenceman Jesse Zgraggen from the Calgary Hitmen. The Pats will, for now, rely on 16-year-old Nicholas Schneider from the Leduc Midget AAA Oil Kings to serve as Dawson MacAuley’s backup. Regina also reassigned Patrick D’Amico and Stephen Hak to Junior “A” teams in a wholesale reshuffle to try and find the right chemistry.

The Saskatoon Blades have welcomed a guest coach for the week as John Bierchen has joined the team to gain some experience coaching at the major junior level. Bierchen is currently an assistant coach with the Columbus Cottonmouths of the South Professional Hockey League, but the former University of Alabama goaltender has aspirations of becoming a coach in either the WHL or the East Coast Hockey League next year. Bierchen’s head coach in Columbus is Jerome Bechard, a Regina native who played for Lorne Molleken in Moose Jaw back in the 1980s, set up the week-long session with his former coach...The WHL has announced that 305 scholarships were handed out to former players for the 2013-14 post-secondary school year. The University of Saskatchewan has 34 former players taking classes at that facility to lead the way.

Information for the WHL Notebook is gathered from submissions from the WHL Writer’s Group.


Organizations: Prince Albert, NHL, The Parker Leduc Midget AAA Oil Kings South Professional Hockey League University of Alabama goaltender East Coast Hockey League The WHL University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Duck Lake, Regina, Lethbridge Moose Jaw Seattle Medicine Hat Edmonton Queen City WHL Writer

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