|This is the front page of Wednesday’s edition
of the Winnipeg Free Press, as tweeted by
reporter Mike McIntyre (@mikeoncrime). He
spent part of Tuesday with the family of Ethan
Williams, a young hockey player who committed
suicide late last month.
One day after actor/comedian Robin Williams committed suicide, Mike McIntyre, a reporter with the Winnipeg Free Press, spent a few hours with the family of Ethan Williams.
Williams, from Winnipeg, committed suicide on July 29. He would have turned 17 on Aug. 22.
McIntyre’s story gets big play on the front page of today’s Free Press.
The Williams family wanted their son’s story to be heard, so McIntyre was there on Tuesday. As McIntyre learned, Ethan Williams had suffered eight concussions that were diagnosed. Williams’ father also is terminally ill with cancer.
Williams is one of at least four teenaged hockey players to commit suicide in Western Canada in the past few months.
The Moose Jaw Warriors had selected Williams in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2012 bantam draft. He played one game with the Warriors in 2012-13 and spent last season with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. He was to have attended the Warriors’ training camp later this month.
At some point today (Wednesday), McIntyre’s story should be available right here.
It appears that Dave Struch, who spent the past eight seasons on the coaching staff of the Saskatoon Blades, is on the verge of joining the Regina Pats, after all. A source familiar with the situation has told Taking Note that he is “99.9 per cent sure” that Struch will be named associate coach with the Pats. . . . Another source has told Taking Note that Struch will get a four-year deal. . . . A native of Flin Flon, Man., Struch, 43, was an assistant with the Blades for seven seasons before taking over as head coach prior to last season. Of course, the Blades’ ownership changed hands just as last season got started and the new owners dropped Struch after last season. In a rebuilding season after loading up as the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup, the Blades went 16-51-5. Struch also played four seasons (1988-92) with the Blades.
The Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack may play again, but it won’t be in 2014-15. Trevor Bast of Victoria, who has been trying to save the program that was dropped by the school on July 29, has informed players that it won’t happen in time for the approaching season.
“I have just spoken to the league commissioner and they can no longer wait to release the schedule,” Bast informed players in an email on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m sorry our rescue effort fell short and I appreciate everyone being on board.
“Don’t feel like you didn’t make a difference because you did. There was not much of a chance of it coming back next season the way things ended. Now we are having active and continuing conversations with TRU, the BCIHL and sponsors about icing a team next year.
“I can’t express how much I regret you guys not playing next season. I know what the game and the camaraderie mean to you. For those of you who aren’t going to school because of this I feel even worse.
“I will keep people notified of our progress moving forward.”
In a news release, Ken Olynyk, TRU’s athletic and recreation director, said: “I am not saying that the hockey program won’t come back in some form in the future. But as it stands right now, any efforts to put a team on the ice for the 2014-15 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League season have ceased.”
D Cole Wedman has decided to attend the U of Alberta, rather than play out his WHL eligibility with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Wedman, 20, is from Edmonton and will play for the Golden Bears. . . . In three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs, Wedman had 29 points, including eight goals, in 181 regular-season games. . . . On May 6, the Warriors acquired Wedman for a conditional fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. That pick now goes back to the Chiefs. . . . Wedman’s departure leaves the Warriors with three 20-year-olds — F Scott Cooke, F Tanner Eberle and F Jack Rodewald. . . . “Between now and the beginning of the season we’re evaluating where some of our young guys are and who will have the ability to step up. We may look at other options on 20-year-olds,” Warriors general manager Alan Millar told Matthew Gourlie of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. “There’s no rush and no panic to replace that 20-year-old that we lost with Wedman.” . . . Millar’s acquisition of D Austin Adam, 19, from the Everett Silvertips on June 13 now is looking rather prescient. Adam, 6-foot-6 and 200 pounds, is a stay-at-home defender with 11 points in 127 regular-season games with the Silvertips. . . . Gourlie’s complete story is right here.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed D Ethan King, a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound King, from Vernon, B.C., had 36 points, six of them goals, in 55 games with a team at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna last season.
The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Jake Kustra, a second-round selection in the 2014 bantam draft, to a contract. Kustra, from Yorkton, Sask., is the son of former Blades G Damon Kustra (1989-90). Jake played last season with the bantam AAA Notre Dame Hounds, putting up 16 points, five of them goals, in 28 games. . . . Jake’s brother, Matt, is a 17-year-old goaltending prospect with the Prince George Cougars.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed F Leon Draisaitl, the third overall selection in the NHL’s 2014 draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. Draisaitl, from Germany, put up 105 points, including 38 goals, in 64 games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. In two seasons with the Raiders, the native of Cologne totalled 163 points, including 59 goals, in 128 games. . . . A lot of observers expect Draisaitl to play with the Oilers, perhaps even as their No. 2 centre, in the upcoming season.
When the NBA-champion San Antonio Spurs hired a new assistant coach the other day, it didn’t make much of a splash. Had it been the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers hiring Becky Hammon as the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach, it would have been a huge story. But the Spurs? Hey, all they do is win. . . . Jere Longman of The New York Times looks at the Hammon signing right here.
According to Dr. James Andrews, one of the best known surgeons in the sporting world today, “Almost half of sports injuries in adolescents stem from overuse.” . . . More from Dr. Andrews: “Professionalism is taking these kids at a young age and trying to work them as if they are pro athletes, in terms of training and year-round activity. Some can do it, like Tiger Woods. He was treated like a professional golfer when he was 4, 5, 6 years old. But you’ve got to realize that Tiger Woods is a special case. A lot of these kids don’t have the ability to withstand that type of training and that type of parental/coach pressure.” . . . If you have a child playing sports, you should read this piece right here.
Robin Williams may be dead, but he still will be up there on the big screen. He is in four films that are scheduled to be released by early in 2015. Andrew Ryan of The Globe and Mail looks at those films . . . . Unfortunately, it seems that a planned sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire isn’t likely to proceed.
Meanwhile, over at Grantland, Wesley Morris takes a look back at “The Legacy of Robin Williams: The Movies.” . . . That is right here.