F Jade Galbraith (Saskatoon, 2000-01) has been released by the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite) after the British government refused his visa application. Dundee won’t pursue an appeal of the rejection. Last season, with the Heerenveen Flyers (Netherlands, Eredivisie), he had 38 points, including 17 goals, in 22 games.
Tye Hand has decided that an eighth concussion might be one too many, so his hockey career is over.
“I have had seven concussions,” Hand told Taking Note on Thursday, “so this summer I decided it was time for me to start doing other things. It was a tough decision but I have to do what is best for my health moving forward.”
Hand, 19, is from Yellowknife, NWT. He played two seasons with the WHL’s Regina Pats, earning two assists in 31 games in 2012-13 and going pointless in 21 games last season.
A 6-foot-3, 185-pound defenceman, he was a second-round pick by the Everett Silvertips in the 2010 bantam draft.
Hand played bantam AAA at the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna, then spent 2011-12 with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons, with whom he was named to the South Division’s All-Rookie team.
On Sept. 15, 2012, the Pats acquired him from Everett for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.
At the time, Regina GM Chad Lang said: “Tye is a big, physical stay-at-home defenceman. That rugged presence will add a lot to our back end. . . .”
Before Hand was done in the WHL, he had suffered three concussions, the last one, he said, occurring on Dec. 14.
He said he was first concussed while playing minor hockey in Yellowknife. While at Pursuit of Excellence, he said, he incurred two concussions, and had another one while in the AJHL.
The last brain injury, No. 7, occurred on Dec. 14 against the visiting Kelowna Rockets. It was 36 seconds into the game when he was knocked into the end boards from behind.
On Dec. 31, the Pats announced that they were shutting him down.
The news release read: “The decision was made after discussion between the Regina Pats’ medical staff, hockey operations department and Tye Hand that, due to multiple concussions in consecutive years, it is in the best interest for Tye’s long term health and future that he spend the rest of the year recovering. Hand’s status will be re-evaluated in the off-season.”
Hand now is at home in Yellowknife and plans to stay there at least for a year. Next fall, he hopes to go to school.
While he is disappointed to be leaving hockey, the good news is that he is symptom-free.
“I’m just unsure as to what another concussion would do to me,” Hand said.
An email from a reader of Taking Note:
“Just wanted to say as a former Western League player who has gone through concussions and depression I appreciate everything you are trying to do by raising awareness on the issues. Keep up the good work!”
Bob Tory, the part-owner, governor and general manager of the Tri-City Americans, has started campaigning to get a new building for his WHL franchise.
He posted a few tweets with that theme this week:
“Time has come for a new arena in Tri-City. We need our fans to speak loud and proud.”
“Tri-City Americans bring tremendous value to the quality of life in the Columbia Basin. We need your support for change. #New Building”
“Branding Tri-City. The Americans have been doing this for years. #New Building”
“Toyota Center in need (of) major capital improvements. Stay tuned.”
“Tri-City deserves first-class facilities. Time for a new building.”
“Off to Cheney WA today to play the Chiefs in a beautiful facility on EWU campus. Time for a new building in Tri-City.”
“Let’s brand Tri-City with improvements not just thoughts and wishes.”
On Thursday, with his club entering the final season of its lease, Tory took to Instagram in an attempt to connect with Americans’ fans.
“The Toyota Center is in need of major capital improvements,” Tory wrote. “It’s time for a new building in the Tri-Cities, which is long overdue. We need public support to generate interest in change.
“Let’s brand the Tri-City community with improvement, not just thoughts and wishes.
“Tri-Cities deserves to have first-class facilities for first-class fans. We need our fans to be loud and proud. Support this idea by liking this message and sharing.
The 5,734-seat Toyota Center opened in 1988. After being privately owned, the City of Kennewick took it over in August of 2000. The Americans have played there since 1988-89, the team’s first season in the Tri-Cities.
The Regina Pats now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, having released G Dawson MacAuley, who has joined the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . The departure of MacAuley, who is from Prince Albert, leaves the Pats with Daniel Wapple and Tyler Fuhr as their goaltenders. . . . MacAuley was 0-1/5.86/.786 in 61 minutes of exhibition play. Last season, he played in 50 regular-season games with Regina, going 25-16-4/3.24/.899. . . . Wapple is from Saskatoon; Fuhr is from Sherwood Park, Alta. . . . The Pats are left with four 20s on their roster — F Patrick D’Amico, F Braden Christoffer, F Logan McVeigh and F Chandler Stephenson.
Also on Thursday, the Pats released F Dane Schioler, 18, who was a second-round bantam draft pick in 2011. He is expected to join the MJHL’s Portage Terriers.
The City of Medicine Hat’s public services committee has recommended that each ticket sold for a function in the under-construction Event Centre should carry a $2.15 user fee. The money would be applied to the cost of the facility. . . . The Medicine Hat Tigers, however, have come out against user fees. Gillian Slade of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.
Larry Stone, a sports columnist with the Seattle Times, is hardly alone when he admits to not having been much a supporter of MLB commissioner Bud Selig a few years ago. Over time, however, Stone has come around to the other side. . . . Why? He explains right here.
The iPod is dead. Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times has the obit right here.
Twelve years ago, Chris Nowinski was trying to carve out a career in the world of professional wrestling. Today, he is one of the most influential people in sports. . . . There is more right here.
Richard Kiel, known as Jaws by fans of the James Bond films, died this week at the age of 74. Of course, there was much more to the big man than a couple of Bond movies. . . . Bruce Weber of The New York Times has Kiel’s obituary .
The home of the Everett Silvertips got a new name this week. Formerly, it was known as Comcast Arena. Now it’s Xfinity Arena. Xfinity is a phone, cable and internet provider. . . . The Spokane Chiefs got down to 29 players by releasing F Taylor Ross from their roster. Ross, 16, was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. He will join the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos, who play out of Wilcox, Sask. The Chiefs are carrying three goaltenders, 11 defencemen and 15 forwards. Of that bunch, 10 are freshmen. . . . D Dylan Busenius, who played out his junior eligibility last season, will attend the U of Calgary and play for the Dinosaurs. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he split last season between the Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders. He played the first three-plus seasons of his WHL career with the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .
F Trent Lofthouse, 20, who was released from the Portland Winterhawks‘ camp, has joined the AHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. He had 15 points, including 10 goals, with the Vancouver Giants last season, and also has played with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals. . . . The Oil Barons also signed F Michael Sauer, who played last season with the midget Cleveland Barons of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. The Bemidji, Minn., native had 32 points, including 13 goals, in 35 games. Sauer, who turns 19 on Nov. 15, signed with the Tri-City Americans on Aug. 29, 2013, after having been placed on the WHL team’s protected list. He has yet to play a WHL regular-season game. . . .
F Kristian Ferletak of the Victoria Royals can expect a call from the WHL office after he took a major penalty for goaltender interference and a game misconduct in an exhibition game on Thursday night. He collided with Vancouver Giants G Ryan Kubic at 8:18 of the second period. Kubic finished with 17 saves in a 3-0 victory over the host Royals. . . . In last night’s other game, F Lucas Nickles scored for the fourth straight game as the Tri-City Americans beat the Spokane Chiefs 2-1 in OT in Cheney, Wash. F Brandon Carlo won the game with a PP goal just 46 seconds into OT.
It’s the time of year when WHL teams act like junior A clubs are farm teams. Players aren’t “reassigned” to junior A, they’re released.
— Brian Wiebe (@Brian_Wiebe)