F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) has signed a contract with Prostějov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Contract terms weren’t announced. This season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 16 games with Polonia Bytom (Poland, Ekstraliga). . . .
D Jindřich Barák (Red Deer, 2009-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Skalica (Slovakia, Extraliga) after requesting his release from Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga).
Barák played for Skalica each of the past two seasons. With Sparta this season, he had one goal in 12 games.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Vancouver Giants have signed Claude Noel as the fifth head coach in franchise history.
The WHL team made the announcement via a press release Sunday evening, during halftime of the Grey Cup, the annual championship game of the Canadian Football League that this year was held in Vancouver.
“We’re excited to have Claude join our organization,” Giants general manager Scott Bonner said in the news release. “He has worked extensively with Ken Hitchcock, who is one of the best coaches in WHL history, and with Claude coming from the NHL, we know he’s one of the top coaches in the world. We’re confident that he can get us back on track.”
Noel attended the Giants’ game in Calgary on Saturday night. The Giants snapped a six-game losing skid, beating the Hitmen, 6-3. The Giants next play on Friday when they entertain the Portland Winterhawks.
The news release didn’t give any indication of contract length or terms.
The Giants fired head coach Troy Ward on Wednesday. He was 25 games into a three-year contract and had a 9-16-0 record at the time. Assistant coach Matt Erhart was named interim head coach and the Giants were 1-2-0 with him running the bench.
Noel, 59, has twice been an NHL head coach, with the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets. He was 80-79-18 with the Jets when they fired him in January. During his time in Winnipeg, he coached former Giants like Evander Kane, Spencer Machacek, Kenndal McArdle and James Wright.
In a short stint as the Blue Jackets’ head coach in 2009-10, Noel was 10-8-6.
A native of Kirkland Lake, Ont., Noel has a lot of coaching experience but has never been a head coach at the major junior level. He spent two seasons (1988-90) as an assistant coach under head coach Bert Templeton with the OHL’s North Bay Centennials.
Steve Ewen of the Vancouver Province tries to piece together the Noel hiring right here.
The BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies are bringing in Craig Didmon to replace general manager and head coach Brad Knight. The move wll be made official today at a news conference. The Grizzlies are 11-10-0-5, good for fourth spot in the Island Division, four points out of third and five points out of second. . . . Didmon, who is taking over on an interim basis, had been with the Grizzlies, but he resigned in June. . . . Independent Sports News has the story right here.
Bob Woods, the general manager and head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, learned a lesson on Saturday night in Moose Jaw. We’ll never know if it may have cost his side a 4-2 loss to the Warriors. . . . Daniel Nugent-Bowman of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has the story right here explaining how Blades F Alex Forsberg had to leave a game in the middle of the second period, even though he was healthy and hadn’t taken a penalty.
The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Linden Penner, a 19-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta. Penner, who was a 10th-round selection by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2010 bantam draft, had a goal and three assists in 24 games with the Warriors. . . . The Warriors had acquired Penner from the Calgary Hitmen on Sept. 24, giving up a conditional sixth round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. Perhaps the draft pick was payable if Penner was on the Warriors’ roster on Dec. 1.
The Colorado Avalanche have recalled F Colin Smith from the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters and he could make his NHL debut tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Smith, 21, is from Edmonton. He had 271 points, including 102 goals, in 272 regular-season WHL games with the Kamloops Blazers. The Avalanche selected him in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2012 draft. . . . Last season, his first as a pro, he had 34 points, eight of them goals, in 76 games with Lake Erie. This season, he has four goals and seven assists in 16 games.
F Mason Shaw of the Medicine Hat Tigers won’t play again this season. Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News reports that Shaw “will undergo season-ending surgery this week.” . . . Shaw, a 16-year-old from Lloydminster, Alta., was a second-round pick by the Tigers in the 2013 bantam draft. In his first WHL season, he has three goals and six assists in 23 games.
In Everett, D Tyler King scored at 3:08 of OT as the Kootenay Ice erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the Silvertips, 4-3. . . . Kootenay trailed 3-0 early in the third period when F Tim Bozon scored his ninth goal at 1:35. . . . Ice D Rinat Valiev got his side to within a goal with his fourth goal at 5:40, via a PP. . . . D Tanner Faith scored his first goal of the season at 13:52 of the third to force OT. . . . F Nikita Scherback (bruised thigh) returned to the Everett lineup and had his 12th goal and an assist. . . . The Silvertips also had F Remi Laurencelle (ankle) back in the lineup. . . . Kootenay F Sam Reinhart had his point streak snapped at 10 games. . . . The Ice is 9-2-0 with Reinhart in the lineup. . . . The Ice (13-15-0) has won two in a row. . . . Everett is 16-5-4. . . . Taylor Rocca of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman has more right here on the Ice’s weekend. . . .
In Kent, Wash., the Seattle Thunderbirds scored three PP goals and beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-1. . . . Only the game’s first goal, from Seattle D Turner Ottenbreit, didn’t come via the PP. . . . F Ryan Gropp scored twice for Seattle, giving him 12 goals this season. Gropp played six games without a goal after last scoring on Nov. 8. . . . F Justin Hickman had two assists for Seattle. . . . F Calder Brooks had Spokane’s lone goal, his 11th. . . . Seattle D Sahvan Khaira gave his side a 3-1 lead with his first goal at 10:03 of the second period. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Mathew Barzal (knee) and D Shea Theodore (undisclosed). . . . The Thunderbirds improved to 11-12-4, while the Chiefs (14-8-3) had a five-game winning streak end.
Just watched a midget game with a total of 9 coaches on the benches. Why is this necessary?
— Mike Fraser (@MikeFraser29)