Flynn, IceRays battling the storm … King crowns Warriors … Royals recruit Legien

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F Brett Ferguson (Red Deer, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). He played only two exhibition games last season with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus). He was injured, had hip surgery and missed the rest of the season.

When Brad Flynn was apprenticing as a hockey coach, he learned about and handled a lot of things. You can bet that dealing with a hurricane wasn’t one of them.

Flynn is preparing for his second season as the head coach of the NAHL’s Corpus Christi, Texas, IceRays. But, as you will be aware, Corpus Christi, a city of more than 325,000 people, spent some time late last week directly in the path of Hurricane Harvey.

“Nothing has prepared me for this training camp,” Flynn told Taking Note via email on Tuesday.

The tropical storm did veer away, reaching land about 15 miles northeast of downtown Corpus Christi, where the IceRays’ home arena, the American Bank Center, is located. However, it still left behind some damage in the form of downed trees and power lines, broken signs, and some damage to homes and businesses.

Flynn and the IceRays were to have opened training camp on Friday. Of course, that didn’t happen and, in fact, has yet to take place. For the past few days, he has had his hands full with, first, making sure the players and their billets were safe, moving most of them to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and, second, getting everyone back to Corpus Christi.

In Flynn’s words:

“We had 10 players on the road still coming in and I got them to hunker in the closest city outside the hurricane’s path. The other 20 were here and needed to be evacuated by billets. I believe billeting in junior hockey is one of the most under appreciated aspect. Our billets evacuated and took players they had known less than 24 hours to safety even though we offered to make arrangements.

“Everyone is returning to the city (Wednesday). Our ice isn’t ready and the rink hasn’t been opened but we will begin some off-ice and plenty of community service to help rebuild our city.”

Flynn simply couldn’t say enough good things about the IceRays’ billet families.

“Our billets, many of whom billet the Corpus Christi Hooks minor league baseball team, are the real MVPs of this whole situation,” he wrote. “We have led the league in attendance the last four years. . . . We are going to be giving to our community like they support us through thick and thin.”

The ice had been going into the arena early last week, but the ice-making equipment had to be shut off with the storm approaching. So the ice-making process will have to be done over again once the all-clear is given.

If you are interested, Flynn did an interview that is available right here at nahl.com.

He also told Taking Note: “If people would like to help hurricane victims, they may donate to the Red Cross.” You are able to donate right here.

Before taking over as the head coach in Corpus Christi, Flynn, 32, spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He was an assistant coach with the IceRays in 2014-15 and filled the same post with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan in 2015-16.

Flynn’s father, Danny, is a veteran coach who is in his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.

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The WHL exhibition season got rolling on Tuesday night, as the visiting Swift Current Broncos dumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-0. . . . F Ben King, the 13th overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, scored three times, two of them on the PP as the Broncos went 3-for-7 with the man advantage. . . . F Logan Barlage, the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft, added a goal and two assists. . . . G Joel Hofer (12 saves in 30:39) and G Ethan Hein (eight saves in 29:21) shared the shutout. . . . The Warriors got 23 stops from G Ethan Fitzgerald. . . . The teams meet again Thursday, this time in Swift Current.

F Nic Holowko continued to show some offensive flair in the Kamloops Blazers’ training camp as he scored three times, the last one providing Team White with a 5-4 victory over Team Blue in the team’s annual intrasquad game. . . . With Sandman Centre being used as a wildfire evacuee centre, the game was played at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre. . . . The Blazers will play their two home exhibition games there, too, starting Friday against the Victoria Royals. . . . Earlier, Holowko, 20, twice had hat tricks in camp scrimmages. . . . In three WHL seasons, Holowko has scored five, six and seven goals. . . . G Max Palaga, who is competing for a spot backing up Dylan Ferguson, wasn’t available after suffering an undisclosed injury at a morning practice. . . . Veteran forwards Quinn Benjafield and Travis Walton also sat this one out. . . . Tip of the hat to Jon Keen, the radio voice of the Blazers, for the info.

F Jared Legien, who was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft, is in training camp with the Victoria Royals. The Kootenay Ice, who selected the native of Pilot Butte, Sask., dropped him from its list after he scored four goals and added four assists in 69 games in 2015-16. The Royals added him to their protected list and general manager Cam Hope convinced him to come to camp. . . . Last season, with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, Legien, who turns 19 on Sept. 2, put up 30 goals and 26 assists in 51 games, showing that he still has the offensive touch. . . . In his bantam draft year, Legien had 40 goals and 26 assists in 26 games with the bantam AA Prairie Storm. . . . In 84 WHL games, he has four goals and five assists. . . . Why did he agree to report to Victoria? “I did not want to look back with any regrets,” Legien told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist. “There is a lot of talent on this team and I feel I can complement it.”

The Saskatoon Blades have signed G Koen MacInnes, who was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Burnaby, B.C., MacInnes played with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Tier 1 bantam team last season, helping the team to a Western Canadian championship. . . . He is expected to see some exhibition action with the Blades before returning home to play for the BWC’s Elite 15 side. . . . Saskatoon now has four goaltenders under contract, with MacInnes joining Logan Flodell, 20; Joel Grzybowski, 18; and Nolan Maier, 16.

The Victoria Royals have signed D Kaden Reinders, 15, and D Remy Aquilon, 16, to WHL contracts. . . . Reinders, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Last season, with the bantam AAA Grande Prairie Storm, he had four goals and 15 assists in 33 games. . . . Aquilon, from Kelowna, was added to the Rockets’ list earlier this year. He played last season with the Pursuit of Excellence Elite 15s, putting up four goals and 12 assists in 28 games.

The Everett Silvertips have signed F Reece Vitelli to a WHL contract. From Winnipeg, he was a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Last season, with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild, he had nine goals and 19 assists in 36 games. He added three goals and six assists in 11 playoff games as the Wild won the Manitoba Midget Hockey League championship. . . . The previous season, he 32 goals and 37 assists in 34 games with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Warriors.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are without two of their veteran players as training camp heads towards the start of the exhibition schedule. D Brennan Riddle and F Ryan Bowen are both out indefinitely with undisclosed injuries. . . . Richard Gibson, writing at dubnetwork.ca, reports that both have “upper-body injuries.” . . . Riddle, 20, is preparing for his fourth WHL season. He had four goals and 14 assists in 68 games with the Hurricanes last season, after being acquired from the Prince Albert Raiders with whom he had played the previous two seasons. . . . Bowen, who will turn 19 on Dec. 10, was acquired last season from the Moose Jaw Warriors. He had six goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Hurricanes, after putting up five goals and seven assists in 18 games with Moose Jaw.

F Tristen Robins has signed with the Regina Pats, according to bdnmb.ca. From Brandon, Robins was a fourth-round selection by the Pats in the 2017 bantam draft. He will turn 16 on Nov. 15. . . . Two seasons ago, he totalled 51 goals and 40 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Wheat Kings. . . . Last season, with the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg, Robins had five goals and eight assists in 25 games. . . . He is the son of former G Trevor Robins (Saskatoon, Brandon, 1989-93).

The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed three more players — D Drae Gardiner and F Cameron Sterling, both of whom played last season with the minor midget AAA CBHA Blackhawks, and F Levi Thiessen. . . . Gardiner, 16, was an eighth-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. Last season, he had 14 goals and 29 assists in 36 games with the Blackhawks. . . . Sterling, a list player, will turn 16 on Sept. 12. He had 28 goals and 35 assists in 36 games with the Blackhawks. . . . Thiessen, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, played last season with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Hawks. He had 27 goals and 34 assists in 30 games.

If you’re looking for information on WHL teams and their training camp rosters, visit Small Thoughts At Large, the blog maintained by Alan Caldwell. . . . You will find it all right here.

If you would like to contact Taking Note with information, have a question or just feel like commenting on something, feel free to send an email to greggdrinnan@gmail.com. I’m also on Twitter (@gdrinnan).

ICYMI: Graham Tuer's interview from the 2017 #SHHOF Induction Ceremony in North Battleford. Rest in peace, Graham. 💚 pic.twitter.com/TYXXYqYviA

— SHHOF (@saskhockeyhall) August 29, 2017

The post Flynn, IceRays battling the storm … King crowns Warriors … Royals recruit Legien appeared first on Taking Note.

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