December 6, 2012 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Calgary, AB - The 2012-13 WHL regular season enters its first weekend of play in December with 22 games on the schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
AROUND THE RINKS THIS WEEKEND...
December in the WHL means Teddy Bear/Toque Toss season is in full swing. Several more WHL Clubs will hold the hugely popular event this weekend, with the Tri-City Americans hosting their event on Thursday, the Brandon Wheat Kings, Edmonton Oil Kings, Kootenay Ice holding their events on Friday night, the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Victoria Royals hold theirs on Saturday, and the Regina Pats will host their event on Sunday. The Calgary Hitmen have set the bar for the Teddy Bear Toss event, having collected over 21,000 bears at their event last weekend.
In Calgary, AB, Saturday night is Shake Up The Dome night when the Hitmen take on the Edmonton Oil Kings. Fans will receive a box of macaroni to shake during the game, and to donate to the Calgary Food Bank. Fans are also encouraged to bring other non-perishable food items for donation.
In Everett, WA, the Silvertips continue their 10th annual Christmas House Holiday Drive at their weekend games versus the Portland Winterhawks and Vancouver Giants. The "Tips will be collecting toys and monetary donations to support Christmas House in their efforts to help local children from low-income families enjoy the season.
In Medicine Hat, AB, the Tigers welcome back one of their greatest alumni, Trevor Linden, on Saturday night when the Prince Albert Raiders come to town. Linden won two Memorial Cup titles with the Tigers in 1987 and '88, and went on to an outstanding NHL career.
In Moose Jaw, SK, the Warriors invite fans to join them in a Family Fun Skate following Saturday's contest versus the visiting Spokane Chiefs.
In Kennewick, WA, the Americans want to reward students who keep up the good grades with their "A' Is For Americans night on Sunday. Bring your successful report card or progress report to the Ams' office, and get a free ticket to Sunday's game versus the Portland Winterhawks.
In Vancouver, B.C., the Giants have launched their YouTube Challenge 2012 ahead of next weekend's Teddy Bear Toss event. The Giants have pledged that, if their YouTube Video gets to 150,000 views by Teddy Bear Toss day, the Giants and White Spot restaurants will donate $10,000 to the CKNW "Orphans' Fund and the Province Empty Stocking Fund.
CHL NETWORK RAISES OVER $175,000 DURING MOVEMBER CAMPAIGN...
Toronto, ON - The Canadian Hockey League today announced the results of a league-wide fundraising initiative where 50 teams consisting of 792 registered members raised $175,583 through their participation in Movember in support of men's health and prostate cancer awareness.
"Congratulations to all Movember participants for their energy and commitment that helped the Canadian Hockey League collectively raise over $175,000 this season for such a worthy cause," said CHL President David Branch. "It's been incredible to see the growth of this program in just two years through the outstanding support our players and teams receive from friends, family, sponsors and fans across the CHL."
11 WHL PLAYERS INVITED TO CANADA'S NATIONAL JUNIOR TEAM SELECTION CAMP...
Hockey Canada on Monday announced the 37 players who will attend the national junior team selection camp for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.
11 current WHL players and one WHL graduate are among the 37 invitees, including four defencemen selected among the top eight picks in the 2012 NHL Draft: Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels, Derrick Pouliot of the Portland Winterhawks, Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Griffin Reinhart of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
TWO WHL VETS HANG UP THEIR SKATES...
Two WHL players made the decision to retire from hockey this past week, with 19-year-old Tyler Alos of the Seattle Thunderbirds and 20-year-old Brock Hirsche of the Prince George Cougars both choosing to hang up the skates due to injuries.
The WHL wishes both Tyler and Brock the best of luck in all their future endeavors.
PORTLAND'S LEIPSIC, CALGARY'S DRIEDGER EARN MONTHLY WHL HONORS...
The WHL announced on Tuesday that Brendan Leipsic of the Portland Winterhawks has been named the Husky WHL Player of the Month for November while Chris Driedger of the Calgary Hitmen was named the Vaughn WHL Goalie of the Month for November.
Leipsic enjoyed a stellar month for Portland, netting nine goals and 30 points with a +16 rating over 12 games during November while helping the Hawks to an 11-1 record in that span.
Driedger posted an 8-1 record in nine starts while maintaining a 1.87 goals-against average and a 0.935 save percentage in that span for the Hitmen.
LETHBRIDGE'S YAKUBOWSKI EARNS WHL WEEKLY HONOR...
Jaimen Yakubowski of the Lethbridge Hurricanes was named the Denny's WHL Player of the Week for the week ending December 2nd.
The 18-year-old from Dalmeny, SK, netted five goals and three assists for eight points and a +2 rating in four games last week for the Hurricanes.
FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON SHAW...
Curtis Lazar and the Edmonton Oil Kings take on Greg Chase and the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night for the first of back-to-back meetings between the Central Division rivals this weekend.
Friday's match-up between the Oil Kings and Hitmen can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW and SHAW Direct channel 299 (7:00pm MST).
The Oil Kings are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Hurricanes in Lethbridge on Wednesday night for their first regulation setback since November 7th, and currently sit tied with the Hitmen for first place in the Central Division standings. The Oil Kings are 12-2-1-2 at home this season. Lazar has scored twice in each of his last two games.
The Hitmen are coming off a sweep of the Kootenay Ice in a home-and-home series, winning 4-1 in Calgary on Sunday then posting a 6-1 win in Cranbrook on Tuesday. The Hitmen currently hold a game in hand on the Oil Kings. Chase has also scored two goals in each of his last two games.
Friday's meeting marks the fourth encounter of the season between the Eastern Conference heavyweights. The Hitmen have won all three previous meetings versus the Oil Kings, including two visits to Edmonton.
KEY WEEKEND MATCH-UPS...
Tri-City Americans vs Portland Winterhawks
Friday, Dec. 7 @ Portland & Sunday, Dec. 9 @ Kennewick
Justin Feser and the Tri-City Americans take on Brendan Leipsic and the Portland Winterhawks for a pair of meetings this weekend between two top Western Conference clubs.
The Americans edged the Vancouver Giants 4-3 in Vancouver last Sunday to snap a three-game losing skid, and currently sit in fifth place in the Western Conference. The Ams penalty killing unit is operating at 89.3% efficiency on the road this season. Feser needs 18 more points to hit the 300-point plateau for his WHL career.
The Winterhawks pushed their winning streak to seven games with Tuesday's 7-5 win over the Everett Silvertips, and have won 19 of their last 20 games. The Hawks have scored a WHL-best 132 goals while allowing a WHL-low 61 goals this season. Leipsic scored four goals on Tuesday versus Everett, and has points in each of his last 16 games.
This weekend's meetings mark the third and fourth meetings of the season between the Ams and Winterhawks. The Winterhawks won the first two meetings.
The Ams host Seattle on Thursday and the Winterhawks visit Seattle on Saturday in between the head-to-head match-ups.
Red Deer Rebels @ Moose Jaw Warriors
Friday, Dec. 7
Morgan Rielly and the Moose Jaw Warriors host Matt Dumba and the Red Deer Rebels in a meeting of two high-end defencemen hoping to be team mates on Canada's World Junior team later this month.
The Warriors are back home after closing out a B.C. Division trek with a 3-2 record, and currently sit tied with Swift Current for second place in the East Division. Rielly, a product of Vancouver, B.C., ranks third among all WHL defencemen in scoring with 26 points. He will head to Canada's national junior team selection camp next week.
The Rebels are coming off a 5-1 win in Regina over the Pats on Wednesday night for their eighth consecutive victory. Dumba, a Calgary, AB, product, ranks fourth on the Rebels in scoring with six goals and 16 points this season. He will join Rielly among the 12 blue liners battling for a spot on Canada's World Junior team.
Friday's meeting is the third of the season between the Warriors and Rebels. The Rebels won the first two meetings, with both games being decided in a shootout.
WEEKEND SCHEDULE -Dec. 7 - Dec. 9
All times local
WATCH WHL HOCKEY LIVE ON WHL LIVE ON DEMAND
Friday, Dec. 7
Spokane @ Brandon; 7:30
Calgary @ Edmonton; 7:00 **Live on SHAW**
Seattle @ Everett; 7:35
Prince George @ Kamloops; 7:00
Prince Albert @ Kootenay; 7:00
Medicine Hat @ Lethbridge; 7:00
Red Deer @ Moose Jaw; 7:00
Tri-City @ Portland; 7:00
Swift Current @ Vancouver; 7:30
Saturday, Dec. 8
Red Deer @ Brandon; 7:30
Edmonton @ Calgary; 7:00
Vancouver @ Everett; 7:05
Prince George @ Kelowna; 7:05
Kootenay @ Lethbridge; 7:00
Prince Albert @ Medicine Hat; 7:30
Spokane @ Moose Jaw; 7:00
Regina @ Saskatoon; 7:05
Portland @ Seattle; 7:05
Swift Current @ Victoria; 7:05
Sunday, Dec. 9
Saskatoon @ Regina; 2:00
Portland @ Tri-City; 5:05
Kamloops @ Vancouver; 4:00