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WHL This Week: Looking Ahead...

March 11, 2010 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release

Calgary, AB - The 2009-10 Western Hockey League regular season its final weekend of play, with plenty of intense action in store as teams prepare for post-season hockey.

In Chilliwack, B.C., it's Fan Appreciation night on Friday when the Bruins host the visiting Portland Winterhawks. Vancouver Canucks' forward Mason Raymond will be at the game, and will meet 'n' greet a few lucky fans.

In Everett, WA, the Silvertips will be holding a Snohomish County Law Enforcement Memorial Fundraiser at their game versus the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday. Fifty percent of ticket sales will go to benefit the fund which is designed to provide assistance to the spouse and/or children of any officer in Snohomish County killed in the line of duty. Also on Friday, fans will be able to take in a performance from Michael Sicoly at the Ice Box at Comcast Arena prior to the contest. Sicoly has been a regular performer of the national anthem at 'Tips and Seattle Mariners games.

In Medicine Hat, AB, the Tigers are Sticking it to Cancer on Saturday night when they take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Tigers will be using pink sticks during the first period of the game, which will be autographed and auctioned off with proceeds going to breast cancer research through the Canadian Cancer Society in Medicine Hat. The Tigers will also salute their loyal supporters with Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, where fans have the chance to take home some great prizes.

In Prince Albert, SK, the Raiders will welcome Saskatchewan Roughriders' stars Darian Durant and Weston Dressler at their contest on Saturday versus the Saskatoon Blades. In addition, the Mayors of Prince Albert and Saskatoon will battle in a 1st intermission shootout for the annual CTV Mayors' Challenge.

Other WHL teams will be hosting Fan Appreciation nights, including the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Vancouver Giants.

BLAZERS EXTEND CHARRON'S CONTRACT...

Kamloops, BC - Craig Bonner, Vice President and General Manager of the Kamloops Blazers Hockey Club, is pleased to announce that the Club has signed Head Coach Guy Charron to a two year contract extension.

Charron took over the Blazers on November 23, 2009 and has since guided the team to a 21-19-0-3 record, including a spot in the 2010 WHL playoffs.

FORMER WHL NETMINDER DUSTIN BUTLER NAMED CANADA WEST / HUSKY WHL GRAD OF THE MONTH...

EDMONTON - The Canada West Universities Athletic Association and Western Hockey League are pleased to announce that Calgary Dinos goaltender Dustin Butler has been named the Canada West men's hockey Husky-WHL Graduate of the Month for February 2010.

Playing out of his hometown, the sophomore goaltender is the fourth different winner of the award for 2009-10 and first from the University of Calgary Dinos to win the award this season, the 21st year of HUSKY-WHL awards. The award is presented monthly to a graduate of the Western Hockey League who is playing on one of the seven CWUAA teams. Each winner, between October and March, receives a cheque for $500 from the WHL to go towards the cost of his education and a gift from HUSKY.

WHL STARS SCHENN AND HARPER INK NHL CONTRACTS...

The Los Angeles Kings have signed center Brayden Schenn to a three-year entry level contract, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi announced Thursday.

Schenn, 18, was selected by the Kings in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. He played in one game with the Kings this season (December 14 at Vancouver) after signing a One-Day NHL Regular Season Amateur Tryout Agreement.

Everett Silvertips Vice President / General Manager Doug Soetaert announced Thursday that forward Shane Harper has signed an entry-level professional contract with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.

Harper, 20, leads the Silvertips in scoring with 74 points on 39 goals and 35 assists. Standing 5'11 and weighing 193 pounds, the Valencia, California native has spent all five years of his Western Hockey League career with the Silvertips and is the club's all-time leader with 329 games played and 97 goals scored. With a first period goal in a 5-2 win at Kamloops at Tuesday, he surpassed John Lammers with his 39th goal of the season and now holds the Silvertips' record for goals scored in one season. Harper has now played in 208 consecutive games, also a club record.

FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY, LIVE ON SHAW...

Craig Cunningham and the Vancouver Giants (40-24-2-3) welcome Brandon McMillan and the Kelowna Rockets (33-31-2-4) for a B.C. Division match-up on Friday night.

Friday's contest between the Giants and Rockets can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW (7:30pm PST).

The Giants wrapped up a 10-game road trip with a 6-0 shutout victory in Chilliwack over the Bruins on Sunday, snapping a four-game losing skid, and are already locked into second place in the Western Conference. Friday's game marks the Giants' first game at Pacific Coliseum since January 3rd. Cunningham leads the Giants with 94 points this season.

The Rockets are coming off a 5-2 loss in Spokane to the Chiefs on Tuesday night, putting an end to a three-game winning streak, and currently sit in sixth place in the Western Conference. The Rockets have lost five of their last six road games. McMillan scored for the fifth time in his last six games with a marker on Tuesday night in Spokane.

It's the eighth and final regular-season meeting between the Rockets and Giants. Vancouver won four of the first seven meetings versus Kelowna.

FRIDAY NIGHT WHL HOCKEY ON FSN...

Kyle Beach and the Spokane Chiefs (43-21-3-2) host Brendan Shinnimin and the Tri-City Americans (46-21-1-2) for the first game of a critical home-and-home series between the U.S. Division rivals.

Friday night's contest can be seen throughout the Pacific Northwest on FSN (Tape delayed until after Pac-10 basketball).

The Chiefs are coming off a 5-2 win over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday for their third straight victory and their 12th win in 14 games, and currently sit four points back of the Ams for the U.S. Division and Western Conference lead. The Chiefs, who are also two points back of Everett for third spot in the Conference, hold a game in hand on the Americans. Beach leads all WHL players with 52 goals and 12 game-winning goals.

The Americans snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday, and currently hold a two-point lead on Everett for first place in the Conference. If the Ams win both of their remaining two games - both versus Spokane - they will capture their third straight U.S. Division crown, regardless of what the Silvertips do. Shinnimin drew three assists in Wednesday's win over the T-Birds, giving him 80 points on the season.

It's the 11th meeting of the season between the Ams and Chiefs. Spokane has won seven of 10 meetings versus Tri-Cities this season, including four of five meetings in Spokane.

SUNDAY WHL HOCKEY, LIVE ON SHAW...

The Calgary Hitmen host the Red Deer Rebels for a match-up of Central division foes on the last day of the 2009-10 WHL regular season.

Sunday's contest between the Rebels and Hitmen can be seen live throughout western Canada on SHAW (2:00pm MST).

The Hitmen have already clinched the Central Division title for a third straight season, and are gunning for their second straight Scotty Munro trophy for having the WHL's best regular-season record.

The Rebels have clinched a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, ending a two-year absence from post-season hockey, and are looking to cement their position in the Conference standings.

It's the sixth meeting of the season between the Rebels and Hitmen. The Hitmen won four of five meetings with the Rebels this season, but the Rebels managed a 5-4 shootout victory in their last trip to Calgary on February 24th.

The Hitmen host the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Rebels host the Kootenay Ice on Friday night prior to Sunday's regular-season finale.

KEY WEEKEND MATCHUPS...

Calgary Hitmen vs Edmonton Oil Kings

Friday, March 12th

Michael Stone and the Calgary Hitmen (50-17-1-2) host TJ Foster and the Edmonton Oil Kings (16-41-4-9) for the back half of a home-and-home series between the Central Division combatants.

The Hitmen defeated the Oil Kings 4-1 in Edmonton on Wednesday for their seventh straight victory, and currently hold a three-point lead over the Brandon Wheat Kings for first place in the Eastern Conference and top spot in the overall WHL standings. The Hitmen will capture the Scotty Munro trophy for a second straight year if they defeat the Oil Kings on Friday or the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday, or if the Wheat Kings drop a point from their remaining two games.

The Oil Kings suffered their sixth straight defeat with Wednesday's loss to the visiting Hitmen, and will finish the season no better than 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The Oil Kings have won just six games on the road this season. Foster (10g-27a) ranks third on the team in scoring with 37 points.

It's the sixth and final regular-season meeting between the Oil Kings and Hitmen. Calgary is a perfect 5-0 versus Edmonton this season, and boasts a 16-3 all-time record versus the Oil Kings.

Tri-City Americans vs Spokane Chiefs

Friday, Mar. 12 at Spokane; Saturday, Mar. 13 at Kennewick

The Tri-City Americans and Spokane Chiefs meet up for a massive home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday that could go a long way in determining who wins the U.S. Division and Western Conference regular-season titles.

The Americans hold a two-point lead over the Everett Silvertips and a four-point lead over the Chiefs for first place in the Division and Conference, but the 'Tips and Chiefs both have a game in hand on the Ams.

If the Ams sweep the two-game series versus the Chiefs, they will finish first in both the Division and Conference as, even though the Silvertips could tie the Ams on points, they would lose the tiebreaker by having less wins than the Ams.

If the Chiefs win both games, they will be tied with the Ams, and have an extra game on Sunday versus the Silvertips. The Chiefs, however, would require the Silvertips to drop at least two more points while also beating the 'Tips on Sunday to win the Division and Conference. Even if the Chiefs and 'Tips were tied on points and had the same number of victories, the 'Tips would win the tiebreaker with the better head-to-head record versus the Chiefs.

For the Silvertips to win the Division and Conference, they would require the Ams to drop at least one point from their two games versus the Chiefs, while also winning two of their remaining three games as finishing tied on points with the Ams would not be sufficient.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE - March 12 - 14

All times local

WATCH WHL HOCKEY LIVE ON WHL WEB TV

Friday, Mar. 12

Edmonton @ Calgary; 7:00

Portland @ Chilliwack; 7:00

Seattle @ Everett; 7:35

Prince George @ Kamloops; 7:00

Medicine Hat @ Lethbridge; 7:00

Kootenay @ Red Deer; 7:30

Brandon @ Regina; 7:00

Prince Albert @ Saskatoon; 7:05

Tri-City @ Spokane; 7:00 **On FSN**

Kelowna @ Vancouver; 7:30 **Live on SHAW**

Saturday, Mar. 13

Regina @ Brandon; 7:30

Chilliwack @ Everett; 7:05

Prince George @ Kelowna; 7:00

Edmonton @ Kootenay; 7:00

Lethbridge @ Medicine Hat; 7:30

Saskatoon @ Prince Albert; 7:00

Portland @ Seattle; 7:05

Moose Jaw @ Swift Current; 7:30

Spokane @ Tri-City; 7:05

Kamloops @ Vancouver; 7:00

Sunday, Mar. 14

Red Deer @ Calgary; 2:00 **Live on SHAW**

Swift Current @ Moose Jaw; 7:00

Vancouver @ Seattle; 5:05

Everett @ Spokane; 6:00


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Western Hockey League Stories from March 11, 2010


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