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2018-19 Manitoba Bisons/USports Thread

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This season's new thread is starting a lot later than usual. Not only the Bisons, but the whole CW, are off to a slow start on new announcements. Well, that changes a bit because the schedule came out today. So I open with a 2-parter. This post has the links, which will be updated as the season draws closer, and the next one brings us up-to-date with announcements.

League Sites:
U Sports Men's Hockey Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Standings : Schedule/Results : Playoffs : U-Cup
Canada West Men's Hockey Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Schedule/Results/Links : History and Records : Media Stats
OUA Men's Hockey Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Schedule/Results
AUS Men's Hockey Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Schedule/Results
ACAC Men's Hockey Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Schedule/Results : CCAA History : ACAC Hockey
BCIHL Site - Tw - FB
... sub-links : Schedule

Canada West Team Sites:
Alberta Golden Bears - Tw - FB
Calgary Dinos - Tw - FB
Lethbridge Pronghorns - Tw - FB
Manitoba Bisons - Tw - FB
Mount Royal Cougars - Tw - FB
Regina Cougars - Tw - FB
Saskatchewan Huskies - main - Tw - FB
UBC Thunderbirds - Tw - FB

AUS Team Sites:
Acadia Axemen
Dalhousie Tigers
Moncton Aigles Bleus- Google Translate
New Brunswick Varsity Reds
UPEI Panthers
St. Francis-Xavier X-men
Saint Mary's Huskies

OUA-West Team Sites:
Brock Badgers
Guelph Gryphons
Lakehead Thunderwolves
Laurier Golden Hawks
Ryerson Rams
Toronto Varsity Blues
Waterloo Warriors - Tw - FB
Western Ontario Mustangs
Windsor Lancers
York Lions

OUA-East Team Sites:
Carleton Ravens
Laurentian Voyageurs
Nipissing Lakers
Ottawa Geegees
Queen's Golden Gaels
RMC Palladins
UOIT Ridgebacks

RSEQ (OUA-East) Team Sites:
Concordia Stingers
McGill Redmen
UQTR Patriotes  - Google Translate  - Tw - FB

ACAC Team Sites:
Augustana Vikings
Briercrest Clippers
Concordia Thunder
MacEwan Griffins
Portage Voyageurs
Red Deer Kings
SAIT Trojans

BCIHL Team Sites:
Eastern Washington Eagles
Selkirk Saints
Simon Fraser Clan - Tw
Trinity Western Spartans
Vancouver Island Mariners
Victoria Vikings

Media Sites/Blogs:
Canadian University Sports Network
SportsNet CIS Page - SNU
The Attacking Zone
Boxscore News - CIS Hockey Page
Winnipeg Hockey Talk
Independent Sports News
Hockey Scene - AUS
Ryerson Rams Hockey Alumni
RedmenHockey.com (McGill)
Horns Hockey Alumni (Lethbridge)
Golden Bears Hockey Alumni (Alberta)
Bison Men's Hockey (Manitoba unofficial)
Bison Men's Hockey Twitter (Manitoba unofficial)
Hockey Blog in Canada (includes Manitoba)
The Manitoban (student paper)
The Varsity (Toronto student paper)
Regina Cougar Hockey Alumni

Online video/audio:
CanadaWest.tv - YareTV link
CITR.ca - UBC radio
Rock 94 FM - Lakehead away games
UMFM.com - occasional Bison games
SSN Canada

Canada West stats and data:
CW LeagueStats - Media Stats
CW LeagueStats - Standings
CW LeagueStats - Daily Schedule
CW LeagueStats - Rosters
CW LeagueStats - Skaters' Stats
CW LeagueStats - Goalies' Stats
CW LeagueStats - Team Schedules
CW Website Season Schedule - links to summaries
CW Website Stats
CW Hockey Tech Daily Schedule
CW Hockey Tech Stats

Elite Prospects : CIS Page - individual player stats on everybody
Internet Hockey Data Base (IHDB) : CWUAA Page - like Elite Prospects
USports/CIS Stats - 2009-10 to 2017-18
USports/CIS Schedule/Results - 2009-10 to 2017-18
USports/CIS Standings - 2010 to 2018
USports/CIS Playoff Schedule/Results - 2010 to 2017
AUS Archive
OUA LeagueStat
ACAC LeagueStat (inactive link)
Bob Adams' Archives - CIS hockey from 1995-96 to 2008-09
Wikia - U Sports
... sub-links : University Cup
Wikia - CWUAA
... sub-links : GPAC : WIAA : WCIAU
Wikia - OUA/OUAA
... sub-links : QUAA : OSLC : OIAA : QOAA : CIAU Central
Wikia - North American Championship
Wikia - Universiade
Atlantic Canadian Hockey History

Old threads:
OHT34 2009-10
OHT34 2010-11
OHT34 2011-12
OHT35 2012-13
OHT36 2013-14
OHT36 2014-15
OHT36 2015-16
OHT36 2016-17
OHT36 2017-18
Manitoba Bisons 2007-08
Manitoba Bisons 2008-09
Manitoba Bisons 2009-10
Manitoba Bisons 2010-11
Manitoba Bisons 2011-12
Manitoba Bisons 2012-13
Manitoba Bisons 2013-14
Manitoba Bisons 2014-15
Manitoba Bisons 2015-16
Manitoba Bisons 2016-17
Manitoba Bisons 2017-18
2018-19 Exhibition Schedule

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The Bisons also played in the UK last year and have twice gone to Germany/Italy as well. It is a self-funded tour and they had just 15 skaters and 2 goaltenders on tour this time.   On paper the team is weaker than in recent years, having lost 4 eligible to return players. (Two went pro and the others were all-star calibre.) Last weekend's 4th line was seldom used and were all rookies. The team has a lot of smaller players now, but they might do better with US-style officials than is t



There has not been as much off-season news released thus far in 2018-19 as is normal. But today we got the new schedule, and the Bisons also have their exhibition games on their page.




First, here are the off-season links from the CW:


● [Puck drops on 2018-19 men’s season Sept. 28, women’s opens Oct. 5]

[2018-19 Conference Schedule]



The men's season starts a week earlier than the women's because on the weekend of October 5-6 the annual deluge of games against NCAA teams will take place. The passes for CanadaWest.tv will go on sale June 21st.




And here are the Bison links:


● [Bisons reveal 2018-19 schedule, will start season on the road vs. Calgary]

[2018-19 Team Schedule]

[Former head coach Barry Trotz wins first Stanley Cup]

[Golf fundraiser invites golfers, sponsors to June 15 tournament]

[UND 2018-19 Schedule]

The Bisons open on the road in the Town of Bedrock against the Dinosaurs on September 28-29. The home opener follows October 12-13 against the Evil Monkeys, dubbed "Pandas" by the folks running the website.


There are two "conference byes" early on. The October 5-6 weekend is to accommodate NCAA exhibition games. The Herd will be off to the Ralph to face the UND No-Longer-Fighting Sioux on Saturday, October 6th. That game is not on the Bison schedule, but is on the UND schedule. The second conference bye is November 2-3.


One thing I don't like is that the Bisons have road series on either side of the second bye week, meaning 4 weeks between home games.


The season starts with a trip to the UK, as it did last year. The golf tournament in the above link is a fundraiser for the trip. Three games are announced, but the golf tournament announcement indicated that there would once again be four games against the same three opponents. Here's the tour schedule thus far:


Aug 22 Manitoba Bisons at Braehead Clan

Aug 25 Manitoba Bisons at Belfast Giants

Aug 26 Manitoba Bisons at Belfast Giants


I expect an announcement of a game against the Edinburgh Capitals to be played August 23rd.


Upon returning to North America, the Bisons will play in Regina on September 14-15 and then Regina will visit here on September 21-22. The Regina trip is presently listed as games against Regina, however they usually face two different teams in a tournament format.


The story on former Bison coach Barry Trotz winning the Stanley Cup adds a level of conjecture. Maybe for old times sake he'll do some work with the Bisons until the NHL firing season begins. Wouldn't that be something?




Sept 21-22 v Regina Cougars (exhibition)

Oct 12-13 v Alberta Golden Bears

Oct 19-20 v Regina Cougars

Nov 16-17 v UBC Thunderbirds

Nov 30-Dec 1 v Calgary Dinosaurs

Jan 11-12 v Mount Royal Cougars

Jan 25-26 v Lethbridge Pronghorns

Feb 8-9 v Saskatchewan Huskies




As we enter the last half of June, there are no official recruiting announcements anywhere in the CW. Here are the various links on other topics:

[Alberta Schedule] (not updated)

[Calgary Schedule] (regular season only)

[Lethbridge Schedule] (2017-18)

[MRU Schedule] (2017-18)

[Regina Schedule] (regular season only)

[Saskatchewan Schedule] (2017-18)

[UBC Schedule] (2017-18)

Alta: [Ian Herbers returning to coach Golden Bears Hockey]

Alta: [Bears join Thunderbirds, Canucks and Jets for Young Stars Classic]

Alta: [Bears hockey alumnus Derek Ryan captures IIHF bronze]

Alta: [Clare Drake celebration of life to be webcast on Canada West TV]

Alta: [Canada West final rematch kicks off 2018-19 men's hockey season]

Cal: [Puck drops on CW season on Sept. 28]

Leth: [Pronghorn Family mourns the passing of former captain Hirsche]

Leth: [Laplante’s gift to propel Pronghorn men’s hockey program]

MRU: [Lanigan signs ATO with Komets]

MRU: [Hockey seasons open with Battle of the Cougars]

Reg: [Cougars’ 2018-19 Canada West schedule unveiled]

Sask: [Huskie hockey season tickets launched]

Sask: [Schedules released for first season in Merlis Belsher Place]

UBC: [Former T-Bird Anthony Bardaro named Alps Hockey League MVP]

UBC: [‘Birds join Canucks, Jets and Golden Bears for 2018 Young Stars Classic]

UBC: [Canada West unveils 2018-19 men’s and women’s hockey schedules]

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UMFM will have all Bison hockey men's and women's home games on their 2nd stream, if not on the 1st stream and 101.5 itself. And they will also be the audio for CanadaWest.TV broadcasts. We can now renew subscriptions, by the way.


I quote:


Starting this season, the UMFM broadcasts will be simulcast over the Canada West TV broadcasts! There will be some modifications, but all the graphic overlays and information present on Canada West TV will also be discussed on the radio broadcast. In its most basic of explanations, Canada West TV and UMFM will have the exact same broadcast going out over the respective mediums. This way, listeners on both mediums will get the knowledgeable information and reporting that UMFM provides on the radio broadcasts that was previously unavailable on the Canada West TV broadcasts. As you probably know, UMFM does a lot of work in getting stories about the players last season to ensure high-quality broadcasts, and the feedback received by Bisons Sports suggested that this was missing on the Canada West TV broadcasts.


Hockey Blog In Canada: It's Banner Time

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Although not confirmed on the team webpage, Elite Prospects has sourced out confirmation of  three Junior A acquisitions.


Jeremey Leipsic - Portage Terriers (MJHL) - LW


At 5'8", Leipsic may not be a prototypical Bison. However, a player capable of winning a scoring title is an eye-opener. In 2017 he led the MJHL (33-67-100) and in 2018 as assistant captain he was 28-53-81. In 2017 he was runner-up in the selection for top forward in all Canadian Junior A hockey. Generally there is a season of adjustment from Junior A, especially for goalscorers. He will also be the 3rd Bison with a brother in the NHL. (Brendan Leipsic of the Vancouver Canucks is his sibling.)


Jeremey Leipsic at eliteprospects.com
20 Questions with Jeremey Leipsic
Terriers’ Leipsic runner-up for CJHL Top Forward


Mitch Dyck - Winkler Flyers (MJHL) - D


The Bisons were short-staffed on the blue line last year so any announcement of a new defenceman makes me happy. Here we have 6'4", 220 lbs of solid southern Manitoba country boy. He was a 2nd team MJHL all-star. I'll take it. His dad played for the Bisons under coach Barry Trotz.


Mitch Dyck at eliteprospects.com
Flyer’s Mitch Dyck Commits to University of Manitoba
Dyck Joins U of M Bisons


Thomas Lenchyshyn - Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) - LW/D


Now here's a player who has been around. When he came out of midget he had one game in the Dub with Lethbridge and then played for 5 different teams in the MJHL. Midway through the 2017 season he landed in Nipawin, where he finished his junior career as assistant captain and with a provincial title. He is much better known for toughness than finesse. His best offensive season in juniors was 5 goals, and he had 215 pims last year. The links have two unique stories. First, the Hawks were scheduled to play the Humboldt Broncos the night of the fateful crash. Also, his brother Jack played for Steinbach (MJHL champs) and they faced each other in the Anavet Cup.

Thomas Lenchyshyn at eliteprospects.com
∆ "A Nightmare You Couldn't Wake Up From"
"You Guys Got To Go Win It For Us Now" - Steinbachonline.com
Δ Sibling rivalry: Steinbach brothers face off on opposing teams in battle for ANAVET Cup | CBC News


Meanwhile, Channing Bresciani, a graduated defenceman from last year's squad, has been signed by CBR Brave of the Australian Ice Hockey League. Goaltender Matt Hewitt from UBC is also on the squad. The seasons are opposite down under so they are well underway in a new season. In 10 games Bresciani has 2 goals and 16 assists.


Channing Bresciani at eliteprospects.com
CBR Brave - Powered By esportsdesk.com


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It's usually the recruits from the WHL who create off-season interest. Thus far, nothing much in that regard around the CW, and just one rumour around Manitoba.


Tyler Brown - Saskatoon Blades (WHL) - G


The rumours of a new blue-chip goaltender prospect have been around since reported at  CUSN at the end of March. The Bisons have had the same set of 3 goaltenders for 3 years now. I'm not sure if Byron Spriggs is returning. If so, great. If not, a new recruit is a must. Brown is a Winnipeg boy who pursued a major junior career in Regina before a mid-season deal sent him to Saskatown. So I have a photo in each jersey.

Last year, Brown was 19-17, .889 S%, 3.44 GAA, and the Blades missed the playoffs. In past seasons his playoff numbers were better, i.e. .915 save percentage.


The other potential goaltenders are Justin Paulic and Dasan Sydora. At one time Paulic and Spriggs both spent stretches as starter. However, last year Paulic seldom dressed. Sydora is a reasonable #3. I look forward to seeing the roster page in August.


Tuesday Morning Skate Offseason Week 1: March, 29th 2018 | Canadian University Sports Network
Tyler Brown at eliteprospects.com
WHL Network





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June 26: FROM THE UK
The Belfast Giants have a press release for their series against the Bisons. The online release also has video highlights of the 2nd game from a year ago.
The Giants once had the Boston Bruins over for an exhibition game, and here are those videos:
One team the Bisons will not be facing is the Edinburgh Capitals. Their EIHL team folded, although they will continue to operate a team in the SNL, a lower league. Their site has a linked story from the EIHL press release.
The Capitals were in last place a year ago and were last in 4 of the last 5 years, and 2nd from last the other. Another local team (Murrayfield Racers) also acquired the lease on their arena. The Racers applied for but were denied membership in the EIHL. Must be a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on there.
As a result, there exists room for another game for the Bisons. There are two other Scottish teams in the EIHL, the Dundee Stars and the Fife Flyers. The Flyers have been around a long time and returned to the UK big leagues the same year the Jets returned to the NHL.
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Mackenzie Dwyer - Portage Terriers (MJHL) - Everett Silvertips (WHL) - D

Another defenceman! Good. One year the Bisons finished first when forced to dress 7 to 9 d-men almost every game due to injuries. The reverse would have been impossible.

And Dwyer has some credentials. He bounced between the MJHL and WHL, so he'll have some scholarship money to cash in. He's a Winnipeg boy returning home, as is fairly common. At 6'3' and 194 lbs he will have the size the Bisons need. He also wore an "A" for Portage. In his last two seasons in Portage he was getting close to point-per-game as well.


∆ [Mackenzie Dwyer at eliteprospects.com]

∆ [20 Questions with Mackenzie Dwyer]




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icon1.png June 27: Miscellaneous Tidbits




In the off-season, teams update their schedule page at different times and in different measures. Some teams are in 2017-18, some have 2018-19 with regular season only, and only Manitoba has added the pre-season. Here's the summary of where we stand:


Alberta (no update)
Calgary (regular season only)
Lethbridge (regular season only)
Manitoba (updated)
MRU (2017-18)
Regina (regular season only)
Saskatchewan (2017-18)
UBC (regular season only)




► [Canada West TV launches 2018-19 season passes]


I know that the argument for payments will rage on, but IMO the conference has tried making TV coverage better and steps are being made. Hopefully, there will be more free on-line radio coverage available. Sometimes that's all I want when watching HNIC, or another game on CWTV.


Last year I bought the hockey package, but this year I'm thinking of getting the all-inclusive at early bird prices. There isn't football on Shaw any more, so I might get some value from that aspect of things. Here's the prices:


All-Access pass - includes playoffs and non-conference
Early bird price: $67.99
Full price beginning Aug. 25: $89.99


Regular season SCHOOL pass
Early bird price: $36.99
Full price beginning Aug. 25: $44.99


Regular season SPORT pass
Early bird price: $29.99
Full price beginning Aug. 25: $35.99


Single event pass
Regular price: $6.99


2018-19 post-season packaging and pricing




► [Mike Babcock: The art of being all in]


The USports site has a rarity - an actual story is posted! A pretty good one on Mike Babcock, former defenceman for McGill.





► [McDonald retires; Wilkins named Thunderwolves' head coach]
► [rp @ OUA.ca]
► [Team Schedule]


Head coach Bill McDonald has retired. He has coached several Thunder Bay teams, including the Thunder Bay Twins (in 1986) and the Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks and Senators of the Colonial and United Leagues. He has been with Lakehead since 2013. His replacement is assistant coach Andrew Wilkins. Lots of his coaching past was in Manitoba-based competitions back in the day.


Their schedule includes non-conference games, all at home but one:
Fri Sep 21    vs Lethbridge Pronghorns   
Sat Sep 22 vs Lethbridge Pronghorns   
Fri Sep 28    vs Nipissing Lakers   
Sat Sep 29 vs Nipissing Lakers   
Sat Oct 06 at Bemidji State Beavers   
Fri Dec 28 vs Laurentian Voyageurs   
Sat Dec 29 vs Laurentian Voyageurs


They seem dedicated to ensuring annual games against their northern Ontario brethren from Nipissing and Laurentian.




► [Pronghorn Athletics releases full conference schedule for 2018-19 season]
► [U of M Ticket Prices]


Everybody else had their schedule announcements when the hockey schedule came out. Lethbridge did an all-sport announcement. I see that an all-sport pass is $100. By comparison, Manitoba's is just $60, or $90 to include football. I better get the all-access CWTV pass, just to avoid accusations of being a tight-wad.

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icon1.gif June 28: Scheduling Question Mark



There is a discrepancy about the scheduling of the season-opening series between UBC and Lethbridge. The CW and Lethbridge schedules both say the games are Sept 28-29. However the UBC schedule says the games will be Oct 5-6.


Since Oct 5-6 is a "conference bye" to accommodate NCAA play, it would make sense for the teams to push back their opening if they are not participating in such games. So this is something to look for in future updates.


Canada West Schedule

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icon1.png June 29: Bisons Sign Another Blue

Devon Skoleski - Winnipeg Blues(MJHL) - Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) - RW

The Bisons have another decent forward on the way. Devon Skoleski split last season (his overage season) between P.A. and the Blues, after having spent two seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. He is a smaller (5'11" 161 lbs) winger from St. Adolphe, Manitoba. In the WHL he had 70 points in 169 games, but in 17 MJHL games he was 12-13-25.


► [Devon Skoleski at eliteprospects.com]
► [MJHL Player Page]
► [Skoleski commits to Bisons]



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icon1.gif June 30: BISONS SIGN A STAMPEDER


Keaton Jameson - Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL) - F

I stumbled upon notice of this signing via Twitter. Jameson was the Swan Valley captain last year. He is 6', 190 lbs. and is a Brandon native.


Along with fellow Bison recruit Jeremey Leipsic, Jameson was one of three nominees for the MJHL's Frank McKinnon Memorial Trophy, awarded for hockey ability and sportsmanship. He was apparently a popular player. In the linked story from the Star & Times, coach/GM Taurean White said this:


I can’t say enough good things about him – he’s a special young man. He’s very driven and was committed to this program.


On the numbers front, Jameson's numbers through three MJHL seasons have been trending upwards. He's gone from 7 points in 2016, to 44 points in 2017, and then 70 points (22 G 48 A) in 59 games in 2018.


► [UofM Tweet] : [Player's Tweet]
► [Keaton Jameson at eliteprospects.com]
► [MJHL Player Page] : [Swan Valley Player Page]
► [YouTube Highlight Video]
► [GX104: Stampeders’ Jameson and Osadick among 2018 MJHL League Awards Nominees]
► [Star & Times: White Busy Despite Hockey Season’s End]



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In their upcoming tour of the U.K., the Bisons will play twice against the Belfast Giants. Ironically, two new recruits for the Giants this season are graduated Banjo Mutts: Kendall McFaull and Josh Roach. Both played their full five seasons for the Mangy Ones.


McFaull (defenceman) is 26 years old and in 2010 was drafted in the sixth round by the Atlanta Thrashers.


Roach (forward) is 25 years old and last year was a CW all-star. In 27 games he had 13 goals and 24 assists. He previously played three seasons for the Humboldt Broncos (from 2009-10 through 2011-12).


Returning to coach the Giants is former Manitoba Moose Adam Keefe. He was kind of a useless player but found his niche in Belfast. He was a popular player over there and so they kept him on as a coach.


The links include a couple of news stories, plus Giants' pages at various web sites. So those can be checked periodically for updates as the series draws closer.


► [Belfast Giants] : [Kendall McFaull] : [Josh Roach] : [Adam Keefe]
► [Belfast Live] : [Belfast Giants announce signings of Josh Roach and Kendall McFaull]
► [Wikipedia] : [Twitter] : [Facebook]
► [YouTube]
► [Elite Prospects] : [PointStreak]
► [SSE Arena] : [Eurohockey.com]
► [Rosetown's Kendall McFaull Signed with Belfast Giants on One Year Contract]
► [Dog Watch: Josh Roach]


Kendall McFaull - Putting away his banjo in order to move to Belfast.


Josh Roach - Also giving up the moonshine of Saskatown.


The fancy digs in Belfast sure are a step up from The Rutherdump!

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As we have now celebrated our country's birthday, summer feels like it is in full swing. And with a large batch of recruiting announcements (albeit from unofficial sources) coming last week, it is worthwhile to look at how the roster is shaping up for 2018-19. As I always say, you never know how good of a recruiting class you have until you know who is returning.


Here's the summary:


Goal (4)

Eligible to return:
1 Justin Paulic
34 Dasan Sydora
35 Byron Spriggs


- Tyler Brown




It is unusual for a team to have the same three goaltenders for three seasons in a row. But that's what happened to the Bisons last year. The news of Brown being recruited was good news, just to ensure that new blood was coming if nothing else. So who's leaving? Spriggs finished his 4th year and was the starter. However, he was not listed as a graduate at the senior game (see link and photo). Paulic and Sydora are coming off their 3rd seasons. At one time, Paulic was challenging Spriggs for #1 but seldom dressed last year. Sydora is well acquainted with the role of a #3 goaltender. So this is a wait-and-see scenario.


Defence (9)


Eligible to return:
2 Adam Henry
3 Sean Christensen
9 Austin Douglas
11 Victor Sharonov
16 Blake Heinrich
25 Lukas Skrumeda


- Mitch Dyck
- Mackenzie Dwyer
- Thomas Lenchyshyn (D/F)


4 Channing Bresciani


The team had some good performances on the blueline, but the shortage of numbers was a problem. Rene Hunter vanished after the pre-season, Sharonov never dressed for a regular season game, and Douglas was a mid-season recruit. As a result, captain Stovin had to shift from the forwards to the defence for several games. If even one of the three newcomers pans out, they should be improved this year.


Forwards (17)


Eligible to return:
8 Liam Bilton
12 Nick Zajac
13 Remi Laurencelle
14 Kamerin Nault
15 Shawn Bowles
18 Michael St. Croix
19 Calvin Spencer
20 Geordie Keane
21 Brett Brooks
22 Brad Bowles
26 Quintin Lisoway
27 Zach Franko
28 Brett Stovin
29 Jonah Wasylak


- Jeremey Leipsic
- Devon Skoleski
- Keaton Jameson


17 Warren Callis
23 Joel Schreyer
24 Justin Augert


The Bisons had lots of forwards last year. The players they are losing were 8th, 16th, and 17th in team scoring. The new recruits look to be at least on-par with the graduates. Also, last year Wasylak was injured in the pre-season and never dressed for a regular season game. His return would therefore be like getting a new recruit.


The wild-card is always the extent of improvement of Junior A graduates. They face a steeper learning curve than Major Junior grads. Last year Nault wound up as a key player on a great first line (with St. Croix and Franko), yet two years ago he was a frequent healthy scratch. Maybe the Bowles brothers are candidates to play that role this year.


The key could be the second line. Last year Stovin kept switching from defence to forward, Laurencelle missed half the games, and Zajac never settled in with stable line-mates. Those three could be the best second line in the CW. All three have been at or close to a point-per-game in past seasons.


2017-18 Graduates: Bresciani - Schreyer - Augert - Callis


►[No. 10 Bisons sweep Lethbridge in weekend series in men's hockey]
►[2017-18 Men's Ice Hockey Roster]
►[Team Stats @LeagueStat]

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After a glimpse of the Belfast Giants, I should also take a look at the Braehead Clan. The Bisons will start their tour against the Scots, based in Glasgow, on August 22nd.

Two years ago the owner of the franchise was rumoured to be seeking a KHL franchise. Those rumours have cooled, and the club is trying to develop into at least a UK-level contender. Last season they just missed the playoffs, finishing 9th in what was a 12-team league. (The Edinburgh Capitals folded, leaving 11 teams this year.)


They play at the Braehead Arena, which holds 4,000 for hockey and is reminiscent of a WHL arena. It seems to be part of a nicely designed entertainment zone, as illustrated in the photos. The building also hosts Disney on Ice, concerts, and the like.


EIHL teams have a fair amount of turnover, and import lots of players. Right now, the team has 15 players signed, and announcements of new signings should keep apace until the game is held. Unlike Belfast, I don't yet see anybody with a CIS/USports connection.

In April the team announced a four-game pre-season schedule against a selection of international opponents. This Bison game adds to that international flavour. Here's the other teams they will play:
Aug 18 Fischtown Pinguins (Germany)
Aug 19 Dresden Eislowen (Germany)
AUg 25 Lyon Lions (France)
Aug 26 Stavanger Oilers (Norway)


The various links will have new stories as the season approaches, and the team seems to have pretty good local coverage.


► [Braehead Clan] : [Roster]
► [EIHL] :[EIHL: Braehead Clan]
► [Braehead Clan Official Supporters Club]
► [Evening Times] : [Braehead Clan announce four-game summer series in Glasgow this August]
► [Wikipedia] : [Twitter] : 0[Facebook]
► [YouTube]
► [Elite Prospects] : [PointStreak]
► [Eurohockey.com]


The Braehead Arena and vicinity at night.


An interior view of the Braehead Arena.


The purple uniforms are clearly a very colourful look.

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icon1.png July 3: News Dabbles



No sooner did I post about the Braehead Clan, and now they no longer exist! They have been transformed into the Glasgow Clan. The logo is slightly different, but the bold purple colours remain.


► [Glasgow Clan - still at braeheadclan.com]
► [EIHL: Glasgow Clan]
► [BBC: Braehead become Glasgow Clan ahead of Elite League season]
► [Sun:  WHAT THE PUCK? Braehead Clan announce name change to Glasgow Clan ahead of new Elite League ice hockey season]
► [Wikipedia]
► [The National: Braehead Clan name change 'a gamble' says club chief]
► [Elite Prospects]



Victor Findlay has a new Tuesday Morning Skate, after taking a week off. A nice round-up of everything happening in USports hockey. Read it!


Of note, the Brock Badgers have 12 recruits. That's as much as I can remember any team having.


In the CW, he has a review of the batch of Bison recruits and adds a few blurbs from around the league:
- Calgary got Cal Babych, son of former Jet Dave Babych (WHL and BCHL);
- Regina got Brennan Riddle (WHL);
- Saskatchewan got goaltender Travis Child and defenceman Evan Fiala (both WHL);
- UBC also got a goaltender, Patrick Dea (WHL).


► [Tuesday Morning Skate: July 3rd, 2018]



Former Evil Monkey Derek Ryan has signed a contract with the Calgary Flames, a 3-year deal worth $9.4 million. It never hurts to see a CIS/USports grad get a big contract.


► [Former Bear Derek Ryan signs contract with Calgary Flames]

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Before I get going here, I can point out that the links in the OP have been updated for 2018-19. Some of those are blank, or have a lot of zeros, but at least the links are now current and ready to roll.
The Elite Prospects site is revamped and is nice to work at. I have links to their USports page, and the USports Transactions page as well. The latter has the most up-to-date recruiting announcements.
The news from the CW is that the Calgary Dinos have signed Brad Schoonbaert from the Steinbach Pistons. He was the #2 scorer in the MJHL a year ago.
The rumours of the demise of the Eastern Washingtion Eagles from the BCIHL were first spread at the International Hockey Forums. However, the press release eluded me, and EWU continued to be on the BCIHL website, and kept making recruiting announcements. Well, I now found the story. EWU used to have their first team in the BCIHL and a second club team in the ACHA. Now they will just be in the ACHA.
This leaves the BCIHL with just five teams, with hopes of adding more. There are many candidates. Thompson Rivers, Fraser Valley, and Northern B.C. used to be in the league. There are also a lot of colleges in the PacWest (CCAA) who could be in the market as well.
Shaq Merasty, former Manitoba Bison and Portage Terrier, has signed a deal with the Rapid City Rush of the ECHL. He has tremendous potential. Hopefully, he will get his game to fit together.
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icon1.gif July 5: SLOW NEWS DAY




The HØrny Önes knew that captain Mitch Maxwell would not be returning to help them host the U-Cup this year, since he burned 5 seasons of eligibility. He joined the Utah Grizlies after the CW season was over, and has now signed a contract there for 2018-19.




The Bluegars have no news, but Victor Findlay's Twitter says d-man Tyson Helgesen (Spokane - WHL) will play for MRU this year. They had a disappointing recruiting class last year (especially in comparison to their cross-town rivals), so this would rank as a very positive story for them.




The link on the Banjo Mutts tells us about Roach and McFaull heading to Belfast, as previously reported in this thread. The new news is that goaltender Jordon Cooke is headed to Gap, in France. No doubt they will sport trendy and tasteful uniforms.




Once upon a time, Alberta and UBC played for the Hamber Trophy, even before UBC joined the former WCIAU. Well, the Evil Monkeys have one pre-season series noted in their schedule now, and that's a trip to British California to face the T-irds! In recent years UBC have prepared for the season without facing any CW teams.


► [UofL Tweet]
► [Findlay's MRU Tweet]
► [CJME: U of S men’s hockey stars to play pro in N. Ireland]
► [Alberta Schedule]

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icon1.png July 6: UBC GETS A GOALIE




The T-irds have made it official - They have a commitment from goaltender Patrick Dea. He played for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, after having played several seasons for the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 47 games he was 22-14-0, 3.17 GAA, and .913 S%.


Will he be a good replacement for Matt Hewitt? Last year, Hewitt was 12-5-1, 2.85 GAA, .920 S%. That was well above the performance of his back-up, the returning Rylan Toth, who was 2-7-0, 3.79 GAA, .882 S%. Time will tell.


► [Patrick Dea enters UBC’s net]
► [Patrick Dea - Elite Prospects]
► [Patrick Dea - IHDB]
► [LeagueStat - UBC Goaltending]
► [LeagueStat - Matt Hewitt (career)]
► [LeagueStat - Rylan Toth (career)]

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The news has slowed down, and is likely to pick up when the CW teams get together with the WHL to announce commitments. The one thing I am looking for now is confirmation of the pre-season schedules. Here's what the CW has right now:


Aug 22 Manitoba at Glasgow Clan (EIHL)
Aug 25 Manitoba at Belfast Giants (EIHL)
Aug 26 Manitoba at Belfast Giants (EIHL)

Sep 07 Alberta at U.B.C.
Sep 07 MacEwan (ACAC) at Calgary
Sep 08 Alberta at U.B.C.
Sep 08 Calgary at MacEwan (ACAC)

Sep 14 Manitoba v TBD (in Regina)
Sep 15 Manitoba v TBD (in Regina)

Sep 21 Lethbridge at Lakehead
Sep 21 Regina at Manitoba (MTS Iceplex)
Sep 22 Lethbridge at Lakehead
Sep 22 Regina at Manitoba

Oct 06 Lethbridge at Western Michigan (NCAA)
Oct 06 Manitoba at North Dakota (NCAA)
Oct 06 Mount Royal at Minnesota State (NCAA)
Oct 07 Lethbridge at Ferris State (NCAA)


Manitoba and Alberta are thus far the only CW teams with exhibitions on their team schedules. And Alberta just added their UBC weekend.


The regular season starts Sept 28-29, and is then followed by a conference bye week to accommodate the NCAA weekend. If I were to guess how the teams will fill-in-the-blanks, this is what I surmise:


1. Regina always hosts multiple teams, in a quasi-tournament format. Since Regina and Manitoba play the following weekend in Manitoba, they usually don't face each other in Regina. My suspicion is that two or three other teams will join in on Sept 14-15 and the likely candidates are Saskatchewan, Calgary, and Lethbridge.


2. The weekend after Regina generally features the Brick Invitational in Edmonton. Accordingly I look for Alberta, Mount Royal, Calgary and at least one other CW or ACAC team to be there on Sept 21-22.


3. The ACAC schedule was my source of information for the match-up between MacEwan and Calgary. MacEwan has won the ACAC the last two seasons, and are members of the CW in other sports. They usually don't participate in interlocking games with the CW, however. This is a positive development IMO.


4. Alberta's CW teams will likely be adding a fair number of games against ACAC teams. In recent years Alberta has started the season early against UA-Augustana, and Lethbridge has faced Red Deer. NAIT and SAIT are frequently opponents as well. Since Mount Royal left the ACAC for the CW they have avoided (or been avoided by) ACAC teams. It's about time for that to change.


5. UBC has hosted Ontario teams the last two years, but this year it is Alberta headed to the left coast. My guess is that UBC will follow with games against BCIHL teams again. I hope they play Trinity Western because they are CW members in other sports and won the BCIHL title last year. They could also be at the Brick Invitational.


6. A southern Alberta team usually heads down for a Colorado triple-header weekend against Air Force, Colorado College, and Denver. The early sources for such games are usually the NCAA links (see below). I see that Colorado College is off to Alaska that weekend, however. Denver does not play until Nov 2nd, and Air Force's schedule is on 2017-18.


7. Mount Royal is not likely traveling to Minnesota for just one game, so I suspect at least one more game to be added there. Otherwise, it looks like a light year for NCAA games.


8. I suspect that lots of teams will not play at all Sept 7-8, but everybody will play on Sept 14-15 and Sept 21-22.


► [Alberta Schedule]
► [Manitoba Schedule]
► [Calgary Schedule]
► [Lethbridge Schedule]
► [Mount Royal Schedule]
► [Regina Schedule]
► [Saskatchewan Schedule]
► [UBC Schedule]
► [ACAC Schedule]
► [USCHO NCAA Schedule]
► [CHN NCAA Schedule]




After the Braehead Clan became the Glasgow Clan, they have been active with YouTube clips. I have the links!


► [The Clan YouTube Channel]
► [We are the Glasgow Clan!]
► [Glasgow Clan Rebrand]

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icon1.gif July 10: U.B.C. RECRUITS ANOTHER FROM THE W.H.L.




The T-irds announced a commitment from Maxwell James, from the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. He's a big winger with low scoring numbers. However, this is a team perennially short of size and toughness. If he shores up those problems, he'll be a welcome addition.


Also, the UBC schedule is now consistent with Lethbridge's and the league's, in that their opening series is shown as Sept 28-29 instead of Oct 5-6.


► [Maxwell James joins the Blue & Gold]
► [Maxwell James - Elite Prospects]
► [UBC Schedule]

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The MJHL website has a linked story on their connections to the Bison recruiting class. No new names were disclosed. Coach Mike Sirant is quoted as claiming that 60% of the roster once played in the MJHL. Seems correct, albeit many of those also played WHL. The story goes over past Bisons as well, and points out that Kevin Saurette, a one time CW all-star, is now the MJHL's Director of Operations.


This quote has some new information of interest:



[Keaton] Jameson joined several Bisons for weekly on-ice sessions last week and is excited for the upcoming season.

“I think it’s going to be a good change of pace for me. I’m looking forward to it,” he added.

Bisons training camp will take place early this year (begins Aug. 13) because the team will be heading to Europe Aug. 19 to play exhibition games against professional teams in the British Elite League. The Bisons will return on Aug. 29 and will play in exhibition games mid-September before getting their regular season underway late September.


► [Strong Bond Continues with the University of Manitoba Bisons and the MJHL]

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Bison Zach Franko was on the CUSN's radio show "Breakin News 'n Crackin Brews". Amongst the topics was an update to the UK tour. Instead of facing the Glasgow Clan, they will instead face the Manchester Storm and Fife Flyers. And Franko will not be making the trip because he is taking summer courses.


I dug up some links (see below). The game in Manchester will be on August 21st. Manchester had a team called the "Storm" from 1995 to 2003, and then a team called the "Phoenix" from 2003 to 2017. Their teams were back and forth between Britain's top and 2nd tier leagues as those changed over time. The Storm were back in the EIHL in 2015-16 and improved each year so that they were 35-16-5 last year.


The Fife Flyers will host the Bisons on August 23rd as part of their 80th anniversary festivities. They have operated since 1938 and are Britain's oldest hockey team. The returned to the top tier EIHL the same year as the Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL, 2011. The team has steadily been on the rise, going from last in 2011 to mid-table in 2017-18.




The T-irds landed two big names, both forwards.

Steven Hodges last played for San Antonio and Portland in th AHL and Cincinatti and Manchester in the ECHL. He was a 3rd round draft pick for the Florida Panthers. He has not played since 2015-16, and had three 20+ goal seasons in the WHL with the Victoria Royals.


Colton Kehler comes from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. He's coming off a 30+ goal season in the WHL, after two seasons of 17 and 18.




The UPEI Panthers and McGill Redmen have both added their exhibition games to their posted schedules:


Sep 14 Moncton at U.P.E.I.
Sep 22 Dalhousie at U.P.E.I.


Sep 14 New Brunswick at McGill
Sep 15 New Brunswick at McGill
Sep 26 McGill at U.Q.T.R.
Sep 28 R.M.C. at McGill


► [Breakin News 'N Crackin Brews: Ep. 8]
► ManchesterStorm.com: [#4Nations – Welcome to University of Manitoba Bisons!]
► [Manchester Storm EIHL Stats Page]
► FifeFlyers.co.uk: [Fife Flyers Add Manitoba to Preseason Schedule]
► [Fife Flyers EIHL Stats Page]
► [Steven Hodges, Colton Kehler join the T-Birds]
► [UPEI Schedule]
► [McGill Schedule]

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With the schedule changes on the Bison UK Tour, I posted a few links last week. Now it's time to give some more background on the newly announced Bison opponents, starting with the Fife Flyers.


As mentioned, they are celebrating 80 years of operation this year and are the UK's oldest franchise. They also returned to the upper echelons of UK hockey in 2011, the same season as the Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL.


Also, two former Jets, Doug Smail and Laurie Boschman, also played for the Flyers. In almost 2 seasons (1993-94 and 1994-95) Smail had 82 goals and 89 assists in 56 games before being dealt to Cardiff. Meanwhile, Boschman played just 7 games in 1994-95 and scored 9 goals and 9 assists. In those seasons, the Flyers were in the BHL, a forerunner league to the new and improved EIHL.


You might think Smail dominated the league. But he was second on his team in scoring, and 8th in the league. British legend Tony Hand won the scoring title with 72 goals and 150 assists in 44 games. On the Flyers, Mark Morrison had 78 goals and 77 assists. (He played 10 games over two seasons with the Rangers.) Current EIHL stats numbers are no longer so gawdy. The scoring leader last year had 83 points in 56 games.


This is also their arena's 80th season. It is used for all hockey, curling, and ice skating in the area. I saw pictures of the ice and it has curling houses painted onto it. There are some interesting vintage photos out there. One I liked is the one of their old clock (below). Anybody remember the old Chicago Stadium?

British hockey is a hodge-podge of different competitions. Although the Flyers were mid-pack a year ago (7th of 12 teams, 33-21-2 record), they did win the "Gardiner Conference", in which the Scottish teams played. They also consider the "champion" to be the best team over the regular season. The Flyers came on in the less-prestigious playoffs and finished 4th in the final tournament where they end with something like the Frozen Four or Memorial Cup.


I also found some video highlights of past games between the Manchester Storm and Fife Flyers.




► [Fife Flyers Team Site]
► [Wikipedia]
► [Facebook]
► [Twitter]
► [Elite Prospects]
► [Fife Flyers EIHL Stats Page]
► [YouTube Channel]
► [Highlights; Manchester v Fife (2018)]
► [Highlights; Manchester v Fife (2016)]
► [Doug Smail - Elite Prospects]
► [Laurie Boschman - Elite Prospects]

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