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HUGH JESSIMAN PAGE 4

TROY WARD PAGE 7

FIGHT CLUB PAGE 8

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MARCH 2012

GREG NEMISZ

comes back strong PAGE 3

Amy Williams Photography

N A M E D N O R T H A M E R I C A ’ S B E S T S U B U R B A N N E W S PA P E R S E C T I O N 2 0 1 0

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Fitness powers Nemisz’s breakthrough Amy Williams Photography

Hard work in the off-season paved the way for sophomore forward to up his production DanKINVIG ABBOTSFORD NEWS

There’s never an opportune time for the injury bug to bite a player, but when Greg Nemisz went down with a shoulder injury six weeks ago, it was a particularly discouraging turn of events for the Abbotsford Heat forward. During his convalescence, the Calgary Flames, the Heat’s NHL parent club, weathered a wave of casualties in their forward corps. At one point, four erstwhile Heat forwards – Krys Kolanos, Roman Horak, Paul Byron and Lance Bouma – were up with the Flames at the same time. There’s a strong chance that Nemisz, if healthy, might have

gotten the call – the sophomore pro been one of the Heat’s best and most consistent forwards this season. But rather than sulk, Nemisz threw himself into his rehab with Heat strength coach Mike Thompson, and he’s returned with a vengeance. The Courtice, Ont. native has averaged a point per game since getting back into the lineup, notching four goals and two assists in six contests. “It was pretty tough,” Nemisz said, reflecting on the potential NHL opportunity that his injury robbed him of. “You can’t really think like that, though. Hockey is a really up and down game, and

you’ve got to stay even-keel or else you’re wasting energy. And then you might not come back as well-prepared.” After posting 33 points in 68 games as a rookie in 2010-11, Nemisz has boosted his rate of production this season, with 25 points in 38 games. Heat head coach Troy Ward said the 6’3”, 205-pound forward’s improvement is directly linked to his fitness. During his junior days, Nemisz was part of one of the greatest teams in Canadian junior hockey history – his Windsor Spitfires won back-to-back Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010. But those long

playoff runs and subsequent short off-seasons limited his summer workout time. After the Heat missed the postseason last spring, Nemisz threw himself into his workout regimen, and the sweat investment has translated to the ice. “You never want to not be in the playoffs,” Nemisz noted, “but last year I had a lot of time off and took advantage of that. My trainer back home, Jeff Larsh, did an amazing job with me in the summer, and I feel the better than I’ve ever felt on the ice. “We work on a lot of legs – power and explosion stuff. For a big guy, you always have to work on

speed and core strength.” Ward said he was encouraged when training camp rolled around, and Nemisz showed up having shed “a little bit of baby fat.” “It wasn’t until this last summer that he really changed physically, which has allowed him to have a better start here,” Ward analyzed. “(Former Heat head coach) Jim (Playfair) played him a lot here last year, which he deserved, but his body couldn’t handle those minutes. This year, he’s been able to handle those minutes because of his physical conditioning. That’s allowed him to be a better player.” Continued on page 10

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Jessiman makes an impact with Heat DanKINVIG

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ABBOTSFORD NEWS

It’s a rarity for an AHL team’s leading goal-scorer to hit the free agent market in mid-season. But that’s precisely the situation Hugh Jessiman found himself in on Sunday, Feb. 5, when he parted ways with the Lake Erie Monsters following the expiration of his player tryout (PTO) contract. The 27-year-old power forward didn’t have to wait long to find employment – less than 24 hours later, he put pen to paper on a fresh AHL contract with the Abbotsford Heat for the balance of the 2011-12 campaign. Jessiman said that his split with the Monsters was amicable. It was a situation where he learned he had little to no chance of landing a two-way NHL/AHL contract from the Colorado Avalanche, Lake Erie’s parent club, so the Monsters turned him loose to find a better opportunity. “When I came in, I was there to sort of fill in for (Patrick) Rissmiller and (Greg) Mauldin, a couple of veteran guys who were injured at the time,” said Jessiman, who

completed two 25-game PTOs with Lake Erie. “In the past week, it became apparent that Colorado wasn’t really interested in me (long-term). “One thing I respect about the coaches there, they were very honest with me. Rather than selfishly keeping me around with false promises, they were honest. I really appreciate that, because it got me here (to Abbotsford). It seemed like I’d have more of an opportunity here, and perhaps up there (in Calgary) at some point.” When the Monsters released him from his PTO, Jessiman said that interest from other teams was initially slow to materialize. “I think a lot of teams didn’t really know the situation with me and Lake Erie; I feel like they were a little wary of stealing a guy from another team,” he said with a wry grin. “But I did the research, and Abbotsford seemed like a good spot.” Indeed, Jessiman has fit like a glove for a Heat team that was starving for size, scoring and depth

Power forward Hugh Jessiman registered points in each of his first two games with the Abbotsford Heat.

Amy Williams Photography

Continued on page 13

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Our Heat team is very thankful for the amazing people who attend our games. Slowly, over the course of this season, we are working hard to get to know each of you throughout our Heat community. Our vision is to create 275,000 incredible guest experiences. Our mission is to give to our community a brand of hockey and a hockey brand to be proud of. Our desire is to live our vision and mission daily; the following letter we received recently is an example of our commitment to our community: FEBRUARY 20, 2012 I am writing this information to you as I believe it is important that we as a community recognize behavior that is exemplary. The events I am speaking of unfolded as such: On Friday February 17, 2012 my son Wyatt and I decided to drive out to Abbotsford to watch an Abbotsford Heat hockey game. We drove out and found ourselves in our seats for the 7 p.m. start time. Thirty seconds into the first period I receive a phone call from my wife advising me that Wyatt had a blood test earlier in the day as he was suffering from a continuing thirst. The results were in where the blood sugar level was through the roof. There was a great concern for Wyatt’s health at that time and I was directed to attend Abbotsford Emergency immediately. I looked at Wyatt and asked him how he

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Our vision is to create 275,000 incredible guest experiences. core work (stomach exercises) provided to him and has to be in the top one or two in the weekly running tests at school. We left the game and went to the Abbotsford hospital where it was confirmed that Wyatt did in fact have Type One diabetes and will be insulin dependent. The first round of recognition goes to the Abbotsford emergency and pediatric staff. In a time when everyone seems to be complaining about the medical system, Wyatt and I

run in to a group of medical staff that were absolutely amazing. They were patient, sympathetic, took the time to explain all procedures and went out of their way to make you feel comfortable in an otherwise trying set of circumstances. The care was everything I could have imagined and the facility I would hypothesize rivals non in the Lower Mainland. The second round of recognition goes to the Abbotsford Heat. While at the hospital, I was feeling bad for Wyatt that we did not get to see the hockey game. I wrote to Mr. Ryan Walter, President of the Abbotsford Heat on their website. I asked if the Heat would provide a second set of tickets for Wyatt to attend another Heat game once he gets released from the hospital. I promptly received a phone call from one of Ryan’s staff, OJ Pries, who confirmed they would make arrangements to have Wyatt attend another game once he is released from hospital care and feeling up to it. Later in the day I then received an email direct from Ryan checking up on Wyatt and wanting to meet him at the game Wyatt attends to see how he is making out. As I was responding to the email from Ryan, into the hospital room walks the Heat representative OJ, wearing a Heat hockey jacket. He came to the hospital to check on Wyatt and brought Wyatt a bunch of Heat memorabilia to cheer him up. Also within the Heat bag of goodies was a motivational hockey book Continued on page 13

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With health comes confidence E H T

In each edition of the Abbotsford News’s Faceoff magazine, beat reporter Dan Kinvig chats with head coach Troy Ward about the state of the team. For future editions of Faceoff, fans are invited to pose their own questions for Ward. Submit your questions for consideration via email to sports@abbynews.com, or via Twitter to @dankinvigsports. We spoke with Ward last week, with the Heat in the midst of a five-game road trip.

Troy WARD

H C N E B

Q Your team had lost eight of 10 games

in a recent stretch, and then swept the Houston Aeros at home (Feb. 17-18). What did those wins do for your group, confidence-wise?

A “I think the faith came from the fact

we got two integral parts back (forwards Greg Nemisz and Quintin Laing returned from injury). For me, that’s where the faith changed. “I think everyone was just ecstatic to get back Nemo, who was doing almost a point a game when he left, and to get our captain back. Everything coincides with that. “That stretch (of losses and injuries), we had to go through that at some particular point in time. It’s inevitable with every team in the American Hockey League, and we went through ours.

The excitement of knowing we were kind of coming out of it coincided with those players coming back.”

“That gives you an idea of what the guy’s saying and what he talks about in the room.”

Q I wanted to ask you specifically about Q Andrew Estoclet, who had spent Laing. For a lot of fans, he might fly under the radar because he’s not necessarily a flashy offensive player. But he does so many little things that make your team successful, doesn’t he?

A “He changes things one way as a hockey player – he plays the game the right way and the hard way. That’s what he changes for us on the ice. But the biggest thing is his presence in the room. It would be comparable to what Mike Keane was for the Manitoba Moose. You’d see them, and you’d say, ‘This team has their stuff together because Mike Keane’s got things under control.’ That’s the way our team responds. “Really, the telling stat of Lainger is, we were 4-0 in scoring chances in the Friday game (against Houston, Laing’s first game back) in the first period. In the Saturday game, we were up 7-0 in chances in the first period. We ended up winning both of those games. It’s almost unheard of to not give a team a scoring chance in a period. But we did it back to back games.

the bulk of the season in the ECHL, came in a couple weeks ago and produced immediately (five assists in his first four games with the Heat). You’ve had other ECHL call-ups who have struggled to produce; how impressive is Estoclet’s performance in light of that?

A “The impressive part is this, and it may

not seem like a big thing, but it is to me. It’s where we are and where he came from. “It’s a huge thing for a guy to move across the world, come in here, fit in with a new group, change everything in your life, and then produce points. I find that extremely hard. “Adam is a guy who, because of his personality being easygoing, is going to fit in right away with a team. He brings no attitude – he’s just a humble guy. “He’s got a good stick and good skills, and we put him in the right position with the right players to allow him to do that. That’s why you notice him.”

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FIGHT C LUB Q How have you seen the role

of the enforcer change over the years? PL3: "There used to be two or three guys who could really do some damage on the other team, but it's been changing. I guess it's adaptation, and it's a good thing. My dad always told me I needed to get to be a better skater, and it took me to the NHL – being faster and better on the forecheck. That's what you want to work on, because obviously it's changing. The game is faster, and guys are so skilled nowadays that you want to be able to follow them out there."

Q There's been a lot of nega-

tive publicity surrounding Äghting in hockey over the past year or so, and it seems there are more people calling for an end to Äghting in the game. How do you feel about that? RI: "I think it should be in the

Friday, March 2, 2012

game. That's what a hockey player thinks. I don't think they can take it out of hockey. It would be like playing soccer with no ball or something. It's always been a part of hockey, and it should be. It might happen less and less, but I don't think it will disappear." PL3: "Some outsiders say that, and some people say it's always going to be here. If you ask Don Cherry, it's always going to be part of the game. Personally, what I think is, you need to adapt. You need to be a better, faster player. But I love that part of the game. I love the toughness in the game, and I hope it stays. We'll go from there. We'll see what the studies bring up, and I think people are going to make the right decision."

Q The deaths of Äghters Rick

Rypien, Wade Belak and Derek Boogard last summer, along with studies linking hockey Äghts to degenerative brain disease, are certainly sobering. Has it made you rethink the risk/reward of dropping the gloves in any way? RI: "It's sad to see those guys end up that way, but at the same time, everybody's different. Yes, there is stuff that you share in common, but everyone goes

The Heat's Raitis Ivanans and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond are two of pro hockey's most accomplished enforcers, with more than 250 fights between them according to hockeyfights.com. Theirs is an awfully tough job, and the duo discussed the state of scrapping in the game today.

through it differently. I don't know what kind of things they've experienced. So it's in your head, but not too much." PL3: "It doesn't change the job I have to do. I'm still a Äghter, I'm still a hockey player. My job is to score goals and win games. Fighting is part of my job – it's what I do best. But yes, there have been a lot of concerns lately. I think it's all right to ask questions when stuff like that's happening. But I don't read into that, as long as I'm happy and I have a good family and good support around me. I just keep doing what I have to do, and try to do it as best as I can."

Q Raitis, you had a particularly scary incident at the start of the 2010-11 season, when you suffered a serious concussion in a Äght with Steve MacIntyre of the Edmonton Oilers. How did that experience impact you?

RI: "It's still part of hockey, what happened. It's no different than spraining your ankle, stuff like that. You can't be going out there and start worrying about it. If it happens again, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. That's how I think about it."

Q A Äght can have a positive

impact on a team, in terms of changing momentum or changing the way the opposing team is behaving on the ice. Do you have a particularly memorable Äght where it really sparked your team? RI: "You'll have a good Äght, and the team starts playing better and you win the game at the end of the day. It feels good that you were a part of it. There have been lots of games like that." PL3: "It happens a lot. Some guys feed off that. They're having a tough day, and they put their body in front of punches. It's not just Äghting – it's blocking shots, or a goalie making a big save. Those are all little things that are part of the game that bring the crowd in, and then everyone builds on that and makes the team so much better."

my Williams Photography

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Nemisz returned with vengeance Continued from page 3

While emphasizing that it’s not entirely fair to compare Nemisz to Brett Hull, Ward likens Nemisz’s physical reshaping to a similar process that the Hall of Fame sniper underwent early in his career. “Nobody remembers Brett Hull was drafted by the Calgary Flames,” Ward noted. “But he didn’t emerge on the scene until St. Louis, and that was when the body fat percentage changed. He was in the mid-20s in Calgary, I believe, and St. Louis wouldn’t let him come to camp until he was under eight. All the goals started to happen because he became more focused in his training.” Ward said that Nemisz’s improved fitness base allowed him to be effective immediately coming off of the recent injury. The Heat bench boss loves a good metaphor, and in this case, he compared Nemisz to a bookshelf. “He didn’t have to remake the bookshelf – he just had to get a can of Pledge and wipe it down,” Ward said. “A year ago, he would have had to rebuild the shelf.”

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STATS ABBOTSFORD HEAT SCORING STATS AS OF FEB. 24 Krys Kolanos Brian Connelly Ben Walter Jon Rheault Clay Wilson Hugh Jessiman Greg Nemisz Quintin Laing Dustin Sylvester Brendan Mikkelson Guillaume Desbiens Paul Byron Jordan Henry Joe Piskula Akim Aliu Adam Estoclet Lance Bouma Raitis Ivanans Brett Carson Gaelan Patterson Chris Breen Carter Bancks T.J. Brodie Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond Roman Horak James Martin Justin Dowling Ryan Howse Robby Dee John Armstrong Patrick Cullity Logan MacMillan Leland Irving John Negrin Danny Taylor Jason Dale Aaron Lewicki Bobby Robins Henrik Karlsson Mitch Wahl Stefan Meyer Joni Ortio Judd Blackwater Russ Sinkewich

GOALIE STATS Henrik Karlsson Leland Irving Danny Taylor Joni Ortio

GP

G

A PTS

34 49 52 41 46 46 35 42 42 33 51 26 46 37 21 16 31 21 20 42 47 32 12 30 7 18 22 22 3 17 5 9 25 26 31 1 1 2 4 5 6 9 17 20

18 5 11 15 9 21 10 11 9 3 2 4 2 1 6 1 3 2 2 1 1 2 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

22 34 24 15 20 6 12 10 11 12 11 7 9 8 7 7 6 5 2 3 3 1 2 3 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

AVG

W

L SOL

2.26 2.32 2.53 2.94

2 16 14 1

2 8 12 4

40 39 35 30 29 27 22 21 20 15 13 11 9 8 7 7 6 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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12

ABBOTSFORD NEWS

Friday, March 2, 2012

Guinness & The Duke of Dublin Celebrate

ST PATRICK’S DAY 2012! Enjoy

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T E R E E MUMB

Saturday, March 17

live Celtic music with “The Streels” performing 1-3pm / 5-7pm / 8:30-11pm

N

Also enjoy a performance by the Sinonnaine Irish Dance Academy @ 7:30pm!

27

Come in and warm up Wednesday March14th, or join us for Irish Thursday March15th, with live Celtic music by “3 of us” to get all your free Guinness schwagg to show your Spirit on the Big day!!!

3 TO 5 ($) GOOD REASONS TO DINE & DIVULGE AT THE DUKE, ABBOTSFORD

$3 BUCK MUGS

10 OZ DUKE LAGER OR DUKE PALE ALE

$4 BELLINI - 10 OZ $4 HIGHBALLS - 10 OZ $4 WINE PELLER ESTATE RED OR WHITE 5OZ GLASS

Milwaukee Admirals photo

Ryan HOWSE Q A

Black Satin Chicken ~ $3 Lightly breaded and fried, then tossed in a sweet soy ginger sauce with bean sprouts, served on a bed of noodles.

O’Leary’s Potato Chips ~ $3

Q

Thin sliced Guinness salted potatoes, fried and served with cilantro curry aioli.

Fish Taco ~ $4

A

Beer battered cod, shredded cabbage, spicy yoghurt dressing and tomato salsa in a Àour tortilla.

Solo Stuffed Prime Rib Yorkie ~ $5 Homemade Yorkshire pudding stuffed with shaved AAA Prime Rib, Colcannon potatoes and beef gravy. Served with dijon aioli and Emerald greens salad.

Potato Boxty & Seared Caper Salmon ~ $5 Traditional Irish potato pancakes and seared caper salmon ¿nished with lemon dill aioli and green onions.

Q A

Classic Burger ~ $4 Grilled beef burger served on a sesame toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and our burger sauce.

DESSERT:: Irish Toast ~ $3 DESSERT

Potato bread in a cinnamon batter, fried and topped with vanilla bean ice cream and a caramel drizzle. Offer Valid Sunday - Wednesday, 11:30am til Closing

33720 S. Fraser Way, Abbotsford 604.746.2000 / dukeofdublin.com

Q A

You’re from Prince George. If you were showing someone around your hometown, what’s the first local landmark you’d show them? “(Chuckles) I know a lot of people in Prince George who only like the casino and the bars. But maybe I’d take them to Mr. PG. When you drive into town, there’s this big wooden statue of this guy holding some sort of flag – I don’t know, I don’t pay close attention. But it says PG right on it, and he goes by the name of Mr. PG.” You’re a former Chilliwack Bruin. How many people that you might have met during your WHL days will you see at an average Heat game? “I don’t know how many people come out here now. But I made tons of friends in Chilliwack who have turned into family – my billets and people like that. If they ever contact me, I get them tickets or meet them after the game. I’ve been out to Chilliwack a few times, too – been around the rink and watched a couple (BCHL Chiefs) games. I keep in touch that way.” You’re a rookie pro. What’s the first thing you bought with your first pro hockey paycheque? “My first signing bonus was bigger than all the other ones, so I went and saved up and paid for a vehicle for my parents. They’ve done so much for me in the past, so I thought it be nice to do something for them. It was some sort of Dodge SUV.” If you weren’t a pro hockey player, what line of work do you think you’d be in? “When I was younger, I always wanted to be a police officer, so maybe I would have taken that route. I have no idea why I wanted to do that – when I was a kid, that’s what stuck out to me.”

Q What’s your perfect day in the off-season? A ““I’d say just being out at the lake, hanging out in the boat with friends. Just enjoying the sunlight, enjoying the water on a hot, sunny day.”


ABBOTSFORD NEWS

O F F I C I A L

F A N

Jessiman on top line Continued from page 4

up front. At 6’6”, 231 pounds, he certainly fits the size criteria, and he led Lake Erie with 20 goals in 43 games prior to his release. His arrival, furthermore, is a huge lift to an Abbotsford club that’s currently missing forwards Krys Kolanos, Lance Bouma and Roman Horak. That trio is up with the Calgary Flames, serving as injury replacements. Skating on the top line with Ben Walter and Adam Estoclet, Jessiman hit the scoresheet in both of his first two games with the Heat, notching a goal and an assist to help his new squad to a weekend sweep of the Houston Aeros. “You just look at him, and you know about the size,” Heat winger Jon Rheault said with a chuckle. “But it’s more than that – he has skill, and he can score goals. Just being out there with him in practice, you can see he brings a lot of tools. “I think he’ll open up a lot of space for us.” The Heat are the sixth AHL stop for Jessiman, a former first-round draft choice by the New York Rangers back in 2003. He said his first couple days in Abbotsford have been smoother than he might have expected. “I’ve played on a few teams, to say the least, in this league, and I feel like this was probably the best first day I’ve had in terms of transition,” said Jessiman, “Everybody’s very open, and it seems

G U I D E

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Continued from page 5

authored by Ryan and autographed to Wyatt with a special message inside. I was absolutely blown away by the compassion demonstrated by Ryan, his staff and the Abbotsford Heat hockey team. What a class organization and a group of folks that reach out to and support the communities that support them. I must say when I tell this story to my friends and family, I have a hard time finishing without having to pause once or twice to compose myself. I had always heard through the hockey community what a kind

Amy Williams Photography like a great group of guys. I think I’d met everyone within the first five minutes, and I think with some teams, it can take guys a little while to warm up to you. That’s a really good sign, and just knowing the potential and talent and type of team we have here, it’s exciting for me.”

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

LASAGNA NIGHT meat or vegetarian

STEAK & PRAWN NIGHT

$13.99

$15.99

GREEK NIGHT Buy any Greek Specialty and get the 2nd of equal or lesser value at

(dine in or take out)

(dine in or take out)

Over the 2011/12 AHL hockey season, Abbotsford News Faceoff advertisers will be sending over 200 children and teens to Abbotsford Heat home games. For many kids, this will be their first professional hockey experience. A sincere thanks to: 360 Fabrication / CarStar ABC Restaurant Abbey Collision Abbotsford Chrysler City of Abbotsford

Clearbrook Roofing Davis Meats Duke of Dublin Honda Way MSA Ford

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thoughtful family man Ryan Walter is. This story is probably just another example of the impact Ryan has had on the people that he has touched along the way. In closing, I want to express my gratitude to the Abbotsford Hospital and staff for the stellar treatment of my son. Secondly, I want to thank Ryan Walter, OJ Pries and the Abbotsford Heat in helping my son Wyatt through a challenging set of circumstances that will impact on him for the rest of his life. Respectfully, Barry Hicks Langley, British Columbia

Hockey-4-Kids

SCHNITZEL NIGHT Any Schnitzel from the menu

2844 Mt. Lehman an Rd

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Letter contains words of encouragement

SPECIAL NIGHTS AT OCEAN PARK 2 FOR

Friday, March 2, 2012

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RE SO UR C E G UI D E 20 12


14

ABBOTSFORD NEWS

Friday, March 2, 2012

Open to all Minor Junior ho & ckey players!

faceoff

HOCKEY 101

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BRUSH UP ON YOUR HOCKEY KNOWLEDGE

Penalties, calls, ref signals and other game info made easy

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ICING Intentionally shooting the puck from behind the center red line over your opponent’s goal line. Not technically a penalty, icing results in a faceoff in the offending team’s zone.

PLUS! Mon kets and Abbotsford Pilot ticke T-shirts & tic

Referee signal: The instant that the conditions required to establish ‘icing the puck’ have occurred, the referee will blow his whistle to stop play and raise his non whistle hand over his head. The back official will then move to the resulting faceoff spot and give the icing signal.

Drop off your entry at Mad Dog’s Source for Sports or The Abbotsford News (Mad Dog’s - 2556 Montrose Avenue, Abbotsford) (The Abbotsford News - 34375 Gladys Avenue, Abbotsford)

Name: Phone: Email: Age: Division:

SLASHING (minor or major penalty) Hitting an opposing player with the stick or swinging the stick at an opposing player.

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Referee signal: One chop with the non-whistle hand across the straightened forearm of the other hand.

Contest closes April 15, 2012

ROUGHING: Called when a player strikes another opponent in a minor altercation that the referee determines is not worthy of a major penalty.

HOCKEY 101 IS SPONSORED BY: ABBEY COLLISION LTD.

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ABBOTSFORD NEWS

O F F I C I A L

pilot

play

®

F A N

G U I D E

Friday, March 2, 2012

faceoff

Pilots aim to play it safe DanKINVIG ABBOTSFORD NEWS

As his Abbotsford Pilots prepare to embark on their playoff drive, head coach Jim Cowden is facing a conundrum. On one hand, he’d dearly love to see his team make a run at the Pacific International Junior Hockey League championship. But at the same time, the Pilots are already assured of a berth in the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial tournament, by virtue of the fact they’re hosting the event at MSA Arena from April 12-15. And with the unprecedented run of injuries the Pilots have weathered this season, Cowden says he’s focused on protecting his players’ long-term health for the provincials, as opposed to going all-out in the league playoffs. “It’s funny – if you’d asked me at the beginning of the year, I’d have said it’s very important for us to go through the front door,” said Cowden, whose team opened its first-round playoff series against the Port Moody Black Panthers on Tuesday. “But having said that, with all the injuries we’ve had this year,

John Morrow photo

Brady Lawlor (in white) is one of the latest Pilots to be bitten by the injury bug. we just want to stay healthy for the Cyclone Taylor Cup.” The Pilots have gotten healthier in recent weeks, as key forwards Kevin Lourens and Brandon Daase have returned to the lineup. But four players are still sidelined cur-

rently – goalie Aaron Oakley and forwards Luke Venema, Brady Lawlor and Colton Cowden. “It’s tough,” Cowden noted. “We haven’t had our two goalies (Oakley and Riley Parker) healthy at the same time for more than three or

four games this season.” “Other years we had to go for the gusto in the playoffs, because second place meant the end of the season. This year, we’d still rather win. But we’re not going to risk injuries to do it.”

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In celebration of our new partnership with the AIR MILES® Reward Program, the Honda Way is offering reward miles on ANY new or used vehicle from our dealership! Contact us for more details.


16

ABBOTSFORD NEWS

Friday, March 2, 2012

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O F F I C I A L

F A N

G U I D E

MARCH 8-10 MARS, 2O12

TICKETS AVAILABLE ONLINE OR BY CALLING 604-853-3139 BILLETS DISPONIBLES EN LIGNE OU PAR TÉLÉPHONE 604-853-3139

www.ccaamensvolleyball2012.ca

THURSDAY, MARCH 8TH

FRIDAY, MARCH 9TH

SATURDAY, MARCH 10TH

Game #1 - Quarter-final Humber (1) vs. STU (8)

Game #5 - Consolation Losers of game 1 & 2

Game #9 L of game 7 vs. W of game 6

1pm @ Columbia Bible College

1pm @ Columbia Bible College

10am @ Columbia Bible College

Game #2 - Quarter-final Outaouais (4) vs. Red Deer (5)

Game #6 - Consolation Losers of game 3 & 4

3pm @ Columbia Bible College

3pm @ Columbia Bible College

Game #3 - Quarter-final Mount Royal (3) vs. CBC (6)

Game #7 - Semi-final Winner of Quarter-final 1 & 2

6pm @ Columbia Bible College

6pm @ Columbia Bible College

Game #10 L of game 8 vs. W of game 5 12pm @ Columbia Bible College

Game #11 L of game 5 & 6 (7th/8th place) 2pm @ Columbia Bible College

Game #12 - Bronze Medal Match 5pm @ Columbia Bible College

Game #4 - Quarter-final Douglas (2) vs. Sherbrooke (7)

Game #8 - Semi-final Winner of Quarter-final 3 & 4

Gold Medal Match

8pm @ Columbia Bible College

8pm @ Columbia Bible College

7pm @ Columbia Bible College


Thu Mar 1 2012 FaceOff