Daily Dose of the Dub: Tri-City hires Kelly Buchberger as new head coach

The Tri-City Americans announced at a press conference today that they had hired Kelly Buchberger as their new head coach. Buchberger fills the void left when Mike Williamson stepped down from the position earlier this summer.

Buchberger played in the WHL for the Moose Jaw Warriors back in 1984-85 and 1985-86. He then embarked upon a long NHL career, mostly with the Edmonton Oilers. Buchberger played for them from 1986-99 and was captain of the team from 1995-99. He was a member of two of the Oilers Stanley Cup winning teams – in 1986 and 1990.

After a brief stint with the Atlanta Thrashers, Buchberger then played for the L.A. Kings from 2000-02. He finished his career off after a year each with the Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins.

All in all, Buchberger had 309 points in the NHL over 1,182 games.

Buchberger then eased into coaching with a one-year stint with the Oilers’ AHL team before playing one last year in the Chinook Hockey League.

He then went onto full-time coaching in 2006 as the Oilers development coach. In 2007-08, his only time as a head coach, Buchberger steered the Springfield Falcons of the AHL to a 35-35-5-5 record . He then went back to the NHL and was an assistant for Edmonton from 2008-14. In 2014 he moved onto a position with the Oilers as director of player development, where he stayed until last year. Buchberger was an assistant for Doug Weight with the Islanders last season. He not takes the helm for Tri-City and returns to the WHL after 32 years.

During the press conference president and general manager Bob Tory referenced Buchberger’s long history as a coach in the NHL and his playing style as reasons he was chosen to fill the vacancy.

Buchberger inherits a team that has lost quite a few players to the pro ranks but could still contend led by center Michael Rasmussen.

Winterhawks sign both imports

The Portland Winterhawks announced the signing of both Dean Schwenninger and Michal Kvasnica today. Both were selected by the Winterhawks in the 2018 CHL Import Draft.

Schwenninger- who is from Zurich, Switzerland – was taken 55th overall in the draft. The 5-foot-8, 139 pound Schwenninger was born in 2001 and will be eligible or the 2019 NHL Draft.

Schwenninger played for the Zug U17 team in Switzerland in 2016-17 and 2017-18, before moving on to the U20 Zug team later last year. He was a captain for the U17 team. He also played for Switzerland’s U16 team and U17 team.

Schwenninger piled up 24 points in 31 international games over the two years playing for his national team. He also notched 37 points in the Zug 17 team and eight playing against many older players while playing for the U20 squad.

Schwenninger is left handed and is listed as a center.

Kvasnica was taken 115th overall in the import draft out of Ostava, Czech Republic. He is listed as 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds and was passed over in the 2018 NHL Draft. The left-handed Kvasnica played in the U16, U18 and U-20 Czech leagues before playing in the Czech2 league for HC Frydek-Mistek on loan a season ago.

Kvasnica played for the Czech Republic internationally at the U18 World Junior Championships, U18 Five Nations Tournament and U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. At the U18 WJCs he had four points in seven games, while he notched two goals in four games. At the Ivan Hlinka Tournament he earned a silver medal on home soil. He had one goal in the tournament.

Leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft he was ranked 40th among European skaters.

Here are his two goals at the Five Nations Tournament. He looks to have a solid release and uses his frame well.

Here is the updated projected Winterhawks depth chart. The addition of the two imports gives them some added depth to the forward group.

It should be noted that if Jokiharju returns from the Chicago Blackhawks, one of three things has to happen. Either Jokiharju has to be traded or Kvasnica or Schwenninger has to be released.

LW Center RW
Ryan Hughes (99) Cody Glass (99) Mason Mannek (00)
Ty Kolle (00) Jake Gricius (99) Lane Gilliss (99)
Michal Kvasnica (00)#* Reece Newkirk (01) Jaydon Dureau (01)
Lukus MacKenzie (99) Dean Schwenninger (01)#* Conor MacEachern (98)^
Cross Hanas (02)* Seth Jarvis (02) Connor Barley (98)^
Gabe Klassen (03)*


Left Defense Right Defense
Brendan De Jong (98)^ Henri Jokiharju (99)#
Matthew Quigley (99) Jared Freadrich (98)^
Clay Hanus (01) John Ludvig (00)
Nick Perna (01)* Nick Cicek (00)
Ryan Miley (00)* Kade Nolan (01)*
Kurtis Smythe (02)*


Shane Farkas (99)
Evan Fradette (01)*
Dante Giannuzzi (02)*
Lochlan Gordon (03)*


^=overage player

#=import player

*=has not played a regular season or playoff game in the WHL.

Hockey Alberta names U16 shortlist

Hockey Alberta used the performances at their Provincial Camp to name a U16 shortlist. There were 80 players initially invited and that ahs now been shortened to a list of 20 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goalies. Those 34 players will be scouted while with their teams and then a final roster of 20 will be announced. Those 20, 2003-born players will compete at the Western Canada U16 Championships in October.

Here are the WHL-drafted players who made the shortlist and whether they have committed to the WHL or NCAA route.

The Red Deer Rebels lead the way with four players selected and all four have signed WHL standard player agreements.

Player WHL Team Position NCAA committed? WHL?
Nathan Airey Kootenay-5th round Goalie No No
Lochlan Gordon Portland-3rd round Goalie No Yes
Tyler Palmer Spokane-10th round Goalie No No
Marek Pocherewny Calgary-3rd round Goalie No No
Drew Sim Vancouver-3rd round Goalie No Yes
Corson Ceulmans Moose Jaw-5th round Defense Wisconsin No
Carson Haynes Tri-City-3rd round Defense No Yes
Dru Krebs Medicine Hat-2nd round Defense No Yes
Marc Lajoie Tri-City-1st round Defense No Yes
Kyle Masters Red Deer-1st round Defense No Yes
Trey Patterson Red Deer-2nd round Defense No Yes
Keegan Slaney Edmonton-21st round Defense No Yes
Matt Smith Edmonton-3rd round Defense No No
Carlie Wright Saskatoon-4th round Defense No Yes
Olen Zellweger Everett-2nd round Defense No No
Craig Armstrong Prince George-1st round Forward No No
Lucas Ciona Seattle-2nd round Forward No No
Colton Dach Saskatoon-1st round Forward No Yes
Jayden Davis Medicine Hat-3rd round Forward No No
Tyson Greenway Tri-City-4th round Forward No Yes
Jayden Grubbe Red Deer-1st round Forward No Yes
Dylan Guenther Edmonton-1st round Forward No Yes
Brett Hyland Brandon-2nd round Forward No Yes
Dylan James Brandon-2nd round Forward No No
Tyson Laventure Prince Albert-2nd round Forward No Yes
Owen MacNeil Spokane-2nd round Forward No No
Josh Medernach Red Deer-3rd round Forward No Yes
Ty Mueller Prince George-3rd round Forward No No
Zach Ostapchuk Vancouver-1st round Forward No Yes
Dean Spak Prince Albert-3rd round Forward No No
Zack Stringer Lethbridge-1st round Forward No Yes
Sean Tschigerl Calgary-1st round Forward No Yes
Kai Uchacz Seattle-1st round Forward No No
Tristan Zandee Calgary-2nd round Forward No No

Everett hires two coaches and loses one



Links and notes:

-New Kamloops Blazers head coach Serge Lajoie plans to put his background as a teacher to good use while working with a younger group of players than he has worked with in the past.

-Portland Winterhawks listed goalie Aaron Randazzo has committed to play for St Cloud State. Randazzo won the Telus Cup with the Notre Dame Hounds last year and competed at USA Hockey’s Select 17 camp.

-Former Portland Winterhawks forward and 2014-15 WHL player of the year Oliver Bjorkstrand signed a three-year contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

-The Blue Jackets also extended former Everett Silvertips captain Ryan Murray for one more year.

-Another former Winterhawk Taylor Leier inked a one-year extension with the Philadelphia Flyers .

-Former Swift Current Broncos forward Colby Cave signed a two-year, two-way extension with the Boston Bruins.

-Former Regina Pats forward Morgan Klimchuk got a one-year, two-way deal with the Calgary Flames.

-Another former WHLer in d-man Dillon Hetherington inked a one-year, two-way deal with the Dallas Stars. Hetherington played his first NHL game for the Stars back in January.

-Alex Petrovic, formerly of the Red Deer Rebels has only known one NHL team and that will continue as he signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Florida Panthers.

-The last NHL signing of a free agent from over the weekend and today was former Regina Pat and Medicine Hat Tiger Kyle Burroughs. He inked a two-year, two-way deal with the New York Islanders.

-Ty Lewis and Cole Reinhardt got to reconnect at Colorado Avalanche training camp. Lewis was an undrafted free agent signing for Colorado and Reinhardt was there as an invitee.

-It did not take Spokane Chiefs defenseman Ty Smith long to impress the New Jersey Devils brass. He netted a hat-trick in his very first NHL Development Camp scrimmage.

-Those WHL teams interested in Wenatchee Wild head coach Bliss Littler for a job need not inquire as he relays in a great piece by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times on the Wild of the BCHL.

-There are lots of great reads on the life of goalie Ray Emery, but this one by the Ottawa Sun takes an even-handed approach at the former NHL goalie who tragically lost his life over the weekend.

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