Daily Dose of the Dub: Cougars hire Jason Smith as associate coach, Drazenovic departs, Royals make changes to Hockey Ops staff and more

Cougars hire Jason Smith as associate coach, Drazenovic departs the organization 

The Prince George Cougars have announced that Jason Smith (128 GP, 23 G, 81 A with the Regina Pats) will be joining the team as an associate coach. Aside from his time with Regina, WHL fans will recognize Smith from his time with the Kelowna Rockets as their head coach from 2016-2018 before he was replaced by Adam Foote in October of 2018. Under Smith, the Rockets posted back-to-back 40-win seasons and reached the Western Conference Final in 2016-17. His coaching record with the Rockets finished at 92-64-15 after the team got off to a 4-10 start in 2018/19.

Smith also had an extensive career at the NHL level, playing 1008 games with the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators posting 41 goals and 128 assists. Upon retirement, Smith spent four seasons with the Senators as a consultant and assistant coach before joining the Rockets.

We also learned that Nick Drazenovic (281 GP, 77 G, 137 A with Prince George Cougars) has decided to part ways with the team after spending the past three seasons as the Cougars’ Director of Player Development. Our Caden Fanshaw has that story here.

Royals make changes to hockey ops staff 

The Victoria Royals have made some changes to their hockey operations staff, promoting Ed Fowler to Director of Player Personnel and naming J.T. Ward Head Athletic Therapist. Fowler has been with the Royals since 2013 and most recently served as Senior Regional Scout for the West Region. He has spent over 30 years in the game of hockey from the minor hockey ranks with Surrey Minor Hockey Association to the North Delta Devils of the PIJHL to now spending time with the Royals.

Ward joins the Royals organization from the Pacific FC, a professional soccer team in Victoria but he also has experience in junior hockey working with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers, and Alberni Valley Bulldogs. He had previously been with the Royals from 2014-16 as a student-athletic therapist while attending college.

Hockey Alberta trims roster for WHL Cup

Hockey Alberta has announced the 32 players named to the U-16 shortlist for the 2019 WHL Cup set to take place in October:

  • Goaltender Daniel Hauser (Winnipeg ICE)
  • Goaltender Nicholas Jones (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Goaltender Justen Maric (Red Deer Rebels)
  • Goaltender Ian Mills (Everett Silvertips)
  • Defenseman Cale Ashcroft (Saskatoon Blades)
  • Defenseman Jaren Brinson (Prince George Cougars)
  • Defenseman Carson Brisson (Moose Jaw Warriors)
  • Defenseman Keaton Dowhaniuk (Prince George Cougars)
  • Defenseman Kaiden Ellertson (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Defenseman Graydon Gotaas (Prince Albert Raiders)
  • Defenseman Ryan Nolan (Medicine Hat Tigers)
  • Defenseman Ross Stanley (Edmonton Oil Kings)
  • Defenseman Jamie Weller (Kamloops Blazers)
  • Forward Nate Danielson (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Forward Josh Davies (Swift Current Broncos)
  • Forward Connor Gourley (Seattle Thunderbirds)
  • Forward Jordan Gustafson (Seattle Thunderbirds)
  • Forward Samuel Huck (Regina Pats)
  • Forward Ty Hurley (Swift Current Broncos)
  • Forward Jayden Joly (Kelowna Rockets)
  • Forward Rieger Lorenz (Winnipeg ICE)
  • Forward Reid Mackay (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
  • Forward Tyler Mackenzie (Medicine Hat Tigers)
  • Forward Rhett Melnyk (Tri-City Americans)
  • Forward Bilal Noori (Calgary Hitmen)
  • Forward Rylen Roersma (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Forward Tanner Scott (Victoria Royals)
  • Forward Bowden Singleton (Vancouver Giants)
  • Forward Shea Van Olm (Edmonton Oil Kings)
  • Forward Liam Watkins (Brandon Wheat Kings)
  • Forward Oasiz Wiesblatt (Medicine Hat Tigers)
  • Forward Koehn Ziemmer (Prince George Cougars)

The shortlisted players will be scouted based on their play with their club teams before Hockey Alberta selects the 20-man roster for the Hockey Alberta roster.

Hyman commits to Ryerson 

Graduating WHL defenseman Aaron Hyman (235 GP, 16 G, 67 A with the Calgary Hitmen, Seattle Thunderbirds, Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans) has committed to Ryerson University for the 2019-20 season. A member of the 2017 WHL Champion Thunderbirds, Hyman played two games with the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL after Tri-City’s season ended this year.

Smith heads to Chicago in trade 

The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Zack Smith (221 GP, 41 G, 69 A with the Swift Current Broncos) from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for forward Artem Anisimov. Last season with the Senators, Smith played 70 games with nine goals and 19 assists.

Jets re-sign Nogier 

The Winnipeg Jets have signed Nelson Nogier (235 GP, 8 G, 42 A with the Saskatoon Blades and Red Deer Rebels) to a one-year contract extension. A 2014 fourth-round pick of the Jets, Nogier has played 11 games with the Jets.

Valiev returns to Flames

The Calgary Flames are bringing back defenseman Rinat Valiev (107 GP, 14 G, 60 A with the Kootenay ICE) on a one-year contract. Originally a third-round pick of the Toronto Mape Leafs in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Valiev joined the Flames organization last season playing 57 games for their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat.

Baddock gets a new deal with Devils

Brandon Baddock (255 GP, 54 G, 49 A with the Edmonton Oil Kings) has signed a new deal with the New Jersey Devils organization. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Baddock has yet to see NHL action, mostly playing for the AHL’s Binghamton Devils.

Condors re-sign Stukel

The Bakersfield Condors of the AHL have re-signed forward Jakob Stukel (265 GP, 103 G, 94 A with the Vancouver Giants and Calgary Hitmen) to a one-year AHL contract. Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Stukel played 10 games for Bakersfield last season in his first year of professional hockey.

Yuen returning to Kunlun Red Star

Defenseman Zach Yuen (255 GP, 30 G, 88 A with the Tri-City Americans) has re-signed with the Kunlun Red Star for the 2019-20 season. Originally a fourth-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Yuen spent three seasons in the North American minor pro system before departing for Kunlun. Last season, Yuen had one goal and one assist in 35 games.

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