Recent Press Releases From The Portland Winterhawks And The WHL

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The press releases came from the Portland Winterhawks this past weekend, with many former Hawks getting prevalence and a couple of recent ones getting promoted to Pro. A former Hawks executive gets trimmed from the organization he went to, and another team sees their athletic trainer go pro elsewhere. Here are the details from the Press Releases. 

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Winterhawks, proud member club of the Western Hockey League, shared today that forward Mason Mannek has agreed to terms on a contract with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.

The Herriman, Utah native recently concluded his Western Hockey League career, totaling 212 games and 94 points over four seasons with the Hawks.  This season, Mannek finished tied for third on the Winterhawks with ten goals in 24 games. 

“I am beyond excited to be joining my hometown Grizzlies for the remainder of the 2020-21 season,” Mannek stated.  “Growing up watching them play, playing for the Jr. Grizzlies throughout my youth hockey career and now being able to play for them is a super special moment for me and my family.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know some of their staff and I can’t wait to get started.” 

The Grizzlies have ten games remaining in their regular season, including games this Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in one of which Mannek may make his pro debut. 

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Winterhawks, proud member club of the Western Hockey League, shared today that 2020-21 team captain and defenseman Nick Cicek has signed a one-year contract with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, effective for the 2021-22 season.  He will join the club on an amateur tryout (ATO) for the remainder of this season.

The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba concluded his Western Hockey League career last week, etching career-highs in goals (5), assists (16) and points (21) despite playing the season with the fewest amount of games.

“I want to thank the Winterhawks for everything they have done to help me reach my goals and get to this level,” Cicek said. “I also want to thank San Jose for giving me this great opportunity to pursue my dreams.”

The San Jose Barracuda are AHL affiliates of the San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks organization also touts former Winterhawks Joachim Blichfeld and Evan Weinger.

Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Canucks General Manager Jim Benning announced today that head coach Travis Green has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension.  

“We are excited to have Travis Green continue to lead the Canucks as head coach and move forward from a challenging year to focus on future seasons,” said Benning. Our plan has always been to draft and develop a young core and surround them with supporting players who can help us win. We have some of the best young players in the NHL and I believe Travis is the right coach to help us achieve team success and a return to the playoffs.”

“Coaching the Vancouver Canucks has been a privilege and I am excited at the opportunity to continue behind the bench with this team,” said Green. “I believe this young team and organization is on the rise. They have shown character, a strong will to win and we expect big things in the years ahead. Thank you to Jim, Francesco and the Aquilini family for the opportunity to continue as the coach of the Vancouver Canucks.”

Green, 50, was named the 19th Head Coach in Canucks history on April 26, 2017 and has since guided the team to a 125-132-32 record in 289 regular season games. He currently ranks fifth in franchise history in games coached (289) and wins (125). 

In 2019.20, Green led the Canucks to their first postseason berth since 2015, posting a 36-27-6 record before the season pause. The Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild in four games in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers before dispatching the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues in six games in the Western Conference Quarterfinal. Vancouver ended the 2020 postseason with a 10-7 record, which has Green ranked first in Canucks history for playoff winning percentage (.588%). 

Previously serving as Head Coach of Vancouver’s AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets, Green posted a record of 155-110-39 over four seasons. In 2014.15, his second season behind the bench, he led the Comets to a North Division Championship with the best record in the Western Conference (47-20-9), as well as a trip to the Calder Cup Final. 

Green first began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager of Portland Winterhawks (WHL) in the 2009.10 season. Partway through the 2012.13 season, he was named interim Head Coach of the Winterhawks, guiding the team to a 37-8-2 record, a WHL Championship title and a Memorial Cup Final berth. 

A native of Castlegar, British Columbia, Green was originally selected by the New York Islanders in the second round, 23rd overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play 14 seasons in the NHL, recording 455 points (193-262-455) and 764 penalty minutes in 970 games with the New York Islanders, Anaheim Ducks, Phoenix Coyotes, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Boston Bruins. In 56 career playoff games, Green registered 21 points (10-11-21) and 60 penalty minutes. 

One of the building blocks to the success of the Portland Winterhawks when they were sold from the Jack, John, and Jim group to the one held by Bill Gallacher. Garry  Davidson was Director of Player Personnel before Matt Bardsley being elevated to the position when Everett scooped up Davidson. Davidson was there in Everett for several years and made a huge impact on the squad. There is a great deal of speculation that this is a cost-cutting move and may also be seen in several other teams going into next season due to all of the losses incurred by teams around the league. Here is the press release from Everett. 

EVERETT, Wash. – The Everett Silvertips ( @WHLSilvertips) announced today that the organization will not be extending its contract with Garry Davidson in his capacity as General Manager. Davidson is departing the organization, effective immediately.

“Thank you to Garry for his contribution to our franchise over the past 9 years”, said Zoran Rajcic, President & COO.  “Garry has been significant contributor to our franchise, and the business and on-ice success of the Everett Silvertips is directly attributable to his efforts.”

The past two seasons have necessitated the restructuring of Silvertips hockey operations, and this process is ongoing.   The Silvertips remain focused on the long-term on-ice and business success for our players, fans, partners, sponsors and our ownership.  Further information on this process will be provided in the coming weeks.

Another WHL team saw their Atletico Therapist move into a different pro organization within Canada. 

Edmonton, Alta.  – The Edmonton Oil Kings announced today Head Athletic Therapist Brian Cheeseman will be leaving the organization after accepting a job with the Edmonton Football Team (CFL) as their Director of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Cheeseman, 40, began working with the Oil Kings during the 2010-11 season. In his time with the club, he worked more than 700 games, which included 95 playoff games and nine Memorial Cup games.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have been a part of a fantastic organization these last 11 years,” said Cheeseman. “To get to work in a professional and successful environment every day, I think has gone a long way for not only my development as an athletic therapist, but as a person.

“I’m very thankful for all the people who played a role in it, from management to coaches, players and obviously my co-worker and one of my best friends, Rogan Dean (Oil Kings Head Equipment Manager). None of this is possible without the support and help from those people.”

In his role with the Oil Kings, the Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador native was responsible for the prevention, assessment, treatment, documentation and rehabilitation of all player injuries, while also overseeing and monitoring the players off-ice workouts, nutrition, hydration, rest and recovery.

“He’s one of, if not, the best in our business,” said Oil Kings Head Coach Brad Lauer. “He was a huge part of our group. What he did for our players, whether it’s the medical side, getting workout programs together, or just being there for our players to give them someone to talk to about anything, was huge. It’s bittersweet to see him go, disappointed to lose him, but very excited for this new adventure he’s going into.”

Cheeseman leaves the organization with plenty of fond memories including being a two-time WHL champion (2012 and 2014) and a Memorial Cup champion (2014).

“The championship seasons and being a part of that run to three straight championship series against the same team in Portland, something we might never see again in our league or junior hockey for that matter, is definitely near the top of the list,” said Cheeseman. “But you know what, it’s the stuff that happens behind the scenes, the friendships and relationships you make with people along the way, watching a player come back from a long-term injury and scoring a goal or contributing in their first game back, those are things that you remember and cherish the most as an athletic therapist.”

During his time with the Oil Kings, Cheeseman also found success at the international level with Hockey Canada, serving as the Athletic Therapist for Team Canada at four IIHF World Junior Championships (2016-18 and 2020), winning two silver medals (2017 and 2020) and one gold medal (2018).

Prior to working the World Junior tournaments with Hockey Canada, he also served as an Athletic Therapist at the 2012 World U-17 Hockey Challenge for Team Pacific, as well as the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he would capture a gold medal with Team Canada.

He has also worked several CHL events including a pair of Top Prospects games (2014 and 2019) and the 2016 CIBC Canada/Russia Series.

“This is something that is well-deserved,” said Oil Kings Head Equipment Manager Rogan Dean on his longtime friend and co-worker. “He’s completed everything on the junior hockey bucket list and I can’t think of anyone else that deserves this opportunity more. I’m extremely happy for him and honestly it should have happened a lot sooner because he is so good at his job.”

Cheeseman also served as a leader amongst the WHL’s Athletic Therapists, sitting on many committees throughout his tenure in the league while also serving as the Oil Kings COVID-19 Compliance Officer during the 2020-21 season.

“Brian was fantastic for our organization these last 11 years,” said Oil Kings President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Kirt Hill. “From everything that he did for the team, the league committees and Hockey Canada, he went above and beyond with his role. Everything he did for the Oil Kings was second-to-none in the league and his commitment to our team is going to be strongly missed.

“We wish Brian nothing but the best with his exciting new role with the Edmonton Football Team and look forward to remaining good friends and keeping a strong relationship with all the staff here.”

Cheeseman is slated to begin his new role with the Edmonton Football Team next month.

“I’m incredibly honoured, excited and humbled to have this opportunity,” said Cheeseman. “It’s a new adventure for me in more ways than one, but one that I’m looking forward to taking on head first and hopefully some of these experiences I’ve been able to gain through my time with the Oil Kings, and junior hockey in general, will help that transition to football and a pro-sports environment happen smoothly.

“I think having had the opportunity to work for such a professional organization as the Oil Kings and be able to work in a professional environment like Rogers Place will make that transition easier.”

The entire Oil Kings organization wish Brian and his wife Adrienne the best of luck as they embark on this exciting new journey.

About Stuart Kemp 230 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the President of the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club since 2008 and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

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