WHL News – Associate Coach With Portland Winterhawks Ties Fired, Awards Online, More

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Brian Pellerin was relieved of his duties as Associate Coach for the Tri-City Americans this past week. Pellerin, from Hinton, Altanta was an assistant coach in his first season and the last five as an associate for Tri-City Americans when he was reunited with Mike Williamson  from 2014-18. They had last been together when they were behind the Portland Winterhawks bench from 2004-2007. Pellerin stayed on with the Hawks for one more season when the team was coached by former Winterhawk Rich Kromm.

The 50-year-old Pellerin played four seasons (1987-91) with the Prince Albert Raiders. In 243 games he had 74 goals, 79 assists and 808 penalty minutes. He played 14 seasons with Minor Pro teams including a 2-year stint in England before turning to coaching, mostly as an assistant. Brian had been a player-assistant coach at the start of his behind-the-bench career.  This season, which was cut short by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Americans mustered just 17 wins and were third from the bottom of the entire WHL. Several people, including me, thought they would be a force this season having a veteran goalkeeper and several returning players.

At the outset of the season, they played as a solid force, leading the Division at one point, but suddenly fell and did so heavily. The wheels seemed to really fall off for them after they traded veteran goaltender Beck Warm to Edmonton, signalling a focus to a youth movement.

The press release read: “We would like to thank Brian for the time he spent with our team and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  

The removal of Pellerin didn’t stem from any one issue—it’s just that if a team has a bad record, the ax seems to fall on the guys in charge. No word if anything would happen to Kelly Buchberger, now in his second season with the Ams.

Some WHL teams offered videos of awards being given, while the Winterhawks did so in a more subdued way. They posted the awards on the main page several days after the awards night of March 22. 

The awards went as follows:

Scholastic Player of the Year – Lane Gilliss

Portland Winterhawks Booster Club Memorial Most Popular Player of the Year – Seth Jarvis

The Sportsmanship and Ability Award – Kade Nolan and Mason Mannek

The Winterhawk Heart and Soul Award – John Ludvig and Joel Hofer

Rookie of the Year Award – Tyson Kozak

Jann and Robert Boss Best Defensive Player Award – John Ludvig

Most Valuable Player Award – Seth Jarvis

The WHL is still trying to figure out a very fluid situation with the upcoming 2020-21 season. Training camps would be starting in the third week of August with drafts happening in the next month or so. While these can be done online—which would be possible, though not very exciting—it is the physical aspect of the game that could easily be affected. The actual season would be starting the weekend of September 18 through 20 and is now less than five months away. The illness, which has caused many facilities to close, will be hard pressed to ramp up that quickly.

Local arenas have also felt the pinch. Mountain View Ice Arena sent a letter out through Twitter and their Facebook explaining their difficult decision to close. In a one-page letter, they explained the need to shut down compressors, melt the ice and layoff all the employees in an effort to stay afloat. There is no timeline to restart their operation, though they have said in their letter that the arena will reopen once the all-clear has been given.

Sherwood Ice Arena posted information to their Facebook page which read:

Good Afternoon,

As many of you have already seen, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order on “stay home, stay healthy”- Executive Order 20-12. As a result, Sherwood Ice Arena will close at the end of the business day, March 23rd, 2020.

We will continue to carefully follow the developing COVID-19 situation and update everyone as new information comes in.

Updated program and league information will be posted on our website:  www.sherwoodicearena.com

Please make sure to follow updated guidelines by the CDC and the Oregon government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Make sure to wash hands, practice social distancing, and limit time outside of the house.

Any questions can be directed to: info@sherwoodicearena.com 

– Sherwood Ice Arena Management

The website said that website updates will follow and to please check for updates. They did not list the drastic measures that Mountain View has done, but chances are that they have had to do similar activities.

Winterhawks Skating Center has not updated their website. 

Now it is the waiting game, and one where no timeline is known.

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About Author

Stuart Kemp

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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