By Mike Benton – Silvertips play-by-play

It’s about time we’ve freshened this post (it’s been a few months)! Now with the thaw of winter becoming reality, and safety measures allowing for the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division to finally open up play, hockey season is finally on the horizon.

The U.S. Division gets going March 19: less than one month away

It feels so good to type it, say it, tweet it.

Important items to note in the recent days:

  1. FIRSTS, BRYCE KINDOPP EDITION: Hopefully you didn’t miss it, but last year’s Tips captain Bryce Kindopp is on the board in the American Hockey League. Congratulations on his first career AHL point in his debut, last Wednesday in a 4-3 win over the Bakersfield Condors. He set up Benoit-Olivier Groulx’s second period goal, and another WHL alum: Josh Mahura had a helper on the play.Nice timing; we shared a video essay a few days ago on Kindopp being named to the Silvertips all-decade team. These have been fun to record and post.
Bryce Kindopp in action with San Diego (AHL), who earned his 1st AHL point last Wednesday vs. Bakersfield. (Photo: San Diego Gulls)
  1. FIRSTS, JAKE CHRSITIANSEN EDITION: Saturday night, in his third AHL game, Jake Christiansen got on the board with his first AHL assist against Grand Rapids. He’s getting a share of touches so far: 8 shots on net through 3 games.
  1. FIRSTS, GIANNI FAIRBROTHER EDITION: First career point in the pros as a member of the Laval Rocket, last Saturday. That didn’t take long.

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOSS: Another trip around the sun for the sprite, energetic, and visionary Zoran Rajcic, who’s been with the Silvertips since the beginning during the 2002-03 building stages, advancing now as chief operating officer inside the Consolidated Sports Holdings circle – he’s entering his fifth season in that role.

  1. SAVE THE DATE, CLEAR YOUR SCREEN. When the WHL announces the U.S. Division schedule soon, it’ll be time to clear your calendars. And your cache. CHL TV just several days ago announced its new high-quality streaming platform, partnering with Verizon Media. The WHL will be the first to unveil it this Friday when the Central Division gets out of the gate.I’m expecting more details coming soon about pricing and packaging, so you don’t miss a single second of the Tips shortened season. I’m already excited about it. It’s been 11 months since I’ve had a chance to update a spotting board.
  1. THE BUTCHER: In a new home, Radko Gudas is becoming a fan favorite with the Florida Panthers, who’ve scorched the NHL for an 11-2-2 start (24 points). Only Carolina’s better in the Atlantic Division, by one point. He sat in the guest chair for the Panthers podcast last week. Give it a listen.
  1. SPEAKING OF THE PANTHERS: Noah Juulsen’s new home is in Sunrise, Florida. The former Tips captain has been paired with Keith Yandle on the back end, and has been taken “under his wing” after moving on from Montreal. He’s also got the attention of head coach Joel Quennenville.

(AND FINALLY): Happy 41st birthday, Miracle on Ice.


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