Saturday, July 19, 2014

Busy Week at the Coliseum

It's been an incredibly busy week around the Giants. A Memorial Cup bid. A new radio deal, and a new coach.

Links to everything you need to know are below.

Giants Bid for 2016 Memorial Cup

Press Release

Steve Ewen's Province Article

Kelly Friesen's Yahoo! Buzzing The Net Article

Giants Renew Partnership with TEAM Radio

Press Release

Giants Name Troy Ward Head Coach

Press Release

Steve Ewen's Province Article

Brad Ziemer's Vancouver Sun Article

Cam Tucker's Metro News Article

Friday, July 4, 2014

Giants Draft Bobylev

The CHL Import Draft was held earlier this week, and for the second year in a row the Giants drafted a Russian, selecting 17-year-old forward Vladimir Bobylev with the 21st overall selection. Bobylev and defenseman Dmitri Osipov, who went first overall in last year's import draft, are expected to fill the two import spots on the Giants roster for the upcoming season.

Vlad Shushovksy, the agent for Bobylev as well as Saskatoon Blades standout Nikita Scherbak, told Steve Ewen of The Province that Bobylev is similar to Scherbak.

"I would say that Scherbak is more skilled, but Bobylev is a meaner kid,” he said. “This guy drives hard. He’ll come off the wall and go to the net.

“He’s a kid with a Russian name but he plays a North American style.

“Vancouver Giants fans can expect a power forward.”

Read the full article from The Province here.

Here's the press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants selected 17-year old Russain forward Vladimir Bobylev in the 2014 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Bobylev played 35 games with Atlanty Mytischi of the Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (MHL) in Russia last season. The 6'3", 198lbs forward had 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) and registered 36 penalty minutes in the 35 games.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rathjen Shipped to Medicine Hat

While the Canucks stole the headlines in Vancouver with three trades on Friday, the Giants made a move as well, sending goalie Jared Rathjen to Medicine Hat for a fifth round bantam pick.

The 20-year-old puck stopper played in 48 games over two seasons with the Giants, posting a record of 15-19-5-1.

Here's the press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants have traded goaltender Jared Rathjen to the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. 

Rathjen played 29 games with the Giants last season. He finished the regular season with a 13-8-4-1 record and posted a Goals Against Average of 2.98 and a .898 Save Percentage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Giants Schedule: Five Key Dates

The Vancouver Giants released their schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season today. You can get the full press release and see the full schedule here, but here are five key dates to circle on your calendar.

For ticketing information, click here or call 604-444-2687.

September 20th vs. Victoria - The Giants will once again open the regular season on home ice against their division rivals from the island. This will be the first of 10 games between the two clubs and should be a dandy when you look at the fact that these two teams produced entertaining hockey in every single one of their meetings last year.

September 26th vs. Portland - The Western Conference champions visit the Rink on Renfrew in a rematch of last season's first round playoff series in which the Winterhawks swept the G-Men out of the post-season. However, this Portland team will look a lot different with the departure of Head Coach Mike Johnston and blueliners Mat Dumba and Derrick Pouliot likely headed to pro hockey.

October 17th vs. Kamloops - This is the big one. Don Hay returns to the Pacific Coliseum as the Head Coach of the Kamloops Blazers after a decade of coaching the Giants including a WHL Championship in 2006 and a Memorial Cup win in 2007. The WHL's second winningest coach will be hoping to steer the Blazers' ship in the right direction after a season to forget last year.

February 11th vs. Edmonton - The Memorial Cup champions will pay their only visit to Van City. It's one of only two meetings between the two clubs. Of note, the G-Men actually beat the Oil Kings 5-1 the last time the two teams met in Edmonton on February 22, 2014.

March 20th vs. Kelowna - Fan Appreciation night and the final home game of the regular season for the Giants will see them face the BC Division champion Kelowna Rockets. The G-Men will then conclude the season the following night in the Okanagan, but as was the case last year, these games -- against what should be a strong Rockets club -- will be a good test for the Giants late in the year.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Giants Sign Two Players

The Vancouver Giants signed a pair of players this week, locking up first round pick Dawson Holt and goaltender Cody Porter to standard WHL agreements.

Holt spent last season playing in the Saskatoon Generals Bantam program while Porter split the 2013-2014 season between the Vancouver North West Giants of the BC Major Midget League and the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL.

Here's the Giants' release on Holt:

The Vancouver Giants are proud to announce the signing of Dawson Holt to a Western Hockey League Player Agreement.

Holt was drafted by the Giants in the first round (8th overall) of the 2014 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

The Saskatoon native, played 26 games with the Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League. The 5'10", 165lbs forward had 73 points (35 goals, 38 assists) with the Generals.

"I am extremely happy to have signed with the Giants," said the 15-year old. "The organization is top notch and I have heard great things about the city and the fans. I'd really like to thank the Giants for this opportunity and look forward to the next step in my hockey career."

Here's the Giants' release on Porter:

The Vancouver Giants are proud to announce the signing of goaltender Cody Porter to a Standard Western Hockey League Agreement.

Porter, a North Vancouver native, played five games with the Vancouver North West Giants of the BC Major Midget Hockey League and posted a Goals Against Average of 1.75 and a .942 Save Percentage.

The 6'1", 181lbs goalie also played 16 games with the West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. In the 16 games with the Warriors, Porter posted a Goals Against Average of 3.55 and a .875 Save Percentage.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hay Heading Home to Kamloops

It's the end of an era in Vancouver. Giants Head Coach Don Hay is heading back to his home town to take over behind the bench of the Kamloops Blazers. It will be Hay's second stint as the Blazers' bench boss after he led the club to back-to-back Memorial Cups in 1994 and 1995. Hay leaves the Giants after 10 seasons as Head Coach. During his time in Vancouver, the team won the WHL Championship and the Memorial Cup and only missed the playoffs once under his tenure. Hay also moved into second place on the WHL's all-time coaching wins list this past season.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank Don for this past season. It was a pleasure to work with such a legendary coach, and I wish him all the best in Kamloops.

Here's the full press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants announced today that Don Hay will return to his hometown to coach the Kamloops Blazers.

"Blazers' Owner Tom Gaglardi contacted me last week and asked for permission to speak with Don," said Giants Majority Owner Ron Toigo. "I'm sure Don is looking forward to moving home and spending more time with his family and enjoying the time with his grandkids. He came here when we were a young franchise and helped develop an identity for the Giants, and showed us how to win. He leaves with a Memorial Cup, WHL Championship, and 5 BC Division Titles. I can't say how much we appreciate what Don has done and what he has meant to the Vancouver Giants Franchise."

The Kamloops native joined the Giants in the 2004-05 season and was with the Giants for 10 seasons. Hay became the third coach to reach a milestone 600-career regular season WHL wins this past season.

"I'd like to thank Ron Toigo and the ownership group of the Vancouver Giants for giving me the opportunity to be the Head Coach in Vancouver for 10 great years," said Hay. "I've really enjoyed my time in Vancouver and it's hard to leave the team. I'd also like to thank everyone in the organization that helped us have success along the way - assistant coaches, trainers, and most importantly the players. And last but not least, I'd like to thank all the Vancouver fans for their support through the years."

In his 10 seasons with the team, Hay coached the Giants to a 401-252-26-37 record. He guided the Giants to win five straight B.C. Division titles (2006 to 2010), and to appearances at the Western Conference Finals in four of five seasons, and two straight WHL league Finals (2006 and 2007). Under his leadership, the Giants won the WHL Championship in 2006 and the Memorial Cup in 2007.

Further information will be provided by the Kamloops Blazers.

Giants Draft Day Recap

Bantam draft day is almost always an eventful day for WHL teams, and the Giants were no exception as they added 13 players on Thursday, selecting 11 in the draft and trading for two others. In the first round, the G-Men selected a pair of centremen, adding Dawson Holt and Brendan Semchuk. Meanwhile, Vancouver picked up defenseman Clayton Kirichenko (96) in a trade with Saskatoon and reacquired forward Matt Bellerive (94) from Kamloops.

Also of note, the Giants drafted defenceman Max Gildon in the third round. Gildon was widely considered as one of the best, if not the best, blue liners in the draft, but whether he decides to play in the WHL or go the college route remains uncertain.

Here's a full breakdown:

First Round:

8th overall
Dawson Holt – Saskatoon, SK – Centre – 5'11", 165lbs
2013-2014: Holt posted 35 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with the Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA.

"It's an unreal experience [to get drafted by Vancouver] and I’m super excited to be a part of the Vancouver Giants organization,” said Holt. "I’ve heard so many great things about the team and I’m so proud and excited to get a chance to play for Vancouver."

10th overall

Brendan Semchuk – Kamloops, BC – Centre – 5'10", 160lbs
2013-2014: Semchuk scored 45 goals and 32 assists in 51 games with the Kamloops Blazers Bantam A1-T1.

"It's an honour getting drafted by the Giants," said Semchuk. "I didn't know where I was going to get drafted to, but it’s been a dream of mine to play for Vancouver. It’s nice and close to home, and I’m looking forward to joining the team."

Second Round:

29th overall
Dylan Plouffe – Sherwood Park, AB – Defence – 5'10", 196lbs
2013-2014: Plouffe had 22 goals and 36 assists in 33 games with the Sherwood Park Bantam AAA United Cycle Flyers and was named the AMBHL Most Outstanding Defenceman.

42nd overall

Owen Hardy – Kelowna, BC – Centre – 5'11", 180lbs
2013-2014: Hardy netted 40 goals and 35 assists in 53 games played with the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam program in the Okanagan.

44th overall
James Malm – Langley, BC – Centre – 5'8", 160lbs
2013-2014: Malm played with the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A1-T1 team.
2012-2013: Played for the Langley Eagles Bantam A1.

Third Round:

51st overall
Max Gildon – Plano, TX – Defence – 6'1", 160lbs
Gildon had 19 points in 31 games with the Dallas Stars U16 program.

He was highly touted heading into the draft with Chris Dilks of SB Nation speculating that he could even go as high as the top three. Read the full piece here.

Kelly Friesen of Yahoo! Sports said the Giants "may have walked out of the draft with the biggest mid-round steal" if they can recruit him. Read the full piece here.

"Max is the best defenceman in the draft and it is now our responsibility to convince him to join our program," said Giants GM Scott Bonner.

66th overall (did not pick – traded to Saskatoon in exchange for Clayton Kirichenko)
Clayton Kirichenko – Sherwood Park, AB – Defence – 6'0", 187lbs
2013-2014: Kirichenko suited up in 70 games for the Blades, tallying three goals and nine assists.
2012-2013: Kirichenko had 22 points in 30 games with the Sherwood Park Kings Midget AAA.

Sixth Round:

114th overall (did not pick – traded to Kamloops in exchange for Matt Bellerive)
Matt Bellerive – North Vancouver, BC – Right Wing – 5'11", 188lbs
2013-2014: Bellerive picked up 18 goals and 23 assists in 60 games split between Red Deer and Kamloops.

Bellerive returns to Vancouver where he began his WHL career. The Giants selected Bellerive with the 43rd overall selection in the 2009 draft, and he played 98 games for the G-Men before being traded to Red Deer.

"We are happy to get Matty back in the program," said Giants' General Manager and Executive Vice President Scott Bonner. "We know he can help offensively and he's familiar with our program."

130th overall
David Tendeck – North Vancouver, BC – Goaltender – 6'0", 155lbs
2013-2014: Played for the North Shore Winter Club Bantam A1-T1.

Seventh Round:

134th overall
Bailey Dhaliwal – Mission, BC – Defence – 6'2", 185lbs
2013-2014: Dhaliwal played for Mission Bantam A1.

139th overall
John St. Ivany – Manhattan Beach, CA – Defence – 5"9", 155lbs
2013-2014: St. Ivany played for the LA Junior Kings.

Eighth Round:

156th overall
Jaren Turnquist – Calgary, AB – Right Wing – 5'11", 160lbs
2013-2014: Turnquist had six goals and six assists in 30 games with the Calgary Bisons Bantam AAA.

Ninth Round:

183rd overall
Myles Mattila – Prince George, BC – Right Wing – 5"9", 165lbs
2013-2014: Was team captain of the Prince George Cougars Bantam T1.