WHL notes: Alberta flood affects Blazers’ Macklin
When other Western Hockey League players were getting in shape and thinking about the season ahead, Kamloops Blazers forward Aaron Macklin turned his attention to life-and-death matters.
Macklin was in his hometown of High River, Alberta, when the Highwood River flooded its banks in late June. Most of Macklin’s family lives in the town of 13,000 south of Calgary, including his grandmother, whose fate wasn’t immediately clear.
“It was pretty devastating,” Macklin told Adam Williams of the Kamloops Daily News. “We couldn’t find her. We heard that they took some of (the seniors in his grandmother’s building) to a couple of schools just outside of the town, but we could only get to one (school) because the highway was closed to the other.”
Macklin’s aunt was the first family member to discover that Aaron’s grandmother was OK.
Last weekend, after three months of living with Macklin’s parents, his grandmother was able to move back home, although she’s still dealing with sewage backups and mud tramped in by firefighters.
Brief stay for Clague
The Brandon Wheat Kings enjoyed a brief look at their future.
Defenseman Kale Clague, the only 15-year-old to compete during the WHL’s opening weekend, returned home to play for the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League’s Lloydminster Bobcats.
Clague suited up in two games for the Wheat Kings as an affiliate player (15-year-olds are not allowed to play full time in the league). He didn’t score a point, but the team was pleased with the play of the 5-foot-11, 181-pounder, who was selected sixth overall in this year’s bantam draft.
“It was a situation where we thought he would be comfortable and he acquitted himself tremendously well,” Wheat Kings head coach/GM Kelly McCrimmon told James Shewaga of the Brandon Sun.
Clague had two goals and five points in four preseason games with Brandon.
Around the league
The Everett Silvertips released Waltteri Hopponen, their first-round pick in this year’s Canadian Hockey League import draft, and kept 18-year-old Swiss defenseman Mirco Mueller and 17-year-old Russian center Ivan Nikolishin as their two import players. The Silvertips had to make the decision after the San Jose Sharks reassigned Mueller back to Everett. Hopponen, a 17-year-old winger from Finland, will join the Sioux City Musketeers of the U.S. Hockey League. … The Regina Pats cut 20-year-olds Trent Ouellette and Luke Fenske. Younger players knocked both down the depth charts. The Pats retained the rights to Ouellette and Fenske, both of whom will be assigned to junior A ranks. … Swift Current rookie defenseman Julius Honka was named the league’s first player of the week after totaling one goal and five assists in a pair of Broncos wins.