WHL: Legal trouble for two key Vancouver players

Two leading members of the Vancouver Giants find themselves in hot water for an off-ice incident.

Vancouver radio station CKNW originally reported Friday that 19-year-old defenseman Brett Kulak and 18-year-old winger Jackson Houck are facing criminal chargers stemming from an Aug. 18 house party in Tsawwassen, B.C.

Both players were charged with assault causing bodily harm. Kulak was also charged with threats to cause death or bodily harm. Both have appeared in court three times since the incident. They are scheduled to return to court Nov. 20.

The Vancouver Province reported the extent of the injuries inflicted was one young man with a broken nose.

Sgt. Sarah Swallow of the Delta Police told the Province the incident was “a couple of teenagers getting into a fight and not thinking about the potential consequences.

“There’s no protracted issue going on here, and they’re not known for anything like this,” Swallow added.

Following CKNW’s report, Vancouver owner Ron Toigo issued a statement on the incident.

“We cannot comment on the charges or the likely outcome at this time, and hopefully this will all behind us after the court date,” the statement read.

“What we can say is that our players are held to a higher standard and, for the most part, live up to that.

“Both these players have been, and are, very good citizens and have been good members of our community.

“It is unfortunate that one negative incident gets the attention instead of all the good things that have been done before.

“They are both prepared to deal with whatever the court decides.”

Kulak and Houck are two of Vancouver’s top players. Kulak, a fourth-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft by the Calgary Flames, is the team’s leading scorer with 23 points. Houck, a fourth-round pick in this year’s NHL draft by the Edmonton Oilers, is tied with Kulak for the team lead in goals with nine. Both have played in all 22 of Vancouver’s games this season.

Around the WHL

The circus continues in Lethbridge as prized 17-year-old defenseman Ryan Pilon was the latest player to leave the team and request a trade. Pilon, the third-overall pick in the 2011 bantam draft, follows in the footsteps of 19-year-old forwards Jaimen Yakubowski and Sam McKechnie, the team’s top two goal scorers from last season. Yakubowski and McKechnie requested trades in October, were sent home, then were dealt to Seattle.

Brandon received a bonus with the addition of 19-year-old forward Peter Quenneville from the NCAA. Quenneville, a seventh-round pick in this year’s NHL draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, left Quinnipiac for the WHL. His rights were held by Prince George, but his brother John plays for Brandon. The Cougars flipped Quenneville to the Wheat Kings for a third-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. To make room for Quenneville, Brandon sent 18-year-old forward Jack Palmer to Victoria for two fifth-round bantam picks in 2014.

Lethbridge acquired the rights to 19-year-old goaltender Teagan Sacher from Regina in exchange for a fifth-round bantam pick in 2015. Sacher had left the Pats for the University of Winnipeg.

Spokane’s Mitch Holmberg was named the WHL Player of the Week. The 20-year-old forward had five goals and four assists as the Chiefs went 2-1.

League leaders

Points — Mitch Holmberg (Spokane) 51; Goals — Holmberg 23; Assists — Nicolas Petan (Portland) 29; Penalty minutes — Sam Grist (Kamloops) 69; Wins — Brendan Burke (Portland) 13; Goals against average — Jordon Cooke (Kelowna) 2.03; Save percentage — Coleman Vollrath (Victoria) .939.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

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