A rarity occurred in the WHL this week.
The Seattle Thunderbirds and Portland Winter Hawks have been bitter enemies for 20 years, relations at the best of times being frosty and the worst of times being vile.
So when the T-birds and Winter Hawks pulled off a trade that solved both teams’ overage situations, it was a bit of an eye opener.
Seattle had four overagers, one more than the league limit. Portland had just two. So both teams solved their dilemma last Wednesday when the T-birds traded 20-year-old left wing Robert Klinkhammer to Portland in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft.
Klinkhammer had eight goals and 12 assists in 67 games between Seattle and Lethbridge last season.
“We had four 20-year-olds on our roster and could only keep three,” Seattle general manager Russ Farwell said in a press release. “We like having Rob on our team but we had to make a tough decision in regards to our 20-year-olds. We think this trade will give Rob the change to play and be a good player in this league.”
The number of trades between Seattle and Portland through the years can probably be counted on one hand. In addition to the animosity between the two teams, organizations generally don’t like to make trades that help division foes.
With Klinkhammer gone, Seattle’s overagers are center Aaron Gagnon, center Kyle Pess and goaltender Derek Yeomans. Portland’s overagers are Klinkhammer, center Kyle Bailey and defenseman Max Gordichuk.
In the week’s other deals, Spokane acquired 20-year-old left wing Corey Courchene from Brandon in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft, and Kelowna shipped 19-year-old center Clayton Bauer to Kootenay for 16-year-old goaltender Daniel Salamandyk and a fifth-round pick in the 2007 bantam draft.
Slap shots: Prince George center Brett Robertson was named the WHL Player of the Week for Sept. 21-Oct. 1. Robertson had three goals and six assists in four games as the Cougars went 2-2. … Chilliwack named 20-year-old right wing Josh Aspenlind the first captain in franchise history. … Tri-City agreed to a contract extension with coach Don Nachbaur. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. … Bob Green was named general manager of the Edmonton expansion franchise that begins play next season. Green spent the last 12 years as a scout for the Medicine Hat Tigers, including the last six as head scout.
League leaders: Points – Martin Hanzal (Red Deer) 12; goals – Kirill Starkov (Red Deer) 6; assists – Hanzal 10; penalty minutes – Frazer McLaren (Portland) 36; wins – Leland Irving (Everett) 4; goals against average – Dustin Slade (Vancouver) 0.67; save percentage – Slade .966.