Silvertips start preseason with three-day tournament

  • By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
  • Friday, September 2, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

EVERETT — Just consider this year’s Everett Silvertips Preseason Tournament the lite version.

Everett’s annual exhibition-opening extravaganza has been paired down this season, featuring one fewer team and three fewer games.

Since its beginning in 2004, Everett’s preseason tournament featured six teams, with a total of nine games over three days.

But this year’s edition includes just the five U.S. Division teams — Everett, Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Tri-City — with just two games played today, Saturday and Sunday at Comcast Arena.

Everett’s original plan included the usual six teams and nine games. Traditionally the tournament has included the U.S. Division teams along with one B.C. Division squad. Last season, the Tips reached a little further, inviting the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League to participate.

This year Everett again planned on reaching into Ontario, this time for the 2009 and 2010 Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires. However, that fell through at the last minute, leaving the tournament short a team.

“We had Windsor coming, and at the last minute they pulled out for whatever reason,” Everett general manager Doug Soetaert said. “Initially they committed to coming. We talked to them, we were fine-tuning it, but something happened. But it is what it is, there’s no problem with it.”

Soetaert said this should be a one-year anomaly and that the tournament is expected to return to six teams in the future.

As for this year’s tournament, Everett opens its preseason schedule against Tri-City at 7 p.m. tonight. The Tips then face Spokane on Saturday and Seattle on Sunday.

Everett has 33 players still with the team: 19 forwards, 10 defensemen and four goaltenders. Three of those players, forwards Manraj Hayer (broken fibula) and Trent Lofthouse (broken wrist) and goaltender Kent Simpson (recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery), will not play. That means everyone else should get about two games to show what they can do against real opposition.

“Everyone’s kind of craving a real game,” Tips center Ryan Harrison said. “They’re nothing like intrasquad games. We want to play against another team and battle up against them.”

These games will be new coach Mark Ferner’s first chance to see the team in game situations. Ferner has had one week’s worth of practices with the Tips, so he’s not expecting perfection when it comes to execution.

“I don’t think it’s going to be about Xs and Os,” Ferner said. “It’s just going to be about our effort and our commitment to making sure we work hard.”

As for evaluating the players, close attention will be paid to the goaltenders Luke Siemens, Andy Desautels and Austin Lotz are competing to be Simspon’s back-up.

Also rookie defensemen hopefuls Darian Henry, Tye Hand, Austin Adam and Andrew Weich are likely competing for two spots.

The Tips are not expected to make any moves with forwards in the near future. Next week forwards Josh Birkholz (Florida), Tyler Maxwell (Minnesota) and Harrison (Vancouver) leave for NHL camps. With Hayer and Lofthouse unavailable, that leaves just 12 forwards who are eligible to make this season’s team available for next weekend’s Tri-City Preseason Tournament.

Top prospects sign

The Silvertips announced Thursday that they’ve signed centers Ty Mappin and Dawson Leedahl, their top two picks from this year’s bantam draft, to WHL education contracts.

Mappin, Everett’s first-round pick (seventh overall), is a 5-foot-10, 160-pound playmaker from Big Valley, Alberta. He was one of the standouts at training camp, leading all goal scorers with six.

Leedahl, Everett’s second-round selection (40th overall), is a 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He’s a solid two-way center.

Both Mappin and Leedahl are 15, meaning they’re too young to make the roster this season. However, both have spent the week practicing with the team.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

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