Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Don't Expect BCHL or WHL in Wenatchee

Out here in the Pacific Northwest, there's a lot of talk about the $45 million dollar arena project that has broken ground in Wenatchee, Washington.

The conventional wisdom is that the city must have it's eye on a BCHL or WHL hockey team.

But I don't think that is what's happening.

The Wenatchee arena project is being managed by Global Entertainment, the parent company of the Central Hockey League.

I've got to think there's zero chance that Global is spending all this money/effort just to give a big franchise expansion fee to the WHL or BCHL. Nor are they spending all this money to give away the arena to some existing WHL/BCHL owner. I also doubt that they're helping the city gamble $45 million on a new arena in the hopes they can buy some WHL/BCHL team that currently isn't for sale.

So forget all the speculation about WHL or BCHL in Wenatchee. It's not happening (at least for now). They are either putting a Central Hockey League team in there or it will be part of splitting some existing CHL teams into another new league. It either case, it looks like Wenatchee is the first step in a plan for geographic expansion of Global's professional hockey holdings.

The CHL has had some amazing success planting new arenas and new teams in some very strange and impossibly small markets (like Hidalgo, Texas, population 7,300). So these guys do know how to sell hockey in small markets.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Second Chance for Knackstedt

Well, here's one trade that needed to happen to perhaps help Jordan Knackstedt's draft prospects.

Knackstedt was high on my list (2nd/3rd round range) going into this season, but has not looked anywhere near the player he was 2005-06. To my eye, his skating has gone significantly backwards this season.

Add that to the fact he's been buried on an awful third line for the Rebels, and Knackstedt has been dropping like a rock on some lists (read: my list). Despite all that he's still putting up decent numbers.

Now, I suppose being traded to Moose Jaw doesn't immediately improve one's skating, but we can at least expect Knackstedt to not be relegated to third line duty for the Warriors.

UPDATE: Central measured Knackstedt at 195 lbs this year, vs. 168 last September. So perhaps the big bulk up has hurt his skating.