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Hawks release schedule for upcoming season

Portland set to play half its home games at the Rose Garden
Staff Report

For the second-straight season, the Portland Winterhawks will play 18 of their 36 home at the Rose Garden.

The Hawks are coming off a highly-successful season in which they reached the playoffs and had the No. 4 and 5 picks in the National Hockey League draft.

There were two changes to Winterhawks games from the tentative schedule released on July 28: the first home game of the season will now be played on Monday, Sept. 27 against the Vancouver Giants at the Rose Garden. That game had originally been scheduled for Sept. 28, but by playing on the 27th it will allow both teams a day to travel before they meet in Vancouver on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

In addition, the Winterhawks’ second home game against Vancouver has also been moved. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 15, it will now be played on Wednesday, March 16. The change was made after the Rose Garden became available on that date.

Those games will mark two of the 18 games set for the Rose Garden this season. The Winterhawks open the season with three straight Rose Garden games: Sept. 27 vs. Vancouver, Oct. 2 vs. Seattle and Oct. 3 vs. Lethbridge. The Winterhawks will play three games at the Rose Garden in October, three in November, six in December, one in January and four in March.

The 2010-11 schedule will feature 25 of the team’s 36 home games taking place on the weekend, with 10 games on Fridays, nine games on Saturdays, and six games on Sundays.

All games will begin at 7 p.m. except Sunday games, which will begin at 5 p.m. The only exception is the 8 p.m. puck drop on New Year’s Eve.

Who's really to blame for Beavers exit?

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Owner Merritt Paulson gets a close examination
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Watching all the people streaming off MAX Monday afternoon, I could only imagine how tough it was for diehard baseball fans to accept the reality the Portland Beavers were on their way somewhere else.

There’s one fan, in particular, that it must have hit harder than anyone else at PGE Park – Merritt Paulson, the team’s owner.

And, if you want to blame anyone for the team’s upcoming move, blame him.

You have to blame him for being a smart business owner, too.

Paulson showed up in Portland in 2007 after having tried to buy a Class A team in Petaluma, California, a deal that involved the city assisting in building a $10 million stadium on the county fairgrounds. City leaders were on board, but the deal broke down over the $250,000 the fairgrounds would have needed to give up annually for 25 years.

So, Paulson, the son of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, bought the Beavers and Timbers instead, likely thinking PGE Park would continue to be a good home for the Timbers and the city only needed an inspired owner to help build a new baseball stadium.

The soccer part happened. The baseball part didn’t. So, the Beavers are headed elsewhere – probably California, and at a profit for Paulson. Blame him for that.

You can’t blame him for not trying to get that new stadium built – at three different locations in the metropolitan area. Portland, and Beaverton, just didn’t want to build it. That’s civic leaders and ultimately residents opposing all three. If the city had more baseball fans, a stadium would have happened.

Ultimately, a business owner gets the blame for a business moving or folding. Paulson tried, it didn’t happen and the next move is the team moving because Portland is not a Triple A town.

Portland needs a Major League Baseball stadium to lure an MLB team, not a smaller stadium to lure a Triple A team. If minor league baseball returns to Portland, it’ll be to the Portland area, likely Beaverton, which would build a stadium to attract a team.

Paulson, of course, did get a stadium built for the Timbers because the stadium already existed – Multnomah/Civic Stadium/PGE Park, which is never going to get replaced in the lifetime of anyone reading this. Archeologists 3,000 years from now won’t have to dig it up because it’ll still be in the open air, like the Pyramids.

PGE Park needed a much smaller effort by civic leaders to be renovated into a soccer stadium, so that happened. Paulson chose soccer over baseball because Portland is a soccer town more than it is a minor league baseball town. Paying customers say it is.

If the Beavers had more paying customers, civic leaders would have had the support they needed to help build a new stadium. But, that’s not the case. So, Paulson chose soccer over baseball – as a business owner.

Paulson showed up in Portland as a baseball fan, and is remaining as a soccer team owner. A pro sports team owned by someone who lives here. There’s some significant respect that goes along with that. The Blazers don’t have that. The Winterhawks don’t have that.

And, he didn’t just walk away and let someone else take care of the teams, which is what happened with Portland Family Entertainment, the locally-owned organization that pushed for PGE Park to get renovated in time for the 2001 season. When baseball fans, mostly the more wealthy ones where were needed to purchase those “luxury” boxes, didn’t show up, their financial resources dried up and they just … walked away.

So, the Beavers are going to leave – for the third time, and are probably never going to return. Paulson’s got to feel miserable about that and his role in it. But, he’s still here.

And, hey, maybe he’ll try to become a civic leader and run on a platform of bringing Major League Baseball to town. Now, that would be a real gauge of the public’s interest in baseball.

READ MORE OF CLIFF PFENNING’S BLOG

Dike's strikes power Portland past Baltimore 3-0

Pore tallies 14th goal before large home crowd
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Bright Dike showed off a good amount of his potential Sunday with a pair of goals as the Portland Timbers dominated visiting Crystal Palace Baltimore, 3-0, in a USSF match played before a raucous crowd of 15,418.

Dike scored in each half to go with a score from Ryan Pore as the Timbers won for the third time in four matches.

Dike has scored five goals in the past five games and Pore tallied his league-leading 14th goal.

“Those first 25 minutes, I think that’s the best football I’ve seen in the two years I’ve been here,” coach Gavin Wilkinson said afterward.

Portland improved to 10-7-8, 38 points, and remained in fourth place overall in the USSF standings.

The Timbers play host to Puerto Rico Thursday in the final home game of the season at PGE Park, which will begin the process of construction to become a football-specific stadium.

Timbers working toward USSF playoff schedule

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Hawks, Blazers nearing preseason
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Here's a rundown on what's upcoming for the state's pro franchises.

BLAZERS: Once the FIBA World Championships get over in Turkey - the championship game is set for Sept. 12, the team begins its final countdown to training camp and the preseason opener, Oct. 5 against the L.A. Clippers. The regular season opener is Oct. 26 against the Phoenix Suns.

K-Love earns a spot on Team USA

Kevin Love is among the 12-member roster headed for Turkey
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

With all the drama surrounding Rudy Fernandez and his play for Spain over the weekend, Oregonian Kevin Love got completely overlooked. The former state Player of the Year while leading Lake Oswego to three-straight state title games, is among the 12-player U.S. Team roster announced Tuesday for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

SPORTSLAND 25: Thomas/Costa or Costa/Thomas? And Rudy?

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The 25th episode of Sportsland delves into some heavy topics, including the weekend's LPGA disaster
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's the historic 25th episode of the oregonsports.com podcast, Sportsland.

In this episode Los and Danger, Carlos Molina and Cliff Pfenning, discuss the situation in McMinnville, who's going to be the likely starter in Eugene for the Sept. 3 opener, the PSU football scrimmage, women's soccer opening up, the PGA Champions Tour in Sunriver, and the LPGA Safeway Classic.

Plus, there's the weekly features: What Plucks your Duck, What Excites your Beaver, and a new feature this week.

Colorful day ends in draw for Timbers

Portland ties Minnesota after Spencer named future coach
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The Timbers Army chanted “give us a wave” midway through the second half of Portland’s game with Minnesota Wednesday, but not for a player on the field. The Army directed the chant toward John Spencer, the team’s future coach who had been introduced earlier in the day to local media.

Spencer hit PGE Park in time for a vibrantly colorful game that featured a penalty kick and red card as the Timbers and Stars played to a 2-all tie before 15,418 vocal fans and a regional television audience.

Beavers head home on a hot streak

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Portland wins third-straight over Iowa
Staff Report

It’s been a rough season for the Portland Beavers, but they’ve hit a bit of a hot streak this week.

Portland gave up four runs in the eighth and ninth innings Wednesday, but still held on for a 5-4 win over Iowa, splitting an eight-game road series with the Cubs.

Portland returns to PGE Park for a four-game series with Albuquerque followed by a four-game series with Round Rock, Texas.

The Beavers are 46-73 on the season, but scored 13 runs twice in their series with the Cubs, and score 21 in a win at Las Vegas in July.

Richards leads Timbers to momentus win

Portland's U23s finish season unbeaten, untied
Staff Report

Powered by two goals from Brent Richards, the Portland Timbers U-23s won the 2010 Premier Development League Championship, defeating the Thunder Bay Chill 4-1 on Saturday at PGE Park.

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