portland winterhawks

Winterhawks get back to action - sort of

Kishaun Gervais reps for team in NHL21 tournament
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

The Portland Winterhawks don't know if or when they'll be playing next on the ice, but they know one of them will be duking it out with the rest of North America for hockey supremacy in the Memorial eCup shortly.

All 60 junior hockey teams in Canada and the U.S. will be represented in a 64-team tournament using NHL21 to determine a winner. Portland is represented by Kishaun Gervais.

Gervais is in his second year with the team as a 5-foot-8 winger from Kamsack, Saskatoon. He had eight goals and nine assists in 31 games last season.

Portland led the WHL in wins and points when the season was abruptly halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020-21 season is set to begin Jan. 8, with all the Canadian teams playing amongst themselves and the five teams in the U.S. Division playing amongst themselves. But, none of the U.S. teams have announced a schedule, or whether they will actually play this upcoming season due to not having the ability for fans to attend.

The Hawks are also in the unique situation of still looking for an owner after previous owner, Canadian Bill Gallacher, put the team into bankruptcy and for sale once the pandemic arrived.



Capitalism abounds! What's PDX due for next

Pandemic aside, Portland has opportunities for more pro teams
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

What’s the next expansion franchise in Portland?

The whole world might seem to have paused for the day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, but now that Election Day has passed, regardless of the vote-counting fallout, it’s time to look forward to the future of sports in Portland. In particular, the possibilities of an expansion franchise in one or more pro leagues. So, we’re taking a look at three possibilities and asking the public to vent its opinions on them: Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League or Women’s National Basketball Association.

Which one is most likely to reach Portland in the next decade?

It might seem a bit outlandish to consider this in the time of a pandemic when crowds aren’t even allowed in the state, but capitalism marches on regardless of the beat of public concerns. People with money will always be looking at ways to make more money, and Portland is a continually growing market with money for things like sporting events.

Here’s the logic behind the three:


Portland has been in the Triple A business before for decades, but it’s been more than a decade since Merritt Paulson bailed on the Beavers and focused on the Timbers, selling the baseball team at the same time as getting the soccer franchise to the Major League Soccer level. As Portland can brand itself as Soccer City, USA, and sell out Providence Park for every game - even the women’s team, the Thorns, can sell out the stadium - it seems like a good move.

But, Portland dreamers won’t give up on baseball, and have a plan for a stadium mapped out by the Portland Diamond Project. The stadium would be located just North of the Fremont Bridge, and potentially be a cornerstone for new development in what is now an industrial area.

But, getting a team to the Rose City would require MLB to expand, or a franchise to move, and neither seems like a sure bet in the near future. The Oakland A’s might be the best option, playing in an aged stadium before small crowds, but the owners do not seem interested in any movement like the football Raiders just accomplished. If the A’s were to move, they might follow the Raiders to Las Vegas, anyway.

Still, Portland can promote it gets less rain during the season than Detroit or Minneapolis, which have open-air stadiums. And, the city has a natural rival in Seattle just three hours North, and is already on the map with the Blazers and Timbers/Thorns and Nike.

Rumors of MLB expansion flow through social media consistently, but getting a stadium built would be a major task, one Paulson can reflect on as a disaster having gotten one lined up for Beaverton and then replacing the Memorial Coliseum only to get significant negative public response.


Portland has a long history of hockey support, from the Buckaroos of the 1960s and ‘70s to the Winterhawks of the past four decades. 

The Hawks, who divide their home schedule between the Coliseum and Moda Center, are annually in the top five for attendance in the Western Hockey League.

There are a pair of key factors working against the NHL in Portland: the league has already expanded to 32 teams with the addition of Seattle, set to begin play in 2021, and there is no ownership group that has publicly expressed interest in bringing team here. 

Having Seattle available as a natural rival is a plus for any team thinking about relocating, and that would likely be the Phoenix-based Arizona Coyotes, who have lost money for now decades, having gone bankrupt in 2009. But, after numerous sales, the team still is housed in Phoenix, and the league seems devoted to keep it there.


Portland would seem like a great spot for the WNBA to expand as it has experience in the league, an arena to play in, and women’s sports are on a definite upswing through the NWSL and even the WNBA itself. Basically, all the team would need is an owner.

Finding an owner during the pandemic might be a challenge, especially in light of the hardcore restrictions placed on public arenas keeping crowds not only down, but non-existent. The league has long been viewed as a money-loser, but recent info shows otherwise. In fact, the league players association demanded a bigger cut of league revenue in the past year, and got it, moving from somewhere near 25 percent of the estimated $60 million brought in by its 13 teams, to close to 50 percent.

Portland has a solid support base for the NWSL Thorns, averaging more than 20,000 fans per game in 2019. And, the college programs in Eugene and Corvallis were among the top 10 in average attendance from among Div. I schools in 2019-20.

The NWSL is something of a bellweather for making this team happen, as it is expanding to Louisville and the Los Angeles in the next two years - the LA franchise being financed by a group of female actors. With France’s OL Olympique having purchased the team in Seattle last year, there’s an international feel being developed within the league.

A group of actors might very well view Portland as another city to make gains for women’s sports, and basketball can use it. Portland is a great spot for that expansion. Not only are there women's sports fans, but basketball specifically, too. Portland just earned a regional in 2024 for the NCAA Tournament, as well as first- and second-round games in 2026. And, the Moda Center was set to hold part of the 2020 tournament as well. When the crowds for the University of Oregon and Oregon State are factored in - and they're top 10 nationally - and, hech, the hoop teams themselves being annually in national rankings, women's basketball would seem a natural for Portland.

But, any prospective team would require the support of the NBA team in that city - the Trail Blazers - as the NBA owns half of the WNBA. Portland once had that support with the Fire, who played from 2000-02, and were successful enough that when Paul Allen looked to either sell or disband the team in 2002, he had buyers awaiting in former Blazers great Clyde Drexler and local business tycoon Terry Emmert. But the deal fell apart and the Fire folded.

The Allen family continues to own the Blazers and WNBA market, and virtually no rumors exist about any expansion for the league.



WHL will play, but Winterhawks season remains in jeopardy

Phase 3 guidelines mean the team cannot play with a mandatory crowd
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

There are some amazing challenges facing the teams in the US Division of the Western Hockey League these days, even on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Portland, for starters, the Winterhawks are still for sale, having been put on the block by owner Bill Gallacher mostly because he's in Canada and there's no crossing the border these days. 

In Seattle, the Thunderbirds now play in a market soon-to-be dominated by the NHL-expansion Kraken - due to begin play in October 2021.

And scheduling, well, it's a major stumbling block because none of the five teams can guarantee they'll be able to host a crowd, and the league has mandated games must be played before fans. Currently, strict guidelines for events being played before fans, from pro to college to prep, are nowhere near being met in either Oregon or Washington.

Oregon recently allowed for skating rinks to re-open in the Portland area last week, so the Winterhawks can practice. But, the league has stated it will begin play on Jan. 8 of 2021, which is slightly more than two months away. Canadian teams can play before limited crowds.

All of the US Division games would be played among its five teams.

The Hawks, led by No. 13 overall NHL draft pick Seth Jarvis, were atop the league standings when the 2019-20 season came to an abrupt close in March. It was shortly thereafter that Gallacher, a Calgary, Canada-based investor who has owned the team since 2008, allowed the team to go into bankruptcy after defaulting on several loans rather than handle the forthcoming financial problems caused by the pandemic. Heading into November, the team has yet to find a new owner.

Portland's four division rivals all play in Washington (Seattle, Everett, Tri-Cities and Spokane), and nine of the past 11 league championship series have involved have involved one of them. All five were among the top 10 teams in attendance within the league last season.

This is a developing story.



Hawks ready for another playoff run

Portland tops WHL for wins, points
Staff Report

After two-thirds of the WHL season, the Portland Winterhawks are cruising along to another playoff berth, and perhaps home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

At least that's where they are currently.

Portland entered the week at 40-10-3-4, 87 points, and is three points ahead of Everett in the U.S. Division. But, the Silvertips are hot at 9-1 in their past 10 matches, which is four wins better than Portland. Everett has 40 wins and 84 points. Third-place Spokane is also on a 9-1 stretch and has 75 points.

The Hawks have a three-game road trip this weekend, playing at Tri-Cities Friday, Seattle Saturday, and Everett on Sunday.

Portland plays at Spokane, March 13, and then is host to Everett, March 14.

The regular season closes out March 22.

Portland lost to Everett in the first round of the league playoffs last season, and to the Silvertips in the second round in 2018, and first round in 2016.

The Winterhawks last won the WHL title and played in the Memorial Cup in 2013, and played in the league championship series in 2011, '12 and '14. They last missed the playoffs in 2009.



2019 - Lost Everett first round

2018 - Beat Spokane first round, lost Everett second round

2017 - Beat Prince George first round, lost Kelowna second round

2016 - Lost to Everett first round

2015 - Beat Seattle first round, beat Everett second round, lost Kelowna West Final

2014 - Beat Vancouver first round, beat Victoria second round, beat Kelowna West Final, lost to Edmonton WHL Final

2013 - Beat Everett first round, beat Spokane second round, beat Kamloops West Final, beat Edmonton WHL Final, lost to Halifax Memorial Cup Final

2012 - Beat Kelowna first round, beat Kamloops second round, beat Tri-Cities West Final, lost to Edmonton WHL Final

2011 - Beat Everett first round, beat Kelowna second round, beat Spokane West Final, lost to Kootenay WHL Final

2010 - Beat Spokane first round, lost Vancouver second round




Blazers keep surging

TUESDAY 4CAST: Portland rallies, Thorns, Hawks reunion, PSU hoop
Staff report

Damian Lillard kept the Portland Trail Blazers winning streak going Monday night with another stellar performance.

Lillard scored a game-high 39 points, including 19 points in the fourth quarter as Portland rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers, 108-103, at the Staples Center.

Portland (38-26) won for the seven-consecutive game, and stayed a game ahead of three teams in the race for third place in the Western Conference. The Blazers play host to the New York Knicks tonight.

Lillard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, hitting 4 of 5 three-point shots.

The win was also the 15th-straight over the Lakers.


Christine Sinclair scored two goals to lead Canada to a 3-0 win over South Korea in the third round of Group Stage play at the Algarve Cup, but the Canadians will play only for fifth in the 25th annual tournament. Sweden, which beat Canada 3-1 on the first day of the tournament in Portugal, will play the Netherlands Wednesday for the title.

Sinclair's two goals gave her 172 for her international career - within reach of Abby Wambach's record 184. Portland begins its regular season March 24 at North Caroina.


THe Western Hockey League honored Portland's Cody Glass as the Player of the Week, and goaltender Andrew Farkas as the Goaltender of the Week for the work in keeping the Hawks battling for a top playoff seed.

After a pair of road games tonight and Wednesday, the Hawks return homre and will honor the 1998 Memorial Cup champions with a reunion and team Hall of Fame induction for four of the key members: Marian Hossa, Andrew Ference, Brendan Morrow and Todd Robinson.


Portland State got 24 points from Sidney Reilly and beat Northern Arizona to open the Big Sky Tournament Monday. The Vikings face third-seed Eastern Washington Wednesday.

The PSU men's team opens the Big Sky tournament today against Sacramento State.



Columnist Derek Weber looks over the NBA's strategy to address high school players using colleges for one year only.


Blazers back to business

TUESDAY 4CAST: Portland looks to Dame for 50 again, women's hoop, Timbers, Winterhawks
Staff report

The Portland Trail Blazers play host to the Sacramento Kings tonight at the Moda Center with fans looking for Damian Lillard to possibly score more than 50 points, Lillard having done so in the last game with the Kings, Feb. 10.

Portland enters the game with a three-game win streak and has won five of its last six games to pull within three games of third place in the Western Conference standings, which are now led by Houston.


The 12th-ranked George Fox women's basketball team will head into action Friday at Weverly, Iowa, in the first-round of the NCAA Div. III Tournament, which features 64 teams just as the Div. I tournament does. The Bruins will face Saint Benedict of St. Joseph, Minn., in the first round, with a game against either host Wartburg or Webster Saturday.

George Fox is making its 14th trip to the tournament, having won the title in 2009. It reached the Final 8 two seasons ago. Senior Kaitlin Jamieson, a 6-3 senior from Forest Grove, leads the team at 11.9 points per game.

The tournament field includes MIT from Boston, but no other team from the West Coast.


The Portland Timbers today announced the club has entered into a multiyear, multifaceted partnership with Sightbox, as the club’s official vision care partner. As part of the collaboration, Sightbox, the season presenting partner for the Timbers, holds exclusive logo rights on all Timbers training apparel to be worn during training sessions and pregame.

Alaska Airlines will still be on the front of the Timbers' game kit.

Portland's MLS season begins Sunday in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.


Portland's Winterhawks play at Tri-Cities tonight, then prepare for a string of five games in six days, including a four-game road swing that starts Saturday. The Hawks play Seattle at Memorial Coliseum Friday, then hop on their bus for games at Tri-Cities Saturday, Seattle Sunday and Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Portland has already clinched a WHL playoff spot with 11 games left in the regular season.


Hawks slowly skate into season

Portland opens 2015-16 campaign with three losses
Oct. 4, 2015

After three straight losses to open the 2015-16 Western Hockey League season, it's hard to remember the last time the Portland Winterhawks didn't reach the playoffs much less reach the conference finals.

But, the season is only three games old.

After a 3-1 loss Friday, the Hawks are a full 0-3-0-0, 0 points in the US Division, but eight of the 10 teams in the conference qualify for the playoffs, so a long season of progress followed by a late-season run are the keys to a successful season.

And, Portland plays its next four games at home, either at Memorial Coliseum or the Rose Garden beginning Friday against Spokane.

Portland's run of WHL Finals appearances ended at four last season when the Hawks lost to Kelowna in the conference final. The team has reached the conference final for an unprecedented five straight years.

The last time the team missed the playoffs was in 2008-09 when the team won just 19 games - a year after winning just 11.



Hawks back to series deadlock

After a 3-2 loss, Portland heads back to Kelowna tied 2-2
April 29, 2015

PORTLAND - Despite a solid edge in shots, the Portland Winterhawks weren't able to find the back of the net enough and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Kelowna Rockets Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

The WHL Western Conference championship series heads back to British Columbia tied at 2-all. Game 5 is set for Friday at 7:05 p.m., with Game 6 in Portland Sunday at 5 p.m. If there is need for a Game 7, it will be played in Kelowna on Tuesday.

Portland got goals from Chase De Leo and Nicolas Petan, but its 42-28 edge in shots-on-goal didn't turn into the desired result in the tightly-played game. The teams combined for only 18 penalty minutes - just six on Portland - before the crowd of 8,629. Only one of the five goals was scored on a power play: Kelowna's eventual game-winner at 9:16 of the second period.

The Hawks had two power plays in the third period, including one for the final 56 seconds, which turned into a 6-on-4 advantage after the team pulled goaltender Adin Hill.

Kelowna goaltender Jackson Whistle was named the top star of the game for his 40 saves.


Hawks take West lead

Portland breaks out for 7-3 win, 2-1 series lead over Kelowna
April 28, 2015

PORTLAND - After basically struggling to score goals throughout the playoffs, the Portland Winterhawks showed off their form and pounded Kelowna 7-3 in the third game of their WHL Western Conference Championship Series Tuesday before a raucous crowd of 8,510 at the Moda Center.

Oliver Bjorkstrand scored his 12th and 13th goals of the playoffs, and Adin Hill stopped 41 of 44 shots to lead the Hawks to a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 set for Wednesday at the Moda Center.

Portland is looking for its fifth consecutive conference title.

Dominic Turgeon put the Winterhawks ahead 1-0 at the 12:50 mark of the first period and by the 3:13 mark of the second frame Portland had extended the lead to 3-0 on goals by Keoni Texeira and Chase De Leo. 

Leon Draisaitl stemmed the tide for Kelowna with a goal midway through the second, but the 'Hawks kept rolling and never relinquished the lead.

Portland stars Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nic Petan shone on the night as Bjorkstrand notched a four-point effort (2g-2a) while Petan collected three assists.

Adin Hill was named the game's first star. Portland went four-of-eight on the power play while Kelowna scored just one power-play goal.




Winterhawks rally to tie series

Portland pounds home eight goals, heads for Memorial Coliseum and Game 5
April 3, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

In one of the wildest playoff games this season, the Portland Winterhawks beat Seattle 8-5 to tie up their first-round series at 2-all Thursday at the ShoWare Center in Seattle.

Nic Petan scored a pair of goals and six other Portland players also scored to support Adin Hill in goal.

Hill gave up five goals, but only one in the first two periods on 22 shots as the Hawks built a 5-1 lead.

Chase De Leo scored just 54 seconds into the game to set the tone for Portland.

Game 5 is set for Saturday at Memorial Coliseum at 6 p.m.




April 2, 2015

Despite a 37-29 edge in shots on goal, the Portland Winterhawks dropped the third game of a best-of-seven series at Seattle Tuesday night in the WHL playoffs.

The Thunderbirds got two goals and an assist from defender Jerret Smith in front of 6,119 fans at the ShoWare Center. Smith scored both goals in the third period, including one into an empty net.

Portland, which finished second in the US Division - one spot above Seattle, got goals from Dominic Turgeon in the second period and Nic Petan in the third.

Game four is scheduled for tonight at 7:05 p.m. in Seattle with Game five Saturday in Portland at Memorial Coliseum starting at 6 p.m.

Portland finds itself in a rare position trailing in a series. The Hawks have reached the Western Conference championships the past four seasons, winning the title in 2012.





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