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Portland Winterhawks poke back at WHL: Friday’s coast-to-coast

Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

WHL

BenefitGate has basically boiled down to a parry-and-thrust of press releases. The WHL says Portland committed 54 infractions involving 14 players; the Winterhawks counter by "encouraging more transparency in the process."(Vancouver Province, Oregon LivePortland Tribune)

Jess Rubenstein says Portland has been turned into an escape goat: "The Winterhawks offering a player's family plane tickets BASED ON NEED during the season so the player's family can see their child shouldn't be a violation to begin with." (The Prospect Park)

Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo's take: "The league has to be set up in such a way that Moose Jaw and Swift Current have just as much a chance as Vancouver, Portland and Calgary." So when can we expect the Dub to introduce NFL-style revenue sharing? Got a lot of people holding their breath over here waiting for it. (Vancouver Sun, Taking Note)

Shorter Damien Cox: Mo' money in major junior, mo' problems. Similarly, Chris Cochane calls the violations "lightweight." (Toronto Star, Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

Daniel Nugent-Bowman highlights a key difference between Portland's transgressions and the Windsor Spitfires'. Please read it. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

Hey, news that pertains to something on the ice, how novel: Montreal Canadiens second-rounder Dalton Thrower is still recovering from a concussion, meaning he will not line up vs. brother Josh Thrower in the Saskatoon-Calgary game. The Blades will have 19-year-old right wing Shane McColgan back, though. (Calgary Herald)

Tough times for the Regina Pats, who had only 14 healthy skaters at one practice this week ahead a home-and-home with Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert. (Prince Albert Daily Herald)

Prince George and Victoria are each looking to sweep their two-game set this weekend. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

OHL

Heavy-hitting defenceman Thomas Welsh has decommitted from Penn State and will hop in the boat with the Mississauga Steelheads. (Toronto Sun)

The Kitchener Rangers are chapped over Erie's Johnny McGuire not receiving a suspension for a concussion-causing check last week. (Waterloo Record)

That's not much of an 18th-birthday gift for Brody Silk. The Sudbury Wolves forward is gone for eight games after punching Sault Ste. Marie's Landon Schiller on Wednesday. (Sudbury Star)

Detroit Red Wings draft pick Andreas Athanasiou makes his return to London tonight with the Barrie Colts. His old Knights friends are riding a 12-game win streak heading into a showdown of conference leaders. (London Free Press, Metro London)

In new bench boss Kris Knoblauch, the Erie Otters are getting a "player's coach." (Erie Times-News)

Ken Pagan with a should-read on the arrival of the North Bay Battalion at the impact on hockey at neighbouring Nipissing University. (North Bay Nugget)

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds rookie Kevin Spinozzi is maturing into a physical defenceman. (Sault Star)

The Winnipeg media mentions Jets draft pick Scott Kosmachuk as a possible invitee to Team Canada's camp even though he didn't play in the Super Series. Give him time, please, he's 18. (Winnipeg Sun)

The Peterborough Petes got their first win since last week's trade for D-man Brandon Devlin, beating a Belleville team that was minus three regulars due to injury or suspension. (Peterborough Examiner)

QMJHL

Can Moncton, Rimouski and/or Rouyn-Noranda give the league more than a four-team race for regular-season honours? (The Hockey Writers)

Forwards around the Q know about Halifax defencemen Randy Gazzola and MacKenzie Weegar, who both made the Mooseheads at training camp. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

Cody Drover, a 17-year-old Newfoundlander who was his province's AAA midget MVP last season, has landed a free-agent deal with the Moncton Wildcats. (Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser)

Thanks to Titan owner Leo-Guy Morrissette, Bathurst, N.B., has Stratford beat hands-down as the small Canadian town that offers the most drama. All told, it's been 10 coaches in 14 seasons. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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