The Calgary Flames bid a bitter farewell to Johnny Gaudreau at the start of NHL free agency.
Now they’re parting ways with his linemate.
The Florida Panthers announced Friday night they’ve acquired forward Matthew Tkachuk and a conditional fourth-round pick from Calgary. The Flames receive forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Cole Schwindt, defenceman McKenzie Weegar and the Panthers’ lottery-protected 2025 first-round selection.
Florida also said Tkachuk has agreed to terms on an eight-year deal. According to numerous reports, the contract is for US$76 million.
“Matthew is a tenacious, physical competitor who possesses a tremendously unique skillset,” Panthers GM Bill Zito said in a statement. “He is a consistent elite offensive contributor and has emerged as one of the most complete and dynamic young players in the National Hockey League.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a generational talent to our lineup.”
Tkachuk reportedly informed the Flames after Gaudreau signed a seven-year, US$68.25-million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets when the market opened that he also wouldn’t be staying in Calgary long-term.
The club filed for salary arbitration with Tkachuk, a restricted free agent, in order to eliminate the possibility of an offer sheet — which the Flames said was part of the process to come to terms on an extension.
Tkachuk’s hearing had been set for Aug. 11, the last day of proceedings.
Huberdeau had a career-high 115 points last season, including NHL-best 85 assists. The 29-year-old has appeared in 671 career games with Florida, registering 198 goals and 415 assists.
Weegar had 44 points (eight goals, 36 assists) with Florida last year. The 28-year-old has played in 306 career NHL games, all with the Panthers, and recorded 121 points (27 goals, 94 assists).
Schwindt appeared in three games for the Panthers last season. The 21-year-old had 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 72 games for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers.
“On behalf of the entire Florida Panthers organization, we would like to thank Jonathan and MacKenzie for their immense contributions to the Florida Panthers, both on and off the ice, during their tenures in South Florida,” said Zito. “They have both blossomed into exceptional athletes and people.
“Their contributions as players and people made an indelible mark on our franchise and we wish them both continued success in their future.”
And while Calgary fans will be upset to lose two-thirds of their team’s top line in short order, the Flames got something for 24-year-old Tkachuk after losing Gaudreau, 28, for nothing.
The pair combined to score 82 goals and 219 points on the flanks of the Flames’ top line with Elias Lindholm.
Tkachuk set career-highs for goals (40), assists (62) and points.
The Arizona-born, St. Louis-raised forward registered 152 goals and 382 points in 431 regular-season games with Calgary. Selected sixth overall at the 2016 NHL draft, Tkachuk added seven goals and eight assists in 27 post-season appearances.
The Flames finished first in the Pacific Division last season before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round of the playoffs — the first post-season Battle of Alberta since 1991.
Calgary’s veteran roster, which includes goaltender and Vezina Trophy finalist Jacob Markstrom, will now look to regroup and push ahead minus its two best offensive threats.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2022.
‘Cautiously optimistic’: Lawyer for trucker in Broncos crash waiting on Federal Court
By Bill Graveland in Calgary
A lawyer for a former truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s cautiously optimistic that he will get the chance to argue against his client’s possible deportation before Federal Court.
In 2019, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm in the Saskatchewan crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 others.
The Canada Border Services Agency recommended in March that Sidhu be handed over to the Immigration and Refugee Board to decide whether he should be deported to India.
Michael Greene, Sidhu’s lawyer, said if the Federal Court decides not to hear the case, the deportation process would continue.
He said all written arguments with the Federal Court were filed in July, adding that no news can be good news when waiting for the court to make its decision.
“I’m cautiously optimistic, but I know enough not to get cocky about something like that,” Greene said. “Usually when it takes time, it means you’ve got an arguable case.”
It is also a high-profile case, so a judge might want to be extra careful, he said.
Court was told that the rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident, went through a stop sign at a rural intersection and drove into the path of the Humboldt Broncos bus carrying players and staff to a junior hockey league playoff game.
The Parole Board of Canada granted Sidhu day parole in July for six months. He can get full parole after that if he follows conditions, including not contacting the families of the victims.
“Day parole means he is at home. He’s with his wife and I can’t tell you how happy that makes them,” Greene said. “They’re trying to get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Greene said even if he is granted permission to appeal before the court and is successful, the matter would be sent back to Canada Border Services Agency for another review. He said the original officer put all the weight of his decision on the gravity of the harm caused.
“You can’t get your hopes up too high,” Greene said.
“Sometimes the judge will make comments in their decision that will give some guidance to the (CBSA) officers.”
An online fundraising page set up to raise money to help keep Sidhu in Canada has reached more than $42,000.
A message from Sidhu’s wife, Tanvir Mann, a Canadian citizen, said her husband made a “tragic mistake.”
“When confronted by the unimaginable magnitude of the consequences of his mistake, he did everything he could to make things better,” Mann writes.
“I pray that there are people out there who don’t believe that Jaskirat should be deported and are willing to contribute to my fight to be able to live out our lives in Canada.”
The Canada Border Services Agency has previously declined to comment on Sidhu’s case, but said there are multiple steps built into the process to ensure procedural fairness.
Greene said he understands that several of the victims’ families are still angry.
“It’s completely understandable. It is,” he said. “Everybody deals with grief and loss in their own way.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.
Local moving company donating 101 moves to support vulnerable Canadians this holiday season
Submitted by Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving
Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is moving joy, one community organization at a time
This holiday season, Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving (“Two Small Men”) is spreading joy, seeking to donate 101 moves to community organizations that support at-risk individuals. With inflation at an all-time high and the higher stresses that come with the holiday season and colder weather, Two Small Men is looking to give back to the local markets they operate in during this time of need. This marks the third year for this initiative, which Two Small Men was inspired to launch in 2020, following the hardships of COVID-19. The campaign has grown year-over-year, from 25 donated moves in 2020, to 80 moves in 2021, and now with a goal of 101 moves for 2022.
Two Small Men has a long history in Red Deer having supported the Red Deer Food Bank, Bridges Community Living, and the Alberta Motor Association in past years. They are also always actively searching for new community organizations to partner with to support with donated moving services.
This holiday season, Two Small Men will be helping organizations that support vulnerable communities with everything from moving mass amounts of food to local food banks, to supporting shelters with moving individuals into new homes, to moving toys for underprivileged children.
Two Small Men’s community-first mindset is a key part of its identity. Written right into the name, it is a moving company with a big heart, that cares deeply about giving back. Two Small Men has developed a robust community giving program that supports a variety of non-profit and charitable organizations with in-kind moving services, donation collection initiatives, and other financial contributions. Each year, the business redirects 10 per cent of its annual profits to community giving and other charitable operations. In 2022, Two Small Men projects this will translate into a donation fund of $200,000, with the goal of growing to give $750,000 annually in the next 10 years.
“Moving people’s possessions is our business, but the heart of what we do is really all about supporting the people who make up our communities,” says Addison Parfeniuk, CEO, Two Small Men Big Hearts Moving. “We know that the winter season can be an especially challenging time for many people, and it is our hope that by partnering with local organizations such as the Red Deer Food Bank, we will be able to fill the real needs of real people in the Red Deer community.”
Charitable and non-profit organizations are encouraged to submit their moving needs for consideration in this year’s Season of Giving campaign.
For more information, please visit https://twosmallmen.com/about-us/giving-back/.
About Two Small Men
Two Small Men with Big Hearts Moving is a Canadian moving company focused on supporting customers through every stage of their move, big or small. Founded in 1982, the company has 25 offices across the country with major operations in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna, and Winnipeg, and a fleet of more than 100 moving trucks. Committed to giving back to their communities, they donate 10 per cent of their profits each year to relevant charities and organizations that are serving the community.
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