Three of the Tri-City Americans' 20-year-old forwards, Adam Hughesman, Brendan Shinnimin and Mason Wilgosh, all earned top marks in the team's off-season fitness challenge. The award is bestowed upon the player or players who come into camp as the most overall fit player. Hughesman was the sole winner of last season's off-season fitness award.
Hughesman is coming off a career year in 2010-11, amassing personal bests in goals (39) and points (81). In 266 WHL games, all with Tri-City, Hughesman has 90 goals, 144 assists and 234 points.
Shinnimin also had a career-best year last season, totaling 34 goals and 96 points.
Wilgosh also set single-season marks in goals (12), assists (24) and points (36) last season.
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Welcome to the fold: The Americans signed 16-year-old forward prospect Justin Gutierrez to a standard WHL player's contract.
Gutierrez, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound native of Anchorage, spent last season playing for the Alaska All-Stars U-16 team, where he appeared in 39 games and had 17 goals and 18 assists. Gutierrez, who was listed by Tri-City in May, participated in the Americans' rookie camp and is competing at main camp.
Home sweet home: The Regina Pats and Evraz Place announced a new five-year lease that allows the WHL club to remain the primary occupant -- and sole hockey tenant -- at the Brandt Centre.
"One of the biggest things was we wanted the five-year term," explained Pats president Brent Parker. "We really felt that people are sick of hearing about it. People don't want to hear about the bickering and the fighting and complaining any more between both sides.
"We really thought we had one shot at this to try and get it right. We didn't want, in two years from now, to have to start on this process again. I think that's part of what has caused a lot of our relationship to sour."
The signing of a new deal ends 14 months of on-again, off-again negotiations. The previous three-year lease expired May 31.