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T-Birds notebook: WHL meets, Birds sign contracts, and Macklemore

The U.S. Division teams met to kick off the WHL's Marketing Conference this week in Marysville

It may be the dog days of hockey summer but the WHL and representatives from its 22 teams have descended on the Puget Sound this week.

The league’s Marketing Conference will be taking place at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Marysville. The Seattle Thunderbirds delegation is said to include vice president Colin Campbell, director of media relations, communications and digital media Ian Henry, director of promotions and community relations Erin Saunders, and director of corporate partnerships Jason Thomsen.

The conference kicked off Monday and was highlighted by the U.S. Division teams meeting to discuss items such as television partnerships. The past two seasons have seen Seattle team up with the Portland Winterhawks to have a number of games broadcast locally on JoeTV. In Eastern Washington, the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans have a similar deal with a local station. It will be interesting to see if any of the teams expand their local television coverage.

On Tuesday, all representatives from the teams, along with commissioner Ron Robison, will tour Safeco Field and meet with the Seattle Mariners social media team. After the meeting they will take in the Mainers-San Francisco Giants tilt.

The Thunderbirds are especially interested in learning more about recent Mariners’ marketing and social media campaigns.

“It’s great opportunity to learn some ticketing best practices for season and group tickets,” Ian Henry said. “The Mariners Send Segura social media campaign was a pretty awesome example of what social media can do for a team. Being able to hear from them and ask questions on this initiative so soon after it happened is perfect timing for us and WHL teams.”

Promoting the WHL through social media will be a hot topic over the three days of meetings this week. The Thunderbirds have one of the top, if not the best, social media in the WHL according to some observers. Along with social media, the league will be discussing upgrades to WHL Live along with promotional opportunities available to the league’s 22 members.

Here is the latest news surrounding the Thunderbirds.

Signings, signings, everywhere there are signings

The hockey summer is highlighted by three events. The June NHL Draft, NHL development camps, and pro contracts getting signed. With the draft and camps completed, this past week saw two former Thunderbirds ink new pro contracts.

First came the news that defenseman Turner Ottenbreit signed an American Hockey League deal with the Colorado Eagles. The Eagles are the new AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche. Ottenbreit played in four AHL games last season with the Avalanche’s former affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage. He scored once in his brief try out and was invited to the Avalanche’s development camp earlier this summer.

In San Jose, Alexander True, who played for the San Jose Barracuda last year on an AHL contract was  signed to an NHL entry level contract by the San Jose Sharks. True appeared in 68 games with the Barracuda last season, scoring 15 goals and racked up 28 points.

How to play the flute

Seattle’s favorite hip hop artist Macklemore released a new video for his song ‘How to play the flute’. The video is an entertainingly bizarre dream-like shot that features the rapper riding on the front of a bike wearing a Thunderbirds sweater.

That got the attention of the team and they quickly offered Macklemore an invitation to attend the team’s home opener on Sept. 22nd against the Portland Winterhawks.

There has been no word yet as to whether or not Macklemore has accepted the invitation.

Four Birds prospects in camp to compete in 2019 Canada Winter Games

Four players that Seattle selected in this past spring’s bantam draft have made the short-list to play for their respective provinces in the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The Games will take place in mid-February in Red Deer.

On the short list for Team Alberta will be Seattle’s first-round pick Kai Uchacz and the first of their two second-round picks, Lucas Ciona.

The Thunderbirds other second-round pick, Conner Roulette, will be in camp for Team Manitoba along with Seattle’s fourth-round pick, Aidan Brook.