Commentary: WHL champs ready for next round

Commentary: WHL champs ready for next round

Commentary: WHL champs ready for next round

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by KGW Sports Reporter Michael Berk

kgw.com

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 9:01 AM

PORTLAND -- Travis Green is sipping a very large cup of coffee at 3 in the afternoon.

This isn't a "Portland thing" it's a "tired thing." I'd be willing to bet he didn't get more than two minutes of sleep the previous night. And it's probably a safe bet that he hasn't slept all that well since just after Thanksgiving, when he was named the team's acting head coach in the wake of the season-long suspension to coach Mike Johnston.

"We're already watching video of Halifax," Green said of Portland's opening-round opponent in the Memorial Cup, which begins Saturday in Saskatoon.

Less than 24 hours earlier the Winterhawks clinched their first Western Hockey League championship since 1998. Ty Rattie earned playoff MVP honors, while scoring three goals in the clinching game: a 5-1 win over Edmonton.

The Oil Kings were the defending Ed Chynoweth Cup champs, having taken Portland out in seven hard-fought games last May. It was Portland's second consecutive loss in the championship finals.

"When you go there and you lose, you've got to live with that for a while," Green said. "To go (to the finals) and lose for a third time would've been hard."

The Winterhawks and their devout fans won't have to worry about that this summer. The focus shifts to the Memorial Cup, where they can earn the title of best junior hockey club in North America.

"I'll let the players enjoy this for a couple of days," Green said, "and we'll look forward to heading to Saskatoon and getting back at it."

Green is going to need that coffee for a little while longer.

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The City of Portland will honor the Winterhawks with a rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Tuesday at 12 p.m. Fans are invited to attend. Johnston is expected to address the crowd.

Coplete coverage: Portland Winterhawks

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