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WEDNESDAY LOCAL SPORTS NEWS/Mitchell leaving Ducks; Winterhawks forward Blichfeld named WHL player of the month; Hawks sign forward prospect; UO's Hollins picked for Shrine Game

BLAZERS

Larry Weinberg, the original owner of the Trail Blazers, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 92.

Weinberg, a real estate developer in Southern California, was majority owner and team president when the Blazers won the NBA championship in 1977. He led a group of 10 investors who secured expansion franchise rights to bring the NBA to Portland in 1970. Soon that group of 10 became three principal owners — Weinberg, Herman Sarkowsky and Robert Schmertz — and Weinberg took over as majority owner in 1975.

The Weinberg era ended in 1988, when he sold the club to Paul Allen for $70 million.

The 1977 NBA title "was a dream a fantasy that you never expected," Weinberg told Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest in 2017. "It was thrilling."

Weinberg loved the people of Portland and the fans of his team.

"The night we won the championship, everybody was euphoric," Weinberg told Jaynes. "We were staying at the Benson Hotel, and at 3 in the morning, everybody was still out on the street. You couldn't move, and everybody was happy. Nobody was burning cars or causing mayhem as they do in so many other cities. ... that is the personification of Portland and the quality of people and the values here."

Weinberg was popular with Blazer employees.

"Mr. Weinberg was a very accommodating owner," Lori Spencer, a team employee for 40 years, told the Portland Tribune in October. "When he would come to Portland to visit, he would come in to the office and stop at every desk and get to know you. I still get a Christmas card from him every year. I have his personal number. We chat every once in a while. If he hears something about one of the players when he was owner, he'll call and try to keep in touch with them, too.

"He's a kind, remarkable man. He still asks me about my son. He was very aware of the direction the NBA was going. Though he hated to sell the team, he knew we needed someone with deeper pockets than he had."

Weinberg made friends with Oregonians in other walks of life, too.

Said Ron Wyden via Twitter: "Today we mourn the loss of a true mensch, Larry Weinberg. Seeing him and his wonderful wife Barbi cheering at every @TrailBlazers home game was the essence of #RipCity pride. He was my friend and like many, I will mourn his passing."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Receiver Dillon Mitchell is leaving Oregon to enter the NFL draft.

Mitchell announced his decision on Wednesday, two days after his fourth-quarter touchdown lifted the Ducks to a 7-6 win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl.

The 6-2, 189-pound junior was the go-to target this season for quarterback Justin Herbert. He finished with an Oregon-record 1,184 receiving yards. The next closest was Jaylon Redd with 38 catches for 433 yards and five touchdowns.

In three seasons, Mitchell appeared in 31 games, with 119 receptions for 1,710 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Four receivers are part of the touted recruiting class that recently signed with Oregon.

Brenden Schooler and Johnny Johnson III are due back next season, and several players who redshirted this season could compete for time catching Herbert passes in 2019.

• Ducks outside linebacker Justin Hollins will play in the 94th East-West Shrine Game. It's Jan. 19, noon PT kickoff, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Oregon tight end Kano Dillon also is set to play in the game.

Ducks pass-rush specialist Jalen Jelks has committed to play int he Senior Bowl on Jan. 26, 11:30 a.m. PT, from Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.

WINTERHAWKS

Portland forward Joachim Blichfeld has been named the Western Hockey League player of the month for December.

Blichfeld totaled 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points, with a plus-sevn rating, as the Hawks went 7-1-3.

• The Hawks have signed 2003-born forward Dawson Pasternak of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Pasternak was a fourth-round pick, 85th overall, of Portland in this year's WHL bantam draft.

He is playing for the Sioux Falls Power under-16 team in the North American Prospects Hockey League. In 32 games, he has team highs of 13 goals and 37 points.

WORLD JUNIORS HOCKEY

Finland stunned host Canada on Wednesday, winning 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Juniors Championships.

It was a tough result for Winterhawks forward Cody Glass, who in his only World Juniors experience finished with two goals and five assists. Glass did not register a point on Wednesday but was involved twice in a strange final sequence.

Finland scored with 46 seconds left in the third period to force overtime when a centering pass from behind the net hit the leg of Aleksi Heponiem at the side of the net and somehow deflected into the net.

In the four-on-four overtime, Canada had a penalty shot saved.

Canada then had another glorious chance to end it as a cross-ice pass from Glass found an open Noah Dobson, but Dobson's stick broke as he attempted to shoot the puck into an open net. Finland went the other way, and a shot from Toni Utunen hit the stick of Glass and deflected over the shoulder of goalie Michael DiPietro to end it 5:17 into overtime.

Finland, including former Winterhawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju, will meet Switzerland in Friday's semifinals. Jokiharju, who is with the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks, has a goal and two assists in five games at the tournament.

The United States beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in the quarterfinals and on Friday will meet Russia in the semifinals.

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