GOOD MORNING, MR. PRESIDENT: The WHL’s Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to hold a news conference today (Monday) to introduce Norm Daley, who is well-known in the city’s business and sporting communities, as the organization’s president. . . . Daley will fill the office vacated when Don Moores died of a heart attack while golfing on June 30, 2021. Moores was 65. He had been the team’s president since June 30, 2016. . . . Daley, who recently retired from Daley and Company LLP, an accounting firm, already is chairman of the organizing committee that won the right for Kamloops and the Blazers to play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup. He also has been the chairman of the Blazers’ advisory board that helps the organization connect with the community. . . . Daley also is co-owner of the Kamloops NorthPaws, who are in their first season in the West Coast League, a short-season summer baseball league. . . . Among other things, he was co-chair of the 2016 IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship that was held in Kamloops.
SORRY, BUT IT ISN’T OVER: If you regularly tune in to Donnie and Dhali on Victoria’s CHEK-TV, well, you can skip today (Monday). That’s because co-hosts Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, and producer Ryan Henderson, all tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday. . . . According to a Tweet from the show’s account, they are in isolation and “won’t have a show” on Monday. “We hope to be back on Tuesday.” . . . No, the pandemic isn’t over. And, by the way, it’s here for at least another year or two. . . . Get vaccinated. . . . Get boosted. . . . Wear a mask. . . . Thank you!
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Supreme Court overturns Alien v. Predator.
“The Dallas Cowboys coined the term Hail Mary, and now they’re putting a different spin on the coffin corner,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Rabid fans of the team have something to die for — a custom casket decked out in the NFL team’s colors and iconic lone-star logo. For a proud franchise that hasn’t won a Super Bowl since 1996, it’s just one more letdown.”
Perry, again: “Major League Baseball will allow its teams to sell sponsorships to cannabis companies that market CBD products, the Sports Business Journal reported. ‘Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain’ is about to be supplanted by ‘Cheech and Chong and Pass the Bong.’ ”
There can’t be anything more painful in sports these days than watching Joey Gallo of the New York Yankees at the plate with a bat in his hands. He is more lost than was Dr. Livingstone. You want proof? In June, Gallo struck out 32 times. The late Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres struck out 27 times — total— in the final three seasons of his career.
There is an expression in major junior hockey that goes like this: “Because it’s the Q.” . . . It has long been a way for observers to shrug off some of the bizarre things that often seem to occur involving the QMJHL and its teams. Take Saturday, for example. The QMJHL’s summer trading period opened and no one was more active than the Cape Breton Eagles. How active were they? Well, they made 10 trades in one day — yes, 10 . . . in one day. When they were done, the Eagles had acquired seven players and nine draft selections while moving out eight players and nine picks. . . . Only in the Q.
Jim Montgomery got fired in Dallas, Rick Bowness took over. Rick Bowness departed Dallas, Pete DeBoer got the job. Bruce Cassidy was fired in Boston, took DeBoer's old job. Montgomery got hired in Boston to take Cassidy's old job.
THINKING OUT LOUD: Wouldn’t you love to know how today’s NHL players really feel about the salary cap under which they play? F Kevin Fiala put up 33 goals and 52 assists in 82 games with the Minnesota Wild in 2021-22, but then was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings for cap-related reasons. He signed with the Kings for US$55.125 million over seven years. At the same time, NBA teams were giving players five-year deals worth $200 million or more. . . . F Chris Boucher, who played about 20 minutes per game last season, re-signed with the Toronto Raptors for $35.25 million over three years. . . . F Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, arguably the best player in hockey today, is about to enter the fifth year of his eight-year, $100-million contract. . . . Here’s Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun: “When the NHL went to (a) salary cap in 2004, the highest-paid players were Jaromir Jagr and Peter Forsberg, each at $11 million a year. The salary cap then was $39 million. It has more than doubled in the 18 years since then, but the highest-paid player’s salary has only grown from $11 million to $12.5 million. The salaries of the middle-range players have grown out of control in the NHL, and that’s happened at the expense of the superstars, who aren’t paid comparable to what the greats are paid in other leagues.” . . . There was a time early in my newspaperin’ career when the item referred to in the following tweet was my favourite book. . . .
Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News, on the NBA and its teams’ penchant for throwing around the Benjamins: “This has become a league that is ridiculous with money, a league where Bradley Beal — maybe you’ve ever actually watched him play, maybe not — can command a $250-million contract with the Wizards and where (Kyrie) Irving, whom the Nets don’t even want, can exercise an option and put the Nets on the books for $36.5 million. And who wouldn’t want to pay Dr. Irving that, after he was such a team guy in 2021-22?”
Lupica, again: “The Blue Jays missed the postseason by one game last season and if that happens to the Red Sox this time, they might remember a couple of games they lost this week in Toronto because they didn’t have the unvaxxed Jarren Duran or their unvaxxed closer Tanner Houck with them. Two more graduates of the Kyrie Irving School of Medicine.”
Headline at fark.com: Kevin Durant the player not happy with the team Kevin Durant the GM has created, demands to be traded to any team that was in the Finals in the last 3 years.
Let’s close with one more from Dwight Perry: “Muhammad Ali on a commemorative stamp? It’s way overdue. As the ever-confident heavyweight champ, who died in 2016, once said: ‘I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.’ ”
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
— Victoria Cougars Hockey Project (@victoriacougars) July 1, 2022
Archie Henderson, a legendary figure from the WHL’s past, will retire from his role as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of pro scouting after the NHL draft that is to be held in Montreal on Thursday and Friday. Henderson, 65, has been with the Oilers through three seasons. He had been with Detroit but moved to Edmonton when Ken Holland left the Red Wings to join the Oilers as their general manager. . . . The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henderson played 23 NHL games after being a 10th-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 1977 draft. . . . A native of Calgary, he played three seasons (1974-77) in the WHL — 86 games with the Lethbridge Broncos and 78 with the Victoria Cougars. In those 164 games, he totalled 26 goals, 29 assists and 700 — yes, 700! — penalty minutes. . . .
On Nov. 19, 1974, Henderson was involved in one of the most memorable scraps in WHL history. The Broncos were in Regina to play the Pats, who had a guy named Bob Poley in their lineup. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Poley was a defensive end with the junior Regina Rams, but was still four years from starting his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On this day, he was four days past his 19th birthday, while Henderson was two years younger. . . . Regina was leading 5-2 at 14:20 of the second period when Henderson and Poley came together. . . . Gyle Konotopetz, then of the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Henderson “picked a fight” with Poley, who had never fought while wearing skates. “When Henderson dropped his gloves, Poley was caught off-guard,” Konotopetz wrote. “But, after taking a couple of punches, Poley tackled Henderson as if he were playing defensive end for the Rams and returned a few of his own punches.” . . . Later, Henderson said: “The second time I hit him I thought I knocked him out, but then he just nailed me. Where’d they get him anyway? Boy, is he strong.” . . . Yes, the fans booed Henderson, who said: “I think the fans are a little unreal here. He can’t even skate. At least I can play hockey.” . . . Earl Ingarfield, then the Broncos’ head coach, said Regina coach Bob Turner had put Foley on the ice “for a reason. That took the sting out of us. . . . It’s a good thing (Henderson) fell. (Poley) would have beaten the (bleep) out of Archie.” . . . Turner felt Poley, who hadn’t gotten even one shift as the Pats had lost their previous three games, had given his club “the shot in the arm we needed.” . . . The Pats went on to win the game, 9-3, to move within one point of the second-place Broncos in the Eastern Division. The starting goaltenders were a couple of guys who would go on to become rather well-known— Ed Staniowski of the Pats and Lorne Molleken of the Broncos.
By now, perhaps you’re wondering how it was that Bob Poley ended up wearing a Regina Pats’ uniform.
Well, in 1974-75, the legendary Norm Fong, who would go on to a lengthy career as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ equipment manager, was the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager; one person did both jobs back in the day. Fong also played some Friday night hockey, as did Poley and Roger Aldag, another aspiring football player.
Bob Turner, the Pats’ coach, was in the market for some size and toughness. One night he asked Fong if any of “those Rams kids . . . do any of them skate?”
So . . . Fong spoke with both of them.
“Roger didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Fong recalled, “but Poley jumped at the chance.”
Poley dressed for his first game on Nov. 15, 1974 — a 6-6 tie with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — but didn’t see even one shift.
That led to the encounter with Lethbridge’s Archie Henderson on Nov. 19. Then, on March 11, the New Westminster Bruins went into Regina and came out with a 5-5 tie. The Bruins wound up in a post-game altercation with a Regina broadcaster after that one and coach Ernie (Punch) McLean ended up with a five-game suspension.
“It almost has reached the point where you have to go out and recruit some big stupid guy who can beat up everybody else,” Turner said after that one.
Ten days later, the Pats were in New Westminster. The Bruins won, 6-1, on March 21. The Pats beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Victoria the next night, then returned to New Westminster for a rematch on March 23 in McLean’s first game back from his suspension.
“We were playing in New West and Kerry Fraser was the ref,” Fong recalled. “They always pulled that crap where they’d have one of their guys shoot a puck in your end and then they’d come get the puck and challenge everybody. Poley shot a puck into the New West end and went and got it . . . and nobody touched him.”
Poley didn’t get a lot of ice time; in fact, his first shift came late in the game.
“With just over four minutes remaining in the game,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun, “Turner sent 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bob Poley lurching off the bench to line up against Harold Phillipoff, one of the biggest of the Bruins. A former member of the Regina Rams . . . Poley — known affectionately as the Hulk from Hudson’s Bay — was along on the road trip, Turner candidly admits, to straighten out the Bruins.”
Turner told Little: ““I sent him out there to kick the bleep out of Phillipoff. I didn’t like the way he was picking on Mike McCann.”
“But,” Little wrote, “with the fans pleading for what they felt would be a classic matchup, McLean prudently replaced Phillipoff. And so the jockeying continued for the remainder of the game. Whenever Poley came on, Phillipoff would withdraw, despite the fact the Regina player was pointedly challenging the New Westminster bench.”
McLean explained his thought process: “I’m not going to risk having one of my best players break his hand on that guy’s skull. If I tried a crazy stunt like that I’d be suspended for life.”
At the time, Philipoff had 26 goals and 31 assists. Poley played 25 games with zero points and five penalty minutes to show for it. Then, in 11 playoff games, he had 10 PiMs.
But wait . . . there’s more . . .
“At the end of the game, they were lipping off and Poley went over to their bench,” Fong said. “All our guys are crapping themselves on their way to the dressing room and Poley’s out there . . . the whole New West team is in their bench and he’s chasing them into their locker room. Kerry Fraser comes over and says, ‘Bob (Turner), you’ve got to come out here and get this . . . monster off the ice. He’s chasing those guys into their dressing room.’ But nobody would fight him.”
Ahh, yes, those were the days, weren’t they?
On the day the CHL held its 2023 import draft, there were reports in the Russian media that G Ivan Fedotov of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had been detained in Russia.
According to Joshua Manning of euroweeklynews.com, Fedotov “has been detained over suspicions of ‘dodging the Russian Army.’ ” He apparently was taken to a military registration and enlistment office.
Fedotov, 25, played this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The team won the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.
In April, Fedotov said he would be playing with the Flyers next season.
Of course, news like this makes one wonder if there might be more Russian players in this same situation. That also likely is why some players, like Flyers D Ivan Provorov, who played with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, chose not to return to Russia this offseason.
Two Russian players and one from Belarus were among 64 selected by teams in the CHL’s 2022 import draft on Friday.
Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t the CHL announce in April that Russians and Belarusians were ineligible for the draft, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine?
Well, as the CHL news release wrapping up the draft pointed out: “All non-(20-year-old), import players that were previously drafted in the CHL import draft but were deleted by a CHL team before the 2022 cut-down date were eligible to be re-drafted by another CHL club in the 2022 import draft.”
The Brandon Wheat Kings used their first-round selection on Russian D Andrei Malyavin, 18, who played last season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He had two goals and 11 assists in 44 games.
JUST NOTES: Nine of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t participate in the 31st import draft. All told, six goaltenders, 18 defencemen and 40 forwards were selected. . . . Of the 64 players taken, 23 were from Czech Republic. . . . Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Winnipeg Ice sat out. . . . The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers held the first overall selection and took Slovakian F Adam Sýkora, who will turn 18 on Sept. 7. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League last season. He also had two goals and an assist in six games with the Slovakian national team at the IIHF World Championship. Sýkora’s father, Roman, had one assist in eight games with the Tri-City Americans in 1997-98 before going on to play two seasons with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . F Nikita Zozulia, 17, was the lone Ukrainian player to be selected, going to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds in the first round. He played last season with the U-16 Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. . . . BTW, 47 of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t take part in the draft’s second round. Of the WHL teams, only the Vancouver Giants, Regina Pats, Kamloops Blazers and Everett made second-round selections.
The WHL rights to F Brad Lambert, a high-profile Finnish player who might be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, have been traded by the Saskatoon Blades to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . In return, the Blades received fourth- and sixth-round selections in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-round selection in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. The 2023 fourth-rounder originated with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Saskatoon had selected Lambert, whose father, Ross, is a former Blades player, in the 2020 CHL import draft. Brad also is a nephew to former WHL player/coach Lane Lambert, now the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . With the 2022 CHL import draft having been held Friday, days before the NHL draft, the Blades had to make a decision on whether to keep Lambert’s rights or give them up in order to make a selection. With that pick they took Czech D Tomas Ziska, 17, who had one goal and 13 assists in 31 games with a junior team this season. . . . Their other import slot belongs to sophomore Belarusian F Egor Sidorov, 18. . . . NHL Central Scouting had Lambert rated No. 10 among European skaters going into the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . “This was definitely a unique situation all-around,” said Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner in a statement, “given he’s a high-profile player with family connections to Saskatoon, but we’ve had his rights for over two full years and we felt the odds of him ever playing junior hockey in Canada were quite low and this way we get three good assets guaranteed up front plus two more really high picks if he ever plays in Seattle. We felt after two years of communications we’d exhausted all our options in recruiting him since he’s been playing pro hockey in Finland since he was 16-years-old.” . . . According to the Blades, they will get the conditional draft picks should Lambert sign with Seattle. . . . That likely will be a tall task for the Thunderbirds, who are looking to fill vacancies created by two of their leading scorers — Henrik Rybinski and Lukas Svejkovsky. Because Lambert, who will turn 19 on Dec. 19, will be drafted off a European roster, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, AHL or with Seattle next season.
Meanwhile, three teams from the WHL’s U.S. Divisions selected players in Friday’s import draft after losing 19-year-olds to pro contracts back home. . . . The Everett Silvertips took Czech F Dominik Rymon, 18, and Swiss G Tim Metzger, 17, after F Niko Huuhtanen signed with Jukurit of Liiga. He put up 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 games as a freshman with Everett last season after being the second-overall selection in the 2021 import draft. . . . The Silvertips still have Czech F Michal Gut on their roster, but, as a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return. Still, he put up 18 goals and 53 assists in 53 games last season. . . .
As mentioned here the other day, Czech F Petr Moravec has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract at home with Mountfield. He had 16 goals and 19 assists in 68 games as a freshman in Tri-City last season. . . . The Americans had the fourth-overall pick and took Czech F Adam Mechura, 19. . . . Czech G Tomas Suchanek, who is heading into his second season, is the Americans’ other import. . . .
The Spokane Chiefs dropped F Yannick Proske and D Timafey Kovgoreniya prior to the draft, while retaining the rights to Czech D David Jiricek, who is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the NHL draft that is scheduled for July 7 and 8. The Chiefs selected Jiricek, now 18, in the 2020 import draft, but he has stayed at home to play for HC Plzen and the Czechia national team. . . . Proske, 19, had 12 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Chiefs last season and is returning to the German DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters, who chose not let him return to Spokane. . . . On Friday, the Chiefs took Italian F Tommaso De Luca, who will turn 18 on Dec. 19, then passed in the second round.
A former WHLer who knows his way around the movie/television scene and who once owned a chunk of an NHL team checks in. . . . What? You don’t know the name? You never SAW him play? Google is your friend. . . .
It’s officially the first day of Summer!! Also, to my friends and relatives up north, Happy Canada day… pic.twitter.com/19TWiUDMKV
Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Anti-vaxxer demands you produce a single study showing mRNA vaccines are safe — no not that one.
THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed Levi Stuart as an assistant coach. Stuart, 26, spent the previous three seasons with his hometown team — the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. In Nipawin, he’ll work alongside general manager and head coach Tad Kozun, who signed a two-year deal on March 29. Before joining Merritt, Stuart worked with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as a video coach. . . .
The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Connor McLuckie as an assistant coach. From Cranbrook, he played in the KIJHL with the Fernie Ghostriders and Golden Rockets in 2011-12, then had his playing career ended by injuries in 2012. He spent the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the East Kootenay Tier 1 Avalanche, last season as head coach. . . .
The QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed head coach Maxime Desruisseaux to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. Desruisseaux is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .
Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He takes over from Trent Cull, who now is an assistant coach with the parent club. . . . Colliton spent most of the past four seasons as the head coach of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was fired last season. . . . Colliton, 37, played four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
A lot of junior hockey teams have signed assistant coaches during my 50-plus years around the game. But I can’t recall an announcement like the one the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades made on Monday.
The Blades welcomed back Wacey Rabbit, this time as an assistant coach, but they also brought his wife, Ashley Callingbull, into their organization as an ambassador.
From a Blades’ news release: “Ashley is a Cree First Nations woman from the Enoch Cree Nation on Treaty Six territory in Alberta. Ashley has many passions that include dance, and she is professionally trained in jazz, ballet, pointe and tap. She also has developed a career in acting, starring in many commercials and television shows.”
These days, she also can be found in Edmonton where she is the in-game host at Commonwealth Stadium for games involving the CFL’s Elks.
But she is making her biggest mark working with First Nations people and in these days of reconciliation the Sask Entertainment Group, which owns the Blades and lacrosse’s Saskatchewan Rush, has done well be bringing her aboard.
“I work with a lot of women and children around the communities and within Saskatoon so I am here quite often and now it will be easier for me to be more accessible to these communities,” she said in that news release.
Her position with the Blades and Rush will allow her a large platform to continue her work in the Saskatoon area and in Saskatchewan.
“I’m hoping to create more programs for not only the youth but indigenous peoples,” she said. “I can’t wait so I will be at every game.”
Sorry, Wacey, but I think your wife’s inclusion in this deal has overshadowed your return.
With the Blades, Wacey Rabbit, 35, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Ryan Marsh left after four seasons to join the DEL’s Schwenninger Wild Wings in Germany as an assistant coach. . . . Rabbit, who is from the Kainai First Nation in Alberta, played four seasons (2002-06) with the Blades and 30 games with the Vancouver Giants in 2006-07. He ended his pro career by playing three seasons (2018-21) with the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen, while also playing in Czechi and Romania. . . . In 2021-22, he was an assistant coach with the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. . . . From a Blades’ news release: Rabbit “will join head coach Brennan Sonne, assistant coach Dan DaSilva, goaltending coach Jeff Harvey, video coach Karter Parisloff and assistant Jerome Engele on the staff.”
Steve Simmons, in the Toronto Sun: “Has the reputation of one organization taken a beating in recent days and weeks as much as Hockey Canada’s has? (It) should never get another cent of government money, which won’t begin to undo anything close to all that’s gone wrong here.”
He’s not wrong.
I always said I’d retire if I got one of these, the town of imperial called my bluff. Thanks to everyone that made it happen! pic.twitter.com/u9vwBinikh
The good folks of Imperial, Sask., got it right. Well done, folks!
THINKING OUT LOUD: I learned a few days ago that Johnny Rivers isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. . . . It’s also wrong, wrong, wrong that Leo Cahill isn’t in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. . . . And while we’re on the subject, it’s embarrassing that Paul Henderson isn’t in the Hockey Hall of Fame. . . . Is there a better race track in B.C. than the highway between Vernon and Kelowna? If you haven’t been on it, it’s one of those tracks where the speed limit seems to be whatever you want it to be. . . . Look, 3-on-3 overtime is fine for a hockey league’s regular-season games. But in the Memorial Cup? How embarrassing to see the CHL decide meaningful games in this fashion. . . . There was news the other day of thieves breaking into the Atlanta home of former NBA star Vince Carter and making off with about $100,000 in cash. So I asked my wife: “How much cash do we have in our home?” We stopped counting at $70. . . . Hope you feel at home here despite the absence of gambling ads.
.@BCLions owner Amar Doman on $5 beer & food prices:
"If I have to subsidize a bit, I will. There's enough inflation in the world. Let's try and help ppl out. I want our fans to feel not stressed about their bill at the concession stands." #CFL#BCLions via @sekeresandprice
With all that is going on in our world these days, you may have missed this story, from The Associated Press:
“ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.
“The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.”
As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, put it: “I guess I should be happy in these days of hyper-political correctness that the NY State Court of Appeals ruled that an elephant is not a person and that an elephant in the Bronx Zoo cannot be released under habeus corpus. . . . However, before I get too carried away in my euphoria, let me point out that the vote of the judges was only 5-2. Two judges wanted the elephant released via habeus corpus.”
The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League held its annual general meeting recently, the details of which are included in the link in the above tweet. I’m disappointed that the news release didn’t include anything about the part of the gathering in which the commissioner was kind enough to give me some free publicity. . . . BTW, the Canadian government has extended pandemic-related border restrictions at least through Sept. 19. I’m told, Mr. Commissioner, that this means the Spokane Braves will be sitting out another KIJHL season. They last played in 2019-20.
“We need an exciting new attraction.”
“I think I’ve got it. Let’s put small children in their own little cars.”
I’ve been coasting for the last couple of weeks, recharging the batteries, making certain that the mask supply is up to date, and watching to see if the quicksand completely envelops Hockey Canada before the Hlinka Gretzky Cup opens in Red Deer on July 31. So a lot of what follows is a bit dated . . .
The Spokane Chiefs have removed the ‘interim’ from Ryan Smith’s title and signed him to “a multi-year contract” as head coach. The precise length of the deal wasn’t revealed. . . . Smith was in his second season as the WHL team’s associate coach when head coach Adam Maglio was fired on Feb. 10. Smith was named interim head coach and guided the Chiefs into the playoffs, where they lost in the first round to the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Before joining the Chiefs, Smith spent two seasons on the Medicine Hat Tigers’ coaching staff and was with the Swift Current Broncos for three seasons. . . . The Chiefs also signed Dustin Donaghy as an assistant coach for 2022-23. A part-time assistant when last season began, he assumed a full-time role when Maglio was fired. As a player, Donaghy, now 33, helped the Chiefs to the 2008 Memorial Cup title. . . . Of course, the Chiefs’ decision to stay with Smith throws a wet blanket on the speculation that the job would be going to Kyle Gustafson, who spent 18 years with the Portland Winterhawks but now is a free agent after being released by the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. . . .
The MJHL’s Portage Terriers have signed Blake Spiller, their general manager and head coach, to another contract. The Terriers, who do things right, revealed that it is a three-year deal. . . . Spiller has been with the Terriers since 2001 and has been head coach since 2006. . . . The Terriers will be the host team for the 2023 Centennial Cup tournament. . . . From a news release: “Spiller won the CJHL coach-of-the-year award in 2015, 2016 and 2019. He holds the MJHL record for league championships (8) and ANAVET Cups (2). He also won the RBC Cup in 2015. Spiller holds all Terriers coaching records, and has 604 career wins. He is 67 regular-season victories away from breaking Doug Stokes’ all-time MJHL record.” . . .
Scott Burt, a former WHL player and coach, now is the general manager and head coach of the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush. He signed on as the Rush’s head coach and director of hockey operations in July 2021, then got the club into the second round of the playoffs. Burt was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs for six seasons (2013-19). As a player, he split four seasons (1994-98) between the Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Edmonton Ice and Red Deer Rebels. . . .
The BCHL has announced the sale of the Nanaimo Clippers to Northern Lights Hockey Canada, “an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a Western Canadian-born investment professional with a long history in the sport of hockey as a player, executive and team owner,” according to a news release. . . . That news release is right here. Interestingly, it doesn’t mention from whom Kwong and Co. purchased the franchise. . . .
Darren Naylor is the new general manager and head coach of the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . You may recall that Naylor, then the general manager and head coach of the Nanaimo Clippers, was placed on administrative leave by the BCHL in February due to what the league said was “allegations of code of conduct breaches.” At the time, the BCHL said that Naylor would remain on administrative leave until at least May 31. At the time, Naylor was under contract to the Clippers through the 2022-23 season. . . . The BCHL said at the time that it had appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations, but it has never updated Naylor’s status. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ associate coach at the time, also was placed on administrative leave when Naylor was, but shortly after was reinstated. On May 24, Birkas was named the Clippers’ general manager and head coach. . . . With the Blizzard, Naylor replaces Billy Keane, whose contract wasn’t renewed after the 2021-22 season. . . .
Barret Kropf has chosen to leave the Trinity Western Spartans of the BCIHL. He had been the head coach since 2013, but is moving on to the Moose Jaw-based Prairie Hockey Academy as general manager and U15 prep head coach. Kropf is from Estevan. A three-time coach of the year, he led the Spartans to BCIHL titles in 2018 and 2019, then led them into Canada West in 2020. . . .
Eric Thurston has signed on as head coach of the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. He spent the past four seasons as general manager and head coach of the AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder. There had been speculation a few weeks ago that Bill Peters, a former NHL, KHL and WHL coach, was going to sign with the Storm.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Petr Moravec, 19, has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract with his hometown team, Hradec Králove of the Czechia, Extraliga, as reported by the MacBeth Report (@MacBethReport). Moravec put up 16 goals and 19 assists 68 games in 2021-22, his only WHL season. Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told me that he wasn’t surprised that Moravec wouldn’t be back. “He’s a good kid,” Tory said. “This is a good opportunity for him.” Tory was pleased to have a decision before the CHL’s 2022 import draft that is scheduled for Friday. . . . The Americans expect to make one pick, what with Czech G Tomas Suchanek, 19, back for a second season. As a freshman, he was 12-24-4, 3.87, .901 in 42 games for a non-playoff team. . . . Don’t forget that the CHL won’t permit the selection of Russian or Belarusian players in this year’s import draft. . . .
The Everett Silvertips have promoted Mike Fraser to assistant general manager — he had been director of player personnel — and signed him to a multi-year contract extension. The exact length of the extension wasn’t revealed. Fraser has been with Everett through four seasons — three as head scout and one as director of player personnel. He is a veteran WHL scout, having also worked with the Swift Current Broncos and Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Silvertips also have added veteran scout Brian Leavold to their staff as a senior scout. He has worked for the Broncos (1999-2018) and Saskatoon Blades (2018-22). . . .
Dan O’Connor announced via Twitter recently that he is moving on from the Vancouver Giants. O’Connor will be joining the U of British Columbia as a sports information co-ordinator. O’Connor spent the past 11 seasons doing WHL play-by-play — six with the Prince George Cougars and five with the Giants.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Edmonton: 2 (Won tournament in 2014, lost tiebreaker in 2012) Hamilton: 1 (Lost semifinal in 2018) Saint John: 3 (Won tournament in 2011, lost semifinals in 2012 and 2017) Shawinigan: 2 (Won tournament in 2012, lost final in 1985)
OK. The field is set, and next week the eyes of junior hockey followers will be on Saint John, N.B., site of the 2022 Memorial Cup tournament. Thanks to COVID-19, this will be the first time the four-team championship has been held since 2019.
(NOTE: If you’re travelling that way, remember that Saint John is in New Brunswick, while St. John’s is in Newfoundland.)
The OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs became the last team to qualify when they beat the visiting Windsor Spitfires, 6-1, on Wednesday night, to win the best-of-seven championship series and the J. Ross Robertson Cup, 4-3. The Bulldogs, who scored the game’s first four goals, got three scores from F Avery Hayes.
Mason McTavish pots the other two, back-to-back home games where he records a pair of goals. Recorded a point in all but two games at FirstOntario Centre after being acquired racking up 17 goals, 18 assists along the way. Finished with exactly 100 shots at home and on road. https://t.co/PxsIJkQuxU
The game drew an announced attendance of 11,779. In their seven seasons in Hamilton, the Bulldogs now have won two titles.
This was the first time the OHL had gotten through its playoffs since 2019 when the Guelph Storm won the championship.
The Bulldogs join the host Saint John Sea Dogs, who play in the QMJHL, the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes, and the Edmonton Oil Kings, who won the WHL title on Monday by taking out the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games.
The Oil Kings last played in the Memorial Cup in 2014 when they beat the OHL’s Guelph Storm, 6-3, in the tournament final in London, Ont. That was the first time a WHL team had won the trophy since 2008 when the Spokane Chiefs beat the host Kitchener Rangers, 4-1, in the final.
Since 2014, the WHL has been represented by the Kelowna Rockets (Quebec City, 2015), Brandon Wheat Kings and Red Deer Rebels (host team, 2016), Seattle (Windsor, 2017), Swift Current Broncos and Regina (host team, 2018), and Prince Albert Raiders (Halifax, 2019).
How did those WHL teams do? Well, the Rockets lost in the 2015 final, 2-1 in OT to the Oshawa Generals. The Rebels went 2-1 in 2016 before losing a semifinal, 3-1 to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, while the Wheat Kings went 0-3. In 2017, the Thunderbirds were 0-3. In 2018, Regina went 2-1, then beat Hamilton, 4-2, in a semifinal, before losing 3-0 in the final to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The Broncos, meanwhile, went 0-3.
In 2019, the last time the tournament was held, the Raiders finished 0-3.
What all of this shows us is that the WHL champs haven’t fared well of late; in fact, they have combined to lose their last 13 games. The last time the WHL champion won a Memorial Cup game was on May 29, 2015, when Kelowna beat the Quebec Remparts, 9-3, in a semifinal game.
And every time the WHL champion strikes out the question — Why don’t WHL champions do better at the Memorial Cup? — gets slapped around social media like a Wiffle ball.
Bob Green, a longtime WHL executive who now is the Edmonton Oilers’ chief scout, tried to explain it to columnist Terry Jones:
“The Memorial Cup is a bit of a mystery to everybody. It’s a hard tournament to figure out. I don’t know if you ever do figure it out. You just go there and try to play and see what happens. It’s completely different than the rest of the playoffs. But I believe this Oil Kings team has the best chance of all the clubs of this Edmonton era to do it.”
One other thing about competing in the Memorial Cup — if you get off to a poor start, your tournament is over almost before you know what hit you.
The 2022 Memorial Cup opens Monday in Saint John with Hamilton meeting the host Sea Dogs. On Tuesday, it’ll be Shawinigan facing Edmonton.
Terry Jones wasn’t expecting the phone call that he received on Wednesday. A sports columnist with Edmonton newspapers since 1967, he tweeted: “My last scoop. At 1 p.m. today, after beginning my career at The Edmonton Journal in 1967 I received a phone call from Toronto informing me my position had been eliminated by Post Media. Thank you all so much for reading. Hardly the way I hoped it would end.”
Later, he tweeted that he was “just gutted.”
What turns out to possibly be the last column of his newspaper career dealt with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings and their upcoming appearance at the Memorial Cup. That piece is right here.
Then-owner Ron Dixon moved the WHL’s New Westminster Bruins to Kennewick, Wash., in 1988, and the Tri-City Americans have made the Toyota Center their home. All that time, the team’s fans have spent their game-watching evenings in orange seats. But those days are over. The removal of the old seats began this week and now people are wondering what colour the new seats will be.
Here’s what radio station KFLD discovered: “Apparently, it’s a surprise. We searched, looked, and even asked officials. Several told us we will find out soon enough . . . the suspense builds!”
The Richmond Jets are excited to announce Matt Leduc as the U11A2 Head Coach for the 2022/23 season. Matt played his minor hockey in Richmond before moving on to play 5 yrs in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs. Matt is studying at UBC with a focus on high-performance coaching. pic.twitter.com/i8NgnrJws8
The Edmonton Oil Kings won their third WHL championship on Monday night, beating the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 2-0, to win the best-of-seven series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 4-2.
The Oil Kings last won the title in 2014 when they needed seven games to get past the Portland Winterhawks in the final. They also took seven games to sideline Portland in the 2012 final. Those teams also met in the 2013 final, with Portland winning in six games.
The Oil Kings went on to win the Memorial Cup in 2014, the last time a WHL team has won the national title.
Edmonton, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed, skated through these playoffs in 19 games, going 16-3. The Oil Kings swept the No. 7 Lethbridge Hurricanes and No. 4 Red Deer Rebels before taking out the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice, 4-1.
The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, were the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed. They got past the No. 5 Kelowna Rockets, 4-1, then went seven games against both the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks and No. 2 Kamloops Blazers. In the process, Seattle became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s in the same playoff season on the road. The Thunderbirds trailed Portland, 3-1, in that series, then fell behind Kamloops, 3-2.
Sebastian Cossa is the one responsible as he stops all 27 faced – including 23-of-23 in last 40 minutes. Joins Dustin Slade (VAN, 2006), Mac Carruth (POR, 2013), Laurent Brossoit (EDM, 2013), Stuart Skinner (SC, 2018) and Ian Scott (PA, 2019) as goalies with 5+ SO in playoffs. https://t.co/309FIpXw2n
Last night, the Oil Kings came out determined to get more pucks and bodies to the Seattle net. . . . F Jakub Demek (5) opened the scoring, on a PP at 7:15 of the first period, corralling a loose puck in the Seattle crease off a shot by F Josh Williams and tucking it home. . . . Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:44 of the second period as D Kaiden Guhle set a franchise record with his eighth goal of these playoffs. The previous Oil Kings record belonged to Martin Gernát, who scored seven times in 2012. One year later, he scored six more. . . . Guhle was named the playoff MVP. . . . Guhle also played for the Prince Albert Raiders, who won the Ed Chynoweth Cup in 2019. That was the last time the WHL completed a playoff season as COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 postseason. . . . F Jake Neighbours drew two assists. . . . After getting ahead 2-0, the Oil Kings went into a 1-2-2 defence that oftentimes looked more like 1-4. . . . Edmonton G Sebastian Cossa stopped 27 shots. He finished the playoffs at 16-3, 1.93, .919, with five shutouts. . . . Seattle got 34 saves from G Thomas Milic, including 20 in the first period when his guys were outshot, 21-4. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-4 on the PP; Seattle was 0-for-6. . . . Seattle was without D Tyrel Bauer, who served the second of a two-game suspension. . . . Edmonton played again without F Dylan Guenther. . . . The Oil Kings will join the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the QMJHL-champion Shawinigan Cataractes at the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that opens on June 20 in New Brunswick.
#OHLChampionship#HAMvsWSR: For first time since 2013, the J. Ross Robertson Cup will be awarded after Game 7, forced by @SpitsHockey with their triumph in Game 6. After not scoring in series, Daniel D'Amico is the hero again with 2 goals, 1 shorthanded, 7 in 3 do-or-die games.
Meanwhile, the OHL championship for the J. Robertson Cup is going to a seventh game. The host Windsor Spitfires beat the Hamilton Bulldogs, 5-2, on Monday night to tie the series, 3-3. . . . They’ll decide the whole thing in Hamilton on Wednesday night. . . . F Daniel D’Amico led the Spitfires with two goals as they erased a 2-1 second-period deficit with the game’s last four goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had both Hamilton goals.
With his two goals, @BulldogsOHL Logan Morrison now ties Corey Perry on this list. Up to 18 straight games with a point, plus the last 4 from the regular season. Fourth 2-goal game of postseason (held goalless six times) after recording 3 in the first 68. https://t.co/3s98u7e2mk
The Regina Pats held a spring camp on the weekend and Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was there. No, he wasn’t competing for a spot on the Pats’ protected list; he was there in search of a story, and he found two. . . . For starters, John Paddock, the Pats’ general manager and head coach, told Vanstone that the plan is to build around F Connor Bedard, meaning that the organization is more likely to acquire players than to trade away their star. . . . That story is right here.
Vanstone also chatted with Paddock about a health scare with which the latter dealt during this hockey season. Paddock left the coaching game in early February and didn’t return as he dealt with COVID-19 and lymphoma. Everything seems under control now, though, and Paddock is planning on being behind the Pats bench when a new season arrives. That story is right here.
Before arriving in Toronto for a four-game series with the Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles placed OF Anthony Santander, one of their best hitters, and southpaw reliever Keegan Akin on the restricted list. From Sportsnet: “The moves suggest Santander and Akin could not cross the border due to an insufficient COVID-19 vaccine status. Unvaccinated people cannot enter Canada or the United States without a quarantine period.” . . .
From the San Francisco Chronicle: The Golden State Warriors are going to their broadcaster bench for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night against the Boston Celtics. Tim Roye, the Warriors’ radio play-by-play announcer on radio station 95.7 The Game, tested positive for the coronavirus and was knocked out of action for the broadcast. Roye will also miss Game 6 Thursday in Boston. . . .
From The New York Times: The Rolling Stones postponed a stadium concert in Amsterdam on Monday, after Mick Jagger tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came shortly before the show was to begin and after some fans had already entered the stadium, the AP reported. . . .
From Entertainment Weekly: One day after performing on the Tony Awards, Hugh Jackman has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time and will miss performances of ‘The Music Man.’ . . .
From ESPN News Services: NBA commissioner Adam Silver canceled plans to attend Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics on Monday night in San Francisco because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Silver typically attends all Finals games. The league did not say if Silver had tested positive for COVID-19 or been deemed a close contact of someone who had, nor did it release any details about his health.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The MJHL’s Neepawa Titans have added Zak Hicks and Landon Cameron as assistant coaches. Hicks played in the MJHL with the Winkler Flyers under then-head coach Ken Pearson, who now is the Titans’ head coach. Cameron is a familiar face in Neepawa, having been involved with various levels of hockey in the community.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Edmonton Oil Kings get their second opportunity at winning the WHL championship for the Ed Chynoweth Cup when they entertain the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.
It’s Game 6 of the best-of-seven series and the Oil Kings lead, 3-2. The Thunderbirds, who will be facing elimination for the seventh time in these playoffs, won Game 5, 3-2, on Saturday night. Because the Thunderbirds’ home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable due to graduation ceremonies, this series is following a 2-2-3 format. As a result, the Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team tonight and, as such, will have the last change.
While the Thunderbirds welcomed back F Henrik Rybinski in Game 5, they will be without D Tyrel Bauer, their captain, as he completes a two-game suspension.
In Game 5, the Oil Kings remained without F Dylan Guenther, who didn’t finish Game 3. He put up 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games; he had 25 PP points, 13 of them goals. In their last two games against Seattle, the Oil Kings were 0-for-8 on the PP, including 0-for-6 in the Game 5 loss.
A Seattle victory in Game 6 would force a seventh game in Edmonton on Tuesday night.
Earlier in these playoffs, Seattle beat the Portland Winterhawks three times and the Kamloops Blazers twice while staring elimination squarely in the face.
As they face a seventh such game, one thing is certain — Seattle won’t be afraid of the situation into which they will skate tonight.
In the OHL, F Mason McTavish’s two goals helped the host Hamilton Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Sunday. . . . Hamilton holds a 3-2 lead in the championship series, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Windsor. . . . McTavish tied the score, 2-2, at 12:58 of the second period, then notched the winner at 1:59 of the third. He has 14 goals in these playoffs. . . . Hamilton scored two PP goals. . . . F Logan Morrison had two assists for the Bulldogs. . . .
The two other Memorial Cup teams have been decided, with the Shawinigan Cataractes having won their first QMJHL championship and the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL as the host team. The four-team tournament is to run June 20-29 in Saint John.
ICYMI, Rob Walton, whose first names seem to be Walmart heir, is the lead in a group that is buying the NFL’s Denver Broncos for US$4.65 billion. The Carolina Panthers changed hands for $2.275 billion just four years ago, and that was an NFL record at the time. . . . Walton isn’t about to go broke, even after spending that kind of money. According to Forbes, Walton is worth at least $60 billion. Well, about $55 billion now.
A couple of weeks ago, there were two MLB managers named Joe. Then the Philadelphia Phillies fired Joe Girardi. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Angels dumped Joe Maddon. It’s amazing how quickly Maddon became a poor manager, though. The Angels were being touted as a playoff team — maybe even a World Series contender — and then came a 12-game losing streak, followed by Joe saying: “Say it ain’t so.” . . . It’s worth noting that the Phillies, under interim manager Rob Thomson, won their first eight games after the change. I wonder if that success had anything to do with Thomson being Canadian, meaning the most-popular words in the Phils’ locker room now are “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.”
“The Angels, trying to snap a 13-game losing streak, used Nickelback tunes for their walk-up music during Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, a 1-0 loss,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Whatever happened to simply rounding up the bats and burning them?”
“Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon got fired one day apart last week,” Perry writes. “Say it ain’t so, Joes.”
THINKING OUT LOUD — I don’t care what the NBA says, it’s the NBA final. Singular. And it’s the NHL final. Singular. Etc., etc., etc. . . . People aren’t really surprised about all these pro golfers, who are independent contractors, taking the money and running, are they? . . . At present, there are seven NHL teams without a head coach — the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets. Throw in openings for assistant coaches and the NHL has more vacancies than the Bates Motel. . . . You are free to wonder how many days Tony La Russa has left as the manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Here’s Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Golf likes to hold itself up as a game of high integrity and morals, somehow above the fray. Players call penalties on themselves, the argument goes, and compete with dignity and respect for their opponent.
“That line of thinking seems haughty and presumptuous even in normal times. And now, as several top PGA Tour pros defect for the new Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series, it’s downright comical. . . .
“But peer beneath all these layers, the stream of news flashes over the past few days, and it’s really quite simple. The game’s top players had a choice between money and morals.
“Money won. Shocking.”
The great Charles P. Pierce of Esquire, writing on the golf situation: “Watching professional golfers leap for the blood money of the new Saudi golf tour should shock approximately nobody. These guys generally have the social conscience of a flesh-eating amoeba. And that Phil Mickelson was their drum major is even less of a surprise. Good on the PGA for suspending the players who signed up for the Bone Saw Tour.”
Jared Jacobson, the owner and governor of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, won the 60th edition of the Grey Owl golf tournament on the Clear Lake Golf Course in Riding Mountain National Park on Sunday. It was the second time he has won what is one of Manitoba’s most-popular golf tournaments, the first time being in 2014. As the winner, Jacobson was presented with the “Cactus” Jack Wells Memorial Trophy. Yes, it turned out nice again . . . for Jacobson, who won by birdieing each of the last three holes for a 2-under 70 and a two-round total of 141. He had been four shots off the lead while standing on the 16th tee. He ended up with a one-shot victory over Noel Ngo of Winnipeg and Ross Sheard of Brandon.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Former Kamloops Blazers F Kyrell Sopotyk was named to the tournament all-star team at the 2022 Canadian junior national wheelchair basketball championship that wrapped up Sunday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. B.C. won the tournament; Sopotyk and his Saskatchewan teammates placed sixth. Sopotyk, now 20, was left paralyzed from the waist down in a snowboarding accident on Jan. 22, 2021. . . . F Luke Toporowski, who was acquired by Kamloops from the Spokane Chiefs during this season, has signed a two-year deal with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Toporowski, who completed his junior eligibility this season, is expected to attend training camp with the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Toporowski totalled 63 points, 35 of them goals, in 49 games this season. He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 22 games with Kamloops, then put up 23 points, nine of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . .
Congrats to former Brandon Sun sports editor Bill Davidson on his being added to the Brandon University Sports Wall of Fame. As the sports editor, he had more than a little to do with hiring me in June 1971. I couldn’t have started in the sports journalism field under a better editor, too, because he, more than anyone else, taught me the basics and fundamentals and the importance of getting the little things right. Oh, and he always kicked my butt at Hearts, too.
Just like Game 1, Conner Roulette also finds the back of net with Rempe. All five goals this postseason have been on the road. Scored 15 consecutive goals away from accesso ShoWare Center. Lucas Ciona gathers winning goal, scores in back-to-back games for 2nd time in playoffs. https://t.co/UnOehdGhmn
The Seattle Thunderbirds, facing elimination for the sixth time in these playoffs, got past the host Edmonton Oil Kings, 3-2, on Saturday night. The Oil Kings lead the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, 3-2.
The Thunderbirds will face elimination for a seventh time on Monday when the teams meet for Game 6 in Edmonton. The Thunderbirds will be designated as the home team, so will have the last change. Seattle’s home arena in Kent, Wash., has been unavailable because of graduation ceremonies, so the series is following a 2-2-3 format with the last three games to be played in Edmonton. A seventh game, if needed, would be played there on Tuesday night.
The series winner will advance to the four-team Memorial Cup tournament that is to be played in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.
The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed, overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the No. 3 Portland Winterhawks, then trailed the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, 3-2, before winning that series. In the process, Seattle became the only team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road in the same postseason.
In other words, these Thunderbirds are quite familiar with being in this position.
Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 1-0 first-period deficit — F Josh Williams (4) scored for Edmonton at 6:25 — with the game’s next three goals.
F Conner Roulette (5) tied the score at 2:13 of the second period and F Matt Rempe (8) gave the Thunderbirds the lead, on a PP, at 8:51. F Lucas Ciona (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 2:21 of the third period.
F Carson Golden (3) pulled the Oil Kings to within a goal at 9:14 of the third period, but that’s as close as the home team could get.
Both goaltenders were terrific, with Seattle’s Thomas Milic finishing with 28 saves, three fewer than Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa.
Seattle was 1-for-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-for-6.
The Oil Kings scratched F Dylan Guenther, who last played in Game 3. He didn’t finish that one due to an undisclosed injury. . . . Seattle D Tyrel Bauer, the team captain, sat out the first game of a two-game suspension. He was suspended for a first-period hit on F Brendan Kuny in Game 3. Kuny isn’t likely to play again in the series. . . . The Thunderbirds had F Henrik Rybinski back in their lineup. He hadn’t played since Game 1.
Mavrik Bourque kickstars the scoring 75 seconds into the contest. Last point of season to complete playoffs with 9 goals, 16 assists, 25 points and the Guy Lafleur Trophy for Playoff Most Valuable Player. 93 combined points in 47 QMJHL games this year, or 1.978 points per game. https://t.co/TuJC6WwAGL
In the QMJHL, the Shawinigan Cataractes won their first Presidents Cup on Saturday, beating the host Charlottetown Islanders, 4-3 in OT. . . . Shawinigan won the best-of-seven final, 4-1. . . . The Islanders led 3-1 before the second period was six minutes old, but Shawinigan came back to score the game’s last three goals. . . . F Olivier Nadeau made it 3-2 on a PP at 12:50 of the second period. . . . F Pierrick Dubé scored the game’s last two goals, tying the score at 10:38 of the third period and winning it just 41 seconds into OT. . . . Dubé scored 12 goals in the playoffs. . . .
The OHL’s championship final will continue today (Sunday) with the host Hamilton Bulldogs entertaining the Windsor Spitfires. The series is tied, 2-2. Game 6 is to be played in Windsor on Monday.
THE COACHING GAME: Evan McFeeters has signed on as the new head coach of the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. He joins the Crusaders after two seasons as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits, who won the Centennial Cup as junior A champions last month in Estevan, Sask. Before joining the Bandits, McFeeters spent five seasons with the AJHL’s Canmore Eagles as assistant general manager and assistant coach. In Sherwood Park, he replaces Jeff Woywitka, who was fired as head coach and assistant GM in April. Woywitka had taken over for the fired Adam Manah in November.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
The Edmonton Oil Kings could become the WHL’s first playoff champion since the spring of 2019 with a victory over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds tonight (Saturday).
The Oil Kings returned home Wednesday night after having won twice in Kent, Wash. — 4-0 on Tuesday and 3-2 earlier Wednesday. That put the Oil Kings in control of the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with a 3-1 lead.
Keep in mind, however, that the Thunderbirds haven’t been an easy out in these playoffs. In fact, this game will mark the sixth time that Seattle will have faced elimination. Yes, the Thunderbirds are 5-0 in elimination games, having come back from a 3-1 deficit against the Portland Winterhawks and 3-2 against the Kamloops Blazers. In the process, the Thunderbirds became the first team in WHL history to win two Game 7s on the road.
If they are to win this series, they’ll have to do it on the road, too. Because the arena in Kent is busy with high school graduation ceremonies, this series is running on a 2-2-3 format with as many of the last three games as needed to be played in Edmonton. Should a sixth game be necessary, it would be played on Monday with the Thunderbirds designated as the home team. If needed, Game 7 would be be played on Tuesday.
Seattle will be without D Tyrel Bauer, its captain and a dominating shutdown defender, tonight and again on Monday if there is a Game 6. Bauer, 20, who has signed with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, drew a two-game suspension for an early first-period hit on Edmonton F Brendan Kuny on Wednesday. Bauer was given an interference major and game misconduct on the play. Kuny received medical attention from personnel from both teams, was placed on a backboard, then removed from the ice surface on a stretcher and taken to an area hospital. He rejoined his teammates before the night was done and returned with them to Edmonton where he was examined by the team’s medical staff on Thursday. Kuny, a 20-year-old from Ardrossan, Alta., won’t play again in this series.
The Prince Albert Raiders hold the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions, having won it in 2019. The WHL was closing in on its 2019-20 playoff season when the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of the remainder of the season late in March. There wasn’t a true regular season in 2020-21 — with teams playing an abbreviated development season — before things resumed in earnest last fall.
The Oil Kings are gunning for the organization’s first WHL title since 2014. They went on to win the Memorial Cup that spring, the last time a WHL team has won it.
The 2022 Memorial Cup is scheduled to run from June 20-29 in Saint John, N.B.
The only team assured a spot in the four-team tournament to date is the host Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. They were eliminated in the first round, then fired head coach Gordie Dwyer on May 26, replacing him with Gardiner MacDougall, the head coach of the U of New Brunswick Reds for 22 seasons. MacDougall is to return to the Reds when the tournament is over.
Nathan Staios, in return to lineup after missing 5 games, burns former squad with tying goal scoring with the extra man with 2 minutes left. 'Dogs 2nd extra man goal this season. Staios finished T-7th in defenceman goals in season (15). Team improves to 13-1-2-0 when he scores https://t.co/B6CF0NL4Bg
Meanwhile, the OHL playoffs continued on Friday night in Windsor where the Hamilton Bulldogs beat the Spitfires, 3-2, in OT. . . . F Will Cuylle gave Windsor a 2-1 lead at 12:41 of the second period, and the Spitfires nursed that edge into the last two minutes of the third period. . . . D Nathan Staios then pulled Hamilton even at 18:03 with G Marco Costantini on the bench for an extra attacker. . . . D Gavin White won it with his second goal of the playoffs, at 7:31 of extra time. The goal came 10 seconds after the conclusion of a Hamilton PP opportunity. . . . They’ll play Game 5 in Hamilton on Sunday, with Game 6 scheduled for Monday in Windsor. . . .
In the QMJHL, the visiting Charlottetown Islanders scored four times in the second period on Thursday night and went on to beat the Shawinigan Cataractes, 7-0. . . . G Francesco Lapenna earned the shutout with 16 saves. . . . Shawinigan still holds a 3-1 lead in the series with Game 5 scheduled for Charlottetown tonight. . . .
Remember that all of these playoff games are being televised by TSN.
THE COACHING GAME:
The Kamloops Blazers announced on Friday that Mark Holick is leaving the organization for “personal reasons” after one season as associate coach. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Originally, the plan was for Mark to move his family up here. There were some schooling- and work-related situations with his wife and the roads closed there for half the winter. That didn’t make it easier. And there is a situation right now they’re dealing with that was just going to make that move impossible. When you added everything up, it just wasn’t going to work out with him and his family moving forward.” . . . Clouston said that the Blazers, who will be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament, are likely to hire two full-time assistant coaches before the 2022-23 season gets here. . . . Hastings’ story is right here. . . .
The Calgary Hitmen have signed assistant coach Matt Stajan to a two-year extension. A veteran of 1,003 regular-season NHL games, Stajan just completed his first season on Calgary’s coaching staff. He works alongside head coach Steve Hamilton and fellow assistant Trent Cassan. . . .
The Regina Pats have signed five members of the their hockey operations staff to what the team referred to as “multi-year contract extensions.” . . . Assistant coach Brad Herauf is preparing for his eighth season with the Pats. A Regina native, he stepped in as interim head coach early in February and remained in that position through season’s end as John Paddock, the general manager and head coach, was sidelined with health-related issues. . . . Ken Schneider, the club’s other assistant coach, just completed his first season on the coaching staff. He previously had scouted for the Pats for three seasons. . . . Rob Muntain, the goaltending coach, is returning for his 12th season with the club. . . . Greg Mayer, the athletic therapist, is preparing for his 19th season. He is the longest-serving member of the hockey operations department. . . . Gord Cochran, the Pats’ equipment manager, will be back for his ninth season in Regina.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Prince George Cougars have acquired F Chase Wheatcroft, 20, from the Winnipeg Ice for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Wheatcroft, from Calgary, was acquired by the Ice from the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2021-22 season. In 55 games, he totalled 16 goals and 22 assists. He added a goal and five assists in 15 playoff games. . . . Wheatcroft is the second 20-year-old forward picked up by the Cougars of late. Last month, they added Nolan Boyko from the Saskatoon Blades. He and Wheatcroft were teammates in Lethbridge at one point. . . .
Cole Waldie will be the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars when another season gets here. The former radio voice of the BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings has joined the Cougars as their director or broadcasting, communications and public relations. Waldie spent the past three seasons with the Spruce Kings. He replaces Fraser Rodgers, who left after five years with the Cougars to return to the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as their vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .
A couple of interesting notes from the annual meeting of the junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. For starters, accountant Jason Traska reported that despite attendance being limited to 500 fans per game for a lot of the season the organization was able to pay off a $40,000 COVID-19 loan and have money left over. As well, the blog Rider News reported: “Oddly enough, overall attendance was down but beer sales were up, and that’s great news for the Fernie Brewing Company and anyone who sells Tylenol.” . . . Oh, and did we mention that seven people — yes, SEVEN — attended the AGM.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
There was a CHL doubleheader on TSN on Wednesday night and when it was over two teams were each one victory away from advancing to the Memorial Cup. . . . The QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes beat the visiting Charlottetown Islanders, 5-4 in OT, to take a 3-0 lead in the series. F Charles Beaudoin was credited with the winning goal 46 seconds into OT, but it actually was an own goal scored by D Noah Laaouan as he attempted to clear a loose puck from his crease. . . . They’ll play Game 4 tonight (Thursday) in Shawinigan and it’ll be on TSN, too, with Adam Dunfee calling the play and Marc Methot providing the analysis. . . .
In Wednesday night’s other game, the Edmonton Oil Kings got a buzzer-beater to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, in Kent, Wash. The Oil Kings hold a 3-1 series lead and they’re going home with Game 5 set for Edmonton on Saturday night. Victor Findlay is calling the play of the WHL games, with Kevin Sawyer in the booth alongside him. . . .
As for the OHL, the arena in Windsor is tied up with graduation ceremonies, so the Spitfires and Hamilton Bulldogs won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. The Spitfires will take a 2-1 series lead into that game, with Jon Abbott doing the play-by-play for TSN and Craig Button providing the colour. . . .
BTW, the Memorial Cup is scheduled to be held in Saint John, N.B., June 20-29.
WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:
Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
Latest regulation GWGs in #WHLChampionship series in Internet Era 59:56 – Logan Dowhaniuk, EDM at SEA, 6/8/22 59:04 – Mark Pysyk, EDM vs. POR, 5/10/12 57:21 – Oliver Gabriel, POR vs. EDM, 5/12/12 57:20 – Joel Stepp, RD vs. KEL, 5/6/03 57:15 – Curtis Rich, CGY at KAM, 5/4/99 https://t.co/xZmbdHEuOz
In Kent, Wash., D Logan Dowhaniuk scored with 3.5 seconds left in the third period as the Edmonton Oil Kings snuck past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2. . . . Edmonton leads the best-of-seven championship final, 3-1, with Game 5 scheduled for the Alberta capital on Saturday. . . . The early minutes of the game were interrupted by a scary incident when Edmonton F Brendan Kuny went down at 5:05 of the first period following a collision with Seattle D Tyrel Bauer at the left faceoff dot in the Thunderbirds’ zone. Kuny was down for a few minutes as he received medical attention from the staff of both teams — including Jim McKnight, the Oil Kings’ head athletic therapist, and Phil Varney, Seattle’s therapist — before being placed on a back board and then onto a stretcher. He was taken to an area hospital as a precaution. Shortly after the game, the Oil Kings tweeted that Kuny had been “released from the hospital and will be travelling back to Edmonton with the team to be further evaluated.” . . . Bauer, Seattle’s captain and No. 1 shutdown defenceman, was hit with an interference major and game misconduct. That left the home team to play with five defencemen. . . . The Oil Kings, perhaps rattled by watching Kuny leave the game, weren’t able to mount any offence on that PP. . . . The visitors received another PP just before the major expired but they weren’t able to get anything going on that one either. . . .
F Lucas Ciona (8), who is from Edmonton, gave Seattle a 1-0 lead on its first PP, cashing in a rebound at 16:03. . . . That was the first time in the series that a team had scored in the opening period. . . . F Justin Williams (2) pulled Edmonton even at 3:37 of the second period, corralling a loose puck in front of the Seattle crease and backhanding it under G Thomas Milic. . . . Just 2:13 later, Williams (3) shot his guys into the lead, circling in the Seattle zone before beating Milic with a wrist shot from the left circle. . . . The Thunderbirds got back on equal ground with a second PP goal at 12:53, winning a faceoff in Edmonton’s zone and scoring when F Jared Davidson (13) beat G Sebastian Cossa from the left dot. . . . The play that led to the winning goal started with Williams attempting to slap the puck towards the Seattle goal. The puck bounced off a defender to Dowhaniuk on the right side of the high slot and he snapped it home. It was his third goal of the playoffs. . . . Williams, who had 84 points, including 34 goals, in the regular season, went into the game with one goal in these playoffs. He scored twice and added an assist, giving him three goals and 11 assists in 17 games. . . . Seattle was 2-for-5 on the PP, but came up empty on its last opportunity with 2:40 remaining in the third period. . . . Edmonton was 0-for-2 with the man advantage. . . . Seattle held a 34-23 edge in shots. . . . Cossa finished with 32 stops, 12 more than Milic. . . .
Each team was without one of its leading scorers. Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, a 45-goal, 91-point man in the regular season, wasn’t able to finish Game 3 and was scratched last night. The Thunderbirds were without F Henrik Rybinski for a third straight game. He had 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games. . . . Edmonton also is without F Jaxsen Wiebe, who hasn’t played since Game 1 because of an undisclosed injury.
Patrick Roy unsure whether he will continue coaching the Remparts.
He does put some humour in the situation, says he thinks about where he should be in life when he's all the way in Cape Breton coaching while his friends are in Florida golfing. 😅😅 https://t.co/AeL5TVrEd2
You have to wonder if Patrick Roy is familiar with what former WHL president Ed Chynoweth once said while admitting that his mind would sometimes wander into the area of possible retirement. It was in the mid-1970s and as Chynoweth said at the time: “It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.”
From The New York Times: “The Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 now represent 13% of new coronavirus cases in the U.S., up from 7.5% a week ago and 1% in early May, CDC data show. They seem to spread more easily, but there’s not yet evidence that they cause more severe disease.”
why is the media more concerned with 3 hour waits in airports than 12+hour waits in ERs, cancelled surgeries, closed ICUs. Pls realize that #covidisnotover and people are off sick with covid EVERYWHERE.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Victoria Royals have added 2003-born F Teague Patton to their roster, sending a conditional 2005 fourth-round WHL draft pick to the Medicine Hat Tigers in return. Patton, from Kelowna, had 10 goals and 11 assists in 59 games with the Tigers this season. . . .
The Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired 2002-born F Cole Carrier from the Regina Pats for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2023 draft. This season, Carrier, from Strathcona, Alta., had 15 goals and 12 assists in 65 games. The Pats had picked him up from the Kelowna Rockets on Jan. 10, 2020. . . .
The Tri-City Americans have traded for 2002-born F Reese Belton, getting him from the Kamloops Blazers for a fourth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. That pick originated with the Edmonton Oil Kings. In 115 games with the Blazers, Belton, a Winnipegger, had 45 points, including 20 goals. This season, he put up 14 goals and 20 assists in 64 games. . . .
Fraser Rodgers, the radio voice of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars for the past five seasons, has rejoined the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, this time as vice-president of business operations and director of broadcasting, communications and public relations. Rodgers is a former play-by-play voice of the Vees (2011-17), who also was the Cougars’ manager of broadcasting, communications and public relations. . . .
The Finnish Ice Hockey Association has signed Tomi Lamsa to a two-year deal as head coach of its U20 national team. He spent the past two seasons as head coach of Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the KHL. Lamsa replaces Kari Jalonen with the U20 program. Jalonen was to have coached the U20s next season, but left to become head coach of the Czechia national men’s team. . . . In a bit of a twist, Antti Pennanen will be the head coach of Finland’s national junior team at the 2022 WJC in Edmonton in August. You will recall that the tournament actually being in Red Deer and Edmonton in December before being postponed because of the pandemic. . . .
Prospects from four NHL teams — the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets — will take part in the Young Stars Classic tournament in Penticton, B.C., Sept. 14-18. What once was an annual event was last held in 2018. . . .
The U18 AAA Southwest Cougars, who play out of Souris, Man., announced on Wednesday that head coach Troy Leslie has resigned “to pursue other opportunities.” He had been the Cougars’ head coach through three seasons.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
It you are a junior hockey fan, TSN is the place to be this week. All three major junior leagues are into their best-of-seven final series and all games now are being televised by TSN. . . . On Tuesday night, the Edmonton Oil Kings skated past the Seattle Thunderbirds, 4-0, in Kent, Wash. Edmonton leads that series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight (Wednesday) and, yes, it’ll be on TSN with Victor Findlay calling the play and Kevin Sawyer providing analysis. . . .
In the QMJHL, the Charlottetown Islanders and Shawinigan Cataractes are scheduled to resume hostilities tonight (Wednesday). Shawinigan won twice in Charlottetown — 5-1 and 4-3 in OT — so takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 on home ice and on TSN. . . . This will be the first game in a doubleheader on TSN tonight — the QMJHL game starts at 7 p.m. PT (4 p.m. ET), with the WHL game to follow. . . . Game 4 in the QMJHL final is to be played in Shawinigan on Thursday night. . . . Adam Dunfee is doing the play-by-play and Marc Methot is the analyst. . . .
Alex Christopoulos recorded 13 goals in 47 games after being acquired by Windsor and has now struck for double-digits in these playoffs (3 multigoal games, 3 solo goal games). Wyatt Johnston has now combined for 161 points, 2nd most in a season for the Spitfires (EP). https://t.co/Z11M9MR1Ka
In the OHL, the host Windsor Spitfires dumped the Hamilton Bulldogs, 6-3, on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in that championship series. F Alex Christopoulos and F Wyatt Johnston had two goals each for the winners. With the arena in Windsor tied up with graduations, they won’t get to Game 4 until Friday night. . . . Jon Abbott is calling the play for TSN in this series, with Craig Button beside him.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL:
Championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup
Half of the offence comes from the defence as Simon Kubicek greets his old stomping grounds with a goal, joined in the column by Kaiden Guhle. Oil Kings defenders have been responsible for 26.9% of goals, 30.1% of points this postseason and scored 4 of 10 in Championship Series. https://t.co/99u4BqtP8c
In Kent, Wash., D Simon Kubicek, who began his WHL career with Seattle, had a goal and an assist and G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots as the Edmonton Oil Kings skated to a 4-0 victory over the Thunderbirds. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 2-1, with Game 4 in Kent tonight. The teams then will return to Edmonton for the remainder of the series, starting with Game 5 on Saturday. . . . In these playoffs, Cossa now is 14-2, 1.98, .911 with four shutouts. He wasn’t challenged a whole lot in this one as the Oil Kings played a near-perfect defensive game, rarely allowing the Thunderbirds free travel through the neutral zone. . . . After the third goal-less first period in as many games, the Oil Kings had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring while shorthanded in the second period when F Jake Neighbours and F Jalen Luypen broke in alone on Seattle G Thomas Milic. The two skaters played give-and-go and it ended with Milic making a tremendous pad save on Neighbours at 15:28. . . . F Jakub Demek (4) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 17:02 of the second period, just 12 seconds after Edmonton had killed off a penalty. Demek, starting in his zone, broke down the right wing and got around a Seattle defender to beat Milic with a backhand-to-forehand. . . .
Kubicek (3) gave his guys a 2-0 lead when he scored at 4:10 the third period, just seven seconds into a PP from a play that developed after Edmonton won a faceoff in Seattle’s zone. . . . Kubicek, 20, is from Czech Republic. He played in 113 regular-season games with Seattle before being dealt to Edmonton for Belarusian F Vladimir Alistrov on Jan. 25, 2021. Kubicek didn’t play for Edmonton in the 2021 development season, while Alistrov, then 19, never did play for the Thunderbirds. . . . This season, Kubicek had 41 points, 14 of them goals, in 68 regular-season games with Edmonton. He also led the WHL in penalty minutes, with 133, but keep in mind the WHL doesn’t include misconducts, game misconducts, etc., in individual penalty totals. . . . The Oil Kings went ahead 3-0 when D Kaiden Guhle (7) scored from the high slot at 11:47 of the third period. . . . F Carter Souch (12) provided the empty-netter for Edmonton at 19:19. He’s got goals in five straight games now. . . . The Oil Kings were 1-for-4 on the PP; the Thunderbirds were 0-for-3. . . . Milic finished with 33 saves. . . .
Edmonton F Dylan Guenther, who had 91 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, didn’t finish the game. He has 21 points, 13 of them goals, in 16 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds scratched F Henrik Rybinski for a second straight game after he absorbed a check from Guhle in Game 1. He missed three of the seven games against the Kamloops Blazers in the Western Conference final and sat out Game 2 against Edmonton on Sunday. Rybinski has 18 points, 14 of them assists, in 17 playoff games after putting up 65 points, including 44 assists, in 47 regular-season games.
3/31/18 was the last time the TBirds were shutout in the playoffs. That was a 4-0 loss in Everett.
4/8/16 was the last time they were shutout at home in a playoff game. That was a 3-0 loss to Everett.
JUNIOR JOTTINGS: Jason Clarke, already the head coach, has added the general manager’s duties to his role with the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He signed a two-year deal. Before jumped into the QMJHL after being the owner, general manager and head coach of the junior A Carleton Place Canadiens of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the QMJHL’s Shawinigan Cataractes when the 2021-22 season began, but signed on as head coach of the Titan in late November. . . . With the Titan, he replaces Sylvain Couturier, who resigned on May 27. . . .
Who says you can’t go home again? Former NHLer Eric Fehr has signed on with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers, his hometown team, as director of player development. In a 17-year pro career, Fehr, a former Brandon Wheat Kings star (2001-05), was on teams that won the Calder Cup, Spengler Cup and Stanley Cup. . . . In 2021-22, Fehr, 36, played five regular-season and two playoff games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL.
Before you start complaining about the many viewings we are being treated to of Justin Bieber in that Tim Hortons commercial . . . just be thankful that he isn’t offering gambling advice.
We are saddened by the passing of former forward Eric Nesterenko at the age of 88.
Nesterenko was a key member of the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team and played 16 years with the Blackhawks. We extend our condolences to his entire family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/XSHE3EhVut