Cougars sign Smith as associate coach. . . . Royals add to hockey ops. . . . Study: Pro-junior deal hinders some players


D Zach Yuen (Tri-City, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and one assist in 35 games. . . .

D William Wrenn (Portland, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with Dornbirn (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, in 46 games with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), he had one goal and nine assists. . . .

F Mads Eller (Edmonton, 2013-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Rødovre Mighty Bulls (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, in 24 games, he had 11 goals and eight assists. He was tied for second on the team in goals.


Jason Smith is back in the WHL, less than a year after being fired as the head coach of PrinceGeorgethe Kelowna Rockets. On Tuesday, Smith was named the Prince George Cougars’ associate coach. . . . The Cougars announced on July 4 that Mark Lamb, their general manager, also would be the head coach. At the time, Lamb stressed the importance of hiring a solid associate coach, who would run the team while Lamb was tied up with his other duties. . . . “I am thrilled that we could bring on Jason,” Lamb said in a news release. “He checks off every box of what we were looking for in an associate coach.” . . . Lamb and Smith, 45, have some history together. Lamb was an assistant coach and Smith a defenceman on the 2001-02 Edmonton Oilers. . . . Smith spent two-plus seasons as the Rockets’ head coach before being fired on Oct. 22 with the club at 4-10-0. In his two full seasons as head coach, the Rockets were 45-22-5 and 43-22-7. . . . From Calgary, Smith played two seasons (1991-93) with the Regina Pats before going on to a pro career during which he split 1,008 regular-season NHL games between the New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators. . . . He spent two seasons with Ottawa as a scout and development consultant, then was an assistant coach for two seasons.

Ed Fowler is the Victoria Royals’ new director of player personnel. Fowler, who is from VictoriaRoyalsVancouver, has been on the Royals’ scouting staff for six years, most recently as senior regional scout (west). According to a news release, he will be “responsible for the co-ordination of the Royals’ scouting staff, assisting in the development of the team’s 50-man Player Protected List and the recruitment of prospects.” . . . The Royals also have a new athletic therapist — J.T. Ward. He joins the Royals after working with Pacific FC, Victoria’s pro soccer team Ward, who is from Prince Rupert, B.C., also has worked with the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Using information from NHL drafts from 2005 to 2014, Prashanth Iyer of Hockey Graphs has put together a study of young players and their long-term development. What he discovered, according to Postmedia’s Patrick Johnston, is that the pro-junior agreement between the NHL and NHLPA “is putting major junior draftees behind their peers in terms of long-term development, suppressing their hopes of NHL stardom.” . . . Basically, what that means is that because 18- and 19-year-old Europeans are allowed to play professionally, they get a leg up on their careers, while a major junior player, selected in the NHL draft at 18 or 19, isn’t able to join a pro team until his 20-year-old season. . . . Johnston’s complete piece is right here.

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Cozens gets NHL deal with Sabres. . . . Thomson signs with Senators. . . . Hurricanes have contract with import


F Roberts Lipsbergs (Seattle, 2012-15) has signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL). Last season, in 22 games with Dinamo Riga, he had two assists in 22 games. He also played 14 games with Liepaja (Latvia, Optibet Liga), scoring four goals and adding seven assists. . . .

F Adam Hughesman (Tri-City, 2006-12) has signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). Last season, with Bordeaux (France, Ligue Magnus), he had 16 goals and 12 assists in 44 games. He led the team in goals. . . .

D Matt MacKenzie (Calgary, Tri-City, 2007-11) has signed a one-year contract with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany, DEL2). Last season, in 46 games with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga), he had seven goals and 11 assists. . . .

D Artyom Minulin (Swift Current, Everett, 2015-19) has signed a two-year contract with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, with the Everett Silvertips (WHL), he had one goal and 17 assists in 51 games. . . .

F Igor Bacek (Tri-City, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Hannover Indians (Germany, Oberliga Nord). Last season, in 45 games, he had 14 goals and 26 assists. . . .

F Brady Brassart (Spokane, Calgary, 2009-14) has signed a one-year contract with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, in 61 games with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL), he had three goals and eight assists.


F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes has signed a three-year entry-level contract Lethbridgewith the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. They selected him seventh overall in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Last season, he finished with 34 goals and 50 assists in 68 regular-season games with the Hurricanes. . . . Cozens suffered an injury to his left thumb during the Sabres’ development and underwent surgery earlier this month. The injury is expected to keep him out for up to three months, which means the start of his 2019-20 season likely will be delayed. . . . Cozens, 18, will almost certainly be back for a third season with the Hurricanes. His only other option is to play for the Sabres.

D Lassi Thomson, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, has signed a three-KelownaRocketsyear entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him 19th overall in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Thomson, from Finland, had 17 goals and 24 assists as a freshman with the Rockets last season. . . . Thomson will turn 19 on Sept. 24. He attended the Senators’ development camp, and he will play for Finland at the World Junior Summer Showcase that is scheduled for Plymouth, Mich., from July 26 through Aug. 3. . . . It hasn’t yet been determined where Thomson will play in 2019-20. The Rockets, who will be host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, are hoping to get him back, but there has been speculation that he will play for Ilves in Finland’s top professional league.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed Slovakian F Oliver Okuliar, 19, to a WHL contract. He was picked by the Hurricanes in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . Okuliar played last season with the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, putting up 14 goals and 28 assists in 66 regular-season games. . . . The Hurricanes’ other import is D Danila Palivko, who will turn 18 on Nov. 30. From Belarus, he had two goals and 13 assists in 61 games last season.

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Mondays With Murray: A Little Music Would Not Hurt Del Mar




A Little Music Would Not Hurt Del Mar

  Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and a few of their cronies opened it as kind of their very own horse parlour. It wasn’t really meant for the general public.

  It was opened in the no-man’s land, the (then) still virginal territory between the beginning-to-boom marketing areas of Los Angeles and San Diego.

 They built a gorgeous, postal card clubhouse, a cross between a Spanish mission and a 1930s movie palace, and a good time was had by all.

 It didn’t cost all that much to build a racetrack of one’s own in the Depression-gripped mondaysmurray21930s, a time when movie people alone had a corner on most of the money earned in this country. Steel mills might be shutting down, soup kitchens might be opening up, but people still found dimes to go to the Saturday matinees and dream.

 Money was never really the point of the Del Mar racetrack, camaraderie was. Which was a good thing because money was not flowing. A track 110 miles from the horseplayers put too great a strain on their love for longshots. The year Del Mar opened, its daily average attendance was 4,654 and the handle was $101,104 a day. That same year, Santa Anita was averaging 18,541 a day and a handle of $653,820. Hollywood Park was to draw 16,708 a day with a handle of $499,882.

 But Del Mar made up in charm what it lacked in coin. It came to be serenaded as the “Saratoga of the West.” Where the surf met the turf. But it was not so stuffy as its Eastern counterpart; you didn’t have to wear

a hat or carry a parasol at Del Mar, and it had amenities the New York track couldn’t offer. The Pacific Ocean on its home stretch, for example.

 You could find Harry James and Betty Grable there almost any afternoon when they were two of the biggest names in show business. Crosby and Bob Hope were on the road to Del Mar constantly. Jimmy Durante bet there. So did, of all people, J. Edgar Hoover, at a time when he was America’s invisible government. It was the FBI director’s favorite recreation spot.

 As the megalopolis to the north and the mini-megalopolis to the south grew, so did Del Mar. But not disproportionately. The handle crept from $2,224,301 its first year to $23,846,789 the year after the Second World War. It hit $166,033,640 last year. Bing and Pat’s little hideaway horse parlor became very big business indeed.

 It has never been thought of as such. It has been run by the 22nd Agricultural District as a cross between a public library and crap game. Bing bowed out because he always hankered to own a big league baseball team, and when the chance came up, in those more puritanical times, he had to make a choice between owning the Pittsburgh Pirates and owning a racetrack. Or even a racehorse.

 The track was operated for about 20 years by the Texas megabucks combine of Clint Murchison and Sid Richardson, proceeds to a charity called Boys Inc.

 But Del Mar is 50 years old. Its picturesque grandstand is considered seismically unsafe. It must be replaced. By whom and with what has become a major issue in San Diego County. Estimated cost: $75 million to $100 million.

 There are 3 groups bidding for the next 20-year lease to operate the track: (1) The entrenched management now operating the club under lease, who propose two decades more of status quo with the grandstand to be built if and when revenues warrant it; (2) John Brunetti, operator of Hialeah Race Track in Florida, who proposes addition of a 10th race daily to up the take, and (3) A joint venture group consisting of the Ogden Corporation, a concessionaire and airline maintenance conglomerate, and James Nederlander, a theatre magnate, who propose to build the new grandstand at their own expense.

 The rub? Ogden-Nederlander want to use the facility in the off-season for “entertainment and non-racing events.” Opponents hiss: “Rock concerts!” Ogden-Nederlander counter: “Bolshoi Ballet!”

 Ogden-Nederlander foresee a kind of Hollywood Bowl South. Opponents see motorcycle gangs.

 Is it time for Bing’s dark-eyed little senorita to shuck the lace-mantilla past and join the world of commerce and contracts? Will it be like his other little crony lawn party, the golf tournament, that now is an AT&T extravaganza?

 On the face of it, it looks like a match race between Man o’ War and a claimer. The private-sector option promises the massive and necessary construction at no cost to the taxpayers — and at no great damage to the neighborhood.

 “Who ever heard of Nureyev breaking up a neighborhood?” demands Neil Papiano, lawyer for the Ogden-Nederlander group. “Is the Boston Pops going to pollute the air? People don’t come on motorcycles to see La Boheme.”

 His position and the position of his clients (Nederlander is a resident of nearby Carlsbad himself) is that the facility needs the transfusion from the private sector to even survive.

 “Our plan is to upgrade the facility at no cost to the state, the taxpayer, the community. So far as we know, there are no other funds ready for this purpose. These are stands which were thrown together as a tribute to palship by Crosby and his buddies a half-century ago. The facilities are outmoded, even dangerous, but the present operators offer no proposal for restoration other than to trust the matter to the state. Our proposal requires no legislative approval, no expenditure of state funds, no gubernatorial signature.

 “The plain facts of the matter would seem to be that there are no funds available from the state for the project, that the reality is the new grandstand is going to be built by private funds or it is not going to be built at all. We see a symphonies-by-the-sea program as a valuable adjunct to the racing program and an essential support to the racetrack.”

 In short, a little night music would seem to be in prospect for Bing’s playhouse by the sea. It’s hard to believe Der Bingle could object to that — where the blue of the night meets the gold of the day.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116


What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website,


A dozen years ago, Linda McCoy-Murray compiled a book of Jim Murray’s columns on female athletes (1961-1998). While the book is idle waiting for an interested publisher, the JMMF thinks this is an appropriate year to get the book on the shelves, i.e., Jim Murray’s 100th birthday, 1919-2019.  

Our mission is to empower women of all ages to succeed and prosper — in and out of sports — while entertaining the reader with Jim Murray’s wit and hyperbole.  An excellent teaching tool for Women’s Studies.

Proceeds from book sales will benefit the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing sports journalism scholarships at universities across the country.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night as we continue to recover from an epic Wimbledon men’s final . . .


Here’s one from Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe: “Texas Rangers pitcher Jesse Chavez was frustrated with the strike zone on Friday night, so removed his glasses and offered them to plate umpire Rob Drake as he walked off the mound. Drake didn’t throw him out. Apparently, he didn’t see Chavez’s offer.”

Headline at The Beaverton: Children agree not to get abducted after 8 PM so Amber Alert doesn’t wake anyone up.


“A Lithuanian couple won the 28th annual World Wife Carrying Championship in Sonkajarvi, Finland, on July 8,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Just think of it as the flip side of U.S. soccer, where the women carry the men.”

Taking Note has heard that Jesse Wallin, who has spent the past six seasons scouting for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, is moving over to the Detroit Red Wings as their director of amateur scouting. He would replace Tyler Wright, who left Detroit last week and now fills that position with the Edmonton Oilers.

Here’s Patti Dawn Swansson, aka The River City Renegade: “Still mourning the adios of Kawhi Leonard from the Tranna Jurassics to the L.A. Clippers? No need for long faces according to team mucky-muck Masai Ujiri. ‘Don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep,’ he says. I hope Steve Simmons of Postmedia Tranna got the memo. He’s been typing from the fetal position ever since news of Kawhi’s departure dropped.” . . . Swansson’s piece, in its entirety, is right here.



Every play-by-play caller and analyst should be forced to watch at least the last hour of ESPN’s coverage of Sunday’s men’s final at Wimbledon. In doing so, they would learn that silence is golden, that there is no need for constant nattering when the TV audience can see all that is occurring. . . . Watching Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic scrap on Sunday was pure gold, especially with the telecast crew not feeling an urge to talk all the time.


Of course, later in the day, one could tune into ESPN’s coverage of the MLB game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and host Boston Red Sox, and you could listen as another game was drowned by the flood of words from a three-person team in the broadcast booth.

ICYMI, a recent fire at a Jim Beam warehouse resulted in the deaths of thousands of fish in the Kentucky River. As Jim Barach of noted: “Not only did it kill them, they were all sloshed to the gills.”

Dorothy, my wife of more than 47 years, is preparing to take part in her sixth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk; she also is one of the Walk’s organizers and a co-founder of the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. Oh, and she also helps organize a Christmas luncheon for dialysis patients, transplant recipients and kidney donors. . . . If you’re new here, she had a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, and she wants to give something back. . . . If you would like to help out, you are able to make a donation and become part of her team right here.

“Addictions to electronic cigarettes are derailing the dreams of promising young athletes, leaving them struggling to breathe, keep up with their teammates and find motivation to practice,” writes Erika Edwards of NBC News. . . . Later, she adds: “The popularity of e-cigarettes among teenagers has skyrocketed in recent years. In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 78 percent increase in high school students vaping from 2017 to 2018. Youth e-cigarette use has been called an epidemic by major public health officials, including the U.S. surgeon general. And it’s increasingly evident that vaping is affecting young athletes and youth athletic programs nationwide.” . . . This is scary stuff, and the entire piece is right here.

You no doubt are aware that Anthony Davis, formerly of the New Orleans Pelicans, has joined LeBron James as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. But did you know that James was going to give his No. 23 to Davis, who had worn that number in New Orleans? That, however, isn’t going to happen. Davis and James would have had to cut a deal of some kind with Nike, but that wasn’t able to get done because of the amount of James No. 23 merchandise already produced and ready to hit shelves in 2019-20.



Ritchie moves into GM’s office. . . . Wright, Henderson go to Edmonton. . . . MacGregor no longer with Dallas


F Colton Kroeker (Regina, Lethbridge, Kootenay, 2014-18) has signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 28 games with Mount Royal U (USports, Canada West), he had six goals and 16 assists. . . .

F Ben Maxwell (Kootenay, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with Langnau (Switzerland, National League). Last season, with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 59 games.


Darren Ritchie is the new general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings, a team for BrandonWKregularwhich he has played, coached and scouted. Ritchie, from Winnipeg, played four full seasons (1991-95) for the Wheat Kings, putting up 152 goals and 126 assists in 232 regular-season games. . . . He spent 10 seasons (2006-16) as an assistant coach, and has been the team’s director of scouting for the past three seasons. . . . Ritchie, 45, takes over from Grant Armstrong, whose contract wasn’t renewed after he spent three seasons as GM. Armstrong now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . Ritchie now will be working to sign a new head coach — David Anning’s contract wasn’t renewed after last season — and a director of scouting. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.

Chad Harden’s 2019 Calgary Stampede is over and he could be looking at a lifetime ban. That was the verdict Friday after Harden was involved in an incident during Heat 7 of Thursday’s Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races in which one horse was killed and three others suffered minor injuries. . . . Harden was disqualified from the final three days of the 2019 Stampede and fined $10,000 for his role in what happened. He also must pay $10,000 to Evan Salmond, the driver whose horse was killed. . . . Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, won’t be invited to compete in future Stampedes, but he is able to appeal by Sept. 1. . . . Harden went into Thursday night in third place in the aggregate standings and with a real chance to be competing for the big money on Sunday. But he was hit with 30 seconds in penalties after the heat and fell to 33rd. Later, of course, he was disqualified. . . . Sammy Hudes and Alanna Smith of the Calgary Herald have more right here.

At the same time, other chuckwagon drivers are of the opinion that, considering Harden’s record, there was some over-reaction here and that the punishment was too harsh. Hudes has that story right here.

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The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers have hired Tyler Wright as their director of amateur scouting and Archie Henderson as director of pro scouting. Both had been working for the Detroit Red Wings. Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new general manager, joined Edmonton from the Red Wings. . . . Wright played four seasons (1989-93) with the Swift Current Broncos. He had been Detroit’s director of amateur scouting for six seasons. . . . Henderson played three seasons in the WHL (Lethbridge Broncos, Victoria Cougars, 1974-77). . . .

According to a Facebook post by former NL radio sports director Rick (The Bear) Wile in Kamloops, former Blazers’ general manager Stu MacGregor “has parted ways” with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . MacGregor signed on as the Blazers’ GM on Oct. 13, 2015. He lasted until May 20, 2018, when he was reassigned to the Stars’ scouting staff. Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi is the Blazers’ majority owner. . . . MacGregor and ex-Blazers head coach Don Hay are spending this weekend at the Kamloops Coaches Conference.


Happy retirement to Ferguson and Marshall. . . . Nickolet leaves Blades for NHL. . . . Leason gets pro deal. . . . Chiefs sign Czech goaltender


F Alexander Delnov (Seattle, 2012-14) has signed a tryout contract with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL). Last season, with Molot-Prikamie Perm (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had 14 goals and 12 assists in 52 games. He led the team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Andrei Pavlenko (Edmonton, 2017-19) has signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 58 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL), he had nine goals and 17 assists.


The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes have lost two veterans of their scouting staff to retirement, both of them with ties to the WHL. . . . Sheldon Ferguson, who had been Carolina’s head North American scout, and Bert Marshall, a long-time amateur scout, both have headed off into retirement. . . .

Going back to 1977-78, Ferguson owned the WHL’s Billing Bighorns (actually, it was the WCHL then) and the AJHL’s Red Deer Rustlers. He spent part of 1978-79 as the head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, before scouting with the NHL’s Quebec Nordiques for six seasons. From 1985-88, he was the Seattle Thunderbirds’ GM and head coach. He also worked for two seasons as the Swift Current Broncos’ assistant GM. For 18 of the past 20 seasons, Ferguson has been on Carolina’s scouting staff. . . .

Marshall has been an NHL scout since 1983-84. He spent 13 seasons with the New York Islanders and one with the Hartford Whalers. He has been with the Hurricanes since 1997-98. As a player, he came off two seasons (1962-64) with the Edmonton Oil Kings to play 868 regular-season and 72 playoff games, split between the Detroit Red Wings, California/Oakland Seals, New York Rangers, and the Islanders. . . . Think about this for a minute: Marshall has been a part of the NHL for 54 years — since 1965-66 when he played 61 games with the Red Wings. . . . A defenceman in his playing days, Marshall scouted the way he played — quietly efficient. . . .

At the same time, the Hurricanes have added Cody Nickolet and Eric Fink to their scouting staff. . . . Nickolet has been a scout with the Saskatoon Blades, and also was their director of analytics for four seasons. . . . Fink spent the past six seasons scouting for the Portland Winterhawks.

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F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Leason was selected in the second round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . He is eligible to return to the Raiders for his 20-year-old season but, if he doesn’t crack the Capitals’ roster, is more likely to open with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. . . . From Calgary, he opened last season with a 30-game point streak, putting up 28 goals and 36 assists. He finished the regular season with 36 goals and 53 assists in 55 games. Leason added 10 goals and 15 assists in 22 playoff games in helping the Raiders to the WHL championship. . . . Leason may have been the best individual story of the 2018-19 regular season, considering that he went in with 24 goals and 27 assists in 135 games. He played his first 81 games with the Tri-City Americans before being dealt to the Raiders early in 2017-18.

The Spokane Chiefs have signed Czech G Lukas Parik to a WHL contract. Parik, 18, was selected by the Chiefs in the CHL’s 2019 import draft. . . . The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Parik was a third-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . The Chiefs haven’t posted their pre-season roster on the WHL website, but barring any unreported moves they have four goaltenders on their depth chart. Parik joins veterans Bailey Brkin and Reece Klassen, both 20, and Campbell Arnold, 17, who was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.

Whoops! Chad Harden was hit with 30 seconds in penalties on Day 7 of the Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede. Harden finished second in the heat, but the penalties dropped him to fourth. . . . By night’s end, Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen when he’s not racing chuckwagons, had fallen from third to 33rd in the aggregate standings. . . . Harden was penalized, fined $10,000 and given a two-performance suspension after it was ruled that he cut off Evan Salmond, whose chuckwagon went into the inside rail. . . . Harden has won $22,300.


Viveiros introduced as Chiefs’ head coach. . . . Raiders’ Protas gets NHL deal. . . . Shepard picks Giants over Harvard


F Max Gerlach (Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, 2015-19) has signed a one-year contract with Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, National League). Last season, in 68 games with the Saskatoon Blades (WHL), he had 42 goals and 34 assists. An alternate captain, he led the team in goals and was second in points. . . . According to a news release from Ambrì-Piotta, Gerlach will be loaned to the Ticino Rockets Biasca (Switzerland, Swiss League) for the season. . . .

F Ty Rattie (Portland, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had four goals and seven assists in 50 games with the Edmonton Oilers (NHL). . . .

F Igor Martynov (Victoria, 2017-19) has signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, with the Victoria Royals (WHL), he had 11 goals and 31 assists in 61 games. . . . He was Dinamo Minsk’s third-round pick (73rd overall) in the 2016 KHL draft. . . .

G Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weißwasser (Germany, DEL2). Last season, in 49 games with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he was 3.30 and .900, with two assists.


The Spokane Chiefs introduced Manny Viveiros, their new head coach, to their fans on Wednesday afternoon. . . . Viveiros takes over from Dan Lambert, who left after two seasons to join the coaching staff of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Lambert was in attendance at Wednesday’s news conference. . . . Dan Thompson was there for the Spokane Spokesman-Review and wrote this piece right here.

F Aliaksei Protas of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the third-round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . From Belarus, Protas had 11 goals and 29 assists in 61 games with the Raiders last season, then added 12 goals and 10 assists in 23 playoff games.

The Vancouver Giants made it official on Wednesday — they have signed F Cole Shepard of West Vancouver to a WHL contract. . . . A second-round pick by the Giants in the 2017 bantam draft, Shepard, 17, had made a verbal commitment to Harvard. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and 17 assists in 53 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . Shepard will get to play with his brother Jackson, 19, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on May 24. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia was at the news conference and filed this story right here.

Here is a reminder of what a junior hockey player might have to deal with while away from home, living with a billet family, and trying to focus on a sport in which he hopes to someday have a professional career.

Jermaine Loewen played out his junior eligibility with the Kamloops Blazers last season. He was the team captain for what was his fifth season in Kamloops.

Meanwhile, back home in Arborg, Man., Tara and Stan Loewen, who adopted Loewen out of a Jamaican orphanage, along with Jermaine’s sister, Makeda, and brother, Nathaneal, were dealing with some else entirely.

As you can see from the above tweet, Tara was diagnosed with breast cancer during the hockey season, and just recently had her last radiation treatment.

We can only imagine how heavy this weighed on Jermaine during the Blazers’ season, but it’s definitely worth thinking about while watching junior hockey players grow up away from home.

Chad Harden’s team has him into third place in the aggregate standings after Day 6 of the Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede. Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen when he isn’t racing chuckwagons, won his heat on Wednesday and his time  moved him from seventh to third in the 36-team field. Harden, who won the Derby in 2009, has won $19,900 to this point. . . . The top eight drivers move on to Semifinal Saturday. The top four times from the two semifinal heats move into Sunday’s championship heat.

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D Jonathan Smart won’t be returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. Instead, he will attend UBC and play for the Thunderbirds. Smart, from Kelowna, started last season with the Kootenay Ice, but didn’t return to the team after Christmas. He finished up with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, putting up a goal and two assists in 13 games. In 216 career WHL games, split between the Kelowna Rockets, Regina Pats and Kootenay, he had 14 goals and 66 assists. . . .

As was anticipated, F Igor Martynov won’t be back for a third season with the Victoria Royals. Martynov, 20, is from Belarus and has signed with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, he had 11 goals and 31 assists with the Royals. . . . The  Royals now have two imports on their roster — sophomore Phillip Schultz, who is from Denmark, and Swiss F Keanu Derungs, who was selected in the CHL’s 2019 import draft.