Heavy snow. In Buffalo. On Dec. 29. Who’da thunk it?
The outdoor game drew 44,592 fans to New Era Field in Buffalo, a record for a World Junior Championship game. The previous record (20,380) was set in Ottawa at the tournament final between Canada and Sweden. . . . But does record attendance mean the game was a success? . . . I don’t think so, but it does mean that there will be more of these monsters.
Considering that this is the WORLD Junior Championship, the game was an embarrassment and shot holes through the event’s integrity. It wasn’t fair to the players; it absolutely wasn’t fair. Some of the highest-skilled junior hockey players in the world were reduced to playing chip-and-chase and that’s too bad. Here’s hoping that if they meet again in Buffalo, the tournament organizers don’t get greedy and move that game outside, too.
Dennis Beyak, the radio voice of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, has been calling the play on some of the ‘lesser’ WJC games in Buffalo. It’s long past time that TSN gave him some serious national attention.
You are a real hockey fan if you know which WHL team once employed Beyak as its general manager.
If you are up for some major junior hockey, with two teams playing indoors, the Moose Jaw Warriors and the host Brandon Wheat Kings will be on Sportsnet this afternoon. Game time in Brandon is 2:30 p.m., which is 12:30 p.m. in Kamloops. . . . The Warriors (28-6-3) are atop the WHL’s overall standings; the Wheat Kings (25-9-1) are third, eight points back. Moose Jaw is 8-1-1 in its past 10 games; Brandon is 8-2-0.
Here for your reading pleasure is a Mike Royko column from Aug. 15, 1985. Royko, a legendary columnist with the Chicago Tribune, had written a column in which he skewered Frank Sinatra. The response? Sinatra wrote a letter to Royko, who responded with this piece right here. Enjoy!
F Richard Rapáč (Moose Jaw, Prince George, 2006-07) has been assigned on loan by Poprad to Liptovský Mikuláš (both Slovakia, Extraliga) for the rest of the season. He had one goal and one assist in 11 games with Poprad.
Royals lose sniper to wrist injury
The Victoria Royals will be without F Noah Gregor for up to five weeks after he suffered a broken wrist in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night.
Gregor, who was acquired earlier in the month from the Moose Jaw Warriors, didn’t play in the host Royals’ 7-1 victory over the Cougars on Thursday night.
The Royals got Gregor, 19, and an eighth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft for F Ryan Peckford and a fourth-round pick in 2018.
This season, Gregor has two goals and an assist in four games with the Royals, after putting up 14 goals and 22 assists in 30 games with the Warriors.
The Royals did get F Dante Hannoun back on Wednesday after he was out since Dec. 2 with mononucleosis. He had two assists in each of the two games with Prince George. Hannoun has 13 goals and 28 assists in 33 games.
The Royals already were without F Regan Nagy, 20, who had 18 goals and six assists in 26 games when he suffered a broken finger. He has missed 10 games since last playing on Nov. 28. He also missed the two games prior to Nov. 28. Nagy isn’t likely to return for another couple of weeks.
It appears that Nagy won’t be back before the passing of the Jan. 10 deadline. The Royals have three other 20-year-olds on their roster — D Chaz Reddekopp, F Tyler Soy and D Kade Jensen, who was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Dec. 1 for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.
It will be interesting to see what Victoria general manager Cam Hope does with his 20s between now and Nagy’s return.
Of course, with the departure of F Wyatt Sloboshan, the Regina Pats do have an opening for a 20-year-old, and Nagy is from Ogema, Sask. Ogema is located about 115 km south of Regina.
The Kootenay Ice has brought in F Jakin Smallwood, who turns 17 on Monday, from the midget AAA Leduc, Alta., Oil Kings. From Leduc, he has 11 goals and 15 assists in 23 games with the Oil Kings. . . . A fifth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2016 bantam draft, the Ice acquired him from the Warriors on Dec. 11, along with a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 draft for F Vince Loschiavo, 19.
A tip of the cap to the legendary Fred Sasakamoose, who has been named a Member of the Order of Canada. A native of the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Sask., he lives in the nearby community of Sandy Lake. He was the first Indigenous player in the NHL when he got into 11 games with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1953-54. . . . Sasakamoose told CBC: “It’s unbelievable. I thought getting to the NHL was to make it to the highest level of my life. But to reach the age of 84, and you receive the honours of Canada. That is one of the top awards that I will receive and remember for the rest of my life.” . . . These days, he works with young people who are fighting addictions. . . . Sasakamoose was saluted prior to last night’s game between the Blackhawks and the Oilers in Edmonton. . . . If you ever have an opportunity to hear Sasakamoose tell his story, don’t miss it.
At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes broke a 3-3 tie with two third-period goals en route to a 5-4 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes (16-17-2) are third in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat and four in arrears of Kootenay. . . . The Tigers (19-15-2) had won their previous two games, including a 4-2 victory over the visiting Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on goals from D Igor Merezhko (3), at 14:35 of the first period, and F Dylan Cozens (11), on a PP, at 1:21 of the second. . . . F Jaeger White (5) halved the lead at 4:33. . . . F Giorgio Estephan (16) restored Lethbridge’s two-goal lead at 6:23. . . . The Tigers pulled even on goals from D David Quenneville (15), at 10:45 of the second period and F Ryan Chyzowski (12), on a PP, at 4:56 of the third. . . . The Hurricanes went back out front at 9:37 as F Jordy Bellerive (19) came out of the penalty box to score. . . . F Zane Franklin (11) provided some insurance at 12:49 and it turned into the game-winner when Tigers F Mark Rassell (29) found the range at 15:45. . . . D Calen Addison had two assists for Lethbridge, with Estephan, Bellerive and Franklin getting one each. . . . Quenneville and F James Hamblin each recorded two assists for the Tigers and Rassell had one. . . . Lethbridge was 1-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Reece Klassen earned the victory with 37 saves. . . . The Hurricanes scratched G Stuart Skinner (ill) for a second straight game since the Christmas break. . . . With Skinner out, Bryan Thomson backed up after being brought in from the midget AAA Notre Dame Argos of Wlcox, Sask. . . . The Tigers got 28 stops from G Jordan Hollett. . . . Medicine Hat GM/head coach Shaun Clouston remains tied with Willie Desjardins for the most career regular-season victories (323) in franchise history. . . . Announced attendance: 4,313.
At Kamloops, F Kole Lind scored all of the game’s goals, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-0 victory over the Blazers. . . . The Rockets (22-11-3) have won four in a row and now lead the Western Conference by one point over Everett. . . . The Blazers (16-18-2) have lost three straight (0-2-1) and have been shut out twice in a row at home. The Kootenay Ice posted a 4-0 victory on Dec. 3. . . . Kamloops is three points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . These teams also met Wednesday in Kelowna, with the Rockets winning 2-1 in a shootout. . . . In four games since being deemed not good enough to play for Canada’s national junior team, Lind has put up seven goals and four assists. He has two hat tricks and one four-assist game in that stretch. . . . In four games against Kamloops this season, Lind has seven goals and five assists. . . . The Rockets lead the season series, 4-0-0; the Blazers are 0-3-1. . . . Lind, who now has 20 goals, opened the scoring, on a PP, at 12:34 of the first period. . . . Lind made it 2-0, on another PP, at 11:26 of the second period, and he made it 3-0 2:07 later. . . . F Nolan Foote drew assists on each of the first two goals. . . . Kelowna was 2-8 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 28 shots for Kelowna as he recorded his second shutout of his freshman season. He has shutouts in two his last three starts. . . . With Brodan Salmond injured, Porter Jr. has taken over as the Rockets’ starter. This season, he is 14-5-2, 3.22, .904. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for the Blazers. . . . Announced attendance: 4,310.
At Kennewick, Wash., F Skyler McKenzie’s goal at 2:45 of OT gave the Portland Winterhawks a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Portland (22-12-1) had lost its previous three games, including a 6-3 setback at the hands of the visiting Americans on Wednesday. The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett. Portland holds three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (19-10-4) had won its previous four games. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . After two scoreless periods, F Parker AuCoin (7) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 1:36 of the third. . . . Portland F Ty Kolle (4) tied it at 8:24. . . . The Americans went ahead again as F Jordan Topping (17) scored, on a PP, at 13:58. . . . The Winterhawks forced OT with G Shane Farkas on the bench as F Mason Mannek (5) counted at 19:00. . . . McKenzie won it with his team-leading 24th goal. . . . F Alex Overhardt had two assists for Portland. . . . Tri-City was 1-2 on the PP; Portland was 0-5. . . . The Winterhawks got 39 saves from Farkas. That included stopping F Morgan Geekie on a penalty shot at 19:37 of the second period. . . . G Patrick Dea stopped 36 shots for the Americans. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Cody Glass, who leads them in assists (32) and points (54), in the dying seconds of the second period. He left after appearing to take a slash to his right leg from Tri-City D Dylan Coghlan. After the game, Glass had a brace on his right knee and he was to return to Portland, while the team went on to Kent, Wash., for a game tonight against Seattle. . . . D John Ludvig of the Winterhawks left for repairs after being struck by a puck while on the bench during the second period. . . . D Keoni Texeira was among Portland’s scratches. . . . With Texeira down, D Nick Cicek was in the lineup for his second WHL game. He had been returned to the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues. . . . Tri-City was without F Michael Rasmussen, who is sidelined with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 4,240.
At Kent, Wash., D Turner Ottenbreit broke a 4-4 tie at 11:49 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . The Thunderbirds (16-14-5) have points in four straight games (3-0-1). They are fifth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane, but hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Chiefs (19-14-3) had beaten the visiting Thunderbirds, 5-4 in OT, on Wednesday. . . . Last night, Seattle took a 1-0 lead when F Nolan Volcan (15) scored at 11:21 of the first period, giving him nine points over four games. . . . The teams combined for five second-period goals, four of them by the Chiefs. . . . F Riley Woods pulled Spokane even, at 2:08. . . . The game remained tied until there were four goals in a span of 1:51 late in the period. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (18) put the Chiefs out front at 17:34. . . . F Noah Philp (8) got Seattle back into a tie at 18:01. . . . Spokane then took a two-goal lead as Woods (16) scored, at 18:23, and F Eli Zummack (9) counted at 19:25. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it on third-period goals from F Nikita Malukhin (3), at 1:41, and F Zack Andrusiak (18), at 9:54. . . . Ottenbreit won it with his fifth goal this season. It was the second game-winner of his 248-game career. . . . F Donovan Neuls and F Dillon Hamaliuk each had two assists for the winners, with Philp getting one. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from Anderson-Dolan and one from Woods. . . . The teams combined for 70 penalty minutes, but there were only three PP opportunities. Seattle was 0-2; Spokane was 0-1. . . . G Matt Berlin record the victory with 29 saves, eight more than Spokane’s Donovan Buskey. . . . Announced attendance: 4,441.
At Everett, the Vancouver Giants, beaten 11-0 by visiting Everett two nights earlier, bounced back to beat the Silvertips, 2-1. . . . The Giants (19-14-4) now have won more games than they have lost. They are third in the B.C. Division, three points back of Victoria. . . . The Silvertips (22-14-2) had won their previous three games and 11 of 12. They had set a single-game franchise record for goals scored in Wednesday’s victory. . . . Everett is second in the Western Conference, one point behind Kelowna and one ahead of Portland and Victoria. . . . Last night, F Matt Fonteyne (18) provided Everett with a 1-0 lead 51 seconds into the second period. . . . F Dawson Holt (4) tied it at 6:43 and F Tyler Benson (14) scored what proved to be the winner at 13:19. . . . Vancouver was 0-3 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck continued his fine play with 34 saves for Vancouver. . . . Everett got 23 stops from G Dustin Wolf. . . . Announced attendance: 5,525.
SATURDAY (all times local):
Regina at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Saskatoon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.
Lethbridge at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Prince George at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Kamloops at Everett, 7:05 p.m.
Victoria at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
Portland vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 6:05 p.m.
Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Tweet of the day
If you enter your email address over there on the right you will be notified each time I post something new on this site.
I haven’t yet been able to get a DONATE button posted here. But if you care to help the cause, please visit the old site (takingnote.ca), click on the DONATE button and do it there. Thank you.