Happy New Year to everyone who stops by to visit this site. May you and yours have a tremendous 2018 full of good food, good friends and safe travels.
Happy New Year to all of those members of the Vegas Golden Knights’ front office and coaching staff with ties to the WHL. Enjoy your run as part of what is perhaps the biggest story in hockey today. . . . That would be folks like Kelly McCrimmon, Murray Craven, Vaughn Karpan, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio, Ryan McGill, Mike Kelly, Ryan Craig, Jim McKenzie, Erin Ginnell and Bruno Campese. . . . Gentlemen, I don’t know what you will do for an encore, but here’s to a 2018 that is better for you than 2017, if that’s possible. . . .
Happy New Year to Willie Desjardins, Dave King and the rest of Team Canada as the program continues preparations for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25. . . . Canada won the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, taking the championship game 3-0 over Switzerland on New Year’s Eve. . . . The Canadian roster included ex-WHL players like F Curtis Hamilton, F Zach Boychuk, D Jeff Schultz, D Victor Bartley and G Barry Brust, along with video coach Tyler Dietrich and therapist Jeff Thorburn. . . . Canada will open the Winter Games against Switzerland on Feb. 15. . . . Canada is likely to announce its Olympic roster on or about Jan. 11. . . .
Happy New Year to Derek Holloway and the many bus drivers throughout junior hockey. The highways in B.C. have been a mess for much of the past two weeks, and have been no treat across the Prairies, either. No one in any profession does a better job than these drivers, who do so much to keep the teams safe.
Happy New Year to the WHL’s on-ice officials. A lot of people forget that you often are driving the same highways and byways as the afore-mentioned bus drivers. Safe travels and be careful out there. Oh, and remember that despite what your ears sometimes tell you, the fans really do love you.
A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
F Matthew Phillips of the Victoria Royals signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames on Sunday. . . . The Royals’ captain, Phillips, 19, is from Calgary. He was selected by the Flames in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . This season, he has 28 goals and 31 assists in 39 games. . . . In 183 regular-season games, all with the Royals, the 5-foot-7, 155-pounder has 228 points, including 116 goals. That includes last season, when he finished with 50 goals and 40 assists in 70 games. . . . How did Phillips celebrate his good news? He and his teammates were in Kamloops, where they are to meet the Blazers in a New Year’s Day matinee.
Shaun Clouston, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, set a franchise record on Saturday night in a 4-3 OT victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels.
Clouston now has 324 regular-season coaching victories with the Tigers, one more than Willie Desjardins.
Here’s a look at the 22 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (includes games of Dec. 31):
1. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742
2. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 736
3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692
4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina) 626
5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 554
6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548
7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518
8. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466
Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466
10. Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465
11. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 456
12. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453
13. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 451
14. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 437
15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417
16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411
17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397
18. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349
19. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340
Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340
21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333
22. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326
NanaimoNewsNOW has been taking a look back at the top stories in that Vancouver Island city from 2016. The staff has decided that No. 3 on the list belongs to the referendum that was held on whether the city would be allowed to borrow $80 million for a waterfront events centre. That facility was to include an arena that would be home to a WHL franchise. . . . Voter turnout was 35.3 per cent and 80 per cent of those voted against the proposal. . . . According to this piece right here, “At the meeting following referendum day, several councillors offered apologies. Coun. Jerry Hong apologized for heated social media exchanges. Others said it was the Western Hockey League applying pressure (that) led to a rushed process.” . . . Whatever the reason, this has to have been one of the biggest stories involving the WHL in 2016, if only because it delivered a crushing blow to the league’s dream of having a second franchise on Vancouver Island.
For your reading enjoyment, right here is Dave Barry of the Miami Herald with a look at the year that was 2017, especially in the American political arena. America, I don’t know how you got here from there, but, well, who better than Barry to sum it all up. Prepare two cups of copy and enjoy!
At Moose Jaw, the Warriors scored three times on the PP, needing only 24 seconds to do it, en route to a 6-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Warriors (30-6-3) have points in five straight games (4-0-1). . . . The Wheat Kings (25-11-1) have lost three in a row. . . . The Warriors had beaten the host Wheat Kings, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon. . . . Moose Jaw is atop the overall standings, nine points ahead of Swift Current and 12 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs led the Warriors with two goals and three assists. He’s got a CHL-leading 40 goals in 39 games. F Aaron Luchuk of the Barrie Colts leads the OHL with 31 goals in 36 games, while F Alex Barre-Boulet of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada is tops in the QMJHL with 31 in 34. . . . F Brayden Burke of the Warriors had a goal and two assists, giving him a WHL-leading 77 points. . . . Burke went over 300 regular-season points during the game and now has 302 points, including 229 assists, in 214 games. . . . Halbgewachs, who has seven goals and seven assists in his past five games, gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 15:04 of the first period. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (28) pulled Brandon even at 17:56. . . . Halbgewachs put the Warriors back out front, on another PP, at 10:47 of the second period. . . . The home team went ahead 4-1 on goals from Burke (19), on a PP, at 13:39, and F Tristin Langan, shorthanded, at 1:59 of the third period. . . . F Evan Weinger (18) scored for Brandon at 5:07, but the Warriors put it away on goals from Langan (8), at 6:59, and F Tanner Jeannot (28), at 15:16. . . . F Justin Almeida had two assists for Moose Jaw, giving him six helpers in the two-game series. . . . Jeannot added an assist to his goal. . . . The Warriors were 3-6 on the PP; the Wheat Kings were 0-5. . . . Halbgewachs’ goals came 10 and six seconds into PP opportunities, and Burke’s goal took eight seconds. . . . The Warriors got 25 saves from G Brody Willms, while Brandon’s Logan Thompson stopped 38 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,021.
At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with three second-period goals, en route to a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . The Americans (20-10-5) have points in seven straight (5-0-2). They are tied for third in the U.S. Division, two points behind Portland with two games in hand. . . . The Chiefs (20-15-3) are two points behind the Americans. . . . The Chiefs had beaten the visiting Americans, 4-3 in OT, on Saturday night. . . . F Isaac Johnson’s ninth goal of the season, on a PP, broke a 3-3 tie at 12:44 of the second period. . . . F Riley Sawchuk had given the Americans a 1-0 lead at 12:07 of the first period. . . . The visitors moved out front 3-1 on goals from F Jake McGrew (6), at 13:09, F Eli Zummack (10), on a PP, at 13:55, and F Zach Fischer (17), at 19:03. . . . D Dylan Coghlan (12) got Tri-City to within one, on a PP, at 5:19 of the second period. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (11) tied the game at 9:30. . . . F Jordan Topping recorded three assists for the winners, with F Kyle Olson getting two. Coghlan and Johnson added one each. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Spokane was 1-4. . . . The Americans got 43 saves from G Patrick Dea. . . . Spokane starter Dawson Weatherill allowed four goals on 13 shots in 32:44. Donovan Buskey came on in relief to stop all 13 shots he faced in 24:40. . . . Announced attendance: 6,011.
At Portland, F Noah Philp scored the WHL’s final goal of 2017. It came in a shootout and gave the Seattle Thunderbirds a 4-3 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Seattle, the WHL’s reigning champion, improved to 18-14-5 and has points in six straight games (5-0-1). Seattle holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind Tri-City and Spokane. . . . The Winterhawks (22-12-3) have points in three straight (1-0-2) and are second in the U.S. Division, one point behind Everett with two games in hand. . . . On Saturday night, the host Thunderbirds beat the Winterhawks, 4-3 in OT. . . . In the season series, Seattle is 2-2-0; Portland is 2-0-2. . . . These two teams will meet each other eight more times this season. . . . Last night, F Skyler McKenzie (27) gave the home side a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:22 of the second period. . . . Seattle took a 2-1 lead on goals 37 seconds apart from D Reece Harsch (8), at 7:31, and F Nikita Malukhin (4), at 8:08. . . . F Reece Newkirk (2) got Portland into a 2-2 tie at 14:05. . . . F Matthew Wedman gave Seattle a 3-2 lead at 16:57 of the third period. . . . Portland F Ryan Hughes (5) forced OT at 19:02. . . . Philp, Seattle’s first shooter, won it with the only goal of the shootout. . . . D Turner Ottenbreit had two assists for Seattle. . . . Portland got two assists from F Cody Glass, who returned from a one-game absence due to a leg injury. . . . Seattle was 1-3 on the PP; Portland was 1-4. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes stopped 33 shots, six more than Portland’s Cole Kehler. . . . Announced attendance: 10,568.
MONDAY (all times local):
Swift Current at Saskatoon, 2 p.m.
Calgary at Edmonton, 2 p.m.
Victoria at Kamloops, 2 p.m.
Prince George vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 2 p.m.
Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4 p.m.
Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.
TWEET OF THE DAY
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