Come on, folks. Lighten up. Anyone piling on Christian Wohlwend, the Swiss junior team’s head coach, for his comments on Sunday needs to stop drinking so much coffee. He’s a funny man, and his team had zero chance of beating Canada. You can bet his players knew it, too, so how be we cut him some slack.
Canada dumped Switzerland, 8-2, on Tuesday, as Wohlwend had pretty much predicted. Did I watch? No, because I took Wohlwend at his word.
However, I did watch Sweden and Slovakia, with Dennis Beyak and Craig Button doing their usual excellent job. Earlier in the day, Beyak and Button called a thriller between Finland and Czech Republic. Later, I went in and out of the game between Russia and the U.S. The host team playing the Russians and the arena was devoid of people and atmosphere.
Let’s be honest. We all want to see Canada and the U.S. on a real ice surface in Friday’s championship final. We’ll watch then, unless the poohbahs take the game and move it outside.
Willie Desjardins, the head coach of Canada’s Olympic team, is in Buffalo now, having conquered Europe — they won the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland, last week. Also there are assorted other Team Canada officials, including GM Sean Burke, as they continue to look for those who would be Canadian Olympians.
This morning at 11 o’clock, Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops is expected to introduce Curtis Atkinson as its new athletic director. He will take over from Ken Olynyk, who is retiring after 14 years in charge. Atkinson, who has been working for Canada West, is a former interim AD at the U of Regina. Former WHLer Peter Soberlak, who is on staff at TRU, was the other candidate who received serious consideration.
BTW, America, can’t you do something about President Tweet? If you aren’t aware, he has become something of an embarrassment.
After President Tweet’s big button shot at North Korea on Tuesday, how comfortable are you if you’re preparing to head for South Korea and the Olympic Winter Games? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
A reader sends this note . . .
Before their loss in Kamloops on Monday, the Victoria Royals were listed as 1-0-0-1 in the ‘Streak’ column in the standings on the WHL website. That was for a win on Thursday against Prince George and a shootout loss Saturday in Kelowna. After Monday’s regulation loss to the Blazers, the Royals’ streak now is listed as 0-1-0-1. So I guess that a shootout loss can be part of both a winning streak and a losing streak.
F Rodrigo Ābols (Portland, 2015-17) has been assigned on loan by Örebro (Sweden, SHL) to Karlskoga (Sweden, Allsvenskan). The length of the loan wasn’t specified. He had one assist in 26 games, while averaging 7:34 time on ice per game with Örebro this season.
A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
There have been a number of trades in the OHL over the past few days, but only one of them included a five-year-old who, as Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator points out, “is somewhere in Ontario currently enjoying his Christmas break from the grinding rigours of kindergarten.” . . . Yes, a deal made Monday between the Windsor Spitfires and Kingston Frontenacs included a selection in the OHL’s 2028 draft. No one trades picks like OHL teams, and this deal was no different. Windsor traded away two veterans for a 16-year-old centre and draft picks from 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025, 2027 and, yes, 2028. . . . Radley has more right here and it’s an entertaining read.
The Seattle Thunderbirds are down to three 20-year-olds with the news that F Tyler Adams has joined the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. . . . A native of Regina, Adams got into only one game with Seattle this season, thanks to an undisclosed injury. He was acquired last season from the Swift Current Broncos, and had three goals and five assists in 41 games with the WHL-champion Thunderbirds. . . . His departure leaves Seattle with F Donovan Neuls, D Turner Ottenbreit and D Austin Strand as its 20-year-olds.
The Calgary Hitmen have added F Bryce Bader, 16, to their roster. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he was a second-round selection by the Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . This season, he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 25 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . He got into one game with the Hitmen last season, but was pointless.
WHEELING AND DEALING . . .
NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 18
BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 20
CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 4
THE DEAL: The Victoria Royals have acquired the WHL rights to F Hunter Strand, 15, a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, and sixth-and 10th-round picks in 2018 from the Prince Albert Raiders for F Regan Nagy, 20.
THE INFO: Strand was selected by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t yet committed to the WHL. In fact, on Nov. 30, he made a verbal commitment to attend Notre Dame and play for the Fighting Irish, starting with the 2021-22 season. Of course, verbal commitments are non-binding, so the Royals have plenty of time to deliver their pitch. . . . Strand, who is in Grade 9, has a late birthday; he turned 15 on Nov. 13. . . . Nagy had been a part of the Victoria organization since being a second-round selection in the 2012 bantam draft.
THE NUMBERS: The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Strand, who is from Anchorage, is playing for the U-16 Alaska Oilers, a midget AAA team in the Alaska State Hockey Association. In his first 21 games this season, through Nov. 5, he had 26 goals and 16 assists in 21 games. The Oilers’ website doesn’t include stats past that date. . . . The Royals got a good look at Strand in December 2016, when he put up 10 goals and eight assists in five games at the Rick LaPointe Memorial bantam tournament in Victoria. . . . Nagy, who is from Ogema, Sask., has 18 goals and six assists in 26 games this season. He hasn’t played since Nov. 28 due to a finger injury. Last season, the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Nagy had 18 goals and 23 assist in 69 games. In 253 career games, he has 50 goals and 47 assists.
WHY: The Royals are hoping they can convince a young player with high-end offensive skills to sign with them. They also added three bantam draft selections and those always are useful. . . . Moving Nagy also gets the Royals back to three 20-year-olds — D Kade Jensen, D Chaz Reddekopp and F Tyler Soy. . . . With the trade deadline arriving on Jan. 10, the Raiders, despite being seven points out of a playoff spot, appear to have signalled that they aren’t in a selling mode. Acquiring Nagy gives them four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum, meaning they will have to move one over the next week. The others, all forwards, are Curtis Miske, Devon Skoleski and Jordy Stallard.
At Lethbridge, G Stuart Skinner, who had been in sick bay, stopped 20 shots to help the Hurricanes to a 7-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Hurricanes (17-17-3) have points in three straight games (2-0-1). . . . The Ice (18-18-3) have points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). . . . Kootenay is 0-1-1 to being a stretch of five games in six nights. The Ice will be in Swift Current tonight. . . . Lethbridge is third in the Central Division, two points behind Kootenay, which is five points back of Medicine Hat. . . . Skinner was back in goal after not having played since Dec. 16. He became ill after the Christmas break. He posted his fourth shutout this season and the 10th of his career. He now holds the franchise’s career record with one more than Logan Koopmans (1999-2004). . . . It may have been key that the Hurricanes scored in the last minute of each of the first two periods. . . . F Jordy Bellerive opened the scoring, on a PP, with five seconds left in the first period. . . . F Giorgio Estephan, who also had three assists, scored his 17th goal, on a PP, at 8:43 of the second period. . . . F Jadon Joseph (4) made it 3-0 at 19:08. . . . The home side put it away with four third-period goals, from Bellerive (22), at 3:43; F Taylor Ross (10), at 4:36; F Zachary Cox (1), at 5:42; and F Lane Zablocki (11), at 10:50. . . . Lethbridge got two assists from each of D Calen Addison, F Dylan Cozens and D Igor Merezhko, with Zablocki and Joseph adding one each. . . . Lethbridge was 2-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 0-4. . . . G Duncan McGovern stopped 34 shots for the Ice, which was outshot 34-13 over the final two periods. . . . D Nolan Jones, 16, a second-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, was in Lethbridge’s lineup, as was D Alex Cotton, 16, who was a fifth-round pick in that draft. Jones, who was pointless in three games last season, is from Moose Jaw and has four goals and 11 assists in 28 games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. Cotton, who made his WHL debut, is from Langley, B.C. He has four goals and 32 assists in 24 games with the CSSHL’s Yale Hockey Academy prep team. . . . F Holden Kodak, 16, who is from Cloverdale, B.C., made his WHL debut with the Ice. An 11th-round selection by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft, he was placed on Kootenay’s protected list in October and signed on Dec. 19. Kodak has been playing with the Yale Hockey Academy’s prep team in the CSSHL. He has 60 points, 36 of them goals, in 26 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,973.
WEDNESDAY (all times local):
Brandon at Regina, 7 p.m.
Kootenay at Swift Current, 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat at Calgary, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Edmonton, 7 p.m.
Moose Jaw at Red Deer, 7 p.m.
Tri-City at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.
THURSDAY (all times local):
No Games Scheduled.
TWEET OF THE DAY
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