F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga). He has 19 goals and 42 assists in 33 games. He started the season with Gherdëina Selva Val Gardena (Italy, Alps HL), with nine goals and 10 assists in 15 games. He signed with Selb on Nov. 13. . . .
F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract extension with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 22 goals and 18 assists in 51 games.
A LITTLE OF THIS . . .
The WHL, it would seem, blundered into a landscape strewn with Lego pieces and garden rakes when it tried to get Oregon politicians to exempt the Portland Winterhawks from minimum-wage legislation. As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out, what followed was “a public relations disaster.”
“But so much of this story over the past year or so has not looked good for those who operate major junior hockey teams. The WHL and Winterhawks thought they would be able to breeze legislation through the way they had in Washington, Michigan and several provinces that would presumably buttress them against a class action lawsuit that is demanding minimum wage and back pay for junior hockey players. Until they got to Oregon, junior hockey had found lawmakers who were only too happy to carry their water and keep them in business. British Columbia exempted the WHL from its Employment Standards Act two years ago with little consultation and a fair bit of support from owners of WHL teams, three of whom donated to the ruling Liberal party in B.C. in recent years.”
Of course, this story is nowhere near its end and it’s all going to be worth watching.
Campbell’s latest on this situation is right here.
Luke Pierce, who spent the past two seasons (2015-17) as head coach of the Kootenay Ice, is in PyeongChang for the Paralympic Games as an assistant coach with Canada’s sledge hockey team. . . . Pierce was dismissed as the Ice’s head coach while the franchise was going through an ownership change. . . . Brad McLeod of the Cranbrook Townsman reports that Pierce “has served as an assistant coach with Hockey Canada for the men’s national (sledge) team since September.” . . . Ken Babey is the team’s head coach. Canada opens play at the Paralympics on Saturday against Sweden. . . . McLeod’s story is right here.
IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …
Prince Albert at Moose Jaw
Brandon at Medicine Hat
Regina at Swift Current
Red Deer at Lethbridge
Seattle at Everett
Tri-City at Kelowna
Spokane at Portland
Vancouver at Victoria
At Moose Jaw, F Jayden Halbgewachs scored three times and added two assists to lead the Warriors to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Moose Jaw (49-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the overall standings with 101 points, one more than Swift Current. . . . Lethbridge (32-28-6) has lost three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Halbgewachs now has a WHL-leading 64 goals. Not since 1998-99 has a player scored more than 64 goals in a season. Calgary F Pavel Brendl led the WHL with 73 goals that season. F Sergei Varlamov scored 66 times for Swift Current in 1997-98, and F Ronald Petrovicky of Regina scored 64 times in 1997-98. . . . D Brandon Schuldaus (8) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead 37 seconds into the game. . . . Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 4:07. . . . F Taylor Ross (21) scored for Lethbridge, on a PP, at 6:49, but F Justin Almeida (39) got that one back, while shorthanded, just 11 seconds later. . . . The Hurricanes got back to within a goal at 8:38 of the second period when F Dylan Cozens (22) scored while shorthanded. . . . Halbgewachs added another PP goal, at 9:56. . . . F Brett Howden (24) upped Moose Jaw’s lead to 5-2, on a PP, at 2:39 of the third period. . . . Halbgewachs completed his hat trick at 16:56. . . . The Warriors got two assists from each of F Tristin Langan and D Josh Brook, and one each from Almeida and Howden. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-6 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-4. . . . The Warriors got 27 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Logan Flodell stopped 33 shots for the Hurricanes. . . . The Warriors scratched F Brayden Burke, who is fourth in the WHL’s scoring race, with an undisclosed injury. . . . Announced attendance: 3,054.
At Prince Albert, the Raiders erased a 2-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (30-25-11) has won seven in a row. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (19-40-8) has lost three in a row. . . . The Oil Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from F David Kope (12) at 1:15 of the first period. . . . F Regan Nagy (24) pulled the Raiders even at 10:50. . . . F Colton Kehler (29) put the visitors back on top at 17:00. . . . F Curtis Miske (23) tied it for the Raiders at 1:22 of the second period. . . . The Raiders went ahead 14 seconds later as D Max Martin scored his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Parker Kelly (28) added insurance at 13:21 of the third period. . . . F Cole Fonstad had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Edmonton was 0-1 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 13 shots for the home side. . . . Edmonton G Josh Dechaine turned aside 26 shots. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky was among Edmonton’s scratches as he sat out a one-game WHL suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 1,991.
At Swift Current, F Aleksi Heponiemi scored once and added two assists to lead the Broncos to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Swift Current (47-14-6) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the overall standings, one point behind Moose Jaw. . . . Calgary (20-36-10) has points in its previous four games (1-0-3). . . . F Jakob Stukel gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead at 19:46 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Tyler Steenbergen (45), at 1:20, and F Glenn Gawdin (56), on a PP, at 17:41. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (15) got the Hitmen into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . Heponiemi won it with his 28th goal at 2:19 of the third period. . . . Gawdin added an assist to his goal. He leads the WHL with 124 points, six more than Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . Calgary was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-6. . . . The Broncos got 26 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . G Nick Schneider of the Hitmen stopped 35 shots as he made his 200th regular-season appearance — nine with Regina, 133 with Medicine Hat and 58 with Calgary. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.
At Prince George, F Skyler McKenzie scored three times and added an assist as the Portland Winterhawks dumped the Cougars, 7-1. . . . Portland (42-20-5) has points in eight straight games (7-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, four points behind Everett. . . . Prince George (23-36-8) has lost three in a row. . . . F Connor Bowie gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead at 2:32 of the first period with his first WHL goal. It came in his seventh game. He was selected by Portland in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired him in a deal in January. . . . D Henri Jokiharju (9) got Portland even at 8:30. . . . McKenzie scored the game’s next two goals, one on a PP and the other while shorthanded, at 10:33 and 13:36 of the second period. . . . McKenzie completed his hat trick with the game’s last goal, at 16:29 of the third period. He has 45 goals, three more than he scored last season. . . . F Lukus MacKenzie (2), F Lane Gilliss (7) and F Kieffer Bellows (39) also scored for Portland. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists, with Gilliss and Jokiharju getting one apiece. . . . Portland was 1-5 on the PP; Prince George was 0-1. . . . G Cole Kehler recorded the victory with 18 saves. . . . F Taylor Gauthier started for the home team and allowed six goals on 31 shots in 44:00. Isaiah DiLaura finished up by stopped 21 of 22 shots in 16:00. . . . On Tuesday, the Winterhawks beat the host Cougars, 4-3. . . . Announced attendance: 2,596.
At Kelowna, F Tyler Benson scored in OT to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Rockets. . . . Vancouver (34-23-9) is third in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. The Giants have two games in hand. . . . Kelowna (38-22-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It leads the B.C. Division, by three points over Victoria. . . . According to Steve Ewen of Post media, the Giants had lost 26 straight games in Kelowna going into this one. . . . F Erik Gardiner (7) put the Rockets in front at 2:19 of the first period. . . . Vancouver went in front on goals from F Owen Hardy (11), at 7:44, and F Ty Ronning (56), at 1:31 of the second period. . . . The Rockets took a 3-2 lead on two PP goals from F Carsen Twarynski, at 6:33 and 19:12. He’s got 42 goals. . . . D Alex Kannok Leipert (5) got Vancouver into a 3-3 tie at 16:22. . . . Benson won it with his 24th goal, at 3:56 of OT. . . . F Brayden Watts had two assists for Vancouver. . . . The Rockets got two assists from F Kole Lind. . . . Kelowna was 2-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-2. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 35 shots for the Giants. . . . G James Porter turned aside 32 shots for the Rockets. . . . Announced attendance: 4,723.
At Victoria, the Spokane Chiefs scored four third-period goals to defeat the Royals, 5-2. . . . Spokane (39-22-5) is third in the U.S. Division, six points behind Portland. . . . Victoria (37-25-6) had points its previous three games (2-0-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, three points behind Kelowna and three ahead of Vancouver. . . . One night earlier, the Royals beat the visiting Chiefs, 7-3. . . . F Luke Toporowski (10) gave Spokane a 1-0 lead at 7:58 of the first period. . . . Victoria F Tyler Soy tied it, on a PP, at 14:47. . . . The Chiefs took a 3-1 on third-period goals from F Kailer Yamamoto (21), on a PP, at 7:58, and F Eli Zummack, at 10:05. . . . Soy (35) got the Royals to within a goal, while shorthanded, at 16:02. . . . Zummack (14) and F Hudson Elynuik (29) added empty-netters. . . . Elynuik added two assists to his goal. D Ty Smith also had two assists for the Chiefs, with Toporowski and Zummack each getting one. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . The Royals got 26 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Announced attendance: 4,831.
THURSDAY (all times local):
No Games Scheduled.
FRIDAY (all times local):
Moose Jaw at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.
Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.
Calgary at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.
Regina vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.
Red Deer at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.
Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.
Prince George at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.