The Kootenay Ice announced on March 28, 2017, that the Chynoweth family had “entered into an agreement to sell the WHL team to Winnipeg entrepreneur Greg Fettes and hockey executive Matt Cockell.”
On April 27, the WHL announced that its board of governors had “voted unanimously” to approve the transfer of ownership.
At the time, the new owners stated the franchise would be staying in Cranbrook, B.C., its home since the Chynoweths relocated the Edmonton Ice in time for the 1998-99 season.
The registration was made, according to a search, by Greg Fettes, with the address given as Second Floor, 240 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg. That is the business address for 24-7 Intouch, the business of which Fettes is founder and CEO. According to its website, 24-7 “has been providing contact center and BPO solutions for over 18 years, and is consistently recognized as an award-winning global outsourcer.”
We may never find out whether registering winnipegice.com was part of a long-range plan to move the franchise or simply an insurance policy in case things didn’t work out in Cranbrook.
On Friday night, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that, according to its sources, the Ice will move to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 WHL season, and will play out of a 1,400-seat arena at the U of Manitoba while awaiting the completion of a 5,000-seat arena that would be built in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.
ICYMI, the Free Press story, written by Mike Sawatzky, is right here.
With Cockell entrenched in the Cranbrook community as president and general manager, the Ice has worked hard to connect with the area’s hockey fans while waiting for the team to become competitive on the ice. The Ice has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and is 3-4-3 early in this season.
Last season, according to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice’s announced average attendance for 36 regular-season home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17.
The Ice ran a Drive for 25 campaign during the off-season, hoping to sell 2,500 season tickets. On Aug. 20, the team revealed that it had sold 1,598, a decrease of 319 from the previous season.
This season, after six home games, the announced average attendance is 2,351. Four of the six crowds have been smaller than that. On Oct. 14, the most-recent home game, the announced attendance was 2,117 as the Ice dropped a 2-1 OT decision to the Prince George Cougars.
The Ice also has closed off three sections in one end of 4,264-seat Western Financial Place in an attempt to make things a bit cozier.
F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips drew a ‘TBD’ suspension on Saturday after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night. . . . Dewar, who has eight goals and seven assists in 10 games, scored Everett’s second goal in that game. . . . He won’t play today when the Silvertips play Game 2 of their East Division swing in Regina against the Pats.
F Eric Fawkes of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers has committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . Fawkes had one goal and three assists in his first 11 games with Winkler this season. Last season, he finished with 37 goals and 37 assists in 47 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. . . . From Winnipeg, Fawkes, 17, was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Kootenay Ice on Oct. 8. Kootenay dealt D Loeden Schaufler, 18, a ninth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and future considerations.
The BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans went 1-1-0 in a pair of exhibition games in Minnesota on the weekend. . . . The Spartans lost 7-1 to the Minnesota Gophers, the sixth-ranked team in the NCAA Div. 1, on Saturday night. That came one night after they beat Hamline U, a Div. III team, 2-1 in OT in St. Paul. . . . Last night, the Spartans and Gophers played through a scoreless first period. The hosts took a 3-0 lead into the third. . . . D Travis Verveda, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, scored a second-period PP goal for the Spartans. . . . TWU G Jacob Mills blocked 43 shots. The three Minnesota goaltenders combined for 20 saves. . . . On Friday night, F Brandon Potomak, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, scored at 2:38 of OT to give the Spartans the victory. . . . F Spencer Gerth, who played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals, had TWU’s other goal. Verveda drew two assists. . . . Mills made 26 saves.
SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:
F Mark Kastelic scored a PP goal just 45 seconds into OT to give the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Hitmen (4-6-2), who have won three straight, were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Brandon now is 6-2-2. . . . The Wheat Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals from F Baron Thompson (1), at 8:31, and F Chad Nychuk (1), at 12:03. . . . Kastelic won it with his second goal of the game, his 10th of the season.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last six goals, all of them in the third period, and beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 8-3. . . . The Tigers had opened the weekend set at home on Friday with a 4-3 victory in OT. . . . Lethbridge (5-4-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Tigers (6-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . F Ty Kolle, recently acquired from the Portland Winterhawks, had a goal, his third, and two assists for Lethbridge. . . . The winners were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 39 shots to earn the victory.
The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first five goals en route to an 8-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Prince Albert (12-1-0) has won five in a row and is atop the overall standings. . . . According to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, the Raiders, who have been in the WHL since 1982-83, have never won 12 of their first 13 games. . . . The Raiders also have scored eight goals in two straight games. . . . Spokane (6-3-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). It went 3-2-1 on its East Division trip. . . . The Raiders got a goal, his fifth, and two assists from F Sean Montgomery, who has goals in four straight games. . . . Prince Albert F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 13 games with an assist. . . . D Konrad Belcourt, playing in his first game since being brought back from the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, scored the Raiders’ second goal. He was pointless in three earlier games with the Raiders. Belcourt was brought back to help out with D Max Martin having started a three-game suspension last night. . . . Spokane F Bobby Russell took a headshot major and game misconduct as the game ended.
D Alex Alexeyev scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Rebels (7-3-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (3-4-3) has lost five straight (0-2-3). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first two goals, only to have the Ice tie it early in the second period with two PP goals. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (5) put the Rebels out front at 17:39 of the third period, but F Jaeger White (6) pulled Kootenay even at 18:15 with his second goal of the game. . . . Alexeyev’s fourth goal won it at 1:15 of extra time. . . . Zaytsev, a freshman from Moscow, had an interesting night, with a goal and two assists. He drew an assist on F Brandon Hagel’s shorthanded goal, scored an even-strength goal and had the lone assist on Alexeyev’s winner. . . . Zaytsev has five goals and six assists in 11 games.
F Tristin Langan broke a 2-2 tie at 12:39 of the third period as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (5) gave the Pats a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 17:43 of the second period. . . . F Ryan Peckford (2) pulled the Warriors even, on a PP, at 4:05 of the third. . . . Langan won it with his eighth goal of the season. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 45 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . The Warriors (5-3-2) got 31 stops from G Adam Evanoff. . . . The Pats fell to 3-8-0.
F Sasha Mutala’s goal at 1:46 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Americans improved to 6-4-0, with the Thunderbirds now 6-2-2. . . . On Friday, the Americans beat the Thunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 2-0 deficit on goals from F Andrej Kukuca (4) and F Matthew Wedman (3), the latter at 16:06 of the third period. . . . Mutala, who also had an assist, won it with his second goal of the season. . . . This was Game 1 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans.
D Brendan De Jong lifted his own rebound into the net to give the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 OT victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Winterhawks began the weekend doubleheader with a 5-3 victory over the Giants in Portland on Friday. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks (7-3-1) had a 33-19 edge in shots. . . . The Giants slipped to 9-3-1. . . . F Reece Newkirk (8) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 13:08 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Yannik Valenti (1), a German freshman, tied it at 7:11 of the second period. . . . De Jong won it with his third goal of the season, at 1:16 of OT. . . . Newkirk drew the only assist on the winner. . . . Shane Farkas, the only goaltender the Winterhawks have used this season, is 7-3-1, 2.72, .899. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw (ill) sat this one out. . . . The Giants lost F James Malm to an undisclosed injury in the second period. He leads the with nine goals, but likely won’t play against the visiting Kelowna Rockets today. It will be Vancouver’s third game in fewer than 48 hours.
The Kelowna Rockets broke a 1-1 tie with four unanswered goals as they beat the Royals, 5-1, in Victoria. . . . The Rockets (4-9-0) have won two in a row. They beat the host Royals, 8-2, on Friday night. . . . With the victory, Kelowna moved out of the Western Conference basement and now is one point ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (3-6-1), who have played three fewer games. . . . Victoria (8-3-0) now is 6-3-0 at home. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (3) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 15:57 of the first period, just 53 seconds after F Kaid Oliver had scored for Victoria. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, their 20-year-old workhorse, from a second straight game. . . . The Rockets scratched F Lane Zablocki one night after he made his Kelowna debut by playing in his first game this season. . . . The Rockets will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., this afternoon.