F Max Gerlach (Medicine Hat, Saskatoon, 2015-19) has signed a one-year contract with Ambrì-Piotta (Switzerland, National League). Last season, in 68 games with the Saskatoon Blades (WHL), he had 42 goals and 34 assists. An alternate captain, he led the team in goals and was second in points. . . . According to a news release from Ambrì-Piotta, Gerlach will be loaned to the Ticino Rockets Biasca (Switzerland, Swiss League) for the season. . . .
F Ty Rattie (Portland, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had four goals and seven assists in 50 games with the Edmonton Oilers (NHL). . . .
F Igor Martynov (Victoria, 2017-19) has signed a tryout contract with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, with the Victoria Royals (WHL), he had 11 goals and 31 assists in 61 games. . . . He was Dinamo Minsk’s third-round pick (73rd overall) in the 2016 KHL draft. . . .
G Mac Carruth (Portland, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weißwasser (Germany, DEL2). Last season, in 49 games with Fehérvár AV19 Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga), he was 3.30 and .900, with two assists.
The Spokane Chiefs introduced Manny Viveiros, their new head coach, to their fans on Wednesday afternoon. . . . Viveiros takes over from Dan Lambert, who left after two seasons to join the coaching staff of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. Lambert was in attendance at Wednesday’s news conference. . . . Dan Thompson was there for the Spokane Spokesman-Review and wrote this piece right here.
F Aliaksei Protas of the Prince Albert Raiders has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the third-round of the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . From Belarus, Protas had 11 goals and 29 assists in 61 games with the Raiders last season, then added 12 goals and 10 assists in 23 playoff games.
The Vancouver Giants made it official on Wednesday — they have signed F Cole Shepard of West Vancouver to a WHL contract. . . . A second-round pick by the Giants in the 2017 bantam draft, Shepard, 17, had made a verbal commitment to Harvard. . . . Last season, he had seven goals and 17 assists in 53 games with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. . . . Shepard will get to play with his brother Jackson, 19, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes on May 24. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia was at the news conference and filed this story right here.
Here is a reminder of what a junior hockey player might have to deal with while away from home, living with a billet family, and trying to focus on a sport in which he hopes to someday have a professional career.
Jermaine Loewen played out his junior eligibility with the Kamloops Blazers last season. He was the team captain for what was his fifth season in Kamloops.
Meanwhile, back home in Arborg, Man., Tara and Stan Loewen, who adopted Loewen out of a Jamaican orphanage, along with Jermaine’s sister, Makeda, and brother, Nathaneal, were dealing with some else entirely.
As you can see from the above tweet, Tara was diagnosed with breast cancer during the hockey season, and just recently had her last radiation treatment.
We can only imagine how heavy this weighed on Jermaine during the Blazers’ season, but it’s definitely worth thinking about while watching junior hockey players grow up away from home.
Chad Harden’s team has him into third place in the aggregate standings after Day 6 of the Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede. Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen when he isn’t racing chuckwagons, won his heat on Wednesday and his time moved him from seventh to third in the 36-team field. Harden, who won the Derby in 2009, has won $19,900 to this point. . . . The top eight drivers move on to Semifinal Saturday. The top four times from the two semifinal heats move into Sunday’s championship heat.
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D Jonathan Smart won’t be returning to the WHL for his 20-year-old season. Instead, he will attend UBC and play for the Thunderbirds. Smart, from Kelowna, started last season with the Kootenay Ice, but didn’t return to the team after Christmas. He finished up with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees, putting up a goal and two assists in 13 games. In 216 career WHL games, split between the Kelowna Rockets, Regina Pats and Kootenay, he had 14 goals and 66 assists. . . .
As was anticipated, F Igor Martynov won’t be back for a third season with the Victoria Royals. Martynov, 20, is from Belarus and has signed with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, he had 11 goals and 31 assists with the Royals. . . . The Royals now have two imports on their roster — sophomore Phillip Schultz, who is from Denmark, and Swiss F Keanu Derungs, who was selected in the CHL’s 2019 import draft.