It used to be that WHL teams bidding to play host to a Memorial Cup tournament would make presentations before the board of governors in Calgary, a vote would be held and a winner would be declared.
But it seems that process has gone the way of the dodo bird.
The Kamloops Blazers plan on bidding on the 2023 tournament and Tom Gaglardi, the team’s majority owner, says things have been redone and a host team/city now will be decided in secrecy and that it won’t involve the WHL board holding a vote. Instead, Gaglardi told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week, that he believes a decision will be made at the CHL level.
“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know . . . I just think it takes biases out and the real reasons a winning team should host have got a better chance of prevailing. I’m hopeful this is a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.”
The WHL was to have played host to the 2020 tournament and the Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes all wanted to be the host team. Presentations were made in October 2018 and . . . the Rockets won. Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ owner, is chairman of the WHL’s board of governors.
Of course, COVID-19 had other plans and the tournament was scrubbed, as was the 2021 event. This year’s tournament is scheduled for Saint John, N.B.
When Hastings called Hamilton to ask if the Rockets would bid on 2023, the response was: “Thanks for the interest. The CHL is who releases that info now.”
Hastings’ story is right here.
I got quite a chuckle out of two tweets from The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman on Tuesday night. He covers the Edmonton Oilers, and they had just dumped the visiting Detroit Red Wings, 7-5. . . .
Part 1: Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft had lunch (Tuesday) with WHL Oil Kings bench boss Brad Lauer and his staff. Lauer said this: “The wins are pieces of art, but you don’t always hang every picture in the living room. Sometimes you hang them in the basement.”
Part 2: “I thought it was a really smart way of putting it,” Woodcroft said of Lauer’s analogy. “Brad’s a really funny guy. I’m going to steal that one. I think it adequately describes tonight’s game.”
I always enjoyed chatting with Lauer when he played for the Regina Pats and I was with the Regina Leader-Post. Later, after I had moved to Kamloops and he was an assistant coach with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice (remember them?) for five seasons, we often told talked before and after games.
The WHL hasn’t made a Media Guide and Record Book available since before the 2019-20 season, so the numbers that follow are unofficial.
Including Wednesday’s games, Lauer and Dennis Williams, the head coach of the Everett Silvertips, are neck-and-neck as to who has the highest percentage of games won among those who have coached at least four seasons.
Williams, who is in his fifth season in Everett, has won 189 of 272 games, which works out to .695.
Lauer is into his fourth season as Edmonton’s head coach. He has been the head coach for 214 games and the Oil Kings have won 149 of those. That is a winning percentage of .692.
Lauer’s Oil Kings dropped a 5-3 decision to the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. He went into the game trailing Williams by .00001 — .69485-.69484.
I know. I know. You’re asking: What about Ken Hitchcock, who had such a great run with the Kamloops Blazers. In six seasons, he won 291 of 431 games (.675).
WEDNESDAY NIGHT IN THE WHL:
F Connor Bedard ran his point streak to 19 games as the Regina Pats took down the Hurricanes, 6-4, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina won on the strength of three third-period goals after F Justin Hall, who has 33, struck at 7:23 and 7:50 to give Lethbridge a 4-3 lead. . . . Bedard finished with two goals and an assist, giving him 79 points, including 40 goals, in 49 games. . . . His 19-game point streak ties him with F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers, who had a 19-gamer end on Feb. 19. Bedard has 41 points, 20 of them goals, on his streak; Stankoven finished with 17 goals and 22 assists. . . .
F Tristen Robins scored three times to lead the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The loss snapped Edmonton’s 14-game winning streak. . . . Robins, who broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, has 30 this season. He scored at 4:22 and 15:18 of the second period and 4:55 of the third. . . . The Blades got 43 saves from G Nolan Maier, who posted his 118th career victory, just two shy of the WHL record. Maier stopped F Dylan Guenther on a penalty shot at 3:14 of the third period with the Blades leading 3-1. Robins scored his third goal just 1:41 later. . . .
In Langley, B.C., Czech F Petr Moravec scored at 1:37 of OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Moravec, who turned 19 on Feb. 24, has 14 goals. . . . G Tomas Suchanek, an 18-year-old Czech, stopped 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Samuel Huo (26) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead with his second shorthanded goal in as many games at 7:27 of the first period. . . . D Alex Cotton (14) pulled the Giants even on the PP at 9:26 of the first. . . .
In Prince Albert, the Swift Current Broncos erased a 2-1 first-period deficit with the next five goals en route to a 6-3 victory over the Raiders. . . . F Karson King scored his fifth and sixth goals 11 seconds apart early in the second period to break a 2-2 tie. The Broncos also got a big game from G Isaac Poulter, who stopped 39 shots. . . .
F Blake Stevenson scored twice, giving him 22, to help the Calgary Hitmen to a 5-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Calgary had lost seven in a row. . . . F Zac Funk added his 18th goal and two assists for Calgary, which broke a 1-1 tie with three straight goals, one late in the second period and two in the third. . . . The Wheat Kings were without top-end forwards Nate Danielson, Ridly Greig and Marcus Kallionkieli, all injured, for a third straight game. . . .
G Daniel Hauser blocked 24 shots to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 4-0 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . One night earlier, G Dawson Cowan, in his first WHL appearance, stopped 23 shots as the host Ice blanked the Calgary Hitmen, 4-0. . . . Hauser has a WHL-leading six shutouts in 27 appearances this season. He now is 22-2-1, 2.12, .913 this season. . . . The Ice got goals from F Connor McClennon (38), F Matthew Savoie (28), F Mike Milne (30) and F Conor Geekie (18).
Thanks a bunch to those of you who have clicked on the link and given generously. Much appreciated. . . . My wife, Dorothy, who underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013, is taking part in her ninth kidney walk, albeit virtually, on June 5. She has been involved in every walk since she had her transplant. If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do that right here.
The BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs and general manager/head coach Joe Martin have agreed on a five-year contract extension that will take him through the 2026-27 season. . . . Martin is completing his third season with the Bulldogs after spending eight seasons with the Merritt Centennials, the last four as GM/head coach. . . . This season, the Bulldogs, with two games remaining, are 34-14-4 and leading the nine-team Coastal Division by seven points over the Langley Rivermen.
The NAHL announced Wednesday that the Minnesota Magicians, who played out of Richfield, have been sold and are on the move to Eagle River, Wis. The Magicians had been in Richfield for nine seasons. . . . Wisconsin is home to two other NAHL franchises — the Chippewa Steel in Chippewa Falls and the Janesville Jets in Janesville.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.