If you have been a follower of the WHL for a few seasons, the name Andrei Lupandin should ring a bell.
A native of Kharkov, Ukraine, he played four seasons (1995-99) with the Brandon Wheat Kings, putting up 159 points, 56 of them goals, in 239 regular-season games. He also had 23 points, including 17 assists, in 43 playoff games. He then went on to a pro career that had him play in the IHL, WCHL, CHL, ECHL, AHL and UHL. Lupandin wrapped up his career after playing six seasons in Belarus and three more in Ukraine.
After that, Lupandin, now 44, returned to Kharkov where he and his wife, Antonina, started a family. They have two boys — Ilya, 14, and Denys, 12.
Unfortunately, their home became a casualty of the Russian war on Ukraine. With the boys unable to attend school, the Lupandins chose to leave everything behind and move to Saskatoon in the hopes of getting a new start.
A GoFundMe page now is up and running in the hopes of raising some money to help the family get that start.
On the GoFundMe page, it explains: “They escaped to Slovakia and made the decision to start a new life in Canada, leaving family, friends and their life behind. They have moved to Saskatoon due to the large Ukrainian population, (arriving) with little more than a hockey bag and one suitcase for the family of four.
“They have no work and need to start over. We are raising funds to help them with buying essentials, saving money to live and for future accommodations and household items.”
Also from that page: “As they left Slovakia to come to Canada, Andrei’s father died. Andrei wasn’t able to go say goodbye. Now he has no family remaining in the Ukraine and wants to make a better life for his boys.
“Please consider supporting this strong and brave family as they try to make Canada their home.”
That GoFundMe page is right here.
The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline added $1,500 to its Christmas shopping fund following a Saturday night skirmish between the visiting Prince George Cougars and Victoria Royals. Each organization was fined $500 for a “multiple fight situation” that broke out as the final buzzer sounded. As well, the Royals were fined an additional $500 for “instigator in last five minutes” of the game. F Alex Edwards of the Royals drew the only suspension out of the incident; he will miss one game for being the instigator in the game’s last five minutes. . . .
Elsewhere, three players got one-game sentences out of penalties issued in Saturday games. . . . F Colton Dach of the Kelowna Rockets will sit out after taking a headshot major and game misconduct against the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . F Jace Isley was suspended after taking a goaltender interference major and game misconduct against the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . D Sam McGinley of the Swift Current Broncos will miss a game after taking a game misconduct against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Moose Jaw Warriors got down to three 20-year-olds on Monday by trading F Riley Ginnell to the Regina Pats for a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2026 draft. . . . Ginnell had one goal and two assists in 14 games with the Warriors this season. They acquired him from the Brandon Wheat Kings on Oct. 11 for a fifth-rounder in 2024. In 113 regular-season games over four seasons with Brandon, he had 21 goals and 26 assists. Last season, he had single-season highs in goals (14), assists (20) and points (34). . . . Ginnell’s father, Erin, is a former WHLer who played with the Swift Current Broncos, Calgary Wranglers, New Westminster Bruins, Seattle Thunderbirds and Regina Pats. He played in 27 games with the Pats in 1986-87, putting up 10 goals and 12 assists. . . . Erin is in his seventh season as an amateur scout with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . . Riley’s grandfather, Pat, was a the WHL’s coach of the year in four different seasons. . . .
The Warriors found themselves with four 20-year-olds, one over the maximum, when the New York Rangers returned F Ryder Korczak last week. By moving Ginnell, the Warriors have chosen to go with Korczak, D Cole Jordan and G Connor Ungar. . . . Ginnell joins F Jakob Brook, D Luke Bateman and D Tanner Brown as Regina’s 20-year-olds. With four on the roster, another move can be expected here. The Pats are two games into a 10-game road trip, and Ginnell is expected to join them in time for a game against the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday. . . .
If you were wondering, there have been 11 trades since Oct. 25 with teams moving 18 players, 26 draft picks and three conditional draft picks.
TUESDAY IN THE WHL:
The Lethbridge Hurricanes rode a pair of first-period goals to a 2-1 victory over the host Winnipeg Ice. . . . Lethbridge improved to 12-9-1 as it ended Winnipeg’s 15-game winning streak. The Ice now is 20-2-0. . . . Winnipeg is 8-1-0 at home; Lethbridge is 5-5-0 on the road. . . . F Tristan Zandee (2) scored on a PP at 6:14 of the opening period, and F Tyson Zimmer (5) made it 2-0 at 18:20. . . . F Brayden Edwards had the primary assist on each of those goals. . . . F Ty Nash, who was acquired by the Ice from Lethbridge earlier this season, scored his ninth goal of the season, at 1:28 of the third period, to get the home side to within a goal. . . . G Harrison Meneghin, the game’s first star, turned aside 36 shots. . . . The Ice, which was outshot 19-10 in the first period, got 37 stops form Mason Beaupit. . . . Ice F Conor Geekie extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Winnipeg.
D Steven Holtz of the Michigan Wolverines was hospitalized and on a ventilator last week as a virus made its way through some team members. He now has been released from hospital, and was at practice on Tuesday. However, head coach Brandon Naurato said Holtz has a ways to go before he’s back on the ice. . . . There’s more right here from collegehockeynews.com.
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