The Lethbridge Hurricanes let the WHL’s other Eastern Conference teams know Thursday that they are serious about this season by acquiring F Blake Swetlikoff from the Spokane Chiefs. . . . In the exchange, the rebuilding Chiefs (7-24-3) picked up the rights to F Jack Lackas and two draft picks — a second-rounder in 2026 and a fifth in 2025. . . . Swetlikoff, a 19-year-old from Regina, was a third-round selection in the 2018 WHL draft. He has 19 points, 14 of them assists, in 34 games with Spokane this season. . . . In 128 career regular-season games, he has 22 goals and 39 assists. . . . “We feel that (Swetlikoff) will help our top nine,” Lethbridge general manager Peter Anholt said in a news release. “It was a steep price for us to pay, but our team deserved to be added to with the way we’ve played this season.” . . . Swetlikoff is expected to make his Lethbridge debut on Saturday against the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes (21-15-1) are sixth in the 12-team conference, having won six of their past 10 games. They are one point behind the Calgary Hitmen (20-11-4) and three in arrears of the Moose Jaw Warriors (23-13-0). . . . Lackas, who turned 16 on Dec. 26, is from Las Vegas. Lethbridge selected him in the WHL’s 2021 U.S. draft, but he is unsigned. Lackas is playing with the U16 AAA Phoenix Jr. Coyotes this season.
The Red Deer Rebels and Prince George Cougars swapped a pair of 17-year-old forwards on Thursday. Ryker Singer is on his way to Red Deer, with Arjun Bawa moving to Prince George. The Cougars also got second- and seventh-round picks in the WHL’s 2023 draft in the exchange. . . . Singer, the 20th player chosen in the WHL’s 2020 draft, has three goals and six assists in 34 games this season. He is from Paradise Hills, Alta. . . . “He’s got speed, skill and good hands, and he’s a smart player,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ owner and general manager, told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “It’s a trade for both teams (where) we wanted to add more speed to our team with skill, and they wanted a player who has some size.” . . . Bawa, from Richmond, B.C., had two goals and three assists in 34 games this season. Red Deer took him in the second round of the 2020 draft. . . . “Arjun . . . is a big physical player (who) will fit well with our forward core,” offered Mark Lamb, the Cougars’ general manager and head coach, in a news release. . . . The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Bawa is the son of Robin Bawa, a former WHLer (Kamloops Jr. Oilers, Kamloops Blazers, New Westminster Bruins, 1982-87) who went on to play 61 NHL games. He was the first player of Indian descent to play in the NHL. . . . The Rebels are scheduled to play the Raiders in Prince Albert tonight, while the Cougars are at home to the Everett Silvertips.
The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Jan. 10. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:
No. of trades — 27.
No. of players traded — 43.
No. of WHL draft picks traded — 47.
No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 9.
Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria; 4: Kamloops, Lethbridge, Prince George, Seattle, Winnipeg; 3: Regina, Spokane; 2: Everett, Kelowna, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland, Vancouver.
Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.
One of my favourite sports columns every year comes from the keyboard of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gene Collier. His 39th annual Trite Trophy column, in which he examines a whole lot of trite phrases from the sporting press, is right here.
It includes a whole lot of stuff like this awesome paragraph:
“And Just To Put A Button On this tribute to minor annoyances, ‘False start, offense’ is redundant. All false starts are on the offense. It’s like saying 7 a.m. in the morning, which people do Time and Time Again, even though all 7 a.m.’s are in the morning.”
Ahh, yes, one of my pet peeves . . . tonight’s game will begin at 7 p.m.
Along with the first annual golf tournament, which actually is the inaugural golf tournament.
Anyway . . . give Collier’s piece a read. I just know that you’ll enjoy it.
THINKING OUT LOUD: Is there a way to take two spoonfuls of adult cough syrup without getting it on the bottle and ending up with at least one sticky hand? . . . It’s a good thing Canada won the World Junior Championship in Halifax on Thursday night because the last thing Hockey Canada needs on its plate is another investigation. Just imagine the outcry had Canada, which led 2-0 with seven minutes remaining in the third period, lost the final to Czechia. I mean, early on in the tournament there were folks questioning Canada’s goaltending development record. . . . No, your favourite WHL team isn’t going to end up getting F Connor Bedard from the Regina Pats before next week’s trade deadline. Perhaps the Pats, with the likes of Bedard, F Tanner Howe and D Stan Svozil on their roster, should be buyers. What say you, John Paddock? . . . BTW, the Pats had F Cole Temple, the fifth overall pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, in their lineup for their past two games. From Brandon, he is the son of former Wheat Kings F Jeff Temple. As well, Cole’s grandfather, Ted, one of hockey’s really good guys, played goal for the Wheat Kings (1967-69). . . . If you are so inclined, please think about clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you!
G Jesse Sanche was backing up Dylan Ernst on Wednesday night when the Kamloops Blazers dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the visiting Everett Silvertips. Sanche, 16, is from Kelowna and was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft, but has yet to play in a WHL game. He was on the bench because I’m guessing that Czech G Michael Schnattinger, 18, was placed on waivers following the acquisition on Tuesday of G Matthew Kieper, 18, from the Regina Pats. Kieper hadn’t yet arrived in Kamloops, thus Sanche got a prime seat for the game. . . .
During that Wednesday game, the Blazers elevated Greg (Spike) Wallace to legendary status as they put his name on one of their Legends banners and lifted it into the arena rafters. On March 7, 2012, the WHL presented Wallace with a Distinguished Service Award. The following morning, the Blazers announced that Wallace was leaving the team “by mutual agreement . . . to pursue other initiatives. The Blazers and Spike have agreed that now would be an appropriate time for (him) to . . . pursue new opportunities.” . . . Wallace had been part of the Blazers since 1984, serving as trainer and equipment manager, then later as community liaison. He was a part of three Memorial Cup champions and five WHL titles. . . . Former Blazers players Jerome Iginla and Darryl Sydor, now two of five owners of the franchise, were on hand to salute Wallace on Wednesday night.
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St. Paul’s Hospital
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