It was early in the 1978-79 WHL season.
Pat Ginnell was the general manager and head coach of the Lethbridge Broncos and was preparing to take his guys on a West Division tour. However, he had a problem — he needed a goaltender.
So . . . Jack McLeod, the GM/head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, said he would help out his old friend and loan him a goalie, which is how Ken McNabb landed on the Broncos’ roster.
McNabb had played in 29 games for the Blades in 1977-78 after they acquired him from the Flin Flon Bombers, for whom he had played 11 games.
The Blades were carrying three goaltenders — Tom Muc, Murray Stephens and McNabb.
On Oct. 10, the Star-Phoenix reported that McNabb had been “sent” to Lethbridge “on a three-game tryout.”
His stint in Lethbridge lasted six games.
We can only imagine how shocked McLeod was to discover that Ginnell cut a deal on Oct. 30 that had McNabb moving on to the Regina Pats. Yes, indeed! Ginnell dealt McNabb and F Larry Jones for G Gregg Dumba and D Alan May.
“He is our property so I don’t know how they could trade him,” McLeod said.
But trade him they did. Back in those days it seems that possession was more than nine-tenths of the law, at least in the WHL.
The Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades dumped the benches during a game on Sept. 29, 1978.
In the aftermath, Regina F Barry Zeigler was suspended for five games for having been the first player off the bench. The Pats were fined $675 — $250 for having the first player off bench. $100 for four game misconducts and $325 for having had 13 players leave the bench.
The Blades escaped with a $400 fine for three game misconducts ($75) and 13 players leaving the bench ($325).
“I can’t see why we’re getting fined when they emptied the bench first,” Jack McLeod, the Blades’ general manager and head coach, told John Cherneski of the StarPhoenix. “How do they expect a coach to sit there and watch another team kick the hell out of your guys on the ice when they dump the bench?”
Interestingly, the discipline was handed down by Del Wilson, who was the WHL vice-president and also part-owner of the Pats.
When Kamloops acquired Slovakian F Jakub Demek, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Nov. 14, the Blazers said they hoped to have him in their lineup at some point in January. Demek, who put up 54 points, including 20 goals, in 55 regular-season games in 2021-22, underwent shoulder surgery after the 2022 World Junior Championship — he played for Slovakia in Edmonton in August — and hasn’t played this season. . . .
But now comes word that Demek won’t see game action for perhaps another four weeks. . . . Shaun Clouston, the Blazers’ general manager and head coach, told NL Radio earlier this week that the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights made the decision. Vegas selected Demek in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . .
“He’s a drafted player and they want to push his timeline back,” Clouston told the radio station. “Right now the date, unfortunately for Jakub, because he’s pretty disappointed — and challenging for us — it’s been moved to Feb. 20.” . . . Interestingly, the Blazers are scheduled to play in Edmonton on Feb. 20. . . .
Demek had been skating with the Blazers when the Golden Knights had him report to their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, for a week of conditioning. He then was given the once-over by the surgeon who had repaired his shoulder. . . .
“Unfortunately, he’s got a while,” Clouston said. “He feels good. He looks good. I think it’s probably a situation where they really want to be safe. They really want to take their time.” . . .
All of this could well have an impact on the conditions of the trade between the Blazers and Oil Kings. In that deal, the Blazers gave up a 2023 first-round WHL draft pick that originated with the Regina Pats, and a fourth-rounder in 2026. Also going to Edmonton were two conditional selections — a second in 2024 and a third in 2026. . . . The second is conditional on Demek playing an undisclosed number of games with the Blazers. . . . The third is conditional on his returning to the WHL as a 20-year-old.
There aren’t many WHL-related books out there, so you should know that there’s a new one on the shelves.
The Lethbridge Broncos: A History is available from Analog Books in Lethbridge or off its website, which is right here.
The Lethbridge Broncos arrived from Swift Current in time for the 1974-75 season and made the return trip following 1985-86. While they were in Lethbridge, they made quite an impact on Mark Weninger, who during part of that time was a 17-year-old gas jockey at a place owned by Earl Ingarfield, the team’s first coach, and Dennis Kjeldgaard, one of the Broncos’ owners.
Now retired, Weninger was looking for something with which to fill his time when he decided to write a book on the Broncos’ stay in Lethbridge.
He details all of it, from beginning to end, and in some instances has the players themselves, including Bryan Trottier, Brent Sutter and Lindy Ruff, tell their stories.
Chew on this for a few minutes, courtesy of Alex Mayer (@alexmayer34) . . .
The Mariners hit 4 HR from players who wear consecutive uniform numbers (26 Frazier, 27 Winker, 28 Suárez, 29 Raleigh) on July 13, 2022.
The Kraken scored 4 goals from players who wear consecutive uniform numbers (19 McCann, 20 Tolvanen, 21 Wennberg, 22 Bjorkstrand) on Jan. 25, 2023.
Seattle is the first city to produce an MLB/NHL duo to do that within a year of each other since Detroit in 1955-56.
The Tigers (5 Tuttle, 6 Kaline, 7 Kuenn, 8 Boone) on July 23, 1955.
The Red Wings (7 Lindsay, 8 Reibel, 9 Howe, 10 Delvecchio) on Feb. 21, 1956.
Stan Butler will be named head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters, assuming there are no issues with U.S. immigration. The team made the announcement on Thursday afternoon. Butler, 66, is a veteran OHL coach, having been behind a bench for 1,588 games and 737 victories to this point. At one point, he was the head coach of the Brampton/North Bay Battalion for 22 straight seasons, an OHL record for continuous service. He also spent one season (1996-97) as the head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars. . . . In Erie, he takes over from B.J. Adams, who was fired on Jan. 10. Assistant coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe have served as interim head coaches between then and Butler’s hiring. . . .
The junior B Pacific Junior Hockey League, which is based on the Lower Mainland of B.C., has added a 14th franchise for next season. It will be based in Port Coquitlam where it will play out of the 780-seat Jon Baillie Arena at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre. The franchise’s ownership group is headed up by Rob Toor of Port Coquitlam. . . . The Poco Buckeroos played out of the city from 1990 to 2006, then moved to Port Moody where the team plays as the Panthers. . . . The arrival of a Port Coquitlam franchise will leave B.C. with 46 junior B teams — 19 in the KIJHL, 14 in the PJHL, 11 in the VIJHL, and the Dawson Creek Kodiak and Fort St. John Huskies, who play in an Alberta-based league.
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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.