Coyotes add to T-Birds’ arsenal; Canada’s Golden Boy on way to Seattle . . . Tigers move into playoff spot

OK . . . prior to Sunday you didn’t have the Seattle Thunderbirds as the favourites to win the WHL’s 2022-23 championship. You weren’t quite ready to go that far, were you?

But how about now that the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have sent F Dylan Guenther Seattletheir way?

Yes, that’s the same Dylan Guenther who scored the golden goal at the 2023 World Junior Championship in Halifax just last month.

The Coyotes announced Sunday that Guenther, 19, has been assigned to the Thunderbirds, who had acquired his rights from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 10.

The Oil Kings, who beat Seattle in the 2021-22 championship final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, have spent the past few months unloading veteran player assets while loading up on draft picks to facilitate their rebuild. With an 8-37-3 record, they won’t make the playoffs this time around.

Edmonton had selected Guenther with the first overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 draft.

In order to land Guenther, F Jordan Ramsay, who turned 16 on Jan. 24, and an eighth-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft, the Thunderbirds gave up F Koji Gibson, who is to turn 16 on March 10, a first-round pick in 2026, a second in 2023, fourths in 2024, 2025 and 2026, a fifth in 2026 and a sixth in 2024.

Yes, the price was steep and now we will find out if it was worth it.

The Coyotes selected Guenther in the first round, ninth overall, of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He is the fifth first-round draft pick on the Seattle roster, joining D Kevin Korchinski (Chicago Blackhawks, seventh overall, 2022), D Nolan Allan (Chicago, 32, 2021), F Reid Schaefer (Edmonton Oilers, 32, 2022) and F Brad Lambert (Winnipeg, 30, 2022).

All told the Thunderirds now have 10 NHL draft picks on their roster, the others being F Jordan Gustafson (Vegas Golden Knights, 79, 2022), F Jared Davidson (Montreal Canadiens, 130, 2022), F Colton Dach (Chicago, 62, 2021), F Lucas Ciona (Calgary Flames, 173, 2021) and D Luke Prokop (Nashville Predators, 73, 2020).

The Thunderbirds acquired Allan from the Prince Albert Raiders on Nov. 16 in a deal that included five draft picks — first in 2023 and 2024, a third in 2024, a sixth in 2025 and a second in 2026 and a conditional pick (sixth in 2026) going the other way.

Seattle had picked up Lambert’s rights from the Saskatoon Blades on June 30, giving up a 2023 first-rounder, a second in 2024, and fourth- and sixth-rounders in 2023.

In the other deal that had people sitting up and paying attention, Seattle acquired Prokop from the Oil Kings on Oct. 25 in exchange for a third in 2023 and two 2025 picks (first and third).

The Thundebirds also added Dach and a 2024 fifth-rounder from the Kelowna Rockets in a Jan. 7 deal that included three conditional picks going the other way — a first in 2024, fourth in 2023 and second in 2025. Dach, who had been the Rockets’ captain, was injured (shoulder) while playing for Canada at the World Junior Championship and has yet to return to action.

And let’s not forget that on Aug. 30, Seattle sent F Connor Roulette and a third in 2026 to the Saskatoon Blades for F Kyle Crnkovic, who has put up 54 points, including 25 goals, in 47 games.

Last season, Guenther had 91 points, including 45 goals, during Edmonton’s regular season, then added 21 points, 13 of them goals, in the playoffs. He suffered a knee injury — in the WHL final against Seattle — and missed the Memorial Cup.

So why did Arizona decide to assign him to Seattle at this particular point in time? He has 15 points, including six goals, four on the PP, in 33 NHL games this season, but has been on the roster for 38 games. Once a player hits 40 he accrues one season toward unrestricted free agency. By sending him to Seattle now, the Coyotes shove Guenther’s potential UFA eligibility a further year down the road.

Late last month, Craig Morgan, who covers the Coyotes for The Athletic, wrote: “The key for Guenther was to see how he would perform on a nightly basis in the lineup. Since his return (from the WJC), it has been a mixed bag. There have been nights where he has looked strong, driven offense and even scored goals. There have been nights where he looks like he is swimming in water above his head.”

In Halifax, you may recall, Guenther scored at 6:22 of three-on-three OT to give Canada a 3-2 victory over Czechia in the WJC’s championship final. He finished that tournament with seven goals and three assists in seven games.

The Thunderbirds are hoping he will bring some of that magic to their lineup.

After beating the visiting Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, on Sunday, the Thunderbirds are 36-9-2 and lead the Western Conference by one point over the Portland Winterhawks (35-10-3).

The Thunderbirds have 21 games remaining and six of them will be against the Winterhawks. The first of those will be Saturday in Portland. Seattle also has three games remaining with the Kamloops Blazers, who will finish atop the B.C.Division.

Before then, the Thunderbirds will entertain the Red Deer Rebels on Friday. That game could mark Guenther’s debut with his new club.


Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette, and he’s not wrong:

“Why is the Canadian Olympic Committee so cowardly in the face of Russian brutality and war crimes? Why is craven Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker vowing to work with the IOC to help find a way for Russian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics?

“Thugs like Vladimir Putin are always probing for weakness: If we invade Crimea and no one acts to stop us, then let’s take all of Ukraine. The IOC’s willingness to skirt the rules and let Russians compete despite systematic, state-sponsored doping helped give Putin the impression he can get away with anything, including mass murder. It’s time to draw a line in the sand. If Shoemaker won’t do it, find someone who will.”


Todd, again:

“As a measure of where the sports world is at any given time, Kyrie Irving will do as well as anyone.

“Spoiled, entitled, inclined to believe himself the centre of the universe and somehow able to convince team after team to throw tens of millions his way, World B. Flat is a symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the sports we love to watch.”

Todd’s complete column is right here.



F Atley Calvert’s 30th goal snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Moose Jaw Warriors a 2-1 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The winner came at 16:17 of the third period. . . . F Ryder Korczak (21) had Moose Jaw’s other goal and drew an assist on Calvert’s winner. . . . Calvert, who is from Moose Jaw, has 30 goals and 25 assists in 51 games, after totalling 15 goals and 25 helpers in 65 games last season. . . . G Connor Ungar stopped 35 shots to earn his 26th victory of the season. He is 26-7-3, 2.58, .925 this season. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-3) has won two straight. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Calgary (23-19-7) has lost six in a row (0-3-3); it is sixth in the conference, two points ahead of the Regina Pats. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored three times in the game’s second half and beat the Red Deer Rebels, 4-2. . . . D Aidan Sutter (4) got Everett into a 2-2 tie at 10:56 of the second period, and F Austin Roest (28) shot the home boys into the lead at 16:51. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (33) added the empty-netter at 18:39 of the third. . . . Red Deer F Ben King, who scored his 10th goal of the season, got tossed for a boarding major at 4:55 of the third. . . . Everett (25-22-2) is fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Red Deer (34-11-4) is second in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Winnipeg Ice, which has four games in hand. . . .

The host Kamloops Blazers scored twice in the game’s final four minutes to beat the Victoria Royals, 4-3. . . . Kamloops, which clinched a playoff spot with the victory, trailed 3-1 midway through the game before tying it with two PP goals. . . . F Caedan Bankier (25) got the Blazers to within a goal at 14:23 of the second period, then tied it at 16:40 of the third. . . . D Olen Zellweger (16) won it at 19:37. He’s got 18 points, six of them goals, in 12 games since coming over from the Everett Silvertips at the trade deadline. . . . F Matthew Seminoff finished with three assists as he was in on each of the final three goals. . . . Kamloops outshot the visitors, 50-24. . . . The Blazers were without F Logan Stankoven, their scoring leader, as he served a one-game suspension after taking a checking-from-behind major in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the host Vancouver Giants. . . . Kamloops (31-10-6) has won four in a row. . . . Victoria (14-32-5) has lost four in a row and is four points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Medicine Hat, the Tigers shrugged off an early goal by F Connor Bedard and skated to a 5-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Bedard scored his WHL-leading 45th goal at 1:13 of the first period. . . . D Pavel Bocharov (11) got the Tigers even at 4:32 and D Kurtis Smythe (2) gave them their first lead at 14:44. . . . F Gavin McKenna, the first pick in the WHL’s 2022 draft, had two assists for the Tigers. He now has played 11 games this season and has eight points, all assists. . . . The announced attendance was 6,178, the Tigers’ largest crowd in 7,000-seat Co-op Place. They had drawn 5,947 to their first game there, a 5-3 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sept. 26, 2015. . . . With Sunday’s victory, the Tigers (21-21-8), with points in eight straight (6-0-2), moved past the Swift Current Broncos and into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Tigers now are one point behind Regina. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 4-2. . . . Saskatoon trailed 2-0 doing into the last two minutes of the second period. . . . D Charlie Wright (4) got the Blades started at 18:07 of the second period. . . . F Jordan Keller (8) pulled Saskatoon into a tie at 7:28 of the third, with Wright getting the primary assist. . . . The Blades took the lead at 11:58 on F Jake Chiasson’s 14th goal of the season, on a PP. Saskatoon had acquired Chiasson, who also had two assists, from the Wheat Kings at the trade deadline. . . . Keller added his ninth goal of the season at 13:41. . . . The Blades are 5-0-0 against the Wheat Kings this season. . . . Saskatoon (32-12-4) is third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (19-22-7) now is five points out of a playoff spot. . . .

F Jared Davidson drew three assists as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds scored one goal in each period — D Jeremy Hanzel (8) in the first, F Brad Lambert (4), on a PP, in the second, and F Kyle Crnkovic (25) in the third. . . . F Lucas Ciona was back in Seattle’s lineup after a two-game absence. He picked up one assist. . . . Seattle held a 52-21 edge in shots, including 26-3 in the second period, as Chiefs G Cooper Michaluk was kept hopping. . . . The Chiefs lost F Carter Streek to a spearing major at 1:21 of the second period. . . . Seattle (36-9-2) moved back atop the Western Conference, one point ahead of the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Spokane slipped to 9-34-5. . . .

The Vancouver Giants celebrated a Grammy victory by part-owner Michael Bublé with a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Langley, B.C. . . . F Ethan Semeniuk (10) scored while shorthanded to break a 1-1 tie at 14:23 of the second period. . . . The Thorpe boys took it from there. D Tyler Thorpe (3) added insurance at 14:41 of the second and F Ty Thorpe (26) added the empty-netter at 18:44. . . . Vancouver G Jesper Vikman, who is from Sweden, stopped 24 shots. . . . Tri-City G Tomas Suchanek lost for the first time in 13 decisions. He last tasted defeat on Nov. 23 when the visiting Kamloops Blazers dumped the Americans, 6-1. . . . The Giants lost F Kyle Bochek to a checking-from-behind major at 18:38 of the second period. . . . Vancouver (19-24-6) is seventh in the Western Conference, two points behind the Prince George Cougars, who have three games in hand. . . . Tri-City (25-18-5) is fourth, three points ahead of Everett.

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

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



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.



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