Princeton mourns loss of assistant coach; Johnston was ‘well-loved local personality’ . . . It’s official! Scoring change gives Heidt 72nd assist

Morton (Mort) Johnston, an assistant coach with the junior B Princeton Posse of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, was killed in a car accident on Sunday afternoon. He was 25.

Johnston, who was from Princeton, played four seasons with the Posse (2014-18).

The Princeton Posse had a No. 18 sweater hanging at their bench during a Sunday playoff game in Revelstoke. (Photo: Revelstoke Review)

Johnston was driving to Revelstoke for a Sunday playoff game when his car, a Princeton2009 Toyota Corolla, left the highway and went down an embankment. Johnston, the lone occupant of the vehicle, was declared dead at the scene. Princeton RCMP are conducting an investigation into the crash.

Andrea DeMeer and Josh Piercey of the Similkameen Spotlight reported that RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes told them police were informed of an accident at about 2 p.m.

“A car left the road and travelled down an embankment,” they wrote, “struck several trees, and flipped over. The driver was ejected from the car and while the airbag was deployed the seatbelt was found fully retracted, according to Hughes.”

From a KIJHL news release: “The Posse received the news around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday prior to their conference championship-clinching Game 6 win in Revelstoke and made the decision to play in Morton’s honour with the support and encouragement of his family.” . . . The Posse beat the Grizzlies, 2-1, to win the series, 4-2, and advance to the KIJHL final against the Kimberley Dynamiters.

The Posse played the game with a No. 18 sweater — Johnston wore No. 18 when he played with the Posse — hanging behind the bench. DeMeer and Piercey reported that Posse captain Jake McCulley carried a No. 18 sweater when he went to centre ice after the game to claim the conference’s championship banner.

According to the Spotlight story, “Johnston (was) a well-loved local personality on and off the ice.”

Besides being on the Posse coaching staff, Johnston was playing for the Penticton Silver Bullets, a senior team, this season. They were preparing to play in the Coy Cup tournament — for the B.C. senior AA title — but pulled out on Monday. The Coy Cup is to be played in Quesnel this weekend.

“He was a glue guy, he held everyone together,” Matt Fraser, the Silver Bullets’ manager, told the Penticton Herald. “He loved the locker room, loved being a Silver Bullet and always showed up with a smile on his face. He played hard-nosed hockey, worked hard and never backed down from anyone. He kept this locker room together.”

DeMeer had occasion to speak with Johnston almost five years ago following the April 6, 2018, crash involving the SJHL-Humboldt Broncos’ bus that claimed 16 lives.

Johnston was a player with the Posse on Feb. 4, 2018, when its bus left the road and went down an embankment as the team was returning to Princeton after a game in 100 Mile House.

After the Broncos tragedy and with Posse team members having escaped their accident with fairly minor injuries, Johnston said: “It just makes you realize how lucky you are.”

At the time, people in Princeton agreed many would wear sports-themed sweaters in memory of the Humboldt victims on April 12, 2018, something with which Johnston was in full agreement.

“I hope everyone can show their support,” Johnston said, adding that his family would be wearing sweaters. “It’s a really hard situation. I hope everyone sends their prayers and thoughts their way.”

Jared Picklyk, a goaltender who made WHL stops with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Tri-City Americans and now plays for the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, was taken into custody by RCMP early Saturday after the truck he was driving left a road and struck a home in Humboldt. . . . Picklyk, who turned 20 on March 18, was arrested and charged with refusal to comply with a breath screening. He has a May 8 court date. . . . On Friday night, Picklyk and the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos had eliminated the Nipawin Hawks from the playoffs. Picklyk made 25 saves in a 6-2 victory over the visiting Hawks as the Broncos won the series, 4-1. . . . On Monday afternoon, the SJHL announced that Picklyk had been suspended indefinitely. . . . Picklyk played in 38 games with Lethbridge (2020-23) and two with Tri-City (2022-23). . . . With the Broncos this season, the Kelowna native went 11-1, 3.20, .908 in the regular season.

It’s official. . . . The WHL added an assist to F Riley Heidt of the Prince George Cougars on Monday. That was his 72nd assist of the season, moving him into a tie for the WHL lead with F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats. . . . The scoring change comes from a Friday night game in Kamloops in which the Cougars beat the Blazers, 7-2. Prince George’s fourth goal was scored by F Koehn Ziemmer and originally was unassisted. The change on Monday provided Heidt with the lone assist. And if you watch a video of the goal you will agree that the assist definitely was earned.

In the end, Bedard still won the WHL Triple Crown, as he led in goals (71), assists (72) and points (143); it’s just that he now must share part of it with Heidt, who finished with 97 points in 68 games.

(NOTE: Hey, WHL, you’ve got a story on your website headlined ‘Bedard claims Bob Clarke Trophy as WHL Scoring Champion for 2022-23.’ The story was posted there on Sunday. It contains this: “Bedard’s 72 assists were also first in the WHL, one ahead of the runner up. Fellow 2023 NHL Draft prospect Riley Heidt of the Prince George Cougars finished the season with 71 helpers.” . . . That now is factually incorrect; perhaps you can get in there and fix it for posterity’s sake.)

The Calgary Hitmen will be without D Keagan Slaney when they open the playoffs after he drew a three-game suspension for a charging major and game misconduct he incurred in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. Slaney sat out Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Oil Kings in Calgary. He will miss the first two games of Calgary’s series with the Red Deer Rebels. Those games are to be played in Red Deer on Friday and Saturday.

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — NHL fan singing national anthem, honouring soldier with standing ovation thinks Pride Nights are too political.


My wife, Dorothy, will be taking part in the 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk on June 4 and, for a 10th straight year, is fund-raising. In September, she will celebrate 10 years as a transplant recipient. . . . If you would like to make a donation and be part of Team Dorothy, you may do so right here.


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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