Warriors bank some more money . . . Royals get forward from Blades . . . Ice down to two goalies, four 20s


MacBeth

D/F Curt Gogol (Kelowna, Saskatoon, Chilliwack, 2007-11) has been released by mutual agreement by Fehérvár Székesfehérvár (Hungary, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he was pointless in one game with Rubin Tyumen (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), and had three goals and three assists in 27 games with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (ECHL). . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) signed a one-year contract with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 35 games with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). . . .

F Richard Nejezchleb (Brandon, Tri-City, 2012-15) signed a one-year contract with Nové Zámky (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had five goals and one assist in 22 games with Litvínov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), and had two goals and five assists in 11 games while on loan to České Budějovice (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). . . .

F Chad Bassen (Regina, Vancouver, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2000-04) has  signed a one-year contract with the Nuremberg Ice Tigers (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Iserlohn Roosters (Germany, DEL), he had four assists in 37 games.


ThisThat

The Moose Jaw Warriors held their annual general meeting on Wednesday morning and reported a profit of $704,182 for the 2017-18 season. . . . Of that, $200,000 goes to the fulfillment of their Multiplex pledge; this is Year 7 of a 10-year pledge. The Warriors now have put $1.9 million into that commitment.

A year ago, the Warriors announced a loss of $463,566, but that was after they put $531,197 into Mosaic Place improvements and put $200,000 towards their pledge.

“Even with their profit loss, the Warriors have $1,081,545.01 in the bank and the franchise is as healthy as it has ever been,” Matthew Gourlie of dubnetwork.ca reported a year ago.

Last season, the Warriors announced average regular-season attendance was 3,482. That increased to 4,619 for eight home playoff games.


The WHL and NeuLion, its digital media partner, have announced their pricing for  their viewing package of 2018-19 games.

From the news release, which is right here:

WHL Live Early Bird Pricing

Team Away Pass — $69.99 (reg. $99.99 — save $30)

Team Home & Away Pass — $179.99 (reg. $194.99 — save $15)

All-Access Pass — $279.99 (reg. $299.99 — save $20)

*All prices in Canadian dollars

While the news release reads that early-bird pricing is “available for a limited time only,” it doesn’t indicate a cutoff date.

The announcement from the WHL came a few days after the AHL announced its package, including US$79.99 for a full-season all-access package; US$59.99 for a single-team full-season pass; and US$39.99 for a single-team home or away pass.

The WHL responded to that tweet with: “The WHL has a longstanding partnership with NeuLion that runs through the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.”


The Victoria Royals have acquired F Logan Doust, 17, from the Saskatoon Blades for a ninth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a conditional fifth-round pick in that same draft. . . . From North Vancouver, Doust played last season with the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants, putting up six goals and 10 assists in 20 games. He was pointless in three games with the Blades, who selected him in the ninth round of the 2016 bantam draft.


Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News spent a few days in Traverse City, Mich., where he Portlandwatched an eight-team NHL prospects tournament. Included in the competition was a team entered by the Chicago Blackhawks. . . . Kennedy wrote this on Chicago D Henri Jokiharju: “Great escapability when he’s breaking the puck out of the zone. The 2017 first-rounder is another mobile blueliner who handles the puck and can run the point on the power play. Jokiharju will return to the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks this season.” . . . The 19-year-old Jokiharju was selected by Chicago in the first round of the NHL’s 2017 draft and he has signed with the Blackhawks. . . . He has played two seasons with the Winterhawks, but there has been speculation that he was on loan to them from a Finnish team, meaning that he could be recalled or that the Blackhawks could assign him to their AHL affiliate. . . . Judging by what Kennedy wrote, however, Jokiharju seems ticketed for a third WHL season. Of course, you can bet that Mike Johnston, Portland’s GM/head coach, won’t be counting on Jokiharju until he sees the whites of his eyes. . . . Kennedy’s complete piece is right here and he’s got takes on a whole lot of prospects.


The Kootenay Ice is down to two goaltenders after releasing veteran Matt Berlin, 20, on KootenaynewTuesday. That leaves it with Duncan McGovern and Jesse Makaj as its goaltenders with the regular-season opener 10 days away. . . . McGovern, 18, is from Winnipeg. Last season, he got into 34 games with the Ice, going 13-13-3, 3.10, .893. He was a fifth-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the 2015 WHL bantam draft. . . . Makaj, from East Vancouver, was a second-round pick by the Ice in the 2016 bantam draft. He played one game with the Ice last season, going 0-0-1, 1.85, .935. He had a 3.15 GAA last season with the major midget Greater Vancouver Canadians. . . . Berlin, from Edmonton, was a seventh-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2013 bantam draft. He has played with the Chiefs, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kootenay. He split last season between Seattle and Kootenay, going 15-15-4. With the Ice, he was 3-8-1, 3.62. .875. . . .

Berlin’s departure leaves the Ice with four 20-year-olds on its roster — F Gunnar Wegleitner, F Jaeger White, D Dallas Hines and Slovakian D Martin Bodak. Wegleitner was acquired from the Brandon Wheat Kings over the off-season, while White came over from the Medicine Hat Tigers. As an import, Bodak would be a two-spotter should he be on the season-opening roster.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk — a walk, I should point out, that she is helping to organize — you may do so right here. Thank you!


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Royals add experience on back end . . . Cougars get some size up front . . . Warriors’ 50-50 draw way, way up there


MacBeth

D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after a successful tryout. Last season, Šenkeřík had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); two goals and two assists in nine games with Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); and one goal and seven assists in 12 games with Karlovy Vary (1. Liga). Karlovy Vary won promotion to Extraliga for this season. . . .

F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2), he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.


 

The Victoria Royals have a acquired D Jameson Murray, 19, and a 10th-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in 2019. . . . From Kelowna, Murray was dealt by the Calgary Hitmen to the Silvertips last season for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 63 games over two seasons with Calgary, he had two goals and seven assists. He was pointless in seven games with Everett last season. . . . The Hitmen placed him on their protected list three years ago. . . . The deal allows Everett to get down to nine defencemen, although two of those — Jake Christiansen (Calgary Flames) and Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) — are with NHL teams. Still on the roster are three freshmen defenders — Alex Moar, 17, Ronan Seeley, 16, and Dylan Anderson, who turns 16 on Oct. 23.


The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds got together on a deal on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars get F Mike MacLean, 20, D Sam Schoenfeld, 16, and an PrinceGeorgeundisclosed conditional 2021 bantam draft pick from the Thunderbirds for F Keegan Craik, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . MacLean, 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, obviously adds size to the Cougars’ roster. From Penticton, he had two goals and two assists in 38 games with Seattle last season. He also got into 24 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, putting up three goals and three assists. . . . Schoenfeld, like MacLean, is a list player. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 32 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s. . . . Craik, from Brentwood Bay, B.C., was a fifth-round selection by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Cougars last season, going pointless. In 27 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, he had 13 goals and 16 assists. . . .

MacLean joins F Josh Curtis and D Joel Lakusta as the 20-year-olds on the Cougars’ roster. . . . Moving MacLean allows Seattle to get down to three 20-year-olds — F Zack Andrusiak, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


The Calgary Hitmen are down to three goaltenders after announcing late Monday Calgaryafternoon that they have “reassigned” Nick Sanders, 20, “to a team and league to be announced at a later date.” . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was a sixth-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He made 29 appearances with the Americans before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 13, 2016, along with a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for G Rylan Parenteau, 20. . . . Sanders got into 34 games with the Raiders in 2016-17 and four last season before bowing out due to hip problems. The Raiders sent him to Calgary on Jan. 8 for a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen still have goaltenders Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30, Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who will hit 17 on Oct. 30, on their roster. . . . Stankowski was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Aug. 7. He was Seattle’s starting goaltender in the playoffs as the Thunderbirds made their run to the 2017 WHL championship, but hip and health issues kept him sidelined last season. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hitmen are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jake Kryski and F Luke Coleman — so have room to add one.


The buzz in junior A circles on Monday had to do with F Trevor Wong, a 15-year-old KelownaRocketsfrom Vancouver who is the only one of the WHL’s 22 first-round 2018 bantam draft selections who has yet to sign. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected Wong with the 18th overall selection, knowing that he was looking at going the NCAA route. In November, he made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . On Monday, there were rumblings that Wong either has signed, or is on the verge of signing, with the Rockets. He attended their rookie camp late in August. . . . Last season, with the St. George’s School bantam varsity team, he had 141 points, including 64 goals, in 30 games.


SJHL

If you are an SJHL pass-holder and plan on visiting Humboldt for Wednesday’s game between the Broncos and Nipawin Hawks, you need to know that it won’t get you in the door.

This will be the Broncos’ home-opener, in Elgar Petersen Arena, which has a capacity of HumboldtBroncosaround 1,800. It will be the Broncos’ first home game since the bus accident on April 6 that claimed 16 lives.

As one might expect, the national media, likely even some international media, has descended on the community again, coming in like grasshoppers during a red-hot growing season.

All of this resulted in the SJHL sending out the release pictured above on Saturday. Bill Chow, the SJHL president, tells Taking Note that was done after “Humboldt sent out a media accreditation request about 7-10 days ago.”

It could be that not everyone received, or paid attention to, the accreditation notice from Humboldt. One observer who works in the media told Taking Note on Monday morning that “I’ve been told that the SJHL has informed all the local media from around the province that their league media passes won’t be honoured Wednesday and they won’t be allowed in to cover the game as there is no space due to national media.”

Perhaps there are people on the SJHL beat who simply assumed that their SJHL pass would get them in the door. That, however, may not be the case.

You have to feel for the SJHL for the position in which it finds itself — a small arena with minimal press facilities being home to an event such as this. With so many media people wanting in, and with TSN no doubt having a number of employees onsite to handle the national telecast, the SJHL no doubt finds itself in a no-win situation.



Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, released his first Craig’s List on Monday, his rankings of players eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. F Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program is No. 1, ahead of F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . In fact, there are four WHLers in Button’s Top 10. The list runs 40 deep and is right here.


D Jarret Tyszka, who spent the past three seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, is in concussion protocol after being injured during a Sunday game while playing with the SeattleMontreal Canadiens’ prospects team.

Tyszka, 19, was released from a Montreal hospital on Monday after being stretchered off the ice. He was playing for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit from behind into the boards by F Hudson Elynuik, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Elynuik was given a match penalty for cross-checking. . . . Tyszka was a fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Elynuik is with the Leafs as a free-agent invitee.

Joël Bouchard, the head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, was behind the Canadiens’ bench. He wasn’t happy with his team’s response, or lack of same.

Google translation: “This is unacceptable. We play as a team, we play as a team. We warned them that it had to change. The guys on the ice that time did not play for the rest of the time.”

Google translation: “Even though it’s a rookie camp, they’re wearing a Canadiens jersey. I do not advocate violence, but I ask them to stand up. We protect each other every time we have the same colour of sweater. It’s like that in any league in the world.”


A Facebook post from Randy Palmer of the Moose Jaw Express:

“Okay, this is something that has been brewing and has been the kind of thing that flies MooseJawWarriorsunder the radar until you think about it.

I can guarantee you what you are about to read is going to utterly blow your mind.

The 50-50 for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home-opener is starting . . . STARTING . . . at over $166,000.

The winner of the massive monster 50-50 from last season never claimed his/her prize. So it rolled into the first 50-50 of the next season.

That means, from the second the 50-50 booth opens at Mosaic Place on opening night, the winner of that night’s 50-50 is guaranteed at least $83,000.

I predict the take home will be around $150,000 before the night is over.

Marc Smith of CHAB says well over $200,000. And, honestly, he’s probably right.

The best thing?

You have to be in the building that night to collect the prize.

Capacity is 4,500.

Gonna bet they’re going to stretch that a bit.”

The Warriors home-opener, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, is scheduled for Sept. 22.


If you’re a regular here, you will have seen a few paragraphs the other day relating to how junior-aged players are able to attend WHL training camps and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

That post elicited an offer from Ross Beebe, the educational advisor to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NCAA policy advisor for Global Sports Camps.

“This is year 24 for me so I am very familiar with the ‘ins/outs’ of the NCAA,” Beebe writes. “Should any of your readers wish/require more NCAA information on amateurism or academic standards, I would be more that happy to share my knowledge. This is a volunteer position for me so there would be no cost.”

If you are looking for answers, you may reach Beebe at roscolangleyrivermen@shaw.ca


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to help her get to $3,000 in donations you are able to do so right here.


Nick Redding is the new head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Redding, 26, is from Spokane. He played four seasons with the KIJHL’s Spokane Braves, before going on to Eastern Washington U. Last season, he was the general manager and assistant coach with the Braves. Earlier this summer, Redding had signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds as the hockey operations co-ordinator. . . . The Thunder Cats had been looking for a head coach since late in August when GM/head coach Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as assistant GM and associate head coach.


Liz Thunstrom turned 80 recently and on Friday received a belated birthday present that thrilled her no end. It was a ride in the Fanboni during a Vancouver Giants game at the Langley Events Centre. . . . The Langley Times has more right here.


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Scattershooting on a football-full Sunday . . . Some Yahtzee, a white Bronco, Woo’s injury, Bernstein weeping . . . Enjoy!

Scattershooting


Headline from @TheOnion: Baseball statisticians unveil new analytics model measuring precise amount of joy they suck from the game.


“Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants says his superstar status makes him feel like a ‘zoo animal’,” writes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Especially the part where the Giants ignore the warnings and feed him $95 million.”

————————

One more from Perry: “Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Christian Yelich not only hit for the cycle against the Reds on Aug. 29, he added two extra singles. If this were Yahtzee, he’d have to decide between taking three points for three of a kind or 30 for a small straight.



Michigan State recently announced that the NCAA had cleared it of any wrongdoing in the Larry Nassar sexual-assault scandal. As Holly Anderson tweeted: “Thank God nobody sold any shoes.”


Moose Jaw Warriors fans have their fingers crossed that it’s only a couple of weeks.


If you were wondering, the Trail Smoke Eaters won the back half of the BCHL home-and-home series with West Kelowna, beating the host Warriors, 6-4, before an announced attendance of 615 at Royal LePage Place on Saturday night. On Friday night, the Warriors had won, 4-3, in OT before 2,195 fans at Cominco Arena.



Hey, Brad Dickson, how hot has it been in Omaha? “I was sweating like Urban Meyer being strapped into a lie detector,” declares the comedy writer.

——————

Dickson, who used to write for the Omaha World-Herald, chimed in after Nike made headlines with its Colin Kaepernick ad campaign: “Well, I’m glad that Nike finally found a spokesperson who’s non-polarizing. Second and third choices were Julian Assange and Kim Jong Un.”


coffee


Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, with a comment on the POTUS: “Apparently, Donald Trump has narrowed his list of suspects on that NY Times’ op-ed. He thinks it happened in the library, with the wrench, Colonel Mustard.”


Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province: “After careful consideration, I think I’ve come up with a solution to the growing traffic problem in the greater Vancouver area. We have to find a way to build more condos.”



Headline from The Onion: Carl Bernstein Weeps Uncontrollably After Learning Bob Woodward Wrote A President Book Without Him.



Cam Hutchinson, in the Saskatoon Express: “Despite the Blue Jays’ woes, Buck Martinez’s sickening ‘get up ball’ remains at a playoff team’s decibel level. He and Tabs have to go.” . . . Sorry, Sportsnet, but I haven’t watched a Blue Jays game in ages because of that horrid home run call.

——————

One more from Hutchinson: “I am not good with colours. Does a red prison outfit match or clash with orange hair?”


It now is officially hockey season.


Hey, TSN viewers, are you aware that Goderich, Ont., won the Kraft Heinz Project Play grand prize?



Hey, Excited States, enough of the clown show already. OK?


If you think we’re burning up every summer, well, you’re not far wrong. The really bad news is that it isn’t likely to stop any time soon. William Finnegan has a terrific look at the fire situation in this piece right here from The New York Review of Books. It is titled California Burning; editors could just have easily gone with World Burning.


Warriors overcome turbulence for OT victory . . .Grandpa Delorme will be all smiles . . . Glen brothers buy BCHL franchise


ThisThat

You can bet there was happy chatter as the West Kelowna Warriors boarded their bus for the trip back home from Trail on Friday night.

After a week that included a firing, a reinstatement and players choosing not to practice, WestKelownathe Warriors opened the BCHL regular season with a 4-3 OT victory over the Smoke Eaters before an announced crowd of 2,195 in Cominco Arena.

The Warriors scored the game’s last three goals, giving GM/head coach Geoff Grimwood his first victory when D Wyatt Head, a sophomore from Kelowna, scored at 2:29 of extra time.

Grimwood, then the interim GM and head coach, had been dismissed by majority owner Kim Dobranski on Monday night. However, the players rebelled, BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb intervened, and Grimwood was reinstated, without the interim part of his title, on Thursday morning.

The teams will meet again tonight (Saturday) at Royal LePage Place in West Kelowna.


I am humbled by the outpouring of support that followed The Happening — this one didn’t feature Mark Wahlberg — in this neighbourhood on Thursday night.

Here is a small sampling . . .

You know, I really am trying to cut back. I have a stack of books here that I want to read, and I have in my mind at least one more book that I want to get written.

But stuff like this keeps getting in the way, and when I see the response to something like this, well, it’s hard to walk away completely. However, as time goes on, you may notice that I take some days off — like Saturdays — from posting here.

In the meantime, keep on coming back and happy reading.



The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Haydn Delorme, 18, to a WHL contract. From Port Moody, B.C., he was a training camp invitee after playing last season with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. He had six goals and 10 assists in 53 games. . . . He is a grandson to former WHLer Ron Delorme, the NHL-Vancouver Canucks’ chief amateur scout who has been with that organization for more than 20 years. He also was inducted in the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this summer.


The BCHL’s Vernon Vipers, a franchise that had been owned and operated for 26 years by VernonDr. Duncan Wray and family, have been sold. Dr. Wray died on Jan. 11; his widow, Libby, made the decision to sell the franchise. . . . The new owners are brothers John and Tom Glen. John, from Edmonton, used to scout for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants; Tom lives in Regina. They own car dealerships in Calgary and Vancouver. . . . “This club was something my husband was very passionate about and we wanted to make the right decision going forward,” Mrs. Wray said in a news release. “The Glens will be excellent owners and very committed to the City of Vernon and the legacy which Duncan created. I truly believe the club is in great hands.” . . . Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star has more right here.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders announced Thursday that general manager and SwanValleyhead coach Taurean White had “resigned from his position . . . effective immediately.” . . . No reason was provided for his departure. . . . Darren Webster was named interim GM/head coach. Webster, who is from Swan River, had been the club’s assistant coach and head scout. . . . White, who was preparing for his second season with the Stampeders, is from Nepean, Ont. Before joining the Stampeders, he had been the director of hockey operations and head coach with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Kingston Voyageurs. . . . Last season, the Stampeders finished 28-25-7, good for the MJHL’s eighth and final playoff spot. They were swept in the first round by the eventual-champion Steinbach Pistons.


Have you ever watched a trophy presentation and wondered what happens to the carpet on which the participants are standing?

What about the carpet on which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin were standing during the Stanley Cup presentation last spring?

Well, Dickson Liong, a long-time friend of Taking Note, has the answer to the latter question. He owns it. Oh, and he also owns the sweaty t-shirt that Ovechkin wore during that night’s game. Yes, he does!

That story is right here.


Here by request is something that I posted on Taking Note some time in the past; apologies for not thinking of it sooner but better late than never, one supposes. It deals with NCAA eligibility and comes from collegehockeyinc.com.

“NCAA student-athletes are amateurs and cannot have played for a professional sports team prior to enrolment. In hockey, specifically, this means that anyone who signs a contract with or plays for a team in the Canadian Hockey League (OHL, QMJHL or WHL) forfeits their NCAA eligibility.

“The NCAA Eligibility Center will certify each prospective student-athlete’s amateur status prior to clearing them for competition at the Division I level.

“What You Need to Do:

“Do not accept payment or gifts based upon your ability as a hockey player.

“Do not sign a contract or play a game (even an exhibition game) for a professional team, including those in the CHL.

“You may attend a camp with a professional team for up to 48 hours if they are covering expenses or longer if you cover all expenses.

“Junior, prep or high school teams may cover some or all of your costs to play for them, as long as they are actual and necessary expenses.”

There is more on all of this right here.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she has had to adjust her goal because she has gone over the original one, thanks to many of you — you are able to do so right here.


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BCHL extinguishes fire in West Kelowna . . . Grimwood back as GM/head coach . . . Americans run afoul of WHL sheriff

MacBeth

D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) signed a contract through the end of November with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, he had two assists in three games with Prešov (Slovakia, 1. Liga), was pointless in two games with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga), and had two goals and two assists in 11 games with Lausanne (Switzerland, NL A).


ThisThat

Here’s hoping that the circus pulled out of West Kelowna on Thursday morning and that the Warriors now are able to get on with their BCHL regular season that is scheduled to open against the Smoke Eaters in Trail tonight (Friday).

Kim Dobranski, the Warriors’ beleaguered majority owner, appeared before the media WestKelownaon Thursday morning, read from a prepared statement and chose not to answer questions.

In brief, Rylan Ferster, who had been the general manager and head coach for six seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had led the Warriors to the national junior A championship in 2016.

In a news release announcing Ferster’s departure, the Warriors revealed that Geoff Grimwood, who had been assistant GM and associate coach, had been named interim GM/head coach.

That lasted until Monday night when Dobranski fired Grimwood. On Tuesday, it became known that Jason Beckett, who had been coaching at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, would be the next head coach.

Except that this is where the players got involved.

First, they skated off the ice during a Tuesday practice and didn’t return.

On Wednesday, they decided not to practise, choosing instead to go on a players-only hike.

By Wednesday night, the BCHL — commissioner Chris Hebb and the board of governors — was involved. A source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Wednesday that the league had taken over the franchise, at least for now, and that a contract was being drawn up with Grimwood’s name on it.

By Thursday morning, Dobranski said he had seen the light.

In addressing the assembled media, Dobranski read:

“Mr. Grimwood in his short time here had a profound impact on these players. In my search to fill the big shoes of Mr. Ferster, I neglected to realize that Mr. Ferster, in his final act before leaving, not only did he assemble an incredible group of young men, he placed the best person for this job right in front of me.”

That person of course is Grimwood, who will be behind the bench tonight (Friday) in Trail and for the rematch in West Kelowna on Saturday.

Dobranski continued: “I failed both as a partner in this league and as a leader of this organization to consider the emotional turmoil this could cause for these young men. However, the positive in all this is that I discovered that we have something incredibly special here. We have a group of young men that are incredibly tight, bonded like I have never seen before, and have stood together willing to face whatever consequences that this may have caused. They did this for the sole purpose of supporting each other. This was a courageous and a selfless act and I feel we have an incredible group of players here with a foundation for success.”

Dobranski and a silent partner purchased the Warriors from Mark Cheyne in August.

Grimwood also was in attendance on Thursday and, after stating how excited he was to be the general manager and head coach, he offered:

“I think what we’ve done here, with Kim, myself and the B.C. Hockey League, we just made sure everyone’s on the same page going forward. What I want for the team and the players is the same thing that Mr. Dobranski wants. We’re going to work really hard to support those 23 players.”

Hebb, who is in his first year as the BCHL’s commissioner, apparently arrived in West Kelowna sometime on Wednesday.

Doyle Potenteau of Global News reported that the BCHL later issued a statement, “saying it will work alongside Dobranski and his management staff, directing them in the near term, and that the league will remain in a supporting role as the season progresses.”

Global’s coverage is right here.

There is a story right here from castanet.net.

The Kelowna Daily Courier has a story right here.


I wish I could say that the whole mess ended with that news conference. But I’m not able to do that.

Because on Thursday afternoon, I received a tweet from an account that carried the name WarriorsBoss and the address @BossWarriors. However, the account disappeared sometime Thursday evening.

I will leave it to your imagination as to the person behind the short-lived Twitter account. It was set up in “September 2018” — maybe even on Thursday. LOL! When that message arrived, WarriorsBoss (@BossWarriors) was following one account and this was its first tweet.

While I didn’t write down the message, nor did I do a screen capture, the gist of it was that my Wednesday night post on the situation in West Kelowna, in particular the part about the BCHL having “taken over operation” of the franchise, was inaccurate. A source familiar with the situation had informed me of that earlier on Wednesday.

Anyway, I replied to WarriorsBoss:

I usually don’t respond to anonymous messages, but seeing as I am the only account you follow, you should know that someone inside the Warriors organization told me (Wednesday) night that the post was “very accurate.”

A few hours laters, WarriorsBoss fired back, calling me “a liar.”

Again, I didn’t write down the tweet, nor did I do a screen capture. I would assume that was the last tweet to be sent from that account before it disappeared. I actually laughed out loud when that message arrived. In more than 40 years of writing, I can’t recall being called a liar. Lots of other things, for sure. But never a liar.

Anyway . . . sorry to deflate your balloon, WarriorsBoss. But after reading what I posted here on Wednesday night, someone inside the Warriors organization told me, and these are the exact words: “That’s a very accurate article.”

I may be a lot of things, WarriorsBoss, but I am not a liar.

Nor am I anonymous.

Oh, and my Twitter account is very much alive.


Might this be bad news for fans of the Moose Jaw Warriors . . .


Congratulations if you had head coach Kelly Buchberger and the Tri-City Americans in the pool — they were first to run afoul of the WHL’s Department of Discipline this season.

Buchberger, in his first season as head coach, was suspended for one game after a tri-city“multiple fight situation” in a game with the Vancouver Giants on Sunday at an exhibition tournament in Everett.

The Americans also were fined $500, while Tri-City D Mitchell Brown drew a one-game sentence for “fourth fight of game.”

According to the WHL website, no one on the Giants was fined or suspended.

The game featured 142 penalty minutes, including eight fighting majors and eight game misconducts. Of course, a fight carries with it an automatic game misconduct in the exhibition season.

While Brown and seven other players received game misconducts, those penalties don’t show up in their individual statistics. For example, while Brown took 15 penalty minutes in that game — a major (5) and a game misconduct (10) — his individual stats page credits him with only five penalty minutes from that game.

What that means is that the WHL is again refusing to include all penalties in individual totals and that’s a real shame because it bastardizes the penalty statistics.


Of course, this means that Trevor’s twin brother, Darren, who now scouts for the Calgary Flames, also turned 50. Happy birthday to a pair of Memorial Cup champions!


If you’re a regular here, you will know that we’ve been following the progress being made by Stuart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club as he Portlandrehabs from three strokes.

Here is his latest update, posted on Wednesday evening . . .

“So people hope I succeed! OK then. I went to a gym first time in ages, and with strokes I can tell you, muscles disappear fast. I was embarrassed at limited stuff before I tired out.

“However, I did 20 mins treadmill 1.5 MPH (Sounds bad but it was moving fast)
“I did 20 mins on cycle level 4
“3 reps of 12 on chest press 20 pounds
“3 reps on Tricep 50 pounds
“3 reps on Tri Extension 50 pounds
“In addition to at home curl @ 20 lbs 3 reps 12 each

“Hope I sleep tonight. But I feel good, working hard so keep positive vibes coming. Let’s get me swallowing again!

“Saw my COBRA for medical today and it’s expensive, lot more than I originally thought by almost $300 a month.

“I know you all saw GoFundMe and FB pleas for help, it’s in Portland Tribune and August Winterhawks Insider, Hoping to prove all wrong and get back to work soon.

“Please help if you can (and) invite those who may be unaware.”

He has speech therapy appointments scheduled for Sept. 7 and 11, and other appointments on Sept. 18, Sept. 19, Sept. 25, Oct. 3 and Oct. 8.

If you are able to help, the GoFundMe page is right here.


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Source: BCHL takes over Warriors; Grimwood back as head coach . . . Chiefs trim two veterans from roster


MacBeth

D Nick Walters (Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, 2010-15) had his tryout contract with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2) converted to a one-year contract after being granted German citizenship this week. Walters signed the tryout contract with conversion clause in July. . . . Last season, he had five goals and 14 assists in 50 games with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). . . .

F Robin Soudek (Edmonton, Chilliwack/Victoria, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). Last season, he had 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games with Épinal (France, Ligue Magnus), and was pointless in one game with Eispiraten Crimmitschau (Germany, DEL2). . . .

D Cody Franson (Vancouver, 2003-07) signed a two-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had one goal and six assists in 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), and nine goals and 19 assist in 37 games with the Rockford IceHogs (AHL).


ThisThat

With the regular season set to open with seven games on Friday night, the BCHL has taken over operation of the West Kelowna Warriors, a source familiar with the situation told Taking Note on Wednesday night.

At this point, it isn’t known how long this will be in place, but Warriors majority owner WestKelownaKim Dobranski isn’t pulling the strings, at least for now,

As well, Geoff Grimwood, who was dismissed as the general manager and head coach on Monday night, will be behind the bench when the Warriors open against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday. Taking Note was told that a new contract for Grimwood was being drawn up on Wednesday.

This is the first real test for Chris Hebb, who is in his first season as the BCHL commissioner after taking over from the retiring John Grisdale. Hebb’s past includes a stint (2006-13) as the senior vice-president of content and communications with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Vancouver Canucks. He was heavily involved in media in both stops, so will have known the importance of acting quickly in this situation.

You can bet that that he and the board of governors also were aware that player agents already were calling other BCHL teams as they prepared to start requesting trades for clients on the Warriors’ roster.

It would appear that the BCHL also imposed a gag rule on the Warriors’ players. One player contacted on Wednesday told Taking Note: “I cannot comment on this matter at this time. . . . Thank you.”

All of this may explain why Dobranski didn’t introduce Jason Beckett as his new head coach on Wednesday.

Grimwood was named the interim general manager and head coach in a news release from the team on Aug. 21, which is when Rylan Ferster, the GM/head coach for the previous six seasons, left the organization. Under Ferster’s guidance, the Warriors won the national junior A championship in 2016.

It became known on Tuesday that Beckett, who had been coaching at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, was to take over as head coach. However, an announcement never was made.

On the ice, the Warriors players left the ice during Tuesday’s practice and didn’t return in protesting Grimwood’s dismissal. The players didn’t skate on Wednesday, instead going on a hike, which is where the photo that appears in the above tweet was taken. Cavin Tilsley, who tweeted that photo, is a 20-year-old forward from Delta, B.C., who was an alternate captain with the team last season.

Dobranski also dropped a Facebook post sometime on Wednesday in which he was critical of Wayne Moore, a former public address announcer with the Warriors who works for castanet.net. Moore wrote a story about the situation on Tuesday in which he revealed that Beckett was to be the new head coach. (As of Wednesday evening, Moore’s story had received more than 12,900 views, by far the most of any recent sports story on the site.)

The Facebook post disappeared sometime on Wednesday, but, as often happens, it lives somewhere on social media.


The Spokane Chiefs moved two veterans off their roster on Wednesday, as they placed F SpokaneChiefsCedric Chenier, 18, on their suspended list and released D Dalton Hamaliuk, 20. . . . Chenier, who had two goals and four assists in 37 games as a freshman last season, has left the team and returned home. “We are disappointed in his decision but wish him the best moving forward,” said Chiefs’ general manager Scott Carter in a news release. Chenier, from Winnipeg, was a ninth-round selection in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. . . . Hamaliuk, from Leduc, Alta., played 213 regular-season games over three seasons with the Chiefs. He had six goals and 31 assists in 37 points. He was a second-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Without Hamaliuk, the Chiefs are down to three 20-year-olds — F Jeff Faith, D Nolan Reid and F Riley Woods.


The Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel in Nanaimo will close its doors for the last time on Oct. 31. The hotel is located in the downtown area and the property on which it sits once was suggested as a possible site for a 5,000-seat arena that would be home to a WHL franchise. . . . As Dominic Abassi of nanaimonewsnow.com writes: “In 2015, the hotel’s owner went public with intentions to build a new hotel and 5,000-seat arena on the land at the corner of Comox Rd. and Terminal Ave. But after an initial splash in local media, the plan was never seriously mentioned again.” . . . Abassi’s complete story is right here.


The American Hockey League released the prices for its AHL-TV package on Wednesday. A full-season all-access pass will set you back US$79.99, with monthly all-access going for $19.99, a daily all-access at $6.99. . . . A full season single team pass is going for $59.99, with home or away at $39.99.

As you can see from the above tweet, the AHL has cut its price by about 66 per cent over last season.

I couldn’t find WHL prices for its 2018-19 packages, but I believe last season’s all-access price was Cdn$319.95 for 792 regular-season games. This season, with teams’ schedules having been reduced from 72 to 68 games, that total would be 748 games.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Royals and Rebels make deal . . . Broncos now have brother act . . . Turbulent times for BCHL’s Warriors


MacBeth

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had seven goals and seven assists in 31 games with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). He was an alternate captain. . . .

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and eight assists in 30 games.


ThisThat

The Victoria Royals have acquired F Brandon Cutler, 18, and a second-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Red Deer Rebels for F Dallon Melin, 16, and a fifth-rounder in 2019. . . . Cutler, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a ninth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 68 games with the Rebels. As a freshman, in 2016-17, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games. . . . Melin, from Camrose, Alta., has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . He had six goals and 14 assists in 27 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings last season. He also had one assists in three games with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Victoria selected Melin in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Sam Pouliot, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels SCBroncosfor a conditional 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Pouliot had one goal in 16 games with the Rebels last season. He also got into 16 games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, drawing three assists. In 2016-17, he had a goal and 12 assists in 36 games with the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. . . . Pouliot joins his brother, Ryan, 20, on the Broncos’ roster. Ryan, a 20-year-old defenceman, played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice. The Broncos claimed him on waivers during the summer.



Steve Konowalchuk, who coached the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s 2017 championship, has joined the NHL’s New York Rangers as an amateur scout. . . . Konowalchuk 45, was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons. After winning the 2017 Ed Chynoweth Cup, he left for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks where he spent last season as an assistant coach. . . . With the Rangers, according to a news release, Konowalchuk “will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the Western Hockey League.” . . . That news release is right here.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have undergone another coaching change, with Jason Beckett coming on board as the team’s third head coach since Aug. 21. . . . Rylan WestKelownaFerster, who had been the general manager and head coach for seven seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had helped the Warriors win a national championship in 2016. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, was named the interim head coach on Aug. 21. However, Grimwood was dismissed on Monday night. . . . Assistant coach Matt Miller also is gone, having left on Monday, while athletic therapist Mike Bois, who had been there through four seasons, chose leave, as well. . . . Asked if he was surprised at being fired, Grimwood told Wayne Moore of castanet.net: “No, because I know the situation right now seems unstable. But I was surprised in the sense that I didn’t think they would pull the rug out on you going into the first week of the season. I thought I would have a chance to get out of the gate and see how we did. I respect that’s the owner’s choice and he has to make decisions he thinks are right. I happen to disagree with that because I think the players needed stability, and right now, it’s just not being provided.” . . . As for the players, Taking Note received an anonymous text early Tuesday afternoon, stating that they left the ice during practice and didn’t return. That later was confirmed by Moore. . . . The Warriors are scheduled to open the regular season against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday night. Trail is scheduled to visit West Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Warriors are owned by KD Sports Ltd., which purchased the franchise in August. Kim Dobranski is the majority owner and president.

If you check out the above tweet from Bois, the Warriors’ ex-athletic therapist, you will see that a number of West Kelowna players have retweeted it and/or liked it. . . . Hmmm!


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express have acquired the junior A playing rights to F Ethan O’Rourke, 19, who is on the roster of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos at the moment. . . . The Broncos acquired O’Rourke and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for D Sahvan Khaira, 20, on July 30. . . . Last season, O’Rourke had five goals and nine assists in 37 games with the Prince George Cougars, then recorded a goal and three assists in 29 games with Everett. . . . The Express got O’Rourke and future considerations from the Prince George Spruce Kings for F Sam Kozlowski, 20. Kozlowski had eight goals and 22 assists in 55 games with the Express last season.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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