Scattershooting on a Sunday . . . Pats take two from Warriors . . . Shmyr sparks Blades . . . Rebels roar through B.C.

Scattershooting

Will the Brandon Wheat Kings make the playoffs? . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings were third in the WHL’s overall standings, behind Moose Jaw and Swift Current, when the trade deadline arrived. Brandon’s brass chose to sell, and today the Wheaties are 10th in the overall standings. More importantly, they hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Saskatoon and 10 up on Prince Albert. So, yes, the Wheat Kings should be in the playoffs when they get here.


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Montreal Canadiens request to become NHL expansion team in hopes of becoming as good as Vegas Golden Nights.


How much green is it worth for a head coach to make a post-game visit to the referees’ room? . . . You know the WHL is in the stretch run and that the heat is on when a head coach checks in with the on-ice officials after a game. As I understand it, that happened on Saturday night. I’m thinking it might be worth $500. . . . We should find out early this week.


Have the Regina Pats found themselves? . . . The Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, have undergone something of a makeover since this season started. For a lot of the season, they have been wandering around like a thirsty man in a desert. But they took two in a row from Moose Jaw on the weekend, something that has to give Regina fans some hope. . . . It’s now looking like the Pats’ first-round matchup — against Moose Jaw or Swift Current — should be an Ed Whalen special, a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.


A big hello to the readers of this blog who are at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. There were nine of you visiting here on Saturday — although that may have been Sunday where you are. . . . Thanks, too, to the readers who are vacationing in Mexico. Keep cool!


I’m wondering why Canadian skip Rachel Homan didn’t cross-check — cross-brush? — the Danish skip the other day? But, then, that wouldn’t have been very Canadian, eh?


Yes, Larry Walker should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So . . . why haven’t the voters put him in there? Walker summed it up when he told TSN Radio in Montreal: “No needles went in my ass. I played the game clean, but I played in the ballpark, and it’s almost like Coors Field is my PED.”


Steve Simmons, a columnist with Postmedia, went to great lengths in a recent piece to point out that Willie Desjardins, the head coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team, isn’t at all like Mike Babcock. As Homer Simpson would say: “Doh!” . . . “The best coaches,” Simmons has observed, “exude a certain arrogance, a certain confidence: Desjardins has yet to demonstrate any of these skills.” . . . Hey, Willie is Willie, and he isn’t about to change now. . . . The Olympics aren’t yet near an end and Simmons already has done hatchet jobs on mixed curling and Desjardins. One more and he gets a tin medal.


Wouldn’t it be something if the NRA and its puppet Republicans got taken to the woodshed by the U.S.’s high school students?


You can’t make the playoffs in the first nine games of a WHL season. But the Kamloops Blazers are in the process of proving that you can miss them by starting 0-9-0. That’s how the Blazers started this season and that early damage is proving to be too much to undo.


After the New York Yankees acquired quarterback Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Times decker Brett Miller noted: “Imagine how the Jets and Giants feel, knowing that the Yankees have the best QB in New York.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Fired Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema will receive 37 monthly installments of $322,567.57 through Dec. 31, 2020 as called for his in buyout, the Hogs’ support foundation announced. Final score: Greenbacks $11,935,000, Razorbacks 0.”


MacBeth

F Zane Jones (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Everett, Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-15) has signed a contract for the 2018 season with the Newcastle North Stars (Australia, AIHL). He is playing for Sollentuna (Sweden, Division Division 1), where he has 16 goals and five assists in 28 games. . . . Jones played for Newcastle last summer, scoring 12 goals and adding six assists in 16 games. . . . The AIHL begins its regular season on April 21 and it ends on Aug. 26. The sudden-death semifinals are Sept. 1 and the league final is Sept. 2.


Dan

DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who is part of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials, is working men’s hockey games at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. He has been keeping Taking Note readers up to date, too. Here is his latest note:

“As expected, the Games are a success. The events are getting large numbers of Olylogospectators from around the world.

“The hockey has been interesting, to say the least. No clear team has the advantage, yet those weaker teams are making each game interesting.

“When the Korean team hits the ice, the building is electric. The venue is sold out and the fans, not being as knowledgeable of the sport, get really excited when Team Korea charges down ice. (There are a lot of knowledgeable fans which is nice to see.)

“Now the real hockey competition begins. The playoff brackets are set and it’s time to see who comes out on top.”


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Regina, the Pats scored two third-period goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . Regina (31-24-6) has won two in a row. It moved back into third in the East Division, one ReginaPats100point ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw (43-11-3) has lost two in a row. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have three games in hand. . . . This was the third time these teams met in five days. Moose Jaw won 6-3 in Regina on Wednesday; Regina won 5-3 in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . . On Sunday, F Jayden Halbgewachs (55) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead on a PP, at 8:59 of the first period. . . . The Pats went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Emil Oksanen (15), at 6:31, and F Sam Steel (23), at 9:31. . . . The Warriors tied it when F Brett Howden (21) scored at 19:44. . . . Pats D Cale Fleury (11), who had two assists, snapped the tie at 8:49 of the third period. . . . Regina F Matt Bradley (34) added insurance at 10:38. . . . Halbgewachs, the WHL’s leading sniper, also had an assist, giving him 101 points in 57 games. Last season, he finished with 101 points, including 50 goals, in 71 games. . . . He joins teammate Brayden Burke in the 100-point club. Burke, who sat out a third straight game, has 102 points. The last time the Warriors had two 100-point men in the same season was 1984-85 (F Kent Hayes and F Mark MacKay). . . . Halbgewachs is the first Moose Jaw skater with back-to-back 50 goal seasons since Hayes (84-86) and F Theo Fleury (1986-88). . . . Moose Jaw was 1-4 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 21 saves from G Max Paddock, including a first-period stop on Halbgewachs on a penalty shot. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 22 shots. . . . Prior to the game, the Pats honoured Jock Callander by retiring his number (15). If you were watching on TV, that was Kevin Gallant, a former play-by-play voice of the Pats, handling the emcee duties from ice level. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Calgary, F Braylon Shmyr scored three goals to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (30-27-3) holds down the Eastern Conference’s Saskatoonsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Calgary (17-33-7) has lost two in a row. . . . Shmyr scored the game’s first two goals — at 5:51 of the first period and 5:18 of the second, the latter on a PP. . . . F Jakob Stukel (27) got Calgary’s goal at 14:09 of the third period. . . . F Max Gerlach (27), F Bradly Goethals (14) and Shmyr (31) had third-period goals for Saskatoon. . . . Shmyr has two hat tricks this season and five in his career. . . . Gerlach also had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 0-4. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Hitmen got 25 saves from G Nick Schneider. . . . Saskatoon is 2-1-0 on a four-game swing into the Central Division that concludes Monday afternoon in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 8,455.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Jordy Bellerive broke open a scoreless game 16 seconds into the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes went on to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay LethbridgeIce. . . . Lethbridge (29-24-6) has won three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-33-3) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . Lethbridge beat visiting Kootenay, 5-2, on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Ice also played three times in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. . . . On Sunday, Bellerive opened the scoring with his 42nd goal. . . . D Ty Prefontaine (5) made it 2-0 at 2:06. . . . The Ice got its goal from F Colton Veloso (21), on a PP, at 7:37. . . . The visitors put it away with third-period goals from F Brad Morrison (23), at 18:06, and F Taylor Ross (16), into an empty net, at 18:26. . . . Bellerive also had an assist. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-1. . . . The Hurricanes got 38 saves from a solid Reece Klassen. . . . G Duncan McGovern made 20 saves for the Ice. . . . Kootenay played without D Martin Bodak, who got a one-game suspension after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes lost D Calen Addison to a headshot major and game misconduct at 6:25 of the second period. . . . D Tate Olson of the Hurricanes played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 2,608.


At Langley, B.C., F Brandon Cutler scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Red Deer (21-26-13) has won Red Deerfour in a row and now is in sole possession of third place in the Central Division. It is two points ahead of Kootenay. Red Deer has 12 games remaining, Kootenay 11. . . . Vancouver (31-20-8) has lost two straight. It went 2-2-0 in playing four times in five days. The Giants are third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Dawson Holt (11) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 17:32 of the first period. . . . Red Deer tied it on a goal by F Kristian Reichel at 6:34 of the second period. . . . Cutler broke the tie at 11:48, then gave his guys a 3-1 lead at 3:49 of the third period. Cutler, who turned 18 on Jan. 4, has five goals this season. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (13) got the Giants to within a goal at 5:19. . . . Reichel (27) added insurance at 11:35. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Brandon Hagel. . . . Vancouver was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 39 shots in winning for the seventh straight time for Red Deer. . . . The Giants got 37 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . The Giants played three games in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. They lost 4-3 in Victoria on Saturday night, while the Rebels were enjoying a night off in Vancouver. . . . The Rebels, who are 11-1-2 in their past 14 games, went 4-0-0 on a four-game trek into B.C., winning in Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria prior to Sunday’s game. . . . The Giants welcomed back D Darian Skeoch, who had been out since Feb. 3, but remain without D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Alex Kannok Leipert and F Milos Roman, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,769.


At Everett, G Dustin Wolf stopped 20 shots to help the Silvertips to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (38-17-5) has points in eight straight (6-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference, by five points over Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (26-29-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It has 12 games remaining and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Wolf recorded the fourth shutout of his freshman season. It came in his 17th appearance. . . . Wolf’s partner, Carter Hart, has seven shutouts. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (5) opened the scoring at 11:05 of the first period. He also had two assists for his first career three-point game. . . . D Jake Christiansen (6) upped it to 2-0, on a PP, at 2:28 of the second period. . . . The Silvertips closed it out with PP goals from F Patrick Bajkov (28) and F Bryce Kindopp (18). . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists, with Bajkov adding one. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis, 20, played in his 335th regular-season game, tying him for top spot on the franchise’s list with F Shane Harper (2005-10). Davis is from Kamloops. . . . Everett was 3-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . The Blazers got 38 saves from G Max Palaga. . . . Both teams played three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Blazers played at home Friday and Saturday, then rode the bus to Everett for the Sunday afternoon game. . . . The Silvertips went home-and-home with Seattle so didn’t have quite the same travel. . . . Kamloops went 0-2-1 in the three games; Everett was 2-0-1). . . . This was the first meeting of the season between these teams since the trade deadline, when the Blazers dealt F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala to the Silvertips for D Montana Onyebuchi, F Orrin Centazzo, two prospects and three bantam draft picks. . . . Onyebuchi was in the penalty box for two Everett goals; Centazzo was in stir for one. . . . Kamloops was without D Nolan Kneen, who drew a one-game suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct in Saturday’s 7-6 shootout loss to visiting Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,417.


At Kent, Wash., F Kailer Yamamoto had two goals and an assist to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Spokane (33-20-5) has won three SpokaneChiefsin a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Seattle (28-21-9) has points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (24) got the Thunderbirds started with a shorthanded goal, at 16:40 of the first period. . . . D Nolan Reid (12) made it 2-0 at 17:51. . . . Yamamoto upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:01 of the second period. . . . D Austin Strand (19) got Seattle’s goal at 18:01. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (34) and Yamamoto (16) added third-period goals for the Chiefs. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Reid added an assist each. . . . Yamamoto has 14 goals and 23 assists in 16 games since Jan. 12. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 26 shots for Seattle. . . . Seattle went 1-1-1) in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Strand left in the first period after taking a stick to the face. He returned in the second period wearing a cage. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar left in the second period and didn’t return. . . . Announced attendance: 5,099. . . . Andy Eide of 710 ESPN in Seattle has a gamer right here.


MONDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Regina at Prince Albert, 4 p.m.

Saskatoon at Edmonton, 4 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

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Wheaties manage to beat Raiders . . . Hurricanes blow away Ice . . . Kambeitz breaks Giants’ hearts

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A number of former NHLers, including Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier, were in Regina for the All-Star Celebrity Classic on Saturday.

During the lead-up to the game, Dave Struch, the Regina Pats’ assistant GM and assistant coach, came face-to-face with Trottier for perhaps the second time in their lives.

The first time? That was during Struch’s four-game NHL career.

Struch relived that first meeting with Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post, and it’s all right here. Hey, there might even be a coaching lesson buried in here somewhere, courtesy of Dave King.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SATURDAY:

At Brandon, the Wheat Kings opened up a 3-0 first-period lead and, despite being badly outshot, beat the Prince Albert Raiders, 4-3. . . . Brandon (31-22-5) had lost its previous BrandonWKregularthree games, including a 5-2 setback in Prince Albert on Friday. It moved back into third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Prince Albert (23-24-11) is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon is 3-2-0 in the season series; the Raiders are 2-2-1. . . . F Ty Lewis gave the home side a 1-0 lead 26 seconds into the first period. F Marcus Sekundiak (3) made it 2-0 at 2:40, and D Ty Ettinger (2) upped it to 3-0 at 14:31. . . . The Raiders got the only two goals of the second period, both on the PP, from F Jordy Stallard (38), who is from Brandon, at 9:35, and F Brett Leason (11), at 10:47. . . . The Raiders outshot the Wheat Kings 15-5 in the first period and 16-4 in the second, but went into the third period trailing 3-2. . . . Brandon stretched the lead to 4-2 when F Rylan Bettens (5) scored at 2:15 of the third. . . . F Spencer Moe (8) cut the Raiders’ deficit to one at 13:39. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Kody McDonald. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 39 shots in earning the victory. . . . Curtis Meger started for the Raiders and gave up four goals on 10 shots in 42:15. Ian Scott came on to stop the three shots he faced in 16:14. . . . The Wheat Kings again were without F Stelio Mattheos, but also scratched D Chase Hartje, D Daniel Bukac and F Linden McCorrister (all ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,826.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes erased an early 2-0 deficit and went on to defeat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (28-24-6) has won two in a row. It is second in the LethbridgeCentral Division, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-32-3) is tied with Red Deer (20-26-13) for third in the Central Division, with the Rebels having a game in hand. The Ice has five more victories, but Red Deer’s loser points leaves it with a higher points percentage — .449 to .442. . . . The Ice and Hurricanes will meet this afternoon in Cranbrook. Each team will be playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Lethbridge is 5-1-0 in the season series; Kootenay is 1-5-0. . . . The Ice led 2-0 on first-period goals from F Cameron Hausinger (18), at 2:57, and F Gillian Kohler (5), on a PP, at 5:04. . . . F Dylan Cozens (18) started Lethbridge’s comeback at 13:17, and F Brad Morrison (22) tied it, on a PP, at 15:41. . . . F Jordy Bellerive put the Hurricanes in front with 18.7 seconds left in the second period, on a PP. Bellerive had left the game briefly at 17:03 after taking a knee from Ice D Martin Bodak, who was tossed with a major and game misconduct. . . . F Jadon Joseph (7) upped the lead to 4-2 at 14:44 of the third period. . . . Bellerive (41) added an empty-netter at 19:59. . . . F Brett Davis had two assists for Kootenay. . . . Lethbridge was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-7. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 saves from G Logan Flodell. . . . G Matt Berlin stopped 37 shots for the Ice. . . . Announced attendance: 3,680.


At Medicine Hat, F Ryan Jevne’s OT goal gave the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat (29-24-7) had lost its previous two games. It leads the Tigers Logo OfficialCentral Division by three points over Lethbridge. . . . Swift Current (42-13-5) has points in seven straight (6-0-1) and now is tied with Moose Jaw atop the overall standings. The Warriors hold four games in hand. . . . One night earlier, the Broncos beat the visiting Tigers, 6-2. . . . The Broncos won the season series, 3-0-1; the Tigers were 1-3-0. . . . Earlier, Jevne gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:18 of the first period. . . . The Broncos went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Glenn Gawdin (51), at 3:35 of the second period; F Aleksi Heponiemi (25), at 4:01 of the third; and D Artyom Minulin (12), at 6:14. . . . The Tigers got to within a goal when F Bryan Lockner (11) scored at 9:21, then tied it when F Elijah Brown (6) scored at 15:00. . . . Jevne won it with his 16th goal, at 3:07 of extra time. . . . The Tigers got two assists from F Mark Rassell. . . . Heponiemi had an assist for the Broncos, as did Gawdin. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race with 111 points, eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Gawdin also is on a 19-game point streak. . . . The Tigers were 1-3 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-5. . . . G Michael Bullion stopped 28 shots for the Tigers. . . . The Broncos got 34 saves from G Stuart Skinner. . . . Medicine Hat D Dylan MacPherson was back in the lineup after leaving Friday’s game early after taking a shot off one knee. . . . Announced attendance: 3,677.


At Kamloops, the Prince George Cougars got two shootout goals to beat the Blazers, 7-6. . . . Prince George (20-30-8) had lost its previous four games. It is fifth in the B.C. Division, PrinceGeorgenine points behind the Blazers. . . . Kamloops (26-28-5) has lost four straight (0-3-1) and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Kamloops leads the season series, 5-2-1; Prince George is 3-5-0. . . . The Blazers, who lost 2-1 to visiting Kelowna on Friday night, are scheduled to play in Everett his afternoon. . . . F Nick Chyzowski (16) gave Kamloops a 1-0 lead 15 seconds into the first period. . . . The Cougars took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, at 7:08, and F Josh Maser, on a PP, at 10:22. . . . The Blazers then went ahead 3-2 on goals from F Justin Sigrist (3), at 11:55, and F Jackson Shepard (9), on a PP, at 14:03. . . . Maser (25) tied it at 1:57 of the second period. Maser joined the Cougars during last season, after playing with the junior B Kamloops Storm. . . . F Josh Curtis (9) put the Cougars ahead, 4-3, at 4:14. . . . The Blazers got the next two goals to go ahead 5-4. F Jermaine Loewen (29) scored at 4:42, with F Quinn Benjafield (19), on a PP, scoring at 12:05. . . . The Cougars go the next two goals, going ahead 6-5 at Mikhalchuk (12) scored at 17:49 and F Jared Bethune (19) counted, on a PP, at 19:53. . . . After all that, F Tylor Ludwar (1) scored the only goal of the third period to get the Blazers into a 6-6 tie. . . . Mikhalchuk and F Ethan Browne scored shootout goals for the Cougars; Sigrist had one for the Blazers. . . . Kamloops was 2-3 on the PP; Prince George was 2-5. . . . The Cougars got 39 saves from G Tavin Grant. . . . Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson started and allowed five goals on 24 shots in 37:49. Max Palaga finished up, stopping six of seven shots in 27:11. . . . The Blazers lost D Nolan Kneen to a kneeing major and game misconduct at 2:48 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bowie, 16, made his WHL debut with the Cougars. From Fort St. John, B.C., he was a seventh-round pick by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2016 bantam draft. The Cougars acquired his rights in a deadline deal that had D Dennis Cholowski go to Portland. . . . Announced attendance: 3,165.


At Kelowna, F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Edmonton EdmontonOilKingsOil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Edmonton (18-33-7) was 3-1-0 on a trek into the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (35-18-6) leads the B.C. Division by one point over Victoria. . . . The Oil Kings were able to dress only 10 forwards. . . . D Cal Foote (15) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first period. . . . D Conner McDonald (5) tied it with a PP goal, at 11:58. . . . D Braydyn Chizen (5) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 5:52 of the second period. . . . Edmonton F Tomas Soustal (16), who moved over from Kelowna earlier in the season, tied it at 15:09. . . . Edmonton was 1-4 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-2. . . . The Oil Kings got 29 saves from G Todd Scott. . . . James Porter Jr. turned aside 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . Announced attendance: 5,112.


At Victoria, F Dino Kambeitz broke a 3-3 tie at 19:49 of the third period to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Victoria (35-21-5) had lost its previous three VictoriaRoyalsgames (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, one point behind Kelowna and five ahead of the Giants, who have three games in hand. . . . Vancouver (31-19-8) had won its previous two games. . . . Victoria won the season series, 7-3-0; Vancouver was 3-4-3. . . . Kambeitz won it with his 11th goal of the season. . . . Giants F Ty Ronning had tied the score with his 53rd goal, with 36.3 seconds left in the third period. . . . Ronning had scored the game’s first goal, on a PP, at 1:41 of the second period. . . . Victoria went ahead 2-1 on goals from Kambeitz, at 11:57, and F Tyler Soy, at 1:59 of the third period. . . . F Brayden Watts (15) tied it for Vancouver at 13:15. . . . Soy put Victoria back out front with his 32nd goal, at 16:06. . . . The Royals got three assists from F Matthew Phillips, but he wasn’t able to score on a first-period penalty shot. Phillips ran his point streak to 21 games. . . . Watts added an assist for Vancouver. . . . With 53 goals, Ronning is one off the WHL lead that is held by Moose Jaw F Jayden Halbgewachs. . . . The Giants were 2-3 on the PP; the Royals were 0-1. . . . G Griffen Outhouse, back after being out for a couple of games, stopped 24 shots for the Royals. . . . G Trent Miner was outstanding for the Giants. He finished with 38 saves, 19 of them in the first period. . . . The Royals also had D Ralph Jarratt back after he sat out a couple of games. . . . Victoria D Kade Jensen played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,816.


At Spokane, F Jake McGrew had a goal and two assists to lead the Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (32-20-5) has won two in a row. It is third in the SpokaneChiefsU.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . Tri-City (29-21-8) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane and one ahead of Seattle. . . . Spokane is 5-2-2 in the season series; Tri-City is 4-2-3. . . . The Chiefs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Ethan McIndoe (8), on a PP, at 3:54 of the first period, and D Ty Smith (10), at 4:14. . . . F Max James (7) scored Tri-City’s goal at 4:44. . . . Spokane got second-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (8), at 4:33, and McGrew (15), at 17:05. . . . D Dalton Hamaliuk (2) had Spokane’s final goal, at 7:06 of the third period. . . . F Riley Woods had two assists for the Chiefs. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1. . . . The Chiefs got 18 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Patrick Tea stopped 27 shots for the Americans. . . . Announced attendance: 9,785.


At Everett, the Seattle Thunderbirds got two shootout goals and beat the Silvertips, 3-2. . . . Seattle (28-20-9) had lost its past four games (0-2-2). It holds down the Western SeattleConference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . Everett (37-17-5) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). It leads the Western Conference standings by three points over Kelowna.  . . . On Friday, the visiting Silvertips beat the Thunderbirds, 4-3, in overtime. . . . Seattle is 4-2-1 in the season series; Everett is 3-2-2. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (4) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 16:54 of the first period. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar (11) tied it, on a PP, at 1:42 of the second period. . . . D Jarret Tyszka (7) gave Seattle a 2-1 lead at 4:26. . . . Everett F Riley Sutter (23) tied it at 16:20. . . . F Noah Philp and F Zack Andrusiak scored shootout goals for Seattle, with F Matt Fonteyne replying for Everett. . . . Tyszka also had an assist. . . . Seattle was 1-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-5. . . . Seattle G Dorrin Luding stopped 41 shots through OT. . . . Everett got 30 stops from G Carter Hart. . . . The Silvertips were without F Sean Richards after he drew a TBD suspension. He was given a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka on Friday. . . . Announced attendance: 8,238.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Regina, 2 p.m.

Saskatoon at Calgary, 2 p.m.

Lethbridge vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 4 p.m.

Red Deer vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 4 p.m.

Kamloops at Everett, 4:05 p.m.

Spokane vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 5:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Blazers honour winningest coach . . . Van Dorp a Hall of Famer . . . Pats into third in division . . . Seattle coach unhappy

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Don Hay, the winningest head coach in WHL history, was honoured in Kamloops on Friday night, prior to the Blazers’ game against the Kelowna Rockets.

Hay moved into No. 1 on the all-time regular-season coaching list on Jan. 27 when the Kamloops1Blazers beat the host Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. That left Hay with 743 victories, one more than Ken Hodge, who retired from the Winterhawks after the 1992-93 season.

Hay’s Blazers dropped a 2-1 decision to the Rockets, leaving him at 746 victories.

Hay also holds the WHL record for most career playoff victories (108).

(Interestingly, Hay is No. 2 on the Blazers’ list of regular-season coaching victories. He has (281) victories with Kamloops, second to Ken Hitchcock’s 287.)

On Thursday, the Blazers posted a letter from Hay on their website. In that letter, Hay wrote that he is “honoured to have had the opportunity to become the winningest coach in the history of the WHL.”

He continued: “I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Western Hockey League as a player back in 1972. At the time, I would not have expected it to lead me where it has.”

That complete letter is right here. It includes most of what Hay had to say as he greeted his family, those gathered to honour him and the fans.

Among those on hand to honour Hay in what was a terrific ceremony were family members, along with Fred Seymour, the chief of the Tk’emlups Indian Band; Ken Christian, the mayor of Kamloops; Don Moores, the Blazers’ president and CEO; and Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Among those featured in video tributes were Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Ryan Huska, Jarome Iginla, Mike Johnston, Brendan Gallagher, Ron Toigo, Tom Gaglardi, Ken Hodge and Bob Brown.

None of the Blazers five owners was in attendance, although Gaglardi and Iginla were on the big screen in video tributes.

The last time Robison was in Kamloops to honour a member of the Blazers organization? That was on March 7, 2012, when he presented Spike Wallace with a Distinguished Service Award. The next morning, the Blazers announced that “by mutual agreement Spike will be leaving the team to pursue other initiatives.” Wallace now is a cashier at a local grocery story.

Somehow I doubt that Hay will be bagging groceries anytime soon.


Wayne Van Dorp, who played two seasons with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds, will be among the inductees into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 22. He played one season (1978-79) with the BCJHL’s Bellingham Blazers, before spending the next two with the Thunderbirds. He had 30 goals, 43 assists and 437 penalty minutes in 131 games. . . . Van Dorp went on to a pro career that included 125 NHL games. He won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1987. . . . Among the items available in a silent auction that night will be a Carey Price-autographed Montreal Canadiens sweater. . . . The banquet is to be held at the Burnaby Firefighters’ banquet hall, Metrotown.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, the Regina Pats broke a 2-2 tie with three goals early in the third period and went on to beat the Warriors, 5-3. . . . Regina (30-24-6) has moved into third place in ReginaPats100the East Division, one point ahead of Brandon, which has three games in hand. . . . Moose Jaw (43-10-3) had won its previous three games. It now leads the overall standings by one point over Swift Current, with the Warriors having three games in hand. . . . The Warriors beat the host Pats, 6-3, on Wednesday night; they’ll meet again Sunday in Regina, too, when the Pats will retire the No. 15 in honour of Jock Callander. . . . Moose Jaw leads the season series, 5-1-0; Regina is 1-4-1. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with his WHL-leading 54th goal, at 15:06 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on second-period goals from F Nick Henry (10), on a PP, at 0:57, and F Jesse Gabrielle (10), at 11:21. . . . Moose Jaw tied it at 19:55 when F Vince Loschiavo (16) scored, on a PP. . . . Regina took control with three quick goals to start the third period. . . . F Emil Oksanen (14) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:59. . . . D Josh Mahura, who has 21 goals, then scored twice, at 6:12 and 7:34. . . . F Justin Almeida (31) got Moose Jaw’s final goal, on a PP, at 19:49. . . . Regina got two assists from F Sam Steel, with Mahura adding one. . . . F Brett Howden had three assists for the Warriors, with D Kale Clague getting two. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Regina was 2-4. . . . G Max Paddock recorded the victory with 25 saves, six fewer than Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms. . . . Regina G Ryan Kubic has missed four straight games and the Regina Leader-Post reports that he “may be suffering from a concussion.” . . . The Pats had F Koby Morriseau back after a 14-game absence. . . . D Jett Woo was back with the Warriors, after missing eight games. As well, F Barrett Sheen returned after completing a five-game suspension. . . . F Brayden Burke, who is second in the WHL scoring race, was among Moose Jaw’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 4,613.


At Prince Albert, the Raiders got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Prince Albert (23-23-11) had lost its previous three games. PrinceAlbertIt is four points behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Brandon (30-22-5) has lost three in a row and has slipped out of third place in the East Division. It now has the conference’s first wild-card spot, one point behind Regina and four ahead of Saskatoon. . . . Prince Albert is 2-1-1 in the season series; Brandon is 2-2-0. . . . F Brett Leason (10) got the Raiders going at 2:04, and F Regan Nagy (23) made it 2-0 at 6:47. . . . D Schael Higson (3) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 15:54. . . . After a scoreless second period, D Zack Hayes (3) restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead at 3:01 of the third period. . . . F Ty Lewis (31) got the Wheat Kings back to within a goal at 3:24. . . . D Vojtech Budik (9) gave the Raiders a 4-2 lead at 6:54, and F Kody McDonald (29) added another goal, at 15:44. . . . F Parker Kelly had two assists for the Raiders. . . . Brandon was 0-2 on the PP; Prince Albert was 0-4. . . . G Curtis Meger stopped 18 shots for the Raiders, while Brandon’s Logan Thompson turned aside 34 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 1,903.


At Swift Current, the Broncos scored four times in the first period and went on to a 6-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (42-13-4) has won six in a row. It SCBroncosclinched a playoff berth with this victory. The Broncos also pulled to within one point of Moose Jaw, which leads the overall standings. The Warriors still hold three games in hand. . . . Medicine Hat (28-24-7) has lost two straight. It leads the Central Division by three points over Lethbridge, which has two games in hand. . . . F Tyler Steenbergen (41) got the Broncos started at 10:00. F Giorgio Estephan (26) followed at 14:43, with F Beck Malenstyn scoring, on a PP, ta 15:35. . . . Broncos F Glenn Gawdin made it 4-0 at 17:19, on a PP, with his 50th goal of the season. F Aleksi Heponiemi earned an assist on the goal, his third of the period, giving him 100 points. . . . F Matteo Gennaro (36) and Malenstyn (10) upped the lead to 6-0 in the second period. . . . The Tigers got third-period goals from F Ryan Jevne (14) and F Henry Rybinski (2). . . . Heponiemi finished with four assists, with D Artyom Minulin and Esterphan each getting two. Gawdin and Steenbergen each had one. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race, with 109 points, seven more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke and eight more than Heponiemi. . . . Swift Current was 2-2 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 37 shots for the Broncos. . . . Medicine Hat starter Michael Bullion was beaten six times on 15 shots in 32:24. Kaeden Lane, 16, finished up, stopping all 18 shots he faced in 27:36. . . . With G Jordan Hollett injured, the Tigers have added Lane, 16, to their roster. Lane is 16-1-0, 1.44, .946 with the Burnaby Winter Club prep team in the CSSHL. . . . The Tigers scratched three defencemen — Joel Craven, Kristians Rubins and Linus Nassen — then lost D Dylan MccPherson to injury during the game. . . . Medicine Hat also was without F Hayden Ostir, F Baxter Anderson and F Mason Shaw. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes struck four times in the first period en route to a 5-4 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Letbridge (27-24-6) is second in the Central LethbridgeDivision, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (29-27-3) had won its previous three games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . The Hurricanes started 18 seconds into this one when F Jordy Bellerive (39) scored. . . . F Dylan Cozens made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later. . . . D Matthew Stanley and D Calen Addison (8) added goals before the game was six minutes old. . . . Saskatoon got two goals before the first period ended, from D Logan Christensen (4), at 11:19, and D Evan Fiala (6), at 13:49. . . . F Eric Florchuk (12) got Saskatoon to within one at 0:47 of the third period. . . . Stanley, playing in his 109th game, got his second career goal and second of the game at 5:37, restoring Lethbridge’s two-goal edge. . . . F Braylon Shmyr (28) got Saskatoon back to within a goal at 19:54. . . . Stanley and Cozens each added an assist for Lethbridge. . . . The Blades got two assists from each of Fiala and F Michael Darren, with Shmyr and Florchuk adding one apiece. . . . Saskatoon was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Logan Flodell blocked 35 shots to earn the victory. . . . Saskatoon starter Tyler Brown gave up four goals on eight shots in 5:02. Nolan Maier came on to finish up and was beaten once on 10 shots in 54:58. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph left the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 4,918.


At Cranbrook, B.C., the Kootenay Ice scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-2. . . . Kootenay (25-31-3) had lost its previous three games. It is third in Kootenaynewthe Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . Tri-City (29-20-8) had won two in a row. It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot and is fourth in the U. S. Division, a point behind Spokane. . . . F Morgan Geekie gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the first period. . . . The home team went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Gillian Kohler (4), at 16:51 of the first, and F Kaeden Taphorn (5), at 6:44 of the second. . . . Geekie (23) tied it at 9:38. . . . Ice F Cameron Hausinger (17) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 11:20 of the second period. . . . F Peyton Krebs (16) added insurance, at 4:44 of the third period, and F Brett Davis (22) finished the scoring at 16:21. . . . Krebs and Davis each had an assist. . . . F Jordan Topping and F Michael Rasmussen each had two assists in the loss. . . . Kootenay was 1-3 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-3. . . . The Ice got 19 saves from G Duncan McGovern. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 32 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 2,577.


At Kamloops, F Dillon Dube scored twice to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Kelowna (35-18-5) leads the B.C. Division by two points over Victoria. KelownaRockets. . . Kamloops (26-28-4) has lost three in a row, and is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . Dube, who has 27 goals, opened the scoring at 4:15 of the first period. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi (4) tied it at 6:48. . . . Dude snapped the tie at 12:02 of the second period. . . . D Cal Foote had two assists for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna was 1-2 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-4. . . . G Brodan Salmond stopped 28 shots for Kelowna, while Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers stopped 25. . . . These teams hadn’t met since Dec. 29. . . . Kelowna leads the season series, 5-0-0, with three games left; the Blazers are 0-4-1. . . . F Liam Kindree returned to Kelowna’s lineup after sitting out 20 games. . . . Kamloops was without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith for a third straight game. . . . The Rockets remain without F Kole Lind and F Nolan Foote. . . . The Blazers are at home to the Prince George Cougars tonight, then have to get to Everett for a Sunday afternoon date with the Silvertips. . . . Announced attendance: 4,113.


At Victoria, F Chris Douglas broke a 3-3 tie at 12:41 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Royals, 4-3. . . . Red Deer (20-26-13) has won three in a row. It remains tied Red Deerwith Kootenay for third in the Central Division. . . . Victoria (34-21-5) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind Kelowna. . . . F Matthew Phillips (44) gave Victoria a 1-0 lead at 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels scored the next three goals. . . . F Kristian Reichel (25) struck, on a PP, at 18:43. . . . F Mason McCarty (31) made it 2-1 at 9:56 of the second period and F Brandon Cutler (3) stretched the lead at 11:30. . . . D Kade Jensen (6) got the Royals to within one at 19:52, and F Lane Zablocki (13) tied it, on a PP, at 5:16 of the third. . . . Douglas won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . Phillips ran his franchise-record point streak to 20 games, during which time he has 37 points. . . . Victoria was 1-3 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-4. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 33 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Royals got 23 saves from Dean McNabb. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse for a second straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 4,217.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants got out to an early 2-0 lead and went on to beat the Edmonton Oil Kings, 2-1. . . . Vancouver (31-18-8) has won two in a row. The Giants are Vancouverthird in the B.C. Division, three points behind Victoria. . . . Edmonton (17-33-7) had won its previous three games. . . . F Tyler Benson (20) got the home team out to a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the game. . . . F Brayden Watts (14) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 3:02. . . . The Oil Kings cut the deficit to one goal when F Brett Kemp (14) scored at 1:05 of the second period. . . . Benson also had an assist. . . . Vancouver was 1-4 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-2. . . . The Giants got 30 saves from G David Tendeck, while G Josh Dechaine stopped 21 shots for Edmonton. . . . The Giants again scratched D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Darian Skeoch and D Alex Kannok Leipert, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,484.


At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp’s OT goal gave the Everett Silvertips a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (37-17-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). It leads Everettthe Western Conference by four points over Portland. . . . Seattle (27-20-9) has lost four in a row (0-2-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Each team is 3-2-1 in the season series. . . . Everett grabbed a 2-0 first-period leads on goals from F Garrett Pilon, on a PP, at 2:35, and D Kevin Davis (8), at 14:10. . . . F Matthew Wedman (14) got Seattle’s first goal, at 18:59. . . . Pilon (28) restored Everett’s two-goal edge at 2:57 of the second period. . . . Seattle tied it on third-period goals from D Austin Strand (18), on a PP, at 1:12, and D Turner Ottenbreit (8), at 10:06. . . . Kindopp (17) won it at 1:56 of extra time. . . . Everett got two assists from Riley Sutter and one from Davis. . . . Ottenbreit and Strand had an assist each for Seattle. . . . The Thunderbirds were 2-2 on the PP; the Silvertips were 1-5. . . . G Carter Hart recorded the victory with 30 saves. He now has 108 regular-season victories, which is an Everett franchise record, one more than Leland Irving (2003-08). . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 38 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett F Sean Richards took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 16:46 of the second period for a hit on Seattle D Jarret Tyszka. The ensuing brouhaha resulted in 79 penalty minutes being doled out. . . . Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette wasn’t impressed with the work of referees Sean Raphael and Mike Langin. “They had no idea who got the 10s,” O’Dette told Andy Eide of ESPN radio in Seattle. “We lost all our guys that were on the ice and somehow (Patrick) Bajkov and (Matt) Fonteyne, two of their best players, managed to stay on the ice, which is ridiculous. We ended up with four 10s, they ended with one and I don’t understand how that can possibly happen. In the heat of the moment they had no idea what was going on, who had the 10s and who didn’t. We had a key power play and we didn’t have a whole unit and they had their top penalty-killers because they somehow got to stay in the game.” . . . Eide’s complete story is right here. . . . Announced attendance: 6,409.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Prince Albert at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Kootenay at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Swift Current at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Prince George at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Vancouver at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Tri-City at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Seattle at Everett, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Doing some scattershooting . . . Giants salute their bus driver . . . Pats to retire No. 15

Scattershooting

If you haven’t noticed, the Kootenay Ice and Red Deer Rebels are tied for third place in the WHL’s Central Division, each with 51 points. Each team has 14 games remaining. This being the era of the loser point, it’s worth noting that the Ice (24-31-3) has five more victories and five more losses than the Rebels (19-26-13), who have 10 more loser points. In this instance, it’s all about those loser points.


Whichever team loses the race to third in the Central Division likely will miss the playoffs. That’s because the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot is 10 points away.


The Moose Jaw Warriors (42-9-3) lead the overall standings by three points over the Swift Current Broncos (41-13-4). However, the Warriors have four games in hand. If you’re wondering, those teams only have two games remaining with each other — Wednesday at Swift Current and March 10 in Moose Jaw. . . . Five of Moose Jaw’s remaining 18 games will be played against the Brandon Wheat Kings.


It‘s good to see former Brandon D Dwayne Gylywoychuk working the bench with the Canada’s women’s team at the Olympic Winter Games. He’s an assistant coach, and if you catch a glimpse of him you’ll see why his nickname is Chewy. I still can’t believe he doesn’t have an endorsement from Double Bubble.


Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If Tom Brady can be at the top of his game at 40, why not a rebuilt Tiger Woods at 42? There’s just too much accumulated golf knowledge, hunger and battle savvy packed into that bad-ass, free-safety body for Tiger to fade away. Plus, Woods never gets sacked, so to speak.”


One of the interesting things to happen this week has been the tweets from Mr. T — remember him? — professing to a new-found love for curling. This has led to speculation on social media that curling’s pooh-bahs will change the name of the T-line to the Mr. T line.


Former MLB pitcher Jim Deshaies, who now provides analysis on Chicago Cubs’ telecasts, remembers a time when the late Oscar Gamble saw pitcher Nolan Ryan’s name on a marquee in Anaheim and said: “Ooh, boy . . . 0-for-4 and no fractured skull is a good day.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, points out: “The last ‘Really Good’ QB for the NY Jets may in fact have been Joe Willie Namath. To put that in perspective, he is six months older than I am; and when I was in high school, they were able to teach all of World History in four days.”


Those international hockey games between the American and Canadian women’s teams certainly have a lot of body contact for a game in which bodychecking is against the rules. . . . I got a personal introduction to that rivalry two years ago when the IIHF Women’s World Championship was decided in Kamloops. It only seems to have grown hotter since then.


MacBeth

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Leksand (Sweden, Allsvenskan) after receiving his release from the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). He had five goals and eight assists in 45 games with Straubing this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials, is at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. With the men’s hockey competition having started, he is a busy man.

Early Thursday (Pacific time), he reported . . .

“A day at the exciting last game of the day. Korea vs Czech Republic. The Czech won 2-1, Olylogobut the big thing was what happened inside the game building, actually. We’re in South Korea in an ice rink and who comes in — nope, not him — but a singing and dancing choir from North Korea. WOW is all I had to say.

“Hockey is interesting without the NHL. Anyone can win this tournament.”

Later Thursday — it was well into Friday in PyeongChang — Courneyea worked the men’s game between Slovakia and the U.S.

“I’m now supervising the upstairs crew,” he wrote, “Ed (Petrullo) from Seattle was moved downstairs onto scorekeepers row. You might see him on TV. He’s at centre ice level right above the large snowflake on the boards.

“The atmosphere in here is great.”

Petrullo is an off-ice official with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

Courneyea added:

“We are doing training for the local Koreans who came to work and will move on to the Paralympics.

“We originally came to do one job but our experience has over-ridden that. We also didn’t want to cut out those locals who have been training and working for this time. That was our group’s consensus when the four of us came in on the first day.”

As for the men’s tournament, he wrote:

“This is ANYONE’S tournament. No clear winners!”

It’s worth noting, too, he wrote, that the sweaters players are wearing in these Olympics, “have chips to track all the on-ice stats.”

If you weren’t watching, Team USA beat the Slovakians, 2-1.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A tip of the Taking Note cap to the players on the Vancouver Giants for something they did after their 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Wednesday night.

Many junior teams have something that goes to a player of the game. In the Giants’ case, Vancouverit is a replica of a WWE championship belt.

Jess Rubenstein is the prospect editor for the Blueshirt Bulletin, and keeps close tabs on New York Rangers’ prospects, including Giants F Cliff Ronning.

All Ronning did in Portland was score twice — Nos. 50 and 51. In the process, he became the first player in franchise history to score 50 times on one season. No, he didn’t get the replica WWE belt.

Rubenstein was at the game and sent along a couple of notes after the game:

“The belt was given to bus driver Derek Holloway. He was wearing the belt with a giant-sized smile as he supervised the postgame loading.

“It was a huge win for the Giants players but they honoured their driver for his 600th road game. Hockey truly is special.

“It was truly a classy move by the players to honour the guy who gets them from place to place. The rest of the world doesn’t know how important these drivers are, so it was great to see the Giants do that for Holloway.”


The Regina Pats will honour Jock Callander by retiring his number (15) prior to a game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday. . . . Callander played four seasons ReginaPats100(1978-82) with the Pats, totalling 368 points, 158 of them goals, in 201 games. In franchise history, he is sixth in points, tied for seventh in goals, and sixth in assists (210). . . . In 1981-82, Callander led the WHL in scoring, with 190 points in 71 games. . . . Callander, who is from Regina, went on to a pro career that included a Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. . . . He also played 1,054 games in the now-defunct International Hockey League. He finished with 1,242 points, and that’s No. 1 in IHL history. . . . The last Regina player to wear No. 15 was F Braydon Buziak, who was traded to the Victoria Royals earlier this season.

Other numbers retired by the Pats — 1. Ed Staniowski; 7. Jordan Eberle; 8. Brad Hornung; 9. Clark Gillies; 12. Doug Wickenheiser; 14. Dennis Sobchuk; 16. Dale Derkatch/Mike Sillinger; 17. Bill Hicke.


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Warriors first to clinch playoff spot . . . Dach just what Blades ordered . . . Ronning breaks 50, beats Winterhawks


MacBeth

F Colin Long (Kelowna, 2005-09) has signed a one-year extension with Gherdëina Selva Gardena (Italy, Alps HL). This season, he has four goals and 11 assists in 11 games. His season was cut short due to a “serious knee injury” suffered in a game against Sterzing on Dec. 26.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials, is at the Olympic Winter OlylogoGames in PyeongChang. He flew out of Kamloops on Friday, and saw his first game action on Wednesday.

He reports:

“Just finished the Slovakia vs Olympic Athletes of Russia game (kind doesn’t sound right).

“Russia played an incredible game but Slovakia decided to play smarter and got the win (3-2).

“Brett Iverson did the game.”

Iverson is a veteran WHL referee.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Max Wutzke, a defenceman with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, is recovering in hospital in Coquitlam after taking a hit from behind during a game against the host Coquitlam Express on Feb. 7.

Wutzke, a 19-year-old from Calgary, left the game at 1:55 of the first period.

He has since had surgery on a broken femur and is looking at likely another two weeks in hospital. Troy Mick, the Silverbacks’ president, told Taking Note that there Wutzke had to deal with some “complications from surgery.” Wutzke has had four operations on that femur.

Mick added that Wutzke faces a long road back, but “they say his career isn’t over.”

This season, his second with Salmon Arm, Wutzke has a goal and nine assists in 51 games.

D Lucas Wong of the Express drew a match penalty on the play and has since been suspended for six games.


The AJHL’s Canmore Eagles announced Wednesday that Jeremy Reich, their assistant general manager/assistant coach, has resigned “to pursue other career aspirations” in the area of firefighting. . . . Reich had been on the Eagles’ coaching staff since 2012, after finishing his playing career in Germany. . . . Reich, 39, and Andrew Milne, the Eagles’ GM and head coach, played together in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos in 1998-99. . . . Reich split 335 regular-season games between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Swift Current (1995-2000).


If you like what you see here, please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.

And don’t forget that the domain name here is greggdrinnan.com.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, the Moose Jaw Warriors became the first WHL team this season to clinch a playoff spot as they beat the Pats, 6-3. . . . Moose Jaw (43-9-3) has won four straight. It MooseJawWarriorsleads the overall standings by three points over Swift Current. The Warriors have three games in hand. . . . Regina (29-24-6) is 1-1-1 in its past three games. It holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the East Division, one point behind Brandon. . . . The Pats and Warriors will meet twice more this week — in Moose Jaw on Friday, then back in Regina on Sunday. They will complete the season series on Feb. 24 in Moose Jaw. . . . The Warriors lead the season series, 5-0-0; Regina is 0-4-1. . . . D Brandon Schuldhaus gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead at 6:53 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Cam Hebig (39), at 12:57 of the first, and F Sam Steel (22), on a PP, at 1:41 of the second period. . . . The visitors took control by scoring the next four goals, three of them in the second period. . . . F Tanner Jeannot got it started, on a PP, at 9:52, with Schuldaus (6) making it 3-2 at 10:15, and F Jayden Halbgewachs upping it to 4-2 at 10:35. Jeannot added his 35th goal, at 6:30, for a 5-2 lead. . . . D Josh Mahura (19), on a PP, scored for the Pats at 8:01. . . . Halbgewachs closed out the scoring with his WHL-leading 53rd goal at 18:54. . . . Halbgewachs added two assists to his two goals, while Jeannot had one helper. F Brett Howden helped out the winners with two assists, with Schuldaus getting one. . . . Schuldaus didn’t have a goal in 37 games with Red Deer this season before being dealt to Moose Jaw. Since then, he has six goals and four assists in 14 games. . . . F Matt Bradley drew three assists for Regina. Steel and Mahura each had one. . . . Regina was 2-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Brody Willms earned the victory with 33 saves, three more than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . The Warriors continue to play without D Jett Woo and F Barrett Sheen. . . . Announced attendance: 6,047.


At Swift Current, F Tyler Steenbergen broke a 2-2 tie at 11:06 of the third period to help the Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swift Current (41-13-4) SCBroncoshas won five straight. It is second in the overall standings, three points behind Moose Jaw, which holds three games in hand. . . . Brandon (30-21-5) has lost two in a row. It is third in the East Division, one point ahead of Regina. . . . Steenbergen, who scored the goal that gave Canada the 2018 World Junior Championship, got his seventh game-winner this season and the 22nd of his WHL career. . . . D Colby Sissons (12) gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 11:18 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Ty Lewis (30) tied it at 9:15 of the second period. . . . The Broncos went back out front at 9:46 as F Kole Gable (6) scored. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it 2-2 as F Rylan Bettens (4) scored at 13:27. . . . Steenbergen broke the tie with his 40th goal, at 11:06 of the third period, and F Glenn Gawdin (49) add the empty-netter at 19:49. . . . Gawdin and Steenbergen added two assists each. . . . Gawdin leads the WHL scoring race with 107 points, five more than Moose Jaw F Brayden Burke. . . . Swift Current was 0-2 on the PP; Brandon was 0-3. . . . G Stuart Skinner stopped 31 shots for the Broncos. . . . Brandon got 29 stops from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (UB) was among Brandon’s scratches, while D Chase Hartje (ill) and D Schael Higson (ill) also sat this one out. . . . Brandon F Baron Thompson served the final game of a four-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 2,734.


At Calgary, D Dylan Coghlan drew three assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 4-3 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Tri-City (29-19-8) has won two in a row. It holds down the TriCity30Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. It also is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane. . . . Calgary (17-32-7) had won its previous game. . . . The Americans opened a three-game dip into the Central Division with a 6-3 victory in Lethbridge on Tuesday. Tri-City will meet the host Kootenay Ice on Friday. . . . F Luke Coleman (13) got Calgary on the scoreboard first, at 8:34 of the first period. . . . Former Hitmen D Jake Bean (9) pulled Tri-City even, on a PP, at 16:59. . . . F Michael; Rasmussen (22) gave the Americans the lead, on a PP, at 19:54. . . . D Dakota Krebs (3), who went to Calgary in the Bean deal, tied it at 11:17 of the second period, only to have Tri-City F Jordan Topping (32) scored just seven seconds later. . . . F Parker AuCoin (15), who also had an assist, upped the lead to 4-2, shorthanded, at 13:03. . . . F Tristen Nielsen (12) got the Hitmen to within a goal at 3:11 of the third period. . . . Coleman added an assist for Calgary. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Calgary was 0-6. . . . G Beck Warm earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . Calgary got 21 stops from Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 5,213.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Kirby Dach returned after a one-game injury-related absence to score on goal and set up two others as his Saskatoon Blades got past the Kootenay Ice, 3-Saskatoon2. . . . Saskatoon (29-26-3) has won three in a row. It now has won 30 games, one more than it won all of last season. The Blades also have 12 road victories, one more than last season. . . . Saskatoon holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Kootenay (24-31-3) has lost three straight. It is tied with Red Deer for third in the Central Division. . . . The Blades took a 2-0 lead on PP goals from Dach (5), at 9:25 of the first period, and D Dawson Davidson (9), at 4:16 of the second. . . . The Ice tied it on goals from F Colton Veloso (20), on a PP, at 14:25 of the second and F Brett Davis (21), shorthanded, at 13:33 of the third. . . . At 17:12, Dach set up F Michael Farren (8) for the game-winner. . . . Farren also had an assist. . . . Davis added an assist to his goal for the Ice. . . . Saskatoon was 2-7 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-5. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for the Blades, one more than the Ice’s Matt Berlin. . . . The Ice scratched D Jonathan Smart (undisclosed injury), who wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s injury report, while they remain without injured F Keenan Taphorn (UB). . . . Kootenay added F Connor McClennon, the second overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, to their roster on Tuesday, but he was a healthy scratch from this one. . . . The Blades were en route to Cranbrook on Tuesday when they had to stop for the night in Pincher Creek, Alta., due to high winds and deteriorating driving conditions. They left Pincher Creek on Wednesday and proceeded with no problems, arriving in Cranbrook at 11 a.m. “Winds were down significantly and plows and sanding trucks had been out overnight,” Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, told Taking Note. “The highway actually opened at 10 (Tuesday night), but no sense going at that point.” . . . Announced attendance: 2,022.


At Portland, F Ty Ronning scored Nos. 50 and 51, and G David Tendeck made 49 saves, leading the Vancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Vancouver (30-Vancouver18-8) is third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Kelowna and Victoria. . . . Portland (35-19-4) had won its previous five games. It is second in the U.S. Division, two points behind Everett. . . . F Dawson Holt (10) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:30 of the first period. . . . Portland went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Reece Newkirk (5), at 2:49, and F Ryan Hughes (12), on a PP, at 17:02. . . . Ronning became the first player in Giants to get to 50 when he scored at 10:25 of the third period. He broke the tie with No. 51, at 17:32. . . . F Brayden Watts (13) got the empty-netter at 19:30, off a pass from Ronning. . . . D Bowen Byram had two assists for the Giants. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Vancouver was 0-2. . . . Tendeck stopped all 18 shots Portland fired his way in the third period. He had turned aside 19 shots in the second. . . . G Cole Kehler made 15 saves for Portland. . . . The Giants scratched four defencemen — Dylan Plouffe, Matt Barberis, Darion Skeoch and Alex Kannok Leipert, all of whom are injured. . . . They also are without F Milos Roman (ankle) and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . D Joel Sexsmith, a first-round selection by the Swift Current Broncos in the 2017 WHL bantam draft, made his debut with the Giants. . . . Announced attendance: 3,025.


At Spokane, F Kailer Yamamoto broke a 2-2 tie scoring on a deflection at 19:32 of the third period to give the Chiefs a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (31-SpokaneChiefs20-5) is third in the U.S. Division, seven points back of Portland. . . . Kamloops (26-27-4) has lost two straight and remains six points out of a playoff spot. . . . D Joe Gatenby (12) put Kamloops ahead 1-0 at 3:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack (11) tied it at 10:32. . . . F Jake McGrew (14) gave the Chiefs a lead, on a PP, at 14:35. . . . The Blazers tied it at 14:06 of the third period on F Jackson Shepard’s eighth goal. . . . Yamamoto won it with his 14th goal. . . . The Chiefs got two assists from D Tyson Helgesen. . . . Yamamoto also had an assist. He now has 34 points, including 12 goals, in 14 games since returning to the Chiefs from the WJC. . . . F Orrin Centazzo had two assists for Kamloops. . . . Spokane was 1-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Dawson Weatherill made 29 saves for the Chiefs, while the Blazers got 24 saves from G Dylan Ferguson. . . . The Blazers again were without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith, both of whom are injured. . . . Blazers head coach Don Hay turned 64 on Tuesday, celebrating with a taco or two in Spokane, as you can see from the above tweet. . . . Announced attendance: 3,526.


At Kelowna, the Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, as they skated to a 4-1 victory over the Rockets. . . . Red Deer (19-26-13) has won Red Deertwo in a row and now is tied with Kootenay for third in the Central Division. . . . Kelowna (34-18-5) has points in its previous two games (1-0-1). It is tied with Victoria for top spot in the B.C. Division, but the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . The Rebels won despite being outshot 11-1 in the first period and 15-7 in the second. . . . F Josh Tarzwell (8) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 2:19 of the first period. . . . F Kyle Topping (19) tied it at 10:10 of the third period. . . . Rebels F Brandon Hagel (10) broke the tie at 11:08. . . . F Reese Johnson (19) upped it to 3-1, on a PP, at 13:21. . . . F Mason McCarty (30) got the empty-netter at 19:00. . . . D Dawson Barteaux had two assists for the winners, with Johnson adding one. . . . Red Deer was 1-2 on the PP; Kelowna was 1-6. . . . G Riley Lamb was terrific for the Rebels, finishing with 36 saves. . . . The Rockets got 14 stops from G Brodan Salmond. . . . G James Porter Jr., who left a Monday game with an apparent injury, was on Kelowna’s bench in a backup role. . . . Kelowna scratched F Kole Lind, who took a stiff check from Victoria D Ralph Jarratt on Monday afternoon. . . . Announced attendance: 4,526.


At Victoria, Tomas Soustal scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 7-6 victory over the Royals. . . . Edmonton (17-32-7) has won three straight. . . . EdmontonOilKingsVictoria (34-21-4) has lost two in a row. It is tied with Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division. . . . F Tyler Soy (30) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 1:02 of the first period. . . . Edmonton went up 2-1 on goals from F Trey Fix-Wolansky (24), on a PP, at 6:36 and F David Kope (10), at 7:54. . . . F Matthew Phillips (43) tied it at 8:33. . . . F Davis Murray (1) put Edmonton back into the lead at 14:15, and Victoria F Tanner Kaspick wrapped up a six-goal period by tying it at 17:35. . . . D Brayden Gorda (1) gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead at 2:44 of the second period, only to have Victoria D Kade Jensen (5) equalize at 9:52. . . . Soustal put the Oil Kings back out front at 14:09. . . . Kaspick (22) tied it, again, at 2:51, but Soustal (15) gave the visitors a 6-5 lead at 16:29. . . . The Royals forced OT when F Noah Gregor got his 22nd goal with 57.3 seconds left in the regulation time. . . . F Brett Kemp, D Matthew Robertson and F Nick Bowman head two assists each for Edmonton, with Soustal, Fix-Wolansky and Murray each getting one. . . . Victoria got two assists from each of D Mitchell Prowse and Soy, with Phillips, Kaspick, Jensen and Gregor adding one apiece. . . . Royals F Dante Hannoun picked up one assist, for his 200th career point. . . . Edmonton was 1-2 on the PP; Victoria was 1-6. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 32 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . With G Griffen Outhouse scratched — no, he wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s injury report — the Royals added G Joel Grzybowski to their roster from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars. He was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season. . . . Grzybowski, 18, started, as he made his seventh WHL appearance, the first six of which were with Saskatoon last season. He stopped 21 shots. . . . F Ty Yoder, 15, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Tofield, Alta., he was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He has 38 goals and 21 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Elite 15s of the CSSHL. . . . D Ralph Jarratt was among Victoria’s scratches. . . . Announced attendance: 3,791.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Injury-riddled Giants add Sexsmith . . . Strumm, Thunder into Hall of Fame . . . Rockets, Royals pay for early scrap


MacBeth

D Martin Gernát (Edmonton, 2011-13) had his loan assignment by Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga) to Lausanne (Switzerland, NL A) extended until the end of the season. He has two goals and an assist in eight games with Lausanne. . . . The initial loan assignment was until Dec. 17 and was subsequently extended until Feb. 5. Gernát started this season with Prešov (Slovakia, 1. Liga), recording two assists in three games. He signed with Košice on Nov. 21. He was pointless in two games when he was loaned to Lausanne on Dec. 7.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials is at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang where he’ll be working the hockey Olylogocompetitions.

On Tuesday, with the men’s hockey less than 24 hours from starting, he reported:

“The overall atmosphere here in South Korea has been amazing. There have been many locals volunteer for the Games, even if they don’t fully understand the sport. I think it’s that they just want to be involved.

“It’s still windy but the cold temps have dropped a bit.

“The locals say this is their winter season (Feb-Oct) but there is no snow in the lower elevations (kind of reminds us of Vancouver), yet the hills are battling cold and extremely windy conditions.

“Overall, the Games are good, the events are selling out and the people are very, very friendly.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

With the Vancouver Giants’ defensive corps suddenly riddled by injury, D Joel Sexsmith, 15, is expected to make his WHL debut tonight (Wednesday) against the host Portland VancouverWinterhawks. . . . Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted updates on the Giants’ situation on Tuesday morning. . . . The Giants will be without D Darian Skeoch, D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis and perhaps D Alex Kannok Leipert. . . . The Swift Current Broncos selected Sexsmith in the first round of the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. The Broncos weren’t able to sign him and dealt him to the Giants on Jan. 7, getting back a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. . . . From Edmonton, he has two goals and 12 assists in 13 games with the Edge School Elite 15s. He also had a goal and three assists with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . D Parker Hendren, another AP, likely will get into his eighth game. Hendren, 16, has been playing with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. He was a seventh-round pick by the Giants in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . Meanwhile, Vancouver F Milos Roman (ankle) is scheduled to skate on Friday for the first time since he last played on Jan. 9. In a perfect scenario, he then would be about two weeks from playing again.


The Las Vegas Thunder, which included former WHL executive and coach Bob Strumm, is to be inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony Thunderis scheduled for May 11 at the Orleans Arena. . . . The Thunder, owned by the father-and-son duo of Hank and Ken Stickney, was an International Hockey League franchise that played out of the Thomas & Mack Center for six seasons (1993-99). The franchise folded on April 18, 1999. . . . “I just want to firstly thank the directors and the committee for recognizing our efforts and the fact that we may have paved the way a little bit for professional hockey, what’s happening here today, which is pretty special for us and pretty special for that other pro team that’s going pretty good right now,” Strumm said during a Tuesday news conference. “We hope that we kicked the can down the road a little bit for those guys.” . . . Strumm worked in the WHL office, and also with the Billings Bighorns, Regina Pats and Spokane Chiefs, filling roles from owner to GM to head coach.


F Mitchell Callahan of the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors has been suspended for 20 games. According to a news release from the AHL, Callahan was suspended for “violating the terms of the AHL/PHPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.” . . . Callahan will be eligible to return on April 11. . . . Callahan signed a two-year deal with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers on July 1. He had been in the Detroit Red Wings’ organization for six seasons. . . . The 26-year-old Callahan is from Whittier, Calif. He played three seasons (2008-11) with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.


BradHornungKenMcIntyre
BEST OF FRIENDS: Brad Hornung enjoyed visits from buddy Ken McIntyre at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina. McIntyre, 48, died last week in Minot, N.D.

CLARIFICATION: In this space on Saturday, I wrote that Ken McIntyre, a former WHL player, had died on Feb. 7 after being “found unresponsive in a vehicle at an intersection in Minot, N.D.” . . . I have been informed that this isn’t accurate. He wasn’t in a vehicle when he was found unresponsive at a city intersection, apparently having collapsed just as he was about to walk across the street. A passer-by spotted him, initiated CPR and called 9-1-1. However, McIntyre, 48, was pronounced dead at hospital.


The Kootenay Ice has added F Connor McClennon, 15, to its roster. McClennon, from Wainwright, Alta., was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . He has 26 goals and 41 assists in 31 games with the CSSHL’s Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . The Ice is scheduled to entertain the Saskatoon Blades tonight (Wednesday).


The Victoria Royals and Kelowna Rockets have been fined $500 apiece after two players whlbecame involved in a fight just 10 seconds into Monday’s Family Day game in the Little Apple. F Braydon Buziak of the Royals and F Kyle Pow of the Rockets drew one-game suspensions for the scrap. . . . The Rockets won the game, 5-4, but lost F Kole Lind after he took a hard hit from Victoria D Ralph Jarratt while cutting across the slot in the Royals’ zone. Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ general manager, told Steve Ewen of Postmedia on Monday evening that Lind will be “out for a week likely.” . . . The Rockets also lost G James Porter Jr., when he left the game after being involved in a goal-mouth collision. . . . Lind and Porter both are listed as day-to-day with undisclosed injuries. . . . “Can you imagine if the Rockets and Royals met in a playoff series?” Regan Bartel, the radio voice of the Rockets, wrote on this blog. “It would be a blood bath. These two organizations detest one another.”


THE ROSTER REPORT: The Brandon Wheat Kings are listing F Stelio Mattheos as being out “TBD” with an upper-body injury. . . . The Regina Pats show G Ryan Kubic (UB) as being out indefinitely, meaning they will continue to go with Max Paddock as their starter. G Jacob Wasserman, who was added to the roster from the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, remains with the Pats. . . . G Carl Stankowski, who has yet to play for Seattle this season, remains out week-to-week. It’s looking more and more as though he won’t appear in a game this season. . . . The Victoria Royals list F Jeff de Wit and F D-Jay Jerome (both UB) as week-to-week, while D Chaz Reddekopp (UB) will be out another three weeks.


The Kimberley Dynamiters of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have yet to seen a penny from Mike Gould, who pledged $7.5 million to the junior B team earlier this season. . . . However, Gould has pleaded guilty to fraud charges after he allegedly paid a tab of almost $8,000 at a Cranbrook restaurant with two cheques that were in another person’s name. . . . Gould is to be sentenced in February. CBC News reports that Gould also faces a second charge of using a forged document. . . . The CBC report is right here.


You are free to donate to the cause if you wish. All you have to do is click on the DONATE button over there on the right.

If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.



IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge


WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

TUESDAY:

At Lethbridge, D Juuso Valimaki scored a goal and drew two assists to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge (26-24-6) is second in the TriCity30Central Division, five points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Tri-City (28-19-8) had lost its previous four games (0-3-1). The Americans hold down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, two points ahead of Seattle. Tri-City is fourth in the U.S. Division, one point behind Spokane. . . . The teams alternated goals until the Americans took control with the last three scores. . . . F Riley Sawchuk gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 13:54 of the first period, only to have Lethbridge F Brad Morrison (21) tied it, on a PP, at 16:17. . . . The Americans went back out front at 3:41 of the second period when F Parker AuCoin struck, on a PP. . . . F Taylor Ross (15) got the Hurricanes even at 6:13. . . . Valimaki (7) gave Tri-City a 3-2 lead, on another PP, at 15:23. . . . F Logan Barlage (5) got the home boys back on even ground at 1:18 of the third period. . . . AuCoin (14) snapped the tie just 21 seconds later. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (21), who also had an assist, added insurance at 3:43 and Sawchuk (12) got the empty-netter at 19:10. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from F Dylan Cozens. . . . Tri-City was 2-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 1-2. . . . G Patrick Dea earned the victory with 27 saves. . . . The Hurricanes got 29 saves from G Reece Klassen. . . . The Americans are on a quick three-game trip into the Central Division. They will play the Calgary Hitmen tonight and the Kootenay Ice on Friday. . . . Prior to the game, the WHL presented Bob Bartlett, the Hurricanes’ director of player development, with a Distinguished Service Award. Bartlett has been around the WHL for more than 40 years, and has worked with the Lethbridge Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors, as well as the Hurricanes. He is a member of the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame, the Alberta Hockey Hall of Game and the Lethbridge Broncos/Hurricanes Hall of Fame. . . . Announced attendance: 3,603.


WEDNESDAY:

Moose Jaw at Regina, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Portland, 7 p.m.

Kamloops at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Red Deer at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Edmonton at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Kisio has lighter wallet, victory . . . Oil Kings shock Blazers . . . Rebels continue to put heat on Ice

Dan
Dan Courneyea of Kamloops is ready to work some games in the Gangneung Hockey Centre in PyeongChang.

DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials is at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang where he’ll be working the hockey competitions.

On Monday, he reported:

“The Games have started off well. Fans are showing up to events. When Korea is involved events are sold out — it’s great to see the support). Still cold, sun is out.

“The wind has been playing havoc on some events up in the mountains. Women’s hockey, no surprises. Men’s actually starts on the 14th.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

On the road again . . . the Edmonton Oil Kings are on the road, again. . . .

When the Oil Kings played in Kamloops on Monday afternoon, it was their 12th road EdmontonOilKingsgame in their last 15 assignments. Since Jan. 9, they have made stops in Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Cranbrook, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Cranbrook (again), Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Kamloops.

The Oil Kings’ present trip also will include stops in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna, which will make it 15 of 18 on the road, and all of that since Jan. 9.

All of the travel means two things to a WHL team — a lack of sleep and a dire shortage of true practice time.

Here’s Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton, talking with Derek Van Diest of Postmedia:

“You give up sleep and that’s the biggest thing when you’re managing yourself on the road. Every bus trip, you give up sleep, and then you start operating from a deficit and it’s hard to make that up, because we haven’t had a set amount of time to recoup that. We’ve played every second day, every third day, we travel in between and practice has been virtually nil.”

Here’s  hoping that the WHL will put a whole lot of thought into its 2018-19 schedule. With the decision already made to trim each team’s schedule from 72 to 68 games, there really is a need for the WHL pooh-bahs, who love to talk about being a developmental league, to find more time for its players to rest and to practice.

Van Diest’s story is right here.


DEPARTMENT OF DISCIPLINE: Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been $750 after he was tossed from a 4-2 loss in Regina on Saturday. Kisio got the ol’ heave-ho at 15:01 of the third period. According to Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post, Kisio offered up a “lengthy tirade” and “gave referees Steve Papp and Mike Langin an earful before he finally left the bench, receiving a loud ovation from the locals.” . . . The WHL office also set F Parker Kelly’s suspension at one game. Kelly, a forward with the Prince Albert Raiders, took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Saskatoon F Kirby Dach in a 6-3 loss to the host Blades on Saturday. Kelly served the suspension when he sat out Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos. Each didn’t play in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout victory over visiting Regina.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Nick Perna, a 16-year-old who is from Dallas, Texas. He was added to the Winterhawks’ protected list in March. The 6-foot-2 Perna had a goal and eight assists in 30 games with the Dallas Stars elite U16 AAA team. . . . Perna attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the start of this season.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

At Cranbrook, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four third-period goals as they beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (26-23-6) had lost its previous two games. It is second in Lethbridgethe Central Division, five points behind Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes hold three games in hand. . . . Kootenay (24-30-3) has lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . .  D Koletrane Wilson (3) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 16:19 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it at 17:54 when F Alec Baer (24) scored, on a PP, then took a 2-1 lead at 1:27 of the third period as F Colton Veloso (19) scored, also on the PP. . . . The visitors took a 3-2 lead on two goals from F Brad Morrison, at 15:22 and 15:41. He’s got 20 goals. . . . F Jake Elmer (15) added insurance, at 15:41, and F Jordy Bellerive (38) got the empty-netter, at 17:17. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from each of D Calen Addison, Bellerive and F Jadon Joseph, with Morrison adding one to his pair of goals. . . . Kootenay was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-5. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 26 saves, eight fewer than the Ice’s Duncan McGovern. . . . F Dylan Cozens was back in Lethbridge’s lineup after not having played since Jan. 19. He missed nine games with an undisclosed injury. When he went down, Cozens, 17, had 16 goals and 23 assists in 40 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,969.


At Kamloops, the Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals 22 seconds apart early in the second period and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Edmonton EdmontonOilKings(16-32-7) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (26-26-4) had won its previous two games. It remains six points away from a Western Conference wild-card spot. . . . F Jackson Shepard (7) was credited with the Blazers’ first goal, when a point shot by D Sean Strange went off his skate and trickled over the goal line. . . . Edmonton tied the score at 1:20 of the second period when F Colton Kehler re-directed a point shot by D Conner McDonald. . . . Shortly after that, the Blazers broke out 2-on-1, only to have the horn sound to kill play. An apparent save by Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson went to video review and Edmonton F Brendan Semchuk, who is from Kamloops, was awarded his 12th goal of the season. . . . Kehler (26) gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Ethan Cap iced it with an empty-netter, at 19:29 of the third period. . . . D Conner McDonald, who began his career with Kamloops, had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Edmonton was 1-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 29 shots for Edmonton, 10 more than Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers. . . . This season, Kamloops is 1-6-2 when playing in front of more than 4,000 fans at home. . . . This game, on Faith and Family Day, drew the largest crowd this season. . . . Announced attendance: 5,578.


At Prince George, F Brandon Hagel earned four assists and G Riley Lamb posted the shutout as the Red Deer Rebels blanked the Cougars, 4-0. . . . Red Deer (18-26-13) has PrinceGeorgeclosed to within two points of third-place Kootenay in the Central Division. . . . Prince George (19-30-8) has lost four in a row. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the first period. . . . D Alex Alexeyev (7) upped that to 2-0 at 19:01 of the second period. . . . Alexeyev was playing his first game since Jan. 20. He had left the team and returned to Russia following the unexpected death of his mother. . . . F Mason McCarty (29), on a PP, and F Kristian Reichel (24) added third-period goals. . . . Barteaux and Alexeyev added an assist each, as did Lamb. . . . Lamb finished with 25 saves as he put up his first shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. . . . The Cougars got 27 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Announced attendance: 3,071.


At Kelowna, the Rockets opened up a 5-2 second-period lead and hung on for a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (34-17-5) had lost its previous two games (0-KelownaRockets1-1). It leads the B.C. Division by one point over Victoria. The Rockets have two games in hand. . . . Victoria (34-20-4) had won two in a row. . . . The teams played a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Victoria, with the Royals winning 6-1 and 4-3 in OT. . . . F Matthew Phillips (42) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead when he scored on a penalty shot at 5:02 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind tied it at 5:31. . . . The Royals went back out front at 8:29 when F Noah Gregor (21) scored. . . . Lind (31) tied it, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . The Rockets took control with three second-period goals. . . . F Dillon Dube (25) made it 3-2 at 4:03; F Carsen Twarynski (35) scored at 8:09; and D Gordie Ballhorn (4) upper it to 5-2, on a PP, at 13:52. . . . F Tyler Soy (29) got Victoria to within two at 16:04. . . . The Royals cut the deficit to one on a goal by F Andrei Grishakov (18), on a PP, at 11:01 of the third period. . . . Dube added two assists to his goal, with F Kyle Topping and D Cal Foote also getting two assists each for the Rockets. Lind added one to his pair of goals. . . . The Royals got two assists from F Igor Martynov and one from Phillips. . . . Phillips now has 93 points, which is a Victoria franchise record. He had shared the record with F Alex Forsberg (2015-16). F Mark Santorelli holds the Chilliwack/Victoria record (101, 2007-08). . . . Phillips also is riding a franchise record 18-game point streak. He has 34 points, including 14 goals, in that time. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Victoria was 1-3. . . . Kelowna G James Porter Jr. allowed four goals on 25 shots in 51:20, before leaving with an injury. Brodan Salmond came on to finish up. He stopped the only shot he fced in 8:40. . . . The Royals got 30 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Each team was 4-3-1 in the season series. . . . Wayne Moore of castanet.net reports that “Lind may have suffered a concussion after he was hit by by Ralph Jarratt while cutting through the slot. Lind lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice.” Jarratt wasn’t penalized on the play; Lind didn’t return. . . . “I don’t really have any comment on the hit,” Kelowna head coach Jason Smith told Moore, “because the league will look at that, and there may be some decisions on what they thought, whether it was a clean hit or not a clean hit.” . . . Announced attendance: 5,625.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Tri-City at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.