Gustafson will stay in Portland. . . . Blazers restart coaching search. . . . Warriors, Chiefs sign first-rounders

MacBeth

D Mathew Berry-Lamontagna (Prince Albert, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with HK Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Simon Fraser U (BC Intercollegiate), he had four goals and 16 assists. He was named the BCIHL’s MVP and top defenseman, and a first-team all-star. . . .

D Cody Carlson (Medicine Hat, Regina, Prince George, 2006-12) has signed a one-year contract with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga), he had four goals and 28 assists in 49 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

D Vladimír Mihálik (Red Deer, Prince George, 2005-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, he had four goals and 10 assists in 49 games. . . .

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2013-16) signed a two-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL), he had two assists in 15 games. He also had two goals and five assists in 16 games with Bars Kazan (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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The Kamloops Blazers held a development camp in the city over the weekend.

During the camp, Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week asked general manager Matt Kamloops1Bardsley about the team’s search for a head coach to replace one-and-done Serge Lajoie.

Bardsley replied: “We are getting close, but we’re taking our time, double-checking, triple-checking, doing extra interviews with the individuals. We want to make sure we feel really good about it when we walk away from it.”

What Bardsley didn’t say is that the Blazers are pretty much back to Square 1.

Taking Note has been told that the Blazers offered their head-coaching position to Kyle Gustafson. In fact, the offer is believed to have been for four years.

Gustafson, however, withdrew his name from consideration and will be staying in Portland as the Winterhawks’ assistant general manager and associate coach. He has been on Portland’s coaching staff since 2004.

Bardsley, who is preparing for his second season as the Blazers’ general manager, left the Winterhawks to come to Kamloops. He had been with the Winterhawks since 1999, first as a scout and, in the end, as assistant GM. So he is quite familiar with Gustafson.

In fact, Taking Note was told last month, and it was reported in this space, that Gustafson was the leading candidate for the Blazers’ head-coaching job a year ago. However, ownership decided the new man would be Lajoie, who was coming off a national university championship with the Alberta Golden Bears.

With Gustafson out of the picture, where do the Blazers go now?

Malcolm Cameron, who has been in the coaching game since 1998 when he was an assistant coach at Acadia U, is believed to have interviewed with Bardsley. Cameron, 49, spent three seasons (2011-14) with the Regina Pats, the first two as an assistant coach, the last as head coach. He was the head coach of the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder for the past three seasons, until they let him go on April 10.

Cameron made earlier ECHL stops with the Columbia Inferno, Cincinnati Cyclones, Columbus Stars, Corpus Christi Rayz, Long Beach Ice Dogs, Texas Wildcatters, Florida Everglades and Elmira Jackals.

It could be that Jeff Truitt, who just completed his first season as an assistant coach with the WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders, also is in the picture. The Raiders announced contract extensions for general manager Curtis Hunt and head coach Marc Habscheid on Monday, but neither Truitt nor Dan Gendur, the other assistant, were mentioned.

Truitt also has WHL coaching experience with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kelowna Rockets and Red Deer Rebels. He was Kelowna’s head coach through three seasons (2004-07).

Then there’s Don Nachbaur, who is No. 3 on the WHL’s list of career head-coaching victories, has been out of the game since Nov. 4. He was in his second season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles, when he was dismissed when the team fired head coach John Stevens.

Nachbaur, if he is interested in coaching in the WHL again, might be a better fit in Prince George where the Cougars also need a head coach. Nachbaur, 60, was born in Kitimat, B.C., and was raised in Prince George. He is a member of the city’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Bardsley also is believed to have at least chatted with former Cougars head coach Richard Matvichuk, who was near the end of his third season when he was fired in February.

You have to think the Blazers also will have at least inquired as to the availability of Kris Knoblauch and Manny Viveiros.

Knoblauch had been an assistant coach with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers for two seasons, but lost his job when they hired Alain Vigneault as head coach early in May. He has WHL coaching experience with Prince Albert and the Kootenay Ice, but really came to prominence in four-plus seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Erie Otters.

The same fate befell Viveiros with the Edmonton Oilers when Dave Tippett signed on as head coach. Viveiros joined the Oilers after guiding the Swift Current Broncos to the WHL championship a year ago.

One thing seems certain, though — the person who ends up as the Blazers’ head coach will have Darryl Sydor as one of the assistant coaches. Sydor, who officially was named an assistant coach on Feb. 12, is one of the team’s five co-owners. Most observers feel that the day will come when Sydor will be the team’s head coach.


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The WHL-champion Prince Albert Raiders have signed general manager Curtis Hunt and PrinceAlberthead coach Marc Habscheid to what a news release says are “multi-year extensions.” . . . The news release adds: “Further terms of the contracts were not disclosed.” . . . Hunt took over as GM prior to the 2015-16 season and is the reigning WHL executive of the year. . . . Habscheid took over as the Raiders’ head coach during the 2014-15 season. The Raiders are 168-134-36 in his time as head coach. . . . This season, he became the eighth head coach in WHL history to get to 500 regular-season victories. . . . Habscheid was name the WHL’s coach of the year for 2018-19, the second time he has been so honoured.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed F Denton Mateychuk to a WHL contract. He was the 11th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Dominion City, Man., Mateychuk had 23 goals and 38 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Eastman Selects this season.

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The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Ben Thornton to a WHL contract. Thornton, from Abbotsford, B.C., was the 15th overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Thornton played this season with the Abbotsford-based Yale Hockey Academy, scoring 13 goals and adding 32 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team.

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WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS

UNSIGNED:

1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie

3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk

4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer

7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren

14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward

19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka

20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis

21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth

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SIGNED:

2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie

5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson

6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer

8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson

9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky

10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski

11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk

12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt

13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann

15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton

16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma

17. Regina — D Layton Feist

18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer

22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker

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The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed D Aidan Brook to a WHL contract. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds selected Brook, who will turn 16 on July 30, in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. The Tigers acquired him on Jan. 4, along with a second-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a third-round pick in 2020, for F Henry Rybinski. . . . Brook played this season with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s, putting up one goal and 25 assists in 36 games. . . . Brook, from Roblin, Man., is the younger brother to a pair of WHLers — D Josh Brook, who will turn 20 on June 17 and has played four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, and F Jakob Brook, 17, who just finished his freshman season with the Prince Albert Raiders.


Ryan Aasman, a former WHL defenceman, has signed on as an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. . . . He has coaching experience as an assistant with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Aasman, 27, is from Medicine Hat. He played in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Swift Current Broncos, Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings before going on to spend four seasons (2013-17) at the U of Lethbridge.


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Ice adds another Winnipegger via trade . . . Giants deal for two vets . . . Tigers send Rybinski to Thunderbirds

tradewire

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Thursday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 3.

Players: 5.

Bantam draft picks: 4.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

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Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 28.

Players: 54.

Bantam draft picks: 44.

Conditional draft picks: 10.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)

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The Kootenay Ice made another trade on Friday, acquiring F Cyle McNabb, 18, from the Vancouver Giants for D Dallas Hines, 20.

Any guesses as to McNabb’s hometown? Hey, no peeking. Yes, he’s from Winnipeg. (It is Kootenaynewanticipated that the Ice will relocate to Winnipeg following this season; management has been adding Manitoba-born players in recent trades.)

McNabb is a list player who signed with the Giants in March 2017. This season, he had a goal and two assists in 34 games with Vancouver. In 95 career games, he has two goals and nine assists.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Hines, from Marwayne, Alta., played 221 regular-season games with the Ice, putting up 16 goals and 52 assists. This season, Hines, who was an alternate captain, has four goals and 12 assists in 36 games.

The Ice selected Hines in the fifth round of the 2013 WHL bantam draft.

VancouverThe Giants now have four 20-year-olds on their roster, with Hines joining F Davis Koch, F Jared Dmytriw and D Matt Barberis. However, Barberis has played in only nine games this season, the last one on Nov. 18. Should he come back from injury, the Giants would have a week to get down to three 20s.

Hines’ departure from the Ice leaves it with two 20s — F Jaeger White and Slovakian D Martin Bodak.

McNabb made his Chutney debut on Friday night against the host Medicine Hat Tigers, while Hines as in the Giants’ lineup when they played the Hurricanes in Lethbridge.


F Jadon Joseph found himself on the move on Friday for the second time in 35 days.

The Vancouver Giants acquired Joseph, 19, from the Regina Pats for two WHL bantam draft selections — a second-rounder in 2019 and a sixth-rounder in 2020.

While the Giants add an experience forward to their mix, the Pats, who made three Patstrades on Thursday, continue to stockpile draft picks.

“While it’s always tough to trade away a good player,” Regina general manager John Paddock said, “the draft picks coming back in the deal are important for the future of our hockey team.”

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Joseph, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the 2014 bantam draft. They dealt him to the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry join the Hurricanes. Regina also acquired F Ty Kolle, five bantam picks and two conditional bantam picks in the deal.

Joseph had two goals and four assists in 13 games with the Pats, after putting up 10 goals and nine assists in 23 games with Lethbridge this season. In 157 career regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 48 assists.

Joseph was in Vancouver’s lineup on Friday night as the Giants visited the Lethbridge Hurricanes.


It took more than two months, but F Henry Rybinski finally got his wish.

Rybinski, 17, had asked the Medicine Hat Tigers for a trade in late October, then went Tigers Logo Officialhome to Vancouver to wait. On Friday, the Tigers dealt him to the Seattle Thunderbirds for D Aidan Brook, 15, and two WHL bantam draft picks — a second-round selection in 2019 and a third in 2020.

The Thunderbirds held three second-round picks in the 2019 draft — their own, one that originated with the Regina Pats (Seattle got it in a deal for D Aaron Hyman on Jan. 10), and one that was acquired from the Everett Silvertips in Tuesday’s deal for F Zack Andrusiak. The Tigers will get the best of those selections.

Rybinski is expected to join the Thunderbirds on their six-game East Division trip that opened Friday night in Brandon.

The Tigers selected Rybinski in the second round of the 2016 bantam draft. In 77 regular-season games over two seasons, he had four goals and 13 assists.

When Rybinski asked out, Shaun Clouston, the Tigers’ general manager and head coach, explained that “Henry, his agent and family let us know that they were looking for increased ice time and a top-two centreman role for Henry on our team.”

Rybinski is represented by Rich Evans of Points West Sports and Entertainment.

Clouston said that Rybinski wasn’t about to be moved up the depth chart ahead of either SeattleJames Hamblin or Ryan Chyzowski, the team’s top centres.

This season, Rybinski had a goal and four assists in 14 games with the Tigers. After leaving Medicine Hat, he played nine games with the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express, scoring once and adding 11 assists.

The 6-foot-2, 160-pound Brook, from Roblin, Man., hasn’t signed a WHL contract. He is the younger brother of D Josh Brook, 19, who captains the Moose Jaw Warriors and F Jakob Brook, 16, a freshman with the Prince Albert Raiders.

Seattle selected Aidan in the fourth round of the 2018 bantam draft. He has one goal and 19 assists in 25 games with the Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s in Winnipeg this season.