Craven, Moar done for this season. . . . Silvertips stretch Cougars’ skid to 17. . . . Oliver leads Royals to victory


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F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11)  signed a contract for the rest of this season on Friday with Tölzer Löwen Bad Tölz (Germany DEL2) after obtaining his release from the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He was pointless in 10 games with the Black Wings. . . . Hickmott hasn’t played a game since Oct. 14 due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He returned to practice the “past few weeks” with Linz. The club told Hickman last week there was no place in the lineup for him and that he was free to move to another club if he wanted. . . . Last Friday (Feb. 15) was the signing/transfer deadline for all European leagues except the KHL, whose trade deadline this season was Dec. 27.


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A few notes from the WHL’s weekly roster report. . . .

The Calgary Hitmen continue to list F Jake Kryski as indefinite. Kryski, 20, was having the whlbest of his five WHL seasons, with 46 points, including 19 goals, in 41 games when he was injured. . . .

The Everett Silvertips list F Dawson Butt and F Riley Sutter as week-to-week. Besides being a point-a-game player (41 in 38), Sutter is one of the league’s top face-off men, at 54.0 per cent. . . . Butt has seven goals and seven assists in 14 games, but it’s his grinding style of play that the Silvertips miss. . . .

The Kelowna Rockets list D Matt Barberis, 20, as being out for six to eight weeks. He has one assist in 11 games since being picked up from the Vancouver Giants, but  his experience is missing from Kelowna’s back end. Of course, with less than four weeks left in the regular season, his season — and his WHL career — might be over. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers have shut down D Joel Craven for the season with an undisclosed injury. Craven, 18, finishes his sophomore season with three goals and an assist in 32 games. He missed half of October and all of November with concussion-like symptoms. . . . Meanwhile, the Tigers are showing one of their top forwards, Ryan Jevne, as being out week-to-week. Jevne is their second-leading scorer, with 55 points, including 26 goals, in 57 games. . . .

D Matt Quigley of the Portland Winterhawks is shown as being out week-to-week, while it would appear that D Alex Moar of the Swift Current Broncos had his season come to an end on Monday afternoon in Brandon when he left a 3-2 OT loss to the Wheat Kings clutching a wrist. . . .

The Vancouver Giants list two key forwards — Dawson Holt and Brayden Watts — as being out week-to-week. Watts, who had one arm in a sling on Monday, has 33 points, including 12 goals, in 52 games, while Hardy has nine goals and 12 assists in 56 games.


The soon-to-be Winnipeg Ice has signed F Chase Bertholet to a WHL contract. Bertholet, from Thompson, Man., was a fifth-round pick by the Red Deer Rebels in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . The Ice acquired him from the Rebels on Nov. 30 in a deal that had F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger go to Red Deer for four players, four bantam draft picks and one conditional selection. . . . Bertholet, 15, has 13 goals and 29 assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


The Calgary Hitmen have released D Andrew Viggars from their roster and he is returning to the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Viggars, who turned 19 on Jan. 3, was pointless in two games with the Hitmen. . . . Last season, he had five assists in 39 games with Calgary. . . . This season, he has a goal and nine assists in 41 games with the Warriors. . . . The Hitmen selected him in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.


“Fighting isn’t what it used to be in the WHL,” writes Dan Thompson in a story that has appeared in the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s got some quotes and anecdotes here from the likes of Dustin Donaghy and Kerry Toporowski, the latter once having skated his way to 505 minutes in penalties. . . . It’s all right here and it’s a good read.


The MJHL’s Winkler Flyers announced Monday that they have “mutually parted ways” Winklerwith general manager Ken Pearson. . . . He had been the Flyers’ general manager and head coach for seven seasons (2011-18), before stepping aside as head coach prior to this season. . . . Jeff Jeanson has been named the interim general manager. . . . Steve Mullin took over as the Flyers’ head coach after working as Pearson’s assistant coach. . . . When Pearson stepped aside as the Flyers’ head coach, he had more regular-season victories (519) than any coach in MJHL history. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers passed Pearson earlier this season. . . . Winkler (22-29-5) is ninth in the 11-team league, four points out of a playoff spot with four games remaining.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals as they beat the Cougars, 4-1, in EverettPrince George. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the host Cougars by that same score on Monday. . . . Everett (41-14-3) has won two straight. It leads the Western Conference by four points over the Vancouver Giants, who hold two games in hand, and leads the West Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (16-35-7) now has lost 17 in a row (0-13-4). . . . F Ethan Browne (9) gave the Cougars the lead at 5:56 of the first period. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (36) pulled Everett even at 17:29 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (34) broke the tie at 3:46 of the third. . . . The Silvertips put it away on two goals from Reece Vitelli, at 17:36 and 18:28 of the third. Vitelli, who has nine goals, put the second one into an empty net. . . . The Cougars were 1-3 on the PP; the Silvertips never had even one opportunity. . . . Everett held a 37-17 edge in shots, including 14-5 and 16-5 in the first and second periods, respectively. . . . G Dustin Wolf earned the decision over G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Everett was without F Connor Dewar (ill) for a second straight game. . . . D Sahvan Khaira was back in Everett’s lineup after serving a one-game suspension. He played in his 302nd career regular-season game.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 3-1 deficit with five third-period goals en route to a 6-3 tri-cityvictory over the Red Deer Rebels in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (32-21-3) move into third place in the U.S. Division, one point ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Red Deer (29-22-5) has lost three in a row. It holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Americans hustled home for this one after losing 3-1 in Kamloops on Monday afternoon. The Rebels hadn’t played since Saturday, so were well-rested. . . . The Rebels finished their U.S. Division swing at 1-3-1. . . . F Brandon Hagel (33) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead 28 seconds into the first period. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin tied it, on a PP, at 5:18. . . . The Rebels went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Chris Douglas (13), at 13:43 of the first period, and F Brett Davis (18), on a PP, at 1:12 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even on goals from F Riley Sawchuk (17), at 4:17, and F Sasha Mutala (16), at 5:17. . . . AuCoin (35) scored on a PP at 6:43 for a 4-3 lead. . . . F Kyle Olson (21), at 16:42, and F Krystof Hrabik (15), into an empty net, at 18:20 put it away. . . . Olson also had two assists. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 36 shots to earn the victory.


F Kaid Oliver scored twice and added two assists to help the host Victoria Royals to a 6-2 VictoriaRoyalsvictory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kelowna won the season series, 5-3-0. . . . Victoria (30-24-3) is second in the B.C. Division, 10 points ahead of Kelowna. . . . The Rockets (24-29-5) are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Blazers and Rockets have three games remaining in their season series. Kamloops is 4-2-1; Kelowna is 3-3-1. . . . On Monday, the Rockets opened the doubleheader on Vancouver Island by dumping the Royals, 5-2. . . . Last night, Victoria took control with three goals, two of them from Oliver, before the game was eight minutes old. . . . F Logan Doust (5) got the Royals started 44 seconds into the game. . . . Oliver made it 2-0 at 4:31 and 3-0, on a PP, at 7:52. . . . Two early second-period goals put the home boys ahead 5-0. F Phillip Schultz (14) scored, on a PP, 23 seconds in, and F Tarun Fizer (12) scored at 5:21. . . . Oliver assisted on both second-period goals, giving him his second career four-point game. . . . F Leif Mattson (20), at 11:22, and F Nolan Foote (29), on a PP, at 16:41, counted for the Rockets. . . . Victoria’s final goal came from F Kody McDonald (17) at 11:39 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 34 shots for the Royals as he earned his 111th career regular-season victory. . . . The WHL record for most career regular-season victories by a goaltender is 120, and is shared by Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92) and Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09). The Royals have only 11 games remaining, so Outhouse, 20, is running out of time if he hopes to get to 120 victories. . . . The Rockets welcomed back F Liam Kindree (broken nose) after a nine-game absence, but they remain without F Ted Brennan and D Matt Barberis. . . . The Royals were without D Jake Kustra, who sat out a one-game suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Monday’s game.


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Giants add veteran Legien . . . More roster moves for Ice . . . Broncos want Moar, Moar, Moar! . . . Pachal’s return keys Raiders’ 32nd victory


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Steve Ewen of Postmedia reported Thursday that the Vancouver Giants have added F VancouverJared Legien, 20, to their roster. He had been playing with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers. . . . With D Matt Barberis out since Nov. 18 with an undisclosed injury, the Giants have been utilizing two 20s — F Davis Koch and F Jared Dmytriw. Should Barberis return at some date, they would have to make a decision and get back down to three. . . . Legien, from Pilot Butte, Sask., was selected by the Kootenay Ice with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . In 84 games over three seasons (2014-17) with the Ice, he had four goals and five assists. Last season, he played 36 games with the Victoria Royals (13-20–33) and 25 with the Regina Pats (10-7—17). . . . This season, Legien had 28 goals and 24 assists in 32 games with the Terriers. . . . Legien is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup tonight when they meet the Rebels in Red Deer.


According to a report out of Cranbrook, D Jonathon Smart, 19, didn’t return to the Ice Kootenaynewfrom the Christmas break. . . . Jeff Bromley (@JeffBromley1), a former newspaper reporter who covered the Ice for 15 years and a long-time season-ticket holder, tweeted that Smart left for “personal and hockey reasons.” . . . Smart, who is from Kelowna, had three goals and eight assists in 36 games this season. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected him in the first round of the 2014 bantam draft. In 216 regular-season WHL games — 68 with Kelowna, 64 with the Regina Pats and 84 with the Ice — he had 14 goals and 66 assists. . . . Smart is at least the fourth veteran WHLer to leave the Ice this season, following D Sam Huston, F Nick Bowman and F Brendan Semchuk. As well, F Jack Cowell refused to report after being acquired from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Ice also has traded away four veterans — forwards Brett Davis, Cam Hausinger, Kaeden Taphorn and Keenan Taphorn — since the start of the season. . . .

The Ice has added F Owen Pederson, 16, to its roster for the remainder of this season. He was a fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, Pederson, who is from Stony Plain, Alta., had 11 goals and 19 assists in 18 games with the Edmonton-OHA prep team. He also got into eight earlier games with the Ice, scoring twice. . . .

The Ice also has brought in D Carson Lambos, a 15-year-old from Winnipeg who plays for the Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team. Lambos, the second overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was pointless in one earlier game with Kootenay. . . .

The Ice is scheduled to visit the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have added G Garin Bjorklund, 16, to their roster. From Calgary, Bjorklund will back up Jordan Hollett with Mads Sogaard playing for Denmark at the World Junior Championship. . . . Bjorklund is in his second season with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He was a first-round pick by the Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


I knew that I likely would miss someone when I listed players with WHL ties who are at the WJC. Sure enough. Thanks to Catherine Nielsen for pointing out that Slovakian F Milos Fafrak was a freshman with the Spokane Chiefs last season — he had nine goals and 10 assists in 66 games — before returning home to play with the two national U-20 sides.


In their first 32 games, the Portland Winterhawks met the Tri-City Americans once; the tri-cityAmericans won 6-5 in a shootout at home on Sept, 28. . . . Those two teams closed out the pre-Christmas schedule with back-to-back games — the host Americans won 3-2 in OT on Dec. 15, then won 4-3 in OT in Portland the next evening. So when those teams resume their schedules tonight it only makes sense that they should meet again. Right? . . . Yes, they’ll clash in Portland. . . . It’s also worth noting that the Americans will have faced the Winterhawks in three straight games with ace F Cody Glass out of the lineup. Glass, of course, is with Team Canada at the WJC. . . .

When this regular season is over, it will be interesting to look back and see how much of SpokaneChiefsan impact the Kootenay Ice will have had on the outcome of the U.S. Division race. Yes, the Everett Silvertips (27-7-2) are well on their way to the division title, what with a 14-point lead over Portland and the Spokane Chiefs, both of whom are 19-11-4. . . . The Winterhawks were scheduled to meet the Ice (8-22-6) once this season — Portland beat the visiting Ice, 10-2, on Dec. 2. . . . The Chiefs, meanwhile, will face the Ice on five occasions. Spokane won 7-4 in Cranbrook on Sept. 28, and then beat the Ice 6-3 at home the next night. The Chiefs also won 4-3 in OT in Spokane on Dec. 8. They’ll meet again Jan. 5 in Cranbrook and Feb. 9 in Cranbrook. . . . Should the Chiefs win the last two meetings, they’ll have picked up 10 points in games with the Ice, while Portland will have claimed two.


The WHL’s Christmas trade moratorium is over, having ended on Thursday at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 14.

Players: 30.

Bantam draft picks: 23.

Conditional draft picks:6.

(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.)


Steve Wulf, a senior writer with ESPN, has written a wonderful feature about a team of hockey players that includes a 95-year-old and a few other youngsters. It’s great stuff and it’s right here.


THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Sergei Alkhimov scored twice to help the Regina Pats to a 3-2 victory over the Wheat PatsKings in Brandon. . . . Regina improved to 10-24-1, while Brandon slipped to 15-11-6. . . . The Pats took a 2-0 first-period lead on PP goals from F Robbie Holmes (7), at 3:29, and Alkhimov, at 11:30. . . . F Ridly Greig (8) got Brandon on the scoreboard with a PP goal at 5:07 of the second period. . . . Alkhimov gave the Pats a 3-1 lead with his ninth goal at 2:32 of the third period. . . . D Cole Reinhardt (6) scored Brandon’s second goal at 10:56. . . . Each team may have a player suspended before tonight’s rematch in Regina. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos, who leads the Wheat Kings in goals, assists and points, was hit with a  match penalty for attempt to injure at 6:39 of the first period. He apparently reacted after F Linden McCorrister was helped off the ice following a hit. . . . The Pats lost Holmes to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:46 of the second period for a hit on F Connor Gutenberg, who went to the dressing room then returned for the third period. . . . G Jiri Patera, Brandon’s go-to guy, is at the WJC with Czech Republic. With him gone, the Wheat Kings will run with Ethan Kruger, 17, and have Connor Ungar, 16, backing up. . . . Ungar, from Calgary, plays for the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. . . . D Braden Schneider was back in Brandon’s lineup after not playing since Nov. 17 because of an undisclosed injury.


D Alex Moar’s first WHL goal gave the Swift Broncos a 4-3 OT victory over the Warriors SCBroncosin Moose Jaw. . . . Swift Current (7-24-2) had lost its previous two games. It now is 2-16-0 on the road. . . . Moose Jaw is 17-8-6. . . . The Warriors will get another shot at the Broncos tonight in Swift Current. . . . Last night’s winner came as Moar successfully completed a 2-on-1 break with F Matthew Culling at 1:58 of OT. . . . Goals from Culling (5) and D Matthew Stanley (1) at 14:29 and 17:07 of the third period had given Swift Current a 3-1 lead. . . . The Warriors scored twice with G Brodan Salmond on the bench for the extra attacker, with F Brayden Tracey (11) making it 3-2 at 18:51 and F Keenan Taphorn (9) tying it at 19:13. . . . Moar, who was acquired from the Everett Silvertips, won it with his first goal in 22 career games, 18 of them with the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw held a 42-21 edge in shots, including 10-3 in the first period and 20-7 in the second, but Swift Current G Joel Hofer continued his fine season. Despite a 5-19-2 record, and a 4.15 GAA, he has a .900 save percentage. . . . The Warriors were 0-4 on the PP; the Broncos didn’t get even one opportunity. . . . The Broncos scratched both of their 17-year-old Finnish freshmen imports — F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen — due to travel-related issues on their way back from the break. Both players are expected to be available tonight. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who completed a two-game WHL-issued suspension. . . . Moose Jaw also is missing head coach Tim Hunter and D Josh Brook, both with Team Canada at the WJC. In Hunter’s absence, associate coach Mark O’Leary is in charge of the bench.


D Brayden Pachal, who sat out the previous two games with a suspension, scored twice, including one in OT, as the Prince Albert Raiders beat the Blades, 4-3, in Saskatoon. . . . PrinceAlbertThe Raiders (32-2-1) have won four in a row. . . . The Blades (21-10-5) have points in six straight (4-0-2). . . . They’ll play the rematch tonight in Prince Albert. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic (2) staked the Blades to a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:59 of the first period. . . . The visitors took a 2-1 lead on two goals from F Noah Gregor (21), at 13:37 of the first and 2:52 of the second. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Eric Florchuk (10), at 4:28, and F Max Gerlach (20), on a PP, at 6:22. . . . Pachal tied it at 6:28 of the third and won it with his ninth goal of the season, banging home a rebound 33 seconds into OT. . . . Pachal has 20 goals in 206 career regular-season games. This was his second career two-goal game. . . . F Cole Fonstad drew three assists for the Raiders, the fourth straight game in which he had at least two points. He has a goal and nine assists in that stretch. . . . Gregor also had an assist for a three-point outing. . . . Gregor has seven goals and three assists in helping the Raiders go 4-0-0 without G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason, both of whom are with Team Canada at the WJC.


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Silvertips add to defence corps . . . Giants and Hitmen swap veteran forwards . . . Ice trims two from roster


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The Everett Silvertips, it’s safe to say, are all in this season. Any doubt one may have had about that was erased on Wednesday when the Silvertips acquired Russian D Artyom EverettMinulin, 20, from the Swift Current Broncos.

The Silvertips gave up D Alex Moar, 17, in the exchange, while also getting back an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 bantam draft.

The Silvertips had room on their roster for a 20-year-old and an import, so Minulin fills both of those spots. The import spot was available because F Peter Melcher, a freshman from Slovakian, is, as general manager Garry Davidson put it, “currently unavailable to play.” Melcher was listed on this week’s WHL roster report as being out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Minulin has yet to play this season after having had off-season shoulder surgery. The Broncos’ roster report listed him as day-to-day.

In 206 career regular-season games, all with the Broncos, Minulin put up 126 points. Last season, he had 13 goals and 30 assists in 64 regular-season games, then added a goal and seven assists in 20 playoff games as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

“Artyom Minulin is a special talent who elevates the play of his teammates,” Davidson said in a news release. “The role he’s excelled in as a high-impact defenceman played a big piece in helping Swift Current win the WHL championship last season . . .

“He carries a tremendous reputation as a defenceman with an extremely hard shot, deft touch with the puck, and acumen to excel in all three zones.”

F Sean Richards and D Sahvan Khaira, a teammate of Minulin’s for the previous two seasons with the Broncos, are Everett’s other 20s. The other import on Everett’s roster is sophomore F Martin Fasko-Rudas, a Slovakian.

Moar was pointless in four games with the Silvertips. From Prince Albert, he was a fifth-round selection by the Silvertips in the 2016 bantam draft.

Last season, with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, Moar had six goals and 23 assists.

The defending-champion Broncos, who have the 22-team WHL’s poorest record (1-14-1), SCBroncosstill are carrying nine defencemen. They are next scheduled to play Friday against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Silvertips (10-5-0) lead the U.S. Division, by one point over the Spokane Chiefs (8-4-3) and two on the Tri-City Americans (9-4-0). Everett entertains Tri-City on Friday, but Minulin isn’t expect to play until sometime next week, once immigration issues get sorted out.

Meanwhile, G Max Palaga, 18, who was acquired by the Silvertips from the Kamloops Blazers earlier in the week, has arrived in Everett and practised with his new team on Wednesday. He joins Dustin Wolf as healthy goaltenders on the Silvertips’ roster.


The Calgary Hitmen and Vancouver Giants got together on Wednesday and swapped a Calgarypair of disgruntled forwards.

The Hitmen acquired F James Malm, 19, and an undisclosed conditional selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in exchange for F Tristen Nielsen, 18.

Malm, from Langley, B.C., led the Giants in goals (9) and points (15) in 13 games. He hasn’t played since suffering an undisclosed injury in a game against the visiting Portland Winterhawks on Oct. 20. The Giants’ weekly roster report lists Malm as being out day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

On Sunday, however, Malm asked Vancouver general manager Barclay Parneta to trade him.

A fourth-round selection by the Giants in the 2014 bantam draft, he has 134 points, including 48 goals, in 179 career regular-season games.

Malm could make his Calgary debut on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.

Nielsen, from Fort St. John, B.C., was selected by Calgary in the first round of the 2015 Vancouverbantam draft. He was in third season with the Hitmen when he chose to leave the team and ask for a trade.

This season, he was pointless in five games; he didn’t play in seven games after asking to be moved. Last season, he put up 19 goals and 16 assists in 49 games in a season that was partially derailed by a wrist injury. In 2016-17, as a freshman, he had three goals and four assists in seven games.

Nielsen arrived in Ladner, B.C., on Wednesday afternoon and is to practise with his new team today.

Nielsen is expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup on Saturday when they meet the Kamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia has speculated that the Giants, under new head coach Michael Dyck, are playing a more structured game, one that Malm felt didn’t suit his game. . . . Ewen has more right here on this trade.


The Kootenay Ice apparently has released two veteran players. According to the WHL’s Kootenaynewweekly roster report, D Sam Huston and F Brendan Semchuk no longer are with the team, and both have been dropped from the team’s official roster. . . . Huston, 19, is from Brandon. He was in his third season with the Ice, and had scored once in 12 games. In two previous seasons, he totalled three goals and 13 assists in 107 games. The Ice selected him in the ninth round of the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Semchuk, from Kamloops, was the 10th overall selection by the Vancouver Giants in the 2014 bantam draft. They later dealt him to Edmonton and the Ice acquired him from the Oil Kings on Sept 27, giving up a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Semchuk, 19, had two goals and three assists in 14 games with the Ice. In 159 career regular-regular-season games, he has 23 goals and 30 assists. . . . Huston last played on Friday, while Semchuk is shown on the scoresheet as having played Tuesday night against the Broncos in Swift Current. Interstingly, that game will have been played well after the weekly roster report was posted on the WHL’s website.


Patti Dawn Swanson covered WHL teams in Winnipeg for the Tribune back in the day, and now blogs at pattitherivercityrenegade.wordpress.com.

On Thursday, she offered up these thoughts on a possible move by the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg . . .

I have fond memories of riding the iron lung with Gerry Brisson, Muzz MacPherson and the Winnipeg Clubs/Monarchs in the 1970s, so the prospect of the Western Hockey League returning to Good Ol’ Hometown is intriguing.

I’m skeptical about it working, though.

If you missed it, Mike Sawatzky reported in the Winnipeg Free Press that the Kootenay Ice are having a rough go of it in Cranbrook, B.C. Average attendance is 2,307, lowest in the WHL, and the town’s mayor, Lee Pratt, told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman this: “With the fan support they are getting right now it’s not a viable operation.”

The Green Bay Committee held a town hall meeting in support of the Ice (on Oct. 24), and they’ll gather again tomorrow night (Thursday) in the hope they can corral 500-600 new season-ticket subscribers to save the franchise. Failing that, team owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell might be inclined to pull up stakes and head east.

That begs questions, though. To wit:

Would they be better off in River City?
Would a WHL franchise operating out of the University of Manitoba attract 2,000 or more customers?
If an average head count of 2,307 can’t work in Cranbrook, how can it possibly work in Winnipeg?
Would the arrival of a WHL outfit strike the death knell for Winnipeg Blues of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League?

Remove the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League and I’d say Fettes and Cockell might have a chance in Good Ol’ Hometown. As it is, I don’t see it happening. But I hope I’m wrong.


David Michaud, who has been a familiar face in B.C. arenas for a number of years, has been named president of Keycorp Sports and Entertainment Ltd., the owners of lacrosse’s legendary Victoria Shamrocks. . . . According to a news release, Michaud will be “responsible for growing the division of the Keycorp group of companies by working with new and existing sports teams, entertainment venues, concert promoters, and more to bring professional-level promotion, ticketing, and event-day production to Victoria, and across British Columbia. He also will be working with the Victoria Shamrocks to continue the excellence in promotion and entertainment that the club has provided in the Greater Victoria area for the last 70 years.” . . . Prior to this move, Michaud spent three years with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees as director of corporate partnerships. He also was the team’s alternate governor. He also has worked with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and with the major midget Okanagan Rockets. . . . Michaud won’t be too far removed from the BCHL in his new position. The Shamrocks play out of the Q Centre in Colwood, which has a capacity of 2,780 and also is home to the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies.


The Fort Sask Chiefs, a senior AAA men’s hockey team that played out of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., has folded, at least for the remainder of this season. . . . According to a team-issued news release: “Various factors led to the tough decision that it would no longer be sustainable for our organization to continue to operate this year. With that being said, we are hopeful our hockey club be back playing senior again in the coming years.” . . . The Chiefs were 0-6-1 and in last place in the five-team Allan Cup Hockey West. Their demise leaves the league with teams in Rosetown, Sask., and the Alberta communities of Stony Plain, Lacombe and Innisfail.


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Stephen Peat was as tough as they come during a four-season career in the WHL (Red Deer, Tri-City Calgary, 1996-2000), and he maintained that reputation in a pro career that included 130 NHL games. Now he’s living in his truck or couch surfing with friends on the Lower Mainland of B.C. Jeremy Allingham of CBC News has more right here.


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