There hasn’t been a peep from the QMJHL or WHL since the OHL announced that it would be demanding mandatory vaccinations from all team personnel, players, officials, volunteers, billets, etc., and that proof of vaccination had to be presented to the league at least two weeks in advance of the openings of training camps. . . . However, on Tuesday, Allan Walsh, a powerful and outspoken player agent who is co-managing director with Octagon-Hockey, tweeted: “Hearing it will be the same in all 3 Canadian (major) junior leagues. Vaccinations will be required from all players and league personnel.” . . . Walsh has 47,400 followers on Twitter.
The Saskatoon Blades are expected to introduce their new head coach today (Wednesday) at a news conference. That new head coach is expected to be Brennan Sonne, 34, a former WHL player and assistant coach who will take over from Mitch Love. He left after three seasons in Saskatoon to step in as head coach of the Stockton Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. . . . Jon Rosen, a former play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips and ex-Los Angeles Kings’ Insider, tweeted: “I’m hearing former Silvertips forward Brennan Sonne is getting a very good look for the vacant WHL-Saskatoon head-coaching job. . . . Sonne has coached in Ligue Magnus-Angers since 2017.” . . . Taking Note later confirmed Rosen’s information. . . . Sonne is from Maple Ridge, B.C. He played two-plus seasons (2005-08) with the Silvertips, then later returned and spent three seasons (2014-17) with them as an assistant coach. While he wasn’t a teammate of Love’s, the two spent those three seasons together as assistant coaches in Everett. . . . More from Rosen: “(Sonne is) part of the Kevin Constantine coaching tree. Constantine coached Everett from 2003-07 and 2013-17, as well as the Ducs d’Angers. Jay Varady, his assistant in Everett, spent last year on Rick Tocchet’s staff and returned to Tucson, where he was a 2020 AHL All-Star coach.” . . . If you’re wondering, Constantine has signed on as head coach with Fehérvár AV19 in Hungary, which plays in the ICE Hockey League. He finished 2020-21 as head coach of Unia Oswiecim in Poland.
As expected, the Kamloops Blazers named Shaun Clouston their general manager on Tuesday morning. Clouston also is the Blazers’ head coach, having joined them prior to the 2019-20 season. . . . Under Clouston, the Blazers have twice finished on top of the B.C. Division. But, of course, there weren’t any playoffs in either of those seasons because of the pandemic. . . . Before heading to Kamloops, Clouston spent 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers, the last seven as general manager and head coach. Who knows? Had the legendary Willie Desjardins not become available in Medicine Hat, Clouston might still be there. . . . As the Blazers’ GM, Clouston takes over from Matt Bardsley, who announced in May that he was leaving after three seasons in order to get his family back to the U.S. Bardsley guided the club through the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30 and then left for Portland. He now is an amateur scout for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. . . .
The Blazers haven’t had a GM/head coach since the first couple of months of the 2007-08 season. The Blazers, in their first season under new ownership headed up by Tom Gaglardi, opened with Dean Clark as the GM/head coach. Clark lasted until Nov. 7 when he was fired with the team at 6-9-2. A couple of days later, former Blazers D Greg Hawgood was hired as head coach. By the start of 2008-09, Craig Bonner, who had been with the Vancouver Giants as assistant GM/assistant coach, had been hired as the Blazers’ general manager and Barry Smith was the head coach. . . .
On Tuesday, the Blazers also announced the promotion of Tim O’Donovan from director of hockey operations to assistant GM. O’Donovan started with the Blazers as a volunteer in 2004.
The Blazers are the second team in a week to add the general manager’s duties to the role of their head coach. The Everett Silvertips named head coach Dennis Williams their interim GM after they chose not to renew the contract of Garry Davidson, who had been the GM through nine seasons. At the time, the Silvertips said that it was a cost-cutting move with the organization re-examining all aspects after two tough seasons. . . . Davidson has since joined the Calgary Hitmen as their director of player personnel. . . . When the Silvertips announced on July 12 that they had removed the ‘interim’ from Williams’ title, they also revealed that they had signed him to a contract extension. . . . The Blazers didn’t do the same with Clouston; at least, they didn’t announce it.
A tip of the Taking Note cap to the Edmonton Oil Kings. They have updated their website and have their 2021 preseason roster available for your perusal. Not only that, but it is completely up to date. . . . I’ve mentioned this in previous years, but it is shameful that all WHL teams don’t have their preseason rosters available at least by mid-July. You would certainly think that, coming off the past two pandemic-riddled seasons, every one of the 22 teams would be hungering to create interest and that making preseason rosters available to fans might help accomplish that. . . . Anyway, here’s a big thank you to the Oil Kings.
The Spokane Chiefs have signed German F Yannick Proske to a WHL contract. They selected him in the CHL’s 2021 import draft on June 30. Last season, Proske, 18, had one assist in 25 games with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL, the country’s top pro league. . . . He added four goals and two assists in six games with Jungadier Mannheim’s U-20 side. . . . Proske also had a goal and an assist in seven games with the German team at the 2021 IIHF U-18 World championship in Texas. . . . From the Chiefs’ news release: “Proske joins G Lukas Parik of the Czech Republic, D David Jiricek (unsigned) of the Czech Republic and D Tsimafei Kauharenia of Belarus on the Chiefs’ import player list. Parik, who starred for the Chiefs during the 2019-20 season, has signed an AHL contract with the Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings’ affiliate).” . . . The Chiefs announced Kauharenia’s signing on July 14. . . . Spokane selected Jiricek in the 2020 import draft. He played with HC Plzen of the Extraliga, Czech Republic’s top pro league, in 2020-21, putting up three goals and six assists in 34 games. He was named the Extraliga’s rookie of the year.
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JUST NOTES: Jean-François Houle is the new head coach the Laval Rocket, the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL affiliate. Houle, 46, had been in the Edmonton Oilers’ organization for the past seven seasons, the last six as an assistant coach with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. In Laval, he replaces Joel Bouchard, who left the Rocket to take over as head coach of the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, who are affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks. Houle’s father, Réjean, is a former Canadiens’ player and GM. . . . The WHL’s Kelowna Rockets have signed Josh MacNevin, 44, as an assistant coach. He had been with the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the previous six seasons. MacNevin’s hiring fills the vacancy created on June 1 when Vernon Fiddler chose to leave the Rockets after two seasons. . . .
Jean-Francois Plante of leDroit reported Tuesday night that the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s have hired Dave Cameron as their new head coach. Cameron will replace André Tourigny, now is head coach of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Cameron, a former head coach of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, has spent the past three seasons with the Vienna Capitals in the Austrian League. James Boyd, general manager of the 67’s, worked as an assistant coach under Cameron for four seasons (2007-11) with the OHL’s Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors.