Rebels give Sutter victory No. 500. . . . Almeida gets NHL deal, then leads Warriors to win. . . . Blazers closing in on Rockets


ThisThat

Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, is the newest member of the WHL’s 500 club.

Sutter recorded his 500th regular-season victory as a WHL head coach on Saturday night whlwhen the Rebels dumped the visiting Kootenay Ice, 8-4.

It was only fitting that Sutter should reach the milestone on Country and Western Night at the Centrium. From Viking, Alta., Sutter and his brothers are just as comfortable on the ranch as they are in the arena.

“I never thought about it until I came off and they told me to go back on the bench,” Sutter told Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com. “I don’t know. Just been around a long time. It’s really that at the end of the day.”

Sutter, 56, went into this season with 468 regular-season coaching victories, and the Rebels now are (32-25-6). However, Sutter missed one victory this season while on a father-son junket with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. His son, Brandon, plays for the Canucks, although he is injured right now.

If you are wondering, that victory was credited to assistant coach Brad Flynn.

Sutter is in his 20th season as the Rebels’ owner and general manager,  and his 15th as head coach. He started in 1999-2000 and was there through 2006-07. He then had stints as head coach with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames. Sutter was back in Red Deer for the 2012-13 season, and he replaced head coach Jesse Wallin on Nov. 14, 2012.

Sutter is ninth on the WHL’s all-time list.

Sutter is the second WHL coach to reach 500 victories this season. Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, got there on Feb. 9 with a 6-5 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Habscheid, who now is at 508, celebrated by taking his club to a Dairy Queen in Lethbridge before heading home to Prince Albert.

Taking Note pointed that out to Sutter via text last night and asked how he planned to celebrate. His response was: “Haha . . . McDonald’s.”

In all likelihood, the next WHL head coach to get to 500 victories will be Shaun Clouston. He has 389 victories as he puts the wraps on his ninth regular-season as the Tigers’ head coach.

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Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit after Saturday’s games:

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 508

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 500

10. Peter Anholt (Prince Albert, Seattle, Red Deer, Kelowna, Lethbridge) 466

    Jack Shupe (Medicine Hat, Victoria) 466

12. Kelly McCrimmon (Brandon) 465

      Dean Clark (Calgary, Brandon, Kamloops, Prince George) 465

14. Bob Lowes (Seattle, Brandon, Regina) 453

15. Doug Sauter (Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Brandon) 417

16. Marcel Comeau (Calgary, Saskatoon, Tacoma, Kelowna) 411

17. Bryan Maxwell (Medicine Hat, Spokane, Lethbridge) 397

18. Shaun Clouston (Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 389

19. Mike Johnston (Portland) 354

20. Graham James (Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Calgary) 349

21. Bob Loucks (Lethbridge, Tri-City, Medicine Hat) 340

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors has signed a three-year entry-level contract NHLwith the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a fifth-round selection by Pittsburgh in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Almeida, who turned 20 on Feb. 6, is from Kitimat, B.C. . . . He has 100 points, including a WHL-leading 70 assists, in 60 games. . . . In 252 career regular-season games, he has 232 points, including 146 assists. . . . The Prince George Cougars selected Almeida with the fifth-overall pick in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. They traded him to Moose Jaw on Jan. 5, 2017, in a deal that had F Nikita Popugaev go to the Cougars. The Warriors also got F Yan Khomenko and two bantam draft picks — a second-rounder in 2018 and a fifth in 2017.


The Seattle Thunderbirds were without freshman F Andrej Kukuca on Saturday night as they entertained the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Kukuca, a 19-year-old Slovakian freshman, returned to his home country in order to write an exam. He has 54 points, including 25 goals, in 57 games this season. . . . I don’t remember this kind of thing happening in previous seasons, but the Kootenay Ice is without D Martin Bodak and the Vancouver Giants are without F Milos Roman for the same reason.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Justin Almeida, who signed an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the MooseJawWarriorsday, scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (36-19-8) has won two in a row. The Warriors will finish third in the East Division and open a first-round series against the Blades in Saskatoon on March 22. . . . Regina (18-44-3) has lost six straight. . . . Moose Jaw won the season series with Regina, 7-1-0. . . . Almeida got the Warriors started, on a PP, at 3:25 of the first period, and F Brayden Tracey made it 2-0 at 11:51. . . . Moose Jaw went ahead 3-0 at 11:46 of the second period on a goal from F Daniil Stepanov, who had gone 18 games without a point. . . . Tracey (35) made it 4-0 at 1:27 of the third period. . . . F Garrett Wright (7) got Regina’s goal at 9:40. . . . Almeida’s 30th goal, into an empty net at 17:17, gave him 100 points this season, the third WHLer to get there. . . . F Luke Ormsby (8) got the Warriors’ final goal at 17:52. . . . D Jett Woo had three assists for the Warriors, while Tracey added an assist for a three-point game. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-6 on the PP; Regina was 0-2.


The Saskatoon Blades broke open a scoreless game with three second-period goals and Saskatoonwent on to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Saskatoon (43-14-8) has won five straight games. It will finish second in the East Division and meet the Moose Jaw Warriors in the first round. Games 1 and 2 are to be played in Saskatoon on March 22 and 23. . . . Swift Current (10-48-6) has lost 17 in a row (0-14-3). The Broncos completed a seven-game road trip at 0-6-1 and were outscored 48-10 in the process. . . . Saskatoon took the season series, 7-0-1; Swift Current was 1-7-0. . . . Saskatoon got started when F Tristen Robins (9) scored, on a PP, at 6:43 of the second period. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (13), at 7:34, and F Ryan Hughes, at 19:15, made it 3-0. . . . Hughes made it 4-0 with his 29th goal just seven seconds into the third period. . . . D Dawson Davidson (12) made it 5-0 at 6:59. . . . The Broncos, without a goal in nine straight periods, finally scored at 12:41 when F Matthew Culling got his 11th. That ended the Broncos’ goal drought at 209 minutes. . . . F Kirby Dach (25) got Saskatoon’s last goal at 17:40. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Eric Florchuk. . . . G Dorrin Luding earned the victory with 16 saves. . . . Broncos D Matthew Stanley totalled 32 penalty minutes — one minor, two misconducts and a game misconduct — as he twice tried to instigate a fight. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Broncos, who are to entertain the Prince Albert Raiders this afternoon. The Broncos played twice in Prince Albert this week, losing 6-0 and 8-0.


F Taylor Ross scored his club’s first three goals and added an assist to lead the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes to a 7-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lethbridge (38-17-10) has won six in a row. It now sits atop the Central Division standings, two points ahead of the idle Edmonton Oil Kings. Lethbridge has two games remaining; Edmonton has four left. . . . Calgary (36-24-6) has lost two in a row. It appears headed to a third-place finish in the Central Division. . . . Lethbridge won the season series, 5-1-0. . . . F Sean Tschigerl gave the Hitmen a 1-0 lead with his first career WHL goal at 11:12 of the first period. . . . Ross then struck for his second career hat trick, getting goals at 14:23 and 19:49 of the first period, and 1:16 of the second. He’s now got 35 goals. . . . The Hurricanes went ahead 5-1 on goals from F Jackson Shepard (5), at 7:18, and F Jake Elmer (38), at 11:08. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (3) scored for the Hitmen, shorthanded, at 9:33 of the third period. . . . F Jordy Bellerive, who has 32 goals, struck twice for Lethbridge, at 11:57 and 13:29, before F James Malm (34) and D Vladislav Yeryomenko (7) scored PP goals for Calgary. . . . Bellerive finished with five points, as he also had three assists. . . . Elmer ran his point streak to 16 games with a goal and an assist, while Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens had three assists and is on a 14-game point streak.


F Brandon Hagel scored once and added three assists in leading the host Red Deer Rebels Red Deerto an 8-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Red Deer (33-25-6) has won two in a row. It is tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, four points ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings, who have three games remaining. . . . Kootenay (12-43-10) has lost four in a row. . . . With one game remaining, Red Deer is 5-0-0 in the season series; Kootenay is 0-3-2. . . The Rebels jumped out to an early 3-0 first-period lead on a goal from F Cam Hausinger (19) and two from F Reese Johnson, who has 24. Johnson’s first goal was shorthanded; the second one came via the PP. He also had an assist for a three-point night. . . . Kootenay F Nolan Orzeck (3) made it 3-1 at 13:24. . . . The Rebels went up 5-1 on second-period goals from D Chad Leslie (1), at 2:14, and F Jeff de Wit (25), at 4:55. . . . F Jaeger White (27), at 7:18, and F Connor McClennon (13), at 10:16, on a PP, got the Ice to within two goals. . . . F Zak Smith (12) restored Red Deer’s three-goal lead at 14:42, only to have F Jakin Smallwood (13) get one back for the Ice, on a PP, at 15:33. . . . Hagel got his 40th goal, on a PP, at 19:34, and F Josh Tarzwell (10) closed out the scoring at 17:43 of the third period. . . . McLennon added two assists to his goal. . . . Red Deer was 2-4 on the PP; Kootenay was 2-5. . . . The Rebels were without D Alex Alexeyev, who appeared to suffer a knee injury in the third period of Friday’s 5-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Red Deer lost F Alex Morozoff to a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:55 of the second period. . . . Brent Sutter, Red Deer’s owner, general manager and head coach, earned his 500th regular-season WHL coaching victory with this one.


F Ryan Jevne’s two goals and an assist helped the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (33-26-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is tied with the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card spots, four points up on the Wheat Kings. . . . Brandon (30-27-8) has lost three straight. It is four points from a playoff spot with three games left to play. . . . The teams split the season series, 2-2-0. . . . Brandon went 1-4-1 on a six-game Central Division swing. . . . Jevne gave his guys a 1-0 lead with a PP goal at 16:16 of the first period, only to have Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (43) tie it 28 seconds later. . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (24) gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead at 7:53 of the second period, and Jevne’s 30th goal, shorthanded, made it 3-1 at 12:53. . . . The Wheat Kings got back to within a goal at 13:22 when D Chad Nychuk (3) scored on a PP, his second goal in two games. . . . Medicine Hat got insurance from F Hayden Ostir (11) at 13:33 of the third period. . . . The Tigers were 1-7 on the PP; Brandon was 1-2. . . . Medicine Hat got 28 saves from G Mads Søgaard. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera made 30 stops. . . . F Cole Sillinger, who has played three road games with the Tigers, played his first WHL game in Medicine Hat. The son of former NHLer Mike Sillinger, Cole had two assists in those first three games.


F Jermaine Loewen broke a 1-1 tie in the third period to give the Kamloops Blazers a 2-1 Kamloops1victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (25-32-7) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (27-31-7) had points in each of its previous three games (1-0-2). . . . The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of the Blazers. Kelowna has three games remaining — at home to Spokane, then a home-and-home with Vancouver. Kamloops has four to play — at home to Spokane, Victoria and Prince George, and one in Prince George. . . . On Friday, the Blazers beat the visiting Rockets, 2-1, in a shootout. . . . Kamloops went 6-3-1 in the season series; Kelowna wound up 4-4-2. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (11) gave the Blazers a 1-0 lead at 6:00 of the second period. . . . Kelowna got even at 13:04 when F Kyle Topping (22) scored. . . . Loewen won it with his 25th goal, at 9:01 of the third period. . . . Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi took the game’s only penalty, a roughing minor at 8:25 of the first period. . . . The Blazers got 27 saves from G Dylan Garand. . . . The Blazers remain without G Dylan Ferguson, so have Rayce Ramsay on the bench. He plays for the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, who are to begin their playoff run on Friday night. . . . G Roman Basran blocked 27 shots for Kelowna. . . . The Rockets were without D Lassi Thomson, who left Friday’s game after taking a hit from Loewen. . . . Kelowna F Mark Liwiski sat out the second of a three-game suspension.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 13-game home-ice losing skid with a 5-2 victory over PrinceGeorgethe Portland Winterhawks. . . . Prince George (18-40-8) had lost its past six games (0-5-1). . . . Portland (39-20-6) had beaten the Cougars, 3-2, on Friday night. Portland is second in the U.S. Division, three points ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. Portland and Spokane will meet in the first round, but home-ice advantage has yet to be decided. . . . The Cougars hadn’t won at home since beating the Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . Portland won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . D Clay Hanus (7) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 victory at 3:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got the game’s next four goals, from D Austin Crossley (3), at 8:31 of the second period; F Vladislav Mikalchuk (22), on a PP, at 5:20 of the third; F Connor Bowie (3), at 12:25; and F Josh Maser, on a PP, at 14:32. . . . F Cross Hanas (8) scored for Portland at 15:48, before Maser got his 30th, into an empty net, at 18:58. . . . Prince George was 2-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-4. . . . The Cougars had a season-high 49 shots on goal. . . . Prince George got 37 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . The Winterhawks again were without F Cody Glass, F Seth Jarvis, D Matt Quigley and D John Ludvig, all of whom are injured.


F Nolan Volcan scored twice and G Roddy Ross blocked 46 shots to help the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 2-1 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Kent, Wash. . . . Seattle (28-28-8) has points in seven straight games (5-0-2). . . . Everett (46-15-4) had points in its previous eight games (7-0-1) and had won five in a row. . . . Everett finished the season series, 7-2-1; Seattle was 3-5-2. . . . Volcan gave Seattle a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:34 of the second period. . . . F Robbie Holmes (12) got Everett into a 1-1 tie at 14:37. . . . Volcan broke the tie with his 23rd goal, at 17:39 of the third period. . . . D Simon Kubicek drew an assist on each of Volcan’s goals. . . . Ross was stellar as his guys were outshot 47-20, including 16-3 in the first period. . . . Seattle was 1-1 on the PP; Everett was 0-3. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 18 shots. . . . Seattle D Jarret Tyszka left in the second period after being struck in the face by a shot off the stick of Everett F Bryce Kindopp. . . . F Max Patterson was among Everett’s scratches with an undisclosed injury.


F Adam Beckman scored twice and added two assists to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a SpokaneChiefs6-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Spokane (37-20-7) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Divsion, but now is three points points behind the Portland Winterhawks. Spokane has four games remaining, while Portland has three. . . . Victoria (33-28-4) has lost three straight. It will finish second in the B.C. Division. . . . Spokane won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . First-period goals by F Ethan McIndoe (14), at 1:59, and Beckman, at 7:23, got the Chiefs started. . . . Victoria cut into the lead at 7:06 of the second period when F Brandon Cutler (12) scored. . . . The Chiefs closed it out with goals from F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (17), Beckman (29), on a PP, D Filip Kral (9), who also had two assists, and D Ty Smith (7). . . . Beckman, a 17-year-old freshman from Saskatoon, has 56 points, including 29 goals, in 64 games. . . . Anderson-Dolan now has goals in seven straight games. . . . The Chiefs got 21 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . Victoria F Kaid Oliver is awaiting shoulder surgery and won’t play again this season. Oliver, who last played on Feb. 23, leads the Royals in goals (27) and points (49). . . . The Royals also are without D Matthew Smith, F Kody McDonald, F Tyus Gent, F Sean Gulka and D Jake Kustra, all of whom are injured.


D Bowen Byram set a WHL record with another OT goal as the Vancouver Giants beat the VancouverTri-City Americans, 4-3, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Vancouver (46-15-4) now is tied with the Everett Silvertips atop the Western Conference. Each team has three games remaining. . . . Tri-City (34-26-5) is going to finish in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Vancouver went 4-0-0 in the season series; Tri-City was 0-2-2. . . . Byram scored his sixth OT goal of the season at 2:28 of extra time. That is one more OT goal than F Deven Sideroff scored with the 2016-17 Kamloops Blazers and F Eric Fehr had with the 2004-05 Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Giants led this one 3-0 late in the second period. They got goals from F Tristen Nielsen (14), at 4:59 of the first period; F Davis Koch (28), at 18:32; and F Justin Sourdif (21), at 6:22 of the second. . . . The Americans roared back, getting two goals from F Parker AuCoin (40), at 16:39 of the second and 7:00 of the third, and F Krystof Hrabik (19), at 18:11 of the third period. . . . Vancouver G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots, eight fewer than Tri-City’s Beck Warm.


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Leason, Raiders back on track? . . . Thunderbirds stun host Warriors . . . Americans steal one from Silvertips

MacBeth

D Ivan Baranka (Everett, 2003-05) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after requesting and obtaining his release from Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had three goals and five assists in 34 games.

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ThisThat

As I put tonight’s notes and roundup together my mind constantly wandered back to a night exactly five years ago.

It was then that I put together a newspaper’s sports pages for the final time.

Yes, the Kamloops Daily News has been gone for five years . . . gone, but not forgotten.

I still get told by folks on a regular basis how much they miss having a daily newspaper.

They aren’t alone.

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The Vancouver Giants have trimmed two defencemen from their roster, releasing D Ty VancouverEttinger and D Parker Hendren. . . . Ettinger, 18, is expected to land in junior A, while Hendren, 17, will join the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . .  Ettinger, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him from Brandon on Oct. 1, giving up a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft in return. He had three assists in 31 games with Vancouver. . . . Hendren, from Regina, was a seventh-round pick by the Giants in the 2016 bantam draft. He had one goal and one assist in 26 games with Vancouver this season. . . . The Giants had to make some moves after acquiring three defencemen — Dallas Hines, Seth Bafaro and Nicholas Draffin — in recent days.

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The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have acquired the junior A rights to F Bronson Sharp, 19, from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for future considerations . . . From Mission, B.C., Sharp has played seven games with the Everett Silvertips this season, but hasn’t been played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. In 102 regular-season WHL games — 84 with the Portland Winterhawks and 18 with Everett — he has two goals and three assists. . . . Everett acquired Sharp from Portland on Jan. 10, 2018, giving up a fifth-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in the deal.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Davis scored once and drew three assists to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 5-3 Red Deervictory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Red Deer (24-13-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is tied for second in the Central Division with Edmonton, one point behind Lethbridge. . . . Brandon (16-17-6) has lost three in a row and now is eights shy of a playoff spot. . . . The Rebels took control by breaking a 1-1 tie with three second-period goals, from F Alex Morozoff (7), F Chris Douglas (11) and Davis (13). . . . F Cam Hausinger added two goals for Red Deer, giving him 14. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored twice for Brandon — he’s got 28 — and added an assist, and F Ben McCartney (12) added one. . . . Davis enjoyed the second four-point game of his WHL career. He has six goals and 10 assists in 13 games since the Rebels acquired him from the Kootenay Ice. He had seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games with the Ice. . . . D Braydyn Chizen, acquired from the Kelowna Rockets this week, made his Brandon debut. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without F Linden McCorrister.

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F Andrej Kukuca scored twice on the PP and added an assist to lead the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 7-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Seattle (14-21-4) has won two in a row and now is 3-2-0 on an East Division trip that ends tonight in Swift Current. The Thunderbirds now are one point away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-10-7) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It remains a comfortable third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon and 11 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (16) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 5:15 of the first period. . . . The visitors erased that with four seocnd-period goals — from F Nolan Volcan (16), Kukuca, on a PP, F Sean Richards (11) and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (6). . . . The latter two scored their first goals with Seattle since being acquired from Everett and Lethbridge, respectively. . . . F Tristin Langan (32) got the Warriors to within two goals, on a PP, at 2:49 of the third, but the visitors put it away with three more goals, from D Jarret Tyszka (3), Kukuca (11) and F Tyler Carpendale (5). . . . F Noah Philp had three assists for Seattle. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 24 shots for Seattle and now is 3-0-0 since joining the team from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly missed a second straight game after completing a three-game suspension. . . . The Warriors had F Carson Denomie, acquired from Kamloops, and F Alec Zawatsky, who was acquired from Swift Current, in their lineup.

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F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat PrinceAlbertthe Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (36-5-1) now is 19-3-0 at home, where it had lost three of its previous four outings. The Raiders lead the Eastern Conference by 15 points over Saskatoon. . . . Portland (25-12-5) had points in each of its previous 10 games (7-0-3). It is 4-1-0 on an East Division tour that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. Portland is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . The Winterhawks had won each of its past four games in Prince Albert. . . . F Seth Jarvis (11) put Portland ahead at 6:57 of the first period with his fifth goal in seven games. . . . The Raiders took the lead later in the period on goals from F Cole Fonstad (15), at 11:58, and D Zack Hayes (3), at 15:40. . . . F Jake Gricius (19) got Portland into a tie at 17:06. . . . Leason broke the tie with his 29th goal, his first since returning from the WJC, at 8:52 of the third period. He leads the WHL with eight game-winners. . . . F Sean Montgomery (18) iced it with the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 27 saves. It was his career-best 25th victory, one more than he recorded last season. . . . G Joel Hofer, who was acquired from Swift Current for six bantam draft picks, made his Portland debut, stopping 23 shots. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired from Saskatoon also made his Portland debut. . . . G Boston Bilous, acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday, was on the Raiders’ bench backing up Ian Scott. . . . D Bryce Bader, acquired from Calgary, and D Loeden Schoefler, who came over from Seattle, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong (concussion) missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Winterhawks are down to two goaltenders — Hofer and Shane Farkas, 19 — after dropping Evan Fradette and Dante Gianuzzi from their roster. Fradette, 17, was returned to the midget AAA St. Albert, Alta., Raiders without getting into a WHL game. Giannuzzi, 16, has returned to Winnipeg “to prepare as a potential black ace for the playoffs and training camp,” according to a tweet from Joshua Critzer, who follows the Winterhawks for dubnetwork.ca. Giannuzzi made four appearances with Portland, going 1-2-0, 4.09, .833.

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F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game, this one in OT, gave the Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 Calgaryvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Calgary (21-16-4) has won six in a row. The Hitmen are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (26-12-6), which had won four straight at home, has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 15 points behind Prince Albert and nine ahead of Moose Jaw. The Warriors hold six — yes, six! — games in hand. . . . Saskatoon went 2-0-2 in the season series; Calgary was 2-2-0. . . . Calgary overcame a 3-1 deficit to win this one. . . . F Gary Haden (16) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 4:56 of the first period. . . . Kastelic tied it at 14:42. . . . The Blades went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (11), at 5:30, and F Ryan Hughes (18), at 8:23. Hughes, who also had an assist, was playing in his first game with Saskatoon after being acquired from Portland. . . . D Egor Zamula (9), who also had two assists, pulled Calgary to within a goal at 19:42. . . . The Hitmen forced OT when F Carson Focht (11) scored at 19:35. . . . Kastelic won it with his 29th goal, on a PP, at 1:28 of OT. . . . Calgary had the only three shots of OT. . . . F Jake Kryski helped the winners with three assists. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 21 shots in his 16th straight start for Calgary. . . . The Blades got 35 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . The Blades had F Kirby Dach back after a four-game absence, while F Cyle McNabb, acquired from Kootenay, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . Saskatoon D Nolan Kneen is expected to be out for a month with an undisclosed injury.

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F Brett Kemp, in his first game with Medicine Hat, scored twice to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-3) has won five in a row on home ice. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points out of third. . . . Regina (12-29-2) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Medicine Hat won the season series, 4-0-0. . . . Kemp was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday in a deal that had F Josh Williams go the other way. . . . Medicine Hat took a 1-0 lead when F Elijah Brown (7) scored at 6:36 of the first period. . . . Regina F Riley Krane (9) tied it at 19:22. . . . Kemp gave the Tigers the lead with two second-period goals, at 4:46 and 8:16, the latter on a PP. He’s got 24 goals now. . . . F Sebastian Streu (3) got the Pats back to within two, at 12:53, but the Tigers put it away before the period ended on goals from D Cole Clayton (3) and D Linus Nassen (5), on a PP. . . . G Matt Pesenti, on Regina’s roster because Max Paddock is ill, made his WHL debut as he came on in relief of Dean McNabb to start the third period. Pesenti, 17, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Pesenti stopped all four shots he faced. . . . Prior to the game, the Tigers announced that F Nick McCarry, 17, will remain with them for the remainder of this season. A list player from Calgary, he had seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons before joining the Tigers. . . . The Tigers will be without F Hayden Ostir for at least the next four weeks after he suffered a dislocated kneecap in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Jan. 4. At the same time, they hope that F Ryan Chyzowski will only miss another week with a skate cut near a knee that was incurred during a 4-3 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Jan. 5. . . . The Tigers did have F Bryan Lockner (concussion) back in their lineup and he helped out with two assists.

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F Scott Atkinson scored twice to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (22-14-7) had lost its previous two games. The Oil Kings have equalled last season’s total of 22 victories. The Oil Kings are tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division, one point behind the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge (22-11-8) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . F Adam Hall gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 3:02 of the first period. His first WHL goal came in his 27th game. . . . Atkinson tied it at 3:21. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (19) broke the tie at 1:33 of the second period, and Edmonton took control with two more quick goals, from F Liam Keeler (6), on a PP at 7:08, and F Jalen Luypen (6), at 7:48. . . . Atkinson, who also had an assist, completed the scoring with his seventh goal at 12:45 of the third period. . . . Atkinson had the first three-point and two-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Three of Edmonton’s goals — the two by Atkinson and Loschiavo’s — were unassisted. . . . G Todd Scott blocked 24 shots for Edmonton. . . . F Josh Williams, who was acquired from Medicine Hat on Thursday, was in Edmonton’s lineup.

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The host Prince George Cougars scored four first-period goals on 17 shots en route to a 7-PrinceGeorge2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (15-22-3) was playing its first home game since Dec. 2. The victory lifted it into a tie with Kamloops for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Cougars and Blazers are five points behind third-place Kelowna in the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (17-20-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Cougars got two first-period goals, one on a PP, from F Josh Maser, who has 15, and singletons from F Ethan Browne (7), on a PP, F Matéj Toman (4) and D Cole Moberg. . . . D Jack Sander added his first goal of the season for the Cougars, with Moberg adding a second goal, giving him nine. . . . Sander’s goal came in his 32nd game. Last season, as a freshman, he scored twice in 62 games. . . . Kelowna got PP goals from F Leif Mattson (18), at 19:26 of the second period, and F Nolan Foote (21), at 14:03 of the third. . . . Maser and Moberg also had an assist each for three-point nights, while Browne added two assists to his goal. . . . The Cougars held a 37-20 edge in shots, including 17-5 in the first period and 10-5 in the second. . . . Earlier in the day, the Cougars announced that D Cole Beamin, 17, will be staying for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Beamin had been playing with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, where he had two goals and one assists in 28 games. . . . The Cougars also have released D Tyson Phare, 16. He is expected to go to the Delta Hockey Academy. The 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season.

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The Victoria Royals scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (22-15-1) has won four in a row. It is 5-1-0 in the season series. The Royals are second in the B.C. Division, five points behind Vancouver and seven ahead of Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (15-21-3) has lost three straight. It is tied with Prince George for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, 11 points behind Tri-City. . . . The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 5-3, on Wednesday night in Victoria. . . . The Royals have won 14 of 16 games against the Blazers in Victoria, including an 8-0-0 run. . . . F Kody McDonald (9) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead with his third goal in two games, this one on a PP at 14:42 of the first period. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (7) upped it to 2-0 at 13:13 of the second, and D Scott Walford (4) made it 3-0 at 0:59 of the third. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (12) scored for the Blazers, on a PP, at 10:00, but Victoria F Tanner Sidaway finished it with his fourth goal, at 15:55. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse, who stopped 27 shots, has 104 career regular-season victories, 13th all-time. The career record of 120 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . F Alex Bolshakov, 16, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Seattle, he was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing a second season with the Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U team. . . . Kamloops lost D Joonas Sillanpää to a slashing major and game misconduct at 13:13 of the second period, on the play in which Victoria went ahead 2-0. . . . The Blazers were without F Jeff Faith, who was hit with a five-game suspension under supplemental discipline after an incident in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss in Victoria. “In reviewing this play, which occurred later in the game, it was evident that Faith made direct contact with the opponent’s head,” Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s director of player safety, said in a statement on the WHL’s website. “As a result of the contact, the opponent was injured.”. . . Faith will be eligible to return to the Blazers’ lineup on Jan. 20 when they are to meet the Cougars in Prince George. In between, he will miss Saturday’s game in Vancouver, home games against Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, and a Jan. 19 game in Prince George. . . . Victoria D Remy Aquilon, who was hit by Faith, was scratched last night.

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F Parker AuCoin broke a 3-3 tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period as the Tri-tri-cityCity Americans got past the Silvertips, 4-3, in Everett. . . . Tri-City (21-15-2) had lost its previous two games. The Americans, who hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, are fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane. . . . Everett (32-9-2) had won its previous three games. It also had won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips are atop the Western Conference, but now trail Prince Albert by seven points in the race for first place overall. . . . This was the third time in eight days that these teams met. The host Americans won, 3-2, on Jan. 4, with the Silvertips winning, 4-1, at home the next night. . . . Last night, F Bryce Kindopp (22) sent Everett ahead at 1:18 of the second period. . . . The Americans then took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Olson (10), on a PP, at 7:58 and F Nolan Yaremko (17), at 11:27. . . . The Silvertips reclaimed the lead as F Zack Andrusiak (30) scored at 17:56, and D Jake Christiansen (8) counted at 8:19 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even when F Sasha Mutala (10) scored at 13:22. . . . AuCoin won it with his 21st goal, at 14:14, with Everett trying to win it on a PP. . . . The Americans got 36 saves from G Beck Warm, two more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . F Samuel Huo, acquired Thursday from Seattle was in Tri-City’s lineup. . . . F Robbie Holmes, who came over from Regina in a Thursday deal, made his Everett debut.

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Scattershooting on a doink-doink NFL Sunday . . . ‘Canes move to top of division . . . Miner digging second shutout

Scattershooting


Thanks to friend Jack Finarelli (aka The Sports Curmudgeon) for passing along the link to Gene Collier’s annual Trite Trophy-related column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. . . . This is the 35th annual and Collier starts it with this:

“Some in our cherished audience might find it unfathomable that the Trite Trophy has been around for 35 years, but all I need for confirmation is to Look In The Mirror, where the ravages delivered by three-and-half decades of cliché wrangling are mercilessly evident.

“It’s Not A Good Look.”

It seems that Collier isn’t much of a hockey guy, so “good stick,” “compete level” and “200-foot player” didn’t make the cut.

What did make it is all right here. Enjoy!


“I’m not saying Houston Rockets star James Harden travels a lot,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “He just plays basketball like it’s a good walk spoiled.”

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One more from Currie: “World Chess champion Magnus Carlsen is reportedly a major celebrity at home in Norway. And good news ladies, he isn’t married — although he has been mated.



When the Kootenay Ice visits Brandon on Jan. 18, the Wheat Kings are holding a promotion involving the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Surely it’s only a coincidence that the Ice, who appear headed to Winnipeg after this season, will provide the opposition on that particular night. . . . World-class marketing, or trolling?


If you haven’t already done it, you need to make Patti Dawn Swansson’s blog — The River City Renegade — a regular part of your Sunday morning.

Here’s a snippet from the latest posting:

“The Lord of Loud, Donald S. Cherry, weighed in on Canada’s demise at the world junior tourney during the Coachless Corner segment of HNIC, suggesting that our guys were beaten as payback for running up the score (14-zip) vs. Denmark. ‘You don’t beat them down like that or you pay the price,’ he said. ‘I’ve said it before, the hockey gods will get you or karma will get you.’ If karma has anything to say about it, Grapes will be wearing nothing but a loin cloth in his next life as punishment for those gawdawful suits he exposes us to on Saturday nights.”

It’s all right here.



A note from Brad Dickson on the topic of social media: “If Albert Einstein posted his brand new Theory of Relativity on Facebook it’d probably receive about 3 or 4 ‘likes’. If he then posted a photo of the Einsteins with the family dog it’d get 400 ‘likes’.”



When I worked at the Winnipeg Tribune in the mid-1970s, Bob Picken was The Voice. . . . These days, writes Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, “The Voice remains unmistakable, if a little weaker than it was in its prime.” . . . Picken was diagnosed with terminal cancer in September. “I will live out my days as best they are and I will be very grateful for what God has given me,” the man we all know as Pick says. . . . Friesen’s piece is right here. If you read one thing on the Internet today, this should be it. . . . Farewell, Pick!


“Los Angeles Chargers guard Forrest Lamp gave each of his teammates — drum roll, please — lamps for Christmas,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “Unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, teammate Davon House didn’t think of it first.”


shoes


After some people noticed that Kendall Jenner was missing from the Kardashian Christmas photo, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg noted: “And we thought things couldn’t get worse than with the government shutdown.”


If you didn’t notice, things were a big soap opera-ish with the Pittsburgh Steelers down the stretch. As tight end Jesse James told Penn Live: “Ah man, we are — Kardashians.”



ThisThat

There’s nothing like a good sporting rivalry and it seems that things are very much alive with the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

The Raiders, the top-ranked team in the 60-team CHL, beat the visiting Blades, 5-2, on whlSaturday night.

After the game, Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, gave Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner an assist.

Habscheid said that Priestner, according to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, “has gone around saying that the Blades are the superior team over the Raiders, after the Blades’ recent trades.”

Habscheid told D’Andrea: “They added a little bit of motivation to us. It got back to us that their general manager . . . they’ve added some players and now he thinks they’re better than us. That added to our motivation, so thanks for that.”

When contacted by Taking Note, Priestner issued a blanket denial, and said he was shocked when he first heard Habscheid’s comments on the pregame show on Saskatoon radio station 98 COOL FM.

“I have no idea what the hell he is talking about,” the Blades’ GM said. “I’ve never once thought that let alone uttered it. I’ve also never heard a head coach mock another team’s GM on their own radio station out of the blue. It was kind of bizarre when I heard it driving to the game in PA. With the incredible roster his GM (Curtis Hunt) has given him, he really shouldn’t need to make up fake statements from me to get any wins.”

The Raiders (35-4-1) have the WHL’s best record. The Blades (24-12-5) are second in the East Division, 18 points behind the Raiders.

Prince Albert leads the eight-game season series, 5-1-0; the Blades are 1-4-1.

Unfortunately, these teams aren’t scheduled to meet again until March 15 and 16, the final weekend of the regular season, when they will play a home-and-home series.


Shaun Clouston, the general manager and head coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers, added Tigers Logo Officialsome clarity to the injury situation involving a couple of his forwards on Sunday.

Clouston told Ryan McCracken of the Medicine Hat News that F Ryan Chyzowski suffered a skate cut near on knee on will be see a doctor today. Chyzowski was injured during a 4-3 loss to the host Calgary Hitmen on Saturday.

Clouston also told McCracken that F Hayden Ostir, who suffered a knee injury during a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Friday, is likely to be gone longer than Chyzowski.

The Tigers have two home games scheduled for the weekend — Friday against the Regina Pats and Saturday against the Edmonton Oil Kings.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Lethbridge Hurricanes moved into first place in the Central Division with a 5-2 Lethbridgevictory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Lethbridge (21-10-8) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Edmonton (21-14-7) has lost two in a row. . . . The Hurricanes have a one-point lead over the second-place Oil Kings, with the Red Deer Rebels and Medicine Hat Tigers three points off the pace. . . . Lethbridge won 47 of 69 faceoffs while being outshot, 41-26. . . . F Jalen Luypen (5) gave the Oil Kings a 1-0 lead at 3:25 of the second period. . . . The Hurricanes responded with three goals before the period ended, from F Dylan Cozens (23), on a PP, at 5:57; F Logan Barlage (10), at 8:23; and F Taylor Ross (23), at 16:06. . . . D Conner McDonald (9) pulled the home side to within a goal, on a PP, at 1:10 of the third. . . . Lethbridge responded with two more goals, from F Noah Boyko (4), on a PP, at 12:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (20), at 18:04. . . . Cozens also had two assists. . . . The Hurricanes got a big game out of G Liam Hughes, who finished with 39 stops.


F Andrej Kukuca and F Noah Philp each had two goals as the Seattle Thunderbirds Seattledoubled the host Regina Pats, 6-3. . . . Seattle (12-20-4) had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1), and now is 1-1-0 on a six-game East Division swing. It is five points away from a playoff spot now. . . . Regina (12-27-2) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Thunderbirds outshot the Pats, 47-22, including 20-4 in the first period and 16-6 in the third. . . . Kukuca, in his first game since playing for Slovakia at the WJC, opened the scoring at 7:34 of the second period. . . . F Robbie Holmes (9) tied it, on a PP, at 9:04. . . . F Matt Wedman (12) put Seattle back in front at 12:09. . . . Regina tied it, again, when F Sebastian Streu (2) scored, on a PP, at 18:30. . . . Seattle then outscored its hosts 4-1 in the third period. . . . Philp, who also had an assist, made it 3-2 at 1:54, only to have Regina F Riley Krane (8) tie it, on another PP, at 4:16. . . . The Thunderbirds then got two PP goals — from D Jarret Tyszka, at 8:59, and Kukuca (9), at 13:12. . . . Philp, who has 15 goals, completed the scoring at 17:52. . . . Regina got 41 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . The Pats were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours, having lost 2-1 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday and 1-0 in Swift Current on Saturday. . . . G Roddy Ross, 18, made his first start for Seattle and earned the victory with 19 saves. He had signed with Seattle on Tuesday after playing with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . F Henry Rybinski, who had an assist, and F Michael Horon, both 17, made their Seattle debuts. Rybinski was acquired from the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, while Horon joined the Thunderbirds last week from the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. Seattle acquired him from the WHL’s Hurricanes on Wednesday. . . . Among Seattle’s scratches were D Cade McNelly (suspended), F Sean Richards (suspended), F Dillon Hamaliuk, who won’t play again this season, and D Loeden Schaufler.


The host Saskatoon Blades scored the game’s last three goals and beat the Brandon SaskatoonWheat Kings, 5-2. . . . Saskatoon (25-12-5) is second in the East Division, seven points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Brandon (16-15-6) now is four points from a playoff spot. . . . The Blades were playing their third game in fewer than 48 hours. They beat the visiting Regina Pats 2-1 in OT on Friday, then were beaten 5-2 by the Raiders in Prince Albert on Saturday. . . . F Ben McCartney (9) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 53 seconds into the game. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Max Gerlach (24), at 3:52, and D Reece Harsch (3), at 7:30. That was Harsch’s first goal since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Wednesday. This was his third game with the Blades. . . . F Luka Burzan (23) tied it, on a PP, at 19:16. . . . Saskatoon F Josh Paterson (13) broke the tie, on a PP, at 3:27 of the second period. . . . The Blades iced it with two third-period goals from F Zach Huber (8), at 7:45, and D Emil Malysjev (2), into an empty net, at 19:26. . . . The Blades were credited with winning 39 of 55 faceoffs. . . . Brandon lost F Baron Thompson to a headshot major and game misconduct at 13:59 of the second period. Saskatoon D Majid Kaddoura, who took the head, left for repairs but returned to finish the game. . . . Brandon scratched  F Linden McCorrister, meaning the Wheat Kings were without any 20-year-olds. . . . The Blades again were without F Kiby Dach and D Nolan Kneen, both out with undisclosed injuries.


G Trent Miner stopped 24 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 6-0 victory over the VancouverKootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . Vancouver (24-12-2) had lost its previous four games. It finished a six-game Central Division trip at 2-4-0, and leads the B.C. Division by nine points over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Kootenay (8-27-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). . . . The Ice went 0-3-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . F Milos Roman (17) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead at 4:11 of the first period and that’s all the visitors would need. . . . They also got goals from F Brayden Watts (9), F Jadon Joseph (13), F Dawson Holt (6), F Lukas Svejkovsky (4) and D Dallas Hines (5). . . . Hines, who was acquired from the Ice on Friday, scored the game’s last goal, on a PP, at 19:37 of the third period. . . . Trent posted his second career shutout, both of them coming this season. He is 11-3-1, 1.84, .933, in 16 appearances.


G Max Palaga turned aside 37 shots as the Everett Silvertips defeated the visiting EverettKamloops Blazers, 5-1. . . . Everett (31-8-2) has won two in a row; it also has won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips lead the Western Conference by 13 points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (15-19-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. The Blazers hold down the Western Conference’s second-wild card spot, four points ahead of the Prince George Cougars. . . . Palaga, who is from Kamloops, spent last season with the Blazers, who released him prior to this season and later dealt him to Everett for a sixth-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft. In seven appearances with the Silvertips, Palaga, 18, is 4-0-1, 1.56, .950. . . . The Silvertips scored the game’s first five goals, getting snipes from F Zack Andrusiak (29), D Wyatte Wylie (7), F Connor Dewar (28), F Conrad Mitchell (1) and D Gianni Fairbrother (5). . . . Mitchell’s first WHL goal came in his 26th game. He is a 17-year-old freshman from Thorsby, Alta. . . . F Max Patterson, who also is from Kamloops, had two assists. . . . F Brodi Stuart (12) scored for Kamloops at 13:48 of the third period. . . . The Blazers lost 4-1 to the Chiefs in Spokane on Friday, then beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets 4-1 on Saturday, Kamloops was back on its bus right after that game in order to get to Everett for this game, which started at 4 p.m. . . . Everett also was playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours, having split a home-and-home with the Tri-City Americans on Friday and Saturday nights, losing the first one 3-2 in Kennewick, Wash., and then winning 4-1 at home. . . . Everett swept the season series with Kamloops, outscoring the Blazers, 23-6 in the process. In the four games, Everett was 11-20 on the PP and 11-12 on the penalty kill. . . . The way things are shaping up, these teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs.


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WJC rosters include 14 WHLers . . . Tourney opens with four games . . . Finland-Sweden in Day 1 spotlight

Mowing
If you didn’t see this photo on Twitter earlier, it was taken on Christmas Day at about 2 p.m. Hey, I was born in Sherridon, Man., and raised in Lynn Lake, Man. — look them up on Google Maps — so I had never before seen grass this green on Dec. 25. LOL! . . . This is at the back of our home; there were nine deer on a field just west of the front yard. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get a really close look, so it may have been Rudolph and some friends.

MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2014-16) has signed a two-way contract for the rest of this season with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) after clearing NHL unconditional waivers and having his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) terminated. He had two assists in 15 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL).


ThisThat

The 10-team World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria with two games in each venue.

In Vancouver, it’s Czech Republic versus Switzerland (1 p.m. PT) and Canada versus Denmark (5 p.m.)

In Victoria, it’s U.S.A. versus Slovakia (3:30 p.m.) and Finland versus Sweden (7:30 p.m.).

In other words, Day 1 should bring us three no-contests and one thriller. Don’t forget that 2019wjcas much as we look forward to this tournament, the early-going often is full of lop-sided games. What today’s schedule means is that you will be able to go out and soak up some of those Boxing Day sales before coming home to watch Finland and Sweden do battle.

BTW, make certain that you’re aware of the IIHF’s new late-hit rule because if you aren’t it’s going to make you crazy.

And note that you aren’t going to read a whole lot about the WJC on this site after this report. I’m not there, nor will I pay particular attention through the early part of the tournament. But there will be a whole lot of other places loaded with info from those who are taking in the games in person.

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The 10 teams taking part in the WJC filed their preliminary rosters on Tuesday.

Under IIHF regulations teams had to register at least 15 skaters and two goaltenders. If a team doesn’t file the maximum (20 skaters and three goaltenders), it is allowed to add players to its roster until two hours before games until reaching the maximum.

By my count, there are 14 WHL players on those rosters. Here’s a look:

Canada (6) — G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders; D Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs; F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane; F Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks; F Brett Leason, Prince Albert. . . . Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw is Canada’s head coach; Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is one of the assistant coaches. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Czech Republic (3) — G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Filip Kral, Spokane; F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans. . . . The roster also includes former Brandon D Daniel Bukac, now of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, and F Martin Kaut of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, whose CHL rights belong to Brandon. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Denmark (2) — G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers; F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Finland (0) — The roster includes D Henri Jokiharju of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played the previous two seasons with Portland; F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Finnish pro team Karpan Oulu, who spent the previous two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos; and F Sami Moilanen of Tappara Tampere, who played the past two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Kazakhstan (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Russia (1) — D Alex Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Mark Rubinchik, who plays for Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, was with the Saskatoon Blades for the previous two seasons. . . . Registered 11 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Slovakia (2) — F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle; F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants. . . . Registered 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Sweden (0) — Brandon holds the CHL rights to D Erik Brannstrom of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

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Switzerland (0) — F Justin Sigrist of the GCK Lions Zurich played with the Kamloops Blazers in 2017-18. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

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USA (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

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Meanwhile, Mason Black, who is on Twitter at @NHL RankKing, went over the WJC rosters and has an easy-to-read NHL team-by-team list of prospects right here.

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If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.

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This piece is four years old, but if you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time. It’s from Rolling Stone and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what went into what has become a movie with an amazing following. . . . The story — it’s an oral history — is right here.


Here is one more great read for you. . . . It’s not that long ago when Austin Murphy was one of the best and most-prolific writers employed by Sports Illustrated. These days, as he writes, “I drive a van for Amazon.” . . . He has written a first-person piece on the adventure of a package deliverer and it’s awesome stuff. You’ll find it right here.


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Ice, Rebels make 11-piece trade . . . Officiating has Brockman upset . . . Dewar gives Everett another victory

MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout. He had two goals and an assist in 22 games. He had been signed in July to a tryout contract that ran through Nov. 30.


ThisThat

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


Does this mean the next move is up to the Edmonton Oil Kings?

On Thursday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, both 19, from the Regina Pats in a monster deal.

On Friday, the Red Deer Rebels picked up F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger, both 19, Red Deerfrom the Kootenay Ice, who acquired four players and as many as five bantam draft picks in the exchange.

Going into Friday’s games, the Rebels (16-8-1) led the Central Division by one point over the Oil Kings (14-10-4) despite having lost three straight. Red Deer was six points ahead of Lethbridge (11-8-5).

It would seem that the trading puck now is in Edmonton’s possession.

On Friday, here’s what went down between Red Deer and Kootenay . . .

The Rebels acquired . . .

  • F Cam Hausinger, 19
  • F Brett Davis, 19

The Ice acquired . . .

  • F River Fahey, 17
  • F Austin Schellenberg, 18
  • F Justin Svenson, 17
  • F Chase Bertholet, 15
  • 2019 first-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 third-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 sixth-round bantam draft pick
  • 2020 second-round bantam draft pick
  • 2022 conditional third-round bantam draft pick.

——

While not all-stars, Davis and Hausinger are experienced players who will score a bit and provide terrific depth to the Rebels’ forward ranks.

The Ice, meanwhile, add two more Manitoba prospects in advance of what is anticipated Kootenaynewwill be a move to Winnipeg before the 2019-20 season.

Davis, from Oakbank, Man., was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft, but has yet to sign. In 211 regular-season WHL games — 85 with Lethbridge and 126 with Kootenay — he has 55 goals and 65 assists. This season, he has seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games. Lethbridge selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

Like Davis, Hausinger, who is injured at the moment, is in his fourth WHL season. In 216 games, he has 42 goals and 44 assists. From Anchorage, he was a seventh-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. He played 78 games with the Blades before being dealt to the Rebels early in the 2016-17 season. Hausinger was in his second season with the Ice. This season, he has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games.

Fahey, from Campbell River, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He has one assist in 21 games after putting up one goal and two assists in 26 games with the Rebels last season.

Schellenberg is in his second season with the Rebels, and has one goal and five assists in 19 games. Last season, Schellenberg, a list player from Grande Prairie, Alta., had two goals and one assist in 46 games.

Svenson, from Ile Des Chenes, Man., has six goals and five assists in 15 games with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He was a third-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He is pointless in 19 games with the Rebels, 18 of them last season.

Bertholet was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Thompson, Man., he has five goals and 11 assists in 21 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.

——

Later on Friday, the Kootenay Ice acquired F Jack Cowell, 19, from the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft.

Cowell, a list player, had two goals and three assists in 26 games with the Rockets. In 156 career games with Kelowna, he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

With all signs pointing to the Ice relocating to Winnipeg before another season gets here, it’s worth noting that Cowell is from the Manitoba capital.


It seems that there are issues in the USA-Central Hockey League, a junior league that popped up in Texas over the summer and was to have included at least four teams.

Zach Duncan of the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported that the Wichita Falls Force had to postpone a Friday game against the host Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees because of problems with a bus company.

Duncan also reported that the Texas Lawmen, one of those four teams, had announced via its Facebook page that it was folding.

According to that page, “The three players that were left have decided to pursue other options in other leagues. . . . Earlier this week, the coaching staff resigned.”

It turns out that the Lawmen and Killer Bees played a game last week, but it was 3-on-3 due to a shortage of players. The Lawmen apparently had only four skaters.

Interestingly, the Force’s first head coach, Misko Antisin, resigned on Oct. 13 and was replaced by Troy Mick, who was the USA-CHL’s president. However, it could be that Mick no longer is with the Force or the league.

“USA-CHL president Troy Mick, who was heavily involved in the league’s day-to-day operations and station in Wichita Falls,” Duncan wrote, “hasn’t been heard from in weeks.”

Spies tell Taking Note that Mick, who is no stranger to B.C. hockey circles, was spotted on Tuesday at a BCHL game game in the home arena of the West Kelowna Warriors, who beat the Langley Rivermen, 4-3. Yes, he was seen chatting up Warriors’ owner Kim Dobranski.


“Todd Ewen was posthumously diagnosed earlier this year by a Boston University neuropathologist with the brain-withering disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a development that contradicts the findings of a Toronto doctor two years ago that the former National Hockey League player didn’t have the disease,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN.

“Ewen, who fought his way through a dozen NHL seasons, battled depression, anxiety and memory loss for the last 20 years of his life. He was certain he had CTE. On Sept. 19, 2015, he killed himself in the basement of his family’s home in St. Louis.”

Before playing in the NHL, Ewen fought his way through three WHL seasons with the New Westminster Bruins, recording 771 penalty minutes in 187 games.

In the NHL, Ewen had 1,914 penalty minutes in 518 games.

Ewen’s widow, Kelli, has gone public in demanding that the NHL “stand up and admit that CTE is real, that CTE exists . . .”

Westhead’s story is right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ethan Kruger stopped 29 shots to help the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-1 victory BrandonWKregularover the Regina Pats. . . . Brandon (12-7-6) has won two in a row. . . . Regina (8-18-0) has lost three straight. . . . The Pats ended a seven-game road swing with this one. The trek included a trek through the B.C. Division. All told, they went (1-5-0). . . . The Pats won’t have much time to do laundry, though, as they are at home to the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. . . . In six appearances, Kruger, a freshman from Sherwood Park, Alta., is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910. . . . F Linden McCorrister (5) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 10:14 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:21 of the second. . . . F Ty Kolle (8) scored Regina’s goal, his first with the Pats since coming over in a Thursday deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Jadon Joseph, the other player Regina got in that deal, drew an assist in his Pats debut. . . . F Brett Clayton, acquired from the Tri-City Americans on Monday, also was in the Pats’ lineup for the first time. . . . The Pats headed home to play the Prince Albert Raiders tonight, while the Wheat Kings are off to Swift Current where they will meet the Broncos tonight.


The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the host MooseJawWarriorsEdmonton Oil Kings, 3-1. . . . Moose Jaw (14-5-4) has points in nine straight (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton (14-11-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Brett Kemp (18) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 15:17 of the first period. . . . Freshman F Brayden Tracey (9) got Moose Jaw even at 10:55 of the second and F Yegor Buyalski (5) snapped the tie at 13:22. . . . F Justin Almeida (5) provided the insurance at 2:57 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 35 saves from G Adam Evanoff, including 14 in each of the last two periods. . . . Edmonton G Todd Scott was in uniform for the first time this season as he backed up Dylan Myskiw, who finished with 19 saves. . . . F Peyton McKenzie, 16, made  his debut with the Warriors and drew the primary assist on Buyalski’s goal. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, McKenzie plays for the Edmonton-OHA prep team. . . . The Warriors are in Red Deer tonight, while the Oil Kings face the Hitmen in Calgary.


F Zach Cox broke a 1-1 tie at 14:28 of the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgewent on to a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (12-8-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Swift Current (4-20-2) has lost two in a row. . . . F Justin Hall (1) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead with his first WHL score, at 4:07 of the second period. . . . F Max Patterson (8) tied it at 11:54. . . . Cox’s ninth goal turned into the winner. . . . F Jake Elmer (12) added insurance at 6:38 of the third. . . . F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, who were acquired Wednesday from the Regina Pats, made their Lethbridge debuts on a line with F Jordy Bellerive, the team captain. . . . Leschyshyn drew an assist on Hall’s Teddy Bear goal. . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky, who drew an assist on their goal, didn’t finish the game. . . . Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ GM/head coach, wasn’t pleased about the officiating and likely will be making a contribution to the WHL office’s Christmas fund. After the game, Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, tweeted this from Brockman: “I didn’t like the way the game was called at all. It was awful. The third goal . . . I’m not sure what you’re looking at. When your team is battling the way it is and there’s some missed and non-calls . . . to me that’s really not acceptable. The third goal (Broncos G Joel Hofer) gets knocked into the net. It’s hard to make a save when you’re getting planted . . . we just hope the vision is little a bit broader in the next couple games.” . . . The Broncos headed home after the game to face the Brandon Wheat Kings tonight. . . . The Hurricanes are in Medicine Hat tonight.


The host Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer (17-8-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Calgary (10-14-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Hitmen finished 4-2-1 on a seven-game road trip. They will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight. . . . F Jeff de Wit, F Brandon Hagel and F Chris Douglas each scored twice for Red Deer. . . . De Wit now has 19 goals, with Hagel, who also had an assist, at 17 and Douglas at eight. . . . De Wit left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Luke Coleman (8) and F Mark Kastelic (22) scored for Calgary to get the Hitmen to within three, at 5-2, in the third period. . . . Calgary had a 45-23 edge in shots, as Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 43 shots. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup after a two-game absence. . . . The Rebels are at home again tonight, this time against Moose Jaw. . . . The Hitmen also will play at home as they meet Edmonton.


D Quinn Schmiemann scored in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops1visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Kamloops improved to 10-11-2. It now is 1-4-2 in one-goal games. . . . The Blades (16-9-3) are 2-1-1 in their trip through the B.C. Division. . . . Saskatoon led this one 2-0 in the second period on goals from D Emil Malysjev (1) and F Max Gerlach (17), the latter on a PP. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (9), back after a two-game absence, scored Kamloops’ first goal, at 15:45 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) tied it on a breakaway at 9:15 of the third. . . . Schmiemann (2) won it at 1:29 of OT, beating Saskatoon G Nolan Maier with a quick shot under the cross-bar from the right wing. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was among the Blazers’ scratches. He was injured in a goal-mouth collision during a game in Spokane on Nov. 24. With Ferguson out, Royce Ramsay of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos was backing up Dylan Garand, who finished with 23 saves. . . . D Jackson Caller and F Jeff Faith, acquired in deals on Monday, were in the Blazers’ lineup. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who went to Saskatoon in the deal that had Caller land in his hometown, played his third game with the Blades. . . . With East Division teams playing in B.C. only once every two seasons, this was Blades D Dawson Davidson’s first game in Kamloops since the Blazers dealt him to the Regina Pats on Dec. 27, 2016. The Blades got him from the Pats on Jan. 8. . . . This game featured an interesting coaching matchup in that the head coaches — Mitch Love of Saskatoon and Serge Lajoie of Kamloops — are in their first seasons and were the last two candidates on the Blades’ shortlist during the off-season. . . . After the game, the Blades ate at Frankly Coffee and then it was off to Kelowna where they will meet the Rockets tonight. . . . The Blazers will be at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.


F Andrej Kukuca broke a 4-4 tie in the third period and the Seattle Thunderbirds went on Seattleto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-12-3) had lost three in a row and were 1-8-1 in their last 10. . . . The Ice (7-18-4) have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . F Peyton Krebs, who scored three times for the Kootenay, erased a two-goal deficit by scoring at 8:38 of the second period and 3:41 of the third. Krebs completed his first WHL hat trick with a PP goal. Krebs is seen as a likely first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft and he put on a show for the scouts in the house. . . . Kukuca gave Seattle a 5-4 lead with his sixth goal at 4:49. . . . F Zack Andrusiak’s 18th goal, his third of the night, upped the lead to 6-4 at 9:50, and F Tyler Carpendale (2) added more insurance at 14:17. . . . Andrusiak, who has four career hat tricks, has goals in seven straight games, including six over his past two games. He also had an assist for a four-point evening. . . . The Ice got three assists from F Brad Ginnell. . . . Seattle F Noah Philp, back after a nine-game absence, scored his 10th goal and added an assist. . . . The Thunderbirds boarded their bus after the game and headed for Kamloops where they will meet the Blazers tonight. . . . The Ice will move on to Everett and a game against the Silvertips tonight.


F Leif Mattson scored in OT to give the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City KelownaRocketsAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Kelowna (12-15-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tri-City (13-9-1) had won its previous two outings. . . . F Kyle Olson (5) gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead at 16:00 of the first period. . . . Mattson tied it at 5:58 of the second period and F Kyle Crosby (4) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 15:39. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (8) pulled his guys even with 10.2 seconds left in the third period. . . . Mattson won it with his 11th goal just 20 seconds into extra time. . . . The Rockets lost F Ted Brennan to a checking-from-major and game misconduct for a hit on D Bryan McAndrews at 5:53 of the first period. . . . The Rockets headed home after the game because they are to play the travelling Saskatoon Blades tonight. . . . The Americans also are on the road today. They’ll face the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum.


F Connor Dewar scored in OT to give the host Everett Silvertips a 5-4 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (21-7-1) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). The Silvertips went 11-2-1 in November. . . . Spokane (14-8-4) has point four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Chiefs held a 3-1 lead early in the third period but weren’t able to hold it. . . . D Filip Kral (2) gave Spokane that 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:38 of the third. . . . The Silvertips responded with three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored at 10:23. F Akash Bains (5) tied it at 13:26. F Martin Fasko-Rudas (8) put Everett ahead at 17:33. . . . The Chiefs forced OT when F Ethan McIndoe (7) scored with 15.2 seconds left in the third. . . . Dewar’s 23rd goal won it 53 seconds into OT. . . . The Chiefs were 3-6 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips are at home tonight to the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs are off to Portland for a date tonight with the Winterhawks.


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Victoria bows out, three remain in running for 2020 Memorial Cup . . . Signings, signings, everywhere a signing . . . Murray Westgate dies at 100

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And then there were three . . .

The Victoria Royals bowed out of the race for the 2020 Memorial Cup on Monday, leaving the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets still in the hunt.

Victoria, with Vancouver, will play host to the 2019 World Junior Championship. With the VictoriaRoyalshigh costs associated with attending events such as the Memorial Cup and the WJC, and considering that the Royals would be asking their ticket-buying public to support both events, you can bet that the organization and the bid committee grew wary of going to the well once too often.

“Everybody wants to be the very, very best. Not just win the bid but win the bid in a way that the Memorial Cup you put on is the best one that’s ever been put on,” Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, told Marlon Martens, the team’s radio voice. “I think we’re close. I think it’s possible we could win this bid for 2020. But the truth of it is there are a number of boxes that I think we will tick much, much better two or three years down the road.

“Everything from our club and the building of the club, although that’s a secondary issue for us. I think we’ll be competitive in 2020, but the venue . . . there’s some changes we want to make to the arena that would enhance it for the fans and for everybody and the community.

“We are just about to embark on a wonderful World Junior Championship and it’s a significant ask of our fans to buck up every year for season tickets — which they do and our base grows every year — and then go to that market and ask them to pay not an insignificant amount for World Juniors, which is a big tournament, and then ask them again the following season to buck up again for a big tournament like the Memorial Cup.

“Those things are all factors I think we could overcome, but when you combine them we have to think about the reality of the very best time to bid.”

Hope admitted that this decision has been a while coming.

“The bid committee has been working on this for a few months . . . assessing what our bid would look like for 2020 and whether or not we think it’s the right year to go,” Hope said. “The bid committee has decided they are going to focus on 2023.

“We agonized over it . . . spent a lot of time deciding whether or not it was the right thing . . . it’s clearly the right thing to do.”

Martens’ complete interview with Hope is right here.

The Rockets, of course, were the host team in 2004 and it was such a good show that it KelownaRocketswas the benchmark for Memorial Cup tournaments to that point. Obviously, the city and the organization know what it takes, and there isn’t any doubt but that they would put on a terrific show.

Kelowna’s bid committee is headed up by Tom Dyas, a former president of the city’s chamber of commerce. Paul Mitchell and Bill Winter, who headed up the bid committee prior to the 2004 event, also are heavily involved.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, has said that the team will foot the bill for the tournament, including about $100,000 to improve dressing rooms in Prospera Place.

“This is the Kelowna Rockets putting this on,” Hamilton said at a news conference in April. “We’ll get some support I’m sure from other areas, but the city is taking no risk at all except they’ll be very involved in helping to prepare the bid.”

The Blazers announced in November that they would be bidding for 2020, which will Kamloops1mark the 25th anniversary of their having won the 1995 tournament.

Norm Daley of Daley and Co., who has been involved in bid committees that have brought numerous events to Kamloops, including the 2016 IIHF World Women’s Championship, heads up the Blazers’ bid committee.

“One thing is, we’ve lost,” Daley told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in April. “So we understand we didn’t get the 2013 women’s worlds (curling), we didn’t get the 2009 Olympic curling trials. So we’ve lost.

“So we understand where maybe there’s some shortcomings in what the bid process is when we did it those times . . . so we have that understanding of what it takes to win, so we actually have won a number of other ones . . . so that’s the big thing. We can take the information of what we maybe did wrong in those bids and use it for our advantage in this one.”

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes, with Bill Reddick of Mercer Wilde Group Charter LethbridgeAccountants chairing the bid committee, have received assurances from city council that it will kick in $750,000, along with $250,000 in in-kind services, should the bid be successful. The in-kind package would include such things as costs, including labour, involved with the use of the ENMAX Centre.

While Kelowna no doubt is alone as the favourite now that Victoria is out, you have to think that Lethbridge is at least a sentimental favourite, even with the tournament having been held in Red Deer in 2016. (Prior to that, it hadn’t been held in Alberta since 1974 when it was played in the Calgary Corral.) After all, it was slightly more than three years ago when the franchise was in dire financial straits. The team had missed the playoffs for six straight seasons and had lost well over $1 million in the process. On top of that, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was urging shareholders to sell to private interests.

Since then, well, Peter Anholt has taken over as the general manager, things are looking up on the ice, where the Hurricanes have reached the Eastern Conference final each of the past two seasons. Anholt and the likes of Terry Huisman, the GM of business operations, have got things turned around to the point where the organization announced a profit of $737,710 for the 2016-17 season.

The Blazers, Hurricanes and Rockets will present their bids to the WHL’s board of governors at a meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. It is expected that the host city will be named later that same day.


This is why you won’t find any scrimmage-related news on this site . . . I am retired and can’t afford to pay the fine.


F Kole Gable, who helped the Swift Current Broncos win a WHL title last season, will SCBroncosopen this season with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Gable, 20, is from Fort McMurray. . . . Last season, he had six goals and 10 assists in 68 regular-season games with the Broncos, then added one assist in 26 playoff games. . . . Gable was a ninth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2013 bantam draft. He played 61 games with the Oil Kings before being dealt to the Broncos during the 2016-17 season. . . . In 166 regular-season WHL games, he put up 18 goals and 21 assists. . . . The Broncos have five 20-year-olds on their roster — F Kaden Elder, F Andrew Fyten, Russian D Artyom Minulin, F Tanner Nagel and D Ryan Pouliot. Minulin, who is from Russia, would be a two-spotter should he return.


The Prince George Cougars have signed F Craig Armstrong, a first-round selection, ninth PrinceGeorgeoverall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, to a contract. From Airdrie, Alta., he led his hometown bantam AAA Xtreme in scoring in the regular season and playoffs. He put up 23 goals and 31 assists in 34 regular-season games, then added 14 goals and nine assists in 13 playoff games. He also had three goals and four assists in five games at the Western Canadian bantam AAA championship tournament.

Armstrong’s signing leaves two of the 22 first-round selections without WHL contracts. . . . F Trevor Wong, taken 18th overall by Kelowna, attended the Rockets’ camp but has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver for 2021-22. . . . The Cougars took G Tyler Brennan of Winnipeg with the second-last pick of the first round and have yet to sign him.

——

The WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

——

The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed Sammy May, 15, to a WHL contract. May, from SaskatoonRichmond, B.C., was an 11th-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . “Despite his position in the draft, May quickly earned himself an offer on the final day of training camp,” the Blades said in a news release. . . . Last season, with a bantam prep team at the Delta Hockey Academy, he had 11 goals and 10 assists in 28 games. . . . May is expected to get a taste of WHL action when the Blades open their exhibition season against the host Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed G Mads Sogaard, who will turn 18 on Dec. 13, and F Tigers Logo OfficialCaleb Willms, a 16-year-old from Cochrane, Alta. . . . Sogaard, from Aalborg, Denmark, was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. The 6-foot-7, 190-pounder played last season with the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, going 2.64, .909 in 22 appearances. . . . He is expected to push veteran Jordan Hollett, 19, for playing time. . . . Willms, a list player, spent last season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR  Bisons, putting up three goals and seven assists in 35 games.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca to a WHL contract. SeattleKukuca, who will turn 19 on Nov. 14, scored 43 goals and added 27 assists in 44 games for Trencin’s team in Slovakia’s U-20 junior league last season. He added 18 goals and 10 assists in 18 playoff games. . . . The Thunderbirds have yet to sign their other 2018 import draft selection — Czech D Simon Kubicek, who is to turn 17 on Dec. 19 — but it is believed that he is getting his paperwork in order before joining them. He was pointless in four games with the Czech U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup earlier this month.


The Victoria Royals have signed F Trentyn Crane, 15, who was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. From Morden, Man., he had 46 goals and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Pembina Valley Hawks, who are based in Morden and play in a Winnipeg league.


The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed D Lucas Brenton, 15, and D Cole Jordan, who will MooseJawWarriorsturn 16 on Sept. 21, to WHL contracts. . . . From East St. Paul, Man., Brenton was a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, with the bantam AAA Winnipeg Sharks, he had nine goals and 15 assists in 32 games. . . . Jordan, from Brandon, was added to the Warriors’ protected list in January. He had three goals and 15 assists in 46 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings last season.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Owen MacNeil, 15, to a WHL contract. He was selected in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . From Calgary, he had 15 goals and 32 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Royals, and also had a goal and two assists in five games with the minor midget CRAA Blue.


The Tri-City Americans have signed three players — D Bryan McAndrews, 17, from tri-cityEdmonton; F Parker Bell, who will turn 15 on Sept. 26, from Campbell River, B.C.; and F Sequoia Swan, 16, from Winnipeg. . . . The 6-foot-5 McAndrews was a fifth-round pick in the 2016 WHL bantam draft. McAndrews played last season with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s midget prep Red team, putting up five goals and six assists in 25 games. . . . Last season, Bell scored three goals and added seven assists in 20 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Swan, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, had eight goals and 14 assists in 32 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy’s elite 15s last season.


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


“With football already underway and hockey starting soon,” writes Jack Todd in the pages of the Montreal Gazette, “it’s a good time to talk about toxic parents on the sideline.” . . . This right here is a good piece, and there are a handful of rules, all of them worth following, at the end of it.


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