Five key days for Blazers’ playoff hopes. . . . Oil Kings romp to win in Hockey Hooky game. . . . Rebels snap losing skid in Moose Jaw


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The Kamloops Blazers have 11 games remaining in their regular season, eight of them at home. They’ll play four games, three of them at home, over the next five days.

When Sunday evening arrives, the Blazers may well know whether they’ll be in the Kamloops1playoffs.

The Blazers (22-29-6) are five points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (24-28-7), who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. Kamloops also is fourth in the B.C. Division, seven points behind the Kelowna Rockets (26-29-5).

The Blazers are at home to the Tri-City Americans (33-22-3) tonight, the Thunderbirds on Friday and the Vancouver Giants (41-14-4) on Saturday. On Sunday, the Blazers will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., in a game that is to start at 4 p.m.

This will be the third time in less than two weeks that the Blazers and Americans have met. On Feb. 15, the host Americans posted a 5-3 victory. The Blazers, playing at home, dumped the Americans, 3-1, on Feb. 18.

Kamloops missed the playoffs last season and, in fact, has been on the outside looking in for three of the past five post-seasons.

This the 20th season since the Blazers last appeared in a WHL final — they lost the 1999 championship series to the Calgary Hitmen in five games.

Since then, the Blazers have missed the playoffs five times, been eliminated in the first round on 12 occasions, and been ousted in the second round once. One season, 2012-13, they lost to the Portland Winterhawks, in five games, in the Western Conference final.

While the Blazers are playing four times in five days, the Thunderbirds will spend their weekend skating three times in fewer than 48 hours. After visiting Kamloops on Friday, they will scurry to home to meet the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday, then will entertain the Tri-City Americans on Sunday.

As for Kelowna, the Rockets also will play three times in fewer than 48 hours on the weekend. They will meet the Giants in Langley, B.C., on Friday, then return home for a Saturday-Sunday doubleheader with the Winterhawks.

It will be interesting to see if the water is clearer — or muddier — come Sunday evening.


The Prince Albert Raiders have signed F Evan Herman to a WHL contract. Herman, 16, PrinceAlbertwas a third-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. From The Pas, Man., Herman is expected to make his WHL debut tonight against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The 5-foot-9, 145-pound Herman is playing for the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy’s prep team, and has 13 goals and 13 assists in 30 games. He also has five goals and two assists in seven games with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, and three goals and an assist in three games with the Rink Academy’s 18U side.


The Spokane Chiefs announced on Monday that general manager Scott Carter had been signed to a contract extension that runs through the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, the Chiefs issued a correction. The extension actually is two years in length, running through the 2020-21 season.

Carter is in his third season with the Chiefs after taking over from Tim Speltz on Sept. 8, 2016. Speltz, who had been the general manager for 26 years, now is the head amateur scout with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs.


Ray Wareham has decided to step aside as head coach of the Moose Jaw Generals of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Wareham has been the Generals’ head coach for 17 seasons. . . . He will be staying on as the club’s general manager. . . . “I think I’m going to step down from coaching and, hopefully, just manage the team and get fresh faces in here and see what happens,” Wareham told Blaise Wozniak of discovermoosejaw.com. “I’ve got some other irons in the fire . . . it’s been a long time here. I’m looking forward to the new adventures ahead. My plan is to stay on as manager and to help the new guys that come in the next couple of years and then go from there.” . . . The Generals (17-24-3) missed the playoffs for a second straight season.


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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings erased an early 1-0 deficit with 11 straight goals as they dumped EdmontonOilKingsthe visiting Swift Current Broncos, 11-1. . . . Edmonton (34-18-8) has won four in a row and leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Oil Kings have won more games than in any single season since 2013-14; this is the fourth-highest victory total in the franchise’s modern history. The Oil Kings won at least 50 games in three straight seasons (2011-14). . . . The Oil Kings last hit double figures in goals on Feb. 17, 2014, when they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 12-0, behind a goal and four assists from F Reid Petryk. . . . Swift Current (10-42-5) has lost 11 in a row (0-9-2). . . . F Tanner Nagel (12) gave the Broncos the lead at 3:14 of the first period. . . . Edmonton F David Kope tied it, on a PP, at 6:20, and F Andrew Fyten put the home side ahead at 13:10. . . . F Jake Neighbours (9) upped the lead to 3-1 at 13:48, and it was all Oil Kings from there to the end. . . . Fyten, who was acquired from the Broncos on Dec. 13 for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, had two goals and two assists, his first career four-point outing. . . . Fyten, 20, had eight goals and nine assists in 27 games with Swift Current; he has nine goals and 11 assists in 27 games with Edmonton. . . . Kope had two goals for Edmonton, giving him 13, with F Scott Atkinson also scoring twice, giving him 12. Singles came from F Vladimir Alistrov (11), F Josh Williams (13), who returned after sitting while ill, F Vince Loschiavo (29) and F Trey Fix-Wolansky (31). . . . D Conner McDonald had three assists. Alistrov and Fix-Wolansky added two assists each, with Kope adding one to his two goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky has 31 goals and 61 assists in 58 games. He has reached career highs in assists and points, and his one shy of the 32 goals he scored last season. In 199 career games, he has 235 points, including 87 goals. . . . McDonald now has a career-high 43 points, in 61 games; last season, he finished with 42 in 71. . . . Edmonton, which was 3-5 on the PP, held a 38-17 edge in shots. . . . This game started at 11 a.m., as it was the Oil Kings’ annual Hockey Hooky game. The announced attendance was 13,186. . . . The Broncos are back on the ice early today as they meet the host Calgary Hitmen in their third annual Be Brave Anti-Bullying game. Game time is noon MT.


F Brandon Hagel scored two goals and added three assists to lead the Red Deer Rebels to MooseJawWarriorsa 7-3 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Red Deer (30-24-5) had lost its previous five games, scoring 10 goals in the process. Red Deer and Brandon are tied for the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, two points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Moose Jaw (34-17-8) had won three in a row. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . Hagel now has three games of at least five points in his WHL career — that’s two five-pointers and a six-pointer. . . . The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 first-period leads on goals from F Reese Johnson (22), at 10:28; Hagel, at 11:50; and F Chris Douglas, at 12:28. . . . Moose Jaw cut into the lead as D Jett Woo (12) scored, on a PP, at 3:59 of the second period. . . . However, Red Deer scored the next three goals, all in the second period, by F Josh Tarzwell (8), at 6:58; Douglas (15), at 9:20; and D Alex Alexeyev (9), on a PP, at 13:29. . . . F Luke Ormsby (7) scored, shorthanded, for Moose Jaw at 14:32. . . . Hagel (36) added an empty-netter at 11:32 of the third period, before F Carson Denomie (5) scored for the Warriors at 16:09. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 28 saves. . . . This was the start of a four-game East Division swing for the Rebels.


F Ryan Hughes scored two goals and added two assists to lead the host Saskatoon Blades Saskatoonto a 6-4 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Saskatoon (39-14-8) has won two in a row and is second in the East Division 10 points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Lethbridge (32-18-10) had won its previous three games. It is second in the East Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and six ahead of the Calgary Hitmen. . . . This was the fourth time in his career that Hughes has scored at least four points in a game. He has nine goals and 14 assists in 18 games with the Blades, who acquired him from the Portland Winterhawks earlier in the season. He had 17 goals and 23 assists in 36 games with Portland. . . . F Nick Henry (24) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 2:20 of the first period. . . . The Blades took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Crnkovic (10), at 3:31; F Gary Haden (29), on a PP, at 1:14 of the second period; and F Chase Wouters (15), on another PP, at 12:19. . . . Lethbridge pulled into a 3-3 tie as F Jake Elmer (32) scored at 8:26 of the third period and F Logan Barlage (14) counted at 11:23. . . . Elmer has goals in nine straight games, the longest such streak in the WHL this season. He has 12 goals over that stretch. In a 10-game point streak, he has 12 goals and seven assists. . . . Elmer finished last season with 18 goals and 19 assists in 70 games; this season, he has 32 goals and 33 assists in 60 games. . . . Hughes broke the tie at 11:42, and F Kirby Dach (23) made it 5-3 at 13:52. . . . Lethbridge got back to within a goal when F Taylor Ross (31) scored at 16:03. . . . Hughes finished it when he scored his 26th goal, into an empty net, at 18:29. . . . Dach also had two assists. He now has 23 goals and 41 assists in 55 games. . . . There were a number of NHL scouts in the house, presumably to watch Dach go against Lethbridge F Dylan Cozens, both of whom are seen as early picks in the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . Cozens, who had one assists, now has 28 goals and 44 assists in 60 games. . . . G Nolan Maier picked up the victory with 35 saves. He is 31-10-6, 2.77, .907 this season. . . . Darren Steinke was at the game and post this piece right here to his blog.


F Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored in OT to give the Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsCougars in Prince George. . . . Spokane (32-19-7) has points in three straight games (2-0-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Portland Winterhawks and two ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Prince George (17-36-8) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). The Cougars are 13 points from a playoff spot with seven games remaining. . . . The visitors took a 1-0 lead when F Jake McGrew (24) scored at 8:27 of the first period. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Cougars went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Jackson Leppard (10), at 3:47, and D Rhett Rhinehart (4), on a PP, at 7:53. . . . The Chiefs then went ahead 3-2 on goals from D Egor Arbuzov (4), at 11:38, and D Filip Kral (7), at 16:36. . . . The Cougars forced OT when F Josh Maser (25) scored at 18:47. . . . Anderson-Dolan won it with his 10th goal of the season, at 3:58, snapping home a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot. . . . Spokane F Eli Zummack had one assist to run his point streak to 14 games. He has 20 points, including 17 assists, in that stretch. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Reece Klassen, while G Taylor Gauthier stopped 30 shots for the Cougars. . . . The Chiefs are without F Erik Atchison and F Ethan McIndoe, both of whom are out week-to-week. . . . The Cougars are without D Cole Moberg, who is listed as week-to-week. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Prince George.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday while watching Jason Bourne. Again . . . Tigers are road warriors . . . Giants latest to clinch playoff spot

Scattershooting

Sheldon Kennedy spent the weekend in Swift Current, which was the host location for Hockey Day in Canada on Saturday. While he was there, the City honoured him by naming an arena after him. To see the love affair between Kennedy and Swift Current makes my heart sing, because there once was a time when an observer never would have thought this was possible. . . . Well done!



ICYMI, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed F Auston Matthews to a new contract on Tuesday. . . . What! You didn’t know that! . . . Well, you’re welcome.


Here is Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, on one of the Super Bowl commercials: “After the Washington Post ad in the fourth quarter, I mentioned to my Super Bowl party host that Jeff Bezos’ impending divorce action may influence the Post to the degree that their new slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ may need to be altered to ‘Democracy dies in divorce.’ ”

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And here is The Sports Curmudgeon on the Super Bowl’s halftime show: “Granted that I had no idea who any of the performers for the half-time show were. After glimpsing pieces of their acts, I can say with certainty that I need not expend an erg of energy to find out the next time any of them will be in concert near to where I live. The ad slogan for Camel cigarettes used to be, ‘I’d walk a mile for a Camel.’ Well, I would not walk across the room to hear any of those folks perform.”


ChickenEgg


Perhaps you heard about the runner in Colorado who, when attacked by an 80-pound cougar, killed the big cat with his bare hands. As Dixon Tam put it on Twitter: “I hope Chuck Norris recovers from his injuries quickly.”


Ahh, yes, the Kootenay Ice Hall of Fame, announced eight days after the franchise’s post-season move to Winnipeg was confirmed. In an email, one fan told Taking Note that “it’s like sending flowers to your wife a week after you dumped her for another woman.”


If you’re wondering what Les Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Saskatoon Blades does on his nights off, he’s the star of the Saskatchewan karaoke circuit. . . . Actually, he was taking part in a Kinsmen-sponsored karaoke battle, so it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

 


Here for your reading pleasure is a piece written by Mark Fainaru-Wada, a staff writer at ESPN, about how the iconic Bob Costas came to the end of his run with NBC-TV. Yes, it had something to do with the NFL and, yes, it has something to do with concussions. . . . It’s all right here, and it’s another reminder about the power of the NFL.


Headline at TheOnion.com: Super Bowl halftime show marred by functioning sound system.


Luggage


ThisThat

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, holds the WHL’s record for career victories as a head coach. He has 750 of those to his credit from stints with the whlKamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans and Vancouver Giants.

It was just last season when Hay broke the record of 742 that had been held for so long by Ken Hodge, who worked with the original Edmonton Oil Kings before making the move to Portland with the franchise.

On Saturday night, Marc Habscheid, now the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth man in WHL history to get to 500 victories.

So . . . you are wondering if Hay’s career victories record is safe, or whether Habscheid might break it?

Hay will turn 65 on Wednesday. Habscheid will hit 56 on March 1.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that Hay won’t be a WHL head coach again, although it’s apparent that he isn’t as done with coaching as we once were led to believe. (Hey, the Prince George Cougars might be in the market for a head coach once this season ends. Might Hay be a good fit there?)

Habscheid, meanwhile, is a career coach; he has been for more than 20 years. There is little doubt that he will coach for at least another 10 years. The question one has to ask is this: Will he spend the remainder of his coaching days in the WHL?

To date, Habscheid has had only one brief taste (2006-07) of the NHL, that as an associate coach, alongside head coach Dave Lewis, with the Boston Bruins. Peter Chiarelli, then the Bruins’ general manager, fired them after one season.

Perhaps Habscheid will end up as part of the management team with the NHL’s expansion Seattle franchise that is to begin play in 2021-22. When that organization starts hiring, it may take a look at the Vegas Golden Knights, see the number of former WHL head coaches involved there and decide to follow suit. Kelly McCrimmon, Mike Kelly, Ryan McGill, Bob Lowes, Kelly Kisio and Bruno Campese, each a former WHL head coach, all are on the Vegas payroll.

If Habscheid’s phone doesn’t ring and if he ends up staying in the WHL, and if Hay doesn’t get another head-coaching gig, you can bet Habscheid will end up with more regular-season victories than anyone else.

When would that happen? Perhaps sometime in 2025-26.

By that time, Habscheid might be the head coach of the WHL’s Abbotsford Aardvarks, or the Boise Bulls, or the Wenatchee Wings. Or he may still be in Prince Albert. Or perhaps he will settling comfortably in a new role as a pitchman for Dairy Queen.

No matter. It’ll be fun watching it all unfold.

There’s more on Habscheid right here in an interesting piece filed earlier this month by Mike Commito of Sportsnet.

——

THE WHL’S 300 CLUB

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) 500

9. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 495

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) 386

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

20. Mike Johnston (Portland) 348

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

22. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326


F Logan Stankoven set a franchise single-game points record on Sunday, counting eight thompsonblazersof them as the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers beat the visiting Kootenay Ice, 10-0, in a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League game. . . . Stankoven scored three times and added five assists. . . . He leads the league in goals (43), assists (41) and points (84). His lead in the scoring race now is 34 points over F Tyler Crystal of the Vancouver North West Hawks. . . . According to a tweet from the team, Stankoven is one goal shy of the BCMMHL single-season goal record that is held by F Tyson Jost, who scored 44 times for the Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. . . . This was Stankoven’s third game of the weekend, after he played Friday and Saturday nights with the WHL’s Blazers, who selected him fifth overall in the WHLs 2018 bantam draft. This season, he has one assist in seven games with the Blazers. In Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets, head coach Serge Lajoie gave him third-period time with veterans Jermaine Loewen and Zane Franklin in an attempt to inject some life into a stagnant offence. The goals didn’t come, but the chances were there as Stankoven showed again that he is more than capable to making the jump to the WHL.


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SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Riley McKay and F Chase Wouters had two goals each to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a Saskatoon6-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Saskatoon (34-13-8) has points in 10 straight games (8-0-2). It is second in the East Division, eight points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who have three games in hand. . . . Brandon (23-22-7) is seven points out of a playoff spot. . . . The Blades took a 3-0 lead on first-period goals from McKay, at 9:23; F Kyle Crnkovic (7), on a PP, at 14:36; and Wouters, at 15:07. . . . The Wheat Kings got to within a goal in the second period as F Linden McCorrister (12) scored while shorthanded, at 0:32, and F Stelio Mattheos (33) scored on a PP, at 10:39. . . . Wouters countered with his 12th goal, at 11:22. . . . F Ridley Greig (11) pulled the Wheat Kings back to within a goal, again, at 13:29, on another PP. . . . Saskatoon put it away on third-period goals from D Dawson Davidson (11), on a PP, at 5:02, and McKay (11), into an empty net at 18:27. . . . Each team was 2-7 on the PP. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Max Gerlach. . . . G Jiri Patera returned from a leg injury to start for Brandon and stop 31 shots. He hadn’t played since being injured on Jan. 25. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 25 shots for Saskatoon. . . . The Blades were without F Kirby Dach, who left Saturday’s 4-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos after being struck by a puck in the throat area. Taking Note was told after Saturday’s game that Dach was taken from the game was only precautionary. Saskatoon next is to play Wednesday when it visits the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Blogger Darren Steinke was on hand for this one and his piece is right here.


G Carl Stankowski earned his first victory since Nov. 23 as the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarydumped the Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-2. . . . Calgary (28-20-5) is fourth in the Central Division, three points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes and one in front of the Red Deer Rebels. Calgary does hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (30-14-8) had won its previous two games. It is a comfortable third in the East Division. . . . The Warriors were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours; they went (2-1-0). . . . Stankowski was making his second appearance since suffering an ankle injury on Nov. 23 in a 5-2 victory over his former club, the Seattle Thunderbirds, in Kent. Wash. . . . On Sunday, Calgary took an early 2-0 lead on goals from F Mark Kastelic (38), at 1:16, and F Tye Carriere (6), at 5:59. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (13) scored for Moose Jaw at 14:55. . . . Second-period goals by F James Malm (23), at 3:39, and F Kaden Elder (23), at 15:47, left Calgary with a 4-1 lead. . . . D Josh Brook (13) got the Warriors to within two, on a PP, at 1:40 of the third. . . . Calgary iced it as F Riley Stotts (17), at 4:33, and F Cael Zimmerman (7), at 14:46, scored. . . . The Hitmen got three assists from F Carson Focht. . . . G Brodan Salmond turned aside 33 shots for Moose Jaw.


F Andrew Fyten scored once and added two assists to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-EdmontonOilKings2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Edmonton (30-16-8) is atop the Central Division, one point up on the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Regina (15-37-3) is 27 points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. The host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup tournament won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Austin Pratt (20) scored at 17:32 of the first period. . . . F Carter Souch (9) tied it 50 seconds into the second period and F Scott Atkinson (8) made it 2-1 at 1:52. . . . D David Kope (10) made it 3-1 at 6:25, giving Edmonton three goals in 5:35. . . . Fyten (13) upped the lead to 4-1 at 4:23 of the third period. He’s got five goals and nine assists in 20 games with Edmonton since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos. . . . F Logan Nijhoff (5) scored for Regina, on a PP, at 9:13 of the third. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky (29) of the Oil Kings closed out the scoring at 19:05. . . . The Oil Kings are 3-0-0 in the season series and have outscored the Pats, 16-4. Fix-Wolansky, who added an assist to his goal in this one, has two goals and eight assists in the series. . . . G Dylan Myskiw earned the victory with 34 saves, six fewer than Regina’s Max Paddock. . . . Regina F Cole Dubinsky was back after serving a four-game suspension. . . . The Oil Kings welcomed back F David Kope and D Matthew Robertson from injury-related absences, while F Jake Neighbours served the second of a four-game suspension.


F Ryan Chyzowski scored the only goal of a five-round shootout to give the Medicine Hat Tigers Logo OfficialTigers a 2-1 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Medicine Hat (31-18-5) has points in five straight (4-0-1). It is second in the Central Division, one point behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and three in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Tigers went 3-0-1 in a four-game swing that included stops in Cranbrook, Everett and Kent, Wash. The only blemish was a 4-3 OT loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent. . . . Portland (33-16-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, six points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Both teams were playing for the third time in fewer than 48 hours. The Tigers went (2-0-1), while the Winterhawks were (1-1-1). . . . F Joachim Blichfeld gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. He leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (93). . . . The Tigers tied it at 4:36 of the third when F Ryan Jevne (25) scored while shorthanded. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Søgaard made 28 saves through regulation time, then stopped four shots in OT and foiled five skaters in the shootout. . . . Portland got 38 saves from G Shane Farkas. . . . The Winterhawks are without F Cody Glass (knee), who last played on Jan. 26, and D Brendan De Jong, who left Saturday’s 5-0 loss in Everett with an apparent injury to his left knee.


The Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last four goals and beat the Prince George VancouverCougars, 4-1, in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (37-13-3) has won five in a row. It will finish first in the B.C. Division, and now is one point behind the Everett Silvertips (38-13-2), who lead the Western Conference. . . . The Giants became the third WHL team — behind the Prince Albert Raiders and Everett — to clinch a playoff spot. Vancouver will be in the playoffs for a second straight season after missing three in a row. . . . Prince George (16-32-6) now has lost 13 in a row (0-10-3), the longest losing skid in the league this season. The Cougars are 10 points from a playoff spot. . . . F Ethan Browne (8) gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (12) tied it 42 seconds into the second period. . . . Vancouver put it away with three third-period goals, from F Davis Koch (22), on a PP, at 7:06; F Justin Sourdif (15), at 11:35; and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 15:24. . . . Vancouver D Bowen Byram, who had two assists, took a headshot major and game misconduct for a hit on Cougars F Mitch Kohner at 13:48 of the third period. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 32 shots for the Giants, while G Taylor Gauthier, back after being shaken up and leaving a 4-3 loss to the Rockets in Kelowna on Friday, made 25 saves for Prince George. . . . The Giants dressed only 11 forwards and then lost Brayden Watts in the first period. “Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks,” head coach Michael Dyck told Postmedia’s Steve Ewen.


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Mattheos hat trick finishes Blades . . . Almeida, Langan too much for Pats . . . Fyten shines in his Edmonton debut


On the fourth day of our annual Christmas countdown, here are the Three Tenors, with Silent Night, and it’s all right here.


MacBeth

D Tomáš Kudělka (Lethbridge, 2005-07) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste bank Liga). He was released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga) on Friday for financial reasons. In 24 games, he had two goals and four assists. . . .

F Levko Koper (Spokane, 2006-11) has been released by Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He had four goals and four assists in 27 games.


ThisThat

Germany won the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) by going 4-1 (four regulation victories, one in OT) in the five-team tournament that was played on home-ice in Fussen. . . . By finishing first, Germany moves up to play with the big boys next season when the 2020 WJC is scheduled for the Czech Republic. . . . The German roster included F Yannik Valenti of the Vancouver Giants and F Sebastian Streu of the Regina Pats. Valenti had two goals and an assist in five game, while Streu had one assist. . . . Germany beat France, 6-1, in the final round on Saturday. . . . Belarus, which finished second at 3-2, dropped a 3-1 decision to Latvia on Saturday. The Belarusian roster included D Vladislav Yeryomenko of the Calgary Hitmen, F Vladimir Alistrov (Edmonton Oil Kings), F Igor Martynov (Victoria Royals), F Alexei Protas (Prince Albert Raiders), D Sergei Sapego (Prince Albert) and F Andrei Pavlenko (Edmonton).


The Swift Current Broncos have signed D Chase Lacombe, 16, to a WHL contract. Lacombe, from Moose Jaw, has three assists in 29 games with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. . . . He was a fifth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . The Oil Kings dealt Lacombe to the Broncos on Aug. 21, along with F Matthew Culling, a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a second-rounder in 2020 for D Jacson Alexander, D Chad Smithson and a sixth-round pick in 2020.


Scout Truman of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons has committed to the U of Massachussetts-Lowell and the River Hawks for 2021-21. Truman, 16, is from Lethbridge. He was a second-round selection by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . His brother Roc, 17, a forward who also plays for the Dragons, also has committed to the River Hawks for 2021-22.


With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after today games, don’t forget that there is a trade moratorium in place. It will be lifted on Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

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


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, and Merry Christmas.


The SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings fired head coach Wes Rudy on Saturday. Rudy started with the Red Wings as their goaltending coach, then was promoted to assistant coach for 2015-16. He was in his third season as head coach, having replaced Bryce Thoma after the 2015-16 season. . . . The Red Wings reached the playoffs each of the previous two seasons. . . . This season, they were 10-19-3-0 going into last night’s game with the visiting Estevan Bruins. The Red Wings gave up six third-period goals and dropped an 8-2 decision to the Bruins. . . .  Assistant coach Kyle Haines, a former player in his first season on the coaching staff, was listed as Weyburn’s head coach on the online scoresheet.


SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Stelio Mattheos completed his hat trick in OT to give the host Brandon Wheat Kings a 6-BrandonWKregular5 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (15-10-6) had lost its previous three games. . . . Saskatoon (21-10-4) has points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The teams met Friday in Saskatoon, with the Blades prevailing, 3-2. . . . Last night, F Connor Gutenberg’s shorthanded goal, at 11:39 of the first period, gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead and was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . The Blades went ahead 2-1 on first-period goals from F Chase Wouters (5), at 15:04, and F Max Gerlach, at 19:09. . . . The Wheat Kings took a 3-2 lead as F Cole Reinhardt (5) scored 37 seconds into the second period and F Ben McCartney (8) counted, on a PP, at 3:43. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson (7) tied it at 11:34. . . . Brandon took a 5-3 lead before the period ended as Mattheos scored twice, at 12:15 and 16:32. . . . The Blades forced OT on third-period goals from Gerlach (19), at 10:05, and F Tristen Robins (6), at 11:30. Robins is a Brandon native. . . . Mattheos, who also had an assist, scored his 26th goal, at 2:25 of OT, to win the game and complete his third career hat trick. . . . F Luka Burzan drew four assists for Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings got 35 saves from G Ethan Kruger, 10 more than Saskatoon’s Nolan Maier. . . . Saskatoon F Riley McKay was unsuccessful on a penalty shot at 1:07 of OT. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without five injured players — D Braden Schneider, D Jonny Lambos, D Vince Iorio, F Jonny Hooker and F Lynden McCallum. . . . F Nolan Ritchie, who played for the Wheat Kings on Friday, was returned to the midget AAA Wheat Kings after the game.


F Justin Almeida had two goals and four assists — his first career six-point game — to MooseJawWarriorshelp the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Moose Jaw (17-8-5) had lost its previous two games. . . . The Pats slipped to 9-24-1. . . . On Friday night, the Pats beat the visiting Warriors, 2-1. . . . Last night, the Pats went ahead 1-0 when F Robbie Holmes scored 56 seconds into the game. . . . The Warriors tied it just 14 seconds later when F Tristin Langan scored the Teddy Bear goal, just like he did a year ago. . . . Almeida added a PP goal at 19:56. . . . F Austin Pratt (13) got Regina into a 2-2 tie, on a PP, at 11:41, only to have the Warriors grab a 4-2 lead on goals by D Dalton Hamaliuk (2), at 17:04 and Langan, at 18:57. . . . Holmes (6) scored Regina’s final goal, on a PP, getting the Pats to within 4-3 at 19:42. He also had an assist for a three-point game. . . . The Warriors put it away on goals from Almeida (8), on a PP, at 6:25 of the third period, and Langan (24), on another PP, at 14:59. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-7 on the PP; Regina was 2-6. . . . Almeida had six previous four-point games, but never more than that. He now has 42 points, including 34 assists, in 26 games. . . . Langan, who also had an assist, recorded his third career hat trick and fifth four-point outing while playing on his 20th birthday. . . . Langan has 54 points, including 30 assists, in 30 games. Last season, he finished with 42 points, 16 of them goals, in 70 games. . . . The Warriors were without F Luke Ormsby, who, according to the WHL website, was suspended for two games “for g.m. at Regina on Dec. 14.” Originally, the online scoresheet from Regina’s 2-1 victory on Friday showed Ormsby as having received a roughing minor and a game misconduct at 17:26 of the second period. But that was changed to a misconduct at some point after the game. Then, sometime Saturday evening, it was switched back to a game misconduct. No matter. Ormsby sat last night and will sit again on Dec. 27 when the Swift Current Broncos come to town. . . . The WHL doesn’t indicate what Ormsby did to warrant a suspension, but he apparently may or may not have spit his mouthguard at an opponent during an altercation.


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their home-ice record to 16-0-0 with a 7-5 victory over the PrinceAlbertSwift Current Broncos. . . . The Raiders (31-2-1) have won three in a row, including a 6-4 triumph in Swift Current on Friday. . . . The Broncos (6-25-2) have lost two straight. . . . The Raiders, who had a 56-18 edge in shots, took a 1-0 lead 4:48 into the game when F Sean Montgomery scored the Teddy Bear goal. . . . F Dawson Springer, 16, made his WHL debut with the Broncos after signing a WHL contract on Thursday and scored his first goal at 13:46 of the first period to forge a 1-1 tie. . . . Springer was acquired from the Everett Silvertips in a Dec. 3 deal that had F Max Patterson go the other way. Springer leads the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League with 21 goals in 27 games for the Prince Albert Mintos. . . . F Justin Nachbaur scored for the Raiders, on a PP, at 15:35. . . . The Broncos then scored three in a row to take a 4-2 lead. F Ethan O’Rourke (2) counted at 18:16, with F Joona Kiviniemi (9) scoring at 2:14 of the second and F Matthew Culling (4) finding net at 6:08. . . . The home side took control by scoring four times before the second period ended. Nachbaur (9) got his second at 8:22, before F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7), on a PP, tied it at 12:38. F Noah Gregor broke the tie with two goals, at 16:14 and 19:12. He’s got 19 goals. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (11) got the Broncos’ final goal on a PP, with F Parker Kelly (15) finishing the Raiders’ scoring. . . . The Broncos got 49 saves from G Joel Hofer. . . . G Brett Balas made his WHL debut for the Raiders, coming on in relief of starter Donovan Buskey, who gave up four goals on 10 shots in 26:08. Balas surrendered one goal on eight shots in 33:52. . . . Kivniemi, a Finnish freshman who will turn 17 on Monday, scored for a third straight game and also earned his first WHL assist. He has nine goals and one assist in 31 games. . . . The Broncos scratched veteran D Garrett Sambrook, who left Friday’s game in the second period after absorbing a high hit from Kelly.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals, all in the third period, to Lethbridgebeat the visiting Kamloops Blazers, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (17-9-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Kamloops (12-16-3) has lost six in a row going 0-5-1 on a Central Division trip that ended with this game. . . . F Kyrell Sopotyk (5) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 1:55 of the first period. . . . The Hurricanes grabbed a 2-1 lead on goals from F Jake Leschyshyn (21), at 6:07, and F Jordy Bellerive (14), on a PP, at 9:12. . . . F Connor Zary (9) got Kamloops back into a tie on a PP, at 13:34. . . . The home side won it in the third period as F Dylan Cozens (17) scored at 4:44, F Taylor Ross (19) counted at 10:12, and F Nick Henry (16) got the empty-netter at 18:35. . . . Bellerive added two assists to his goal. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was back in the lineup after serving a three-game suspension.


F Andrew Fyten, who was acquired in a Thursday trade, scored in OT to give the host EdmontonOilKingsEdmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Edmonton (17-12-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Calgary (15-14-4) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . The Oil Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit to win this one. . . . F Kaden Elder (13) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 18:30 of the first period, with F Jake Kryski (17) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 2:19 of the second. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (15), at 13:19 of the seocnd, and F David Kope (6), at 11:32 of the third, got Edmonton into a tie. . . . Fyten, in his first game with his new club, won it 40 seconds into OT with his ninth goal of the season. . . . Fyten also drew an assist on Kope’s goal. . . . The Oil Kings held a 44-34 edge in shots, including 16-8 in the third period. . . . Calgary G Jack McNaughton stopped 41 shots, nine more than Edmonton’s Dylan Myskiw. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky and F Quinn Benjafield were among the Oil Kings’ scratches. Both were injured in Wednesday’s 6-5 OT loss to the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . F Kobe Verbicky, 15, made his WHL debut with the Oil Kings. From Victoria, he was a second-round pick by Edmonton in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Verbicky plays for the North Island Silvertips of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League.


F Leif Mattson scored twice, one of them of the bizarre variety, as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsskated to a 2-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Kelowna (16-17-2) had lost its previous two games. It went 2-2-0 on a four-game dip into the Central Division. . . . Medicine Hat (17-15-3) had won its previous four games. . . . Mattson was credited with the game’s first goal, an empty-netter, after G Jordan Hollett vacated the Medicine Hat net during a delayed penalty against the Rockets and an errant Tigers pass ended up in their vacated goal. . . . At 11:09 of the second period, Mattson scored a more conventional goal, on a PP, for a 2-0 lead. He’s got 16 goals. . . . F James Hamblin (17) had Medicine Hat’s goal at 14:08 of the third period. . . . The Rockets got 31 stops from G Roman Basran, including 12 in the second period and 10 in the third. . . . Among Kelowna’s scratches were D Lassi Thomson, who has joined the Finnish national junior team, and D Libor Zabransky, who is with the Czech Republic. . . . Hollett stopped 18 shots for the Tigers. . . . G Mads Søgaard of the Tigers was on the bench, but will be joining Denmark’s national junior team. Medicine Hat is bringing in Garin Bjorklund, a 16-year-old from the Calgary Buffaloes, to backup Hollett. . . . Bjorklund was a first-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft.


D Aaron Hyman scored in OT to give the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the tri-cityPortland Winterhawks in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (16-12-2) has won two in a row. . . . Portland (19-11-3) has points in two straight (1-0-1). . . . They’ll play again today, this time in Portland. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks held a 2-0 lead with fewer than six minutes left in the third period. . . . Portland had gotten goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (30), shorthanded, at 18:27 of the second period, and F Michal Kvasnica (4), at 12:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Yaremko got the Americans even with two goals, the first at 14:34 and the second, on a PP and with the extra attacker on the ice, with 9.6 seconds left in the period. . . . Hyman won it with his eighth goal at 3:26 of extra time. . . . Tri-City had an 18-9 edge in shots in the third period; Portland had a 4-1 edge in OT. . . . The Americans dressed 17 skaters — 10 forwards and seven defencemen. . . . F Booker Daniel, 17, made his WHL debut with the Americans. He plays for the major midget Cariboo Cougars, who play out of Prince George.


F D-Jay Jerome scored twice, including the Teddy Bear goal, as the host Victoria Royals VictoriaRoyalsdoubled up on the Vancouver Giants, 4-2. . . . Victoria (16-13-1) has won two straight. . . . Vancouver (21-8-2) has lost two in a row. . . . Jerome, who has 14 goals, got things started at 4:50 of the first period. . . . The Giants took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, with F Owen Hardy (7) scoring at 9:22 and F Tristen Nielsen (3) scoring, on a PP, at 17:29. . . . F Ty Yoder (2) got the Royals into a 2-2 tie at 15:20 of the second period. . . . Jerome’s second goal, at 8:46 of the third, snapped the tie, and F Dante Hannoun (13) got the empty-netter at 19:40. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse turned aside 25 shots in recording his 100th career regular-season victory. . . . F Milos Roman was among Vancouver’s scratches. He has left to join the Slovakian national junior team. . . . The Royals again scratched D Ralph Jarratt, who has played only 13 games this season, two of them since Nov. 2. . . . Vancouver leads the B.C. Divison by 10 points over Kelowna and 11 over Victoria. The Giants hold four games in hand on Kelowna; the Royals have one game in hand on Vancouver.


The host Everett Silvertips built a 5-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory over the Seattle EverettThunderbirds. . . . Everett (27-7-2) has points in 14 straight games (12-0-2). . . . Seattle (11-16-3) has lost two in a row. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (9) started it for the Silvertips with the Teddy Bear goal at 7:57 of the first period. . . . Everett added four more goals before the second period ended. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (17), D Gianni Fairbrother (4) and F Riley Sutter scored before the first period ended. F Jackson Berezowski (6) made it 5-0 at 19:11 of the second. . . . F Jaxon Kaluski (2) got Seattle’s goal at 4:15 of the third. . . . Sutter ended the scoring with his 13th, at 12:48. . . . Everett outshot Seattle, 39-22. . . . The Silvertips lead the U.S. Division by 15 points over Portland; they lead the Western Conference by 12 points over Vancouver.


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Anholt’s coaching days behind him . . . Broncos send Fyten to Oil Kings . . . Hitmen juggling goaltenders

On the second day of our annual Christmas countdown, we bring you the under-rated Brook Benton with All I Want for Christmas is You . . . It’s right here.



ThisThat

Peter Anholt says his coaching days are behind him and that his regular-season victory total of 466 can be “written in stone for good.”

That means that the Lethbridge general manager won’t be behind the bench on Saturday Lethbridgewhen the Hurricanes entertain the Kamloops Blazers.

Nor was he there on Wednesday when the Hurricanes dumped the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1.

Instead, with head coach Brent Kisio away, assistant coach Jeff Hansen is in charge; in fact, he recorded his first head-coaching victory on Wednesday. He’ll be helped by assistant coach Josh MacNevin, video coach Andrew Doty and Matt Anholt, the skills and development coach.

Kisio is an assistant coach with Canada’s national junior team and won’t be back with the Hurricanes until early January by which time he could miss as many as nine games.

Anholt last coached two years ago when he took over while Kisio was at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. The Hurricanes went 2-2-1, allowing Anholt to get to 466 regular-season victories.

There had been speculation that Anholt would take over the coaching reins with Kisio away this time, too. However, Anholt told Taking Note on Thursday that “the days of me coaching are long gone.”

Anholt, who has coached the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Red Deer Rebels, Rockets and Hurricanes, is tied for 10th on the list of regular-season victories. He and Jack Shupe, who coach the Medicine Hat Tigers and Victoria Cougars, each has 466 regular-season victories.


On Wednesday night, F Andrew Fyten scored two goals to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Regina Pats.

On Thursday morning, he was rewarded by being dealt to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

EdmontonOilKingsIn return, the Broncos received a conditional fifth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Fyten, 20, is from Sundre, Alta. He had missed two games before returning Wednesday and scoring the Broncos’ first two goals as they erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Pats.

Fyten becomes the third 20-year-old on Edmonton’s roster, joining F Quinn Benjafield and F Vince Loschiavo.

This season, Fyten has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games. In 211 career regular-season games, he has 24 goals and 34 assists.

Andrew Peard, the radio voice of the Oil Kings, pointed out via Twitter (@AndrewPeard) that Fyten’s biggest asset may be in the faceoff circle. “He’s above 50% on faceoffs and has taken 656 draws this season. As a team, the Oil Kings have struggled in the circle, with a winning percentage of 46.9.”

Fyten was a fifth-round selection by the Everett Silvertips in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. However, he never got into a game with the Silvertips before they dealt him to the Calgary Hitmen on May 7, 2015, getting back a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft.

Fyten played in 155 games with the Hitmen, scoring 14 goals and adding 25 assists, before being traded to Swift Current on Jan. 9 for D Ethan Martini, who is from Trail, B.C., and a conditional third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Martini, 18, began the season with the USHL’s Central Illinois Flying Aces, and now is with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings.

Fyten had two goals and four assists in 25 playoff games last spring as the Broncos won the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

The Oil Kings are at home to Calgary on Saturday.

Fyten’s departure leaves the Broncos with two 20s — F Tanner Nagel and D Matthew Stanley. They go home-and-home with the Prince Albert Raiders this weekend, meeting tonight in Swift Current and Saturday up north.

——

With the WHL heading into the Christmas break after Sunday games, don’t forget that there also will be a trade moratorium in place. There won’t be any trades announced between Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and Dec. 27 at 12:01 a.m.

——

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Thursday’s action:

No. of trades: 1.

Players: 1.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 1.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 13.

Players: 29.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 5.

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



The Calgary Hitmen have added G Matt Armitage, 19, to their roster. He had been with Calgarythe BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. . . . Armitage was to have been added by the Hitmen a couple of weeks ago, when G Carl Stankowski (ankle) went down. However, Armitage was injured in a game, so Calgary brought in G Brayden Peters instead. . . . Peters has been returned to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Hitmen will go with Jack McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman who has been Stankowski’s caddy, and Armitage as they play three games this weekend. . . . Stankowski is expected to be out at least another six weeks.

The Hitmen also revealed on Thursday that F Tye Carriere “is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.” A 17-year-old freshman from Red Deer, Carrier has three goals and one assist in 18 games.

The Hitmen have three games scheduled this weekend. They are at home to the Kelowna Rockets tonight and then will in Edmonton on Saturday afternoon before returning home to face the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added F Nolan Ritchie, 16, to their roster for the second BrandonWKregulartime this season. He has 22 goals and 28 assists in 24 games with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. . . . A third-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, Ritchie made his WHL debut on Nov. 28 in a 5-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings star who now is the organization’s director of scouting. . . . The Wheat Kings are to play in Saskatoon tonight and then entertain the Blades on Saturday night.

Later Thursday, the Wheat Kings announced that they have signed D Jack Zayat, 16, to a WHL contract. He is expected to be in the lineup tonight and again on Saturday. . . . Zayat was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . From Calgary, he has two goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. He also has one assists in four games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers.


The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Dawson Springer, 16, to a WHL contract. SCBroncosSpringer, from Yorkton, Sask., was a list player with the Everett Silvertips, who was dealt to the Broncos on Dec. 3, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft, for F Max Patterson, 19. . . . Springer has 19 goals and nine assists in 26 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. . . . He is expected to play for the Broncos on Saturday when they meet the Raiders in Prince Albert. After that game, he will be returned to the Mintos.


The CHL has announced rosters for the 2019 Top Prospects Game and there are 16 WHLers among the 40 players. The game, which features draft-eligible CHL players, is scheduled to be played in Red Deer on Jan. 23. . . . Those rosters are 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.


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Raiders stay perfect on home ice . . . Chiefs shoot way past Silvertips . . . Winterhawks get split in Victoria

Let’s begin our annual Christmas countdown with The Boss. It’s Bruce Springsteen with Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town . . . It’s right here.


MacBeth

F Chris Francis (Portland, 2006-10) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with MEC Halle (Germany, Oberliga) after his release by the Tulsa Oilers (ECHL) on Dec. 4. This season, he had one goal and one assist in 10 games with Tulsa. . . .

F Mike Aviani (Spokane, 2009-14) signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Herning Blue Fox (Denmark, Metal Ligaen) after requesting and receiving his release from Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). With Medveščak this season, he had four goals and seven assists in 23 games. . . . Medveščak Zagreb is in financial difficulty after losing its main sponsor. Marcel Rodman, assistant coach and VP of hockey operations, resigned on Dec. 5, then GM/head coach Aaron Fox and assistant coach Carter Beston-Will resigned on Dec. 10, and five players in addition to Aviani have obtained their releases from the club in the last two weeks.



COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

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

Wednesday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 12.

Players: 33.

Bantam draft picks: 21.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

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



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.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Cole Fonstad scored on a quick shot from the left faceoff dot in OT to give the host PrinceAlbertPrince Albert Raiders a 6-5 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert (29-2-1) now is 15-0-0 at home. . . . Edmonton (16-12-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . F Noah Gregor scored twice to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead early in the second period. He’s got 16 goals. . . . The Oil Kings then got goals 50 seconds apart from F Carter Such (6) and F Jake Neighbours (7) to take a 3-2 lead in the period’s second half. . . . F Parker Kelly (14) pulled the Raiders into a tie at 11:18, only to have Edmonton take a 4-3 lead on a goal by F David Kope (5) at 15:34. . . . Prince Albert tied it when D Max Martin (5), who also had two assists, scored at 11:55 of the third period, then took the lead as F Carson Miller (9) scored at 12:28. . . . Edmonton F Vince Loschiavo (14) forced OT when he scored with 6.6 seconds left in the third. . . . Fonstad won it with his 11th goal at 3:00 of OT. . . . Prince Albert was 2-6 on the PP; Edmonton was 2-7. . . . Oil Kings F Trey Fix-Wolansky was held to one assist. He now shares the WHL scoring lead with Prince Albert F Brett Leason, each with 64 points. Season is in Victoria with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Gregor added an assist to his two goals, with Fonstad adding two assists to his singleton. . . . Edmonton got a goal and two assists from D Conner McDonald. He’s got seven goals. . . . The Raiders were without G Ian Scott and Leason, both of whom are with the Canadian junior team, and D Sergei Sapego and F Aliaksei Protas, who are with Belarus at the IIHF World Junior Championship (Division I Group A) in Fussen, Germany. The Oil Kings also have two players on the Belarusian roster — F Vladimir Alistrov and F Andrei Pavlenko.


The Swift Current Broncos erased 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the visiting Regina Pats, 4-3. SCBroncos. . . Swift Current (6-23-2) had lost its previous two games. . . . Regina (8-23-1) has lost nine in a row (0-8-1). . . . The Pats had won the first three meetings with the Broncos. . . . F Scott Mahovlich (5) and F Brett Clayton (3) gave the Pats a 2-0 first-period lead. . . . F Andrew Fyten got the Broncos to within a goal, on a PP, at 5:46 of the second period. . . . The Pats went ahead 3-1 when F Riley Krane (5) scored at 8:39. . . . Fyten (8) made it 3-2 at 13:43. . . . In the third period, F Joona Kiviniemi (7) got the home side into a 3-3 tie, at 11:18, and F Tanner Nagel (5) won it at 16:44. . . . G Joel Hofer stopped 36 shots for the Broncos. Hofer is 4-17-2, 4.03, .902. . . . The Pats had F Robbie Holmes back after he missed 17 games with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Sam McGinley, who joined the Pats Wednesday, picked up an assist in his WHL debut. He was a fifth-round pick by the Pats in the 2017 bantam draft.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s first five goals and went on to beat the Lethbridgevisiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1. . . . Lethbridge (16-9-6) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Kelowna (15-16-2) had points in each of its previous five (4-0-1). . . . F Zachary Cox (10) got the home side started at 2:16 of the first period, and F Jake Leschyshyn (20) made it 2-0, shorthanded, at 14:05. . . . F Jake Elmer (16), in the second period, and F Jordy Bellerive (13) and F Taylor Ross (18) added third-period goals. . . . F Liam Kindree (7) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 13:39 of the third. . . . Kelowna was 1-7 on the PP, while Lethbridge was 0-3. . . . The Hurricanes won 43 of the game’s 67 faceoffs.


F Ryan Jevne scored twice for a third straight game to help the Medicine Hat Tigers to a Tigers Logo Official4-2 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Tigers (16-14-3) have won three in a row. . . . The Blazers (12-14-3) have lost four straight (0-3-1), all on a Central Division trip. . . . Jevne opened the scoring at 5:38 of the first period. . . . F Tyler Preziuso (13) made it 2-0 at 12:21. . . . Jevne, who has 16 goals, scored shorthanded at 4:35 of the second period for a 3-0 lead. . . . The Blazers made it interesting late in the second as F Connor Zary (7) scored at 15;14, and F Brodi Stuart (9) made it 3-2 at 17:59. . . . The Tigers got insurance from D Daniel Baker (2) at 6:04 of the third. . . . G Mads Søgaard earned the victory with 36 saves. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen served Game 2 of a three-game suspension. . . . Kamloops F Zane Franklin wasn’t suspended after taking a boarding major and game misconduct for a hit from behind on Red Deer D Alex Alexeyev on Tuesday night. Alexeyev was taken to hospital but, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com, X-rays and a CAT scan were negative. Alexeyev, who is to join the Russian national junior team on Saturday, is listed as day-to-day and may play against visiting Medicine Hat on Friday.


D Nolan Reid and F Jake McGrew scored in a shootout to give the host Spokane Chiefs a SpokaneChiefs4-3 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane improved to 17-11-4. . . . Everett (25-7-2) now has points in 12 straight (10-0-2). . . . The Silvertips had won their previous nine games in regulation. . . . Everett was 3-4 on the PP; Spokane was 2-5. . . . F Connor Dewar (24) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead at 3:50 of the first period, and F Luc Smith (13) tied it, on a PP, at 19:50. . . . F Max Patterson (10) put Everett ahead at 5:23 of the second period. . . . Spokane went ahead 3-2 on second-period goals from F Luke Toporowski (9), on a PP, at 8:28 and F Adam Beckman (14) at 9:24. . . . F Bryce Kindopp (14) tied it 3-3 at 14:02. . . . The Chiefs got 43 saves from G Bailey Brkin. . . . F Akash Bains returned to Everett’s lineup after a three-game absence. . . . Everett F Sean Richards sat out the second of an eight-game suspension.


F Joachim Blichfeld scored twice and added two assists to lead the Portland Winterhawks Portlandto a 7-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Portland (19-11-2) has dropped a 7-4 decision in Victoria on Tuesday. . . . Victoria (14-13-1) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . Last night, the Royals actually jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Ty Yoder, with his first WHL score, and D Scott Walford (3). . . . F Ryan Hughes got Portland started at 5:34 of the second period and F Seth Jarvis tied it at 6:37. . . . Hughes, who also had an assist, put Portland ahead with his 12th goal, on a PP, at 13:19, and Blichfeld made it 4-2, shorthanded, at 17:32. . . . The visitors iced it with third-period goals from F Jaydon Dureau (7), F Reece Newkirk (17) and Blichfeld (29), with the last two coming via the PP. . . . Portland was 3-4 on the PP. . . . Blichfeld now leads the WHL in goals (29), one more than F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who is in camp with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Blichfeld also has 61 points, just three off the league lead. . . . Newkirk added two assists to his goal, with F Jake Gricius picking up three assists. . . . F Tyson Kozak made his WHL debut with Portland, and he was on the No. 1 line, between Hughes and Blichfeld. A sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, the native of Souris, Man., has 14 goals and 23 assists in 20 games with the midget AAA Southwest Cougars of the Manitoba Midget Hockey League. . . . Souris also is the hometown of Everett Silvertips GM Garry Davidson. . . . Just sayin’. . . . D Jake Kustra, who was acquired by the Royals from the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday, has yet to play for Victoria.


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Humboldt mourns loss of legend . . . Goaltenders shine in WHL games . . . Broncos win second OT in row


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SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

G Ethan Anders stopped 34 shots to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 1-0 victory over Red Deerthe Calgary Hitmen in an afternoon affair. . . . Red Deer (11-4-1) has won three in a row. . . . Calgary (5-10-2) is 0-3-1 against Red Deer this season, having lost three of those games by one goal. . . . Anders was especially busy in the third period when the Hitmen, helped by three straight PP opportunities, held a 16-1 edge in shots. He has one shutout this season and two in his career. . . . F Jeff de Wit (10) scored the game’s only goal, on a PP, at 17:34 of the first period, redirecting a point shot by D Dawson Barteaux past G Jack McNaughton. . . . D Alex Alexeyev had an assist to run his point streak to seven games. He has four goals and seven assists over that stretch. For the season, he has 21 points, 14 of them assists, in 16 games. Alexeyev is the only WHLer on the Russian roster for the first two games of the CIBC Canada-Russia series in Kamloops and Langley, B.C., on Monday and Tuesday nights. . . . G Cam Ward of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played with Red Deer, was in the Saddledome and stopped by to see the Rebels before the game. The Blackhawks played the host Flames last night.


F Keenan Taphorn scored two goals to help his new team, the host Moose Jaw Warriors, MooseJawWarriorsbeat his old team, the Kootenay Ice, 5-1. . . . The Warriors improved to 7-5-3. . . . The Ice (6-9-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Taphorn’s fourth goal, at 7:14 of the second period, gave the home team a 2-0 lead, and his fifth goal of the season, on a PP, handed Moose Jaw a 4-1 edge. . . . This was the first matchup between these teams since a mid-October trade in which F Nick Bowman joined the Ice and twins Kaeden and Keenan Taphorm moved to the Warriors. Kaeden, however, is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Warriors had a 43-18 edge in shots, including 21-7 in the second period and 14-4 in the third. . . . Warriors D Josh Brook had two assists. He’s got 15 points, including 10 assists, in 12 games.


The Regina Pats scored the game’s last two goals and beat the visiting Saskatoon Blades, Pats6-5. . . . The Pats improved to 5-12-0, while the Blades slipped to 10-7-2. Saskatoon was 1-2-0 in playing three games in as many nights. . . . The Blades erased a 4-2 deficit and took a 5-4 lead with three second-period goals in a span of 3:14, the scores coming from D Seth Bafaro (1), F Max Gerlach (12) and F Chase Wouters (2). The latter two came via the PP. . . . The Pats tied it when F Jake Leschyshyn (9) scored at 9:03 of the third period, and F Nick Henry (8) won it, on a PP, at 15:48. . . . The Pats were 2-for-2 on the PP; the Blades were 3-for-6. . . . D Aaron Hyman had three assists for Regina, with Leschyshyn and Henry each scoring twice and adding an assist. . . . The Blades got three assists from F Kirby Dach. . . . Regina F Scott Mahovlich was awarded a penalty shot at 12:27 of the third period, with the score 5-5, but wasn’t able to beat G Dorrin Luding. . . . Gerlach scored twice for Saskatoon, giving him 198 career regular-season points, including 111 goals. . . . The Pats had F Logan Nijhoff back for a second straight game after he recovered from a concussion, but F Korby Morrisseau (concussion) and F Robbie Holmes (knee) remain out. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was on hand and his post is right here.


F Andrew Fyten, playing in his 200th regular-season game, scored in OT to give the Swift SCBroncosCurrent Broncos a 4-3 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Broncos (3-14-1) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They have won two OT games in as many nights. Their other victory came in a shootout. . . . The Oil Kings (10-7-2) have points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Fyten’s fourth goal of the season came 41 seconds into OT. He was playing in his 45th game with the Broncos, after spending 155 with the Calgary Hitmen. . . . F Alec Zawatsky (7) gave Swift Current a 3-1 lead at 17:53 of the second period. . . . F Brett Kemp (11) pulled Edmonton to within a goal at 19:26, and D Matthew Robertson (2) tied it at 6:18 of the third. . . . Swift Current was outshot, 45-20, including 21-2 in the third period. . . . The Broncos got 42 saves from G Isaac Poulter, who recorded his first WHL victory. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky had three assists for the Oil Kings. In his last three games, he’s got one goal and 10 assists. He has at least a point in seven straight games and has moved into a tie for the WHL scoring lead. Fix-Wolansky and F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who had the night off, are tied, with 39 points. Fix-Wolansky has a WHL-leading 28 assists.


F Nolan Foote and F Kyle Topping scored third-period PP goals to give the host Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rockets (7-10-0) are 3-0-0 under new head coach Adam Foote and have won five of six. . . . The Wheat Kings (8-4-5) went 2-3-2 on a seven-game road swing. That includes a 2-2-1 record in the B.C.Division. . . . Brandon, which was 3-for-6 on the PP, went ahead 3-2 when D Braden Schneider (3) scored at 11:55 of the second period. . . . Foote (10) tied it with his second goal of the game, at 3:46 of the third. . . . Brandon lost F Connor Gutenberg to a charging major and game misconduct at 15:57, and Topping broke the 3-3 tie with his seventh goal at 18:50. . . . F Luka Burzan (11) scored Brandon’s first two goals.


G Shane Farkas stopped 34 shots to lead the Portland Winterhawks to a 2-1 victory over Portlandthe visiting Victoria Royals. . . . The Winterhawks, who had beaten the Royals 7-3 in Portland on Friday, are 9-6-1. . . . The Royals now are 9-5-0. . . . The Winterhawks took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Cross Hanas (2), at 2:10, and F Joachim Blichfeld (12), on a PP, at 8:46. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (3) got Victoria’s goal, on a PP, at 5:31 of the third period. . . . G Griffen Outhouse stopped 36 shots for Victoria. . . . F Cody Glass had two assists for Portland. He’s got 29 points, including 23 assists, in 14 games. . . . The Royals, already without F Dante Hannoun due to an undisclosed injury,  scratched F Kaid Oliver and D Ralph Jarratt, both of whom played on Friday. . . . F Ryan Hughes of the Winterhawks left in the first period after absorbing a hard hit. He didn’t return.


G Taylor Gauthier stopped 37 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 2-0 victor over PrinceGeorgethe visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . The Cougars (7-7-3) had beaten the Thunderbirds, 4-1, on Friday night. . . . Seattle (7-6-2) has lost three in a row. . . . D Cole Moberg (5) opened the scoring at 6:19 of the first period, and F Jackson Leppard (4) added insurance, on a PP, at 6:57 of the second. . . . Gauthier was especially sharp in the third period when his guys were outshot 17-5. That was his first career shutout and came in his 45th appearance, 13 of them this season. He is 5-5-2, 2.90, .909 this season.


The visiting Everett Silvertips opened up a 5-0 second-period lead and cruised to a 6-2 Everettvictory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Everett now is 11-6-0. . . . The Chiefs are 8-5-3. . . . The Silvertips scored only two goals on 55 shots in a 4-2 loss to the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night. Last night, Everett scored six times on 23 shots. . . . F Connor Dewar (12) got Everett started at 12:36 of the first period and F Jackson Berezowski (2) made it 2-0 at 13:56. . . . F Sean Richards (2) upped the lead to 3-0, on a PP, at 7:35 and the Silvertips were in clear control. . . . D Sahvan Khaira had three assists for the Silvertips. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf stopped 23 shots. He is 11-6-0, 1.84, .924. . . . The Chiefs remain without F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, who has an undisclosed injury. . . . Spokane D Filip Kral played his second game since returning from an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the early part of the season.


G David Tendeck stopped 30 shots to help the Vancouver Giants to a 2-1 victory over the VancouverKamloops Blazers in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants (12-3-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Blazers (6-7-2) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Milos Roman (8) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 19:18 of the first period as he ran his goal streak to three games. . . . F Yannik Valenti (2) made it 2-0 at 12:49 of the second period. . . . F Tristen Nielsen, acquired from the Calgary Hitmen in a swap for F James Malm earlier in the week, played his first game with Vancouver and drew an assist on Valenti’s goal. . . . The Blazers got to within a goal when F Zane Franklin (12) scored, on a PP, at 17:20 of the second. He’s got 12 goals in 15 games this season, after totalling 14 in 67 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes last season. . . . Tendeck, who is on the roster of the WHL team that will play against a Russian side on Monday and Tuesday in Kamloops and Langley, is 8-3-1, 2.33, .907. . . . The Giants, with three defencemen out with injuries, have added D Landon Fuller, 19, to their roster, at least for the short term. From 100 Mile House, B.C., he played 16 games with the Tri-City Americans over the previous three seasons. This season, he had one assist in eight games with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. . . . Vancouver GM Barclay Parneta was with the Americans when they selected Fuller in the WHL bantam draft. . . . The Giants remain without D Dylan Plouffe, Matt Barberis and D Joel Sexsmith.


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Tuesday’s WHL deals: If Broncos weren’t all-in before, they are now . . . Hurricanes land Barlage . . . Three other deals, too

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 41

PLAYERS: 78

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 49

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 8

THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)


THE DEAL: The Swift Current Broncos acquired F Giorgio Estephan, 20, F Tanner Nagel, 19, and G Stuart Skinner, 19, from the Swift Current Broncos for F Logan Barlage, 16, F Owen Blocker, 17, D Matthew Stanley, 19, G Logan Flodell, 20, first- and third-round selections in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a conditional second-round pick in 2021.

THE NUMBERS: Estephan, the Hurricanes’ captain, put up 297 points, including 119 SCBroncosgoals, in 297 regular-season games with Lethbridge. This season, he had 58 points, including 18 goals, in 39 games. . . . Estephan is fifth on the Hurricanes’ career list for games played (297), tied for seventh in points (297), nine in goals (119) and fourth in assists (178). . . . Last season, he finished with 35 goals and 54 assists in 68 games, then added 11 goals and 13 helpers in 18 playoff games. . . . Nagel was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks on Sept. 16, 2016. He has played 107 games with Lethbridge, recording 13 goals and 11 assists. This season, Nagel has three goals and five assists in 35 games. . . . Skinner made 182 appearances with the Hurricanes, going 88-66-13, 3.30, .907. He is first in franchise history in four career categories — games played (182), minutes played (9,885), saves (5,318) and victories (88). . . .

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Barlage has one goal and six assists in 37 games with the Broncos this season. Last season, he had 37 goals and 39 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos. In 2015-16, his draft season, Barlage put up 60 goals and 65 assists in 30 games with the bantam AA Humboldt Broncos. . . . Blocker, 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, has one goal in 27 games this season. In 71 career games, he has one goal and one assist. . . . In 40 games this season, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound. . . . This season, Stanley has four assists in 40 games. In 91 career games, he has five assists. . . . Flodell made 35 appearances with the Broncos this season, going 24-8-3, 3.07, .913 with three shutouts. The Broncos acquired him from the Saskatoon Blades earlier in the season.

THE INFO: The Broncos now have five first-round selections from the 2013 bantam draft Lethbridgeon their roster — D Josh Anderson (Prince George), F Tyler Steenbergen (their own pick), Skinner, F Beck Malenstyn (Calgary) and F Kaden Elder (Seattle). However, the Broncos have traded away all of their first-rounders from 2014 through 2020 — D Dominic Schmiemann, 2014 (Calgary), F Riley Stotts, 2015 (Calgary), Barlage, and D Joel Sexsmith, 2017 (Vancouver). . . . The Broncos did get a 2019 first-round pick from Vancouver for the rights to Sexsmith. . . . Estephan, from Edmonton, was the fourth-overall selection in the 2012 bantam draft. He was a sixth-round pick by the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL’s 2015 draft, but was never signed. . . . Nagel, who turns 20 on Jan. 27, is from Mossbank, Sask., but pretty much grew up in Swift Current. He was an alternate captain with the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge selected Skinner in the first round of the 2013 bantam draft. The Edmonton Oilers picked him in the third round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign a pro contract. . . .

The Broncos selected Barlage, who is from Humboldt, Sask., with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. He will turn 17 on Friday and is eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. . . . In 2013-14, with a peewee AA team in Humboldt, Barlage had 274 points, including 175 goals, in 56 games. . . . From Oakbank, Man., Blocker was selected by the Broncos in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Broncos picked Stanley in the 12th round of the 2013 bantam draft. He’s from Balmoral, Man. . . . Flodell, from Regina, was a third-round pick by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2012 bantam draft. Last season, with Saskatoon, he was an Eastern Conference second-team all-star.

WHY: Swift Current’s braintrust apparently felt it was one rung below Moose Jaw — at the time of the deal, the Warriors led the overall standings by eight points over the Broncos — and chose to try and do something about it. So the Broncos struck in a big way, but the price was steep. You have to think they know that’s the way it would be when Manny Viveiros, their director of hockey operations and head coach, first inquired about getting both Estephan and Skinner. . . . At the same time, the Hurricanes were eager to get their hands on Barlage. As Lethbridge GM Peter Anholt said in a news release: “To be able to get Barlage in the trade was the key to this move. He’s a big, young guy who has a lot of potential and we think he will be a real good player who will be an important piece to us now and (in the) future.”


THE DEAL: The Swift Current Broncos acquired F Andrew Fyten, 19, from the Calgary Hitmen for the rights to D Ethan Martini, 17, or a conditional third-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Fyten had six goals and 10 assists in 40 games with the Hitmen this Calgaryseason. In 155 career games, all with Calgary, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has 14 goals and 21 assists. . . . Martini is in his second BCHL season with his hometown Trail Smoke Eaters after playing at the Edge School in Calgary. He has six assists in 40 games this season. Last season, he had a goal and four assists in 58 games.

THE INFO: From Sundre, Alta., Fyten was a fifth-round pick by the Everett Silvertips in the 2013 bantam draft. He was dealt to Calgary on May 8, 2015, for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The Broncos selected Martini in the third round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Under the terms of the deal, if he doesn’t sign with Calgary, the Hitmen will get that third-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

WHY: The Broncos added some depth and some grit to their forward group, while the Hitmen get to take a shot at recruiting Martini, who has been a pretty solid junior A defender.


THE DEAL: The Medicine Hat Tigers acquired F Elijah Brown, who turned 18 on Jan. 5, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a second-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft Tigers Logo Officialand a conditional third-round pick in 2019.

THE NUMBERS: Brown had six goals and 14 assists in 80 games with Seattle. He had a goal and an assist in two games in 2015-16 and four goals and nine assists in 64 games last season. This season, he had a goal and four assists in 14 games when he chose to go home.

THE INFO: The Thunderbirds selected Brown, who is from Edmonton, in the first round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . He had been on Seattle’s suspended list since Nov. 1 when he chose to leave the club due to what he felt was a lack of playing time. . . . Medicine Hat assistant coach Bobby Fox and Brown were together on Team Alberta at the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup in 2015.

WHY: The Tigers get to add a former first-rounder who has some upside to their roster, while the Thunderbirds get a couple of assets for someone who didn’t fit with them.


THE DEAL: The Prince George Cougars acquired D Cameron MacPhee, 18, from the PrinceGeorgeMedicine Hat Tigers for a seventh-round pick in the 2018 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, who is from Edmonton, had one goal in 20 games with the Tigers this season. Last season, he had one assist in 16 games.

THE INFO: The Tigers had dropped MacPhee from their roster in November, saying that he had gone home to deal with a personal matter.

WHY: The Cougars didn’t pay a whole lot to get a half-season look at someone who could spend the next two seasons with them. . . . The Tigers add a draft pick for a player who wasn’t coming back to them.