MacDougall ready to chase more titles . . . Blades, Giants swing a trade . . . Thunderbirds add assistant coach

The big man is back on campus at the U of New Brunswick. Yes, he is!

Hey, Gardiner MacDougall, how did you spend your summer vacation?

Well, let’s see, I went on over to Saint John for a couple of weeks and helped the Sea Dogs win the Memorial Cup.

OK. Now what’s next?

Time to chase an eighth Canadian university men’s championship and a 10th conference title. But, hey, who’s counting?

After the interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors gave the stamp of approval to the embattled organization’s leadership, Ken Campbell of Hockey HockeyCanadaUnfiltered tried to answer the question: “Why?” . . . Here’s what he wrote: “Because it’s a hockey thing and it involves hockey people, a group that, generally speaking, loves to wear its status as an outlier like a badge of honour. It’s such an insular, tribal group and it believes the problems that plague the game can only be solved by people who are deeply involved in it, people who are well-versed in the supposed complex and unique nuances involved in a game where players chase a black disc around the ice. Even if those are the same people who cause the problems in the first place.”


And, ICYMI, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that it’s “fairly clear that both the government and Canadians in general have lost confidence in the leadership at Hockey Canada.”

Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about what’s going on here, told The Canadian Press: “For the betterment of the game and kids, the leadership group at Hockey Canada must resign as they have lost the trust of Canadians in their ability to lead. That is crystal clear.

“If we care about the game like we say we care about the game, I think that’s the best thing to do right now. Canadians are asking for the leadership group to step down. I don’t know how they’re not hearing that.”

They likely have some championship rings stuck in their ears.


The Saskatoon Blades have acquired F Justin Lies, who will turn 19 on Nov. 24, from the Vancouver Giants for F Kyren Gronick, 18, and a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2025 draft. . . . Lies, from Flin Flon, had eight goals and eight assists in 50 games last season. In 120 games with the Giants over three season, he scored 12 goals and added 18 assists. . . . The Giants picked Lies in the third round of the WHL’s 2018 draft. . . .

The Blades, who dealt their leading scorer from last season, Kyle Crnkovic, 20, to the Seattle Thunderbirds for F Conner Roulette on Tuesday, are looking for some physical play from the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Lies. “Justin is the exact type of player we’ve been coveting over the last year to help add size, ability and tenacity to our forward group,” Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and GM, said in a news release. . . .

Gronick, from Regina, was picked by the Prince George Cougars in the second round of the 2019 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Blades on Dec. 29 in a three-team deal that also involved the Medicine Hat Tigers. Saskatoon gave up a third-round pick in the 2023 WHL draft and a 2015 seventh-rounder in that exchange. . . . In 38 games over two seasons with the Cougars, Gronick had eight goals and 12 assists. In 37 games with the Blades last season, he had four goals and 10 assists.


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, has a question: “When we are all driving electric cars will be still call that thing on the car floor the ‘gas pedal?’ ”


Here’s the curmudgeonly on at his curmudgeonly best: “Am I the only one who is fed up to my earbrows with irrelevant ‘advanced stats’ from baseball broadcasts and telecasts? This has really gotten a bit out of hand. I do not care even a little bit about the velocity of the ball as it comes off the bat, nor do I care about the launch angle of a batted ball. I have a passing interest in the length of a home run that made it to the seats, but the exit velocity of a single to right field is stats for the sake of stats. Here is what I want to know from broadcasters/telecasters about batted balls: Was it fair or foul? Was it a hit or an out? That’s it; that’s the list!” . . .

I can only disagree with one part of that rant. It hasn’t “gotten a bit out of hand.” It is completely out of hand. I am so tired of hearing broadcasters refer to “exit velo” that I want to scream.

“A B.C. judge has frozen the assets of a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who is being sued over allegations he defrauded a realtor of more than $2.8 million,” Keith Fraser of Postmedia wrote earlier this week. “Harpreet Singh Khela, the realtor, claims that Prab Rai, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, held himself out to be a successful and wealthy business person, purporting to have important connections with prominent local and international business people and retired hockey players.” . . . In freezing Rai’s assets, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick “noted that the only substantive assets of Rai are two Lamborghini luxury vehicles with a combined value of about $1.2 million.” . . . Rai, now 32, played five seasons (2005-10) in the WHL, getting into 62 games over one-plus seasons with the Prince George Cougars and then playing 238 with the Seattle Thunderbirds, who acquired him during 2006-07. The Cougars selected him in the seventh round of the 2004 bantam draft. In 300 regular-season games, he totalled 98 goals and 130 assists. . . . Fraser’s story is right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Carter Cochrane to their organization as an assistant coach. . . . Cochrane, 25, is from Kamloops. He spent the past three seasons with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, the last two as an assistant coach, the first one as skills coach. . . . As a defenceman, he played 43 games in the WHL — 33 with the Everett Silvertips (2013-15), nine with the Tri-City Americans (2014-15) and one with the Vancouver Giants (2015-16). . . . With the Thunderbirds, Cochrane fills the vacancy created when Kyle Hagel left in July after being in Seattle for five years. He now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda.



The Kamloops Blazers have added Morris Boyer to their organization as athletic therapist. He was the head athletic therapist with the Calgary Flames from 1998-2015, and also has extensive experience with Hockey Canada teams. In Kamloops, he will be working with Colin Robinson, who is into his 27th WHL season, 18 of those with the Blazers. . . .

The OHL’s Niagara IceDogs have traded D Sam Dickinson to the London Knights for seven — yes, SEVEN — draft picks. The IceDogs picked up second-rounders in 2024, 2025 and 2026, third-rounders in 2023, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth-round pick in 2023 in the exchange. . . . Dickinson, from Toronto, was selected by the IceDogs with the fourth overall pick in the OHL’s 2022 draft. He was the first defenceman taken in the draft. . . . From Ryan Pyette of Postmedia: “The 16-year-old was listed on the IceDogs’ training-camp roster this week, but, as has been rumoured for months, does not want to play for the club and did not report. That made him a defected player and eligible to be moved to the highest bidder.” . . .

Annie Fowler, who spent 16 seasons covering the Tri-City Americans for the Tri-City Herald, has joined the WHL team’s staff. She will supply feature stories to the team’s website — . . . From a news release: “Fowler’s articles will be a part of the Americans News Center . . . They will be published on and distributed in print form at Americans home games.” . . . The Americans’ announcement on Wednesday came on the fourth anniversary of her final day at the Herald. She was laid off, caught up in cutbacks, after having worked at the newspaper for 18.5 years.


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Raiders’ loss improvement from previous season . . . WHL coverage takes two more hits . . . Blades and Warriors add scouts


The Prince Albert Raiders, one of four community-owned WHL franchises, held their PrinceAlbertannual general meeting on Tuesday night and shareholders learned of a $168,430 loss from the 2017-18 season. That was an improvement from the $250,850 loss for 2016-17. . . . According to Trevor Redden of, the 2017-18 loss came despite “a 13 per cent year-over-year increase in revenues.” . . . Brad Toporowski, the organization’s vice-president, told shareholders there was an 18 per cent increase in travel expenses, some of that due to a U.S. road trip with a low Canadian dollar. . . . Redden’s story is right here.

Two of the other community-owned teams have scheduled their annual meetings for next month. Shareholders in the Moose Jaw Warriors are scheduled to meet on Sept. 12, with Lethbridge Hurricanes’ shareholders to gather on Sept. 17. . . . A year ago, the Hurricanes announced a profit of $737,710 for 2016-17, while the Warriors reported a loss of $463,566, but that came after they contributed more than $700,000 to Mosaic Place to cover a previous pledge and for upgrades in lighting and the sound system. . . . The Broncos don’t seem to have set a date for their annual general meeting just yet, but last year it was held on Sept. 25. They revealed a profit of $135,922 at that meeting.

The press coverage of two WHL teams has taken a huge hit with the departures of two reporters who have long written about the Tri-City Americans, Kelowna Rockets and, indeed, the WHL.

Annie Fowler, a reporter with the Tri-City Herald for more than 18 years, will work her last day there on Aug. 31. She has been laid off, another victim of everything that ails the newspaper industry these days.

In Kelowna, veteran writer Warren Henderson spent his last day with the Capital News after more than 17 years of banging out superb copy. It seems that he will be working in the landscaping business. Henderson didn’t waste away his last day as a reporter, either, as he posted a story on F Trevor Wong, the Rockets’ first-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, who has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers but admits that Kelowna isn’t out of the picture. That story is right here.

D Tyson Terretta, a seventh-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, apparently has ended his playing career. . . . Terretta, 18, is from Okotoks, Alta. . . . He was pointless in two games with Seattle in 2016-17, then had one assist in 42 games last season.

The Saskatoon Blades have added two Manitoba-based scouts to their staff. . . . Craig SaskatoonLane of Virden, Man., will be scouting for a WHL team for the first time, although he has scouted for MJHL and SJHL teams for at least 10 years. Lane, whose son, Grady, a forward, was an eighth-round pick of the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, is a senior manager with Tundra Oil and Gas. . . . Matt Patton of Winnipeg is also a first-time WHL scout. He is a veteran of the MJHL scouting game, and is a supervisor with Maple Leaf Foods.

The Moose Jaw Warriors have firmed up their scouting staff by adding Mark Blair, Zenon Herasymiuk and Todd Ripplinger. They join returnees Tanner McCall, Justin Rayner and MooseJawWarriorsBrendan Wust. . . . Blair, who spent the past 11 seasons with the Kamloops Blazers, is the Warriors’ senior regional scout — west, while Todd Ripplinger has been named senior regional scout — east. Ripplinger, a brother to Jason Ripplinger, the Warriors’ assistant general manager, has worked with the Kamloops Blazers (1991-97) and was the Regina Pats’ scouting director (1997-2011). Of late, he has been the head scout for the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins. . . . Herasymiuk, from Calgary, was with the Kootenay Ice for the past two seasons. . . . McCall, from Weyburn, is into his third season with the Warriors. He also is the general manager and head scout for the SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings. . . . Rayner, from Regina, is starting his third season with Moose Jaw. He is responsible for scouting WHL teams for the Warriors. . . . Just has been with the Warriors since January 2016. He is the director of player personnel for the junior B Abbotsford Pilots of the Pacific Junior Hockey League. . . . The Warriors’ complete news release is right here.

If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.

A note from Stuart Kemp’s wife, Cathy, indicates that he has been given the OK to start Portlanddriving again, “but during the daytime only.” . . . As she points out, “This is huge . . . as it gives him his freedom back. He has had to sit in the apartment by himself all day, every day by himself.” . . . If you’re late to this story, Stuart, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club, is working to come back from two recent strokes.

I had heard from Stuart earlier Wednesday. He wrote that he has been “working hard on getting better,” adding that he had seen a doctor on Tuesday, who was “amazed at my recovery.”

Later Tuesday, he attended Winterhawks’ training camp at the Moda Center, something that I’m sure did him a world of good.

“It was great seeing many people,” he wrote, “Probably 100 or so came up and said hello. I think I surprised a few as well. . . . It was great to talk to so many who either read online or had heard about it . . . and were shocked to see me there.”

He also has a goal in mind.

“I want to be close to 100 per cent going into the regular season,” he noted. “I figured I’d be between 50 and 60 right now. It’s a lofty goal, but one where I am determined to give this a run for its money.”

Don’t forget that there is a GoFundMe page where you are able to help out Cathy and Stuart. You are able to find it right here.

The junior B Traveland RV Storm of the Prairie Junior Hockey League has signed Cory Unser as head coach. . . . Unser, 38, is from Sedley, Sask. He played two seasons (1998-2000) in the WHL, both with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Joe Murphy once was the first overall selection in an NHL draft. He was a skilled forward, the furthest thing from an enforcer. These days he’s homeless and hanging around Kenora, Ont. The road he travelled to get there isn’t pretty. But how much responsibility does the NHL have for what has happened to Murphy? . . . Rick Westhead of TSN has Murphy’s story, or at least part of it, right here.


If you check out Steve McLean’s timeline, you will find some interesting chatter about OHL ticket prices . . .

Broncos, Oil Kings swap players, picks . . . A ticket-price increase, or not? . . . Ferster leaves West Kelowna


F Andrej Šťastný (Vancouver, 2010-11) signed a one-year contract with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, he had three goals and one assist with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL).


The Edmonton Oil Kings and Swift Current Broncos got together on Tuesday and pulled off a deal that includes four players and three bantam draft picks.

Edmonton gets: D Jacson Alexander, 17, D Chad Smithson, 17, and a sixth-round pick in EdmontonOilKingsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft.

Swift Current gets: F Matthew Culling, 17, D Chase Lacombe, 16, a second-round selection in the 2020 WHL bantam draft and a fourth-rounder in 2019.

The trade seems to have been precipitated when Alexander, a first-round pick by the Broncos in the 2016 bantam draft, requested a trade. Alexander, who is from Victoria, began last season with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, putting up three goals and six assists in 29 games. While in the BCHL, he had committed to going the NCAA route and playing SCBroncosfor the U of Denver Pioneers. After joining the Broncos, he had a goal and four assists in 32 regular-season games. He had one assist in 26 playoff games.

Smithson, from Winnipeg, had six goals and seven assists in 41 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers last season. The Broncos selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Culling is from Regina and had 25 goals and 37 assists in 43 games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians last season. The Oil Kings picked him in the 10th round of the 2016 bantam draft.

Lacombe is from Moose Jaw. Last season, he had one goal and one assists in 42 games with the midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals. He was a fifth-round pick by Edmonton in the 2017 bantam draft.

The WHL has yet to reveal the particulars of new regulations involving who can and can’t be traded — assuming, that is, that the grand pooh-bahs have intentions of at some point letting fans in on what’s going on — but it seems that neither Smithson nor Lacombe has signed, while Culling is signed.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Jamie Porter, who used to be the Broncos’ director of hockey operations and head scout, now is the Oil Kings’ director of scouting. He will have played a role in Swift Current’s decision to select Alexander in the first round of the 2016 draft.

The Kootenay Ice held a news conference on Monday, after which they issued an all-encompassing news release.

Included in that news release was the pronouncement that “individual game pricing will Kootenaynewnot increase this season, however applicable taxes will no longer be included in the price.”

As one observer wrote in an email: “In other words, ‘we are increasing our ticket prices.’ ”

That emailer went on to do the math . . .

“Last season — $27.00 including taxes (highest single-game ticket price). This meant that the ticket price last season was actually $25.71 plus $1.29 taxes.

“This season — $27.00 plus $1.35 taxes = $28.35.

“Total Increase $1.35 = 5 per cent increase over last season. Actual Ice revenue per ticket went up $1.24 or 5 per cent.”

G Brodan Salmond, who got into 26 games with the Kelowna Rockets last season, is on MooseJawWarriorsthe training camp roster of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Salmond, from Calgary, will turn 20 on Oct. 8. . . . Last season, Salmond was 13-10-1, 3.67, .880 with the Rockets. In 56 career regular-season games over three seasons, he is 28-19-3, 3.26, .885. . . . The Warriors revealed on Monday that veteran Brody Willms, 20, won’t play this season do to hip problems. Their training camp roster also includes sophomore Adam Evanoff (15-4-1, 2.65, .906), who backed up Willms last season, and bantam draft picks Jackson Berry and Ethan Fitzgerald, both of who have signed WHL contracts. Berry, who turns 16 on Dec. 6, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 draft; Fitzgerald, 17, was taken in the sixth round in 2016.

I don’t know how much you’ve got planned this week, but Stuart Kemp is a busy guy.

He’s the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club, and he is leading the way Portlandas they get ready for the Toyota Hockey Family Fest on Sunday at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton on Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Before that, there’s a barbecue on Saturday in Clackamas.

He also had been getting ready for training camp, which started Tuesday and runs through Friday. And, yes, he hopes to see you there.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that he is working hard to recover from two strokes he had earlier in the year. That means he was to see a doctor on Tuesday, has speech therapy on Thursday and again on Saturday.

As he posted Monday night, “See you at upcoming events.”

Hey, Stuart, say hi to Don Hay for me on Sunday!

He added: “I do appreciate your help and will keep you posted on results at Doc and other events. I want to quickly thank all those who’ve read posts and sent messages, some I didn’t talk to in ages. Thanks much!”

Don’t forget that there’s a GoFundMe page for Kemp and his wife, Cathy, and it’s right here.

Rylan Ferster has resigned as general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s West WestKelownaKelowna Warriors. The announcement was made on Tuesday afternoon. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, has been named interim GM and head coach. Assistant coach Matt Miller and goaltending coach Chad Carder remain on staff. . . . Ferster, from Prince Albert, has spent seven seasons with the Warriors, helping them to the RBC Cup in 2016. . . . The Warriors had a regular-season record of 210-150-35 with Ferster in charge. . . . Ferster told Ron Seymour of the Kelowna Daily Courier that “it’s just the right time for me to leave.” Ferster didn’t add anything to that, other than “it’s was definitely an amicable parting. I’m leaving on good terms with the team, which in this business so many times is not the case.” . . . Seymour’s story is right here. . . . Grimwood, 37, is from Victoria. He signed on with the Warriors in July after spending three seasons as the head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers.

If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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