Habscheid, Sutter moving on up . . . Rybinski takes Express to BCHL . . . McGeough and family needing help


MacBeth

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) has been released by the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He had one goal and one assist in 16 games.


ThisThat

With the Prince Albert Raiders gotten off to such a terrific start, head coach Marc Habscheid has moved from 13th to ninth on the list of the WHL’s winningest regular-season coaches.

When this season began, Habscheid had 456 victories as a WHL head coach. With the whlRaiders at 21-1-0, Habscheid has vaulted into ninth place, passing Peter Anholt, Jack Shupe, Kelly McCrimmon and Dean Clark, none of whom is still coaching. Anholt, however, will have the opportunity to improve on his 466 victories when he goes behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ bench when head coach Brent Kisio joins Canada’s national junior team in December. Kisio will be an assistant coach under head coach Tim Hunter of the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Meanwhile, Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, has closed to within 18 victories of 500. The Rebels are 15-5-1, but Sutter wasn’t with them for one of those victories; instead, he was on a father-son trip with his son, Brandon, and the Vancouver Canucks.

Here’s a look at the 23 WHL head coaches who have more than 300 regular-season victories to their credit (includes games of Nov. 21):

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) 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. Brent Sutter (Red Deer) 482

9. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 477

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) 366

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

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

21. Willie Desjardins (Saskatoon, Medicine Hat) 333

22. Mike Johnston (Portland) 328

23. Kevin Constantine (Everett) 326



With the WHL schedule having taken Thursday off, perhaps to celebrate American Thanksgiving, here’s a look at what the first-round playoff matchups would be had the regular-season ended yesterday . . . Yes, it doesn’t mean much because teams haven’t played an equal number of games, but, hey, it’s food for thought. . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert (21-1-0) vs. Medicine Hat (10-11-3)

Red Deer (15-5-1) vs. Moose Jaw (10-5-4)

Edmonton (14-8-3) vs. Lethbridge (10-8-4)

Saskatoon (14-8-2) vs. Brandon (10-6-6)

Out: Calgary (9-13-2), Kootenay (7-14-4), Regina (8-16-0), Swift Current (3-18-2). . . . Calgary is three points out of a playoff spot, while Kootenay is five back, Regina seven and Swift Current 15.

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Everett (17-7-1) vs. Kelowna (10-13-1)

Vancouver (15-6-2) vs. Tri-City (12-8-0)

Portland (13-8-2) vs. Spokane (12-8-3)

Victoria (12-6-0) vs. Prince George (9-10-3)

Out: Seattle (8-10-3), Kamloops (8-10-2). . . . Seattle is two points out of a wild-card playoff spot, while Kamloops is three points back.


Ask any long-time observer about the best referees in the history of the WHL and Mick McGeough will be in the conversation. McGeough, from Regina, went on to show his outsized personality during a lengthy career in the NHL, too. . . . McGeough has run into some health difficulties this week, and he and his family need help from the hockey world and beyond. . . . There is a GoFundMe page right here.


F Henry Rybinski, who has asked the Medicine Hat Tigers to trade him, has joined the BCHL’s Coquitlam Express. Rybinski, 17, is from Vancouver. Last season, he had three goals and nine assists in 63 games with the Tigers, who picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. This season, he had one goal and four assists in five games. . . . . . . The Tigers revealed on Nov. 1 that Rybinski had asked to be traded and no longer was with the team. Rybinski was wanting more playing time, something the Tigers said they weren’t able to provide because he was behind veteran centres James Hamblin and Ryan Chyzowski on their roster.


The Kootenay Ice has brought back D Anson McMaster, 16, for another look. McMaster, from Siksika, Alta., was a second-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . He is pointless in three games with the Ice this season. . . . In 12 games with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers, he has two goals and seven assists.


The Vancouver Giants have dropped F Hunor Torzsok from their roster. He is expected to end up with a junior A team. Torzsok, 18, had one assist in eight games. Last season, he had one goal and one assist in 25 games with Vancouver. He also played 10 games with the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers last season, scoring three goals.


TheCoachingGame

The SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs have signed general manager and head coach Trevor Blevins to an extension that runs through the 2021-22 season. He took over as the Mustangs’ head coach during the 2013-14 season. They won the SJHL title in 2015 and 2016. . . . This season, the Mustangs have the league’s second-best record, at 17-6-1.


The AJHL’s Calgary Canucks have fired Darryl Olsen, who had been their general manager and head coach. He had been with the Canucks since August 2017, and had been head coach since November 2017. He was named GM and head coach on April 5. . . . According to a text from Gino De Paoli (@GDP_PXP), it “looks like assistants Brad Moran and Tyson Avery will take over for the time being.” . . . The Canucks are 2-22-1, and in last played in the eight-team Viterra South Division.


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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When is .500 not a winning record? . . . Winterhawks ink two forwards . . . Fix-Wolansky leads charging Oil Kings


ThisThat

The WHL standings include categories for points and winning percentage.

According to the latter, there are 15 teams in the 22-team league that have a record of whl.500 or better. That, of course, would seem to indicate that there are 15 teams that have won more games than they have lost.

That is because we are stuck in the quagmire brought on by the doling out of loser points. To date, WHL teams have banked 42 of those, with the Brandon Wheat Kings having six of them. Yes, they have lost three times in OT and three times in shootouts. The Wheat Kings’ record is 9-4-6, which, put another way, means they have lost one more game than they have won.

If you’re wondering how many of the 22 teams have won more games than they have lost, well, the answer would be nine. Yes, nine!

In the 10-team Western Conference, the Vancouver Giants, Everett Silvertips, Portland Winterhawks, Tri-City Americans and Victoria Royals have more victories than losses. In the 12-team Eastern Conference, only the Prince Albert Raiders, Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings and Saskatoon Blades fall in that category.

Such is life in the era of the loser point.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Jack O’Brien and F James Stefan, both of whom Portlandare playing in the U-15 Little Caesars midget program. Their Tier I team is ranked second in the U.S. . . . O’Brien, a 15-year-old from Denver, has six goals and 14 assists in 20 games. . . . In 25 games, Stefan, who is from Laguna, Calif., has 15 goals and 13 assists. Stefan, 15 is the son of Patrik Stefan, whose playing career included 455 NHL games — 414 with the Atlanta Thrashers and 41 with the Dallas Stars. Patrik now is the head coach of the Little Caesars midget team. . . . The then-Edmonton Ice selected Patrik in the 1997 CHL import draft but he never played in the WHL.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Anson McMaster to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. KootenaynewMcMaster, 16, is pointless in three games with the Ice this season. He was a second-round pick by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . D Ben Zloty, 16, has gone back to the midget AAA Calgary Royals, while F Owen Pederson, 16, was returned to the prep team at OHA Edmonton. Pederson, a fifth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, is pointless in six games; Zloty, a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, is pointless in three. . . . The Ice already has had 32 players dress for at least one game. . . . At 6-12-3, the Ice is three points out of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, but has played five more games than the Moose Jaw Warriors (7-5-4), who are in possession of that berth, at least for now.


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.


The AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats have hired Nigel Dube, 30, as their general manager and head coach. He replaces Travis Clayton, who was fired on Friday while in his third season with the team. . . . Dube, who is from Lampman, Sask., was in his second season as the associate coach with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Earlier, he spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the NAHL’s Minot, N.D., Minotauros. . . . The Bobcats are 5-15-1 and in last place in the eight-team Viterra North Division.


There was a neat story out of an OHL game between the Guelph Storm and ohlhost Windsor Spitfires on Saturday night. . . . Windsor won the game, 2-1, in a shootout and when it was over three goaltenders — two from the Storm — were introduced as the three stars. . . . Windsor’s Michael DiPietro was the first star, after stopping 31 shots. . . . Guelph starter Anthony Popovich blocked 28 shots and was selected as second star. . . . Nico Daws, Guelph’s backup on this night, was named the third star, despite not being credited with any playing time. . . . Daws came off the bench at 2:58 of OT and stopped Windsor F Cody Morgan on a penalty shot. On the play that led to the penalty shot, Morgan was hauled down from behind and fell into Popovich, who ended up with a broken skate blade. When the skate couldn’t be repaired quickly, referee Joe Celestin called for Daws to enter the game. . . . Daws stopped Morgan, and Popovich, a new blade in place, re-entered the game. . . . While Daws was announced as third star after the game, it appears to have been changed later because the OHL website now shows the third star as Windsor F Daniel D’Amico. He scored the winner in the eighth round of the shootout. . . . Tony Saxon of guelphtoday.com has the story right here.


MONDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Trey Fix-Wolansky had a goal and two assists in leading the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 6-4 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the Hurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (13-7-2) has points in nine straight games (8-0-1). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division by one point over the Red Deer Rebels (13-5-1), who hold three games in hand. . . . Lethbridge (8-6-4) was 1-0-1 in its previous two outings. . . . The same teams will be back at it Friday, again in Lethbridge. . . . Fix-Wolansky now leads the WHL in assists (32) and points (45). He has points in 10 straight games, with seven goals and 20 assists in that run. . . . Fix-Wolansky (13) broke a 2-2 tie at 7:19 of the second period, while shorthanded, and D Conner McDonald (6) made it 4-2, on a PP, at 19:42. . . . The Hurricanes got to within a goal just 53 seconds into the third period when F Zachary Cox scored, but F Vince Loschiavo (10) got that one back for Edmonton at 9:39. . . . Cox (6) made it a one-goal game again, at 11:16, but the Oil Kings got insurance from F Jalen Luypen (2) at 18:30. . . . F Brett Kemp scored his 15th goal and added two assists for the winners, with F Quinn Benjafield earning three assists. . . . Lethbridge F Jadon Joseph had his point streak snapped at 11 games. He had nine goals and six assists in that time.


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Awards, bantam draft off to Red Deer . . . Broncos win showdown with Warriors . . . Visiting Raiders bury Hurricanes


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A tip of the Taking Note cap to the WHL for moving its awards show and the bantam draft to Red Deer for at least the next three years. . . . This year, the awards will be handed out on May 2, with the bantam draft on May 3, with both taking place at the Sheraton Hotel. . . . The more the WHL is able to spread its annual events around, the better for all involved. . . . Now it’s about the annual meeting that seems to have settled into secrecy in Vancouver, and that annual gather on Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas. If only the WHL pooh-bahs would move those around, too.


The Kootenay Ice has added D Anson McMaster, 15, to its roster. McMaster, from Siksika Nation, Alta., was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he had 13 assists in 35 games with the midget AAA Okotoks Oilers.


Noah Geekie’s father, Craig, played four seasons in the WHL, playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs. Noah’s brother, Morgan, is in his third season with the Tri-City Americans and was a third-round pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL draft. Noah was selected by the Calgary Hitmen in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . With all that hockey in the family, why has Noah turned to baseball? Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network has Noah’s story right here, and it involves a fastball that improved by 12 miles per hour, now touching on 87.


If you have a tip or just want to chat, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com. You are able to follow me on Twitter at @gdrinnan.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Portland, the Kamloops Blazers scored three second-period goals and went on to score a 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Kamloops (27-29-5) had lost its previous five Kamloops1games (0-4-1). It now is six points from a playoff spot with 11 games to play. . . . Portland (35-20-4) has lost two in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division three points ahead of Spokane. . . . The Blazers won the season series, 3-1-0. . . . F Cody Glass (28) gave Portland a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:00 of the first period. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen tied it, on a PP, at 4:28 of the second period and F Nick Chyzowski (17) put the visitors ahead, on a PP, at 19:01. . . . Loewen (31) provided insurance 47 seconds later. . . . D Joe Gatenby had two assists for Kamloops. . . . Portland F Skyler McKenzie picked up his 200th career point when he drew an assist on his club’s first goal. . . . Kamloops was 2-5 on the PP; Portland was 1-4. . . . G Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots to earn the victory. . . . G Cole Kehler started for Portland and surrendered three goals on 22 shots through two periods. Shane Farkas played the third period, stopping all four shots he faced. . . . The Blazers were without D Luke Zazula and F Luc Smith for a seventh straight game. . . . Announced attendance: 5,589.


At Swift Current, D Artyom Minulin drew three assists to help the Broncos to a 4-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Swift Current (43-13-5) has points in eight SCBroncosstraight (7-0-1). . . . Moose Jaw (44-12-3) and Swift Current are tied atop the overall standings, with the Warriors holding two games in hand. . . . I don’t know who is leading the season series, but Swift Current is 4-3-0 and Moose Jaw is 3-2-2. . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Aleksi Heponiemi (26) scored, on a PP, at 9:00 of the first period. . . . F Tanner Jeannot (36) pulled Moose Jaw even, on a PP, at 19:25. . . . The Broncos went ahead 3-1 on goals from F Max Patterson (9), at 12:26 of the second period, and F Beck Malenstyn (11), shorthanded, at 7:07 of the third. . . . F Jayden Halbgewachs (57) got the Warriors to within one, on a PP, at 7:29. . . . Swift Current got insurance from D Colby Sissons (13), on a PP, at 16:32. . . . The Broncos got two assists from F Giorgio Estephan, with Heponiemi and Sissons each getting one. . . . D Kale Clague and F Brayden Burke each had two assists for the Warriors. . . . Broncos G Glenn Gawdin had one assist for his 300th career point. It came in his 305th game, all with the Broncos. . . . He leads the WHL in scoring this season, with 112 points, six more than Burke. . . . Swift Current was 2-4 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 2-6. . . . The Broncos got 37 saves from G Stuart Skinner, who posted his 100th regular-season victory. The first 88 of those came with Lethbridge. He is 12-3-1, 2.43, .925 since being acquired by the Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw’s Brody Willms stopped 21 shots. . . . The Warriors were without F Barrett Sheen and D Jett Woo, both of whom are suspended. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890.


At Calgary, F Jake Kryski and F Jakob Stukel each had a goal and two assists as the Hitmen bounced the Red Deer Rebels, 6-4. . . . Calgary (18-33-7) had lost its previous two Calgarygames. . . . Red Deer (21-27-13) had won its previous four games. It is third in the Central Division, two points ahead of Kootenay. Red Deer has a game in hand. . . . F Mason McCarty gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 5:07 of the first period. . . . Calgary scored the next three goals. . . . Stukel (28) tied it at 9:16. F Tristen Nielsen (13) gave Calgary a 2-1 lead at 4:27 of the second period, with F Luke Coleman (14) making it 3-1 at 10:42. . . . The Rebels came back with three straight goals. . . . F Brandon Hagel (11) scored, shorthanded, at 18:20, with McCarty (33) getting his second goal, just 1:05 later. . . . F Kristian Reichel (28) gave the Rebels a 4-3 edge 32 seconds into the third period. . . . Kryski (11) got Calgary into a tie at 2:04, with D Vladislav Yeryomenko (12) giving the Hitmen a 5-4 lead at 9:42. . . . F Riley Stotts (13) provided the insurance at 18:59. . . . D Egor Zamula had two assists for Calgary, with Yeryomenko and Stotts each getting one. . . . Red Deer got two assists from each of F Grayson Pawlenchuk and D Carson Sass. . . . Red Deer was 0-1 on the PP; Calgary was 0-2. . . . G Nick Schneider blocked 19 shots to earn the victory. . . . Red Deer starter Riley Lamb allowed three goals on 19 shots in 30:42. Ethan Anders came on to stop eight of 10 shots in 29:03. . . . Announced attendance: 4,706.


At Lethbridge, the Prince Albert Raiders took control with six straight goals en route to an 8-2 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Prince Albert (24-25-11) had lost its previous two PrinceAlbertgames. It now is six points out of a playoff spot. . . . Lethbridge (29-25-6) had won three straight. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind Medicine Hat and with a game in hand. . . . F Brett Leason (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 0:16 of the first period and F Sean Montgomery (12) made it 2-0 at 2:53. . . . F Jadon Joseph (8) got Lethbridge on the scoreboard at 14:34. . . . F Justin Nachbaur (8) started the six-goal onslaught at 18:58. . . . The Raiders got second-period goals from F Curtis Miske (20), at 7:54; F Cole Fonstad (18), 14:51; and F Kody McDonald (30), at 4:35; with third-period scores coming from F Sean Montgomery (13), at 4:54, and D Sergei Sapego (2), on a PP, at 6:50. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (7) got Lethbridge’s last goal. . . . Fonstad added two assists to his goal, with Leason, Sapego, Montgomery, McDonald and Nachbaur each getting one. . . . Joseph had an assist for Lethbridge. . . . Prince Albert was 1-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-7. . . . The Raiders got 35 stops from G Ian Scott. . . . The Hurricanes started Reece Klassen, who gave up seven goals on 27 shots in 44:54. Logan Flodell finished up, stopping six of seven shots in 15:06. . . . The Raiders took 72 of the game’s 140 penalty minutes. That total included 10 misconducts late in the game. . . . The Raiders had D Vojtech Budik back after a one-game absence. . . . The Hurricanes were without D Calen Addison as he served a one-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,036.


At Kennewick, Wash., F Jordan Topping scored twice to help the Tri-City Americans to a 4-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Tri-City (30-21-8) had lost its previous two TriCity30games. It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind Spokane. . . . Seattle (28-22-9) has lost two in a row. It is in possession of the conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Tri-City is 5-2-1 in the season series; Seattle is 3-3-2. . . . Topping opened the scoring at 10:56 of the first period. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it 18 seconds into the second period when D Austin Strand got No. 20. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (18) gave the Americans a 2-1 lead at 2:29. . . . The Thunderbirds tied it at 5:31 when D Jarret Tyszka (8) scored. . . . Topping (34) snapped the tie at 9:51. . . . F Michael Rasmussen (23), who also had an assist, upped the lead to 4-2, on a PP, at 19:54. . . . Tri-City was 1-3 on the PP; Seattle was 0-3. . . . G Patrick Dea earned the victory with 26 saves. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes stopped 41 shots. . . . With F Blake Bargar and Sami Moilanen injured, the Thunderbirds again have added F Payton Mount, who turned 16 on Monday, and F Graeme Bryks, who turns 17 today, to their roster. Mount, from Victoria, plays at the Delta Hockey Academy. He was a first-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. This was his fourth game with Seattle this season. Bryks, an eighth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, plays for the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. This was his fifth game with Seattle this season. . . . Announced attendance: 2,547.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Edmonton at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Brandon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Red Deer, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Prince George at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Kamloops vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 7:05 p.m.

Regina at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

Everett vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7:30 p.m.


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