‘Tips looking at bizarre schedule . . . Ex-Raiders forward Edmonton’s top cop . . . OHL’s Firebirds get first victory


MacBeth

D Nolan Yonkman (Kelowna, Brandon, 1996-2001) has signed a contract through Jan. 20 with JYP Jyväskylä (Finland, Liiga). Last season, with JYP, he had two goals and an assist in 52 games. . . .

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Kölner Haie Cologne (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout in which he had one goal and two assists in 16 games. . . .

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) has been released by Harzer Falken Braunlage (Germany, Oberliga) after an unsuccessful tryout in which he scored once in seven games.


ThisThat

The Everett Silvertips and Kamloops Blazers will play a doubleheader this weekend.

They will meet in Kamloops on Friday, 7 p.m, and they’ll do it all over again in the EverettSandman Centre on Sunday, 5 p.m.

Nothing unusual about that. The WHL schedule often has teams play two games in a row in the same arena, although it mostly happens on back-to-back nights in places like Prince George and Victoria.

But what if I told you that the WHL has the Silvertips playing a Saturday night game, too? What if I told you that game is scheduled for Kent, Wash., against their arch-rival, the Seattle Thunderbirds?

Would you believe me? Well . . . you should.

The Silvertips will ride the bus to Kamloops today. They will challenge the Blazers on Friday night, then get back on the bus and head for home, then play the Thunderbirds in Kent on Saturday night. After that, it will be back on the bus and back to Kamloops for the Sunday game.

As one interested observer asked Taking Note on Wednesday: “Who signed off on this?”

And you thought the WHL’s wild weekends would go away when the WHL cut back from 72 to 68 games.

But wait . . .

This is just the start of a horrendous bit of scheduling for the Silvertips, who also will play three games in fewer than 48 hours the following weekend, too.

In fact, by the time they get through with playing the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Nov. 18, they will have played seven games in 10 nights. Throw in a visit by the Calgary Hitmen on Nov. 20 and it’s eight games in 12 nights.

When that part of the schedule is over, the Silvertips will have played 11.8 per cent of their schedule in only 12 days.

Maybe the players could be given a bonus when it’s over, like, say, a pay raise to the minimum wage, at least for the 12 days.

——

BTW, the Silvertips have another bizarre stretch of schedule to deal with in February. . . . They are to play the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Feb. 13, then travel to Kelowna for a game with the Rockets on Feb. 15. On Feb. 16, they have to be in Kent, Wash., for a game with the Seattle Thunderbirds. That’s a Saturday night. It’ll be on the bus right after that game because they’ll be playing the Cougars in Prince George on Monday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. . . . They’ll stay in Prince George for a game the next night, too, before returning home to play on Feb. 22 (Seattle) and Feb. 23 (Prince George). . . . At some point in time the Silvertips obviously did something to offend the WHL’s scheduling guru, whoever/whatever that is.



The Kootenay Ice has added D Ben Zloty, a 16-year-old from Calgary, to its roster. He was a sixth-round selection by the Ice in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. This season, he has three goals and 10 assists in 12 games with the midget AAA Calgary Royals.


Dale McFee, a former player with the Prince Albert Raiders, has been named Edmonton’s PrinceAlbertchief of police. He will begin his new duties early in the new year. . . . McFee, 53, is from St. Albert, Alta. He spent four seasons (1982-86) with the Raiders, totalling 270 points, including 118 goals, and 535 penalty minutes in 269 games. . . . McFee also did a stint as the police chief in Prince Albert and has been the president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He has been Saskatchewan’s deputy minister of justice for six years. . . . McFee was an assistant coach with the Raiders in 1993-94, and served as team president for nine years (2008-17). He remains a member of their board of directors.



The OHL’s Flint Firebirds won their first game of the season on Wednesday afternoon, beating the visiting Sarnia Sting, 7-4, in front of an announced crowd of 3,534 in what was billed as a ‘School Day Game.’ . . . F Jake Durham had three goals for the Firebirds, who now are 1-16-1, having scored 45 goals and allowed 108.



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Americans turn to Buchberger . . . Silvertips add two coaches, lose one . . . Hitmen to introduce their guy today


MacBeth

D Corbin Baldwin (Spokane, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had one goal and 12 assists in 67 games with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL). . . .

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) signed a tryout contract with Pardubice (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Banská Bystrica (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had seven goals and seven assists in 31 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Victor Bartley (Kamloops, Regina, 2003-09) signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). Last season, with Örebro (Sweden, SHL), he had two goals and 13 assists in 44 games. He was an alternate captain. . . .

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) signed a tryout contract with Kölner Haie (Germany, DEL). Last season, with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL), he had five goals and eight assists in 45 games, and also had one goal in six games with Leksand (Sweden, Allsvenskan). . . . His tryout deal runs until the Deutschland Cup break (Nov. 5). . . .

D Spencer Humphries (Tri-City, Calgary, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he had nine goals and eight assists in 40 games with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen). . . .

F Michal Řepík (Vancouver, 2005-08) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). Last season, he had 12 goals and 11 assists in 51 games with Slovan, and three goals and three assists in seven games with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga).


ThisThat

Kelly Buchberger is the new head coach of the Tri-City Americans. Buchberger, with no WHL coaching experience, takes over from Mike Williamson, who left the organization tri-citylast month after four years as head coach. . . . Williamson is the fifth-winningest regular-season coach in WHL history. . . . The length of Buchberger’s contract wasn’t disclosed. . . . Buchberger, 51, was an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders last season. However, they chose to clean house following the season. Prior to that, he was with the Edmonton Oilers since 2004, spending six of those seasons as an NHL assistant coach. He also spent three seasons (2014-17) as the Oilers’ director of player personnel. . . . His only head-coaching experience is from 2007-08 when he was with the Springfield Falcons, then the AHL affiliate of the Oilers. . . . From Langenburg, Sask., Buchberger was a ninth-round pick by the Oilers in the NHL’ s 1985 draft. He went on to play 1,182 regular-season NHL games, splitting time with the Oilers, Atlanta Thrashers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He played two seasons (1984-86) with the Moose Jaw Warriors, recording 26 goals, 39 assists and 320 penalty minutes. . . .

Brian Pellerin, 48, who has been the team’s associate coach for four seasons, will remain with the club and work alongside Buchberger. Pellerin is believed to have one year left on his contract. . . .

With the Americans having unveiled their head coach, the Calgary Hitmen remain the only one of the WHL’s 22 teams without a head coach. However, they have scheduled a news conference for today (Tuesday) to announce the 10th head coach in franchise history.


The Everett Silvertips have signed Louis Mass and Harry Mahood as assistant coaches to work alongside head coach Dennis Williams. . . . Mass, 41, is from Anchorage and has Everettspent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach through five seasons with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. . . . Mahood, from Thompson, Man., played four seasons (1979-83) in the WHL, spending time with the Great Falls Americans, Spokane Flyers, Billings Bighorns and Nanaimo Islanders. Yes, that is an amazing quarter of WHL teams. . . . Mahood, who will turn 56 on Aug. 8, has been in the coaching game since 1996 in Germany. Of late, he coached with Williams with the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls and USHL’s Bloomington Thunder, both of which were under the umbrella of Consolidated Sports Holdings, which owns the Silvertips. . . . Shane Clifford, who spent a total of 11 seasons, including the last four, as Everett’s goaltending coach, has left to coach goaltenders with the OHL’s Erie Otters. Last season, he also worked with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers and Youngstown Phantoms. . . . The Silvertips had room on their coaching staff after Mitch Love, the assistant to the GM and assistant coach, signed on as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades.


There haven’t yet been any announcements, but Taking Note has been told by sources familiar with the WHL that Ryan Smith and Jamie Heward, both of whom have left the Swift Current Broncos’ coaching staff, will be joining other WHL teams. . . . Smith, who spent three seasons as the Broncos’ associate coach, is moving to the Medicine Hat Tigers to work with GM/head coach Shawn Clouston and assistant coach Joe Frazer. . . . Heward will be joining the Vancouver Giants where he will work with first-year assistant coach Michael Dyck. Heward had been with the Broncos for six seasons as an assistant coach and director of player development.


The Saskatoon Blades and the Saskatoon Media Group have agreed to a four-year Saskatooncontract extension that involves the broadcast rights to the team’s WHL games. Under the new deal, the broadcasts will move from 92.9 The BULL FM to 98 COOL FM. . . . That’s good because no one is cooler than Les Lazaruk, who is preparing for his 25th season as the radio voice of the Blades. . . . The Blades also announced that “Lazaruk will host a live one-hour pre-game show from the concourse at SaskTel Centre prior to home games. Fans also will get a chance to hear from the players and staff every Thursday morning on 98COOL FM.”


The Portland Winterhawks have signed two import forwards — Dean Schwenninger, 17, who is from Switzerland, and Michal Kvasnica, 18, from Czech Republic. . . . Last season, PortlandSchwenninger had 13 goals and 24 assists in 19 games with Zug U-17 in the Elite Novizen. In 20 games with Zug’s U-20 side, he had five goals and three assists. In 15 games with Switzerland’s U-17 team, he added five goals and four assists. . . . Kvasnica had six goals and 10 assists in 45 games with HC Frydek-Mistek in Czech2. He also played eight games with HC Trinec U-20, putting up five goals and four assits. In seven games at the World U-18 championship, he had two goals and two assists. . . . The Winterhawks finished last season with two imports — Danish F Joachim Blichfeld and Finnish D Henri Jokiharju. . . . Blichfeld, who turns 20 today (Tuesday), is expected to play with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda this season. . . . Jokiharju has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. If he doesn’t make the Blackhawks, well, here’s what Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote on Sunday: “The Winterhawks are moving on without him, so he likely will end up in Chicago or Rockford this season. It’s also possible Jokiharju will go to the Finnish Elite League for a year. It’s unlikely, but Jokiharju has some history with it. His father, Juha, played for more than a decade in the Liiga.” . . . The Rockford IceHogs are the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. . . . Lazerus’s complete story is right here.Tweetoftheday

Doing some scattershooting . . . Giants salute their bus driver . . . Pats to retire No. 15

Scattershooting

If you haven’t noticed, the Kootenay Ice and Red Deer Rebels are tied for third place in the WHL’s Central Division, each with 51 points. Each team has 14 games remaining. This being the era of the loser point, it’s worth noting that the Ice (24-31-3) has five more victories and five more losses than the Rebels (19-26-13), who have 10 more loser points. In this instance, it’s all about those loser points.


Whichever team loses the race to third in the Central Division likely will miss the playoffs. That’s because the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot is 10 points away.


The Moose Jaw Warriors (42-9-3) lead the overall standings by three points over the Swift Current Broncos (41-13-4). However, the Warriors have four games in hand. If you’re wondering, those teams only have two games remaining with each other — Wednesday at Swift Current and March 10 in Moose Jaw. . . . Five of Moose Jaw’s remaining 18 games will be played against the Brandon Wheat Kings.


It‘s good to see former Brandon D Dwayne Gylywoychuk working the bench with the Canada’s women’s team at the Olympic Winter Games. He’s an assistant coach, and if you catch a glimpse of him you’ll see why his nickname is Chewy. I still can’t believe he doesn’t have an endorsement from Double Bubble.


Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“If Tom Brady can be at the top of his game at 40, why not a rebuilt Tiger Woods at 42? There’s just too much accumulated golf knowledge, hunger and battle savvy packed into that bad-ass, free-safety body for Tiger to fade away. Plus, Woods never gets sacked, so to speak.”


One of the interesting things to happen this week has been the tweets from Mr. T — remember him? — professing to a new-found love for curling. This has led to speculation on social media that curling’s pooh-bahs will change the name of the T-line to the Mr. T line.


Former MLB pitcher Jim Deshaies, who now provides analysis on Chicago Cubs’ telecasts, remembers a time when the late Oscar Gamble saw pitcher Nolan Ryan’s name on a marquee in Anaheim and said: “Ooh, boy . . . 0-for-4 and no fractured skull is a good day.”


Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, points out: “The last ‘Really Good’ QB for the NY Jets may in fact have been Joe Willie Namath. To put that in perspective, he is six months older than I am; and when I was in high school, they were able to teach all of World History in four days.”


Those international hockey games between the American and Canadian women’s teams certainly have a lot of body contact for a game in which bodychecking is against the rules. . . . I got a personal introduction to that rivalry two years ago when the IIHF Women’s World Championship was decided in Kamloops. It only seems to have grown hotter since then.


MacBeth

D Austin Madaisky (Calgary, Kamloops, 2008-12) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Leksand (Sweden, Allsvenskan) after receiving his release from the Straubing Tigers (Germany DEL). He had five goals and eight assists in 45 games with Straubing this season.


DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, one of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice officials, is at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. With the men’s hockey competition having started, he is a busy man.

Early Thursday (Pacific time), he reported . . .

“A day at the exciting last game of the day. Korea vs Czech Republic. The Czech won 2-1, Olylogobut the big thing was what happened inside the game building, actually. We’re in South Korea in an ice rink and who comes in — nope, not him — but a singing and dancing choir from North Korea. WOW is all I had to say.

“Hockey is interesting without the NHL. Anyone can win this tournament.”

Later Thursday — it was well into Friday in PyeongChang — Courneyea worked the men’s game between Slovakia and the U.S.

“I’m now supervising the upstairs crew,” he wrote, “Ed (Petrullo) from Seattle was moved downstairs onto scorekeepers row. You might see him on TV. He’s at centre ice level right above the large snowflake on the boards.

“The atmosphere in here is great.”

Petrullo is an off-ice official with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds.

Courneyea added:

“We are doing training for the local Koreans who came to work and will move on to the Paralympics.

“We originally came to do one job but our experience has over-ridden that. We also didn’t want to cut out those locals who have been training and working for this time. That was our group’s consensus when the four of us came in on the first day.”

As for the men’s tournament, he wrote:

“This is ANYONE’S tournament. No clear winners!”

It’s worth noting, too, he wrote, that the sweaters players are wearing in these Olympics, “have chips to track all the on-ice stats.”

If you weren’t watching, Team USA beat the Slovakians, 2-1.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

A tip of the Taking Note cap to the players on the Vancouver Giants for something they did after their 4-2 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Wednesday night.

Many junior teams have something that goes to a player of the game. In the Giants’ case, Vancouverit is a replica of a WWE championship belt.

Jess Rubenstein is the prospect editor for the Blueshirt Bulletin, and keeps close tabs on New York Rangers’ prospects, including Giants F Cliff Ronning.

All Ronning did in Portland was score twice — Nos. 50 and 51. In the process, he became the first player in franchise history to score 50 times on one season. No, he didn’t get the replica WWE belt.

Rubenstein was at the game and sent along a couple of notes after the game:

“The belt was given to bus driver Derek Holloway. He was wearing the belt with a giant-sized smile as he supervised the postgame loading.

“It was a huge win for the Giants players but they honoured their driver for his 600th road game. Hockey truly is special.

“It was truly a classy move by the players to honour the guy who gets them from place to place. The rest of the world doesn’t know how important these drivers are, so it was great to see the Giants do that for Holloway.”


The Regina Pats will honour Jock Callander by retiring his number (15) prior to a game against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday. . . . Callander played four seasons ReginaPats100(1978-82) with the Pats, totalling 368 points, 158 of them goals, in 201 games. In franchise history, he is sixth in points, tied for seventh in goals, and sixth in assists (210). . . . In 1981-82, Callander led the WHL in scoring, with 190 points in 71 games. . . . Callander, who is from Regina, went on to a pro career that included a Stanley Cup title with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992. . . . He also played 1,054 games in the now-defunct International Hockey League. He finished with 1,242 points, and that’s No. 1 in IHL history. . . . The last Regina player to wear No. 15 was F Braydon Buziak, who was traded to the Victoria Royals earlier this season.

Other numbers retired by the Pats — 1. Ed Staniowski; 7. Jordan Eberle; 8. Brad Hornung; 9. Clark Gillies; 12. Doug Wickenheiser; 14. Dennis Sobchuk; 16. Dale Derkatch/Mike Sillinger; 17. Bill Hicke.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

THURSDAY:

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Regina at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Brandon at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat at Swift Current, 7 p.m.

Saskatoon at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.

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

Everett vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:35 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY