Ritchie moves into GM’s office. . . . Wright, Henderson go to Edmonton. . . . MacGregor no longer with Dallas


MacBeth

F Colton Kroeker (Regina, Lethbridge, Kootenay, 2014-18) has signed a one-year contract with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 28 games with Mount Royal U (USports, Canada West), he had six goals and 16 assists. . . .

F Ben Maxwell (Kootenay, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract with Langnau (Switzerland, National League). Last season, with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 12 assists in 59 games.


ThisThat

Darren Ritchie is the new general manager of the Brandon Wheat Kings, a team for BrandonWKregularwhich he has played, coached and scouted. Ritchie, from Winnipeg, played four full seasons (1991-95) for the Wheat Kings, putting up 152 goals and 126 assists in 232 regular-season games. . . . He spent 10 seasons (2006-16) as an assistant coach, and has been the team’s director of scouting for the past three seasons. . . . Ritchie, 45, takes over from Grant Armstrong, whose contract wasn’t renewed after he spent three seasons as GM. Armstrong now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . . Ritchie now will be working to sign a new head coach — David Anning’s contract wasn’t renewed after last season — and a director of scouting. . . . The Wheat Kings’ news release is right here.


Chad Harden’s 2019 Calgary Stampede is over and he could be looking at a lifetime ban. That was the verdict Friday after Harden was involved in an incident during Heat 7 of Thursday’s Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races in which one horse was killed and three others suffered minor injuries. . . . Harden was disqualified from the final three days of the 2019 Stampede and fined $10,000 for his role in what happened. He also must pay $10,000 to Evan Salmond, the driver whose horse was killed. . . . Harden, who scouts for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, won’t be invited to compete in future Stampedes, but he is able to appeal by Sept. 1. . . . Harden went into Thursday night in third place in the aggregate standings and with a real chance to be competing for the big money on Sunday. But he was hit with 30 seconds in penalties after the heat and fell to 33rd. Later, of course, he was disqualified. . . . Sammy Hudes and Alanna Smith of the Calgary Herald have more right here.

At the same time, other chuckwagon drivers are of the opinion that, considering Harden’s record, there was some over-reaction here and that the punishment was too harsh. Hudes has that story right here.


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JUST NOTES:

The NHL’s Edmonton Oilers have hired Tyler Wright as their director of amateur scouting and Archie Henderson as director of pro scouting. Both had been working for the Detroit Red Wings. Ken Holland, the Oilers’ new general manager, joined Edmonton from the Red Wings. . . . Wright played four seasons (1989-93) with the Swift Current Broncos. He had been Detroit’s director of amateur scouting for six seasons. . . . Henderson played three seasons in the WHL (Lethbridge Broncos, Victoria Cougars, 1974-77). . . .

According to a Facebook post by former NL radio sports director Rick (The Bear) Wile in Kamloops, former Blazers’ general manager Stu MacGregor “has parted ways” with the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . MacGregor signed on as the Blazers’ GM on Oct. 13, 2015. He lasted until May 20, 2018, when he was reassigned to the Stars’ scouting staff. Dallas owner Tom Gaglardi is the Blazers’ majority owner. . . . MacGregor and ex-Blazers head coach Don Hay are spending this weekend at the Kamloops Coaches Conference.


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Hurricanes power to Game 4 win . . . Wheat Kings mourn loss of long-time volunteer . . . Coaching news from here and there

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The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four times on the PP en route to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday night. The WHL’s best-of-seven Eastern LethbridgeConference final is 2-2 and on its way back to Swift Current for Game 5 on Saturday night. They’ll return to Lethbridge for Game 6 on Monday. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes took a 3-1 lead into the second period and went from there. They got two goals from D Calen Addison and two assists from each of F Brad Morrison and F Jordy Bellerive. . . . Morrison leads all playoff skaters with 21 assists and 36 points. . . . Lethbridge got 25 stops from G Logan Flodell, while Stuart Skinner made 23 saves for the Broncos. . . . The Hurricanes were 4-10 on the PP; the Broncos were 0-7. . . . The Broncos played a second straight game without D Artyom Minulin and F Glenn Gawdin, their captain. Minulin left in Game 1 with an undisclosed injury; Gawdin was hurt in Game 2. . . . “We’ve got to remember how we looked tonight,” Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, their radio voice. “As a team I thought we embarrassed ourselves tonight. That’s not who we are. . . . It’s still 2-2. But tonight I’m not happy with how we presented ourselves.”


The WHL’s Western Conference final is scheduled to resume tonight (Thursday) in Kennewick, Wash., with the Everett Silvertips holding a 2-1 edge over the Tri-City Americans. . . . Everett scored the game’s last four goals on Monday to post an 8-4 victory. The teams then had two days off because the Toyota Center in Kennewick was playing host to Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage. . . . The teams will be back in Everett for Game 5 on Saturday.


Preben (Ben) Laursen, a long-time volunteer with the Brandon Wheat Kings, died on Wednesday at the age of 78. He had been involved with the Wheat Kings since 1965, which is two years before the franchise went into what now is the WHL. . . . Laursen worked in various roles with the Wheat Kings, from handling the public-address work to looking after statistics. He also served as the director of off-ice officials for a few seasons. . . . There’s more on the Wheat Kings’ website right here.


TheCoachingGame

The QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup, have fired head coach Jim Midgley after just one season behind the bench. . . . This season, the Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1, leaving them fourth overall in the QMJHL. They were swept from a second-round playoff series by the Charottetown Islanders. . . . Before taking over as head coach in June, Midgley spent six seasons with the Mooseheads as an assistant coach. . . . According to a news release, the Mooseheads will retain assistant coaches Sylvain Favreau and Jon Greenwood, and goaltending coach Eric Raymond.


Chris Murray, a former NHL and WHL player, is the first head coach of the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers, a minor midget team. . . . Murray, a Kamloops firefighter, has been an assistant coach with the WHL’s Blazers for four seasons, and also has coached minor hockey and at the Valleyview Hockey Academy. . . . Murray, 43, played three seasons (1991-94) with the WHL’s Blazers before going on to a pro career that included 242 NHL games. . . . The minor midget Blazers will be part of the B.C. Minor Midget Hockey League that is to begin play in the fall.


The QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts are expected to announce today (Thursday) that they have signed Patrick Roy as their new general manager and head coach. Roy, 52, would replace Philippe Boucher, who resigned as general manager and head coach earlier this month. . . . Roy is a former part-owner, GM and head coach of the Remparts, but has been out of the coaching game since leaving the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche in August 2016. . . . The Remparts have been owned by Quebecor Sports and Entertainment Group since 2015.


Ken Law is the new head coach and assistant GM of the junior B Kelowna Chiefs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Law spent the previous eight seasons as the GM/head coach of the KIJHL’s Osoyoos Coyotes. His contract wasn’t renewed at season’s end despite the fact the Coyotes finished atop the Okanagan Division for four straight seasons. Law takes over as head coach from Jason Tansem, who remains with the Chiefs as the director of hockey operations and also will help out as an assistant coach. . . . Grant Sheridan remains the Chiefs’ general manager.


The Ottawa-based Carleton U Ravens announced earlier this month that former WHLer Shaun Van Allen will be their head coach in 2018-19. He spent this season as the interim head coach, taking over when Marty Johnston joined the AHL’s Manitoba Moose prior to it getting started. . . . Under Van Allen, the Ravens went 17-7-4 and finished fourth in the OUA East, before losing a first-round series to the U of Ottawa. . . . Van Allen, 50, is from Calgary. He played two seasons (1985-87) with the Saskatoon Blades. His pro career included 794 regular-season NHL games. . . . Tip of the cap to Victor Findlay (@Finder_24) for this one.


The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars and Brandon Heck, their general manager and head coach, have, according to a team-issued news release, “mutually agreed to part ways immediately.” . . . According to the release, Heck “felt that he would like to pursue coaching opportunities closer to home and his family.” . . . Heck, 33, is from Forestburg, Alta. He spent one season with the North Stars, after coaching the bantam AAA Camrose Red Wings for two seasons. . . . This season, the North Stars finished atop the Global Ag Risks Solutions Divisions, at 42-14-2-0, which was the second-best record in the SJHL. They lost a third-round playoff series to the Estevan Bruins in five games.


MacBeth

F Ben Maxwell (Kootenay, 2003-08) signed a one-year extension with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL). He had 12 goals and 16 assists in 39 games.