Remembering 1976 . . . when Pats and Cougars met in first round of playoffs . . .

What follows for your reading enjoyment is another episode from the WHL’s past. This memory begins with a decision by the WHL’s board of governors to change the playoff format in mid-season strictly for financial reasons. . . . But when you look at the first-round playoff matchups they ended up with, you are free to wonder if they really had thought things through. . . . Anyway, here you go. Thanks to Al Dumba and Norm Fong for their time, even if it was almost three years ago!


The Western Canada Hockey League’s 1975-76 season was more than half over when its president, Ed Chynoweth, announced a change to the playoff format.

On Jan. 15, 1976, during the league’s all-star festivities in Lethbridge, Chynoweth revealed that there would be 10 teams advancing to the playoffs, up from eight the previous season.

“We added the two teams simply for financial reasons,” Chynoweth explained in his usual blunt manner.

At the time, the 12-team WCHL was split into two divisions — Eastern and WCHLWestern. The Saskatoon Blades, Brandon Wheat Kings, Lethbridge Broncos, Winnipeg Clubs, Regina Pats and Flin Flon Bombers finished one through six in the east; in the west, it was, in order, the New Westminster Bruins, Kamloops Chiefs, Medicine Hat Tigers, Victoria Cougars, Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Centennials.

The teams voted 8-4 for the new playoff format that called for the teams to be seeded one through 10 according to regular-season points, with the matchups to be 1 vs. 6, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 8, 4 vs. 9, and 5 vs. 10.

Brandon, Saskatoon, Victoria and Winnipeg, four teams on the league’s geographic edges, voted against the format.

“I feel it wasn’t done for the good of the league,” Gerry Brisson, Winnipeg’s owner, general manager and head coach, told Bruce Penton of the Brandon Sun. “It was done purely for selfish motives. Nobody wants to play New Westminster.

“All we’re doing is making the airlines a lot of money.”

He was right about that.

Under the new format, Flin Flon and Calgary didn’t make the playoffs, and what they called a “preliminary round” would feature the Medicine Hat Tigers against the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Victoria Cougars versus the Regina Pats. In the second round, the New Westminster Bruins faced the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Saskatoon Blades met the Lethbridge Broncos, the Kamloops Chiefs went against the Winnipeg Clubs and Victoria met Medicine Hat.

The Blades advanced and had to go against Kamloops in one semifinal, with New Westminster and Victoria meeting in the other. In the final, New Westminster took out Saskatoon, 4-2 with one tie.

Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Regina was locked into that 10th spot. But either Victoria or Brandon still could wind up fifth.

For that to happen, the Wheat Kings needed to win their final game, while the Cougars lost twice.

“If I was forced to make a choice between the two,” Regina coach Bob Turner Reginatold the Regina Leader-Post, “my preference would be Brandon as far as the travelling goes. It’s closer and a series with the Wheat Kings would be easier on the club’s pocket book.”

On Friday, March 26, the Cougars settled the issue with a 7-6 victory in Lethbridge. That same night, the Wheat Kings lost 5-4 to host Winnipeg.

After winning in Lethbridge, the Cougars scurried home to Victoria where they dumped the Tigers, 8-4, on Saturday night.

After losing 9-1 in Saskatoon on Friday, the Pats bussed home and flew to Victoria on Saturday night. Game 1 of the eight-point series was scheduled for Sunday evening.


The series:

Game 1 — Sunday, March 28, Regina 1 at Victoria 3.

Game 2 — Tuesday, March 30, Regina 2 at Victoria 5.

Game 3 — Wednesday, March 31, Victoria 4 at Regina 4.

Game 4 — Friday, April 2, at Victoria 5 at Regina 4.

Game 5 — Saturday, April 3, Victoria 4 at Regina 6.

Game 6 — Sunday, April 4, at Regina 3 at Victoria 9.

(Victoria won eight-point series, 9-3)


The series schedule — it was an eight-point series, meaning there wouldn’t be any overtime if the score was tied after three periods — called for the teams to play six games in eight nights, including twice going back-to-back IN DIFFERENT CITIES. By highway and ferry, the two cities are more than 1,800 km apart; by air, they are separated by 1,370 km.

“We flew, which really helped,” Al Dumba, a forward on that Regina team, remembered 44 years later.

Perhaps it was a sign of the times that Dumba doesn’t remember even one player complaining about the schedule or the back-to-back games in different cities.

To get to Victoria for Game 1, the Pats flew commercial to Vancouver and then took “a small prop” to Victoria, Dumba recalled.

When the Pats’ flight landed in Victoria in the wee hours of March 28, “there was nobody to greet them at the airport, not even a night watchman,” Dave Senick wrote in The Leader-Post. “The Cougars’ team bus eventually picked up the members of the Regina squad, but that was after a wait of nearly an hour.”

The Cougars opened by holding serve at home, winning 3-1 and, after a day off, 5-2.

After Game 2, both teams boarded the same flight and headed to Regina, changing planes in Calgary along the way.

Dumba said he won’t ever forget that flight.

“On the way back to Regina . . . when we changed planes in Calgary . . . my first cousin’s husband was our pilot,” Dumba said. “We talked as we boarded in Calgary and later he called me up to the cockpit. I flew to Regina with him in the cockpit.”

Dumba, laughing, recalls Turner, the Pats’ coach, and Del Wilson, the president and general manager, along with the Cougars all “wondering why I went up to the cockpit. That was an experience I will never forget.”

The next night, March 31, a late third-period goal gave the Cougars a 4-4 tie in Regina.

Dumba had suffered a bruised hip in the last regular-season game in Saskatoon. He tried to play through it in Victoria and only made it worse. So he didn’t play in the tie, but was back for Game 4.

“The doctor gave me some pills and I was cured in a day,” he said with a laugh. “I can’t imagine what it was.”

After a day off, the Cougars won Game 4, 5-4, erasing a 3-0 deficit in the process. That left Victoria with a 7-1 series lead, meaning a tie in Game 5 would end it.

A fan might have expected the Pats to fold like a cardboard suitcase in a thunder storm the next night. After all, a Regina victory would force a sixth game in Victoria the following night, meaning even more travel. Instead, the Pats got three goals from Jon Hammond, the last one into an empty net, as they won, 6-4, despite trailing 2-0 just six minutes into the first period. Regina tied it 2-2 before the period ended and then scored the only three goals of the second period.

“We were up after two periods,” Dumba remembered, “and we knew Del Wilson did not want to fly us back to Victoria for Game 6. Gerry (Bucky) Minor was a rookie. He stood up after the second and started hollering ‘Let’s go back.’ ”

Norm Fong, the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager who would go on to a lengthy career with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, recalls that intermission.

“I remember in between periods of that fifth game, the players asked everybody to leave and they took a vote,” he said. “They were actually voting on whether they wanted to go ahead and throw this game or come back and try to win it.”

Fong remembers talking with Drew Callander, a forward on that Regina team, in later years.

“Drew said he couldn’t remember who stood up, (but) he remembered somebody saying, ‘What do you guys think?’ Drew said he definitely remembers the team voting and saying, ‘Let’s go and win this because that would mean they would have to spend some money.’ ”

Fong added: “Del and Bob were really good guys, but they were tight.”

As the players were voting, Fong said it was all he “could do not to burst out laughing because I knew what they were doing. It was really funny. They were actually voting if they were going to try and win or just throw in the towel.

“Everyone knew Del was cheap, so we went out and won the game.”

In fairness to Wilson, who died on Nov. 3, 2016, there likely wasn’t an owner in the junior game who would have wanted to fork out that kind of money, knowing that his team likely was only going to be alive for one more game.

And that’s what happened.

The next night, the Cougars, back at home, put up a 9-3 victory, behind four goals and two assists from Mike Will, and the series was over.

“They had a good team,” Dumba said. “(Al) Hill, Will and (Jeff) McDill was a great line.”

The Cougars also had winger Archie Henderson, who spent a lot of the 1975-76 season in Chynoweth’s bad books and would find himself facing charges — later dismissed — after a donnybrook against the Blades in Saskatoon.

“Archie was tough, but a nice guy,” Dumba said. “He is still a friend. We went to (the Washington) Capitals’ camp together and have touched base over the years a few times.”

But back to the end of Game 6 . . .

“It was my 19-year-old season and my draft year,” Dumba said, “so a few of us knew we wouldn’t be back. We spent a night in Victoria and then the next night in Vancouver before we got home. So we partied a little to end the season.

“It was a long time ago but they are good memories.”


Ex-WHLer Henderson set to retire from scouting game . . . Remembering the night he met a future CFLer . . . Those were the days, my friends!

Archie Henderson, a legendary figure from the WHL’s past, will retire from his role as the Edmonton Oilers’ director of pro scouting after the NHL draft that is to be held in Montreal on Thursday and Friday. Henderson, 65, has been with the Oilers through three seasons. He had been with Detroit but moved to Edmonton when Ken Holland left the Red Wings to join the Oilers as their general manager. . . . The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Henderson played 23 NHL games after being a 10th-round selection by the Washington Capitals in the 1977 draft. . . . A native of Calgary, he played three seasons (1974-77) in the WHL — 86 games with the Lethbridge Broncos and 78 with the Victoria Cougars. In those 164 games, he totalled 26 goals, 29 assists and 700 — yes, 700! — penalty minutes. . . .

On Nov. 19, 1974, Henderson was involved in one of the most memorable scraps in WHL history. The Broncos were in Regina to play the Pats, who had a guy named Bob Poley in their lineup. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 244-pound Poley was a defensive end with the junior Regina Rams, but was still four years from starting his CFL career with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. On this day, he was four days past his 19th birthday, while Henderson was two years younger. . . . Regina was leading 5-2 at 14:20 of the second period when Henderson and Poley came together. . . . Gyle Konotopetz, then of the Regina Leader-Post, wrote that Henderson “picked a fight” with Poley, who had never fought while wearing skates. “When Henderson dropped his gloves, Poley was caught off-guard,” Konotopetz wrote. “But, after taking a couple of punches, Poley tackled Henderson as if he were playing defensive end for the Rams and returned a few of his own punches.” . . . Later, Henderson said: “The second time I hit him I thought I knocked him out, but then he just nailed me. Where’d they get him anyway? Boy, is he strong.” . . . Yes, the fans booed Henderson, who said: “I think the fans are a little unreal here. He can’t even skate. At least I can play hockey.” . . . Earl Ingarfield, then the Broncos’ head coach, said Regina coach Bob Turner had put Foley on the ice “for a reason. That took the sting out of us. . . . It’s a good thing (Henderson) fell. (Poley) would have beaten the (bleep) out of Archie.” . . . Turner felt Poley, who hadn’t gotten even one shift as the Pats had lost their previous three games, had given his club “the shot in the arm we needed.” . . . The Pats went on to win the game, 9-3, to move within one point of the second-place Broncos in the Eastern Division. The starting goaltenders were a couple of guys who would go on to become rather well-known— Ed Staniowski of the Pats and Lorne Molleken of the Broncos.



By now, perhaps you’re wondering how it was that Bob Poley ended up wearing a Regina Pats’ uniform.

Well, in 1974-75, the legendary Norm Fong, who would go on to a lengthy career as the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ equipment manager, was the Pats’ trainer/equipment manager; one person did both jobs back in the day. Fong also Reginaplayed some Friday night hockey, as did Poley and Roger Aldag, another aspiring football player.

Bob Turner, the Pats’ coach, was in the market for some size and toughness. One night he asked Fong if any of “those Rams kids . . . do any of them skate?”

So . . . Fong spoke with both of them.

“Roger didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” Fong recalled, “but Poley jumped at the chance.”

Poley dressed for his first game on Nov. 15, 1974 — a 6-6 tie with the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — but didn’t see even one shift.

That led to the encounter with Lethbridge’s Archie Henderson on Nov. 19. Then, on March 11, the New Westminster Bruins went into Regina and came out with a 5-5 tie. The Bruins wound up in a post-game altercation with a Regina broadcaster after that one and coach Ernie (Punch) McLean ended up with a five-game suspension.

“It almost has reached the point where you have to go out and recruit some big stupid guy who can beat up everybody else,” Turner said after that one.

Ten days later, the Pats were in New Westminster. The Bruins won, 6-1, on March 21. The Pats beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Victoria the next night, then returned to New Westminster for a rematch on March 23 in McLean’s first game back from his suspension.

“We were playing in New West and Kerry Fraser was the ref,” Fong recalled. “They always pulled that crap where they’d have one of their guys shoot a puck in your end and then they’d come get the puck and challenge everybody. Poley shot a puck into the New West end and went and got it . . . and nobody touched him.”

Poley didn’t get a lot of ice time; in fact, his first shift came late in the game.

“With just over four minutes remaining in the game,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun, “Turner sent 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bob Poley lurching off the bench to line up against Harold Phillipoff, one of the biggest of the Bruins. A former member of the Regina Rams . . . Poley — known affectionately as the Hulk from Hudson’s Bay — was along on the road trip, Turner candidly admits, to straighten out the Bruins.”

Turner told Little: ““I sent him out there to kick the bleep out of Phillipoff. I didn’t like the way he was picking on Mike McCann.”

“But,” Little wrote, “with the fans pleading for what they felt would be a classic matchup, McLean prudently replaced Phillipoff. And so the jockeying continued for the remainder of the game. Whenever Poley came on, Phillipoff would withdraw, despite the fact the Regina player was pointedly challenging the New Westminster bench.”

McLean explained his thought process: “I’m not going to risk having one of my best players break his hand on that guy’s skull. If I tried a crazy stunt like that I’d be suspended for life.”

At the time, Philipoff had 26 goals and 31 assists. Poley played 25 games with zero points and five penalty minutes to show for it. Then, in 11 playoff games, he had 10 PiMs.

But wait . . . there’s more . . .

“At the end of the game, they were lipping off and Poley went over to their bench,” Fong said. “All our guys are crapping themselves on their way to the dressing room and Poley’s out there . . . the whole New West team is in their bench and he’s chasing them into their locker room. Kerry Fraser comes over and says, ‘Bob (Turner), you’ve got to come out here and get this . . . monster off the ice. He’s chasing those guys into their dressing room.’ But nobody would fight him.”

Ahh, yes, those were the days, weren’t they?

On the day the CHL held its 2023 import draft, there were reports in the Russian media that G Ivan Fedotov of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers had been detained in Russia.

According to Joshua Manning of, Fedotov “has been detained over suspicions of ‘dodging the Russian Army.’ ” He apparently was taken to a military registration and enlistment office.

Fedotov, 25, played this season in the KHL with CSKA Moscow. The team won the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions.

In April, Fedotov said he would be playing with the Flyers next season.

Of course, news like this makes one wonder if there might be more Russian players in this same situation. That also likely is why some players, like Flyers D Ivan Provorov, who played with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings, chose not to return to Russia this offseason.

Two Russian players and one from Belarus were among 64 selected by teams in the CHL’s 2022 import draft on Friday.

Wait a minute, you’re saying. Didn’t the CHL announce in April that Russians CHLand Belarusians were ineligible for the draft, thanks to the invasion of Ukraine?

Well, as the CHL news release wrapping up the draft pointed out: “All non-(20-year-old), import players that were previously drafted in the CHL import draft but were deleted by a CHL team before the 2022 cut-down date were eligible to be re-drafted by another CHL club in the 2022 import draft.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings used their first-round selection on Russian D Andrei Malyavin, 18, who played last season with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. He had two goals and 11 assists in 44 games.

JUST NOTES: Nine of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t participate in the 31st import draft. All told, six goaltenders, 18 defencemen and 40 forwards were selected. . . . Of the 64 players taken, 23 were from Czech Republic. . . . Of the WHL’s 22 teams, only the Moose Jaw Warriors, Prince Albert Raiders and Winnipeg Ice sat out. . . . The WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers held the first overall selection and took Slovakian F Adam Sýkora, who will turn 18 on Sept. 7. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League last season. He also had two goals and an assist in six games with the Slovakian national team at the IIHF World Championship. Sýkora’s father, Roman, had one assist in eight games with the Tri-City Americans in 1997-98 before going on to play two seasons with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. . . F Nikita Zozulia, 17, was the lone Ukrainian player to be selected, going to the OHL’s Flint Firebirds in the first round. He played last season with the U-16 Anaheim Jr. Ice Dogs. . . . BTW, 47 of the CHL’s 60 teams didn’t take part in the draft’s second round. Of the WHL teams, only the Vancouver Giants, Regina Pats, Kamloops Blazers and Everett made second-round selections.

An osprey couple mind the nest along the South Thompson River on Friday morning. I got close enough to overhear them. He was talking about how the temperature might get to 30 C, and she told him to quit his whining and to remember that one year ago, on June 30, it got to 46.6. That shut him up. BTW, this photo is for K.C., who likes the wildlife photos I sometimes post here.

The WHL rights to F Brad Lambert, a high-profile Finnish player who might be a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft, have been traded by the Saskatoon SaskatoonBlades to the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . In return, the Blades received fourth- and sixth-round selections in the WHL’s 2023 draft, a conditional first-round selection in 2023 and a conditional second-rounder in 2024. The 2023 fourth-rounder originated with the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Saskatoon had selected Lambert, whose father, Ross, is a former Blades player, in the 2020 CHL import draft. Brad also is a nephew to former WHL player/coach Lane Lambert, now the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . With the 2022 CHL import draft having been held Friday, days before the NHL draft, the Blades had to make a decision on whether to Seattlekeep Lambert’s rights or give them up in order to make a selection. With that pick they took Czech D Tomas Ziska, 17, who had one goal and 13 assists in 31 games with a junior team this season. . . . Their other import slot belongs to sophomore Belarusian F Egor Sidorov, 18. . . . NHL Central Scouting had Lambert rated No. 10 among European skaters going into the NHL’s 2022 draft. . . . “This was definitely a unique situation all-around,” said Saskatoon general manager Colin Priestner in a statement, “given he’s a high-profile player with family connections to Saskatoon, but we’ve had his rights for over two full years and we felt the odds of him ever playing junior hockey in Canada were quite low and this way we get three good assets guaranteed up front plus two more really high picks if he ever plays in Seattle. We felt after two years of communications we’d exhausted all our options in recruiting him since he’s been playing pro hockey in Finland since he was 16-years-old.” . . . According to the Blades, they will get the conditional draft picks should Lambert sign with Seattle. . . . That likely will be a tall task for the Thunderbirds, who are looking to fill vacancies created by two of their leading scorers — Henrik Rybinski and Lukas Svejkovsky. Because Lambert, who will turn 19 on Dec. 19, will be drafted off a European roster, he will be eligible to play in the NHL, AHL or with Seattle next season.

Hey, K.C., here’s another one for you. A loon stops by the South Thompson River for a visit that ended up being short-lived because of the appearance of a couple of noisy boats.

Meanwhile, three teams from the WHL’s U.S. Divisions selected players in Friday’s import draft after losing 19-year-olds to pro contracts back home. . . . The Everett Silvertips took Czech F Dominik Rymon, 18, and Swiss G Tim Metzger, 17, after F Niko Huuhtanen signed with Jukurit of Liiga. He put up 37 goals and 40 assists in 65 games as a freshman with Everett last season after being the second-overall selection in the 2021 import draft. . . . The Silvertips still have Czech F Michal Gut on their roster, but, as a 20-year-old, he would be a two-spotter should he return. Still, he put up 18 goals and 53 assists in 53 games last season. . . .

As mentioned here the other day, Czech F Petr Moravec has left the Tri-City Americans to sign a junior contract at home with Mountfield. He had 16 goals and 19 assists in 68 games as a freshman in Tri-City last season. . . . The Americans had the fourth-overall pick and took Czech F Adam Mechura, 19. . . . Czech G Tomas Suchanek, who is heading into his second season, is the Americans’ other import. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs dropped F Yannick Proske and D Timafey Kovgoreniya prior to the draft, while retaining the rights to Czech D David Jiricek, who is the fourth-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the NHL draft that is scheduled for July 7 and 8. The Chiefs selected Jiricek, now 18, in the 2020 import draft, but he has stayed at home to play for HC Plzen and the Czechia national team. . . . Proske, 19, had 12 goals and 18 assists in 58 games with the Chiefs last season and is returning to the German DEL’s Iserlohn Roosters, who chose not let him return to Spokane. . . . On Friday, the Chiefs took Italian F Tommaso De Luca, who will turn 18 on Dec. 19, then passed in the second round.

A former WHLer who knows his way around the movie/television scene and who once owned a chunk of an NHL team checks in. . . . What? You don’t know the name? You never SAW him play? Google is your friend. . . . 

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton): Anti-vaxxer demands you produce a single study showing mRNA vaccines are safe — no not that one.


THE COACHING GAME: The SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks have signed Levi Stuart as an assistant coach. Stuart, 26, spent the previous three seasons with his hometown team — the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials. In Nipawin, he’ll work alongside general manager and head coach Tad Kozun, who signed a two-year deal on March 29. Before joining Merritt, Stuart worked with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants as a video coach. . . .

The junior B Sicamous Eagles of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed Connor McLuckie as an assistant coach. From Cranbrook, he played in the KIJHL with the Fernie Ghostriders and Golden Rockets in 2011-12, then had his playing career ended by injuries in 2012. He spent the past three seasons on the coaching staff of the East Kootenay Tier 1 Avalanche, last season as head coach. . . .

The QMJHL’s Val-d’Or Foreurs have signed head coach Maxime Desruisseaux to a contract extension, the length of which wasn’t revealed. Desruisseaux is preparing for his second season as the club’s head coach. . . .

Jeremy Colliton is the new head coach of the Abbotsford Canucks, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. He takes over from Trent Cull, who now is an assistant coach with the parent club. . . . Colliton spent most of the past four seasons as the head coach of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks. He was fired last season. . . . Colliton, 37, played four seasons (2001-05) with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.


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.


Sillinger gets first goal as pursuit of his father begins . . . Canada West series postponed by COVID-19 . . . Royals add goalie from Chiefs

F Cole Sillinger, 18, scored his first NHL goal last night in his fourth game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who selected him 12th overall in the 2021 draft.

Sillinger now has two points in his four games.

He is 239 goals and 1,045 games behind his father, Mike, the former Regina Pats star who played with an NHL-record 12 different teams — he was traded a record-tying nine times. Mike was the 11th overall selection, taken by the Detroit Red Wings, in the NHL’s 1989 draft. Cole was born in Columbus while Mike was playing with the Blue Jackets.

Mike scored his first NHL goal in his eighth regular-season game. He was pointless in three games in 1992-93 before scoring Detroit’s third goal in a 5-3 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Oct. 25, 1993. That was Sillinger’s fifth game of the season. (Dean Evason, now the head coach of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, scored twice for Dallas.)

Cole had 53 points, 22 of them goals, with the Medicine Hat Tigers in 2019-20. Then, with the WHL stalled, he spent 2020-21 with the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, finishing with 46 points, including 24 goals, in 31 games.

Because he was drafted off the Stampede roster, he is eligible to play this season in the AHL, according to the CBA that governs the NHL-NHLPA relationship. A move to the AHL isn’t possible for an 18-year-old selected off the roster of a WHL team.

There weren’t any games in the WHL on Thursday night, but there was one on Wednesday night . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice scored seven — count ’em, seven — goals in the third Winnipegperiod en route to a 10-2 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Yes, the Ice led 3-2 going into the third period. . . . Winnipeg (8-0-0) was 4-for-9 on the PP. . . . F Cole Muir (3) scored twice and added two assists, with D Nolan Orzeck (1) helping out with a goal and two assists. . . . The Ice has outscored its oppostion, 53-13. . . . The Warriors (3-4-0) lost D Daemon Hunt, their captain, to a headshot major and game misconduct at 14:19 of the third period.

I got to know Bob Turner, a former head coach with the Regina Pats, during my 17 years at The Leader-Post. In fact, he was our realtor. He also was a greater teller of tales, but I don’t ever remember him telling me this one. . . . I can, however, easily see him turning down that particular NHL head-coaching job. . . . It was a sad day when Turner, who coached the Pats to the 1974 Memorial Cup title, died on Feb. 7, 2005.


JUST NOTES: The host MacEwan Griffins and Calgary Dinos were to have played a Canada West hockey series tonight and Saturday. But it has been postponed after what Canada West said in a new release is “multiple positive cases of COVID-19” within the Griffins. . . . The Winnipeg Jets played their home-opener last night — they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1— without F Blake Wheeler and F Mark Scheifele, both of whom have had positive tests and are in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. . . . F Jeff Carter of the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive and is in COVID protocol. G Tristan Jarry also is in the protocol, but it isn’t know if he tested positive or is a close contact of someone who did.

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The Victoria Royals have acquired G Campbell Arnold, 19, and a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft from the Spokane Chiefs for a third-rounder in 2023. Arnold was 13-15-4, 3.17, .889 in 37 games over five seasons with the Cheifs. He became the fourth goaltender on the Royals’ roster, joining Austrian Sebastian Wraneschitz, 19; Connor Martin, 19; and Tyler Palmer, 18. That number will become three when Martin is dropped from the roster. . . . The trade leaves the Chiefs with Mason Beaupit, 18, and Manny Panghli, 17, as their goaltenders. . . .

Jake Wagman is leaving the Kelowna Rockets to join the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners. He had been the Rockets’ director of video/hockey operations since January 2019. Tucson has hired him as director of hockey operations/video.


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.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering old friend Bob Turner . . .



Two things about Super Bowl LV — 1. QB Tom Brady was solid for Tampa Bay, but it was the Buccaneers’ defence that was great, dominating an offensive line that was forced to play two backup tackles; Brady should at least share the MVP award with defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles; 2. It’s amazing how many comedians come of the woodwork and do their thing on social media during major sporting events. What did they do before social media? Try out their lines on their dogs?



Montreal Gazette headline — Former Montreal Expos draft pick wins Super Bowl, named MVP


Allow me to remember an old friend by pointing out that Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl on the 16th anniversary of the death of Bob Turner, a former NHL defenceman, who was part of five consecutive Stanley Cup championships (1956-60) with the Montreal Canadiens. He also won a Memorial Cup, coaching the Regina Pats to the 1974 title in the Calgary Corral.


The junior B Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Saturday kijhlthat it has cancelled the remainder of its 2020-21 season. The league last had games played on Nov. 20. . . . The decision to cancel was made after B.C. provincial health officials said Friday that restrictions presently in force will remain in place at least through month’s end. . . . Here’s Jeff Dubois, the KIJHL commissioner, in a news release: “As we approach March and April, we are faced with the reality of arenas removing their ice for the spring and summer, and that leaves us unable to plan for a meaningful conclusion to our season.” . . . Also from the news release: “KIJHL clubs will have the option to continue to train under the current PHO guidelines, and the possibility remains that exhibition games may be played if restrictions are relaxed in the future.” . . . The Kamloops Storm and Kelowna Chiefs both have said they will go on training. . . . The KIJHL features 18 teams, with 17 of them in B.C. The Spokane Braves didn’t start the season because of the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel. . . .
There are two other junior B leagues in B.C. — the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and the Pacific Junior Hockey League. Both remain on pause. The nine-team VIJHL hasn’t played since Nov. 20; the 13-team PJHL last played on Nov. 7.


Headline at Charles Barkley blasts today’s fragile NBA players who can’t just play through COVID like he did.

By now you will have heard that some players, including LeBron James, aren’t at all pleased with the NBA’s plan to hold an all-star game in Atlanta on March 7. Here’s Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, explaining things: “A meaningless exhibition game during a pandemic. Gue$$ the league ha$ it$ rea$on$.”

On the subject of money, here’s a gem from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi’s four-year contract he agreed to in 2017 would have netted him $168.5 million a season if all incentives had been met. That pencils out to roughly $3.7 million per goal.”

So . . . you wake up every morning wondering: What’s wrong with the Vancouver Canucks? Well, they were mediocre last season and then let their starting goaltender, two good defencemen and a scoring forward go elsewhere. I also would suggest that the goaltender and one of those defencemen were two of the team leaders. Looks to me like they haven’t filled those holes in the roster to this point. But, yeah, let’s get rid of the coach.



Two former WHL forwards — Dylan Cozens and Curtis Lazar — were added to the Buffalo Sabres’ COVID-19 protocol list on the weekend. The Sabres now have eight players on the list, and let’s not forget that head coach Ralph Krueger is in quarantine after testing positive. . . . The Sabres’ facility has been closed since Tuesday. They next are scheduled to play Thursday and Saturday against the visiting Washington Capitals. . . .

As of Sunday, the NHL had 46 players on the protocol list. . . . That included D Travis Sanheim of the Philadelphia Flyers, who is another WHL grad. . . . Sanheim practised with the Flyers on Saturday, but didn’t play in Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the host Washington Capitals. From an NHL news release on Sunday: “As a result of a Philadelphia Flyers player entering the league’s COVID protocol earlier today, a decision was made by the NHL’s and NHLPA’s medical experts to have all Flyers players, coaches and staff receive POC tests in advance of this afternoon’s game vs. the Washington Capitals. After all tests returned negative, the league’s, NHLPA’s and clubs’ medical groups determined that it was appropriate to play the game.” . . . The Flyers and Capital are scheduled to meet again Tuesday in Washington. . . .

Public Health Agency of Canada, Sunday, 4 p.m. PT — 804,260 total cases . . . 44,727 active cases . . . 20,767 deaths.

CNN, Sunday, 4:27 p.m. PT — 463,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus.

Meet my new friend Heather. She isn’t smiling because she had Tampa Bay in Sunday’s Super Bowl. No. She’s smiling because she had a kidney transplant in Edmonton on Wednesday, and she knows she’ll be on her way home early in the week. . . . Heather, who had been on dialysis since March, received a kidney from a good friend.


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.


The WHL, Part 2: Changes of scenery, battles on and off the ice and, uhh, a toupee . . .

At some point in the late 1990s, while I was the sports editor at the Regina Leader-Post, I put together a brief history of the Western Hockey League. I had pretty much forgotten about it until recently when I was asked if I might post it again. So I am in the process of doing just that. . . . As you read each piece, please remember that I wrote them more than 20 years ago and they cover only the league’s first 25 years. It isn’t an all-encompassing history, but hits on some of the highlights and a few lowlights. . . . The stories that are posted here are pretty much as originally written. . . . Here is Part 2. . . .


When the 1970-71 season ended, the Western Canada Hockey League was still very much a prairie circuit, what with 10 teams spread over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

But that wasn’t the case when the 1971-72 season rolled around.


By then, there were three teams in British Columbia — Ernie McLean and Bill Shinske had packed up their Estevan Bruins, moved west and taken up residence in New Westminster, and two expansion franchises, the Vancouver Nats and Victoria Cougars, had set up shop. (Interestingly, the Nats’ logo used an apostrophe — Nat’s — but in print the nickname always seemed to be Nats.)

The WCHL had, indeed, become a western league.

And there would be just two franchise shifts (Vancouver to Kamloops, Swift Current to Lethbridge) by the time the league completed its 10th season in the spring of 1976.

But it was an announcement out of New York that made the biggest news in the summer of ’71. Bill Hunter, one of the WCHL’s founding fathers, was involved, as was Ben Hatskin (Winnipeg). It would change the face of hockey forever.

“We announced we’d start the World Hockey Association with 12 franchises and we would have parity,” Hunter said.

In an interview in 1988, Hunter maintained he wanted nothing to do with drafting under-age juniors.

“Ben (Hatskin) and I made an agreement with the CAHA (Canadian Amateur Hockey Association) that we would not sign under-age juniors,” Hunter recalled. “The NHL made the same agreement. We had two separate meetings. The very next day: Baby Bulls.”

The WHA’s Birmingham Bulls signed half-a-dozen under-age juniors, including Rob Ramage and Ken Linesman.

“We couldn’t control the owners within our league,” Hunter said.

Prior to the birth of the WHA, the WCHL was the only game in town everywhere but Vancouver. In the next few years, pro hockey would come to Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg and junior hockey would lose out in the process.

Everyone was fighting with someone in those days, on and off the ice. The juniors in the west, in Ontario and in Quebec were fighting with the NHL, with the WHA, with the CAHA, with themselves.

The WHA continued to romance under-age juniors. Dennis Sobchuk, a flashy centre with the Regina Pats, was courted by the Los Angeles Sharks after his second WCHL season.

The House of Commons in Ottawa threatened to get involved. WCHL president Ed Chynoweth said his league was thinking about obtaining an injunction against players who sign pro contracts while still holding junior eligibility.

The action off the ice was hot and heavy. It’s a wonder they could find time to play the games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings had won the 1971-72 championship, their second straight and the last junior title that city would win. But it was the Medicine Hat Tigers, in only their second season, who had everyone talking.

The Tigers, with Tom Lysiak winning the scoring title and Stan Weir and Lanny McDonald finishing second and eighth respectively, were fourth in the West Division, five games over .500.

That was a harbinger because the Tigers, coached by Jack Shupe, won it all the next season, in only their third season of operation. Lysiak won his second straight scoring title, with McDonald finishing third.

It was at meetings in Medicine Hat in February of 1973 that the WCHL took a giant step forward, announcing plans to establish an office, with a full-time administrative staff, in Saskatoon. Chynoweth would replace Thomas K. Fisher of New Westminster as executive secretary.

And there was more talk of shifting franchises. Lethbridge was on the verge of getting a $2-million sports centre for the 1975 Canada Winter Games.

The first mention of Lethbridge actually getting a franchise came on Feb. 15, 1973, when Chynoweth, in discussing possible franchise moves, said: “Swift Current is another possibility, even though (owner) Bill Burton would like to keep the club in that city. Economically, it might not be possible.”

Meanwhile, Regina Pats owner Del Wilson said he was tired of “scrimping and saving, trying to operate in a building like (Exhibition) Stadium. It’s like beating your head against a brick wall.”

Regina met the Flin Flon Bombers in the first round of playoffs in ’73. The series opened in Flin Flon with the Bombers winning, 3-1 and 5-3. There was no Agridome in Regina then and Exhibition Stadium was booked by the annual Regina Horse Show. So, the Pats played their home games in Moose Jaw, and lost, 5-1 and 4-3.


A glorious season awaited the Pats, though, as they would win the Memorial Cup in the spring of 1974. Under coach Bob Turner, the former Montreal Canadiens defenceman and five-time Stanley Cup champion, the Pats became the first WCHL team to win the Canadian championship.

Edmonton had won it in 1966, the year before the major junior league was formed. Between ’66 and ’74 the WCHL wasn’t always eligible for the Memorial Cup, what with the CAHA outlawing it at various times.

By the time that 1973-74 season arrived, the Vancouver Nats were gone, purchased by Kamloops interests and reborn as the Chiefs.

There was concern, too, over the Winnipeg Junior Jets, who were struggling because of the presence of the WHA. Ben Hatskin soothed the troubled waters, saying he didn’t “plan to sell the franchise, or move it out of Winnipeg.” Shortly after, Hatskin sold it and the team was renamed the Clubs.


At the 1973 annual meeting in Saskatoon, Chynoweth, who had joined the league in December of 1972 as assistant executive secretary and was named executive secretary in February of 1973, was named president.

On July 16, it was revealed that the WCHL, Ontario Hockey Association Junior A Series and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had united under the umbrella of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League.

It was during the 1973-74 season where things started to get out hand on the ice.

On Oct. 12, 1973, a brawl between Swift Current and Regina spread to the stands. Three days later, the WCHL had a board meeting in Regina and put the onus for increased security on its teams and arena operators.

Unfortunately, people in Regina were slow to react to this directive and the Broncos were in the stands during a playoff game on April 20. Three days later, two Broncos — Dave Williams and Terry Ruskowski — were charged by police.

On Aug. 23, Ruskowski and Williams were fined a total of $450, both pleading guilty to charges of common assault.

The two “disgraced themselves,” said Judge Howard Boyce. “Hockey is considered tops with many among body contact sports. It contains controlled violence. When control and direction are lost, it deteriorates into a criminal spectacle and that’s what happened.”

It would happen again and again through the 1970s.

On March 27, 1974, Chynoweth took what was then believed to be a drastic step. He announced that an undercover agent (an official from a neutral team) would attend each playoff game. It is a policy the league follows to this day.


There were good things happening on the ice, too. After centre Ron Chipperfield scored three goals in a 3- 1 victory in Regina, Brandon Wheat Kings GM/head coach Rudy Pilous said: “Ron Chipperfield is the greatest box-office attraction this league has ever had or ever will have.” Chipperfield would score 261 goals in 252 games, a career record that stood until 1989-90 when Glen Goodall (Seattle Thunderbirds) finished with 262 goals (in 399 games).

By late in the 1973-74 season, the Pats were talking about moving. “We certainly don’t want to leave Regina but we may be forced to,” Wilson said, admitting that he had talked with operators of the Spokane Coliseum. “Like I said before, we don’t want to leave Regina. But unless there is a firm commitment on a new building forthcoming, we have no other choice but to look elsewhere.”

And by now Burton was admitting that he was thinking of moving: “I will be in Lethbridge to discuss the move with a committee they have formed to study the possibility of joining the league.”

The Broncos changed cities on May 6.


On April 30, 1974, things heated up as Sobchuk signed a 10-year, $1.7-million contract with the WHA’s Cincinnati Stingers. Charles Hillinger of The Los Angeles Times wrote: “The kid earns only $300 a month. Come fall his paycheque soars to $472 a day, $14,166 a month, $170,000 a year.”

Sobchuk was thrilled: “I’ve been skating since I learned to walk, but I sure never expected anything like this. It all happened so sudden. My name on a piece of paper and I’ve gone from farmhouse to penthouse.”

Two weeks later, Chynoweth revealed the three major junior leagues were looking at using a limited number of 20-year-old players to compensate for losing under-age players to the pros.

The 1974-75 season signalled the beginning of the New Westminster dynasty. Shinske, McLean and the Bruins would win four straight league titles.

But before that happened, there were some interesting developments.

On Oct. 17, 1974, Chynoweth, Wilson and Scotty Munro were given the OK by the board to visit Spokane.

“Regina has the right of first refusal on the Spokane question,” Chynoweth said, “but we are just testing the waters.”

They were also to visit Portland, the first time the Oregon city had been mentioned publicly as a possible franchise site.

On Jan. 14, 1975, the stuff hit the fan as the WCHL announced it had decided to withdraw from the CAHA. The WCHL said it would increase its age limit from 19 to 20 and would seek separate agreements with NHL and WHA.

“We now will control our own destiny and we’re through dealing through a third party (CAHA) comprised of people who have no direct investment in the sport,” Chynoweth said. “We operate a $1-million business and some guy who doesn’t own one puck comes along and tells us what to do. It’s time we started looking after ourselves.”

At the time, the WCHL claimed the NHL and WHA owed it $640,000 for players drafted in 1974.

“Eight NHL clubs and six from the WHA have yet to pay for players they’ve been using since October,” said Chynoweth. “We have an obligation to support minor hockey leagues, our source of supply, and we’ll live up to any agreements we make. All we ask is that the pro leagues do the same.”

Chynoweth was quickly becoming one of the most popular hockey people in the country. Accessible and blessed with a dry wit, the media was going to him with more and more frequency.

In the press box at the Calgary Corral one night, Chynoweth was clowning with the press. Chatting about some of the owners who were losing money, he said: “You know something. When it comes to it, we’ve got some guys in this league who wouldn’t get to first base in a women’s prison with a handful of pardons.”

Chynoweth continued to have his hands full with the likes of Pat Ginnell, who by now was in Victoria as head coach of the Cougars, and McLean. At one point, Chynoweth fined and suspended Ginnell, who in turn threatened to hit Chynoweth with an injunction.

Then, on March 11, 1975, McLean became physically involved with Regina sportscaster Mal Isaac and police were called. McLean was hit with a five-game suspension and had to post a $1,000 bond.

The Pats announced on April 30 that they would stay in Regina and that a new building should be completed by Christmas of 1976.

The Bruins, down 3-2 in the best-of-seven final to Saskatoon, won 4-1 and 7-2 to claim the title. They became only the second B.C. team, after the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1944, to advance to the Memorial Cup final.

“We moved the franchise here from Estevan four years ago,” McLean said, “and it’s taken us that long to get the farm system where we want it. We’ve got a solid system now with plenty of good, young talent on the way and we’re going to be OK for a long time.”

He was right.

But before the Bruins could continue to build their dynasty, the WCHL turned down expansion bids from Portland and Vancouver. Brian Shaw, coach of the WHA’s Edmonton Oilers, Nat Bailey and Oil Kings coach Ken Hodge wanted to move the Oil Kings to Vancouver. Of course, Shaw and Hodge would later move the team to Portland.


The 1975-76 season would be perhaps the ugliest in WCHL history.

It began with Victoria mayor Peter Pollen leaving his seat to have a heated discussion with Ginnell in the middle of a game against Calgary. Pollen, angry after a 20-minute second-period brawl, left his seat behind the penalty bench, circled the rink, climbed on the Cougars’ bench and gave Ginnell a tongue-lashing.

“I asked him if he was going to get his animals under control,” Pollen explained. “Is this the example we set for our young people? This is a complete disgrace. If I have my way, they won’t play here anymore. This isn’t sport — it’s barbarism.”

On Nov. 4, Ginnell said he had proposed two rule changes that were designed to reduce fighting and that both would soon come into effect. One forced players not involved in a fight to go immediately to the player benches or be given game misconducts. The other called for a match penalty and a suspension for anyone charging a goaltender in his crease.

Twelve days later, Ginnell was hit with a game misconduct after he jumped on the ice to protest a game misconduct that had been given to one of his players.

It was on Feb. 20 when the situation bottomed out.

In Saskatoon, Blades defenceman Bryan Baron was struck in one eye by a high stick belonging to Victoria’s Tim Williams. That touched off a brawl involving all players, and it took 50 minutes before play was resumed.


Moments before the brawl, Saskatoon’s Bruce Hamilton, who would go on to own the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets, was taken to hospital with a concussion. He later was joined by Glen Leggott, who got a concussion in the brawl. And teammate Fred Williams needed 14 stitches to close a cut.

Before this one blew over, politicians at the city and provincial levels were involved, as were police. On Feb. 22, Saskatoon council, fearing another outbreak of violence, voted unanimously to shut down the Arena for the evening, forcing postponement of the rematch.

On Feb. 24, Ginnell resigned as coach of the Cougars during a 4-1/2 hour governors’ meeting in Saskatoon. He returned for the playoffs and apparently never was fined or suspended for the brawl. Ginnell said he wasn’t pressured into resigning, but “if I am responsible for violence in hockey, I don’t want to be in it.”

With the Bruins in Saskatoon on Feb. 24, Blades coach Jack McLeod and McLean signed an agreement in which they pledged to do everything in their power to see that the game was played within all rules and regulations for proper conduct. New Westminster took five of eight minors and won the game, 5-2.

On March 16, three players — Victoria’s Greg Tebbutt and Williams and Saskatoon’s Peter Goertz — were charged with assault causing bodily harm. The charges later were dismissed.

Amidst everything, Chynoweth offered his resignation. “It isn’t a play for more money; it is simply that there is too much hassle,” he reasoned. “It is starting to bother me that all my friends in Saskatoon are going to the airport to take flights out for winter holidays. I go to the airport and fly to Flin Flon.”

Some of the hassle was relieved when it was announced the league office would move from Saskatoon to Calgary at season’s end.

Meanwhile, Shaw and Hodge put together a group that bought the Oil Kings from World Hockey Enterprises, owners of the WHA’s Oilers, for more than $150,000.

And Chynoweth revealed in January that the WCHL was increasing its playoff teams from eight to 10. “We added the two teams simply for financial reasons,” Chynoweth said.

Still, the goofiness wouldn’t go away.

Lethbridge coach Mike Sauter and defenceman Darcy Regier, who wasn’t dressed for the game, spent almost two hours in a Medicine Hat jail after a bench-clearing incident.


Winnipeg owner/GM/coach Gerry Brisson pulled his team from the ice in New Westminster. The game, won by the Bruins 17-0, was delayed 30 minutes after Winnipeg’s best player, defenceman Kevin McCarthy, had his nose broken in the first minute of play. “I think (McLean) recruits his players in a lumber camp,” Brisson said. “Playing in New Westminster is like sending a pig to slaughter, and hoping he comes out alive.”

McLean responded: “Whatever happens in our building we get blamed for it. The other teams know they can start anything and we’ll end up getting blamed for it.”

Through it all, the Bruins rolled to title No. 2. But the march to the title was marred by an incident involving McLean and linesman Harvey Hildebrandt.

On April 30, McLean was fined for criticizing the officiating in a 10-3 loss to the host Saskatoon Blades in the championship series. That night, during a game his team would lose 9-3 in Saskatoon to even the eight-point series at 4-4, McLean reached over the boards and yanked the toupee off Hildebrandt’s head. It was in the third period and the Blades had just scored their eighth goal.

“Losing causes some coaches to grasp at straws,” wrote Lyndon Little of the Vancouver Sun. “Ernie McLean grabs toupees.”

McLean had to post a $5,000 personal performance bond before the next game.

On June 11, the WCHL headed south of the 49th as Shaw announced the Oil Kings would move to Portland.

“The attitude of the people in Portland is fantastic,” Shaw said. “I really don’t think we could have picked a much better location. The first year I was involved with the (Oil Kings) was 1971. We drew something like 150,000 fans. The following year, when the Oilers moved in, we attracted 90,000, and the next year only 68,000. There is the charisma of a professional team that we can’t compete against. We had to make the move.”

Not everyone was thrilled. Alberta NDP leader Grant Notley spoke up when the WCHL declared Edmonton a protected area for the Portland Winter Hawks.

Notley said the arrangement “makes hockey players look like pigs and swine being sold at an auction.”

Leo LeClerc, a founder of the Oil Kings, added: “It’s change enough for a youngster to move from Stettler in central Alberta to Edmonton. Imagine moving to a foreign country. I’m frankly appalled that the ruling class in hockey — the board of governors of the WCHL — would even consider moving Canadian youngsters into a foreign country. The next thing you know they’ll be sending them to East Germany.”

There was a change in Saskatoon in June when Jim Piggott, who had been involved in ownership of a junior team in Saskatoon for almost 20 years, sold to McLeod, Nathan Brodsky and Joe Reich. Brodsky became the majority shareholder.

NEXT: Part 3 of 5.

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