Writers resting after MVI involving elk . . . Hurricanes’ future looks bright . . . Where were Americans’ fans? . . . A full MacBeth Report

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Jesse Geleynse and Andy Eide, two members of the media who were in Kennewick, Wash., to cover a WHL game on Monday night, were injured in a car accident on their way back to the Seattle area early Tuesday morning.

Geleynse, who works for the Everett Herald, and Eide, from 710 ESPN Seattle, had driven to Kennewick to cover Game 6 of the WHL’s Western Conference final between the Tri-City Americans and Everett Silvertips.

On the return trip on Interstate 90, their car was behind a semi tractor-trailer when an elk got in the way.

KOMOnews.com reported: “A preliminary investigation found that the semi and the Mazda were both heading east on I-90 when the semi hit an elk that was standing on the freeway. The Mazda driver swerved to avoid the elk that had been struck, lost control, and the car rolled over onto its top in the median.”

Those in the car were taken to hospital in Ellensburg, Wash.

Eide told Taking Note late Tuesday afternoon that he was at home and resting.

Geleynse also is at home, nursings cuts, bruises and a concussion.

The KOMO story is right here.


Three years have come and gone since Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, recommended that shareholders in the Lethbridge Hurricanes put a ‘For Sale’ sign on their franchise and sell to private owners.

“It’s not to say that this community organization can’t get things turned around,” Robison Lethbridgetold media after speaking to shareholders on May 4, 2015. “But we think, when you look at the franchise moving forward, that private interests would be in the best interest of the club.”

At that point, the Hurricanes hadn’t been in the playoffs for six seasons and were somewhere around $1.25 million in debt.

And then along came Peter Anholt. He hitched his white horse to the rail at the edge of town and . . .

Anholt had stepped in as general manager and head coach in December 2014. After the season, he signed a three-year contract as general manager.

The shareholders voted not to sell, and, well, the rest is history.

In the past three seasons, the Hurricanes have played 22 home playoff games, including 10 in 2017 and nine this season when they lost a third-round series in six games to the heavily favoured Swift Current Broncos.

The Hurricanes now can afford to buy lunch for their banker, rather than using a line of credit to pay for it.

Keep in mind, too, that Hurricanes’ fans wear their sunglasses at night because the future is that bright. Their favourite team reached the Eastern Conference final even though Anholt turned into a seller at the January trade deadline.

The Hurricanes’ roster now includes three of the WHL’s top young players — F Logan Barlage, who was acquired from the Broncos, and F Dylan Cozens, both of them having completed their 16-year-old seasons, along with D Calen Addison, who turned 18 on April 11.

Yes, things are looking good in Lethbridge, so good, in fact, the prospective private owners need not bother venturing into city limits.


You are free to wonder if the Tri-City Americans are long for the Kennewick-Richland-Pasco area of Washington State.

The Americans drew an announced crowd of 3,033 fans to Game 6 of the WHL’s Western Conference final against the Everett Silvertips on Monday night. In seven home games in TriCity30these playoffs, in what was their 30th season, the Americans’ average announced attendance was 3,053.

The Americans play in the 5,797-seat Toyota Center, which opened in 1988 and now is in need of upgrading.

However, the Kennewick Public Facilities District has asked voters three times for the OK to increase a sales tax to fund a project that would include, among other things, an upgrade for the hockey facility. Three times it has been rejected.

In November, with the latest referendum having been defeated, Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager who owns a piece of the franchise, told the Tri-City Herald that the arena’s “infrastructure is certainly in trouble.”

According to Wendy Culverwell of the Herald, Tory said team expenses have doubled under current ownership while revenue has been flat.

“There comes a time when that doesn’t make sense any more,” Tory told Culverwell.

Culverwell wrote: “The Americans’ lease runs through 2020, but contains language that allows it to negotiate for a lower rent or even an early termination if it isn’t up to WHL standards.”

Tory, who has never cried wolf or threatened to relocate, also told Culverwell: “If you look around the WHL, our facility is not just the worst facility in the U.S. Division, but it’s probably at the very bottom of the league as far as the quality of the amenities.”

In the regular season, the Americans’ announced average attendance was 3,649, easily the lowest figure among the five U.S. Division teams. The Seattle Thunderbirds were the closest divisional opponent, at 4,950.

The Tri-Cities area of Washington State is home to around 300,000 people.


The MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons got a goal and two assists from F Bradley Schoonbaert as they dumped the host Nipawin Hawks, the SJHL champs, to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series for the ANAVET Cup.  . . . Game 4 is scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) in Nipawin, with Game 5 there on Friday. . . . Last night, the Pistons held period leads of 1-0 and 4-0. . . . F Brandan Arnold had an assist on Nipawin’s goal. He has been in on all six of the Hawks’ scores in the series. . . . G Matthew Thiessen stopped 16 shots for Steinbach. . . . The winner of this series will move on to the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack, B.C., later this month.


The BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild is one victory away from a berth in the Royal Bank Cup, the junior A championship tournament that opens in Chilliwack, B.C., on May 12. . . . The Wild beat the host Spruce Grove Saints, the AJHL champions, 4-3 on Tuesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the Doyle Cup series. The Wild is trying to became the first American-based team to win the Doyle Cup. . . . They’ll play Game 4 in Spruce Grove tonight (Wednesday). . . . Last night, goals from F Nathan Iannone and D Cooper Zech gave the Wild a 3-1 lead after two periods. . . . F Sam Hesler upped it to 4-1 at 8:10 of the third period. . . . The Saints made it close as F Parker Seretsky and F Chase Olsen scored at 12:34 and 12:57, respectively. . . . G Austin Park earned the victory with 34 saves.


JUST NOTES:

Tyler Kuntz is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Powell River Kings. Kuntz, 39, spent this season as the assistant coach of the Daemyung Killer Whales in South Korea. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . Kuntz takes over from Brock Sawyer, an assistant coach who took over as interim head coach when the Kings fired GM/head coach Kent Lewis on Jan. 29. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs have signed Chris Moulton, their assistant general manager, to a contract extension. The length of the deal wasn’t revealed. Moulton has been with the Chiefs since 2005, and has been the assistant GM since November 2016. . . .

D Mark Rubinchik, who turned 19 on March 21, won’t be back for a third season with the Saskatoon Blades. According to The MacBeth Report, Rubinchik, who is from Moscow, has signed a two-year, two-way contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). . . . Rubinchik had 23 assists in 63 games as a freshman in 2016-17. This season, in 67 games, he recorded four goals and 19 assists. . . . The Blades didn’t make the playoffs this season. Rubinchik was their lone import player after the Jan. 10 trade deadline, when they moved Czech D Libor Hajek to the Regina Pats. . . .

F Brad Morrison, 21, who leads the WHL playoff scoring race, has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Morrison, whose Lethbridge Hurricanes were eliminated from the playoffs on Monday night, was a fourth-round pick by the New York Rangers in the NHL’s 2015 draft but was never signed. . . . In 16 playoff games this spring, he put up 37 points, including 16 goals. He also leads all playoff scorers with 21 assists. . . . In 334 WHL regular-season games, split between the Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Lethbridge, Morrison had 263 points, including 112 goals.


MacBeth

G Juha Metsola (Lethbridge, 2007-09) signed a two-year contract with Salevat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). This season, in 52 games with Amur Khabarovsk (Russia, KHL), he was 28-17-6, 2.25, .923 with three shutouts and two assists. He twice was named the KHL’s goaltender of the week (Nov. 8 and Jan. 29). . . .

F Jan Eberle (Seattle, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and 18 assists in 50 games. . . .

F Daniel Rákos (Swift Current, 2005-07) signed a “multi-year” contract with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Třinec (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had five goals and 15 assists in 47 games. . . .

D Michal Hlinka (Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, 2010-12) signed a one-year contract with Hradec Králové (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he was pointless in 12 games with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), and had four goals and five assists in seven games while on loan to Dukla Trenčín (Slovakia, Extraliga). . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Havířov (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had 18 goals and 16 assists in 46 games. He led his team in goals and points. . . .

G Andrei Makarov (Saskatoon, 2011-13) was traded by Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk to Spartak Moscow (both Russia, KHL) for cash compensation. This season, in 12 games with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, he was 6-4-0, 2.11, .922 with one shutout. . . .

F Jakub Herman (Moose Jaw, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlin (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Olomouc (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had nine goals and 11 assists in 39 games. . . .

D Mark Rubinchik (Saskatoon, 2016-18) signed a two-year, two-way contract with Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 67 games with Saskatoon. . . .

F Filip Ahl (Regina, 2016-17) signed a one-year contract with Tingsryd (Sweden, Allsvenskan). This season, he had seven goals and one assist in five games with Örebro J20 (Sweden, J20 SuperElit), one assist in 15 games with Örebro (Sweden, SHL), and 11 goals and four assists in 29 games while on loan to Karlskoga (Sweden, Allsvenskan). . . .

F Nathan Burns (Vancouver, Saskatoon, Swift Current, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract extension with Halle (Germany, Oberliga). He had seven goals and 31 assists in 37 games, leading his club in assists and points. . . .

F Ladislav Ščurko (Seattle, Tri-City, 2004-07) signed a one-year contract extension with Detva (Slovakia, Extraliga). In 54 games, he had 17 goals and 11 assists. An alternate captain, he led the team in goals. . . .

F Andrej Kudrna (Vancouver, Red Deer, 2008-11) signed a one-year contract extension with Sparta Prague (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had 14 goals and 13 assists in 52 games. He led his team in goals.


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Monday’s WHL deals: Pats, Blades make big trade . . . Ice adds, subtracts goaltender . . . Portland acquires some muscle . . . Kelowna rolls dice

WHEELING AND DEALING …

NUMBER OF TRADES (since Nov. 13): 37

PLAYERS: 67

BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 45

CONDITONAL BANTAM DRAFT PICKS: 5

THE DEADLINE: Wednesday, Jan. 10 (2 p.m. PT, 3 p.m. MT, 4 p.m. CT)


THE DEAL: The Regina Pats acquire D Libor Hajek, 19, from the Saskatoon Blades for D Dawson Davidson, 19, F Tristen Robins, 16, and a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Interestingly, the Blades and Pats are tied for the Eastern Conference’s ReginaPats100two wild-card spots. They are 10 points behind third-place Brandon in the East Division and seven points ahead of Prince Albert in the wild-card chase. . . . The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hajek has eight goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Blades this season. In 167 games, all with the Blades, he has 15 goals and 62 assists. . . . Davidson, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, has nine goals and 28 assists in 83 games with Regina after being acquired from the Kamloops Blazers. In 207 career WHL games, he has 100 points, including 21 goals. This season, he has seven goals and 20 assists in 43 games. . . . Robins plays at the Rink Hockey Academy in Winnipeg, where he has 10 goals and 12 assists in 17 games for the midget prep team in the CSSHL.

THE INFO: The Pats and Blades next play each other on Jan. 20 in Saskatoon. . . . Hajek, an alternate captain with the Blades, played well for his native Czech Republic in the SaskatoonWorld Junior Championship in Buffalo. He had a goal and seven assists in seven games as the Czechs placed fourth. He was a second-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s 2016 draft and has signed an NHL contract. . . . The Pats acquired Davidson, who is from Moosomin, Sask., from the Kamloops Blazers on Dec. 27, 2016. Kamloops had picked him in the third round of the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Robins is the son of former WHL G Trevor Robins, who played three seasons (1989-92) with the Blades and one (1992-93) with Brandon. Tristen was a fourth-round pick by the Pats in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The acquisition of Hajek left Regina with three imports, one over the limit, so it placed Russian D Egor Zamula, 17, on waivers. He has seven assists in 38 games as a freshman. . . . Finnish F Emil Oksanen, 19, is Regina’s other import.

WHY: The Pats are of the opinion that they needed another top-end defenceman, even after acquiring Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice on Nov. 13. They are hoping Hajek fills that role. . . . The Blades add a solid defenceman who may return as a 20-year-old and a prospect who scored 51 goals in bantam AAA last season in Winnipeg. Saskatoon also gets a first-round draft pick in 2019, the draft that follows the Pats’ Memorial Cup-hosting season. As Blades GM Colin Priestner put it in a news release: “If history is an indicator, Regina’s first-round pick next year has a serious chance of being a lottery pick as Memorial Cup host teams often go through a tough phase. So to have that first pick next year . . . we feel that gives us a good chance at selecting a star player.”


THE DEAL: The Kootenay Ice acquired G Matt Berlin, 19, from the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fifth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: Berlin made 24 appearances with the Thunderbirds this season, going Kootenaynew12-7-3, 3.40, .893, with one shutout. . . . Last season, Berlin was 7-2-2, 2.82, .902 in helping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . In 44 career appearances, seven with Spokane and 37 with Seattle, Berlin is 20-10-7, 3.33, .891.

THE INFO: Berlin joins Duncan McGovern, 17, as the Ice’s goaltenders. . . . Berlin was a seventh-round pick by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . Seattle is left with three goaltenders on its roster, in Liam Hughes, 18, who has made four straight starts, Dorrin Luding, 18, and Carl Stankowski, 17. However, Stankowski has yet to play this season due to hip problems. . . . The Thunderbirds had been without a fifth-round pick, having dealt their 2018 and 2019 fifth-rounders to the Ice for F Noah Philp on Sept. 11.

WHY: Seattle is able to get a draft pick for a player who likely wouldn’t be on its roster next season. . . . The Ice, meanwhile, continues its search for a goaltender. Since May 24, Ice general manager Matt Cockell has traded for five goaltenders — Mario Petit (Everett), Bailey Brkin (Swift Current), Kurtis Chapman (Regina), McGovern (Medicine Hat) and Berlin.


THE DEAL: The Spokane Chiefs acquired G Bailey Brkin, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for an eight-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: In 23 appearances with the Ice, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brkin, a SpokaneChiefsfreshman, was 7-12-2, 4.51, .874.

THE INFO: The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., played last season with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs (45 games, 5.19, .890). . . . He won’t be joining the Chiefs, at least not right away; instead, he will play for the AJHL’s Brooks Bandits. . . . Brkin was a list player with the Swift Current Broncos, who dealt him to Kootenay earlier this season.

WHY: With Brkin having some WHL experience, the Chiefs added some depth to the organization’s goaltending. They also have Dawson Weatherill (12-9-3, 3.23, .888) and Donovan Buskey (8-6-0, 3.51, .874) on their roster. On Monday, they brought back Arnold Campbell, 15, and he is expected to be in Kamloops on Tuesday when the Chiefs meet the Blazers. Arnold was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Arnold, from Nanaimo, B.C., plays at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C. . . . You are free to specualte if Weatherill or Buskey is injured, or if another move is in the works.


THE DEAL: The Portland Winterhawks acquired F Lukus MacKenzie, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels for a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, in 30 games — 13 with the Saskatoon Blades and 17 with PortlandRed Deer — the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has eight assists. In 138 career games, he has eight goals and 20 assists.

THE INFO: The Rebels dropped the Calgarian from their roster on Thursday and he joined the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. He was pointless in one game with the Oilers. . . . Saskatoon selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

WHY: The Winterhawks obviously wanted to add some toughness to their lineup because MacKenzie was one of the Eastern Conference’s toughest players when he was on a roster. . . . He has 163 penalty minutes in his WHL career, but don’t forget that the WHL chooses not to include some penalties, such as misconducts and game misconducts, in its penalty totals.


THE DEAL: The Vancouver Giants acquired D Brennan Riddle, 20, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for F Brad Morrison, who turned 21 on Jan. 4.

THE NUMBERS: Riddle has a goal and five assists in 37 games this season. In 216 career Lethbridgegames, he has five goals and 29 assists. . . . This season, Morrison has 11 goals and 24 assists in 42 games with the Giants. In 302 career regular-season games, split between Vancouver and the Prince George Cougars, he has 96 goals and 127 assists.

THE INFO: Lethbridge acquired Riddle, who is from Balgonie, Sask., from the Prince Albert Raiders early last season. This season, Riddle was an alternate captain in Lethbridge. The Calgary Hitmen selected him in the first round of the 2012 bantam draft. VancouverHe never played for the Hitmen, who dealt him to Lethbridge on Jan. 7, 2014. . . . Morrison was selected by the Prince George Cougars with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 bantam draft. He is from Prince George. The Giants acquired him from the Cougars on June 2. The New York Rangers selected him in the fourth round of the NHL’s 2015 draft, but he was never signed. Prior to this NHL season, he was in the Calgary Flames’ rookie camp.

WHY: It isn’t often that WHL teams are involved in a straight-up swap of two 20-year-olds, but that’s the case here. After three seasons out of the playoffs, Vancouver finds itself in contention for top spot in the Western Conference and wants to tighten up defensively. . . . The Hurricanes want more offence and should get that from Morrison and linemates. Morrison is a tremendous playmaker.


THE DEAL: The Calgary Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 19, from the Prince Albert Raiders for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: The 6-foot-2 Sanders was 8-13-5, 3.91, .888 in 38 appearances over two Calgaryseasons with the Raiders. He got into four games with the Raiders this season (0-1-1, 4.89, .854) before being dropped from their roster. He has been with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats (6-5-2, 2.95, .915). . . . In 67 career games, split between the Raiders and Tri-City Americans, he is 19-22-6, 3.61, .890.

THE INFO: The Raiders acquired Sanders, who is from Calgary, from Tri-City on Oct. 13, 2016. . . . Bothered by hip issues, Sanders had offseason surgery and was late starting training camp with the Raiders. . . . He was selected by the Americans in the sixth round of the 2013 bantam draft.

WHY: The Hitmen have started a major rebuilding program, so are looking for competition at all positions. They are hoping Sanders can provide that among the goaltenders this season, and then compete for a 20-year-old spot prior to next season. . . . Also on the Calgary roster are Nick Schneider, 20, and Matthew Armitage, 18. Schneider is the starter, at 13-16-6, 3.51, .888. Armitage, a freshman, is 0-6-0, 3.70, .878.


THE DEAL: The Kelowna Rockets acquired F Ryan Bowen, 19, from the Lethbridge Hurricanes for an eight-round selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft.

THE NUMBERS: This season, Bowen had one goal and five assists in 13 games with the KelownaRocketsHurricanes. In 143 career games, between the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge, he has 21 goals and 36 assists.

THE INFO: Bowen was on Lethbridge’s suspended list after refusing an earlier trade to an unnamed team. From Chilliwack, he now is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, although he has yet to play a game with them. . . . Bowen was a fifth-round pick by Moose Jaw in the 2013 bantam draft. . . . His younger brother, Ethan, a forward, was a second-round pick by Kelowna in the 2017 bantam draft. He hasn’t signed with the Rockets, choosing instead to commit to the U of North Dakota for 2020-21.

WHY: The Rockets rolled the dice, giving up a late draft pick in the hopes that they will be able to convince Ryan to join them. Of course, should that happen, it might allow them to get a foot in the door in terms of trying to get Ethan signed. . . . “We’re working to see if we can get (Ryan) here, but it looks like he may play junior A this (season),” Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and GM, said in a news release. “But he’s a prospect that we will certainly have as an affiliate player and we’ll try to get him in eventually.”