Fettes: No announcement pending . . . Raiders get back on winning track . . . Tyszka returns to Seattle lineup


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While Thursday was the day for speculation, Friday was for denials.

On Thursday, you’ll recall, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that, according to its sources, Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, the owners of the WHL’s Cranbrook-based KootenaynewKootenay Ice, would announce on Monday that the franchise is to be relocated to the Manitoba capital in time for next season.

On Friday, Fettes and the WHL issued denials.

According to a story by Bradley Jones and David Opinko of Cranbrook radio station Summit 107FM, Fettes said: “I’m saying there’s no announcement on Monday or anything pending.”

The Free Press also was able to reach Fettes.

“I’m saying there’s no announcement on Monday or anything pending,” Fettes told the newspaper, which added that “Fettes was not willing to discuss his plans for the team . . .”

Meanwhile, the WHL emailed a statement to Summit 107 that was identical to one that was issued in October:

“The WHL is very pleased with the commitment Greg Fettes and his ownership group has made to Cranbrook and the Kootenay region since acquiring the ICE franchise in 2017.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay ICE continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.

“The WHL Commissioner continues to monitor the situation in Kootenay very closely and reports to the Board of Governors as required on any new developments. The discussions which take place on WHL franchises are internal and will remain confidential. With respect to the Kootenay ICE franchise, there is nothing new to report at this time.”

While it appears that nothing is imminent in terms of a relocation announcement, the Ice is expected to move to Winnipeg and play out of an arena at the U of Manitoba until a new facility is completed on the southwest side of Winnipeg.

Speculation about a move intensified a month ago when the Green Bay Committee called it quits, citing a lack of co-operation from the Ice’s ownership. The Green Bay Committee had hoped to help the Ice through the selling of sponsorships and tickets.

In a Nov. 13 email to Cockell, the committee wrote that “the absence of active engagement by you and Greg with our committee has become a major issue in our community. We believe that this failure has become the biggest obstacle in our ability to achieve a highly successful sales campaign and to create an effective steering committee.

“As a result, we are terminating our Green Bay Committee effective immediately. However, we will consider re-activating our committee if you provide us with a real commitment that you and Greg are prepared to immediately join us and work with us, as partners, and have no plans to move ‘Our ICE’ from Cranbrook.”


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Friday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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D Anthony Bishop, 20, has joined the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Bishop split 174 regular-season WHL games among the Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Royals, Seattle Thunderbirds and Tri-City Americans. Bishop, from Kelowna, lost out when the Americans acquired D Aaron Hyman from the Regina Pats, a move that left Tri-City with four 20s, one over the maximum. . . . Bishop was placed on waivers and there weren’t any takers. . . . Last season, he had one assist in four games with Victoria and 15 assists in 62 games with Tri-City. . . . Injuries limited him to only two games with the Americans this season.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first five goals and went on to a 5-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Prince Albert (27-1-1) has points in 21 straight games (20-0-1). The Raiders were coming off a 3-2 shootout loss in Swift Current on Tuesday. . . . Brandon (14-8-6) had won its previous four games. . . . F Eric Pearce (3) got the Raiders started at 3:35 of the first period. . . . The Raiders outshot their hosts 22-7 in the second period and scored four more times, with F Sean Montgomery (12), F Cole Fonstad (8), F Noah Gregor (13) and F Ozzy Wiesblatt (6) finding the range. Fonstad, Gregor and Wiesblatt are linemates. . . . F Connor Gutenberg (8) got Brandon on the scoreboard at 19:47 of the second, and F Ben McCartney (7) added a shorthanded score at 18:14 of the third. . . . Brandon lost F Cole Reinhardt to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on D Brayden Pachal at 16:47 of the third period. . . .  Montgomery’s goal gave him 30 points in 29 games; last season, he finished with 29 in 72. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders was held to one assist, but that was enough for him to run his point streak to 29 games. . . . He also moved back into the WHL scoring lead, his 62 points one more than F Trey Fix-Wolansky of the idle Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Raiders G Donovan Buskey, who normally backs up Ian Scott, stopped 24 shots and now is 5-0-0. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight in Prince Albert.


The Moose Jaw Warriors erased a 2-0 first-period deficit to beat the Blades, 3-2, in MooseJawWarriorsSaskatoon. . . . Moose Jaw (16-6-5) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Saskatoon (17-10-3) had points in each of its previous three games (2-0-1). . . . The Warriors pulled into a second-place tie with the Blades in the East Division. Moose Jaw holds three games in hand. . . . F Eric Florchuk (9), at 4:31, and F Josh Paterson (8), at 9:29, gave the Blades the first-period lead. . . . F Luke Ormsby (5) pulled the Warriors to within a goal at 12:28 of the first period. . . . F Tristin Langan (20) tied it, on a PP, at 15:41 of the second. . . . F Brayden Tracey (10) broke the tie, on another PP, at 9:37 of the third. . . . Moose Jaw was 2-3 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-5. . . . The Blades had a 35-25 edge in shots, including 14-5 in the third period. . . . Langan also had two assists, as did Moose Jaw D Jett Woo, who has six points over his past two games. . . . G Brodan Salmond, in his first appearance since Nov. 23, stopped 33 shots to earn the victory. . . . Ormsby has goals in three straight games — one with the Everett Silvertips and two since being dealt to the Warriors. . . . The same teams will play again tonight in Moose Jaw. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at Friday’s game and his piece is right here.


F Josh Prokop broke a 2-2 tie at 19:37 of the third period to give the host Calgary Hitmen Calgarya 3-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Calgary (13-14-3) has won three in a row. . . . The Broncos (5-22-2) were coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday. . . . Last night, Calgary led in shots, 45-13, including 14-2 in the second period and 20-7 in the third. G Isaac Poulter stopped 42 shots for Swift Current. . . . F Ethan O’Rourke (1) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:39 of the second period. . . . F Riley Stotts (8) tied it for Calgary at 16:01. . . . The Broncos went back out front when F Joona Kiviniemi (6) scored at 8:01 of the third. . . . Calgary D Egor Zamula (5) tied it at 8:42, and Prokop won it with his sixth goal.


F Brett Davis scored the lone goal of a shootout as the host Red Deer Rebels beat the Red DeerRegina Pats, 4-3. . . . Red Deer (18-9-2) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Regina (8-21-1) has lost seven in a row. . . . The Rebels overcame a 3-1 deficit with two goals in the last half of the third period. . . . F Brandon Hagel (19) had given the Rebels a 1-0 lead at 18:26 of the first period. . . . The Pats roared back with the next three goals. . . . F Austin Pratt (12) and F Sergei Alkhimov (6) scored in the second period, and F Scott Mahovlich (4) made it 3-1 at 1:12 of the third period. . . . F Cam Hausinger (9), in his first game since coming over with Davis in a deal with the Kootenay Ice, cut Red Deer’s deficit to one goal, at 11:49. . . . F Alex Morozoff (5) tied it at 17:07. . . . Red Deer won 48 of the game’s 71 faceoffs. . . . Davis was the first shooter in the shootout’s second round.


 

G Roman Basran stopped 16 shots to help the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 victory over the KelownaRocketsvisiting Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (14-15-2) has points in four straight (3-0-1). The Rockets are second in the B.C. Division, four points ahead of Victoria and the idle Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (13-12-0), which has six games in hand on Kelowna, has lost three in a row. . . . F Lane Zablocki, a 20-year-old who was acquired from Victoria prior to the season, scored his third goal of the season at 8:31 of the third period. . . . The Rockets gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and a fourth-rounder in 2021 to get Zablocki from the Royals on Sept. 28. . . . F Nolan Foote (18) added an empty-netter, on a PP, at 19:00. . . . Basran posted his first shutout of the season and the second of his career. . . . G Griffen Outhouse, Victoria’s workhorse, returned from a three-game absence to stop 30 shots. . . . Royals F Tanner Sidaway, who didn’t finish a 3-2 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops on Wednesday, was in Victoria’s lineup. . . . If you’re wondering, the Rockets are 10-5-2 under head coach Adam Foote, who replaced Jason Smith (4-10-0) on Oct. 23.


F Jake Gricius drew three assists in leading the host Portland Winterhawks to a 5-2 Portlandvictory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Winterhawks (17-10-2) have won three in a row. . . . The Cougars (11-15-3) are back in Portland again tonight. . . . Gricius enjoyed the first three-assist game of his career. He has three three-point games, two of them this season. . . . The Winterhawks took control with the game’s first three goals. . . . F Joachim Blickheld (26) got it started on a PP at 14:52 of the first period. . . . F Seth Jarvis (5), on another PP, made it 2-0 at 16:51. . . . F Robbie Fromm-Delorme (2) upped it to 3-0 at 2:58 of the second. . . . F Josh Maser (9) pulled the Cougars to within two goals, on a PP, at 8:54. . . . F Cody Glass (12) restored the three-goal lead while Portland was two-men short, at 11:06, and D John Ludvig (2) made it 5-1 at 17:34. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (9) got Prince George’s other goal, at 18:09 of the third. . . . Portland was 2-2 on the PP; Prince George was 2-8. . . . The Cougars were without F Jackson Leppard, who served a one-game WHL-issued suspension for a game misconduct he incurred at the end of a 5-3 victory over the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 2. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong left late in the second period and didn’t return.


F Luc Smith and F Riley Woods each scored twice and added an assist to lead the host SpokaneChiefsSpokane Chiefs to a 6-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . The Chiefs (15-10-4) had lost their previous three games (0-2-1). . . . The Hurricanes (15-9-5) had points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . F Eli Zummack had a career-high four assists for the Chiefs. It also was the first four-point game of his career, and it came in his 137th game. . . . Zummack was in on the game’s first three goals — two of them by Smith, who has 11 goals, and one from F Jake McGrew (8). . . . Woods, who has 23 goals, made it 4-0 at 4:05 of the second period. . . . Lethbridge cut the deficit in half on second-period goals by D Igor Merezhko (1) and F Jackson Shepard (2). . . . Spokane put it was on goals from Woods and F Cordel Larson (3) in the latter half of the third period. . . . The Chiefs were 3-4 on the PP; the Hurricanes were 1-3.


The Seattle Thunderbirds outshot their hosts 43-22 in skating to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-SeattleCity Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (10-13-3) is fifth in the U.S. Division, seven points behind Tri-City (14-12-2). . . . Seattle G Cole Schwebius stopped 21 shots in recording his first WHL victory. In five appearances, the 17-year-old from Kelowna is 1-2-1, 2.62, .915. . . . F Zack Andrusiak (19) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead just 14 seconds into the game. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (13) tied it, on a PP, at 9:55 of the second. . . . The Thunderbirds won it with three third-period goals, from F Dillon Hamaliuk (9), at 1:42; D Simon Kubicek (7), at 11:24; and F Matthew Wedman (9), into an empty net, at 17:39. . . . D Jarret Tyszka was in Seattle’s lineup for the first time this season. Tyszka, 19, is one of the WHL’s best defenders, but hadn’t played since suffering a concussion while in camp with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens on Sept. 9.


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Cranbrook group working to keep Ice . . . One more father-son head-coaching combo . . . Blades, Tigers swap veteran forwards


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F Zdeněk Bahenský (Saskatoon, 2004-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Corona Brașov (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had seven goals and 13 assists in 23 games with Sterzing/Vipiteno (Italy, Alps HL). . . .

D Jordan Rowley (Kamloops, Prince Albert, 2005-11) a signed contract for the rest of this season with Bolzano (Italy, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had two goals and seven assists in 45 games with the Pelicans Lahti (Finland, Liiga).


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The Green Bay Committee, a group in Cranbrook that is working in support of the Kootenay Ice, held something of a town hall meeting on Thursday night.

With the WHL franchise surrounded by speculation that it will be moved to Winnipeg Kootenaynewbefore another season gets here, the committee would like to sell at least 500 season tickets over the next two weeks through what it calls Reach Out, hoping that will help convince owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell to keep the team in Cranbrook.

All in attendance at the meeting received information packages and order sheets for season-ticket packages. There will be another meeting on Nov. 1.

The Ice, which plays in 4,264-seat Western Financial Place, apparently has sold about 1,700 season tickets, down a couple of hundred from last season. Attendance at the home-opener, on Sept. 22, was 2,862. Since then, the announced attendances have been 2,375, 2,287, 2,133, 2,334, 2,117 and 2,042. That latter figure was from Wednesday night when the Ice scored a 4-3 OT victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Lee Pratt, Cranbrook’s mayor, told Bradley Jones of Summit 107:

“The attendance is down and they need more people in the stands. It’s as simple as that, it’s a business. Most businesses operate, they have to get a return on their investment, and obviously with the fan support they’re getting right now, it’s not a viable operation. So they’ve got to look for some long-term sustainability and that’s what they’re doing.”

(Jones’s complete story is right here.)

Pratt also was adamant that the City of Cranbrook is committed to keeping the WHL franchise right where it is.

“We made that commitment a number of years ago and we’re standing by that commitment,” Pratt said. “We’re working with them on a weekly basis. We’re trying to do with them what we can to ensure that they are here.”

Jones also reported that the Ice has a lease that runs to 2023.

“Pratt said the City offered to become a partner and re-negotiate parts of the lease once the Ice was purchased by the new ownership group . . . in 2017,” Jones reported, “but that the re-negotiations never happened.”

According to Jones, Pratt told the meeting that he believes the lease is one of the best in the CHL.

Interestingly, Jones also reported that “the Ice (wasn’t) in attendance . . . and had no official representation at the meeting.” Nor has the Ice had anything to say on the relocation speculation, telling Summit 107 that “no comment will be given.”

Meanwhile, Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, told Summit 107 in a statement: ”The WHL commissioner continues to monitor the situation in Kootenay very closely and reports to the board of governors as required on any new developments. The discussions (that) take place on WHL franchises are internal and will remain confidential. With respect to the Kootenay Ice franchise, there is nothing new to report at this time.”

Late last week, Robison told the Winnipeg Free Press that “the WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook.”

That comment came as the Free Press reported that its sources have indicated the WHL’s “long-rumoured return to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.”

According to that report, the Ice is likely to play out of a 1,400-seat arena on the U of Manitoba campus as it awaits construction of a 5,000-seat facility.

On Thursday, Mike Sawatzky of the Free Press reported that Gene Muller, the U of Manitoba’s director of athletics and recreation, “was asked what his school’s attitude would be if the Ice (was) to take up residence at the aging 1,400-seat campus arena. Muller politely declined comment.”

I don’t know about you, but this all is starting to have a familiar ring to it, or do you no longer remember the Chilliwack Bruins?


Elliotte Friedman’s always-readable 31 Thoughts was posted on Thursday. He was in Winnipeg this week for Wednesday’s NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Jets, and this is his 30th thought for this week:

“It is not NHL-related, but after being in Winnipeg for a couple of days, it is clear the future of WHL Kootenay and how it relates to Manitoba is a storyline that’s not going away anytime soon.”

Friedman’s complete 31 Thoughts is right here.


Yes, I knew it would happen; in fact, I hoped it would happen.

On the subject of fathers and sons who have coached in the WHL . . .

The inbox on Thursday had another reminder, this one about Mike and Hardy Sauter.

Mike, who is now 70, was the head coach of the Lethbridge Broncos in 1976-77 and then again for the front part of the 1979-80 season.

Hardy, now 47, played for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs (1989-92). He spent one season (2007-08) as an assistant coach with the Chiefs, then was the head coach for two seasons (2008-10).

So . . . the Sauters join Kelly and Brent Kisio, along with Danny and Brad Flynn, as father-son combinations who have been WHL head coaches, even if only for one game.


Medicine Hat and Saskatoon have swapped 19-year-old forwards, with Gary Haden Saskatoonmoving to the Blades and Logan Christensen heading to the Tigers. . . . Haden had been at home in Airdrie, Alta., awaiting a trade after asking for a move about two weeks ago. . . . Last season, Haden had 17 goals and 25 assists in 70 games. This season, he had one goal and two assists in nine games before heading home. . . . In 115 career regular-season games, Haden has 25 goals and 28 assists. . . . Haden was a ninth-round selection by the Regina Pats in the 2014 WHL bantam draft. . . . Christensen, from Morden, Man., was a second-round pick by the Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. In 197 career games, he has 21 goals and 37 assists. This season, he put up a goal and two assists in 13 games. . . . The Tigers visit the Regina Pats tonight, while the Blades meet the Rebels in Red Deer.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are expected to have Cole Sillinger, 15, in their lineup tonight Tigers Logo Officialagainst the Pats in Regina. . . . Sillinger is from Regina; his father, Mike, was a star with the Pats before going onto a lengthy NHL career. . . . This season, Cole has five goals and 13 assists in eight games with the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . . The Tigers selected him with the 11th overall pick of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.


The 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts — the Canadian women’s curling championship MooseJawWarriors— will be played in Moose Jaw’s Mosaic Place, Feb. 14-23. . . . That means the Warriors will have to vacate their home arena for between two and three weeks, including setup and teardown time for the curling gang. . . . The Scotties last was held in Moose Jaw in 2015. That season, the Warriors played at home on Feb. 6 — they lost 3-2 to the Spokane Chiefs — and then were away for three weeks, not playing at home again until Feb. 27. In the interim, they played seven road games, five of them in the B.C. Division. The Warriors went 3-3-1 in those seven games.


F Blake Stevenson of the Tri-City Americans has been suspended for three games after he took a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-3 shootout victory over the Cougars in Prince George on Wednesday night. That was for a hit on Cougars F Jackson Leppard. . . . Stevenson will miss games in Spokane, Everett and Regina, and will be eligible to return on Nov. 11 when the Americans meet the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . .

Kevin Acheson, who is in his first season as the WHL’s disciplinarian, now has issued 23 suspensions totalling 54 games since the regular season opened.

Last season, Richard Doerksen handed out 11 suspensions worth 30 games between the start of the season and Oct. 24. In 2016-17, in the same time period, Doerksen had issued nine suspensions for 15 games.

One would hope that WHL players soon will start getting Acheson’s message — if you’re going to do the crime, you’re going to get more time than in recent seasons.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have named Jared Crooks as their skill development and video coach. Crooks, who played five seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, had been an Alberta-based scout for the Thunderbirds.


G Matthew Armitage, who spent last season with the Calgary Hitmen, has been acquired by the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Armitage, a 19-year-old from Creston, B.C., was 3.55, .890 in 19 games with the Hitmen last season. Salmon Arm acquired his rights from the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


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They’ll talk Ice in Cranbrook . . . Foote’s in the door in Kelowna . . . Raiders just keep on winning


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F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has been recalled by ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) from GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). This is Sigrist’s second call up by ZSC this season. He was called up on Sept. 21 for three games, in which he went pointless. This season, he has two goals and two assists with GC Küsnacht Lions, and three goals and one assist in one game with GCK Lions U20 (Switzerland, Junior Elite A).


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They’ll be holding one of those ‘town hall’ meetings in Cranbrook on Thursday evening and the only topic on the agenda is the future of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

There has been ample speculation over the past couple of years that the Ice, who are Kootenaynewowned by Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, both of Winnipeg, will be relocating to the Manitoba capital at some point in time. Things heated up again last week with a story in the Winnipeg Free Press on that topic.

According to a story on the Summit 107FM website, the meeting also will “launch a new season-ticket campaign.”

A Cranbrook group known as the Green Bay Committee will play host to the meeting. It said in a news release that it “will be discussing the Winnipeg article, including how it affects our campaign and how our community leaders should respond to it. . . .

“We all understand the economic, social and entertainment value that the Ice brings to Cranbrook and the Kootenays. Like the Ice, we are concerned that the current season-ticket total is about 1,700, which is about 200 less than last (season).”

Another Summit 107 story, this one by Bradley Jones, indicates that the radio station “reached out to the WHL” and the Ice in an attempt to get reaction to the relocation speculation.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement given to Summit 107. Robison apparently chose not to address the future beyond the end of this season.

As for the Ice, Jones reported that Summit 107 was told “no comment will be given.”

If you are in the Cranbrook area, the meeting is scheduled for the Heritage Inn at 6 p.m.


After firing head coach Jason Smith on Monday, Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, told a media scrum that there were “a couple KelownaRocketsof guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

Late Monday night, Sportsnet’s John Shannon, one of Hamilton’s good friends, tweeted that former NHL D Adam Foote would be introduced as the Rockets’ head coach on Tuesday morning.

And, lo and behold, Foote was on the ice with the Rockets for a Tuesday morning practice. He made his game debut later Tuesday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

According to Alistair Waters of the Kelowna Capital News, Hamilton said Tuesday that Foote “was his only call when he went looking for a new head coach.”

Foote, 47, becomes the Rockets’ fifth head coach over the past six years.

He was a rugged defenceman in an NHL career that included three teams, and 1,154 regular-season and 170 playoff games.

“Our hope is that Adam can come in and take over a team that is in transition,” Hamilton said in a news release. “Because we host the 2020 Memorial Cup, we know a number of personnel moves will have to be made. We are confident Adam will be able to help us move forward, not just this year but next season also.”

On July 7, 2016, Hamilton had introduced Smith as the Rockets’ head coach, replacing Brad Ralph, who was one-and-done despite getting the team into the Western Conference final in the spring of 2016.

“I’m really excited that we have found a new head coach and I think that he will fit in really well with the team we have and the existing coaching staff,” Hamilton said at the time. “I  think our players will be really excited to have a coach of this calibre, with this kind of experience as a player and as a coach.”

Smith also had been a rugged NHL defenceman in a career that encompassed five teams, and 1,008 regular-season and 68 playoff games.

After retiring, Smith spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators, the last team for which he had played, two as a scouting and development consultant and two (2014-16) as an assistant coach.

Those two seasons accounted for Smith’s only coaching experience. But that’s two more seasons than Foote, who hadn’t coached at all before Tuesday morning.

The Rockets, who were 4-10-0 when Smith was fired, will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. Smith was in the final year of a three-year contract and Hamilton’s decision made it clear that he wasn’t comfortable having Smith take the team into next season and, ultimately, the Memorial Cup.

Foote, who has a deal covering the remainder of this season and next season, will handle that, barring the unexpected.

Before Hamilton brought in Ralph as head coach, the Rockets had become known for having success by promoting from within. Foote is the third straight head-coaching hire from outside the organization.

Foote’s hiring also delivers a message to assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Travis Mallette, both of whom are in their fifth seasons with the Rockets and are signed only through this season.

Both were passed over when Hamilton hired Smith before the 2016-17 season, and now it has happened again, and they know that, all things being equal, the head-coaching post is filled until at least May of 2020.

Hamilton said on Monday that the future of the assistant coaches will be left up to the new head coach.


D Tylor Ludwar, who was released by the Kamloops Blazers on Oct. 12, has been traded by the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Ludwar, 19, is from Regina. The Vipers got F Ben Sanderson and future considerations in the deal. . . . Ludwar was pointless in two games with the Vipers, after getting into only one game with the Blazers. . . . Sanderson, 18, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Geoff Sanderson. Ben has committed to Colorado College for 2019-20.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are likely to have D Damon Agyeman, 16, in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. With D Joel Craven and D Trevor Longo sideline by injuries, the Tigers have brought Agyeman, a list player, in from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one assist in eight games with the Bisons.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Brett Leason scored twice and G Ian Scott record the shutout as the host Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Everett Silvertips, 3-0. . . . Leason scored the game’s first two goals, at PrinceAlbert13:17 of the second period and 17:20 of the third. He leads the WHL in goals (13), assists (17) and points (30), and has at least one point in each of the team’s 14 games this season. . . .  Scott stopped 24 shots in earning his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. This season, he’s 11-1-0, 1.50, .947. . . . The Raiders now are 13-1-0 and have won six in a row. They are 7-0-0 at home. . . . Everett (7-5-0) is 1-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Silvertips were without F Connor Dewar, their captain, as he served the second of a four-game suspension. . . . With D Sergei Sapego (ill) out and D Max Martin suspended, the Raiders had D Nolan Allan, the third-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his WHL debut. . . . Everett F Alex Moar played his third game of the season; he spent the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start as the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . Tetachuk, who is from Lethbridge, is a list player who spent last season with the midget AAA Hurricanes. He was especially sharp in the third period as his guys were outshot, 16-3. . . . Lethbridge (6-4-3) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-3) are 1-1-1 in their past three. This was Game 1 of a seven-game swing that will take them through the B.C. Division. They next will play at home on Nov. 9. . . . All the goals were scored via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (5) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 17:19 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (12) tied it at 19:00. . . . F Taylor Ross (9) of the Hurricanes broke the tie at 18:05 of the second period.


D Alex Alexeyev scored the game’s first two goals and the Red Deer Rebels went on to a 3-Red Deer1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels (8-3-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (4-7-2) had won their previous three games. . . . Alexeyev, who has six goals, scored at 2:14 and 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 27 shots for Calgary. His night’s work included stopping Red Deer F Josh Tarzwell on a penalty shot at 19:14 of the third period with the Rebels leading 3-1.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Cougars, 5-1, in Prince George. . . . The Americans (7-4-0) have won three in a row. They are 2-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . There’ll be a rematch tonight. . . . The Americans got the game’s first goal from F Wil Kushniryk (1), who was acquired Monday from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City F Brett Clayton (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 3:52 of the second period. . . . The Americans got 35 stops from G Beck Warm. . . . As for the above tweet, Americans F Nolan Yaremko had two assists and was named the game’s second star.


F Jack Cowell got the game-winner as the host Kelowna Rockets got past the Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Kelowna won in Adam Foote’s first game as head coach. He replaced Jason Smith, who was fired on Monday with the Rockets at 10-4. . . . Kelowna had lost six in a row at home. . . . The Broncos (1-12-0) have lost five in a row. They went 0-5 on their B.C. Division trip. . . . Cowell broke a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the season at 10:12 of the second period. . . . Kelowna got the game’s first goal from F Lane Zablocki, 20, who played his first game with the Rockets on Friday, then was scratched from the next two because of an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets had a 33-25 edge in shots, but it was 21-5 in the first period. . . . G James Porter stopped 23 shots for Kelowna in his first start since Oct. 5. . . . With his father making his head-coaching debut, Kelowna F Nolan Foote was scratched with an undisclosed injury.


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