Burzan, Langan fill hats in wins . . . Cutler has Royal birthday . . . Ams eke out victory over ‘Tips


MacBeth

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Tours (France, Division 1). This season, with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen), he had four goals and three assists in games. He was released by mutual agreement by Odense on Dec. 17. . . .

F Petr Vala (Seattle, 1997-98) announced his retirement, effective immediately. This season, he had three goals and nine assists in 12 games with Zell am See (Austria, Alps HL). He also is a coach of the Zell am See U12 team and will continue in that role.


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KOOTENAY KOUNTDOWN

For the bulk of this season, there has been speculation that the Kootenay Ice will leave Cranbrook, B.C., after this season and set up shop in Winnipeg.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, was on TSN Radio (1260) in Edmonton on Dec. 19.

Asked by host Dean Millard about the situation involving the Ice, Robison responded in part that “we’ll be very soon making an announcement as to what the future of that franchise is.”

I don’t pretend to know the definition of “very soon,” but we are into our 17th day since Robison made that statement, and there has yet to be an announcement of any kind.


The WHL’s Canadian teams are preparing to take part in the second season of RE/MAX whlPresents: WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation. . . . The 17 teams first got involved in his promotion last season and it was a resounding success. . . . It is used to promote organ donation and to generate support for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Last season, it raised more than $265,500, which, according to a news release, represents “the largest public awareness and fundraising campaign in the history of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.”

This time around, teams again will be wearing specially-designed Don Cherry-themed sweaters, only they will sport nicknames on the backs rather than surnames. Yes, sweaters will be available via auction after each game.

Here are the dates of these special nights:

Sat., Jan. 19 – Edmonton Oil Kings

Fri., Jan. 25 – Red Deer Rebels

Fri. Feb. 1 – Kamloops Blazers, Moose Jaw Warriors

Sat., Feb. 2 – Prince Albert Raiders

Fri., Feb. 15 – Regina Pats, Vancouver Giants

Sat., Feb. 16 – Brandon Wheat Kings

Fri., Feb. 22 – Lethbridge Hurricanes, Swift Current Broncos

Fri., March 1 – Kootenay Ice

Sat., March 2 – Victoria Royals

Sun., March 3 – Calgary Hitmen

Fri., March 8 – Prince George Cougars

Sat., March 9 – Kelowna Rockets, Medicine Hat Tigers, Saskatoon Blades.


G Kyle Dumba has been picked up by the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. Dumba, 20, will fill the spot created when the Seattle Thunderbirds signed G Roddy Ross on Tuesday. . . . Seattle immediately added Ross to its roster, replacing G Liam Hughes, who was traded to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Dumba, 20, had been with the Victoria Grizzlies, who got future considerations from Camrose. . . . Dumba has spent time with the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers, Everett Silvertips and Regina Pats in the WHL, along with the junior A Okotoks Oilers, Calgary Mustangs, Salmon Arm Silverbacks, Surrey Eagles and the Grizzlies.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan scored three times and added two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat BrandonWKregularKings to a 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Brandon (16-14-6) had lost its previous four games. The Wheat Kings are two points shy of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Seattle (11-20-4) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1) and is five points out of a playoff spot. . . . F Cole Reinhardt gave the home guys a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:40 of the first period, and Burzan upped it to 2-0 at 9:21. . . . F Noah Philp halved the deficit, on a PP, at 11:07. . . . Brandon took control with four second-period goals, two of them from Burzan and another from Reinhardt (9), who also had an assist. . . . Philp later added his 13th goal for Seattle. . . . Brandon got a goal, his fourth, and two assists from D Chase Hartje. . . . Burzan has two career hat tricks — he had a five-goal game on Sept. 29 in an 8-4 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Stelio Mattheos was back in Brandon’s lineup — he had two assists — after completing a three-game suspension. His line, with Reinhardt and Burzan, combined for 10 points. . . . The Thunderbirds opened a six-game East Division trip with this game. . . . G Jiri Patera, who played with Czech Republic at the WJC, started for the Wheat Kings and stopped 37 shots. . . . Seattle starter Cole Schwebius was beaten four times on 13 shots in 24:32. Roddy Ross, who joined the Thunderbirds from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks this week, came on in relief. He stopped 19 of 22 shots in 35:28. . . . Seattle was without D Cade McNelly, who is serving a three-game suspension, and F Matthew Wedman, who sat out a one-game suspension. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon, who was acquired from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and D Zach Ashton, who came over from the Saskatoon Blades, both were in Seattle’s lineup. . . . Seattle also had F Conner Roulette, 15, make his WHL debut. From Winnipeg, he was a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2018 bantam draft. Roulette has 22 goals and 34 assists in 29 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers. . . . The Wheat Kings and Thunderbirds met in the 2015-16 WHL final, with Brandon winning in five games. Perry Bergson of the Brandon Sun pointed out in pre-game coverage that there are three Wheat Kings left who played in that series — Mattheos, F Connor Gutenberg and F Linden McCorrister. Seattle also has three players left on its roster — Wedman, F Nolan Volcan and D Jarrett Tyszka.


F Tristin Langan scored three times to help the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 4-2 victory over MooseJawWarriorsthe Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Moose Jaw (21-8-6) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Warriors are third in the East Division, five points behind the Saskatoon Blades. However, Moose Jaw has five games in hand. . . . Prince Albert (34-4-1) now has lost two in a row at home where it is 17-2-0. It leads the East Division by 16 points over Saskatoon. . . . Langan gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 6:58 of the first period. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (8) tied it, on a PP, at 19:35. . . . Langan put the Warriors ahead again, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Brayden Pachal (10) got the home team back into a tie at 19:43. . . . Warriors F Brayden Tracey (15) snapped the tie, on a PP, at 7:31 of the third period, and Langan completed the hat trick into an empty net at 19:50. . . . Langan now has 66 points, including 30 goals, in 35 games. He went into this season with 71 points, including 25 goals, in 174 games. . . . Langan has four career hat tricks, three of them this season, two in his last six games. . . . The Warriors got three assists from D Josh Brook, their captain, in his first game back after playing for Canada at the WJC. . . . The Raiders were  credited with winning 46 of 65 faceoffs. . . . G Brodan Salmon stopped 38 shots for Moose Jaw, including 14 in the third period. . . . F Dante Hannoun was in the Raiders’ lineup one day after being acquired from the Victoria Royals. The Raiders also had G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason back from their stint with Canada’s national junior team. . . . Scott made 27 saves.


F Kyle Crnkovic scored on a PP in OT to give the host Saskatoon Blades a 2-1 victory over Saskatoonthe Regina Pats. . . . Saskatoon (24-11-5) has won three in a row. . . . Regina (12-25-2) has lost two straight (0-1-1). . . . F Max Gerlach (23) gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 13:16 of the second period. . . . Regina tied it at 4:38 of the third when F Austin Pratt (15) scored, on a PP. . . . Crnkovic won it with his third goal of the season at 1:19 of OT. . . . F Gary Haden had the primary assist on both Saskatoon goals. . . . Saskatoon got 32 saves from G Nolan Maier, while Regina’s Max Paddock was outstanding in blocking 36 shots. . . . D Reece Harsch, acquired this week from the Seattle Thunderbirds, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . F Kirby Dach (undisclosed injury) was among Saskatoon’s scratches. . . . D Tyson Feist, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs, was in Regina’s lineup, as was F Blake Allan, who came over from the Kootenay Ice.


F Jaydon Dureau broke a 3-3 tie in the third period and the Portland Winterhawks went Portlandon to a 5-3 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . Portland (22-11-5) has points in seven straight (4-0-3). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Swift Current (7-27-3) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . This was the start of Portland’s six-game East Division trip. . . . F Lane Gilliss (8) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 2:13 of the first period. . . . Broncos F Ethan O’Rourke (3) tied it at 10:11. . . . Portland took a 3-1 lead on goals from F Joachim Blichfeld (35), at 14:41, and F Michal Kvasnica (6), at 16:54. . . . F Matthew Culling pulled the home side to within a goal at 17:36. . . . Culling now has eight goals, seven of them in his past nine games. . . . F Ethan Regnier (7) got the Broncos into a 3-3 tie at 2:46 of the second period. . . . Dureau snapped the tie at 7:28 of the third period, and F Jake Gricius (16) got the empty-netter at 19:10. . . . F Cody Glass, who played for Canada at the WJC, wasn’t in Portland’s lineup. . . . Portland held a 48-23 edge in shots — 16-8, 16-9 and 16-6, by period. . . . Yes, Broncos G Josh Hofer stood tall, again. . . . G Shane Farkas started for Portland, with Dante Giannuzzi backing him up. G Evan Fradette, 17, who was added to Portland’s roster from the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders on Thursday, wasn’t dressed. . . . Portland got back D John Ludvig, who was out with a two-game suspension. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Matthew Quigley, who served the second of a four-game suspension, and D Brendan De Jong, who is in concussion protocol.


F Brandon Cutler celebrated his 19th birthday with a goal and two assists to spark the VictoriaRoyalsVictoria Royals to a 3-2 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Victoria (19-15-1) is 3-2-0 on its six-game Central Division swing. It is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Edmonton (21-13-7) had points in each of its previous seven games (5-0-2). The Oil Kings lead the Central Division, by one point over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who have three games in hand. . . . Cutler (9) opened the scoring at 1:03 of the first period, and F Logan Doust (2) made it 2-0 at 15:04. . . . Edmonton got to within a goal at 18:01 when F Vince Loschiavo (18) scored. . . . F D-Jay Jerome’s 16th goal gave Victoria a 3-1 lead at 3:32 of the second period. . . . F Andrew Fyten (11) got the Oil Kings back to within a goal at 16:11. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse blocked 35 shots, 15 of them in the second period. . . . The Oil Kings had D Will Warm back for the first time since Sept. 29 — he missed 35 games with an undisclosed injury — and F Brett Kemp returned after a two-game absence. . . . F Kody McDonald and F Carson Miller, who came over in a deal with the Prince Albert Raiders, made their Victoria debuts. Also in the Royals lineup for the first time was D Jake Kustra, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Dec. 10. He last played on Oct. 14. . . . D Noah Lamb, who is from Edmonton, also made his debut with the Royals. Lamb, who turned 17 on Tuesday, was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He plays for the midget AAA Knights of Columbus Pats in Edmonton.


F Jake Elmer scored twice and added an assist, and G Liam Hughes posted his first Lethbridgevictory with Lethbridge as the Hurricanes edged the visiting Vancouver Giants, 4-3. . . . Lethbridge (20-10-8) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Hurricanes are second in the Central Division, one point behind Edmonton and one ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Vancouver (23-12-2) has lost four straight; it is 1-4-0 on its six-game Central Division trip. The Giants lead the B.C. Division by 11 points over Victoria. . . . The Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from Elmer, at 1:01, and F Jordy Bellerive (19), at 4:18. . . . The Giants tied it on goals from F Owen Hardy (8), on a PP, at 14:24, and F Justin Sourdif (9), just 33 seconds later. . . . F Taylor Ross (22) gave Lethbridge the lead at 3:31 of the third period, with Elmer (18) making it 4-2 at 7:53. . . . D Bowen Byram (10), on a PP, got Vancouver to within a goal at 16:14. . . . Ross added two assists to his goal. . . . Hughes stopped 33 shots in his second consecutive start since Lethbridge acquired him from the Seattle Thunderbirds earlier in the week. . . . Vancouver had three newcomers in its lineup — D Dallas Hines, who was acquired earlier in the day from the Kootenay Ice; F Jadon Joseph, who came over from the Regina Pats earlier in the day; and D Seth Bafaro, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday. . . . The Giants also had F Milos Roman back from his stint with Slovakia at the WJC. . . . F Scott Mahovlich was in Lethbridge’s lineup after being acquired from the Regina Pas on Thursday. . . . Michael Dyck, in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, has a long history in Lethbridge, having coached the Hurricanes and, most recently, the bantam AAA Golden Hawks, and minor midget and midget AAA Hurricanes.


The Calgary Hitmen snapped a 2-2 tie with two goals early in the third period en route to Calgarya 5-3 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Calgary (18-16-4) has won three straight. Calgary holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Red Deer (22-13-2) now is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. The Rebels are in possession of the conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . F Cael Zimmerman gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:41 of the second period, only to have Red Deer F Brett Davis (11) tie it at 5:59. . . . Calgary went back out front at 15:50 on a goal by F Bryce Bader (3). . . . D Dawson Barteaux tied it for Red Deer, on a PP, at 1:08. . . . The Hitmen broke the tie on goals from F Luke Coleman (10), at 2:00, and F Kaden Elder (16), at 4:19. . . . F Reese Johnson (18) scored for Red Deer at 16:16. . . . Zimmerman (4) iced it at 18:24. . . . Zimmerman also had an assist, for a three-point outing.


G Garin Bjorklund won his second straight start as the Medicine Hat Tigers dumped the Tigers Logo Officialvisiting Kootenay Ice, 5-3. . . . Medicine Hat (22-15-3) has won five in a row and moved into third spot in the Central Division. . . . Kootenay (8-25-7) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . Bjorklund, 16, is from Calgary where he plays for the midget AAA Buffaloes. The Tigers, with G Mads Sogaard with Denmark at the WJC, brought in Bjorklund to partner with Jordan Hollett. . . . Last night, Bjorklund stopped 29 shots. . . . The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when D Hayden Ostir (9) scored at 11:17 of the first period. He left the game with an apparent leg injury late in the second period, and didn’t return, following a collision with Ice D Martin Bodak. . . . F Josh Williams made it 2-0 at 1:43 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it on second-period goals from F Austin Schellenberg (2), on a PP at 8:30, and F Jaeger White, at 10:49. . . . Medicine Hat went ahead 4-2 before the period ended, on goals from F Ryan Chyzowski (14), at 11:46, and F Tyler Preziuso, at 12:45. . . . White’s 16th goal of the season, at 17:53 of the third period, pulled the Ice to within a goal, but Preziuso (15) put it away at 18:20. . . . White’s stepfather, Shaun Clouston, is the Tigers’ general manager and head coach. . . . Tigers F James Hamblin had one assist in running his point streak to 10 games. He has 10 goals and five assists one that stretch. . . . The Ice had F Connor McClennon in the lineup for the first time since he suffered an undisclosed injury on Nov. 24. McClennon, 16, was the second-overall pick in the 2017  bantam draft. . . . The Ice also had D Marco Creta and F Cyle McNabb make their Kootenay debuts. Creta was acquired from the Regina Pats and McNabb from the Vancouver Giants. . . . The Tigers are without F Bryan Lockner (concussion).


F Tyson Upper’s shootout goal gave the Prince George Cougars a 2-1 victory over the PrinceGeorgeRockets in Kelowna. . . . Prince George (13-21-3) had lost its previous two games. It is two points shy of the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Cougars are 2-7-0 on an 11-game road trip that continues on Tuesday against the Tri-City Americans. . . . Kelowna (17-17-4) has points in four straight (2-0-2). The Rockets are third in the B.C. Division, one point behind Victoria, which holds three games in hand. . . . The Cougars are 4-1-1 against Kelowna, which is 2-2-2 against Prince George. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (4) scored, on a PP, for Kelowna at 14:28 of the second period. . . . F Jackson Leppard (8) got the Cougars’ goal, on a PP, at 10:47 of the third. . . . F Nolan Foote, leading off the second round of the shootout, scored for Kelowna. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Upper followed with goals for Prince George. . . . The Cougars got 26 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, who was forced from Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Blazers in Kamloops by dehydration after two periods. . . . Prince George had a 9-1 edge in third-period shots; Kelowna led 5-1 in OT. . . . G James Porter stopped 27 shots for the Rockets. . . . D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, returned to Prince George’s lineup. . . . Cougars D Cole Moberg (leg) sat out after being injured a week ago in Everett, and F Ilijah Colina left the game in Kamloops on Sunday with an undisclosed injury. D Cam MacPhee (undisclosed injury), F Reid Perepeluk (ill) and D Tyson Phare, who last played on Nov. 18, also were scratched. . . . F Craig Armstrong, 15, made his debut with the Cougars in this one. He was the ninth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. The Cougars also had D Cole Beamin, 17, in the lineup after adding him from the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks. He was a second-round pick in the 2016 draft.


The Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last three goals and beat the visiting Kamloops SpokaneChiefsBlazers, 4-1. . . . Spokane (21-13-4) is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Kamloops (14-18-3) is fourth in the B.C. Division seven points behind Kelowna. The Rockets are in Kamloops tonight. . . . F Riley Woods (24) gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:43 of the first period. . . . F Kobe Mohr (4) scored, on a PP, for Kamloops at 18:52. . . . Spokane broke the tie on a goal by F Jake McGrew (14), on another PP, at 1:28 of the second period. . . . D Filip Kral (4), who had played for Czech Republic at the WJC, added insurance at 7:02. . . . F Luke Toporowski (12) added an empty-netter. . . . The Chiefs were 2-6 on the PP; the Blazers were 1-3. . . . The Chiefs had three players back in their lineup who had been at the WJC — F Jared Anderson-Dolan and D Ty Smith (Canada), and D Kral. . . . This was the first game between the teams since the Nov. 26 deal in which the Chiefs acquired F Luc Smith from the Blazers for F Jeff Faith and two 2020 bantam draft picks — a third-rounder and a sixth-rounder.


The Tri-City Americans erased an early 2-0 deficit and beat the Everett Silvertips, 3-2, in tri-cityKennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (20-13-2) has won two in a row. The Americans are fourth in the U.S. Division, four points behind Spokane and in control of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot. . . . Everett (29-8-2) had been 14-0-2 in its previous 16 games. This was its first regulation-time loss since it was beaten 5-2 by the host Portland Winterhawks on Nov. 16. Everett leads the U.S. Division by 11 points over Portland. . . . F Zack Andrusiak, in his first game with Everett since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds, scored the game’s first goal. His 28th goal of the season and seventh in seven periods came at 3:51 of the first period. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (9) made it 2-0 at 7:12. . . . F Krystof Hrabik, in his first game since playing for Czech Republic at the WJC, got Tri-City started with his ninth goal, on a PP, at 18:57. . . . D Aaron Hyman (9) got the Americans even at 3;23 of the second period, and F Blake Stevenson (8) broke the tie at 15:31. . . . The Silvertips had a 39-18 edge in shots, including 17-4 in the third period. . . . Tri-City G Beck Warm blocked 37 shots. . . . Everett was 0-5 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-1.


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Royals and Rebels make deal . . . Broncos now have brother act . . . Turbulent times for BCHL’s Warriors


MacBeth

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

F Jozef Balej (Portland, 1999-2002) signed a one-year contract with Žilina (Slovakia, Extraliga). Last season, with Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and eight assists in 30 games.


ThisThat

The Victoria Royals have acquired F Brandon Cutler, 18, and a second-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe WHL’s 2019 bantam draft from the Red Deer Rebels for F Dallon Melin, 16, and a fifth-rounder in 2019. . . . Cutler, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was a ninth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he had six goals and five assists in 68 games with the Rebels. As a freshman, in 2016-17, he had a goal and two assists in 38 games. . . . Melin, from Camrose, Alta., has yet to sign a WHL contract. . . . He had six goals and 14 assists in 27 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings last season. He also had one assists in three games with the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Victoria selected Melin in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Swift Current Broncos have acquired D Sam Pouliot, 18, from the Red Deer Rebels SCBroncosfor a conditional 10th-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . Pouliot had one goal in 16 games with the Rebels last season. He also got into 16 games with the BCHL’s Powell River Kings, drawing three assists. In 2016-17, he had a goal and 12 assists in 36 games with the major midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. . . . Pouliot joins his brother, Ryan, 20, on the Broncos’ roster. Ryan, a 20-year-old defenceman, played the previous two-plus seasons with the Kootenay Ice. The Broncos claimed him on waivers during the summer.



Steve Konowalchuk, who coached the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL’s 2017 championship, has joined the NHL’s New York Rangers as an amateur scout. . . . Konowalchuk 45, was the Thunderbirds’ head coach for six seasons. After winning the 2017 Ed Chynoweth Cup, he left for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks where he spent last season as an assistant coach. . . . With the Rangers, according to a news release, Konowalchuk “will be primarily responsible for scouting amateur players in the Western Hockey League.” . . . That news release is right here.


The BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have undergone another coaching change, with Jason Beckett coming on board as the team’s third head coach since Aug. 21. . . . Rylan WestKelownaFerster, who had been the general manager and head coach for seven seasons, left the organization on Aug. 21. He had helped the Warriors win a national championship in 2016. . . . Geoff Grimwood, the assistant GM and associate head coach, was named the interim head coach on Aug. 21. However, Grimwood was dismissed on Monday night. . . . Assistant coach Matt Miller also is gone, having left on Monday, while athletic therapist Mike Bois, who had been there through four seasons, chose leave, as well. . . . Asked if he was surprised at being fired, Grimwood told Wayne Moore of castanet.net: “No, because I know the situation right now seems unstable. But I was surprised in the sense that I didn’t think they would pull the rug out on you going into the first week of the season. I thought I would have a chance to get out of the gate and see how we did. I respect that’s the owner’s choice and he has to make decisions he thinks are right. I happen to disagree with that because I think the players needed stability, and right now, it’s just not being provided.” . . . As for the players, Taking Note received an anonymous text early Tuesday afternoon, stating that they left the ice during practice and didn’t return. That later was confirmed by Moore. . . . The Warriors are scheduled to open the regular season against the Smoke Eaters in Trail on Friday night. Trail is scheduled to visit West Kelowna on Saturday night. . . . The Warriors are owned by KD Sports Ltd., which purchased the franchise in August. Kim Dobranski is the majority owner and president.

If you check out the above tweet from Bois, the Warriors’ ex-athletic therapist, you will see that a number of West Kelowna players have retweeted it and/or liked it. . . . Hmmm!


The BCHL’s Coquitlam Express have acquired the junior A playing rights to F Ethan O’Rourke, 19, who is on the roster of the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos at the moment. . . . The Broncos acquired O’Rourke and a third-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for D Sahvan Khaira, 20, on July 30. . . . Last season, O’Rourke had five goals and nine assists in 37 games with the Prince George Cougars, then recorded a goal and three assists in 29 games with Everett. . . . The Express got O’Rourke and future considerations from the Prince George Spruce Kings for F Sam Kozlowski, 20. Kozlowski had eight goals and 22 assists in 55 games with the Express last season.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to support her with a donation — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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Scattershooting on a Sunday . . . Pats take two from Warriors . . . Shmyr sparks Blades . . . Rebels roar through B.C.

Scattershooting

Will the Brandon Wheat Kings make the playoffs? . . . The Brandon Wheat Kings were third in the WHL’s overall standings, behind Moose Jaw and Swift Current, when the trade deadline arrived. Brandon’s brass chose to sell, and today the Wheaties are 10th in the overall standings. More importantly, they hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Saskatoon and 10 up on Prince Albert. So, yes, the Wheat Kings should be in the playoffs when they get here.


Headline at SportsPickle.com: Montreal Canadiens request to become NHL expansion team in hopes of becoming as good as Vegas Golden Nights.


How much green is it worth for a head coach to make a post-game visit to the referees’ room? . . . You know the WHL is in the stretch run and that the heat is on when a head coach checks in with the on-ice officials after a game. As I understand it, that happened on Saturday night. I’m thinking it might be worth $500. . . . We should find out early this week.


Have the Regina Pats found themselves? . . . The Pats, the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup, have undergone something of a makeover since this season started. For a lot of the season, they have been wandering around like a thirsty man in a desert. But they took two in a row from Moose Jaw on the weekend, something that has to give Regina fans some hope. . . . It’s now looking like the Pats’ first-round matchup — against Moose Jaw or Swift Current — should be an Ed Whalen special, a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy.


A big hello to the readers of this blog who are at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. There were nine of you visiting here on Saturday — although that may have been Sunday where you are. . . . Thanks, too, to the readers who are vacationing in Mexico. Keep cool!


I’m wondering why Canadian skip Rachel Homan didn’t cross-check — cross-brush? — the Danish skip the other day? But, then, that wouldn’t have been very Canadian, eh?


Yes, Larry Walker should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. So . . . why haven’t the voters put him in there? Walker summed it up when he told TSN Radio in Montreal: “No needles went in my ass. I played the game clean, but I played in the ballpark, and it’s almost like Coors Field is my PED.”


Steve Simmons, a columnist with Postmedia, went to great lengths in a recent piece to point out that Willie Desjardins, the head coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team, isn’t at all like Mike Babcock. As Homer Simpson would say: “Doh!” . . . “The best coaches,” Simmons has observed, “exude a certain arrogance, a certain confidence: Desjardins has yet to demonstrate any of these skills.” . . . Hey, Willie is Willie, and he isn’t about to change now. . . . The Olympics aren’t yet near an end and Simmons already has done hatchet jobs on mixed curling and Desjardins. One more and he gets a tin medal.


Wouldn’t it be something if the NRA and its puppet Republicans got taken to the woodshed by the U.S.’s high school students?


You can’t make the playoffs in the first nine games of a WHL season. But the Kamloops Blazers are in the process of proving that you can miss them by starting 0-9-0. That’s how the Blazers started this season and that early damage is proving to be too much to undo.


After the New York Yankees acquired quarterback Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers, Seattle Times decker Brett Miller noted: “Imagine how the Jets and Giants feel, knowing that the Yankees have the best QB in New York.”


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “Fired Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema will receive 37 monthly installments of $322,567.57 through Dec. 31, 2020 as called for his in buyout, the Hogs’ support foundation announced. Final score: Greenbacks $11,935,000, Razorbacks 0.”


MacBeth

F Zane Jones (Chilliwack/Victoria, Calgary, Everett, Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-15) has signed a contract for the 2018 season with the Newcastle North Stars (Australia, AIHL). He is playing for Sollentuna (Sweden, Division Division 1), where he has 16 goals and five assists in 28 games. . . . Jones played for Newcastle last summer, scoring 12 goals and adding six assists in 16 games. . . . The AIHL begins its regular season on April 21 and it ends on Aug. 26. The sudden-death semifinals are Sept. 1 and the league final is Sept. 2.


Dan

DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who is part of the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials, is working men’s hockey games at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. He has been keeping Taking Note readers up to date, too. Here is his latest note:

“As expected, the Games are a success. The events are getting large numbers of Olylogospectators from around the world.

“The hockey has been interesting, to say the least. No clear team has the advantage, yet those weaker teams are making each game interesting.

“When the Korean team hits the ice, the building is electric. The venue is sold out and the fans, not being as knowledgeable of the sport, get really excited when Team Korea charges down ice. (There are a lot of knowledgeable fans which is nice to see.)

“Now the real hockey competition begins. The playoff brackets are set and it’s time to see who comes out on top.”


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Brandon at Medicine Hat

Regina at Swift Current

Red Deer at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

SUNDAY:

At Regina, the Pats scored two third-period goals and beat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-2. . . . Regina (31-24-6) has won two in a row. It moved back into third in the East Division, one ReginaPats100point ahead of Brandon. . . . Moose Jaw (43-11-3) has lost two in a row. It is tied with Swift Current atop the overall standings. The Warriors have three games in hand. . . . This was the third time these teams met in five days. Moose Jaw won 6-3 in Regina on Wednesday; Regina won 5-3 in Moose Jaw on Friday. . . . On Sunday, F Jayden Halbgewachs (55) gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead on a PP, at 8:59 of the first period. . . . The Pats went ahead 2-1 on second-period goals from F Emil Oksanen (15), at 6:31, and F Sam Steel (23), at 9:31. . . . The Warriors tied it when F Brett Howden (21) scored at 19:44. . . . Pats D Cale Fleury (11), who had two assists, snapped the tie at 8:49 of the third period. . . . Regina F Matt Bradley (34) added insurance at 10:38. . . . Halbgewachs, the WHL’s leading sniper, also had an assist, giving him 101 points in 57 games. Last season, he finished with 101 points, including 50 goals, in 71 games. . . . He joins teammate Brayden Burke in the 100-point club. Burke, who sat out a third straight game, has 102 points. The last time the Warriors had two 100-point men in the same season was 1984-85 (F Kent Hayes and F Mark MacKay). . . . Halbgewachs is the first Moose Jaw skater with back-to-back 50 goal seasons since Hayes (84-86) and F Theo Fleury (1986-88). . . . Moose Jaw was 1-4 on the PP; Regina was 0-4. . . . The Pats got 21 saves from G Max Paddock, including a first-period stop on Halbgewachs on a penalty shot. . . . Moose Jaw G Brody Willms blocked 22 shots. . . . Prior to the game, the Pats honoured Jock Callander by retiring his number (15). If you were watching on TV, that was Kevin Gallant, a former play-by-play voice of the Pats, handling the emcee duties from ice level. . . . Announced attendance: 6,484.


At Calgary, F Braylon Shmyr scored three goals to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-1 victory over the Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (30-27-3) holds down the Eastern Conference’s Saskatoonsecond wild-card spot, four points behind Brandon and six points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Calgary (17-33-7) has lost two in a row. . . . Shmyr scored the game’s first two goals — at 5:51 of the first period and 5:18 of the second, the latter on a PP. . . . F Jakob Stukel (27) got Calgary’s goal at 14:09 of the third period. . . . F Max Gerlach (27), F Bradly Goethals (14) and Shmyr (31) had third-period goals for Saskatoon. . . . Shmyr has two hat tricks this season and five in his career. . . . Gerlach also had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-3 on the PP; Calgary was 0-4. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 32 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Hitmen got 25 saves from G Nick Schneider. . . . Saskatoon is 2-1-0 on a four-game swing into the Central Division that concludes Monday afternoon in Edmonton. . . . Announced attendance: 8,455.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Jordy Bellerive broke open a scoreless game 16 seconds into the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes went on to a 4-1 victory over the Kootenay LethbridgeIce. . . . Lethbridge (29-24-6) has won three in a row. It is second in the Central Division, one point behind Medicine Hat. . . . Kootenay (25-33-3) has lost two straight. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points behind Red Deer. . . . Lethbridge beat visiting Kootenay, 5-2, on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes went 3-0-0 in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Ice also played three times in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. . . . On Sunday, Bellerive opened the scoring with his 42nd goal. . . . D Ty Prefontaine (5) made it 2-0 at 2:06. . . . The Ice got its goal from F Colton Veloso (21), on a PP, at 7:37. . . . The visitors put it away with third-period goals from F Brad Morrison (23), at 18:06, and F Taylor Ross (16), into an empty net, at 18:26. . . . Bellerive also had an assist. . . . Kootenay was 1-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-1. . . . The Hurricanes got 38 saves from a solid Reece Klassen. . . . G Duncan McGovern made 20 saves for the Ice. . . . Kootenay played without D Martin Bodak, who got a one-game suspension after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct on Saturday night. . . . The Hurricanes lost D Calen Addison to a headshot major and game misconduct at 6:25 of the second period. . . . D Tate Olson of the Hurricanes played in his 300th regular-season game. . . . Announced attendance: 2,608.


At Langley, B.C., F Brandon Cutler scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Red Deer Rebels to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants. . . . Red Deer (21-26-13) has won Red Deerfour in a row and now is in sole possession of third place in the Central Division. It is two points ahead of Kootenay. Red Deer has 12 games remaining, Kootenay 11. . . . Vancouver (31-20-8) has lost two straight. It went 2-2-0 in playing four times in five days. The Giants are third in the B.C. Division, five points behind Victoria. . . . F Dawson Holt (11) gave the Giants a 1-0 lead, shorthanded, at 17:32 of the first period. . . . Red Deer tied it on a goal by F Kristian Reichel at 6:34 of the second period. . . . Cutler broke the tie at 11:48, then gave his guys a 3-1 lead at 3:49 of the third period. Cutler, who turned 18 on Jan. 4, has five goals this season. . . . F Jared Dmytriw (13) got the Giants to within a goal at 5:19. . . . Reichel (27) added insurance at 11:35. . . . Red Deer got two assists from F Brandon Hagel. . . . Vancouver was 0-1 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-3. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 39 shots in winning for the seventh straight time for Red Deer. . . . The Giants got 37 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . The Giants played three games in fewer than 48 hours, going 1-2-0. They lost 4-3 in Victoria on Saturday night, while the Rebels were enjoying a night off in Vancouver. . . . The Rebels, who are 11-1-2 in their past 14 games, went 4-0-0 on a four-game trek into B.C., winning in Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria prior to Sunday’s game. . . . The Giants welcomed back D Darian Skeoch, who had been out since Feb. 3, but remain without D Dylan Plouffe, D Matt Barberis, D Alex Kannok Leipert and F Milos Roman, all of whom are hurt, and F Owen Hardy (ill). . . . Announced attendance: 3,769.


At Everett, G Dustin Wolf stopped 20 shots to help the Silvertips to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (38-17-5) has points in eight straight (6-0-2). It leads the EverettWestern Conference, by five points over Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (26-29-5) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It has 12 games remaining and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Wolf recorded the fourth shutout of his freshman season. It came in his 17th appearance. . . . Wolf’s partner, Carter Hart, has seven shutouts. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (5) opened the scoring at 11:05 of the first period. He also had two assists for his first career three-point game. . . . D Jake Christiansen (6) upped it to 2-0, on a PP, at 2:28 of the second period. . . . The Silvertips closed it out with PP goals from F Patrick Bajkov (28) and F Bryce Kindopp (18). . . . F Matt Fonteyne had two assists, with Bajkov adding one. . . . Everett D Kevin Davis, 20, played in his 335th regular-season game, tying him for top spot on the franchise’s list with F Shane Harper (2005-10). Davis is from Kamloops. . . . Everett was 3-7 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-2. . . . The Blazers got 38 saves from G Max Palaga. . . . Both teams played three games in fewer than 48 hours. The Blazers played at home Friday and Saturday, then rode the bus to Everett for the Sunday afternoon game. . . . The Silvertips went home-and-home with Seattle so didn’t have quite the same travel. . . . Kamloops went 0-2-1 in the three games; Everett was 2-0-1). . . . This was the first meeting of the season between these teams since the trade deadline, when the Blazers dealt F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala to the Silvertips for D Montana Onyebuchi, F Orrin Centazzo, two prospects and three bantam draft picks. . . . Onyebuchi was in the penalty box for two Everett goals; Centazzo was in stir for one. . . . Kamloops was without D Nolan Kneen, who drew a one-game suspension after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct in Saturday’s 7-6 shootout loss to visiting Prince George. . . . Announced attendance: 4,417.


At Kent, Wash., F Kailer Yamamoto had two goals and an assist to help the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Spokane (33-20-5) has won three SpokaneChiefsin a row. It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Seattle (28-21-9) has points in each of its previous two games (1-0-1). It holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point behind Tri-City. . . . F Hudson Elynuik (24) got the Thunderbirds started with a shorthanded goal, at 16:40 of the first period. . . . D Nolan Reid (12) made it 2-0 at 17:51. . . . Yamamoto upped it to 3-0, on a PP, at 17:01 of the second period. . . . D Austin Strand (19) got Seattle’s goal at 18:01. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (34) and Yamamoto (16) added third-period goals for the Chiefs. . . . Anderson-Dolan and Reid added an assist each. . . . Yamamoto has 14 goals and 23 assists in 16 games since Jan. 12. . . . Spokane was 1-2 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . The Chiefs got 25 saves from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . G Liam Hughes stopped 26 shots for Seattle. . . . Seattle went 1-1-1) in playing three games in fewer than 48 hours. . . . Strand left in the first period after taking a stick to the face. He returned in the second period wearing a cage. . . . Seattle F Blake Bargar left in the second period and didn’t return. . . . Announced attendance: 5,099. . . . Andy Eide of 710 ESPN in Seattle has a gamer right here.


MONDAY (all times local):

Moose Jaw at Brandon, 2:30 p.m.

Regina at Prince Albert, 4 p.m.

Saskatoon at Edmonton, 4 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY