Trumpeting Recchi in Kamloops . . . Winnipeg report has Ice ‘months away’ from possible move . . . Lots of notes from around the WHL


ThisThat

On Oct. 11, in this very space, I wrote a short piece about the Kamloops Blazers looking to put together a cheerleading team in the hopes of improving the atmosphere in their home arena, the Sandman Centre.

I ended the piece with this: “Might I be so bold as to suggest a trumpet player? If it was good enough for the Montreal Forum . . .”

I am pleased to report that on Friday at 6:17 p.m., while seated in the cozy confines of the press box, I heard a trumpeter — Jerome Lidster — break out the theme from Hockey Night in Canada.

Later, he played a darn fine O Canada!

Unfortunately, the man and his horn weren’t heard from again.

Please give us more.


The Winnipeg Free Press is reporting that “the Western Hockey League’s long-rumoured Kootenaynewreturn to Winnipeg could be only months away from coming to fruition.” . . . Veteran sports reporter Mike Sawatzky, who is familiar with the WHL having covered the Brandon Wheat Kings more than a few years ago, writes: “Owners of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice are believed to be considering a plan to move their franchise to Winnipeg in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, sources have told the Free Press.” . . . According to Sawatzky, the relocated Ice would play at the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena until a new 5,000-seat arena is built in conjunction with “the Rink Hockey Academy’s new training facility currently under construction at the west end of South Landing, just off McGillivray Boulevard.” . . . Sawatzky’s complete story is right here.


The Kelowna Rockets settled on their three 20-year-olds by adding F Lane Zablocki to their roster and releasing Ryan Bowen. . . . They had acquired Zablocki’s rights from the Victoria Royals on Sept. 29, giving up a conditional seventh-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2021. Zablocki, who won’t turn 20 until Dec. 27, was injured at the time of the trade and didn’t get into a game until Friday night in Victoria. . . . Zablocki played for three teams last season. He had nine goals and 10 assist in 31 games with the Red Deer Rebels, two goals and four assists in nine games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and a goal and five assists in 25 games with Victoria. In 201 regular-season games,  he has 58 goals and 64 assists. . . . Bowen was pointless in seven games with the Rockets. He also has played with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Lethbridge. In 150 career games, he has 21 goals and 36 assists. . . . The Rockets also own the WHL rights to Bowen’s brother, Ethan, 16. Kelowna selected Ethan in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. He has committed to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2020-21 and presently is with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs. . . . The Rockets’ other 20-year-olds are D Braydyn Chizen and D Dalton Gally.


At least three players have been released by their WHL teams. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds have dropped D Payton McIsaac, who will turn 18 on Dec. 26, from their roster. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he was pointless in four games this season. He was a second-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2015 bantam draft. He had one assist in 12 games over three seasons with the Blades. . . . The Moose Jaw Warriors have released F Brecon Wood, who is to turn 18 on Dec. 5. From Edmonton, he had one goal in seven games this season. In the previous two seasons, he had four goals and two assists in 84 games with the Warriors, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings have dropped F Logan Moon, 18, from their roster. From Beaverlodge, Alta., he had yet to get into a game this season and was dropped after the team returned from its U.S. Division trip. He played last season with the AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm. The Oil Kings selected him in the ninth round of the 2015 bantam draft.


F Lukas Sillinger, a sixth-round pick by the Regina Pats in the 2015 WHL bantam draft, has committed to attend North Dakota and play for the Fighting Hawks. From Regina, Sillinger, 18, is the son of former NHL/WHL F Mike Sillinger. . . . Lukas is in his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. This season, he has one goal and one assist in one game. Last season, he finished with seven goals and 13 assists in 56 games.


The Prince George Cougars have released F Max Kryski, 18, and he has joined the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters. Kryski, from Kelowna, will remain on the Cougars’ protected list. This season, Kryski was pointless in four games with the Cougars. Last season, he had eight goals and two assists in 62 games. . . . He is a younger brother of Calgary Hitmen F Jake Kryski, 20.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline was busy again on Thursday as three more playes drew suspensions. . . . F Riley Bruce of the Tri-City Americans was hit with a four-game sentence under supplemental discipline for something that happened during a 5-4 loss to the host Seattle Thunderbirds on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the WHL doesn’t add explainers to suspensions such as these so fans are left to wonder what happened. . . . D Max Martin of the Prince Albert Raiders got a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline for something that happened during an 8-4 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday. Again, because the WHL doesn’t add explainers, you are free to guess at what happened. . . . F Brady Nicholas of the Saskatoon Blades has been suspended for two games after taking a kneeing major and game misconduct during a 5-4 OT loss to the visiting Hitmen on Wednesday night. He hit Calgary D Vladislav Yeryomenko, who missed a couple of shifts but came back to finish the game.


ICYMI, F Ryan Vandervlis has rejoined the Lethbridge Hurricanes as he continues to recover from horrendous burns he suffered on June 15 in a campfire explosion at a home near Calgary. Vandervlis, 20, has lost about 30 pounds and is a long ways from returning to game action, but he has come miles from when he was in a medically induced coma after the accident. . . . Lara Fominoff of lethbridgenewsnow.com has more right here.


The OHL’s Flint Firebirds introduced Eric Wellwood, 28, as their new head coach on ohlThursday. He takes over from Ryan Oulahen, who was in his third season when he resigned earlier this month. At that point, the Firebirds were 0-7-0. Then then lost two more games under interim head coach Greg Stefan. . . . Wellwood, whose NHL career was halted by injuries, was an associate coach with the Firebirds in 2016-17, under Oulahen. As a player with the Windsor Spitfires, Wellwood won two Memorial Cups. He won another as an assistant coach with the Oshawa Generals.


F Mackenzie Wight, 19, who left the Swift Current Broncos earlier this month, has joined the BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Wight, who is from Burnaby, B.C., was pointless in two games with the Broncos this season, after recording a goal and three assists in 55 games last season. . . . In 74 regular-season games, six with the Seattle Thunderbirds and 68 with the Broncos, he has two goals and three assists. . . . This is his second stint with the Bulldogs; he had six goals and six assists in 27 games with them in 2016-17.


We’re back after one day away. Yes, the laptop came back from a checkup; yes, it passed all the tests. . . . If you missed us, why not consider clicking on the DONATE button over there on the right and making a donation to the Taking Note cause?


FRIDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Stelio Mattheos scored three times, the last one into an empty net, as the host Brandon BrandonWKregularWheat Kings dumped the Everett Silvertips, 5-2. . . . Everett (6-4-0), which had won three in a row, started its East Division swing with the game. . . . Mattheos now has 11 goals for Brandon (6-1-2). . . . G Jiri Patera continued his fine start for Brandon, this time with 36 stops. The Czech freshman is 6-1-1, 3.00, .919. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 14:32 of the third period. . . . Jordin Tootoo, who played his major junior career with the Wheat Kings, announced his retirement from hockey at a pregame news conference, then took part in the ceremonial faceoff.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and beat the Seattle tri-cityThunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) had points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . The Americans improved to 4-4-0. . . . F Parker AuCoin broke a 2-2 tie at 14:51 of the third period, then added the empty-netter for his sixth goal. . . . F Nolan Yaremko drew three assists for the winners. . . . The Americans will play their next 11 games on the road, starting tonight against the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. The road trip also includes a six-game swing through the East Division. They won’t play at home again until Nov. 23.


F Brandon Hagel scored four times to lead the visiting Red Deer Rebels to a 5-2 victory Red Deerover the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Hagel has eight goals this season. He gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead at 1:08 of the first period, made it 3-1 at 1:16 of the second, completed his fourth career hat trick at 8:04 of the second for a 4-2 lead, and rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal, at 7:25 of the third. . . . G Ethan Anders blocked 41 shots for Red Deer. . . . The Rebels (6-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . Edmonton (5-7-1) opened the season with five victories, but has gone 0-7-1 since then.


F Kirby Dach scored two goals, including the winner in OT, and added an assist to give Saskatoonthe Saskatoon Blades a 3-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dach tied the game, 2-2, at 19:59 of the second period and won it with his seventh goal of the season just 37 seconds into extra time. . . . Dach, who almost certainly will be a top 10 pick in the NHL’s 2019 draft, has 22 points, including 15 assists, in 12 games. . . . The Blades (8-3-1) had lost their previous two games (0-1-1). . . . The Chiefs (6-2-3) are 3-1-1 on their East Division swing. . . . Saskatoon D Dawson Davidson ran his point streak to nine games with an assist. He has 19 points, including 15 assists, this season. . . . Saskatoon got 41 saves from G Nolan Maier.


The Portland Winterhawks scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting PortlandVancouver Giants, 5-3. . . . F Cody Glass (4) tied the score, 3-3, at 12:29 of the third period and F Reece Newkirk (7) have Portland its first lead at 13:39. . . . F Ryan Hughes (3) added the empty-netter. . . . Glass also added an assist, while linemate Joachim Blichfeld had two helpers. . . . F Jake Gricius scored two Portland goals in his 150th career game. . . . Portland (6-3-1) will meet the Giants again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (9-2-1) had points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Winterhawks had D Matthew Quigley back for the first time since he was injured during a game in Kamloops on Oct. 5. Blazers F Jermaine Loewen drew a four-game suspension for the high hit, a suspension he completed Friday night.


The Calgary Hitmen opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-1 victory over the Warriors in CalgaryMoose Jaw. . . . F Mark Kastelic (8) scored twice and added an assist for Calgary (3-6-2) which has won two in a row. . . . The Warriors (4-3-2) had points in each of their previous six games (4-0-2). . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 30 shots for the Hitmen. . . . Calgary was 2-for-3 on the PP.


The Medicine Hat Tigers forced OT with two late third-period goals and then won it on a Tigers Logo Officialpenalty shot as they beat the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, 4-3. . . . The Hurricanes had a 3-1 lead with less than two minutes left in the third period when F Tyler Preziuso (4) scored at 18:09 to get the Tigers to within a goal. . . . F Ryan Jevne (4) tied it at 19:06. . . . F James Hamblin (6) won it on a penalty shot at 4:08. . . . Tigers D Linus Nassen finished with a goal, his second, and two assists. . . . Medicine Hat (6-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . Lethbridge (4-4-3) has lost three straight (0-1-2). . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Lethbridge.


F Josh Pillar broke a 3-3 tie at 16:48 of the third period and the Kamloops Blazers went on Kamloops1to a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The 16-year-old Pillar, from Warman, Sask., was a first-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops, drew an assist, his first WHL point in his first game, on the winner. Stankoven was the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft. He will be back with the major midget Thompson Blazers, who play out of Kamloops, for a Saturday afternoon game. . . . Kamloops had lost its previous seven games (0-6-1) after opening the season with a pair of victories. . . . The Broncos (1-10-0) have lost three in a row, all on a B.C. Division swing. They have been outshot 146-52 over those three losses. . . . Broncos F Max Patterson, who is from Kamloops, had a goal and an assist. He pulled the visitors into a 3-3 tie at 6:38 of the third period, on a PP. . . . Kamloops D Luc Zazula left in the first period after taking a hard hit against the end boards that left him woozy. He didn’t return. . . . Blazers F Jermaine Loewen sat out as he completed a four-game suspension. . . . It was Mark Recchi Hall of Fame Night as the Blazers saluted the local star who went on to win three Stanley Cups during a lengthy NHL career. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Recchi now is an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is a co-owner of the Blazers. . . . Rick Doerksen, the WHL’s vice-president, hockey, was in attendance and presented Recchi with a WHL Alumni Achievement Award during a 30-minute pregame ceremony.


D Lassi Thomson and F Liam Kindree had four-point outings as the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketswhipped the Royals, 8-2, in Victoria. . . . F Dante Hannoun (6) gave the Royals a 2-1 lead at 10:47 of the second period but it was all Rockets after that. . . . Thomson finished with two goals, giving him six, and two assists, with Kindree adding his second goal and three assists. . . . Kelowna (3-9-0) was 4-for-6 on the PP and 6-for-6 on the PK. . . . The Royals (8-2-0) are 6-2-0 at home. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, who had started eight of the team’s first nine games. With him out, Brock Gould made his second start, stopping 16 of 22 shots in 40:51. Joel Grzybowski was brought in from the SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars to back him up and came on in the third period to stop eight of 10 shots. . . . A note from the Royals’ post-game news release points out that Gould “stopped Kelowna’s Leif Mattson on a penalty shot. Since their inaugural season in 2011-12, Victoria has had 19 penalty shots taken against it and has only allowed three goals.”


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Scattershooting on a rainy Sunday . . . Rasmussen on Wings’ roster . . . Raiders win fifth straight . . . It’s a milestone for Mayer

Scattershooting

Brad Rock of the Deseret News proved that he’s ready for NBA training camps with this:

“The NBA season is nearly here, but there’s nothing to see until the playoffs.

“Well, maybe a few things.

“Last season went like this: Kawhi Leonard dissed Gregg Popovich, Bobby Portis broke Nikola Mirotic’s face, Dwane Casey was fired before being named Coach of the Year, and Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

“Next they’ll be telling us a player is dating a Kardashian.

“Never mind. That’s not news.”

——

Rob Vanstone, in the Regina Leader-Post:

“The hockey community as a whole should dispense with the dopey double talk and fully embrace the concept of player safety. Severe sanctions should be imposed for fighting. The pugilism is especially appalling at the major-junior level, with people paying money to watch barely compensated teenagers punch each other in the head. Hockey should have evolved far beyond that by now, but so many coaches, general managers and administrators are woefully stuck in the 1970s.”

——

You may have heard that HBO has decided boxing no longer will be a part of its programming. Larry Merchant, a long-time boxing insider with HBO, put it like this: “Once upon a time we were a promising kid. Then a challenger. Then a champion. A great champion. A long-time champion. And then a has-been who finally retired. So long, champ.”

——

Paul Gosar is a Republican candidate in Arizona who has six siblings endorsing his opponent. As Janice Hough, aka The Left Coast Sports Babe, noted: “And you think your Thanksgiving family dinner might be awkward.”

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The Saskatoon Blades are two games into a stretch of four games in five nights and six in eight nights, with the last five of those on the road. I guess I was rather naive to think that kind of scheduling would disappear when the WHL cut its regular-season schedule from 72 games to 68.

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“Richard Mietz of Germany broke a Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a guy dressed as a landmark,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “It was a monumental achievement.”

——

It would seem that Currie is a big fan of marathons. After Jamie Buckland of Great Britain broke the Guinness world record for fastest marathon by a man dressed as a French maid, Currie noted: “Not only that, he dusted the competition.”

——

Who knew there were such records? Other than Currie, that is?

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Cam Hutchinson of the Saskatoon Express passes along this one from a fake John Gruden account on Twitter: “I’ll tell ya what. Watching Patrick Mahomes throw the football is like music to my ears, man. He reminds me of that one West Virginia song. Take Mahomes country road.”

——

Jack Todd, in the Montreal Gazette: “I’m looking for a smartphone that tells you to get off the stupid phone and get a life.”


ThisThat

If you were an early visitor to this site after I posted on Saturday night, you will have seen a lead item that was critical of the WHL for its focus on video at the expense of what whlI referred to as “old-fashioned news releases.”

I also posted a tweet in which there was a link to a season-opening interview with Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner.

Shortly after that post went live, I heard from Taylor Rocca, the WHL’s senior manager, communications, pointing out that the WHL did post an old-fashioned news release on its website, one that included most, if not all, of what Robison touched on in his video appearance.

Apologies to all involved for my having missed that news release, which was posted on Sept. 20.

A couple of things from that news release, which you are able to find right here . . .

On the trading of young players: “The WHL has adopted new restrictions on the trading of 15- and 16-year-old players. Effective this season, a 15- or 16-year-old player who has signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement cannot be traded under any circumstance.”

The trading of first-year import players, which has been prohibited prior to now, apparently will be allowed between Dec. 15 and the Jan. 10 trade deadline. But there isn’t any mention of this in the news release.

On new disciplinary standards: “The WHL has taken further steps to address player safety by introducing new supplemental discipline regulations and raising its standard on illegal checks to the head. The WHL Seven Point Plan was first adopted in 2011 to establish a comprehensive education and prevention plan to address player safety issues.

“In strengthening the WHL’s Player Safety Seven Point Plan, Kevin Acheson was appointed the WHL Director, Player Safety and is responsible to oversee all on-ice discipline and supplemental discipline matters during pre-season, regular season and playoff games. In addition, new standards have been implemented with a particular focus on repeat offenders and checks to the head.”

There also was a paragraph further down that I was thrilled to see. It had to do with a promotion the WHL was involved with last season and will do again in 2018-19: “The WHL is proud to give back to its communities through a number of community initiatives scheduled for throughout the 2018-19 season, including the second run of RE/MAX presents WHL Suits Up with Don Cherry to Promote Organ Donation.”

Last season, the WHL’s 17 Canadian franchises took part in this promotion and raised $265,500 on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.


The Saskatoon Blades played without F Brad Goethals, 20, as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Raiders in Prince Albert on Sunday night. According to Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, Goethals has left the team. . . . A native of Ile Des Chenes, Man., Goethals had one goal in three games this season after recording 15 goals and 17 assists in 69 games last season. . . . Without Goethals, the Blades are down to a pair of 20-year-olds — F Max Gerlach and D Dawson Davidson.


The Tri-City Americans are going to be without F Michael Rasmussen for a while, perhaps even for the remainder of the WHL season. Rasmussen, 19, will be on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster when they open the NHL’s regular season against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. . . . Rasmussen, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, is from Vancouver. The Red Wings selected him with the ninth overall pick of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . Last season, he had 31 goals and 28 assists in 58 games with the Americans. In 161 regular-season WHL games, he has 81 goals and 76 assists.


SUNDAY NIGHT NOTES:

The Prince Albert Raiders struck for three goals in 16 seconds en route to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Raiders broke open a scoreless game with second-period goals from F Justin Nachbaur (7:30), F Ozzy Wiesblatt (7:39) and F Parker Kelly (3) as they ran their record to 5-0-0. . . . That established a club record for fastest three goals and was four seconds off the WHL record. The Raiders’ record of 22 seconds had been set by F Wayde Bucsis, F Mike Modano and F Pat Elyniuk on Feb. 25, 1987 in Brandon. . . . The Blades went into the game at 3-0-0. . . . 

F Brayden Watts tied the game at 19:15 of the third period and then won it in a shootout as the host Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 5-4. . . . Watts also had two assists. . . .

F Tristin Langan scored twice to lead the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 2-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Langan, 20, has two goals and four assists in four games. . . . The Pats now are 0-4-0. . . . G Brodan Salmond, who played last season with the Kelowna Rockets, stopped 31 shots in winning his first start with the Warriors. . . . Moose Jaw had D Brandon Schuldhaus back in the lineup after he served a three-game suspension left over from last season. . . .

F Brandon Hagel had a goal and three assists, and D Dawson Barteaux had four assists as the Red Deer Rebels beat the host Calgary Hitmen, 6-5, in OT. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev, a Russian freshman, won the game 31 seconds into OT. Hagel and Barteaux drew assists on the winner. . . . Hagel, 20, has 10 points, including seven assists, in five games. . . . Calgary F Tristen Nielsen took a boarding major and game misconduct at 2:04 of the second period for a hit on Red Deer D Carson Sass.


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If you are a WHL fan and are on Twitter, you should be following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow). He regularly tweets interesting notes and stats involving WHL teams and players, such as this one from Saturday night:

Warriors win battle of East titans . . . Rebels are in; Ice is out . . . Raiders’ run reaches nine

MacBeth

F Geordie Wudrick (Swift Current, Kelowna, 2005-11) has signed a one-season contract with the Sydney Ice Dogs (Australia, AIHL). This season, he played for the Berlin Blues (Germany, Regionalliga Ost). In eight games, he had a team-high 12 goals, along with seven assists. The AIHL regular season starts on April 21. . . . Wudrick holds the single-season points record in AIHL with 91 and the single-season goal record (44) in 28 games. He set those in 2015 with the Newcastle North Stars. Wudrick played the last two AIHL seasons with CBR Brave Canberra.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

The Victoria Royals had their Organ Donor Awareness Night on Friday when they entertained the Prince George Cougars.

You can bet it was a special night for the Soy family.

Tyler, of course, is 20 and in his final season with the Royals. His mother, Sandy, had a VictoriaRoyalskidney transplant in November 2010 after suffering complete kidney failure due to complications from lupus in 2004. She spent six years doing peritoneal dialysis, hooking up to a machine called a cycler every night and using it to do a fluid exchange to get the toxins out of her body.

When you do PD, you get a truckload of supplies every four weeks, all of which must be stored in your home.

Five years ago, Sandy’s husband, Michael, told me: “We became used to the routine . . . Tyler had to grow up very fast . . . as he carried boxes, re-filled supplies and watched every night as his mom connected to a machine that kept her alive . . .“

In the end, Sandy received a kidney through what was then the Living Donor Paired Exchange registry — it now is the Kidney Paired Donation program. In that process, Michael donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient, with Sandy getting a kidney from an anonymous donor.

“It showed me how strong they are,” Tyler told me of his parents after a game in Kamloops in January 2013. “For my dad to give up one of his kidneys so my mom could get one is really special.”

You likely are aware that my wife, Dorothy, underwent a kidney transplant, too. That was on Sept. 23, 2013. It came through the Living Donor Exchange registry, too, after she had spent four years on peritoneal dialysis.

In the middle of all this, we reached out to Sandy and she was a big help as we travelled down a similar road to the one with which she was so familiar.

Her day was made that much more special when Tyler scored the tying goal at 17:03 of the third period before the Royals won the game in overtime.

You can see more right here.

I hope that stories like this will help you understand why the involvement of the WHL and its 17 Canadian teams — along with RE/MAX — in this Organ Donor Awareness promotion is so important to so many people.


Look, I love to read. I always seem to have four or five books on the go, and often think there aren’t enough hours in the day to allow me to read as much as I would like to do. Yes, the need for sleep often gets in the way, too. . . . I’m also a baseball fan, and happen to think that Ichiro Suzuki is one of the most-intriguing personalities to have appeared in MLB over the past few years. . . . On Saturday, thanks to Twitter, I came upon a simply brilliant essay on Ichiro, who “is haunted by the life he can’t escape.”  It was written by Wright Thompson and it’s right here. My, but this is so good!


Once you have read the piece on Ichiro, pour another cup of Sunday morning coffee and dig into this essay right here. Written by Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail, it is headlined ‘When NHL rinks outlast their usefulness’, and deals with the situations surrounding the NHL’s Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators and their home arenas.


Allistair Chapman, 25, is “a Calgary man accused of running a prolific multimillion-dollar, city-based international drug cartel — one investigators believe linked to both Mexican narcotics rings and a brazen 2017 double homicide,” reports Bryan Passifiume of Postmedia. . . . Chapman also is a former junior hockey player who was selected by the Swift Current Broncos in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2007 bantam draft. He never played in the WHL, topping out with a couple of stints in the AJHL. . . . Passifiume’s complete story is right here.



IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Prince Albert 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

SATURDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Branden Klatt scored twice to help the Warriors to a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Moose Jaw (50-15-3) leads the overall standings by three points MooseJawWarriorsover the Broncos. . . . Swift Current (47-16-6) has lost two in a row and has three games remaining. . . . The Warriors went 4-2-2 in the season series; the Broncos were 4-4-0. . . . The Warriors have won 50 games for the first time in franchise history. The previous record of 45 victories was set in 2011-12, when they finished atop the East Division and then bowed out in the conference final. . . . Klatt, who is from Moose Jaw, went into the game with 11 goals in 179 regular-season WHL games. This season, he now has five goals and eight assists in 65 games. . . . Klatt opened the scoring at 5:00 of the first period and F Jayden Halbgewachs made it 2-0, on a PP, at 16:20. He has a WHL-high 67 goals. . . . F Justin Almeida (41), who also had two assists, gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead at 7:36 of the second period. . . . F Kaden Elder (16) got Swift Current’s first goal at 2:02 of the third period. . . . Klatt got that one back at 11:03. . . . The Broncos’ second goal came from F Beck Malenstyn (16), on a PP, at 17:53. . . . F Tristin Langan had two assists for the Warriors. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi had two assists for the Broncos. . . . Swift Current was 1-5 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-8. . . . The Warriors got 21 saves from G Brody Willms. . . . G Stuart Skinner started for the Broncos and was beaten three times on 21 shots in 27:36. Joel Hofer finished up by stopping 17 of 18 shots in 31:00. . . . The Warriors took 57 of the game’s 107 penalty minutes. . . . Moose Jaw F Barrett Sheen was tossed with a charging major and game misconduct at 4:59 of the third period. . . . The Broncos lost F Giorgio Estephan for a few shifts after he was struck in the ice by an errant puck in the first period. . . . Also in that first period, the Warriors lost D Brandon Schuldaus and D Dmitri Zaitsev to undisclosed injuries. . . . The Warriors were without F Brayden Burke for a third straight game. . . . Swift Current F Glenn Gawdin, the WHL’s leading scorer, is ill and missed his second game in as many nights, as did freshman D Jacson Alexander. . . . Gawdin has 124 points, two more than Halbgewachs and seven more than Heponiemi. Burke is fourth, with 113. . . . Announced attendance: 4,765.


At Prince Albert, D Brayden Pachal scored in OT to give the Raiders their ninth straight victory, this one 4-3 over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Prince Albert (32-25-11) holds down the PrinceAlbertEastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, seven points ahead of Saskatoon, which has four games remaining. . . . Calgary (21-36-11) is 1-0-1 in its past two games. It had won 5-4 in OT in Saskatoon on Friday night. . . . The Hitmen took a 1-0 lead at 13:46 of the first period as F Mark Kastelic scored. . . . The Raiders tied it at 1:27 of the second period as F Jordy Stallard scored No. 43. . . . F Carson Focht (13) gave the Hitmen a 2-1 lead at 16:13. . . . The Raiders went out front 3-2 on third-period goals from D Vojtech Budik (14), on a PP, at 5:51, and F Cutis Miske (26), at 6:38. Miske also had two assists. . . . Kastelic forced OT with his 20th goal, on a PP, at 9:02. . . . Pachal won it at 4:09 of OT when he scored his seventh goal of the season. . . . Stallard also had two assists, as he finished the night with 201 regular-season points in 234 games. This season, he has 43 goals and 46 assists in 68 games. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from F Tristen Nielsen. . . . Each team was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 20 saves. . . . Calgary G Matthew Armitage was busier, with 40 saves. The Raiders held a 26-2 edge in shots in the third period. . . . Prince Albert’s franchise record for longest winning streak is 15 games, from 1985-86. . . . Announced attendance: 2,326.


At Saskatoon, the Brandon Wheat Kings clinched a playoff spot with a 4-2 victory over the Blades. . . . Brandon (37-26-5) has won three in a row. It is fourth in the East Division, BrandonWKregularthree points behind Regina. The Wheat Kings also hold down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, four points ahead of Prince Albert. . . . Brandon will play its first-round home games in Dauphin, Man., because the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair will be in Westoba Place at the same time. . . . Saskatoon (32-32-4) is seven points from a playoff spot with four games to play. . . . Brandon leads the season series, 5-2-0; the Blades are 2-5-0. . . . Last night, the Wheat Kings got the game’s first two goals, from F Stelio Mattheos (41), at 19:13 of the first period and F Linden McCorrister (18), at 9:38 of the second. . . . F Michael Farren (10) got the Blades to within a goal at 12:58. . . . Brandon F Luka Burzan (13) restored the two-goal lead at 15:27. . . . F Josh Paterson’s 31st goal, on a PP, left Saskatoon trailing by one at 6:47 of the third period. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (18) got the empty-netter for Brandon at 19:42. . . . McCorrister and Reinhardt each had an assist. . . . Saskatoon was 1-5 on the PP; Brandon was 0-4. . . . G Dylan Myskiw stopped 29 shots for the Wheat Kings. . . . G Nolan Maier stopped 12 shots for the Blades in his ninth straight start. . . . G Logan Thompson was among Brandon’s scratches. He left Friday’s 6-3 victory over visiting Swift Current after two periods because of an apparent leg injury. . . . The Wheat Kings had Ethan Kruger, 16, backing up Myskiw. He was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. Kruger, from Sherwood Park, Alta., played this season with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. . . . Announced attendance: 5,826.


At Lethbridge, the Regina Pats opened up a 4-0 lead en route to a 5-3 victory over the Hurricanes. . . . Regina (38-25-6) has won five in a row. It is third in the East Division, ReginaPats100three points ahead of Brandon. . . . Lethbridge (32-30-6) has lost five straight. It is second in the Central Division, eight points behind Medicine Hat and five ahead of Red Deer. . . . F Koby Morrisseau (6) opened the scoring at 3:29 of the first period, with F Jesse Gabrielle (13) making it 2-0, on a PP, at 8:48. . . . F Nick Henry (13) scored at 1:20 of the second, and F Robbie Holmes (16) made it 4-0 at 9:55. . . . The Hurricanes got to within a goal as F Brad Morrison scored at 14:35 of the second; D Calen Addison (10) counted two minutes later; and Morrison added another, his 27th, at 17:18 of the third. . . . Regina F Sam Steel (31) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:04. . . . Gabrielle added two assists to his goal. . . . D Igor Merezhko had two assists for Lethbridge. . . . Regina was 1-2 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . There weren’t any penalties issued after the first period. . . . G Max Paddock stopped 27 shots for Regina. . . . Lethbridge got 38 stops from G Reece Klassen. . . . Regina went 7-1-0 on an eight-game road trip. The Pats were away from home because the Tim Hortons Brier (the Canadian men’s curling championship) is being contested in the Brandt Centre. . . . Announced attendance: 4,234.


At Red Deer, F Brandon Hagel scored three times to lead the Rebels to a 5-2 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer (26-30-13) clinched a playoff spot in the Central Red DeerDivision, meaning the idle Kootenay Ice (25-38-5) was eliminated. . . . “You look back to Jan. 24, we were 12 points out of a playoff spot and to accomplish what we accomplished says a lot about the kids inside the room,” Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach, told Greg Meachem of redddeerrebels.com. “It was about just staying with it and believing as a group that we can have some success if we play the game the right way.” . . . Medicine Hat (35-26-8) continues to lead the Central Division, by eight points over Lethbridge. . . . The Rebels, with three games left, are five points behind the Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer went 3-2-1 in the season series; Medicine Hat was 3-3-0. . . . D Kristians Rubins (7) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 5:37 of the first period. . . . Hagel tied it at 6:05. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 at 3:42 of the second period on F Bryan Lockner’s 13th goal. . . . The Rebels scored the game’s last four goals, all in the third period. . . . F Kristian Reichel tied the score at 2:39, and Hagel gave his guys the lead, on a PP, at 15:50. . . . Reichel, who has 32 goals, scored on another PP, at 19:08, and Hagel who has 17 goals, completed his hat trick into an empty net, at 19:21. . . . F Mason McCarty had two assists for the Rebels, with Hagel adding one for a four-point night. . . . Red Deer was 2-3 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-4. . . . G Ethan Anders earned the victory with 34 saves, seven more than Medicine Hat’s Michael Bullion. . . . D Joel Craven, who returned to Medicine Hat’s lineup on Friday after being out since Jan. 27, was scratched from this one. . . . During the game the Rebels revealed that “we raised $22,000 in support of @kidneycanada organizations through tonight’s jersey auction.” . . . Announced attendance: 6,100. . . . Meachem’s story is right here.


At Portland, G Patrick Dea stopped 38 shots to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 6-2 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . Tri-City (34-24-9) has won two straight. It is fourth in the U.S. TriCity30Division, six points behind Spokane. The Americans hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, three points ahead of Seattle with each team having five games remaining. . . . Portland (42-21-5) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). The Winterhawks are second in the U.S. Division, six points behind Everett. . . . Portland went 7-3-0 in the season series; Tri-City was 3-6-1. . . . Tri-City got out to a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Michael Rasmussen, on a PP, at 15:00, and D Juuso Valimaki (13), at 18:26. . . . Portland F Alex Overheard (15) but into the lead 27 seconds into the second period, but the Americans got the next three goals. . . . F Isaac Johnson got his 17th at 7:39. . . . Rasmussen (27) got another PP goal at 1:40 of the third period, and former Winterhawks F Brett Clayton (4) scored at 4:55. . . . F Joachim Blichfeld (24) got Portland’s second goal at 10:27. . . . F Riley Sawchuk (13) scored Tri-City’s final goal at 17:17, into an empty net. . . . Tri-City got three assists from F Morgan Geekie and two each from F Sasha Mutala, for his first three-point game, and Valimaki. . . . Overhardt added an assist to his goal. . . . Tri-City was 2-3 on the PP; Portland was 0-2. . . . Dea got off to a great start with 18 saves in the first period. . . . Portland starter Shane Farkas surrendered five goals on 23 shots in 44:55. Cole Kehler came on to stop all five shots he faced in 14:35. . . . Prior to the game, the Winterhawks the 1998 Memorial Cup-winning team, and inducted D Andrew Ference, F Marian Hossa, F Brenden Morrow and F Todd Robinson into their Hall of Fame. . . . Announced attendance: 8,463.


At Kelowna, G James Porter stopped 18 shots to help the Rockets to a 4-0 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (40-22-7) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the KelownaRocketsB.C. Division, by five points over Victoria. . . . Kamloops (29-35-5) has lost three in a row. It was eliminated from the playoff chase when it lost, 4-2, to the visiting Rockets on Friday. . . . The Rockets have won 40 games for a sixth straight season. . . . Kelowna went 8-0-0 in the season series; Kamloops was 0-7-1. . . . F Leif Mattson gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 13:28 of the first period. . . . D Gordie Ballhorn (5) upped that to 2-0 at 14:30. . . . Mattson’s 23rd goal, shorthanded, made it 3-0 at 9:46 of the third period, and F Dillon Dube (34) rounded out the scoring at 11:05. . . . Dube and Ballhorn also had an assist each. . . . Kelowna was 0-3 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-7. . . . Porter, a freshman from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, has three shutouts this season. . . . The Blazers got 27 saves from G Max Palaga. Kelowna F Liam Kindree wasn’t able to beat Palaga on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Blazers scratched G Dylan Ferguson, who appeared to injury his right hip in a goal-mouth collision at 14:22 of the second period on Friday night. He stayed in and was able to finish the game, but there were times when he appeared to be favouring his right side. . . . Announced attendance: 5,607.


At Kent, Wash., F Bryce Kindopp scored twice to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Everett (45-18-5) has won four in a row. It leads Everettthe Western Conference, by six points over Portland. . . . Seattle (32-26-10) had won its previous two games. It holds the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Tri-City. . . . Everett went 6-2-2 in the season series; Seattle was 4-4-2. . . . Everett got first-period goals from F Matt Fonteyne (33), on a PP, at 3:41, and Kindopp, at 13:38, to go up 2-0. . . . F Nolan Volcan (31) scored for Seattle, on a PP, at 11:03 of the second period. . . . Kindopp (22) gave Everett a two-goal lead at 15:02 of the third period. . . . Seattle D Austin Strand (24) made it a one-goal game at 17:56. . . . F Donovan Neuls had two assists for Seattle. . . . Everett F Patrick Bajkov drew an assist on Fonteyne’s goal. Bajkov now has 93 points, tying him with F Zach Hamill (2006-07) and F Josh Winquist (2013-14) for the franchise’s single-season record. . . . Each team was 1-2 on the PP. . . . G Carter Hart stopped 33 shots for Everett. He is 28-4-4, 1.54, .950 this season. . . . Seattle G Liam Hughes turned aside 34 shots. . . . Everett D Ondrej Vala was given a cross-checking major and game misconduct for a hit on Seattle F Zack Andrusiak at 19:29 of the second period. Andrusiak returned to the game in the third period. . . . Announced attendance: 6,039.


At Spokane, F Dawson Holt scored the only goal of a shootout to give the Vancouver Giants a 6-5 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Vancouver (35-24-9) is third in the B.C. Division, Vancouverthree points behind Victoria. . . . Spokane (39-23-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). It is third in the U.S. Division, five points behind Portland. . . . The Chiefs took a 1-0 lead at 11:43 of the first period on a goal by F Jake McGrew (17). . . . Vancouver F Aidan Barfoot (5) tied it at 12:16. . . . F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (37) put the Chiefs back in front, on a PP, at 16:28. . . . The Giants tied it when F Tyler Benson scored at 12:27 of the second period. . . . But the Chiefs went back out front at 15:14 when F Hudson Elynuik scored No. 30. . . . F Riley Woods gave Spokane a two-goal lead, on a PP, at 4:58 of the third period. . . . Holt (12) pulled the Giants back to within a goal, at 4-3, on a PP, at 11:31, only to have Woods (24) restore the two-goal margin at 12:43. . . . The Giants then got two PP goals to force OT. F Tyler Popowich (8) scored at 14:26, and Benson (26) followed at 17:39. . . . Holt won it with a second-round goal in the shootout. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Spokane was 2-6. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 29 shots for the Giants. . . . The Chiefs got 24 stops from G Dawson Weatherill. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning left the game with a clipping major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane F Ethan McIndoe at 2:42 of the third period. . . . The Chiefs continue to play without injured F Zach Fischer. . . . The Giants scratched F Milos Roman, who had played Friday night in a 6-3 loss to the host Tri-City Americans for the first time since Jan. 9. He had been out with an ankle injury. . . . Announced attendance: 10,508.


SUNDAY (all times local):

Brandon at Moose Jaw, 4 p.m.

Prince George at Victoria, 2:05 p.m.

Kootenay at Edmonton, 4 p.m.

Everett at Portland, 5 p.m.

Vancouver vs. Tri-City, at Kennewick, Wash., 5:05 p.m.


TWEET OF THE DAY

Kisio has lighter wallet, victory . . . Oil Kings shock Blazers . . . Rebels continue to put heat on Ice

Dan
Dan Courneyea of Kamloops is ready to work some games in the Gangneung Hockey Centre in PyeongChang.

DAN’S DIARY . . .

Dan Courneyea, who heads up the Kamloops Blazers’ off-ice crew of officials is at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang where he’ll be working the hockey competitions.

On Monday, he reported:

“The Games have started off well. Fans are showing up to events. When Korea is involved events are sold out — it’s great to see the support). Still cold, sun is out.

“The wind has been playing havoc on some events up in the mountains. Women’s hockey, no surprises. Men’s actually starts on the 14th.”


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

On the road again . . . the Edmonton Oil Kings are on the road, again. . . .

When the Oil Kings played in Kamloops on Monday afternoon, it was their 12th road EdmontonOilKingsgame in their last 15 assignments. Since Jan. 9, they have made stops in Brandon, Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, Cranbrook, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Cranbrook (again), Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Kamloops.

The Oil Kings’ present trip also will include stops in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna, which will make it 15 of 18 on the road, and all of that since Jan. 9.

All of the travel means two things to a WHL team — a lack of sleep and a dire shortage of true practice time.

Here’s Edmonton head coach Steve Hamilton, talking with Derek Van Diest of Postmedia:

“You give up sleep and that’s the biggest thing when you’re managing yourself on the road. Every bus trip, you give up sleep, and then you start operating from a deficit and it’s hard to make that up, because we haven’t had a set amount of time to recoup that. We’ve played every second day, every third day, we travel in between and practice has been virtually nil.”

Here’s  hoping that the WHL will put a whole lot of thought into its 2018-19 schedule. With the decision already made to trim each team’s schedule from 72 to 68 games, there really is a need for the WHL pooh-bahs, who love to talk about being a developmental league, to find more time for its players to rest and to practice.

Van Diest’s story is right here.


DEPARTMENT OF DISCIPLINE: Brent Kisio, the head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, has been $750 after he was tossed from a 4-2 loss in Regina on Saturday. Kisio got the ol’ heave-ho at 15:01 of the third period. According to Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post, Kisio offered up a “lengthy tirade” and “gave referees Steve Papp and Mike Langin an earful before he finally left the bench, receiving a loud ovation from the locals.” . . . The WHL office also set F Parker Kelly’s suspension at one game. Kelly, a forward with the Prince Albert Raiders, took a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for a hit on Saskatoon F Kirby Dach in a 6-3 loss to the host Blades on Saturday. Kelly served the suspension when he sat out Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the visiting Swift Current Broncos. Each didn’t play in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout victory over visiting Regina.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Nick Perna, a 16-year-old who is from Dallas, Texas. He was added to the Winterhawks’ protected list in March. The 6-foot-2 Perna had a goal and eight assists in 30 games with the Dallas Stars elite U16 AAA team. . . . Perna attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the start of this season.


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IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY …

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Tri-City at Kelowna

Spokane at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


Scoreboard

MONDAY:

At Cranbrook, the Lethbridge Hurricanes scored four third-period goals as they beat the Kootenay Ice, 5-2. . . . Lethbridge (26-23-6) had lost its previous two games. It is second in Lethbridgethe Central Division, five points behind Medicine Hat. The Hurricanes hold three games in hand. . . . Kootenay (24-30-3) has lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, seven points behind Lethbridge. . . .  D Koletrane Wilson (3) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 16:19 of the second period. . . . The Ice tied it at 17:54 when F Alec Baer (24) scored, on a PP, then took a 2-1 lead at 1:27 of the third period as F Colton Veloso (19) scored, also on the PP. . . . The visitors took a 3-2 lead on two goals from F Brad Morrison, at 15:22 and 15:41. He’s got 20 goals. . . . F Jake Elmer (15) added insurance, at 15:41, and F Jordy Bellerive (38) got the empty-netter, at 17:17. . . . The Hurricanes got two assists from each of D Calen Addison, Bellerive and F Jadon Joseph, with Morrison adding one to his pair of goals. . . . Kootenay was 2-5 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-5. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 26 saves, eight fewer than the Ice’s Duncan McGovern. . . . F Dylan Cozens was back in Lethbridge’s lineup after not having played since Jan. 19. He missed nine games with an undisclosed injury. When he went down, Cozens, 17, had 16 goals and 23 assists in 40 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,969.


At Kamloops, the Edmonton Oil Kings erased a 1-0 deficit with two goals 22 seconds apart early in the second period and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Blazers. . . . Edmonton EdmontonOilKings(16-32-7) has won two in a row. . . . Kamloops (26-26-4) had won its previous two games. It remains six points away from a Western Conference wild-card spot. . . . F Jackson Shepard (7) was credited with the Blazers’ first goal, when a point shot by D Sean Strange went off his skate and trickled over the goal line. . . . Edmonton tied the score at 1:20 of the second period when F Colton Kehler re-directed a point shot by D Conner McDonald. . . . Shortly after that, the Blazers broke out 2-on-1, only to have the horn sound to kill play. An apparent save by Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson went to video review and Edmonton F Brendan Semchuk, who is from Kamloops, was awarded his 12th goal of the season. . . . Kehler (26) gave the visitors a 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 12:05 of the second period. . . . D Ethan Cap iced it with an empty-netter, at 19:29 of the third period. . . . D Conner McDonald, who began his career with Kamloops, had two assists for Edmonton. . . . Edmonton was 1-1 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-3. . . . G Josh Dechaine stopped 29 shots for Edmonton, 10 more than Dylan Ferguson of the Blazers. . . . This season, Kamloops is 1-6-2 when playing in front of more than 4,000 fans at home. . . . This game, on Faith and Family Day, drew the largest crowd this season. . . . Announced attendance: 5,578.


At Prince George, F Brandon Hagel earned four assists and G Riley Lamb posted the shutout as the Red Deer Rebels blanked the Cougars, 4-0. . . . Red Deer (18-26-13) has PrinceGeorgeclosed to within two points of third-place Kootenay in the Central Division. . . . Prince George (19-30-8) has lost four in a row. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (3) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 10:05 of the first period. . . . D Alex Alexeyev (7) upped that to 2-0 at 19:01 of the second period. . . . Alexeyev was playing his first game since Jan. 20. He had left the team and returned to Russia following the unexpected death of his mother. . . . F Mason McCarty (29), on a PP, and F Kristian Reichel (24) added third-period goals. . . . Barteaux and Alexeyev added an assist each, as did Lamb. . . . Lamb finished with 25 saves as he put up his first shutout of the season and the fourth of his career. . . . The Cougars got 27 saves from G Taylor Gauthier. . . . Announced attendance: 3,071.


At Kelowna, the Rockets opened up a 5-2 second-period lead and hung on for a 5-4 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . Kelowna (34-17-5) had lost its previous two games (0-KelownaRockets1-1). It leads the B.C. Division by one point over Victoria. The Rockets have two games in hand. . . . Victoria (34-20-4) had won two in a row. . . . The teams played a Friday-Saturday doubleheader in Victoria, with the Royals winning 6-1 and 4-3 in OT. . . . F Matthew Phillips (42) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead when he scored on a penalty shot at 5:02 of the first period. . . . Kelowna F Kole Lind tied it at 5:31. . . . The Royals went back out front at 8:29 when F Noah Gregor (21) scored. . . . Lind (31) tied it, on a PP, at 19:07. . . . The Rockets took control with three second-period goals. . . . F Dillon Dube (25) made it 3-2 at 4:03; F Carsen Twarynski (35) scored at 8:09; and D Gordie Ballhorn (4) upper it to 5-2, on a PP, at 13:52. . . . F Tyler Soy (29) got Victoria to within two at 16:04. . . . The Royals cut the deficit to one on a goal by F Andrei Grishakov (18), on a PP, at 11:01 of the third period. . . . Dube added two assists to his goal, with F Kyle Topping and D Cal Foote also getting two assists each for the Rockets. Lind added one to his pair of goals. . . . The Royals got two assists from F Igor Martynov and one from Phillips. . . . Phillips now has 93 points, which is a Victoria franchise record. He had shared the record with F Alex Forsberg (2015-16). F Mark Santorelli holds the Chilliwack/Victoria record (101, 2007-08). . . . Phillips also is riding a franchise record 18-game point streak. He has 34 points, including 14 goals, in that time. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Victoria was 1-3. . . . Kelowna G James Porter Jr. allowed four goals on 25 shots in 51:20, before leaving with an injury. Brodan Salmond came on to finish up. He stopped the only shot he fced in 8:40. . . . The Royals got 30 stops from G Griffen Outhouse. . . . Each team was 4-3-1 in the season series. . . . Wayne Moore of castanet.net reports that “Lind may have suffered a concussion after he was hit by by Ralph Jarratt while cutting through the slot. Lind lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice.” Jarratt wasn’t penalized on the play; Lind didn’t return. . . . “I don’t really have any comment on the hit,” Kelowna head coach Jason Smith told Moore, “because the league will look at that, and there may be some decisions on what they thought, whether it was a clean hit or not a clean hit.” . . . Announced attendance: 5,625.


TUESDAY (all times local):

Tri-City at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Injuries becoming major story . . . Rebels stun host Warriors . . . Raiders pull within point of Blades

MacBeth

F Tim Bozon (Kamloops, Kootenay, 2011-15) has signed a one-year extension with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A). He has five goals and five assists in 41 games.


A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

With the start of the WHL’s playoffs staring at us from the horizon, it might be time to start paying close attention to injuries.

These days, the WHL injury list is littered with the names of prominent players, players whlwho will be major contributors in the playoffs if healthy.

But will they be healthy? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, here’s a look at a few players who were among the missing on Friday night . . .

F Dylan Cozens, Lethbridge Hurricanes — The team says he is out week-to-week. He last played on Jan. 19. He was playing on a productive line, alongside Taylor Ross and Logan Barlage when he went down.

F Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos — When he was scratched from a Jan. 30 game against visiting Prince George, Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, tweeted that it was an “apparently minor” injury. . . . Heponiemi didn’t play Friday night, and isn’t expected to play tonight in Cranbrook against Kootenay. . . . He’s got 93 points in 39 games. . . . Is it time for Broncos’ supporters to start sweating?

D Roman Kalinichenko, Tri-City Americans — He last played on Jan. 10, but I think he originally was injured two games before that, on Jan. 6 in Prince George. The teams says he will be out another three weeks. A freshman from Moscow, he’s a key part of their back end.

F Tanner Kaspick, Victoria Royals — He scored six goals — four of them game-winners — in his first eight games after being acquired from Brandon. He wasn’t listed on Tuesday’s WHL roster report, but didn’t play Wednesday against host Tri-City and was scratched again last night.

F Kyle Olson, Tri-City Americans — He had 57 points, including 20 goals, last season. This season, he hasn’t played since Jan. 3.

G James Porter, Kelowna Rockets — He last played on Jan. 13 and was listed on Tuesday as being out day-to-day. When he went out, he was 18-7-2, 3.34, .897. If he isn’t available, the Rockets are left with 15-year-old Cole Tisdale to back up Brodan Salmond.

D David Quenneville, Medicine Hat Tigers — He played in a 3-1 loss in Kamloops on Wednesday. He apparently suffered a shoulder injury, so was scratched Friday in Kelowna. Quenneville leads all WHL defencemen in goals (21) and points (59).

D Chaz Reddekopp, Victoria Royals — The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder last played on Jan. 13, and will be out at least four more weeks. The Royals need a healthy Reddekopp back there if they are to play deep into the spring.

F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants — The Slovakian freshman has 29 points in 34 games, but hasn’t played since Jan. 9. When he went out It was thought he wouldn’t be gone long, but then he surfaced wearing a walking boot on one foot.

F Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers — He hasn’t played all season thanks to a knee injury suffered with the Minnesota Wild’s rookie team. He put up 94 points last season, so is an impact player and would be a huge addition to the lineup should he return in time for the first round. . . . Counting Quenneville and Shaw, the Tigers have six regulars out with injuries, five of them listed as being out at least two weeks.

G Carl Stankowski, Seattle Thunderbirds — After going 16-2-2, 2.50, .911 in 20 playoff games last season as the Thunderbirds won the Ed Chynoweth Cup, Stankowski hasn’t played a game this season. Obviously, the Thunderbirds aren’t counting on him to return, but what a story it would be.

D Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors — When he missed his first game, on Jan. 21 in Saskatoon, it was said that he was being rested. He now has missed five games, so this obviously is a serious injury. Now he’s listed as week-to-week.

Keep in mind that this list doesn’t include the number of frontline players who have recently returned from injuries, like F Michael Rasmussen and D Juuso Valimaki of Tri-City, F Jake Leschyshyn of Regina, F Kieffer Bellows and F Cody Glass of Portland, F Regan Nagy of Prince Albert, G Liam Hughes of Seattle, F Noah Gregor of Victoria and on and on.

The way this season has gone, when the playoffs start, health, or lack of same, is going to be a major story.


IF THE PLAYOFFS OPENED TODAY . . .

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Saskatoon at Moose Jaw

Regina at Medicine Hat

Brandon at Swift Current

Kootenay at Lethbridge

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle at Everett

Spokane at Kelowna

Tri-City at Portland

Vancouver at Victoria


The home arena of the Brandon Wheat Kings will be renamed Westoba Place, effective Feb. 19. Westoba Credit Union Ltd. has signed on as the title sponsor. . . . The arena had been known as Westman Communications Group Place but the Westman Communications Group chose not to renew its 10-year agreement with the Keystone Centre.


Please consider clicking on the DONATE button over there to the right and helping the cause.

If you have a tip, email me at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.


Scoreboard

FRIDAY:

At Moose Jaw, F Brandon Hagel broke a 1-1 tie at 9:46 of the third period as the Red Deer Rebels beat the Warriors, 3-1. . . . Red Deer (15-25-12) has points in six straight (5-0-1). The Red DeerRebels are fourth in the Central Division, seven points behind Kootenay. The teams will meet three more times this season. . . . Moose Jaw (39-9-3) has lost two in a row. It leads the overall standings by five points over Swift Current. The Warriors hold two games in hand. . . . F Chris Douglas (4) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 14:46 of the first period. . . . D Josh Brook (2) pulled the Warriors even at 13:19 of the second period. . . . Hagel snapped the tie with his eighth goal of the season. . . . F Kristian Reichel (20) iced it with the empty-netter at 18:24 of the third period. . . . Each team was 0-2 on the PP. . . . G Riley Lamb stopped 32 shots for the winners. . . . Moose Jaw got 25 saves from Brody Willms. . . . The Warriors were without F Barrett Sheen, who served Game 1 of a five-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,619.


At Prince Albert, F Parker Kelly scored two first-period goals to get the Raiders started to a 5-2 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Prince Albert (21-20-10) has points in seven PrinceAlbertstraight (5-0-2). It is one point behind Saskatoon, which holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Saskatoon (25-25-3) has lost two in a row. . . . Kelly, who has 23 goals, scored at 1:32 and again at 13:14. . . . F Logan Christensen (1) got the Blades on the scoreboard at 17:52. . . . The Raiders went ahead 3-1 on F Brett Leason’s eighth goal, at 8:52 of the second period, then made it 4-1 when F Curtis Miske (18) scored at 10:24. . . . Saskatoon F Eric Florchuk (11) got the Blades to within two at 14:06, but F Cole Fonstad (16) restored the home team’s three-goal edge at 16:43, on a PP. . . . Leason wasn’t able to score on a second-period penalty shot. . . . The Raiders got two assists from F Jordy Stallard, with Fonstad getting one. . . . Prince Albert was 1-7 on the PP; Saskatoon was 0-2. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 19 shots to earn the victory over Nolan Maier, who made 34 saves. . . . Maier went into the game with a 3-0-0 record against Prince Albert. . . . Saskatoon had F Kirby Dash back in the lineup after a one-game absence. . . . Announced attendance: 2,357.


At Brandon, the Prince George Cougars scored two third-period goals to beat the Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . Prince George (19-26-8) is 1-3-1 on its East Division swing. . . . Brandon (28-PrinceGeorge18-5) has lost nine in a row (0-6-3). It is third in the East Division, 15 points behind Swift Current and four ahead of Regina. Brandon has two games in hand on Regina. . . . F Evan Weinger (24) gave the Wheat Kings a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:52 of the first period. . . . F Ilijah Colina tied it at 4:35 of the second period. . . . Brandon went back out front when F Linden McCorrister (15) scored at 10:33. . . . F Jared Bethune (18) tied it for the Cougars, while shorthanded, at 7:54 of the third period. . . . Colina won it with his seventh goal, at 17:37. . . . Bethune and F Ethan Browne each had two assists for the winners. . . . Brandon was 1-3 on the PP; Prince George was 0-2. . . . G Isaiah DiLaura stopped 28 shots for the Cougars. . . . Brandon got 29 saves from G Logan Thompson. . . . The Cougars were without F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss in Regina on Wednesday. . . . Announced attendance: 4,085.


At Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored three PP goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (24-21-6) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is Lethbridgesecond in the Central Division, five points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Swift Current (36-13-4) had won its previous three games. It is second in the overall standings, five points behind Moose Jaw. . . . This was the first meeting between these teams since Jan. 9 when they competed a deal in which six players changed uniforms, F Giorgio Estephan and G Stuart Skinner going to the Broncos, with F Logan Barlage, F Owen Blocker, G Logan Flodell and D Matthew Stanley moving to Lethbridge. . . . Last night, the Hurricanes got out to a 4-0 lead, thanks to three PP goals. . . . D Igor Merezhko (5) got it started at 5:40 of the first period. Then came the three PP goals, from F Jordy Bellerive (34), at 17:55; D Tate Olson (2), at 3:27 of the second period; and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (6), at 16:02. . . . The Broncos got third-period goals from Estephan (24), at 1:21, and F Glenn Gawdin (41), at 16:25, before Lethbridge D Ty Prefontaine (4) got the empty-netter at 18:00. . . . F Brad Morrison and F Zane Franklin each had two assists for Lethbridge, with Merezhko and Olson adding one apiece. . . . Estephan also had an assist. . . . Lethbridge was 3-5 on the PP; Swift Current was 1-3. . . . Flodell earned the victory with 40 saves, nine more than Skinner. . . .  Announced attendance: 4,893.


At Cranbrook, B.C., F Kailer Yamamoto and F Jaret Anderson-Dolan totalled nine points to lead the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Spokane (27-19-5) has SpokaneChiefspoints in seven straight (5-0-2). It holds down the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of Seattle. The Chiefs also are fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind Tri-City. . . . Kootenay (23-25-3) had lost two in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The Chiefs scored the only goals of the third period, Anderson-Dolan (28) breaking a 3-3 tie, on a PP, at 3:55, and F Luke Toporowski (6) getting an empty-netter at 18:52. . . . F Peyton Krebs (14) gave the Ice a 1-0 lead at 1:41 of the first period, only to have D Ty Smith (8) pull Spokane even at 3:14. . . . Kootenay went back out front as D Martin Bodak (6) scored, on a PP, at 10:24. . . . F Jake McGrew (13) tied it at 14:30. . . . The Chiefs took their first lead on Yamamoto’s 10th goal, on a PP, at 11:55 of the second period. . . . The Ice pulled into a tie on F Colton Veloso’s 17th goal, at 16:11. . . . Yamamoto finished with a goal and four assists for his first career five-point game; Anderson-Dolan had a goal and three helpers, the fourth time in his career that he has had four points in a game. . . . Smith added two assists to his goal. . . . The Ice got two assists from F Colton Croeker and one from Bodak. . . . Spokane was 2-5 on the PP; Kootenay was 1-3. . . . G Dawson Weatherill stopped 14 shots for Spokane, 15 fewer than Kootenay’s Matt Berlin. . . . Yamamoto has points in 11 straight games. Over that stretch, he has nine goals and 18 assists. For the season, he has 36 points, including 26 assists, in 22 games. . . . Anderson-Dolan has 28 goals and 35 assists in 49 games. . . . Announced attendance: 2,290.


At Kelowna, the Everett Silvertips opened up a 3-0 lead with three PP goals and went on to a 3-2 victory over the Rockets. . . . Everett (33-17-3) moved into first place in the EverettWestern Conference, one point ahead of Kelowna (32-15-4), which had points in each of its previous five games (4-0-1). Kelowna leads the B.C. Division by two points over Victoria; the Rockets hold two games in hand. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (24) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 19:49 of the first period. Bajkov’s goal gave him 263 career points and the franchise record, one more than F Zach Hamill. . . . F Connor Dewar (28) made it 2-0 at 10:08 of the second period, and F Bryce Kindopp (15) upped it to 3-0 at 8:32. . . . F Kyle Topping (18), at 9:00 of the third period, and F Carsen Twarynski (33), at 18:34, scored for the Rockets. . . . Everett got two assists from D Kevin Davis, with Bajkov adding one. . . . F Kole Lind set up both Kelowna goals. . . . Everett was 3-5 on the PP; Kelowna was 0-3. . . . The Silvertips got 29 saves from G Carter Hart, while Brodan Salmon stopped 24 shots at the other end. . . . Hart now is 20-4-2, 1.55, .952. . . . Announced attendance: 5,230.


At Kennewick, Wash., the Tri-City Americans scored three times in the last five minutes of the third period and beat the Portland Winterhawks, 6-3. . . . Tri-City (27-16-7) has TriCity30points in seven straight (5-0-2). It is third in the U.S. Division, three points behind Portland. . . . Portland (30-18-4) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, five points behind Everett. . . . This game featured seven first-round NHL draft picks — F Kieffer Bellows, D Dennis Cholowski, F Cody Glass and D Henri Jokiharju of Portland, and D Jake Bean, F Michael Rasmussen and D Juuso Valimaki of Tri-City. They combined for five points. . . . F Jordan Topping’s 30th goal gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the first period. . . . The Winterhawks went ahead 2-1 on goals from F Reece Newkirk, at 16:06, and F Skyler McKenzie (39), on a PP, at 8:42 of the second period. . . . Goals from F Sasha Mutual (8), at 13:14, and F Isaac Johnson 915), at 18:48, gave the home team a 3-2 lead. . . . Newkirk, who has four goals, got his second of the game at 9:17 of the third period for a 3-3 tie. . . . Tri-City F Morgan Geekie (19) broke the tie at 15;36, and F Riley Sawchuk iced it with goals at 16:54 and 19:18, the last into an empty net. He’s got 10 goals. . . . Geekie and Johnson each had an assist. . . . Portland was 1-4 on the PP; Tri-City was 0-6. . . . The Americans got a big game from G Patrick Dea, who stopped 29 shots, 19 of them in the first period. . . . Portland G Cole Kehler made 23 stops. . . . Portland F Joachim Blichfeld missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 3,687.


At Victoria, F Noah Gregor scored in OT to give the Royals a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Victoria (31-18-4) is second in the B.C. Division, two points behind VictoriaRoyalsKelowna. . . . Medicine Hat (26-21-7) is 0-2-1 in three games in the B.C. Division. It leads the Central Division by five points over Lethbridge. . . . The Royals grabbed a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Matthew Phillips (36), at 6:28, and D Kade Jensen (4), at 7:37. . . . The Tigers tied it on two goals from F James Hamblin, who has 18 goals. He scored on a PP at 11:14 of the first period and at 6:28 of the second. . . . Medicine Hat took a 3-2 lead when D Kristians Rubins scored at 12:36. . . . The Royals tied it at 18:41 of the third period on F Tyler Soy’s 24th goal. . . . Gregor won it 51 seconds into OT with his 18th goal. . . . Soy also had two assists, with Jensen and Phillips adding one each. . . . D Dylan MacPherson had two assists for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-3 on the PP; Victoria was 0-2. . . . G Dean McNabb stopped 27 shots to record the victory. . . . The Tigers got 25 saves from Jordan Hollett. . . . Announced attendance: 6,055.


At Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-2. . . . Vancouver (27-16-8) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is third Vancouverin the B.C. Division, four points behind Victoria. . . . Calgary (15-30-6) is 0-4-0 on a BC. Division tour that continues tonight in Kamloops. . . . D Bowen Byram gave the home team a 1-0 lead at 6:43 of the first period, only to have Calgary take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Luke Coleman (12), at 7:19, and F Tristen Nielsen (10), at 8:03. . . . Vancouver F Ty Ronning scored the next two goals, at 5:35 and 10:10 of the second period, to give his guys a 3-2 lead. . . . Ronning has 46 goals this season; the franchise record (48) was set by F Evander Kane in 2008-09. . . . Byram (5) added a PP goal at 12:18. . . . F Brayden Watts had three assists for the Giants, with D Matt Barberis adding two, and Byram getting one. . . . Vancouver was 3-5 on the PP; Calgary was 0-8. . . . G Trent Miner, in his first WHL start, stopped 31 shots for the Giants. . . . Calgary got 36 stops from G Nick Schneider. . . . Announced attendance: 3,246.


SATURDAY (all times local):

Prince George at Moose Jaw, 7 p.m.

Prince Albert at Regina, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Swift Current vs. Kootenay, at Cranbrook, B.C., 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Tri-City at Portland, 6 p.m.

Calgary at Kamloops, 7 p.m.

Medicine Hat vs. Vancouver, at Langley, B.C., 7 p.m.

Kelowna at Everett, 7:05 p.m.

Victoria vs. Seattle, at Kent, Wash., 7:05 p.m.