Thunderbirds pay steep price for defender . . . Give up three players, six picks . . . Lee helps Tigers past Wheat Kings

The Seattle Thunderbirds reached the WHL’s championship final last spring.

Even though they didn’t win, losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games, it Seattlewould seem that the Thunderbirds liked it there . . . and that they badly want another taste.

If there was any doubt, they erased it on Wednesday by sending nine assets — yes, NINE! — to the Prince Albert Raiders in exchange for D Nolan Allan, a first-round NHL draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks, and F Reese Shaw, a 17-year-old who is playing in New Mexico.

The Thunderbirds gave up F Brayden Dube, 17, D Easton Kovacs, 18, and F Gabe Ludwig, 18, along with six WHL draft picks — a first-rounder in 2023 that originated with the Kelowna Rockets; first- and third-rounders in 2024, a sixth in 2025, a second in 2026 and a conditional sixth in 2026.

This trade came three weeks after Seattle acquired D Luke Prokop, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for first- and third-round picks in the WHL’s 2025 draft and a third-round in 2023. He was a third-round pick by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2020 draft.

Seattle’s defence also includes Kevin Korchinski, 18, of Saskatoon, who was selected by Chicago with the seventh overall pick of the NHL’s 2022 draft. He has three goals and 18 assists in 14 games this season, after putting up 65 points, including 61 assists, in 2021-22.

Allan, who also is from Saskatoon, was the Raiders’ captain. He has four goals and seven assists this season. In 2021-22, he finished with seven goals and 34 assists in 65 games. In 162 career games, he had 14 goals and 49 assists.

“He’s a tough, stay-at-home defenceman,” one WHL insider, who has seen Allan regularly over the last while, told Taking Note, “but it’s a giant price.”

Shaw, from Coon Rapids, Minn., is playing with the NAHL’s New Mexico Ice Wolves in Albuquerque. The Raiders selected him in the ninth round of the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Dube, from Roblin, Man., has two goals and two assists in 14 games as a freshman. Last season, he had 24 goals and 22 assists in 49 regular-season games with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings.

The 6-foot-4 Kovacs is from Delta, B.C. He began his WHL career with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who dealt him to Seattle over the summer. He has one assist in 10 games this season.

Ludwig, from Eagle River, Alaska, has three goals and two assists in 15 games this season. In 93 games over three seasons, he has nine goals and 15 assists.

The Thunderbirds are 12-3-1, with points in three straight (2-0-1). They are five points behind the U.S. Division-leading Portland Winterhawks (14-1-2). The Everett Silvertips (12-6-0) are one point behind Seattle.

Portland has beaten Seattle in both meetings to date, winning 5-1 at home on Nov. 4 and 5-3 in Kent, Wash., one night later.

The Thunderbirds next are scheduled to play on Saturday against visiting Everett.

The Thunderbirds and Winterhawks next will meet on Nov. 25 in Kent and Nov. 30 in Portland.

The Raiders (7-12-2) have won two in a row. They are tied for ninth in the 12-team Eastern Conference.

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THINKING OUT LOUD — So if Nolan Allan, a rock-solid defender, is worth three players and six draft picks, how much would it take to pry F Connor Bedard away from the Regina Pats. There apparently isn’t any truth to the rumour that the Kamloops Blazers are thinking about offering up a package that includes a couple of Sandman Hotel and Suites. . . . Remember when WHL insiders and followers would snicker and giggle when teams in the OHL or QMJHL made what seemed like bizarre deals loaded with draft picks. Well, there’ll be no more of that after Tuesday’s Seattle-Prince Albert deal. . . . There is often a price to be paid for pushing all of your chips into the middle of the table. . . . The Saskatoon Blades were the host team for the 2013 Memorial Cup tournament. They spent some assets in an attempt to load up. They went 16-51-5 in 2013-14. . . . The Regina Pats, the host team in 2018, went 19-45-4 the following season. . . . The Swift Current Broncos, who won the WHL championship in 2018, were 11-51-6 the next season. . . . Of course, if you check the previous season’s standings, you will discover that the reloading often takes a lot longer than one season. . . . I will close out this day by watching a couple of episodes of Hogan’s Heroes, in memory of Robert Clary, who died Wednesday at 96. Thanks for the laughs, Louis LeBeau.


Sub


WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

F Brendan Lee scored twice and set up another as the host Medicine Hat Tigers MedicineHatdumped the Brandon Wheat Kings, 6-1. . . . The Tigers (6-9-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They have won two straight for the first time this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (7-12-2) have lost three in a row and nine of 10. . . . Lee, who has 10 goals, gave his guys a 2-0 lead, on a PP, at 11:39 of the first period, and then made it 3-1 at 7:16 of the second. . . . F Oasiz Wiesblatt helped out with three assists. . . . The Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the third period and promptly scored three times in 75 seconds to take complete control. . . . Medicine Hat held a 37-19 shot advantage, including 15-2 in the second period.


If Saskatoon is to get a new arena, it will be built in the downtown area, just Saskatoonnorth of the Midtown shopping mall. Saskatoon City Council voted unanimously to approve that site on Tuesday. . . . Bryn Levy of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix wrote: “City director of technical services Dan Willems told council Wednesday’s decision ‘opens the door’ for more detailed funding and design proposals before a final council vote on whether to proceed with a project.” . . . The SaskTel Centre, the home of the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, has been open since Feb. 9, 1988. . . . Levy’s story is right here.


Aussie


If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

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Or, for more information, visit right here.


Crash

Ice in command going home . . . Oil Kings eliminate host Rebels . . . Milic, Svejkovsky lead Thunderbirds in road victory

And then there were seven. . . . Yes, what once was a field of 16 WHL playoff teams is down to seven following the departure of the Red Deer Rebels on WHLplayoffs2022Wednesday night. The Edmonton Oil Kings now are 8-0 in these playoffs after completing a sweep of the Rebels with a 4-2 victory in Red Deer last night. . . . The Oil Kings await the winner of the other Eastern Conference semifinal in which the Winnipeg Ice holds a 3-1 lead over the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

In the Western Conference, the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds scored a 5-0 victory over the No. 3 Winterhawks in Portland. The Winterhawks hold a 2-1 lead in the semifinal with the next game in Kent, Wash., on Friday. . . .

There is one game scheduled for tonight and it features the other Western Conference semifinal with the No. 2 Kamloops Blazers, holding a 2-1 edge, facing the No. 8 Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. The host Giants won, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

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WEDNESDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference

WinnipegIceIn Moose Jaw, the No. 1 Winnipeg Ice rode three second-period goals to a 5-3 victory over the No. 4 Warriors. . . . The Ice holds a 3-1 edge in the conference semifinal. They’ll play Game 5 in Winnipeg on Friday night. . . . F Mikey Milne (8) got Winnipeg started at 16:28 of the first period, only to have F Jagger Firkus (5) tie it at 18:57. . . . The Ice took a 3-1 lead on two quick goals early in the second period, as F Jack Finley (6), at 6:45, and F Owen Pederson (5), on a PP, at 7:20, found the range. . . .Firkus (6), who also had an assist, cut into that lead, on a PP, at 13:09, but F Matt Savoie (4) got that one back just 29 seconds later. . . . F Cole Muir (1) stretched Winnipeg’s lead to 5-2 at 3:55 of the third period. . . . Moose Jaw D Majid Kaddoura (2) rounded out the scoring at 11:22. . . . Finley has goals in five straight games during which time he has totalled six goals and four assists. . . . F Ryder Korczak had three assists for Moose Jaw. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 30 shots for the Ice, four more than Moose Jaw’s Jackson Unger. . . . The Warriors were without F Robert Baco, who was hit with a TBD suspension after taking a charging major and game misconduct in Game 3. . . .

EdmontonIn Red Deer, the No. 2 Edmonton Oil Kings unleashed a 51-shot attack as they beat the No. 3 Rebels to complete a sweep of their conference semifinal. . . . The Oil Kings, who led 1-0 after the first period, took control with two goals 31 seconds apart in the first minute of the second. . . . F Jalen Luypen (3) had scored at 15:51 of the first period. Then F Dylan Guenther (8), scored eight seconds into the second and F Carter Souch (5) made it 3-0 at 0:39. . . . F Jhett Larson (3) pulled the Rebels to within two at 8:20, but Guenther (9) stretched the lead to three at 18:34. . . . D Blake Gustafson (2) got a shorthanded score for the Rebels at 13:47 of the third period. . . . Guenther also had an assist for a three-point outing. He’s got 12 points in eight playoff games. . . . The Oil Kings held a 42-10 edge in shots through two periods. . . . G Sebastian Cossa turned aside 14 shots for Edmonton. In these playoffs, he is 8-0, 1.48, .932. . . . The Rebels got 47 stops from G Connor Ungar.

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Western Conference

SeattleIn Portland, F Lukas Svejkovsky scored once and added three assists, and G Thomas Milic turned aside 28 shots, leading the No. 4 Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-0 victory over the Winterhawks. . . . This was the Winterhawks’ first loss in seven playoff games this spring. . . . Portland holds a 2-1 lead in the conference semifinal. This series is following a 1-2-1-1-1-1 format. They return to Kent, Wash., for Game 4 on Friday. . . . F Jared Davidson (5) gave Seattle a 1-0 lead at 6:14 of the first period, the third time in three games that the Thunderbirds opened the scoring. . . . Svejkovsky (5) scored at 5:29 of the second period, and F Conner Roulette (1), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 7:29 of the third. . . . Seattle added two empty-netters, from Davidson (6), who also had an assist, and F Lucas Ciona (5). . . . Milic, who had three shutouts in the regular-season, posted his second of these playoffs. He is 5-3, 1.82, .929. . . . Seattle was 1-for-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-for-3. . . .

As an interesting aside to this series, it seems that Dan Leckelt, one of the Thunderbirds’ owners, wasn’t enthralled with the officiating in Game 1, a 4-2 victory by visiting Portland, on Friday night.

He retweeted a tweet by a fan that read: “The reffing in this game has been disgusting. Our boys have been absolutely molested with no calls, yet they (bleeping) call a soft penalty on us in a tied game with 4 (bleeping) minutes left. #whlrefssuck”

Portland D Clay Hanus broke a 2-2 tie on a PP at 16:21 of the third period.

Leckelt later tweeted: “Development leagues need to develop more than players.” He may or may not have been referring to the WHL. What do you think?


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: F Riley Kidney scored at 16:14 of the third OT period to give the Acadie-Bathurst Titan a 4-3 victory over the host Halifax Mooseheads on Wednesday night. It was the third-longest game in QMJHL history. . . . The Titan held a 72-46 edge in shots. . . . Halifax won the first two games of the best-of-five series on the road, but now has lost twice at home. The deciding game is scheduled for tonight in Bathurst, N.B. . . .

Tim Speltz, the former long-time general manager and governor of the Spokane Chiefs, is the latest recipient of the WHL’s Governors Award. According to the WHL, this is the “highest honour” that it “bestows on an individual who has been associated with the league.” . . . Speltz was the Chiefs’ GM for 26 years before leaving the join the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs as director of western area scouting in 2016. He was promoted to head of amateur scouting in 2018 and filled the role for three years. He now is the general manager of the Henderson Silver Knights, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. . . .

Brett Smith announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he has left the Prince Albert Raiders. The team’s manager of communications and community relations, Smith had been with the Raiders for six years. . . .

The Dauphin Kings won the Turnbull Cup as champions of the MJHL on Wednesday night, scoring a 2-1 victory over the host Steinbach Pistons in Game 7 of the final series. F Brayden Dube broke a 1-1 tie at 11:33 of the third period. . . . Dube, 16, is from Roblin, Man. He was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2020 draft and has signed with them. . . . The Kings, who last won the MJHL title in 2010, will represent the league at the Centennial Cup tournament that opens next week in Estevan, Sask. . . .

Rylan Ferster is the new general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies. The team announced on Twitter earlier this week that Craig Didmon wouldn’t be back after 12 years with the organization. His contract expired and wasn’t renewed. . . . Ferster, who has spent the past two seasons working with the Philadelphia Hockey Club, previously has coached in Victoria. He spent two seasons (2004-06) as head coach of the BCHL’s Salsa and, after a regime change, spent 2006-07 as the Grizzlies’ head coach.


Stupid


From The New York Times: Bill Gates, who has donated millions to pandemic relief efforts, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in the world of MLB, the Cleveland Guardians were to have played against the host Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. But the virus had other ideas. From MLB: “Following multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Guardians organization, their game vs. the White Sox has been postponed to allow for continued testing and contact tracing.”


Virus



My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.

——

If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Stove

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