WHL asks players to opt out of lawsuit. . . . Yes, Matvichuk wants to keep coaching. . . . Blades sign three 2019 draft picks

MacBeth

D Nick Ross (Regina, Kamloops, Vancouver, 2004-09) has signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). This season, with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had nine goals and 31 assists in 52 games. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Dalibor Bortňák (Kamloops, 2008-11) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Nitra (Slovakia, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and 21 assists in 54 games. . . .

F Parker Bowles (Tri-City, 2011-16) has signed a one-year contract with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Lillehammer (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had 20 goals and 25 assists in 48 games. . . .

F Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, 2002-06) has signed a two-year contract with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL). This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL), he had seven goals and 15 assists in 30 games. . . .

D Clint Filbrandt (Tri-City, Kootenay, 2012-14) has signed a one-year contract with DEAC Debrecen (Hungary, Erste Liga). This season, with U of Lethbridge (USports, Canada West), he had two goals and five assists in 25 games. . . .

F Calder Brooks (Calgary, Prince Albert, Spokane, 2011-15) has signed a one-year contract with Lyon (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with St. Mary’s U (USports, Atlantic University Sport), he had six goals and 15 assists in 29 games. He also had three goals and one assist in three games with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL). . . .

F Danis Zaripov (Swift Current, 1998-99) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL). This season, he had nine goals and 23 assists in 48 games. He was third on his team in points. . . .

F Milan Jurík (Prince Albert, 2006-07) has signed a one-year contract extension with Mulhouse (France, Ligue Magnus). An alternate captain, he had six goals and 17 assists in 42 games this season. . . .

F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) has signed a two-year contract extension with Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). This season, he had 17 goals and 16 assists in 47 games. He tied for the team lead in goals and points. . . .

F Marek Kalus (Spokane, Brandon, 2010-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Orli Znojmo (Czech Republic, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 30 assists in 50 games. He led the team in goals and points.


ThisThat

Rick Westhead, TSN’s senior correspondent, reported Tuesday that the WHL “is asking current and former players to opt out of a class-action minimum-wage lawsuit against the league, suggesting that the future of amateur sports in Canada is at risk. The WHL shared its message in an e-bulletin that was sent Tuesday by email to a distribution list that includes current and former players. The group email was obtained by TSN.” . . . Westhead’s complete story is right here.


It began with a report in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that had Richard Matvichuk, the former head coach of the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, as a candidate for the head-coaching position with the ECHL’s Komets.

Matvichuk wasn’t the favourite, reported Justin A. Cohn, but he was believed to be in the chase.

Then came a rumour that, no, Matvichuk didn’t want to coach, and that he would stay in Prince George and get involved with minor hockey.

Well, it turns out that Matvichuk, a 46-year-old native of Edmonton, isn’t through with coaching. At least, he hopes he isn’t.

As he told Taking Note: “Yes, I want to coach.”

And why shouldn’t he?

A defenceman, Matvichuk played three seasons (1989-92) with the Saskatoon Blades before going on to a professional career that included 796 regular-season NHL games and another 123 in the playoffs. His name is on the Stanley Cup (Dallas Stars, 1998-99).

His coaching career includes two seasons as assistant GM/assistant coach with the Texas-based Allen Americans, who then were in the CHL. He then spent two seasons (2014-16) as director of hockey operations and head coach of the ECHL’s Missouri Mavericks. He was the ECHL’s coach of the year in the second of those seasons.

Matvichuk brought that track record to the Cougars, and he guided them to first place in the B.C. Division with a franchise-record 45 victories in his first season. That marked the first time the franchise had won a WHL banner.

But the Cougars went all-in that season, then were upset in six games by the Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cougars spent the past two seasons trying to get back on track, as often happens to teams that try to seize the moment by going all-in.

General manager Mark Lamb, who was nearing the end of his first season with the Cougars, fired Matvichuk with 16 games remaining this season. Matvichuk’s three-year contract was to have expired following the season.

At the time, the Cougars were 16-30-6 and on an 11-game losing skid. Lamb stepped in as head coach and the slump reached a franchise-record 17 games before it finally ended. The Cougars went 3-11-2 under Lamb to finish at 19-41-8 and out of the playoffs.

During the season, the Cougars’ ownership, having surveyed the damage, reached the conclusion that it would never again go all-in, that the price to be paid just isn’t worth it because, as they found out, there aren’t any guarantees.

It also has to be pointed out that the Cougars’ 2018-19 season, at least in terms of grabbing a playoff spot, was done in by perhaps the worst stretch of scheduling in WHL history.

The Cougars were 11-14-3 in December when they headed into an absolutely bizarre 11-game road trip that was broken up by the Christmas break and included three separate treks into the U.S. Division.

Here’s a bit of what I wrote in February:
“If you’re wondering why things went south in Prince George this season, it may have had something to do with the schedule. As bad as 16-30-6 may sound now, the Cougars were 11-14-3 as they began an insane 11-game road trip that was interrupted by the Christmas break and included three separate jaunts into the U.S. Division. They went 3-8-0 on that trip, came home and beat Kelowna twice, and are 0-8-3 since those victories.

“Team management has since gone on the record as saying it will never again accept such goofy scheduling.”

The Cougars split with the visiting Victoria Royals on Dec. 1 and 2, then didn’t play at home again until Jan. 11 and 12 when they swept Kelowna.

It’s no wonder that Matvichuk doesn’t feel that he is done with coaching.


The WHL will have three of its coaches working benches during the U-17 World Hockey Challenge in November. . . . Michael Dyck, the head coach of the Vancouver Giants, has been named by Hockey Canada as head coach of Team Canada White. . . . Ryan Marsh, the associate coach with the Saskatoon Blades, will be an assistant coach alongside Dyck. . . . Steve O’Rourke, an assistant coach with the Prince George Cougars, is to be an assistant coach on Team Canada Red. . . . The tournament is to be held in Medicine Hat and Swift Current, Nov. 2-9.


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The Saskatoon Blades have signed three 2019 bantam draft selections to WHL contracts. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky, from Coquitlam, B.C., was taken in the first round, ninth overall. He is the eighth of the 22 first-round selections to sign a WHL contract. This season, Lisowsky had 61 goals and 48 assists in 53 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. . . . F Hayden Smith, from Kamloops, was selected in the second round. He had 24 goals and 23 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. . . . G Ethan Chadwick, from Saskatoon, was a third-round pick. He had a 2.83 GAA and a .920 save percentage in 22 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions.

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The Regina Pats have signed D Layton Feist to a WHL contract. Feist, from Coldstream, B.C., was selected in the first round, 17th overall, of the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. This season, he had eight goals and 14 assists in 20 games with the OMAHA (Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association) North Zone Kings. . . . His older brother, Tyson, is a defenceman with the Pats.

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The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Brayden Boehm to a WHL contract.  He was a second-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . From Nanaimo, he had 16 goals and 24 in 30 games with the Delta Hockey Academy’s prep green team this season.

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The Swift Current Broncos have signed F Caleb Wyrostok to a WHL contract. From Medicine Hat, he was a ninth-round selection by the Broncos in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Wyrostok, 16, played this season for the Northern Alberta X-Treme elite 15 team, putting up 20 goals and 15 assists in 30 games.


The MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders have signed Geoff Grimwood as their new general manager and head coach. Grimwood, from Victoria, spent 2018-19 as the GM and head coach of the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors. Prior to that, he was the GM and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers for three seasons.


Bob Beatty, a veteran junior A coach, has signed on with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons as an associate coach. For the past two seasons, Beatty has been the head coach of the bantam prep team at the Shawnigan Lake, B.C., School. In Fort McMurray, Beatty will be working alongside Dave Dupas, who is preparing for his first season as general manager and head coach.


Pierre-Paul Lamoureux is the new head coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force. A native of Grand Forks, N.D., he played three seasons (2004-07) with the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels and worked as their associate coach in 2016-17. Lamoureux was the Force’s associate head coach for the past two seasons. . . . Lamoureux, 31, will be the youngest head coach in the league. He takes over from Cary Eades, who stays on as general manager and president of hockey operations.


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Has Smith signed with Tigers? . . . Has Heward left Broncos? . . . Is Chynoweth no longer with Giants?

UPDATES to indicate that Ryan Smith is joining the Medicine Hat Tigers.


MacBeth

F Brendan Shinnimin (Tri-City, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with the Växjö Lakers (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had 14 goals and 20 assists in 48 games.


Scattershooting

A source familiar with the situation has told Taking Note that the Swift Current Broncos have lost another assistant coach. The source indicated on Sunday afternoon that Jamie SCBroncosHeward, a former NHL/WHL defenceman, is leaving the Broncos and “has signed with another team out west.”

The source didn’t indicate the team Heward would be joining. However, Steve Ewen of Postmedia indicated earlier that the Vancouver Giants had been talking with Heward about joining their coaching staff to work alongside Mike Dyck, who is preparing for his first season as their head coach. Dyck and Heward were teammates with the Regina Pats during their playing days.

Meanwhile, Dean Chynoweth, the Giants’ associate coach last season, no longer is shown on the Vancouver website. It would seem, then, that his association with the Giants is over after one season.

Heward had been with the Broncos through six seasons. He also served as their director of player development.

The same source told Taking Note that Ryan Smith also has signed with a new team. Smith, who had been the Broncos’ associate coach for three seasons, left the organization last week, about the same time that the entire scouting staff resigned. A different source, also familiar with the situation. told Taking Note late Sunday night that Smith will be joining the Medicine Hat Tigers. They have had an opening for an assistant coach since June 22 when they promoted assistant coach Bobby Fox to director of player personnel, to replace the departed Carter Sears. Fox had been an assistant coach for two seasons.

All of these moves in Swift Current, along with the departure of Jamie Porter, who had been with the Broncos since 2003, most recently as director of hockey operations, follow the hiring of Dean Brockman as director of hockey operations and head coach.

A number of teams, including the Everett Silvertips, are believed to be looking for assistant coaches. Taking Note was told last week that the Silvertips were close to making an announcement. They have room on their staff because Mitch Love left to sign on as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades.

As well, the Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans have yet to announce their new head coaches.



Doug Paisley has taken over as head coach of the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes, replacing Michael Dyck, now the head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. . . . The Hurricanes won the Alberta Midget Hockey League championship last season. . . . Paisley also is the president of the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are community-owned. . . . Paisley had been the head coach of the bantam AAA Lethbridge Val Matteotti Golden Hawks. . . . Ryan Aasman will be one of Paisley’s assistant coach. Aasman split 166 regular-season WHL games between the Prince Albert Raiders, Seattle Thunderbirds, Medicine Hat Tigers and Edmonton Oil Kings (2007-12).


Headline at Fark.com: ESPN ditches its comments sections, unfairly silencing thousands of morons.


“Serena Williams made her 10th final at Wimbledon — just her fourth tournament since returning from maternity leave,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Face it, the lady knows how to deliver.”


One more from Currie: “Reuters reports a 46-year-old armless man was charged in Florida for stabbing another man with scissors — using his feet. His lawyer plans on using the ‘no arm, no foul’ defence.”


Ron Delorme, who has been part of the Vancouver Canucks’ scouting department since 1986, was one of those inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this month. A hard-nosed forward when he played, Delorme split 154 regular-season WCHL games between the Swift Current/Lethbridge Broncos (1973-76). But there’s a whole lot more to Delorme than what you can find at eliteprospects.com. Ed Willes of Postmedia covers that right here.


If you’re an NFL fan, you will be aware that Peter King has left Sports Illustrated and joined the staff at NBC Sports. His first column at his new home — the column now is called Football Morning in America — was posted early this morning. As always, it’s a must read — even if just for Aaron Rodgers’ comments after he went eye-to-eye with a shark off the coast of San Diego — and it’s all right here.


“England not only lost 2-1 to Croatia in the semifinals,” notes Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “but the team was fined $70,000 for wearing ‘unauthorized socks.’ Since when has Roger Goodell been in charge of the World Cup?


Here’s Perry, again: “Jim Brandstatter, the Detroit Lions’ color commentator during the team’s 1-9 playoff showing the past 31 seasons, has been sacked by the team. Well, now that they’ve fixed that problem . . . on to the Super Bowl!”



After Joey Chestnut posted his 11th victory in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contest, Janice Hough (LeftCoastSportsBabe.com) noted: “So who needs the World Cup when we still have American supremacy in eating?”


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