Here’s your chance to join Team Dorothy . . . Blades blank Bedard in front of another full house . . . Tigers, Broncos have playoff spot on line tonight

It’s that time of year again. Yes, the 2023 Kamloops Kidney Walk is almost upon us.

This year, we’re back to walking outdoors, and we’ll be hitting the trail at McDonald Park on June 4.

My wife, Dorothy, who in September will celebrate 10 years as a transplant recipient, is once again taking part. And, yes, she is fund-raising and would love for you to be part of her team.

If you are so inclined, you may make a donation right here. Thank you so much, in advance.

THE BEDARD REPORT: F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats was rather quiet on Friday night as his guys dropped a 3-2 decision to the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Bedard, who had put up 17 points, including nine goals, in his previous four games, was blanked by the Blades for the fifth time in 56 games this season. . . . He still leads the WHL in goals (70), assists (72) and points (142). . . . Bedard has one game remaining in the regular season. He and the Pats will entertain the Prince Albert Raiders tonight.


What kind of an impact did F Connor Bedard and his Regina Pats have on the Saskatoon Blades’ final regular-season attendance figures this season? . . . Well, let us take a quick look. . . . The Travellin’ Bedards visited the Pats twice this week — putting 14,768 fans into the SaskTel Centre on Sunday and again on Friday night. Prior to those two dates, the Blades’ average attendance was 3,865. Afterwards, the number was 4,506. . . . The Blades drew 153,214 fans to 34 games. Last season, those numbers were 114,586 and 3,370. . . . This season’s average attendance, then, is up 1,136 over last season. . . . And that’s with the playoffs — yes, the Travellin’ Bedards will be playing the Blades in the first round — to come. . . . BTW, this season’s average attendance in Saskatoon is the highest it’s been since 2012-13, a season in which the Blades were the host team for the Memorial Cup tournament. That season, the Blades drew 217,447 fans to 36 games, an average of 6,040. . . . BTW, had the Blades paid Bedard 25 cents per seat filled for the Sunday and Friday games, he would have put $7,384 in his hockey bag.


I saw this photo on Facebook this week, along with this note: “I saw this car at the lights today — I think we all need to share share share — hope he finds a donor.”

The car belongs to Vic Morin, who is a friend through the Kamloops Kidney Support Group. His wife, Colleen Bruce, commented on the photo: “Thank you for taking the time and posting your picture. It is my husband that needs the kidney very desperately.”

And that is the absolute truth. So, please, “share share share” and also consider sharing a kidney.

If you are interested in at least checking out what is involved in donating a kidney, there is more info further down on this post.


Dan Tencer, the Saskatoon Blades’ director of scouting, escaped a serious car accident with only minor injuries on Wednesday night, according to Colin Priestner, the WHL team’s president and general manager.

Tencer, who is resting at home in Edmonton, was on a scouting assignment en route to a tournament when the accident occurred on Highway No. 2 in Alberta.

“Despite being hit at 120 km/h, he was pulled from the vehicle by a Good Samaritan with only minor bruises and cuts . . . a total miracle,” Priestner tweeted.

Both vehicles — Tencer’s truck and a car — were destroyed. The other driver apparently wasn’t injured, either.

“Let’s all send him our best wishes, and I know he’ll be back in the rinks before you know it because he loves it so much. He even asked me (Wednesday) night, in total shock, who was winning the Edmonton Oilers game.”

Priestner also took time to give a “shout out to all the amazing scouts who live on the road for the love of the game, their clubs and these kids trying to make it one day.”

He added: “We probably don’t tell you enough how much we appreciate what you do and the risks you take in these Canadian winters for us.”

If the WHL playoffs started today (x-locked in):


Winnipeg (1) vs. Medicine Hat (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Calgary (7)

x-Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

x-Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



x-Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

x-Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

x-Portland (3) vs. Everett (6)

x-Prince George (4) vs. Tri-City (5)

(NOTE:There are excellent playoff previews available on the WHL’s website.)



F Zach Ostapchuk’s shootout goal gave the Winnipeg Ice a 3-2 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Dawson Pasternak (15) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 13:49 of the third period, but F Briley Wood (2) got Winnipeg back into a tie just five seconds later. . . . Winnipeg (56-10-1) will win the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy for finishing atop the overall standings for a second straight season. That means the Ice will have home-ice advantage for as long as its playoff run goes. . . . Brandon (26-32-9) has lost five in a row (0-4-1) and won’t be in the playoffs. . . . These two teams will finish their regular-season schedules tonight in Winnipeg. . . .

F Trevor Wong broke a 2-2 tie at 11:10 of the third period as the Saskatoon Blades got past the visiting Regina Pats, 3-2. . . . Wong won it with his 25th goal of the season. . . . F Brandon Lisowsky (37) gave Saskatoon a 2-0 lead with goals at 17:53 of the first period and 5:19 of the second. . . . The Pats got third-period goals from F Tanner Howe (35), shorthanded, and F Sam Oremba (10). . . . Saskatoon (47-15-5) will be the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed when the playoffs open and will face No. 6 Regina (34-29-4). . . . The Blades won the season series, 4-2-0. . . . They will open with two games in Saskatoon, on March 31 and April 2. . . .

F Jagger Firkus scored twice to help the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Raiders came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game with three PP goals, two of them from F Sloan Stanick (28). . . . F Ryder Korczak (28) broke the tie at 16:27 of the third period and Firkus added insurance with his 40th goal at 17:42, via the PP. . . . Moose Jaw (41-23-3) will finish fourth in the Eastern Conference and face No. 5 Lethbridge in the first round. The Warriors won the season series with the Hurricanes, 3-1-0. . . . Prince Albert (27-37-3) has lost three in a row. . . .

The Lethbridge Hurricanes built a 5-1 lead and hung on for a 6-4 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Tristen Doyle (4) gave the Hurricanes that 5-1 lead at 2:23 of the second period. . . . The Rebels got to within a goal, at 5-4, with third-period goals from F Talon Brigley (4), at 7:38, F Craig Armstrong (11), at 13:48, and F Jace Isley (30), at 14:12. . . . Lethbridge D Joe Arntsen (7) iced it with the empty-netter. . . . Earlier, Red Deer F Kai Uchacz scored his 50th goal of the season. . . . The winners got four assists from F Brayden Edwards. . . . Lethbridge (36-25-6) clinched fifth in the Eastern Conference and will meet No. 4 Moose Jaw in the first round. The Hurricanes and Warriors haven’t met in the playoffs since 1997. . . . Red Deer (42-19-6) will be the No. 2 seed but doesn’t yet know it will be playing Medicine Hat or Swift Current. . . . The Rebels and Hurricanes will meet again tonight, this time in Red Deer. . . .

The Swift Current Broncos kept alive their playoff hopes with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Caleb Wyrostok (24) scored twice, the second one coming on a shorthanded penalty shot at 12:16 of the third period for a 3-0 lead. . . . The Broncos ended up with three unassisted goals. . . . F Gavin McKenna (4) scored for the Tigers at 13:40 of the third. . . . Swift Current (31-32-4) has won three in a row. . . . Medicine Hat (29-29-9) had won its previous game. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. The Broncos go into the game in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one points behind the Tigers. . . .

D Kevin Korchinski scored twice and added two assists to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 7-3 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland. . . . Korchinksi, who has 11 goals, figured in each of Seattle’s first four goals as it took a 4-1 lead in the second period. This was his third four-pointer of the season. Korchinski has 73 points, 62 of them assists, in 54 games. In his career, he now has 148 points in 145 games. . . . F Reid Schaefer (28) had a goal and two assists for Seattle. . . . F Brad Lambert scored his 17th goal. He’s got 38 points in 26 games with Seattle. . . . Seattle was 3-for-5 on the PP and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. . . . Kyle Gustafson, Portland’s associate coach, ran the bench with GM/head coach Mike Johnston away at a family wedding. . . . Seattle (54-10-3) will finish atop the Western Conference and meet up with Kelowna in the first round. . . . Portland (39-20-8) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Thunderbirds and Winterhawks will wrap up their regular seasons tonight in Kent, Wash. . . .

F Carlin Dezainde scored once and added two assists to help the Prince George Cougars to a 7-2 victory over the Blazers in Kamloops. . . . After F Connor Levis (27) opened the scoring for the Blazers at 1:43 of the first period, the Cougars scored six straight goals. . . . F Zac Funk scored his 26th goal of the season for Prince George. He’s got eight goals over his past eight games. . . . Prince George (36-24-7) has points in 10 straight (7-0-3). . . . Kamloops (48-13-6) has lost two in a row. . . . These two will wrap up their regular seasons tonight in Prince George. . . .

F Teague Patton scored twice and added an assist as the Victoria Royals skated out of Everett with a 6-4victory over the Silvertips. . . . The Royals opened a 3-0 lead, and the Silvertips cut it to 3-2. That’s when Patton, who has 16 goals, scored at 13:52 of the second period and 4:38 of the third. . . . F Jackson Berezowski, who also had an assist, scored three times for Everett, giving him 47 this season. That equals the single-season franchise record that was set by F Josh Winquist (2013-14). . . . Everett also got a goal (17) and three assists from F Raphael Pelletier, with F Jesse Heslop adding three assists. . . . Victoria (17-43-7) has won two in a row. . . . Everett (32-32-3) has lost two in a row. . . . These teams will meet again tonight, this time in Victoria. . . . The Royals are likely to be without F Reggie Newman, who left at 5:03 of the third period with a headshot major and game misconduct. . . .

F Reese Belton and F Jalen Luypen each scored three times for their first WHL hat tricks as the Tri-City Americans skated to a 7-4 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City broke a 3-3 tie with four third-period goals — two from Luypen, who has 18 goals, and two from F Reese Belton, who also has 18. . . . Belton also had two assists, with Luypen getting one. . . . F Carter Streek scored twice for the Chiefs. He’s got — you guess it! — 18 goals this season. . . . Tri-City (33-26-8) has points in six straight (5-0-1) as it prepares to meet Prince George in the first round. . . . Spokane (15-43-9) won’t be in the playoffs this time around. . . . The Americans and Chiefs will finish up tonight in Spokane. . . .

F Samuel Honzek scored twice, including the winner, as the Vancouver Giants got past the Kelowna Rockets, 3-2, in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants overcame a 2-0 deficit with Honzek equalizing at 4:44 of the third period and then winning it with 0.5 showing on the clock. He’s got 23 goals. . . . F Kayden Longley had given the Rockets a 2-1 edge with his first WHL goal at 11:52 of the second period. Longley, a 13th-round selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, scored in his seventh game. . . . The Rockets lost F Ty Hurley to a charging major and game misconduct at 6:28 of the third period. . . . Vancouver (28-31-8) has won two in a row. . . . Kelowna (26-37-4) has lost four straight (0-3-1). . . . The Giants and Rockets will end their regular seasons tonight in Kelowna.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The 2024 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is to be played in Moncton on Jan. 24. This will be only the second time that the game will be played in Atlantic Canada (Halifax, 2013). . . .

Dave Liffiton has signed on as interim head coach of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. He will be working alongside associate coach Bob Beatty and assistant coach Tyler Gow. . . . Colin Birkas, the Clippers’ general manager and head coach, was suspended on March 17 while, according to the team, “a third-party investigation into complaints filed under Hockey Canada’s discipline and complaints policy” is undertaken. Beatty and Gow were running things until Liffiton was brought on board. . . . You may recall that Liffiton joined the Clippers as an assistant coach prior to the 2022 playoffs after then-head coach Darren Naylor and Birkas were suspended pending an investigation for alleged violations of the BCHL’s code of conduct. Birkas was reinstated, however, and coached during the playoffs. Naylor never did return, nor were results of the investigation ever released to the public. . . . The MJHL’s OCN Blizzard signed Naylor as GM/head coach in July, but he wasn’t reinstated from his suspension. So the Blizzard ended up hiring Doug Johnson, longtime GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, as head coach and assistant GM.

THINKING OUT LOUD: Hey, Regina, Friday was one of the big days of your year. Yes, it was opening day at the Milky Way. Enjoy! . . . So two of the Staal brothers chose not to wear Pride Night sweaters for the Florida Panthers’ pregame warmup on Thursday night. And then photographic evidence was found showing Eric wearing one with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2020-21 season. Whoops! Especially when he earlier had said: “I haven’t before. I never have . . . I haven’t worn a pride jersey before.” Double whoops! . . . Once again, the NHL proves that not everyone is welcome in its world. . . . Hey, Sportsnet, Friday night without NHL hockey on any of your channels. What’s up with that? . . . Hey, TSN, you and the WHL missed the boat by not taking the Regina Pats and Saskatoon Blades playing in front of a full house and putting them on one of your channels on Friday night. Yes, I know they were available on something called TSN+, but I already pay for half-a-dozen of your channels and that’s about four too many on most nights.

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



WHL, Ice not taking questions . . . Why Winnipeg, but not Nanaimo? . . . Bedard now 50-50–100 but Pats lose

Earlier this week, Paul Friesen, a sports columnist with the Winnipeg Sun, wrote about how and why the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice might be on its last legs in the Manitoba capital.

Well . . . he had another column on Friday, this one digging a little more into WinnipegIcewhether the Ice ownership will be building an arena in the Rural Municipality of Macdonald.

The key points, at least from where I sit, are these:

1. On the subject of that possible construction project, Reeve Randy Erb said: “I haven’t heard a darn thing about it.”

2. “On Friday,” Friesen wrote, “team brass again wouldn’t take questions, choosing instead to issue a statement saying they’ve made some progress with the RM regarding development of their parcel of land, but making no mention of a new arena.”

3. “A request for follow-up questions was denied,” Friesen wrote.

4. Friesen added “the league also won’t take questions . . .”

There certainly seem to be a lot of folks not wanting to answer questions, isn’t there? Why is that?

Gee, I wonder what the folks of Cranbrook are thinking about now? And, yes, the hockey fans in Chilliwack, too.

Friesen’s complete column is right here and, again, it’s well worth a read.


The Victoria Royals began life as the Chilliwack Bruins, as I’m sure you will remember, but after a sale left for Vancouver Island following the 2010-11 season.

At the time, the WHL desperately wanted into Victoria and felt it had to act before the AHL got there, perhaps by having the Manitoba Moose relocate from Winnipeg.

You also may recall that Victoria had been home to the ECHL’s Salmon Kings until the franchise folded after that 2010-11 season.

Thus, the WHL hustled to get into Victoria.

And once it was there its pooh-bahs realized that it would be terrific if there WHLwas a second team on Vancouver Island. After all, it was turning out to be rather costly to ride a ferry there and back from the mainland to, in most instances, play one game. The logical place for another team would be Nanaimo, which had a population of about 90,500 in 2016. (That population grew to around 103,500 by 2022.)

The problem with Nanaimo, at least in the eyes of the WHL, was that it didn’t like the arena. The Frank Crane Arena, with its 2,400 seats, opened on Jan. 3, 1976. It is the home of the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers. For one season (1982-83), it had been home to a WHL franchise — the Nanaimo Islanders. (In 1981-82, the Islanders had been the Billings Bighorns; in 1983-84, they would be the New Westminster Bruins. Today, they are the Tri-City Americans.)

The Clippers’ lease was to end after the 2016-17 season, and a WHL franchise in Nanaimo would have led to that franchise’s demise.

All of this led to reports like this one, from CTV News on March 7, 2017:

“The Western Hockey League has raised the stakes in Nanaimo’s event centre debate.

“The league vowed Monday to bring a WHL club to the Harbour City if residents vote ‘yes’ this weekend on the proposed sports and entertainment complex, which could cost taxpayers close to $80-million.

“It’s the first time the WHL has outright committed to bringing a franchise to Nanaimo.”

Furthermore, the WHL said in a statement that a memorandum of understanding was in place between it and the City of Nanaimo, that a ‘yes’ vote would result in a team playing out of Nanaimo in time for the 2017-18 season and that there would be a 20-year lease in place if the new facility met WHL standards.

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement: “The WHL remains fully committed to delivering a WHL franchise to Nanaimo, either through relocation or expansion, and will move forward to obtain the necessary final approvals should the residents of the City of Nanaimo vote in favour of a new events centre.”

On March 11, the day of the referendum, CBC reported that Jeff Chynoweth, then the general manager of the Cranbrook-based Kootenay Ice, had confirmed that a move by his team to Nanaimo “is under discussion.”

And so it was that Nanaimo voters went to the polls to vote on whether to borrow $80 million to build an events centre that would seat 5,700 for hockey and 7,100 for concerts.

The outcome was never in doubt. Voter turnout was 35.3 per cent, higher than the 2014 general election (34.1). All told, 23,885 ballots were cast and 80.3 per cent of those voted against borrowing the money.

About a month after the referendum, Chynoweth and his family sold the Ice to Greg Fettes, a Winnipeg businessman, and Matt Cockell, a former WHL goaltender who had been working with True North Sports + Entertainment, which owns the NHL’s Winnpeg Jets.

The Ice played two more seasons in Cranbrook but it became evident early that the franchise’s days there were numbered.

Indeed, on Jan. 29, 2019, the WHL confirmed hockey’s worst-kept secret — the Ice would relocate to Winnipeg after the 2018-19 season.

It didn’t seem to matter to the WHL that there wasn’t a suitable arena available in which the Ice could play its home games. It didn’t matter, perhaps, because Fettes was promising to build a 4,700-seat arena for his team.

So . . . here we are with the 2022-23 WHL regular season heading into the home stretch. The Ice is playing its third season in Winnipeg; it would be four but the abbreviated 2020-21 season ended up being played in a Regina bubble because of the pandemic.

And where does the Ice play its home games?

In Wayne Fleming Arena, on the campus of the University of Manitoba, a facility that also is home to Canada West’s U of Manitoba Bisons. It opened in 1981, about five years after Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo. The Ice’s home seats about 1,600, and there have been improvements made over the past couple of years, with, among other things, a new ice plant having been installed in 2021.

As for Fettes’s promise to build a new arena. Well, there has yet to be even one shovel hit the ground. And now there are rumblings about the WHL possibly taking over the franchise . . . and perhaps having fined the Ice $500,000 for reneging on the arena promise, something the WHL and Ice both have denied . . . and a Paul Friesen column in the Winnipeg Sun this week detailed how it is that the Ice may be on its last legs in Winnipeg.

So . . . out of all this . . . can anyone explain why the WHL didn’t just move a team to Nanaimo and have it play in a 2,400-seat arena while waiting for someone to build a new facility.

No, the Frank Crane Arena doesn’t meet WHL standards, but neither does the Wayne Fleming Arena.

That didn’t seem to matter when putting a team into Winnipeg, so why was it a big deal when it came to Nanaimo?

You are free to play “What if . . .?”


Tim McCarver, who made his name as an MLB catcher before becoming a prominent TV analyst, died on Thursday at the age of 81. . . . As Joe Posnanski points out, McCarver had one moment that stood out among all the rest. It was Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Diamondbacks versus Yankees. Luis Gonzales against Mariano Rivera. Bottom of the ninth. 2-2. One out. Bases loaded.

Posnanski writes:

“Here’s what (McCarver) said while Gonzalez dug into the box and Rivera took the ball and readied for the next pitch. . . .

“ ‘The one problem is Rivera throws inside to lefthanders, so lefthanders get a lot of broken bat hits into . . . the shallow part of the outfield. That’s the danger of bringing the infield in with a guy like Rivera on the mound.’

“On the next pitch, Gonzalez hit a broken bat single over the drawn-in infield. The ball landed in the shallow outfield.

“Incredible. That might have been the greatest broadcasting prophecy in any sport.

“And, funny, you never really hear people talk about it. Tony Romo predicts a screen play correctly and people are ready to give him the Nobel Prize. McCarver perfectly called one of the most iconic hits in baseball history before it happened and . . . nothing.”

Headline at The Beaverton (@TheBeaverton) — Stabbed man who got hit by 3 cars then thrown off bridge probably died from the vaccine



THE BEDARD WATCH: F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats, playing in his 40th game of this season, ran his totals to 50 goals and 50 assists in a 6-5 loss to the host Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Bedard, who won’t turn 18 until July 17, finished with two goals and two assists, giving him his 10th game with at least four points. . . . Bedard is the first Regina player with back-to-back 50-goal seasons since F Mike Sillinger, who did it three seasons in a row (1988-91). . . . Bedard is the second-fastest skater in Pats history to reach 50 goals behind only F Jock Callander who did it in 39 games in 1981-82. In 1982-83, F Dale Derkatch got his 50th goal in his 41st game. . . . “The difference,” Callander told Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post this week, “is that I was 20 and he’s 17. . . . Bedard has scored 31 times in his past 17 games. . . . He leads the WHL in goals and points. . . . Oh yes, his presence also sold out another WHL arena, this time the Art Hauser Centre.


In Prince Albert, the Raiders scored the game’s last two goals to beat the Regina Pats, 6-5. . . . The home boys overcame deficits of 2-0, 3-1 and 5-4 in earning the victory. . . . F Grady Martin’s first WHL goal, in his 37th game, tied it 5-5 at 5:19 of the third period. Martin, 16, is from Oyen, Alta., and was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft. . . . F Aiden Quiring (9) broke the tie at 9:19. . . . F Alexander Suzdalev got his 30th goal for Regina. He is the third Regina freshman in recent years with 30 goals, behind F Nick Henry (2016-17) and F Petr Kalus (2005-06). . . . Regina F Tanner Howe, who is from Prince Albert, scored his 25th goal. . . . The announced attendance was 3,299, a sellout and the largest crowd in the Art Hauser Centre this season, well ahead of the 2,798 who watched the Saskatoon Blades post a 5-2 victory on opening night. . . . Of course, the fans were there to watch Regina F Connor Bedard and he didn’t disappoint — he scored twice, becoming the first WHLer to 50 goals this season, and added two assists. . . . Prince Albert (21-28-3) is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Regina (25-23-3) is tied with Swift Current and Calgary for sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . .

The Spokane Chiefs scored four times in a shootout as they beat the host Everett Silvertips, 4-3. . . . The teams combined for seven goals in the five-round shootout. . . . Everett held a 3-0 lead halfway through the third period, only to have Spokane strike three times in 4:46 in the second half. . . . F Berkly Catton (16) keyed the comeback with a goal and two assists. The first overall selection in the 2021 WHL draft has 40 points in 47 games. . . . F Cade Hayes (16) had two goals for Spokane, forcing OT at 15:22. . . . Spokane (11-35-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Everett (27-23-3) is tied for fourth with Tri-City. . . .

F Blake Swetlikoff scored two second-period goals to help the host Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Swetlikoff, who has 11 goals, broke a 1-1 tie at 1:29 and added insurance at 10:40. . . . Hurricanes G Bryan Thomson, coming off back-to-back shutouts, stopped 30 shots. . . . Lethbridge (30-18-6) has points in four straight (3-0-1) and is fifth in the Eastern Conference, three points behind Moose Jaw. . . . Brandon (21-24-7) is 10th, four points from a playoff spot. . . .

The Winnipeg Ice struck five times in the first period en route to a 7-1 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . The Ice got goals from five different players in that period, the scores coming in a span of 11:38. . . . Winnipeg got points from 15 players but no one had more than two. . . . Ice D Ben Zloty, a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 draft, scored his 10th goal. He now has 63 points in 49 games. He finished last season with 64 points, eight of them goals, in 62 games. . . . The Warriors lost F Robert Baco to a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 8:17 of the third period. . . . Winnipeg (42-7-1) now leads the Eastern Conference by nine points over Red Deer and Saskatoon. Red Deer leads the Central Division so would be the No. 2 seed. . . . Moose Jaw (33-18-3) is fourth in the conference, three points ahead of Lethbridge. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers coughed up 3-0 and 4-1 leads before coming back to beat the Rebels, 7-4, in Red Deer. . . . Kamloops has won seven in a row. . . . With the Scotties Tournament of Hearts — aka the Canadian women’s curling championship — in their home arena, the Blazers won’t play in Kamloops again until March 3. The Scotties began Friday and runs through Feb. 26. . . . The Blazers broke a 4-4 tie with a pair of PP goals early in the third period. . . . D Kyle Masters, who was acquired along with a first-round WHL draft pick from Red Deer in a deal that had D Mats Lindgren go the other way, got his ninth goal at 2:38 and F Daylan Kuefler (27) added insurance at 4:26. . . . D Olen Zellweger had a goal (18) and three assists for the winners, with F Connor Levis adding a goal (14) and two helpers. . . . Kamloops was 4-for-5 on the PP; Red Deer was 1-for-2. . . . Blazers F Logan Stankoven had three assists as he ran his point streak to 35 games, tying F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats for the longest point streak this season. Stankoven, with 79 points in 35 games, has at least a point in every game he has played this season. . . . The Blazers held a 42-27 edge in shots, including 21-4 in the first period after which they led 3-0. . . . Kamloops (34-10-6) leads the B.C. Division by 22 points over Prince George. . . . Red Deer (36-13-4) leads the Central Division by 10 points over Lethbridge. . . .

F Dylan Guenther opened and closed the scoring as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-3 in OT, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Guenther won it with his third goal of the season at 4:10 of OT. . . . He also had an assist, giving him a three-point outing. He’s got seven points in four games since being assigned by the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. . . . Seattle got a goal (8) and an assist from F Brad Lambert, who has 16 points in 10 games since the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets sent him to the Thunderbirds. He has a goal in five straight games. . . . Tri-City F Jordan Gavin, who won’t turn 17 until Nov. 13, had a goal and two assists. He’s got 42 points, 15 of them goals, in 46 games. . . . D Lukas Dragicevic had two PP assists for the Americans. . . . Seattle (40-9-2) has won five in a row. It leads the Western Conference by six points over Portland. . . . Tri-City (25-20-7) has lost six in a row (0-4-2). It is tied with Everett for fourth in the conference. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades opened a 5-0 first-period lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . The Blades are 3-1-0 on their tour through the B.C. Division. They’ll head for home after facing the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., tonight. . . . F Trevor Wong (20) scored two of those early goals — one on the PP and one while shorthanded — as the Blades struck five times in a span of 12:48. . . . F Egor Sidorov (33) had two goals and two assists for the Blades, with F Conner Roulette adding a goal (20) and two helpers. . . . F Jake Poole, the Royals’ leading scorer, had two goals (29) after not having played since Feb. 3. . . . Saskatoon (36-13-4) is second in the East Division, nine points behind Winnipeg. . . . Victoria (15-33-6) is ninth in the Western Conference. The Royals are three points out of a playoff spot and their next three games are against the conference-leading Seattle Thunderbirds. In their only meeting to date, Seattle put up a 3-0 shutout.


F Josh Pillar of the Saskatoon Blades had his NHL rights dealt from the Minnesota Wild to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night. Pillar, who turned 21 on Feb. 14, is from Warman, Sask. He was a fourth-round pick by the Wild in the NHL’s 2021 draft. This season, he has four goals and eight assists in 12 games, but only returned to game action last night after being out since Nov. 26 with an undisclosed injury. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors honoured two former defencemen — Paul Dyck and Kevin Masters — this week by inducting them into the organizations Hall of Fame. . . . Dyck played from 1989-91; Masters from 1988-92. . . . They were saluted at a dinner on Thursday night and then were honoured Friday night as the Warriors played host to the Winnipeg Ice. . . . Brent Parker, who as the general manager of the Regina Pats may have tossed more than a little gasoline onto what was a fierce rivalry back in the day, was in attendance. In fact, he won the 50-50 draw and immediately gave half of it to the Warriors’ education fund. . . . I have it on good authority that there more than a few laughs were heard when Parker was announced as the winner. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks will add F Randy Heath, F Cam Neely, F Grant Sasser and F Ken Yaremchuk to their Hall of Fame on March 18. All four played on the 1983-champion Winterhawks. . . . Portland also will retire Neely’s No. 21. That will be the first number to have been retired by the Winterhawks. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds are scheduled to provide the opposition on March 18.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Blazers rock WHL world in landing Zellweger . . . Giants’ captain off to Ice for eight assets . . . Bedard back lighting it up with Pats

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 31.

No. of players traded — 59.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 62.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 12.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Everett, Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.

January 8, 2023.

It will be remembered as the day when discretion being the better part of valour no longer was entrenched in the WHL’s trade deadline-related thinking of those making the deals.

It was the day the Kamloops Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, and the Winnipeg Ice, the Eastern Conference’s top team to date, combined to give up eight players, 13 WHL draft picks, including seven first-round selections, and a conditional pick for three players.

First things first . . .

Observers have been waiting for weeks to see what kind of impact the Blazers would have as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches. Well, they found out on Sunday.

Kamloops acquired D Olen Zellweger, 19, and F Ryan Hofer, 20, from the Everett KamloopsSilvertips but the cost was off the charts.

All told, Kamloops coughed up two roster players (F Drew Englot, 20, and D Kaden Hammell, 17) and two prospects (D Rylan Pearce, 17, and F Jack Bakker, 15), along with nine draft picks and a conditional pick. Kamloops surrendered four first-rounders (2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026), one second (2023), one third (2025), one fourth (2023), one fifth (2024) and one sixth (2026). The Blazers also threw in a conditional second-rounder in 2026.

No, Kamloops didn’t get any picks back.

Zellweger, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is fresh off a run as perhaps Team Canada’s best defenceman in a gold medal-winning performance at the World Junior Championship that ended Thursday in Halifax. In Kamloops, he will be Everettreunited with Team Canada teammates Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven,

A second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, Zellweger has 28 points, including 10 goals, in 23 games with Everett this season. He has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Anaheim so is unlikely to return to the WHL for a 20-year-old season.

Last season, Zellweger led WHL defencemen with 78 points in 55 games and was named the league’s top defenceman.

Hofer, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Winnipeg, is one of the WHL’s premier power forwards. This season, his third, he has 23 goals and 13 assists in 36 games. The Washington Capitals selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Englot, from Candiac, Sask., is in his fourth WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Regina Pats midway through the 2021-22 season. This season, he has three goals and 11 assists in 34 games.

Hammell, from Langley, B.C., was a first-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. Last season, he put up 14 points, 11 of them assists, in 57 games. This season, he has six goals and four assists in 36 games.

Pearce, from Martensville, Sask., was a fourth-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. He got into two games with Kamloops this season and earned two assists. Pearce now is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers.

Bakker, from White Rock, B.C., is playing for the U18 side at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. He was a third-round selection by the Blazers in the 2022 WHL draft.

The Blazers (22-8-6) are third in the Western Conference, eight points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (28-5-2) and five behind the Portland Winterhawks (26-6-3). The Silvertips (18-18-1) are tied for fifth with the Tri-City Americans (17-16-3), one point behind the Vancouver Giants (16-16-6).

Kamloops, which beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, on Saturday night, is next scheduled to play Wednesday against visiting Vancouver. Hofer will sit out that one with a one-game suspension.

You can bet he’ll be in the lineup on Friday, though, when the Blazers are to play in Everett. The Silvertips are scheduled to visit the Blazers on March 10.


Meanwhile, shortly after Winnipeg beat visiting Portland, 6-3, on Sunday night, the Ice announced it had acquired F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ 19-WinnipegIceyear-old captain and another member of Canada’s national junior team.

In exchange, the Ice surrendered two roster players (F Skyler Bruce, 19, and F Connor Dale, 17), two prospects (D Owen Brees, 15, and F Hudson Landmark, 15), and four WHL draft picks — firsts in 2024, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth in 2024.

Ostapchuk, from St. Albert, Alta., had 10 goals and 19 assists in 21 games with the Giants this season. In 153 career regular-season games, he put up 96 points, 48 of them goals. Vancouver selected him 12th overall in the WHL’s 2018 draft, Vancouverand the Ottawa Senators grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft.

Ostapchuk has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Senators so is unlikely to be back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season in 2023-24.

Bruce, from Winnipeg, had 22 points, seven of them goals, in 33 games with the Ice this season. He has 70 points, including 26 goals, in 136 regular-season games. The Kootenay Ice picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.

Dale, a freshman who also is from St. Albert, has three goals and five assists in 24 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Brees, from Lethbridge, was picked by the Ice in the fifth round of the 2022 draft. He is playing with the U15 Northern Alberta Xtreme.

Landmark, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was an eighth-round pick in that same draft. He is playing with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park United Cycle Flyers.

The Ice (29-5-0) leads the Eastern Conference by two points over the Red Deer Rebels (26-8-4), with Winnipeg holding four games in hand.

The Giants (16-16-6) are fourth in the Western Conference, 12 points behind third-place Kamloops.

The Ice and Giants aren’t scheduled to meet again during this regular season. In their only clash, the Ice posted a 4-3 victory at the Langley Events Centre on Oct. 19.

Vancouver next will play Wednesday when it is to visit Kamloops.

Winnipeg’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday when it is to play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds, another organization that has gone big in this season’s arm race.

Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out that the Thunderbirds have acquired F Colton Dach (Kelowna Rockets), D Nolan Allan (Prince Albert Raiders) and D Luke Prokop (Edmonton Oil Kings) for a total of four first-round picks, two seconds, three thirds, a fourth, two sixths, and five players.


It was 11 years ago today (Monday) when the Swift Current Broncos and WHLKootenay Ice rocked the WHL’s world with what was then seen as a huge deal.

Mark Lamb, the Broncos’ general manager and head coach, and Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth got together and cooked up a deal that included six players and three WHL draft picks.

The Broncos dealt F Cody Eakin, 19, to the Ice for roster F Christian Magnus, four list players (F Ryan Bloom, F Colby Cave, G Steven Myland and F Jarett Zentner) and three picks — a first and a second in 2011 and a third in 2012.

The Ice went on to win the WHL championship that spring, ousting the Portland Winterhawks from a five-game final series. Eakin, who put up 44 points in 26 regular-season games with the Ice, scored 11 goals and added 16 assists in 19 playoff games. Eakin, F Matt Fraser and F Max Reinhardt each finished with 27 playoff points.

The Ice went 2-3 at the Memorial Cup, losing 3-1 to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the semifinal. Eakin totalled six points, three of them goals, in the five games.

I’ll let you decide who won the exchange between the Broncos and Ice.

The World Junior Championship ended in Halifax on Thursday. Since then, Seattlethere has been speculation that Finnish F Brad Lambert will be joining the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. That speculation heated up Sunday when his name was dropped from the roster of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Lambert, who had two goals and one assist in 14 AHL games, is listed as inactive on the Moose’s stats page. He had one goal in five games with Finland at the WJC.

Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, was born in Lahti, Finland. The Winnipeg Jets, the Moose’s parent club, selected him 30th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Lambert’s father, Ross, spent one season 1982-83) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, putting up 106 points. Brad’s uncle, Lane, is the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Meanwhile, F Connor Bedard, fresh off lighting up the WJC on behalf of Team ReginaCanada, returned to the Regina Pats’ lineup on Sunday. All he did was score four goals and add two assist as the Pats beat the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 6-2. . . . The announced attendance was 4,761, the Pats’ largest home crowd this season. . . . Bedard’s first career six-point outing included a pair of shorthanded goals. . . . Despite missing 11 games while with Team Canada, Bedard’s 70 points, in 29 games, has him leading the points race by eight points over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets. With 31 goals, Bedard is two behind F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels, and Bedard’s 39 assists are two more than D Lukas Dragicevic of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in attendance; his story is right here. . . .

Now take a minute or two, think about the packages that Kamloops and Winnipeg traded away today, then try to figure out what it would cost an organization to get Bedard from the Pats. . . . were he available, that is.

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while continuing to wonder what hit the Blue Jays . . .


You are able to find Randy’s Vinyl Tap on a Corus radio station near you for two hours every Sunday evening. Check it out!

While watching the Toronto Blue Jays implode on Saturday, I kept seeing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. beating the visiting New York Yankees with a walk-off home run a few weeks ago and screaming something about it being “my house” as he trotted from third to home. . . . Of course, the Yankees won in Toronto the next night to clinch the AL East. And then along came Friday-Saturday and the Seattle Mariners. . . . Let’s not forget that Aaron Judge hit No. 61 there, too. . . . All of that means that the Yankees and Mariners have done a lot of celebrating in Vladdy’s house. . . . Maybe he and the rest of Toronto’s young guns will learn something about humility and the baseball gods from how this season ended . . . Oh, and get rid of that gawdawful jacket thing, too.


Joe Posnanski, who writes baseball as well as anyone, had this after Saturday’s marathon between the visiting Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians: “For almost five hours, under the heat of playoff baseball, we watched two teams fail to score a single run. They failed to score a single run off FIFTEEN different pitchers. Until the last batter, Cleveland hit .090 and struck out 20 times. Tampa Bay hit a stouter .122 and struck out only 19 times.”


And here’s Posnanski on a key point in the Seattle-Toronto game: “And Blue Jays manager John Schneider, the one who did not play in ‘Dukes of Hazzard,’ went to the mound, pulled (Kevin) Gausman, and brought in lefty Tim Mayza. It didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense when he did it, since Gausman clearly was not gassed and (switch-hitter Carlos) Santana has, throughout his career, been a better hitter against lefties. This year, he hit just .178 and slugged .366 against righties — he hit almost 90 points better and had 150 more OPS points against lefties.

“But, he was 0-for-3 against Mayza, so maybe that’s what Schneider saw. I don’t know.”

Of course, the bases were loaded, Mayza threw a wild pitch and then Santana drilled a three-run homer. The rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s Matt Rhule, the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, after losing, 37-15, to the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sunday: “We’re not going to win unless we score more points. I’m not going to lie to you.”


“Minnesota Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson made major-league history by having the longest last name on the back of his jersey, supplanting ex-catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “The team seamstress is now on the 10-day injured list with RSI.”


Perry also passed along this gem from Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune after Tampa Bay QB Tom Brady threw a tantrum: “Brady broke two tablets vs. the Saints, tying the cherished 3,500-year-old world record set by Moses.”

Here’s Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Herschel Walker isn’t the one who belongs in a concussion tent. No. Anybody who’s still thinking of voting for this guy belongs in the blue tent.”


Lupica, again: “One more thing about Herschel. I’m really starting to worry about just the sheer logistics of what next Father’s Day are going to be like for this guy. The more you read, the more you think he hooked up with everybody except Stormy Daniels.”

There are some parts of the world of hockey that really do need to pay more attention to history and, in particular, to the people who put so much into the building of leagues and franchises. So . . . here’s hoping the decision to remove banners from the Regina Pats’ home arena is a temporary measure to accommodate the removal of dust from the rafters or some other house-cleaning item. . . . And here’s hoping, too, that there is a plan in Regina to hang more banners representing names from the Pats’ glorious past to those rafters.



F Logan Stankoven, the CHL’s player of the year for 2021-22, has been returned to the Kamloops Blazers by the Dallas Stars, who selected him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft. He has signed a three-year deal with the Stars. Last season, Stankoven had 104 points, including 45 goals, in 59 regular-season games, then added 17 goals and 14 assists in 17 playoff games. . . . Remember that the Blazers are to be the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament. . . . Stankoven, 19, is expected to be in the Kamloops lineup on Friday night against the host Tri-City Americans. . . . While returning Stankoven to his hometown team, the Stars kept F Wyatt Johnston, 19, who was their first pick in that 2021 NHL draft. He played the past two seasons with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, putting up 124 points, 46 of them goals, in 68 games last season. . . .

Meawhile, the Vancouver Giants got back F Zack Ostapchuk, their captain, from the Ottawa Senators. Ostapchuk, 19, was a second-round pick in the NHL’s 2021 draft. Last season, he had 26 goals and 17 assists in 60 regular-season games, then added 23 points, 16 of them assists, in 12 playoff games. . . . The Giants next are scheduled to play on Friday against the Brandon Wheat Kings in Langley, B.C. . . .

The Tri-City Americans, playing their home-opener, got two goals and two assists from F Jordan Gavin in beating the Edmonton Oil Kings, 7-1, on Saturday night. Gavin, from Surrey, B.C., was the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, and has two goals and five assists in five games. He won’t turn 16 until Nov. 13. . . .

When host Kamloops dropped Victoria, 3-1, on Saturday night, it was the Blazers’ 23rd consecutive victory over the Royals. . . . Seriously! . . . The loss also left the Royals at 0-7-0, not quite the start the franchise needed. . . . Victoria is the only one of the league’s 22 teams without a victory. . . .

At the other end of the spectrum, the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds remain unbeaten — the former at 5-0-0, the latter 4-0-0. They’ll go home-and-home on Nov. 4 and 5, opening in Portland and closing the series in Kent, Wash. . . . Before then, the Winterhawks are home to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Tuesday, the same night the Thunderbirds entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . According to TBird Tidbits (@TBirdTidbits), this is the first time in franchise history that the Thunderbirds have opened with four straight victories. . . . The Red Deer Rebels, meanwhile, are 5-0-0, the first time that has happened since 2000-01, according to Troy Gillard, their director of broadcasts and media.


THINKING OUT LOUD — In getting swept from a best-of-three series, the Toronto Blue Jays didn’t get even one pitch out of Jose Berrios or Yusei Kikuchi. Berrios has an average salary of US$18,714,286, while Kikuchi’s annual average is $12 million. . . . Hockey Canada didn’t make a big news dump late Friday afternoon, but Andrea Skinner, the interim chair of the board of directors, did resign on Saturday. Hey, it’s a start. . . . How come I didn’t know before Saturday evening that the Okanagan Sun has a hotshot KR/WR named Mike O’Shea, who just happens to be the son of Mike O’Shea, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach? . . . BTW, the Sun just finished off a 10-0 regular season. . . . ICYMI, the Cincinnati Bengals left three points on the field Sunday night in Baltimore and lost by two to the Ravens. Could it be some of those coaches are spending too much time listening to the analytics people? Sheesh, kick the field goal!

I wish I had seen this trick on Twitter about 50 years ago. . . .

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Canada’s U-18 staff has WHL flavour . . . Blades salute former GM/head coach . . . WHL playoff spots undecided with nine games remaining

Nolan Baumgartner, a former WHL player and most recently an assistant coach with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, and David Struch, also a former WHL HockeyCanadaplayer who started the season as the Regina Pats’ head coach, have been named to the coaching staff of the Canadian team that will play in the IIHF U-18 world championship. . . . That tournament is to be held in Landshut and Kaufbeuren, Germany, from April 23 through May 1. . . . Team Canada’s coaching staff also includes Kori Cheverie, who will be the first female to coach one of the country’s national men’s teams. She spent five seasons (2016-21) as an assistant with Ryerson U’s men’s team and this season worked with the Canadian women’s Olympic team. . . . Baumgartner was a defenceman with the Kamloops Blazers when they won the 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup titles. He had been part of the Vancouver Canucks organization since 2012 until he was let go in a regime change this season. He was with the Canadian men’s Olympic team at the Winter Games in Beijing earlier this year. . . . Struch spent nine seasons with the Regina Pats before being fired as head coach earlier this season. He played four seasons (1988-92) with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The U-18 team’s coach staff also includes assistant coach Todd Miller, who is a former head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals and was an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2020-21, and goaltending consultant Brad Kirkwood, who works with the Calgary Hitmen and the U of Calgary women’s and men’s teams. . . . The complete news release is right here.


The WHL’s 22 teams are into the final two days of their 68-game regular seasons. There are nine games remaining, with seven of them scheduled for tonight. . . . Here’s a look at where things are in terms of playoff opponents (GR — games remaining) . . .


  1. Everett Silvertips — Will finish atop the U.S. Division and the conference. One point ahead of Portland, which is out of games. . . . Will be without Olen Zellweger, the WHL’s highest-scoring defenceman, until at least the start of the playoffs. . . . GR (1): at Tri-City tonight.
  2. Kamloops Blazers — Actually third in the conference, two points behind Portland, but are second seed as B.C. Division winners. . . . GR (1): at home to Vancouver tonight.
  3. Portland Winterhawks — One point behind Everett, two ahead of Kamloops. . . . GR (0).
  4. Seattle Thunderbirds — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage against Kelowna in first round. . . . GR (0).
  5. Kelowna Rockets — Will finish fifth and meet Seattle in first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Prince George tonight.
  6. Vancouver Giants — Tied with Prince George for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two up on Spokane. Each of the four has one game remaining. . . . GR (1): at Kamloops tonight.
  7. Prince George Cougars — Tied with Vancouver for sixth, one point ahead of Victoria and two ahead of Spokane. . . . GR (1): at Kelowna tonight.
  8. Victoria Royals — Two points behind Vancouver and Prince George, one ahead of Spokane. Beat visiting Spokane last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Spokane tonight.
  9. Spokane Chiefs — Slipped to ninth spot as they lost while Victoria and Prince George won on Friday night. . . . One point out of a playoff spot. . . . GR (1): at Victoria tonight.
  10. Tri-City Americans — Not this season.



  1. Winnipeg Ice — Will finish atop the overall standings so is assured of home ice through the playoffs. First-round opponent has yet to be decided. . . . GR (1): Ice will be designated as home team in Regina tonight.
  2. Edmonton Oil Kings — Will finish second and open against Lethbridge. . . . GR (1): at Red Deer tonight.
  3. Red Deer Rebels — Will finish third and meet Brandon in the first round. . . . GR (1): at home to Edmonton tonight.
  4. Moose Jaw Warriors — Will finish fourth and have home-ice advantage in first-round series with Saskatoon. . . . GR (1): at Regina on Sunday.
  5. Saskatoon Blades — Will finish fifth and meet Moose Jaw in first round. . . . GR (0).
  6. Brandon Wheat Kings — Will finish sixth and meet Red Deer in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Prince Albert tonight.
  7. Lethbridge Hurricanes — Will finish seventh and play Edmonton in the first round. . . . GR (1): at Calgary on Sunday.
  8. Prince Albert — Moved from 11th place into eighth with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current last night. . . . GR (1): at home to Brandon tonight.
  9. Swift Current Broncos — Actually tied for eighth with Prince Albert but have run out of games. . . . One point ahead of Calgary, two ahead of Regina. . . . GR (0).
  10. Calgary Hitmen — One point behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one in front of Regina. . . . GR (1): at home to Lethbridge on Sunday.
  11. Regina Pats — In 11th place, two points behind Prince Albert and Swift Current, one behind Calgary. . . . GR (2): at home to Winnipeg tonight in what is an Ice home game, at home to Moose Jaw on Sunday.
  12. Medicine Hat — Sorry. Not this time.


Eastern Conference:

F Kyle Crnkovic broke a 1-1 tie at 11:56 of the second period as the host Saskatoon Blades edged the Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . That was his 39th goal this season. . . . Nolan Maier, the winningest regular-season goaltender in WHL history, stopped 35 shots for the Blades. He earned his 122nd career victory in his eighth straight start and his 60th appearance of the season. . . .

The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Broncos, 4-1, in Swift Current. . . . F Carson Latimer (17), who also had two assists, snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:27 of the second period, with F Vladislav Shiloh (9) adding insurance, on a PP, at 13:16. . . . The winners got 32 saves from G Tikhon Chaika. . . .

In a game that was moved from Winnipeg to Regina due to inclement weather and poor driving conditions in the Manitoba capital, the Ice scored five times in the first period and beat the Pats, 6-1. . . . Pregame chatter about the Pats, fighting for their playoff lives, maybe taking advantage of home cooking turned out to be much ado about nothing. . . . In fact, the Ice, the WHL’s best team in this regular season, led this one 5-0 at the 11:09 mark of the first period. . . . The Ice had 14 players get at least one point, but only two — F Jakin Smallwood (25) and F Conor Geekie (25) — had two. Each had a goal and an assist. . . . G Daniel Hauser stopped 21 shots to record the victory. This season, he is 33-3-1, 1.94, .916. . . . The announced attendance, for what was a Winnipeg home game, was 2,799. . . . Oh, yes. The Pats had advertised this as Guaranteed Win Night. The meant each fan in attendance received a coupon good for a regular-season game in 2022-23. . . .

F Yegor Klavdiev scored his second goal of the game in OT to give the Lethbridge Hurricanes a 5-4 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Klavdiev, who also had one assist, notched his 21st goal at 1:00 of extra time. . . . F Brayden Edwards (9) also scored twice for Lethbridge. . . . D Cole Jordan (3) had given the Warriors a 4-3 lead at 16:20 of the third period, only to have F Alex Thacker (13) pull the Hurricanes even at 19:05. . . .

Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was back where he belongs on Friday night. (Photo: Scott Roblin/CHAT-TV)

G Sebastian Cossa stopped 21 shots to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 3-0 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Cossa put up his sixth shutout of this season and the 14th of his career. This season, he is 33-9-3, 2.28, .913. . . . The Oil Kings scored once in each period, with all three goals coming from freshmen — F Cole Miller (9), F Dawson Seitz (7) and F Shea Van Olm (8), who also had two assists. . . . The Oil Kings were 7-0-1 in the season series. . . . Bob Ridley, the only radio voice the Tigers had known prior to the start of this season, returned to the microphone for their final game of this season. Health issues had kept him on the sidelines to this point. . . .


Western Conference:

The host Victoria Royals struck four times in the first period and went on to beat the Spokane Chiefs, 7-3. . . . The Royals jumped into a 4-0 lead at 10:31 of the opening period. . . . F Marcus Almquist scored two of those early goals, giving him seven. Almquist, from Denmark, enjoyed his first career two-goal lead. He has scored six of his even goals in his past eight games. . . . F Tarun Fizer, the Royals’ captain, had a goal, his 16th, and two assists. . . . F Chase Bertholet had a goal, his 24th, and two assists for Spokane. . . .

F Jonny Hooker snapped a 2-2 tie at 7:57 of the third period as the Prince George Cougars went into Kamloops and beat the Blazers, 4-2. . . . The Cougars led 2-0 early in the second period, only to have the Blazers tie it early in the third. F Reese Belton (14) pulled the home side even at 4:42, with Hooker’s 17th goal putting the visitors back in front just 3:15 later. . . . The winners got 43 stops from G Ty Young. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds got three goals from F Jared Davidson as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 6-4, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Davidson, who has 42 goals, has put up hat tricks in two straight games. He went into this season with 39 points, including 19 goals, in 130 games. This season, he has 89 points in 64 games. . . . Seattle got three assists from D Jeremy Hanzel. . . . F Jake Sloan scored twice, giving him 17, and added an assist for the Americans, with F Parker Bell (18) adding a goal and two helpers. . . .  F Samuel Huo got No. 30 for Tri-City. . . . Seattle’s three 20-year-olds — F Henrik Rybinski, F Lukas Svejkovsky and D Ryan Gottfried — were given the night off. . . .

F Colton Dach’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . Dach scored his 29th goal at 1:12 of extra time. . . . F Adam Kidd (18) pulled Kelowna into a 2-2 with a PP goal at 12:27 of the third period. . . . F Zack Ostapchuk (25) had given the Giants a 2-1 lead, on a PP, just 39 seconds into the third. . . .

F Jaydon Dureau scored twice to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Everett Silvertips. . . . F Michal Gut (17) gave Everett a 1-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period. . . . The Winterhawks then rolled their way to five straight goals. . . . Portland was 3-for-5 on the PP, with Dureau’s second goal, and 24th of the season, coming after Everett F Jonny Lambos was tossed with a kneeing major. . . . G Taylor Gauthier stopped 24 shots for Portland. He is 24-4-0, 2.16, .931 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . The Silvertips got 44 saves from G Koen MacInnes.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS: The AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders fired Jeff Woywitka, their head coach and assistant general manager, on Friday. Woywitka started as associate coach in 2006-07 and was named head coach in November, after the firing of Adam Manah. The Crusaders were 16-16-3 under Woywitka, and grabbed the Viterra North Division’s last playoff spot. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons beat the Crusaders, 4-1, in a first-round best-of-seven playoff series. . . .

The junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced on Thursday that head coach Carter Rigby will be back for a second season. “Rigby . . . took the Coyotes from dead last in the 2019-20 pre-COVID season (21 points) to top of the KIJHL (72 points) in his first full season as head coach, earning him the top coach award in the Bill Ohlhausen Division,” reads the team’s news release. Rigby, 28, played five seasons in the WHL (Kelowna, Swift Current, 2011-15). . . .

F Michael Misa of the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada and is expected to be the first overall selection in the OHL’s draft, which is scheduled for April 29. Misa is the sixth player to have been granted exceptional status in order to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old, the others being F Shane Wright, D Sean Day, F Connor McDavid, D Aaron Ekblad and F John Tavares. . . .

The junior B Aldergrove Kodiaks of the Pacific Junior Hockey League have hired Ron Johnson as their head coach. He replaces Chris Price, who had been head coach for two-plus seasons. Price has joined the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs as assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. . . .

D Keith McInnis has signed a tender with the USHL’s Waterloo BlackHawks. McInnis, who turned 16 on Jan. 8, is from Red Deer and was selected by the Rebels in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2021 draft. He played this season at the Yale Hockey Academy in Abbotsford, B.C.


If you’re a regular in these parts, you know that we’re big on organ donation and transplantation here, primarily because my wife, Dorothy, is with us today because of a kidney transplant. And now she is preparing to take part in the annual Kidney Walk for a ninth straight year. . . . The 2022 Kidney Walk will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . The Kidney Walk is a huge fund-raising venture for the Canadian Kidney Foundation and its provincial branches. By participating, Dorothy is able to give something back to an organization that has been such a big part of our lives. . . . If you would like to be on her team by making a donation you are able to do so right here. . . . You should know that Dorothy was all smiles on Friday morning when an NHL team’s head coach joined her team with a donation. Talk about an ear-to-ear smile!

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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night after watching the Daytona 500 (aka Daytona Demolition Derby) . . .


There was a time when I would have told you that the best rivalry in the WHL featured the Moose Jaw Warriors and Regina Pats. Brent Parker, then the Pats’ general manager, was never shy about firing verbal darts. You had head coaches battling at the player benches. You had a helmet ending up in the other team’s dressing room and coming out in unwearable condition. There was the play-by-play guy who showed up one night dressed as Donald Duck.

I mean, stuff happened. And I can only imagine what stuff might have happened had there been social media back in the day.

These days I would suggest that torch has been passed to the Portland PortlandWinterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds. Because when these two teams meet now . . . stuff happens. And there often seems to be an aftermath, too.

Take Saturday night in Portland. . . .

The first period wasn’t even two minutes old when Winterhawks’ F Jack O’Brien left with what appeared to be a bad leg injury.

That came after he was hit along the boards by Seattle F Matthew Rempe. SeattleRempe, who is listed at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, was given a kneeing major and game misconduct.

After the game, Joshua Critzer, who covers the Winterhawks for @pnwhockeytalk, asked the two head coaches about the incident.

Mike Johnston of the Winterhawks responded: “I thought it was a cheap hit. I know Rempe has had quite a few of those. He’s been suspended a few times this year even. He’s a big guy who has to get control when he’s hitting people. I don’t know what he was thinking. I just know it was knee-on-knee. You have to be careful when you go in with your knee, especially when you are a big guy like that.”

(NOTE: Rempe has served two suspensions this season. The first was for two games under supplemental discipline for something that happened in game with the host Tri-City Americans on Nov. 5. The second, for one game, was assessed after he was given a charging major and game misconduct during a game against the Silvertips in Everett on Nov. 21. Last season, Rempe was suspended once for one game, that after he took a kneeing major and game misconduct in a game at Portland on Dec. 31.)

When Critzer asked Seattle head coach Matt O’Dette about Saturday’s hit, the response was:

“I thought their player was coming down the boards and our guy tried to finish his check. It was along the boards, wasn’t in open space where it was knee-on-knee in my opinion. I thought their guy lunged out of the way and (Rempe) kind of hit his leg that was dragging behind.

“(Rempe) is a big guy and, when he’s on his path, he’s come a long way to be a clean hitter. He’s a big guy and sometimes he’s just bigger than the other guy, which is why he gets penalties. I thought everything was compact — arms down, legs in — on that hit. Sometimes unfortunate plays can happen not intentionally.”

So . . . that was that. Right? Well, not quite. On Sunday, just as the Daytona 500 was heating up, there were sparks flying between Portland and Seattle.

It started when Thom Beuning, the long-time play-by-play voice of the Thunderbirds, tweeted: “So just saw that video of the Rempe major for kneeing. My reaction? ‘Where’s the penalty?’ I don’t see a minor, let alone a major. No initial call on the ice, so what changed?”

Beuning also tweeted: “Incidental contact happens all the time in hockey, including knee-to-knee. Doesn’t mean it is a penalty, doesn’t mean it’s a major, doesn’t mean it is a suspension. Example A, Ty Bauer injury.”

(Bauer, a forward with the Thunderbirds, suffered a knee injury during a game against the Blazers in Kamloops on Dec. 10 and hasn’t played since that night. There wasn’t a penalty on the play.)

After Beuning fired things up, Andy Kemper, a former Portland radio analyst who now is the Winterhawks’ historian, tweeted: “Rempe led into the check with his leg not his upper body. O’Brien was moving to the corner and Rempe put his leg out to stop him and it went knee on knee. That is not incidental. No intent, but it was a kneeing penalty.”

Beuning: “Wrong.”

Kemper: “Yeah, I figured that would be your response. Have a nice day.”

That is when Nick Marek, the Winterhawks’ broadcaster and media relations manager, chimed in with: “Andy said it very well. Everyone knew there was no intent to injure (also why no match penalty assessed) and ‘he didn’t mean to do it.’ Still looks like everything was followed correctly according to the WHL Rule Book.”

Beuning: “Rempe compacts his body to deliver the hit, to avoid a check to the head. O’Brien moves down along the boards to avoid the hit, thus exposing his trailing leg to the contact. Incidental. Same reason there was no penalty when Bauer was injured. Or are you saying the league was wrong?”

Kemper: “The rulebook doesn’t account for incidental or not. The first four words in the rule book are clear: ‘All knee on knee.’ Since it resulted in an injury, the major penalty was assessed. I didn’t see the Bauer hit. Are you saying the league is wrong?”

Beuning: “By not calling a penalty on the Bauer hit, the league has determined there is knee-on-knee contact that doesn’t warrant a penalty.  Plenty of time to review and bring forth supplemental discipline. They didn’t.”

Kemper: “OK. But there is a difference between assessing a penalty and assessing a suspension. Doesn’t mean that a penalty should not have been assessed at the time on the Bauer play. The league may decide to not suspend Rempe for the infraction.”

Beuning: “Have you not been around the WHL for a while now? I might very, very reluctantly concede the minor. But players often put themselves in vulnerable positions. Some of the onus is on that player.”

Marek: “Thom, this take is ridiculous. Essentially saying ‘he shouldn’t have been standing there.’ If that’s your belief, then I suppose you should say the same onus is on Bauer for his major injury he suffered. Can’t believe you just said that honestly.”

Beuning: “What’s the old expression? Keep your head up? It happens all the time. Players duck to avoid a hit and put their heads in the path of an opposing players shoulders. Or they turn at the last second and put their backs to the hit in the corner, exposing their numbers.”

Kemper: “I have been around a long time and every time something like this happens, the bias of the individual looking at the play comes out in how they see it called. I’m not going to change your opinion, nor you mine. By the rule book, it was a major penalty. I’m done.”


Here’s a tweet that includes the video of the play in question, so you can be the judge . . .

And here’s another angle . . .


The Winterhawks played host to the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday night and O’Brien was in the lineup; in fact, he scored twice and added an assist in a 9-1 victory.

It could be that, as the old all-star centre Billy Shakespeare of the Stratford-upon-Avon Rivermen once wrote, it all was “much ado about nothing.”

The Winterhawks and Thunderbirds are scheduled to meet four more times this season — March 11 and 19 in Kent, Wash., and March 20 and April 2 in Portland.

So there’s still time for even more fun.


BTW, the Thunderbirds won Saturday’s game, 5-1. Portland leads the season series, with a 5-4-0 record. Or maybe the series is tied, because Seattle is 4-3-2. Yes, thanks to loser points each team has 10 points from the series.

Bruce Vance is one of the good guys. He really is. At one time he worked in the Prince Albert Raiders’ front office, and now he is the the city’s marketing and sponsorship co-ordinator. He and his wife, Liane, also have been through more in the past few years than anyone should have to face in three lifetimes, but they have kept on smiling. Both have battled cancer and Bruce now is having another go-round with the Big C. . . . My wife, Dorothy, is a wonderfully positive person and she will tell you how important that frame of mind was as she went through a kidney transplant. . . . Well, Liane and Bruce are writing about their adventures on a blog — it’s right here — and through all the ups and downs positivity is a huge part of their approach. . . . Teena Monteleone of paNOW wrote about Liane and Bruce right here.


Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “A cargo ship packed with luxury cars caught fire and is aimlessly adrift in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Sort of the nautical equivalent of the L.A. Lakers.”


Perry, again: “The team that won the opening coin toss now has now lost the past eight Super Bowls. Where’s the public outcry over the unfairness of that?”

SATURDAY IN THE WHL: The Everett Silvertips, with points in 12 straight (10-0-2), clinched a playoff spot on Saturday night, beating the visiting Victoria Royals, 3-1. This is the Silvertips’ 18th season in the WHL and they have been in the playoffs in every one of them. . . . F Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers ran his point streak to 19 games on Saturday in a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Vancouver Giants. Stankoven, who had a goal and an assist, has 17 goals and 22 assists on his tear. Vancouver, now 1-19-0 when trailing after two periods, won it on F Fabian Lysell’s second goal of the game, and 17th of the season, at 4:33 of extra time. Kamloops is 28-1-2 when trailing after two. . . .

F Ben King’s second goal of the game, his WHL-leading 37th, gave host Red Deer a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Ice as the Rebels overcame a 2-0 third-period deficit. F Arshdeep Bains had two assists for Red Deer; after Saturday’s games, he led the WHL in assists (46) and points (71). . . . F Connor Bouchard’s ninth goal of the season at 2:01 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 4-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs in Kennewick, Wash. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Jagger Firkus scored his 29th goal and added two assists as the Moose Jaw Warriors doubled the Raiders, 4-2. The Warriors have points in five straight (4-0-1). . . . F Dylan Guenther scored four times, giving him 32, as the host Edmonton Oil Kings spanked the Saskatoon Blades, 9-1. G Sebastian Cossa is 24-6-3, 2.30, .915 for the Oil Kings, who have won five in a row. . . .

F Ridly Greig had a goal and an assist to lead the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. He’s got 50 points, including 23 goals, in 32 games. The Wheat Kings went into the Central Division and won four games in six nights. The Wheat Kings ended up spending the night in Swift Current because of the horrid weather conditions that swept across the Prairies. . . . F Reid Schaefer scored twice, giving him 23, as the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Portland Winterhawks, 5-1, for their seventh straight victory. . . .

In Prince George, the Kelowna Rockets got past the Cougars, 3-2, giving them a sweep of the weekend doubleheader. On Friday, the Rockets also had won, 3-2. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes rode two first-period goals to a 2-1 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers, who have lost six in a row.


SUNDAY IN THE WHL: F Kyle Crnkovic reclaimed the WHL scoring lead with two goals — giving him 32 — and an assist as the visiting Saskatoon Blades beat the Calgary Hitmen, 4-1. That boosted Crnkovic’s points total to 73, two more than F Arshdeep Bains of the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Clay Hanus had a goal — his 13th — and two assists as the host Portland Winterhawks dropped the Spokane Chiefs, 9-1. The teams combined for 118 minutes in penalties, with 69 of those going to the visitors. It was the sixth game between these teams since Feb. 5; the Winterhawks won five of them, outscoring the Chiefs, 39-10, in the process. Portland won the season series, 10-2-0, while the Chiefs went 2-9-1.

Headline at NBC wants you to know their Super Bowl ratings KILLED IT. Oh, and their Olympics . . . look, a bunny.

“A new study shows the horse medicine, ivermectin, is useless in combating COVID,” tweets comedy write Alex Kaseberg (@AlexKaseberg). “This is hard to believe based on the tireless research of that great medical mind Aaron Rodgers.”


Mike Lupica, in the New York Daily News: “Dr. Oz vs. Dr. Phil in an old-time steel cage match — no way to root, right?”


Lupica, again: “Novak Djokovic says he’s not anti-vaccine, but he’s still not going to get jabbed. What an amazing tennis hill on which to die. Taking this kind of stance against something that has saved lives all over the world.”

Dick Butkus — yes, that Dick Butkus — is enjoying Twitter, witness this: “The USFL is back. Herschel Walker is all over the news. Did I have a stroke, or is it still 1985?”

You may have heard that NBA analyst Charles Barkley is talking about retiring in a couple of years once his contract with TNT expires. As he explained: “I don’t want to die on TV. I want to die on the golf course or somewhere fishing. I don’t want to be sitting inside over (by) fat-ass Shaq (waiting) to drop dead.”

Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons, apparently referred to the NFL teams and their seeming inability to hire minority head coaches as “just not acceptable.” It was then that Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out: “It’s apparently acceptable in Atlanta, where his Falcons are one of 13 franchises never to have had a Black head coach.”


As a hockey fan, are you old enough to remember when the boards were the boards and not the wall? . . . Are you old enough to remember when the goaltender’s crease was the crease and not the blue paint? . . .

The best entertainment-related news I’ve heard in a long while: Randy Bachman has cut a deal with Corus Entertainment under which some of its radio stations will carry a two-hour Vinyl Tap once a week. It all starts on March 6. . . . CBC Radio dumped Vinyl Tap in July after a 16-year run. . . .

Here’s to a happy retirement to Vicci Weller after 22 years as the Thompson Nicola-Regional District film commissioner. It was because of her that Clint Black was once in the area filming a movie and made acquaintance with my wife, Dorothy, who was working at the time at a Shoppers Drug Mart outlet. Yes, it gave her quite a thrill when he struck up a conversation and then showed her family pictures.


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



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


Or, for more information, visit right here.


Scattershooting on a Sunday night while remembering Frank Orr and a cold, cold night . . .


Back in his day, Frank Orr was as large in his field as Bobby Orr was in his. No, they weren’t related.

Frank Orr, who died Saturday at 84, was a hockey writer with the Toronto Star when I met him. It was at the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship that was held in Saskatchewan. I was the Regina Leader-Post’s sports editor, and spent most of the tournament in Saskatoon.

By that time, Orr was a legendary hockey writer; I was a scribbler from Lynn Lake, Man., who was 20 years into his career. Within an hour of meeting Orr, it was like we were best buddies and had been for a long time.

That is how personable he was. He was a master of the one-liner and had travelled extensively — so what if most of it was on expense account — so had tasted the food in many tremendous eateries. Now here he was in Saskatoon, where the weather was miserably cold, and he was loving every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it . . .

On Dec. 30, Orr and three others drove to Regina to watch Canada play Sweden, choosing to return to Saskatoon after the game. About 30 minutes outside Saskatoon, a red light lit up the dash of their rental car. They limped into the city, finding out later that the PCV valve had frozen open and the car’s oil had blown out all over the engine compartment.

Later, Orr admitted that he had broken out in a cold sweat at the thought of meeting his maker on the frozen prairie.

“I always thought it would end with someone’s husband chasing me down a street,” he said with a laugh.

Sleep well, old friend.

Mark Zwolinski of The Star has more on Frank Orr right here.

ICYMI, the Edmonton Football Team has a shortlist of seven possibles for its new nickname — Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements all are in the chase. . . . We are left to wonder what happened to Editors, Elaters, Elephants, Ernies, Eroughriders, Eskers. . . . Having lived in the north where there are eskers, I would be inclined to lean that way. . . . Edmonton Eskers. Yes!

Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “If the Lord’s Prayer can be inscribed on the head of a pin, engravers can certainly fit the full name of Tampa Bay Bucs run-stuffer Vita Vea — Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea — onto a Super Bowl ring, right?”


Perry, again: “Players for the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels will live at the team’s rink in Alberta this season to reduce the COVID-19 risk. ‘Fine with us,’ said every stay-at-home defenceman.”

Congrats to Gilles Courteau, the commissioner of the QMJHL, who celebrated his 35th anniversary in office on Saturday. Stephane Leroux of RDS points out that Courteau spent 15 years as president and now has been commissioner for 20 years. Leroux also points out that Courteau was hired on an interim basis in 1986.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The NFL patted itself on the back with a spot bragging that the league is donating $250 million ‘to combat systemic racism.’ And that doesn’t even count the millions it paid to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid for keeping them unemployed.

“If you don’t think it’s racism that’s keeping Kaepernick out of The League, tell me what you think would have happened to (Tom) Brady had he taken a knee in protest.

“Kaepernick and Reid sat out this season, but Tyreek Hill and Antonio Brown suited up and were covered in glory in the National Football League of Second Chances.

“And the 49ers announced they have re-signed Josh Rosen, whose resume now includes this: 1,000th washed-up quarterback to sign an NFL contract since Kaepernick ‘retired’.”

Here’s Ostler, again: “It’s sad to see Pebble Beach get squeezed out of golf relevance by Saudi Arabia and Los Angeles. Pebble’s famed annual AT&T National Pro-Am got snubbed by the world’s top golfers, partly because they want a rest between last week’s big-payoff Saudi International and next week’s Genesis Invitational in L.A. The AT&T has become the great little family diner you speed past on your way from IHOP to McDonald’s.”


A digital subscription to the San Francisco Chronicle is well worth it to read the likes of Ostler, Ann Killion, Eric Branch, Bruce Jenkins et al. . . . And with pitchers and catchers about to report, you may want to subscribe to the Washington Post just for the musings of Thomas Boswell.

When Major League Baseball revealed the details of the shakeup heard ’round the minor leagues, the Pacific Coast League was nowhere to be found. The league that sent so many players to the big leagues — like Joe DiMaggio and Willie McCovey — now is Triple-A West. . . . The California League is gone, too. It’s Low-A West. . . . Here’s hoping saner heads will prevail and that when it does there aren’t corporate names involved. . . . With MLB’s reorganization now complete, there are 120 minor-league teams left. Forty others are nowhere to be seen.

With all that we’ve been through over the past year, who had ‘Earthquake strikes near Banff’ on their 2020-21 Bingo card?


Someone figured out that starter Trevor Bauer’s deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers will pay him somewhere around $10,000 per pitch. Keep in mind, too, that he only performs every fifth day. Can you imagine being a carpenter and getting paid $10,000 for every nail you hammered or every screw you turned? No, neither can I.

It could be that the best feud in hockey features Brian Burke, the new president of hockey operations with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and columnist Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun. . . . This goes back a few years and is far from being over. . . . In his book that came out last fall, Burke sniped at Simmons a time or three. . . . On Sunday, in his weekly notes column, Simmons wondered about Burke’s recent hockey accomplishments, or lack of same:

“Which makes the hiring of Burke in Pittsburgh as president of hockey operations more than a little surprising, although you won’t hear anything like that from all his media pals who laugh along with every word he speaks. It is the hiring of yesterday’s man, who won in Anaheim more than a decade ago, who made the Sedin deals (his signature NHL moves) 22 years ago. What has Burke done lately in hockey, except write a best-selling book and become valued entertainment in between periods? Truth is, it’s a lot of sound and fury, in reality, signifying nothing.”

The puck now is in Burke’s end of the ice.

JUST NOTES: You watch the Daytona 500 and you just know the last lap is going to turn into a demolition derby. . . . Had to chuckle at the WHL fan on social media last week who was debating with a guy named Brent Parker about the role of tutors with teams. Don’t think the fan realized that Parker is a former general manager of the Regina Pats. . . . If you’re wondering how we’re doing over here, well, there aren’t any bodies buried in the back yard so I guess that means we’re still getting along. . . . The St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes will meet today for a seventh straight time. Tell me again how this NHL season won’t warrant an asterisk when it’s all over. . . . On the subject of this NHL season, if you watch enough games it really becomes apparent just how much emotion and passion fans bring to the games. Yes, the players are trying hard, but it just isn’t the same, is it?

Will WHL team hire Parker? . . . BCHL has new commissioner . . . Rebels, Cougars sign goaltending coaches


F Tomáš Vincour (Edmonton, Vancouver, 2007-10) signed a one-week ‘introductory’ contract with Lukko Rauma (Finland, Liiga). Lukko has a one-week camp starting Monday (June 11) with practices, off-ice activities, and an inter-squad scrimmage. If both the team and Vincour are happy with each other after the camp, the contract rolls into a one-year deal. Last season, with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga), Vincour had 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games. . . . Lukko has started doing this with new players. It gives each party a chance to feel each other out and for the new player to see what the team and city are like. Club management feels this process leads to a higher success rate for both the team and the player. . . .

D Justin Hamonic (Tri-City, 2011-15) signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). Last season, with the Worcester Railers (ECHL), he had one goal and eight assists in 69 games. He also was pointless in one game while on loan to the Utica Comets (AHL). . . .  Angers’ head coach is Brennan Sonne (Everett, Red Deer, Edmonton, 2005-08; assistant coach Everett 2014-17). . . .

F Jack Walker (Victoria, 2012-17) signed a one-year contract with the Aalborg Pirates (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). Last season, he was pointless in three games with the Iowa Wild (AHL), and had 11 goals and 18 assists in 40 games with the Rapid City Rush (ECHL). . . .

F Quinton Howden (Moose Jaw, 2007-12) signed a one-year contract extension with Dinamo Minsk (Belarus, KHL). Last season, in 56 games, he had 17 goals and 15 assists, averaging 18:43 TOI per game. He led his team in goals and was second in points. . . .

F Ned Lukacevic (Spokane, Swift Current, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract extension with the Odense Bulldogs (Denmark, Metal Ligaen). He started last season with UTE Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), going pointless in two games, and was released on Sept. 28. He signed with Odense on Jan. 22, then had five goals and five assists in 10 games. . . .

F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract extension with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, in 38 games, he had 27 goals and 12 assists, then was selected as Fife’s forward of the year. . . .

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) signed a one-year contract with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National League). Last season, with Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya), he had five goals and eight assists in 28 games.


Yes, I have returned. It’s grad season, so Dorothy and I had a party to attend in Airdrie. Yes, it rained. (Is there anything more frustrating than the drive between Revelstoke and Golden?) Then it was on to Edmonton to spend some time with a transplant friend. It didn’t rain, at least not much, but it certainly was windy. And there was more rain on Thursday for the drive home through Jasper. If you’re wondering, the wildlife count was one deer (one kilometre from our home in Kamloops), two bighorn sheep (east of Jasper townsite), and one mama black bear with a cub (south of Valemount).

For kicks, we also kept track of the price of gas — one litre of regular — on the trek that began Saturday morning. Here’s what we found:


Kamloops $1.37.9

Salmon Arm $1.43.9

Sicamous $1.43.9

Revelstoke $1.49.9

Golden $1.46.9

Canmore $1.26.9


Airdrie $1.21.4


Edmonton $1.18.9


Edmonton $1.32.9

Edson $1.30.3

Hinton $1.32.9

Valemount $1.39.9

Blue River $1.42.9

Clearwater $1.40.9

Kamloops $1.36.9

One other note of interest: We sure did see a lot of big rigs hauling pipe as we made our way back to Kamloops on the Yellowhead on Thursday. Don’t know what that means, but . . .

OK. Let’s clean out the notebook . . .

While I was away, the WHL released its 2018-19 exhibition schedule. It also held its annual meeting in Vancouver. That meeting wrapped up on Wednesday; the WHL issued a news release on Thursday. . . . The schedule and that news release are on the WHL’s website.

I am hearing rumblings that Brent Parker, the former president, governor and general manager of the Regina Pats, would love to get back into the WHL in a front-office position. You would have to think that he might be a good fit for the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Tri-City Americans or Vancouver Giants, teams that are looking to fill player personnel-related vacancies. . . . Parker has been keeping busy, at least in part, as the head scout in Western Canada for ISS Hockey. . . . You have to think that the man who had more to do than anyone else with remaking the Pats organization into one that is high on professionalism would be a good fit for any one of those teams.

The City of Kennewick will spend at least US$350,000 per year as it upgrades the 30-year-old Toyota Center, the home of the Tri-City Americans. Meanwhile, Tacoma City Council is investing at least US$30 million in renovations to the 35-year-old Tacoma Dome, which once was home to the now-Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans’ lease is set to expire in 2020. . . . You don’t suppose . . . nah!

The BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Troy Mick, their president, parted company on June 8. According to a news release from the team, it was a mutual decision. Mick, 49, had been with the Silverbacks since taking over as head coach for the 2012-13 season. The team had signed Mick to a five-year extension on May 9, 2016. He was then the team’s president and general manager. The extension came shortly after the Silverbacks started the Steamboat Wranglers, a team that plays out of Steamboat Springs, Colo. They played in the Tier 3 junior A Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. However, that league folded earlier this month after three years. . . . The Wranglers, who won the 2017-18 RMJHL playoff title, have since been sold to a local group and have moved to the Tier 2 Western States Hockey League. . . . Mick played three seasons (1985-88) with the Portland Winter Hawks and one (1989-90) with the Regina Pats, totalling 466 points, including 204 goals, in 267 games. His pro career was ended by knee injuries. . . . He has coached in the WHL with the Winter Hawks, Tri-City Americans and Kamloops Blazers.

Congratulations to Phil Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer. Check the times on the following two tweets!

The Kamloops Blazers have signed D Logan Bairos to a WHL contract. From Saskatoon, Kamloops1he was a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 15 goals and 27 assists in 31 games with the bantam AA Saskatoon Stallions. Bairos is expected to spend the 2018-19 season with the midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. . . .The Blazers also have signed F Caedan Bankier, who was a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Surrey, B.C., he had 16 goals and 12 assists in 30 games with the Burnaby Winter Club’s bantam prep team. He will spend 2018-19 with the BWC’s midget prep team. . . . Kamloops now has signed its first three 2018 bantam draft selections. F Logan Stankoven, its first-round pick, also has signed.

The Portland Winterhawks have signed D Kurtis Smythe, 16, who was acquired from the Saskatoon Blades on May 3 for a fourth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Smythe was a second-round pick by the Blades in the 2017 bantam draft. . . . Last season, the native of Cloverdale, B.C., had four goals and nine assists in 33 games with the Delta Hockey Academy midget prep team. He is expected to play with that midget team again in 2018-19.

D Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks has signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, who selected him in the first round, 29th overall, of the NHL’s 2017 draft. Jokiharju, who will turn 19 on June 17, is from Finland. He has played two seasons with Portland. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 59 assists in 63 games, and was named to the Western Conference’s second all-star team.

The Vancouver Giants have signed G Drew Sims to a WHL contract. Sims, from Tees, Alta., was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he was 13-0-1, 2.05, .916, with three shutouts, in 16 regular-season games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. He helped his club to the playoff title by going 4-0, 1.00, .966, with one shutout.

The Red Deer Rebels have signed their first four selections from the WHL’s 2018 bantam Red Deerdraft. . . . F Jayden Grubbe, the seventh overall selection, had 29 goals and 37 assists with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . D Kyle Masters, the 16th overall pick, had seven goals and 17 assists in 29 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team. . . . D Trey Patterson, a second-round pick, had one goal and 24 assists in 36 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Bisons. . . . F Josh Medernac, from Lloydminster, Alta., had 16 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team.


WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.


The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

Roger Millions, a former radio voice of the Saskatoon Blades, has chosen to leave Sportsnet to enter the world of politics. Millions, who was born in Deloraine, Man., spent 39 years in the sports broadcasting game. He had been with Sportsnet since 2002, mostly calling and covering the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Millions, 59, joined the staff at CFQC, an AM radio station in Saskatoon, and called Blades’ games for seven seasons.

Chris Hebb has succeeded John Grisdale as the commissioner of the junior A B.C. Hockey League. . . . Grisdale, who joined the BCHL in 2003, retired following the 2017-18 season. . . . Hebb has been president of Starting Five Media Consulting Ltd., and has worked at advising such organizations as Hockey Canada, Canada Soccer, the Oilers Entertainment Group and Curling Canada. . . . He also has worked for Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment, as well as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. . . . Harrison Mooney of Postmedia has more right here.


Mitch Love, who is preparing for his first season as head coach of the Saskatoon Blades, has been named to the coaching staff of the U-18 Canadian team that will play in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup that is scheduled for Edmonton and Red Deer, Aug. 6-11. . . . Gilles Bouchard, the general manager and head coach of the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, will be the head coach. . . . The other assistant coach will be Ryan Oulahen, the head coach of the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. . . . Love spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips.

The Red Deer Rebels have signed Kraymer Barnstable as their goaltending coach. The move came after they let Taylor Dakers out of his contract, a move that allowed him to join the Prince George Cougars as their goaltending coach. . . . Barnstable, 28, is from Kelowna. He played two seasons in the WHL — with th the Vancouver Giants in 2007-08 and with the Rebels in 2009-10. . . . Dakers, 31, is from Langley, B.C. He becomes the first full-time goaltending coach in the history of the Prince George franchise. Sean Murray was the goaltending coach on a part-time basis for the past two seasons. . . . Dakers spent five seasons on the Rebels’ coaching staff after being on staff with the Everett Silvertips for two. He played four seasons (2003-07) with the Kootenay Ice.

The SJHL’s Battlefords North Stars have signed Brayden Klimosko as their new general manager and head coach. He takes over from Brandon Heck, who parted ways with the team after a semifinal loss to the Estevan Bruins. The North Stars were 43-14-2 during the regular season. . . . Klimosko was an assistant GM/assistant coach with the Humboldt Broncos for four seasons (2013-17). He also was the Broncos’ marketing manager. . . . Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons. . . . Klimosko is the North Stars’ third GM/head coach in as many seasons.

Greg Walters is the new head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. Walters, 47, had been the head coach of the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders for the past eight seasons. He twice was named the OHL’s coach of the year, including in 2017 after the Raiders won their first championship. Prior to joining the Raiders, he spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . In Oshawa, Walters replaces Bob Jones, who missed the 2017-18 season with what has been reported as a life-threatening illness. His contract was to expire during the off-season, and he left the club on April 25 when the two parties weren’t able to reach agreement on an extension. . . . Brian McNair of Oshawa This Week has more right here.

Doug Christiansen is the new general manager and head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He spent the previous four seasons with the USHL, as the director of player development and recruitment. Prior to that, he coached in the Elite Ice Hockey League for seven seasons. . . . With Manchester, Christiansen replaces Richard Seeley, who now is the GM of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ AHL affiliate. Seeley, 39, spent three seasons as the Monarch’s head coach. He played three seasons (1996-99) in the WHL — three games with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and 144 with the Prince Albert Raiders. He is from Powell River, B.C.


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