Things are sparking in Riderville . . . Rebels (8-0-0) set franchise record . . . Bjarnason, Wheat Kings enjoy Kelowna stop

MondayMorning
This was the scene from our deck in Campbell Creek at 8 o’clock on Monday morning, looking east down the South Thompson River valley. The picture, taken with my cheap phone, really doesn’t show how pink the sun was as it fought through some smoke and, yes, that’s a fog bank over the river.

There is stuff going on in and around the Saskatchewan Roughriders and it isn’t going to end well for someone. The Roughriders are 6-10 — 2-9 in their last 11 Ridersoutings — as they come out of a bye week and prepare to meet the visiting Calgary Stampeders on Saturday. . . . The fun began on Tuesday when Cody Fajardo, the starting quarterback, didn’t take an active role in practice. Head coach Craig Dickenson, whose job would seem to be on the line, said that Fajardo was taking a “vet” day and that he would start on Saturday. Headline at leaderpost-com — Cody Fajardo given ‘vet day’; will start Saturday against Calgary. . . . On Wednesday, however, Dickenson said that backup Mason Fine will start. On top of which, Fajardo told the newshounds that he had been told five days previous that he wouldn’t be starting. . . . “Cody Fajardo has absorbed more than his fair share of hits during the 2022 CFL season,” writes Murray McCormick of The Leader-Post, “but even he was blindsided by his demotion from starting quarterback to second string with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.” . . . As for Fajardo, he told those same newshound: “I hope there’s somebody out there that might still want me. I don’t think this is the end of the Cody Fajardo book. But it might be the end of this chapter.” . . . With two games remaining — they finish up next weekend in Calgary — the Roughriders haven’t yet been eliminated from the playoff picture, but time is of the essence. . . . “We need a spark,” Dickenson said in giving his reason for the QB switch. . . . Well, take a trip around social media and check out the Saskatchewan fans. I think Dickenson’s spark has started a fire. Yes, they do take their football seriously on the flatlands.



Beer


G Talyn Boyko, 20, was back on the ice with the Kelowna Rockets on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t go particularly well as they were Kelownabeaten, 3-0, by the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Rockets find themselves with three goaltenders on their roster after the NHL’s New York Rangers returned Boyko on Monday. Boyko, selected in the fourth round of the NHL draft, has signed with the Rangers, who had assigned him to the ECHL’s Jacksonville Icemen. . . . The Rockets acquired the 6-foot-8 Boyko from the Tri-City Americans early last season. With Kelowna, he was 28-12-4, 2.79, .913 in 46 games. In 102 career WHL regular-season games, he is 43-43-8, 3.56, .899. . . . The other two goaltenders on the Rockets’ roster are both 18-year-old freshmen — Nicholas Cristiano of Langley, B.C., and Jari Kykkanen of Lloydminster, Alta. Kykkanen, a sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2019 draft, is 3-3-1, 3.71, .883 in seven appearances; Cristiano, who has been in three games, is 0-1-0, 2.61, .879. . . . The Rockets now are carrying two 20-year-olds — Boyko and F Adam Kydd. . . .

The Rockets also announced that they have placed F Colton Dach, their captain, in concussion protocol, although I can’t find anything on the WHL website that indicates exactly what that means. Dach, who has experienced two concussions in about a month, is shown on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. The first of those two concussions came while he was in camp with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.



JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The Red Deer Rebels ran their record to 8-0-0 on Wednesday night with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels set a franchise record with the victory. The 2000-01 team, which won the Memorial Cup in Regina, opened 7-0-0 before dropping a 9-2 decision to the Warriors in Moose Jaw. Red Deer will try to run its record to nine in a row when it meets the Tigers in Medicine Hat on Friday. . . . F Ben King, 20, had two goals and an assist in last night’s victory; he’s got four goals and four assists in three games since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. . . .

The WHL has two other unbeaten teams, with the Portland Winterhawks and Seattle Thunderbirds both at 7-0-0. The Winterhawks are scheduled to visit the Tri-City Americans on Saturday. That same night, the Thunderbirds are to entertain the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

D Andrei Malyavin scored his first WHL goal for the Brandon Wheat Kings as they dumped the host Kelowna Rockets, 3-0, on Wednesday night. He also has five assists in 10 games. . . . Last season, Malyavin, an 18-year-old Russian, scored twice and added 11 assists in 44 games with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting. . . . The Wheat Kings got 29 saves from G Carson Bjarnason, who record his first WHL shutout. A 6-foot-4 sophomore who is eligible for the NHL’s 2023 draft, he is 5-2-1, 2.12, .942 this season. . . . Lucas Punkari of the Brandon Sun reports that the Wheat Kings last won a game in Kelowna on Oct. 26, 2010. He adds: “Brandon blanks the Rockets for the first time since the franchise moved from Tacoma in 1995.” . . .

F Kyle Bochek of the Vancouver Giants ended up with a four-game suspension for the hit that resulted in F Ben Thornton of the Brandon Wheat Kings ending up in Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, B.C., on Friday night. Thornton, who suffered a concussion and a hip injury, is listed on the WHL roster report as being out week-to-week. He was released from hospital on Monday and is at home with family in Chilliwack. . . . F Brett Hyland of the Wheat Kings was given a three-game suspension for a high hit on Vancouver D Mazden Leslie in that same game. Leslie wasn’t injured on the play and, in fact, scored once and added an assist as the Giants dropped a 4-3 decision to the Winnipeg Ice in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday night. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers released F Alex Drover, 20, on Wednesday after acquiring D Kurtis Smythe, 20, from the Portland Winterhawks for an eight-round pick in the WHL’s 2023 draft. Drover had two goals and two assists in six games with the Tigers after being released by the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. . . . Smythe played 121 games over four seasons with the Winterhawks, putting up two goals and 29 assists. . . . Smythe joins F Dallon Melin and F Brendan Lee as the Tigers’ 20-year-olds. . . . The Winterhawks have only two 20-year-olds on their roster — G Dante Giannuzzi and F Robbie Fromm-Delorme — so it could be that another move is imminent. . . . FYI: These aren’t overage players — if they were overage, they wouldn’t be eligible; they are 20-year-old players and each team is allowed to have a maximum of three on its roster.


Gnome


Headline at fark.com — “What are you in for? Bank robbery. You? Murder. You? Cheating at fishing.”

——

Headline at The Onion (@TheOnion) — Study Links Binge Eating to Stress, Contentment, Depression, Joy, Boredom, Anger, Relaxation.


YOU THOUGHT IT WAS OVER — From Reuters: China’s capital, Beijing, has dialled up measures to stop COVID, strengthening public checks and locking down some residential compounds after a quadrupling of its case load in recent weeks, just as a key Communist Party congress entered full swing. The city of 21 million people on Thursday reported 18 new locally transmitted cases for the previous day, bringing the tally for the past 10 days to 197. That is four times more than the 49 infections detected in the previous 10-day period.


Clowns


THE COACHING GAME:

Rick Bowness, in his first season as the head coach of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets, remains MIA after testing positive for COVID-19 last week. He wasn’t with the club on Wednesday for a 4-3 OT victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, and he’ll be missing again tonight when the Jets meet the host Vegas Golden Knights. The team is hopeful that Bowness will back on the bench for the home-opener on Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. . . .

Former NHL D Ladislav Smid has been hired by the Edmonton Oil Kings as a development coach. Smid, 36, has retired after 17 seasons as a pro, the last five in his home country of Czechia. He also played 474 NHL games with the Edmonton Oilers, whose parent company owns the Oil Kings. . . . Smid was a guest coach during the Oil Kings’ training camp prior to the start of this season.



THINKING OUT LOUD — OK, Sportsnet, we get it . . . you’ve put together a new set for Sportsnet Central, featuring Evanka Osmak and Ken Reid. We’ve seen the spot a few times by now, and I have a question: Why does Reid refer to her by her last name, while she calls him by his first name? . . . Sorry, fans of the New York Yankees, but your guys are done. Seventeen strikeouts! Yikes!! And Josh Donaldson looks completely lost, like a thirsty man wandering in the Gobi Desert. . . . BTW, the Houston Astros struck out twice in that game. Yes, twice! . . . The Vancouver Canucks have lost their first four games. They are the first team in NHL history to hold a multi-goal lead in each of its first four games and lose them all. They will go against the host Minnesota Wild tonight, and here’s hoping Vancouver wins so that Canucks Nation finally can get some sleep. Hey, it’s been ugly. Four games in and the fans want everyone replaced, from the owner to the head coach to F J.T. Miller, who signed to a seven-year extension a couple of months ago.


Universe


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.

http://www.transplant.bc.ca/health-info/organ-donation/living-donation


Bears

Tortorella wonders why ‘one guy’ couldn’t stand up and say ‘this is wrong’ . . . Viveiros: Blood test ‘probably saved my life’ . . . Oil Kings end Ice’s run

It was May 23, 2010 and the Chicago Blackhawks were ahead 3-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference final with the San Jose Sharks. At some point prior to nhl2Game 4, seven men held a meeting to discuss an alleged sexual assault that had occurred one of the two previous days. The incident involved video coach Brad Aldrich and Kyle Beach, one of the Black Aces.

Beach had gone to one of the men to tell him what had happened. According to a report filed by the Chicago law firm of Jenner & Block following its investigation, these seven men met to decide where to go from here. As we now know, they chose to do nothing, to let nothing get in the way of the train that was head for a Stanley Cup championship.

The Blackhawks completed the sweep of the Sharks that night, then went on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers in six games in the Stanley Cup final.

Beach, a power forward who had been the 11th overall selection in the NHL’s 2008 draft, never played a game in the NHL. While his name isn’t on the Stanley Cup, Aldrich’s is — although likely not for long.

Six of the seven men who were in attendance at that meeting now are out of the NHL. John McDonough, the team president; James Gary, the mental health coach; general manager Stan Bowman; Al MacIsaac, senior vice-president of hockey operations; Jay Blunk, an executive vice-president; and head coach Joel Quenneville.

Quenneville resigned Thursday as head coach of the Florida Panthers after meeting with Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner. Cheveldayoff, who was an assistant GM with Chicago, now is the Winnipeg Jets’ general manager. He met with Bettman on Friday and wasn’t disciplined, apparently because he is seen as having been only a minion in the Chicago scheme of things more than 11 years ago.

Still, Cheveldayoff was in attendance at that meeting.

Former NHL coach John Tortorella, now an analyst with ESPN, put it best when he said on ESPN’s The Point: “That’s what’s crazy to me, it’s multiple people. This wasn’t a one-man decision, it was multiple people. I don’t know why one guy couldn’t stand up and go, ‘You know what, no, this is wrong.’ ”

Tortorella hit the nail squarely on its head. But therein lays the rub. Until the people in suits quit trying to protect the shield at all costs and as long as they put winning before humanity this kind of stuff will continue to happen. No matter how many hotlines are set up . . . no matter how many committees are struck . . . no matter how many investigations are held . . .

Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who knows a thing or two about sexual abuse, told Gregory Strong of The Canadian Press: “Posters and buttons and policies and procedures don’t change culture. Until sport makes this a priority as they do winning, they’ll never have the change that I think people expect from them.”

And then there was this from veteran forward Taylor Hall, now with the Boston Bruins.

“Every culture needs to keep getting better, and hockey’s no different,” he said. This is a game that’s a little bit of a . . . I guess what you’d call an old boys’ club. There’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change and hopefully they can.”

Bingo!


Manny Viveiros, the head coach of the AHL’s Henderson Silver Knights, is back SilverKnightswith the team after being away following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He will be taking another leave in December as he undergoes surgery.

“Unfortunately,” he tweeted, “I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had to take a leave of absence at the first part of the season. We’ve been trying at the very early stages a game plan of what we want to do going forward. Now that we have one in place through the doctors, we have an opportunity now to go after this and treat this. I’ve been able to get back to work, which is, for me, a really important part of my life.”

Viveiros is a former WHL player who was the general manager and head coach of the Swift Current Broncos when they won the 2018 championship.

He said his diagnosis was the result of a blood test in training camp: “It started with a simple blood test. The staff and players at the Golden Knights training camp went through physicals and everybody got a blood test. My PSA levels came back really high, and we did a follow up of another blood test and they came back very high again. Right away the VGK medical staff set me up with a urologist here in Las Vegas. I went in and saw him and obviously he was very concerned right away. He checked me out and we ended up doing a biopsy and unfortunately it came back that I do have prostate cancer.”

He also believes that the blood test “probably saved my life. Just having a simple blood test. I’m at the age where I’m over 50 and in perfect health. You just never know. I figured if I feel good, there’s probably nothing wrong. Getting a simple blood test can make the difference in catching something very early or saving a person’s life. I can’t help but encourage people, especially if there’s a history in their family, to go get a simple blood test. That can make a world of difference in the future.”


There were nine WHL games on Friday night. Some highlights . . .

In Edmonton, the Oil Kings’ derailed the Winnipeg Ice’s run at a record by Edmontonscoring three third-period goals in a 3-1 victory. . . . F Connor McClennon (10) gave the Ice a 1-0 first-period lead. . . . F Dylan Guenther (4) tied it at 3:28 of the third, and F Carson Latimer (5) broke the tie at 11:42. F Jaxsen Wiebe (2) added the empty-netter. . . . The Oil Kings (7-2-1) have won three in a row. They also have posted 10 straight victories against the Ice. . . . The Ice (11-1-0) had won its first 11 games. The 1988-89 Swift Current Broncos hold the WHL record for longest winning streak to open a season (12). . . . The Ice and Oil Kings were ranked second and third, respectively, in the CHL’s weekly release. The No. 1-ranked Quebec Remparts (9-2-0) lost, 2-1, to the visiting Shawinigan Cataractes on Thursday. . . .

In Everett, the Portland Winterhawks erased a 3-0 deficit and beat the PortlandSilvertips, 4-3, in a shootout. . . . G Dante Gianuzzi stopped 36 shots for Portland (4-5-1), which had lost three straight. . . . Everett (6-0-1) had a 7-0 edge in OT shots. Silvertips Color Guy (@TipsATG) tweeted that Everett hit three crossbars in OT. . . . The Silvertips scored three first-period goals, two via the PP. . . . D Clay Hanus (3) pulled Portland into a tie at 18:37 of the third period. . . . Portland’s first two goals also came via the PP. . . . F Cross Hanas, the first shooter, scored the lone goal of the shootout. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers outshot the Victoria Royals, 58-16, in skating to a 7-1 victory. . . . Kamloops held a 20-5 edge in shots in each of the first and third periods. . . . F Matthew Seminoff (3) scored the game’s first two goals. . . . The Blazers (7-1-0) have won three in a row. . . . Victoria (1-10-0) has lost nine straight. . . .

In Spokane, F Mekai Sanders scored twice to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Chiefs. . . . Sanders has four goals this season. He went into this season with three goals in 47 career games over two seasons. . . . F Jared Davidson (1) added a goal and two assists. . . . Seattle (6-2-1) has won four in a row. . . . The Chiefs are 3-5-1. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants went 4-for-5 on the PP and scored twice while shorthanded in beating the Kelowna Rockets, 7-2. . . . The Giants’ PP was 1-for-17 when the game began. . . . F Justin Sourdif (4) scored twice and added two assists, and F Fabian Lysell (2) had a goal and three assists as the Giants improved to 4-2-0. . . . The Rockets are 2-3-0. . . . The Giants were without D Cade McNelly, 20, due to what the team said was personal reasons. Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted that GM Barclay Parneta “had no timeline for a return.” . . .

In Lethbridge, the Hurricanes scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Saskatoon Blades, 4-3. . . . F Ty Nash scored his first two goals of the season to tie the game in the second period. . . . F Justin Hall (9) snapped the tie at 1:11 of the third period. . . . F Jayden Wiens (2) scored twice for the Blades, giving them a 2-0 lead by 7:08 of the first period. . . . Saskatoon (7-2-1) had picked up points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). . . . The Hurricanes now are 5-3-0. . . .

In Moose Jaw, F Brayden Yager’s seventh goal, on a PP at 4:52 of OT, gave the Warriors a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . F Ryder Korczak (5) had a goal and two assists for the Warriors (4-6-0), who halted a four-game skid. . . . F Noah Danielson (4) had pulled the Tigers (4-4-2) into a 3-3 tie at 18:30 of the third period. . . . Medicine Hat got three assists from F Lukas Svejkovsky. . . .

In Prince Albert, F Brett Hyland had a goal and two assists in regulation and Brandonadded a shootout goal as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat the Raiders, 5-4. . . . G Ethan Kruger, who had been out of Brandon’s lineup since being injured on Oct. 9, stopped 33 shots. . . . Hyland’s first career three-point game came in his 33rd outing over three seasons. He has a goal and four assists in seven games this season. . . . The Wheat Kings (5-6-0) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Raiders (2-7-1), who have lost three in a row, got three assists from D Kaiden Guhle. . . . D Remy Aquilon scored his first two goals of the season for Prince Albert. . . . Hyland and F Tyson Zimmer scored shootout goals for Brandon, with Guhle doing the same for the Raiders. . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling blogger, was on hand and posted this story right here. . . .

In Swift Current, the Regina Pats halted a seven-game losing run with a 4-1 victory over the Broncos. . . . While the Pats improved to 3-7-0, the Broncos slid to 2-6-2 with their eighth straight loss (0-6-2). . . . F Zack Stringer (4) and F Cole Dubinsky (6) each scored twice.


JUST NOTES: With the Winnipeg Ice (11-1-0) and Everett Silvertips (6-0-1) both losing on Friday night, the OHL’s London Knights (8-0-0) are the only team in the CHL not to have lost yet this season. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has written a story right here about the Seattle Thunderbirds and attendance for their games at the accesso ShoWare Center. . . . Elizabeth Mantha worked her first game as an AHL referee on Friday night. Her brother, Anthony, plays for the NHL’s Washington Capitals. Elizabeth and former WHLer Cody Beach — yes, he’s Kyle’s brother — were the referees as the Rochester Americans scored a 4-3 victory over the Rocket in Laval.


Wifi


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Peloton

You’ll be hearing from Hockey Gives Blood . . . Kamloops’ GM on the job . . . Wheat Kings, Tigers sign draft picks

MacBeth

F Radek Meidl (Seattle, Tri-City, 2006-08) signed a one-year contract with the Milton Keynes Lightning (England, UK Elite). This season, with Orlik Opole (Poland, PHL), he had 18 goals and 19 assists in 35 games. He led the Lightning in goals and points, and was tied for the team lead in assists. . . .

F Zach Boychuk (Lethbridge, 2005-09) signed a one-year contract with Severstal Cherepovets (Russia, KHL). This season, with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL), he had 11 goals and 13 assists in 35 games. He was the KHL’s forward of the month for November. . . .

F Clarke Breitkreuz (Regina, Prince George, 2008-10) signed a one-year contract with Lausitzer Füchse Weisswasser (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had seven goals and nine assists in 40 games. . . .

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a try-out contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season, with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and two assists in 24 games. . . .

F Jaroslav Kristek (Tri-City, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Courchevel-Méribel-Pralognan (France, Division 2). This season, with Brest (France, Division 1), he had seven goals and 12 assists in 22 games. . . .

D Riley Stadel (Kelowna, Edmonton, 2011-17) signed a one-year contract with the Manchester Storm (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 games. . . .

F Michal Poletín (Regina, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had 10 goals and nine assists in 52 games. . . .

F Taylor Makin (Prince George, Vancouver, 2008-13) signed a one-year contract with Brest (France, Division 1). This season, with Acadia University (Atlantic University Sports), he had four goals and two assists in 12 games. . . .

F Jacob Doty (Seattle, Medicine Hat, 2009-14) signed a one-year contract with the Nottingham Panthers (England, UK Elite). This season, with the Braehead Clan Glasgow (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 16 goals and 19 assists in 56 games.


ThisThat

What follows was written earlier today (Sunday) but a four-hour power outage on the east side of Kamloops meant that its posting was delayed. So without further ado . . .

——

I actually took a couple of days away from the laptop in order to paint our deck. It was supposed to have been done last summer, but the smoke from the forest fires limited the amount of time a person could spend outside.

This time I only had to battle the mosquitoes. I haven’t seen them this bad since we left Regina in the spring of 2000. This spring, in the Kamloops area, we had a sudden turn to 30 C temperatures and a quick snow melt from the higher areas, all of which combined for a perfect mosquito-hatching season.

Having sat on our deck and enjoyed many a mosquito-free evening over the last few years, I had forgotten that the only thing mosquitoes like more than heat and water is human flesh.

But, hey, I toughed it out and the painting is finished.


I did take time out late last week to have a cup of coffee with Stu Middleton, the man behind Hockey Gives Blood.

He is a busy man these days. But, oh boy, has he accomplished a lot in less than two HockeyGivesBloodmonths.

Hockey Gives Blood, the project he started following the April 6 crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus, has partnered with Canada Blood Services, as it reads on its website, “to promote blood donation as an integral component of hockey programs . . .”

With that in mind, Hockey Gives Blood was front and centre at the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack and at the Memorial Cup in Regina last month.

Yes, Middleton says, Hockey Gives Blood has made some inroads, but it has a long, long way to go.

Middleton has big plans for the non-profit organization, most of which are still in the planning stage. But you can count on hearing a lot from Hockey Gives Blood in the near future.

In the meantime, watch for representatives at events like annual golf tournaments held by the Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets, and the Humboldt Broncos Memorial tournament at the Humboldt Golf Club on Aug. 18.

You are able to check out Hockey Gives Blood right here.

If you haven’t seen it, Pam Cowan of the Regina Leader-Post wrote about Middleton and Hockey Gives Blood in April, and that story is right here.


As expected, the Kamloops Blazers introduced Matt Bardsley as their new general manager at a news conference on Friday morning.

Bardsley, 46, had been with the Portland Winterhawks since 1999, working his way up Kamloops1from scout to assistant general manager.

In Kamloops, Bardsley takes over from Stu MacGregor, who now is on the scouting staff of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. The Stars are owned by Tom Gaglardi, who is the majority owner of the Blazers.

Bardsley steps into a Kamloops organization that needs a head coach, at least one assistant coach, and a director of player personnel.

Don Hay, the head coach for the past four seasons, has been moved to an advisory role, although he has made it apparent that he still wants to coach and that his phone line is open.

Assistant coach Mike Needham, who had been with the Blazers since 2010, and director of player personnel Matt Recchi, who had been in his position for 10 years, were told their contracts couldn’t be renewed.

Bardsley’s first job will be to hire a head coach, with Kyle Gustafson, who has been on the Winterhawks’ coaching staff since 2003-04, definitely in the running.

According to Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV, Bardsley said: “Kyle is a a good friend of mine. I have a long list of names, and he’s certainly a person who is on my list. He’s certainly qualified to have an opportunity, and he’ll be a head coach — soon.”

Meanwhile, the Blazers have scheduled a news conference for this afternoon (Monday) at which they are expected to announce the signing of F Logan Stankoven, who is from Kamloops.

Stankoven was the fifth overall selection in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. This season, he had 57 goals and 33 assists in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

The Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and Stankoven announced Sunday that he will play for them in 2018-19.

——

The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed D Vincent Iorio, a highly touted second-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Iorio was widely believed to be going the BrandonWKregularNCAA route before signing with the Wheat Kings. From Port Coquitlam, B.C., he has a late birthday, so won’t turn 16 until Nov. 14. . . . This season, he had four goals and 19 assists in 52 games with the U16 midget team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn. The previous season, he had eight goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the bantam T1 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

Brandon also signed F Nolan Ritchie, 16, who was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player who now scouts for the organization. . . . This season, Nolan had 40 goals and 44 assists in 45 games with the midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. His 84 points left him second in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League scoring race. In his draft season, he won the Winnipeg Bantam AAA League’s scoring derby with 89 points, 51 of them goals, with the Wheat Kings.

The Wheat Kings also have signed F Jake Chiasson and F Brett Hyland to WHL contracts. . . . Chiasson was a first-round selection, 15th overall, in the 2018 bantam draft, while Hyland was taken in the second round. . . . Chiasson, from Abbotsford, stayed at home this season and played at the Yale Hockey Academy. He had 20 goals and 48 assists in 30 games with the bantam prep team. . . . Hyland, from Edmonton, had 10 goals and 25 assists in 17 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team this season.

——

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.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

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.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

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

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.


The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed F Cole Sillinger, who was a first-round selection, 11th overall, in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. This season, he had 46 goals and 37 assists Tigers Logo Officialin 30 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy’s bantam prep team. From Regina, his father, Mike, starred for the Regina Pats (1987-91) before going to a lengthy pro career that included 1,049 regular-season NHL games.

The Tigers also signed D Dru Krebs, who was taken in the second-round of the 2018 bantam draft. From Okotoks, Krebs had seven goals and 10 assists in 35 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers. . . . Krebs has two brothers playing in the WHL — Peyton is with the Kootenay Ice, while Dakota plays for the Calgary Hitmen. Yes, all three brothers are with teams in the Central Division, although Dru, at 15, isn’t eligible for full-time play until the 2019-20 season.


The City of Kennewick is going to make improvements to the 30-year-old Toyota Center tri-citythat is home to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. Annie Fowler and Wendy Culverwell of the Tri-City Herald report that “visitors will soon see improvements . . . under an agreement that will keep the Americans for the foreseeable future.” . . . The major project this summer will be the installation of LED lighting. . . . In time, it is expected that a new ice plant and video board will be installed, and improvements will be made to the visiting team dressing room. . . . Taking Note has been told that improvements also will be made to the foyer and there will changes to the concessions. . . . The WHL had implemented a deadline of September 2019 for improvements to be made in order that the facility met league standards. . . . The Americans’ lease expires in 2020. . . . The Herald’s story is right here.


The Prince George Cougars and Vista Radio, owners of 94.3 the Goat, have agreed on a deal covering play-by-play rights for the 2018-19 season. Fraser Roger will call the play for a second straight season, with Hartley Miller back for a sixth season as the analyst.


Mark Chase has signed on as the general manager and head coach of the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. From Kamloops, Chase, 31, spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . In Osoyoos, Chase takes over from Ken Law, who was dropped after being the only head coach in the team’s eight-year existence. Under Law, the Coyotes won one KIJHL title and six regular-season division titles. . . . Andrew Stuckey of Osoyoos Today has more right here.


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