Rasmussen staying with Red Wings. . . . Wheat Kings move into playoff spot. . . . Kamloops loses ground to Kelowna, Seattle


MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL). He has three goals and three assists in 47 games. Jobke is a dual German-Canadian citizen. . . .

F Roman Tománek (Calgary, Seattle, 2004-06) has been released by mutual agreement by Gyergyói Gheorghieni (Romania, Erste Liga). In 36 games, he had 16 goals and 18 assists. He started the season with Michalovce (Slovakia, 1. Liga), going pointless in two games. . . .

F Ian McDonald (Tri-City, 2000-06) has signed a one-year contract extension with Selb (Germany, Oberliga Süd). In 43 games, he has 31 goals and 53 assists. He leads the league in assists and points. . . .

F Colton Yellow Horn (Lethbridge, Tri-City, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Graz 99ers (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He has 23 goals and 30 assists, and leads the team in points.

ThisThat

It seems that the debating inside the Detroit Red Wings’ organization is over.

F Michael Ramussen will be staying with the NHL team, meaning he won’t be going back NHLto the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.

Rasmussen, 19, was the ninth overall selection by the Red Wings in the NHL’s 2017 draft. The Red Wings kept him on their roster this season, and he has seven goals and eight assists in 49 games.

Under the terms of the CBA between the NHL and NHLPA, Rasmussen, as a 19-year-old, would have to play with the Red Wings or be returned to the Americans. Earlier this month, he spent three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit’s AHL affiliate, on a conditioning stint. In order to be eligible to play for Grand Rapids in the AHL playoffs, he would have to be returned to the Americans. He could then join the Griffins if and/or when Tri-City’s season ended.

The Red Wings have until Monday’s NHL trade deadline to return Rasmussen to the Americans, so there still is time for a mind to change. However, that now seems most unlikely to happen.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasmussen had 31 goals and 28 assists in 47 games with the Americans last season, then added 16 goals and 17 assists in 14 playoff games.


Joel Craven’s hockey career may be over.

Shaun Clouston, the Medicine Hat Tigers’ general manager and head coach, confirmed Tigers Logo Officialthat the sophomore defenceman has suffered another concussion and this one is “potentially career-ending.”

“I think that’s where Joel is at,” Clouston told Medicine Hat media on Thursday. “I suppose there’s always an opportunity at some point in the future to change that, but I do believe that’s where Joel is at right now . . . that the risk is not worth it.”

Craven, an 18-year-old from Whitefish, Mont., who played minor hockey in Calgary, was in his second season with the Tigers.

Last season, he suffered a concussion and was limited to 33 games. This season, he has three goals and one assist in 32 games.

This season, Craven suffered a concussion in mid-October and didn’t play again until Dec. 2. He suffered yet another concussion on Feb. 10 and hasn’t played again.

“He had a bad concussion on a tough hit last (season), and this is his second one this year,” Clouston said. “It’s obviously a very challenging situation. I think for Joel, he battled hard, he wanted this. He faced some adversity with a ton of courage, and we fully respect where that’s at.”

Craven’s father, Murray, is a Medicine Hat native and played four seasons (1980-84) with the Tigers before going to a pro career that included 1,071 regular-season NHL games. Murray now is the senior vice-president of hockey operations with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.

With Joel gone, the Tigers will keep D Damon Agyeman, 16, on their roster for the rest of this season. From Cochrane, Alta., he has played five games with the Tigers this season. He had been with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons.

Charles Lefebvre of chatnewstoday.ca has more on the Tigers right here.


D Mats Lindgren, a top prospect for the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft, has made a verbal commitment to the U of Michigan Wolverines. Apparently, he made the revelation on his Instagram account on Thursday.

From North Vancouver, B.C., Lindgren will turn 15 on Aug. 26.

Lindgren is playing with the Burnaby Winter Club Bruins bantam prep A team, and has six goals and 37 assists in 47 games.

His father, Mats, played 387 regular-season NHL games in a career that ended with the Vancouver Canucks in 2002-03. He now coaches minor hockey on the Lower Mainland.


The Brooks Bandits beat the visiting Camrose Kodiaks, 6-2, on Friday night to set a single-Brooksseason AJHL record with 54 victories. The Bandits now are 54-3-0, and have won an AJHL-record 30 straight games. . . . The Bandits, under general manager/head coach Ryan Papaioannou, also have set the AJHL record for home victories (29) in one season. . . . The 2012-13 Bandits finished 53-4-3 en route to winning a national championship. . . . The 1976-77 Red Deer Rustlers won 28 straight home games. . . . The Bandits are the host team for the 2019 national junior A championship tournament, May 11-19.


While you’re here, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Brandon Wheat Kings continued their late-season run for a playoff spot with a 6-2 BrandonWKregularvictory over the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brandon (29-22-7) has won six in a row, and has moved into a playoff spot. It now holds the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Red Deer Rebels and one point behind the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Saskatoon (37-14-8) had won seven in a row and had at least a point in each of its previous 13 games (11-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division and appear destined to finish there. . . . F Ryan Hughes (13) put the visitors ahead 1-0 at 2:18 of the first period, but the Wheat Kings scored the next five goals. . . . F Ridley Greig (13) tied it at 11:32, with D Zach Wytinck (5) breaking the tie at 15:11. . . . Brandon then added three second-period goals — from F Luka Burzan (35), at 4:03; F Caiden Daley (6), at 4:46; and F Stelio Mattheos (40), at 10:20. . . . F Max Gerlach (37) got Saskatoon’s other goal, on a PP, at 4:47 of the third period, but Brandon F Ben McCartney (19) got that one back, shorthanded, at 10:39. . . . Gerlach ran his point streak to 15 games. He’s got 13 goals and 12 assists in that stretch. . . . Brandon got 37 saves from G Jiri Patera, who has won six straight. His work included a first-period stop on F Gary Haden on a penalty shot with the visitors ahead, 1-0. . . . The Blades had D Aidan De La Gorgendiere back in their lineup after he hadn’t played since Feb. 2. . . . D Nolan Kneen was among Saskatoon’s scratches. Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love told Les Lazaruk, the radio voice of the Blades, that Kneen is “nicked up.” . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Linden McCorrister (ill).


G Ian Scott and F Brett Leason returned from five-game absences to lead the host Prince PrinceAlbertAlbert Raiders to a 4-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . Prince Albert (48-8-3) has won two in a row, and leads the overall standings by 13 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Kootenay (11-38-9) has lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . Scott stopped 21 shots to earn his fifth shutout of this season. He has eight shutouts in his career, four of them against the Ice, including the first three. . . . Leason drew the primary assists on the Raiders’ first, second and fourth goals. . . . D Brayden Pachal (14) gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at 7:59 of the first period, and F Sean Montgomery made it 2-0 at 12:18. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (14) added a second-period goal, and Montgomery (26) added a shorthanded score in the third. . . . The Ice got 26 saves from G Curtis Meger, who made 27 appearances with the Raiders last season.


F Logan Nijhoff scored in OT to give the Regina Pats a 5-4 victory over the visiting PatsCalgary Hitmen. . . . Regina (18-38-3) has won two in a row and five of their past eight. . . . Calgary (30-22-6) has lost two straight (0-1-1). It is fourth in the Central Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers. Calgary also holds down the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . F Mark Kastelic (43) gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 5:52 of the first period, only to have Regina take a 2-1 lead on goals from F Garrett Wright (5), at 7:31, and F Duncan Pierce (8), at 10:13. Pierce had missed the previous eight games. . . . F James Malm pulled Calgary even at 18:26, on a PP. . . . The Pats went ahead 4-2 on second-period goals from F Austin Pratt (23), on a PP, at 5:06, and F Carter Massier (4), shorthanded, at 8:56. . . . The Hitmen tied it before the period ended, on goals from D Vladislav Yeryomenko (5), at 15:27, and Malm (25), on a PP, at 18:08. . . . Nijhoff won it with his seven goal just 30 seconds into OT. . . . Kastelic, who added two assists to his goal, left with a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:06 of the third period. . . . Regina got 37 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Ice G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots.


F Justin Almeida figured in Moose Jaw’s first three goals as the Warriors beat the MooseJawWarriorsBroncos, 4-2, in Swift Current. . . . Moose Jaw (32-16-8) is headed for a third-place finish in the East Division, and a first-round meeting with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swift Current (10-41-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2). . . . The Broncos took a 1-0 lead when F Ethan Regnier (9) scored, on a PP, at 5:12 of the first period. . . . Almeida (24) tied it, on a PP, at 11:23. . . . F Tristin Langan (42) gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead at 13:22 of the second period, only to have Broncos F Tanner Nagel (11) tie it, on a PP, at 16:23. . . . F Brayden Tracey scored the Warriors’ last two goals, breaking the tie, on a PP, at 13:14, getting an empty-netter, at 19:43. . . . Tracey now has 29 goals in his freshman season. . . . Almeida added two assists to his goal. . . . Moose Jaw was 3-4 on the PP; Swift Current was 2-3. . . . The Warriors held a 37-13 edge in shots., including 14-2 in the first period and 13-5 in the third.


The Edmonton Oil Kings scored the game’s first two goals and got 29 stops from G Dylan EdmontonOilKingsMyskiw en route to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels. . . . Edmonton (33-18-8) has won two in a row. It leads the Central Division by two points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Red Deer (29-23-5) has lost four in a row and now is one point out of a playoff spot. . . . These same teams will play again tonight in Red Deer. . . . The Oil Kings got first-period goals from F Scott Atkinson (10), at 8:56, and F David Kope (11), at 15:24. . . . F Brandon Hagel (34) scored for Red Deer, at 14:29 of the second period. . . . Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 26 shots.


The host Lethbridge Hurricanes erased a 2-0 deficit with four straight goals and went on Lethbridgeto beat the Medicine Hat Tigers, 6-3. . . . Lethbridge (31-17-10) has won two in a row. It is second in the Central Division, two points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (31-23-5) has lost five in a row. It is third in the Central Division, five points behind Lethbridge. . . . The same teams will meet again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . . The Tigers took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Corson Hopwo, at 3:43, and F Ryan Chyzowski (20), on a PP, at 6:05. . . . Lethbridge tied it before the period ended, on goals from F Jake Elmer (30), at 10:45, and F Logan Barlage (13), on a PP, at 13:41. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (34) gave the Hurricanes a 3-2 lead at 3:34 of the second period, and F Taylor Ross (30) made it 4-2 at 12:27. . . . Hopwo (6) got the Tigers to within a goal at 15:10. . . . F Jordy Bellerive iced it for Lethbridge with a pair of third-period goals — at 14:50, on a PP, and into an empty net at 19:27. Bellerive has 27 goals. . . . The Hurricanes got three assists from F Nick Henry. . . . Lethbridge was 2-6 on the PP; Medicine Hat was 1-8. . . . The Tigers had F Hayden Ostir (knee) back after he had been out since Jan. 4, but they are without F Ryan Jevne.


The Prince George Cougars ended a 17-game losing skid with a 2-1 shootout victory over PrinceGeorgethe Blazers in Kamloops. . . . Prince George (17-35-7) hadn’t won since beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 4-0, on Jan. 12. . . . The Cougars are 13 points out of a playoff spot with nine games remaining. . . . Kamloops (22-28-6) is fourth in the B.C. Division, five points behind the Kelowna Rockets. They’ll play in Kelowna tonight. . . . Kamloops is four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . The Blazers are 6-0-1 in the season series; the Cougars are 1-5-1. . . . F Josh Maser gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:13 of the first period. . . . The Blazers tied it when F Zane Franklin (26) scored at 13:16 of the third period. . . . Kamloops had a 19-5 edge in third-period shots. . . . The Cougars scored the only goals of the shootout from F Ethan Browne and F Vladislav Mikhalchuk. . . . The Cougars got 41 saves from G Taylor Gauthier, while G Dylan Ferguson stopped 31 shots for Kamloops. . . . The Cougars lost D Cole Moberg to an undisclosed injury during the game. . . . Things don’t get any easier for the Cougars, who are to meet the U.S. Division-leading Silvertips in Everett tonight. . . . Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen takes a look at the Cougars’ woes right here.


The Kelowna Rockets scored twice in a shootout to beat the host Spokane Chiefs, 4-3. . . . KelownaRocketsKelowna (25-29-5) is third in the B.C. Division, five points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Spokane (30-19-7) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, two points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . F Leif Mattson (21) gave the Rockets a 1-0 lead at 5:26 of the first period. . . . Spokane F Riley Woods (28) tied it, on a PP, at 7:32. . . . Kelowna went up 3-1 on second-period PP goals by F Nolan Foote (30), at 11:30, and F Alex Swetlikoff (3), at 17:58. . . . F Luke Toporowski (17) got the Chiefs to within one, on a PP, at 14:36 of the third period. . . . F Luc Smith (26) tied it with 27.3 seconds left in regulation time and G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . The Rockets won it on shootout goals from D Lassi Thomson and Foote. . . . G James Porter blocked 40 shots to earn the victory over Brkin, who made 23 saves. . . . Kelowna F Ted Brennan, who had played one game since Jan. 19, was back in the lineup. . . . The Chiefs used rainbow-coloured tape on their sticks during their pregame warmup in a show of support for the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone program.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Portland tri-cityWinterhawks, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (33-21-3) has won two in a row. It is third in the U.S. Division nine points behind Portland and two ahead of the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (36-17-6) had points in each of its previous four games (3-0-1). It is second in the U.S. Division, nine points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Americans won the season series, 7-1-0. . . . Tri-City F Parker AuCoin (37) ran his point streak to 10 games by giving his guys a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the game. . . . Portland took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals from D Jared Freadrich (11), at 10:52, and F Cody Glass (15), at 12:59. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (16) tied it at 15:30. . . . F Samuel Huo (6) broke the tie at 15:32 of the second period, and F Nolan Yaremko (22) iced it with an empty-netter at 19:00 of the third period. . . . Tri-City was 0-4 on the PP; Portland was 0-1. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 34 shots for the winners, while Portland got 27 stops from Joel Hofer. . . . Warm stopped Portland F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, on a penalty shot at 3:00 of the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. . . . The Winterhawks remain without D Nolan De Jong.


G David Tendeck stopped 26 shots to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 4-0 victory over the VancouverVictoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (31-24-3) is atop the B.C. Division by 20 points over Victoria. . . . Victoria (30-25-3) looks to be headed to a second-place finish in the B.C. Division. . . . This was the first of three straight games between these teams, as they will clash again tonight and Sunday afternoon in Victoria. . . . Vancouver leads the season series, 5-2-1; Victoria is 3-4-1. . . . The Giants’ first two goals came from defencemen Kaleb Bulych (3), at 11:15 of the second period and Seth Bafaro (6), at 19:45. . . . The winner got insurance in the third period from F Lukas Svejkovsky (7) and F Justin Sourdif (18). . . . Tendeck posted his 20th victory of this season and the 50th of his career. This season, he is 20-10-2, 2.41, .911, with four shutouts. He has seven shutouts in his career. . . . The Royals got 30 saves from G Brock Gould.


D Jarret Tyszka scored in OT to give the Seattle Thunderbirds a 3-2 victory over the SeattleSilvertips in Everett. . . . Seattle (24-28-6) holds down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, four points ahead of the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Everett (41-14-4) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It leads the U.S. Division by eight points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Everett held 1-0 and 2-1 leads. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (9) made it 1-0 at 16:49 of the first period. . . . Seattle tied it on a goal by F Nolan Volcan (20) at 4:36 of the second period. . . . F Jalen Price (6) put Everett back into the lead at 6:46. . . . F Andrej Kukuca (22) forced OT with a PP goal at 11:25 of the third period. . . . Tyszka won it with his seventh goal at 2:24 of OT. . . . Seattle was 1-5 on the PP; Everett was 0-2. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 39 shots for Seattle. . . . Everett got 27 saves from Dustin Wolf. . . . Seattle lost D Cade McNelly to a headshot major and game misconduct at 7:18 of the second period. Everett F Martin Fasko-Rudas had to be helped off the ice after the hit. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar was scratched for a third straight game.


Tweetoftheday

Advertisements

Habscheid eighth WHL coach to 500 wins . . . Celebrates with chocolate sundae . . . Sutter should be next to milestone

MacBeth

F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a contract for the rest of this season with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and 31 assists in 44 games with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2).


ThisThat

Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth coach in WHL history with 500 regular-season victories as his club beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge PrinceAlberton Saturday night.

Habscheid, a 55-year-old native of Swift Current, went into this season with 456 victories. The Raiders, who have the WHL’s best record, now are 45-7-2. Habscheid missed a Jan. 22 game — the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, in Victoria — while at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.

How did Habscheid celebrate last night? The Hurricanes stopped at a Dairy Queen. “I had a large chocolate sundae,” Habscheid told Taking Note. “The boys got whatever they wanted. Best $180 I ever spent.”

As for the picture in the above tweet, Habscheid said: “The picture with my boys will be with me forever.” If you look at the photo, that’s Habscheid wearing the top hat that is awarded to the team’s player of the game.

Habscheid coached in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins and Victoria Royals before signing on with the Raiders as a midseason replacement for Cory Clouston in 2014-15.

On Saturday, Habscheid coached in his 995th regular-season game. He is en route to becoming the eighth head coach in WHL history to reach the 1,000-game mark.

The Raiders next are to play on Wednesday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos.

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, is No. 1 in victories (750), while former Portland head coach Ken Hodge is tops in games coached (1,364).

This season, on his way to No. 500, Habscheid has passed Dean Clark, Kelly McCrimmon, Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt, all former coaches, as well as Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels.

Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Rebels, will be the next to 500. With the Rebels at 28-19-4, Sutter now has 495 regular-season victories.

——

THE WHL’S 500 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500


With G Jack McNaughton having been injured on Friday night, the Calgary Hitmen have Calgaryagain added G Brayden Peters to their roster. . . . McNaughton was hurt when he ventured out to the hashmarks after a loose puck and was involved in a first-period collision with F Brett Leason of the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. Both players left the game, which the Raiders won, 8-2, and didn’t return. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes and had been up with the Hitmen previously to backup McNaughton with Carl Stankowski injured. . . . Stankowski is back now and will carry the load with McNaughton out, starting today against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

——

Meanwhile, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who was involved in that collision with Calgary Hitmen G Jack McNaughton, sat out Saturday night’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes.

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told play-by-play man Trevor Redden that Leason is “nicked up . . . but it’s nothing earth-shattering and we’ll provide him with a bit of rest.”

The Raiders also scratched G Ian Scott, giving him a night off, and had Brett Balas up from the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks to back up Boston Bilous. . . . Balas, who turned 18 on Jan. 31, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Raiders earlier in the season, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871.

This may have been the first time in WHL history that a team had a B.B. in goal and a B.B. on the bench.


F Conner Bruggen-Cate was welcomed with open mouths, as opposed to open arms, on Saturday night when his Kelowna Rockets met the Blazers in Kamloops.

These two teams played in Kelowna on Feb. 2 and, yes, something happened. Whatever it was it resulted in two-game suspensions to Bruggen-Cate and Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL said were his “actions.” Those “actions” appeared to set off Oyebuchi, who tried to get at Bruggen-Cate, who chose not to engage. Onyebuchi was suspended for a one-man fight.

Had the WHL suspended each player for three games, neither would have been eligible to play on Saturday night.

As it was, Onyebuchi completed his sentence, while Bruggen-Cate was in the Rockets’ lineup.

The announced crowd of 3,365 didn’t seem too aware of Bruggen-Cate’s presence until early in the second period when he was booed while on an early power play. The boos turned to cheers less than two minutes later when he was penalized for interference.

From that point on, he was booed most times he touched the puck, but he turned the boos to cheers, again with another interference penalty late in the period.

The 19-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., got the last laugh, however, as the Rockets won the game, 4-1.

As for what happened on the ice on Feb. 2, well, no one’s talking. It’s almost as though the WHL implemented a gag rule.

On Friday night, Jo Hendricks, a frequent anthem singer at Blazers games, performed while wearing an Onyebuchi sweater. Without the rugged defenceman, the Blazers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants.


The visiting WHL teams at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will notice a new look in their dressing room next season. The KeyArena in Seattle will be undergoing huge renovations in anticipation of the arrival of an NHL expansion team, so the Seattle University Redhawks men’s basketball team is expected to play a handful of games in Kent. University officials have asked that the visitors’ dressing room be painted in the team colours, and the arena operators have agreed. . . . Meanwhile, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, which also plays in KeyArena, will play five home games in Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, the home of the Silvertips. But the Storm season doesn’t begin until May, so the Silvertips shouldn’t be affected. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has those tidbits and more in a story detailing the ShoWare Center’s 2018 finances, and it’s all right here.


If you like what you read here, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.

Report: WHL looking at Kamloops-Kelowna incident . . . Discipline handed out from Saturday games . . . Stankowski ready to play again


ThisThat

CFJC-TV in Kamloops reported late Monday afternoon that the WHL “is looking into an incident in the third period of Saturday night’s game in Kelowna between the Rockets whland Kamloops Blazers.”

The Rockets won the game, 2-1 in OT.

At 2:09 of the third period, D Montana Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct after he went after F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Rockets, who wasn’t penalized.

According to CFJC-TV, the WHL “is trying to find out what set off Onyebuchi that led to the one-sided fight.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Onyebuchi, whose father is from Nigeria, is from Dugald, Man. The 18-year-old is in his third WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 8, 2018. The Silvertips had selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bruggen-Cate, 19, is from Langley, B.C. He is in his third full season with the Rockets after being a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had a busy Monday as three players were suspended and one coach was fined, all the result of incidents in games played on Saturday night.

F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings will sit for four games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:33 of the third period of their 4-3 OT victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Neighbours was playing his first game after having missed a dozen with an undisclosed injury.

F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders drew a three-game suspension after he became embroiled in a fracas at the final buzzer of their 4-3 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Nachbaur ended up with a fighting major and game misconduct after becoming involved with F Tristin Langan of the Warriors.

Langan was suspended for one game for his game misconduct. According to the online scoresheet, Langan was given a minor penalty for checking from behind at 18:53 of the third period. Shortly after, he was hit with a minor for leaving the penalty box, a fighting major and a game misconduct.

Neighbours and Nachbaur began serving their suspensions on Monday night as the Raiders played in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, even though there isn’t anything on the online scoresheet to indicate it, it seems that Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, was given a game misconduct at the conclusion of their 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. He now has been fined $750 for that transgression.


The Calgary Hitmen have activated G Carl Stankowski, so have returned G Brayden CalgaryPeters to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879, but has been out since Nov. 23 with an ankle injury. He missed all of last season while with the Seattle Thunderbirds, due to injury and health issues. The Hitmen acquired him from Seattle on Aug. 7. . . . In 2016-17, Stankowski, then 16, stepped in as the playoffs began and backstopped the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Peters got into one game during his stint with the Hitmen, going the distance in a 6-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Jan. 30. . . .

The Hitmen also have added D Tyson Galloway, 16, to their roster. From Kamloops, Galloway has 12 assists in 32 games with the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s Thompson Blazers. The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

The Hitmen are next scheduled to play on Wednesday when they entertain the Regina Pats.


Representatives of the Grant MacEwan U Griffins and Trinity Western U Spartans men’s hockey teams will present their cases today in the hopes of being admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

Canada West is an eight-team conference that features eight teams from schools in Canada’s four western-most provinces.

Both schools are members of U Sports, the governing body for university athletics in Canada, but the men’s hockey teams have played in other leagues, the Spartans in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and the Griffins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

The Griffins, who are based in Edmonton, have won the ACAC’s last two playoff titles. The Spartans are the BCIHL’s defending champions.

Adding the two schools would bring Canada West men’s hockey to 10 teams, the others being the Alberta Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos, Lethbridge Pronghorns, Manitoba Bisons, Mount Royal Cougars, Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds.


If you like what you read hear, and even if you don’t, feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thank you, in advance.


MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Prince Albert (43-7-2) has won two in a row. The PrinceAlbertRaiders lead the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Edmonton (29-16-8) had won its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Raiders, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert won the season series, 3-1-0; Edmonton was 1-2-1. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (11) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:00 of the first period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (23) tied it, on a PP, 37 seconds into the second period. . . . The Raiders responded with two goals in the second period and two in the third. . . . F Parker Kelly (24) broke the tie, on another PP, at 4:04 of the second, with Leason (33) making it 3-1 at 9:13. . . . F Jakob Brook (5) upped it to 4-1 at 5:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (22) rounded out the scoring at 10:53. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-3. . . . The Raiders got 25 saves from G Ian Scott, while Todd Scott turned aside 41 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert F Sean Montgomery, who had one assist, played in his 330th regular-season game, all with the Raiders. That ties the franchise record (F Brett Novak, 2000-06) for franchise’s career games played mark, at 330. . . . Montgomery has 133 points, including 64 goals, in those 330 games. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who was acquired by the Raiders from the Victoria Royals at the trade deadline, played in his 300th regular-season game and drew two assists. Hannoun has played 14 games with the Raiders after getting into 286 with the Royals. He has 262 points, including 103 goals, in his career.


Tweetoftheday

Captain Kastelic leads Hitmen to win . . . Warm maintains perfect shootout mark . . . Dewar’s six points spark Silvertips

ThisThat

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period as the host Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertbeat the Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-3. . . . Prince Albert (42-7-2) leads the East Division by 18 points over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Moose Jaw (28-12-8) had points in each of its previous eight games (7-0-1). It is third in the East Division, four points behind Saskatoon but with three games in hand. . . . F Cole Fonstad (21) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 4:34 of the first period, with Moose Jaw D Josh Brook (10) tying it, on a PP, at 19:40. . . . Prince Albert went back in front at 4:50 of the second period as F Sean Montgomery (21) scored. . . . The Warriors tied it again, this time on a goal from F Brayden Tracey (23), on a PP, at 15:31. . . . The Raiders took the lead at 16:04 on a goal by D Kaiden Guhle (2). . . . Again, Moose Jaw tied it, this time on F Justin Almeida’s 20th goal of the season, on a PP, at 15:45 of the third period. . . . Leason won it at 17:35, with his 32nd goal of the season. He has nine game-winners this season. . . . In 43 games, he now has 75 points. He went into this season with 51 points, including 24 goals, in 135 games. . . . D Jett Woo drew three assists for the Warriors. . . . The Warriors were 3-5 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-6. . . . G Ian Scott stopped 28 shots for the Raiders, bouncing back after not finishing a 6-3 loss to the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday. . . . The Warriors got 31 saves from G Brodan Salmond. . . . Looking at the online scoresheet, Moose Jaw F Tristin Langan appears to have been given a minor penalty for leaving the penalty box and entering into a fight at the game’s final buzzer. If so, he likely will be hearing from Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s sheriff.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored in OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 4-3 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsBlades in Saskatoon. . . . Edmonton (29-15-8) has won four in a row. It beat the Raiders in Prince Albert, 6-3, on Friday night. The Oil Kings lead the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Saskatoon (30-13-8) has points in six straight (4-0-2) and is second in the East Division four points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . F Gary Haden gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:46 of the first period. . . . Edmonton took a 2-1 lead before the period ended, on goals from F Conner McDonald, at 15:29, and F Vladimir Alistrov (8), at 17:42. . . . Haden got the Blades into a tie, with his 25th goal, at 15:42 of the second period. A 19-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., Haden has goals in four straight games. In fact, he has nine goals over that stretch. This season, he has 48 points in 47 games. He also has scored eight times against the Oil Kings this season. . . . F Max Gerlach (29) gave the Blades a 3-2 lead, on a PP, at 11:54 of the third period. . . . McDonald’s 16th goal, on a PP, got Edmonton back into a tie at 16:51. . . . McDonald, 19, has 35 points in 52 games this season. He has back-to-back two-goal games, and has scored twice in three of his past four games. In a six-game point streak, he has put up 10 points, seven of them goals. . . . Fix-Wolansky, who scored twice in Prince Albert on Friday, won this one 30 seconds into OT. It was his 28th goal of the season. He now has 81 points in 50 games. . . . The Oil Kings again were without D Matthew Robertson, but they did get F Jake Neighbours back after a 12-game absence. However, he left at 8:33 of the third period with a boarding major and game misconduct. . . . Edmonton F Quinn Benjafield celebrated his 21st birthday by playing in his 300th game. He picked up the primary assist on McDonald’s game-tying goal in the third period. Benjafield has 165 points, including 62 goals, in those 300 games. He played the first 261 of those with the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Oil Kings got 38 saves from G Dylan Myskiw, while Nolan Maier stopped 31 shots for the Blades.


F Mark Kastelic had two goals and an assist as the Calgary Hitmen got past the Rebels, 5-Calgary1, in Red Deer. . . . Calgary (26-19-5) has points in six straight (5-0-1) and holds down the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Hitmen also are fifth in the Central Division, but only three points out of third. . . . Red Deer (28-18-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points ahead of Calgary and one behind the third-place Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Red Deer won the season series, 6-2-0; the Hitmen were 2-5-1. . . . The Hitmen erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period goals. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (6) gave Red Deer a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 12:12 of the first period. . . . Calgary took control in the second period on goals by Kastelic, on a PP, at 3:07; F Carson Focht (15), at 8:09; F Kaden Elder (20), at 9:27; and Kastelic, on another PP, at 15:19. . . . Kastelic, Calgary’s captain, now has 36 goals. . . . F James Malm (21) got Calgary’s last goal at 8:24 of the third period. . . . Kastelic, a 19-year-old from Phoenix, has 10 points, including six goals, over his past four games. He has career highs in goals and points (58), in 50 games. He also has equalled a career-high in assists (22). . . . Elder also had two assists for a three-point outing. . . . Calgary held a 38-24 edge in shots, including 15-6 in the first period and 14-4 in the third. . . . The Hitmen got 23 saves from G Jack McNaughton, 10 fewer than Red Deer’s Byron Fancy. . . . The Hitmen lost D Dakota Krebs at 5:36 of the first period when, according to Greg Meachem of reddeerrebels.com, he was “knocked out by (Jeff) de Wit in a first-period scrap.” Krebs didn’t return to the game.


F Jordy Bellerive had a goal and two assists to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 4-2 Lethbridgevictory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (27-15-8) has won two straight. It is second in the Central Division, four points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings and two ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Swift Current (10-37-3) has lost three in a row. The franchise record for fewest victories in a season is 14, from 1968-69 when teams played a 60-game regular season. That season, the Broncos finished 14-44 with two ties. . . . D Danila Palivko (2) scored shorthanded, at 7:03 of the first period, as the home team took a 1-0 lead. . . . The Broncos tied it at 13:48 when F Ethan Regnier (8) scored on a penalty shot. . . . Lethbridge took control with the next three goals. Bellerive (24) got it started at 15:53, and F Noah Book (5) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 19:27. . . . D Calen Addison (8) gave the Hurricanes a 4-1 lead at 14:15 of the second period. . . . D Connor Horning (5) got the Broncos’ second goal, at 16:31 of the second. . . . G Riley Lamb gave the Broncos a chance to win, with 41 saves. . . . At the other end, Carl Tetachuk stopped 15 shots. . . . Bellerive, coming off severe burns suffered in an off-season incident, now has 62 points, including 38 assists, in 50 games.


G Mads Søgaard stopped 16 shots to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-0 victory Tigers Logo Officialover the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . Medicine Hat (28-18-4) had lost its previous two games. It is third in the Central Division, two points behind the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Brandon (22-20-7) had points in each of its past four games (3-0-1). It now is six points out of a wild-card playoff spot. . . . The Tigers took control with three first-period goals. . . . F James Hamblin (25) made it 1-0 at 3:46. . . . F Logan Christensen (6) upped it to 2-0 at 6:52. . . . F Brett Kemp (26), on a PP, made it 3-0 at 11:54. . . . The Tigers’ fourth goal, from F Ryan Jevne (22) at 5:10 of the second period, had assists from Hamblin and F Ryan Chyzowski. That was Hamblin’s 100th career assist, with Chyzowski picking up his 100th career point. . . . F Elijah Brown (10) accounted for the game’s final goal, at 5;58 of the third period. . . . The 6-foot-7 Søgaard, an 18-year-old freshman from Denmark, has two shutouts this season. He is 12-4-4, 2.31, .931.


D Lassi Thomson’s OT goal gave the Kelowna Rockets a 2-1 victory over the visiting KelownaRocketsKamloops Blazers. . . . Kelowna (21-25-5) had lost its previous two games (0-1-1). It is third in the B.C. Division, six points behind the Victoria Royals and two ahead of the Blazer. . . . Kamloops (20-25-5) has points in three straight (1-0-2). It is in possession of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . With four games left in the season series, the Blazes are 4-1-1; the Rockets are 2-3-1. . . . Each team had one of its top prospects in the lineup, the Blazers dressing F Logan Stankoven, the fifth overall pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, for a fifth game, while the Rockets used F Trevor Wong, the 18th pick in that draft, in his fourth game. . . . Wong scored his first career goal, on a PP, at 3:25 of the third period to give Kelowna a 1-0 lead. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (19) got Kamloops into a 1-1 tie at 7:29. . . . Thomson (12) won it, on a PP, at 4:14 of OT. . . . The Rockets had the only three shots of extra time. . . . Kelowna was 2-5 on the PP; Kamloops was 0-1. . . . Wong’s goal came after Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi was hit with a major and game misconduct for being involved in a one-man fight. . . . Kamloops got 22 saves from G Dylan Ferguson, who is 5-0-2 in his last seven starts. . . . G Roman Basran stopped 17 shots for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna F Mark Liwiski sat this one out for what the WHL calls “an accumulation of kneeing penalties” this season. . . . Kamloops D Jeff Faith missed this one as he completed a two-game suspension.


F Jake Gricius scored in the third round of a shootout to give the Portland Winterhawks a Portland6-5 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-14-5) has won two in a row. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . Spokane (26-17-6) had won its previous two games. It is third in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Portland and three ahead of the Tri-City Americans. . . . On Wednesday night in Spokane, the Chiefs beat the Winterhawks, 7-2. . . . Last night, the Chiefs overcame 3-1 and 5-3 deficits to earn a point. . . . D Nolan Reid gave the Chiefs a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 3:18 of the first period. . . . Portland got the next three goals, from F Lane Gilliss (12), at 4:32; D Jared Freadrich (8), at 19:15; and D John Ludvig (3), at 0:20 of the second period. . . . Spokane tied it on goals from D Egor Arbuzov (3), at 12:54, and Reid (11), at 14:55. . . . The Winterhawks took their second two-goal lead as F Cross Hanas (7) scored, on a PP, at 16:32, and D Matthew Quigley (1) counted at 5:58 of the third period. . . . F Adam Beckman (22), at 9:11, and D Filip Kral (6), at 11:28, got the Chiefs into a 5-5 tie. . . . Spokane F Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Portland F Reece Newkirk exchanged shootout goals before Gricius, the second shooter in the third round, won it. . . . Hanas added two assists to his goal, for his first three-point night, while Beckman and Kral added two assists each for the Chiefs. . . . The Winterhawks lost F Joachim Blichfeld, who leads the WHL in goals and points, to an interference major and game misconduct for a hit on Spokane D Ty Smith at 9:59 of the first period. Smith left and didn’t return to the game.


D Dylan Plouffe had a goal and two assists, and F Milos Roman scored twice, leading the VancouverVancouver Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver (33-13-3) leads the B.C. Division by 16 points over the Victoria Royals. . . . Prince George (16-29-5) has lost nine in a row (0-7-2) and is eight points out of a playoff spot. . . . Roman scored on a PP at 3:15 to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead. . . . D Cole Moberg (10) got the Cougars even at 11:13. . . . Plouffe (5) put the Giants back out front at 11:35 of the second period. . . . F Josh Maser (19) pulled the visitors back into a tie, on a PP, at 19:57. . . . F Justin Sourdif (13) broke the tie at 14:51 of the third period, and Roman (20) added insurance with the empty-netter at 19:13. . . . D Nic Draffin made his debut with the Giants. A 17-year-old from Lethbridge, he had a goal and four assists in 35 games with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs before joining the Giants. A third-round pick by Red Deer in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft, the Giants acquired him from the Rebels on Jan. 10 for a seventh-round pick in the 2021 draft. . . . This was the first of four games in eight days, including three in a row, between these teams. The Giants will be in Prince George for games on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the Cougars heading to Langley for a game on Feb. 10. . . . On their way home from Prince George, the Giants will stop for a Wednesday night game with the Kamloops Blazers. The Giants, who play four times in Kamloops this season, made their first visit there the previous Wednesday.


G Beck Warm recorded his seventh shootout victory of the season — in as many tri-cityopportunities — as the Tri-City Americans got past the host Victoria Royals, 2-1. . . . Tri-City (26-19-3) is safely ensconced in the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, and is fourth in the U.S. Division, three points behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Victoria (25-20-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Americans took a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period as F Parker AuCoin (26) scored on a PP. . . . The Royals tied it at 13:22 when F Phillip Schultz (8) scored. . . . F Nolan Yaremko and F Kyle Olson had shootout goals for Tri-City, with D-Jay Jerome getting the Royals’ only score. . . . Warm finished with 33 saves, 10 more than Victoria’s Griffen Outhouse. . . . On Friday night, Victoria beat the visiting Americans, 5-2.


F Connor Dewar scored four goals and added two assists as the Everett Silvertips beat the Everettvisiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 7-2. . . . Everett (37-12-2) has won three in a row. It leads the U.S. Division by seven points over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . Seattle (19-24-6) has lost two straight, both of them to the Silvertips. The Thunderbirds now are one point out of the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Dewar, who has two career hat tricks, enjoyed his first four-goal and six-point outing. . . . Dewar now has a career-high 70 points in 47 games. He finished last season with 68 points in 68 games. . . . Dewar fell one point shy of the Everett franchise record for points in a game. It is shared by F Zach Hamill and F Dan Gendur from a 9-0 victory over the Winterhawks in Portland on Jan. 26, 2007. They each had three goals and four assists. . . . Everett has had players score hat tricks in three straight games. F Zack Andrusiak did it on Jan. 26, in a 9-1 victory over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, and F Bryce Kindopp, who billets with Dewar, had three goals in a 5-2 victory over host Seattle on Friday night. . . . The Silvertips scored the game’s first four goals, three of them from Dewar, who broke open a scoreless game at 19:30 of the first period. . . . D Jake Christiansen (9) had Everett’s other goal in that outburst. He finished with a goal and three assists for his first career four-point game. . . . F Andrew Kukuca (14) got Seattle on the scoreboard at 17:42 of the second period, but Everett opened the third period with three goals, two of them on the PP. . . . Dewar, who has 35 goals, got his fourth, with F Bryce Kindopp (29) and D Wyatte Wylie (8) adding one each. . . . F Keltie Jeri-Leon (7) had Seattle’s other goal. . . . Everett got three assists from F Gage Goncalves in his first multi-point game. . . . Everett was 3-9 on the PP; Seattle was 0-2. . . . Seattle took 74 of the game’s 106 penalty minutes.


Tweetoftheday

Leason, Raiders back on track? . . . Thunderbirds stun host Warriors . . . Americans steal one from Silvertips

MacBeth

D Ivan Baranka (Everett, 2003-05) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Brno (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after requesting and obtaining his release from Vítkovice Ostrava (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He had three goals and five assists in 34 games.

——

ThisThat

As I put tonight’s notes and roundup together my mind constantly wandered back to a night exactly five years ago.

It was then that I put together a newspaper’s sports pages for the final time.

Yes, the Kamloops Daily News has been gone for five years . . . gone, but not forgotten.

I still get told by folks on a regular basis how much they miss having a daily newspaper.

They aren’t alone.

——

The Vancouver Giants have trimmed two defencemen from their roster, releasing D Ty VancouverEttinger and D Parker Hendren. . . . Ettinger, 18, is expected to land in junior A, while Hendren, 17, will join the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. . . .  Ettinger, from Ardrossan, Alta., was a fifth-round pick by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. The Giants acquired him from Brandon on Oct. 1, giving up a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft in return. He had three assists in 31 games with Vancouver. . . . Hendren, from Regina, was a seventh-round pick by the Giants in the 2016 bantam draft. He had one goal and one assist in 26 games with Vancouver this season. . . . The Giants had to make some moves after acquiring three defencemen — Dallas Hines, Seth Bafaro and Nicholas Draffin — in recent days.

——

The BCHL’s Langley Rivermen have acquired the junior A rights to F Bronson Sharp, 19, from the Merritt Centennials in exchange for future considerations . . . From Mission, B.C., Sharp has played seven games with the Everett Silvertips this season, but hasn’t been played since Oct. 13 because of a concussion. In 102 regular-season WHL games — 84 with the Portland Winterhawks and 18 with Everett — he has two goals and three assists. . . . Everett acquired Sharp from Portland on Jan. 10, 2018, giving up a fifth-round pick in the 2020 WHL bantam draft in the deal.

——

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Davis scored once and drew three assists to help the Red Deer Rebels to a 5-3 Red Deervictory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . Red Deer (24-13-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is tied for second in the Central Division with Edmonton, one point behind Lethbridge. . . . Brandon (16-17-6) has lost three in a row and now is eights shy of a playoff spot. . . . The Rebels took control by breaking a 1-1 tie with three second-period goals, from F Alex Morozoff (7), F Chris Douglas (11) and Davis (13). . . . F Cam Hausinger added two goals for Red Deer, giving him 14. . . . F Stelio Mattheos scored twice for Brandon — he’s got 28 — and added an assist, and F Ben McCartney (12) added one. . . . Davis enjoyed the second four-point game of his WHL career. He has six goals and 10 assists in 13 games since the Rebels acquired him from the Kootenay Ice. He had seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games with the Ice. . . . D Braydyn Chizen, acquired from the Kelowna Rockets this week, made his Brandon debut. . . . The Wheat Kings remain without F Linden McCorrister.

——

F Andrej Kukuca scored twice on the PP and added an assist to lead the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds to a 7-2 victory over the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Seattle (14-21-4) has won two in a row and now is 3-2-0 on an East Division trip that ends tonight in Swift Current. The Thunderbirds now are one point away from the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Moose Jaw (21-10-7) has lost three straight (0-2-1). It remains a comfortable third in the East Division, nine points behind Saskatoon and 11 ahead of Brandon. . . . F Brayden Tracey (16) gave Moose Jaw a 1-0 lead at 5:15 of the first period. . . . The visitors erased that with four seocnd-period goals — from F Nolan Volcan (16), Kukuca, on a PP, F Sean Richards (11) and F Keltie Jeri-Leon (6). . . . The latter two scored their first goals with Seattle since being acquired from Everett and Lethbridge, respectively. . . . F Tristin Langan (32) got the Warriors to within two goals, on a PP, at 2:49 of the third, but the visitors put it away with three more goals, from D Jarret Tyszka (3), Kukuca (11) and F Tyler Carpendale (5). . . . F Noah Philp had three assists for Seattle. . . . G Roddy Ross stopped 24 shots for Seattle and now is 3-0-0 since joining the team from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly missed a second straight game after completing a three-game suspension. . . . The Warriors had F Carson Denomie, acquired from Kamloops, and F Alec Zawatsky, who was acquired from Swift Current, in their lineup.

——

F Brett Leason broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat PrinceAlbertthe Portland Winterhawks, 4-2. . . . Prince Albert (36-5-1) now is 19-3-0 at home, where it had lost three of its previous four outings. The Raiders lead the Eastern Conference by 15 points over Saskatoon. . . . Portland (25-12-5) had points in each of its previous 10 games (7-0-3). It is 4-1-0 on an East Division tour that wraps up tonight in Saskatoon. Portland is second in the U.S. Division, 11 points behind Everett. . . . The Winterhawks had won each of its past four games in Prince Albert. . . . F Seth Jarvis (11) put Portland ahead at 6:57 of the first period with his fifth goal in seven games. . . . The Raiders took the lead later in the period on goals from F Cole Fonstad (15), at 11:58, and D Zack Hayes (3), at 15:40. . . . F Jake Gricius (19) got Portland into a tie at 17:06. . . . Leason broke the tie with his 29th goal, his first since returning from the WJC, at 8:52 of the third period. He leads the WHL with eight game-winners. . . . F Sean Montgomery (18) iced it with the empty-netter at 18:38. . . . G Ian Scott earned the victory with 27 saves. It was his career-best 25th victory, one more than he recorded last season. . . . G Joel Hofer, who was acquired from Swift Current for six bantam draft picks, made his Portland debut, stopping 23 shots. . . . F Josh Paterson, who was acquired from Saskatoon also made his Portland debut. . . . G Boston Bilous, acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday, was on the Raiders’ bench backing up Ian Scott. . . . D Bryce Bader, acquired from Calgary, and D Loeden Schoefler, who came over from Seattle, were scratched by the Raiders. . . . Portland D Brendan De Jong (concussion) missed his seventh straight game. . . . The Winterhawks are down to two goaltenders — Hofer and Shane Farkas, 19 — after dropping Evan Fradette and Dante Gianuzzi from their roster. Fradette, 17, was returned to the midget AAA St. Albert, Alta., Raiders without getting into a WHL game. Giannuzzi, 16, has returned to Winnipeg “to prepare as a potential black ace for the playoffs and training camp,” according to a tweet from Joshua Critzer, who follows the Winterhawks for dubnetwork.ca. Giannuzzi made four appearances with Portland, going 1-2-0, 4.09, .833.

——

F Mark Kastelic’s second goal of the game, this one in OT, gave the Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 Calgaryvictory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Calgary (21-16-4) has won six in a row. The Hitmen are in possession of the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot, three points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Saskatoon (26-12-6), which had won four straight at home, has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 15 points behind Prince Albert and nine ahead of Moose Jaw. The Warriors hold six — yes, six! — games in hand. . . . Saskatoon went 2-0-2 in the season series; Calgary was 2-2-0. . . . Calgary overcame a 3-1 deficit to win this one. . . . F Gary Haden (16) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 4:56 of the first period. . . . Kastelic tied it at 14:42. . . . The Blades went ahead 3-1 on second-period goals from F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (11), at 5:30, and F Ryan Hughes (18), at 8:23. Hughes, who also had an assist, was playing in his first game with Saskatoon after being acquired from Portland. . . . D Egor Zamula (9), who also had two assists, pulled Calgary to within a goal at 19:42. . . . The Hitmen forced OT when F Carson Focht (11) scored at 19:35. . . . Kastelic won it with his 29th goal, on a PP, at 1:28 of OT. . . . Calgary had the only three shots of OT. . . . F Jake Kryski helped the winners with three assists. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 21 shots in his 16th straight start for Calgary. . . . The Blades got 35 saves from G Nolan Maier. . . . The Blades had F Kirby Dach back after a four-game absence, while F Cyle McNabb, acquired from Kootenay, made his Saskatoon debut. . . . Saskatoon D Nolan Kneen is expected to be out for a month with an undisclosed injury.

——

F Brett Kemp, in his first game with Medicine Hat, scored twice to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 Tigers Logo Officialvictory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (23-16-3) has won five in a row on home ice. It is fourth in the Central Division, two points out of third. . . . Regina (12-29-2) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Medicine Hat won the season series, 4-0-0. . . . Kemp was acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings on Thursday in a deal that had F Josh Williams go the other way. . . . Medicine Hat took a 1-0 lead when F Elijah Brown (7) scored at 6:36 of the first period. . . . Regina F Riley Krane (9) tied it at 19:22. . . . Kemp gave the Tigers the lead with two second-period goals, at 4:46 and 8:16, the latter on a PP. He’s got 24 goals now. . . . F Sebastian Streu (3) got the Pats back to within two, at 12:53, but the Tigers put it away before the period ended on goals from D Cole Clayton (3) and D Linus Nassen (5), on a PP. . . . G Matt Pesenti, on Regina’s roster because Max Paddock is ill, made his WHL debut as he came on in relief of Dean McNabb to start the third period. Pesenti, 17, plays for the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. . . . Pesenti stopped all four shots he faced. . . . Prior to the game, the Tigers announced that F Nick McCarry, 17, will remain with them for the remainder of this season. A list player from Calgary, he had seven goals and seven assists in 30 games with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons before joining the Tigers. . . . The Tigers will be without F Hayden Ostir for at least the next four weeks after he suffered a dislocated kneecap in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on Jan. 4. At the same time, they hope that F Ryan Chyzowski will only miss another week with a skate cut near a knee that was incurred during a 4-3 loss to the Hitmen in Calgary on Jan. 5. . . . The Tigers did have F Bryan Lockner (concussion) back in their lineup and he helped out with two assists.

——

F Scott Atkinson scored twice to help the Edmonton Oil Kings to a 5-1 victory over the EdmontonOilKingsHurricanes in Lethbridge. . . . Edmonton (22-14-7) had lost its previous two games. The Oil Kings have equalled last season’s total of 22 victories. The Oil Kings are tied with Red Deer for second in the Central Division, one point behind the Hurricanes. . . . Lethbridge (22-11-8) had points in each of its previous six games (4-0-2). . . . F Adam Hall gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead at 3:02 of the first period. His first WHL goal came in his 27th game. . . . Atkinson tied it at 3:21. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (19) broke the tie at 1:33 of the second period, and Edmonton took control with two more quick goals, from F Liam Keeler (6), on a PP at 7:08, and F Jalen Luypen (6), at 7:48. . . . Atkinson, who also had an assist, completed the scoring with his seventh goal at 12:45 of the third period. . . . Atkinson had the first three-point and two-goal game of his WHL career. . . . Three of Edmonton’s goals — the two by Atkinson and Loschiavo’s — were unassisted. . . . G Todd Scott blocked 24 shots for Edmonton. . . . F Josh Williams, who was acquired from Medicine Hat on Thursday, was in Edmonton’s lineup.

——

The host Prince George Cougars scored four first-period goals on 17 shots en route to a 7-PrinceGeorge2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Prince George (15-22-3) was playing its first home game since Dec. 2. The victory lifted it into a tie with Kamloops for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. The Cougars and Blazers are five points behind third-place Kelowna in the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (17-20-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Cougars got two first-period goals, one on a PP, from F Josh Maser, who has 15, and singletons from F Ethan Browne (7), on a PP, F Matéj Toman (4) and D Cole Moberg. . . . D Jack Sander added his first goal of the season for the Cougars, with Moberg adding a second goal, giving him nine. . . . Sander’s goal came in his 32nd game. Last season, as a freshman, he scored twice in 62 games. . . . Kelowna got PP goals from F Leif Mattson (18), at 19:26 of the second period, and F Nolan Foote (21), at 14:03 of the third. . . . Maser and Moberg also had an assist each for three-point nights, while Browne added two assists to his goal. . . . The Cougars held a 37-20 edge in shots, including 17-5 in the first period and 10-5 in the second. . . . Earlier in the day, the Cougars announced that D Cole Beamin, 17, will be staying for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2016 WHL bantam draft, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Beamin had been playing with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks, where he had two goals and one assists in 28 games. . . . The Cougars also have released D Tyson Phare, 16. He is expected to go to the Delta Hockey Academy. The 18th-overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft, he was pointless in 14 games with the Cougars this season.

——

The Victoria Royals scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 4-1 victory over the VictoriaRoyalsvisiting Kamloops Blazers. . . . Victoria (22-15-1) has won four in a row. It is 5-1-0 in the season series. The Royals are second in the B.C. Division, five points behind Vancouver and seven ahead of Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (15-21-3) has lost three straight. It is tied with Prince George for the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, 11 points behind Tri-City. . . . The Royals had beaten the Blazers, 5-3, on Wednesday night in Victoria. . . . The Royals have won 14 of 16 games against the Blazers in Victoria, including an 8-0-0 run. . . . F Kody McDonald (9) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead with his third goal in two games, this one on a PP at 14:42 of the first period. . . . F Dino Kambeitz (7) upped it to 2-0 at 13:13 of the second, and D Scott Walford (4) made it 3-0 at 0:59 of the third. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (12) scored for the Blazers, on a PP, at 10:00, but Victoria F Tanner Sidaway finished it with his fourth goal, at 15:55. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse, who stopped 27 shots, has 104 career regular-season victories, 13th all-time. The career record of 120 is shared by Tyson Sexsmith (Vancouver, 2004-09) and Corey Hirsch (Kamloops, 1988-92). . . . F Alex Bolshakov, 16, made his WHL debut with the Royals. From Seattle, he was a fourth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. He is playing a second season with the Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U team. . . . Kamloops lost D Joonas Sillanpää to a slashing major and game misconduct at 13:13 of the second period, on the play in which Victoria went ahead 2-0. . . . The Blazers were without F Jeff Faith, who was hit with a five-game suspension under supplemental discipline after an incident in Wednesday’s 5-3 loss in Victoria. “In reviewing this play, which occurred later in the game, it was evident that Faith made direct contact with the opponent’s head,” Kevin Acheson, the WHL’s director of player safety, said in a statement on the WHL’s website. “As a result of the contact, the opponent was injured.”. . . Faith will be eligible to return to the Blazers’ lineup on Jan. 20 when they are to meet the Cougars in Prince George. In between, he will miss Saturday’s game in Vancouver, home games against Moose Jaw and Prince Albert, and a Jan. 19 game in Prince George. . . . Victoria D Remy Aquilon, who was hit by Faith, was scratched last night.

——

F Parker AuCoin broke a 3-3 tie with a shorthanded goal in the third period as the Tri-tri-cityCity Americans got past the Silvertips, 4-3, in Everett. . . . Tri-City (21-15-2) had lost its previous two games. The Americans, who hold the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, are fourth in the U.S. Division, six points behind Spokane. . . . Everett (32-9-2) had won its previous three games. It also had won 11 straight on home ice. The Silvertips are atop the Western Conference, but now trail Prince Albert by seven points in the race for first place overall. . . . This was the third time in eight days that these teams met. The host Americans won, 3-2, on Jan. 4, with the Silvertips winning, 4-1, at home the next night. . . . Last night, F Bryce Kindopp (22) sent Everett ahead at 1:18 of the second period. . . . The Americans then took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Kyle Olson (10), on a PP, at 7:58 and F Nolan Yaremko (17), at 11:27. . . . The Silvertips reclaimed the lead as F Zack Andrusiak (30) scored at 17:56, and D Jake Christiansen (8) counted at 8:19 of the third period. . . . The Americans pulled even when F Sasha Mutala (10) scored at 13:22. . . . AuCoin won it with his 21st goal, at 14:14, with Everett trying to win it on a PP. . . . The Americans got 36 saves from G Beck Warm, two more than Everett’s Dustin Wolf. . . . F Samuel Huo, acquired Thursday from Seattle was in Tri-City’s lineup. . . . F Robbie Holmes, who came over from Regina in a Thursday deal, made his Everett debut.

——

Tweetoftheday

WJC rosters include 14 WHLers . . . Tourney opens with four games . . . Finland-Sweden in Day 1 spotlight

Mowing
If you didn’t see this photo on Twitter earlier, it was taken on Christmas Day at about 2 p.m. Hey, I was born in Sherridon, Man., and raised in Lynn Lake, Man. — look them up on Google Maps — so I had never before seen grass this green on Dec. 25. LOL! . . . This is at the back of our home; there were nine deer on a field just west of the front yard. Now that I think about it, I didn’t get a really close look, so it may have been Rudolph and some friends.

MacBeth

F Radel Fazleyev (Calgary, 2014-16) has signed a two-way contract for the rest of this season with Ak Bars Kazan (Russia, KHL) after clearing NHL unconditional waivers and having his contract with the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) terminated. He had two assists in 15 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL).


ThisThat

The 10-team World Junior Championship opens today in Vancouver and Victoria with two games in each venue.

In Vancouver, it’s Czech Republic versus Switzerland (1 p.m. PT) and Canada versus Denmark (5 p.m.)

In Victoria, it’s U.S.A. versus Slovakia (3:30 p.m.) and Finland versus Sweden (7:30 p.m.).

In other words, Day 1 should bring us three no-contests and one thriller. Don’t forget that 2019wjcas much as we look forward to this tournament, the early-going often is full of lop-sided games. What today’s schedule means is that you will be able to go out and soak up some of those Boxing Day sales before coming home to watch Finland and Sweden do battle.

BTW, make certain that you’re aware of the IIHF’s new late-hit rule because if you aren’t it’s going to make you crazy.

And note that you aren’t going to read a whole lot about the WJC on this site after this report. I’m not there, nor will I pay particular attention through the early part of the tournament. But there will be a whole lot of other places loaded with info from those who are taking in the games in person.

——

The 10 teams taking part in the WJC filed their preliminary rosters on Tuesday.

Under IIHF regulations teams had to register at least 15 skaters and two goaltenders. If a team doesn’t file the maximum (20 skaters and three goaltenders), it is allowed to add players to its roster until two hours before games until reaching the maximum.

By my count, there are 14 WHL players on those rosters. Here’s a look:

Canada (6) — G Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders; D Josh Brook, Moose Jaw Warriors; D Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs; F Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Spokane; F Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks; F Brett Leason, Prince Albert. . . . Tim Hunter of Moose Jaw is Canada’s head coach; Brent Kisio of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is one of the assistant coaches. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

——

Czech Republic (3) — G Jiri Patera, Brandon Wheat Kings; D Filip Kral, Spokane; F Krystof Hrabik, Tri-City Americans. . . . The roster also includes former Brandon D Daniel Bukac, now of the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs, and F Martin Kaut of the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, whose CHL rights belong to Brandon. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Denmark (2) — G Mads Sogaard, Medicine Hat Tigers; F Phillip Schultz, Victoria Royals. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Finland (0) — The roster includes D Henri Jokiharju of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, who played the previous two seasons with Portland; F Aleksi Heponiemi of the Finnish pro team Karpan Oulu, who spent the previous two seasons with the Swift Current Broncos; and F Sami Moilanen of Tappara Tampere, who played the past two seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders.

——

Kazakhstan (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Russia (1) — D Alex Alexeyev, Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Mark Rubinchik, who plays for Toros Neftekamsk of the VHL, was with the Saskatoon Blades for the previous two seasons. . . . Registered 11 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Slovakia (2) — F Andrej Kukuca, Seattle; F Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants. . . . Registered 12 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Sweden (0) — Brandon holds the CHL rights to D Erik Brannstrom of the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders.

——

Switzerland (0) — F Justin Sigrist of the GCK Lions Zurich played with the Kamloops Blazers in 2017-18. . . . Registered 12 forwards, six defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

USA (0) — None. . . . Registered 13 forwards, seven defencemen and three goaltenders.

——

Meanwhile, Mason Black, who is on Twitter at @NHL RankKing, went over the WJC rosters and has an easy-to-read NHL team-by-team list of prospects right here.

——

If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.

——

This piece is four years old, but if you’re a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time. It’s from Rolling Stone and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at what went into what has become a movie with an amazing following. . . . The story — it’s an oral history — is right here.


Here is one more great read for you. . . . It’s not that long ago when Austin Murphy was one of the best and most-prolific writers employed by Sports Illustrated. These days, as he writes, “I drive a van for Amazon.” . . . He has written a first-person piece on the adventure of a package deliverer and it’s awesome stuff. You’ll find it right here.


Tweetoftheday

Questions and food for thought . . . Vandervlis prepping for return . . . Fans gone missing . . . Leason, Fix-Wolansky penning great stories


MacBeth

F Jeremy Williams (Swift Current, 2000-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). An alternate captain, he has 14 goals and 15 assists in 30 games. He leads the Tigers in goals, assists and points, and is fifth in the league’s scoring race.


ThisThat

On the 10th day of our annual Christmas countdown, if you click right here you’ll find GENTRI — The Gentlemen Trio — with a neat version of Little Drummer Boy.


F Ryan Vandervlis, 20, who played 162 games over the past four seasons with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, is joining the junior B Red Deer Vipers. . . . The Vipers, who play in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League, announced the move via Twitter on Friday. . . . Vandervlis hasn’t played since suffering severe burns to 60 per cent of his body during a campfire incident in June. . . . Sean McIntosh of the Red Deer Advocate has more right here.


D James Miller of the BCHL’s Penticton Vees has committed to the Northern Michigan Wildcats for next season. Miller, 20, was a sixth-round pick by the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL’s 2013 bantam draft. . . . Miller, from Spruce Grove, Alta., actually played two games with the U of New Hampshire Wildcats in 2017-18 before returning to Penticton. . . . He went into Friday’s action with 15 goals and 29 assists in 36 games with the Vees. Miller’s 44 points led all BCHL defencemen. . . . According to a news release from the Vees, Miller is the 18th player on their roster “with an NCAA Division 1 scholarship.”


A few WHL-related thoughts during the Christmas break . . .

Just the other day, I noticed this headline — Raiders win fight-fest in Swift Current — at paherald.sk.ca. The story was dated Dec. 14. I looked it up. There appear to have been five fights. Yes, the WHL has moved far away from the days when a fight-fest wasn’t a fight-fest unless the benches cleared and there was at least a 30-minute delay.

——

Where have the hockey fans of Medicine Hat gone? Remember when the 4,006-seat Medicine Arena was sold out for every regular-season game? Now the Tigers play in the 7,100-seat Canalta Centre and the average announced attendance is 3,011 through 16 home games. What changed?

——

On the same subject, the Saskatoon Blades appear to have turned the corner — finally! — and are a solid second in not only the East Division but the Eastern Conference. Their average announced attendance (AAA) is 3,658 through 15 games, which has them 14th in the 22-team league. Last season, the Blades finished with an AAA of 3,851 for 36 home dates.

——

Will the Kelowna Rockets add an assistant coach over the holidays — to replace the departed Travis Crickard — and will it be former Rockets defenceman/captain Josh Gorges?

——

Speaking of Crickard . . . was that him watching the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers practise one day this week?

——

Really, there has been no better story in the WHL this half-season than the one written PrinceAlbertby F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders. He went into this season with 24 goals and 27 assists in 135 regular-season games. This season, in 31 games, he has 28 goals and 36 assists. Here’s hoping that a hand injury suffered while in camp with Canada’s national junior team last week in Victoria doesn’t slow him down, although it has kept him out of the pre-tournament games to date.

——

There also is a great story in Edmonton where Oil Kings F Trey Fix-Wolansky has 64 EdmontonOilKingspoints, including a WHL-leading 43 assists, in 34 games. The Edmonton native is lighting it up at home and not a lot of players get to do that. The story, though, is that the 5-foot-7 Fix-Wolansky has had to fight the height-challenged battle his entire career. He should have been in the selection camp of Canada’s national junior team, but his invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. He’s now going to spend the second half of the season continuing to prove himself to the doubters.

——

Greg Meachem is a former sports editor of the Red Deer Advocate, who now works for the Rebels and writes at reddeerrebels.com. . . . He’s worth reading, especially for the honesty in the quotes from Brent Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Rebels. Sutter never pulls any punches in his post-game comments.

——

Is anyone else waiting for the Portland Winterhawks to run off about 10 victories in a row at some point after the break? Or is the competition in the U.S. Division simply to stiff for that to happen?

——

Worth watching after the break . . .

In the East Division: The WHL record for fewest losses in one season belongs to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who lost five times in a 72-game season in 1978-79. The Wheat Kings finished 58-5-9 that season, one in which they settled for ties in lieu of OT. . . . The Prince Albert Raiders are halfway through their schedule with a 31-2-1 record, so depending upon your point of view they have lost either two or three games. . . . Of course, the Raiders are playing a 68-game schedule, so perhaps it’s time to open a new section in the record book.

In the Central Division: The Red Deer Rebels, having played 32 games, Lethbridge Hurricanes (33) and Edmonton Oil Kings (36) are tied for first place, each with 42 points. . . . Each of the three added major pieces prior to the break. Will one, two or three of them go shopping again before the Jan. 10 trade deadline?

In the B.C. Division: There are 12 division in the CHL’s three leagues and the B.C. Division has the 11th-poorest points percentage (.512), with a lot of that due to the of that due to the Vancouver Giants (22-8-2, .719). . . . The Kamloops Blazers hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot, one point ahead of the Seattle Thunderbirds and two ahead of the Prince George Cougars. If the second half unfolds much like the first half, two of those teams will miss the playoffs; the other will meet the Everett Silvertips in the first round.

In the U.S. Division: The Portland Winterhawks and Spokane Chiefs are tied for second in the U.S. Division, each with records of 19-11-4. Everett is 14 points ahead; Tri-City is six points back. . . . How important is home-ice advantage in the playoffs to the Winterhawks and Chiefs? Portland is 2-1-0 in the season series, with three games remaining.

——

How upset are you if you’re a follower of the Kootenay Ice who bought a season-ticket during the team’s Drive to 25 off-season promotion, only to watch so many veteran players quit or be traded amid signs your once-favourite club will move to Winnipeg at season’s end? . . . The Ice already has dressed 38 players this season. It has an 8-22-6 record, meaning it has won eight of 36 games, and is 14 points away from a playoff spot.

——

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, sounded most uncomfortable in responding to a DelisleChiefsquestion about the Kootenay Ice from Dean Millard of the TSN radio in Edmonton on Thursday night. Robison said there will be an announcement involving the Ice “very soon,” but wasn’t any more specific than that, nor did he shed any light on the situation. . . . I can’t imagine what might be in that announcement, but when the Chilliwack Bruins moved to Victoria after the 2010-11 season, the WHL didn’t confirm the much-rumoured move until almost three weeks after their season had ended.

Perhaps fans of the Ice can gain some solace from what Robison told Chilliwack fans after the Bruins left town: “We believe that under the right conditions Chilliwack can be a viable WHL market. We intend to give full consideration to returning should relocation occur in the future.”

One other thing about the Bruins’ move . . . While the WHL didn’t make an official announcement until April 20, 2011, it turned out that the Bruins’ owners and the WHL had agreed to sell the Chilliwack franchise on Jan. 13, 2011.


If you feel so inclined, please click on the DONATE button over there on the right. Thanks in advance, and Merry Christmas.


Tweetoftheday