Broncos sign director of scouting . . . Blades add pair of scouts . . . MJHL’s winningest coach steps aside


MacBeth

F Brett Bulmer (Kelowna, 2008-12) signed a one-year contract with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite). Last season, he had 23 goals and 19 assists in 70 games with the Florida Everblades (ECHL).


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Chad Leslie, who had been scouting in Manitoba for the Saskatoon Blades, will be joining the Swift Current Broncos as their director of scouting. . . . A source familiar with the SCBroncossituation told Taking Note that the Broncos are expected to announce Leslie’s hiring as training camp opens. . . . Leslie, 40, spent three seasons with the Blades. Prior to that, he spent two seasons with the MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals, first as assistant GM/assistant coach, then as assistant GM/director of player personnel. He spent the previous three seasons (2009-12) with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, working as assistant coach, then head coach and finally as a scout. Of late, he also has been scouting for the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. . . . With the Broncos, he will be working with Dean Brockman, the team’s new general manager/head coach, and Gary Aubin, who has been hired as the director of player personnel.

Taking Note also has been told that Craig Anderson of Brandon has joined the Broncos’ scouting staff. Anderson also works as the assistant GM and head scout with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers. He also has scouted with the Edmonton Oil Kings.


The Saskatoon Blades officially added Brian Leavold and Derek Serraglio to their Saskatoonscouting staff on Thursday. Both men will scout for the Blades in B.C. . . . Leavold, who is retired from the North Vancouver Fire Department, spent the better part of 20 years with the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Serraglio, who is from Coquitlam, B.C., works for BMO Private Banking. He has remained active in minor hockey since retiring as a player. He is preparing for his first season as a WHL scout. . . . At the same time, the Blades announced that Kerry Gladson, who lives in White Rock, B.C., has left the organization after four seasons as a scout.


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How were things in our neck of the woods on Thursday? . . . Well, the above photo shows that things were a little warm and a bit smoky. The thermometer on our deck only goes up to 50 C, but the needle was past that at 4:45 p.m. . . . This is the view looking east along the South Thompson River. There is a mountain — Mount Martin — somewhere through the smoke. . . . The smoke and smokin’ hot temperatures are supposed to move out after one more day. We hope!


The Prince George Cougars have signed Czech F Matej Toman, who was the fifth overall PrinceGeorgeselection in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. . . . Toman, 17, played last season in his hometown, for HC Ceske Budejovice. With the U-18 team, he had three goals and 12 assists in 11 regular-season games, and six goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. He also played 25 games with the U-20 team, recording eight goals and six assists. With the men’s team, he had two goals and an assist in 15 games. Toman is playing with the Czech team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer and Edmonton. . . . The Cougars’ second import player is F Vladislav Mikhalchuk, who will return for a second WHL season. He is from Minsk, Belarus.


D Daniel Bukac, 19, has agreed to join the OHL’s Niagara IceDogs after spending the past two seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Wheat Kings dropped the Czech native prior to the CHL’s 2018 import draft, and the IceDogs selected him in the second round. . . . The 6-foot-4 Bukac was selected by the Boston Bruins in the seventh round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. . . . In 111 regular-season games with Brandon, he had two goals and 23 assists.


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, underwent a kidney transplant on Sept. 23, 2013. She will celebrate the fifth anniversary on Sept. 23 by taking part in the Kamloops Kidney Walk. This will be the fifth time she has done the Kidney Walk; she has been the leading fund-raiser in Kamloops in each of the previous four years. . . . If you would like to support her this year, you are able to do so right here.


D John Miner played 217 regular-season games (1982-85 ) with the Regina Pats. An offensive defenceman, he could really shoot a puck and excelled on the power play. You might recall that Wayne Gretzky was part of a trade in which Miner ended up going from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. That was 30 years ago. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski has more on Miner right here. . . . A tip of the fedora to Brad Hornung for the link.


Ken Pearson, the winningest regular-season coach in MJHL history, has stepped aside as Winklerhead coach of the Winkler Flyers, but he will stay on as general manager. Pearson has been the Flyers’ GM/head coach for the previous seven seasons. . . . Steve Mullin, an assistant coach with Pearson for six seasons, has taken over as head coach. . . . Mullin played two seasons (2000-02) with the Flyers, then spent four seasons at the U of Maine. In 2009-10, he was the head coach of the midget AAA Pembina Valley Hawks, who won a Manitoba midget championship. . . . Pearson has coached in the MJHL for 16 seasons, going 519-295-62-14. Blake Spiller of the Portage Terriers is second on the victory list, with 487.


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WHL’s winds of change: Coaches and scouts on the move . . . and more news, too

MacBeth

F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) signed a one-year contract with the GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). Last season, he had three goals and seven assists in 50 games with Kamloops (WHL). . . .

F James Wright (Vancouver, 2005-09) signed a one-year plus option contract with Linköping (Sweden, SHL). Last season, he had two goals and six assists in 26 games with Admiral Vladivostok (Russia, KHL), and three goals and two assists in 15 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL).


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Luke Pierce has signed on as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oil Kings. Pierce, 34, spent last season as an assistant coach with the Canadian men’s Paralympic sledge hockey team after working for two seasons as head coach of the Kootenay Ice. . . . He lost his job with the Ice when he got caught up in an ownership change. . . . Prior to that, he was the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Merritt Centennials for five-plus seasons. . . .

In Edmonton, Pierce will work alongside head coach Brad Lauer, who is preparing for his first season in that role. Pierce replaces Ryan Marsh, who was fired on May 29, along with head coach Steve Hamilton, and has since joined the Saskatoon Blades as an assistant coach. Hamilton now is the head coach of the Calgary Hitmen.

Meanwhile, the Oil Kings also announced that Jamie Novakoski, their director of scouting, won’t be back. He had been with the Oil Kings since 2007, working as director of scouting for the past five seasons. . . . According to the Oil Kings, he “will assist with the transition to a new director of scouting before leaving to pursue an opportunity outside of hockey.”


The Prince Albert Raiders announced Monday that they have added Jeff Truitt, Dan Gendur and Mike Brodeur to their coaching staff. . . . Truitt, 53, fills the vacancy created when associate coach Dave Manson left to join the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. Truitt and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid know each other well, having worked together with the Kelowna Rockets from 2000-04. When Kelowna won the 2004 Memorial Cup, Habscheid was the Rockets’ head coach and Truitt was associate coach. Truitt spent the past six seasons as the associate coach with the Red Deer Rebels. He also has AHL coaching experience, having worked with the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. . . . Last season, Gendur, 31, was the head coach of the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. He joined the Raiders late in the WHL season and worked with them through the playoffs. He is a former WHL player, having played with the Prince George Cougars and Everett Silvertips (2004-08). . . . Brodeur, 35, is the Raiders’ new goaltending coach. He spent one season  (2003-04) playing with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. Last season, he was an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons. With the Raiders, Brodeur takes over from Kelly Guard, now an assistant coach with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats.


Veteran coach Willie Desjardins has signed on to work with the Prairie Rose School Division in establishing a new hockey academy that will involve three schools in the Medicine Hat Area. The 61-year-old Desjardins, who was the head coach of Canada’s national men’s team last season, continues to live in Medicine Hat, where he coached the Tigers for eight seasons (2002-10). . . . Collin Gallant of the Medicine Hat News has more right here.



The Seattle Thunderbirds have added Craig Goebel and Jared Crooks to their scouting staff. . . . Goebel spent the past 10 seasons scouting for the Regina Pats. His main assignment will be pre-scouting Seattle’s opponents. . . . Crooks, who played four seasons at MacEwan U in Edmonton, is the head instructor at the Mount Carmel Hockey Academy in Edmonton. He will scout for the Thunderbirds in northern Alberta.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have added Mark Sauer and Brennen York to their scouting staff. . . . Earlier this summer, the Wheat Kings lost veteran scout Mike Fraser when he left to sign on as the Everett Silvertips’ head scout. . . . Sauer, from Calgary, had been on the scouting staff at ISS for three years. . . . York is from Edmonton where he founded DraftGeek.


It’s official. The Vancouver Giants have added Jamie Heward to their coaching staff. The team announced Monday morning that Heward has been signed as the associate coach. . Vancouver. . He replaces Dean Chynoweth, who left after one season and has signed as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . As a player, Heward spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL, after playing four seasons (1987-91) with his hometown Regina Pats. . . . Heward, 47, spent the past six seasons with the Swift Current Broncos, as an assistant coach and the director of player development. . . . This means that the Broncos, the WHL’s reigning champions, have lost three coaches since the season ended. Head coach Manny Viveiros now is an assistant with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, while assistant coach Ryan Smith has joined the Medicine Hat Tigers.

During his playing days in Regina, Heward was a member of what was known as the PUP Line. Its other members also were Regina natives — Frank Kovacs and Mike Sillinger. All three played as 16-year-olds, thus the PUP moniker.

On Monday, while Heward was busy with the Giants, Kovacs was busy, too, as you can see from this tweet . . .


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who was a seventh-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. From Richmond, B.C., Fromm-Delorme played last season in Byfield, Mass., at The Governor’s Academy in the USHS-Prep league. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 27 games. . . . He attended the Winterhawks’ training camp prior to the 2017-18 season.


Bill Reddick will chair the committee that will prepare the bid by the Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes and the City of Lethbridge for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Terry Huisman, the Hurricanes’ general manager of business operations, will be the co-chair. . . . Reddick is a partner with Mercer Wilde Group Chartered Accountants in Lethbridge and has long been involved with minor hockey in that city. . . . Huisman has been the general manager of business operations since 2012 and has played an integral role in leading the franchise out of the financial mess it was in not that long ago. . . . The Hurricanes, Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals all are preparing bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup. They are scheduled to present those bids at a meeting of the WHL’s board of governors in Calgary on Oct. 3. A host city is expected to be named at the conclusion of that meeting.


The AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs have added Alex Mandolidis, Josh Watson and Richie Hubbell to a coaching staff this is headed up by GM/head coach Tyler Drader. . . . Mandolidis has spent the past five seasons with either the midget AAA Calgary Flames or midget AAA Calgary Northstars, while Watson has worked with the midget AAA Calgary Buffaloes. . . . Hubbell has been the goaltending coach with the women’s team at Olds College.


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Giants soon to add assistant coach? . . . Blades’ announcement today . . . Hockey world mourns death of long-time scout


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Steve Ewen of Postmedia is reporting that that much-speculated about signing of Jamie Heward is soon to happen. . . . “The Vancouver Giants,” Ewen writes,“will announce the hiring of former NHL defenceman Jamie Heward as their assistant coach in the coming days, according to sources.” . . . Heward, a former WHL and NHL defenceman, is a native of Regina. He has been the director of player development and an assistant coach with the Swift Current Broncos for six seasons. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are expected to announce today (Monday) that they have added Brian Leavold to their scouting staff. Leavold, who lives in Port Coquitlam, B.C., had been a B.C. scout with the Swift Current Broncos. With the Broncos going through numerous front-office changes, Leavold and other scouts chose to leave the organization. . . . In Saskatoon, Leavold will be working with Dan Tencer, the Blades’ director of scouting.



The AJHL’s Drayton Valley Thunder is looking for an assistant coach following the resignation of Derek Wiest. Instead of working on the coaching staff, Wiest will be the Thunder’s head scout for southern Alberta. The switch is effective Aug. 1. . . . In making the change, Wiest cited family and work considerations. He and his wife are expecting their third child, and he recently landed a full-time job close to home. . . . Eric Thurston is the Thunder’s general manager and head coach, and said the search for a replacement has started.


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Veteran coach to join Raiders? . . . Leavold lands new scouting job . . . Votto: Eight-plus seasons, seven pop ups!


Scattershooting

The Prince Albert Raiders need to replace associate coach Dave Manson, who left to sign on as an assistant coach with the the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors. . . . Taking Note has been told that spot with the Raiders may go to long-time coach Jeff Truitt. It makes sense because Truitt, who spent the past five-plus seasons with the Red Deer Rebels, and Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid have a history together. Truitt was an assistant coach in Kelowna during Habscheid’s time as the Rockets’ head coach. After four season’s as an assistant there, Truitt took over as head coach when Habscheid left after the 2003-04 season.



It’s Friday night and Sportsnet, coming off a Toronto Blue Jays telecast, has Sports Central showing on four channels. At 8 p.m. Pacific, it is to switch to a game between the Houston Astros and Mike Trout’s Los Angeles Angels. Finally, at 8:12 p.m., the switch is made. It’s the top of the fourth inning and Houston holds a 3-0 lead. . . . Here’s the deal Sportsnet. When you start showing viewers the respect they deserve and stop joining these games in progress, I’ll return to watching you again. See ya!


It’s Saturday night, and I just assumed Sportsnet would join the Houston Astros and host Seattle Mariners at 8 p.m. Pacific. So I watched the end of the game between the visiting St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Turns out that Sportsnet started the game in Seattle on time. Oh well, maybe next time. Sheesh, who knew this could be so confusing?



Taking Note has been told that veteran WHL scout Brian Leavold now is working with the Saskatoon Blades. Leovold was one of those who left Swift Current as the Broncos went through a regime change.


I stumbled on this Twitter thread on Saturday morning. For the purposes of this tweet, a pop up is a flyball that lands or is caught within 140 feet of home plate. This, then, is amazing. . . . BTW, it seems that Joey Votto has yet to hit a pop up to a catcher, pitcher or first baseman. Seriously!


With so many Major League Baseball players in swing mode, why do pitchers throw fastballs in the strike zone? Why not one slider after another? Hey, just asking.



“Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander and model wife Kate Upton are expecting their first child,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times. “In lieu of Johnson’s baby powder, they plan to use a rosin bag.”


One more from Perry: “The minor-league Savannah Bananas’ rained-out game against the rival Macon Bacon — in which Bananas players will wear kilts — has been rescheduled for Wednesday, July 25. But why stop there? Kilt the umpire!”


Perry has a hat trick: “Canada will legalize marijuana nationwide on Oct. 17, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced. “Coming soon to an NHL trophy case near you: the Lady Bong Trophy.”


MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appeared on PTI early in the week and made the comment that Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout could raise his profile by putting himself out there more. To which Janice Hough — she’s over there at LeftCoastSportsBabe.com — commented: “What about if ESPN and Fox showed other teams beside the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs?” . . . Hey, hard to argue with her.


“Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t sure whether Jalen Hurts or title-game hero Tua Tagovailoa will be his starting QB,” writes RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com. “Note to Saban: Love Hurts.”


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Meier takes three Stanley Cup rings into retirement . . . Broncos lose scouts, associate coach . . . News on two WHL trades

NOTE: Updated to include resignation of Swift Current Broncos associate coach Ryan Smith.


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Meierrings
Wayne Meier’s three Stanley Cup rings.

Wayne Meier, a longtime WHL and NHL scout, has told Taking Note that he is “ending my career and off to retirement.” . . . Meier, from Edmonton, has scouted, mostly in the west, for more than 45 years, spending 31 seasons working for NHL teams. . . . He started his scouting career with the Portland Winter Hawks in 1976. He went on to spend a total of 10 seasons with Portland, and was the director of player personnel for seven of those seasons. . . . He also worked in the NHL as a scout with the Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . He spent the past 12 seasons with the Penguins, so was part of three Stanley Cup-winning teams.


There have been rumblings out of Swift Current for the past while that there was going to be some upheaval in the Broncos’ scouting department following the signing of Dean SCBroncosBrockman as director of hockey operations and head coach.

The above tweet from veteran scout Brian Leavold would seem to signal that something is happening as he indicates that he is leaving the staff “as have many others.”

There has yet to be an announcement from the Broncos on the state of their scouting staff, but all names have been deleted from the team’s website. As well, one person familiar with the WHL scouting fraternity has told Taking Note that “I believe they all have quit.”

The Broncos won the WHL championship on May 14, and Manny Viveiros, the team’s director of player personnel and head coach, left shortly after to join the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as an assistant coach.

Brockman was named the director of hockey operations and head coach on June 27.

One day before that, Jamie Porter, the Broncos’ assistant general manager and director of hockey operations, announced that he would be leaving the organization at the end of July. Porter had been with the Broncos since signing on as a scout in 2003.

Meanwhile, the Broncos also have lost a member of their coaching staff with the resignation of Ryan Smith, who had been their associate coach.

Smith had been the Humboldt Broncos’ general manager and head coach when he left three years ago to join Swift Current as associate coach.

In Humboldt, Smith, who had been the head coach of the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers, took over from Brockman, who had been there for 16 years before signing on as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades.

Jamie Heward, the director of player development and head coach, is still with the team, although Steve Ewen of Postmedia tweeted this week that the Vancouver Giants “are talking” to Heward “about being assistant coach.”

As Ewen pointed out, Heward and Michael Dyck, the Giants’ new head coach, were teammates with the Regina Pats “in the late 1980s.”



The Saskatoon Blades have acquired veteran F Riley McKay, 19, from the Spokane Chiefs Saskatoonfor a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft and a seventh-round pick in 2020. . . . From Swan River, Man., MacKay has played two seasons with the Chiefs, putting up seven goals and 15 assists. . . . McKay is one of the WHL’s toughest players and you can bet that Mitch Love, the Blades’ first-year head coach, saw a lot of him while he was an assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips. In other words, you can bet that this deal has Love’s stamp of approval.


The Spokane Chiefs have acquired F Michael King, 18, from the Kootenay Ice for a conditional fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft. . . . King was selected by the Ice in the seventh round of the 2015 bantam draft. . . . King, from Winnipeg, had eight goals and seven assists in 56 games as a sophomore with the Ice last season. In his freshman season, he had two goals and seven assists in 66 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings have signed F Vladimir Alistrov to a WHL contract. From Belarus, he was selected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. Last season, he had 31 goals and 39 assists while splitting 50 games with Team Belarus’s U-17 and U-18 teams. He also had three goals and four assists for Team Belarus at the IIHF’s U-18 World championship.


John Dean is the new head coach of the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. Dean, 37, is the reigning coach of the year in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he guided the Toronto Patriots to a 40-8-3-3 record. . . . He spent three seasons (2014-17) as an assistant coach with the OHL’s North Bay Battalion. . . . Dean takes over from Drew Bannister, who left the Greyhounds to become the head coach of the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues.


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Dorothy and I live on Shuswap Road, about 20 km east of Kamloops. This fire, which started at 20 hectares and quickly grew to 400, was about 10 km west of us and we were never in any danger. As the fire burned, it moved north and west, but the crews did a tremendous job of keeping it away from homes and other structures.

It was a reminder, though, that it was one year ago when we were blanketed by smoke in what turned out to be an ugly summer.

Here’s hoping that we aren’t in for a repeat performance.

If you are interested in more photos and some terrific videos of planes fighting the fire, just go to Twitter and do a search for ‘Shuswap Road.’