Chilliwack GM: ‘We’re not going anywhere,’ but he expects Ice to move . . . Remembering Mickey Mouse Night in Moose Jaw

If you haven’t already done so, you can stroke Chilliwack, B.C., off the list of potential landing spots for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice.

Brian Maloney, the general manager and head coach of the BCHL’s Chilliwack ChilliwackChiefs, says his club isn’t going anywhere and the WHL isn’t moving into the Chilliwack Coliseum.

He should know, too, because he also is the building’s GM.

“I’ll clear the air right now,” Maloney said in a post-game interview on Friday after a 4-3 OT loss to the visiting Nanaimo Clippers. “I’ll clear the air right now. The Chilliwack Chiefs aren’t going anywhere. The WHL’s not coming here. We’ve tried that song and dance before.

“Our owners are invested into this community. They’ve been here for years. They did try it for a few years as everyone knows. It rubbed a lot of people the wrong way . . . I think it was handled poorly to be honest with you.”

The WHL had a franchise — the Chilliwack Bruins — for five seasons (2006-2011) before it was sold, moved to Victoria and became the Royals.

At the same time, Maloney said he thinks “Winnipeg should move to be honest with you. Anytime you’re pulling in 1,000 fans at the major junior level it’s probably time to move.”

The Ice plays in the Wayne Fleming Arena on the campus of the U of Manitoba. The building seats about 1,600. According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice’s average announced attendance is 1,634, the poorest in the 22-team league.

All of this speculation surrounding the Ice has been in the air for weeks now, but it turned into more than that following a Feb. 15 column by Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun that suggested the franchise’s days in the Manitoba capital may be numbered. If you haven’t seen it yet that column is right here.

(Friesen followed up that column with this one right here.)

“I’ve made the calls to our ownership group; they’re laughing and saying they’re not going anywhere,” Maloney said. “I’ve even heard rumours that they’ve contacted the building and secured a lease agreement and booked all the ice and everything for next year.

“They forget I hold the title as the general manager of the building as well. I’m the guy receiving those phone calls and I haven’t received anything yet. It’s quite comical to be honest with you.”

At the same time, Maloney said he fully realizes social media drives a lot of the rumours and speculation these days.

“It’s the way society is going right now,” he said. “Everyone can have a voice and they can sit in front of their computer or phone and make stories up . . . just to kind of get some attention.”

Still, Maloney is of the opinion that something is going on with the Ice.

“I think Winnipeg is probably moving,” he reiterated. “It’s not going to Penticton; it’s not going to Chilliwack. Who knows where they’re going?

“They’re just desperately trying to stir up stuff to try and go somewhere.”

It is hard to believe that it’s been 37 years since Mickey Mouse Night took place in the Crushed Can in Moose Jaw. Yes, that was the night that Kevin Gallant, the play-by-play voice of the Regina Pats, wore the Donald Duck suit as he called the game against the Warriors. . . . These days, Gallant may be the Warriors’ biggest fan. His son, Matthew, is a sophomore defenceman with the Warriors. Yes, life does take funny turns on occasion.

You may have heard that tennis star Novak Djokovic is trying to get into the U.S., despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. Of course, the U.S. isn’t Covidallowing unvaccinated foreigners into the country. Despite all that, Djokovic wants in so that he can play tournaments in in California and Florida in March.

Here’s Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The U.S. government’s vaccinations requirement for entry by foreign travellers has been extended to at least April 10, so a waiver for a tennis player would seem unlikely, unless someone in authority recognizes that a rich man’s quest for more money and fame is worth the risk of sickness and death it might cause, directly and by way of trivializing science-based COVID-fighting measures.

“As Djokovic made his appeal, California hit the milestone of 100,000 COVID deaths, with an average of 22 Californians daily dying from the disease that is now well under control unless it happens to be currently killing you.”


According to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, there were 1,936 deaths from COVID-19 over the past week in the U.S. For the past month, the number is 11,829.

In Canada, there were 241 deaths over the past week and 872 for the past month.

Just in case you thought we were all done with this virus.


If the WHL playoffs started today:


Winnipeg (1) vs. Calgary (8)

Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (7)

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)



Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Prince George (6)

Everett (4) vs. Tri-City (5)



F Andrew Cristall’s goal in the second round of a shootout gave the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . The Rockets had a 2-0 lead on first-period goals from F Carson Golder (25), on a PP, and F Dylan Wightman (10). . . . F Brandon Whynott (4) pulled Calgary to within a goal at 1:12 of the second period and F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (26) tied it at 9:20 of the third. . . . This was Kelowna’s first shootout appearance this season. . . . The Rockets (22-31-3) are eighth in the Western Conference, two points behind the Vancouver Giants, who hold a game in hand. . . . The Hitmen (24-26-8) have lost four in a row. . . . Calgary is eighth in the Eastern Conference, one point behind the Medicine Hat Tigers and one ahead of the Swift Current Broncos. The Tigers and Broncos both hold two games in hand. . . .

F Zach Benson and F Conor Geekie each scored three times as the Winnipeg Ice cruised to an 8-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Benson also had three assists for a six-point outing, while Geekie had one assist. . . . Benson now has 33 goals; Geekie has 28. . . . Benson has 92 points in 54 games this season. In 136 career regular-season games, he’s got 175 points, including 68 goals. He’s riding a nine-game point streak, with 20 points over that stretch. . . . F Miles Cooper, a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2021 draft, got Winnipeg’s final goal. It was his first WHL score and came in his second game. Cooper was brought in from the U18 prep team at Edge School in Calgary; he was returned to his team on Monday. . . . Winnipeg (47-7-1) has won 10 in a row and is running away with the Eastern Conference and the East Division. . . . Edmonton (8-45-3) has lost eight straight. . . .

F Austin Roest and F Jackson Berezowski had two goals each to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 victory over the Royals in Victoria. . . . Roest now has 31 goals; Berezowski is up to 39. . . . Roest broke a 1-1 tie at 10:37 of the second period; Berezowski made it 3-1 at 12:47 of the third. . . . Roest got it to 4-2 at 18:10, before Berezowski ended the scoring with a shorthanded empty-netter. . . . F Ben Hemmerling (21) had a goal and two assists for Everett. . . . The game featured two goaltenders who were traded for each other earlier this season. Tyler Palmer earned the victory with 23 saves, six fewer than Braden Holt. . . . Everett (29-24-3) has won two in a row. It is tied with the Tri-City Americans for fourth in the Western Conference. . . . Victoria (15-37-7) has lost six straight (0-5-1) and is 10 points from a playoff spot with nine games remaining.



Mark Weninger has written a book about the Lethbridge Broncos and their stay in the Alberta city. He also has started a blog — — where he will “share additional information about the Broncos.” . . . He says former players continue to share memories with him and he is passing them along on the blog. . . . He starts with Stan Jensen, who scored the first goal in the Broncos’ Lethbridge history. . . .

The best-of-three Canada West men’s hockey final will be played in Calgary starting on Friday. It will feature the U of Calgary Dinos and the Alberta Golden Bears, who eliminated the UBC Thunderbirds in Edmonton on Sunday. Alberta won Game 3 of the semifinal, 6-3, to advance. Calgary took out the Saskatchewan Huskies, also in three games, in a series that ended Saturday in Calgary.

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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873



Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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


Or, for more information, visit right here.



Dewar goal gives Silvertips win in Game 1 . . . Wild goes home with Doyle Cup . . . Pistons push Hawks to the brink . . . Lots of coaching news


D Kirill Vorobyov (Portland, 2012-13) was traded by Sibir Novosibirsk (Russia, KHL) to CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL) for cash compensation. This season, with Sibir Novosibirsk, he had four assists in 43 games while averaging 17:10 TOI per game. . . .

F Linden Vey (Medicine Hat, 2006-11) signed a two-year contract with CSKA Moscow (Russia, KHL). This season, in 50 games with Barys Astana (Kazakhstan, KHL), he had 17 goals and 35 assists while averaging 21:52 TOI. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in the points race. . . . Vey finished the season with the ZSC Zurich Lions (Switzerland, NL A), recording two goals and four assists in 10 games. . . .

D Dmitri Sinitsyn (Regina, 2013-14) signed a one-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). He had signed with Spartak Moscow (Russia, KHL) for this season but missed the entire season due to injury. In 2016-17, he had nine assists in 42 games with Lada Togliatti (Russia, KHL), and one assist in nine games with Dizel Penza (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). . . .

F Lukáš Vantuch (Calgary, Lethbridge, 2005-07) signed a one-year contract with Piráti Chomutov (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, he had two assists in 29 games with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He also had a goal and two assists in three games on loan to Benatky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), and one goal and one assists in five games on loan to Piráti Chomutov. . . .

D Micki DuPont (Kamloops, 1996-2000) signed a one-year contract extension with Eisbären Berlin (Germany, DEL). He had seven goals and 16 assists in 52 games. . . .

D/F Sena Acolatse (Seattle, Saskatoon, Prince George, 2006-11) signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, he had one goal and seven assists in 30 games with the Providence Bruins (AHL).


The Everett Silvertips drew first blood in the WHL’s best-of-seven championship final, for Everettthe Ed Chynoweth Cup, beating the host Swift Current Broncos, 2-1, on Friday night. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar (10) broke a 1-1 tie at 1:49 of the third period. . . . F Patrick Bajkov (14) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 14:43 of the first period. . . . The Broncos tied it at 11:26 of the second period on a goal by F Aleksi Heponiemi (4). . . . F Garrett Pilon had two assists for the winners, who got 34 saves from G Carter Hart. . . . G Stuart Skinner blocked 23 shots for Swift Current. . . . The referees were Chris Crich and Steve Papp. . . . The Broncos took three of the game’s five minors. . . . Everett was 1-2 on the PP; Swift Current was 0-1. . . . Announced attendance: 2,890. . . . They’ll play Game 2 in Swift Current tonight (Saturday). . . . Everett now is 8-0 on the road in these playoffs.

The BCHL-champion Wenatchee Wild scored the game’s last five goals en route to a 7-2 Wenatcheevictory over the host Spruce Grove Saints, the AJHL champions, on Friday night. . . . The Wild won the best-of-seven Doyle Cup series, 4-1, and now advance to the Royal Bank Cup that opens in Chilliwack on May 12. . . . F Logan Ganie’s second goal of the game, at 1:00 of the second period, pulled the Saints into a 2-2 tie. . . . Wild F August Von Ungern broke the tie at 1:57 and the Wild never looked back. . . . Wenatchee will be the second U.S.-based team to play in the Royal Bank Cup; the Minnesota Wilderness of the Superior International Junior Hockey League got there in 2013.

In Nipawin, Sask., the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons scored twice in the third period Steinbachand took a 2-1 victory over the SJHL-champion Hawks on Friday night. . . . The Pistons hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup. . . . The teams now head back to Steinbach for Game 6 on Monday and, if needed, Game 7 on Tuesday. . . . Last night, F Brandan Arnold gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 17:05 of the first period. That was his sixth goal — and 11th point — of the series. . . . The Pistons pulled even on F Drew Worrad’s goal at 3:58 of the third period. . . . F Jack Johnson broke the tie at 12:22 with his first goal of the series. . . . Steinbach G Matthew Thiessen stopped 24 shots, while Nipawin’s Declan Hobbs turned aside 34.


The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs are to be the host team for the Royal Bank Cup tournament that runs from May 12 through May 20 at Prospera Centre. On Thursday, the Chiefs fired general manager/head coach Jason Tatarnic, replacing him with Brian Maloney, who had been the associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Tatarnic was in his fourth season with the Chiefs. This season, they finished 26-26-3-3, good for fourth place in the five-team Mainland Division. They went on to lose a first-round series to the division-winning Prince George Spruce Kings. . . . The change was announced with a three-sentence paragraph that was posted on the Chiefs’ website. The announcement didn’t mention Tatarnic. It ended with this: “President Glen Ringdal said the decision to elevate Maloney was made by Chiefs’ ownership (Thursday).” . . . The Chiefs are owned by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and Heinz Hasselmann, all successful Lower Mainland-based businessmen.

Steve Ewen of Postmedia takes a look right here at the Tatarnic firing and a few other strange moves that have occurred of late in the world of junior hockey and the impact they could have.

Brad Berry, the head coach of the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks, has signed a five-year deal that funs through 2022-23. Berry just completed his third season as the UND head coach and had one year left on his original four-year contract. . . . Major junior coaches will be interested in learning that the new contract gives Berry a base salary of US$400,000 per year. . . . College Hockey News has more right here.

Rob Wilson is the new head coach of the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Nuremberg Ice Tigers of Germany’s DEL. . . . Wilson played part of one season (1988-89) with the Petes before going on to a pro career that included stops in North America and Europe. . . . Wilson replaces Andrew Verner, who had been the interim head coach since Jody Hull was fired in January.

Eric Veilleux is the new head coach of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, who will be the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup tournament. Veilleux, 46, has been an assistant coach with the San Antonio Rampage, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, for the past two seasons. He has previous QMJHL head-coaching experience with the Shawinigan Cataractes, helping them win the 2012 Memorial Cup as the host team. He also spent two seasons as head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. . . . In Halifax, Veilleux replaces Jim Midgley, who was fired on April 25 after one season as head coach. The Mooseheads went 43-18-6-1 and finished fourth overall under Midgley, then lost a second-round playoff series to the ninth-place Charlottetown Islanders. He had been an assistant coach for five seasons with the Mooseheads.

Casey O’Brien has signed on as the head coach of the Melville Prairie Fire, a team in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League. O’Brien was fired this season as the GM/head coach of the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers.

Kelly Guard, a former WHL goaltender, has joined the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats as an assistant coach. Guard, 34, had been working as the Prince Albert Raiders’ goaltender coach. . . . Guard played two seasons (2002-04) with the Kelowna Rockets, helping them win the 2004 Memorial Cup.

The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired general manager and head coach Bill Rotheisler, who had one year left on his contract. . . . He just completed his second season with the Rebels. . . . “I don’t know what happened, to be honest with you,” Rotheisler told John Boivin of the Castlegar News. “I’m still waiting for my official papers that would explain the reason. I would love to provide you with an answer.” . . . Mike Johnstone, the team president, told Boivin that the board of directors “decided to go in a different direction.” . . . The Rebels finished this season in second place in their division, winning 30 of 47 games. They got past the defending-champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks in the first round of the playoffs, then lost a five-game series to the Nelson Leafs. . . . Boivin’s story is right here.

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