Toigo: TV deal “terrible” for WHL. . . . ACC to honour Wheat Kings’ owner. . . . ECHL loses Monarchs


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F Juraj Bezúch (Lethbridge, 2011-12) has signed a one-year contract with Košice (Slovakia, Extraliga). This season, with Hradec Králove (Czech Republic, Extraliga), he had three goals and four assists in 30 games. On loan to Slavia Prague (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had two goals and two assists in three games, and on loan to Dukla Jihlava (Czech Republic, 1. Liga), he had one goal and two assists in seven games. . . .

F Curtis Valk (Medicine Hat, 2009-14) has signed a two-year contract extension with Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan, KHL). This season, he had nine goals and 18 assists in 50 games. He averaged 19:17 time on ice, the most of all forwards on the team. . . .

G Juha Metsola (Lethbridge, 2007-09) has signed a three-year contract extension with Salavat Yulaev Ufa (Russia, KHL). This season, in 48 games, he was 25-20-1, 2.02, .934, with four shutouts and one assist. He was the KHL’s goaltender of the month for October and April. He also was the KHL’s goaltender of the week in during the quarterfinals and semifinals. . . .

F Chris Collins (Chilliwack, Saskatoon, 2007-12) has signed a one-year contract with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL), he had 28 goals and 37 assists in 60 games. He led the Wings in goals and points. On loan to the Manitoba Moose (AHL), he had two goals in nine games. . . . Collins was named the ECHL’s rookie of the year and to the ECHL’s all-rookie team. . . .

D Neil Manning (Vancouver, 2006-12) has signed a one-year contract with Angers (France, Ligue Magnus). This season, with the Rockford Ice Hogs (AHL), he was pointless in three games. He had two goals and 15 assists in 30 games with the Indy Fuel (ECHL), and seven assists in 13 games with the Kassel Huskies (Germany, DEL2). . . . Angers’ head coach is Brennan Sonne (Everett, Red Deer, Edmonton, 2005-08), who will be entering his third season as head coach after three years as an assistant coach with Everett. . . .

F Marcin Kolusz (Vancouver, 2003-04) has signed a one-year contract extension with Podhale Nowy Targ (Poland, PHL). He had three goals and 13 assists in 16 games. . . .

F Alexander Kuvayev (Lethbridge, Vancouver, 2010-12) has signed a one-year contract with Buran Voronezh (Russia, Vysshaya Liga). This season,  with Yermak Angarsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga), he had one goal and one assist in eight games; two goals and two assists in 17 games with Torpedo Ust-Kamenogorsk (Kazakhstan, Vysshaya Liga); and no points in three games with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


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Jeff Pearlman is a prominent writer who has produced some terrific football- and baseball-based books. His most-recent work, Football for a Buck, was subtitled The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL. In a word, it is awesome. If you have ever wondered about the role a guy named Donald Trump played in the death of the USFL, well, Pearlman’s book has it all.

But the best thing Pearlman has ever written appeared Wednesday on his blog and carried this headline: My wife donated one of her kidneys to a stranger this morning.

If you have ever wondered what a person’s thought process is as they begin to think about being a kidney donor, or if you have ever wondered what someone goes through along the way to being a donor, you will want to read this.

Heck, even if you have never wondered about either of those things take the time to give this a read.

In the end, it’s about life and the gift of life.

The story is right here.


If you were wondering why Rogers Sportsnet, which owns the television rights to all CHL games, didn’t show any games in the WHL final, it seems you aren’t alone.

Ron Toigo, the majority owner of the Vancouver Giants, isn’t at all enamoured with VancouverSportsnet, either.

The Giants just finished playing in the WHL final for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. They took the Prince Albert Raiders to Game 7 before dropping a 3-2 OT decision in the Saskatchewan city on Monday night.

However, Sportsnet, which holds the rights through the 2025-26 season, didn’t televise any games in the final. In fact, Sportsnet didn’t show any games after bringing us the first three games of a second-round series between the Raiders and Saskatoon Blades.

On Tuesday, Toigo appeared with Donnie and The Moj on TSN 1040 Radio in Vancouver.

“It was terrible. Absolutely terrible,” Toigo said of Game 7 not being televised. “Sportsnet . . . it’s a terrible deal for the league. We should have gone with TSN.”

At the time Sportsnet landed the CHL rights, it also cut a long-term deal for the NHL rights.

“(Sportsnet) had all that NHL content . . . the capacity to promote our games wasn’t there,” Toigo continued. “We should have realized that.

“TSN didn’t have any NHL content. What they’ve done with the World Juniors, they would have just folded us into that kind of presentation. It would have been a better way to go.

“But it is what it is.”

As for Game 7, Toigo said: “The ratings for Sportsnet to have this game in a market this size would have been off the charts. I don’t know who’s making those decisions but they certainly aren’t very good.”

Bruce Hamilton, the owner of the Kelowna Rockets and the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, wasn’t nearly as critical.

“They make their decisions,” Hamilton told David Trifunov, writing for the Kelowna Daily Courier.


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Kelly McCrimmon, the owner of the Brandon Wheat Kings, will be presented with an BrandonWKregularhonourary diploma in Business Administration by Assiniboine Community College. The Brandon-based college will make the presentation during its graduation ceremony on June 13. . . . McCrimmon has been a player, coach and general manager with the Wheat Kings, as well as the franchise’s owner. He also spent four years at the U of Michigan — yes, he played hockey for the Wolverines after playing in the WHL — and later, while working with the Wheat Kings, earned an MBA from Queen’s U in Kingston, Ont. . . . He now is the assistant GM with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights; he will take over as GM on Sept. 1. . . . McCrimmon also will be inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame this year.


The Portland Winterhawks have signed F Jonah Bevington, who will turn 16 on Sept. 7. The Winterhawks selected him in the fifth round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . This season, Bevington had 13 goals and 13 assists in 29 games with the OHA Edmonton Elite 15s. . . . A native of Yellowknife, NWT, Bevington now is an Edmonton resident.


Former WHLer Giffen Nyren, 30, has been granted bail and has returned to Kelowna from a psychiatric facility in Port Coquitlam. . . . While in Kelowna, doctors will continue to do a mental assessment on Nyren, a defenceman who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Kamloops Blazers and Calgary Hitmen. . . . Nyren was arrested in Kelowna on April 28 after a baby was grabbed from its mother in a downtown Kelowna park. The man eventually let the baby go, then shed his clothes and jumped into Okanagan Lake. Shortly after, he was arrested. . . . Nyren also has been charged with wilfully resisting or obstructing a police officer. . . . His next court appearance has been scheduled for June 13 in Kelowna.


The AJHL’s Calgary Canucks have signed Brad Moran to a three-year contract extension as general manager and he’d coach. Moran has been the Canucks’ head coach since Nov. 27 when he replaced Darryl Olsen. Moran had been in his first season as an assistant coach when he stepped up to head coach. . . . Moran, 40, is a native of Abbotsford, B.C. He played five seasons (1995-2000) with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, putting up 450 points, including 204 goals, in 357 regular-season games.


The Manchester, N.H., Monarchs, an ECHL team affiliated with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, are finished. The Monarchs had been in Manchester, in the AHL or ECHL, for 18 years. . . . “It’s just clear to us minor league is not viable in Manchester at the ECHL level,” Brian Cheek, the Monarchs’ chief executive, told Mark Hayward of the New Hampshire Union Leader. . . . The Monarchs were the Kings’ AHL affiliate until NHL teams began putting those teams in California. The Kings’ AHL affiliate now is the Ontario Reign. . . . Hayward’s story is right here.

Jon Rosen of lakingsinsider.com has lots more right here.


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Have Rockets lost key d-man to Iles? . . . Kelowna, Seattle cut major trade. . . . Hitmen acquire Woo from Warriors. . . . Ice makes big noise in bantam draft


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F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). This season, he had 18 goals and 39 assists in 40 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in points. . . . Stanley also was the team’s skills coach and director of player development for the Feldkirch minor hockey program this season and will continue in those roles next season. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. Next season will be his 10th in Germany. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

G Chet Pickard (Tri-City, 2005-09) signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he was 19-4-0, 1.96, .914, with three shutouts, in 24 games. He was second in the league in GAA and sixth in save percentage. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship.


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Part I: Some trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

I would suggest that the biggest news came from the camp of the Kelowna Rockets, and it didn’t have anything to do with a deal that was struck with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Rather, it involved Finnish D Lassi Thomson.

In fact, there are reports that Ilves of Finland’s top pro league has a deal with Thomson that includes an option for him to stay through the 2021-22 season.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had this to say in a news KelownaRocketsrelease: “We’re aware of the report that was released today. We were somewhat surprised; however, Lassi has always been under contract to Ilves as they had to release him to play for us this season. We look forward to the NHL draft (in) June. We are hopeful that whichever NHL team drafts him and his club team Ilves decides that playing for the Rockets is in his best interest.”

Hamilton also told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice: “Once he is picked, the NHL team will have input on where he goes anyways. I think the NHL team will want to see him play in North America so they see him as much as they want. They can have their developmental people with him and have him playing on a North American ice sheet.”

Thomson, who had a one-year contract to play over here, was the Western Conference nominee as rookie of the year after a season in which he put up 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. You can bet the Rockets were looking to him to run their first PP unit as they prepare to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

From Tampere, Finland, Thomson won’t turn 19 until Sept. 24.

At home, he played in the Ilves system for four seasons — U-16, U-18 and U-20 — before joining the Rockets.

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Meanwhile, the Rockets made a splash on draft day by cutting a major trade with the Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna acquired D Jake Lee, F Dillon Hamaliuk and G Cole SeattleSchwebius, giving up F Conner Bruggen-Cate, the 10th-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft — the Rockets had acquired it earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings — a second-round pick in 2021 and Kelowna’s first-rounder in 2022. . . . The Rockets didn’t make the playoffs this season and are in the early days of a massive rebuild as they attempt to get competitive for a season that will end with them as the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . .

Lee, who is to turn 18 on July 13, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was the 18th-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, his second in Seattle, he put up three goals and 21 assists in 67 games. . . . Hamaliuk, who will turn 19 on Oct. 30, is from Leduc, Alta. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. His season was ended by injury after 31 games, as he finished with 11 goals and 15 assists. . . . Schwebius, a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, is from Kelowna. This season, he was 5-8-2, 3.89, .886 in 17 games with Seattle. . . .

Schwebius, 18, leaves the Rockets with three goaltenders on their roster, joining Roman Basran, who is to turn 18 on July 26, and James Porter, 19. This season, Basra was 20-19-4, 2.79, .906 in 51 games; Porter went 8-13-4, 3.32, .899 in 30 appearances.

Bruggen-Cate, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, is from Langley, B.C. He has played three seasons in Kelowna, totalling 26 goals and 46 assists in 200 games. Kelowna selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Seattle’s 20-year-old group now includes Bruggen-Cate, F Jaxan Kaluski, Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca, D Jarret Tyszka and F Matthew Wedman,


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Seattle, having dealt Schwebius to Kelowna, turned around and acquired G Blake Lyda of Edmonton from the Everett Silvertips for a third-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . That selection had originated with Everett, moving to Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that had F Zack Andrusiak move to the Silvertips. . . . Lyda, who will turn 17 on May 21, was a fourth-round pick by Everett in the 2017 bantam draft. He was with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians, although he missed much of the season due to injury. . . . Right now, Lyda and Roddy Ross, who is to turn 19 on July 4, are the top two goaltenders on Seattle’s depth chart.


Kelowna acquired the 10th-overall pick, along with the WHL rights to D Sean Comrie, BrandonWKregularfrom Brandon for the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Comrie, 19, is from Edmonton. The Wheat Kings selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. Comrie was a freshman this season with the U of Denver Pioneers, after playing two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. This season, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 34 games. . . . The deal left Brandon with the fifth and sixth selections, the first time it held two top six picks since 2013 when it took F Nolan Patrick fourth overall and D Kale Clague with the sixth pick. . . . This time, the Wheat Kings took F Nate Danielson of Red Deer with the fifth selection and F Tyson Zimmer of Russell, Man., in the six hole. . . . Danielson had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Rebels this season, while Zimmer had 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games with a bantam team at the OHA in Penticton.


The Winnipeg Ice acquired the third-overall selection and D Reece Harsch, 20, from the wpgiceSaskatoon Blades for four draft picks — the ninth- and 24th-overall picks in the 2019 bantam draft, as well as a 2020 second-round pick and a fifth in 2021. . . . That ninth-overall pick and the second-round selection in 2020 originated with the Red Deer Rebels; the fifth started with the Blades and was dealt to the Ice for F Cyle McNabb in January. . . . The Ice then cut a deal with the Prince George Cougars, giving up the third-overall pick and a third in 2020 that originated with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the second-overall selection in 2019. . . . Winnipeg selected F Matt Savoie of St. Albert, Alta., with the first pick, and then took F Conor Geekie of Strathclair, Man., with the second selection. . . . Savoie has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver Pioneers starting with the 2021-22 season. His brother, Carter, was the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has committed to the Pioneers for the 2020-21 season. . . . Interestingly, the Ice recently acquired Carter’s WHL rights from the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice brought the Savoies to Winnipeg in mid-April to show them around and seriously begin their sales pitch. . . . Geekie’s father, Craig, played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs (1991-94). Conor’s brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans, while another brother, Noah, was a second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in 2015 but has chosen to pursue a career in baseball. . . . Harsch, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was acquired by the Blades from the Seattle Thunderbirds this season. He totalled four goals and 16 assists in 57 regular-season games. In three full WHL seasons he has 17 goals and 40 assists in 178 games. He was a part of the Seattle team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup two years ago.

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In the fourth round, Winnipeg grabbed F Rieger Lorenz of Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists with the bantam prep team at the Edge School in Calgary this season. . . . Lorenz has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2022-23 season.

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Winnipeg also made a deal with the Tri-City Americans in which the Ice acquired F Isaac Johnson, 20. . . . Winnipeg gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in the exchange. That pick originated with Spokane, moving to the Ice in a deal made in June in which D Bobby Russell went to the Chiefs. . . . From Andover, Minn., Johnson had 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games with the Americans this season when he left the team and apparently retired. At the time, Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Johnson had retired for personal reasons. . . . In 2017-18, Johnson had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . The Ice roster now includes three 20-year-olds — Johnson, F Davis Murray and D Chase Hartje.


The Kamloops Blazers had two first-round selections for the first time in franchise  Kamloops1history. They took D Mats Lindgren out of the Burnaby Winter Club with the seventh-overall selection, then picked F Connor Levis of the St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick. . . . Both players have committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines for 2022-23. . . . Lindgren’s father, Mats, is a former NHLer. . . . In 2016, the Blazers used the 15th-overall pick on F Massimo Rizzo, who just completed his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . In 2017, the Blazers took F Josh Pillar with the 14th selection. In 2018, they grabbed F Logan Stankoven with the fifth pick. . . . Pillar showed dramatic improvement with the Blazers as this season wore on, while Stankoven lit up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers and will be a big part of the Kamloops scene over the next few seasons.


Before the draft got started, the Calgary Hitmen made a huge splash by acquiring Jett CalgaryWoo, one of the WHL top defencemen, from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for D Vladislav Yeryomenko, F Ryder Korczak, the 11th-overall pick in the 2019 draft and a second-rounder in 2021. . . . Woo, the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, was a second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has signed a three-year entry-level deal with Vancouver. . . . From Winnipeg, Woo is to turn 19 on July 27. He just completed his third season with Moose Jaw, and has 114 points, including 26 goals, in 178 games. This season, he finished with 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games. . . .

“This was our No. 1 priority in getting a puck moving defenceman,” Jeff Chynoweth, Calgary’s general manager, said in a news release. “To add a player of his calibre, one of the top scoring defencemen in the WHL, a player who plays hard at both ends, is huge for our club.

“He’s a legitimate No. 1 defender and to get him for a whole season instead of after the trade deadline is an added bonus.”

The deal also signals that the Hitmen have their eyes on the prize for 2019-20 and won’t be content just being one of the players.

Yeryomenko, 20, is from Mishutki, Belarus. He was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville MooseJawWarriorsPredators in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign a pro deal. This season, his third with Calgary, he had seven goals and 26 assists in 33 games. In 188 regular-season games, he has 26 goals and 72 assists.

The Warriors have two other Belarusians on their roster — F Yegor Buyalski, 18, and F Daniil Stepanov, 18.

There have been rumblings that the rule involving 20-year-old import players may be about to change, perhaps with the removal of the two-spot designation. It could be that a team will be allowed to have three imports on its roster, if one of them is a 20-year-old. This deal may signal that Moose Jaw general manager Alan Millar is expecting that rule to be changed.

Korczak, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 23, is from Yorkton, Sask. The younger brother of Kelowna Rockets D Kaedan Korczak, he had eight goals and seven assists in 50 games as a freshman with the Hitmen.


The Vancouver Giants didn’t have a first-round pick, and took D Joshua Niedermayer, a Vancouverson of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, with the 30th overall selection. A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Joshua had 10 goals and 12 assists in 27 games with the bantam prep team at OHA in Penticton, B.C. . . . His brother, Jackson, 18, is a forward with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to Arizona State U and the Sun Devils for 2021-22. . . . Jackson was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . .

The Giants used their second pick in the draft, No. 43, to take F Bowden Singleton of Calgary. He had 42 goals and 24 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, but has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2022-23. . . .

In the fifth round, the Giants took F Colton Langkow of Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Daymond, played four seasons (1992-96) with the Tri-City Americans while an uncle, Scott, spent three seasons (1992-95) tending goal for the Portland Winterhawks.


JUST NOTES: Kamloops took G Dylan Ernst from the Weyburn, Sask., bantam AA Red Wings with the 28th overall pick. He was the first goaltender taken in the draft. Dylan’s brother Ethan, 17, just finished his freshman season with the Kelowna Rockets. After Dylan was drafted, their mother, Bonnie, tweeted: “It’s hard enough to watch him in net, let alone playing against his brother. And that many times.” . . .

The Blazers used a seventh-round pick to take F Nash Bamford of Lacombe, Alta. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels. His father is country music star Gord Bamford, who was born in Australia and raised in Canada. He has 26 CCMA awards to his credit. . . .

The Everett Silvertips took F Austin Roest of Vernon, B.C., in the third round. His father, Stacy, played four seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is the director of player development with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors selected D Carson Brisson of Edmonton in the fifth round. He had 18 goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the minor midget Leduc Oil Kings this season. He has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for 2023-24. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds used an eighth-round pick to take F Cruz Lucius of Grant, Minn. He played this season with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy, putting up nine goals and 32 assists in 13 games. He has committed to the U of Minnesota Gophers for 2022-23. . . . His brother, Chaz, was taken in the fourth round a year ago by the Portland Winterhawks. Chaz is poised to enter the U.S. National Team Development Program after putting up 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy. He is committed to Minnesota for 2021-22.

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

Rockets looking for trade partner. . . . Raiders one win from WHL final. . . . Giants into championship series


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F Dan DaSilva (Portland, 2002-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). He led his club in scoring this season, putting up 47 points, 22 of them goals, in 52 games. . . .

D Drydn Dow (Tri-City, 2009-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Dundee Stars (Scotland, UK Elite) and will receive a scholarship from the University of Dundee. In 58 games, he had nine goals and 29 assists. He was second on the team in assists. . . .

F Reid Gardiner (Prince Albert, Kelowna, 2012-17) has signed a one-year contract with Düsseldorf (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Utica Comets (AHL), he had two goals and one assist in 21 games, and 26 goals and 27 assists in 36 games with the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL). He led Kalamazoo in plus/minus at +26. . . .

F Garry Nunn (Vancouver, Edmonton, 2007-10) has signed a one-year plus option contract with Olten (Switzerland, Swiss League). This season, with AIK Stockholm (Sweden, Allsvenskan), he had 15 goals and 15 assists in 37 games.


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With the WHL’s bantam draft scheduled for Thursday in Red Deer, the Kelowna Rockets KelownaRocketsare open for business. . . . The Rockets didn’t qualify for the playoffs this season. They are the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. If you’re a hockey fan, you know that’s not a good combination. . . . Therefore, Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, knows he has some work to do to put together a roster that will be capable of competing for a championship. . . . With that in mind, he has said he is more than willing to trade away the fifth-overall selection in the bantam draft. . . . “I want at least one high-end guy for that pick,” Hamilton told Wayne Moore of castanet.net earlier this week, “and probably more than one.” . . . The WHL features 22 teams. The Rockets were 19th in goals for this season and 18th in goals against. So there is ample room for improvement. . . . Hamilton also served up something of a warning to the WHL’s other 21 teams, telling Moore that “if someone wants to deal with us, they’re going to have to start dealing with us this weekend. Once we hit (Thursday) morning, we won’t be making the trade if it hasn’t happened by then. Strategically, teams would love to catch us on the morning of the draft and get us to make a decision that’s in haste.” That, Hamilton said, isn’t going to happen. . . . Moore’s story is right here.


Dan Kordic’s stint as an assistant coach with the Kamloops Blazers is over after one Kamloops1season. The team issued a two-sentence news release on Friday morning stating that Kordic “has decided not to return to the hockey club for the 2019-20 season.” . . . Kordic, 48, is from Edmonton. He played four seasons (1987-91) with the Medicine Hat Tigers before going on to a pro career that included 197 regular-season NHL games, all with the Philadelphia Flyers. . . . He spent two seasons on the coaching staff of the U of Alberta Golden Bears, working with head coach Serge Lajoie. . . . When Lajoie signed on as the Blazers’ head coach last summer, Kordic accompanied him. . . . The Blazers and Lajoie went their separate ways on April 11, so one supposes that it’s no surprise that Kordic also has moved on. . . . Earlier this week, Lajoie was named the head coach of the midget prep team at OHA Edmonton.


The Brandon Wheat Kings have signed F Jaxon Dube, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From St. Albert, Alta., he turned 16 on April 24. . . . This season, he had five goals and seven assists in 30 games with the midget AAA St. Albert Raiders.


I should have known better than to trust the number on the news release that announced Bob Ridley, the radio voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, was to be inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. . . . That news release claimed that Ridley had called 3,931 games in which the Tigers have played. . . . It turns out that number is 3,935. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, has been chronicling Ridley’s broadcasting feats for a number of years now, going back to his days in the sports department at the Medicine Hat News. Steinke says the number is 3,935, and that’s more than good enough for me. . . . By the way, kudos to Steinke for continuing to follow the WHL playoffs on his own hook. He lives in Saskatoon but that hasn’t stopped him from being a regular visitor to other cities for playoff action. He was in Prince Albert last night, so now has been there in person for all five games in the WHL’s Eastern Conference final. . . . You are able to check out his stuff at his blog, Stanks’ Sermon, that is right here.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The Prince Albert Raiders are one victory away from advancing to the WHL final for the first time since the spring of 1985 when they went on to win the Memorial Cup. . . . The Raiders, playing at home on Friday night, dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-0, to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. . . . They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . How big is this in Prince Albert? The Raiders last appeared in the conference final in 2005. In the 13 seasons between then and now, they lost six times in the first round and missed the playoffs in the other seven seasons. . . . Since the turn of the century, the Raiders, prior to this season, had missed the playoffs 10 times, were ousted in the first round on eight occasions and lost in the conference final once. . . .

Meanwhile, in Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants beat the Spokane Chiefs, 3-2, to win the Western Conference final, 4-1. . . . That moves the Giants into the WHL final. The Giants last appeared in the championship series in 2007 when they lost Game 7 to the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Memorial Cup was played in Vancouver that year and the Giants won it as the host team, beating the Tigers, 3-1, in the final.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Aliaksei Protas scored three goals and set up another to lead the Prince Albert Raiders PrinceAlbertto a 4-0 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Raiders hold a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference final. They’ll play Game 6 in Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. . . . Game 7, if needed, would be played in Prince Albert on Tuesday. . . . Protas, a freshman from Vitebsk, Belarus, who turned 18 on Jan. 6, had 11 goals and 29 assists in 61 regular-season games. He now has eight goals and four assists in 15 playoff outings. . . . Protas never once scored two or more goals in a game during the regular season; he has done it twice in the playoffs. . . . Protas scored his first goal, on a PP, at 11:31, then made it 2-0 at 17:03. . . . F Brett Leason (5) gave his guys a 3-0 lead at 5:22 of the third period. . . . Portas completed his hat trick at 19:35, one second after the expiration of an Edmonton minor penaltys. . . . D Sergei Sapego and D Kaiden Guhle each had two assists, while Leason added one to his goal. . . . The Raiders were 1-3 on the PP; the Oil Kings didn’t have even one opportunity. . . . G Ian Scott earned the shutout, his third of these playoffs, with 24 saves. . . . In these playoffs, Scott now is 11-4, 1.83, .929. He finished the regular season at 38-8-3, 1.83, .932. . . . The Oil Kings got 26 stops from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . The Oil Kings inserted F Carter Souch into the lineup and took out F Zach Russell. . . . Edmonton has lost back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 4 and 6 when they lost at home to the Victoria Royals (3-2) and Lethbridge Hurricanes (5-2).


The Vancouver Giants advanced to the WHL final with a 3-2 victory over the Spokane VancouverChiefs in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants won the series, 4-1, and will meet either the Edmonton Oil Kings or Prince Albert Raiders in the series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The Raiders lead that series, 3-2. . . . The Giants were shorthanded when D Bowen Byram (7) gave them a 1-0 lead at 16:42 of the first period. . . . F Justin Sourdif (2) made it 2-0, on a PP, at 19:22. . . . The Chiefs halved the deficit at 4:22 of the third period when F Jaret Anderson-Dolan (5) scored, on a PP. . . . But the Giants got that one back just 21 seconds later on a goal from F Brayden Watts (5). . . . F Ethan McIndoe (6) pulled the Chiefs to within one at 18:13 with G Bailey Brkin on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Sourdif and Byram added an assist apiece, while F Eli Zummack had two helpers for Spokane. . . . Each team was 1-4 on the PP. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 27 shots for the Giants. In the playoffs, he is 7-2, 2.04, .925. He went the distance in all five games with Spokane. . . . The Chiefs got 27 saves from Brkin. . . . The Chiefs again scratched two veterans — F Luc Smith, who didn’t play after being injured a couple of minutes into Game 1, and D Filip Kral, who has missed two straight games. . . . The key to Vancouver’s series victory may have come in its holding Anderson-Dolan to two goals and an assist, and D Ty Smith to one assist in the five games.


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Hamilton: No plans “right now” to sell Rockets. . . . Hitmen take out Hurricanes. . . . Calgary, Edmonton to open on Saturday


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F Peter Lorentzen (Tri-City, 2001-03) has retired. This season, with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway, GET-Ligaen), he had two goals and seven assists in 31 games. He announced on Feb. 27 that he would retire at the end of this season. . . . Stavanger lost Game 6 of a best-of-seven semifinal to Storhamar, 3-1, on Monday night. . . .

F Jaroslav Vlach (Prince George, 2009-11) has signed a three-year plus option year extension with Liberec (Czech Republic, Extraliga). This season, with Liberec, he had seven goals and seven assists in 43 games. He also had four goals and five assists in six games while on loan to Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga).


ThisThat

The rumours have been strong enough that Bruce Hamilton felt a need to issue a public denial.

Hamilton is the majority owner, president and general manager of the WHL’s Kelowna KelownaRocketsRockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

For the last while there have been rumours circulating throughout the hockey community that the Rockets either are for sale, or that Hamilton will guide the organization through the 2020 Memorial Cup and then sell the franchise.

On Tuesday, he told Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, that the Rockets aren’t for sale.

“To purchase this thing (franchise) won’t be a small operation, put it that way. It will have to be something big,” Hamilton said. “Someday it will happen, but I have no plans right now to do that. I am enjoying what I am doing. . . .

“It would be news to me if it was sold. I have the most shares, so I don’t think it is going to be sold under my watch right now anyway. I think it is too bad that there is a group of people, I will call ‘agents,’ that phone around and ask questions and then spread rumours which is unfortunate.”

Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, made the point that he still is enjoying his hockey life.

“If my passion wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have bid for the Memorial Cup,” Hamilton said.


If you were following along on Monday night, you will be aware that the WHL playoff game between the visiting Victoria Royals and the Kamloops Blazers was delayed twice Kamloops1due to broken panes of glass.

That glass was due to be replaced anyway, and it all will be gone before another season gets here.

A couple of years ago, the WHL established new standards for boards and glass, and Kamloops’ city council has agreed to fund the necessary changes. Hockey Canada also has been pushing for improvements.

Following Monday’s game, Jeff Putnam, Kamloops’ parks and civic facilities manager, tweeted: “And before next season there will be a brand new board and glass system that is equivalent to NHL standards as well as other facility improvements. The new glass will be ‘acrylic’ which is almost impossible to shatter and much easier to handle for our crew.”

It is believed that the replacement cost will be around $1 million.


The Tri-City Americans have signed G Mason Dunsford to a WHL contract. Dunsford, a 15-year-old from New Westminster, B.C., was a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . He played this season with the Elite 15 team at the Burnaby Winter Club, and helped his club with the CSSHL championship. . . . He was 2.60, .911 in 23 regular-season games, then went 2.25, .931 in four playoff appearances.


The ECHL’s Fort Wayne Comets have added G Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings and D Dalton Hamaliuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors to their roster. . . . Patera, who turned 20 on Feb. 24, was a sixth-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL’s 2017 draft. This season, Patera, who is from Praha, Czech Republic, was 22-20-2, 3.31, .906 with the Wheat Kings. . . . Hamaliuk played out his junior eligibility with Moose Jaw, putting of four goals and 19 assists in 66 games this season.


F Noah Philp of the Seattle Thunderbirds has joined the AHL’s Stockton Heat on an ATO. Philp, who doesn’t have any junior eligibility remaining, had 26 goals and 49 assists in 56 games with Seattle this season.


D Dylan MacPherson of the Medicine Hat Tigers has signed an ATO with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds. MacPherson, who played out his junior eligibility this season, spent three seasons with the Tigers. This season, he had two goals and 10 assists in 62 games.


In the QMJHL, the Halifax Mooseheads, the host team for the 2019 Memorial Cup qmjhltournament, beat the visiting Quebec Remparts, 3-1, on Tuesday night in Game 7 of a first-round series. . . . The Remparts went into Game 6 in Halifax on Monday with a 3-2 lead in the series. The Mooseheads tied the series with a 6-1 victory. . . . The Mooseheads (49-15-4) had finished first in the Eastern Conference; the Remparts (27-28-13) were eighth. . . . Next up for the Mooseheads will be the Moncton Wildcats, who beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkars, 3-2, in Game 7 last night.


A former WHL linesman worked his final NHL game on Tuesday night . . .


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: The only first-round WHL playoff series to go to Game 7 was decided Tuesday night in Lethbridge’s Nicholas Sheran Arena as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Hurricanes, 4-2. . . . The Hitmen will meet the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series will open with games in Edmonton on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Oil Kings (42-18-8) finished atop the Central Division; the Hitmen (36-26-6) were third. . . . Edmonton was 7-0-1 in the season series; Calgary was 1-6-1. . . . They have met four times since the trade deadline, with Edmonton winning all four — 3-2, 5-1, 6-1 and 3-1. . . . Among the story lines: Steve Hamilton, in his first season as Calgary’s head coach, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, the last four as head coach. . . .

There aren’t any WHL playoff games scheduled until Friday night when two series are to open. . . . The Saskatoon Blades will face the Raiders in Prince Albert, while the Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants will open in Langley, B.C. . . . The other second-round series will open Saturday night with the Spokane Chiefs visiting the Everett Silvertips. . . .

Steve Ewen of Postmedia — that’s him hard at work in the above tweet — filed a neat story about the Vancouver Giants on Tuesday. It involves head coach Michael Dyck and associate coach Jamie Heward and how they helped unload the team bus in Kent, Wash., the other night, a move that allowed their players to get a bit more rest. . . . That story is right here. . . . Ewen also reported that Giants F Justin Sourdif was in a regular sweater for Tuesday’s practice. Sourdif missed the last five games of the Giants’ six-game first-round victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Vancouver will open the second round in Langley, B.C., against the Victoria Royals on Friday night. . . .

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TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The visiting Calgary Hitmen scored three first-period goals, two of them by F Carson CalgaryFocht, en route to a 4-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Calgary won the series, 4-3. It was the only one of the eight first-round series to go the distance. . . . The Hitmen will move on to play the Edmonton Oil Kings in the second round. That series is to open in Edmonton on Saturday. . . . Focht (3) got the Hitmen on the scoreboard, on a PP, at 3:30. . . . F Riley Fiddler-Schultz (1) made it 2-0 at 15:23. . . . Focht (4) upped it to 3-0 at 16:19. . . . The Hurricanes cut into the deficit at 2:49 of the second period as F Zachary Cox (2) scored, then got to within a goal at 12:52 on a goal from D Alex Cotton (1). . . . Calgary wasn’t able to put it away until F Mark Kastelic (5) scored an empty-netter at 19:41 of the third period. . . . Calgary was 1-4 on the PP; Lethbridge was 0-2. . . . G Jack McNaughton stopped 25 shots for the Hitmen, two more than Lethbridge’s Carl Tetachuk. . . . Lethbridge F Logan Barlage was given a slashing major and game misconduct after he hacked Focht off a game-ending faceoff. Should Barlage be suspended, he will serve it at the beginning of the 2019-20 regular season. . . .

The Hurricanes won the first two games of the series — 3-2 and 4-1 (OT) — in the Enmax Centre, before announced crowds of 3,566 and 3,788. . . . With the world men’s curling championship then taking over that arena, the Hurricanes were forced to move to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, the home of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorn women’s and men’s hockey teams. The Hitmen won Game 5 there, 6-5, before 1,200 fans, and clinched the series last night in front of 1,151 fans.


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Ticket prices set for 2020 Memorial Cup. . . . Pitter, patter: Bartel back for three more seasons. . . . Oil Kings, Giants have 3-2 leads


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The host committee for the 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna held a news conference on Friday at which it unveiled the tournament’s logo and ticket prices.

The tournament is scheduled to run from May 22 through May 31, with a maximum of KelMemCupnine games including a possible tiebreaker on May 28.

For now, ticket packages are available to Kelowna Rockets’ season-ticket holders who are renewing for the 2019-20 season, and for fans wanting to become season-ticket holders. One adult season-ticket will set you back $591.50 plus taxes and fees.

So . . . what are Memorial Cup ticket prices in Kelowna’s 6,886-seat Prospera Place, you ask?

From a news release:

“2020 Memorial Cup ticket packages are $567 plus applicable taxes and fees to attend all six round-robin games, possible tiebreaker game, semi-final and final game.”

The 2019 Memorial Cup tournament is scheduled to be held in the 11,093-seat Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, from May 17 through May 26.

The QMJHL’s Mooseheads offered lower-bowl ticket packages to their “full season-ticket members and 15-game pack holders” for $320 plus taxes, with higher seats at $270, plus taxes. Ticket packages for the general public are going for $350 and $450, plus taxes.

The news release from the Kelowna host committee is right here.

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The Kelowna Rockets, the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup, didn’t qualify for the KelownaRocketsWHL playoffs this season, finishing fourth in the B.C. Division after losing a tiebreaker, 5-1, to the Blazers in Kamloops.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had a message for fans during Friday’s Memorial Cup-related news conference in Kelowna.

“Before we close the door on this season,” Hamilton said, “I want our fans to know that I understand and share in their disappointment of this (season’s) final results. The next couple months are going to be very busy for myself and our scouting staff, but we are excited about the challenge that lies ahead of us to add some new players to our roster.”

Hamilton went on to say: “When I look at our hockey club, I feel we need to add probably four players, and we’re into that already. I’m confident that we’ll get the players we need to make us even more competitive.”

The Rockets hold the fifth-overall selection in the 2019 bantam draft that is scheduled to be held in Red Deer on May 2. It is expected that Hamilton will trade that pick and more in order to get an impact 18- or 19-year-old top-end defenceman or scorer.

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Pitter, patter . . . let’s get at ’er . . .

Also on Friday, the Kelowna Rockets and radio station AM 1150 announced a broadcast agreement that will run through the 2021-22 WHL season.

The contract includes the return of Regan Bartel as the Rockets’ radio voice.

Bartel will be in his 20th season as the voice of the Rockets in 2019-20. It also will be his 25th season of calling WHL games, as he worked Swift Current Broncos’ games before moving to Kelowna.


If you were watching the Canada-Russia game from Kamloops on Nov. 5, you may MooseJawWarriorsremember seeing F Justin Almeida of the Moose Jaw Warriors leave after his first shift. It turns out that he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder, something that would plague through the remainder of the season. . . . Almeida, 19, chose not to undergo surgery, which likely would have ended his season, and went on to lead the WHL in assists (78) and finish third in the scoring race, with 111 points. . . . He also signed an NHL contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins. . . . Marc Smith of discovermoosejaw.com has Almeida’s remarkable story right here.


D Josh Brook of the Moose Jaw Warriors has joined the AHL’s Laval Rocket and could make his pro debut today against the host Toronto Marlies. . . . Brook’s Warriors were eliminated from the WHL playoffs this week by the Saskatoon Blades. . . . Brook had 16 goals and 59 assists in 59 games with the Warriors this season. . . . Brook, who will turn 20 on June 17, was selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has signed with the Canadiens. . . .

Meanwhile, two forwards from the Red Deer Rebels, who lost out to the Prince Albert Raiders, will be joining the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs. . . . Brandon Hagel, who signed a free-agent deal with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, completed his junior eligibility this season by scoring 41 goals and adding 61 assists in 66 games. . . . F Reese Johnson, who also played out his eligibility this season, had 27 goals and 26 assists in 67 games with the Rebels. He also has signed a free-agent deal with the Blackhawks.


Cam Keith has joined the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as associate general manager and head coach. He spent this season with the Chilliwack Chiefs, as their associate GM and associate head coach. . . . Before that, he spent two seasons (2016-18) as GM/head coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters.


EdChynowethCup

NOTES: There were two games on Friday night. . . . The Edmonton Oil Kings won at home, beating the Medicine Hat Tigers, 5-4, to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The Oil Kings get their first opportunity to clinch on Sunday in Medicine Hat. . . . In Langley, B.C., the Vancouver Giants beat the Seattle Thunderbirds, 3-2, and now lead that series, 3-2. Game 6 is set for Kent, Wash., tonight. . . .

There are four other games scheduled for tonight. . . . The Calgary Hitmen and Lethbridge Hurricanes are tied, 2-2, as they go into Game 5. They’ll play in the Nicholas Sheran Arena because the world men’s curling championship is being played in the Enmax Centre. . . . In Spokane, the Chiefs hold a 3-1 lead over the Portland Winterhawks, who may — or may not — have F Cody Glass in their lineup for the first time in the series. . . . The Everett Silvertips, with a 3-1 lead, will entertain the Tri-City Americans. . . . In Victoria, perhaps the most bitterly contested of the first-round series will resume with the Royals and Kamloops Blazers tied, 2-2.

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Edmonton Oil Kings scored four times on 18 first-period shots en route to a 5-4 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . The Oil Kings lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 in Medicine Hat on Sunday. . . . F Andrei Pavlenko (1) got Edmonton started just 16 seconds into the game. . . . D Linus Nassen (3) tied it for the Tigers, on a PP, only 23 seconds later. . . . F Andrew Fyten (2) gave the Oil Kings a 2-1 lead at 5:08. . . . The home team went up 3-1 at 7:57 when F Trey Fix-Wolansky (1) scored, then made it 4-1 at 18:49 on a goal by F Scott Atkinson (1). . . . F Ryan Chyzowski (2) scored for the Tigers 41 seconds into the second period, but Fix-Wolansky (2) got that one back at 12:31. . . . At that point, Edmonton held a 5-2 lead. . . . F James Hamblin (3) pulled the Tigers to within two goals at 8:12 of the third period, and Chyzowski (3) made it 5-4 at 11:22. . . . But that was as close as the Tigers would get. . . . The Oil Kings got 27 saves from G Dylan Myskiw. . . . G Mads Søgaard stopped 34 shots for the Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat was 1-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-4. . . . F Josh Williams was scratched by the Oil Kings, meaning that F Dylan Guenther, the first-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, was in the lineup for a second game. . . . If it comes down to Game 7, it would be played in Edmonton on Tuesday night.


D Dallas Hines broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period and the Vancouver Giants went on Vancouverto a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants lead the series, 3-2, with Game 6 scheduled for tonight in Kent, Wash. . . . Last night, Vancouver opened up a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from D Dylan Plouffe (4), at 7:06, and F Jadon Joseph (4), on a PP, at 12:58. . . . Seattle F Matthew Wedman (3) cut the deficit to one, on a PP, at 14:14, and F Noah Philp (2) tied it, on another PP, at 3:57 of the second period. . . . Hines, a mid-season acquisition from the Kootenay Ice, scored his second goal of the series at 4:43 of the third period, and it stood up as the winner. D Bowen Byram took the puck to the net on the right side. Hines skated in from the left point and got there in time to bang in the rebound of Byram’s shot. . . . Seattle was 2-5 on the PP; Vancouver was 1-4. . . . Vancouver G Trent Miner stopped 25 shots, five fewer than Seattle’s Roddy Ross. . . . Seattle F Nolan Volcan played in his 54th playoff game to set a franchise record. He had shared the record with F Scott Eansor (2013-17). . . . The Thunderbirds were without D Cade McNelly, who completed a two-game suspension, and F Sean Richards, who is under indefinite suspension. . . . F Aidan Barfoot and F Justin Sourdif were among the Giants’ scratches. Sourdif was injured in Game 1, while Barfoot was hut in Game 4 on a hit from behind by Richards. . . . If these teams need a Game 7 to settle things, it would be played in Langley on Tuesday night.


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The mayors of Moose Jaw and Saskatoon made a small wager on the outcome of the first-round series between the Warriors and Blades. This is the end result:

Warriors’ GM pays price for getting tossed . . . Stankoven lighting it up for Blazers . . . Huskies howl for Houlder

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F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He started the season with Budapest (Hungary, Erste Liga), and had five assists in eight games. . . . He was released by mutual agreement on Dec. 27. . . .

F Jan Eberle (Seattle, 2006-08) has signed a two-year contract extension with Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga). He has nine goals and seven assists in 32 games. . . .

D Nolan Yonkman (Kelowna, Brandon, 1996-2001) has signed a contract extension for the rest of this season with JYP Jyväskylä (Finland, Liiga). Yonkman had signed a two-month contract on Nov. 7 that took effect on Nov. 14. He has one assist in 12 games. . . .

F Björn Svensson (Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, 2003-06) has been released by Medveščak Zagreb (Croatia, Erste Bank Liga). He had five goals and 15 assists in 35 games. . . . No reason was given for the release, however Medveščak Zagreb is in financial difficulties and has been releasing players for financial reasons over the past month.

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Ch-ch-ch-ching!

Alan Millar, the general manager of the Moose Jaw Warriors, is a little lighter in the MooseJawWarriorswallet today after being fined $1,500 on Monday.

According to the WHL website, Millar was fined “for receiving a game misconduct” during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings.

On the online scoresheet from that game there is this line: “GM Alan Millar issued game misconduct at second intermission.”

That penalty may have had something to do with a Brandon goal and a minor penalty, as described at discovermoosejaw.com by James Gallo, who also is the Warriors’ play-by-play voice:

“Brandon scored a controversial goal with just over three minutes left in the (second) period to make it 3-1.

“While on the power play, (Brandon’s) Ben McCartney took a shot from the bottom of the Warriors’ left circle. As the rebound came between the circles, Brandon’s Ridly Greig crashed the Warriors’ net and was on top of goalie Adam Evanoff. The play was allowed to continue and Baron Thompson scored.

“Brandon’s goal was allowed to stand even though Greig was issued a penalty for goalie interference on the play.”

Thompson’s goal gave Brandon a 3-1 lead and ended up being the game-winner.

Millar is the first GM to be fined since Stu MacGregor, then the GM of the Kamloops Blazers, was touched up for $500 for “actions following game versus Spokane” on Jan. 9, 2018.

The Warriors open a seven-game road swing tonight against the Kamloops Blazers. It could be that Millar will have a little less spending money than usual on this trek.

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The Kelowna Rockets played host to a news conference on Monday at which former KelownaRocketscaptain Josh Gorges announced his retirement as a player.

Gorges, who is from Kelowna, was a list player who went on to play four seasons (2000-04) with the Rockets. An intelligent, puck-moving defenceman, he was the team captain in 2003-04, when he also played for Canada at the World Junior Championship, helping win silver in Helsinki, Finland.

Gorges, now 34, went on to a pro career that included 783 regular-season NHL games split among the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres. He played 34 games with the Sabres last season.

There has been speculation that the Rockets would be adding Gorges to head coach Adam Foote’s staff. The Rockets have had a vacancy since parting company with Travis Crickard on Dec. 8.

There was no such announcement Monday, however, as the spotlight was strictly on Gorges and his retirement. The Rockets will honour Gorges on Saturday prior to a game against the visiting Prince Albert Raiders.

Could there be an announcement made at that time?

There is more on Gorges’ retirement right here.

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During the news conference at which former WHL/NHL D Josh Gorges announced his retirement, Bruce Hamilton, the owner, president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, said he wasn’t about to have any comment on a proposed class-action suit that has been filed by James McEwan. Like Gorges, McEwan is a former Rockets captain.

“This press conference has nothing to do (with) nor will we have any statement with regards to the legal issue that (was) brought forward this weekend,” Hamilton said.

Megan Turcato of Global News in Kelowna has more right here.

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You can hardly blame fans of the Kamloops Blazers if they are licking their lips at the thought of watching F Logan Stankoven over the next three or four WHL seasons.

Stankoven, who will turn 16 on Feb. 26, is from Kamloops, and was selected fifth overall thompsonblazersby the Blazers in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

Last season, he put up 90 points, including 57 goals, in 30 games with the Yale Hockey Academy bantam prep team in Abbotsford, B.C.

This season, he is lighting up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with his hometown Thompson Blazers.

Stankoven set a franchise record for points in a season on the weekend. He leads the league with 63 points, including 36 goals, in 26 games. The Blazers’ previous record (59) was set by F Riley Nash in 2005-06. Nash has played 443 NHL regular-season games and now is with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Stankoven also leads the league in goals and is tied for the lead in assists, with 27.

The league record for goals in a season (44) was set by F Tyson Jost of the  Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets in 2013-14. He did it in 36 games.

The record for points in one season is held by F Alex Kerfoot, who put up 108 in 38 games with the Vancouver NW Giants in 2010-11. F Mathew Barzal had 103 in 34 games with the Vancouver NE Chiefs in 2012-13, and F Jordan Weal got to an even 100 points in 40 games with the Vancouver NW Hawks in 2007-08.

Of course, Jost and Kerfoot now are with the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, while Barzal is with the New York Islanders and Weal is with the Arizona Coyotes.

Stankoven has played one game with the WHL’s Blazers this season, picking up an assist in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos on Oct. 19. He may have been the best of the Kamloops forwards on that night, too.

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The Grimshaw Huskies of the North Peace Hockey League honoured F Terry Houlder by retiring his number on Saturday night. According to NPHL stats guru Chris Clegg, Houlder put up 1,763 points in 669 regular-season games, plus 382 in 176 playoff games. He finally retired after turning 50. . . . Houlder, now 52, played three seasons (1984-87) in the WHL, the first two with the Lethbridge Broncos and the last one with the Calgary Wranglers. He enjoyed seasons of 88, 105 and 105 points. . . . Please read the thread on the above tweet for a whole lot more about Houlder and the game of senior hockey.

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One day after completing parent’s weekend, the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League tweeted on Monday that “as of today, Mark Chase has been relieved of his duties” as the team’s general manager and head coach. . . . The Coyotes are 13-21 with two ties and one OTL. They are third in the five-team Okanagan Division. . . . Chase was in his first season with the Coyotes after spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires. . . . Chase is from Kamloops, where he was the GM/head coach of the major midget Thompson Blazers from 2013-15. . . . The Coyotes are expected to announce an interim head coach today.

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They’ll talk Ice in Cranbrook . . . Foote’s in the door in Kelowna . . . Raiders just keep on winning


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F Justin Sigrist (Kamloops, 2017-18) has been recalled by ZSC Zurich (Switzerland, NL A) from GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland, NL B). This is Sigrist’s second call up by ZSC this season. He was called up on Sept. 21 for three games, in which he went pointless. This season, he has two goals and two assists with GC Küsnacht Lions, and three goals and one assist in one game with GCK Lions U20 (Switzerland, Junior Elite A).


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They’ll be holding one of those ‘town hall’ meetings in Cranbrook on Thursday evening and the only topic on the agenda is the future of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

There has been ample speculation over the past couple of years that the Ice, who are Kootenaynewowned by Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell, both of Winnipeg, will be relocating to the Manitoba capital at some point in time. Things heated up again last week with a story in the Winnipeg Free Press on that topic.

According to a story on the Summit 107FM website, the meeting also will “launch a new season-ticket campaign.”

A Cranbrook group known as the Green Bay Committee will play host to the meeting. It said in a news release that it “will be discussing the Winnipeg article, including how it affects our campaign and how our community leaders should respond to it. . . .

“We all understand the economic, social and entertainment value that the Ice brings to Cranbrook and the Kootenays. Like the Ice, we are concerned that the current season-ticket total is about 1,700, which is about 200 less than last (season).”

Another Summit 107 story, this one by Bradley Jones, indicates that the radio station “reached out to the WHL” and the Ice in an attempt to get reaction to the relocation speculation.

“The WHL is looking forward to the Kootenay Ice continuing to operate this season in Cranbrook,” Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, said in a statement given to Summit 107. Robison apparently chose not to address the future beyond the end of this season.

As for the Ice, Jones reported that Summit 107 was told “no comment will be given.”

If you are in the Cranbrook area, the meeting is scheduled for the Heritage Inn at 6 p.m.


After firing head coach Jason Smith on Monday, Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, told a media scrum that there were “a couple KelownaRocketsof guys that I’ve zeroed in on and I’ll probably have a good idea by (Tuesday). I’m dealing with a couple people and hopefully by (Tuesday) we’ll have somebody in place. Whether they’ll be here or not by then, time will tell.”

Late Monday night, Sportsnet’s John Shannon, one of Hamilton’s good friends, tweeted that former NHL D Adam Foote would be introduced as the Rockets’ head coach on Tuesday morning.

And, lo and behold, Foote was on the ice with the Rockets for a Tuesday morning practice. He made his game debut later Tuesday against the visiting Swift Current Broncos.

According to Alistair Waters of the Kelowna Capital News, Hamilton said Tuesday that Foote “was his only call when he went looking for a new head coach.”

Foote, 47, becomes the Rockets’ fifth head coach over the past six years.

He was a rugged defenceman in an NHL career that included three teams, and 1,154 regular-season and 170 playoff games.

“Our hope is that Adam can come in and take over a team that is in transition,” Hamilton said in a news release. “Because we host the 2020 Memorial Cup, we know a number of personnel moves will have to be made. We are confident Adam will be able to help us move forward, not just this year but next season also.”

On July 7, 2016, Hamilton had introduced Smith as the Rockets’ head coach, replacing Brad Ralph, who was one-and-done despite getting the team into the Western Conference final in the spring of 2016.

“I’m really excited that we have found a new head coach and I think that he will fit in really well with the team we have and the existing coaching staff,” Hamilton said at the time. “I  think our players will be really excited to have a coach of this calibre, with this kind of experience as a player and as a coach.”

Smith also had been a rugged NHL defenceman in a career that encompassed five teams, and 1,008 regular-season and 68 playoff games.

After retiring, Smith spent four seasons with the Ottawa Senators, the last team for which he had played, two as a scouting and development consultant and two (2014-16) as an assistant coach.

Those two seasons accounted for Smith’s only coaching experience. But that’s two more seasons than Foote, who hadn’t coached at all before Tuesday morning.

The Rockets, who were 4-10-0 when Smith was fired, will be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. Smith was in the final year of a three-year contract and Hamilton’s decision made it clear that he wasn’t comfortable having Smith take the team into next season and, ultimately, the Memorial Cup.

Foote, who has a deal covering the remainder of this season and next season, will handle that, barring the unexpected.

Before Hamilton brought in Ralph as head coach, the Rockets had become known for having success by promoting from within. Foote is the third straight head-coaching hire from outside the organization.

Foote’s hiring also delivers a message to assistant coaches Travis Crickard and Travis Mallette, both of whom are in their fifth seasons with the Rockets and are signed only through this season.

Both were passed over when Hamilton hired Smith before the 2016-17 season, and now it has happened again, and they know that, all things being equal, the head-coaching post is filled until at least May of 2020.

Hamilton said on Monday that the future of the assistant coaches will be left up to the new head coach.


D Tylor Ludwar, who was released by the Kamloops Blazers on Oct. 12, has been traded by the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers to the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Ludwar, 19, is from Regina. The Vipers got F Ben Sanderson and future considerations in the deal. . . . Ludwar was pointless in two games with the Vipers, after getting into only one game with the Blazers. . . . Sanderson, 18, is the son of former WHL/NHL F Geoff Sanderson. Ben has committed to Colorado College for 2019-20.


The Medicine Hat Tigers are likely to have D Damon Agyeman, 16, in their lineup tonight (Wednesday) against the visiting Red Deer Rebels. With D Joel Craven and D Trevor Longo sideline by injuries, the Tigers have brought Agyeman, a list player, in from the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons. Agyeman, from Cochrane, Alta., has one assist in eight games with the Bisons.


TUESDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Brett Leason scored twice and G Ian Scott record the shutout as the host Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Everett Silvertips, 3-0. . . . Leason scored the game’s first two goals, at PrinceAlbert13:17 of the second period and 17:20 of the third. He leads the WHL in goals (13), assists (17) and points (30), and has at least one point in each of the team’s 14 games this season. . . .  Scott stopped 24 shots in earning his second shutout of the season and the fifth of his career. This season, he’s 11-1-0, 1.50, .947. . . . The Raiders now are 13-1-0 and have won six in a row. They are 7-0-0 at home. . . . Everett (7-5-0) is 1-2-0 on its East Division tour. . . . The Silvertips were without F Connor Dewar, their captain, as he served the second of a four-game suspension. . . . With D Sergei Sapego (ill) out and D Max Martin suspended, the Raiders had D Nolan Allan, the third-overall pick in the 2018 bantam draft, make his WHL debut. . . . Everett F Alex Moar played his third game of the season; he spent the previous two seasons with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.


G Carl Tetachuk stopped 34 shots to earn his first WHL victory in his first start as the LethbridgeLethbridge Hurricanes beat the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings, 2-1. . . . Tetachuk, who is from Lethbridge, is a list player who spent last season with the midget AAA Hurricanes. He was especially sharp in the third period as his guys were outshot, 16-3. . . . Lethbridge (6-4-3) has points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . The Wheat Kings (6-2-3) are 1-1-1 in their past three. This was Game 1 of a seven-game swing that will take them through the B.C. Division. They next will play at home on Nov. 9. . . . All the goals were scored via the PP. . . . F Jadon Joseph (5) gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 17:19 of the first period. . . . Brandon F Stelio Mattheos (12) tied it at 19:00. . . . F Taylor Ross (9) of the Hurricanes broke the tie at 18:05 of the second period.


D Alex Alexeyev scored the game’s first two goals and the Red Deer Rebels went on to a 3-Red Deer1 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Rebels (8-3-1) have won three in a row. . . . The Hitmen (4-7-2) had won their previous three games. . . . Alexeyev, who has six goals, scored at 2:14 and 14:14 of the first period. . . . The Rebels got 30 saves from G Ethan Anders. . . . G Carl Stankowski stopped 27 shots for Calgary. His night’s work included stopping Red Deer F Josh Tarzwell on a penalty shot at 19:14 of the third period with the Rebels leading 3-1.


The Tri-City Americans scored the game’s last four goals to beat the Cougars, 5-1, in Prince George. . . . The Americans (7-4-0) have won three in a row. They are 2-0-0 on an 11-game road trip. . . . The Cougars (5-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . There’ll be a rematch tonight. . . . The Americans got the game’s first goal from F Wil Kushniryk (1), who was acquired Monday from the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Tri-City F Brett Clayton (1) broke a 1-1 tie at 3:52 of the second period. . . . The Americans got 35 stops from G Beck Warm. . . . As for the above tweet, Americans F Nolan Yaremko had two assists and was named the game’s second star.


F Jack Cowell got the game-winner as the host Kelowna Rockets got past the Swift Current Broncos, 3-2. . . . Kelowna won in Adam Foote’s first game as head coach. He replaced Jason Smith, who was fired on Monday with the Rockets at 10-4. . . . Kelowna had lost six in a row at home. . . . The Broncos (1-12-0) have lost five in a row. They went 0-5 on their B.C. Division trip. . . . Cowell broke a 2-2 tie with his second goal of the season at 10:12 of the second period. . . . Kelowna got the game’s first goal from F Lane Zablocki, 20, who played his first game with the Rockets on Friday, then was scratched from the next two because of an undisclosed injury. . . . The Rockets had a 33-25 edge in shots, but it was 21-5 in the first period. . . . G James Porter stopped 23 shots for Kelowna in his first start since Oct. 5. . . . With his father making his head-coaching debut, Kelowna F Nolan Foote was scratched with an undisclosed injury.


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