Bedard’s legend grows and grows . . . Silvertips rout Winterhawks . . . Thunderbirds run winning streak to 11


BEDARD
CONNOR BEDARD

THE BEDARD REPORT: So . . . what do you think? Is F Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats one of those athletes who rises to the occasion, or what? . . . On Friday night, in a game being televised by TSN and with the highly touted F Zach Benson on the other side, Bedard scored four times and added an assist as the host Pats overcame a 3-0 deficit and posted a 5-3 victory. . . . Bedard has seven hat tricks this season — five three-goal outings and two four-goal games. . . . It was his second four-goal game this season and the third of his career. Last season, he had one three-goal game and one four-goal outing. . . . Bedard’s nine career hat tricks breaks the Pats’ record that he shared with F Jordan Eberle, who played four seasons. . . . Bedard now has 16 multi-goal games this season. . . . In his past eight games, he has 13 goals and 15 assists. . . . In 18 games since returning to the Pats from the World Junior Championship, where he led Canada to gold, Bedard has put up 31 goals and 24 assists. . . . In 123 career regular-season games, he now has 121 goals and 126 assists. . . . Bedard leads the WHL in goals (58) and points (119). And allow me to remind you once again that he won’t turn 18 until July 17. . . . Benson had two assists last night, giving him 61 this season. He is tied with Bedard and Ice D Ben Zloty for the league lead. . . . Next up for Bedard and the Pats? The Red Deer Rebels will be in Regina today with the Saskatoon Blades to visit on Sunday. . . .

And there’s more. . . . Chalk up at least two more sellouts to the Travellin’ Bedards. . . . The Lethbridge Hurricanes have said that their March 10 game against the Pats is sold out. . . . The Pats will go on to Medicine Hat the following night and the Tigers said Thursday that “a limited number of overflow tickets . . . are available now.” Overflow tickets? According to the tickets, overflow tickets “provide access into the venue but have no assigned seat or location.”


Grab


According to figures compiled by the WHL, the Saskatoon Blades’ average Saskatoonannounced attendance last season was 3,390. This season, through 28 home games, that average was at 3,876. . . . That number is going to go up simply because F Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats have two games left to play in Saskatoon. . . . Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix talked with Colin Priestner, the Blades’ president and general manager, about how things have gone this season. . . . That story is right here.


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The U of Calgary Dinos scored a 3-2 OT victory over the Alberta Golden Bears in Game 1 of Canada West’s best-of-three men’s hockey championship on Friday. . . . F Josh Maser, who played four seasons (2016-20) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, scored the winner at 5:41 of OT. . . . They are scheduled to play the second game tonight in Calgary. . . .

F Jaxsen Wiebe of the Prince George Cougars has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Wiebe was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for an NHL salary of US$775,000, with $80,000 in the minors. There also are signing bonuses of $80,000, $77,500 and $75,000. . . . Wiebe, 20, is from Moose Jaw. The Cougars acquired him from the Edmonton Oil Kings early in this season. He has 28 points, 11 of them goals, in 29 games with the Cougars. In six games with Edmonton, which he helped to a WHL title last season, he had three goals and an assist in six games. . . . In 159 career games — he also played 73 games with the Red Deer Rebels — he has 88 points, including 33 goals. The Rebels selected him in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2017 draft. . . .

D Christoffer Sedoff of the Red Deer Rebels has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Sedoff, a 21-year-old from Helsinki, Finland, was an undrafted free agent. . . . The contract calls for a salary of US$870,000 in the NHL and $82,500 in the minors, with three $95,000 signing bonuses. . . . He is in his third season with the Rebels. This season, he has four goals and 42 assists in 54 games. Last season, he put up seven goals and 54 assists in 65 games. . . .

Brennan McConaghy has joined the Regina Pats as their interim athletic therapist. McConaghy, 29, has worked with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . He takes over from Greg Mayer, who had been with the Pats for 19 years before joining the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders as their lead athletic therapist last week.


Stairs



If the WHL playoffs started today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Winnipeg (1) vs. Swift Current (8)

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

Saskatoon (3) vs. Regina (6)

Moose Jaw (4) vs. Lethbridge (5)

——

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Seattle (1) vs. Kelowna (8)

Kamloops (2) vs. Vancouver (7)

Portland (3) vs. Tri-City (6)

Prince George (4) vs. Everett (5)

——

FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:
The Red Deer Rebels broke open a scoreless game with four second-period goals, the first two via the PP, en route to a 6-3 victory over the Wheat Kings in Brandon. . . . F Ben King (16) scored both PP goals, at 6:43 and 8:26. . . . D Mats Lindgren helped out with a goal (10) and four assists for Red Deer. His first career five-point game has him at 27 points in 55 games. Lindgren, who came over from Kamloops prior to the season, had had six three-point games, but had never reached four. . . . F Nate Danielson scored his 30th goal of the season for Brandon. . . . D Christian Sedoff, who signed with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, was back in Red Deer’s lineup after serving a four-game suspension. . . . Red Deer (39-17-4) had lost its previous two games. The Rebels are headed to a Central Division title. . . . Brandon (23-27-8) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, three points from a playoff spot. . . .

In Everett, the Silvertips scored six times in the second period en route to a 10-3 victory over the Potland Winterhawks. . . . F Gabe Klassen (32), who had two Portland goals, got the Winterhawks to within one, at 2-1, at 9:53 of the first period. . . . Everett scored the next eight goals. . . . F Matthew Paszkiewicz scored his first goal for Everett and it proved to be the winner. A 17-year-old from Calgary, he scored in his 43rd game. . . . F Austin Roest (32) led Everett with a goal and three assists. D Dexter Whittle and F Ben Hammering each had three assists and F Raphael Pelletier (15) and F Caden Zaplitny (12) each scored twice. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored his 40th of the season for the winners. . . . Everett (30-24-3) has won three in a row. It is fifth in the Western Conference, one point behind Prince George and two ahead of Tri-City. . . . Portland (36-17-5) has lost eight straight (0-7-1) and is headed to a second-place finish in the U.S. Division. . . .

The Kamloops Blazers unleashed a 53-shot attack in beating the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 8-1. . . . They’ll play again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . . F Logan Stankoven’s 30th goal of the season, on a PP, got Kamloops started at 4:57 of the first period. The Blazers took a 4-0 lead into the second period, their fourth goal, at 14:17, off the stick of F Jakub Demek (1). . . . F Connor Levis (17) had a goal and two assists for Kamloops. . . . F Caedan Bankier (31) and F Ryan Hofer (37), both of whom signed NHL contracts this week, both scored for the Blazers. . . . F Ethan Neutens, a 17-year-old from Cochrane, Alta., scored his first WHL goal in his 53rd game for Kelowna. . . . Kamloops (39-11-6) will finish atop the B.C. Division. . . . Kelowna (23-32-3) had won its previous two games. It is eighth in the Western Conference, four points behind Vancouver and 12 ahead of Victoria. . . . The same two teams will do it again tonight, this time in Kelowna. . . .

The Medicine Hat Tigers built up a 5-0 second-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Tigers scored four times in the first period, two of them coming from F Brendan Lee (27). . . . F Tyler MacKenzie (17) had a goal and two assists in that outburst. . . . Edmonton D Rhys Pederson, a 16-year-old from Stettler, Alta., scored his first WHL goal; it came in his 28th game. . . . Medicine Hat (25-25-9) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Regina and four ahead of Swift Current. . . . Edmonton (8-47-3) has lost 10 in a row. . . .

G Bryan Thomson blocked 31 shots to lead the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Raiders in Prince Albert. . . . Thomson has three shutouts this season and five in his career. He missed a lot of the early season due to injury, but now has made 16 appearances. He is 9-4-2, 2.14, .933. . . . The Hurricanes took control with second-period goals from F Tyson Laventure (20) and F Brayden Edwards (8). . . . Duane Bartley worked his 1,500 game as the Raiders’ athletic trainer/equipment manager. . . . Lethbridge (32-21-6) has won two in a row and has closed to within three points of fourth-place Moose Jaw in the Eastern Conference. . . . Prince Albert (25-30-3) is 11th, four points from a playoff spot. . . .

D Hudson Thornton scored twice to help the Prince George Cougars to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. . . . Thornton, who has 20 goals this season, gave his guys a 1-0 lead at 3:43 of the first period and then snapped a 2-2 tie at 17:27 of the second. . . . Thornton is one of two defencemen with at least 20 goals; Olen Zellweger (22) of Kamloops is the other. . . . The Cougars scored once on the PP and twice while shorthanded. . . . F Carter Streek (15) had a goal and an assist for Spokane. . . . Prince George (30-24-4) is fourth in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Everett. . . . Spokane (13-38-7) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll complete the doubleheader tonight in Prince George. . . .

In Regina, the Pats erased a 3-0 second-period deficit and beat the Winnipeg Ice, 5-3. . . . D Carson Lambos (11) gave Winnipeg a 3-0 lead at 6:29 of the second period. . . . F Connor Bedard got Regina to within a goal with scores at 7:12 and 12:07 of the second, and F Tanner Howe, who also had two assists, tied it with his 30th goal at 18:43. . . . Bedard gave his guys the lead at 1:35 of the third and added the empty-netter at 19:38. . . . D Stanislav Svozil had three assists for the winners. . . . F Zach Benson of the Ice, who is second to Bedard in the scoring race, had two assists. . . . According to Rob Vanstone, who used to cover the Pats for the Regina Leader-Post, the Pats last beat the Ice on Feb. 20, 2019. Back then the Ice was playing out of Cranbrook. Regina had been 0-18-2 against the Ice since the franchise moved to Winnipeg. . . . Regina (30-24-3) has won five in a row and is sixth in the Eastern Conference, two points ahead of Medicine Hat. . . . Winnipeg (48-9-1), which leads the Eastern Conference and the East Division, will wrap up a 10-game road swing with a game in Brandon tonight.  The trek started with seven straight victories, but the Ice now has lost two in a row. . . .

The Saskatoon Blades got to 40 victories for the 19th time in franchise history by beating the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 4-1. . . . F Egor Sidorov scored twice for Saskatoon, giving him 37 this season. . . . Saskatoon F Conner Roulette picked up one assist, the 100th of his career. It came in his 181st game, the first 131 of which were played with Seattle. . . . Saskatoon (40-13-5) has points in eight straight (7-0-1). It is second in the East Division, 10 points behind Winnipeg. . . . Moose Jaw (35-22-3) has lost three in a row. It is fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of Lethbridge. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored the game’s last three goals to beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . F Gracyn Sawchyn (18) broke a 1-1 tie at 15:09 of the second period and F Lucas Ciona (26) added insurance at 17:55 of the third. . . . F Kyle Crnkovic had a goal (28) and an assist, running his career points total to 280 in 266 games, the first 210 with the Saskatoon Blades. . . . The Americans had D Jackson Smith, 15, the second overall selection in the WHL’s 2022 draft, in their lineup for the third time this season. He plays for the U18 prep team at the Edge School in Calgary. . . . Seattle (46-9-2) has won 11 straight and leads the Western Conference by 10 points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (27-24-7) has lost three in a row. It is sixth in the conference, two points behind Everett. . . .

The Vancouver Giants scored two goals 57 seconds apart early in the second period and went on to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals in Langley, B.C. . . . They’ll finish their two-game weekend series tonight in Victoria. . . . F Karen Gronick (4) opened the scoring at 1:31 of the second period and F Ty Halaburda (17) made it 2-0 at 2:28. . . . Victoria twice came to within a goal but couldn’t equalize. . . . F Samuel Honzek (21) had Vancovuer’s other two goals. . . . Vancouver was without F Kyle Bochek, who drew a five-game suspension for a cross-checking major and game misconduct he incurred on Wednesday night in Prince George. He also is a repeat offender; this is his third suspension totalling 12 games this season. . . . Vancouver (23-28-7) has won two straight. It is seventh in the Western Conference, four points ahead of Kelowna. . . . Victoria (15-38-7) has lost seven in a row (0-6-1). It is 12 points from a playoff spot with eight games to play.


Bottle


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


PinkFloyd

Advertisement

Report: Ice could be on last legs in Winnipeg . . . Big return for Cristall . . . Another shutout for Thomson

This hasn’t been a banner few days for the WHL.

First, it announced on Saturday that it had suspended four players off the Moose Jaw Warriors’ roster for “standard of conduct violation.”

For part of Wednesday, this was the dominant headline on the Winnipeg Sun’s WinnipegIcehome page — CRACK IN THE ICE: First-place WHL team could be on last legs in Winnipeg.

Sports columnist Paul Friesen pulled together all the off-ice noise that has been surrounding the Winnipeg Ice of late and, with the WHL’s board of governors meeting in Las Vegas, wrote:

“With still no arena deal in sight — a source confirms the WHL has already fined the franchise half a million dollars for failing to come through on that front — the league’s first-place team appears to be on its last legs in Winnipeg.”

Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported on Dec. 14 that the WHL had fined the Ice $500,000, something that was vehemently denied by the WHL and the team a few days later.

Friesen points out that if was on Jan. 29, 2019, when Greg Fettes, the chairman of 50 Below Sports + Entertainment, the Ice’s parent, told a news conference that “we’re building a 4,500 seat arena. We’re expecting it to be full.”

Today, more than four years later, a shovel has yet to be put into the ground.

Fettes, meanwhile, didn’t attend the WHL meetings in Vegas that ran through Tuesday. Matt Cockell, a former WHL goaltender who is Fettes’ partner and the Ice’s general manager, was in Vegas.

Without a new arena, one that meets WHL standards, the Ice is playing in the Wayne Fleming Arena on the U of Manitoba campus, a facility that seats around 1,600. As a result, the Ice, the top-ranked team in all of the CHL, is last in attendance in the 22-team WHL.

I was told on Thursday that the Ice’s situation was to be high on the agenda for WHLthe WHL meetings in Las Vegas, that the league was contemplating taking over the franchise and that it already was looking for a potential new home for the franchise.

I also was told that Chilliwack, B.C., and Wenatchee, Wash., were high on the list of possibles. Of course, the WHL had a franchise in Chilliwack not that long ago, but the Bruins were sold and left after five seasons, relocating to Victoria as the Royals in time for the 2011-12 season. The 5,000-seat Chilliwack Coliseum now is home to the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs.

Wenatchee, meanwhile, is home to the 4,300-seat Town Toyota Center, which is where the BCHL’s Wild plays. David White, the Wild’s owner, has long said he is quite content in the BCHL and hasn’t expressed interest in being involved in the WHL. According to figures compiled by hockeydb.com, the Wild’s average announced attendance this season is 2,534, behind only the Penticton Vees (3,069). Troy Mick, a former WHL player and coach, is with the Wild as hockey director and head coach of the 18U AAA Wolves and 16U AAA Wilderness.

(BTW, Chilliwack is third in the BCHL attendance chart, at 2,316, and the Cranbrook Bucks are fourth, at 2,296.)

Friesen also wrote that the WHL, after repeatedly being asked about the Ice situation, issued a brief statement saying that it and the Ice “continue to work closely to evaluate options for a facility that meets WHL minimum standards.” The WHL also took time in that brief statement to deny the Ice had been fined.

We can only imagine how frosted some WHL organizations are at the way the Ice has been able to circumvent those minimum standards. The WHL came up with minimum standards a number of years ago — they dealt with such things as seating, boards and glass systems, ice quality controls, arena lighting and broadcast standards — something that resulted in some cities and teams spending millions of dollars to upgrade facilities.

The establishment of those standards also helped lead to the construction of a new arena in Moose Jaw, with the 4,500-seat Mosaic Place opening on Aug. 19, 2011.

You also are free to wonder how other teams feel about the way the WHL, considering the Ice’s off-ice situation, allowed the team to deal away numerous draft picks as it loaded up this season’s roster.

Friesen wrote: “According to WHL blogger Alan Caldwell, who tracks these things, the Ice have traded away picks in the first, second and fourth rounds in this year’s draft, all their picks from Rounds 1 through 6 in 2024, their top four picks in ’25, and their first six picks in ’26.”

Oh, and let’s not forget that the WHL allowed the Ice to leave Cranbrook without settling its lease with the city. Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Townsman tweeted on Wednesday that “as far as I’m aware, the City of Cranbrook lawsuit against the WHL/Kootenay Ice/Winnipeg Ice for breach of contract related to the franchise relocation is still active.”

On the ice, the Ice is running away with the East Division and is atop the Eastern Conference. As mentioned, the Ice again is the CHL’s top-ranked team this week. All of which has people wondering whether the WHL will try to force the Ice out of the Wayne Fleming Arena and into a larger, more TV-friendly venue at some point during what could well be a deep playoff run.

What it all amounts to is that there is lots of meat on this bone, more than enough to keep us tuned in to this messy story.

Friesen’s column is right here and it is well worth your time.


On the COVID-19 front, we have this tweet from Cole Beasley, an anti-vaxxer Covidwho sometimes plays for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills: “Y’all I was trying to take my family to the beaches resort in Turks & Caicos but apparently it’s required to be vaccinated. Y’all still out here doing this? I thought we were done . . . lol.”

To which Chris Smith (@chrissmithnymag) responded: “3,500 Americans still out here dying each week, y’all.”

This is a good time to remind you that, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, the U.S. death toll as of Wednesday evening was at 1,114,990. The number of deaths for the past week: 2,716. . . . Johns Hopkins U shows Canada with 50,998 deaths in all, with 199 of those in the past week.

And we are entering into our fourth year of this pandemic. Isn’t that just lovely?


Job


F Zachary L’Heureux of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads qmjhlnewhas been suspended for 10 games. The decision was announced on Wednesday, after he was suspended indefinitely on Friday. . . . His crime? He got into an altercation with a fan as he was exiting the ice surface following a Feb. 8 game against the host Gatineau Olympiques. . . . Interestingly, the league at first said there wouldn’t be any action taken because of a lack of evidence. However, a video of the incident surfaced on social media and the suspension came afterwards. . . . This isn’t L’Heureux’s first run-in with the QMJHL law. In fact, this is his ninth suspension, and when this one runs its course he will have sat out 37 games in total. . . . L’Heureux, 19, has 37 points in 24 games this season. He was a first-round selection by the Nashville Predators in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Willy Palov has more right here.



The Travellin’ Bedards have done it again. Yes, they have sold out another road PrinceAlbertgame. The Prince Albert Raiders announced on Wednesday morning that the Pats’ visit to the Art Hauser Centre on Friday is “SOLD OUT.” . . . The Pats last appeared in Prince Albert on Dec. 30 when they beat the Raiders, 4-3 in OT. Bedard wasn’t with the Pats for that one; he was busy helping Canada win gold at the World Junior Championship. The announced attendance that night was 2,548. . . . Prince Albert’s largest crowd this season came on opening night when 2,798 fans watched the Saskatoon Blades beat the Raiders, 5-2. Second on the list is from Dec. 9 when the Pats, again without Bedard who had left for Canada’s selection camp, beat the Raiders, 3-2, in front of 2,781 fans.


Dogs


WEDNESDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

A five-goal second period carried the host Winnipeg Ice to a 5-3 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Trailing 1-0, the Ice took over on goals from F Owen Peterson (26), F Matt Savoie (23), D Ben Zloty (9), F Evan Friesen (9) and F Josh Medernach (3) in a span of 7:55. . . . F Connor Hvidston (16) scored twice — one on a PP and one SH — and added an assist for the Broncos. . . . G Daniel Hauser earned the victory with 28 saves. This season, he is 26-3-1, 2.44, .911. Hauser, who turned 19 on Jan. 29, is 67-6-3, 2.28, .911 in 79 career appearances. . . . Winnipeg (41-7-1) has won four in a row. It leads the overall standings by three points over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Ice, which has clinched a playoff spot, leads the Eastern Conference by seven points over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . Swift Current (25-23-3) is tied with the Regina Pats and Calgary Hitmen for sixth, just one point ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

F Andrew Cristall, who hadn’t played since Jan. 7, struck for four goals to lead the host Kelowna Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . This was Cristall’s first WHL hat trick after 15 two-goal games. . . . Cristall missed 14 games but still returned as the team’s leader in goals and points. He now has 66 points, 30 of them goals, in 37 games. . . . Cristall scored Kelowna’s last four goals, the third one coming at 18:56 of the second period for a 4-0 lead. He got the fourth one into an empty net. . . . F Gabriel Szturc had a goal (18) and three assists for Kelowna. . . . F Jackson Berezowski (37) scored both of Everett’s goals. . . . Kelowna got 41 saves from G Jari Kykkanen, who is 9-9-2, 3.55, .899 this season. . . . The Rockets (18-30-3) had lost their previous four games. They are eighth in the Western Conference, three points ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . . Everett (27-23-2) had points in each of its past five games (4-0-1). It is tied with the Tri-City Americans for fourth in the conference. . . .

G Bryan Thomson turned aside 36 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen in Lethbridge. . . . Thomson, 20, has put up back-to-back shutouts; he beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 3-0, on Friday. He has two shutouts this season. This one was the fourth of his career and came in his 104th appearance over five seasons. . . . Injuries have limited Thomson to 11 games this season. He is 6-3-2, 1.81, .940. . . . The winners got PP goals from F Anton Astashevich (7) in the first period and F Logan Wormald (20) in the second. . . . F Cole Shepard (19) got the empty-netter. . . . Lethbridge (29-18-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). It is a comfortable fifth in the Eastern Conference. . . . Calgary (23-23-7) has lost 10 in a row (0-7-3). It is tied for seventh in the conference with the Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos, one point ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . .

In Spokane, the Chiefs snapped a 1-1 tie with four second-period goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks. . . . The Chiefs scored four times in 6:34 early in that second period, with F Berkly Catton (16), F Grady Lane (4) and F Ty Cheveldayoff (18) getting the goals. . . . Catton, the first overall selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft, also had an assist. He turned 17 on Jan. 14. In his freshman season, he’s got 16 goals and 21 assists in 46 games. . . . G Dawson Cowan stopped 25 shots to earn the victory. . . . Portland (36-12-4) has lost two straight. It remains second in the Western Conference, four points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds. . . . Spokane (10-35-6) had lost its previous nine games (0-6-3).


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

Steve Ewen of Postmedia reports that F Samuel Honzek may be back in the Vancouver Giants’ lineup on Saturday for the first time since he left the team in December to play for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. While there, he suffered a skate cut to one leg and has yet to return to action. . . . He could play Saturday against the visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Ewen’s story is right here.


TooLate


THINKING OUT LOUD: I have never been able to understand what it is that causes some players on a team to subject usually younger teammates to hazing. As Buck Showalter, the manager of the New York Mets, put it: “The guy’s got your uni on and he’s trying to help you. Why don’t you make his path a little easier?” . . . Just spitballin’ here, but do you think new head coach Rick Tocchet realizes that “what you see is what you get” with these Vancouver Canucks? . . . What a night for long-time favourite Connor Ingram, who blocked 47 shots to record his first NHL shutout as his Arizona Coyotes snuck past the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, 1-0. . . . Michael Amato (@amato_mike) points out that Ingram has faced 47, 44, 45, 42, 39 and 40 shots in his past six starts. “And he has a .934 save percentage over that stretch. Incredible run.” . . . When I’m watching a hockey game, I really don’t need the play-by-play voice to keep telling me what a great game it is. Do you?.


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Costco

Fans keep buying tickets to see Bedard . . . Dyck, Thomson post shutouts . . . Cougars complete three-game sweep of Rockets

The Travellin’ Bedards have two games left against the Blades in Saskatoon — ReginaMarch 19 and 24. On Thursday, the Blades posted on social media: “We’ve surpassed 10,000 tickets sold for our game against the Regina Pats on March 19 and more than 9,000 tickets sold for our final game of the regular season on March 24.” . . . Those are the Blades’ last two home games of the regular season. . . . The Pats and Blades played in front of 7,868 fans on Nov. 13, with Saskatoon winning, 5-2. That is the Blades’ largest home crowd of this season. . . . Meanwhile, Regina will entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors tonight and the Pats announced on Friday afternoon that the game is “officially SOLD OUT!” . . . The ticket-buying public, of course, is wanting to see Regina F Connor Bedard, who leads the WHL in goals (45) and points (91).


Spice


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The OHL’s Kitchener Rangers fired head coach Chris Dennis on Friday, with general manager Mike McKenzie choosing to go behind the bench and help out assistant coaches Brennan Menard, Brandon Merli and Dennis Wideman. . . . The Rangers were 21-24-2 and in possession of the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot at the time of the move. . . . Dennis had been in his first season with the Rangers. . . .

It would appear that former WHL/NHL D Clayton Stoner has embarked on a new hockey journey, this one in the BCHL. On Thursday, he tweeted that he is “excited to be involved on the coaching and ownership side with the Cowichan Capitals.” . . . Stoner, 37, played three seasons (2002-05) with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans. He went on to a pro career that included 360 regular-season NHL games, split between the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks. He last played in 2016-17. . . . Mike Vandekamp is the general manager and head coach of the Capitals. They are 10-28-3 this season, and in last place in the nine-team Coastal Division. . . .

The schedule for the 2023 Centennial Cup has been released. The 10-team tournament featuring the host Portage Terriers and the champions from nine junior A leagues is to run in Portage la Prairie, Man., from May 11 through May 21. There will teams there from the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Ligue de hockey junior AAA du Québec, Ontario Junior Hockey League, Superior International Junior Hockey League, Central Canada Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Maritime Hockey League, Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. . . . The British Columbia Hockey League doesn’t compete for the Centennial Cup. That’s because it pulled out of the governing Canadian Junior Hockey League. . . .

The BCHL’s Penticton Vees have signed Fred Harbison, their president, general manager and head coach, to a five-year extension that runs through the 2028-29 season. He had one season left on his previous contract. . . . Harbison is in his 16th season as the Vees’ head coach. This season, Penticton is 36-3-1 and atop the overall standings. . . . From a Vees news release: “Harbinson has the most wins in Vees’ franchise history and sits third all-time in the BCHL, with 640. Overall, Penticton has posted a record of 640-174-15-39-7 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) under Harbinson. It only took him 829 games to reach 600 career wins and he owns an impressive .766 career win percentage in the BCHL. Harbinson has won an additional 144 career playoff games, which ranks him first in BCHL history.” . . . The Vees announced a crowd of 4,775 on Friday night, as they beat the Coquitlam Express, 5-2. . . .

The junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have signed head coach Briar McNaney for the 2023-24 season. McNaney joined the Leafs in January after the KIJHL suspended head coach Adam DiBella for the remainder of the season for his part in inciting a line brawl on Dec. 31. DiBella resigned his position after he was suspended.


Flat


FRIDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Caleb Hadland’s first WHL goal stood up as the winner as the host Brandon Wheat Kings dumped the Edmonton Oil Kings, 4-1. . . . Hadland, a 16-year-old from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was the 22nd selection in the WHL’s 2021 draft. Playing in his 19th game, he picked up his first WHL assist on the game’s opening goal, then got his first goal at 14:59 of the second period, giving Brandon a 2-0 lead. . . . F Matthew Henry, an 18-year-old from Prince Albert, also scored his first WHL goal for the Wheat Kings. He made it 4-0 with 11 seconds left in the third period. It came in his 46th game. . . . Brandon (20-22-7) is 10th in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the eighth-place Regina Pats. . . . The Oil Kings (8-40-3) have lost three in a row. . . .

G Reid Dyck stopped 19 shots in posting his first WHL shutout as the Swift Current Broncos beat the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, 4-0. . . . Dyck, who turned 19 on Jan. 20, is from Winkler, Man. He has made 56 appearances over three seasons with the Broncos. This season, he is 10-14-1, 3.86, .880. . . . Swift Current had a 35-19 edge in shots. . . . The Broncos were 1-for-7 on the PP; the Raiders were 0-for-1. . . . F Connor Hvidston scored his 13th goal and added three assists. He has 43 points in 39 games; last season, as a freshman, he put up 13 goals and 19 assists in 58 games. This was his first four-point night; he had three times reached three points in a game, all of them this season. . . . The Broncos (24-21-3) have won two in a row. They are tied with the Calgary Hitmen for sixth in the Eastern Conference. . . . The Raiders (19-28-3) have lost three in a row and are 10 points out of a playoff spot. . . . The rematch goes tonight in Prince Albert. . . .

G Bryan Thomson turned aside 29 shots to lead the Hurricanes to a 3-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers in Lethbridge. . . . F Cole Shepard’s 18th goal of the season, shorthanded at 3:28 of the second period, stood up as the winner. He also had an assist. . . . Thomas recorded his first shutout of this season — it was his 10th appearance — and the third of his career. He has made 103 appearances over five seasons, all with Lethbridge. . . . Lethbridge (28-18-5) had lost its previous two games. It is fifth in the Eastern Conference. . . . Medicine Hat (21-22-8) had been on a 6-0-2 run. It is ninth in the conference, one point behind the eighth-place Regina Pats. . . . The Hurricanes and Tigers will play again tonight, this time in Medicine Hat. . . .

In Kamloops, the Blazers snapped a 2-2 third-period tie with three goals as they dumped the Saskatoon Blades, 5-2. . . . The Blades, playing their first game on a B.C. Division tour, took a 2-1 lead into the second period. . . . D Logan Bairos (6) got Kamloops even at 15:20 of the second period, and F Daylan Kuefler (26) snapped the tie at 12:56 of the third. . . . F Matthew Seminoff scored his 20th goal into an empty net, giving the Blazers six 20-goal men. . . . Kamloops F Logan Stankoven had two assists to run his point streak to 33 games. . . . Kamloops scored the game’s first goal and now is 26-1-4 when that happens. . . . F Jayden Wiens returned to the Blades’ lineup after missing 23 games with an undisclosed injury. . . . Kamloops (32-10-6), which will win the B.C. Division, has won four straight. . . . Saskatoon (33-13-4) had won its previous three games. The Blades are third in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . .

F Cole Dubinsky enjoyed his first WHL three-goal game in leading the Prince George Cougars to a 9-2 victory over the Rockets in Kelowna. . . . This was the third straight game between these teams. The Cougars swept the series, having won 5-1 and 7-2 at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. . . . Dubinsky, 20, was playing in his second game since Jan. 14. He came back from an undisclosed injury to play on Feb. 8, but then didn’t play again until Friday night. . . . Dubinsky, who has 14 goals, also had an assist. . . . D Viliam Kmec had four assists for the Cougars, who got two goals and an assist from F Chase Wheatcroft (34) and a goal and two assists from F Caden Brown (14). . . . Wheatcroft ran his point streak to 12 games. . . . The Cougars outshot the Rockets, 45-23. . . . Prince George (24-21-4) has won five straight and is two points behind the fifth-place Everett Silvertips in the Western Conference. . . . The Rockets (17-29-3) are eighth, three points ahead of the Victoria Royals. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds exploded for five goals in the last seven minutes of the third period to beat the Red Deer Rebels, 6-1, in Kent, Wash. . . . F Jared Davidson (29) scored Seattle’s first two goals, providing a 1-0 lead at 6:11 of the third period and a 2-1 lead at 13:22. . . . F Nico Myatovic (20) also scored twice. . . . F Dylan Guenther scored once and added an assist in his first game with Seattle after having been assigned by the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. . . . F Kai Uchacz scored his 40th goal of the season for Red Deer. This was Uchacz’s first game against the team with which he began his WHL career. He and F Brendan Williamson were dropped from Seattle’s roster in March 2020 after both were found to have directed racial slurs at F Mekai Sanders. Uchacz, a first-round pick by Seattle in the WHL’s 2018 draft, had to sit out the 2020-21 season, while, among other things, completing a diversity coaching program. He later was traded to Red Deer for a second-round selection in the 2021 draft. . . . Last season, he had 14 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Red Deer; this season, he has 40 goals, which is second in the league, and 28 assists in 50 games. . . . Williamson, now 20, is playing a second season with the junior B Chilliwack Jets. . . . Seattle (37-9-2) remains tied with the Portland Winterhawks atop the Western Conference. . . . Red Deer (35-12-4) is 2-2-0 in the U.S.Division. The Rebels lead the Central Division by 13 points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . .

F Jackson Berezowski’s 34th goal of the season gave the Everett Silvertips a 2-0 lead and they went on to a 2-1 victory over the Chiefs in Spokane. . . .  F Ben Hemmerling (18), who also had an assist, scored for Everett at 2:59 of the first period, with Berezowski adding to the lead at 4:10 of the second. . . . F Cade Hayes (12) got Spokane’s goal at 12:01 of the third. . . . G Tyler Palmer earned the victory with 34 saves. . . . Everett (26-22-2) has points in four straight (3-0-1). It is tied with the Prince George Cougars for fifth in the Western Conference, three points behind the Tri-City Americans. . . . Spokane (9-35-5) has lost eight in a row (0-6-2). . . . The Silvertips and Chiefs will do it all over again tonight, this time in Everett. . . .

F Marcus Nguyen scored twice and added two assists to help the Portland Winterhawks to a 6-3 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Nguyen, with 17 goals, opened the scoring at 7:55 of the first period, then gave his guys a 4-2 lead, while shorthanded, at 14:03 of the second. That goal stood up as the winner. This was his first career four-point outing. . . . F Ethan Ernst had a goal (29) and two assists for Tri-City. . . . Tri-City was 3-for-7 on the PP; Portland was 2-for-7. . . . Portland had a 48-36 edge in shots. . . . The Winterhawks (36-10-4) have points in three straight (2-0-1). They are tied with the Seattle Thunderbirds atop the Western Conference. . . . The Americans (25-19-5) have lost three in a row. They are fourth in the conference, one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. . . .

F Ethan Semeniuk’s OT goal gave the visiting Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the Victoria Royals. . . . F Teague Patton (12) had given the Royals a 1-0 lead at 15:01 of the first period. . . . F Sammy May’s first WHL goal, at 2:55 of the third, pulled the Giants into a tie. May, 19, has one goal and seven assists in 50 games this season. . . . Semeniuk won it at 3:16 of OT. . . . The Giants got 37 stops from G Jesper Vikman. . . . The Royals remain without D Gannon Laroque, F Jake Poole, who is their leading scorer, F Matthew Hodson and D Austin Zemlak. . . . Vancouver F Samuel Honzek has yet to return after suffering a badly cut leg while playing for Slovakia at the World Junior Championship. . . . Vancouver (20-24-6) is seventh in the Western Conference, six points behind the Prince George Cougars. . . . Victoria (14-32-6) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). It is ninth in the conference, three points behind the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Royals and Giants will meet again tonight, this time in Langley, B.C.


Little


THURSDAY’S WHL HIGHLIGHTS:

F Connor McClennon scored three times to help the Winnipeg Ice to a 7-6 victory over the visiting Calgary Hitmen. . . . The Ice, which had beaten the Hitmen, 8-2, on Wednedsay, overcame 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 deficits en route to victory. . . . Winnipeg (39-7-1) scored four times in 3:53 early in the third period to take a 7-5 lead. . . . McClennon’s second goal, at 2:11 of the third, got the Ice to within a goal, at 5-4, and F Zack Ostapchuk (17) tied it at 3:19. . . . McClennon’s third goal of the night, his 34th of the season, gave the Ice a 6-5 at 5:57 and F Owen Peterson (23) upped it to 7-5 at 6:04. . . . McClennon now has 126 career regular-season goals, second to F Nigel Dawes (159) in franchise history. Dawes played 245 games over four seasons (2001-05) with the Kootenay Ice; McClennon, 20, has played 222 games. . . . The Hitmen got two goals and an assist from F Oliver Tulk, who turned 18 on Jan. 19. From Gibsons, B.C., Tulk has 21 goals and 24 assists in 51 games; last season, as a freshman, he finished with nine goals and 10 assists in 63 games. . . . Calgary (23-21-7) has lost eight straight (0-5-3).




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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Hunters

Hurricanes make room for Thomson’s return in goal . . . Americans add depth in Picklyk . . . Savoie’s six-pack leads Ice past Pats


The Lethbridge Hurricanes were involved in two trades on Thursday, both of them the result of adding G Bryan Thomson, 20, to their roster from the injured Lethbridgelist. With WHL teams limited to three 20-year-olds, bringing back Thomson meant another move was in order.

So . . . the Hurricanes dealt F Alex Thacker, 20, to the Victoria Royals for a fourth-round selection in the 2026 WHL draft. . . . Thacker, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., was one of Lethbridge’s alternate captains. . . . He was taken by the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL’s 2017 draft and later was traded to Lethbridge in a deal that included D Wyatt Wilson, who now is with the Royals. . . . In 164 regular-season games with VictoriaRoyalsLethbridge, Thacker had 22 goals and 91 assists. Last season, he put up 14 goals and 50 assists in 68 games. This season, in 16 games, he has a goal and six assists. . . . Thacker’s departure leaves the Hurricanes with three 20-year-olds — Thomson, F Jett Jones and F Cole Shepard. . . .

The Royals now have four 20s on their roster — Thacker, F Caleb Willms, F Riley Gannon and F Jake Poole — so there will be another move coming here before long. . . .

Lethbridge also traded G Jared Picklyk, 19, to the Tri-City Americans for a Tri-Citysixth-round pick in the 2024 draft. The Hurricanes had selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 WHL draft. From Kelowna, he was 14-14-2, 3.25, .879 in 38 regular-season games with Lethbridge. This season, he is 4-5-0, 3.50, .877. . . .

The Hurricanes are left with two goaltenders on their roster — Thomson and freshman Harrison Meneghin, 18. Thomson has made 93 regular-season appearances over four seasons with the Hurricanes. He underwent off-season surgery to repair an undisclosed injury and has yet to play this season. . . .

The Americans acquired Picklyk to provide goaltending depth because starter Tomas Suchanek is soon to join the Czechia team that will compete at the 2023 World Junior Championship.

“As a result,” Americans general manager Bob Tory said in a news release, “we needed to add another goaltender. For the short term, we will carry three goaltenders. Jared is an experienced WHL goaltender who will provide depth to our team.”

The Americans’ other goaltender is sophomore Nick Avakyan, 18, a native of Glendale, Calif., who is 0-4-0, 5.74, .825 this season.

——

Yes, the Seattle Thunderbirds made another trade on Thursday, their second in Seattletwo days and third since Oct. 25. . . . In the latest deal, Seattle acquired F Ty Hurley, 18, and a seventh-round selection in the 2025 WHL draft from the Swift Current Broncos for fifth-round picks in 2023 and 2025. . . .

Pay attention here because this gets complicated. . . . On Dec. 27, the Broncos acquired D Eric Van Impe and a seventh-rounder in 2025 from Seattle for D Chase Lacombe and a 2025 fifth-rounder. . . . Those two draft picks are the same ones involved in Thursday’s exchange. So . . . the seventh goes back to Seattle SwiftCurrentand the fifth is returned to Swift Current. . . . Got that? . . .

From Sherwood Park, Alta., Hurley is in his second WHL season after the Broncos took him in the fourth round of the 2019 WHL draft. He has one assist in 16 games this season, after recording a goal and two assists in 31 games last season. . . .

The Broncos also released D Rayan Bettahar on Thursday. From Rodgau, Germany, he was in his second season with them after being selected in the CHL’s 2021 import draft. In 77 games, Bettahar, 18, had one goal and 15 assists. This season, he had one assist in 14 games. . . .

That move leaves the Broncos without any import players on their roster.


Yes, this once was a junior hockey palace. Stop and think for a moment about the 1986-87 and 1987-88 WHL seasons when Joe Sakic was with the Swift Current Broncos, Mike Modano sparked the Prince Albert Raiders and Theo Fleury led the Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . Oh boy, were there some shows put on in the Crushed Can! . . . And we won’t even get into the stuff that went on between the Warriors and the Regina Pats and the fans. . . . Yes, those were the days!


THURSDAY IN THE WHL:

F Matt Savoie picked up six points in leading the Winnipeg Ice to a 9-5 victory over the visiting Regina Pats. . . . The Ice (19-1-0) has won 14 in a row. . . . Regina (9-10-2) has lost two in a row. . . . They’ll play in Winnipeg again on Saturday. . . . Savoie (9) enjoyed his first career three-goal game and also had three assists. . . . This game actually was tied, 4-4, going into the third period. . . . Savoie broke the tie at 2:58 and the Ice put it away with three more goals in 1:28. . . . The Ice got two goals and two assists from F Owen Pederson (12), a goal and three assists from F Connor McClennon (15), and F Zach Benson (11) added a goal and two assists. . . . F Connor Bedard had a goal and two assists for the Pats, the goal coming 10 seconds into the game. He leads the WHL in goals (19), assists (27) and points (26). He also is riding a 20-game point streak. He was blanked in the season-opener and has at least one point in every game since then. . . . Winnipeg G Mason Beaupit stopped 21 shots in his first appearance since being acquired from the Spokane Chiefs on Nov. 10.


The No. 3 U of Michigan Wolverines men’s hockey team has been hit hard by some kind of virus that left it so short-staffed that its third-string goaltender, Tyler Shea, was used as a forward in a 5-2 home-ice loss to the No. 2 Minnesota Gophers on Thursday night. . . . The Wolverines were without six players, all of whom are ill. . . . Among the players to have been stricken is junior D Steven Holtz, who was admitted a hospital’s intensive care unit earlier this week. His mother, Sylvia Jacobs-Holtz, posted on Facebook that her son was on a ventilator after being admitted with “a virus and complications.”


JUNIOR JOTTINGS:

The junior B Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have fired Arnie Caplan, their head coach and general manager. He was in his second season with the Rebels, having been hired on Sept. 17, 2021. . . . Assistant coach Nick Headrick has taken over as the head coach. . . . The Rebels are 5-12-1 this season, after finishing 16-24-2 last season.


Lottery


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Trash

Wiesblatt’s season over . . . Warriors snap Ice’s hot streak . . . Dureau fills hat for Winterhawks


The Prince Albert Raiders have had to shut down F Ozzy Wiesblatt for the remainder of this season due to an undisclosed injury. The Raiders revealed on Saturday that the decision was reached during “consultation” between their medical staff and doctors with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. . . . Wiesblatt was selected by the Sharks in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft. He finishes this season with 41 points, including 10 goals, in 43 games. . . . According to the Raiders, “Wiesblatt will head to San Jose for further evaluation to determine the appropriate next steps in his recovery.”


Philip Varney, the Seattle Thunderbirds’ athletic trainer, returned to the WHL team on Friday after being sidelined thanks to a positive COVID-19 test. “Was great being back in the rink for game day,” Varney tweeted. “Covid finally got me. Wasn’t pleasant but wasn’t awful. Very grateful for vaccines, N95s, at home rapid testing and HEPA air purifiers.” . . . At one point in mid-January, Varney had been involved with more than 20 members of the Thunderbirds’ organization, including players and staff, who had tested positive.


Bananas

A tip of the fedora to the Saskatoon Blades, who were back to ‘normal’ on Saturday after a stint as the Saskatoon Bananas. If you missed it, the Blades did up an April Fool’s Day gimmick the way it’s supposed to be done. The franchise rebranded in the morning as the Bananas and went the distance with the promotion, with signage, new uniforms with the new logo, and a whole lot more. Well done! . . . Darren Steinke, the travelling’ blogger, was in attendance and has more on the Bananas right here.


Discus


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

Eastern Conference:

The Red Deer Rebels erased a 3-2 third-period deficit and beat the visiting RedDeerEdmonton Oil Kings, 4-3. . . . F Justin Sourdif (22) scored shorthanded at 16:26 of the second period to give Edmonton that 3-2 lead. . . . F Kai Uchacz (13) pulled Red Deer event with a shorthanded score at 2:58 of the third and F Arshdeep Bains (37) got the winner at 12:24. . . . Edmonton was 1-for-7 on the PP; Red Deer was 0-for-5. . . . Red Deer got 32 saves from G Chase Coward as he won his 20th game. . . . The Rebels have two 20-game winners for the first time in franchise history. Coward is 20-9-2, 2.41, .909; Connor Ungar is 20-8-1, 2.28, .912. . . . The Rebels (42-17-4) are headed for a third-place finish. . . . The Oil Kings (46-14-3) have five games remaining and are eight points behind the conference-leading Winnipeg Ice. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored the game’s last two goals and hung on for a 2-Brandon1 victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . F Josh Pillar (13) gave the Blades the lead at 4:25 of the first period, only to have F Landon Roberts tie it at 10:29. . . . Brandon got the eventual winner from F Nate Danielson (21), on a PP, at 2:46 of the second period. . . . The Blades were 0-for-4 on the PP with all four opportunities coming in the game’s final 3:51. . . . The Wheat Kings (32-25-5) are sixth. With six games remaining, they are five points behind the Blades (35-25-4), who have four left to play. Saskatoon is three points behind Moose Jaw. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors scored twice in the last 30 seconds of the third period MooseJawto beat the visiting Winnipeg Ice, 3-1. . . . D Cole Jordan (2) gave Moose Jaw a lead at 14:30 of the first period. . . . Winnipeg D Tanner Brown (6) tied it at 13:43 of the second. . . . D Denton Mateychuk (11) snapped the tie at 19:38 of the third, with F Cordel Larson (10) adding insurance at 19:53. . . . G Jackson Unger stopped 37 shots to earn the victory. . . . The Warriors (36-23-5) are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon. . . . The Ice (49-10-5), which had won 13 straight, is headed for a first-place finish in the conference. . . .

F Justin Hall had a goal and two assists to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a Lethbridge6-1 victory over the Tigers in Medicine Hat. . . . Hall has 34 goals this season. . . . Lethbridge was 3-for-3 on the PP. . . . The Hurricanes swept the season series, going 8-0-0. . . . G Bryan Thomson stopped 28 shots for Lethbridge, losing his shutout bid at 19:58 of the third period when F Ashton Ferster scored his ninth goal of the season. . . . The Tigers honoured Bob Ridley, their long-time play-by-play man, in a pre-game ceremony that included the raising of a banner with his name on it being raised into the rafters. His name joins former players Lanny McDonald and Tom Lysiak up there. Health issues have kept Ridley out of the broadcast booth this season. He is expected to return to the booth for the  Tigers’ final home game, on April 15. . . . Lethbridge (29-30-4) is seventh, seven points behind Brandon and three ahead of Swift Current. . . . The Tigers (11-48-4) have lost seven in a row. . . .

PrinceAlbertD Nolan Allan scored once and added three assists to lead the host Prince Albert Raiders to a 6-1 victory over the Regina Pats. . . . Allan has seven goals this season. . . . The Raiders also got a goal and two assists from each of F Reece Vitelli (25) and F Evan Herman (23). . . . F Connor Bedard scored his first WHL shorthanded goal. It also was his 45th score of the season, tying the franchise record for most goals by a 16-year-old. He shares the mark with F Jeff Friesen (1992-93). . . . The announced attendance was 3,040, the Raiders’ largest crowd this season. That topped the 2,962 figure for a visit by the Pats on Feb. 18. . . . Prince Albert (26-33-5) is two points out of a playoff spot. The Raiders have four games remaining, one more than eight-place Swift Current (26-32-7). . . . Regina (24-33-5) is six points from a playoff spot with six games remaining.

——

Western Conference:

F Jackson Berezowski broke a 1-1 tie at 17:30 of the second period and the EverettEverett Silvertips went on to a 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Berezowski’s 45th goal came via the PP. . . . The Silvertips got 25 saves from G Braden Holt. . . . Everett (44-10-9) leads the conference by five points over Kamloops. . . . Tri-City (18-41-5) has four games remaining and is six points out of a playoff spot. . . .

The host Portland Winterhawks blew a 4-0 lead and then came back to defeat Portlandthe Seattle Thunderbirds, 5-4. . . . F Jaydon Dureau, who has 21 goals, scored once in each period for the winners. His third goal, on a PP, broke a 4-4 tie at 12:51 of the third period. . . . Dureau’s last goal came just 1:19 after F Henrik Rybinski (20) had pulled Seattle even on a PP. . . . Portland was handed 15 of the game’s 27 minor penalties. . . . Seattle was 2-for-7 on the PP; Portland was 1-for-4. . . . Portland (43-16-5) is third, one point behind Kamloops and six behind Everett. . . . Seattle (40-18-6) now is five behind Portland. . . .

G Jari Kykkanen recorded his first WHL shutout as the host Kelowna Rockets Kelownabeat the Victoria Royals, 5-0. . . . Kykkanen stopped 15 shots. . . . The Rockets held a 38-15 edge in shots. . . . A 17-year-old freshman from  Lloydminster, Alta., Kykkanen is 6-2-0, 3.12, .889 this season. . . . F Colton Dach’s 25th goal, on a PP, at 4:08 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Kelowna (37-19-6) is fifth, six points behind Seattle with six games left to play and two in hand on the Thunderbirds. . . . Victoria (22-36-6) is tied for sixth with Vancouver. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Spokane Chiefs scored the game’s last five goals and beat Spokanethe Vancouver Giants, 5-2. . . . F Jaden Lipinski, who has eight goals, scored twice in the first period to put Vancouver out front. . . . F Chase Bertholet (22) and F Ty Cheveldayoff (9), with the first of two, got the Chiefs even in the second period. . . . F Nick McCarry (19) broke the 2-2 tie at 4:03 of the third period. . . .  Spokane (21-37-5) now is tied with Prince George for eighth, which is the conference’s last playoff spot. . . . Vancouver (23-34-4) is tied for sixth with Victoria, three points ahead of Prince George and Spokane.


Bartender


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Beer

Scattershooting on a Sunday night while contemplating Canada as a soccer nation . . .

scattershooting

Move over, Gary Bettman! Canada is soccer country!!

Yes, it was a day I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

It was only on Aug. 6 when the Canadian women’s soccer team, led by the great CanadaSoccerChristine Sinclair, won gold at the Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. The women had won bronze at London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016, so they had given us at least a taste of success. But the gold in August tasted even better.

And then came Sunday and the Canadian men’s team made it a day to remember with a 4-0 victory over Jamaica at BMO Field in Toronto. All that means is that, yes, we are going to Qatar and World Cup 2022.

And, hey, wasn’t that a party on Sunday afternoon!

The men’s team, which last appeared in a World Cup in 1986, now has eight victories and four draws in 13 games, and is atop the CONCACAF qualifier standings three points clear of the U.S. and Mexico. As well, Canada has scored more goals (23) and allowed fewer (6) than any of the other seven teams.

There were said to be 29,122 fans in attendance on Sunday, but this was one of those events that over time it will be said that there were more than 100,000 people on the grounds. In fact, a whole country was there.

If you’re Canadian and didn’t get a lump in your throat seeing all of those Canadian flags waving in the stands, well, get thee to a mirror and try breathing on it. (Not to get political here, but I would suggest that Sunday’s show helped restore our flag’s glory that had been absconded by the freedumb gang.)

Anyway . . . I, for one, will be a long time forgetting what I witnessed on the telly on Sunday afternoon. The flags, the post-game reaction, the joy . . .

Now . . . what’s next?

Well, Canada plays its final qualifying game on Wednesday against host Panama.

And then comes Friday and the World Cup draw. TSN will start four hours of coverage at 8 a.m. PT.

As for the World Cup in Qatar, it is scheduled for Nov. 21 through Dec. 18.

Merry Christmas!



A tip of the hat to old friend Todd McLellan, a former WHL player and coach, who will be in his usual place tonight as his Los Angeles Kings play host to the Seattle Kraken in an NHL game. This will be McLellan’s 1,000th game as an NHL head coach. . . . He played four seasons (1983-87) with the Saskatoon Blades and turned to coaching when injuries derailed his playing career. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the job he did with the Swift Current Broncos through the early days of the Graham James debacle. McLellan was the head coach and assistant GM for two seasons (1994-96) and the GM/head coach from 1996-2000. . . . He has been an NHL head coach since 2008, working with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and the Kings.


As Jack Finarelli, aka The Sports Curmudgeon, prepared for last weekend’s March Madness he chose “to make two observations about the announcing on the games so far this year:

“Just when did the basketball become ‘the rock’ and/or ‘the orange’ and what might it take for the announcers to resume calling it ‘the ball?’

“Similarly, why has ‘an assist’ been renamed as ‘a dime?’ Why so cheap?  An assist guarantees at least two points; that ought to be worth at least ‘a buck and a quarter.’ ”


Crocs


Here’s how politics work in New York City. . . . You will be aware that Kyrie Irving of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets is unvaccinated and wasn’t able to play home games because of a local law that allowed only fully vaccinated people in city facilities. On March 13, Eric Adams, New York City’s mayor, was heckled on that very subject. His response: “Listen, you’re right. Kyrie can play tomorrow. Get vaccinated.” . . . Well, on March 23, Adams killed that particular law, allowing Irving as well as unvaccinated members of the New York Mets and Yankees to play in the city. . . . From The New York Times: “Steven A. Cohen, the hedge fund manager and Mets owner who last year gave $1.5 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Adams’s mayoral campaign, has been paying $10,000 a month to a lobbying firm, Moonshot Strategies, to push state officials and City Hall on several issues, including Covid protocols. . . . Corey Johnson, the former speaker of the City Council who now runs his own lobbying firm, is receiving $18,000 a month from the Nets’s holding company, and lobbying records suggest that he recently contacted the mayor, his chief counsel and his chief of staff.” . . . All of which may have had something to do with the lifting of the mandate. Or maybe not. Wink! Wink! . . . The Times also reported that the decision was made with coronavirus cases having risen “31 percent over the past two weeks in New York City . . . though hospitalizations are down.”

——

Here’s Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The arrogant fool, Kyrie Irving, was in the audience Thursday when New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced an exemption for professional athletes and performers from its private-sector vaccine mandate, meaning that Irving (barring an alarming pandemic surge) will be able to play home games for the Brooklyn Nets, starting Sunday night at Barclays Center. Good for Adams, looking down at Irving and telling him directly, ‘You should get the vaccine.’ It’s also the right move, considering that unvaccinated visiting players (as is the case at Chase Center), have been allowed to play in New York for months. But it’s sad that this represents a victory for the anti-vax crowd, so well represented by Irving’s smug expression. . . . Irving’s stance may yet backfire. If the Nets find themselves in a play-in game at Toronto (entirely possible), Canada’s strict vaccination policy will rule him out.”

——

Scott Ostler, in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“So Kyrie Irving abandons his team, putting the Nets’ title hopes in jeopardy, helps fuel the vaccine misinformation campaign that killed and sickened millions, and now is getting a free pass to join the fun? Superstardom has its perks!

“In granting special status to Irving and other athletes and entertainers, New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, may be heeding the scolding he got from Nets forward Kevin Durant, who recently said: ‘So hopefully, Eric, you’ve got to figure this out.’ Curious that Durant, with all his bold outspokenness, never said to his teammate, ‘So hopefully, Kyrie, you’ve got to figure this out.’ ”



For all those politicians and others who are convinced the pandemic is over, we have news from Banff, which is in Alberta. Team Logan, Canada’s entry in the women’s world deaf curling championship, had to withdraw from the gold medal game due to COVID. . . . The virus, it seems, missed the memo. . . . And now there’s news that Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson has tested positive and is in COVID-19 protocol. . . . Oh, and if you were looking for Lin-Manuel Miranda, he of Hamilton fame, at the Oscars, well, he wasn’t there. His wife has tested positive. . . . Wear a facemask. . . . Please!


Croc


WHL PLAYOFF PICTURE:

Each of the WHL’s 22 teams, with the exception of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Regina Pats, has played at least 60 games. The Wheaties and Pats are at 59. So it’s safe to say the stretch run is upon us. . . .

Only the Medicine Hat Tigers are into next season country, but the Pats, Calgary Hitmen and Tri-City Americans are on life support when it comes to playoff dreams.

In the Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips, Kamloops Blazers, Portland Winterhawks, Seattle Thunderbirds and Kelowna Rockets have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Silvertips lead the conference by four points over Kamloops, with each having seven games remaining. . . . Everett is headed for a first-place finish in the U.S. Division as it has a seven-point lead over Portland. . . . Kamloops will win the B.C. Division pennant. . . . Seattle is fourth, three points behind Portland, while Kelowna is headed for a fifth-place finish as it trails Seattle by eight points. . . . Further back, the Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals are tied for sixth, but the Giants hold three games in hand. . . . The Prince George Cougars are clinging to the last playoff spot, three points behind Vancouver and Victoria and four ahead of the Spokane Chiefs, who have seven games remaining. . . . The Americans are six points out of a playoff spot with six games to play. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Everett vs. Prince George, Kamloops vs. Victoria, Portland vs. Vancouver, Seattle vs. Kelowna.

In the Eastern Conference, the Winnipeg Ice, Edmonton Oil Kings, Red Deer Rebels, Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades have clinched playoff spots. . . . The Ice leads the conference, four points ahead of the Edmonton Oil Kings, and those two will finish atop the East and Central Divisions, respectively. . . . The Rebels are headed for a third-place finish in the conference. . . . The Warriors are fourth, three points ahead of Saskatoon with each team having seven games remaining. . . . Brandon is sixth, seven points behind Saskatoon and seven ahead of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who are one point up on the eight-place Swift Current Broncos. . . . Prince Albert is four points behind Swift Current with the Raiders holding two games in hand. . . . Calgary is five points out of a playoff spot, while Regina trails Swift Current by six points. . . .

If the playoffs started today: Winnipeg vs. Swift Current, Edmonton vs. Lethbridge, Red Deer vs. Brandon, Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon.

The playoffs are scheduled to open on April 22.

——

SUNDAY IN THE WHL:

In Calgary, G Isaac Poulter turned aside 37 shots to lead the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-0 victory over the Hitmen in Calgary. . . . He’s got six career shutouts, five of them this season. . . . F Cole Nagy’s 12th goal at 13:57 of the first period stood up as the winner. . . . Announced attendance was 11,999. . . .

In Winnipeg, the Ice opened up a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 5-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . F Conor Geekie scored his 20th goal of the season for Winnipeg. The Ice now has seven players with at least 20 goals this season. The WHL record? The 1980-81 Portland Winterhawks and 1985-86 Medicine Hat Tigers each had 12. . . .

In Edmonton, the Lethbridge Hurricans struck for five second-period goals and went to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge G Bryan Thomson stopped 38 shots as his teammates were outshot, 39-18. . . . Announced attendance was 12,855. . . . The Oil Kings had won, 5-2, in Lethbridge on Friday. . . .

In Langley, B.C., the Prince George Cougars erased a 3-2 deficit with three third-period goals as they edged the Vancouver Giants, 5-4. . . . F Koehn Ziemmer (29) tied the score at 4:13 of the third period, F Ethan Samson (14) gave the visitors the lead at 9:20 and F Caden Brown (6) got the eventual winner at 13:49. . . . F Payton Mount scored three times for the Giants, giving him 12. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., F Jared Davidson and F Conner Roulette each scored twice as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Tri-City Americans, 4-1. . . . Roulette, who also had an assist, has 22 goals; Davidson has 33.


Plant


SATURDAY IN THE WHL:

The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last five goals and beat the visiting Portland Winterhawks, 7-3. . . . Everett G Koen MacInnes stopped all 37 shots he faced after coming on in relief of Braden Holt at 12:04 of the first period with Portland leading, 3-1. . . . F Jackson Berezowski scored two of Everett’s first four goals, including the winner. He now has 43 goals. . . . Portland had won the previous four meetings with Everett. . . .

In Kelowna, F Colton Dach scored three times — he’s got 24 — and added an assist as the Rockets got past the Kamloops Blazers, 5-3. . . . The Blazers played six straight games against the Rockets and had won the first five. . . . Kelowna went 8-4-2 in the season series; Kamloops was 6-7-1. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds surrendered the first two goals, then scored six in a row en route to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Kent, Wash. . . . F Lukas Svejkovsky, who began his WHL career with the Giants, scored three times, the second one on a penalty shot. Svejkovsky, who also had two assists, has 30 goals this season. . . .

In Kennewick, Wash., G Tomas Suchanek stopped 38 shots to record his first WHL shutout as the Tri-City Americans beat the Spokane Chiefs, 4-0. . . . F Samuel Huo, who has 28 goals, scored Tri-City’s first two goals, with F Sasha Mutala (18) getting the other two. . . . The announced attendance was 4,906, the Americans’ largest crowd of the season. . . .

G Tyler Brennan blocked 24 shots to lead the Prince George Cougars to a 3-0 victory over the host Victoria Royals. . . . Brennan has four shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . The Royals had won five straight. . . . The Cougars had lost nine of 10 and three in a row. . . .

The host Moose Jaw Warriors scored five third-period goals en route to a 7-0 victory over the Saskatoon Blades. . . . G Carl Tetachuk recorded the shutout with 31 saves. He’s got three shutouts this season, all with the Warriors who acquired him from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Tetachuk, 20, has eight shutouts in his career. . . . D Denton Mateychuk had a goal, his 10th, and three assists. He has 10 points in last two games. He now has 60 points in his 58 games. . . . The Warriors are fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of the Blades. The teams will meet again Friday, this time in Saskatoon. . . .

In Red Deer, the Rebels opened up a 4-0 lead early in the second period and went on to beat the Swift Current Broncos, 6-2. . . . F Jayden Grubbe led the Rebels with two goals, giving him 12. . . . F Arshdeep Bains of the Rebels, who leads the WHL points derby, picked up his 36th goal. He now has 97 points, two more than linemate Ben King. . . .

The Brandon Wheat Kings erased a 1-0 deficit with five straight goals as they beat the host Regina Pats, 5-2. . . . The Wheat Kings took control with three goals in 1:11 late in the first period. . . . Brandon got two goals from F Rylen Roersma, who has 17. . . . F Connor Bedard got No. 44 for the Pats, who were playing in front of a season-high announced crowd of 6,241. . . .

In Winnipeg, F Jack Finley’s three goals led the Ice to a 6-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . The Ice held a 37-16 edge in shots, including 14-1 in the second period. . . . Finley has 24 goals, with 16 of them coming in the 31 games he has played with Winnipeg since coming over from the Spokane Chiefs. . . .

G Brayden Peters kicked out 13 shots to record the shutout as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Tigers, 2-0, in Medicine Hat. . . . Peters has four career shutouts, three of them this season. . . . Calgary outshot Medicine Hat, 39-13, including 14-2 in the opening period. . . . D Keagan Slaney’s third goal, at 15:48 of the first period, stood up as the winner. . . .


Here’s Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, describing the biggest cheaters in the world of sports: “Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, every NASCAR crew chief and those of you who fill out more than one NCAA tournament bracket.”


Therapist


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Unicorn

WHL’s B.C. teams back to 100 per cent capacity . . . Blazers will welcome back Sopotyk . . . Tetachuk takes rare shutout loss

Shirley


B.C.’s provincial government announced on Tuesday that it was adjusting some pandemic-related restrictions, one of which will allow the province’s five WHL teams to open up their facilities to 100 per cent capacity. . . . The teams had been restricted to 50 per cent. . . . Starting with Thursday games, there won’t be any attendance restrictions. . . . However, the province’s NDP majority government left in place its mask mandate for indoor public places and its vaccine card requirements.

——

The Kamloops Blazers are scheduled to entertain the Everett Silvertips on KamloopsFriday night. The home team also will be entertaining Kyrell Sopotyk, a teammate who was paralyzed from the waist down after a snowboarding accident on Jan. 21, 2021, near North Battleford, Sask. . . . This will be Sopotyk’s first time back in the Blazers’ home arena since before he was injured. Now in a wheelchair, Sopotyk, a 20-year-old from Aberdeen, Sask., will take part in a ceremonial opening faceoff. . . . Everett (33-7-6) leads the Western Conference by five points over Kamloops (33-12-1). The Silvertips have points in 10 straight (8-0-2); Kamloops has won two in a row and nine of 10. The Blazers are at home tonight to the Victoria Royals (12-28-5), who have one point in their last 16 outings (0-15-1).

——

JUNIOR JOTTINGS: G Carl Tetachuk of the Moose Jaw Warriors earned a 33-save shutout but took the loss as the host Lethbridge Hurricanes put up a 1-0 shootout victory on Tuesday night. The Hurricanes got 30 saves from G Bryan Thomson, who has two career shutouts. F Yegor Klavdiev won it with the night’s only goal in the fourth round of the shootout. . . . F Ridly Greig’s 22nd goal of the season, 45 seconds into OT, gave the Brandon Wheat Kings a 3-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . One game after having an 11-game point streak snapped, D Clay Hanus had a goal, his 12th, and an assist to help the visiting Portland Winterhawks to a 4-2 victory over the Spokane Chiefs. Hanus has 47 points in 47 games this season. This was the fifth straight game between these teams; Portland won four of them. G Taylor Gauthier got the victory; he’s 11-0-0, 1.36, .953 since being acquired from the Prince George Cougars. . . . In Kent, Wash., F Henrik Rybinski had a goal and two assists to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. Rybinski has 51 points, including 18 goals, in 35 games.


Pizza


Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, with some notes while watching the Super Bowl . . .

Don’t mess with karma: In a city where there are enough homeless folks to fill SoFi, Odell Beckham Jr. takes the field wearing $200,000 diamond-studded cleats. . . .

Beckham blows out a knee on a non-contact play. All those beautiful TV aerial shots of Los Angeles, and do you know what that glorious sunshine is good for? Growing grass. Beckham is another victim of fake grass, aka: green concrete. If only Stan Kroenke and the NFL had enough money to afford real grass! . . .

Several NFL team owners say, “If that fake grass is good enough for my head, it’s good enough for our fields.”



Mario DiBella, the head coach of the junior B Nelson Leafs of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, says he’s done whenever this season ends. DiBella, 65, has guided the Leafs to a 29-10-1 record this season as the playoffs approach. . . . DiBella has been the head coach since December 2015. His son, Adam, is the team’s assistant general manager and assistant coach. . . . Tyler Harper of the Nelson Star has more right here.


THINKING OUT LOUD:

My wife, who isn’t anything close to a follower of the sporting world, offered this gem late Tuesday afternoon: “Is it just me or does Sportsnet show the Boston Bruins all the time?” . . . She’s right. So the channel was changed to TSN and women’s curling from Beijing. . . .

If you are surprised that there is a Russian athlete caught up in a doping scandal at the Olympic Winter Games, you haven’t been paying attention. . . .

Pitchers and catchers were to have reported to spring training this week. That didn’t happen and it’s looking more and more as though Opening Day is in danger of not happening on schedule as the billionaires and millionaires continue to do battle. . . .

Took a drive to Vernon and back on Tuesday afternoon. Just want to thank all those truckers we saw on the highway for doing their part in keeping the shelves stocked and the economy moving. And maybe someone can explain to me why a litre of regular gasoline is six cents cheaper in Vernon than in Kamloops.


Smoking


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

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca

——

Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney 

Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre

Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street

Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9

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

kidneydonornurse@vch.ca

——

Or, for more information, visit right here.


Stacked

Hughes leaves Hurricanes, cites ‘personal reasons’; Tetachuk starter in Lethbridge . . . Philly writers honour Propp


ThisThat

The Lethbridge Hurricanes, in a heated race for the Central Division pennant, lost their Lethbridgestarting goaltender on Monday when Liam Hughes left the WHL team.

In a statement released by the team, Hughes, a 19-year-old from Kelowna, said:

“”At this time I have decided to leave hockey for personal reasons. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but for me, personally, it is the right time to step away from a game that I love.

“I want to thank all of my family, friends and fans for your support, as I pursued my hockey dreams. I leave with fond memories from the game and I am excited to start the next chapter in my life.”

In the same news release, the Hurricanes said they “respect the decision made by Liam and his family.”

The statement continued: “The entire organization wishes Liam the best moving forward. There will be no further comment from the hockey club.”

This leaves the Hurricanes with Lethbridge native Carl Tetachuk, who turned 18 on Jan. 8, as their starting goaltender. A list player, he moved up through the Lethbridge minor hockey ranks, playing bantam AA and AAA, and midget AA and AAA there.

This season, his first in the WHL, he is 10-5-0, 3.05, .903.

The Hurricanes have added G Bryan Thomson, a 16-year-old from Moose Jaw, to their roster for the remainder of this season. A second-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft, Thomson had been playing with the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds in Wilcox, Sask. With the Hounds, Thomson was 6-9-0, 2.94, .890.

Hughes was selected by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the seventh round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Oil Kings dealt Hughes to the Seattle Thunderbirds for a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes acquired Hughes and an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft from Seattle on Jan. 1 in exchange for veteran F Keltie Jeri-Leon, F Michael Horon and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. Horon, 17, is from Lethbridge. He has since played one game with the Thunderbirds.

This season, Hughes was 2-3-1, 3.44, .892 in six appearances with the Hurricanes. He had started six of their last eight game. In 29 games with Seattle, he had been 10-16-3, 3.67, .899.

In 78 career regular-season games, Hughes is 29-35-12, 3.38, .903.

Prior to acquiring Hughes, the Hurricanes had been going with Reece Klassen, a 19-year-old sophomore from Cloverdale, B.C., and Tetachuk as their goaltenders. The day after the trade for Hughes, the Hurricanes dealt Klassen to the Spokane Chiefs for a seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft.

The Hurricanes (24-13-8) and Medicine Hat Tigers (26-16-4) are tied for third in the Central Division, two points behind the first-place Oil Kings (25-14-8) and one behind the Red Deer Rebels (27-14-3).

The Hurricanes are next to play on Friday when they meet the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash.


There’s more right here on former Brandon Wheat Kings’ star Brian Propp, this award and all that he has been through of late.


D Egor Zamula of the Calgary Hitmen has been suspended for one game after being hit with a headshot major and game misconduct during a 4-1 loss to the visiting Red Deer Rebels on Sunday. . . . Zamula was tossed for a hit on Red Deer F Oleg Zaytsev at 3:47 of the third period. . . . Zamula won’t play Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars.


The Calgary Hitmen have returned G Brayden Peters and F Sean Tschigerl to their midget AAA teams. . . . Tschigerl, 15, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and was the fourth-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. He was pointless in one game with the Hitmen, and now is back with the prep team at OHA Edmonton. . . . Peters, a 17-year-old from Taber, Alta., was brought in to back up starter Jack McNaughton with Carl Stankowski (ankle) out of action. Peters didn’t see any playing time, and now is back with the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Hitmen selected Peters in the fifth round of the 2017 bantam draft.


The Kootenay Ice has returned D Carson Lambos to the Rink Hockey Academy prep team in Winnipeg. . . . Lambos, 15, was the second-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Lambos, who is from Winnipeg, now has played five games with the Ice. He scored his first WHL goal on Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon. Interestingly, he scored the goal while his brother, Jonny, a freshman defenceman with Brandon, was in the penalty box.


Tweetoftheday

%d bloggers like this: