WHL not playing games, but some players are . . . Two football bowl games gone . . . Hobbs decides to go back home

Ron Robison, the WHL commissioner, addressed some media folks in a virtual whlgathering on Oct. 15. When the topic of WHL players moving to junior A during the shutdown arose, Trevor Redden of panow.com reported via Twitter that Robison said that if they were affiliated last (season), they’re eligible to play now, and that general managers were to discuss the subject this week.

That meeting apparently took place at some point this week, because the WHL issued a statement late Friday afternoon, stating that it “has granted temporary transfers for WHL roster players to continue their development by playing competitive hockey at the junior A, junior B and under-18 levels . . . through mid-December.”

That something had happened became apparent on Thursday night when the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers announced that they had signed Everett D Gianni Fairbrother, 20.

Then, on Friday morning, the Estevan Bruins revealed there was an agreement between the SJHL and WHL that will allow major junior players to play in the junior A league until Dec. 20. The Bruins did that as they announced the signing of F Cole Fonstad of the Everett Silvertips. Fonstad, 20, is from Estevan.

Everett also has loaned D Dylan Anderson, 18, to the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals, F Jackson Berezowski, 18, to the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers, and F Ethan Regnier, 20, to the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs.

A news release from the Silvertips indicated that players are allowed “full participation in . . . practices, workout activities and games, until a loan expiration of Dec. 20. . . .”

The WHL has said it will start its next regular season on Jan. 8, with players reporting to teams shortly after Christmas.

According to Ryan Flaherty of Global Saskatoon, Blades D Rhett Rhinehart, who turns 19 next month, is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers. Flaherty added that G Nolan Maier, 19, “will likely play for Yorkton, although that has not been confirmed yet.”

As well, Mike Sawatzky of the Winnipeg Free Press reported F Evan Herman, 18, of the Winnipeg Ice has joined the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard, while Connor Roulette, 17, of the Seattle Thunderbirds is with the MJHL’s Selkirk Steelers.

Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate tweeted that Rebels F Jaxsen Wiebe, 18, is to play for the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks.

The Tri-City Americans have loaned F Parker Bell to the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Bell, 17, is from Campbell River.

Meanwhile, Regan Bartel, the long-time radio voice of the Kelowna Rockets, tweeted that the BCHL’s West Kelowna Warriors have run out of goaltenders — three of them are injured — so have added veteran goaltenders Roman Basran and Cole Schwebius, both 19, from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets at least for this weekend.

——

Questions . . . yes, there are questions about the WHL’s agreement with junior A and junior B leagues about the loaning of players.

For starters, what happens to the transferred players if a WHL regular season doesn’t get started?

Also, some of these leagues have moved to a pay-for-play model. So who is paying for the WHL players to play in these other leagues?

Braden Malsbury, the radio voice of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves via MBC Radio, also has some thoughts in the following tweets:



Grandma


Hartley Miller, the GOAT at 94.3 The GOAT and the analyst on broadcasts of Prince George Cougars home games, offered up this today:

“Leagues like the BCHL and WHL insist they will play a season even if fans are not allowed to their games.
“The financial commitment from those owners should be applauded, but the question remains how safe is it to play?

“There does not appear to be a clear answer but regardless of whether it is a top-notch junior player or one competing at the rec level, the athlete needs to fully understand there is a health risk, even though we remain in the dark how much risk that is.”

That is from his latest Hartley’s Hart Attack, headlined ‘The risk of competition.’ . . . It’s all right here. . . . And if you aren’t a daily reader, you should be.


Nessman


COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

Bruce Jenkins, in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Among the many thousands who just don’t get the mask thing, there appear to be three options: (1) Wear it under the nose. Perfected by Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football. Gives those droplets a fighting chance. (2) Down around the chin. Extremely fashionable. Shows you might have cared at daybreak. (3) None at all. Because, you know, what the hell, it’s a hassle.” . . .

The Founders League, which comprises 11 prep schools, announced Friday that it has cancelled all interscholastic competition for the 2020-21 season. It includes 10 Connecticut schools and one from eastern New York. . . .

The KHL has postponed Jokerit’s next two games, which were scheduled for Monday and Wednesday, after four positive tests within the organization. Jokerit underwent testing after returning from its latest road trip. . . . Jokerit also had games postponed early in September because of positive tests. . . .

Two of U.S. college football’s bowl games are gone, at least for 2020. The Holiday Bowl was to have been held in San Diego, while the Fenway Bowl, which was to have been played for the first time, was scheduled for, yes, Fenway Park in Boston. . . .

Scotty Walden, the interim head coach at Southern Miss, tested positive earlier this week. He has been the head coach since Jay Hopson left after the season’s first game. . . . The Golden Eagles, who haven’t played since Oct. 3, are scheduled to play Liberty today (Saturday). Their game on Oct. 17 against UTEP wasn’t played because they were going through an outbreak. . . .

The U of Toledo has put its men’s basketball team on hold for two weeks because six players and head coach Tod Kowalczyk tested positive. . . . Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams also have been shut down for two weeks after each experienced one positive test.


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.



JUST NOTES: Some European teams are using the four-team Karjala Cup as a tuneup for the 2021 World Junior Championship that opens in an Edmonton bubble on Dec. 25. Former NHLer Igor Larionov is coaching the Russian team, with Valeri Bragin, normally the team’s head coach, having recently recovered from COVID-19. Also in the Karjala Cup are teams from Czech Republic and Sweden. The tournament, in Helsinki, runs from Nov. 5-8. . . . Former WHL D Connor Hobbs (Medicine Hat, Regina, 2013-17) has retired from pro hockey after playing three seasons with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Hobbs is back at home in Saskatoon and taking online courses as the U of Saskatchewan. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has that story right here.


Leg

WHL backs up proposed start to Dec. 4 . . . Aiming to play 68 games in 147 days . . . Still lots of questions without answers

Under what once was considered normal circumstances, the 22-team WHL would start a regular season in late September. Each team would play 68 regular-season games, with whlplayoffs — four rounds of best-of-seven series — beginning in late March.

In other words, teams would take six months to play those 68 games. In 2018-19, the teams played the regular season in 178 days, then took 53 days to complete the playoffs.

Then, like the big, bad wolf, along came the coronavirus and the resulting disruption of all things normal.

A few weeks ago, the WHL announced that it hoped to open its 68-game regular season on Oct. 2.

On Thursday, the goal posts moved again; now the WHL is targeting Dec. 4 as opening day, and continues to say it plans on having each team play 68 games.

While the WHL didn’t reveal a closing date, the OHL on Wednesday said that it hopes to play a 64-game season from Dec. 1 through April 29, with the Memorial Cup scheduled for June 17-27.

Presumably the WHL will be following a similar blueprint, meaning it will have to play its regular season in five months. Should it get to open on Dec. 4 and play through April 29, each of its teams would play 68 games in 147 days — 31 fewer days than it took to play the same number of games in 2018-19.

That means teams would be playing as many as four games a week. There likely would be an increase in the dreaded three-in-three weekends. You may recall that decreasing the number of tripleheader weekends was one of the reasons given when the league shortened its schedule from 72 games.

A Dec. 4 start surely would mean a shorter Christmas break — the league stopped for 10 days in 2018-19 and nine days in 2019-20.

But let’s be honest. There aren’t any guarantees there will be a season.

As the WHL’s news release read, all of this “remains contingent on receiving the necessary approvals from the government and health authorities in each of the six provincial/state jurisdictions in WHL territory.”

The WHL’s announcement didn’t mention the situation involving the U.S.-Canada border being closed to non-essential travel, something that doesn’t seem likely to change in 2020, at least not at B.C. crossings. That would lead to teams playing inside their own divisions for the early part of a schedule.

The news release also didn’t mention players and school. The OHL said Wednesday that it will have its players stay home and start school there, so it likely is safe to assume that the WHL do the same as everyone awaits further developments.

The most important thing to remember is that everything — and I do mean everything — is fluid.

What follows are some thoughts from a few WHL officials, all speaking after Thursday’s announcement . . .

Gord Broda, the president of the Prince Albert Raiders, who are the WHL’s defending Raiders50champions, told Trevor Redden of panow.com: “As frustrating as this (process) has been, I just can’t emphasize enough that as a league, safety is at the forefront. Safety for our players, safety for the people in our buildings when we get going, safety for our fans. We’re at a time where patience is necessary.”

Broda also said: “I’ll speak for the Prince Albert Raiders only, even at 50 per cent capacity, we’re going to have financial shortfalls. I think it’s a realistic goal as a starting point to maybe work with our medical authorities and hopefully they find that an acceptable capacity level. And at the same time at least it’s a reasonable start from a financial perspective. It’s going to be financially very challenging to have reduced capacity in all the buildings. We all know we’re a ticket-driven venue and we’ve got to have fans in the seats.” . . .

Don Moores, the president of the Kamloops Blazers, told Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week: “Being fluid is really important. If the border remains closed, we’ll have to deal with it. If it opens and there are restrictions we have to adhere to, we’ll see if that’s workable and make those decisions as we go.” . . .

Brent Sutter, owner, president, general manager, and head coach of the Red Deer Rebels, Red Deertold Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate: “We gotta have people in the building, no question. We have to have some kind of attendance and that’s our goal right now. And yet we’ll just have to see where it goes because it continues to move. It’s a moving target that’s changing all the time. It changes from week to week. You look at the other leagues — junior A leagues, American Hockey League, National Hockey League — no one is going to be playing in November.”

Ron Robison, WHL commissioner, told Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post: “It’s all part of the outcome on where we arrive at with respect to capacity. We’re having ongoing discussions with the provincial/state governments on trying to obtain the capacity that we need. If that is not successful, we will be considering some form of financial support to help us get started. But right now we’re focused on trying to get to a capacity that will work for our teams.”

Zoran Rajcic, the chief operating officer of the Everett Silvertips, told Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald: “The anticipation was that we would be further ahead with (the pandemic) within not only Washington and Oregon, but the four western provinces. The more we looked at things and the way (Washington) is in a holding pattern with Phase 2 (of the state’s reopening plan), it was probably the only decision we can look at. They’re talking about us in Washington not looking at hosting events until Phase 4, so this makes the most sense now. It gives us time to work through things.”



COVID-19 CHRONICLES . . .

——

The Canadian Junior Football League announced Thursday that it has cancelled its 2020 season and has turned its attention to getting a 2021 season off the ground. . . . The CJFL is the governing body for 18 teams in six provinces that play in three conferences. . . .

The U of Alberta’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have been reinstated by Canada West, so will be eligible to play should the conference start up again in January. The reinstatement comes after the programs received a financial infusion from almuni. . . . The athletic department announced on June 17 that it was suspending all Canada West competition for 2020-21 for financial reasons. . . .

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association has cancelled football’s 2020 season, while pushing girls volleyball, cross-country and cheerleading to January. . . . The only sports left on Hawaii’s fall high school sports calendar are air riflery and bowling. . . . Delaware also has cancelled its high school football season. There are 12 states who have done that, while at least 28 others have postponed the start of the football season. . . .

The U of Louisville booted three players off its men’s soccer team and suspended three others for their roles in a Saturday off-campus party that resulted in 29 positive tests within the school’s athletic department. The three who were kicked off the team apparently organized the party. Players from both soccer teams, as well as the field hockey and volleyball teams, tested positive. . . .

The NFL’s Green Bay Packers said Thursday that they will play their first two home games without fans. That will be re-evaluated after the two games. . . . The Las Vegas Raiders had announced earlier that they will play the entire season without fans in their brand new 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium. . . . The NFL’s regular season is scheduled to open on Sept. 10. . . . Since July 21, when rookies reported to training camps, the NFL has had at least 56 positive tests. . . . The NFL had 66 players opt out of the season by Thursday’s deadline. A complete list is right here.


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.



Tinfoil

Flashing back to an amazing 1981 tiebreaker. . . . Winnipeg has first pick in 2019 bantam draft. . . . Red Deer’s Alexeyev out for first round


ThisThat

At least three times in the past few days, a list of WHL tiebreaker games has appeared in this space. It turns out that there were two errors in it, both of them involving the first such game in league history.

According to that list, the Spokane Chiefs beat the host New Westminster Bruins, 10-9, to earn a spot in the 1980-81 playoffs.

Well, it actually was the Spokane Flyers who won the game, and it was decided in SpokFlyersovertime.

A reader has passed along a story — and a tip of the Taking Note Fedora to him, too — by Earl Gerheim of the Spokane Spokesman-Review and here are a few highlights . . .

The game was played on March 27, 1981, and it was held in the Cominco Arena in Trail, B.C., because Queen’s Park Arena, the home of the Bruins, was embroiled in a labour dispute. . . . The Bruins had vacated their arena because of the dispute and played home games in such outposts as Bellingham, Wash., Trail, Duncan, B.C., Coleman, Alta., and Kamloops.

One night earlier, the Bruins had beaten the Seattle Breakers, 7-4, to move into a tie with NewWestthe Flyers for fourth place in the Western Division. The Bruins had lost 25 straight games before beating Spokane and Seattle to forge the tie with the Flyers, each with a 17-54-1 record. They were 17 points behind the Breakers in the five-team division. . . . As an aside, the Flyers had scored 288 goals and allowed 488; the Bruins were 306 and 512. Yes, 512 goals against. . . .

Amazingly, Spokane management had no idea that there would be a tiebreaker; they assumed that the Bruins’ 6-3-1 edge in the season series would put New Westminster into the playoffs. . . .

F Mark Sochatsky scored the Flyers’ winning goal at 9:24 of OT. He finished the game with five goals and two assists, while linemate Ivan Krook had two goals and five assists. . . .

Three times the Flyers held a three-goal lead and three times the Bruins came back to tie it, the last time at 17:19 of the third period on a score by F Mike Winther. . . .

Winther’s goal came via the PP after the Bruins asked for a stick measure — remember those days? — on Flyers’ F Richard Zemlak. According to Gerheim: “Referee Jerry Pateman asked Zemlak for the stick, but Zemlak skated away, holding on to the timber and refusing to surrender it. Pateman got the stick away and assessed Zemlak a minor penalty for illegal equipment plus a misconduct penalty.” . . .

When he was asked about the call, Spokane head coach Wayne Coxworth said: “I hate to see it. I don’t like it, but it’s in the rules. It’s a heck of a way to do it.” . . .

The Victoria Cougars, who finished 60-11-1, swept the Flyers from a best-of-seven first-round series.

Before the 1981-82 season arrived, the Bruins had moved to Kamloops. The Flyers, with a record of 3-22-1, folded in the middle of the season.


The WHL held its bantam draft lottery on Wednesday, with the Winnipeg Ice emerging with the first pick.

The 2019 bantam draft is scheduled to be held in Red Deer on May 2.

The Ice had the second-poorest regular-season record and moved into the No. 1 spot wpgicewhen one of its balls was drawn at the WHL office in Calgary.

Following the Ice in order will be the other non-playoff teams — the Prince George Cougars (from the Swift Current Broncos), Saskatoon Blades (from Regina Pats), Prince George, Kelowna Rockets and Brandon Wheat Kings.

The complete first round looks like this at the moment:
1. Winnipeg; 2. Prince George (from Swift Current); 3. Saskatoon (from Regina); 4. Prince George; 5. Kelowna; 6. Brandon;

7. Kamloops; 8. Seattle; 9. Winnipeg (from Red Deer); 10. Brandon (from Victoria); 11. Calgary (from Tri-City); 12. Medicine Hat;

13. Calgary; 14. Swift Current (from Portland); 15. Spokane; 16. Brandon (from Moose Jaw); 17. Regina (from Lethbridge); 18. Edmonton;

19. Victoria (from Saskatoon); 20. Kamloops (from Everett); 21. Swift Current (from Vancouver); 22. Prince Albert.

From the WHL’s news release: “Players eligible for the 2019 WHL bantam draft will be 2004-born players who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.”


The WHL also announced all-star teams and conference award nominees on Wednesday. If you haven’t seen any of that, it’s all at whl.ca.


Marty Hastings, who covers the Kamloops Blazers for Kamloops This Week, wonders if Kamloops1the Blazers’ 5-1 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night resulted in the exorcism of a few demons, especially from the conspiracy theorists. . . . “So that’s what it feels like,” he writes. “That’s how fans feel when 6,000 strong vicariously harpoon the Ogogopo, leaving its innards to freeze on the Kamloops Blazers’ B at centre ice. They haven’t felt anything like that in a long time — a 5-1 victory over the institution inside a sold-out barn. What they have felt, at least a few of them, is disillusionment with the system, which they perceive to be the WHL and the Kelowna Rockets, the devious alliance that rules them all.” . . . The complete column is right here.


The Red Deer Rebels won’t have D Alex Alexeyev for their first-round playoff series Red Deeragainst the Prince Albert Raiders. . . . Alexeyev, a first-round selection by the Washington Senators in the 2018 NHL draft, suffered a knee injury in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings on March 8. . . . In a Wednesday tweet, Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate quoted Brent Sutter, the Rebels’ general manager and head coach: “It’s a huge challenge. There’s no team out there that doesn’t lose their best defenceman and their horse — guy who plays 30 minutes a night — that doesn’t impact the back end. Whether it’s our level or the pro level, you lose your top player on your back end and it certainly changes things. That being said, it also give others opportunities and they have to rise to the occasion.” . . . The Rebels, the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card team, open against the Raiders, who finished atop the overall standings, on Friday night in Prince Albert.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have added D Luke Bateman to their roster for the playoff run. SeattleBateman, 16, is from Kamloops. He was a fourth-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . This season, he had nine goals and 11 assists in 32 games with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League. . . . He also was pointless in four games with the Thunderbirds. . . . The Thunderbirds, the Western Conference’s second wild-card team, will be in Langley, B.C., on Friday to open a series with the Vancouver Giants, who finished in first place.


The OHL has cut the penalty that it applied to the Niagara IceDogs in February for a ohlviolation of player recruitment rules. The OHL had fined the organization $250,000 and taken away two first-round draft picks. . . . On Wednesday, the OHL announced that the fine has been reduced to $150,000 and the team will forfeit its first-round pick in the league’s 2021 draft. . . . From an OHL news release: “The club has acknowledged that it violated OHL player recruitment rules. The club recognizes the importance of these rules and agrees to comply.” . . . If you didn’t see the story about this situation that was filed by Rick Westhead of TSN on Monday, it’s right here.


Tweetoftheday

Rebels’ Radar reaches milestone. . . . Ice’s run in Kootenays almost over. . . . Chiefs add a Bear to their roster

MacBeth

Wednesday was the last day of the regular season in Finland’s Liiga. . . . F Malte Strömwall (Tri-City, 2011-13), playing for KooKoo Kouvola, finished the season leading the league in goals and points. In 52 games, he put up 57 points, including 30 goals. . . . Strömwall is the first player from KooKoo to win either title. He also is the first points leader in 31 years and the first goal leader in 24 years from a team that missed the playoffs. KooKoo finished in 13th place. . . . F Aleksi Heponiemi (Swift Current, 2016-18), playing for Kärpät Oulu, led all Liiga rookies in assists (30) and points (46), in 50 games. . . . Heponiemi led his team in points, tied for the lead in assists for first-place Kärpät, finished in 12th place overall in points & 13th place overall in assists.


ThisThat

Dave (Radar) Horning was in Cranbrook for the Kootenay Ice’s first WHL game, and he’ll be there Sunday for the last one. . . . Horning is the equipment manager for the Red Deer Rebels, and he worked his 2,000th game on Tuesday night. . . . Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has more on one of the WHL’s good guys right here.


F Tristan Zandee has made a commitment to the Colorado College Tigers. Zandee, 15, is from Chestermere, Alta., and was a second-round selection by the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Zandee made the announcement via Twitter on Thursday evening. . . . He had 20 goals and 14 assists in 32 games with the midget Airdrie CFR Bisons this season. He also was pointless in one game with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints.


The Kootenay Ice’s first home game? On Sept. 26, 1998, F Jarret Stoll had two goals and two assists to lead the Ice to a 6-3 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . D Steve McCarthy, F Andy Penny, F Kyle Wanvig and F Mike Green also scored for Kootenay. . . . Red Deer goals came from F Kevin Marsh, with two, and F Shawn McNeil. . . . G Clayton Pool stopped 38 shots for the Ice. . . . Dustin Schwartz and Shane Bendera combined for 26 saves for the Rebels.

——

The Kootenay Ice is to entertain the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight in Cranbrook, B.C., and the Red Deer Rebels come calling on Sunday.

After that game, the curtain will drop on 21 seasons of the WHL in the Kootenays.

Owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell are taking the Ice to Winnipeg, choosing to leave Cranbrook’s 4,264-seat Western Financial Place to spend at least two seasons in the U of Manitoba’s Wayne Fleming Arena, which right now has about 1,400 seats, as they await construction of a new facility.

The Ice (12-44-10) is in the process of missing the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Last season, its first under the ownership of Fettes and Cockell, it finished 27-38-7.



The Spokane Chiefs have added F Bear Hughes, a 17-year-old native of Post Falls, Idaho, SpokaneChiefsto their roster. . . . Hughes, who signed a WHL contract in January, spent this season with the junior B Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. He led the team with 66 points, including 41 goals, and was named the league’s top rookie. . . . In the playoffs, he added six goals and four assists in seven games. . . . Hughes is the second player off the Braves to have been added to the Chiefs’ roster this week. G Campbell Arnold, who turned 17 on Jan. 2, is from Nanaimo, B.C. He was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.



The MJHL’s Neepawa Natives have signed Craig Anderson as head scout and assistant Neepawageneral manager, while adding Kori Pearson as director of U,S. scouting. . . . Both are former Neepawa players. . . . Anderson, from Brandon, played two seasons (1993-95) with the Natives, then played for the Brandon U Bobcats. . . . Anderson served in a similar capacity with the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers when Ken Pearson was the GM/head coach there. Pearson now is the Natives’ GM/head coach. . . . Kori Pearson played three seasons (1993-96) with the Natives, then played with Dakota College in Bottineau, N.D., and Concordia, Minn., College. He now is an assistant coach with the East Ridge Raptors of the Minnesota High School Hockey League, while living in Cottage Grove, Minn. He also worked under Ken Pearson as Winkler’s director of U.S. scouting.


Tweetoftheday

Great Scott! Raiders goalie turns sniper as mates run win streak to 12 . . . Blichfeld, Glass (again) lead ‘Hawks . . . Giants romp past Pats

ThisThat

Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders became the eighth goaltender in WHL history to score a goal when he notched an empty-netter in a 3-1 victory over the visiting Tri-City Americans on Friday night.

On Wednesday, in a 2-0 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, Scott had taken a shot at an empty net, only to have the puck hit the scoreclock in the Art Hauser Centre.

Given another opportunity two nights later, Scott made no mistake.

“He made a liar out of me. I thought it’d be tough in this building,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid told Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com. “He got good wood on that one, he hammered it and it went in. Last time it was a two-goal lead, and that time it was one, so I’m glad he hit the net or it would have been a faceoff in our end again. Good for him.”

Scott told D’Andrea: “I mentioned to Habby, maybe I not go so high, just kind of a bullet down the middle. I guess it worked out. I thought it was going to get picked off. It was a pretty congested middle . . . got lucky.”

D’Andrea’s complete story is right here.

——

Here’s a look at the other seven goaltenders who have WHL goals to their credit, in chronological order . . .

Nov. 29, 1989 — Olaf Kolzig, Tri-City Americans 5, Seattle Thunderbirds 2, at Kennewick, Wash. He grabbed a Seattle clearance behind his net and lofted a wrist shot the length of the ice and just inside the left post.

“That was the coolest thing, for sure,” Kolzig, who also had an assist, told Annie Fowler when she looked back six years ago.“Ron Hextall was my idol. He was the first to score. Up to that point, I hadn’t been having a good season. I got back from Washington (Capitals training camp) with a bad attitude. My save percentage and goals against weren’t worth anything at that point.

“They had pulled their goalie, and we were up 4-2. The puck went behind the net. I went back to get it, and I want to say I lifted it 20 feet in the air, but it was about three feet. By the time it was halfway down the ice, it started to curl, and it just went inside the post.”

——

Jan. 3, 1991 — Chris Osgood of the host Medicine Hat Tigers scored in a 4-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. Like Kolzig before him, Osgood fired the puck the length of the ice for his goal.
——

Dec. 29, 1992 — Jeff Calvert came on in relief for the Tacoma Rockets and scored a goal and added an assist as they erased a 4-0 deficit to beat the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors, 6-4.

Calvert, who is from Moose Jaw, had taken over for starter Todd MacDonald at 9:30 of the first period with Tacoma trailing, 3-0.

Former Tacoma defenceman Dallas Thompson once told me: “I would bet he was the only goalie in history to score in a game he never started.”

——

March 28, 1994 — Jason Clague of the Red Deer Rebels was credited with the winning goal in a 4-2 victory over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes. He is the only WHL goaltender to have scored a goal during a playoff game.

“It will likely get more humorous every time I tell the story, but I think the main thing for us tonight was winning the game,” Clague told Cameron Yoos of the Lethbridge Herald.

Yoos described the goal:

Clague’s historic marker came in the third period with Red Deer clinging to a 2-1 lead, its first lead in the series. On a delayed penalty call, Hurricanes goaltender Slan Matwijiw began skating to the bench for an extra attacker while teammate Dominic Pittis handled the puck behind the Rebels’ goal. Pittis spoiled Ivan Vologjaninov cruising through the slot and fed a pass lo the middle. Vologjaninov wound up for a one-time slapshot, but fanned on the puck, which then slid the length of the ice into the open goal.”

Matwijiw told Yoos: “It was kind of a sick feeling.”

——

March 5, 2004 — Jordan McLaughlin of the Prince George Cougars scored at 19:05 of the third period in a 4-1 victory over the host Vancouver Giants.

“This is definitely a career highlight for me,” McLaughlin said. “Every time a team pulls their goalie, the possibility of scoring is in the back of your mind. We had a two-goal lead and the puck was dumped perfectly into me, so I saw it as a perfect opportunity.”

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Feb. 1, 2014 — Chris Driedger of the Calgary Hitmen was credited with a goal in a 5-2 loss to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C.

Driedger was awarded the game’s first goal, at 5:45 of the first period, when, during a delayed penalty against Calgary F Jake Virtanen, Ice G Mackenzie Skapski headed to the bench for the extra attacker. Kootenay D Jagger Dirk whipped the puck around the boards to F Zach Franko, who attempted a pass to the point. However, the puck zipped past F Jaedon Descheneau, who had come of the bench as the extra attacker, and into the vacated net. Dreidger had made the save that led to Dirk getting the rebound. As the last Calgary player to touch the puck, Driedger was given the goal.

——

March 19, 2016 — Stuart Skinner of the Lethbridge Hurricanes gave his side an 8-3 lead in what would be a 9-3 victory over the host Medicine Hat Tigers.

“It was funny because before the period I (said) ‘If they pull their goalie, give me the puck,’ ” Skinner told Dale Woodard of the Lethbridge Herald. “Surprisingly enough, they dumped it in and I had an open chance. I got it over everyone and somehow it went it. So I’m pretty excited. I definitely felt good when it was in the air and when it went in it was a feeling I can’t really describe right now. It was a really exciting moment. I have shivers going through my whole body, so it’s really cool.”


“In moving on Thursday to free owners of the OHL from treating their employees as such ohlunder law,” writes Cathal Kelly of The Globe and Mail, “Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government congratulated itself on ‘protecting the long-term sustainability of local junior teams.’

“The government’s news release on the matter referred to its support of ‘the People Protecting Amateur Hockey,’ which would be a pretty good name for a secessionist group of Saskatchewan freedom fighters.

“The upshot here is that Ontario Hockey League players are excluded from the Employment Standards Act. They exist legally under the slippery formulation of ‘student athletics.’ ”

Kelly’s complete column is right here.


Byron Hackett of the Red Deer Advocate has joined the club advocating the death of the loser point, at least in the WHL. . . . The column that gained him admittance into the club is right here.


If you stop off here and enjoy what you see — or even if you don’t — feel free to click on the DONATE button over there on the right and make a contribution. Thanks in advance.


FRIDAY NIGHT HIGHLIGHTS:

F Ridley Greig had a goal and two assists to lead the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 4-1 BrandonWKregularvictory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Brandon (10-4-6) has points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . Medicine Hat (9-11-3) has lost five in a row (0-4-1). . . . The home team took control with two first-period goals, from Greig (3) and F Linden McCorrister (4). . . . F Baxter Anderson (1) scored for the Tigers at 1:34 of the second period. . . . Brandon F Ben McCartney, who has four goals, put it away with a pair of third-period scores, Greig assisting on both of them. . . . Greig was playing his first game since returning from the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Greig, 16, is from Lethbridge. He was the eighth-overall pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. This season, he has three goals and seven assists in 15 games. . . . G Ethan Kruger stopped 34 shots to earn the victory in his fourth appearance of the season. He is 2-0-2, 2.69, .915. . . . The Wheat Kings held a 53-35 edge in shots, including 26-7 in the first period. . . . G Jordan Hollett went the distance for the Tigers. . . . D Schael Higson, who hasn’t played for Brandon since Oct. 16, is back skating so could be nearing a return. He had 12 points, nine of them assists, in eight games when he went out.


G Ian Scott scored a goal and stopped 24 shots to help the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 PrinceAlbertvictory over the visiting Tri-City Americans. . . . The Raiders (19-1-0) have won 12 in a row. . . . The Americans (12-7-0) are 7-3-0 on an 11-game road trip. They are 2-3-0 in the East Division. . . . On Wednesday night, Scott had taken a shot at an empty net, only to have the puck strike the scoreboard (see above tweet). In a similar play last night, Scott reached the promised land for goaltenders. . . . F Krystof Hrabik (6) gave the Americans a 1-0 lead at 1:11 of the third period. . . . D Sergei Sapego (6) tied it, on a PP, at 5:44. The Raiders claimed Sapego, who is from Belarus, on waivers from the Americans last season. . . . Raiders F Brett Leason drew an assist on Sapego’s goal to run his point streak to 20 games. . . . D Brayden Pachal (2) broke the tie at 7:06 and Scott added the insurance at 19:44. . . . This season, Scott is 16-1-0, 1.47, .947.


G Ethan Anders stopped 28 shots to lead the host Red Deer Rebels to a 7-0 victory over Red Deerthe Kelowna Rockets. . . . Red Deer (14-5-1) has won three in a row. . . . The Rockets (8-13-1) have lost four in a row (0-3-1) and are 1-3-1 on a six-game road trip. This was the third time they have been blanked this season and the second time in four games. . . . Anders has two shutouts this season and three in his career. This season, he is 12-4-1, 2.80, .922. . . . F Brandon Hagel (14) got the Rebels started with a shorthanded goal at 11:03 of the first period. Hagel also had two assists. . . . The Rebels got goals from seven different players, including F Dallon Melin (1) and F Jeff de Wit (13). . . . Red Deer was 2-4 on the PP and also scored twice while shorthanded.


G Jack McNaughton turned aside 19 shots as the Calgary Hitmen skated to a 5-0 victory Calgaryover the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Hitmen (7-12-2) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice is 7-13-3. . . . This was the Ice’s first home game since the Green Bay Committee, which had been struck in an attempt to sell tickets and sponsorships to aid the team, ceased operations on Tuesday. The committee cited a lack of engagement by the Ice’s ownership for the decision. . . . The announced attendance was 2,395 as they honoured the Cranbrook Colts, a team that started out in junior B and moved to junior A before folding when the Ice arrived in 1998. . . . McNaughton, a 17-year-old freshman from Calgary, posted his first WHL shutout in his 10th appearance. . . . F Ryder Korczak, who went into the game with two goals, scored twice for Calgary, opening the scoring at 6:26 of the first period and closing it at 19:49 of the third. . . . F Jake Kryski had a goal, his 10th, and an assist in his 299th regular-season game. . . . Calgary had a 42-19 edge in shots, including 19-5 in the third period.


F Taylor Ross scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give the host Lethbridge LethbridgeHurricanes a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . Lethbridge improved to 9-6-4. . . . Edmonton (13-7-3) has points in 10 straight (8-0-2). . . . The Oil Kings thought they had won it at 1:38 of OT when they believed that F Trey Fix-Wolansky had scored. In fact, the Oil Kings left the Ice in celebration, but had to return when it was ruled no goal. . . . Edmonton took a 2-0 lead on second-period goals from F Vince Loschiavo (11), on a PP, and F Jalen Luypen (3). . . . F Jake Elmer got Lethbridge to within a goal at 4:32 of the third period, and Ross tied it at 18:52, with G Reece Klassen on the bench for the extra attacker. . . . Klassen finished with 35 saves. . . . The Oil Kings gave G Dylan Myskiw his sixth straight start and he responded with 29 saves. They also have returned G Sebastian Cossa, who turns 16 on Nov. 21, to the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers.


F Joachim Blickheld struck for three goals and added an assist to help the Portland PortlandWinterhawks to a 5-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Silvertips had beaten the visiting Winterhawks, 3-2 in a shootout, on Wednesday night. . . . Portland (13-6-2) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). . . . Everett (15-7-0) had won its previous five games. . . . F Jake Gricius (10) scored, on a PP, to give the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 3:40 of the first period. . . . F Jalen Price (3) tied it at 8:04. . . . Blichfeld scored the game’s next three goals, giving him a WHL-leading 20 snipes. He scored once in each period — at 10:09 of the first, 18:58 of the second and 3:05 of the third. . . . Blichfeld now has 43 points in 21 games and trails only Edmonton F Trey Fix-Wolansky in the scoring race. Fix-Wolansky has 46 points. . . . F Cody Glass had three assists for Portland. He has 38 points, 31 of them assists, in 18 games. . . . Glass is on an eight-game point streak, with 18 points, including 15 assists, in that stretch. . . . Everett F Connor Dewar had an 11-game point streak snapped. He put up 12 goals and nine assists over that time.


D Nolan Reid scored twice as the Spokane Chiefs doubled the visiting Seattle SpokaneChiefsThunderbirds, 4-2. . . . The Chiefs (11-7-3) have won three in a row. . . . The Thunderbirds ((7-9-2) have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . F Carter Chorney (8) got the Chiefs started at 11:13 of the first period, with F Zack Andrusiak (9) scoring shorthanded at 2:52 of the second for Seattle. . . . Reid, who has five goals, broke the tie at 1:26 of the third period and F Adam Beckman (9) provided the Chiefs with a 3-1 lead at 10:50. . . . Seattle F Tyler Carpendale (1) and Reid, with an empty-netter, traded goals down the stretch. . . . The Chiefs remain without injured F Jake McGrew.


F Milos Roman scored twice and added an assist, while F Davis Koch had three assists, Vancouverhelping the Vancouver Giants to a 10-4 victory over the Regina Pats in Langley, B.C. . . . Vancouver improved to 14-4-2, while the Pats (7-14-0) lost their second in a row. . . . The Giants took control with the game’s first four goals, all in the first 15 minutes. . . . Roman now has 10 goals. . . . F Tristen Nielsen scored twice for Vancouver his first goals since coming over from the Calgary Hitmen in a deal that had F James Malm go the other way. . . . F Yannik Valenti also had two Vancouver goals, giving him four. . . . F Nick Henry had three goals and an assist for Regina, with F Jake Leschyshyn getting a goal and two assists. Henry has 11 goals; Leschyshyn has 14. . . . Vancouver outshot Regina, 45-28, including 19-10 in the first period and 17-8 in the second. . . . The Pats were without F Logan Nijhoff, who served a one-game suspension after he took a boarding major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the host Kootenay Ice on Tuesday.


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