Royals add experience on back end . . . Cougars get some size up front . . . Warriors’ 50-50 draw way, way up there


MacBeth

D Petr Šenkeřík (Kootenay, Prince George, 2009-10) signed a one-year contract with Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic, Extraliga) after a successful tryout. Last season, Šenkeřík had three assists in 12 games with Vsetín (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); two goals and two assists in nine games with Slovan Ústí nad Labem (Czech Republic, 1. Liga); and one goal and seven assists in 12 games with Karlovy Vary (1. Liga). Karlovy Vary won promotion to Extraliga for this season. . . .

F Radek Duda (Regina, Lethbridge, 1998-2000) signed a one-year contract with Benátky nad Jizerou (Czech Republic, 1. Liga). Last season, with Freiburg (Germany, DEL2), he had 15 goals and 21 assists in 47 games.


 

The Victoria Royals have a acquired D Jameson Murray, 19, and a 10th-round selection in VictoriaRoyalsthe 2019 WHL bantam draft from the Everett Silvertips for a seventh-round pick in 2019. . . . From Kelowna, Murray was dealt by the Calgary Hitmen to the Silvertips last season for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft. . . . In 63 games over two seasons with Calgary, he had two goals and seven assists. He was pointless in seven games with Everett last season. . . . The Hitmen placed him on their protected list three years ago. . . . The deal allows Everett to get down to nine defencemen, although two of those — Jake Christiansen (Calgary Flames) and Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers) — are with NHL teams. Still on the roster are three freshmen defenders — Alex Moar, 17, Ronan Seeley, 16, and Dylan Anderson, who turns 16 on Oct. 23.


The Prince George Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds got together on a deal on Monday afternoon. . . . The Cougars get F Mike MacLean, 20, D Sam Schoenfeld, 16, and an PrinceGeorgeundisclosed conditional 2021 bantam draft pick from the Thunderbirds for F Keegan Craik, 17, and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . MacLean, 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, obviously adds size to the Cougars’ roster. From Penticton, he had two goals and two assists in 38 games with Seattle last season. He also got into 24 games with the AJHL’s Lloydminster Bobcats, putting up three goals and three assists. . . . Schoenfeld, like MacLean, is a list player. Last season, he had one goal and eight assists in 32 games with the Okanagan Hockey Academy Elite 15s. . . . Craik, from Brentwood Bay, B.C., was a fifth-round selection by the Cougars in the 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Cougars last season, going pointless. In 27 games with the Delta Hockey Academy prep team, he had 13 goals and 16 assists. . . .

MacLean joins F Josh Curtis and D Joel Lakusta as the 20-year-olds on the Cougars’ roster. . . . Moving MacLean allows Seattle to get down to three 20-year-olds — F Zack Andrusiak, F Noah Philp and F Nolan Volcan.


The Calgary Hitmen are down to three goaltenders after announcing late Monday Calgaryafternoon that they have “reassigned” Nick Sanders, 20, “to a team and league to be announced at a later date.” . . . Sanders, from Calgary, was a sixth-round selection by the Tri-City Americans in the 2013 WHL bantam draft. . . . He made 29 appearances with the Americans before being dealt to the Prince Albert Raiders on Oct. 13, 2016, along with a third-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft, for G Rylan Parenteau, 20. . . . Sanders got into 34 games with the Raiders in 2016-17 and four last season before bowing out due to hip problems. The Raiders sent him to Calgary on Jan. 8 for a sixth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . The Hitmen still have goaltenders Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30, Carl Stankowski, 18, and freshman Jack McNaughton, who will hit 17 on Oct. 30, on their roster. . . . Stankowski was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds on Aug. 7. He was Seattle’s starting goaltender in the playoffs as the Thunderbirds made their run to the 2017 WHL championship, but hip and health issues kept him sidelined last season. . . .

Meanwhile, the Hitmen are left with two 20-year-olds on their roster — F Jake Kryski and F Luke Coleman — so have room to add one.


The buzz in junior A circles on Monday had to do with F Trevor Wong, a 15-year-old KelownaRocketsfrom Vancouver who is the only one of the WHL’s 22 first-round 2018 bantam draft selections who has yet to sign. . . . The Kelowna Rockets selected Wong with the 18th overall selection, knowing that he was looking at going the NCAA route. In November, he made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver, starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . On Monday, there were rumblings that Wong either has signed, or is on the verge of signing, with the Rockets. He attended their rookie camp late in August. . . . Last season, with the St. George’s School bantam varsity team, he had 141 points, including 64 goals, in 30 games.


SJHL

If you are an SJHL pass-holder and plan on visiting Humboldt for Wednesday’s game between the Broncos and Nipawin Hawks, you need to know that it won’t get you in the door.

This will be the Broncos’ home-opener, in Elgar Petersen Arena, which has a capacity of HumboldtBroncosaround 1,800. It will be the Broncos’ first home game since the bus accident on April 6 that claimed 16 lives.

As one might expect, the national media, likely even some international media, has descended on the community again, coming in like grasshoppers during a red-hot growing season.

All of this resulted in the SJHL sending out the release pictured above on Saturday. Bill Chow, the SJHL president, tells Taking Note that was done after “Humboldt sent out a media accreditation request about 7-10 days ago.”

It could be that not everyone received, or paid attention to, the accreditation notice from Humboldt. One observer who works in the media told Taking Note on Monday morning that “I’ve been told that the SJHL has informed all the local media from around the province that their league media passes won’t be honoured Wednesday and they won’t be allowed in to cover the game as there is no space due to national media.”

Perhaps there are people on the SJHL beat who simply assumed that their SJHL pass would get them in the door. That, however, may not be the case.

You have to feel for the SJHL for the position in which it finds itself — a small arena with minimal press facilities being home to an event such as this. With so many media people wanting in, and with TSN no doubt having a number of employees onsite to handle the national telecast, the SJHL no doubt finds itself in a no-win situation.



Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, released his first Craig’s List on Monday, his rankings of players eligible for the NHL’s 2019 draft. F Jack Hughes of the U.S. National Team Development Program is No. 1, ahead of F Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . In fact, there are four WHLers in Button’s Top 10. The list runs 40 deep and is right here.


D Jarret Tyszka, who spent the past three seasons with the Seattle Thunderbirds, is in concussion protocol after being injured during a Sunday game while playing with the SeattleMontreal Canadiens’ prospects team.

Tyszka, 19, was released from a Montreal hospital on Monday after being stretchered off the ice. He was playing for the Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he was hit from behind into the boards by F Hudson Elynuik, who played out his junior eligibility last season with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Elynuik was given a match penalty for cross-checking. . . . Tyszka was a fifth-round pick by the Canadiens in the NHL’s 2017 draft. Elynuik is with the Leafs as a free-agent invitee.

Joël Bouchard, the head coach of Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, was behind the Canadiens’ bench. He wasn’t happy with his team’s response, or lack of same.

Google translation: “This is unacceptable. We play as a team, we play as a team. We warned them that it had to change. The guys on the ice that time did not play for the rest of the time.”

Google translation: “Even though it’s a rookie camp, they’re wearing a Canadiens jersey. I do not advocate violence, but I ask them to stand up. We protect each other every time we have the same colour of sweater. It’s like that in any league in the world.”


A Facebook post from Randy Palmer of the Moose Jaw Express:

“Okay, this is something that has been brewing and has been the kind of thing that flies MooseJawWarriorsunder the radar until you think about it.

I can guarantee you what you are about to read is going to utterly blow your mind.

The 50-50 for the Moose Jaw Warriors’ home-opener is starting . . . STARTING . . . at over $166,000.

The winner of the massive monster 50-50 from last season never claimed his/her prize. So it rolled into the first 50-50 of the next season.

That means, from the second the 50-50 booth opens at Mosaic Place on opening night, the winner of that night’s 50-50 is guaranteed at least $83,000.

I predict the take home will be around $150,000 before the night is over.

Marc Smith of CHAB says well over $200,000. And, honestly, he’s probably right.

The best thing?

You have to be in the building that night to collect the prize.

Capacity is 4,500.

Gonna bet they’re going to stretch that a bit.”

The Warriors home-opener, against the Brandon Wheat Kings, is scheduled for Sept. 22.


If you’re a regular here, you will have seen a few paragraphs the other day relating to how junior-aged players are able to attend WHL training camps and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

That post elicited an offer from Ross Beebe, the educational advisor to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NCAA policy advisor for Global Sports Camps.

“This is year 24 for me so I am very familiar with the ‘ins/outs’ of the NCAA,” Beebe writes. “Should any of your readers wish/require more NCAA information on amateurism or academic standards, I would be more that happy to share my knowledge. This is a volunteer position for me so there would be no cost.”

If you are looking for answers, you may reach Beebe at roscolangleyrivermen@shaw.ca


Dorothy, my wife of 46 years, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk. If you would like to help her get to $3,000 in donations you are able to do so right here.


Nick Redding is the new head coach of the junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League. Redding, 26, is from Spokane. He played four seasons with the KIJHL’s Spokane Braves, before going on to Eastern Washington U. Last season, he was the general manager and assistant coach with the Braves. Earlier this summer, Redding had signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds as the hockey operations co-ordinator. . . . The Thunder Cats had been looking for a head coach since late in August when GM/head coach Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as assistant GM and associate head coach.


Liz Thunstrom turned 80 recently and on Friday received a belated birthday present that thrilled her no end. It was a ride in the Fanboni during a Vancouver Giants game at the Langley Events Centre. . . . The Langley Times has more right here.


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Popowich, Esposito leave WHL for school . . . Blades sign an import . . . Healing continues in Humboldt

MacBeth

D Alexei Platonov (Medicine Hat, 2015-16) signed a one-year contract with Lada Togliatti (Russia, Vysshaya Liga) after a successful tryout. Last season, he had one goal and three assists in 24 games with Toros Neftekamsk (Russia, Vysshaya Liga).


ThisThat

Two more players with WHL eligibility remaining have chosen to leave the WHL and head to school.

F Tyler Popowich, 18, has decided to walk away from the Vancouver Giants, after scoring whleight goals and adding six assists in 64 games last season.
From Surrey, B.C., he was a first-round pick, third overall, by the Giants in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

He was pointless in six games with Vancouver in 2015-16, then had seven goals and two assists in 53 games in 2016-17.

Popowich is the second first-round bantam draft pick to leave the WHL in two days. On Thursday, it was revealed that D Jantzen Leslie, 19, had left the Edmonton Oil Kings for Red Deer College. Leslie, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a first-round pick, 15th overall, by the Everett Silvertips in the 2014 bantam draft.

As well, D Drea Esposito, an 18-year-old from Winnipeg, has chosen to leave the Calgary Hitmen in order to attend the U of Manitoba. He was a fifth-round selection by the Hitmen in the 2015 bantam draft. Esposito played two seasons with the Hitmen, recording two assists in 35 games as a freshman, then adding a goal and seven assists in 47 games last season.

Earlier, the Giants lost D Marcus Kichton, 19, when he chose to leave to go to school.

The Saskatoon Blades had two players leave their organization prior to what would have been their 20-year-old seasons.

F Gage Ramsay will attend Saskatchewan Polytechnic next month and then move on to the U of Saskatchewan rather than try for a 20-year-old spot with the Blades.

F Caleb Fantillo chose to leave, according to the Blades, in order “to get a jump start on a future career in the health and fitness industry.”


F Matthew Hodson of Saskatoon has signed a WHL contract with the Victoria Royals, who selected him in the third round of the 2018 bantam draft. He played last season with the bantam AA Saskatoon Outlaws, putting up 44 goals and 31 assists in 31 games. He was second in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League in goals and points. He added four goals and seven assist in seven playoff games.


The Saskatoon Blades have signed F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, whose rights were Saskatoonselected in the CHL’s 2018 import draft. From Norway, Roykas Marthinsen will turn 19 on Tuesday. He was selected by the Washington Capitals in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL draft. He has yet to sign with them, but has twice skated at their development camp. . . . Last season, he had 23 goals and eight assists in 23 games with Almtuna IS J20 in Norway’s elite junior league. . . . Saskatoon has yet to sign D Emil Malysjev, its other selection in the CHL import draft. Malysjev, 17, has dual Sweden-Russian citizenship. He spent the past two seasons in HV71’s organization, and may play with its elite 18 team this season.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Lucas Ciona to a WHL contract. From Edmonton, he was a second-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. Last season, Ciona had 13 goals and 35 assists in 30 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team. He is presently in camp with the Thunderbirds.


The healing continued in Humboldt on Friday as Washington Capitals F Chandler Stephenson, who is from Saskatoon, and his close personal friend Stanley Cup dropped in for a vist. . . . It also was Day 1 of training camp for the SJHL’s Broncos, although the prospective players weren’t made available to the visiting media. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was on hand and filed this column right here.

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When Kevin Garinger stepped up as president of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, there wasn’t any way that he could have known what was ahead. Now, after one year in the position and having shepherded the organization through the tragedy of a bus accident that took 16 lives, he has stepped aside. . . . Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has more right here.

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Jamie Brockman is the new president of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. Well, actually, he is the new ‘old’ president. Brockman was president from 2012-17, before he stepped aside and Kevin Garinger took over for a year. . . . Alex MacPherson of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Brockman right here.


The Canadian junior A rights to G Dylan Myskiw, 19, of the Brandon Wheat Kings have been dealt to the Portage Terriers, along with F Ben Coppinger, 18, and future considerations. In return, the Selkirk Steelers received F Ryan Sokoloski, 20, D Ryden Fedyck, 17, and future considerations.

From Winnipeg, Myskiw was a sixth-round pick by the Victoria Royals in the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He played with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers in 2015-16, then got into 17 games with the Royals in 2016-17. Last season, he played in 22 games with the Wheat Kings.

Coppinger had four assists in 18 games with the Prince George Cougars last season, while also playing with the Steelers and the Manitoba Major Junior League’s St. Vital Victorias. He was a 10th-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.

Sokoloski, from Winnipeg, was pointless in nine games with the Swift Current Broncos in 2015-16. They had selected him in the 11th round of the 2013 bantam draft. He played three seasons with the Terriers.

Fedyck, from Winnipeg, was selected by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the third round of the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He played last season with the midget AAA Winnipeg Thrashers.


Thank you to those who have donated to Dorothy’s cause as she prepares to take part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. That will be the fifth anniversary of her transplant and, yes, she is excited. She also is one of the walk’s organizers. Of course, she is. . . . If you would like to donate, you are able to do so right here. . . . If you are interested, money raised in the Kamloops Kidney Walk, which is our only fundraiser, will be used to help those who get called to Vancouver (VGH or St. Paul’s) for transplants. Those people have to stay in Vancouver for two months or longer.


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It’s true! Hay joins Winterhawks . . . Ice extends two coaches, trainer . . . Willms’ season ends before it starts


MacBeth

F Carter Proft (Brandon, Spokane, 2010-14) signed a one-year contract with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had two assists in 20 games with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL), and nine goals and eight assists in 23 games with Ravensburg Towerstars (Germany, DEL2).


ThisThat

Some reaction to the piece that appeared here yesterday advocating for the banning of fighting and headshots in the WHL:

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The final word, as it should, goes to a hockey mom . . .


As was reported here on Friday night, Don Hay has joined the Portland Winterhawks’ coaching staff as an assistant where he will alongside Mike Johnston, the vice-president, Portlandgeneral manager and head coach, and associate coach Kyle Gustafson.

Hay, the winningest regular-season and playoff coach in WHL history, spent the past four seasons as head coach of the Kamloops Blazers, a team with which he won three Memorial Cups in the 1990s. However, on May 10, majority owner Tom Gaglardi announced at a news conference that Hay had retired.

“Don Hay is a legend and it is only fitting that he is able to retire with his hometown Kamloops Blazers as the winningest coach in WHL history,” Gaglardi said in a news release. “Don leaves a storied legacy within junior hockey circles. His accomplishments are astounding and he will be forever regarded as one of the greatest coaches in junior hockey history. We are extremely grateful to have had Don return to the Blazers and be able to end his coaching career where it all began.”

The Blazers announced at the time that Hay would stay with the organization, as senior advisor, hockey operations.

Hay wasn’t in attendance at that news conference, and when he met with the media the next day he let it be known that he still wanted to coach.

The Winterhawks had a position come open with Danny Flynn, a veteran coach, signed on as an eastern Canadian scout with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Flynn, a longtime friend of Johnston’s, spent one season in Portland.

Johnston and Hay also are longtime friends, going back to the 1995 World Junior Championship. Hay was the head coach and Johnston an assistant with Team Canada, which won the gold medal in Red Deer.

“We are thrilled to add a coach of Don’s calibre to our staff,” Johnston said in a news release. “When I first approached Don about the idea I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be, but he was both interested and excited. Kyle and I have always had a good rapport with Don and feel he will definitely be a great addition to our group.”

Former Winterhawks’ head coach Ken Hodge had been the WHL’s winningest regular-season coach, with 742 victories, before Hay broke the record last season. Hay finished the season with 750 victories.

Johnston ran his total to 323 last season, becoming the 23rd coach in WHL history to surpass 300.

The Winterhawks are scheduled to play in Kamloops on Oct. 3 and 5.



The Kootenay Ice announced three contract extensions during a news conference on KootenaynewMonday morning in Cranbrook. Assistant coach Gord Burnett has a two-year extension, while Darcy Ewanchuk, the trainer and equipment manager, was extended for three seasons, and Nathan Lieuwen, the goaltending consultant and video coach, signed a two-year extension. . . . Burnett, from Regina, is heading into his fourth season with the Ice, while Ewanchuk, from Sherwood Park, Alta., is preparing for season No. 14. Lieuwen, from Abbotsford, joined the Ice prior to last season. He was a goaltender with the Ice from 2007-12. . . . The Ice also announced that James Patrick is returning for his second season as head coach, with Jon Klemm back as associate coach, and Roman Vopat as assistant coach. . . . The Ice also revealed that as of Monday morning they had sold 1,598 season tickets, “down 319 from 2017-18 and 902 below the Drive to 25 target announced in May 2017.” . . . The complete news release detailing all announcements from the news conference is right here.


Brody Willms of the Moose Jaw Warriors, one of the WHL’s top goaltenders, isn’t expected to play this season because of a hip injury. Alan Millar, the Warriors’ general MooseJawWarriorsmanager, made the announcement on Monday.

Willms, a 20-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C., was 37-11-4, 3.00, .898 in 54 appearances in leading the Warriors to their first Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy — most points in the regular season — in 2017-18. He set a single-season franchise record with the 37 victories.

An eighth-round selection by Moose Jaw in the 2013 WHL bantam draft, Willms went 62-34-10, 3.20, .900 in 118 appearances over five seasons with the Warriors.

Two WHL goaltenders — Carl Stankowski of the Seattle Thunderbirds and Nick Sanders of the Prince Albert Raiders — missed time last season with hip woes. Sanders, who played in only four games, was dealt to the Calgary Hitmen on Jan. 8, while they acquired Stankowski on Aug. 7. Stankowski sat out the entire season after stepping in and backstopping the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship in 2016-17.

The Warriors used Willms and freshman Adam Evanoff in goal last season. Evanoff, 18, was 15-4-1, 2.65, .906, so likely moves to the top of Moose Jaw’s depth chart. From Penticton, Evanoff was a 10th-round pick in the 2015 WHL bantam draft.

Among the other goaltenders expected in Moose Jaw’s camp are Ethan Fitzgerald, 17, of Calgary, who was a sixth-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, and Jackson Berry of Chestermere, Alta., who will turn 16 on Dec. 6. He was a sixth-round pick in 2017. Fitzgerald and Berry both have signed with the Warriors.



The Regina Pats have acquired G Carter Woodside, 17, from the Kootenay Ice for a Patsconditional eighth-round selection in the WHL’s 2019 bantam draft. Woodside, from Asquith, Sask., was picked by the Ice in the sixth round of the 2016 bantam draft. . . . The trade’s condition has to do with the number of games Woodside plays for the Pats in 2018-19. . . . He played last season with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos, going 15-5-0, 2.53, .900 in the regular season. . . . Also on the Pats’ goaltending depth chart are sophomore Max Paddock, 18, and WHL veteran Kyle Dumba, 20.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed F Kai Uchacz, their first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft, to a WHL contract. From De Winton, Alta., he had 25 goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Okotoks Oilers last season. . . . As the lists below show, WHL teams now have signed 19 of the 22 first-round draft picks.

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The WHL teams that have signed 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

1 Edmonton — F Dylan Guenther.

2. Kootenay — D Carson Lambos.

3. Prince Albert — D Nolan Allan.

4. Calgary — F Sean Tschigerl.

5. Kamloops — F Logan Stankoven.

6. Saskatoon — F Colton Dach.

7. Red Deer — F Jayden Grubbe.

8. Lethbridge — F Zack Stringer.

10. Seattle — F Kai Uchacz.

11. Medicine Hat — F Cole Sillinger.

12. Vancouver — F Zack Ostapchuk.

13. Victoria — D Nolan Bentham.

14. Tri-City — D Marc Lajoie.

15. Brandon — F Jake Chiasson.

16. Red Deer — D Kyle Masters.

17. Spokane — D Graham Sward.

19. Portland — F Gabe Klassen.

20. Edmonton — D Keegan Slaney.

22. Moose Jaw — F Eric Alarie.

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The WHL teams that have yet to sign their 2018 first-round bantam draft selections:

9. Prince George — F Craig Armstrong.

18. Kelowna — F Trevor Wong (committed to U of Denver, 2021-22).

21. Prince George — G Tyler Brennan.


When it comes to the Medicine Hat Tigers’ training camp and exhibition schedule, there Tigers Logo Officialis going to be an interesting battle for spots on the depth chart. Barring the unexpected, veteran Jordan Hollett, 19, will be the starter. . . . Mads Sogaard, a Dane who will turn 18 on Dec. 13, will be in the battle to backup Hollett. Sogaard, 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, played last season with the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, so culture shock shouldn’t be much of an issue. In 22 games, he was 2.64, .909. . . . Garin Bjorklund, at 16-year-old from Calgary, also will be in camp. He was a first-round selection in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. . . . Also in the picture is Kaeden Lane, who turns 17 on Oct. 10. From Burnaby, he’s a bit smaller than Sogaard, at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds. . . . Matt Pouncy of chatnewstoday.ca has more right here.



D Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the SpokaneChiefsNew Jersey Devils, who selected him with the 17th overall pick in the NHL’s 2018 draft. . . . Smith, from Lloydminster, Alta., was the first WHL player taken in that draft. The Chiefs selected him first overall in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he put up 14 goals and 59 assists in 73 games. . . . For 2017-18, Smith was named the WHL’s scholastic player of the year, earning the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy, and to the Western Conference’s first all-star team.


Nathan Hollinger has joined the Calgary Hitmen as their athletic therapist. He spent last season working as the athletic therapist/strength and conditioning coach with the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. He also has worked with the SJHL’s Yorkton Terriers (athletic therapist/equipment manager, 2015-17) and Regina Pats (student athletic therapist, 2014-15). . . . Hollinger takes over from Kyle Vouriot, who is moving on to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic therapist and assistant strength and conditioning trainer.



If you would like to support my wife, Dorothy, as she celebrates the fifth anniversary of her kidney transplant by taking part in the 2018 Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23, you are able to do so right here.


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Broncos sign assistant coaches . . . Warriors have imports in fold . . . Hitmen add ex-talking head to front office

MacBeth

F Robin Kovář (Vancouver, Regina, 2001-04) requested and was granted his release for personal reasons by the Blackburn Hawks (England, National). He had signed a one-year contract in June. . . . Kovář, on the Hawks’ website: “I was really looking forward to playing for the Hawks next season and moving to the Altrincham area to continue my work as (a) personal trainer. Unfortunately, due to a family illness, I will now be staying in Kazakhstan for the foreseeable future.” . . . Kovář played for Ertis Pavlodar (Kazakhstan, Kazakh Vysshaya Liga) last season, putting up five goals and eight assists in 28 games. He had played the previous four seasons in England.


ThisThat

The Swift Current Broncos have announced the hiring of two assistant coaches — SCBroncosBrandin Cote and Scott Dutertre. . . . Cote, who is from Swift Current, was the associate coach at Red Deer College last season. Prior to that, he spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant coach with the Prince Albert Raiders and two seasons as the head coach of the midget AAA Red Deer Chiefs. He played five seasons (1997-2002) with the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Dutertre, from Dinsmore, Sask., has been an assistant coach with the U of Saskatchewan Huskies, both men’s and women’s teams, for four seasons. He also is the national skating and skills coach for Ice Hockey Australia. . . . Cote and Dutertre fill the voids created by the departures of Ryan Smith, who now is with the Medicine Hat Tigers, and Jamie Heward, who has joined the Vancouver Giants.


Bil La Forge, who is into his first year as the general manager of the Seattle SeattleThunderbirds, has more than a bit of hockey in his background. And, yes, he paid his dues before signing on as the Thunderbirds’ GM. . . . Jason Gregor of oilersnation.com has more right here in a good read on La Forge and the road he travelled to get to where he is today.



The Moose Jaw Warriors have signed their two selections from the 2018 CHL import MooseJawWarriorsdraft — Daniil Stepanov and Yegor Buyalsky, both 17-year-old forwards from Belarus. . . . Stepanov had three goals and 17 assists in 31 games with the U-18 Team Belarus. . . . Buyalsky had 19 goals and 29 assists in 49 games with the U-17 Team Belarus. He played at the 2018 Mac’s tournament in Calgary, putting up five goals and an assist in six games. . . . Both players already are in Moose Jaw as they prepare for the opening of training camp on Aug. 22. . . . The Warriors finished last season with two import defenceman — Oleg Sosunov and Dmitri Zaitsev. Neither is expected back as a 20-year-old. Sosunov will play in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s organization; Zaitsev signed with Melallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.


Rob Kerr has been named assistant general manager, business operations by the Calgary Hitmen. He takes over from Melissa Blades, who now is manager, business operations with lacrosse’s Calgary Roughnecks. . . . Both organizations are owned by the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation, which also owns the NHL’s Calgary Flames. . . . Kerr spent the past 15 years at Sportsnet and for 12 of those was an on-air host at Calgary radio station Sportsnet 960—The Fan.


Alex Dixon is the Seattle Thunderbirds’ new equipment manager, replacing Trevor Heinzerling, who left to sign on the assistant equipment manager with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. . . . Dixon spent last season as the equipment manager with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers. . . . Prior to that, he was with the USA National Team Development Program for two seasons and, before that, spent two seasons with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.


Todd Harkins has joined the West Van Hockey Academy as the director of program development and head coach of the bantam varsity side. Harkins spent the previous six seasons with the Prince George Cougars, the last four as general manager. Prior to that, he was the hockey director at the North Shore Winter Club for 12 years. . . . At the same time, the West Van academy revealed that Yashar Farmanara is leaving “operational and ownership rules” in order to pursue “interests outside of hockey.” A co-founder of the academy, he coached the Elite 15 team for the past two seasons. . . . Farmanara split five WHL seasons (2003-08) among the Seattle Thunderbirds, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Medicine Hat Tigers.


We in the Kamloops area have been well aware of F Jermaine Loewen of the Blazers and his startlingly good story for a few years now. But now that he has been selected by the Dallas Stars in the NHL draft, more people are being introduced to Loewen, a 20-year-old power forward with the perpetual smile. Jeff Miller of nhl.com has a piece on Loewen right here.


Mitch Topinka has signed on as an assistant coach with the MJHL’s Dauphin Kings. Last season, he was on staff with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. Doug Hedley, who was the general manager and head coach with the Blizzard last season, now fills both those roles with the Kings. . . . Topinka, who is from Whitewood, Sask., also scouted for the Blizzard while coaching a junior B team in Regina. . . . According to a Kings’ news release, Topinka was a stick boy with the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks when Hedley was coaching there “in the early 2000s.”


The junior B Fernie Ghostriders of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League have added Jered Neufeld as an assistant coach. He spent the past two seasons as coach/assistant general manager with the Esterhazy Flyers of the Triangle Hockey League. . . . Neufeld also spent time on the coaching staff of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s Red Deer Vipers. . . . Neufeld now is the general manager of Legacy Ford Fernie.


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OHL player draws suspension after positive test . . . Get your Hitmen record book here . . . OHL champs have new coach


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F Justin Kelly (Prince Albert, Spokane, Saskatoon, 1997-2002) signed a one-year contract with Deggendorf (Germany, DEL2). Last season, he had four goals and 11 assists in 23 games with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). Then, in the playoffs, he added eight goals and 15 assists in 16 games for the DEL2 champions, leading the league in assists and points.


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F Danial Singer, who was involved in a trade on Tuesday, has been suspended by the OHL for eight games after failing a drug test during the OHL playoffs last spring. Singer, ohl19, tested positive for an undisclosed prohibited substance and, as called for by the CHL Drug Education Anti-Doping Program, will sit for eight games. He will miss the first eight games of the upcoming regular season. . . . On Tuesday, the Erie Otters acquired Singer and a fifth-round selection in the OHL draft, from the Niagara IceDogs for F Ivan Lodnia, who had requested a trade. . . . Last season, Singer, who is from St. Catharines, Ont., had 26 goals and 22 assists in 67 games with the IceDogs. . . . Lodnia, 18, was Erie’s first-round pick in the 2015 OHL draft. Last season, he had 22 goals and 37 assists in 62 games. . . . Dave Brown, the Otters’ general manager, told Victor Fernandes of goerie.com that he was aware of the positive drug test before making the trade for Singer. If’s unfortunate, Brown said, that the positive test became public knowledge. “Whoever let it out had a complete disregard for not only the player but his family and the policy that’s in place in the CHL,” Brown said. “The purpose of our policy is to avoid situations like this. What’s happened here is an error in judgment has become blown out of proportion.” . . . That complete story is right here.


This is a thing of beauty, and I have to think that Jeff Chynoweth, the general manager of the Calgary Hitmen, had something to do with it. It is the Official Calgary Hitmen Record Book/Media Guide and it is all-inclusive, even including a section showing who has worn which numbers in the team’s 23-year history. . . . Chynoweth always has had a love affair with numbers and has long understood the value of statistics and their place in hockey’s history. . . . Well done!


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


Dave Matsos has been promoted from associate coach to head coach of the OHL-champion Hamilton Bulldogs. Matsos, 44, has worked in the OHL with the Sudbury Wolves and Windsor Spitfires. He was in Sudbury for four seasons, and spent the last two-plus of those as head coach. He was an assistant coach in Windsor for three seasons. . . . Matsos also has coached in England, where he led the Sheffield Steelers to three straight titles (2006-09). . . . In Hamilton, Matsos takes over from John Gruden, who now is an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders. . . . The Bulldogs also have promoted Vince Laise, 35, from assistant coach to associate coach. He is going into his third season in Hamilton, after working as an assistant coach with the Erie Otters for three seasons.


Mike Bavis has signed on as head coach of the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, who are affiliated with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Bavis, who spent 15 seasons as an assistant coach at Boston U, replaces Mark Dennehy, who left without coaching in even one game. He signed in May but left earlier this month to take over as head coach of the Binghamton Devils, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. . . . Bavis left BU after 2012-13, following the retirement of head coach Jack Parker. Bavis, 48, went on to coach with the AHL’s Springfield Indians and at Babson College, an NCAA Division 3 school.


What if your favourite hockey team had its home arena shut down and had to relocate to another arena about 2,700 km away? Well, that’s what has happened to Avangard Omsk Oblast of the KHL. Rather serious structural problems have been found in the team’s home arena, so it will be starting the approaching season in a 6,000-seat arena near Moscow. . . . Patrick Conway has more on this story right here.


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Hitmen get goalie from T-birds . . . Seattle playoff hero off to Calgary . . . Rockets sign Finnish defender


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F Radim Valchar (Portland, Lethbridge, 2007-10) signed a one-year extension with Csíkszereda (Romania, Erste Liga). Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 32 games. He led his team in goals, assists and points, and was third in the league’s points race.


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The Seattle Thunderbirds have traded G Carl Stankowski, who shone as they won the 2016-17 WHL championship but then didn’t play in 2017-18, to the Calgary Hitmen.

In return for Stankowski, an 18-year-old who played minor hockey in Calgary, and a Seattleconditional fourth-round selection, year undisclosed, in the WHL’s bantam draft, the Thunderbirds acquired D Mike Koster, 17, an eighth-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft and a conditional pick in the 2019 or 2020 bantam draft.

“Carl’s medical needs have become very significant and we felt that being close to his home in Calgary would allow his family to more closely monitor his needs,” Seattle GM Bil La Forge said in a news release.

Stankowski, then in his 16-year-old season, took over from injured starter Rylan Toth late in the 2016-17 regular season and sparkled as Seattle won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. CalgaryStankowski, a second-round pick by Seattle in the 2014 bantam draft, was 3-0-0, 2.18, .910 in seven regular-season appearances, then went 16-4, 2.50, .911 in the playoffs. However, hip problems and health issues kept Stankowski from playing last season.

Andy Side of 710 ESPN Seattle detailed Stankowski’s issues in a February story that is right here. . . .

Koster, from Chaska, Minn., has committed to the U of Minnesota for 2020-21. Last season, he had two goals and eight assists in 21 games with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm. He also captained the Chaska High Team, and put up 14 goals and 41 assists in 25 games. Koster is playing for Team USA at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this week.

“Koster is an elite defenseman who is NCAA committed,” La Forge said. “We feel that we will provide him with a very viable option going forward. We look forward to opening the lines of communication with him.”

In Seattle, the trade means that G Liam Hughes, 19, is alone atop the depth chart. Last season, after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings, he was 16-12-6, 3.15, .909. It is likely that Cole Schwebius, 17, and Eric Ward, 17, will battle for the No. 2 spot. Schwebius, from Kelowna, was a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft; Ward is a list player from Edmonton.

In Calgary, the Hitmen, who didn’t make the playoffs last season, are looking to replace Nick Schneider, who completed his eligibility by making 61 appearances.

The Hitmen acquired G Nick Sanders, 20, who was limited by injuries to four games with the Prince Albert Raiders last season. Interestingly, Sanders, like Stankowski, has had hip-related problems. Also in the hunt will be Matthew Armitage, who turns 19 on Oct. 30. A fourth-round selection by the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014 bantam draft, he got into 19 games with Calgary last season (4-7-1, 3.55, .890).


There wasn’t anything on the Kelowna Rockets’ website as of Tuesday night, but if Regan Bartel, the team’s radio voice, says they have signed Finnish D Lassi Thomson, well, that’s good enough for me. . . . Thomson will turn 18 on Sept. 24. . . . He is from Tampere. . . . Last season, he had 12 goals and 15 assists in 49 games with Ives U-20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga. He also played six games with the Ives U-18 team, putting up four goals and three assists. On top of that, he played 20 games with the U-18 national team, scoring three goals and adding seven assists. . . . The Rockets selected him in the CHL’s 2018 import draft.



The Calgary Hitmen are looking for an athletic therapist with the news that Kyle Vouriot has signed on with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose as assistant athletic trainer and assistant strength and conditioning trainer. . . . The Winnipeg-based Moose is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. . . . Vouriot, who is from Winnipeg, was with the Hitmen for three seasons.


Spiros Anastas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. He spent the previous four seasons as head coach of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . . With the Stingrays, Anastas, 33, takes over from Ryan Warsofsky, who now is an assistant coach with the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers. . . . The Stingrays are coming of the best regular season (48-16-7-1) in franchise history. . . . Anastas was 36-68-8 with the Pronghorns. The school’s athletic department announced his departure on Friday, and now is searching for a replacement.


Matt Thomas is the new head coach of the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Thomas, a 42-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., spent 11 seasons (2002-13) coaching in the ECHL, with the Atlantic Boardwalk Bullies, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder. . . . From a news release: “He enters the 2018-19 campaign as the ECHL’s sixth-winningest coach with a career record of 342-225-80, just one win back of fifth place all time. He is also the all-time leader in playoff games coached with 97, and ranks third with 49 playoff wins.” . . . Thomas spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the U of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves. . . . In Cincinnati, Thomas replaces Matt Macdonald, who left after four seasons to join the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins as an assistant coach.


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


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Hamilton plays big in Calgary . . . Ex-WHL player commits to U of North Dakota . . . Psst! Wanna win a funeral?


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F Ryan Harrison (Prince Albert, Medicine Hat, Everett, 2007-13) signed a one-year contract with Jegesmedvék Miskolc (Hungary, Slovakia Extraliga). Last season, with the Colorado Eagles (ECHL), he had 13 goals and 21 assists in 63 games. . . .

F Edgars Kulda (Edmonton, 2012-15) signed a tryout contract with Zlín (Czech Republic, Extraliga). Last season, with Dinamo Riga (Latvia, KHL), he had one goal in 31 games. . . .

F Kyle Chipchura (Prince Albert, 2001-06) signed a one-year contract with Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia, KHL). Last season, with Kunlun Red Star Beijing (China, KHL), he had five goals and six assists in 56 games. . . .

F Tim Bozon (Kamloops, Kootenay, 2011-15) signed a one-year plus option contract with Genève-Servette (Switzerland, NL A). Last season, with Kloten (Switzerland, NL A), he had seven goals and five assists in 44 games.


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Steve Hamilton is back in the WHL, less than two months after leaving, this time as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen. The former Edmonton Oil Kings coach was introduced as Calgarythe 10th head coach in Calgary’s history on Tuesday morning.

The length of Hamilton’s contract wasn’t revealed, although it is a multi-year deal.

Hamilton replaces Dallas Ferguson, who left the Hitmen on June 26 after one season on staff. Ferguson cited family reasons in leaving Calgary. He has since surfaced as an assistant coach with the U of Denver Pioneers.

Hamilton, 44, spent the previous eight seasons with the Oil Kings, four as an assistant coach and the last four as head coach. He helped the Oil Kings twice win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions (2012, 2014) and to a Memorial Cup title in 2014.

Hamilton and assistant coach Ryan Marsh were fired by the Oil Kings on May 29. Marsh has since signed on as an assistant coach with the Saskatoon Blades.


With the Calgary Hitmen having hired Steve Hamilton as head coach, it means that eight of the WHL’s 22 teams will open the new season with head coaches who weren’t there when last season began.

To refresh your memory, here’s a look at the new guys, with the former head coaches in parentheses:

Calgary Hitmen — Steve Hamilton (Dallas Ferguson, assistant coach, U of Denver Pioneers).

Edmonton Oil Kings — Brad Lauer (Steve Hamilton, head coach, Calgary Hitmen).

Kamloops Blazers — Serge Lajoie (Don Hay, now an advisor with the Blazers).

Regina Pats — Dave Struch (John Paddock, remains general manager).

Saskatoon Blades — Mitch Love (Dean Brockman, director of hockey operations and head coach, Swift Current Broncos).

Swift Current Broncos — Dean Brockman (Manny Viveiros, assistant coach, Edmonton Oilers).

Tri-City Americans — Kelly Buchberger (Mike Williamson).

Vancouver Giants — Michael Dyck (Jason McKee).

Of those eight coaches, four — Hamilton, Struch, Love and Brockman — were working in the WHL last season.


The Medicine Hat Tigers made official Tuesday what you’ve been reading about here for RyanSmitha couple of days — they have added Ryan Smith to their coaching staff. . . . Smith, 44, spent the past three seasons as associate coach with the Swift Current Broncos, helping them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL champions last season. He left the Broncos after Dean Brockman was named director of hockey operations and head coach. . . . With the Tigers, Smith fills the void created when assistant coach Bobby Fox was named director of player personnel to replace Carter Sears.


After one season with the Vancouver Giants, Dean Chynoweth has signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. . . . Chynoweth, 49, was the associate coach with the Giants last season, after not coaching in 2016-17. . . . Prior to that, he was the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche affiliates in Cleveland and San Antonio for four seasons (2012-16). . . . He was an assistant coach with the New York Islanders for three seasons (2009-12). . . . He has other WHL experience, having coached the Seattle Thunderbirds (2000-04) and Swift Current Broncos (2004-09). He was also the general manager in Swift Current. . . . In Carolina, Chynoweth will be working with head coach Rod Brind’Amour and assistant coach Jeff Daniels.


F Murphy Stratton, who played 45 games with the Calgary Hitmen in 2016-17, has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . Stratton, from Los Angeles, will turn 19 on Oct. 3. Last season, he had 16 goals and 37 assists in 54 games with the BCHL’s Wenatchee Wild. . . . But, wait, doesn’t he lose his NCAA eligibility after playing in the WHL? . . . “NCAA bylaws mandate that playing a single game in the WHL will lead to, at a minimum, a loss of one full year of eligibility,” writes Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks, N.D., Herald. . . . According to Schlossman, Stratton now has committed to UND and been told by the NCAA that the penalty for those 45 WHL games will be “one year and seven games.” . . . The plan is to spend another season with Wenatchee and then join UND for 2019-20, although he won’t be able to play until the eight game of the 2020-21 season. . . . Stratton was selected by the Hitmen in the eighth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft. He had one goal and three assists in those 45 WHL games. . . . Schlossman’s story is right here.


The Victoria HarbourCats of baseball’s West Coast League are at home to the Corvallis Knights tonight (Wednesday). But the game almost will be secondary to the promotion, harbourcatsand isn’t that often the case in minor league baseball, which is something to which major junior hockey teams should be paying more attention. . . . You see, they are giving away a funeral package at tonight’s game. Yes, they are. . . . Jim Swanson, the former sports editor of the Prince George Citizen, now is the HarbourCats’ managing partner. . . . “He’s the one who came up with the idea of holding a prize draw for a funeral package,” writes Jack Knox, the Victoria Times Colonist’s terrific columnist. “Actually, he borrowed the notion (or, more accurately, stole it like Ricky Henderson) after googling weird and wonderful promotions when he became the team’s general manager in 2014.” . . . As Knox points out, though, there also is a serious side to Swanson’s idea. “When Swanson’s uncle drowned off Salt Spring Island a year and a half ago, the grieving family had the additional burden of figuring out what to do in the absence of a will or other arrangements. “He did not have his affairs in order,” Swanson says. So, the draw (fans just have to fill out an entry form at the game) is a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder to prepare for what, ready or not, awaits us all.” . . . Still, this is a promotion that fits right in what all the wonderful and whacky things that go on in minor league baseball. . . . Knox’s column is right here.



I was fortunate enough to get into the newspaper business when there really were ink-stained wretches on the job. I worked two years at the Brandon Sun before the computer-age came along. By the time computers arrived, I was at the Winnipeg Tribune. Yes, there were veteran newspaper people there who thought computers were just a passing fad. . . . Anyway, back in the day it really was a different era, one that was full of characters. . . . The Los Angeles Times is in the process of moving its offices and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer recently took a tour of the old place and offers up some memories of what used to be. It’s all right here.


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