Rockets, Crickard part company . . . Raiders complete sweep of Wheaties . . . Americans beat ‘Canes in wild one


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The Kelowna Rockets and assistant coach Travis Crickard “have mutually parted ways,” KelownaRocketsaccording to a news release issued by the team late Saturday afternoon. . . . Crickard was in his fifth season with the Rockets. In his first season (2014-15) as an assistant coach and goaltending coach, the Rockets won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . Kris Mallette, the Rockets’ other assistant coach, also is in his fifth season. . . . The Rockets didn’t refer to hiring another assistant, but perhaps Adam Foote, who took over as head coach on Oct. 23, will be looking for someone with whom he is familiar.


COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

Saturday’s action:

No. of trades: 0.

Players: 0.

Bantam draft picks: 0.

Conditional draft picks: 0.

——

Total deals (since Nov. 26):

No. of trades: 10.

Players: 31.

Bantam draft picks: 18.

Conditional draft picks: 4.

(Note: On Nov. 30, Kelowna traded F Jack Cowell, 19, to Kootenay for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft. Cowell chose not to report and the deal was voided, so isn’t included in these totals.)


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SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Saskatoon Blades scored four times in the second period en route to a 5-2 victory Saskatoonover the Warriors in Moose Jaw. . . . Saskatoon (18-10-3) had lost 3-2 to the visiting Warriors on Friday. . . . Moose Jaw (16-7-5) had points in its previous two games (1-0-1). . . . The teams had been tied for second in the East Division going in, although Moose Jaw does have three games in hand. . . . F Keenan Taphorn (8) gave the Warriors at 2-1 lead at 17:34 of the first period. . . . The Blades responded with four second-period goals, from F Zach Huber (6), at 8:24; D Brandon Schuldhaus (4), at 10:58; F Gary Haden (8), at 11:14; and F Josh Paterson (9), at 15:57. . . . F Tristin Langan (21) scored Moose Jaw’s last goal, on a PP, at 6:36 of the third. . . . F Riley McKay scored his fifth goal for Saskatoon in his 31st game. Last seaosn, he finished with four goals in 62 games for the Spokane Chiefs. . . . G Dorrin Luding blocked 28 shots to record the victory. He is 4-2-1, 2.57, .927, with two victories in Moose Jaw. He had 24 saves in a 5-2 victory on Nov. 2. . . . Saskatoon took the game’s only minor penalty. . . . Tim Hunter, the Warriors’ head coach, now is off to join Canada’s national junior team, along with D Josh Brook. Hunter is Canada’s head coach. On-ice work begins Tuesday in Victoria. . . . The Blades are at home to the East Division-leading Raiders today in what will be the third game in fewer than 48 hours for both teams.


F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 30 games as the host Prince Albert Raiders beat the PrinceAlbertBrandon Wheat Kings, 5-2. . . . Prince Albert (28-1-1) now has points in 22 straight games (21-0-1). The Raiders are 14-0-0 at home. . . . Brandon (14-9-6) has lost two in a row. . . . The Raiders had won, 5-2, in Brandon on Friday night. . . . Leason drew an assist on the Raiders’ third goal, a PP score, and another one on their final goal, and now has at least one point in each game the team has played this season. The WHL record (56 games) was set by Raiders F Jeff Nelson in 1990-91. . . . The Raiders erased a 1-0 deficit with three goals on 24 second-period shots. . . . F Cole Fonstad tied it at 14:31, F Kody McDonald (6) gave the home side a 2-1 lead at 15:11 and F Sean Montgomery, on a PP, provided a 3-1 lead. . . . Montgomery has 13 goals in 30 games. He had 12 goals in 2015-16, 13 in 2016-17, and 12 last season. . . . F Luka Burzan (18) pulled Brandon to within a goal at 16:50 of the second. . . . Fonstad (10) got that one back at 1:56 of the third and F Noah Gregor, who also had two assists, made it 5-2 with his 14th goal at 14:30. That was the 100th regular-season goal of his career. . . . Brandon G Jiri Patera stopped 42 shots, three more than the Raiders’ Ian Scott. . . . The Wheat Kings were without F Cole Reinhardt as he served a one-game suspension for a boarding major and game misconduct that he incurred on Friday night. . . . F Bode Hagan, a 16-year-old from Alsike, Alta., made his Brandon debut. He was an eighth-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. This season, he has five goals and 27 assists in 18 games with the Edmonton-OHA prep team. . . . Darren Steinke, the travellin’ blogger, was at the game and filed this piece right here.


F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored 30 seconds into OT to give the Edmonton Oil Kings a 3-2 EdmontonOilKingsvictory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . The Oil Kings (16-11-5) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Blazers have points in four straight (4-0-1). . . . F Jalen Luypen gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead with the Teddy Bear goal at 13:28 of the second period. The goal came on Edmonton’s 29th shot as the Oil Kings struggled to solve Kamloops G Dylan Ferguson, who was back after a three-game absence. . . . F Orrin Centazzo (9) tied it 1-1 at 18:41. . . . F Carter Souch gave Edmonton a 2-1 lead at 15:50 of the third period, only to have the Blazers tie it when F Martin Lang (5) scored with 12.7 seconds left in the period. . . . Fix-Wolansky won it with his 21st goal. . . . Ferguson finished with 37 saves. . . . Kamloops F Jermaine Loewen was ejected with a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct at 8:07 of the second period. Earlier this season, he served a four-game suspension for a headshot on Portland Winterhawks D Matthew Quigley in an Oct. 5 game.


F Ryan Jevne scored twice to help the host Medicine Hat Tigers to a 4-2 victory over the Tigers Logo OfficialRegina Pats. . . . Medicine Hat (15-14-3) has won two in a row. . . . The Pats (8-22-1) have lost eight straight (0-7-1). . . . F Jadon Joseph (12) gave Regina a 1-0 lead at 1:33 of the first period. . . . The Tigers went ahead 2-1 on goals from F James Hamblin (15), shorthanded, at 19:11 of the second and Jevne at 1:50 of the third. . . . F Sergei Alkhimov (7) tied it at 8:25. . . . The Tigers won it with goals 1:16 apart. F Logan Christensen (3) broke the tie at 13:38 and Jevne (14) added insurance at 14:54. . . . The Pats got 42 saves from G Dean McNabb. . . . Medicine Hat G Mads Sogaard stopped 23 shots and earned his second WHL assist in three games. . . . Regina F Riley Krane was unsuccessful on a second-period penalty shot with his side leading, 1-0.


The line of Brandon Hagel, Cam Hausinger and Brett Davis combined for 11 points in Red Deerleading the Red Deer Rebels to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Swift Current Broncos. . . . The Rebels (19-9-2) have points in three straight (2-0-1). . . . The Broncos (5-23-2) have lost two in a row. . . . The Rebels held a 40-23 edge in shots, including 20-4 in the third period. . . . Hagel, who has 21 goals, scored twice and added two assists for the 12th four-point game of his career. . . . Davis scored his 10th goal and added three assists, and Hausinger scored twice, giving him 11, and added an assist. . . . Davis and Hausinger were acquired on Nov. 30 from the Kootenay Ice. . . . Red Deer grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period before F Alec Zawatsky (9) scored, on a PP, for the Broncos. . . . The Rebels promptly put it away with the next three goals — two from Hausinger and one from Davis. . . . Davis has three goals and five assists in four games with Red Deer, while Hausinger has three goals and an assist in two games.


G Shane Farkas stopped 22 shots to help the host Portland Winterhawks to a 3-0 victory Portlandover the Prince George Cougars. . . . Portland (18-10-2) has won four in a row, outscoring opponents 26-6 in the process. . . . Prince George (11-16-3) has lost two straight. . . . On Friday, the Winterhawks beat the visiting Cougars, 5-2. . . . Farkas has two shutouts this season and five in his career. . . . F Jake Gricius (14) opened the scoring at 16:38 of the first period. . . . F Ryan Hughes (10), on a PP, made it 2-0 at 13:40 of the second and F Jaydon Dureau (6) finished the scoring at 19:35. . . . Portland F Cody Glass had an assist to run his point streak to 16 games. He has eight goals and 26 assists over that stretch. . . . The Cougars were 0-6 on the PP. . . . The Winterhawks were without D Brendan De Jong, who didn’t finish Friday’s game. . . . F Jackson Leppard was back in the Cougars’ lineup after serving a one-game suspension.


G Dustin Wolf blocked 43 shots to lead the Everett Silvertips to a 2-1 victory over the EverettSeattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . Everett (24-7-1) has points in 10 straight (9-0-1). . . . The Thunderbirds now are 10-14-3. . . . The Silvertips are 3-0-0 in the season series. . . . This season, Wolf is 22-7-1, 1.90, .926. . . . F Sean Richards, who later was tossed from the game, opened the scoring at 16:25 of the first period. He’s got 10 goals. . . . F Nolan Volcan (7) pulled Seattle into a tie at 3:59 of the second. . . . F Max Patterson (9) won it when he scored on a breakaway at 7:46 of the third. That was Patterson’s first goal in his second game since being acquired from the Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 3. . . . Seattle was 0-2 on the PP; Everett was 0-1. . . . Richards was hit with a boarding major and game misconduct at 10:10 of the second period after a hit on D Loeden Schaufler. . . . This season, Richards already has served a five-game suspension for a headshot major against Seattle on Oct. 5. Last season, he drew a four-game sentence for a checking-from-behind major against Seattle on Feb. 16, two games after he took a match penalty against Swift Current on Jan. 21, and one game for a headshot major against Regina on Nov. 19.


F Eli Zummack scored in OT to give the host Spokane Chiefs a 4-3 victory over the SpokaneChiefsKootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs (16-10-4) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (7-20-6) has lost 11 straight (0-8-3). . . . F Peyton Krebs (12) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead at 10:23 of the first period. Krebs also had two assists. He now has 35 points in 29 games. . . . Spokane D Bobby Russell, who was acquired from the Ice on June 25, scored the Teddy Bear goal at 2:05 of the second period. It was his third goal of the season. . . . F Jaeger White (12), who also had two assists, gave the Ice a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 11:06. . . . Spokane went ahead 3-2 on third-period goals from F Luc Smith (12), at 0:31 of the third period, and F Cordel Larson (5), at 3:13. . . . Kootenay tied it when F Brad Ginnell (6) struck with 8.6 seconds left in the third period. . . . Zummack won it with his ninth goal at 2:35 of extra time. He’s got a goal and five assists over his past two games.


F Isaac Johnson’s OT goal ended a wild affair and gave the Tri-City Americans an 8-7 tri-cityvictory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Tri-City (15-12-2) had lost its previous five games (0-3-2). . . . Lethbridge (15-9-6) has lost two in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Americans ended up in OT despite having scored five second-period goals, three of them on the PP. . . . The teams combined for 15 goals on 87 shots, with 44 of those from the Americans, who went 3-6 on the PP. . . . Tri-City held a 7-4 lead after F Parker AuCoin (16) scored at 13:54 of the third period. . . . F Jake Elmer cut Lethbridge’s deficit to two at 14:22, and F Taylor Ross (17) made it a one-goal game just 37 seconds later. . . . Elmer completed a hat trick with his 15th goal at 17:49 to force OT. . . . Johnson won it with his 12th goal, at 1:10 of OT. . . . The Americans got for assists from F Krystof Hrabik, with F Nolan Yaremko scoring twice, giving him 15, and adding an assist. F Kyle Olson (6), AuCoin and D Aaron Hyman (7) each had a goal and two assists. . . . Olson’s score, on a PP at 1:39 of the second, was the Teddy Bear goal. . . . Elmer also had two assists, for a five-point night, while Ross added three assists to his goal, and F Dylan Cozens scored his 16th goal and had two assists. . . . Interestingly, both starting goaltenders went the distance. . . . Tri-City’s Beck Warm finished with 36 saves, one fewer than Lethbridge’s Reece Klassen. . . . There were 59 faceoffs in the game, with 14 of those following goals.


F Jared Dmytriw’s OT goal gave the Vancouver Giants a 2-1 victory over the visiting VancouverVictoria Royals. . . . Vancouver (21-6-2) has won seven straight. . . . Victoria (13-12-1) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . The Giants, who normally play in the Langley Events Centre, moved this one to their former home, Pacific Coliseum, for the Teddy Bear toss. . . . F Tarun Fizer (4) gave the Royals a 1-0 lead at 13:29 of the third period. . . . Just when it looked like the Giants might get blanked in a Teddy Bear game, D Bowen Byram (9) tied the game at 18:41. . . . It was Byram’s second straight Teddy Bear goal. . . . Dmytriw, the Giants captain and a former Royals skater, won it with his seventh goal at 3:02 of OT. Dmytriw also had the primary assist on Byram’s goal. . . . The Giants got 25 saves from G David Tendeck. . . . Victoria G Griffen Outhouse stopped 36 shots. . . . The Royals went 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip that ended with this game. They were outscored 13-11 in the five games. . . . D Ralph Jarratt was back for a second straight game with the Royals. . . . With F Dawson Holt injured, the Giants had F Krz Plummer in the lineup. Plummer, 16, is from Whitecourt, Alta., and has nine goals and 15 assists in 21 games at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, Plummer was pointless in one game with the Giants last season.


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Ice, Rebels make 11-piece trade . . . Officiating has Brockman upset . . . Dewar gives Everett another victory

MacBeth

D Colton Jobke (Kelowna, Regina, 2009-13) has signed a contract for the rest of this season with Ingolstadt (Germany, DEL) after a successful tryout. He had two goals and an assist in 22 games. He had been signed in July to a tryout contract that ran through Nov. 30.


ThisThat

COUNTDOWN TO DEADLINE

(WHL trade deadline: Jan. 10, 3 p.m. MT)

No. of trades: 6.

Players: 17.

Bantam draft picks: 15.

Conditional draft picks: 3.


Does this mean the next move is up to the Edmonton Oil Kings?

On Thursday, the Lethbridge Hurricanes acquired F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, both 19, from the Regina Pats in a monster deal.

On Friday, the Red Deer Rebels picked up F Brett Davis and F Cam Hausinger, both 19, Red Deerfrom the Kootenay Ice, who acquired four players and as many as five bantam draft picks in the exchange.

Going into Friday’s games, the Rebels (16-8-1) led the Central Division by one point over the Oil Kings (14-10-4) despite having lost three straight. Red Deer was six points ahead of Lethbridge (11-8-5).

It would seem that the trading puck now is in Edmonton’s possession.

On Friday, here’s what went down between Red Deer and Kootenay . . .

The Rebels acquired . . .

  • F Cam Hausinger, 19
  • F Brett Davis, 19

The Ice acquired . . .

  • F River Fahey, 17
  • F Austin Schellenberg, 18
  • F Justin Svenson, 17
  • F Chase Bertholet, 15
  • 2019 first-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 third-round bantam draft pick
  • 2019 sixth-round bantam draft pick
  • 2020 second-round bantam draft pick
  • 2022 conditional third-round bantam draft pick.

——

While not all-stars, Davis and Hausinger are experienced players who will score a bit and provide terrific depth to the Rebels’ forward ranks.

The Ice, meanwhile, add two more Manitoba prospects in advance of what is anticipated Kootenaynewwill be a move to Winnipeg before the 2019-20 season.

Davis, from Oakbank, Man., was selected by the Dallas Stars in the sixth round of the 2017 NHL draft, but has yet to sign. In 211 regular-season WHL games — 85 with Lethbridge and 126 with Kootenay — he has 55 goals and 65 assists. This season, he has seven goals and 12 assists in 24 games. Lethbridge selected him in the fourth round of the WHL’s 2014 bantam draft.

Like Davis, Hausinger, who is injured at the moment, is in his fourth WHL season. In 216 games, he has 42 goals and 44 assists. From Anchorage, he was a seventh-round pick by the Saskatoon Blades in the 2014 bantam draft. He played 78 games with the Blades before being dealt to the Rebels early in the 2016-17 season. Hausinger was in his second season with the Ice. This season, he has eight goals and nine assists in 17 games.

Fahey, from Campbell River, B.C., was a fourth-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He has one assist in 21 games after putting up one goal and two assists in 26 games with the Rebels last season.

Schellenberg is in his second season with the Rebels, and has one goal and five assists in 19 games. Last season, Schellenberg, a list player from Grande Prairie, Alta., had two goals and one assist in 46 games.

Svenson, from Ile Des Chenes, Man., has six goals and five assists in 15 games with the MJHL’s Swan Valley Stampeders. He was a third-round pick by the Rebels in the 2016 bantam draft. He is pointless in 19 games with the Rebels, 18 of them last season.

Bertholet was a fifth-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. From Thompson, Man., he has five goals and 11 assists in 21 games with the midget AAA Prince Albert Mintos.

——

Later on Friday, the Kootenay Ice acquired F Jack Cowell, 19, from the Kelowna Rockets for a third-round selection in the 2020 bantam draft.

Cowell, a list player, had two goals and three assists in 26 games with the Rockets. In 156 career games with Kelowna, he had 16 goals and 35 assists.

With all signs pointing to the Ice relocating to Winnipeg before another season gets here, it’s worth noting that Cowell is from the Manitoba capital.


It seems that there are issues in the USA-Central Hockey League, a junior league that popped up in Texas over the summer and was to have included at least four teams.

Zach Duncan of the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported that the Wichita Falls Force had to postpone a Friday game against the host Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees because of problems with a bus company.

Duncan also reported that the Texas Lawmen, one of those four teams, had announced via its Facebook page that it was folding.

According to that page, “The three players that were left have decided to pursue other options in other leagues. . . . Earlier this week, the coaching staff resigned.”

It turns out that the Lawmen and Killer Bees played a game last week, but it was 3-on-3 due to a shortage of players. The Lawmen apparently had only four skaters.

Interestingly, the Force’s first head coach, Misko Antisin, resigned on Oct. 13 and was replaced by Troy Mick, who was the USA-CHL’s president. However, it could be that Mick no longer is with the Force or the league.

“USA-CHL president Troy Mick, who was heavily involved in the league’s day-to-day operations and station in Wichita Falls,” Duncan wrote, “hasn’t been heard from in weeks.”

Spies tell Taking Note that Mick, who is no stranger to B.C. hockey circles, was spotted on Tuesday at a BCHL game game in the home arena of the West Kelowna Warriors, who beat the Langley Rivermen, 4-3. Yes, he was seen chatting up Warriors’ owner Kim Dobranski.


“Todd Ewen was posthumously diagnosed earlier this year by a Boston University neuropathologist with the brain-withering disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a development that contradicts the findings of a Toronto doctor two years ago that the former National Hockey League player didn’t have the disease,” writes Rick Westhead of TSN.

“Ewen, who fought his way through a dozen NHL seasons, battled depression, anxiety and memory loss for the last 20 years of his life. He was certain he had CTE. On Sept. 19, 2015, he killed himself in the basement of his family’s home in St. Louis.”

Before playing in the NHL, Ewen fought his way through three WHL seasons with the New Westminster Bruins, recording 771 penalty minutes in 187 games.

In the NHL, Ewen had 1,914 penalty minutes in 518 games.

Ewen’s widow, Kelli, has gone public in demanding that the NHL “stand up and admit that CTE is real, that CTE exists . . .”

Westhead’s story is right here.


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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

G Ethan Kruger stopped 29 shots to help the host Brandon Wheat Kings to a 5-1 victory BrandonWKregularover the Regina Pats. . . . Brandon (12-7-6) has won two in a row. . . . Regina (8-18-0) has lost three straight. . . . The Pats ended a seven-game road swing with this one. The trek included a trek through the B.C. Division. All told, they went (1-5-0). . . . The Pats won’t have much time to do laundry, though, as they are at home to the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. . . . In six appearances, Kruger, a freshman from Sherwood Park, Alta., is 3-1-2, 2.95, .910. . . . F Linden McCorrister (5) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 10:14 of the first period. . . . F Luka Burzan (16) made it 3-1, on a PP, at 6:21 of the second. . . . F Ty Kolle (8) scored Regina’s goal, his first with the Pats since coming over in a Thursday deal with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . F Jadon Joseph, the other player Regina got in that deal, drew an assist in his Pats debut. . . . F Brett Clayton, acquired from the Tri-City Americans on Monday, also was in the Pats’ lineup for the first time. . . . The Pats headed home to play the Prince Albert Raiders tonight, while the Wheat Kings are off to Swift Current where they will meet the Broncos tonight.


The Moose Jaw Warriors scored the game’s last three goals as they beat the host MooseJawWarriorsEdmonton Oil Kings, 3-1. . . . Moose Jaw (14-5-4) has points in nine straight (8-0-1). . . . Edmonton (14-11-4) has lost four in a row (0-3-1). . . . F Brett Kemp (18) gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 15:17 of the first period. . . . Freshman F Brayden Tracey (9) got Moose Jaw even at 10:55 of the second and F Yegor Buyalski (5) snapped the tie at 13:22. . . . F Justin Almeida (5) provided the insurance at 2:57 of the third period. . . . The Warriors got 35 saves from G Adam Evanoff, including 14 in each of the last two periods. . . . Edmonton G Todd Scott was in uniform for the first time this season as he backed up Dylan Myskiw, who finished with 19 saves. . . . F Peyton McKenzie, 16, made  his debut with the Warriors and drew the primary assist on Buyalski’s goal. A third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft, McKenzie plays for the Edmonton-OHA prep team. . . . The Warriors are in Red Deer tonight, while the Oil Kings face the Hitmen in Calgary.


F Zach Cox broke a 1-1 tie at 14:28 of the second period and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Lethbridgewent on to a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. . . . Lethbridge (12-8-5) has points in four straight (3-0-1). . . . Swift Current (4-20-2) has lost two in a row. . . . F Justin Hall (1) gave Lethbridge a 1-0 lead with his first WHL score, at 4:07 of the second period. . . . F Max Patterson (8) tied it at 11:54. . . . Cox’s ninth goal turned into the winner. . . . F Jake Elmer (12) added insurance at 6:38 of the third. . . . F Nick Henry and F Jake Leschyshyn, who were acquired Wednesday from the Regina Pats, made their Lethbridge debuts on a line with F Jordy Bellerive, the team captain. . . . Leschyshyn drew an assist on Hall’s Teddy Bear goal. . . . Broncos F Alec Zawatsky, who drew an assist on their goal, didn’t finish the game. . . . Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ GM/head coach, wasn’t pleased about the officiating and likely will be making a contribution to the WHL office’s Christmas fund. After the game, Shawn Mullin, the Broncos’ radio voice, tweeted this from Brockman: “I didn’t like the way the game was called at all. It was awful. The third goal . . . I’m not sure what you’re looking at. When your team is battling the way it is and there’s some missed and non-calls . . . to me that’s really not acceptable. The third goal (Broncos G Joel Hofer) gets knocked into the net. It’s hard to make a save when you’re getting planted . . . we just hope the vision is little a bit broader in the next couple games.” . . . The Broncos headed home after the game to face the Brandon Wheat Kings tonight. . . . The Hurricanes are in Medicine Hat tonight.


The host Red Deer Rebels scored the game’s first five goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Red Deer (17-8-1) had lost its previous three games. . . . Calgary (10-14-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). The Hitmen finished 4-2-1 on a seven-game road trip. They will entertain the Edmonton Oil Kings tonight. . . . F Jeff de Wit, F Brandon Hagel and F Chris Douglas each scored twice for Red Deer. . . . De Wit now has 19 goals, with Hagel, who also had an assist, at 17 and Douglas at eight. . . . De Wit left in the third period with an undisclosed injury. . . . F Luke Coleman (8) and F Mark Kastelic (22) scored for Calgary to get the Hitmen to within three, at 5-2, in the third period. . . . Calgary had a 45-23 edge in shots, as Red Deer G Ethan Anders stopped 43 shots. . . . The Rebels had D Alex Alexeyev back in their lineup after a two-game absence. . . . The Rebels are at home again tonight, this time against Moose Jaw. . . . The Hitmen also will play at home as they meet Edmonton.


D Quinn Schmiemann scored in OT to give the Kamloops Blazers a 3-2 victory over the Kamloops1visiting Saskatoon Blades. . . . Kamloops improved to 10-11-2. It now is 1-4-2 in one-goal games. . . . The Blades (16-9-3) are 2-1-1 in their trip through the B.C. Division. . . . Saskatoon led this one 2-0 in the second period on goals from D Emil Malysjev (1) and F Max Gerlach (17), the latter on a PP. . . . F Jermaine Loewen (9), back after a two-game absence, scored Kamloops’ first goal, at 15:45 of the second period, and F Connor Zary (6) tied it on a breakaway at 9:15 of the third. . . . Schmiemann (2) won it at 1:29 of OT, beating Saskatoon G Nolan Maier with a quick shot under the cross-bar from the right wing. . . . G Dylan Ferguson was among the Blazers’ scratches. He was injured in a goal-mouth collision during a game in Spokane on Nov. 24. With Ferguson out, Royce Ramsay of the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos was backing up Dylan Garand, who finished with 23 saves. . . . D Jackson Caller and F Jeff Faith, acquired in deals on Monday, were in the Blazers’ lineup. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who went to Saskatoon in the deal that had Caller land in his hometown, played his third game with the Blades. . . . With East Division teams playing in B.C. only once every two seasons, this was Blades D Dawson Davidson’s first game in Kamloops since the Blazers dealt him to the Regina Pats on Dec. 27, 2016. The Blades got him from the Pats on Jan. 8. . . . This game featured an interesting coaching matchup in that the head coaches — Mitch Love of Saskatoon and Serge Lajoie of Kamloops — are in their first seasons and were the last two candidates on the Blades’ shortlist during the off-season. . . . After the game, the Blades ate at Frankly Coffee and then it was off to Kelowna where they will meet the Rockets tonight. . . . The Blazers will be at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight.


F Andrej Kukuca broke a 4-4 tie in the third period and the Seattle Thunderbirds went on Seattleto a 7-4 victory over the Kootenay Ice in Kent, Wash. . . . The Thunderbirds (9-12-3) had lost three in a row and were 1-8-1 in their last 10. . . . The Ice (7-18-4) have lost seven straight (0-6-1). . . . F Peyton Krebs, who scored three times for the Kootenay, erased a two-goal deficit by scoring at 8:38 of the second period and 3:41 of the third. Krebs completed his first WHL hat trick with a PP goal. Krebs is seen as a likely first-round selection in the NHL’s 2019 draft and he put on a show for the scouts in the house. . . . Kukuca gave Seattle a 5-4 lead with his sixth goal at 4:49. . . . F Zack Andrusiak’s 18th goal, his third of the night, upped the lead to 6-4 at 9:50, and F Tyler Carpendale (2) added more insurance at 14:17. . . . Andrusiak, who has four career hat tricks, has goals in seven straight games, including six over his past two games. He also had an assist for a four-point evening. . . . The Ice got three assists from F Brad Ginnell. . . . Seattle F Noah Philp, back after a nine-game absence, scored his 10th goal and added an assist. . . . The Thunderbirds boarded their bus after the game and headed for Kamloops where they will meet the Blazers tonight. . . . The Ice will move on to Everett and a game against the Silvertips tonight.


F Leif Mattson scored in OT to give the Kelowna Rockets a 3-2 victory over the Tri-City KelownaRocketsAmericans in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Kelowna (12-15-1) had lost its previous two games. . . . Tri-City (13-9-1) had won its previous two outings. . . . F Kyle Olson (5) gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead at 16:00 of the first period. . . . Mattson tied it at 5:58 of the second period and F Kyle Crosby (4) gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at 15:39. . . . Tri-City F Krystof Hrabik (8) pulled his guys even with 10.2 seconds left in the third period. . . . Mattson won it with his 11th goal just 20 seconds into extra time. . . . The Rockets lost F Ted Brennan to a checking-from-major and game misconduct for a hit on D Bryan McAndrews at 5:53 of the first period. . . . The Rockets headed home after the game because they are to play the travelling Saskatoon Blades tonight. . . . The Americans also are on the road today. They’ll face the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum.


F Connor Dewar scored in OT to give the host Everett Silvertips a 5-4 victory over the EverettSpokane Chiefs. . . . Everett (21-7-1) has points in seven straight (6-0-1). The Silvertips went 11-2-1 in November. . . . Spokane (14-8-4) has point four straight (3-0-1). . . . The Chiefs held a 3-1 lead early in the third period but weren’t able to hold it. . . . D Filip Kral (2) gave Spokane that 3-1 lead, on a PP, at 4:38 of the third. . . . The Silvertips responded with three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead. . . . D Wyatte Wylie (6) scored at 10:23. F Akash Bains (5) tied it at 13:26. F Martin Fasko-Rudas (8) put Everett ahead at 17:33. . . . The Chiefs forced OT when F Ethan McIndoe (7) scored with 15.2 seconds left in the third. . . . Dewar’s 23rd goal won it 53 seconds into OT. . . . The Chiefs were 3-6 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips are at home tonight to the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Chiefs are off to Portland for a date tonight with the Winterhawks.


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What lies ahead for WHL GMs? . . . Hitmen adding goalie with Stankowski out . . . Watson remembers McGeough


ThisThat

While the WHL’s trading deadline doesn’t arrive until Jan. 10, the 22 general managers know that it really is closer than that because of the Christmas moratorium that runs from Dec. 15 through Dec. 26.

At the same time, the 2018-19 regular-season is about one-third completed, and that’s whlenough for each general manager to have a pretty good idea how things are shaping up — with his team and how it stacks up against the competition.

For some of them then, there isn’t any sense waiting until January. That’s why general manager Matt Bardsley of the Kamloops Blazers made two deals on Monday.

This season’s arm’s race isn’t expected to be anything close to what went on a year ago. Back then, you may recall, things started to heat up on Nov. 13 when the Regina Pats acquired D Cale Fleury from the Kootenay Ice for D Jonathan Smart, F Cole Muir and two 2018 bantam draft picks — a second and a sixth.

Twelve days later, the Calgary Hitmen shipped F Matteo Gennaro, F Beck Malenstyn and a 2018 fifth-rounder to the Swift Current Broncos for five players — F Conner Chaulk, G Ethan Hein, F Josh Prokop, D Dom Schmiemann and F Riley Stotts — and a 2018 second-rounder.

From that point on, the WHL experienced its silliest silly season yet. In fact, before this season arrived, the WHL rewrote the regulations that govern trades. Now there are restrictions on the trading of 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds players.

Because of the new rules, it’s going to be interesting to see what transpires between now and Jan. 10.

On Monday, Bardsley traded away two players — a 20-year-old and a 19-year-old — and got back two players, one 20 and the other 19, and four bantam draft picks.

“You’re not allowed to trade a signed 15- or 16-year-old and the 17-year-olds have to agree to a trade,” Bardsley told Earl Seitz of CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “So you have a pretty small group of 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds that you’re allowed to trade.

“Last (season), with all those major trades, a lot of them included signed 15- and 16-year-olds. (Now) teams are going to have to make up it with the draft picks . . . so whether we use those to select a player or use those drafts to acquire a player — it gives some options of what you can do to improve your team.”   

Who knows? Maybe we’ll see trades like the one in the OHL last week in which one team gave up two players and got back two players and 11 — count ‘em, 11 — draft picks.


F Cam Hausinger and F Connor McClennon, both of whom were injured on Saturday Kootenaynewnight in a 5-1 loss to the visiting Prince Albert Raiders, didn’t practice with the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday, indicating they won’t play tonight against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. . . . However, F Peyton Krebs, who has missed four games, and D Valtteri Kakkonen, a Finnish freshman who has sat out five games, were on the ice Tuesday. . . . On the WHL’s weekly roster report, McClennon is listed as being out four-to-six weeks, with Hausinger out week-to-week. . . . Also on Tuesday, the Ice brought in F Skyler Bruce and F James Form. If both players make their WHL debuts tonight that will give the Ice 12 available forwards. . . . Bruce, 15, has 16 goals and 18 assists in 19 games with the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy Elite 15s. He was a second-round pick in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Form, 16, is from Saskatoon where he plays for the midget AAA Blazers. He has seven goals and four assists in seven games. The Ice selected him in the third round of the 2017 bantam draft. . . . If Bruce and Form play tonight, they will become the 34th and 35th players to have suited up for the Ice this season. The Ice (7-16-4) is seven points away from the Eastern Conference’s second wild-card spot.


The Calgary Hitmen are listing G Carl Stankowski as being out week-to-week with a Calgarylower-body injury. . . . As you no doubt are aware, Stankowski, then 16, came off the bench to backstop the Seattle Thunderbirds to the WHL title in the spring of 2017. He didn’t play at all last season due to injuries, including hip-related woes, and illness, then was acquired by the Hitmen during the off-season. . . . Stankowski went the distance in Calgary’s second-last game, stopping 24 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash., on Friday night. . . . This season, Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879. . . . With Stankowski out, freshman Jack McNaughton will take over the starter’s role. In 12 appearances, he is 4-6-1, 3.35, .890. . . . G Matt Armitage, who was with the Hitmen earlier in the season and has been playing with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks, will join Calgary for three weekend games. . . . The Hitmen, who just came off a U.S. Division trip on which they went 3-1-1, are next scheduled to play on Friday when they visit the Red Deer Rebels.


Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post filed a piece on Tuesday that began like this:

“At an altitude of 38,000 feet, Brad Watson expressed his appreciation for a late, great friend who was always so down-to-earth.

“While flying from Denver to Detroit, Watson wrote a tribute to a fellow Regina-born NHL referee — Mick McGeough — and, upon landing, kindly shares the heartfelt sentiments with us.”

It’s all right here, and it’s the best tribute to McGeough that I’ve read since his death, at 62, last week.


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.


Simon Black, an assistant professor of labour studies at Brock U in St. Catharines, Ont., writes in the Toronto Star:

“Major junior hockey is big business. Everyone from coaches to Zamboni drivers to concession stand workers gets paid and protected under labour laws. Everyone, that is, but the players.”

Some of what he writes involves the CHL claim that major junior players are amateur student athletes.

However, as Black points out, “There’s also legal precedent dispelling the amateur myth. Hearing a case about whether the Brandon Wheat Kings should pay employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan assessments, the Tax Court of Canada ruled in 2000 that the relationship between club and players is indeed one of employer-employee.”

Simon’s complete piece is right here.


F Nick Bowman, who left the Kootenay Ice earlier in the month, has joined the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. Bowman, 18, is from Sherwood Park. . . . He was a sixth-round selection by the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft. He had 13 goals and 13 assists in 117 games with the Oil Kings when they dealt him to the Moose Jaw Warriors prior to this season. . . . After recording one assist in 10 games with Moose Jaw, he was traded to the Ice on Oct. 22, along with a sixth-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft, for F Kaeden Taphorn and his twin brother, Keenan, also a forward. . . . After scoring twice in 10 games with the Ice, Bowman chose to leave the club.


Brad Moran, who won a WHL scoring title while with the Calgary Hitmen, has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach of the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks. He takes over form Darryl Olsen, who was fired on Nov. 22. . . . Moran, 39, is from Abbotsford, B.C. He spent five seasons with the Hitmen. He totalled 450 points, including 204 goals, in 357 regular-season games. Moran won the WHL’s 1999-2000 scoring title, with 120 points. . . . The Canucks are 4-22-1, 20 points out of fifth-place in the AJHL’s Viterra South Division.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to 17 with a 4-3 victory over the PrinceAlbertRebels in Red Deer. . . . The Raiders (24-1-0) are 2-1-0 against the Rebels, having lost 4-3 in Red Deer on Oct. 6 and won 2-1 at home on Oct. 13. . . . Prince Albert set a franchise record with its seventh straight road victory. It had shared the record with the 1985-86 team. . . . The Rebels (16-7-1) have lost two in a row. . . . The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from F Spencer Moe (4), at 2:59 of the first period, and F Parker Kelly (11), at 4:11. . . . D Ethan Sakowich (1) scored for Red Deer at 5:27, but F Cole Fonstad (7) got that one back for the Raiders at 9:07. . . . F Zak Smith (4) pulled the Rebels to with a goal at 9:43 of the second period. . . . F Brett Leason scored his WHL-leading 26th goal, on a PP, at 14:27, to restore Prince Albert’s two-goal lead. . . . F Jeff de Wit (16) counted on a PP, with G Byron Fancy on the bench for the extra attacker, at 19:01 of the third period for Red Deer’s third goal. . . . D Sergei Sapego had three assists for the winners. . . . Leason ran his point streak to 25 games — yes, every game this season — with an assist on Kelly’s goal. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals and points (56). . . . Leason went into this season with 24 goals and 27 assists in 135 regular-season games. . . . The Raiders were 1-2 on the PP; the Rebels were 1-7. . . . Sakowich’s goal was his fourth in 161 career regular-season games. He didn’t score in 72 games last season; in fact, his last goal came in a 6-1 victory over the visiting Kootenay Ice on March 11, 2017. . . . The Rebels were without their best defenceman, Russian Alex Alexeyev, who is out with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Raiders are back at it tonight when they meet the Oil Kings in Edmonton. This will be the first meeting of the season between these teams.


The Tri-City Americans erased a 2-1 deficit with the game’s last four goals and beat the tri-cityPrince George Cougars, 5-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Tri-City (14-9-0) has won two in a row. . . . Prince George (10-12-3) has lost two straight. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (6) scored his second goal of the game, on a PP, at 4:09 of the second period to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. . . . F Isaac Johnson (9) tied the score, on a PP, at 9:51, and F Krystof Hrabik (7) snapped the tie at 18:42. . . . Tri-City put it away with third-period goals from F Sasha Mutala (6), at 6:00, and D Mitchell Brown (3), into an empty net, at 18:02. . . . G Beck Warm stopped 39 shots for the Americans. . . . D Aaron Hyman, who was acquired Monday from the Regina Pats, was in Tri-City’s starting lineup. He had one assist and it came on a PP. . . . The Americans lost F Kyle Olson to a cross-checking major and game misconduct at 19:19 of the first period.


F Davis Koch figured in three of the game’s last four goals to lead the Vancouver Giants to Vancouvera 5-3 victory over the Saskatoon Blades in Langley, B.C. . . . The Giants (17-6-2) have won three straight. . . . The Blades are 1-1-0 on a B.C. Division tour that continues tonight in Victoria. . . . Saskatoon scored all three of its goals in the game’s first 10 minutes, F Max Gerlach (16) giving it a 3-1 lead at 9:56. . . . Koch scored, on a PP, at 1:49 of the second period to get the Giants to within a goal. . . . F Aidan Barfoot (1), playing in his third game of the season and first since Sept. 22, tied it at 3:51. . . . F Milos Roman (13) gave Vancouver a 4-3 lead, on a PP, at 3:21 of the third period. . . . Koch scored his eighth goal into an empty net at 19:46. . . . Koch has 13 points, including five goals, in a six-game point streak. . . . D Nolan Kneen, who was acquired Monday from the Kamloops Blazers, made his Saskatoon debut.


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