Hope, Price are liking status quo in Victoria. . . . They’ve got Raiders Fever in P.A. . . . Bandits wrap up AJHL title


MacBeth

F Adam Kambeitz (Red Deer, Saskatoon, Seattle, 2008-13) has signed a one-season contract with CBR Brave Canberra (Australia, AIHL). This season, with Gap (France, Ligue Magnus), he had four goals and nine assists in 44 games. The AIHL opens its 2019 regular season on Saturday. . . .

F Zach Hamill (Everett, 2003-08) has signed a one-year contract extension with Bad Nauheim (Germany, DEL2). This season, he had 10 goals and 29 assists in 34 games.


ThisThat

In the world of hockey, you learn never to say never. But it certainly doesn’t sound as though there will be a coaching change with the Victoria Royals.

The Royals went 34-30-4 to finish second in the B.C. Division this season, 29 points behind VictoriaRoyalsthe Vancouver Giants (48-15-5). The Royals ousted the Kamloops Blazers from a first-round series that last six games and then got swept by the Giants.

Dan Price completed his third season with the Royals, his second as head coach since taking over after Dave Lowry signed on as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, liked what he saw this season.

“In my time in hockey,” Hope told CHEK News earlier this week, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with some terrific coaches, guys who are head coaches in the National Hockey League right now in the playoffs . . . I can tell you that there isn’t a coaching staff that works harder, prepares more, is more intelligent in the way they do it and get their players to buy in more than this coaching staff. It’s remarkable what Dan Price, J.F. (Best) and Doug Bodger have done. It’s remarkable.”

Best and Bodger are the Royals’ assistant coaches.

Price, for his part, told CHEK News that he isn’t wanting to move.

“I would love to be here for as long as Cam and (owner) Graham (Lee) would like to have me,” Price said. “It is one of the best jobs if not the best job in hockey. I am grateful every day. . . . I love it here. I don’t want to go anywhere.”


JUST NOTES: The Eastern Conference final between the Prince Albert Raiders and Edmonton Oil Kings is scheduled to begin with Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday nights in the Saskatchewan city. Single-game tickets went on sale in Prince Albert on Tuesday at 9 a.m. People started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. . . . In the OHL, the Guelph Storm scored the game’s last five goals to beat the Knights, 6-3, in London in Game 7 of a second-round series. The Storm is the fifth team in OHL history to lost the first three games of a series, then win the next four. The Storm is the first team to do that against a No. 1 seed.


The QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have fired Marc-Andre Dumont, who had qmjhlbeen general manager and head coach, and assistant coach Brent Hughes. Dumont had been in that position since December 2012. . . . This season, the Screaming Eagles went 40-22-6 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, where they lost in five games to the Rimouski Oceanic. . . . “We made a commitment to evaluate the team back when I became president almost a year ago and under new ownership we also made the commitment that we would evaluate the team,” Gerard Shaw, the organization’s president, told Jeremy Fraser of the Cape Breton Post. “We felt that we wanted to go in a new direction, so we decided the time was right to make a change and to take a new direction.”


USA Hockey has named Scott Sandelin the head coach of its national junior team. USAhockeySandelin just completed his 19th season as the head coach of the U of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who have won two straight NCAA championships. . . . Sandelin was the head coach of the national junior team in 2005 and was an assistant coach in 2012 and 2019. . . . The IIHF’s 2020 World Junior Championship is scheduled to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.


The Brooks Bandits won their fifth AJHL championship in 10 seasons on Tuesday night, beating the Spruce Grove Saints, 2-0, to win the series, 4-0. . . . G Pierce Charleson, a 19-year-old freshman from Aurora, Ont., stopped 22 shots to earn the shutout. . . . The goals came from F William Lemay of Marieville, Que., who is committed to the U of Vermont, and F Jakob Lee of Owen Sound, Ont., who will attend Canisius College. Lemay and Lee both are in their first AJHL seasons. . . .

In the MJHL, F Bradly Goethals scored at 1:46 of the third OT period to give the Swan Valley Stampeders a 4-3 victory over the Portage Terriers. The Stampeders hold a 3-2 lead in the championships series, with Game 6 in Swan River on Thursday. . . . Goethals, from Île-des-Chênes, Man., has played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Saskatoon Blades. . . . Swan Valley also got goals from F Brian Harris, who has played 54 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings, F Kasyn Kruse of Luverne, Minn., and F Matthew Osadick of Grande Pointe, Man., who is ticketed for the U of Maine. . . .

In the BCHL, F Ben Poisson scored at 12:07 of OT to give the Prince George Spruce Kings a 4-3 victory over the Vipers in Vernon. . . . The Spruce Kings hold a 3-0 lead and get their first chance to wrap it up tonight in Vernon. . . . Poisson’s brother, Nick, drew the lone assist on the winner.


Garry Childerhose is the new general manager and head coach of the SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers. He replaced Clayton Jardine, who, according to a news release, “has stepped aside to pursue other career opportunities.” . . . Jardine just completed his first season as the Klippers’ GM/head coach, and he was named the SJHL’s coach of the year. The Clippers finished 36-16-6 in the regular season, placing second in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division. They lost a first-round playoff series to the Melfort Mustangs in five games. . . . Childerhose has been the Flin Flon Bombers’ assistant GM/assistant coach for the past five seasons.


The MJHL’s Virden Oil Capitals have chosen not to renew the contract of Troy Leslie, who had been with the organization for seven seasons. . . . From a news release: “Troy helped lead the team to six straight playoff appearances and a league championship final, and helped develop many players to the next level of hockey and careers beyond the game.” . . . This season, Virden finished 31-21-8, good for fifth place in the 11-team league. The Oil Capitals were 4-6 in the playoffs, beating the Selkirk Steelers in six games, then losing in four to the Portage Terriers.


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WHL teams now allowed to trade first-year imports? . . . Gorda doesn’t report; deal is off . . . Did your team sign anyone on Tuesday?


MacBeth

F Tomáš Karpov (Moose Jaw, Calgary, 2007-09) has announced his retirement through the Bracknell Bees (England, National). According to the club, he has accepted a position as CEO of an unnamed company in the Czech Republic. Karpov had signed with Bracknell in June. . . . Last season, Karpov, an alternate captain, had 29 goals and 38 assists in 32 games with the Basingstoke Bison (England, National). He led the team in goals and points. . . . Karpov completed his Master of Science in marketing innovation from the University of Winchester earlier this year.


ThisThat

Could it be that there has been another rule change made involving trades in the WHL, this one concerning the moving of players who are first-round selections in the CHL import draft?

Andrew McCormack of swiftcurrentonline.com wrote a training camp-related story whlinvolving the Swift Current Broncos on Aug. 2. In the story, he checked in with Dean Brockman, the Broncos’ new director of hockey operations and head coach. Here’s an excerpt:

The Broncos also now have signed both their CHL import draft picks from this year and will be bringing F Joona Kiviniemi and D Roope Pynnonen to camp. Both should start the season with the Broncos as they wait for (D Artyom) Minulin to recover from post-season shoulder surgery.

“We know (Minulin) is out for quite some time,” Brockman said. “Plan A is to bring both guys in and make sure they were everything we were told. We know that (Minulin) is available to us; we know what kind of a player he is. We just have to see what the other guys bring to the table and see if they’re going to fit in the way we want them to.

“You can move your first-year Euros after Dec. 1. We may not get to that point, but it gives us more options.”

——

Prior to this season, there has been a one-season moratorium on the trading of players selected in the import draft.

Using the Broncos’ situation as an example, under what now appears to be the old rule, should a healthy Minulin be ready to return to the roster, the team would have had two options: (a) trade or release Minulin; (b) release Kiviniemi or Pynnonen, both of whom are freshmen. Teams WERE NOT allowed to trade import players who were in their first season.

Now, judging by Brockman’s comment, if/when Minulin returns, the Broncos would be able to trade him, or wait until Dec. 1 and then trade either of the other two.

We await word from the WHL to enlighten us one way or the other on this situation.


D Brayden Gorda hasn’t reported to training camp with the Victoria Royals and it would seem his playing career, at least in the WHL, is over.

The Royals acquired the rights to Gorda, 19, from the Edmonton Oil Kings on July 25, VictoriaRoyalsgiving up a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in return.

Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, confirmed to Taking Note that Gorda won’t be reporting.

“At the time of the trade,” Hope told Taking Note, “both clubs were aware that he was considering whether or not to continue his WHL career. It seems that he has now made that decision. The trade becomes nullified as a result. . . . We wish Brayden the best in his next steps.”

Gorda, who is from Edmonton, was a third-round selection by the Oil Kings in the 2014 bantam draft. In 151 regular-season games, all with Edmonton, he had six goals and 26 assists. Last season, he was late reporting following the death of a close friend over the summer. Gorda ended up playing 30 games and finished with a goal and three assists.

After returning to the Oil Kings, he told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia:

“Now that I’m here and reconnected with the boys, it feels pretty good to see everyone and see a lot of smiles. I started thinking about coming back about a month ago, maybe a little over a month ago. I was doing a lot working out and stuff and getting dedicated and I just wanted to get back into it.”



The Saskatoon Blades have signed D Emil Malysjev, 17, whose rights were selected in the SaskatoonCHL’s 2018 import draft. The 6-foot-3 Malysjev, who has dual Swedish/Russian citizenship, played last season with HV71’s J18 and J20 teams, putting up two goals and five assists in 15 games with the former and four assists in 29 games with the latter. . . . Malysjev’s parents are from Russia, but he was born in Sweden — thus the dual citizenship. Interestingly, he has never lived in Russia. . . . Malysjev, who is fluent in English, was to arrive in Saskatoon late Tuesday. He could make his WHL debut in Regina at an exhibition tournament this weekend. . . . Earlier this week, the Blades signed their other 2018 import draft selection — Norwegian F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen, 19, whose NHL rights belong to the Washington Capitals, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft.


The Prince George Cougars have signed G Tyler Brennan of Winnipeg, who was the 21st PrinceGeorgeoverall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Brennan, who will turn 15 on Sept. 27, played at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy last season, going 11-3-1, 1.52, .947 with the bantam prep team. He led the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s bantam prep division in GAA, save percentage and shutouts (5). . . . With Brennan signed, it means that 21 of the WHL’s 22 first-round selections in the 2018 bantam draft are under contract. The only unsigned first-round pick is F Trevor Wong, who was taken 18th overall by the Kelowna Rockets. He has been in Kelowna’s camp, but has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver for 2021-22.



The Lethbridge Hurricanes have signed D Joe Arntsen, F Nick Dorrington and F Jett Jones Lethbridgeto WHL contracts. . . . Arntsen, 15, is from Swift Current and was a second-round pick in the 2018 bantam draft. Last season, he had 19 goals and 31 assists in 31 gams with the bantam AA Swift Current Raiders. He added two goals and six assists in six playoff games, and was pointless in six games with the midget AAA Swift Current Legionnaires. . . . Dorrington, a list player, is from Langley, B.C. Last season, he played for the Yale Hockey Academy Elite 15s in Abbotsford, B.C., scoring 17 goals and adding 15 assists in 33 games. He then had two goals and five assists in four playoff games. . . . Jones, 16, was placed on the Hurricanes’ protected list last year. From Olds, Alta., he played last season with the midget AAA Airdrie CFR Bisons, putting up 16 goals and six assists in 33 games. . . . All three players remain with the Hurricanes, who open the exhibition season on Friday against the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.


The Victoria Royals have signed G Keegan Maddocks, 15, to a WHL contract. Maddocks, from Langley, B.C., was an eighth-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft. . . . Maddocks played last season with the bantam prep team at the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Langley, B.C. In 19 games, he was 9-7-0, 3.60, .896, with one shutout. . . . This summer, at the BC Hockey U-16 camp at Shawnigan Lake, he put up five shutouts in as many games.


The Everett Silvertips have signed D Olen Zellweger, a second-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft, to a contract. From Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., he spent last season with the OHA-Edmonton bantam prep team, putting up 10 goals and 22 assists in 30 games. He added three goals and two assists in five playoff games as his team won the league title. . . . Zellweger will turn 15 on Oct. 9.


The Moose Jaw Warriors, who signed two players on Monday, signed three more skaters MooseJawWarriorsto WHL contracts on Tuesday. . . . D Braden Miller, 16, is a list player who was added after attending the 2017 training camp. From Sherwood Park, Alta., he had four goals and nine assists in 28 games last season with the minor midget Sherwood Park Squires. . . . F Cade Hayes of Leader, Sask., was an eighth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Hayes, 16, had 19 goals and 17 assists in 44 games with the midget AAA Tisdale Trojans. While he led the Trojans in scoring, he was tied for second in freshman scoring in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. . . . F Jesse Mistelbacher of Île-des-Chênes, Man., was placed on the Warriors’ protected list in October. Last season, with the midget AAA Eastman Selects, the 17-year-old had 15 goals and 32 assists in 48 games. He led the Selects in points.


The Seattle Thunderbirds have signed G Thomas Milic, who was a third-round selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. From Coquitlam, B.C., he was 13-7-0, 2.06, .925 in 22 games with the bantam prep team at the Burnaby Winter Club.


The Spokane Chiefs have signed F Erik Atchison, 16, who was a fifth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft. Originally from Las Vegas, Atchison had eight goals and six assists in 13 games with the Arizona Bobcats U-16 team in the North American Prospects Hockey League last season. . . . Atchison is the fourth American-born player on the Chiefs’ roster at the moment, joining F Luke Gallagher of Spokane, F Jake McGrew of Orange, Calif., and F Luke Toporowski of Bettendorf, Iowa.


Taking Note has been told that the WHL has hired Michael Z. Morrissey as a video co-ordinator. . . . This is an interesting story. . . . Morrissey worked as an intern with the Saskatoon Blades during the 2017-18 WHL season. Then, unable to find anything in hockey, he hired on with the CFL’s B.C. Lions as a digital and video associate. . . . Now he is moving to the WHL office in Calgary and is to start there next month. . . . Why is this an interesting story? Because he is from Australia and came to Canada simply to pursue his passion for hockey.



A note from Stuart Kemp, the president of the Portland Winterhawks’ Booster Club:

“Had 3 strokes, 2 in a span of 8 days. Am no longer able to get medical from work, now PortlandI’ll be on Cobra which is expensive. I have had writeups in Portland Tribune and GoFundMe and still have a huge need,.

If you can help, great; if you can’t, please share. I am wanting to go back to work and I can’t, at least not yet. Hoping I can keep ahead of bill collectors. Hospital stay was close to 500K and then there is supplies, more medical stuff that tears you up financially.

I never wanted this, I am worrried can you help?

Stuart

The GoFundMe page is right here.


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 support her with a donation, you are able to do so right here.


The BCHL’s Surrey Eagles, who begin the regular season on Sept. 7, are going through a SurreyEaglescoaching change. According to a news release, Peter Schaefer, 41, has taken over as head coach after the Eagles and Brandon West “mutually agreed to part ways.” . . . West, the news release reads, “will be stepping away from the organization because of personal reasons.” . . . The Eagles went 26-22-8 last season, West’s first in Surrey, and got into the second round of the playoffs. . . . Schaefer, the WHL’s player of the year with the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1996-97, was the Eagles’ head coach in 2013-14. They had brought him back as an assistant coach for this season. With his promotion, the Eagles now are looking for an assistant coach. . . . One BCHL insider tells me there now have been 14 coaching changes in the BCHL over the past 18 months.


The 2020 national junior A championship will be decided in Portage la Prairie, Man., the home of the MJHL’s Terriers. . . . Portage last played host to the tournament in 2015 when the Terriers won it all. . . . The 2019 tournament is scheduled to be held in Brooks, Alta., home of the AJHL’s Bandits. . . . The BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs were the host team for the 2018 RBC Cup and, yes, they won it.


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Royals “definitely in” on 2020 Memorial Cup . . . Bajkov fills hat as Everett wins Game 3 . . . Bo knows it’s Game 7 in SJHL

Scattershooting

If there was doubt in your mind about the Victoria Royals and the 2020 Memorial Cup, you can forget it. They’re in.

“We’re 100 per cent, definitely in,” Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general VictoriaRoyalsmanager, told Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist late last week.

The Kamloops Blazers and Kelowna Rockets also are all-in on this one, with both having held news conferences to announce their intentions. The Royals haven’t gone that far yet, but they will.

“We have let the Western Hockey League know we are bidding,” Hope told Dheensaw, adding that there isn’t any rush to hold a news conference because the WHL’s deadline to file an expression of interest is June 1 and bids won’t be heard until Oct. 3.

“The deadline for the expression of interest is not until later in the summer,” Hope said. “We have been (working) quietly behind the scenes. There will be a time to be louder.”

Dheensaw’s complete story is right here.


In Kennewick, Wash., the Everett Silvertips broke open a 4-4 game with four third-period goals in the span of 4:50 and went on to an 8-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans before Everettan announced crowd of 3,268 in Game 3 of the WHL’s best-of-seven Western Conference final. . . . Everett leads the series, 2-1. . . . The visitors got three goals from F Patrick Bajkov, who snapped the 4-4 tie at 6:54 of the third period, then made it 6-4 at 9:21. . . . The Americans had tied the score 4-4 on third-period goals from F Isaac Johnson, at 0:47, and F Michael Rasmussen, at 1:45. . . . Tri-City scored its first two goals via the PP and now is 17-33 with the man advantage through 11 playoff games. . . . Things got a bit heated early in the third period with the head coaches — Everett’s Dennis Williams and Tri-City’s Mike Williamson — exchanging greetings at the benches. . . . The series won’t resume until Thursday because Kennewick’s Toyota Center is playing host to Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story Onstage on Wednesday night. . . .

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference final is set to continue tonight (Tuesday) in Lethbridge with the Swift Current Broncos holding a 2-0 edge over the Hurricanes. . . . The Broncos lost D Artyom Minulin and F Glenn Gawdin to injuries in the first two games. It’s playoffs, so their status for Game 3 isn’t known.


G Bo Didur stopped 36 shots on Sunday leading, leading the host Estevan Bruins to a 4-0 victory over the Nipawin Hawks in Game 6 of the SJHL’s championship final for the SJHLCanalta Cup. The best-of-seven series is 3-3 and will be decided Tuesday night in Nipawin. Game time is 7:30 p.m. . . . That, considering all that has transpired over the past two-plus weeks, is the only way this could end, isn’t it? . . . F Jake Fletcher, the Bruins’ captain, had a goal, his 10th of the playoffs, and two assists. Fletcher has 20 points, one behind playoff co-leaders Kaelan Holt of Estevan, who is the son of former Swift Current Broncos star Todd Holt, and Nipawin’s Brandan Arnold. Kaelan Holt had two assists on Sunday. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in Estevan and did up this piece right here on Didur, who is into the final games of his junior hockey career. . . . The winner of Tuesday’s game will meet the MJHL-champion Steinbach Pistons for the ANAVET Cup and a berth in the Royal Bank Cup.


The other day, a woman changed her mind about singing the U.S. national anthem at a Reno Aces’ baseball game when she was told she couldn’t bring her gun along with her. As Jim Barach of WCHS-TV in Charleston, W.Va., noted: “Apparently they got her name off the wrong list of sopranos.”


The MJHL’s Dauphin Kings have signed Doug Hedley as their general manager and head coach. Hedley, a former Kings head coach, spent the past two seasons with the MJHL’s OCN Blizzard. . . . Hedley has been behind the Kings’ bench for 358 games, going 217-116-17-8. According to a Kings’ news release, he is “second behind Marlin Murray (556) in all-time regular-season games coached and second in wins as a Kings coach.”. . . . With Dauphin, Hedley takes over from Mitch Giguere, an assistant coach who had been working as the interim GM/head coach after Marc Berry was fired on Nov. 19. . . . This season, the Kings finished 14-44-1-1, good for 10th in the 11-team league.



Dwight Perry, in the Seattle Times: “The Metropolitan King County Council approved a ban on vaping and chewing tobacco in sports facilities — particularly the Mariners’ Safeco Field — effective May 19. In other words, Skoal’s out for the summer.”


MacBeth

F Tyler Spurgeon (Kelowna, 2001-06) has signed a one-year extension with Innsbruck (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). The team captain, he had 18 goals and 31 assists in 54 games this season. . . .

F Jordan Hickmott (Medicine Hat, Prince Albert, Edmonton, 2005-11) has signed a one-year contract with the Linz Black Wings (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). This season, with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga), he had 20 goals and 22 assists in 51 games. He led his club in goals and points. . . .

F Justin Feser (Tri-City, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract with the Fischtown Pinguins Bremerhaven (Germany, DEL). This season, with the Krefeld Pinguine (Germany, DEL), he had 14 goals and 12 assists in 44 games. . . .

F T.J. Mulock (Vancouver, Regina, Kamloops, 2002-03, 2005-06) has signed a one-year contract with the Straubing Tigers (Germany, DEL). This season, with Cologne Haie (Germany, DEL), he had two goals and seven assists in 46 games. He is a dual German-Canadian citizen.

Scattershooting: Kelowna favoured as 2020 MC host? . . . Broncos, Silvertips take early leads . . . Wild takes BCHL title to U.S.

Scattershooting

Bruce Hamilton, the president and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets, announced Thursday that his organization, in conjunction with the city, Tourism Kelowna and KelownaRocketsProspera Place, officially is in the bidding to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The Rockets last played host to the four-team tournament in 2004, when they won it all. That season, the Rockets, under head coach Marc Habscheid, lost a seven-game Western Conference final to the Kevin Constantine-coached Everett Silvertips, who were in their first WHL season. The Silvertips then were swept from the championship final by the Medicine Hat Tigers.

What makes the Rockets’ decision to enter the 2020 fray so interesting is that it means officials from three of the five B.C. Division teams say they are preparing bids for the 2020 tournament.

Kamloops1The Kamloops Blazers announced on Nov. 9 that they will be in the chase, while the Victoria Royals also are expected to bid.

In November, I asked Cam Hope, the Royals’ president and general manager, if his organization is interested in playing host to the 2020 Memorial Cup and he gave me a one-word answer: “Absolutely.”

Around the same time, Hope told the Victoria Times Colonist that “we intend to bid for the 2020 Memorial Cup.”

Victoria and Vancouver will be the host cities for the 2019 World Junior Championship, VictoriaRoyalsand Hope sees a link between a successful WJC and the 2020 Memorial Cup. You can bet that ticket sales from the WJC will be a big part of Victoria’s bid presentation.

Any one of the other 19 WHL teams has until June 1 to make an expression of interest. Those who are still interested will make their bid presentations at a board of governors’ meeting in Calgary on Oct. 3. Following the presentations, the governors will vote and a host team/city will be revealed at the conclusion of the meeting.

At this early date, I would suggest that the Rockets are the favourites, for at least three reasons. Firstly, the 2004 tournament was a fabulous show and really raised the bar for future Memorial Cups. Second, the Rockets, with super scout Lorne Frey on staff, have a history of icing competitive teams. Third, Hamilton, who also is the chairman of the WHL’s board of governors, carries a lot of weight at the executive level.

The Royals could upset the applecart, though, because as nice as Kelowna is in May, who wouldn’t want to spend a couple of weeks in Victoria at that time of year? They also have a recent history of being competitive, and Hope showed in January that he isn’t afraid to roll the dice at the trade deadline. It didn’t work this time, with the injury bug perhaps playing a role, but he definitely showed a willingness to pull the trigger.

Kamloops is the underdog in this three-horse race, having missed the playoffs in two of the past four seasons, and having lost out in the first round in the other two. The Blazers are rebuilding, witness their January deal with Everett in which Kamloops dealt two veterans — F Garrett Pilon and D Ondrej Vala — for two roster players in F Orrin Centazzo and D Montana Onyebuchi, two 2002-born prospects and two 2019 bantam draft picks.

By Oct. 3, however, the 2018-19 season won’t be nearly far enough along to give the voting governors a handle on the bidding teams’ expected level of competitiveness for 2019-20. That means it will be up to each team to convince the governors with a thorough scouting report.

In the end, of course, it may come down to money, meaning the team that guarantees the largest profit — and we’re talking a few million Canadian dollars here — may win the bid.

That being the case, Tom Gaglardi, the Blazers’ majority owner, could use some of his family money to guarantee the profit, a move that just might give Kamloops an edge.

The 2018 Memorial Cup is to be held in Regina, with the 2019 tournament in Halifax.


BTW, the Blazers revealed their 2018-19 season-ticket prices this week, with premium tickets going for $657, adult for $582, senior for $478, and youth/student for $403. The premium price is up $16 from last season, with the other three each having gone up by $15. . . . The WHL, of course, is reducing its regular-season schedule from 72 to 68 games, meaning that increase is for two fewer home games than in 2017-18.


The WHL has 22 teams. What might be the over-under for the number of teams to increase season-ticket prices?


The WHL’s conference finals began on Friday night, with the host Swift Current Broncos whlskating to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, and the Everett Silvertips getting past the visiting Tri-City Americans, also 3-2. . . . Game 2 in each series will be played in the same venue tonight. . . . When this season began, who had those four teams in the conference finals? . . . In Swift Current, G Stuart Skinner stopped 38 shots and F Aleksi Heponiemi broke a 2-2 tie at 11:11 of the third period. In 29 career playoff games, he has one goal and 27 assists. . . . Artyom Minulin didn’t finish the game for the Broncos, but head coach Manny Viveiros told Shawn Mullin, the team’s radio voice, that the third-year Russian defenceman has “a touch of the flu.” . . . In Everett, G Carter Hart stopped 24 shots and F Garrett Pilon scored twice for the Silvertips. . . . F Morgan Geekie had one of the Americans’ goals, meaning he has at least one goal in each of the club’s nine playoff games this season. Tri-City went into the game with an 8-0 record in these playoffs. . . . Everett now has won five straight games.


Please note that final is singular, so it is the Western Conference final and the other series is the Eastern Conference final. The next round will be the WHL final. OK?


The SJHL final continued Friday night, with the Nipawin Hawks beating the visiting Estevan Bruins, 3-1, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven final for the Canalta Cup. They’ll play Game 6 in Estevan on Sunday. . . . The Bruins got the game’s first goal, from F Michael McChesney at 2:24 of the first period, but weren’t able to get another one past G Declan Hobbs. D Josh McDougall pulled the Hawks even at 10:17, and F Chad McCartney got what proved to be the winner at 1:33 of the second period. D Gage Misskey also scored for Nipawin, at 19:55 of the second. . . .

In the MJHL, the Steinbach Pistons hold a 3-2 lead over the Virden Oil Capitals, who are scheduled to play host to Game 6 tonight. The Oil Capitals won the first two games in the series, only to have the Pistons roar back with three straight victories, including 4-0 in Virden on Monday and 7-1 in Steinbach on Thursday. . . . The MJHL and SJHL winners will meet for the ANAVET Cup, with a berth in the Royal Bank Cup on the line. That tournament opens in Chilliwack, B.C., on May 12. . . .

In the BCHL, the Wenatchee, Wash., Wild wrapped up its first championship on Thursday, beating the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, 3-0, to win the Fred Page Cup in front of 3,845 fans in the Toyota Town Center. The Wild is in its third season in the BCHL. Wenatchee is the first American team to win the BCHL title since the Bellingham Blazers in 1979. . . . The Wild next will face the AJHL-champion Spruce Grove Saints, starting in Wenatchee with games on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The winner of that series will advance to the Royal Bank Cup in Chilliwack. . . . The Saints won the AJHL title on Friday, beating the host Okotoks Oilers, 3-2, to take the Inter Pipeline Cup final, 4-1.

If you’re wondering how Wenatchee and Spruce Grove will handle the travel, here’s an excerpt from an AJHL news release:

“If one team sweeps the first two games (in Wenatchee), the remainder of the series will be played in Spruce Grove. If the teams split the opening two games, Game 3 will be played in Wenatchee before the series switches to Spruce Grove for the remainder of the series.”


Assistant coach Ian Herbers’ three-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers is soon to Saskatoonexpire. He took a three-year sabbatical from the U of Alberta Golden Bears — he had been their head coach — to sign with the Oilers. Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports right here that Herbers, should his deal with the Oilers not be renewed, could be headed back to the Golden Bears. . . . Matheson also reports that Serge Lajoie, who replaced Herbers at the U of A, “has interviewed for the vacant (head-coaching) job with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, which sounds like he’s being proactive (in case) Herbers moves back to the Bears.” . . . The Blades are looking for a head coach after firing Dean Brockman at the end of the regular season.


USA Hockey announced Friday that David Quinn will be head coach of its junior team that will play in the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, Dec. 26 through Jan. 5. . . . Quinn just completed his fourth season as the head coach of the Boston University Terriers. . . . Quinn’s assistant coaches with Team USA will be Mike Hastings of Minnesota State-Mankato, David Lassonde of Dartmouth and Steve Miller of Ohio State.


The Delta Hockey Academy has added a pair of former WHLers to its coaching staff. Milan Dragicevic takes over the Bantam Prep White team, while Rick Lanz will coach the U15 team. . . . Dragicevic played with the Regina Pats, New Westminster Bruins, Tri-City Americans, Spokane Chiefs and Victoria Cougars (1986-90), and later spent four seasons as an assistant coach with the Americans and two (2000-02) as the Vancouver Giants’ head coach. He also spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . Lanz was on the Americans’ coaching staff for one season (1997-98).


If you’re young and thinking about a career as a play-by-play man, the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks may have a spot for you. They are looking for someone to handle play-by-play and to manage their social media accounts. . . . There’s more right here.


You see it before NHL games — a player seated on a bench cracks open a small packet, waves it under his nose and grimaces, and you know he’s ready. But what is that all about, and is it performance-enhancing? . . . The incomparable Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail checks it out in an entertaining read that is right here.