F T.J. Foster (Edmonton, 2008-13) has signed a one-year contract extension with the Guildford Flames (England, UK Elite). Last season, he had 11 goals and 30 assists in 50 games. He actually started the season on a try-out contract with Sport Vaasa (Finland, Liiga), going pointless in one game. . . .
F Braden Christoffer (Regina, 2012-15) has signed a one-year contract with Stjernen Fredrikstad (Norway, GET-Ligaen). Last season, in 47 games with the Bakersfield Condors (AHL), he had seven goals and three assists. . . .
F Evan Bloodoff (Kelowna, 2006-11) has signed a one-year contract with the Coventry Blaze (England, UK Elite). Last season, with the Fife Flyers (Scotland, UK Elite), he had 27 goals and 17 assists in 55 games. He led the Flyers in goals.
F Matt Savoie, the first-overall selection in the 2019 WHL bantam draft, has turned his back on the U of Denver Pioneers and signed with the Winnipeg Ice.
The Ice announced Thursday that Savoie had signed a WHL contract. The move comes after he made a verbal commitment to Denver in March.
“Obviously, it’s a tough decision,” Savoie told Winnipeg radio station CJOB. “Both are great options. It was a long process. . . . In the end I felt Winnpeg gave me the best opportunity to develop as a player and a person.”
Savoie and family members visited Winnipeg and the Ice’s training facility and the Rink Hockey Academy after the May 2 bantam draft.
Savoie, 15, and his older brother, Carter, also spent last weekend in a spring camp that was put on by the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints.
The Ice also holds the WHL rights to Carter, 17, who was the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Carter also has made a commitment to Denver. The Ice acquired Carter’s rights from the Regina Pats on April 3. On Thursday, Carter said in a tweet that he intends to return to the Crusaders and that he also intends to honour his commitment to Denver.
“We’re pretty close,” Matt told CJOB of his relationship with Carter, “but we know we both have different paths in our hockey careers.”
The Ice held the first two selections in the 2019 bantam draft in Red Deer on May 2. It used the picks to take Savoie and F Conor Geekie, both of whom now have signed WHL deals.
From St. Albert, Alta., Savoie had 31 goals and 40 assists in 31 regular-season games with the Northern Alberta X-Treme prep team. In five playoff games, he put up three goals and nine assists, helping his club win the league title. He later was honoured as the league’s MVP.
That came one year after he was the bantam prep league’s MVP for finishing 2017-18 with 28 goals and 69 assists in 30 regular-season games for the X-Treme.
The Savoie family applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional status late in 2018. While Hockey Canada has yet to make an official announcement, numerous reports this spring indicated that the application had been denied.
Had Savoie been granted exceptional status, he would have been eligible to be on the Ice’s roster in 2019-20. As things now rest, he is eligible to play five games before his club team has it’s season end, after which he could join the Ice on a full-time basis. He also is eligible to play games with the Ice in 2019-20 on an emergency basis, and who knows what the maximum is under that rule?
When it was suggest to him by CJOB that he could play five games with the Ice in 2019-20, Savoie responded: “That’s a question for the WHL.”
If Hockey Canada doesn’t grant him exceptional status, he could return to the X-Treme for a second season with the midget team. He also could play a number of junior A games with the Crusaders as an AP.
Asked by Winnipeg radio station CJOB where he will play in 2019-20, Savoie replied that it is “undetermined where we’re going or what we’re doing.”
In the same news release that revealed Savoie’s signing, the Ice announced that it has released 100 more seats at Wayne Fleming Arena, the rink on the U of Manitoba campus in which it will play at least its next two seasons. After renovations, that arena is expected to have a capacity of around 1,600. The Ice didn’t reveal whether Savoie will get a cut of tickets that were sold after his signing was announced.
WHL 2019 FIRST-ROUNDERS
3. Prince George — D Keaton Dowhaniuk
4. Prince George — F Koehn Ziemmer
7. Kamloops — D Mats Lindgren
14. Swift Current — F Matthew Ward
20. Kamloops — F Connor Levis
21. Swift Current — D Tyson Jugnauth
1. Winnipeg — F Matthew Savoie
2. Winnipeg — F Conor Geekie
5. Brandon — F Nate Danielson
6. Brandon — F Tyson Zimmer
8. Seattle — F Jordan Gustafson
9. Saskatoon — F Brandon Lisowsky
10. Seattle — D Kevin Korchinski
11. Moose Jaw — D Denton Mateychuk
12. Medicine Hat — F Oasiz Wiesblatt
13. Calgary — D Grayden Siepmann
15. Spokane — F Ben Thornton
16. Brandon — F Rylen Roersma
17. Regina — D Layton Feist
18. Edmonton — F Caleb Reimer
19. Victoria — D Jason Spizawka
22. Prince Albert — F Niall Crocker
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The Victoria Royals have acquired D Will Warm, 20, from the Edmonton Oil Kings for a fifth-round selection in the 2021 WHL bantam draft. . . . From Whistler, B.C., Warm played three seasons with the Oil Kings. Last season, he had two assists in 33 games. He missed a lot of time with a knee injury. . . . In 153 regular-season games, he has 10 goals and 28 assists. . . . The Oil Kings selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 bantam draft. . . . Warm also was named the WHL’s humanitarian of the year for the 2018-19 season, winning the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy. . . . Warm is one of eight 20-year-olds on Victoria’s roster, joining F D-Jay Jerome, Belarusian F Igor Martynov, F Tanner Sidaway, D Jameson Murray, D Scott Walford, D Jake Kustra and G Shane Farkas. . . . Farkas was acquired from the Portland Winterhawks on May 2. . . .
Edmonton’s roster now includes four 20-year-olds — F Zach Russell, D Parker Gavlas, D Conner McDonald and G Dylan Myskiw. F Trey Fix-Wolansky also is 20, but has signed an NHL contract and is expected to play in the Columbus Blue Jackets’ organization.
The Medicine Hat Tigers have signed D Ryan Nolan to a WHL contract. Nolan, from Calgary, was a third-round selection in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Last season, he had eight goals and 16 assists in 31 games with the bantam AAA Calgary Northstar Sabres.
Darrell Hay is back in the coaching game, having signed on with the Boise State Broncos. Hay, 39, is the son of Don Hay, who has more victories than any head coach in WHL history. . . . Darrell, a defenceman, played four seasons (1996-2000) with the Tri-City Americans. . . . During his pro career, he spent three seasons (2004-05, 2006-08) in Boise playing for the Idaho Steelheads. He is employed by the City of Boise, working in the Parks and Recreation Department, with a focus on the Ice Pilot youth hockey program. . . . Before relocating to Boise, Hay spent one season (2016-17) as an assistant with the BCHL’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks. . . . With the Broncos, he will work alongside head coach Lloyd Ayers. . . . The Broncos play in the PAC 8, an American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II league.