Night belongs to penalty-killers . . . Cougars go to Un-Teddy Bear Toss . . . Raiders’ win streak reaches 18


MacBeth

D Cam Barker (Medicine Hat, 2001-06) has been released by Ilves Tampere (Finland, Liiga). In seven games, he had one assist, while averaging 16:06 TOI. Barker signed a one-year contract with Ilves on Oct. 24. The contract contained a tryout clause through the end of November. . . . Barker suffered an undisclosed injury in a game on Nov. 21. According to the Ilves website, the injury required surgery, which was performed Tuesday.


ThisThat

I couldn’t resist posting the above tweet because it’s great to see that Chris Mast hasn’t lost his touch with a camera. He has long been an exceptional hockey photographer and it’s obvious from the above photo that he continues to set the bar high.


What did F Ryan Jevne and D Dylan Plouffe have in common in WHL action on Wednesday night?

There were eight games on the schedule and Jevne, who plays for the Medicine Hat whlTigers, and Plouffe, who skates for the Vancouver Giants scored the night’s only PP goals.

Jevne, who had three goals in the Tigers’ 6-2 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels, scored on the PP at 11:59 of the third period for a 5-2 lead. The Tigers were 1-3 with the man advantage.

In Kelowna, the Giants went 1-5, with Plouffe scoring the game’s first goal, via the PP, at 8:17 of the first period.

All told, the 16 teams in action went 2-56 on the PP, meaning that the night belonged to the penalty-killers. The Spokane Chiefs went 0-9 in beating the visiting Prince George Cougars, 4-0.


The Prince George Cougars have decided to “unfriend the teddy bear.”

You read that correctly. They have done away with the annual game during which fans PrinceGeorgewere invited to throw stuffed toys onto the ice when the Cougars scored their first goal.

Instead, the Cougars, in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Northland Auto Group, are playing host to the “Un-Teddy” Bear Toss game on Sunday, 2 p.m., against the Victoria Royals.

From a Cougars’ news release:

“All fans who attend Sunday afternoon’s game are encouraged to bring warm winter clothes (coats, toques, socks, blankets, and mittens) to the game. When the Cougars score their first goal, you are invited to throw your bagged donations onto the ice. All items will be distributed to people in need over the holidays through the Salvation Army in Prince George.”

Fans are encouraged “to put their items in a plastic bag before tossing onto the ice, to keep everything dry and in great shape and ready to be donated.”

Andy Beesley, the Cougars’ vice-president of business, told CKPG-TV: “In reality, what our community really needs is warm winter clothing — scarves, hats, mitts, pants, toques, that type of thing. We love our teddy bears and people are welcome to bring them if they want, but we actually would really love it if people also bring some clothing to throw on the ice when the Cougars score.”


The Kamloops Blazers, with two games this weekend, have brought in G Rayce Ramsay Kamloops1as insurance in case starter Dylan Ferguson isn’t able to play. . . . Ferguson, 20, who was involved in a goal-mouth collision, left after the second period of a 3-1 loss to the Chiefs in Spokane on Saturday. . . . Ramsay, 17, is from Saskatoon and has been playing with the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos. He made two appearances with the Blazers earlier in the season, going 0-1-0, 1.99, .931. . . . The Blazers are likely to start Dylan Garand (2-1-1, 2.46, .914) against the visiting Saskatoon Blades on Friday. The Seattle Thunderbirds are to visit Kamloops on Saturday.


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Linden Saip, a former WHL defenceman, has been named the interim head coach of the SurreyEaglesBCHL’s Surrey Eagles following the firing of Peter Schaefer. . . . Schaefer was hired as an assistant coach under head coach Brandon West on July 26. However, West and the Eagles came to one of those mutual agreements to part company on Aug. 28 and Schafer was named head coach. . . . Saip had been an assistant coach under West and then Schaefer. . . . The Eagles also hired Lee Stone as an assistant coach. . . . Associate coach Brad Tobin remains on staff. . . . Saip, 27, is in his second season with Surrey. He is a former Eagles player (2010-12), who played in the who with the Vancouver Giants and Kamloops Blazers before going on to player with the UBC Thunderbirds. . . . Stone spent six years with the junior B Campbell River Storm of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. He is a Surrey native. . . . The Eagles (7-23-1) are last in the five-team Mainland Division, 12 points out of fourth. . . . There is more on these moves right here.


WEDNESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Luka Burzan scored two goals and set up another to help the Brandon Wheat Kings to a BrandonWKregular5-1 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current. . . . The Wheat Kings (11-7-6) had lost their previous three games. . . . The Broncos slipped to 4-19-2. . . . F Cole Reinhardt (3) gave Brandon a 2-1 lead at 7:57 of the second period, and F Ridly Greig (5) added insurance at 18:57. . . . Burzan, who has 15 goals, opened the scoring at 3:16 of the first period and closed it at 12:22 of the third. . . . G Jiri Patera stopped 31 shots to earn the victory. . . . F Nolan Ritchie, 16, made his debut with the Wheat Kings. Ritchie, who is from Brandon, was a third-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft and is in his second season with the midget AAA Wheat Kings. This season, he has 14 goals and 21 assists in 19 games. His father, Darren, is a former Wheat Kings player and assistant coach who now is the organization’s director of scouting.


The Prince Albert Raiders ran their winning streak to 18 with a 5-3 victory over the Oil PrinceAlbertKings in Edmonton. . . . The Raiders (25-1-0) next are scheduled to play Saturday when the meet the Pats in Regina. . . . Prince Albert had won a franchise-record eight straight road games. . . . The Oil Kings (14-10-4) have lost three in a row (0-1-1). . . . The Raiders took a 3-0 lead into the second period and stretched it to 5-1 when F Aliaksei Protas (6) scored at 6:12. . . . F Parker Kelly scored two of Prince Albert’s first three goals. He’s got 13. . . . The game featured the WHL’s two leading scorers. . . . F Brett Leason of the Raiders drew three assists and maintained his lead atop the WHL scoring race. . . . F Trey Fix-Wolansky scored all three of Edmonton’s goals, given him 18. . . . Leason leads the WHL in goals (26) and points (59). Fix-Wolansky is second in points (55) and leads in assists (37).


The Moose Jaw Warriors opened up a 3-0 lead and went on to beat the Kootenay Ice, 3-1, MooseJawWarriorsin Cranbrook, B.C. . . . The Warriors (13-5-4) have points in eight straight (7-0-1). . . . The Ice (7-17-4) has lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . F Keenan Taphorn (6), who was acquired by the Warriors from the Ice, got the game’s first goal, at 7:46 of the first period. . . . D Josh Brook (8) made it 2-0 at 3:35 of the second period, and D Jett Woo (3) upped it to 3-0 at 1:55 of the third. . . . F Peyton Krebs (7) got the Ice’s goal, at 10:21. . . . The Warriors got 26 saves from G Adam Evanoff. With G Brodan Salmond out with an undisclosed injury, Moose Jaw had Jackson Berry backing up. Berry, who will turn 16 on Dec. 6, is from Chestermere, Alta. A sixth-round pick in the WHL’s 2017 bantam draft, he plays for the Edmonton-OHA midget prep team. . . . The Ice had Krebs and D Valtteri Kakkonen back from injuries, but were missing F Cam Hausinger and F Connor McClennon.


F Ryan Jevne scored three times and added an assist to lead the host Medicine Hat Tigers Tigers Logo Officialto a 6-2 victory over the Red Deer Rebels. . . . The Tigers (12-12-3) have won two in a row. . . . The Rebels (16-8-1) have lost three in a row. . . . D Trevor Longo (3) gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead at 1:48 of the third period, with F James Hamblin (11) making it 4-2 at 7:48. . . . Jevne, who had scored the game’s first goal, completed the scoring with the last two scores, at 11:59 and 18:43. He’s got 10 goals. . . . G Mads Søgaard, the Danish freshman, stopped 21 shots for the Tigers with his father, Brian, in the stands. . . . Medicine Hat held a 47-23 edge in shots. . . . The Rebels were without D Alex Alexeyev for a second straight game.


F Milos Roman broke a 1-1 tie at 9:41 of the second period and the visiting Vancouver Giants went on to a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets. . . . Vancouver (18-6-2) has won four in a row. . . . Kelowna (11-15-1) has lost two straight. . . . D Dylan Plouffe (4) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 8:17 of the first period. . . . F Nolan Foote (16) got the Rockets even, while shorthanded, at 10:07. . . . G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots for the Giants, 12 fewer than Kelowna’s Roman Basran.


G Bailey Brkin turned aside 27 shots to lead the host Spokane Chiefs to a 4-0 victory over the Prince George Cougars. . . . Spokane (14-8-3) has won three in a row. . . . Prince George (10-12-3) has lost two straight. . . . Brkin posted his second shutout of the season and third of his career. This season, he is 10-3-2, 2.50, .922. . . . F Riley Woods scored twice for Spokane, including the opener at 4:13 of the first period. He’s got 20 goals in 25 games; he finished last season with 25 in 72. . . . F Adam Beckman (13) and F Cordel Larson (3), into an empty net, also scored for the Chiefs. . . . F Luc Smith, who was acquired Monday from Kamloops, had an assist in his Spokane debut. . . . Chiefs D Ty Smith had two assists.


G Dorrin Luding blocked 30 shots to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 2-1 victory over the SaskatoonRoyals in Victoria. . . . Saskatoon (16-9-2) is 2-1-0 on a B.C. Division tour that continues Friday in Kamloops. . . . Victoria (12-9-0) has lost three in a row. . . . Luding, who usually backs up Nolan Maier, was making his seventh appearance of the season, his first start since Nov. 3. . . . F Kristian Roykas Marthinsen (8) put Saskatoon ahead 1-0 at 12:39 of the second period. . . . D Scott Walford (2) scored for Victoria at 1:00 of the third. . . . F Zach Huber won it for Saskatoon with his fifth goal of the season, at 3:45. . . . The Royals lost F Kaid Oliver, their leading scorer, to a headshot major and game misconduct at 17:45 of the second period. The penalty came for a hit on Blades D Dawson Davidson.


The Everett Silvertips scored the game’s last four goals and beat the visiting Portland EverettWinterhawks, 4-1. . . . Everett (20-7-1) has points in six straight (5-0-1). . . . Portland (14-10-2) has lost two in a row. . . . F Cross Hanas (3) gave the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 10:22 of the first period. . . . F Reece Vitelli (3) pulled Everett even at 14:40 of the second, and F Sean Richards (8) snapped the tie at 15:27. . . . F Martin Fasko-Rudas (7) and F Connor Dewar (22) had third-period goals, the latter into an empty net. . . . Everett G Dustin Wolf blocked 34 shots, three fewer than Portland’s Shane Farkas. . . . F Cody Glass was among Portland’s scratches. . . . The Silvertips were without D Gianni Fairbrother, who completed a two-game suspension. . . . These teams already have met seven times this season, with Everett having won five times. They will face each other three more times before season’s end.


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Scattershooting on Sunday . . . Petes trade one player, get nine draft picks . . . Goaltenders in WHL news . . . Schlenker’s movin’ on up

Scattershooting

“San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt named his newborn son August,” reports Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times, “in honor of his college coach at Texas, the late Augie Garrido. Just be thankful the Longhorns hired Garrido instead of Oil Can Boyd.”



Jack Finarelli, who is at sportscurmudgeon.com, had this analysis of a recent trade between the Green Bay Packer and Seattle Seahawks: “The Packers sent backup QB, Brent Hundley to the Seahawks where he will carry a clipboard for Russell Wilson instead of Aaron Rodgers. Hundley showed last season that he might someday become a journeyman QB who will not throw up on his shoes.”



College football players are being ejected when ruled to have targeted another player’s head for a helmet-to-helmet hit. In the WHL, meanwhile, teenagers are allowed to punch each other in the face and get only major penalties.



Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, writing about the mess at Ohio State: “Read the public documents Ohio State collected in its investigation of Urban Meyer and you will never again be able to view him as anything but boneless.”

The complete column is right here. After reading it you will never look at a plucked chicken the same way again.


Surely it is only a coincidence that Chris Jones, the vice-president of football operations, general manager, head coach and defensive co-ordinator, and his Saskatchewan Roughriders are 3-0 since ridding themselves of Duron (The Distraction) Carter. Right?


Here’s Janice Hough, who can be found at leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Bottled water has an expiration date?! So what happens when it expires?”



With Air Canada and WestJet having increased the fees to check bags, perhaps it’s time people flew in the baggage compartment and the bags were strapped into the seats.


MacBeth

F Kris Versteeg (Lethbridge, Kamloops, Red Deer, 2002-06) signed a one-year contract with Avangard Omsk (Russia, KHL). Last season, he had three goals and five assists in 24 games with the Calgary Flames (NHL). . . .

F Ryan Hollweg (Medicine Hat, 1999-2004) has been released by Plzeň (Czech Republic, Extraliga) by mutual agreement due to “long-term health problems.” Hollweg signed a one-year extension with Plzeň in April. Last season, he had two goals and two assists in 41 games.


ThisThat

When the OHL held what it calls its priority selection — most of us call it a draft — the Peterborough Petes selected F Will Cuylle in the first round.

Cuylle, who played last season with the minor midget AAA Toronto Marlboros, and his ohlfamily had told the Petes that he wouldn’t report if they selected him. The Petes rolled the dice and took him anyway, then tried to convince him to report.

When that failed, they traded him to the Windsor Spitfires on Friday in a deal that resulted in the Petes acquiring nine draft picks. Yes, NINE!

Here are the particulars from a Petes news release:

In the deal, Peterborough acquires one first-round pick, four second-round picks, three third-round picks, and one fifth-round pick, as follows:

  • Kingston’s 2nd round pick in 2019
  • Kingston’s 3rd round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 5th round pick in 2020
  • Windsor’s 3rd round pick in 2021
  • Barrie’s 2nd round pick in 2022
  • Windsor’s 3rd round in 2023
  • Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024* (conditional)
  • 1st round pick (5th overall) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)
  • 2nd round pick (end of round) in 2019 (OHL Compensatory Pick)

* Should Windsor acquire a 2nd round pick in 2020 or 2021, Peterborough will receive that pick and return Kitchener’s 2nd round pick in 2024.

The Petes also will receive the 5th overall pick and the last pick in the 2nd round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection as compensation from the Ontario Hockey League.

——

In the OHL, if a team’s first-round selection doesn’t report to training camp he is considered to be a “defected” player and the team will get a compensatory pick if it trades the player prior to Sept. 15. The drafting team also gets a second-round pick if the player in question was a top five pick.

——

With the restrictions that the WHL apparently has placed on the trading of young players, we are left to wonder if we will start to see these kinds of deals happen in the WHL.

(ICYMI, I wrote about those restrictions right here.)

When a team is loading up because it is to play host to a Memorial Cup, will it be prepared to trade away six or seven bantam draft picks in order to land a star player who just might put that team over the top?


Chris Schlenker, a former WHL player and on-ice official, has been promoted by the NHL and will be a full-time referee this season.

Schlenker, 34, worked in the AHL and NHL last season.

From Medicine Hat, he played four seasons (2001-05) in the WHL, playing two-plus seasons with the Regina Pats and one-plus with the Prince Albert Raiders.

He also spent 10 years as a member of the Medicine Hat Police Service.

There is more on Schlenker right here, from scoutingtherefs.com.


The Prince Albert Raiders have added G Donovan Buskey, 18, from the Spokane Chiefs in PrinceAlbertexchange for a sixth-round selection in the WHL’s 2020 bantam draft.

Buskey, from Vancouver, was a third-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2015 bantam draft. Last season, he was 10-10-0, 3.56, .871, with one shutout, in 22 appearances with the Spokane.

Adding Buskey adds to the Raiders’ goaltending depth and could figure in the 20-year-old decision-making process as the start of the regular season grows near.

Ian Scott, 19, who will go to camp with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, is No. 1 on the depth chart. Curtis Meger, 20, and Brett Balas, 17, also are on the Raiders’ roster.

The other 20-year-olds on the roster are F Kody McDonald and F Sean Montgomery. They also hold the WHL rights to F Noah Gregor, 20, who could end up with the San Jose Barracuda, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. The Raiders acquired Gregor’s rights from the Victoria Royals earlier in the summer.



The Prince George Cougars will open the regular season with Isaiah DiLaura, 18, and Taylor Gauthier, 17, as their goaltenders.

Gauthier is atop the depth chart. Last season, he was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885. This summer, he PrinceGeorgeplayed with the Canadian U-18 team that won the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In fact, Gauthier, from Calgary, was the winning goaltender in the final, coming on with his side down 2-0 and stopping 16 shots as Canada beat Sweden, 6-2.

The 10th overall selection in the 2016 bantam draft, Gauthier was 8-18-3, 3.96, .885 last season.

DiLaura, from Elko New Market, Minn., was 3-3-2, 3.94, .888, in 14 appearances.

The third goaltender on their roster at the moment is Tyler Brennan, a first-round selection in the 2018 bantam draft who won’t turn 15 until Sept. 27. From Winnipeg, he will return to the Rink Hockey Academy and play for the midget prep team.

Ted Clarke of the Prince George Citizen has more right here.


Because of injuries, the Edmonton Oil Kings used five goaltenders last season as they went 22-42-8 and missed the playoffs.

This season, with exhibition games just having started, they already are down to three EdmontonOilKingsand one of those, Sebastian Cossa, won’t turn 16 until Nov. 21.

Chances are that the Oil Kings, under first-year head coach Brad Lauer, will open the regular season with Todd Scott, 18, who was acquired last season from the Vancouver Giants, and Boston Bilous, 17, a fourth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft, as their goaltenders.

Scott, from Albertville, Minn., was 4-5-0, 3.89, .883 after joining the Oil Kings last season. He had been 8-7-4, 4.11, .869 with the Giants when they sent him east.

Bilous, from Langley, B.C., got into 16 games and went 0-10-1, 4.72, .838.

Cossa, from Fort McMurray, Alta., was a second-round pick in the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played for the midget AAA Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, going 3.37, .915 in 19 games. In seven playoff games, he was 2.28, .943.

With the three young goaltenders, Lauer told Derek Van Diest of Postmedia that age won’t have much to do with which two make the roster.

“They’re all young, so I don’t think the age part of it comes into play,” Later said. “It’s going to be how you’re playing that comes into play. I know we’ll be good defensively and responsible so, for me, goaltending is going to be how the exhibition seasons goes and how they develop through that.”

Van Diest’s complete story is right here.


The Saskatoon Blades are down to three goaltenders after releasing Cameron Beson, 16, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta. He has been in two Blades’ training camps now, and Saskatoonhas been placed on their protected list.

Sophomore Nolan Maier, a 17-year-old from Yorkton, is the Blades’ starter after going 23-17-2, 3.31, .895 in 43 appearances last season. He spent part of his summer winning gold with Canada’s U-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, going 3.12, .872 in four games.

The other two goaltenders on the roster are Dorrin Luding, 19, of Prince George, and Koen MacInnes, a 16-year-old from Burnaby, B.C.

The Blades re-acquired Luding on June 21, getting him from the Seattle Thunderbirds on June 21 for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2020 bantam draft. Saskatoon had selected him in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Last season, Luding got into 11 games with the Everett Silvertips (3-6-0, 3.64, .891) and 17 with Seattle (6-9-1, 3.81, .881). In 30 career games, he is 9-15-1, 3.75, .886.

Saskatoon picked MacInnes in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the Burnaby Winter Club’s Elite 15s, going 2.36, .926 in 17 regular-season games.

The Blades have opened the exhibition season by going 3-0-0.


The Brandon Wheat Kings, who wrapped up training camp with their intrasquad game BrandonWKregularon Sunday, also are down to three goaltenders after releasing Connor Ungar, 16.

That leaves the Wheat Kings with Ethan Kruger, Dylan Myskiw and Jiri Patera as the remaining goaltenders.

Myskiw, 19, got into 22 games with Brandon last season, going 11-5-2, 3.41, .887. He spent the season backing up Logan Thompson, who was playing out his eligibility.

Patera, 19, is from Praha, Czech Republic. He played last season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, after the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2017 draft. He has yet to sign a pro contract, and will leave later this week to attend the Golden Knights’ camp.

Kruger, who turns 17 on Sept. 27, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was a fifth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft. Last season, he played with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings.


F Ryan Vandervlis of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who was badly burned during an incident involving a firepit on June 15, is back home after being released from a Calgary hospital on Friday.

Vandervlis, 20, suffered burns to as much as 60 per cent of his body and spent four weeks in a medically induced coma. For the last part of his hospital stay, he was in the burn unit at Foothills Hospital.

Two other hockey players — Jordy Bellerive and Matt Alfaro — were injured in the incident that took place at the home of former Hurricanes captain Tyler Wong near Calgary. Bellerive, the Hurricanes’ captain, is in camp with his club. Alfaro will be going into his second season with the U of Calgary Dinos.

Bellerive scored twice, including the OT winner, as Lethbridge opened its exhibition season with a 5-4 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday night.



The junior B Creston Valley Thunder Cats found themselves without a general manager and head coach earlier this week when Brad Tobin left to join the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles as an assistant coach. . . . Tobin, 29, worked as an assistant with the Eagles for six seasons (2010-16) before leaving to join the Thunder Cats. . . . In Surrey, Tobin will work alongside Peter Schaefer, who took over as head coach on Aug. 28 following the departure of Brandon West. . . . One week before Tobin handed in his resignation, the Thunder Cats lost assistant coach Carter Duffin, who left to join the KIJHL’s Castlegar Rebels. . . . Earlier, Jeff Wagner, another Creston assistant coach, joined the Fernie Ghostriders as GM and head coach. After he left, Tobin hired Duffin, who had been with the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins, as an assistant coach.


G Kyle Dumba, 20, had his junior A rights swapped this week when the Nanaimo Clippers acquired them from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, who got back D Sam MacBean, 20. . . . Dumba, who has split 41 career regular-season WHL games between the Calgary Hitmen, Kamloops Blazers and Everett Silvertips, is in camp with the Regina Pats. He finished last season on the Pats’ roster, but didn’t get into any regular-season games. Last season, he also got into 30 regular-season and three playoff games with Salmon Arm.


Karablog
Kara is answering the phone and taking pledges as her grandma, Dorothy Drinnan, prepares for her fifth straight Kamloops Kidney Walk on Sept. 23. (Todd Drinnan photo)

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 — and she is closing in on $2,000 — you are able to do so right here.


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