Have Rockets lost key d-man to Iles? . . . Kelowna, Seattle cut major trade. . . . Hitmen acquire Woo from Warriors. . . . Ice makes big noise in bantam draft


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F Dylan Stanley (Tri-City, 2000-05) has signed a one-year contract extension with Feldkirch (Austria, Alps HL). This season, he had 18 goals and 39 assists in 40 games. He led the team in assists and was second in points. He was second in the league in assists and fifth in points. . . . Stanley also was the team’s skills coach and director of player development for the Feldkirch minor hockey program this season and will continue in those roles next season. . . .

F Brett Breitkreuz (Kelowna, Edmonton, Vancouver, 2006-10) has signed a one-year contract with the Bietigheim Steelers (Germany, DEL2). This season, with Löwen Frankfurt (Germany, DEL2), he had 16 goals and 17 assists in 42 games. Next season will be his 10th in Germany. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship. . . .

G Chet Pickard (Tri-City, 2005-09) signed a two-year contract with Grizzlys Wolfsburg (Germany, DEL). This season, with Adler Mannheim (Germany, DEL), he was 19-4-0, 1.96, .914, with three shutouts, in 24 games. He was second in the league in GAA and sixth in save percentage. He holds dual German-Canadian citizenship.


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Part I: Some trades and odds and ends from the WHL’s bantam draft. . . .

I would suggest that the biggest news came from the camp of the Kelowna Rockets, and it didn’t have anything to do with a deal that was struck with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Rather, it involved Finnish D Lassi Thomson.

In fact, there are reports that Ilves of Finland’s top pro league has a deal with Thomson that includes an option for him to stay through the 2021-22 season.

Bruce Hamilton, the Rockets’ president and general manager, had this to say in a news KelownaRocketsrelease: “We’re aware of the report that was released today. We were somewhat surprised; however, Lassi has always been under contract to Ilves as they had to release him to play for us this season. We look forward to the NHL draft (in) June. We are hopeful that whichever NHL team drafts him and his club team Ilves decides that playing for the Rockets is in his best interest.”

Hamilton also told Regan Bartel, the Rockets’ radio voice: “Once he is picked, the NHL team will have input on where he goes anyways. I think the NHL team will want to see him play in North America so they see him as much as they want. They can have their developmental people with him and have him playing on a North American ice sheet.”

Thomson, who had a one-year contract to play over here, was the Western Conference nominee as rookie of the year after a season in which he put up 17 goals and 24 assists in 63 games. You can bet the Rockets were looking to him to run their first PP unit as they prepare to be the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup.

From Tampere, Finland, Thomson won’t turn 19 until Sept. 24.

At home, he played in the Ilves system for four seasons — U-16, U-18 and U-20 — before joining the Rockets.

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Meanwhile, the Rockets made a splash on draft day by cutting a major trade with the Thunderbirds. . . . Kelowna acquired D Jake Lee, F Dillon Hamaliuk and G Cole SeattleSchwebius, giving up F Conner Bruggen-Cate, the 10th-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft — the Rockets had acquired it earlier in the day from the Brandon Wheat Kings — a second-round pick in 2021 and Kelowna’s first-rounder in 2022. . . . The Rockets didn’t make the playoffs this season and are in the early days of a massive rebuild as they attempt to get competitive for a season that will end with them as the host team for the 2020 Memorial Cup. . . .

Lee, who is to turn 18 on July 13, is from Sherwood Park, Alta. He was the 18th-overall pick in the 2016 bantam draft. This season, his second in Seattle, he put up three goals and 21 assists in 67 games. . . . Hamaliuk, who will turn 19 on Oct. 30, is from Leduc, Alta. He was a sixth-round pick in the 2015 bantam draft. His season was ended by injury after 31 games, as he finished with 11 goals and 15 assists. . . . Schwebius, a 10th-round pick in the 2016 bantam draft, is from Kelowna. This season, he was 5-8-2, 3.89, .886 in 17 games with Seattle. . . .

Schwebius, 18, leaves the Rockets with three goaltenders on their roster, joining Roman Basran, who is to turn 18 on July 26, and James Porter, 19. This season, Basra was 20-19-4, 2.79, .906 in 51 games; Porter went 8-13-4, 3.32, .899 in 30 appearances.

Bruggen-Cate, who is heading into his 20-year-old season, is from Langley, B.C. He has played three seasons in Kelowna, totalling 26 goals and 46 assists in 200 games. Kelowna selected him in the sixth round of the 2014 bantam draft.

Seattle’s 20-year-old group now includes Bruggen-Cate, F Jaxan Kaluski, Slovakian F Andrej Kukuca, D Jarret Tyszka and F Matthew Wedman,


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Seattle, having dealt Schwebius to Kelowna, turned around and acquired G Blake Lyda of Edmonton from the Everett Silvertips for a third-round pick in the 2021 bantam draft. . . . That selection had originated with Everett, moving to Seattle in a Jan. 1 deal that had F Zack Andrusiak move to the Silvertips. . . . Lyda, who will turn 17 on May 21, was a fourth-round pick by Everett in the 2017 bantam draft. He was with the midget AAA Edmonton CAC Canadians, although he missed much of the season due to injury. . . . Right now, Lyda and Roddy Ross, who is to turn 19 on July 4, are the top two goaltenders on Seattle’s depth chart.


Kelowna acquired the 10th-overall pick, along with the WHL rights to D Sean Comrie, BrandonWKregularfrom Brandon for the fifth-overall pick in the 2019 bantam draft. . . . Comrie, 19, is from Edmonton. The Wheat Kings selected him in the second round of the 2015 bantam draft. Comrie was a freshman this season with the U of Denver Pioneers, after playing two seasons with the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints. This season, he had seven goals and 27 assists in 34 games. . . . The deal left Brandon with the fifth and sixth selections, the first time it held two top six picks since 2013 when it took F Nolan Patrick fourth overall and D Kale Clague with the sixth pick. . . . This time, the Wheat Kings took F Nate Danielson of Red Deer with the fifth selection and F Tyson Zimmer of Russell, Man., in the six hole. . . . Danielson had 26 goals and 33 assists in 29 games with the bantam AAA Rebels this season, while Zimmer had 22 goals and 30 assists in 26 games with a bantam team at the OHA in Penticton.


The Winnipeg Ice acquired the third-overall selection and D Reece Harsch, 20, from the wpgiceSaskatoon Blades for four draft picks — the ninth- and 24th-overall picks in the 2019 bantam draft, as well as a 2020 second-round pick and a fifth in 2021. . . . That ninth-overall pick and the second-round selection in 2020 originated with the Red Deer Rebels; the fifth started with the Blades and was dealt to the Ice for F Cyle McNabb in January. . . . The Ice then cut a deal with the Prince George Cougars, giving up the third-overall pick and a third in 2020 that originated with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the second-overall selection in 2019. . . . Winnipeg selected F Matt Savoie of St. Albert, Alta., with the first pick, and then took F Conor Geekie of Strathclair, Man., with the second selection. . . . Savoie has made a verbal commitment to the U of Denver Pioneers starting with the 2021-22 season. His brother, Carter, was the AJHL’s rookie of the year with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has committed to the Pioneers for the 2020-21 season. . . . Interestingly, the Ice recently acquired Carter’s WHL rights from the Regina Pats. . . . The Ice brought the Savoies to Winnipeg in mid-April to show them around and seriously begin their sales pitch. . . . Geekie’s father, Craig, played in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs (1991-94). Conor’s brother Morgan played three seasons (2015-18) with the Tri-City Americans, while another brother, Noah, was a second-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in 2015 but has chosen to pursue a career in baseball. . . . Harsch, from Grande Prairie, Alta., was acquired by the Blades from the Seattle Thunderbirds this season. He totalled four goals and 16 assists in 57 regular-season games. In three full WHL seasons he has 17 goals and 40 assists in 178 games. He was a part of the Seattle team that won the Ed Chynoweth Cup two years ago.

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In the fourth round, Winnipeg grabbed F Rieger Lorenz of Calgary. He had 11 goals and 25 assists with the bantam prep team at the Edge School in Calgary this season. . . . Lorenz has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for the 2022-23 season.

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Winnipeg also made a deal with the Tri-City Americans in which the Ice acquired F Isaac Johnson, 20. . . . Winnipeg gave up a fourth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft in the exchange. That pick originated with Spokane, moving to the Ice in a deal made in June in which D Bobby Russell went to the Chiefs. . . . From Andover, Minn., Johnson had 12 goals and 20 assists in 31 games with the Americans this season when he left the team and apparently retired. At the time, Bob Tory, the Americans’ general manager, told Taking Note that Johnson had retired for personal reasons. . . . In 2017-18, Johnson had 17 goals and 31 assists in 68 games with the Americans. . . . The Ice roster now includes three 20-year-olds — Johnson, F Davis Murray and D Chase Hartje.


The Kamloops Blazers had two first-round selections for the first time in franchise  Kamloops1history. They took D Mats Lindgren out of the Burnaby Winter Club with the seventh-overall selection, then picked F Connor Levis of the St. George’s Academy in Vancouver with the 20th pick. . . . Both players have committed to the U of Michigan Wolverines for 2022-23. . . . Lindgren’s father, Mats, is a former NHLer. . . . In 2016, the Blazers used the 15th-overall pick on F Massimo Rizzo, who just completed his second season with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks. . . . In 2017, the Blazers took F Josh Pillar with the 14th selection. In 2018, they grabbed F Logan Stankoven with the fifth pick. . . . Pillar showed dramatic improvement with the Blazers as this season wore on, while Stankoven lit up the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League with the Kamloops-based Thompson Blazers and will be a big part of the Kamloops scene over the next few seasons.


Before the draft got started, the Calgary Hitmen made a huge splash by acquiring Jett CalgaryWoo, one of the WHL top defencemen, from the Moose Jaw Warriors in exchange for D Vladislav Yeryomenko, F Ryder Korczak, the 11th-overall pick in the 2019 draft and a second-rounder in 2021. . . . Woo, the fourth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, was a second-round selection by the Vancouver Canucks in the NHL’s 2018 draft. He has signed a three-year entry-level deal with Vancouver. . . . From Winnipeg, Woo is to turn 19 on July 27. He just completed his third season with Moose Jaw, and has 114 points, including 26 goals, in 178 games. This season, he finished with 12 goals and 54 assists in 62 games. . . .

“This was our No. 1 priority in getting a puck moving defenceman,” Jeff Chynoweth, Calgary’s general manager, said in a news release. “To add a player of his calibre, one of the top scoring defencemen in the WHL, a player who plays hard at both ends, is huge for our club.

“He’s a legitimate No. 1 defender and to get him for a whole season instead of after the trade deadline is an added bonus.”

The deal also signals that the Hitmen have their eyes on the prize for 2019-20 and won’t be content just being one of the players.

Yeryomenko, 20, is from Mishutki, Belarus. He was a fifth-round pick by the Nashville MooseJawWarriorsPredators in the NHL’s 2018 draft but has yet to sign a pro deal. This season, his third with Calgary, he had seven goals and 26 assists in 33 games. In 188 regular-season games, he has 26 goals and 72 assists.

The Warriors have two other Belarusians on their roster — F Yegor Buyalski, 18, and F Daniil Stepanov, 18.

There have been rumblings that the rule involving 20-year-old import players may be about to change, perhaps with the removal of the two-spot designation. It could be that a team will be allowed to have three imports on its roster, if one of them is a 20-year-old. This deal may signal that Moose Jaw general manager Alan Millar is expecting that rule to be changed.

Korczak, who is to turn 17 on Sept. 23, is from Yorkton, Sask. The younger brother of Kelowna Rockets D Kaedan Korczak, he had eight goals and seven assists in 50 games as a freshman with the Hitmen.


The Vancouver Giants didn’t have a first-round pick, and took D Joshua Niedermayer, a Vancouverson of former WHL/NHL D Scott Niedermayer, with the 30th overall selection. A native of Newport Beach, Calif., Joshua had 10 goals and 12 assists in 27 games with the bantam prep team at OHA in Penticton, B.C. . . . His brother, Jackson, 18, is a forward with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and has committed to Arizona State U and the Sun Devils for 2021-22. . . . Jackson was a fifth-round pick by the Calgary Hitmen in the 2016 bantam draft. . . .

The Giants used their second pick in the draft, No. 43, to take F Bowden Singleton of Calgary. He had 42 goals and 24 assists in 29 games with the Northern Alberta Xtreme bantam prep team, but has committed to the U of North Dakota Fighting Hawks for 2022-23. . . .

In the fifth round, the Giants took F Colton Langkow of Scottsdale, Ariz. His father, Daymond, played four seasons (1992-96) with the Tri-City Americans while an uncle, Scott, spent three seasons (1992-95) tending goal for the Portland Winterhawks.


JUST NOTES: Kamloops took G Dylan Ernst from the Weyburn, Sask., bantam AA Red Wings with the 28th overall pick. He was the first goaltender taken in the draft. Dylan’s brother Ethan, 17, just finished his freshman season with the Kelowna Rockets. After Dylan was drafted, their mother, Bonnie, tweeted: “It’s hard enough to watch him in net, let alone playing against his brother. And that many times.” . . .

The Blazers used a seventh-round pick to take F Nash Bamford of Lacombe, Alta. He had eight goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels. His father is country music star Gord Bamford, who was born in Australia and raised in Canada. He has 26 CCMA awards to his credit. . . .

The Everett Silvertips took F Austin Roest of Vernon, B.C., in the third round. His father, Stacy, played four seasons (1991-95) with the Medicine Hat Tigers and now is the director of player development with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. . . .

The Moose Jaw Warriors selected D Carson Brisson of Edmonton in the fifth round. He had 18 goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the minor midget Leduc Oil Kings this season. He has committed to the U of Denver Pioneers for 2023-24. . . .

The Seattle Thunderbirds used an eighth-round pick to take F Cruz Lucius of Grant, Minn. He played this season with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy, putting up nine goals and 32 assists in 13 games. He has committed to the U of Minnesota Gophers for 2022-23. . . . His brother, Chaz, was taken in the fourth round a year ago by the Portland Winterhawks. Chaz is poised to enter the U.S. National Team Development Program after putting up 39 goals and 23 assists in 13 games with the U-15 team at Gentry Academy. He is committed to Minnesota for 2021-22.

If you know of any other hockey bloodlines from the draft or have any tidbits you would like to share, email Taking Note at greggdrinnan@gmail.com.

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Habscheid eighth WHL coach to 500 wins . . . Celebrates with chocolate sundae . . . Sutter should be next to milestone

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F Justin Maylan (Moose Jaw, Prince George, Prince Albert, 2007-12) has  signed a contract for the rest of this season with Villach (Austria, Erste Bank Liga). Last season, he had eight goals and 31 assists in 44 games with Heilbronn (Germany, DEL2).


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Marc Habscheid, the head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, became the eighth coach in WHL history with 500 regular-season victories as his club beat the Hurricanes, 6-5, in Lethbridge PrinceAlberton Saturday night.

Habscheid, a 55-year-old native of Swift Current, went into this season with 456 victories. The Raiders, who have the WHL’s best record, now are 45-7-2. Habscheid missed a Jan. 22 game — the Raiders beat the Royals, 4-1, in Victoria — while at the Top Prospects Game in Red Deer.

How did Habscheid celebrate last night? The Hurricanes stopped at a Dairy Queen. “I had a large chocolate sundae,” Habscheid told Taking Note. “The boys got whatever they wanted. Best $180 I ever spent.”

As for the picture in the above tweet, Habscheid said: “The picture with my boys will be with me forever.” If you look at the photo, that’s Habscheid wearing the top hat that is awarded to the team’s player of the game.

Habscheid coached in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Chilliwack Bruins and Victoria Royals before signing on with the Raiders as a midseason replacement for Cory Clouston in 2014-15.

On Saturday, Habscheid coached in his 995th regular-season game. He is en route to becoming the eighth head coach in WHL history to reach the 1,000-game mark.

The Raiders next are to play on Wednesday when they visit the Swift Current Broncos.

Don Hay, now an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks, is No. 1 in victories (750), while former Portland head coach Ken Hodge is tops in games coached (1,364).

This season, on his way to No. 500, Habscheid has passed Dean Clark, Kelly McCrimmon, Jack Shupe and Peter Anholt, all former coaches, as well as Brent Sutter of the Red Deer Rebels.

Sutter, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Rebels, will be the next to 500. With the Rebels at 28-19-4, Sutter now has 495 regular-season victories.

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THE WHL’S 500 CLUB

1. Don Hay (Kamloops, Tri-City, Vancouver) 750

2. Ken Hodge (Edmonton, Portland), 742

3. Don Nachbaur (Seattle, Tri-City, Spokane) 692

4. Lorne Molleken (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Regina, Vancouver) 626

5. Mike Williamson (Portland, Calgary, Tri-City) 572

6. Ernie McLean (Estevan, New Westminster) 548

7. Pat Ginnell (Flin Flon, Victoria, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, New Westminster) 518

8. Marc Habscheid (Kamloops, Kelowna, Chilliwack, Victoria, Prince Albert) 500


With G Jack McNaughton having been injured on Friday night, the Calgary Hitmen have Calgaryagain added G Brayden Peters to their roster. . . . McNaughton was hurt when he ventured out to the hashmarks after a loose puck and was involved in a first-period collision with F Brett Leason of the visiting Prince Albert Raiders. Both players left the game, which the Raiders won, 8-2, and didn’t return. . . . Peters plays for the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes and had been up with the Hitmen previously to backup McNaughton with Carl Stankowski injured. . . . Stankowski is back now and will carry the load with McNaughton out, starting today against the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors.

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Meanwhile, F Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders, who was involved in that collision with Calgary Hitmen G Jack McNaughton, sat out Saturday night’s game in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes.

Marc Habscheid, the Raiders’ head coach, told play-by-play man Trevor Redden that Leason is “nicked up . . . but it’s nothing earth-shattering and we’ll provide him with a bit of rest.”

The Raiders also scratched G Ian Scott, giving him a night off, and had Brett Balas up from the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks to back up Boston Bilous. . . . Balas, who turned 18 on Jan. 31, was a third-round pick in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He got into two games with the Raiders earlier in the season, going 2-0-0, 2.56, .871.

This may have been the first time in WHL history that a team had a B.B. in goal and a B.B. on the bench.


F Conner Bruggen-Cate was welcomed with open mouths, as opposed to open arms, on Saturday night when his Kelowna Rockets met the Blazers in Kamloops.

These two teams played in Kelowna on Feb. 2 and, yes, something happened. Whatever it was it resulted in two-game suspensions to Bruggen-Cate and Kamloops D Montana Onyebuchi.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL said were his “actions.” Those “actions” appeared to set off Oyebuchi, who tried to get at Bruggen-Cate, who chose not to engage. Onyebuchi was suspended for a one-man fight.

Had the WHL suspended each player for three games, neither would have been eligible to play on Saturday night.

As it was, Onyebuchi completed his sentence, while Bruggen-Cate was in the Rockets’ lineup.

The announced crowd of 3,365 didn’t seem too aware of Bruggen-Cate’s presence until early in the second period when he was booed while on an early power play. The boos turned to cheers less than two minutes later when he was penalized for interference.

From that point on, he was booed most times he touched the puck, but he turned the boos to cheers, again with another interference penalty late in the period.

The 19-year-old from Abbotsford, B.C., got the last laugh, however, as the Rockets won the game, 4-1.

As for what happened on the ice on Feb. 2, well, no one’s talking. It’s almost as though the WHL implemented a gag rule.

On Friday night, Jo Hendricks, a frequent anthem singer at Blazers games, performed while wearing an Onyebuchi sweater. Without the rugged defenceman, the Blazers dropped a 3-1 decision to the Vancouver Giants.


The visiting WHL teams at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash., the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, will notice a new look in their dressing room next season. The KeyArena in Seattle will be undergoing huge renovations in anticipation of the arrival of an NHL expansion team, so the Seattle University Redhawks men’s basketball team is expected to play a handful of games in Kent. University officials have asked that the visitors’ dressing room be painted in the team colours, and the arena operators have agreed. . . . Meanwhile, the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, which also plays in KeyArena, will play five home games in Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena, the home of the Silvertips. But the Storm season doesn’t begin until May, so the Silvertips shouldn’t be affected. . . . Steve Hunter of the Kent Reporter has those tidbits and more in a story detailing the ShoWare Center’s 2018 finances, and it’s all right here.


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Some info on Kootenay’s lease . . . Dach, Haden, Gerlach burn Wheat Kings . . . Americans bury ‘Hawks in third

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If you’re wondering what’s in the lease between the City of Cranbrook and the WHL’s Kootenay Ice involving Western Financial Place, here’s a taste . . .

Trevor Crawley of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman obtained a copy of the lease, which Kootenaynewruns through 2023, through an FOI request.

“The Kootenay Ice must pay an occupancy fee for each year of the term equal to two per cent of gross game receipts for each hockey season, as well as an additional fee that scales based on attendance,” Crawley writes. “For example, the fee would be $20,000 if the average paid attendance exceeds 2,600. If that attendance were to increase to 2,800, the fee also increases to $25,000. Attendance exceeding 3,000 pushes the fee to $30,000, 3,200 to $80,000 and 3,500 to $120,000.”

Crawley also writes:

“According to the agreement, net advertising generated at hockey games within the premises is shared 80 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 20 per cent to the City of Cranbrook.

“All occupancy fees for luxury boxes, but not including ticket revenue, is split 70 per cent to the Kootenay Ice and 30 per cent to the city.

Revenue collected from parking fees and concession sales are also 100 per cent allotted to the city, according to the agreement.”

On Monday, Crawley, who is listed on the Ice’s website as the team’s photographer, reported that “two groups have approached” the junior A BCHL “to look at getting a franchise in Cranbrook for the fall . . .”

That piece is right here.


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The 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship is scheduled to be held at the CN Centre PrinceGeorgein Prince George, from March 14-22. The facility is home to the Prince George Cougars, meaning that they will be on the road late in the 2019-20 regular season and perhaps into the first round of the playoffs, should they qualify. . . . This season, the WHL’s regular season concludes on March 17, with the playoffs to begin on March 22. . . .

The 2019 World Men’s event is to be held in Lethbridge’s ENMAX Centre, from March 30 through April 7, meaning the Hurricanes may be out of their facility for a playoff game or two. Peter Anholt, the Hurricanes’ general manager, already has stated that, if necessary, playoff games will be moved to the Nicholas Sheran Arena, which has about 1,000 seats and is home to the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s and men’s teams. . . .

In Prince George, the junior A Spruce Kings, who skate in the B.C. Hockey League, play their home games in the 1,800-seat Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, a facility that might be considered as a Plan B for the Cougars, depending on how things turn out. . . .

Interestingly, Cougars general manager Mark Lamb was the GM/head coach of the Swift Current Broncos in the spring of 2010 and again in 2016 when the World Women’s event was held in the Saskatchewan city.

In 2010, the Broncos played two first-round ‘home’ playoff games — Games 3 and 4 — in Regina’s Brandt Centre. They ended up being swept by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

The Broncos didn’t make the playoffs in 2015-16, so their schedule wasn’t impacted.


The WHL has suspended D Montana Onyebuchi of the Kamloops Blazers and F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Kelowna Rockets for two games each for their involvement in an whlincident during a Saturday night game.

Onyebuchi was suspended for being involved in what the WHL says was a “one-man fight” at 2:09 of the third period in a game won, 2-1 in OT, by the host Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate was suspended for what the WHL says were his “actions” that apparently precipitated Onyebuchi’s attempt to involve him in a fight.

At the time, Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct, while Bruggen-Cate wasn’t penalized.

“There’s not really much to comment on,” Serge Lajoie, the Blazers’ head coach, told CFJC-TV in Kamloops. “Happy that it was in the hands of the WHL office . . . the kind of research that they needed to do and came down with a ruling. We’re just happy that it was addressed.

“It was a situation where it really got to Montana. My approach was that we wanted to make sure that Montana was supported, wanted to make sure that he felt he was supported by his teammates, by the organization, by the league.

“That’s why it was important for the league to do the due diligence . . . for us to be there to support Montana regardless of what transpired.” 

Onyebuchi will sit out two home games — Friday night versus the Vancouver Giants and Saturday against the Rockets.

Bruggen-Cate also will miss two home games — tonight against the Spokane Chiefs and Friday against the Prince George Cougars — but will be eligible to play Saturday in Kamloops.


The Trinity Western U Spartans really, really want to be accepted into Canada West, the U Sports-governed conference that covers the four Western Canadian provinces.

“We treated it like an Olympic bid,” Spartans head coach Barret Kropf told Taking Note TWUin reference to the presentation that TWU made to Canada West in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday.

Kropf said that TWU had its president, vice-president, the Township of Langley’s general manager and a councillor, the athletic director, one of the players and himself all involved in the presentation.

“It went well,” said Kropf, whose club plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and plays out of the Langley Events Centre, the same facility that is home to the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.

TWU and the Edmonton-based Grant MacEwan Griffins, who are to make their presentation this morning, are both hoping to be admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

TWU and Grant MacEwan already are members of U Sports, but their hockey teams have continued to play in the BCIHL and the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, respectively. They now are hoping to make a switch.

The difference between recruiting for a Canada West team as opposed to a BCIHL club would be “like night and day,” Kropf said, adding that he already is hearing from WHL players who have expressed interest in 2020-21.

This season, the Spartans’ roster includes the likes of F Jarrett Fontaine, F Spencer Gerth, D Travis Verveda, F Brayden Brown and F Brandon Potomak, all of whom have WHL experience.

Asked how close the Spartans are right now to being competitive with Canada West teams, Kropf replied: “I think we’re right there . . . we’re in the mix.”

Canada West is expected to vote on whether to add TWU and Grant MacEwan when it holds its annual general meeting in Whistler, B.C., from May 5-8. Interestingly, it is TWU’s turn to play host to the AGM.


TUESDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Kirby Dach scored three times and the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last four Saskatoongoals as they beat the host Brandon Wheat Kings, 7-3. . . . Saskatoon (31-13-8) has points in seven straight (5-0-2). The Blades are second in the East Division, six points ahead of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who now hold four games in hand. The teams are to meet tonight in Saskatoon. . . . Brandon (22-21-7) has lost two in a row and is six points away from a wild-card playoff berth. . . . With Brandon’s loss, the Eastern Conference-leading Prince Albert Raiders (43-7-2) became the first WHL team to clinch a playoff spot this season. . . . F Max Gerlach gave Saskatoon a 1-0 lead at 3:19 of the first period as he hit the 30-goal mark for a fourth straight season. He has 130 goals in 262 regular-season games. . . . F Stelio Mattheos (32), who also had two assists, pulled Brandon even, on a PP, at 3:24 of the second period. . . . Dach shot the Blades in front, 3-1, with goals at 7:45 and 8:04. . . . The Wheat Kings tied it on second-period PP goals from F Luka Burzan (30), at 11:05, and F Cole Reinhardt (16), just 51 seconds later. . . . Saskatoon went ahead 4-3 as F Eric Florchuk scored at 15:22. . . . Dach completed his second career hat trick, both this season, on a PP, at 5:02 of the third period. . . . Gerlach, who also had an assist, added his 31st goal, at 13:27, and Florchuk got his 17th, on a PP, at 15:54. . . . Saskatoon was 2-3 on the PP; Brandon was 3-6. . . . The Blades got four assists from F Gary Haden, who has 13 points, including nine goals, in a five-game point streak. . . . F Ryan Hughes added three assists for the Blades, with D Dawson Davidson picking up one to run his point streak to 10 games. He has 14 points, 13 of them assists, over that stretch. . . . Brandon D Braydyn Chizen sat this one out as he completed a four-game WHL suspension. . . . D Aiden De la Gorgendiere was among the Blades’ scratches after being injured on a hit by F Jake Neighbours of the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday night. Neighbours drew a four-game suspension after taking a boarding major and game misconduct on the play.


G Max Paddock stopped 38 shots and two more in a shootout as the Regina Pats got past Patsthe Hurricanes, 2-1, in Lethbridge. . . . Regina (14-35-3) had lost its previous three games (0-2-1). . . . Lethbridge (27-15-9) had won its past two games. It is second in the Central Division, three points behind the Edmonton Oil Kings. . . . The Hurricanes held an 11-5 edge in shots in the third period, and it was 5-1 in OT. . . . F Blake Allan, who was acquired from the Kootenay Ice, scored his first goal in 14 games with the Pats to give them a 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the third period. . . . The Hurricanes tied it when F Taylor Ross (24) scored at 13:57. . . . Regina got shootout goals from F Ty Kolle and F Sergei Alkhimov, with F Jordy Bellerive scoring for the home team. . . . C Carl Tetachuk stopped 29 shots for Lethbridge. . . . This was the first time that F Jake Leschyshyn and F Nick Henry of the Hurricanes had faced their former team. They were acquired from the Pats on Nov. 29 in a deal that had Kolle and F Jadon Joseph, along with as many as seven bantam draft picks, go the other way. . . . Regina had F Cale Sanders, 16, make his WHL debut. From Claresholm, Alta., he has 16 goals and 17 assists in 28 games with the Edge School prep team in Calgary. . . . F Cole Dubinsky of the Pats sat out Game 2 of a four-game suspension.


G Trent Miner stopped 20 shots and picked up an assist to lead the Vancouver Giants to a Vancouver4-2 victory over the Cougars in Prince George. . . . Vancouver (34-13-3) has won two in a row. It leads the B.C. Division by 18 points over the Victoria Royals and now is five points behind the Western Conference-leading Everett Silvertips. . . . Prince George (16-30-5) has lost 10 straight (0-8-2) and is eight points away from a playoff spot. . . . The same teams meet again tonight in Prince George. . . . Miner, a freshman from Brandon, turned 18 on Tuesday. He now is 18-4-1, 1.85, .931. . . . Miner picked up an assist as F Davis Koch (21) gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead at 16:14 of the first period. . . . F Owen Hardy (9) made it 2-0 at 5:22 of the second period. . . . The Cougars got to within a goal at 13:41 when F Josh Curtis (9) scored. . . . The Giants went ahead 4-1 on goals from F Justin Sourdif (14), at 14:38, and D Bowen Byram (20), at 15:14. . . . F Vladislav Mikhalchuk (19) got the Cougars’ second goal, on a PP, at 16:53 of the third period. . . . The Cougars had G Tyler Brennan, 15, on the bench in support of Taylor Gauthier, with Isaiah DiLaura out with an undisclosed injury. Brennan, from Winnipeg, plays for the prep team at the Winnipeg-based Rink Hockey Academy. He was the 21st-overall selection in the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft. . . . Gauthier finished with 27 stops.


The Tri-City Americans struck for five third-period goals as they beat the visiting tri-cityPortland Winterhawks, 5-3. . . . Tri-City (27-19-3) has won two straight. It is comfortably in the Western Conference’s first wild-card spot, but also is fourth in the U.S. Division, just one point behind the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Portland (32-15-5) had won its previous two games. It is second in the U.S. Division, seven points behind the Everett Silvertips. . . . The Winterhawks grabbed a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Jaydon Dureau (11), at 6:42, and F Josh Paterson (19), at 11:19. . . . After a scoreless second period, the Americans opened the third with four straight goals — from F Parker AuCoin (27), at 0:37; F Samuel Huo (4), on a PP, at 8:06; F Nolan Yaremko (18), at 11:33; and F Connor Bouchard, on a PP, at 16:13. . . . D Jared Freadrich (9) kept Portland’s hopes alive at 17:12, but Bouchard iced it with his fourth goal, into an empty net, at 18:40. . . . Bouchard also had an assist, giving him his first three-point night in 109 career regular-season games, 49 of them this season. . . . Portland remains without F Cody Glass (knee), who is shown as day-to-day on the WHL’s weekly roster report.


G Roddy Ross turned aside 41 shots to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 victory over Seattlethe host Victoria Royals. . . . Seattle (20-24-6) had lost its past two games. It is one point behind the Kamloops Blazers, who hold down the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot. . . . Victoria (25-21-3) had points in each of its previous four games (2-0-2). It is second in the B.C. Division, six points ahead of the Kelowna Rockets. . . . The Thunderbirds and Royals will meet again tonight in Victoria. . . . The Royals outshot the visitors 12-6, 14-7 and 18-8 by period, but couldn’t put enough pucks behind Ross to win. . . . The Thunderbirds took a 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Matthew Wedman, at 16:36, and D Jake Lee (3), on a PP, at 18:35. . . . F Kaid Oliver (20) got the Royals to within a goal, on a PP, at 4:44 of the second period. . . . D Owen Williams (3) got that one back for Seattle at 10:43. . . . The Royals got back to within a goal at 9:39 of the third period as F Kody McDonald (11) scored. . . . Seattle D Cade McNelly replied at 11:27 with his first WHL goal in 47 games, 32 of them this season. . . . Again, Victoria got to within a goal, this time when D Scott Walford (8) scored at 13:37. . . . Wedman iced it with his 25th goal of the season, into an empty net, at 19:36. . . . G Brock Gould stopped 16 shots for the Royals. . . . D Jarret Tyszka and F Nolan Volcan were among Seattle’s scratches, while the Royals were without veteran D Ralph Jarratt, who is out week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. Jarratt has battled injuries all season and has played in only 25 games.


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Report: WHL looking at Kamloops-Kelowna incident . . . Discipline handed out from Saturday games . . . Stankowski ready to play again


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CFJC-TV in Kamloops reported late Monday afternoon that the WHL “is looking into an incident in the third period of Saturday night’s game in Kelowna between the Rockets whland Kamloops Blazers.”

The Rockets won the game, 2-1 in OT.

At 2:09 of the third period, D Montana Onyebuchi was given a fighting major and game misconduct after he went after F Conner Bruggen-Cate of the Rockets, who wasn’t penalized.

According to CFJC-TV, the WHL “is trying to find out what set off Onyebuchi that led to the one-sided fight.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Onyebuchi, whose father is from Nigeria, is from Dugald, Man. The 18-year-old is in his third WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Everett Silvertips on Jan. 8, 2018. The Silvertips had selected him in the third round of the WHL’s 2015 bantam draft.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bruggen-Cate, 19, is from Langley, B.C. He is in his third full season with the Rockets after being a sixth-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft.


The WHL’s Dept. of Discipline had a busy Monday as three players were suspended and one coach was fined, all the result of incidents in games played on Saturday night.

F Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings will sit for four games after taking a boarding major and game misconduct at 8:33 of the third period of their 4-3 OT victory over the Blades in Saskatoon. . . . Neighbours was playing his first game after having missed a dozen with an undisclosed injury.

F Justin Nachbaur of the Prince Albert Raiders drew a three-game suspension after he became embroiled in a fracas at the final buzzer of their 4-3 victory over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors. Nachbaur ended up with a fighting major and game misconduct after becoming involved with F Tristin Langan of the Warriors.

Langan was suspended for one game for his game misconduct. According to the online scoresheet, Langan was given a minor penalty for checking from behind at 18:53 of the third period. Shortly after, he was hit with a minor for leaving the penalty box, a fighting major and a game misconduct.

Neighbours and Nachbaur began serving their suspensions on Monday night as the Raiders played in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, even though there isn’t anything on the online scoresheet to indicate it, it seems that Matt O’Dette, the head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds, was given a game misconduct at the conclusion of their 7-2 loss to the host Everett Silvertips on Saturday night. He now has been fined $750 for that transgression.


The Calgary Hitmen have activated G Carl Stankowski, so have returned G Brayden CalgaryPeters to the midget AAA Lethbridge Hurricanes. . . . Stankowski is 6-6-2, 3.72, .879, but has been out since Nov. 23 with an ankle injury. He missed all of last season while with the Seattle Thunderbirds, due to injury and health issues. The Hitmen acquired him from Seattle on Aug. 7. . . . In 2016-17, Stankowski, then 16, stepped in as the playoffs began and backstopped the Thunderbirds to the WHL championship. . . . Peters got into one game during his stint with the Hitmen, going the distance in a 6-2 victory over the Broncos in Swift Current on Jan. 30. . . .

The Hitmen also have added D Tyson Galloway, 16, to their roster. From Kamloops, Galloway has 12 assists in 32 games with the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s Thompson Blazers. The Hitmen selected him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 bantam draft.

The Hitmen are next scheduled to play on Wednesday when they entertain the Regina Pats.


Representatives of the Grant MacEwan U Griffins and Trinity Western U Spartans men’s hockey teams will present their cases today in the hopes of being admitted to Canada West for the 2020-21 season.

Canada West is an eight-team conference that features eight teams from schools in Canada’s four western-most provinces.

Both schools are members of U Sports, the governing body for university athletics in Canada, but the men’s hockey teams have played in other leagues, the Spartans in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League and the Griffins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

The Griffins, who are based in Edmonton, have won the ACAC’s last two playoff titles. The Spartans are the BCIHL’s defending champions.

Adding the two schools would bring Canada West men’s hockey to 10 teams, the others being the Alberta Golden Bears, Calgary Dinos, Lethbridge Pronghorns, Manitoba Bisons, Mount Royal Cougars, Regina Cougars, Saskatchewan Huskies and UBC Thunderbirds.


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MONDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

F Brett Leason had a goal and two assists to lead the Prince Albert Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Oil Kings in Edmonton. . . . Prince Albert (43-7-2) has won two in a row. The PrinceAlbertRaiders lead the overall standings by 12 points over the Everett Silvertips. . . . Edmonton (29-16-8) had won its previous four games. It leads the Central Division by four points over the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who hold three games in hand. . . . The Oil Kings had beaten the Raiders, 6-3, in Prince Albert on Friday night. . . . Prince Albert won the season series, 3-1-0; Edmonton was 1-2-1. . . . F Ozzy Wiesblatt (11) gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 17:00 of the first period. . . . F Vince Loschiavo (23) tied it, on a PP, 37 seconds into the second period. . . . The Raiders responded with two goals in the second period and two in the third. . . . F Parker Kelly (24) broke the tie, on another PP, at 4:04 of the second, with Leason (33) making it 3-1 at 9:13. . . . F Jakob Brook (5) upped it to 4-1 at 5:33 of the third, and F Cole Fonstad (22) rounded out the scoring at 10:53. . . . Prince Albert was 2-5 on the PP; Edmonton was 1-3. . . . The Raiders got 25 saves from G Ian Scott, while Todd Scott turned aside 41 shots for the Oil Kings. . . . Prince Albert F Sean Montgomery, who had one assist, played in his 330th regular-season game, all with the Raiders. That ties the franchise record (F Brett Novak, 2000-06) for franchise’s career games played mark, at 330. . . . Montgomery has 133 points, including 64 goals, in those 330 games. . . . F Dante Hannoun, who was acquired by the Raiders from the Victoria Royals at the trade deadline, played in his 300th regular-season game and drew two assists. Hannoun has played 14 games with the Raiders after getting into 286 with the Royals. He has 262 points, including 103 goals, in his career.


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More on the Ice and Winnipeg . . . Raiders continue to roll, win 12th game . . . Rockets complete sweep of Royals

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The Kootenay Ice announced on March 28, 2017, that the Chynoweth family had “entered into an agreement to sell the WHL team to Winnipeg entrepreneur Greg Fettes and hockey executive Matt Cockell.”

On April 27, the WHL announced that its board of governors had “voted unanimously” to Kootenaynewapprove the transfer of ownership.

At the time, the new owners stated the franchise would be staying in Cranbrook, B.C., its home since the Chynoweths relocated the Edmonton Ice in time for the 1998-99 season.

Interestingly, it seems that Fettes, on April 20, 2017, registered the domain name ‘winnipegice.com‘ at godaddy.com. The registration is to expire on April 20, 2019.

The registration was made, according to a search, by Greg Fettes, with the address given as Second Floor, 240 Kennedy Street, Winnipeg. That is the business address for 24-7 Intouch, the business of which Fettes is founder and CEO. According to its website, 24-7 “has been providing contact center and BPO solutions for over 18 years, and is consistently recognized as an award-winning global outsourcer.”

We may never find out whether registering winnipegice.com was part of a long-range plan to move the franchise or simply an insurance policy in case things didn’t work out in Cranbrook.

On Friday night, the Winnipeg Free Press reported that, according to its sources, the Ice will move to Winnipeg in time for the 2019-20 WHL season, and will play out of a 1,400-seat arena at the U of Manitoba while awaiting the completion of a 5,000-seat arena that would be built in conjunction with the Rink Hockey Academy.

ICYMI, the Free Press story, written by Mike Sawatzky, is right here.

With Cockell entrenched in the Cranbrook community as president and general manager, the Ice has worked hard to connect with the area’s hockey fans while waiting for the team to become competitive on the ice. The Ice has missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons and is 3-4-3 early in this season.

Last season, according to figures compiled by the WHL, the Ice’s announced average attendance for 36 regular-season home games was 2,442, up from 1,754 in 2016-17.

The Ice ran a Drive for 25 campaign during the off-season, hoping to sell 2,500 season tickets. On Aug. 20, the team revealed that it had sold 1,598, a decrease of 319 from the previous season.

This season, after six home games, the announced average attendance is 2,351. Four of the six crowds have been smaller than that. On Oct. 14, the most-recent home game, the announced attendance was 2,117 as the Ice dropped a 2-1 OT decision to the Prince George Cougars.

The Ice also has closed off three sections in one end of 4,264-seat Western Financial Place in an attempt to make things a bit cozier.


F Connor Dewar of the Everett Silvertips drew a ‘TBD’ suspension on Saturday after taking a cross-checking major and game misconduct during a 5-2 loss to the Wheat Kings in Brandon on Friday night. . . . Dewar, who has eight goals and seven assists in 10 games, scored Everett’s second goal in that game. . . . He won’t play today when the Silvertips play Game 2 of their East Division swing in Regina against the Pats.


F Eric Fawkes of the MJHL’s Winkler Flyers has committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), starting with the 2020-21 season. . . . Fawkes had one goal and three assists in his first 11 games with Winkler this season. Last season, he finished with 37 goals and 37 assists in 47 games with the midget AAA Winnipeg Wild. . . . From Winnipeg, Fawkes, 17, was a second-round selection by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL’s 2016 bantam draft. He was dealt to the Kootenay Ice on Oct. 8. Kootenay dealt D Loeden Schaufler, 18, a ninth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft and future considerations.


The BCIHL’s Trinity Western Spartans went 1-1-0 in a pair of exhibition games in TWUMinnesota on the weekend. . . . The Spartans lost 7-1 to the Minnesota Gophers, the sixth-ranked team in the NCAA Div. 1, on Saturday night. That came one night after they beat Hamline U, a Div. III team, 2-1 in OT in St. Paul. . . . Last night, the Spartans and Gophers played through a scoreless first period. The hosts took a 3-0 lead into the third. . . . D Travis Verveda, who played in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers, scored a second-period PP goal for the Spartans. . . . TWU G Jacob Mills blocked 43 shots. The three Minnesota goaltenders combined for 20 saves. . . . On Friday night, F Brandon Potomak, who played in the WHL with the Moose Jaw Warriors, scored at 2:38 of OT to give the Spartans the victory. . . . F Spencer Gerth, who played in the WHL with the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals, had TWU’s other goal. Verveda drew two assists. . . . Mills made 26 saves.


SATURDAY NIGHT NOTES:

F Mark Kastelic scored a PP goal just 45 seconds into OT to give the visiting Calgary Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings. . . . The Hitmen (4-6-2), who have won three straight, were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . Brandon now is 6-2-2. . . . The Wheat Kings overcame a 3-1 deficit on third-period goals from F Baron Thompson (1), at 8:31, and F Chad Nychuk (1), at 12:03. . . . Kastelic won it with his second goal of the game, his 10th of the season.


The Lethbridge Hurricanes scored the game’s last six goals, all of them in the third period, and beat the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers, 8-3. . . . The Tigers had opened the weekend set at home on Friday with a 4-3 victory in OT. . . . Lethbridge (5-4-3) has points in four straight (2-0-2). . . . The Tigers (6-6-1) had won their previous three games. . . . F Ty Kolle, recently acquired from the Portland Winterhawks, had a goal, his third, and two assists for Lethbridge. . . . The winners were 3-for-4 on the PP. . . . G Reece Klassen stopped 39 shots to earn the victory.


The Prince Albert Raiders scored the game’s first five goals en route to an 8-2 victory PrinceAlbertover the Spokane Chiefs. . . . Prince Albert (12-1-0) has won five in a row and is atop the overall standings. . . . According to Jeff D’Andrea of panow.com, the Raiders, who have been in the WHL since 1982-83, have never won 12 of their first 13 games. . . . The Raiders also have scored eight goals in two straight games. . . .  Spokane (6-3-3) had points in its previous three games (2-0-1). It went 3-2-1 on its East Division trip. . . . The Raiders got a goal, his fifth, and two assists from F Sean Montgomery, who has goals in four straight games. . . . Prince Albert F Brett Leason ran his point streak to 13 games with an assist. . . . D Konrad Belcourt, playing in his first game since being brought back from the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, scored the Raiders’ second goal. He was pointless in three earlier games with the Raiders. Belcourt was brought back to help out with D Max Martin having started a three-game suspension last night. . . . Spokane F Bobby Russell took a headshot major and game misconduct as the game ended.


D Alex Alexeyev scored in OT to give the host Red Deer Rebels a 4-3 victory over the Red DeerKootenay Ice. . . . The Rebels (7-3-1) have won two in a row. . . . The Ice (3-4-3) has lost five straight (0-2-3). . . . The Rebels scored the game’s first two goals, only to have the Ice tie it early in the second period with two PP goals. . . . F Oleg Zaytsev (5) put the Rebels out front at 17:39 of the third period, but F Jaeger White (6) pulled Kootenay even at 18:15 with his second goal of the game. . . . Alexeyev’s fourth goal won it at 1:15 of extra time. . . . Zaytsev, a freshman from Moscow, had an interesting night, with a goal and two assists. He drew an assist on F Brandon Hagel’s shorthanded goal, scored an even-strength goal and had the lone assist on Alexeyev’s winner. . . . Zaytsev has five goals and six assists in 11 games.


F Tristin Langan broke a 2-2 tie at 12:39 of the third period as the Moose Jaw Warriors beat the Pats, 3-2, in Regina. . . . F Jake Leschyshyn (5) gave the Pats a 2-1 lead, on a PP, at 17:43 of the second period. . . . F Ryan Peckford (2) pulled the Warriors even, on a PP, at 4:05 of the third. . . . Langan won it with his eighth goal of the season. . . . According to the online scoresheet, the Pats won 45 of the game’s 63 faceoffs. . . . The Warriors (5-3-2) got 31 stops from G Adam Evanoff. . . . The Pats fell to 3-8-0.


F Sasha Mutala’s goal at 1:46 of OT gave the Tri-City Americans a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . The Americans improved to 6-4-0, with the Thunderbirds now 6-2-2. . . . On Friday, the Americans beat the Thunderbirds, 4-2, in Kennewick, Wash. . . . Last night, the Thunderbirds erased a 2-0 deficit on goals from F Andrej Kukuca (4) and F Matthew Wedman (3), the latter at 16:06 of the third period. . . . Mutala, who also had an assist, won it with his second goal of the season. . . . This was Game 1 of an 11-game road trip for the Americans.


D Brendan De Jong lifted his own rebound into the net to give the Portland Winterhawks Portlanda 2-1 OT victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C. . . . The Winterhawks began the weekend doubleheader with a 5-3 victory over the Giants in Portland on Friday. . . . Last night, the Winterhawks (7-3-1) had a 33-19 edge in shots. . . . The Giants slipped to 9-3-1. . . . F Reece Newkirk (8) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 13:08 of the first period. . . . Vancouver F Yannik Valenti (1), a German freshman, tied it at 7:11 of the second period. . . . De Jong won it with his third goal of the season, at 1:16 of OT. . . . Newkirk drew the only assist on the winner. . . . Shane Farkas, the only goaltender the Winterhawks have used this season, is 7-3-1, 2.72, .899. . . . Vancouver F Jared Dmytriw (ill) sat this one out. . . . The Giants lost F James Malm to an undisclosed injury in the second period. He leads the with nine goals, but likely won’t play against the visiting Kelowna Rockets today. It will be Vancouver’s third game in fewer than 48 hours.


The Kelowna Rockets broke a 1-1 tie with four unanswered goals as they beat the Royals, KelownaRockets5-1, in Victoria. . . . The Rockets (4-9-0) have won two in a row. They beat the host Royals, 8-2, on Friday night. . . . With the victory, Kelowna moved out of the Western Conference basement and now is one point ahead of the idle Kamloops Blazers (3-6-1), who have played three fewer games. . . . Victoria (8-3-0) now is 6-3-0 at home. . . . F Conner Bruggen-Cate (3) gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead at 15:57 of the first period, just 53 seconds after F Kaid Oliver had scored for Victoria. . . . The Royals scratched G Griffen Outhouse, their 20-year-old workhorse, from a second straight game. . . . The Rockets scratched F Lane Zablocki one night after he made his Kelowna debut by playing in his first game this season. . . . The Rockets will play their third game in fewer than 48 hours when they meet the Vancouver Giants in Langley, B.C., this afternoon.


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Pats take outdoor games inside . . . Moose Jaw, Regina shoot, shoot and shoot some more . . . Giants into second in B.C.

A LITTLE OF THIS . . .

Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post reported Wednesday evening that the Regina Pats have moved two scheduled outdoor games from Mosaic Stadium and put them inside the Brandt Centre.

Shortly after Harder’s story hit the Internet, the Pats issued a news release confirming it.

An NHL alumni game is scheduled to be played on Feb. 17, with the Pats to meet the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors on Feb. 18.

“Only 10,000-plus ticket packages have been sold for the two games at Regina’s new stadium, which holds over 33,000,” Harder reported. “Many of those seats were purchased by corporate sponsors.

“Local fans have given the mid-winter event a cold shoulder since two-game packages were released to the general public in late November ($75, $149.15, $198.72 and $275.22, including taxes and surcharges).”

Harder’s story is right here.


The Kootenay Ice was without Swiss F Gilian Kohler for a second straight game on KootenaynewWednesday night, Kohler is shown on the WHL’s latest roster report as being out week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Kohler was injured on a hit by Medicine Hat F Ryan Jevne on Monday night in a game the visiting Tigers won, 5-4 ion OT. Jevne was given a minor penalty for checking to the head. On Wednesday, Jevne was hit with a three-game suspension under supplemental discipline.

Keep in mind that Kohler suffered a concussion while playing for Switzerland at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in August. With the Ice, he has three goals and six assists in 32 games.


The Edmonton Oil Kings revealed Thursday via Twitter that D Brayden Gorda has EdmontonOilKingsreturned to the fold. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Gorda, an 18-year-old from Edmonton, didn’t report to training camp with the team saying that he was absent “due to personal reasons.” . . . A third-round pick in the 2014 bantam draft, Gorda had played two full seasons with Edmonton. Last season, he had four goals and 12 assists in 56 games. . . . Gorda was eligible for the NHL’s 2017 draft, but wasn’t selected after NHL Central Scouting ranked him No. 147 among North American skaters. . . . On Thursday, the Oil Kings didn’t indicate a timetable for Goyda to return to game action. As of last night, Edmonton’s roster included nine defencemen without Goyda.


The Everett Silvertips have signed F Gage Goncalves, a list player from Mission, B.C. Goncalves, 16, is playing with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League and has 47 points, including 17 goals, in 24 games. He also gotten into four games with the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs, scoring once and adding an assist.


First, we had Christian Wohlwend, the head coach of Switzerland’s national junior team, speaking honestly with the media at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo. . . . Now we’ve got Frank Serratore, the head coach of the Air Force Falcons, doing the same thing. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s well worth your time.


Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet filed his latest edition of 31 Thoughts on Wednesday, and it’s all right here.


Scoreboard

WEDNESDAY:

At Regina, the Pats unleashed a 61-shot barrage and beat the Brandon Wheat Kings, 3-2. . . . The Pats (20-18-3) have won four in a row. They hold down the Eastern Conference’s ReginaPats100first wild-card spot. Regina is fourth in the East Division, eight points behind Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings (25-12-1) have lost four in a row. They are third in the overall standings, five points behind Swift Current. . . . F Jared Legien, acquired last week from the Victoria Royals in the hopes that he would bring some offence to the Regina lineup, had two goals and an assist. . . . D Zach Wytinck (3) gave Brandon a 1-0 lead, on a PP, at 7:38 of the first period. . . . Regina took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Matt Bradley (25), at 6:46 of the second period, and Legien, on a PP, at 1:58 of the third. . . . F Ty Lewis (20) got Brandon even at 5:32. . . . Legien snapped the tie with his 16th goal of the season at 10:20. . . . Bradley, playing in his 250th regular-season WHL game, added an assist on the winner to his goal. . . . Brandon was 1-2 on the PP; Regina was 1-4. . . . The Pats got 28 saves from G Tyler Brown. . . . G Logan Thompson stopped 58 shots — yes, 58 — for Brandon. . . . Announced attendance: 5,624.


At Swift Current, the Broncos scored three times in the third period en route to a 5-3 victory over the Kootenay Ice. . . . The Broncos (27-10-2) had lost their previous three SCBroncosgames. They are 2-3-0 in a stretch of playing eight games in 12 nights. They’ll wrap it up this weekend with a game in Brandon on Friday and home games, against Regina and Red Deer, on Saturday and Sunday. . . . The Broncos are second in the overall standings, nine pints behind Moose Jaw. . . . The Ice (18-19-3) has lost three in a row (0-2-1). Kootenay is 0-2-1 in the first three games of a stretch in which it will play five games in six nights. The Ice is off tonight (Thursday) and then will play in Prince Albert and Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Kootenay is second in the Central Division, six points behind Medicine Hat. . . . Last night, the Ice took an early 2-0 first-period lead on goals from F Brad Ginnell (6), at 1:19, and F Alec Baer (17), at 4:45. . . . It’s worth noting that Ginnell scored in the same arena where his father, Erin, played in the second half of the 1986-87 season. Erin moved from the Regina Pats to Swift Current to help the Broncos finish the season after the tragic bus crash of Dec. 30, 1986. . . . D Sahvan Khaira (6) scored, while shorthanded, for the Broncos at 19:24. . . . F Kaden Elder pulled the Broncos even at 8:32 of the second period and F Max Patterson (5) put them ahead at 1:40 of the third. . . . The Ice got back into tie at 10:54 as F Cam Hausinger (13) scored. . . . Swift Current F Matteo Gennaro snapped the tie with his 22nd goal, at 13:51. . . . Elder (9) got the empty-netter, at 18:01. . . . The Broncos got three assists form F Kole Gable and two from Gennaro. F Glenn Gawdin had one assist as he returned after missing a game while ill. . . . Baer added an assist to his goal for Kootenay. . . . The Broncos were 0-1 on the PP; the Ice was 0-4. . . . G Logan Flodell earned the victory with 30 stops, six fewer than the Ice’s Bailey Brkin. . . . Announced attendance: 2,096.


At Calgary, F Riley Stotts scored 47 seconds into OT to give the Hitmen a 4-3 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers. . . . Medicine Hat (21-15-3) has points in three straight (2-0-1) Calgaryand leads the Central Division by six points over Kootenay. . . . The Hitmen (12-20-6) are 11 points out of a playoff spot. They are 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind Prince Albert. . . . D David Quenneville (16) gave the Tigers the lead, on a PP, at 13:25 of the first period, with Calgary F Mark Kastelic (13) tying it, on a PP, at 16:51. . . . F Mark Rassell (33) put the visitors back out front at 1:37 of the second period, with Calgary F Jacob Stukel (18) tying it at 8:20. . . . The Tigers went out front again, at 10:02, as F Max Gerlach (14) scored on a PP. . . . F Hunter Campbell (3) got Calgary back on even ground, again, at 12:56. . . . The third period was scoreless before Stotts won it with his sixth goal of the season. . . . The Hitmen got two assists from Kastelic and Stukel added one. . . . Medicine Hat was 2-7 on the PP; Calgary was 1-8. . . . The Hitmen got 23 saves from G Nick Schneider, while Medicine Hat’s Jordan Hollett stopped 28 shots. . . . F Bryce Bader, who played one game with the Hitmen last season, was in the Calgary lineup for the first time this season. He has 22 points, including 10 goals, in 25 games with the midget AAA Sherwood Park Kings. He was a second-round pick by Calgary in the 2016 bantam draft. . . . F Jake Kryski (ill) was among Calgary’s scratches. . . . The Tigers will be without Swedish D Linus Nassen for up to eight weeks with an undisclosed injury. Nassen has one goal and 21 assists in 38 games in his freshman season. He was a third-round pick by the Florida Panthers in the NHL’s 2016 draft. . . . Medicine Hat F Ryan Jevne served the first game of a three-game suspension. . . . Announced attendance: 5,505.


At Edmonton, F Tyler Ho, a freshman with one goal in 29 games this season, scored in the seventh round of a shootout to give the Vancouver Giants a 4-3 victory over the Oil Kings. Vancouver. . . The Giants (21-14-5), who went to extra time for a third straight game, have points in four straight (3-0-1). Out of the playoffs for three straight season, Vancouver now is second in the B.C. Division, one point ahead of Victoria. . . . The Oil Kings (10-22-6) have points in six in a row (3-0-3). They are last in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Red Deer. . . . Vancouver F Tyler Benson (15) put the visitors out front at 7:27 of the first period. He is from Edmonton and has signed with the NHL’s Oilers. . . . F Aidan Barefoot (4) made it 2-0 at 8:44. . . . F Brett Kemp (9) scored Edmonton’s first goal, at 6:01 of the second period, only to have Vancouver restore its two-goal lead as D Dylan Plouffe (7) scored at 12:04. . . . F Tomas Soustal (11) pulled the home side to within a goal at 5:26 of the third period, and D Conner McDonald (4) tied it at 10:34. . . . McDonald, who also had an assist, has two goals and nine assists in his last six games. . . . Kemp also added an assist to his goal. . . . Ho, who didn’t score in seven games last season, had two assists for Vancouver, giving him seven this season. . . . Plouffe added an assist to his goal. . . . Vancouver was 0-1 on the PP; Edmonton was 0-3. . . . G David Tendeck stopped 37 shots for Vancouver. At the other end, Josh Dechaine made 31 saves. . . . Only three of the 14 shooters in OT were able to score. Benson and Edmonton F Colton Kehler each scored in the second round. . . . Vancouver F Brad Morrison played in his 300th regular-season game. He went pointless. . . . D Aidan Lawson, a 16-year-old from the U16 Colorado Thunderbirds, made his WHL debut with Edmonton. . . . The Giants continue to play with F Brendan Semchuk, 18, who hasn’t been in a game since Dec. 15. He reportedly has left the team and asked to be traded. From Kamloops, he had eight goals and 11 assists in 33 games. . . . Announced attendance: 6,290.


At Red Deer, the Moose Jaw Warriors had a 69-shot game as they doubled the Rebels, 6-3. . . . The Warriors (31-6-3) have points in six straight (5-0-1). They lead the overall MooseJawWarriorsstandings by nine points over Swift Current. . . . The Rebels (10-20-8) have lost five straight (0-2-3). They are 13 points out of a playoff spot. . . . Moose Jaw got two goals and an assist from F Brayden Burke, and three assists from F Justin Almeida. Burke leads the WHL scoring race with 80 points, seven more than F Glenn Gawdin of Swift Current. . . . F Mason McCarty (19), on a PP, gave the home side a 1-0 lead at 11:51 of the first period. . . . The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on goals from F Vince Loschiavo (12), at 14:28, and Burke, at 17:11. . . . F Chris Douglas (3) got Red Deer even at 5:09 of the second period. . . . The Warriors got the game’s next four goals, the first two in the second period. F Tristyn DeRoose (2) scored at 7:37 and F Jayden Halbgewachs (41) counted on a PP at 17:55. . . . After two periods, the Warriors were ahead 4-2 on the scoreboard and 55-13 on the shot clock. . . . Moose Jaw stretched its lead in the third period as Burke (21) scored, shorthanded, at 5:50, and F Ryan Peckford (16) added another at 13:22. . . . D Dawson Barteaux (2) got Red Deer’s third goal, on a PP, at 14:41. . . . Peckford also had an assist. . . . The Rebels got two assists from D Alex Alexeyev and one each from Barteaux and McCarty. . . . Red Deer was 2-6 on the PP; Moose Jaw was 1-5. . . . G Brody Willms made 18 saves for the visitors. . . . At the other end, Riley Lamb turned aside 63 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 4,034.


At Kelowna, the Rockets scored the game’s last two goals as they beat the Tri-City Americans, 5-4, and ran their home-ice winning streak to 13 games. . . . The Rockets (24-KelownaRockets11-3) have won six in a row and lead the Western Conference by three points over Everett. The Rockets also lead the B.C. Division, by four points over Vancouver. . . . The Americans (20-11-5) had points in each of their previous seven games (5-0-2). They are third in the U.S. Division, two points behind Portland. . . . F Nolan Foote (11) got Kelowna into a 4-4 tie, at 3:42 of the third period, and F Conner Bruggen-Cate snapped the tie with his second goal of the game and eighth of the season, at 4:36. . . . Bruggen-Cate had opened the scoring at 6:29, with F Carsen Twarynski upping it to 2-0 at 14:46. . . . F Nolan Yaremko (12) got the Americans on the scoreboard at 15:51, only to have Twarynski (26) get it back, on a PP, at 18:21. . . . The Americans scored the game’s next three goal, with F Jordan Topping (19) scoring, on a PP, at 3:39 of the second period; F Parker AuCoin (8) counting, while shorthanded, 20 seconds into the third period; and F Brett Clayton (3) providing a 4-3 lead at 2:55. . . . The Rockets got two assists from each of Foote, F Kole Lind and F Kyle Topping, with Twarynski adding one. . . . Yaremko had two assists for the the Americans, with AuCoin getting one. . . . Each of the teams was 1-3 on the PP. . . . G James Porter Jr. stopped 24 shots to earn the victory. . . . Each of Tri-City’s goaltenders made two appearances. Tri-City starter Beck Warm and reliever Patrick Dea combined to stop 31 shots. . . . Announced attendance: 5,187.


THURSDAY (all times local):

No Games Scheduled.


FRIDAY (all times local):

Kootenay at Prince Albert, 7 p.m.

Red Deer at Saskatoon, 7:05 p.m.

Swift Current at Brandon, 7:30 p.m.

Moose Jaw at Calgary, 7 p.m.

Vancouver at Lethbridge, 7 p.m.

Edmonton at Medicine Hat, 7:30 p.m.

Tri-City at Prince George, 7 p.m.

Seattle at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

Portland at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.

Everett at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.


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