Blazers rock WHL world in landing Zellweger . . . Giants’ captain off to Ice for eight assets . . . Bedard back lighting it up with Pats

The WHL’s trade deadline arrives on Tuesday. Here are the trade numbers since Oct. 25:

No. of trades — 31.

No. of players traded — 59.

No. of WHL draft picks traded — 62.

No. of WHL conditional draft picks traded — 12.

Teams involved in trades — 8: Edmonton; 6: Victoria, Winnipeg; 5: Kamloops, Seattle; 4: Lethbridge, Prince George, Regina; 3: Everett, Kelowna, Spokane; 2: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Red Deer; 1: Brandon, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City, Vancouver; 0: Calgary, Medicine Hat, Portland.

Why did I start with Oct. 25? Because that was the day that the Seattle Thunderbirds acquired D Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings, signalling to me that the countdown to deadline day had started.

January 8, 2023.

It will be remembered as the day when discretion being the better part of valour no longer was entrenched in the WHL’s trade deadline-related thinking of those making the deals.

It was the day the Kamloops Blazers, the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup, and the Winnipeg Ice, the Eastern Conference’s top team to date, combined to give up eight players, 13 WHL draft picks, including seven first-round selections, and a conditional pick for three players.

First things first . . .

Observers have been waiting for weeks to see what kind of impact the Blazers would have as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches. Well, they found out on Sunday.

Kamloops acquired D Olen Zellweger, 19, and F Ryan Hofer, 20, from the Everett KamloopsSilvertips but the cost was off the charts.

All told, Kamloops coughed up two roster players (F Drew Englot, 20, and D Kaden Hammell, 17) and two prospects (D Rylan Pearce, 17, and F Jack Bakker, 15), along with nine draft picks and a conditional pick. Kamloops surrendered four first-rounders (2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026), one second (2023), one third (2025), one fourth (2023), one fifth (2024) and one sixth (2026). The Blazers also threw in a conditional second-rounder in 2026.

No, Kamloops didn’t get any picks back.

Zellweger, from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., is fresh off a run as perhaps Team Canada’s best defenceman in a gold medal-winning performance at the World Junior Championship that ended Thursday in Halifax. In Kamloops, he will be Everettreunited with Team Canada teammates Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven,

A second-round pick by the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL’s 2021 draft, Zellweger has 28 points, including 10 goals, in 23 games with Everett this season. He has signed a three-year entry-level contract with Anaheim so is unlikely to return to the WHL for a 20-year-old season.

Last season, Zellweger led WHL defencemen with 78 points in 55 games and was named the league’s top defenceman.

Hofer, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Winnipeg, is one of the WHL’s premier power forwards. This season, his third, he has 23 goals and 13 assists in 36 games. The Washington Capitals selected him in the sixth round of the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Englot, from Candiac, Sask., is in his fourth WHL season. The Blazers acquired him from the Regina Pats midway through the 2021-22 season. This season, he has three goals and 11 assists in 34 games.

Hammell, from Langley, B.C., was a first-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. Last season, he put up 14 points, 11 of them assists, in 57 games. This season, he has six goals and four assists in 36 games.

Pearce, from Martensville, Sask., was a fourth-round pick by the Blazers in the WHL’s 2020 draft. He got into two games with Kamloops this season and earned two assists. Pearce now is with the SJHL’s Flin Flon Bombers.

Bakker, from White Rock, B.C., is playing for the U18 side at the Delta, B.C., Hockey Academy. He was a third-round selection by the Blazers in the 2022 WHL draft.

The Blazers (22-8-6) are third in the Western Conference, eight points behind the Seattle Thunderbirds (28-5-2) and five behind the Portland Winterhawks (26-6-3). The Silvertips (18-18-1) are tied for fifth with the Tri-City Americans (17-16-3), one point behind the Vancouver Giants (16-16-6).

Kamloops, which beat the visiting Kelowna Rockets, 5-1, on Saturday night, is next scheduled to play Wednesday against visiting Vancouver. Hofer will sit out that one with a one-game suspension.

You can bet he’ll be in the lineup on Friday, though, when the Blazers are to play in Everett. The Silvertips are scheduled to visit the Blazers on March 10.


Meanwhile, shortly after Winnipeg beat visiting Portland, 6-3, on Sunday night, the Ice announced it had acquired F Zack Ostapchuk, the Giants’ 19-WinnipegIceyear-old captain and another member of Canada’s national junior team.

In exchange, the Ice surrendered two roster players (F Skyler Bruce, 19, and F Connor Dale, 17), two prospects (D Owen Brees, 15, and F Hudson Landmark, 15), and four WHL draft picks — firsts in 2024, 2025 and 2026, and a fifth in 2024.

Ostapchuk, from St. Albert, Alta., had 10 goals and 19 assists in 21 games with the Giants this season. In 153 career regular-season games, he put up 96 points, 48 of them goals. Vancouver selected him 12th overall in the WHL’s 2018 draft, Vancouverand the Ottawa Senators grabbed him in the second round of the NHL’s 2021 draft.

Ostapchuk has signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Senators so is unlikely to be back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season in 2023-24.

Bruce, from Winnipeg, had 22 points, seven of them goals, in 33 games with the Ice this season. He has 70 points, including 26 goals, in 136 regular-season games. The Kootenay Ice picked him in the second round of the WHL’s 2018 draft.

Dale, a freshman who also is from St. Albert, has three goals and five assists in 24 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft.

Brees, from Lethbridge, was picked by the Ice in the fifth round of the 2022 draft. He is playing with the U15 Northern Alberta Xtreme.

Landmark, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was an eighth-round pick in that same draft. He is playing with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park United Cycle Flyers.

The Ice (29-5-0) leads the Eastern Conference by two points over the Red Deer Rebels (26-8-4), with Winnipeg holding four games in hand.

The Giants (16-16-6) are fourth in the Western Conference, 12 points behind third-place Kamloops.

The Ice and Giants aren’t scheduled to meet again during this regular season. In their only clash, the Ice posted a 4-3 victory at the Langley Events Centre on Oct. 19.

Vancouver next will play Wednesday when it is to visit Kamloops.

Winnipeg’s next game is scheduled for Wednesday when it is to play host to the Seattle Thunderbirds, another organization that has gone big in this season’s arm race.

Alan Caldwell (@smallatlarge) pointed out that the Thunderbirds have acquired F Colton Dach (Kelowna Rockets), D Nolan Allan (Prince Albert Raiders) and D Luke Prokop (Edmonton Oil Kings) for a total of four first-round picks, two seconds, three thirds, a fourth, two sixths, and five players.


It was 11 years ago today (Monday) when the Swift Current Broncos and WHLKootenay Ice rocked the WHL’s world with what was then seen as a huge deal.

Mark Lamb, the Broncos’ general manager and head coach, and Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth got together and cooked up a deal that included six players and three WHL draft picks.

The Broncos dealt F Cody Eakin, 19, to the Ice for roster F Christian Magnus, four list players (F Ryan Bloom, F Colby Cave, G Steven Myland and F Jarett Zentner) and three picks — a first and a second in 2011 and a third in 2012.

The Ice went on to win the WHL championship that spring, ousting the Portland Winterhawks from a five-game final series. Eakin, who put up 44 points in 26 regular-season games with the Ice, scored 11 goals and added 16 assists in 19 playoff games. Eakin, F Matt Fraser and F Max Reinhardt each finished with 27 playoff points.

The Ice went 2-3 at the Memorial Cup, losing 3-1 to the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the semifinal. Eakin totalled six points, three of them goals, in the five games.

I’ll let you decide who won the exchange between the Broncos and Ice.

The World Junior Championship ended in Halifax on Thursday. Since then, Seattlethere has been speculation that Finnish F Brad Lambert will be joining the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds. That speculation heated up Sunday when his name was dropped from the roster of the AHL’s Manitoba Moose. Lambert, who had two goals and one assist in 14 AHL games, is listed as inactive on the Moose’s stats page. He had one goal in five games with Finland at the WJC.

Lambert, who turned 19 on Dec. 19, was born in Lahti, Finland. The Winnipeg Jets, the Moose’s parent club, selected him 30th overall in the NHL’s 2022 draft.

Lambert’s father, Ross, spent one season 1982-83) with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, putting up 106 points. Brad’s uncle, Lane, is the head coach of the NHL’s New York Islanders.

Meanwhile, F Connor Bedard, fresh off lighting up the WJC on behalf of Team ReginaCanada, returned to the Regina Pats’ lineup on Sunday. All he did was score four goals and add two assist as the Pats beat the visiting Calgary Hitmen, 6-2. . . . The announced attendance was 4,761, the Pats’ largest home crowd this season. . . . Bedard’s first career six-point outing included a pair of shorthanded goals. . . . Despite missing 11 games while with Team Canada, Bedard’s 70 points, in 29 games, has him leading the points race by eight points over F Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets. With 31 goals, Bedard is two behind F Kai Uchacz of the Red Deer Rebels, and Bedard’s 39 assists are two more than D Lukas Dragicevic of the Tri-City Americans. . . . Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post was in attendance; his story is right here. . . .

Now take a minute or two, think about the packages that Kamloops and Winnipeg traded away today, then try to figure out what it would cost an organization to get Bedard from the Pats. . . . were he available, that is.


Coyotes give Guenther the good news . . . Rebels roar back for 15th victory . . . AJHL team’s players OK after bus accident

The Arizona Coyotes have told F Dylan Guenther that he’ll be staying in the NHL. Guenther, 19, had two goals and four assists in nine games when he was Edmontongiven the news on Saturday. . . . He played his 10th game last night — he was pointless in a 3-2 victory over the host Washington Capitals — meaning the first year of his three-year contract has kicked in. . . . From Edmonton, he was the ninth overall selection in the NHL’s 2021 draft. . . . Last season, he put up 45 goals and 46 assists in 59 games with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings, then added 13 goals and eight assists in 16 games as the team won the Ed Chynoweth Cup. . . . In 137 regular-season WHL games, all with the Oil Kings, he totalled 86 goals and 92 assists. . . . The Coyotes could change their minds later and return him to the Oil Kings, of course, but the first year of his contract will have been used up. Because he is 19 and was drafted out of major junior, he has to play in major junior or the NHL; he can’t be assigned to the AHL. . . . With the Oil Kings early in a rebuilding cycle, chances are that he would have been moved for future assets had he been returned.



The Red Deer Rebels are 15-0-0 after going into Moose Jaw and beating the RedDeerWarriors, 4-2. . . . Moose Jaw led 2-1 after the second period. It was the first time this season that the Rebels trailed going into a third period; the Warriors had been 6-0-0 when leading after two. . . . The 1967-68 Estevan Bruins hold the WHL record for most consecutive wins (22) to open a season. . . . This victory allowed the Rebels to set a franchise record for longest winning streak. The 2001-02 team had a mid-season 14-game streak . . . F Kai Uchacz scored twice for Red Deer. He leads the WHL with 15 goals and has scored at least once in five straight games. . . . The Rebels are 3-0-0 on a nine-game road trip. . . . F Jace Isley also scored twice for the winners. His shorthanded goal at 10:28 of the third period tied the score, 2-2, and his ninth goal of the season, at 13:30, stood up as the winner. . . .

F Jordan Keller scored twice as the Saskatoon Blades counted the game’s last Saskatoonthree goals and beat the Wheat Kings, 4-1, in Brandon. . . . The Wheat Kings have lost six in a row (0-5-1). . . . Keller scored one goal in eight games last season. This season, he has four goals and three assists in 14 games. . . . The Blades were 2-for-4 on the PP, while penalty killers were 4-for-4 and now have killed off 18 straight penalties over three games. . . .

In Medicine Hat, F Tyson Zimmer scored his second goal of the season and added an assist to help the Lethbridge Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers. . . . The Hurricanes have points in four straight (3-0-1); the Tigers have lost five in a row (0-3-2). . . .

D Olen Zellweger and F Caden Zaplitny each scored twice as the Everett EverettSilvertips doubled the Raiders, 4-2, in Prince Albert. . . . Zellweger scored once and Zaplitny twice before the first period was seven minutes old. . . . The Silvertips went 4-2-0 on their East Division trip, finishing up with three straight victories. . . . Zaplitny has three goals and three assists in 16 games. Last season, he finished with three and three in 38 games. . . .

The visiting Swift Current Broncos scored the game’s first three goals and went on to beat the Regina Pats,5-2. . . . F Josh Filmon scored twice for the Broncos, giving him 10. He has 15 points in 10 games. . . . F Connor Bedard drew two PP assists for Regina as he ran his point streak to 15 games. . . . G Gage Alexander stopped 40 shots for the Broncos. . . .

The Portland Winterhawks erased a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals en route Portlandto a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent, Wash. . . . One night earlier, the Winterhawks had beaten the Thunderbirds, 5-1 in Portland. . . . The Winterhawks have points in five straight (3-0-2). . . . Portland was 4-for-5 on the PP and also scored a shorthanded goal. . . . Seattle was 0-for-11 with the man advantage. . . . F Gabe Klassen scored twice for Portland — one of them shorthanded — and now has 11 goals. . . . F Luca Cagnoni had two goals for the winners. . . . Seattle was again without F Jared Davidson, its leading scorer, with an undisclosed injury. . . . The Thunderbirds are 1-3-0 since opening the season with nine straight victories. . . .

F Connor Dale scored his first two WHL goals to help the host Winnipeg Ice to a WinnipegIce5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans. . . . The Ice has won 10 straight. . . . The Americans went 2-4-0 on their East Division trip. . . . Dale, a 17-year-old from St. Albert, Alta., has six points in 12 games. He was a ninth-round pick in the WHL’s 2020 draft. . . . The Americans got a goal and two assists from F Ethan Ernst. He’s got 22 points, 10 of them goals, in 15 games. . . . Tri-City D Lukas Dragicevic ran his point streak to 10 games with two assists. . . .

G Talyn Boyko stopped 44 shots and F Andrew Cristall scored twice to lead the Kelownahost Kelowna Rockets to a 3-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. . . . Cristall broke a 1-1 tie with his 10th goal at 1:28 of the second period and added insurance at 10:32 of the third. . . . F Logan Stankoven scored his 10th goal for Kamloops. He has at least one point in each of the nine games he has played since returning from the camp of the NHL’s Dallas Stars. . . . Kelowna had F Colton Dach, its captain, back in the lineup after he sat out five games with a concussion. . . .

The Prince George Cougars completed a doubleheader sweep in Spokane, PrinceGeorgebeating the Chiefs, 5-3. . . . The Cougars had won 7-2 on Friday. . . . Prince George now has won three in a row; the Chiefs have lost seven straight. . . . F Chase Wheatcroft of the Cougars scored twice in each game, giving him 10. . . . F Riley Heidt gave the Cougars a 3-1 lead with a shorthanded penalty shot goal at 19:04 of the second period. . . . Prince George got 40 stops from G Ty Young. . . . The Chiefs are to entertain the Portland Winterhawks this evening with each team playing its third game in fewer than 48 hours. . . . The Cougars (9-7-0) find themselves atop the B.C. Division. although the second-place Kamloops Blazers (7-4-2) have three games in hand. . . .

Don’t forget . . . if you aren’t already, start following Geoffrey Brandow (@GeoffreyBrandow) on Twitter for more game-related stats and info. You can’t go wrong there.


The Victoria Royals announced on Saturday that their Nov. 26 game against the visiting Regina Pats and F Connor Bedard is sold out. “This is the most-anticipated regular-season game in Royals franchise history since opening night in 2011,” the Royals tweeted. . . .

The Penticton Vees ran their BCHL season-opening record to 16-0-0 on Saturday night with a 5-1 victory over the visiting Wenatchee Wild. Next on the schedule for the Vees is a visit from the Vernon Vipers on Thursday. . . .

The BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals have added F Anton Yatsyshin, 18, to their roster. He has played in 45 WHL regular-season games — 40 with the Calgary Hitmen last season and five this season with the Prince Albert Raiders. From Kyiv, Ukraine, he had nine points, four of them goals, with Calgary and one goal with the Raiders before being release.

THINKING OUT LOUD — Really, just what was the Boston Bruins’ braintrust thinking? What were the conversations about as they reached a decision to sign that guy? I just hope they aren’t surprised at the backlash. . . . I have had to quit watching intermission shows. The gambling blorf has driven me elsewhere. It all is just so shameful, especially when we see the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid and even Kevin Weekes flogging this stuff. . . . Would you agree that the Houston Astros have MLB’s best pitching staff? . . . It was a tough day for Canada’s national men’s soccer team with Alphonso Davies (hamstring) and keeper Maxime Crépeau (leg) going down with injuries. Canada plays its first game at the World Cup on Nov. 23. Ouch! . . . Sorry, Canucks fans, but I fear your favourites are in for another one of those seasons. I mean, sheesh, leading the stumbling Nashville Predators 3-0 early on home ice and losing 4-3 in a shootout. Bo Horvat’s overskating the puck on Vancouver’s final shootout sums up the season to this point, doesn’t it?


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